O Canada! Part 2








Friday 13th November

1.30 am


“Aw damn,” Miss Bobcat said as she looked at the camera, “we got a problem.”


“What,” Miss Snow Leopard said as she looked at her colleague.


“Watch them,” she said as she ran out of the room, and into where the others were held captive.


"Dahlins we have problems, a squad car just pulled up outside." Miss Bobcat came running.

"Why are the cops here," Miss Lynx ripped the gag off.

"They sometimes just drop in for a coffee."


“Dammit – right, you,” she said as she ungagged one of the two women and made her stand up, “let them in, and no sign of what is going on.”


Nodding, the guard went with Miss Bobcat and Miss Lynx to the front entrance, both women hiding as the security guard went out.


“Hey boys,” she said as she smiled, “off the clock for a while?”


“Yeah – they’re not expecting us to check in until 2.30.  Got the coffee on?”


“Just started it,” she said as she opened the door, “come on through.”


“You all right Mary,” one of them said as she closed the door behind them, “you seem nervous.”


“That’s probably because of us,” Miss Lynx said as she stepped forward, pumping her gun as she did so.  “so be good little dickheads and turn those radios off, or Mary here survives for precisely zilch seconds.”


“What the fuck,” one of the police officers said as he reached for his gun, only to collapse as Miss Bobcat emptied both barrels into his chest.


“Your choice sugah,” Miss Bobcat said as Miss Panther appeared behind them.  The officer reached for his gun, only to fall to the ground as Miss Lynx blew his head off.


“What happened,” Miss Civet said as she appeared with Miss Cheetah.


“Visitors,” Miss Lynx said as she looked at Mary. 


“All right – Miss Bobcat, get her back to the room, and secure her.  Send Miss Jaguarundi down as well.


"Miss Cheetah, do you know a way to calm suspicions regarding a squad car and cops disappearing off the grid?"

"I might know one or two, how long do I need buy us Miss Panther?"

"About 2 hours from now."

"Okay leave it to me and the computer."

"Okay, I'll see to the cops’ bodies and Miss Civet will hide the car."



2.15 am


"These damn coats are heavy."

"The best furs always are." Miss Puma replied.

"If everyone takes 5 or 6 at a time we will soon move them Miss Ocelot." Miss Lynx remarked.

"Come on jump to it." Miss Puma ordered. "We need to clean this place out totally."


"I thought crime was about making money the easy way." Miss Jaguarundi complained as she deposited another armful of fur coats in the truck. "This is real hard labour."

"Yes but just think of the pleasure you'll get spending what we make," Miss Lynx smiled under her mask, "when these lovely things are sold."


"Come on ladies we have a schedule to keep." Miss Panther reminded them as she too deposited some more furs. "There's plenty of time to chat later."

"Slavedriver." Miss Lynx laughed.



"You know we hadn't taken into account the coats that are routinely stored here you know?" Miss Cheetah remarked.

"I know, there are a few hundred of them, that's going to just up the take a bit." Miss Panther smiled under the stocking.


“Right – let’s deal with them as well,” Miss Cheetah said as she and Miss Civet opened another room.


"How is she doing?" Miss Ocelot asked Miss Panther.

"She made one of the hostages piss himself from fear, she's been carrying her share of fur, so I'd say pretty damn well."

"Are you talking about her?" Miss Sidhe pointed.

"We were."

"Well Miss Panther," the Irish accented voice answered, "I'd say personally she's doing far better then I expected."


“How much longer?”


“Twenty minutes tops.”


“Good – make sure everyone else is properly secured.”



2.45 am


“All done?”


“All done,” Miss Jaguar said as she closed the last truck.


“Right – get going,” Miss Panther said as the three drivers were joined by Miss Civet, Miss Wildcat and Miss Bobcat.  She watched as the trucks drove off, and then went to where the other pussycats were waiting.


“Security room?”


“We used chloroform on all of them,” Miss Snow Leopard said with a smile.




“We have another hour or so before my trick runs out.”


“Right,” she said as she looked at Claude, his family and the surviving guards, “Don’t make a fucking move.  We know where you are, we know where you live, and Miss Lynx likes to play surprise visit.”


The bound and gagged hostages could only whimper as the pussycats walked out, splitting between the two cars as they drove into the night...


"Well Katy my love?" Jan asked as her daughter pulled off both the mask and her wig.

"OH MY FUCKING GODDESS!" the young girl ran her hands up the insides of her own thighs and started to rub herself... "Is it always that intense?"

"I think you are hooked on crime darling." Jan smiled.

"The power of it all...the way that guy pissed himself...I could have so easily just blown his head off."


“Indeed,” Cari said with a smile.


“Are you...”


“She’s back,” Juliette said, “so relax – we’ll be back soon.”


3.30 am

North of Mississauga


“Wow,” Dominique said as they drove onto the airstrip, “so we kept a couple of the planes, did we?”


“Very much so,” Susan said as they approached the transporter, men waving them through with lighted batons as they entered the body of the plane, stopping as the crew clamped the wheels in the place and Heather followed them in.


“All yours gentlemen,” Susan said as he and Dom climbed out, Heather and Penny joining them as they walked onto the tarmac, and watched as Sandy drove the last truck in with Jo.


“Dominique, Susan, Penny – I trust you had a successful night?”


“Very much so Natalya – I trust you have everything in place at the other end?”


“Indeed – we leave immediately.  Madame will contact you later.”


“Good flight,” Susan said as she climbed up, the ramp closing behind her.


“Amazing – you forget the resources she has,” Sandy said as she watched the plane taxi to the runway.


“Right – I have the last SUV back here.  Let’s get back to the safe house and change,”



3.30 am

The Safe House


“Oh my fucking god,” Katy said as she collapsed in a chair, “that was A-FUCKING-MAZING!!”


“Welcome to our world,” Abby said as she followed her in with Diana.


“All right, O daughter of mine, we’re not done yet,” Jan said, “changed, and everything into black bags.”




“We leave no trace,” Juliette said, “so everyone change and clothes into the bag.  Jan, Katy, Annie’s going to drop you off and bring the car back, so you have ten minutes tops.”


“I’ll make sure things are cleared away,” Diana said as she removed her brooch, and then slipped her jacket off.


“Let’s go,” Jan said as she took Katy upstairs, Abby starting to make some coffee.



"We need be back at the hotel and quick," Jan looked at her watch now she had dressed. "Katy remember to act tired when you get that wakeup call, we will try and get a couple of hours sleep on the plane."

"Okay Mom." Katy wiggled into the main room.

"Okay,” Jan said as she looked out of the door, “we will see everybody back home."

"Seeya guys," Katy blew a kiss as she walked out the door.

"That kid is going to be good you know."


“Yeah – reminds me a bit of Kylie and Jo,” Juliette said as she looked at Annie.


“Was that Jan and Katy heading off,” Jo said as she came in.


“Yup – the goods?”


“On their way to Russia,” Dominique said as she came in.  “Neat and clean.”


“Yeah,” Juliette said as she sipped her coffee, “and now I get to act the shocked model.”


“We’ll get changed,” Susan said, “and then clear up here.  We still have a full day ahead of us.”


“We’ll head back to the motel when you’re ready,” Cari said to Jo, “and I will see you tomorrow night, Monster Momma.”


“Can’t wait,” Annie said with a grin as she kissed Cari.


“Hey – impressionable youngster here?”


“Where,” Abby said as Doc threw a cushion at her.


5 am

The Safe House


"So what is Madame taking from all this?" Susan asked as she sat at the table.

"A flat rate 15 million dollars as a handling fee." Juliette relaxed with a coffee.

"Shirley's not doing so badly out of this either then." Diana whistled.

"Well we should all clear in excess of ten million each."

"Anything yet Dominique?" Abby asked.

"Not yet, other then a search for the missing cops."

"We must have left them well secured that they haven't wriggled free yet." Juliette smiled. "When should the next shift arrive?"


“About 6 in the morning – we should hear something after that...”



6.15 am

Toronto Pearson International Airport


As Katy waited for the boarding call, she glanced up at the television screen and saw the headline flash of a break-in at a secure warehouse.  No further details were given, but she merely yawned as the flight was called.


Jan followed her on, as did Penny, both of them smiling inwardly as they did so.




9 am

West Central Park


“Hey Mom,” Jan said as she came in, “any coffee in the pot?”


“There most certainly is,” Katherine said as she looked in from the kitchen, “Katy get to school all right?”


“I dropped her off – she was a great help yesterday.”


“So are you going to get anything done?”


“I said I’d think about it – and I need to be at the office for ten.  Can you pour me a cup while I grab a quick shower?”


“So is Adam back yet,” Katherine called out as Jan stripped off and went into the shower.


“He’s due back today – I can’t wait to see him again,” Jan said as she soaped and rinsed, before putting on a skirt and jacket with a camisole top.


“Girl’s night in tonight,” she said as she grabbed the mug and took a drink.  “You pick the food, Katy picks the movie.”


“Oh joy, an evening with Tatum Channing – so long as it’s not Magic Mike...”


“I’ll make sure she picks a granny suitable film,” Jan said as she smiled.  “See you later.”




9.30 am

Toronto Expo Centre


“Jack – what do you think’s going on,” Juliette said as her car was held up outside the Exposition centre.


“No idea, Miss Huntingdown,” the young man said as the security guard came over.


“Passes please.”


As he looked at them, he said “Miss Huntingdown – Miss Percy is wailing for you inside, room D.  We have a small problem.”


“What sort of problem?”


“I couldn’t say, Miss Huntingdown,” the guard said as he waved them through.  As Jack pulled up, he opened the door to let Juliette out, and then followed her in.


“Room D?”


“Second floor – that way,” the guard said, the two of them noticing the police as they went up the escalator.  Approaching the room, they could hear Bronwen call out “you have got to be kidding me – everything?”


“Bronwen, what’s going on,” Juliette said as she walked in.  Her old friend was sitting with a number of other furriers, their faces drawn and white.


“Ju,” Bronwen said as she looked up, “we have a very serious and major problem.”


“Why, what’s happened?”


“The storage facility our furs were stored in has been robbed – cleaned out, all of us.”


Sitting down quickly, Juliette stared at her friend as she said “cleaned out?  What happened?”


“It appears an armed gang of ladies took the family of the two senior staff members hostage, took over the facility, and took all the furs stored there.”


“All of them?”


“All of them – we have an expo with nothing to show.”


Juliette looked at Jack, who said “Miss Percy should I...”


“Yes – find Miss Huntingdown and the other models some coffee, tell them I will come and talk to them in a short while.”




11.30 am


"So tell me what happened Bronwen?"  Juliette and her old friend had found a quiet corner to talk in the area that had been set aside for dressing.

"Oh,” the redhead said as she leaned back and threw her hands up, “the Pussycat Gang targeted the warehouse storing all the furs that were to be shown."

