Road Trip – part 2







8 am



“Another day of practice,” Katy said as she met Sands in the pits, “we’d better get cleared up before they get here.”


“Good idea,” Katherine said as she handed them some clear bags, “I think they were here until late last night.”


"When does Jeannie and the rest of the birthday party group arrive?"

"Over the next day or two Sands." Katy smiled. "I'm not sure she is 100% happy that Lerrabella have turned this into a working trip as well though."

"She was and is under contract to them though," Katherine looked out at the huge crowd of people. "You know I can't believe all this work goes on just in preparation."

"I know it's amazing." Sands said as she finished putting the pop cans in the recycling bags.

"Did you hear Mom swearing in her sleep last night Gran?"

"Yes, poor Janice, this track and its hazards are starting to get to her a little."

"Well touch wood, they've finished having any more fender benders out there," Clint said as he walked over with some empty coffee cups.

"Amen!" Katherine, Katy, and Sands said in unison.


“So when is your dad coming to pick us up?”


“About eleven – you and Bev should have your towels ready.  Where is she anyway?”


“Gone to have a shower,” Katherine said, “she’ll be ready.”


1 pm GMT



“Let’s go down here – there’s something I want to show you.”


"Is this one house or two?" Jo asked as Eve showed her round the townhouse.

"It's actually two combined,” the teenager said, “but that is invisible from the front."

"I thought so,” Jo said as they went down three stairs, “the layout makes no sense otherwise."

"Yes," Eve smiled, “when Mother started having this place renovated she had the house behind that had been functioning as offices incorporated and passageways created and opened up."

"Well she's done an amazing job."

"And it means that we can use a lot of things that were put in storage after Lardarn House was given up." Eve paused in front of a picture of a blonde woman. "Now just her picture gives me chills, but this was 'Elizabeth the Hungarian'."

"She looks like a picture I've seen from Germany." Jo spoke softly as she looked at the woman, recognising the look in the portrait’s eyes.

"Why you are interested in her I don't know..."

"Hey I want to be a criminal psychologist...remember?” Jo took off and cleaned her glasses, before she put them back on.  “Serial killers are my thing."

"That is YUCKY!" Clodagh wrinkled up her little nose.


“Well, it’s not for everyone, that’s true,” Jo said as she looked at the portrait again.  “Do you mind if I take a picture for my own research?”


“Go right ahead,” Eve said as Jo took a picture with her phone, and then quietly sent Carina a copy.


“Girls!  Lunch!”


“Coming, Ma,” Clodagh said as she ran off, Jo following Eve back into the main house.


3 pm CET

Emperador Hotel, Madrid


“Right – I’ll see you in a few minutes,” Caroline said as she closed the door, and carried her bags into her bedroom, while the other two girls went in Nikki’s bedroom.


"Oy, I should remember from shopping with Jeans back home just what shopping with a supermodel is like," Nikki said as she laid her purchases on the bed.

"I know," Ama grinned, "so much for Mom thinking she was only famous in the States and Japan."

"I have never before received such service," Nikki smiled contentedly. "They were definitely so keen to impress Caroline."

"Well we got some great things..."

"Including all those soccer books you bought, way to improve your Spanish Am, reading books on a subject you enjoy like that."

"Well it can't do my school work any real harm can it," Ama said as she pulled out the official history of Real Madrid and started to flip pages.

"If you are going to do Italian as well next year,” they heard Caroline say, “then I probably need buy you some Italian soccer books as well."

"It's an idea Mom."

"So what do you think of this skirt girls, now we have it home."

Ama and Nikki walked into the lounge to see Caroline looking at herself in the mirror.


"It's divine," Nikki said as she stroked the soft leather of the pencil skirt, "but you need a figure like yours to see it to best effect, me having practically no ass it would be wasted on."

"Yeah I'm a bit curveless as well...”  Ama looked on before she said “but on you Mom it it is just SO sexy."

"I will take that as a compliment girls.  Right, purchases away, and we’ll go for an early dinner before the show."


"Mom will you come to late Mass with me at the Cathedral tonight please?" Ama asked.

"Of course I will,” Caroline said, “but why?"

"Because after enjoying myself so much,” Ama said quietly, “I feel I need to go and Thank God for his blessings he has brought to me."

"I'll come as well then." Nikki smiled, "I have a lot to be thankful for."

"I know church isn't really your thing Mom...but PLEASE?"

"For you Ama my darling...Anything." Caroline hugged her daughter.  “Now put things away and get ready.”



6 pm GMT



“Dinner in 30 minutes,” Paula said as Will and Mandy sat around the laptop.


“There she is,” Will said as the Skype call connected, and he went to fetch two drinks.


"Hey Mummy," Angel's face beamed as she appeared on the screen.  She was in a large room, with pictures of racehorses on the wall.

"Angel darling,” Mandy said with a smile, “you look like the cat that ate the cream."

"I know," the English girl almost glowed, "Mr Todd let me ride SaintzandSinnerz in his workout this morning."

Mandy shook her head and smiled even more.  "I hope Missy never finds out one of her star models was riding a race horse darling."

"I Know," Angel giggled, "but Mummy to have the feeling of all that power under me."

"An ambition fulfilled," her father looked over Mandy's shoulder.

"Oh yes!"

"So is Mr Todd happy with your riding Angel?"

"Very much so, he said I was good enough that I could ride work for him anytime."

"Well done darling," her Mother shared in her pleasure.  “So are you ready for the trip down?”


“I am – I meet up with the others when I drive to Sebring tomorrow - we’re all booked into the same hotel.  It’s going to be some weekend.”


“Well, you have fun, and we’ll see you when you get home next week.”


“Have fun in the rain,” Angel said with a smile as Jo came past.


“Hey Kit – Eve said to say hello to you.”


“See you in Munich Jo,” Angel said before the call ended.


“Well she has had fun,” Mandy said, “now for some good food...”


6 pm GMT



“It is good of you to allow me to stay until Aunt Shirley comes back, Lily,” Maisha said as she relaxed in the seat.


“Well, it makes sense, given everyone else is away,” Lily said as she handed her a drink.  “Especially as Charlotte and Piet are busy.  So how was the trip?”


“Educational,” Maisha said with a smile, “but tomorrow I visit parliament.”


“That should be fun as well,” Lily said as she looked at the clock.  “The casserole will be ready in an hour or so – want to pick a film for later?”



4 pm

Somewhere south of New York


“That sounds good Tanera,” George Simpson said as he looked out of the window, “I’ll see you in the morning to confirm the security arrangements.”


“Another working holiday, George,” Klaus said as he handed his friend a drink.


“Well, with Caroline away, I draw the short straw,” George said as Pepsi and April sat with Ingrid and Judith.


“George – team talk,” Roy said as he walked past.


“Talk to you later,” George said as he followed the tall financier to where Guy and Grant were sitting.





"Alright boys we have a big decision to make," Roy Razinski huddled with his co-owners at the back of his private jet, "you've all read Toddy's latest report...what do you think?"

"I'm more than a little disappointed in a way," George opened up the conversation, "though really, it isn't something we hadn't already discussed as a possibility."

"Basically it's do we take a risk that he might find some stamina under race conditions," Guy du Grechy closed his eyes “and still aim him at the Kentucky Derby?"

"Or do we simply accept we probably have the world’s best horse this year at seven furlongs and a mile, and design his racing program round that fact?" Grant summarized.

"I know we all had dreams of that first Saturday in May,” Roy said, “but Toddy is far too good a horseman to be warning us like this if he didn't really doubt Saintz could go One and a Quarter with the best."

"Well what races do we do as alternatives?"

"The Florida Guineas for certain." Roy smiled. "And so we get our Saturday at Churchill Downs, the Louisville Commemorative Stakes on Derby Day."

"Eventual aim being the Breeders Cup Mile at the end of the season."

“Precisely Guy – if we meet those targets, we will have had a good year.”


“And there is another advantage,” George said as he looked to the front of the plane, “the race is on the later afternoon card, well after the wedding breakfast is done.”


"I suppose it’s that Brigadier Gerard cross in his breeding," Grant looked up from a piece of paper, "I'd ignored it and rather hoped that the stamina lines would win out in his pedigree."

"I really am not totally sure why we are unhappy, we have a horse that our trainer says may be one of the all-time greats," Guy found some comfort in saying the words.

"I know, but as we all said at the start, we did have dreams of that Run for the Roses with him." Roy smiled as Juliette brought back some drinks.

"Only racing men could be dissatisfied with such a superb horse," she shook her head.


“Ah, but that is the eternal mystery of women and horses,” Guy said with a smile, “why we find them both so alluring.”


"So what are they talking about back there Juliette?" Barbara asked as Juliette came back.

"Saintz,” she said as she sat down, “they are changing his racing program."

"Dad said they might need to," Pepsi pulled out her ear buds, "but we can still get to dress up and go to Churchill Downs on Derby Day, and watch Saintz win the Commemorative Stakes."

"We hope he will win it," April said as she sipped her drink, "but as your father has always taught you, nothing is certain in horse racing."


"Well at least I get still to wear this fabulous hat I have," Jeannie looked up from her mobile device, "I am going to blow everyone away in Kentucky."