"Oh dear Goddess!" Juliette put her hand to her mouth. "What did they get away with?"

"Literally everything. The OPP said they must have been planning it and watching out for months."

"So MY coat?"

"Gone with the rest Ju...Sorry."

"Well there was nothing you could do Bronwen."

"I could have been more insistent in my view that you didn't put all your eggs in one basket so to speak. Collecting all that gorgeous fur together was pure temptation."

"So do the police have any clues?"

"They told me that the furs were likely on their way out of the country before they were even aware that there had even been a robbery."

"To the States?"

"No," Bronwen shook her head, "my money would be on Russia. As I've found out dealing with them, my Russian colleagues in the fur business have little or no ethics."


"Someone will buy them and either work on the coats to change them, or sell them on as is."

"Surely Russians are too poor?"

"Don't believe it Ju, there is plenty of money still in the higher echelons of Russia."

"Well I live and learn."

"Anyway I'll pay your modelling fees like all the other girls."

"Will your insurance cover that?"

"Pretty much...” Bronwen made a weak smile before she stood up and said, “Well, before you fly home I guess..."

"Seems little point staying Bronwen."

"Then how about I treat you to lunch, and I can have a couple of stiff drinks."

"Be honest it sounds like you need them."

"Yes that's a years planning down the drain. It might even have been better if the Animal Rights groups had attacked. We would then at least have salvaged most of it."




1 pm

The Village


“Ama?  Are you around?”


“Hi Mom,” Ama said as she came in from her room, “how was your trip?”


“Very profitable,” Caroline said with a smile, “but I am extremely tired – I dropped Doc off at her place.  How is the assignment coming along?”


“I am making progress – so I should be ready for Monday.  So is everyone making their own way home?"

"Well,” Caroline said as she took her wig off, and accepted the mug of coffee Ama had poured, “Carina will be dropping Jo off in Springfield for her big invitational race tomorrow, and she's staying to watch that with Annie before driving home tomorrow evening. Cassie is staying the weekend in Toronto negotiating with that production company about putting money into the Ladydown movie."

"Okay Mom, that all makes sense." Ama smiled.

"Penny and Jan flew back with Katy this morning, and Susan is flying back this afternoon.  Heather and Sandy are driving across Massachusetts today and will also be watching Jo's big race. Diana and Abby have flown on to Vancouver this morning so she can film her bit for Sting's next video, then she's flying back tonight on the redeye."

"Wow they are being busy...What about Juliette?"

"If I know her she's acting wonderfully surprised at what happened."

"Talking of happenings,” Ama said as she sat down, “did you see the reports on the California Train Robbery."

"I did, somebody made a very profitable raid out there as well."


“Indeed – a coincidence, correct?”


“For once, yes – but it was fairly spectacular as well.”


“So what are your plans for the rest of the day?”


“Depends – where are Denice and Erica today?”


“I believe they were spending the day at the MOMA – an art assignment.”


“Good – I’m going to finish this coffee, and then go out to see a friend who works in Columbia U.  Are you seeing Alex tonight?”


“No – so a mom and daughter night in?”


“Sounds good to me,” Dom said as she hugged Ama.




2 pm

Xavier International


“Excellent,” Shirley said on the screen,” I expect to hear from Natalya shortly, and in conjunction with events yesterday in California, a most satisfactory day.  Have you heard from Juliette?”


“She is consoling Bronwen at the loss.  The police reports are still sketchy, although we have heard they found two cops in one of the cold storage units.”


“Strange – for once, Jan did not need to be back early to expect the call.”


“No – although she did have to return early for other reasons.”




“Ask Ju when you talk to her later...”




2 pm

FBI Field Office


“Guess who?”


“Alec Baldwin,” Jan said with a smile as she moved the hands covering her eyes and turned round.  “You’re late?”


“I know – and I’m sorry.  How did it go yesterday?”


“I’m thinking things over.  What about you?”


“Tell you later,” Adam said as Jeanne walked in.


“Well well – Agent Ball, returned from his travels.”


“I am indeed – on which note congratulations Jeanne.  What did your father say?”


“Once he got over the initial shock, he was overjoyed.  I wonder if he will feel the same way when...”


“You three – in my office now.”


The trio looked at Tom, who sighed as they came in, closing the door behind them.


“Rupert, I’ve got them in here,” Tom said as he sat down.


“Good afternoon everyone,” Rupert Brooks said, “Sorry to spoil your Friday afternoons, but I have some intel for you.”


“Oh – what happened,” Jeanne said as she looked at the other two.


“This morning, a raid on a fur storage unit in the outskirts of Toronto was discovered, Seems a gang took hostage the families of the night manager and head of security of the depot, forced their way in and emptied the unit of all the furs within.”


”How much money is there in furs, Brooks?”


“Put it this way Ball – the haul eclipses the raid at the Providence bank and Logan Depository last year.”


“Mon Dieu,” Jeanne swore, “and who has taken the record from the she devils?”


“If the reports are to be believed,” Agent Brooks said, “the she devils themselves.”


“That’s why I called you in,” Tom said, “the Pussycat Gang just hit over the border.  Outside your jurisdiction, but CISC will want to touch base with you?”




“Criminal Intelligence Service Canada,” Tom said.  “Rupert, we’ll be glad to tell them what we know.”


“Good – I’ll be in touch,” Brooks said as he signed off.


4 pm

The Village


“Hey,” Grace said as she opened the door to Juliette, “aren’t you meant to be in Toronto?”


“Difficult to do a fur show without the furs,” Juliette said as she came in.


“Come again?”


“The Pussycat Gang apparently broke into the storage facility overnight, and took every single piece of fur that was stored there – everything for the exhibition and more above that,”


“Good grief – so no show?”


"I flew home this afternoon, there seemed to be no point staying in Toronto if there was going to be no fur expo."

"I can understand that Juliette." Grace shook her head.


“But it does mean I can come and ask how the calendar is looking?”


“Luke’s delivering the proofs tomorrow – I’m looking forward to it.”




10 pm

West Central Park


"Young lady we need to have a long serious talk." Jan said as she closed the door and sat on her daughter’s bed.  She looked at Katy, sitting there in her pyjamas, no make up, and could hardly believe this was the same girl who had been with her yesterday.

"Is Gran asleep?"

"Yes so we can talk freely."

"Okay Mom,” Katy said quietly, “fire away."

"First how do you feel having had time to think about the raid?"


“Well, not as hot as I felt this morning,” Katy admitted, “but I meant what I said – that rush, that feeling of power, of being in total control...  I understand now, a bit, why you and the others do it.”


“Well, that’s part of it,” Jan said, “but you saw how ruthless we can be last night.”


“Yeah – the dead body.  I understand why though – I felt so much like doing it when that man soiled himself...”


“We have killed for that before, but I’m glad you didn’t.  Ju and some of the others really did admire how you coped and helped however, and I was very proud of the way you dealt with the young girl last night.”


“Diana said something – when they kill, it’s always for a reason.  It’s like that girl I killed – I did it to protect Doc, and you said she had killed as well.  An eye for an eye?”


“That’s not why we do it,” Jan said, “but to protect each other we do.”


“It was who else is involved that amazed me as well – have I met them all?”


“No – you can meet some of the others over the next few weeks.”  Brushing Katy’s hair from her face, Jan said "Darling you realize I am going to have to do your training don't you?"

"I'm looking forward to it Mom." Katy smiled and yawned at the same time.

"And Diana will want you to undergo a couple of days training at her farm."

"Okay, and what will that entail?"

"I can't warn you Katy love, you have to go into it unprepared."

"Why does that sound like I won't like it?"

"Nobody likes it." Jan looked into her daughters eyes, "but it makes you better at this career...I promise."


“Okay,” Katy said as she lay down, “is it all right if I sleep now mom?”


“Of course – are you going swimming tomorrow?”


Katy slowly nodded as she closed her eyes, Jan watching as she went to sleep...



Saturday 14th November

11.30 am

Vanderbilt YMCA


“Hi Katy,” Barbara said as Katy came into the cafe area, “is Jeannie getting changed?”


“She’ll be along in a little while,” Katy said as she grabbed a drink and sat down, “she said she had a shoot this afternoon.”


“Yup – but she also needed to vent a little, so the exercise will have done her some good.”


"Aunt Barbara,” Katy said as she opened her drink, “can I ask you something?"

"Of course Katy...What?"

"Jeannie once told me you were only 13 when you...well you know what."

"I was,” Barbara said as she raised an eyebrow, “and I hope you keep that to yourself."

"Why did you?"

"That's difficult." Barbara sat in thought for a second. "I suppose I thought Jeans’ father and I were grown up enough to do it. I never even dated any other boys, he was my one and only."

Katy took a sip from her drink and set it on the table.  "Did you regret it?"

"Now that is a very hard question." Barbara again stopped. "I was so lucky I never got pregnant until I was 17, because at least at first I wasn't on the pill...I loved him with all my heart and I guess I'm glad in the few years we did have we were so happy. So all in all I suppose the plusses outweighed the minuses in why I had sex at 13." Barbara looked at the young girl. "Does that help?"

"I don't know,” Katy said, “I'm still very confused by all I feel.  I mean, I’ve talked to Mom about it, but one moment I want to know what it’s like, and the next..."


"Now that does sound familiar,” Barbara said as she looked at the teenager, in her jumper and jeans.  “I was like you in that my body matured early. So did my sister's..."

"Wasn't she a porn model?"

"Jeannie and I need to have several serious words on her spilling family secrets,” Barbara said as she sipped her coffee. “But yes she was."

"So you felt older then you were?"

"I guess so,” Barbara said as she put her empty cup down, “but I probably wasn't as mature in my brain as my body was telling the world I was."


“So just how much older was her dad?”


"Well, Jeannie's dad was 16 when we met, and at first he had no idea I was only 13."

"He thought you were about the same age?"

"Yes...He got a real shock when he found out I was three years younger."


“And yet he remained your boyfriend?”


“That he did – but he was very gentle, and the moment I turned eighteen he asked my father for my hand in marriage.”


"So what attracted him to you?"

"Oh at first probably these." Barbara pointed at her breasts, "but we soon found out we thought virtually identically about everything."

"That sounds amazing."

"It was, I knew within days of meeting him one day we'd get married."

"That sounds so romantic."


“Katy,” Barbara said, “I was very very lucky that I met him.  He was prepared to wait and care for me in every way.  The greatest loss I ever had in my life was when...”


She looked to the side for the moment as Katy said “Aunty Barbara, I’m sorry if I...”


“It’s all right Katy – the only advice I can give you is to go slow, and give your mind a chance to catch up with your body.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with George, so long as you respect each other’s position.”