"Not if I wear this little something I got in Paris last year," Juliette laughed.

"That sounds like a challenge Juliette," Jeannie smiled.

"Changing topics, the House..."

"Will meet us at the airport down there," Barbara answered Pepsi.

"Yeah the big lug owes me, I haven't seen him in ages."

"Well he does have his studies darling." John joined the conversation.


“I know – and I know he couldn’t get away before today – but he really does owe me...”


7.30 pm

Chicanes Restaurant and Bar,

3101 Golfview Road, Sebring, FL


“Will this table be suitable ladies?”


“I think so, thank you,” Jeanne said as she looked round.


"We haven't done this enough you know," Annie smiled as the waiter held the chair for her and she eased herself to the table.

"I know, but with us all still working until late as we can." Frieda tried to get herself comfortable, "We have all been busy."

"Well it is nice that we are doing this tonight." Jeanne contemplated the menu.

“To drink ladies?”


All three looked at the waiter, as he blushed and said “of course – iced water on the way.”


“If I miss anything,” Annie said, “it’s a cold beer.”


“Endure – not much longer...”


"So any regrets ladies?"

"That I got pregnant Annie?" Frieda smiled this time, "you know better, both Puss and I cannot wait to be mothers."

"I meant more like Jeanne, you are missing out on driving this weekend."

"I know,” Jeanne said, “but I can look forward to lots of races after baby is born."

"The French can be very pragmatic," Frieda laughed.

"And for next year, I'll DEFINITELY be driving here."


“Your cousin seems to have fitted right in,” Annie said as the water arrived.


“Well, this is more her style of race,” Jeanne said, “and she is more than a good replacement for me.”


“Have you decided ladies?”


Frieda looked over, and said “What is the Soup de Jour?”




“Excellent,” Frieda said, “I will have that and the Salmon.”


“I will have,” Jeanne said as she looked down, “the Caesar salad with shrimp and the Chicken Sandwich, hold the coleslaw.”


“And for you Madame,” the waiter said as he looked at Annie.


“Smoking rib tips and the Tuscan Linguine.”


“Please tell the chef that all the food has to be cooked thoroughly,” Frieda said as she handed back her menu.


“I will let him know you are all pregnant,” he said as he walked off, the three women laughing and shaking their heads.


“It’s not as if we can hide it, can we,” Annie said as she looked round.




“I fancy some meat,” Annie said as she looked at Frieda, “and now they know they have three pregnant women in here, chances are they will charcoal them.”


“Fair point,” Jeanne said as she sipped her water.


“So what do you rate their chances at?”


“Very good actually in terms of their class,” Jeanne said, “but it’s more about not been overawed at what is happening around them.”


“But you will be there on Friday?”


“Oh yes – Alice McKinnon has even made up a special version of the new team dress for me to wear.”


“Oh yes – the uniform.  What’s it like?”


“Wait and see,” Jeanne said with a smile as the starters arrived.


"So will baby be a van Roon Frieda?"

"Yes,” Frieda said as she swallowed some of the cold tomato soup, “we discussed it, and also talked to both our parents."

"And they said what?" Annie asked.

"That with baby likely to grow up in New York, the van Roon name carries a lot more advantages."

"Well that is for sure," Jeanne nodded. "And will your baby be a Huntingdown von Furstenheim Annie?"

"Yes, I promised Klaus last year."


“So come on – a boy or a girl?”




Both Frieda and Jeanne looked at Annie, before Frieda said “is there something you wish to share with us, young Miss Kelly?”


“These ribs are delicious?”


All three women laughed before Frieda said “Actually, we do know – we are having a baby daughter, and we will be naming her Pauline.”


“Paulie will love that,” Jeanne said as she ate some more salad.


“Well, I suspect Papa will be happy with a healthy grandchild,” Jeanne said as she finished her salad.


“So when does the van Roon clan arrive here?”


“Not until later tonight,” Frieda said as the plates were cleared away.  “Pussy is going out to meet them at the airport – Augie was flying to New York to pick her parents and Blaire up first, then coming down here.”


“So Chet is coming as well?”


“Oh yes – I believe Doc is flying down with Juliette?”


“She’s here already – I saw them arrive and meet up with Angel Fitzstuart as I was leaving.”


“There is quite a gathering, isn’t there,” Jeanne said with a smile as their main courses were brought out.


“Oh this salmon looks amazing,” Frieda said as she cut a piece and ate it.  “Expertly cooked too.”


As she sat and swallowed the fish, Frieda smiled, and then suddenly went very still.


“Frieda?  Is everything all right?”


“Well, that is a very good question,” Frieda said as she glanced down, and then gestured to the waiter.


“Is there a problem Madame,” the waiter said as he walked over, and then glanced down.  “Ah – I see what has happened.  I will inform the manager, and we will make all the arrangements.  Is there someone you need us to call?”


“No,” Frieda said with a smile, “I merely need to make a phone call, but some transport?”


“Oh goddess,” Annie said quietly, “don’t tell me?”


Frieda nodded as she said “I may have made a little mess.  Would you give me a moment?”


Taking a deep breath, she smiled as she took out her cell phone.


“Puss?  I’m afraid you may need to make a teeny tiny change to your plans for tonight...”


“We have a car waiting for you,” the waiter said as he came over, “and the manager wishes to inform you there will be no bill for your meal tonight.  She also asked us to pass on the best wishes for all of us for the rest of tonight.”


“Thank you,” Frieda said as the three women stood up, Annie and Jeanne supporting Frieda as she started to pant...


8.30 pm

Sebring Holiday Inn


“You still awake Jo?”


“Yeah – I’ll get to bed in a little while,” Jo said on the screen as Carina held Judith, “how’s Florida?”


“Hot – I’ll get Judith down in a little while, but we’re still getting over the flight.”


“So – Black Betty?”


"Well I ran her past Aunt Natalya Jo,” Carina said as she put Judith down, “and she has no doubt with the evidence from the portrait in particular that she was one of 'us'."

"It's slightly chilling that this has been going on for centuries, and no one has ever made the link."

"Well within the family,” Carina said, “I suspect no one has ever dared own up to themselves before and talk it out with other 'sufferers'...And I know that word is wrong when you think what we do, but in so far as I can tell this urge to hurt and kill people is uncontrollable."

"Well look what happened to Gale Callaghan when she tried to repress it."

Carina nodded as she looked at her daughter.  "It's not right, it's not good, but unfortunately for the poor bastards who get in our way, it is what we are."

"You sound a bit reflective Cari?"

"Oh I'm just hoping and praying for little ones sake that she doesn't have this sickness within her..."

"After the encounter with her ghostly aunt?"

"Exactly! And by the way,” Cari said, “why don't ghosts come when you call them?"

"You want to give her a good talking to?"

"And I also want to know,” Cari said, “what Lexa meant when she said little one would lead me a merry dance."

"It might help to be forewarned, and yeah it's a trifle annoying you can't just call them on a cell phone."

"That's so right Jo," Carina rubbed her eyes, "anyway on a nicer topic, are you ready for the shoot?"

"Yeah we tried on the pieces today, and the makeup and hair ladies worked out the looks for me, It's now just waiting on Caroline."

"Did you spot anything at their country place to help her with that problem?"

"A few bits Cari, but the place is a huge palace."

"Yes but it's the private quarters she is concentrating on securing for the family."

"Yeah, and I did notice a couple of doors that probably need alarms, and a good room to convert into a panic room."

"I'm sure Dom will listen to you carefully." Cari nodded.


“Right – bed and...”  Jo watched as Cari looked at her cell phone.


“Problem, Cari?”


“Not for me,” Cari said with a smile, “but the van Roons are in for a fun time...”



10 pm

Sebring Regional Airport


“Well, that was a good flight,” Augie said as he and his uncle led the party out, “and now we have a long weekend ahead of ourselves.”


“Very true,” Paulie said as she and Nessa walked along, turning heads with their tight blouses and pants, “now where do you think Pussy and Frieda have got to?”


“Oh I am sure they are around here somewhere,” Gus said as Chet and Blair pushed the luggage trolleys out.  “Although...”


“Hey, good looking.”


“Doc,” Chet said with a smile, “and you brought Diana with you?  Where’s my cousin?”


“Funny story,” Diana said with a smile, “to be told later.  Doc has a car waiting outside for all of you – but Paulie and Gus, you need to come with me.”


“Where to Diana?”


“Florida Heartland Medical centre – Pussy and Karen are there with Frieda.”


“Oh my,” Paulie said, “is she...”


“I think we should hurry,” Diana said as she took Paulie’s arm.


“Call us when you know,” Tracey said as they walked quickly off.


11.30 pm

Florida Heartland Medical Centre

4200 Sun’n’Lake Boulevard, Sebring FL



“As soon as I know, Liz, I’ll let you know,” Paulie said into her cell phone as Gus paced round the floor.


“This is worse than I was waiting for you with Liz and Patty,” he said as Paulie ended the call, and sat down.


“Sit down Gus,” she said quietly, “I’m sure once there is anything to say, Patty will come in tell us.  Just be glad they allow the partner to be in the room now.”


“I don’t know,” Gus said with a smile, “I think I could have stood up to it.”