“I guess I understand,” Katy said as she saw Jeannie wheel herself out.  “Thanks, Aunt Barbara – I’ll talk to George at the party we’re going to tonight.”


“Have I got time for a drink Mum,” Jeannie said as she joined them.


“Let me get you that,” Katy said as she stood up.






Springfield, MA

Northeastern Freshman Invitational Race


“Hey Jo!”


“There you are,” Jo said as she hugged Sands and George, “Good drive up?”


“Yeah – is that your running outfit,” she said as she looked at Jo, in her black singlet and shorts with white trim and “William Smith” on the front.


“It is indeed,” Heather said as she and Sandy hugged the children.  “How were they Nessa?”


“No problem – although they missed their mother,” Nessa said as she sat down.  “So when’s the race?”


“Thirty minutes Smith.”


“Yes Coach Waterman,” Jo said as Lisa came over, while Carina and Annie came from the opposite direction.


“Here to see your protégés, Annie?”


“Here to see who would win this time, in a fair race,” Annie said with a grin.




“Hey, Liz,” Jo said as she hugged Liz Silowski, wearing the green of Dartmouth College.  “Ready for this?”


“Oh yeah – loser buys the drinks?”


“You’re on.”


“Time to get ready,” Lisa and Liz’s coach called in unison, the two old friends shaking hands as they jogged to the runner’s area.


"So did you find much darling?" Nessa asked Sandy as they stood waiting.

"You'll have to come to my store room when it's delivered and see."  Sandy smiled as she looked at the gathering group.

"Well that sounds promising."

"We hit this one store about 20 miles east of here,” Sandy said happily, “and I spent a lot of money, but in return I found a wealth of colonial and early 19th century American furniture."

"Well those periods are very fashionable."

"Exactly...I will find no problem finding new homes for it."

"Is she telling you about her finds Nessa?" Heather called out as she brought over warm drinks for everyone.

"She was Heather, and thank you so much for this."

"Well it feels like winter is definitely approaching, I thought we'd all appreciate this."

"So how long is Jo's race Heather?" George asked.

"Just under three miles George, but it's up and down these hills."

"Rather her then me." George sipped his drink as he looked at some of the course.

"So what will be good for Jo?" Little Sandy asked.

"Well I was talking to Annie, she reckons that if Jo can finish in the top 30, and in the first three girls from Division 3 schools, then she will have had a great race."

"And also if somehow she can beat Liz home." Nessa smiled, "I have a small wager with Liz's grandmother Martha, that for the first time ever she will beat her."


“Mom, can you come over a minute,” Sands called out, and as Sandy walked over Nessa turned and looked at Heather.


"So did you find my daughter the Christmas present you were looking for Heather?"

"I did,” Heather whispered, “or at least I hope I did."

"That sounds interesting."

"I spotted what I think is a complete early 18th century dresser laying in pieces on the floor in a barn attached to a store. I've bought it and I just hope it will turn out as I hope it will once it's passed through Andrew McFadyean's expert hands."

"Well if Andrew cannot restore it nobody can, and I agree with you that it's the sort of thing Sandy will adore as a present."

"It cost me probably a fraction of what she spent for my Van Gogh drawing last year, but I think she will know the love that comes with this."

"I know she will Heather darling."


“So what did Sands want,” Heather said as Sandy came back.


“Oh she was asking about sports bras, believe it or not.”


"So where is your mother Carina?" Nessa asked as she walked over.

"She took a last second booking to do a double with Ingy for Cosmopolitan Nessa."

"I read that her event in Canada got rather spoiled."

"Doubly spoiled,” Cari said with a frown, “they stole a coat she'd reserved for Pops to buy her along with everything else."

"Oh that is terrible." Sandy spoke.

"It is indeed," Nessa shook her head.

"So where is Judith?"

"She's with Annie and some of her old running friends, they are oohing and cooing over her Nessa."

"Judith is a beautiful little girl."

"She's following in her family tradition Mother."

"Indeed darling.   And her little brother or sister will do so as well."


“Will all runners please come to the start line, all runners to the start line...”


“Come on – let’s support her...”


The crowds gathered near the start line, the girls lining up and taking deep breaths as the coaches lined the side.  The starter looked along the line, raised the starting pistol, and fired...



“Any sign of them yet,” Annie said as she stood next to Lisa.


“Not yet – we should see the first runners in a few minutes,” Liz said as she and the other coaches watched the approach to the finishing funnel.


“How do you think Jo’s doing, Mom,” Sands said as she looked over.


“I can’t tell from here, but you know Jo darling – she’s going to do her very best.”


“The first runners just passed the half mile to go mark,” one of the coaches called out, the coaches inching forward with their tablets as they gazed down the approach.


“Here they come,” one of the others called out as a group of five girls came round the corner.


“Surely not...”


Lisa shook her head as Annie stood next to her.  “None of ours there, and I’m not expecting them to.  This is a top field, and good as Jo is...”


“Different league?”


Lisa nodded as the winner came over, and watched as the runners started to come over.


“I count twelve so far.”


Heather nodded and then shouted “COME ON JO!”


Two more runners came over the line before the crowd cheered Jo and Liz as they raced each other, neither willing to give a quarter as they approached the finish line.


“Come on Jo,” Lisa whispered as they got closer, neither willing to give in to the other.


“I can’t look,” Nessa said as she turned away, the kids screaming with Sandy and Heather as they came closer...  closer...


“Gotcha,” Lisa said as she tapped her tablet, and went over to consult with the Dartmouth coach and the officials.  Nessa turned round to see Jo and Liz with their arms round each other as they walked down the funnel.


“What happened?”


“They crossed virtually together – but who gets 15th and who gets 16th I have no idea.”


“Any idea Annie,” Carina asked as her girlfriend walked over.


“They’re in consultation now...”


They looked over anxiously before Jo and Liz shook hands, as did their coaches, and she walked back over with Lisa.




“Dead heat – we’ll both be awarded 15th place.  But because Dartmouth and William Smith are in different divisions...”


“Miss Silowski is second in her division, and Jo first in hers.”


“Well, I’ll discuss with her grandmother, but well done you,” Nessa said as she hugged Jo, followed by Heather and Sandy.


“Thanks - but I’d better warm down and get ready for the presentation.”


"So both happy?" Annie asked as Liz walked over.

"Very much so," Liz smiled. "She's improved hasn't she?"

"A trifle." Annie laughed. "So you second Ivy League girl home, Jo first Division 3 girl home, I think I can be pretty content."

"I know, it's all about races within races." Jo spoke.

"It is." Coach Waterman said as she showed both ex-Angels their time.

"Damn that was pretty good." Liz looked.

"Yeah Coach is pretty happy with that from you Liz." Lisa looked up, "and I'm more than happy with you Jo."


“So do I miss training tomorrow?”


“No chance – now get that tracksuit on.  Presentation in thirty minutes.”


2 pm


"Is that your cup and medal Jo?" Sands asked.

"It is, I also get another medal for finishing in the top twenty overall."

"More things for me to keep in the trophy cabinet." Heather smiled.

"After I've shown all the girls back at school." Jo beamed.

"Curt missed a pretty special race." Nessa hugged Jo.

"I know, damn conference, but it's important to his career that he was there not here."

"Well done that girl." Cari high-fived her friend.


“Yeah – wish I could stick around, but I need to get back to college tonight.”


“I’ll run you back,” Heather said, “if you can take Sandy Nessa.  Somebody has a party tonight...”



6.30 pm

West Central Park


"Alright,” Jan said as she looked at the light blue off the shoulder dress, “where did you buy that dress from young lady?"

"I didn't buy it Mom," Katy giggled, "It was one Jeannie wore on one of her first shoots over here, she's outgrown it and Aunt Barbara gave it to me.  She dropped it in earlier."

"Well that was nice of her darling," Katherine looked at her granddaughter appraisingly, "it just about fits you."

"I know," Katy, giggled some more "I have much bigger chubbies, as Jeannie calls them, then she had when she wore this."

"Just don't lean forward too much darling."

"Well it was nice of Jeannie and Barbara to think of you." Jan smiled.

"I know, she's going to have a further look at things Jeannie has but can't wear now."

"Well if I know models, they were probably only ever worn once."

"I know Mom, I've seen Jeannie's closet, she has more clothes in there then all three of us have combined."


“Well, I do have admit she looks good in it,” Katherine said as she went to answer the ringing doorbell.


"You know what would go with that dress?"

"Your calfskin pumps Mom?"

"Great minds think alike...but you dare ruin them you pay for the replacement or the repairs."

"I'll be especially careful," Jeannie looked adoringly as Jan brought the box out of her closet.

"These stilettos are incredible and my fave, this is my way of saying thank you for this week letting you borrow them."

"I know." Katy looked up at her mother as she slipped them on her stockinged feet.  Standing up, she walked gingerly round on them before smiling and admiring herself.




"You are dressed to kill Pepsi?" Katherine admired her granddaughter as she let her in.

"Thank You Gran." Pepsi said as she kissed her.  The teenager was wearing a strapless yellow dress with a short skirt and high heels.  "Is Katy ready?"

"She was just borrowing her mother’s shoes."

"Will George like how she looks?"

"I think so."

"Well at least she still has a boyfriend."  Pepsi frowned for a second.

"Did you and Jack have another fight dear?"

"Yes and it was all his fault."

"What did he do now?"
"I sent him a selfie of my outfit, and he tried to tell me I shouldn't go out looking like this."

"Well...”  Katherine looked at her as she said “it's a trifle daring maybe for a girl with a steady boyfriend."

"An EX steady boyfriend."

"Have you had another fight with Jack?" both Katy and Jan asked as they came out of the bedroom.

"He tried to tell me what I can and cannot wear when I go out to a party."

"Oh dear," her mother rolled her eyes, "well just as long as you get your sister home safely, drive carefully, and do not drink."

"Mom I'm not stupid, don't say you think I am like Jack did?"

"Why did he say that?"

"Because I called him a lousy limey when he said only girls on the prowl for a man go to parties dressed like this."


“Well, I can see why he might overreact a little like that.  And it would be nearly midnight there Nicola.”


“Well...  He’s wrong, and that’s all there is to it.  Coming Katy.”


“See you later Mom,” Katy said as she and Pepsi left the apartment.


“She really is growing up, isn’t she?”


“A little too fast Mom, a little too fast,” Jan said as she closed the door.



8 pm

Chuyo Han’s Apartment

Upper West Side


“It’s good of your sister to allow us to come as well,” Sandy said to Cindy Han as they stood on one side of the room.


“Well, it was the only way our parents would agree to Chuyo having her friends round, if I was allowed some as well,” Cindy said with a smile.  “I like your dress by the way.”


“Thanks – although it’s not as nice as Katy’s,” Sandy said as she saw Katy talking to George.


“Jealous much?”


“Nah – I’m happy for her.”


Sandy smiled as she looked to where some of the older girls were talking.


"This time its over, His Lordship is HISTORY!" Pepsi addressed her friends. "I never want to hear his name mentioned again."

"Did she and Jack have a fight...again?" Doc whispered in Katy's ear.

"They did," Katy sighed, "I'll give you odds though that by this time tomorrow all will be forgiven."

"Probably." Doc agreed.

"I see Erica is here with Simon...are they getting serious?"

"Semi serious I think." Doc nodded. "Oh shit, here comes trouble," Doc blanched as a group of black and Latino girls came in the door.

"Hey homegirl, I'm sure your fancy friends won't mind us crashing this party."


“Who are they,” Simon said as Erica looked over.


“Oh crap,” she said as she walked over.  “Rochelle, I don’t know what you’re thinking of doing, but...”


“Thanks, homegirl,” Rochelle said as the group walked in, looking round before they approached the table where the food and drink was placed.


“Oh look – little drinks for little boys and girls,” Rochelle sneered, “why don’t we raid poppa’s drink cabinet?”


“I don’t know who the hell you think you are,” Chuyo said as she walked over, “but if you don’t leave right this instant...”


“Cool it, girl,” one of Rochelle’s friends said as she brought a flick knife out, “we’re just going to have some fun, that’s all.  Of course, if you want to be a little heroine...”


“Doc, we need to do something,” Katy whispered.


“We can’t – not openly,” Doc whispered, “but that doesn’t mean we can’t get some back up.”  She pressed the clasp on her clutch bag, and then whispered “keep an eye on Sands and George, and let me do something else.”


Anna looked over to where Ama was standing, seeing that she had the same idea as well as she sent a quick text.






8.15 pm

The Village


“Well done Jo,” Dom said as she handed Annie a mug of coffee.  “So you got her back safe?”


“I did indeed – but I am pooped,” Annie said as Dom’s cell phone pinged.


“Now who has sent me a text,” Dom said as she looked at the screen, and then put her phone down.


“What’s wrong?”


“We may have to go pick Ama up,” Dom said as she dialled a number.  “Heather?  This is Dom, have we had an alert from anyone on the grid yet?


“Damn – right, leave it with me, and call Jan, tell her I’ll pick her up in five minutes.”




“I’ll call you later, Annie,” Dom said as she put on her blonde wig, “but call Susan and tell her I’ve gone to the party.  She’ll understand.”



8.30 pm

The Han Apartment


“Katy, who the hell are these girls?”


“I think they know Erica from her old school,” Katy whispered to Sandy as the Cubs helped themselves to the drink cabinet, one of them watching Chuyo with the knife in her hand.  “I suggest we just keep to the background, and hope nothing more serious happens.”


Erica was watching Rochelle, wondering how the girl she had laughed with in Junior High had become this person, laughing as she swigged from a bottle.  There was a glazed look in her eyes as well, one Erica was afraid she had seen in books.


“Who is she,” Simon whispered into Erica’s ear as they stood with the other girls.


“Someone I thought was a friend – I was wrong,” Erica whispered as Rochelle put the bottle down and walked over.


"So is this your boyfriend homegirl...aren't you goin' ta introduce me?"

Erica sighed as she said quietly "Simon this is Rochelle, Rochelle this is Simon."

"Aint you a fancy man," Rochelle ran her hand over Simon's chest. "Ma homegirls feastin' on prime white meat that's for sure."


“What on earth do you...?”


“Simon,” Erica said quietly. “Don’t.  Rochelle, your beef is with me – leave the rest of them out of it.”


“Oh but it’s not you just you homegirl,” Rochelle laughed, “Some of your rich bitch friends here have shown me up as well.  Acting as if they are better than me...”


Ama, Poppy and Doc glanced at each other, before Doc shook her head as Rochelle kissed Simon hard.


“Nah – not enough man for me.  He’s all yours homegirl – for now...”




8.45 pm

Outside Jan’s apartment


“Get in,” Dom said as Jan came running out of the apartment block entrance, and got into the passenger seat.


"So what is going on exactly?"

"Unwelcome gatecrashers making a nuisance of themselves,” Dom said as she handed Jan a blonde wig, “and I don't think it's going to be confined to raiding the Han's liquor cabinet."

"OH CRAP!  If they hurt anyone there..."

"Well at least the alarm got raised, and I think we can trust Doc and Ama to keep the peace in the short term - now we just need figure out how we deal with it."

"As quietly and discreetly as possible?"

"That is what I'm hoping."


“Can you hear what’s happening,” Jan said as she put the wig on.


"I’m getting a feed from the office.  From what I can hear from Doc's handbag it sounds like Rochelle at least is high on something."

"Crap,” Jan said angrily, “if she's taken drugs that's just a further complication."


"Drugs make people behave unpredictably, we can't be certain how she and the others might react."


“True – so how are we going to play this?”


“Well,” Dom said as she put her hair up under a red wig, and put on a pair of dark glasses before she pushed some cotton wool balls into her mouth, “I think we deliver some pizzas.”


“You what?”


“I’ve got windcheaters and caps in the trunk – follow my lead...”



9.20 pm

The Han Apartment


“Hey you,” one of the girls said as she looked at Sandy, “what’s your name whitey?”


“Alexandra Richmond,” Sandy said as she drew herself to her full height, “why are you asking?”


“Because you look like a spoiled rich bitch,” she said as she walked over, “and I don’t like spoilt bitches.”


“How dare you,” George said as he stepped in front of his sister, “we’ve done nothing to hurt you.”


“Oh we got a brave one here Rochelle,” the girl called over her shoulder as Rochelle walked over, “what dooya wanna do with him?”


Katy took a step forward, only to feel both Pepsi and Doc put their hands on her shoulders, as Ama said “I see your friends still feel they have the right to threaten, Sister.”


“Oh I knew I recognised you,” Rochelle said as she walked over to Ama, “you still feel this is your place, with those who hurt you.”


“None of them did,” Ama said, “those who did have been dealt with.  In fact, I met some last week who had suffered far more than I had.  They told me something important – would you like to hear what they taught me?”


“What the hell is she doing,” Pepsi whispered to Doc.


“Playing for time – I hope,” Doc whispered back as Rochelle stood in front of Ama.


“Go on – tell me before I cut you.”


Ama looked at the knife, and smiled as she said “Is that the worst you can do, sister?  I have suffered far worse, as I have told you before.”


“Stuff this,” Rochelle said as she turned and nodded to the girl with Chuyo.  “We’re going to look at your momma’s nice things – make sure this lot...”


“Don’t you dare...?”


“Now we hear from the brave one,” the dark skinned girl said as she looked at Doc.  “You’re not carrying tonight are you?”


“Would you like to find out,” Doc said quietly as she looked into her eyes.


“Oh?  Who's the kid carrying the two deadly weapons on her chest you were chatting to Miss Not So Big Without Your Gun?"

"None of your business Bitch!"

"And you sound jealous?" Katy said as she walked forward pushing her breasts out.

"Katy,” Doc said, “I told you to stay back."

"And let Miss Flat Chested here not get a good view?"

The other members of Rochelle’s group gathered round the two girls as their leader snarled "Who are you calling flat-chested whore?"

"Well I don't exactly see a lot." Katy laughed at Rochelle.  "Want to compare?"


Katy reached behind to undo her dress, stepping out of it as she let it hit the floor, then unhooking and dropping her bra, leaving her standing there in her high heels, stockings, garter belt and thong. All the other girls were looking at her, Pepsi and Doc standing behind her.


"Now Bitch, let everyone see what you've got and how it stacks up against this body," Katy purred.

"Well I bet they aren't even real."  Katy stripping had confused Rochelle as she looked round the room.

"Well come on Miss Tough show us what you've got?"


Rochelle looked round, totally confused about what had happened as Katy looked at her.


"You want to feel them?" Katy smiled seductively as she cupped her breasts in her hands and offered them to Rochelle. "See if these are real or not?"

"I ain't no fuckin' lesbian..."

"Oh how disappointing, and I thought you were so butch and tough."

Slowly the cubs had gathered in the centre of the room to watch the confrontation between the topless teenager, and their leader. "Go on Rochelle, show her what a real woman looks like?" one of the black girls urged.


“I aint afraid of no fucking whore,” Rochelle said as she started to remove her jacket...


The ring on the doorbell took everyone completely by surprise, as Rochelle looked round the room.


“Whoever it is, get rid of them,” she snarled at Chuyo.    The young girl walked over, shaking as she opened the door slightly.


“Hi there,” the redhead said from the other side, her blonde haired companion carrying several large pizza boxes, “I got a delivery here for someone called Rochelle?”


The young Asian girl looked round in total confusion as Katy stared at the door.


“What da hell do you mean,” Rochelle said as she walked to the door.


“Just what I said – I got six large pizzas here for someone called Rochelle,” the redhead said, “you her?”


“Didja order dees,” one of the girls said to Rochelle.


“No – they paid for?”


“Oh yes,” the blonde said as they walked into the apartment.  “Hey – you girls having a party?”  She stared at Katy as she stood there in her semi-naked state, before saying “because if so, it reminds me of the games I used to play at the sorority house.


“We were,” Chuyo said quietly as the room looked at the new arrivals.  “Who ordered them?”


“Bobbi, you got the delivery note there?”


“Yeah let me put them down,” the blonde said as she placed them on the food table, and then took a slip of paper from her windcheater pocket.  “Yeah, here it is – six extra large, the works, to Rochelle and friends, paid in advance.”


“Who da fuck...?"


“Oh yeah – and there’s a message – I was paid to give you it, so don’t shoot the messenger.”


“Who bought them,” Rochelle said as she looked at the two adults.


“Let’s see – it was someone called Santana, and her message was enjoy your last meal, bitch cubs.”  She handed the sheet to Rochelle, who looked at it and then growled.


“Cubs, move out,” she shouted as she looked at Erica, who was in Simon’s arms.  “See you around homegirl – we got an insult to answer,” she whispered before she looked at Simon.  “Maybe you’ll get some real meat,” she whispered as well, and then she looked at Katy.


“Watch your step, whore,” she said before the gang walked out, Chuyo and her sister staring at the two delivery women.


“Well, that was different,” the redhead said, “you kids going to eat these pizzas instead?”


“Yeah – yeah we’ll eat them,” Doc said as she came forward, “especially if they’re free.”


“Well, don’t waste them,” the blonde said as she looked at the bottles.  “And if I was you, I’d own up to your folks about what happened.  Better honest than more trouble right?”


“Right – and thanks,” Chuyo said as she showed the delivery girls out, Doc going with her as George stared at Katy.


“Okay,” Katy said quietly, “can someone hold me now before I start to shake and fall down?”




“What...  The...  FUCK!!!”