Paulie looked at the man she had loved for over 50 years, and slowly shook his head.  “Augustus van Roon the Fourth,” she said quietly, “you are many things, and I love you dearly, but you would never have survived five minutes in the delivery suite with me.”


“Why – do you think I would have fainted?”


“No – I think the midwives would have kicked you out,” Paulie said with a laugh.


The door opened as they both looked over, Paulie smiling as Pussy came in with Karen.


“How are you,” she said as she hugged her daughter.


“”I don’t know,” Pussy said as she ran her long fingers through her hair.  “I’ve never felt so helpless...”


“And Frieda?”


“She’s coming along nicely,” Karen said, “but I could see how fraught this young one was getting, so I suggested a coffee break for both of us.”


“I don’t think she needs any more caffeine,” Gus said as he looked at his daughter.


“No – but she does need a walk in the air – come with me,” Paulie said as she took her daughter by the arm and walked out of the room.


“How is Frieda?”


“Like any other woman in labour – hurting and wondering what the heck is going on,” Karen said as she poured herself a coffee.  “Don’t worry – everything is going well and on time.”



Thursday 17th March

12.15 am

Holiday Inn, Sebring


“There you are,” Nessa said as she came into the lounge, “any word yet?”


“Not yet,” Blair said as she stood up.  “I sent Chet to bed – no sense him getting over tired.”


"Has anyone rung Frieda's parents yet?" Nessa asked.

"I did,” Augie said as he stood up and kissed her, "Uncle Gus asked me to."

"And they are?"

"Driving to Frankfurt Airport as we speak."

"Good, Frieda will need them to be here." Nessa relaxed, "How bad of a wreck is Pussy?"

"For a scientist you think she'd be calmer, but she's a bundle of worry." Tracey van Roon stood up and kissed Nessa.

"Well I think we can all forgive her for that."


“I saw Heather on her way out,” Blair said, “she must have been heading for the hospital.”


“Well, she and Pussy are old friends – it only makes sense she would be there.”



12.45 am

Florida Heartland Medical Centre


“Hello Heather,” Gus said as the young woman came in, “Paulie and Pussy should be back in a...”


He looked as the door opened, and the two women came in.


"Hey Tee," Patricia said as she embraced her old college friend.

"Hey Puss, how are you standing up?" Heather asked as she looked at her friend.

"I'll be better if they both emerge from this okay...until then..." her voice trailed off.


“Ah – there you are.”


They turned to look as the masked and gowned Ken Boyd came in.


“I think you’d better get into the room Patricia – it’s getting close to time.”


“Oh god...”


“Relax – go and be with her,” Paulie said as she nodded, and walked down the corridor.”


"How are things going Ken?" Gus asked as the doctor removed his scrubs.

"Well my wife has chased me out of there...and as I told Frieda, Karen is one of the world’s best at doing all this."


“How much longer?”


“I’m sure they will be back as soon as they can,” Heather said as she sat with them.




Holiday Inn


“Still no news,” Blair said as she sat back down, the other three shaking their heads.


“When they know, they’ll call us,” Tracey said as Nessa nodded.


“Any word?”


They looked over as Jeanne and Annie came in.


“Neither of you could sleep?”


“Nope,” Annie said as they sat down, “sisterly solidarity and all that...”



Florida Heartland Medical Centre


“Jesus Christus , wie lange kann das weitergehen?”


“Ich weiß, dass Frieda meine Liebe , es wird bald vorbei sein...”


“Machen Sie es zu stoppen, machen Sie es Halt!”


“All right Frieda,” Karen said as she looked up, “we’re ready.  When it comes – push!”


The German chemist nodded as she put her head back and grunted while pushing down...




1.30 am


The door to the waiting room opened, Gus, Paulie and Heather looking over as Pussy came in with Karen.


“Well?  Patty...”


Pussy looked at her parents, before the smile broke out and said “it’s a girl – six pounds ten, mother and baby doing fine if exhausted.”


“Oh thank the Goddess,” Heather whispered as Gus and Paulie hugged their daughter.


“Shall I call the others,” Paulie said as she wiped a tear from her eye.


“In a moment – come and meet Pauline first...”



2.15 am

Holiday Inn


“That’s wonderful news,” Augie said, “I’ll let everyone know.  Tell Frieda her parents are due to arrive at about ten, and they’ll be driven straight to the hospital.”


“Well,” Tracey said as he husband ended the call.


“Pauline Maria van Roon, born at 1.10 this morning, mothers and baby doing fine.”


“Yes,” Nessa said quietly as Annie and Jeanne hugged each other.


“I would say this calls for a celebration drink,” Augie said with a smile, “but it is late, and we need some sleep, so I propose we postpone for a few hours, until my uncle and aunt get back.”


9 am GMT



“It’s a baby girl,” Cari said as Jo sipped her coffee, “born just after one.  Annie just called me to let me know.”


“She’s early isn’t she?”


"They had everything set up for New York in two weeks time," Carina spoke to Jo on Skype, "But Pauline decided she wanted some Florida sunshine I guess."

"Well at least she wasn't as early as little one."

"No," Cari laughed, "I've told both Helen and Karen that when Annie gets anywhere close to her date, they need to be on full alert."

"Yeah babies do tend to pop out when they aren't expected."

"Yep." Carina leaned back.

"So are you all packed?"

"Yeah, I'm flying down later this morning...commercial...I could kill Missy booking me a shoot so I couldn't fly down with the gang.  Not worth going back to bed now."

"It happens," Jo smiled.


“What about you today?”


“Got the morning off – then the Spanish contingent arrive at about two.”


“Well, give them my love,” Cari said, “Now to see how bad early morning television is these days.”


“Try Irish television some time – makes Canadian look good.”



7 am

St Martha’s Rectory, New York


“That is wonderful news – but still, another Sinner,” Alex laughed over the phone, “I really do need to tell the group they need to redress the balance just a bit, we do need a few Saints.”


“Yes we do,” Gus laughed as well.  “Is it possible to be exhausted and elated at the same time?”


“I believe it is,” Alex said.


“Anyway Alex, I presume we can book a baptism with you?”


“If we fit round everything then yes.”


“Also, Patricia asked maybe if we could arrange for you to do it in Europe when everyone is there in mid-summer so that all Frieda’s relations can make it.”


“I’m sure I can talk the priest at Rosville to lend me his font.”


“Good, that addresses a big concern of the girls.”


“Right – go and join the happy throng.  I’ll see you when you get back – all of you.”


“Thanks, Alex,” Gus said as he ended the call, and then he offered up a silent prayer of thanks.


8 am

Holiday Inn, Sebring


“There they are,” Tracey said as Pussy walked in with her parents, “the proud mother and grandparents.”


Pussy waved and smiled as the cheer went round the room, and then flopped into a seat as the rest of the family sat round her.


“How are they,” Blair asked as Augie opened a bottle of champagne, and poured it into glasses.


“Frieda is exhausted, my nerves are shattered,” Pussy said, “but she is absolutely gorgeous.”


“Who does she look like,” Chet asked.


“At the moment, Frieda,” Pussy said, “lucky for her.  So when do her parents get here?”


“Just before noon – Diana is going to collect them.  You have time for a drink, a shower, some food and a rest – not necessarily in that order.”


“Well, this is a good a start as any,” Pussy said as she took the glass of champagne.  “Where did Tee go?”


“She had to go to the track – they had an early start today.”




10 am

Sebring Ring


“Thanks for filling in for me Denice…  I had a late night.”


“No problems Heather,” Denice said as she looked up, “I’m just glad to hear that Frieda and the baby are fine.”


“So what have I missed?”


“Other then one of the most amazing displays of the art of swearing from Tonia?”


“Uh Oh, who got in the way of our car?”


“One of the Porsche’s, and dear God did Tonia let his people have it.”


“For such a well brought up lady, she does have an amazing knowledge of the language,” Heather laughed as she pulled on her headset. “Okay guys I’m here, and for those who haven’t heard both Moms and baby are doing fine.”


“Good news,” Jan said over the headphone, “so let’s do this for them.”



In the executive lounge that had been reserved for RCM Racing, Tanera was standing, looking over the boxes of items that had arrived from Torware.


“Ah good – I see they have arrived safely.”


As she turned round, Augie van Roon walked over and said “my apologies for my lateness, Miss Patel – Augie van Roon.”


“That’s quite all right, Mister van Roon – I understand you had a celebration.  And please, call me Tanera”


“In a way,” Augie said as he looked at the marketing executive.  “I trust everything is as expected?”


“Thank you for all this Mr van Roon,” Tanera said with a smile, “I will make sure that it is incorporated in with the other things we are giving our guests.”


“Thank you Tanera,” Augie said with a smile, “and can I compliment you on your arrangements?”


“Thank you sir.  Miss Xavier has asked me to tell you she will be arriving with Miss Harker and Mrs Walker later this afternoon.”


“I understand you graduated from Cornell’s School of Hotel Management?”


“I did.”  He looked at her – smart jacket and tailored skirt, leather pumps, white blouse.  Every inch the professional.


“Well you learned well.” Augie looked round, “just one thing I’d say though, warn the bar staff that we DO tolerate our children drinking.”