“That,” Dom said as she got behind the wheel of the car, “was the last bloody thing I thought I was going to see in there.”


“Oh, I am going to have words with her and Pepsi after this...”


“We need to talk to Doc and Ama first – I looked at them, and they were watching Katy rather than Rochelle.  I think she surprised them as well.”


As she spoke, a second car pulled up and a young woman came over to Dom.


“We’ll keep an eye on them for you,” she said as Dom wound the window down.


“Thanks – let me know if any of that lot come back.  I’ll go and see Susan and let her know what happened.”


“Copy that,” she said as she went back to the car, and Dom started the engine.


“I still want words with her,” Jan said as she removed her wig, “her training starts tomorrow.”


“Fair enough – like I said, talk to the girls first, but I need to speed things up,” Dom said as she dialled a number.


“Tracy?  Dominique – check the Burton apartment for me will you, call me back if things don’t look right...”







"Katy what possessed you?" Doc was the first girl to crowd round and ask questions.

"That stupid crack of hers about weapons. Something just snapped in me," Katy said as she put her bra back on.

"You realise how dangerous all that was?"

"Yes,” Katy said as she adjusted her underwear, “but I was hoping if I distracted them one of you might come up with an idea."

"You okay baby sister?" Pepsi whispered in Katy's ear as she helped her with her dress.

"I'm fine."

"Well you certainly did create a diversion." Nikki shook her head.

"You were so brave." Sands embraced her best friend.


“Fine line between bravery and stupidity,” George said as he hugged Katy, “but yeah – you were incredibly brave.”


“Do you have to tell Mom what I did, Pepsi?”


“She may find out eventually anyway – but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Pepsi said as Ama and Erica stood in the corner with Simon.


“Are you all right,” Ama said as Chuyo came over with her sister.


“We’re fine, all things considered,” Chuyo said, “but if you, Ama and especially Katy had not stepped in...”


“Do not think of what might have happened,” Ama said quietly, “consider instead the fact we have emerged unhurt, and rejoice in that.”


“She’s right,” Simon said, “it could have been a lot worse.”  Looking at Erica, he saw her start to shiver and said “hey – sit down, I’ll get you something to drink...”




“I’m sorry,” she said as she started to sob, “I feel like this is my fault...”


“Hey, it’s not,” Poppy said as she knelt with her friend, while Simon fetched a drink.  “None of this is your fault, so don’t think for a second it is...”


“I...  We need to get out of the heights before it gets worse,” Erica said as she looked at the others, “but how can we do that...”



10.30 pm

West Central Park


“You’re back early,” Katherine said as she opened the door to Pepsi and Katy, “did you have a...  What happened?”


“Girls,” Jan said as she saw them standing in the doorway, “what happened?”


“There were some gatecrashers at the party,” Pepsi said quietly, “not the friendly type.  It got a bit – well, unpleasant.”


“Who were they?”


“Some girls who knew Erica,” Katy said, “Mom, I did something to stop them hurting our friends...”


“What did you do?”


“I stripped off and challenged the girl leading that group – Rochelle, I think her name was – to do so as well.”


“You did WHAT?”


“It worked though, Mom, Gran – she stopped them hurting Sands and others, and then they just left.”


“Come here,” Katherine said as she held Katy, “you must have been terrified.”


“I was a little, but I did it to stop them hurting others...”


“All right – go and get ready for bed,” Jan said, “Pepsi, are you okay driving yourself home?”


“Yes, and I guess I need to tell Mom what happened.  Caroline will hear from Ama anyway...”




11 pm

The Village


“There you are,” Annie said as Ama came up the stairs.


“Sorry I am late – I wished to make sure some of the other girls got home safely,” she said as she saw Dominique and Annie sitting there.  “Thanks for coming to the rescue, Mom.”


“How did you – no, don’t tell me,” Dom said with a smile.  “Want to explain what Katy was doing?”


“She was protecting Sandy and the other girls - she showed remarkable bravery, if perhaps a little recklessness.”


“Okay – go and get ready for bed, and I’ll make some cocoa,” Annie said as she went to the kitchen, Dom following her.


“We need to get them out.”


“Agreed – I’m going to call a meeting tomorrow afternoon...”



11.15 pm

West Central Park


“Is she still awake,” Jan said as she came back in.  Seeing Katherine nod, she knocked on Katy’s door and went in.


“Hi Mom – I’m sorry if I did something wrong,” Katy said as she sat under her covers.


“Well, at least I know now why you were in your panties and stockings...”


“How did you...  Oh lord,” Katy whispered, “red or blonde?”


“Blonde – I’m not that tall, Caroline is.”


“But how...”


“You, I and Juliette are going to talk tomorrow – right now, get some sleep,” Jan said as she kissed Katy’s forehead “and well done, even if you did shock me.”


“You’re not mad?”


“Oh I’m furious – those girls are in the same group as the one you killed – but I’m also relieved you’re all right.  As I say, we talk tomorrow.  Now, sleep.”




Sunday 15th November

2 pm

The Richmond Mansion


“Hey Caroline,” Heather said as she opened the door, “come on through, we’re going to get started in a few minutes.”


“thanks – how are Sandy and George today?”


“Not too bad – they slept in, and Nessa has taken them out for the afternoon.”


“Good – we need a chance for an adult discussion,” Caroline said as she came in.  “Jan, Emma – thanks for coming over.”


“No problem, Caroline,” Emma Carlton said as Caroline sat down.  “After Anna told me about last night, I knew we would have to do something.”


“I’m not very comfortable about talking about them with them not here,” April said, “but when Pepsi told me of how upset Erica was, I knew we had to do something about it.”


“Here we go,” Sandy said as she brought mugs of coffee in, “we’re just waiting on two more people.”


“And that is?”


“I’ll have some of that, if I may,” Mary Thomas said as she took off her coat, Pippa coming in behind her with Grace.


“So what is this all about,” Grace said as she took her seat.


“Have you heard anything about the party last night Grace?”


“No – do I want to?”


“You need to,” Jan said as she told the group what Pepsi and Katy had told her.


When she had finished, Caroline said “I’ve been worried for some time about this Rochelle, especially with what’s been happening in the Heights the last few weeks, but this is the last straw for me.  We need to find a way to persuade Denice to get out, before they get seriously hurt.”


“Erica’s been bothered by this girl since she started at St Angela’s,” Pippa said, “but you’ve all met Denice – you know how proud she is of what she’s achieved.”


“Quite rightly – Erica’s an amazing girl,” Jan said, “but we need to help her to see they both need to get out of there?”


“Where to?”


“We have an apartment that would suit them,” Sandy said, “but it needs some restoration work and rewiring first, so it wouldn’t officially be ready until January.  I just think we need to do something now.”


“Do you really think this girl will try and get her own back on Erica?”


“I hope and pray not – but we need to make Denice see the need for Erica’s safety, if not hers.”


“While I agree,” Pippa said with her mug in her hand, “she’s not going to like it if we say it’s for her own good – she may take that as charity.”


“And trust me,” Caroline said, “Denice does not want or need charity, she needs friends.”


“Well, how bad is it up there at the moment Jan?”


“We had two more drive-byes last night,” Jan said as she sat back, “luckily nobody died, but that was pure dumb luck.”


“Okay, so first question,” Sandy said as she looked round the table, “are we going to get them out of there?”


As she looked round, everyone nodded.


“Okay – like I said, I have an apartment we can let them move into for the new year, but we need to get them out of there before then – the sooner the better, if we can persuade her.  They’ll need somewhere to stay on a temporary basis.”


“I might be able to help there?”


“You, Mary?”


“Ai – I have spare rooms at my place they can use for a month or two.  What about their belongings?”


“I can arrange storage for furniture and the like, if you have room for their clothes and books Mary,” Sandy said as Heather joined them.  “Grace, am I right in thinking there would be no problems from a school viewpoint?”


“None whatsoever – we record the temporary and then the final address.  I can square things with the Kirkham group as well – which makes me ask why Juliette and Diana aren’t here?”


“Too busy – Ju flies to Munich on Monday, and Diana is off on Tuesday with Abby and Tony McNally.”


“Caroline, you okay picking Erica up the next few days?”


“And taking her back if need be...”


“No need – between us, I think we can make sure one of us drops her off after dinner every night this week.  Which leaves the biggest question of all.”


“How to persuade Denice,” Mary said as she rubbed her eyes.  “Perhaps I can talk to her?”


“I think a group of us need to – any ideas how?”


“We need to get Denice in one place – somewhere private – and find out what she really thinks of what’s going on,” Emma said, “which means I need to know if any of you are free to talk to her.”


“I could invite Erica round tomorrow night, and tell Denice she can pick her up from there,” Pippa said.  “So who gets to talk to Denice?”


“Leave that with me,” Caroline said.  “April, Grace, can I count on your support?”


“Say when and where,” April said.


“Count me in as well,” Mary said, “we get on well, she may feel more comfortable if I am around.”


“Agreed,” Grace said, “and in the meantime I’ll make sure the school security watches out as well.  I’ll also let Letty know to keep an eye on her.”


"By the way shouldn't last nights incident have been reported to the NYPD?" April asked.

"I'd rather the fact of my daughter doing an impromptu striptease didn't appear in an official police report." Jan looked at her friend.

"What did the girl’s parents think?" asked Mary.

"I rang them this morning and they agreed with me that to keep this quiet we invoke the no harm, no foul, rule." Caroline answered.

"I think that might be best for all concerned." Emma nodded.


“Well, we have the start of the plan at any rate,” Caroline said.  “Now, onto other matters – what plans do you have for Thanksgiving?”




6 pm

Susan and Clint’s Apartment


“Well, that’s Mum and Aunt Maeve safely back,” Susan said as she put the phone down.  “And it’s just the three of us now, little one?”


She tickled April’s tummy, smiling as April giggled and waved her arms around.


“Oh you really do like that, don’t you,” Susan said, “yes you really do...”


“I’ll go and see who that is,” Clint said as the apartment bell rang, Susan continuing to play with April before she heard him say “Hey – long time no see...”


“Thanks,” she heard a familiar voice say as she stood up.  “JD – I was hoping you’d drop by while you were in the city.”


“Well, I promised Maddie I would,” the young brunette said as she sat down, but I haven’t had a chance to call round until now.  With the boss lady out of town until tonight, I get some time off.”


“So what part did you get, JD,” Clint said as he gave her a beer.


“Not allowed to say – sorry guys,” JD said with a smile.  “It’s a good script, but apart from Cassie who plays what in the main gang is being kept a secret.”


“Well, congrats on getting a main role, I think,” Susan said as the telephone rang. 


“Yeah – the worst bit was missing out on the raid last week.  I hear you had fun?”


“Oh yes,” Susan said, “very profitable fun as well.  Hello?”


“Hi Anna.  Yeah, I heard about last night – all about it.


“Yes, that too.  Your moms were meeting tonight – so what can I do for you?


“I see – look, come round to the office tomorrow.  We can talk then.”


“Problem,” Clint said as Susan sat down.


“I think our problem in the Heights is coming to a head.”


“Oh – want to tell me about it?  Maybe I can help.”


Oh yeah – I forgot about your past work,” Susan said.  “Let me tell you a story...”



7 pm

The Huntingdown Apartment


“I guess that’s just about everything I need,” Juliette said as she looked at the outfits laid out on the bed, “now to pack – once I’ve had some coffee.”


As she headed down to the kitchen, she hummed to herself and turned on the coffee machine, before she saw an icon blinking on her laptop screen.


Clicking on it, she smiled as Carina appeared on the screen.  “Hi Mom,” she said with a smile, “hang on a sec.”


Juliette poured herself a mug as a second window opened and she saw Ingrid in her room.


“Hi girls to what do I owe the pleasure of getting to speak to you both at once?” Juliette said as she smiled at the screen.


“We both wanted to wish you bon voyage for the morning Mom,” Carina answered.


“And I had something more I wanted to ask you Juliette.” Ingrid looked straight at her screen.


“You make it sound important Ingy.”


“It sort of is Mom,” Cari said as she smiled.


“So she’s told you before she talks to me Cari?”


“Let’s just say she asked my opinion.”


“Well it sounds as if it is important then,” Juliette said as she sipped her coffee, “fire away please Ingrid.”


“Juliette,” Ingrid said quietly, “you know Cari calls our father Pops?”




“Well I’ve been thinking on what I should call you after the wedding…”


“Why not just keep on calling me Juliette?” Ju interrupted.


“I could, but I’d rather call you something else.”


“Oh what?” Juliette lifted an eyebrow.


“Well,” Ingrid said quietly, “if Daddy is Pops, would you mind awfully if I called you Moms?”


“It would mean a lot to Ingy Mom.”


“Well,” Juliette said with a smile, “I’ll be honest - I’d love that, but would your father?”


“I spoke to him,” Ingrid said, “and he said yes, he’d be happy with that, and he’s pretty sure my mother would understand. He also…ummm.”


“What Ingrid?”


“Moms,” she smiled as she used the word, “would you legally adopt me before the wedding?”


“That way we feel we’d belong to both of you Mom.” Cari added.


“You’ve obviously thought it out,” Juliette paused, “I’ll see what your family says Ingy, but barring complications, you know I’d love for you to call me moms and become my daughter legally.”


“See I said she’d be cool.”


“I know you did Cari.” Ingrid smiled hugely.


“Right,” Ju said, “I’ll talk to Klaus when I see him tomorrow.  And thanks for asking girls, it means a lot.”


As the girls signed off, Juliette sighed and said “I hope you understand Renate...”



Monday 16th November

8.15 am

Washington Heights


“Good morning Caroline,” Denice said as she and Erica came out, “can you get in the car Erica sweetie?  I want to talk to Caroline for a moment.”


“Sure Mom,” Erica said, looking nervously across the road as she got in with Ama and Pepsi.


“Caroline,” Denice said quietly, “I could use some advice on personal security.  Is it all right if I consult you – I don’t know any other security specialists.”


“Is this after Saturday?”


“Yeah – is it possible?  Erica got invited to Poppy’s place for dinner tonight, so...”


“Of course it is – I’m free tonight if you can come round to my place after work?”


She gave Denice a business card, who smiled and said “thanks.”


“Hey Denice, Caroline – want some company on the El?”


“Yeah I would,” Denice said as she waved off the two women, before getting into her own car.


“Right – let’s go,” she said as she set off...



8.45 am

St Angela’s


“Hey,” Doc said as Ama, Pepsi and Erica got out of Caroline’s Car, “how are you three?”


“Still a bit shaken up – but you guys were all amazing,” Erica said.  “So, ready for another week of fun and learning?”


“I am so glad we have the long weekend coming up,” Pepsi said as she shook her head.


“Me too – I am looking forward to my grandfather visiting as well as a friend,” Ama said as they walked through the gates.


“So no Abby this week?”


“No – she got permission to attend pre-events for the first deb ball.  I hear she flies out tomorrow.”


“Hey,” Jeannie said as she wheeled up beside them, “I heard about Saturday.  You girls okay?”


“A bit shaken up, but at least none of us got hurt,”


Doc nodded – given her chance, she would have talked to Abby today, but with the Senior away, and Diana and Juliette unavailable, she settled for plan B.


“Miss Kelly,” she said as she saw Annie, “May I see you at lunchtime for a few minutes?”


“Of course Anna,” Annie said, “call round at about one.”





10 am

Waldorf Astoria Hotel


“Good morning everyone,” Cassandra said as she came into the room, “I hope you all had a relaxing weekend?”


“Sure did,” JD said as Mike Babbage and Brian Goldstein took their seats.


“How did your meetings go Cassie?”


“Excellent – Francois wants to talk to you Brian about providing finance for Ladydown.”


“Now that is good news,” Brian said with a smile.  “I’ll call him later today – and what’s this I heard on the news that the Pussycat Gang actually struck in Toronto?”


“Yes – cleaned out a depot holding all the furs for the big exposition last week.  The news was full of it over the weekend – the biggest heist ever in North America, apparently.”


“All grist to our mill,” Mike said.  “Right folks – you have the schedule for this week blocked out in the plans in front of you – we have a couple of night sessions, so be ready for that.”


“I hear our mutual friend had fun in California,” Cassie whispered to JD as she sat next to her.


“Indeed – I need to let you know I talked to an old friend here, and she’s asked if i can do a favour at some point.  It’ll only take a couple of hours.”


“I’m sure we can allow that,” Cassie said with a smile as Mike said “Right – let’s go through today...”





1 pm

St Angela’s


“Is now a good time, Miss Kelly,” Anna said as she looked round the door of the room.


“As good a time as any,” Annie said as she stood up, brushing the crumbs off her suede skirt as she came to the door and locked it behind them.  Looking at Anna, she said “what the hell happened at the party?”


“It could have been much worse,” Doc said, “but I genuinely am worried for Erica now – and not just for her.  That Rochelle signalled out Sandy Richmond and Katy as well.”


“Oh Goddess,” Annie said as she sat down on a desk.  “Okay, I think we need to take more affirmative action.”


“I think so – but with Ju and Diana away, I don’t want to involve Sandy and Heather just in case.”


“I can see why,” Annie said.  “All right – Denice is coming round to see Caroline tonight, and I don’t want to go back until they have a chance to talk.  Can you call your mom, tell her I asked you to stay back and I’ll bring you home?”


Anna nodded as Annie took her cell phone out.  “Susan?  Annie – can we come and see you after four today?”




4.15 pm

Xavier International


“All right,” Susan said as she sat at one side of the conference table, and looked at both Annie and Doc, “I can guess what this is about?”


“You can?”


“Doc called me last night.  She obviously talked to you today as well.”


“So the Pack-Wolves, or this particular cub,” Annie said, “This is getting really serious, isn’t it?”


“It is – I believe Dom’s going to talk to Denice today?”


“Yeah – the mothers had a conversation yesterday,” Annie said.  “I don’t know exactly what was discussed, but the general feeling was they needed to get both of them out of there.”


“That’s what one of my people had said,” Susan replied as she sat back, “we’ve had someone watching their apartment and neighbourhood – what Katy did last week has started a little war up there.”


“Getting them out’s not going to be enough,” Doc said, “We need to deal with the other problem.”


“Rochelle,” Susan said, “I have to agree with you.  She needs to be taken out of the equation.”


“A sanction?  Normally I’d want to check with someone like Shirley, but...”


Annie looked at both of them before she said, “If they’re going to start threatening Sandy and the other youngsters, time’s up.”


“Okay,” Susan said, “but not you Annie.  We need to blend this into everything else that’s going on up there.  And we need to alert Jan to what’s going on, so that she’s prepared.”


“A gangland style shooting?”


“Yeah – a drive by would be the best fit.  I can call on a friend, but we may need another in the car.  Any thoughts?”


“I’ll think of someone by the end of tonight.  I have an idea, but you’re not going to like it.”


“Who... Oh Goddess Jan will hit the roof.”


“I know – which is why I’m not saying anything yet.”


5.30 pm

The Village


“Hey,” Caroline said as she opened the door to Denice, “Come on up.”


“Thanks,” Denice said as she watched Caroline close the door, and took off her great coat.  “I wasn’t sure who to turn to for advice.”


“Actually, I was going to invite you round tonight anyway - come on up.”


“Oh – why,” Denice said as she climbed the stairs, the heels of her boots sounding on the carpet covered wood – and then as she walked into the main room, she stopped and said “Hello, everyone.”


“Hi Denice,” Sandy said as she sat with Heather, “I hope you don’t mind that the rest of us popped round as well.”


“Pippa, Sandy, Heather, Jan, Mary – Okay, what’s going on Caroline?”


“Sit down, Denice – please,” Caroline said as she went to the kitchen, and came back with a fresh mug of coffee.  “Here – have a drink.”


“Alright why do I feel like I’ve been summoned?” Denice asked as she sipped from her coffee cup.


“Not summoned Denice…Invited.” Pippa looked round the group.


“Well it’s not Friday afternoon and as good as this coffee is you all clearly have something that you want to get off your chests.”


“Cau i fyny Denice , pawb yma yn pryderu am eich un chi a diogelwch Erica , ac rydym yn gofyn i chi yma i gynnig ein help. Felly, dim ond gwrando os gwelwch yn dda.”


“Oh yw bod yr hyn mae hyn i gyd am . Ni chymeraf elusen Mary.”


“In English please,” Pippa said, “so the rest of us can understand.”


“I was just telling her that we are here because we all want to help.” Mary explained.


“And I was saying,” Denice replied as she looked round, “that I will not take charity, especially from my friends.”


“Look this isn’t charity this is concern for your and Erica’s well being Denice…” Sandy spoke.


“Especially after what happened Saturday night.” Jan added.


“I heard about Saturday from Sands, Denice,” Sandy said, “she told me who led the group of gatecrashers, and that they singled out some of the girls.”


“Especially Erica,” Caroline said as she passed Denice a mug of coffee.  “I’ve seen the worry in your face when I pick up Erica – and I’ve noticed you’ve come down with her the last few mornings, and gone on with Tracy to go to work.”


“We want to help you get out of the Heights,” Caroline said, “and to somewhere that you and Erica can be safe, where gangsta girls aren’t going to be a constant worry.”


“Look,” Denice said as she put the mug down, “I appreciate the concern Sandy, but I’ve lived there all my life…”


“And have you ever known it this bad?” Jan interrupted, “these aren’t male gangbangers - these are girls for heaven’s sake Denice.”