“I had already been told that by Mrs Razinski, and I already briefed them to turn the other eye.”


“Good,” Augie smiled, “now let us just hope the promotion girls my staff hired for Torware arrive on time.”


“Well if they don’t there will be no shortage of young models here from what I’m given to understand.”


“That is true,” Augie looked thoughtful.


“Is there anything else I can do Sir?”


“No, you have things well in hand – if you will forgive me, I have extra guests to sort bookings out for.”




10.30 am

Orlando International Airport


They stood out amongst the tourists and holiday makers – the man tall, thin, impeccably dressed in a grey suit and open necked shirt, the woman wearing a pale blue tartan shawl over a darker blue coat dress, dark stockings and low heeled shoes, a porter wheeling their cases behind them.


As they came towards her, Diana looked at their faces, and smiled as she said “Excuse me?”


“Can I help you?”


"Am I addressing Count and Countess von Melz?" Diana asked.

"Yes," the man replied.

"You probably don't remember me, but we have met, I'm Diana de Ros."

"Oh of course," the man smiled, "I'm Paul, and this is Maria my wife."

"I actually do remember you Diana," the lady said as she kissed Diana on the cheeks.

"Well anyway I've been sent to ferry you to the hospital."

"How are they both? We got the message just as we got on the plane."

"They are both doing fine, though Patricia is still a nervous wreck.  My car is this way – if you could follow me?”


Diana led the way to the waiting car, the porter following as they went out into the spring sun.


“An eventful week then,” Maria said as the cases were put in the back.


“Indeed – I hope you will be able to join us for some of the events,” Diana said, “but for now, we need to introduce you to your granddaughter.”


4 pm GMT



“Mama,” Eve called over her shoulder, “they’re here.”


“Good,” Paula said as she came to the door, welcoming Caroline with a kiss.  “Welcome to our home.”


“It’s my pleasure,” Caroline said as Ama and Nikki came up the stairs, the chauffer collecting their bags, “you remember my daughter Ama and her friend Nikki.”


“Of course – how was your time in Madrid?”


“Amazing, thank you,” Ama said as they came in.


“Is that you Face?”


“It is,” she said as she entered the front room, and embraced Mandy and Alice, “I hear we have a plan for tomorrow?”


“I’m Eve,” Paula’s oldest daughter said as she shook Ama’s hand, “and you must be Ama.”


“Indeed – my friend Nicola Colman,” Ama said with a smile.  “Is Jo here?”


“She went with my brother to visit a museum, but she should be back soon.  Come on – I’ll show you your rooms for tonight.”


“Caroline,” Tom said as he came through and shook her hand, “thanks for coming and doing double duty today.  Paula and I have looked over your ideas – can we discuss after dinner?”


“Of course,” the tall blonde said as they heard the noise in the hallway, and Jo came in with John and Aileen.


“You made it,” she said with a smile, “how was Madrid?”


“Hectic and amazing – the girls have gone to see their rooms, but we can talk later.”



Holiday Inn, Sebring


It was a typical Florida spring day – the sun shining down on the people as they sat round the hotel pool, drinking while they decided whether or not to get into the pool.  Spring Break tended to see students and young people head for the coast and the water parks – which meant it was mainly those there for the racing.


And in the case of a few tables a little set back from the pool, the waiters going to and fro knew they were dealing both with models, and with friends of models.


“So how are things with you two,” Doc asked Sarah as they sat by the poolside.  Both girls were wearing shorts and vest tops, sipping their drinks.


“Oh we’re good,” Sarah said with a smile, “Mum and Dad are a lot more relaxed about things now, which is good.  Glad Chet is here?”


“Oh yes – but we’re shooting this evening, and tomorrow is all go.  Not counting the news from last night.”


“Yeah – he and H have gone to buy a present before they head to the garage,” Sarah said as she saw Augie van Roon walk towards them, muttering to himself.




“JEANNIE!”  Doc stood up as her friend was pushed over by House, Pepsi and Poppy walking behind them.  “I see he found you yesterday?”


“Oh yes – we got reacquainted,” Jeannie said with a smile.  “What’s got Mister van Roon flustered?”


“Not sure – I’ll go and ask,” Sarah said as she got up and walked over.



“What do you mean they had to cancel?  No it is NOT acceptable!


“Right – we will have words when I get back!”


“Uncle Augie, is everything all right?”


Sarah watched as Chet’s dad looked at her, and then said "Sarah...  Can I ask a HUGE favor?"

"Sure, Uncle Augie, what can I do to help?"

"Can you, and a couple of the girls who model act as Torware's promotion girls?  My contact has let me down, and I don’t have time to get anyone else here."

"Well I'm sure a couple of the models can,” Sarah said, “but why ask me?"

"Because like the ugly duckling,” Augie said with a smile, “you've blossomed into a beautiful swan."

"Thank you," the girl blushed.


"Would we have to wear outfits?"

"Yes and they are here, size 2 Regular."

"Okay I'll ask a couple of the girls...what would we be doing?"

"Standing round...looking beautiful, and just generally alerting people about the company."

"Okay let me ring Mom and Dad and get permission, but I think I can do that."

"Oh and like the pro models we will pay you a fee as well."

"Okay, well let me go do some chatting then."


“So what’s up,” Doc said as Sarah came back.


“Well – uncle Augie asked if I would be a Torware girl tomorrow, but I need to find a couple of others.”  Looking at Doc and Poppy, she smiled and said “interested?”



12.45 pm

Florida Heartland Medical Centre


“Pussy, will you sit down for a minute,” Frieda said with an exasperated gasp, “anyone would think it was you here last night, instead of me?”


“I know,” Pussy said as she turned and smiled, “but I was so worried for both of you...”


As the door opened, she smiled as she saw Diana look in.


“Ah good,” she said with a smile, “I have some visitors for you.”


“Mamma!  Pappa!”


“My child,” Maria said as she came in and hugged Frieda, “very well done.  How are you?”


“Sore – I had a few stitches, but I will recover.  I am not the one you wish to see however.”


Pussy gently reached into the crib and took the baby girl out, wrapped in a pink blanket, before placing her in Maria’s arms.  “This is your grandmother little one,” she said quietly.  “Maria, Paul, I would like you to meet Pauline.”


Maria looked at the little girl, her brown hair peeking out from under the cup, and smiled as she stroked her cheek.  “Hello little one,” she said quietly, “welcome to our world.”


“Pussy, we brought...  Oh thank goodness, you made it safely.”


“We did,” Paul said as he greeted Gus and Paulie, “where is the doctor who helped?”


“Karen?  Gone to get some sleep.  You can meet her later tonight.”



1.15 pm

Holiday Inn, Sebring


Doc listened on her cell phone as Missy Auerbach said “Just run that past me again, Anna.”


“Augie van Roon was let down by a firm who should have sent some girls to promote Torware at the meet.  He asked Sarah, who asked me, and I consulted with Abby who told me I had to ring you Missy."

There was silence on the other end of the line, before Missy said "Well...  Promotions like this, the girls are usually below your level in the industry Anna."

"I know,” Doc said, “but it would give me something to do rather than just watch cars go by in a blur."

"Who else has Sarah asked?"

"Young Poppy..."

"Who is of course still an amateur." Missy interrupted.

"So can I give Sarah a yes?"

She heard a sigh on the call.  "Get Augie to get his people to send me a contract for you, and yes I suppose it can't do any harm."

"Thanks Missy...You are a DOLL!"


“Keep reminding me of that,” Missy said as Doc ended the call, and nodded to Sarah.  “I’m in – Poppy?”


“Mom says fine,” the young girl said. 


“Right – I’ll let Uncle Augie know...”


1.30 pm

Xavier International, NY


“And that concludes the business for today,” Susan said.  “The car will be coming to take us to the airport in five minutes.  George called to confirm everything is secure.”


“Excellent.  I understand Tanera has impressed everyone with her efficiency," Shirley smiled.

"So I've been hearing," Susan smiled back.

"And to think she's also a first class safecracker?"

"I know,” Penny said as she looked up, “she had all the right credentials for us."

"Well I understand Augie has hired some promotions girls, Lerrabella of course have got Jeannie here, should we be represented Susan?"

"Roy phoned me,” Susan said as she looked at a sheet, “he proposes that if you say yes that we do have a couple of girls on duty working for him and us."

"Did he have any suggestions?" Shirley said as they walked to the car.

"He did."

"And they were?"

"Ask Pepsi and Becca."

"Well they are both pretty girls," Shirley thought for a second, "if we put them in female office suits...?"

"I think they'd represent us nicely."


“Okay – Tom and Claire are flying down with us, so we can ask in the plane.  We can find out about Pepsi when we get there.”




2 pm


The RCM Racing garage


“Okays boys – overalls all right?”


“Yes thanks,” George said as he and Chet fastened them up.


“Good,” Clint said, “well, this is the new car paint job and design.  Take a very, very good look.”


“It’s – different.”


“Exactly – so thanks for helping with this,” Clint said as the other mechanics finished priming the paint guns.  “Okay boys, mask up – let’s get started.”