“I know.”  Denice looked round at the other mothers, as Mary moved over to sit next to her.


“And not even fully initiated into their gang yet, what happens if they decide that you, or Erica, are there best route to getting their necks tattooed?”


“I know, I know Jan…but what alternatives do we have?” Denice nervously wrung her hands.


“Well I have plenty of room,” Mary said, “at least for now, come move in with me at least until you find something permanent.”


“Oh no Mary, that’s too much…”


“Why?  You know I love having young people round me, and it will be nice talking Welsh to someone every day.”


“And I may have that something permanent after New Years,” Sandy said. “The Trust is renovating an apartment down on the borders of the Village, and I can offer that to you at a friends and family rate.”


Denice shook her head as she picked up her mug.  “That’s the sort of charity that I don’t want Sandy…”


“Denice sweetie,” Jan interrupted, “I rent an apartment from Sandy, and yes it’s cheaper then it should be, but she offered it to me as a friend not as charity. She’s doing the same for you.”


“I guess…”


“Look at it as supporting a colleague on RCM Racing.” Heather smiled. “A friend who can help both with the tech and the engineering.”


“But what about the school?”


“Grace said a change of address is a technicality.” Jan answered.


“What about her scholarship?”


“Juliette and the trustees say that it is fine, Erica got her scholarship because she lives in the city and she still will be doing so.”


“You’ve all talked this out and planned it haven’t you?”


“The only thing we haven’t planned is your answer.” Mary smiled.


Denice threw her head back and sighed.  “I know it would solve a lot of problems, but as I say, I’ve lived there all my life.  To move out now...”


The other girls waited until Denice smiled.


“All right, I give in – but how do we get out without that gang knowing and following us?”


“Let me worry about that,” Caroline said.  “It would not be the first time I’ve done this...”



Tuesday 17th November

10 am CET

Frauenkirche, Munich


Juliette stood for a moment, looking down the double row of columns towards the altar of the cathedral, and imagining in her mind’s eye walking down to meet Klaus at the front.  She was wearing a black coat dress with soft leather pumps, black gloves and a black hat covering her head, as she slowly walked down the aisle.


“An amazing sight, is it not?”


“It is,” she said as she turned and smiled at Klaus.  He was dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and tie, as he looked at the approaching priest.


“If you will follow me your highness,” he said, before he led Klaus and Juliette down a side aisle and through some doors into a corridor.  Stopping at a setoff ornate wooden doors, he knocked twice and waited, before he went in and said “His Serene Highness Klaus von Furstenheim and Miss Juliette Huntingdown, Your Eminence.”


As they walked in, they saw Cardinal Reinhard Marx standing by a small table, with leather armchairs arranged around it.  Klaus walked forward, bowed and said “thank you for sparing the time to speak with us today, Your Eminence,” as he dropped onto his left knee and kissed the ring of the Cardinal.


As he gave a blessing to Klaus, Cardinal Marx said “It is an honour to greet you as well Your Highness.”


“May I present my fiancée, Miss Juliette Huntingdown.”


“An honour to meet you, Your Eminence,” Juliette said as she also dropped onto her left knee and kissed the proffered ring.


“Please, rise,” he said as he blessed Juliette, and then indicated the armchairs.  “If you would bring some coffee,” he said as he looked to the priest, who bowed and left, closing the doors behind him.


“Now that the formalities are over,” the Cardinal said with a warm smile, “my congratulations to both of you.  Please, sit, and let us discuss matters.”


“Thank you,” Juliette said as she sat down, Klaus sitting next to her as she removed her gloves.


“So, have you considered a date yet?”


“If it is possible,” Klaus said as he held Juliette’s hand, “we are thinking of Saturday the 2nd of April.”


“One moment,” the Cardinal said as he stood up and picked up the telephone.  “Father, would you check my calendar for the 1st and 2nd of April next year please?


“Excellent – and the cathedral itself?


“Wonderful – block both days out in my diary, and inform the Cathedral that the wedding of Prince Klaus von Furstenheim and Miss Juliette Huntingdown is planned for the 2nd.”


As he replaced the telephone, the door opened and his assistant brought in a tray with a coffee pot and three cups.


“Thank you,” Cardinal Marx said as the coffee was poured, and his assistant left.  “Perhaps, after we have completed our talk, you would care to visit the main cathedral office and formally complete the arrangements.”


“Thank you for honouring us with agreeing to hold the wedding here, Reinhard,” Klaus said as he sipped his coffee.


“Now, Juliette,” Cardinal Marx said as he looked at her, “Your bridal party?”


“I have asked Father Alexander Richmond, an old and dear family friend, to be the one to give me away,” Juliette said, “but I must ask a boon of you when it comes to my bridesmaids.”




“I am aware of your view that bridesmaids should not be married women, but I wish for both my daughter and granddaughter to be in my bridal party.  Will that be a problem?”


“I do not see why it should be a problem,” Cardinal Marx said, “I am aware your daughter is a single mother, but she has never been married, so I for one do not view that as a barrier.”


“Thank you,” Juliette said as she sipped her coffee.


“So the party will consist of?”


“Apart from my daughter and granddaughter?  Abigal, Countess de Ros and Lady Angelica Fitzstuart... Ingrid, Klaus’ daughter... Joanne Smith, Alexandra Richmond Junior, Katherine Carter and Anna Carlton.”


“And on your side, Klaus?”


“I still need to confirm most of them I am afraid – but as with all weddings, it is the bride who is the true star of the day.”


“True,” Cardinal Marx said with a smile.  “Well, let us consider today the first of a series of meetings we will have over the time between now and April.  So tell me something of yourself Juliette...”




Noon CET


“And so it begins,” Klaus said as they stepped out into the Autumn sun.  “Happy?”


“Ecstatically so,” Juliette said as they walked down the stone steps – so now we meet with Willy and Natalya.”


“Indeed – another step on the way...”


"Klaus,” Juliette said as she took his arm, “do you want me to adopt Ingrid like she asked me?"

"If you wish so, but I'll tell you darling it does mean a lot to her."

"I can't and never would wish to replace Renate."

"I know, and she knows that too, but I think with my having adopted her sister she thinks it will complete our family circle."


“Then I will do so,” she said with a smile.


8.15 am

Washington Heights


“Before i forget Erica,” Denice said as they collected their bags, “can you meet me outside the school gates at the end of school today?”


“Sure Mom – why?”


“We’re going to see Mary Thomas at her place of work – there is something she wants to talk to us about.”


“Okay – is everything all right Mom?  You look a bit distracted.”


“Nothing for you to worry about,” Denice said, “so I’ll see you then.”


“Are you going in with Tracy today?”


“I can’t – she’s doing a late shift,” Denice said as they went out to the lift, and then out of the apartment building.


“In you get,” Caroline said as she held the rear door of the car open, “want a lift Denice?”


“Please,” the other woman said as she saw Rochelle across the road.


Caroline helped Denice into the front seat, Tracy watching from the window as she did so.


“Yeah, Sooz – they’re leaving now.  Instructions?”


“Can you call in today?  I need to discuss something with you...”




11 am

Xavier International


“So how constant is the watch,” Susan said as she handed Tracy a coffee.


“Fairly much so, I always see at least one of them out there.  Usually Rochelle is there when they are.”


“Okay,” Susan said quietly, “we have a plan in place to end this, and we’re going to execute it tomorrow.”


“Execute?  Interesting choice of words, Sooz.”


“Quite – we just need you to give us the nod when they’re all there after eight tomorrow night.  After that, leave it to the team we’ve selected.”


“You’re serious, aren’t you?  When you say execute...”


“We mean execute.  As I say, leave it to us.  But we do this right, it ends the threat.  After that, we’ve a plan in place to get the Burtons out of there permanently.”


“Good – because it’s getting seriously dangerous around there for them,” Tracy said as she stood up.  “On which note, i have a job to go to.  Want some coffee sent over?”


“No thanks – I’ll live without it,” Susan said with a smile.




4 pm

West Central Park


“Well hello you two,” Katherine said as she opened the door to Pepsi and Doc, “what brings you over here tonight?”


“Doc’s coming down to my place, but I promised Mom I’d drop this off for her,” Pepsi said as she held up one of her mother’s gardening books.


“And I wanted to ask Katy if she was going to be free tomorrow night – they’re doing a Sing-A-Longa Frozen, and I wanted to treat her to it as a thank you for last Saturday.”


“Well, she’s in her room Anna – go on through and see if she’s open to the idea.”


“Thanks,” Anna said as she knocked on Katy’s door and went in.


“Sing-A-Longa Frozen?”


“Hey, perfect for a kid your age,” Doc said before whispering “I need your help tomorrow – but I don’t want your mom to know until it’s too late.”


“What with?”


“Taking out that Rochelle – for good.  Up for it?”


“Oh goddess yes – before she hurts any more of us,” Katy whispered.


“Good – I’ll pick you up at six,” Doc said as Katy’s grandmother came in.


“So long as Mom says fine, I’m up for that,” Katy said as she smiled.  “Sounds like it will be fun.”




5 pm

Complete Style


“Ah there you are,” Mary said as Denice and Erica were shown in by Alexis, “give me a minute – I just want to take care of this.”


She made a few comments on a sheet before handing it over to Alexis, and sating “Take this to Anna for me please.”  Smiling, she turned to look at the two friends, before she said “Erica, I need to ask if you would do me a very big favour.”


“Me?  What do you want me to do?”


“I want you to tell me just how you feel about what’s going on in your neighbourhood at the moment.”


Erica looked at her mother, before she said quietly “I’m scared, if you want to know Aunt Mary.”


“So am I,” Denice said, “which is why I think it’s time we moved to a new place, but it’s going to take some time to sort out, so...”


“What your mother is trying to say,” Mary said, “is I want you and your mother to come and stay at my place until the new place your mum has been offered is ready.  I don’t have a fancy place, but I have the room, and I could use the...”


“YES,” Erica said as she hugged Mary, “oh yes please – if you’re all right with that Mom.”


“I think the decision’s made,” Denice said with a little smile.


“Good – because you can start by coming and having dinner with me tonight, and then Caroline is going to sort out the move for you.  I hope you like lamb...”




Wednesday 18th November

11 am CET

Royal George Hotel, Paris


“Good morning,” Valeria said as Diana and Abby walked into the coffee lounge, “I trust you managed to sleep on the flight over?”


“A little – but I’ll manage,” Abby said as she wiped her glasses, “is Grandpapa here?”


“He went to take a telephone call,” Valeria said as the waiter came over, “coffee for four please.  So where is Tony?”


“He’s having a nap – he does not sleep on planes, apparently but he will join us for dinner.”


“Ah there you are – the belles of the ball,” Guy said as he came in and kissed them both, “ready for the big adventure?”


“I think so,” Abby said as she looked round.  “When do Angel and her family get here?”


“They are travelling on Eurostar and should arrive tonight.  Ah – thank you.”


6 pm

Susan and Clint’s flat


“Come in,” Clint said as he opened the door to Doc and Katy, “Susan’s in there with the fourth member of the party.”


“Ah there you are,” Susan said as she sat at the table, “Let me introduce you to JD, one of our West Coast colleagues.  JD, this is Anna and Katy, two of our more junior associates.”


“Junior?  How old are you girls?”


“Old enough to have survived a course at the farm,” Doc said, “and Katy here can look much older.”


“Trust me, they have what’s needed,” Susan said.  “JD here ran with a gang in LA before we recruited her, and she can act the part we need.  Right now, we need to get changed and ready – I’ve got some outfits in the spare room for all of us.”


“Susan, they’re kids...”


“JD, trust me on this,” Susan said as they walked into the spare room.  Laid out on the bed were skintight jeans, tops and waistcoats, as well as four pairs of black stiletto heel ankle boots.


“Let’s get ready,” Susan said, “we need to be on our way soon.”



7 pm


"Remember that Chola's lay the makeup on thick girls." JD said as she looked up from her reflection. "I see some of them in LA, they look like walking cosmetics displays."

"Blue bandanas, girls, like Los Malos wear." Susan said as she started handing them round.

"Susan and I will do the talking...if she can still remember any LA-Mexican-Spanish?" JD laughed as she painted her lips a deep red.

"Oh I think I can just about say a few bad words."

"Katy do you need a hand with the wig?" Anna asked as she stood up.

"If you wouldn't mind Doc."

"Damn things can be tricky." Doc said as she adjusted the long black hair. "There like that?"

"Mmmm not bad." Katy smiled at her own reflection.

"Now let me do this..." Doc stood behind and tied the bandana so it formed a classic bandits mask.

"Wow I'm unrecognisable."

"That's the idea Katy." Susan fixed her own bandana.


“Okay – the guns are in the car downstairs – nice and clean.  We drive to the Heights, wait for the signal, and go.”


“Gotta admit, it’s a good plan,” JD said, “how do we lose the car?”


“We’ll abandon and torch it on a building site a mile from here.  Walk the rest of the way.”  Susan pulled the bandana down so it sat on her chest, and pulled on some leather gloves.


“Okay – let’s go...”


9 pm

Washington Heights


“All right,” Rochelle said as she walked down the street with her gang, “tonight we do dis.”


“Little bitch has got it coming,” one of the group of four said as she produced her flick knife and twirled it in her fingers.


“Stuck up little bitch, thinking she can humiliate me like that,” Rochelle said with a snarl, “both she and my homegirl are gonna feel my wrath, and then I get the full membership.”


“You sure she’s gonna be at the homie’s apartment?”


“That’s what my girl said – so you four ready?”


From her apartment window, Tracy could see the group looking up from across the road.  Picking up her cell phone, she dialled and said “all right – they’re in position.  Now what?”


She got her answer as a sedan came slowly round the corner, approaching Rochelle and her girls as they looked across the road.


“Hey – who are they,” the girl with the knife said as she looked at the car, and tapped Rochelle on the shoulder.


“What the fuck...”


They stared at the car as the windows wound down, and they saw the women inside the car.  All four had long black hair, and they all had heavy eye shadow clearly visible.  Rochelle could see the tight t-shirts and waistcoats they were wearing – as well as the bandanas tied over their mouths and faces.


She barely had time to react before the girl in the rear of the car pointed a pistol in her direction and fired three shots, hitting Rochelle in the chest and head.




The cries from her friends were cut short as the two girls jumped out on the other side of the car and started firing as well, the driver joining in, cutting the other four girls down as they tried to run off, people diving for cover around about. 


“Entra! Tenemos que estar fuera antes que la policía arive!”


The other three girls jumped in as the car sped off, people coming out of the bars as police sirens could be heard getting louder.



9.30 pm

The Village


“Look, I can understand your concern for Katy, believe me,” Caroline said as she sat with Jan, “but she’s a bright kid – brave, foolhardy, but bright.  Remind you of anyone?”


“Is this a pot calling the kettle black moment, Dom,” Janice said with a smile.  “Still, at least she’s safe with Doc tonight.”


“She’s with Doc?”


“Yeah – why...”  Jan looked at her friend, and said “what do you know that I don’t?”


“How to make a good bread and butter pudding?”




“Okay – you’ll find out anyway,” Dominique said.  “Doc has a plan to take out this Rochelle girl, and she was putting a team together for tonight.  If Katy is with her...”


Jan stared at Dominique for a minute, before she took her cell phone out and looked at it.  “Shit – I am going to kill her,” she said as she stood up.  “Where were they going from?”


“Susan’s apartment – why?”


“Because they did it – Rochelle and four others killed in a drive by a group from Los Malos Bellezas.”  Dialling a number, she said “Clint, it’s Jan.  When are they due back?


“Clint, don’t make me hurt you...


“Right – tell them I’m coming right over, and my daughter is not to move an inch until I get there!”


10 pm

Susan and Clint’s apartment


Clint opened the door to admit the four dark haired girls, with their bandanas down around their necks, before saying “Jan’s on her way over – I think she desires words with you.”


“Yeah, I guessed she might,” Doc said as there was a knock on the door, and Clint let Jan in.


“What the hell happened out there tonight,” Jan said as she came in, and stared at Katy as she took her wig off.


“We took care of a problem that threatened us,” Doc said as she sat down.


"Doc who gave you the authority to order a hit?"

"Actually I did." Susan removed her wig.  “I could see how things were going, and it had to be done Jan.”

"Katy you do realise that was cold-blooded murder?" Jan stood aggressively looking at her daughter.

"I owed those bitches some payback after I had to strip."

"We removed a cancer." Doc explained. "Everyone is better off they are dead, especially OUR friends."


Jan sat down and shook her head.  “Katy, you need to tell me when you are doing these things – and who are you?”


“Jan, meet JD, one of the West Coast group and working on a certain film with Cassandra.  JD, Janice Carter – Katy’s mother, FBI agent, friend and colleague.”


“Hey,” JD said as she removed her wig, “I’ve seen you around with Cassie.”


“Mom, I know you don’t like this sort of thing, but we had to do it to protect Sands and the others.”


“Who did it?”




“Who fired the kill shot on Rochelle?”


“I did,” Doc said as she stood up.


“Okay – Katy, get changed, we’re going home.  Susan, when does Shirley get back?”


“Monday – why?”


“We need to accelerate my daughter’s training - I’ll talk to her then.”  As she stood up, Jan said “and yeah – you did save a lot of pain.  I just wish there had been another way.”



10.20 pm


"So did you kill anyone Katy?"

"One maybe two," the teenager answered in a matter of fact manner as she sat next to her mother in the car.

"Anything you want to say or discuss?"

"Mom,” Katy said as she turned her head, “I know you want me to be an ordinary 13 year old, but face it I'm now a Pussycat...just like you are, the killing comes with the territory."

"I know, but I never expected you to be so calm."

"Mom those bitches were a clear and imminent threat to me and my friends. Doc was right to say that it needed doing, and I'm glad she asked me to participate."

"Okay," Jan felt a trifle stunned, "by the way maybe two?"

"JD and I both shot one of them, could have been either of us killed her."


“Okay – okay, a good night’s sleep for you young lady – it’s a school day tomorrow...”



Thursday 19th November

9 am

Xavier International


“I can see I have a lot to catch up on next week,” Shirley said as she looked out from the computer screen.  “I am not entirely happy at the turn of events however.”


"It had to be done Madame." Susan smiled at the screen. "Doc came up with a plan to use the local gang rivalry to cover it up."

"I got that Susan,” Shirley said quietly, “but I'd have still been happier if you had cleared it with me first, or at least Juliette or Diana."

"And disturb their trips to Europe?"

"You have a point."

"And I can now extract Tracy and send her home, she has been a first rate observer you know?"

"I was understanding that from Penny.  Very well – but allow her to remain in situ for the weekend.  I will be flying in on Sunday, and wish to see her before she returns."


“Of course Madame,” Susan said with a smile.  “Now, on other matters...”



11 am

FBI Field Office


“Jan, Jeanne, Adam, in here please.” Tom Callaghan shouted out of his office door.


“You called boss.” Jeanne smiled as she walked in, Adam closing the door behind them.


“Okay Inspector can you introduce yourself please.” Tom spoke into his speakerphone.


“Hi,” the man said in his distinctive accent, “I’m Georges LeBlanc of the Ontario Provincial Police, I’m heading up a team trying to work the furs robbery case.”


“I have my core team in here Inspector, Inspector Jeanne Marais of Interpol, and Agents Adam Ball and Janice Carter.”


“Bon soir,” Jeanne spoke.


“Hey,” Adam and Jan also spoke.


“Anyway what can we do for you?”


“Well,” LeBlanc said, “maybe you can start by telling me how you get your head round a major crime in which so few clues get left except for dead bodies?”


“It’s not easy.” Tom sighed.


“So what if anything do you have Inspector?” Adam asked.


“We think 15 women did the actual hit on the warehouse. Stolen trucks and cars that have just vanished. A conclusion that the merchandise has long since left our country…Need I go on?”


“No it all sounds very familiar.” Janice spoke.


“Any actual leads?” asked Jeanne.


“Just rumours from a source inside Russia saying that the local mafia has suddenly come onto possession of an awful lot of fur.”


“Any mentions of the name Madame X?” asked Adam.


“A couple of whispers, but we guessed hers is the only operation probably big enough to act as middle-men in a thing of this size.”


“Any names for the she-bitches?”


“All familiar ones from those in the files – bar two.  One was apparently Irish, and went by the name of Miss Sidhe, while there was another they called Miss Jaguaruino.  Real ice cold bitch by teh sound of it.”


“Talking of size do you have a final value yet Inspector?” Tom asked.


“280 Million dollars US.”


“Merde, that isn’t chickenfeed!” Jeanne shook her head.


“No it isn’t, and I’m under pressure from all sides on this.”


“Well good luck Inspector, but chasing Pussycats as we all know is like chasing shadows.” Tom allowed himself a small laugh.


“Well can I just thank you for your co-operation and all the files you sent up Supervisor Callaghan.”


“I wish I could have been of more use.”


“And I to you.”


“Well keep in touch Inspector and we will let you know anything we hear down here.”


“Alright, well anyway it has been a pleasure, and again Thank You.” The Canadian cop hung up.


“Poor guy – I feel for him,” Adam said with a sigh.  “Tom, can i have a word on another matter?”


“Sure – Ladies?”


“Now what does he want to talk to Tom alone about,” Jeanne said as she looked at Jan.


“Jeanne, I have no idea...”







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