The two teenagers pulled the paper masks over their mouth, watching as Clint and the boys started to spray the dark red paint over the car.


“Well, at least we all get the afternoon off,” Heather said as she sat with the other women in the spa pool.


“This is the life,” Denice said as she sat back.


"Oh dear Goddess Lover, this is supposed to be an afternoon off," Heather looked at what Sandy was doing, "we are supposed to be relaxing and you are playing a race simulation game of here at Sebring."

"It helps me remember the track,” Sandy said as she looked at her tablet, “and by the way I'm not the only one, both Jan and Toni are doing the same."

"Drivers," Heather rolled her eyes.

"Did you hear from Jo today?"

"Yes Caroline and the girls arrived today...”  Heather said as she stood up and looked over her lover’s shoulder.   “And see - you are doing the same on there as you do in real life, you brake too early going into that turn."

"I know, I'm trying to learn not to...” 


Heather looked pained as Sandy made another mistake on the game.  “And so they are all set for taking the pictures?"

"Yes, and little sister for once sounds excited about modeling...and here let me show you how to do that."

"Who is the racing driver here?"

"And who is the computer games whiz?"



“Well, at least they are stylish,” Doc said as the three girls looked at the white slip dresses they were wearing.


"Well how are the outfits girls?"

"Fine Mr van Roon," Poppy smiled, "we are going to have to nip into town though and buy white shoes that actually fit us."

"The length isn't too short?"

"No not really,” Poppy said, “my Mom looked us over and she said that for promotions girls they were fine."

"And we all have good legs anyway." Doc added.

"Well I have the schedules printed up for where I need you to be."

"Let me have a look...  Yeah, these look fine." Doc scanned the page.

"Just remember that you are representing my company girls."

"Blair has said she will brief us on Torware so we can answer questions." Sarah smiled.

"Okay girls I have the car outside," Pippa called out.


“We just need to change,” Doc called out as they made their way to the changing room.





“Ah Jeannie – you look positively radiant today.”


"Giorgio , come stai?" Jeannie reached up and let the man from Lerrabella kiss her.


"I am fine Jeannie, how are you?"


"I'm good, so did you bring the family?"


“Indeed,” Giorgio said as he looked over to where Giovanna was pushing Sandra in her wheelchair.  “So, are you ready to work tomorrow?”


“Of course I am – you know the reception on Saturday is a joint sponsors one?”


“Of course – hence our own cocktail party tomorrow... 


"Jeannie you've worked with Jeff Kovacs before haven't you?"

"Yes, he and I have done a couple of shoots."

"Hello Jeannie," the Hungarian photographer smiled. "Are you ready to look ravishing in a racing car?"

"If Winston can lift me in and out."

"She's been practicing poses since she got here," Winston shook the hands of both Giorgio and the photographer.

"I'm sorry this coincides with your birthday Jeannie."

"Hey it will keep me out of mischief while Mum and Granddad set my party up," Jeannie grinned.


“Hello Jeannie,” Sandra said as her mother brought her over, “this is an exciting place.”


“A lot going on certainly,” Jeannie said with a smile as she watched Sandra looking up at House.


“Is there something I can help you with, Sandra?”


“I was wondering who else was here – there are so many...  OH!”


Sandra gasped as Winston lifted her up and over his head.  "Now hold on tight," Winston continued as he made sure that he had the disabled young Italian firmly planted on his shoulders.

"It is such a different view from up here," she called out joyfully.

"See he is useful for some things," Jeannie laughed as she looked upwards at Giorgio's daughter.


“Wow – that is amazing.”


“Miss Stone – what brings you here?”


“Hello Jeannie,” Cassandra Stone said as she stood with Rick, Stevie and Capricorn, Leonora looking up at the young girl.


“Hey Leonora - long time no see!”


"What are you doing up there?" the actress’ youngest daughter called up to her friend.

"Having a ride," she laughed back, "what are you doing here?"

"Oh my Dad has this idea for a script set round car racing, and he dragged us all along."



“Cassandra,” Barbara said as she kissed her friend, “how are things going?  We saw Elly singing the song she did for your film last Saturday.”


“Yeah – she did a good job on that one...”


"Elly is also composing the background music as well," Rick turned his attention to the conversation.

"Well she did play cello and violin with the Youth Orchestra, as well as her rapping." Abigail walked over to join the chat.

"Congratulations on SNL Abby," Cassie kissed her.

"Well you were better when you hosted,"


"But we all had fun, and the reviews weren't too bad."

"So where is your mother Abs?" Rick asked.

"Ferrying Frieda's parents round, Frieda had her baby a little early."


“She did?  Boy or a girl?”


“A girl – Pauline Maria, after the two grandmothers.”


“That’s nice...”


5 pm

The RCM Hospitality Suite


“I must say George, everything does look wonderful.”


“I am glad you think so Shirley,” George said as they looked round the room.  “We have security discretely set up, but Tanera has been the real powerhouse down here.”


“Good evening Miss Xavier,” Tanera said as she walked over, “I hope everything is to your satisfaction?”


“Very much so Tanera,” Shirley said as she greeted the young woman.  “The packs are prepared and ready?”


“Indeed Ma...  Miss Xavier – we merely await the Lerrabella items.”


“Can’t fault what you’ve done,” Susan said as she and Penny came over.


“Ah Shirley – you made it safely then.”


“I did indeed,” Shirley said as she saw Juliette walk in.  With her was a young woman, wearing a sleeveless blouse and shorts, her dark hair pulled back in a ponytail.  “When did you get here?”


“In time for the fun yesterday – I presume you have heard the news about Pussy and Frieda?”


“Indeed,” Shirley said as the young woman looked round.  “Working trip?”


“In a way – I got a call this morning to meet someone, and I thought you may like to meet her.  Martina?”


“Yes Miss Huntingdown,” the dark haired woman said in a voice with a slight accent as she came over.


“Martina, this is my good friend Shirley Xavier.”


“Of Xavier International?  An honour,” Martina said as they shook hands.


"Shirley can I introduce Martina Jayes," Juliette made the introduction, "I believe you both have ancestors who knew each other."

“We do?”


"Oh yes - HE was my great, great uncle," the New Zealand girl smiled as Shirley suddenly realised what her name indicated.


"Oh dear lord,” Shirley whispered, “I wasn't aware he had any relatives."

"He had a brother who emigrated to New Zealand and lived in Auckland."

"Well I learn something fresh every day."

Juliette smiled.  "My publisher has asked Martina to help research my book on my aunts cases."

"I work in the New York office,” Martina said, “and this is kind of a big deal for me, both personally and career wise."

"Someone at the publishers noted the Jayes surname was cropping up in the notes I sent them."

"And as I was on vacation down here I thought what better time to introduce myself to Juliette."

"Well it's lovely to meet you Martina." Shirley smiled.  “I hope we get the chance to talk more when I am in New York.”


“I’d look forward to that.”


“Did I hear,” Juliette said, “that Augie has had to rope in some help from the younger Sinners?”


“Oh yes – Pippa and Grace are helping them right now...”




"Oh this takes me back," Grace looked in the mirror to check that Poppy's hair and makeup was fine for Augie's approval. "Do you remember things like working the Ideal Home Exhibition when we were still young kids Pip?"

"Uggh don't remind me Gray," Pippa chuckled as she worked on Sarah's hair. "We thought at the time it made us such hotshot models."

"Now, Poppy, if he likes this I’ll do it again for your appearances." Grace fluffed up the youngsters hair.

"I think we will look brilliant," Doc said as she slipped her shoes on.

"PTA will collectively have a fit though at you doing promotions work Doc." Grace looked happy with Poppy's look.

"I know, but I'm getting paid, and I'm not going to be bored at least.  Besides, I’m not one of the sisters."


“Yet,” Pippa said as Sarah stood up.

"Did Blair say she was dropping by?" Pippa asked.

"Yes so we don't look totally dumb, and so we can answer at least easy questions about Torware."

"Well when Augie approves, come back here and we get this all off and you can go relax in the pool and she can talk to you there."


“Come on girls – like this,” Doc said as she opened the door, the trio sashaying off as Grace and Pippa looked on.


“You know,” Grace said, “some of the girls were asking how long it would be before Missy calls to ask you about Poppy?”


“Modelling?  You know she wants to be a doctor,” Pippa said, “and before you start quoting Doc and Karen at me, if she wants to do it, I’ll support her.  I just don’t think she wants to follow in my footsteps.”



5 pm

Complete Style


“Ah there ye are Alexis,” Mary Thomas said as she came into the editorial area, “all quiet?”


“So far so good – but hold that thought,” Alexis said as the phone rang.  “Miss Huntingdown’s office, Alexis speaking.”


“Alexis, it’s Juliette - how are things going back there?” Juliette said over the lone as she checked in.


“Oh it’s quiet, nothing that Merlin and I haven’t been able to handle.”


“That is what I like to hear.” Juliette paused. “Alexis I need you to do a job today that will not be easy…”


“Oh?” the assistant sat on the edge of her chair.


“I have had an idea for a story, but it will need photos…”




“He is going to hate it, and he will fight you and resist…he might even bite…”


“Who might bite me?”


“Jack Linklater…and yes I do literally mean he might bite you, but whatever he protests, whatever he says is wrong with him, no matter how he curses and swears, I need him on a plane and down here later today.”


Alexis raised an eyebrow as she looked at Mary, who laughed silently as she scribbled a note.


“Gotcha…Oh and Merlin who is sitting with me says I need ask you for danger money.”


“Tell her Hi,” Ju laughed, “and yes you do this well I will pay you a bonus.”


“Okay – give me an hour and I’ll call back.”  As the call ended, Alexis looked at Mary.


“Jack hates Florida, and he hates cars, so we need to be sneaky.”  Checking her watch, she said “grab your coat – I know where he will be.”



10 pm GMT



“Well, I’m going to bed,” Ama said as she stretched and stood up, “good night Mom.”


“Sleep well,” Caroline said as Ama and Nikki headed up the stairs.


“So, my plans?”


“I’m happy with them all,” Tom said as he sat with Paula, “having a panic room centrally placed is an excellent idea, but two entrances?”


“One from each half of the townhouse - and both deadlock from the inside.  That way, if something happens, you have access wherever you are.”


“Fair point,” Paula said.  “And with the enhanced alarms and sensors, that should provide the additional protection here.  The big question is the country house – but I’ve studied the plans, and we can talk over lunch before the shoot tomorrow.”


Sitting back, Caroline sipped her brandy, before she said “Tom, forgive me if I touch on a sensitive subject before tomorrow.  As preparation for this meeting, I checked your family history as well.  So I know about Martin.  Are you comfortable with the fact we are using that tree as a location?”


“Comfortable, no.  Necessary...  Yes,” Tom said as he held Paula’s hand.  “I’ve let what Martin did be a shadow over us for far too long – and if you and Jo having your picture taken there dispels that shadow, so much the better.”


“Well, we can try and see what happens,” Caroline said with a smile.



6.30 pm

Holiday Inn, Sebring


The side of the pool had been roped off by the hotel staff, and a barbecue set up, as the Saints and Sinners gathered for a poolside party.


A DJ was playing some music, starting with an old Dire Straits number.


We're going on a holiday now
Gonna take a villa, a small chalet
Costa del Magnifico
Yo, cost of living is so low

Yeah, gonna be so neat
Dance to the Euro beat
Yeah, gonna be so cool
Twisting by the, twisting by the
By the pool

We're twisting by the pool
We're twisting by the pool
Twisting, twisting by the pool

Sitting in a small cafe now
Swing, swing, swingin' to the cabaret
You wanna see a movie, take in a show now
Meet new people at the disco

Yeah, gonna be so neat
Dance to the Euro beat
Yeah, gonna be so cool
Twisting by the, we're twisting by the
By the pool

Twisting by the pool
Twisting by the pool
Yeah, twisting, twisting by the pool

And we can still get information
Reading all about inflation
And you're never gonna be out of reach
There's a call-box on the beach

So one, a two
A one, a two, a three

We're just twisting by the pool
And we're twisting by the pool
You got me twisting by the pool
Yeah, twisting, twisting by the pool

You're gonna look so cute
Sunglasses and bathing suites
Be the baby of my dreams
Like the ladies in the magazine

Yeah, gonna be so neat
Dance to the Euro beat
Oh yeah, gonna be so cool
Twisting by the, we're just twisting by the
Oh, by the pool, twisting by the pool

I'm a twisting fool
Just twisting, yeah twisting
Twisting by the pool

Everybody got to do the twisting by the pool
And we're twisting by the pool
You got me twisting by the pool
Oh, twisting, twisting by the pool

And we're twisting by the pool
You got me twisting by the pool
Oh, twisting, twisting by the pool

Everybody got to do the twisting by the pool
And we're twisting by the pool
You got me twisting by the pool
Oh, twisting, twisting by the pool

Look here

Come on and twisting by the pool
I'm twisting fool
Come and do the twisting by the pool
Twisting, twisting by the pool



“Dance mama!”


Carina smiled as Judith and Jennifer danced by the table, Annie sitting with a large glass of iced water as she watched them with Orlanda.


“So how are the happy moms?”


“Pussy should be coming in later – Frieda’s parents almost had to force her out of the room according to Diana.”


“Well, I remember how it felt when I first saw Judith.”


“I can tell you for free,” Karen said as she passed by, “she could not take her eyes off Frieda as she gave birth, and then she looked at Pauline, and she started crying.”


“That is not true – something got in my eye.”


“Hey there,” Cari said as she hugged Pussy, “how are you feeling now?”


“Better for some sleep,” the red head said.  “Mom and Dad are bringing Frieda’s parents over in a little while.”


“I need to go and change,” Cari said as she stood up.  “You stay here, okay baby?”


“Yes mama,” Judith said with a smile.





“Okay – I don’t really think you need to know any more than that,” Blair said as she sat at a table with Poppy, Sarah and Doc.  “Don’t be afraid to admit if you don’t know anything, and point them in the direction of Dad or take their business card.”


“So essentially, smile, be polite and hand out the promotional material?”


“That’s right – Jeannie will be there for Lerrabella, and I think Shirley has lined two others up as well.”


“Well, it will pass the time,” Sarah said with a smile as H, Chet and George came over.  “And where were you boys all afternoon?”


“Helping paint a car,” George said, “is Katy out yet?”


“Not yet – give her time,” Poppy said with a smile.




"If this turns into a bikini show I'm SUNK!" Sands pouted, "I still really have nothing."

"Darling, you are still just about only 13 years old - give them time," Heather said as she put her arm round her charge, "and besides think just how Annie would look today in a bikini?"

"True," Sands smiled, "but still Katy gets all those looks..."

"And this from the girl who till recently thought all boys were yucky?"

"I know," Sands smiled shyly, "but I'd still like something a little up top."

"Well I hate to be a Cassandra, but Abby was still all but flat-chested when she was nearly 16," her mother called out.

"That was not reassuring lover," Heather shot Sandy a glance as she caught Sands again looking at her own chest.






"And H thinks boys look at me like they think I'm a walking wet dream?" Sarah nodded as Katy walked to poolside followed by a small army of young men.

"Katy encourages them," Pepsi sat up and lifted up her sunglasses, "she knows just what every movement she is making does to those poor suckers."

"Here comes competition for her though," Becca laughed as Carina and Holly made an entrance in microscopic pink bikinis.

"Oh God, that boy - his jaw just practically hit the ground," Bobbi Morse spoke from where she was sitting next to her sister.

"I'm not sure the world wasn't better off when they were enemies," Judy shook her head, as the two petite blondes turned and laughed as they blew a kiss towards the young men.


"I'm not even trying to compete," Blair sat down in her one-piece, "far too many hot chicks here to tempt me to put my body on display for comparison."

"Well your aunt and Nessa Richmond aren't backing down..." Doc looked over.

"They aren't?"  Blair looked over as Paulie and Nessa appeared in gold brief bikini tops and hot pants.

"Oh my God," Poppy shook her head, “their age and they still look that hot in bikinis?"

"Dear Lord," Blair shook her head, "Oh and worse look at my Mom?"

"Damn she has such a great body," the words came out of Doc's mouth involuntarily.


“I see the burlesque lessons are still doing her good,” Pussy said with a smile.



“Are you enjoying yourself,” Jeannie said as she wheeled herself over to join Sandra.


“It’s certainly different,” Sandra said as she sat in her sundress, “but I’d really love to dance.”


“It’s a bit crowded out there though... HEY!”


Jeannie laughed as House lifted her onto one shoulder, before he looked at Giorgio smiling.


“Allow me,” he said as he took a photo, and then looked at his daughter.


“Alley oop!”


Sandra giggled as Winston managed to lift her onto his other shoulder, both her and Jeannie putting their arms round his neck.


"Now you on one shoulder darling, and Jeannie on the other," Giorgio looked through his lens. "Are they okay up there Winston?"

"Yeah," the footballer smiled as the Italian snapped some photos.





"Did you see Winston balancing Jeannie and the Mancini girl on his shoulders?" Gus asked Augie.

"I did...he is certainly a big, powerful, young man.  So, the happy grandparents?"


“Paulie is ecstatic, Pussy is calming down – and here come Frieda’s parents now...”





“Wow – thanks,” Sandra said as Giorgio put her in her chair, and House lifted Jeannie into hers.


“Well, looks like the party is well under way!”


"Hey Letty you made it," Jeannie said as she lifted her head to meet her friends kiss.  "You know Winston of course."

"I do," Letty smiled, “and Jason this is Winston Brewster IV, aka The House...House meet Jason."

"I see you made Second team All-American Winston?" Jason smiled.

"Well we had a good year, the other guys made people like me and McCaffrey look good."

"Jason plays basketball at Cornell..."

"Where I averaged a measly 2.2 points per game in the past season," he laughed.

"Still you played, a lot of freshman don't even get on the court."





“All right – the party can officially begin!”


“And suddenly, the missing piece falls into place,” Abby said as she hugged Ally and Nell Rochermann.  “How quiet was it at the Hamptons?”


“Very quiet – but how could we refuse the chance to come down here for a weekend of fun,” Ally said as she looked round.  “Wow – I see Tracey van Roon is still working out.”


“I was going to say – you two seem to be positively over dressed,” Cari said as she came over, looking at the small but still tight bikinis the twins were wearing.


“I know – but how do you compete with either end of the market at the moment,” Nell said as she looked at Katy and Nessa.  “Hey – who’s the kid with Katy?  I don’t think I’ve seen her around before.”


“That’s Bev – an English cousin of hers.  She came over for a visit and got roped into helping out with the pit crew.”


“Really?  She’s very mature for a thirteen year old,” Ally said.


“And Katy isn’t?”


“All right – it must run in the family,” Nell said with a laugh.





“Hey – enjoying yourself,” Pepsi said as she handed Bev a drink.


“I am actually – it’s much hotter than I’m used to, but then I’m from the UK,” Bev said as she took the glass.  She was wearing a pair of denim shorts, but also had a blue bikini top on.


“Listen,” Pepsi whispered, “Katherine told me who you were.  I just wanted to say thanks for keeping an eye on Katy for all of us.”


“Not a problem,” Bev said with a smile.  “she certainly seems to be enjoying herself.”


“Why do I always feel like Mom when I see her doing that,” Pepsi said as she watched Katy dancing close to George – very close.


“Because you’re a good friend,” Bev said with a smile as she looked round.  Everyone seemed happy, talking in small groups, or just watching the party from inside the ropes...


Or maybe not just from inside the ropes...


As she looked at the main bar, Bev saw someone watching the kids dancing, and he seemed to be watching Katy in particular.  He was in his late twenties, wearing an open necked shirt with short sleeves and khaki shorts, as well as a pair of flip-flops.  Taking out her mobile phone, she started to take some photographs of the dancers, and then slowly moved it round, taking more pictures of the others until she saw the man.  He had walked towards the roped off area, and was watching Katy intently.


“So are you the guy,” Bev said to herself as she snapped some pictures of him, before he turned and looked directly at Bev.  She managed to take one picture before he walked quickly off, Bev nodding as she put her phone away.


“Have you seen Susan Walker anywhere Pepsi?”


“I think she was meeting with the team in the room for tomorrow and Saturday – why?”


“Just curious as to why she wasn’t here – can you keep an eye on Katy for a few minutes?”


“Why – what’s wrong?”


“Nothing - just need to go to the rest room,” Bev said as she walked quickly off.  As she left the area, the DJ started to play another song, all the girls getting up and dancing to it.


I said a hey, hey, hey, hey, yeah
(I said a hey, hey, hey, hey, yeah)
I said a hey, a hey, hey, yeah
(I said a hey, a hey, hey, yeah)
A come on everybody take a trip with me
Down the Mississippi down to New Orleans

They got a honeysuckel growing on a honeysuckel vine
And a love is a blooming there all the time
Well every southern bell is a Mississippi queen
Down the Mississippi down to New Orleans

I said a hey, hey, hey, hey, yeah
(I said a hey, hey, hey, hey, yeah)
I said a hey, hey, hey, yeah
(I said a hey, hey, hey, yeah)

A come on take a stroll down to Basin street
Listin to the music with that dixieland beat
Well the magnolia blossems fill the air
You ain't been to heaven till you been down there
They got ten vines hanging from a peacock tree
Get outta here Jimmy Vaughan take it

I said a hey, hey, hey, hey, yeah
(I said a hey, hey, hey, hey, yeah)
I said a hey, hey, hey, yeah
(I said a hey, hey, hey, yeah)

Come on everybody take a trip with me
Down the Mississippi down to New Orleans
Well a honeysuckel hanging on a honeysuckel vine
Well love is a blooming there all the time
Every southern bell is a Mississippi queen
Down the Mississippi down to New Orleans

Yeah, yeah, yeah
(Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)

Come on take a stroll down to Basin street
Listen to the music with the dixieland beat
The magnolia blossems fill the air
Ya ain't been to heaven till ya been down there
Honeysuckel hanging from a hollow tree
Down the Mississippi down to New Orleans

Hey, hey, hey, yeah
(Hey, hey, hey, yeah)
I said a look out John hey, yeah, yeah
( I said a look out John hey, yeah, yeah)



“Well, I think the plans are complete now,” Shirley said as she leaned forward.  “Pepsi and Becca were more than willing to act as representatives for us and Roy on Saturday, and Penny will take them tomorrow to get outfitted.  George?”


“Security is in place – discrete of course, but we also have CCTV set up and monitoring the room at your request.  Local security will take care of that for us.  We’ll be checking invites as people come in.”


“Good – Tanera?”


“The catering staff have all been vetted – they will arrive at six tomorrow for the cocktail party, and the first shift for Saturday at six.”


“Good to hear,” Susan said with a smile as she looked to the door, and saw Bev looking in.  “Unless there is anything else, I think we are finished here.  Tanera, would you give us a few moments?  Company business I need to discuss with the others.”


“Of course,” Tanera said as she stood up, George standing as well.


“No – can you hang around for a moment George?  We may need your input.”


As he raised an eyebrow, and sat back down, Tanera left by one door as Bev came in the other.  “My apologies if I am interrupting, Madame,” she said as she came in.


“Not at all – you showed due discretion,” Shirley said as she looked over, “and I suspect you would not have come if it were not important.”


“Bev?  That is a different look for you.”


“Thanks George – I think.  Did Dom tell you I was going to be here?”


“She guessed you would be – this is to do with Katy Carter, right?”


“Yeah – we hoped whoever was stalking her might have stayed in NY, but I think our hopes just got dashed.”  She took her mobile phone out and passed it round the four older people.


“Okay,” Susan said quietly, “forward this to the NY office, tell them we need a name as soon as humanly possible.  In the meantime – George?”


“Send it to me as well – I’ll make sure the right people are notified.  Meanwhile, Katy is going to be in the garage all day tomorrow and Saturday, so we have time to put anything else in place that may be needed for Sunday.”


“Do I let Jan or Katherine know?”


“Not at this stage – they have enough to think about,” Shirley said, “but keep close to her in the meantime.  Good work Bev – remain alert, we’ll let you know what we find out.”


“Right,” Penny said as she stood up, “I’ll walk back down with you Bev – bikinis and I tend not to get on well, so I’m coming as I am.”


“Okay – coming to you now George, then I’ll send it on,” Bev said, George taking his phone out and nodding as Penny and Bev walked out.


“I’ll let the others know – looks like he is a bit wet behind the ears, but you can never tell these days,” he said as he got up and walked out.




As she rejoined the party, Bev looked round and noticed something had changed.


“Hey Katy,” she said as she walked over, “So where have all the guys suddenly gone?"

"To do the one thing could distract from so many beautiful girls...”  Katy looked over to where a group were huddled round The House.  “Winston is talking about what it was like to play in the Rose Bowl."


“WHAT?  Sheesh, you’d think he was Jamie Vardy or Harry Kane.”


“He’s on the same level in terms of US sport,” Jeannie said as she wheeled herself over.  “Sometimes, you just have to live with it.”


“So looking forward to Sunday,” Pepsi said.


“Yeah – work tomorrow, work Saturday, fun Sunday.  Thank god they postponed the shoot until tomorrow morning, it meant we could get some down time tonight.”


“Tell me about it,” Doc said as the girls gathered together.  “Given I’m working tomorrow morning and all day Saturday.”


“Yeah – Shirley said you, Poppy and Sarah had been co-opted by Torware.”


“Oh – and that was when?”


“While Pepsi and I were being asked to do the same for Shirley and Roy,” Becca said with a smile.  “So we can all suffer together.”


“All right,” Tonia said as she stood up, “stand aside, striplings – let the more mature women show you how it is really done.”


She grabbed Roy’s hand and dragged him onto the dance area, Heather grabbing Pussy as the floor slowly filled up with the slightly older generation.


“Work it!” Jeannie called out as Juliette and Diana looked on.


“Two weeks, and it will be you,” Diana said with a smile.


“Two weeks, and Abby will know what she is going to be doing next year,” Juliette said back.


“Indeed – Father and Valeria shared some of their plans for her birthday when I spoke to them to give them the news about Frieda.  Apparently Gus has asked Alex to do the christening while we are over there.”


“It makes sense – Paul, Maria, join me please.  Juliette, may I present Count and Countess von Melz, Frieda’s parents.  Paul and Maria, this is my friend Juliette Huntingdown.”


“A pleasure,” Juliette said as she shook Paul’s hand and kissed Maria, “how is your daughter?”


“Tired and proud – the hospital says she can be released tomorrow, so she will join us here with Pauline for the rest of the weekend.”


“I have seen your articles in the British version of Complete Style,” Maria said, “and I understand your own wedding is upcoming?”


“Indeed – two weeks time in Munich.”




“Very much so...”


As her cell phone went off, Juliette said “excuse me a minute,” and walked to the side.


“Alexis?  Did you manage it?


“I imagined he would not like it – what did you promise him?


“Okay – I can arrange that when we’re in Germany.  So when does he land?


“No – I’ll pick him up.  Well done.”


“A new arrival?”


“Oh yes,” Juliette said with a smile, “Florida look out - Jack is back in town...”



As Shirley and Susan came down, they saw the girls dancing, and made their way to the other tables.  As Susan went to Clint, Shirley went to where some of the ladies were sitting.


“Ah there you are,” Claire Morse said, “have a drink.  You are off the clock for the rest of the night.”


"Where is John Shirley?" Tracey asked.

"Honestly?  He's shooting Niki Lauda, Mario Andretti, and Henri Marais for his new book."

"Three true legends," Tonia said as she sipped her drink.

"Yes, John is doing a book of portraits of sporting heroes after they have retired."

"Well put me down for a signed copy when it comes out."

"Who else has he shot and who does he have plans to photograph Shirley?" Kelly Rochermann joined the group.

"Oh I know Bobby Charlton, the old England footballer is one, Joe Namath I heard he takes next week, oh I think its about 50 old stars in all."

"Well I'm just glad he's not asked me," Winston laughed.

"Oh and why?" Shirley asked curiously.

"Because it would mean my career is over and not really just getting started."

"Oh point taken." Shirley laughed lightly.


“Where did Juliette go off to?  She grabbed Grace and ran.”


“She said she had to pick Jack Linklater up.  Apparently he’s come down at short notice for something.”





"Did I see you fraternizing with the enemy darling?" Heather asked Sands.


"I saw you dancing with Steve Clayton."

"Oh yes then I was." Sands giggled.

"You do know his father is one of our principal rivals don't you?" Sandy smiled at her daughter.

"Yes, but Steve is such a nut bar, he's fun to hang out with."

"He's insane," Capricorn sipped her 7Up. "That boy will do anything to get a laugh," she giggled, "but I agree with Sands he's fun to hang out with."

"It sounds like you all had a good time then." Heather remarked.

"We did," Sands sipped her drink, "and he was awfully good including Leonora and Sandra in things."

"Yes I saw he had them roaring with laughter."


“Anyway, what was that saying we learned in Civics -  keep your friends close and your enemies closer?”





“Juliette, my love, you know how I feel about this area of the country,” Jack Linklater said as they walked into the bar, “if it was anyone else other than you, I would have flat refused.”


“Well, you didn’t,” Juliette said as she and Grace sat either side of him, “how many drinks did it take?”


“A couple, and the threat of Mary Thomas taking me to the Eisteddfod next year.  That just reminded me of when Fiona took me to a Highland Fling – and I was the one who got flung!”


“What will it be Sir,” the barman said.   Jack looked along the bar and said “Laphroaig – straight up, and make it a large one.”


“Leave the bottle,” Grace said to the barman as he poured the amber liquid into a glass, “he’ll thank you for it.”


Jack lifted the glass, looked at it for a moment, and then raised the glass.  “Gianni,” he said quietly, before he drained the glass and indicated for it to be refilled.


“Have you been back here since...”


“Grace, darling,” Jack said, “just as you did your vanishing act, so Florida has been expunged from my life and soul ever since...  Well...”


“What was he like?  I never really had the chance to walk for him?”


“Gianni?  Oh he was the life and soul of any party,” Jack said with a small smile.  “He was a man who knew how to live life, and live it to the fullest extent.  I first met him – oh lord, it must have been about 1978, just after his first collection and the first Versace boutique opened.


“I was in Milan to do a shoot, and he happened to be in the same studio block, so he came to watch.  It was a privilege and an education to meet him – and I really got to know him over the next few years.”


Taking another drink, he looked round and smiled.  “You’d never find him in a place like this though – only the best for him.  When he hooked up with Antonio, they had the most amazing parties at his house – so whenever they were in Miami, and I was free, I’d go and pay my respects.”


“I can imagine what they must have been like,” Grace said.


“Ay well lass – there may have been drugs there for all I know, but I was there for the men.  Let’s just say the word Bacchalian would underestimate the extravagance at his weekend affairs.  Mind you, when the retrovirus became known about, and we realised just what it was doing to our friends, he was the first to tone things down and help those he could.”


“It’s funny we never heard about that side of him,” Juliette said as Jack refilled his glass.


“Well, he had his private side as well.”  Looking at the glass, he drained it again, Juliette and Grace looking at each other as he refilled it.  “You know I was in Miami when he was killed?”


The two women shook their heads as Jack smiled.  “Well, why would you – you were making your name as a writer Ju, and you had disappeared.  I’d come down to do a bikini shoot in Miami, and let Gianni know I would be in town.  He’d just had the treatment for his own black spot, and he was a little under the weather when we met for dinner with Antonio and Marcus.”




“Jack’s apprentice at the time,” Ju said to Grace, “where did he go in the end?”


“He works for one of the film houses – stills and the like.  Nice boy, but never able to get the hang of composition.  Anyway, we had dinner, we talked, we drank, we laughed, and it ended up that we agreed I would call at his house on the 16th for lunch.  Then, for the first time in Lord above knows how long, he decides to go and get his own coffee and paper, and...”


Jack drained his glass again as he looked round.  “You both came back – he never...  Never...”


As he started to cry, Juliette saw John walk in.


“I heard he had arrived,” he said quietly, “let me talk to him.  I’ll make sure he’s good for whatever you’ve got planned for the morning.”


“Thanks John,” Juliette said as she and Grace walked out of the bar...



“Cassie – come over here a minute will you?”


“Sure Sandy,” Cassandra Stone said as she walked to where Sandy was standing with a tall, dark haired man.


"Cassie meet Stev Clayton, Stev meet Cassandra Stone."

"I'm a fan," he said as he kissed the actresses hand.  “When Sandy here mentioned you were at the party, I asked if we could be introduced.”

"Stev, that's an unusual name," Cassie observed.

"It's a shortened name, Officially I'm Stephen Clayton the Fourth."

"It was his son Steve, who was making the girls laugh earlier," Sandy looked at the guy.

"He's Stephen the Fifth."

"Wow," Cassie shook her head, "no wonder you change the names slightly, that many of you."

"It's what the van Roon's do as well Cassie, hence Gus and Augie from Augustus."

"That is true," Stev smiled.

"So how is your car running Stev?"

"Atrociously! and yours?"

"We aren't even sure why we came to Florida it's so bad."

"Alright what is going on?" Cassie looked from one driver to the other, "I saw both of your cars going incredibly."


“Just jesting each other,” Sandy said.  “Saturday it’s completely serious.”


“Once you get the announcement out of the way tomorrow,” Stev said.


“Oyah – don’t remind me...”


“Excuse me, I hear the sound of a wife calling,” Stev said as he walked off.


“Nice bloke.”


“Yeah he is Cass – unless he’s behind the wheel of his car.”


“So I take it he’s not New York based?”


“Oh no – the Claytons are Pittsburgh people, an old US Steel, Bessemer Trust, family."

"Oh Carnegie's cronies."

"Exactly, they made a huge fortune back when the US was the world’s biggest steel producer."


“So not short of a rouble or two.”


“No – they diversified and survived the crash.  Anyway – I need to get to bed.  Long day tomorrow...”



Friday 18th March

9.30 am GMT



Ama and Nikki looked at each other, trying not to laugh as Jo started to sing what sounded like a traditional song.


“In Dublin's fair city, where the girls have big titties
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly's Melons 
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow 
Crying cocks and muscles alive a-live O! 

A-live a-live O! A-live a-live O! 
Crying cocks and muscles alive a-live O!” 


"That is disgusting JO!" Caroline shook her head. "Who made that up?"


"Well Curt taught it to me, but he learned it at his fraternity, so I suppose it’s old."


“Curt’s not THAT old!”


“Oh it’s all in good fun,” Paula said as she looked round.


"I'm trying to remember some filthy verses called the 'London Derriere', Eve smiled, “a girl in school taught me."


"And they say men have dirty minds," her father laughed from the driver’s seat. "Fancy bastardizing Danny Boy..."


"Oh no, just the melody Daddy.  Let’s see if I can remember."  She closed her eyes and started to sing in a soft voice...


“I watch you walk upon the streets of London.
Your mini-skirt stretched tight, and looking sweet.
I watch you walk, and walk into a lamppost
I didn't see upon the London street.

“So turn your back, and wiggle softly from me!
With mini-skirt, (perhaps, no underwear!)
Your legs are great! But, by the Gods above me!
I watch your wondrous London derriere!


“The Paris girls are wonders full of beauty,
And California grows the Long-stemmed L.A. rose,
Berlin nights are full of life, and lovely,
But London girls don’t wear no panty-hose!

“So turn your back, and wiggle softly from me!
And let me watch, and dream a dream so rare:
In my hotel, you naked there above me.
Sit on my face with your London derriere!”


The car started laughing as Ama said, “It reminds me of a song by Monty Python, how did it go again...”




The car looked at Caroline, as she said “perhaps we can save that for another time Ama.”


“Only if you can come up with an alternative.”


“Oh lord,” Caroline said as she looked round.  “All right – but don’t blame me for this.  Especially as we’re in Ireland.”


“Blame you for what,” John asked.




“My, my, at the curry house my stomach did surrender
Oh yeah, and now I've met my dinner meal in quite a similar way
The latch on the door it was week
That stuff in the loo starts to reek

“Vindaloo - I was defeated, you won the war
Vindaloo - Now I'll barf for ever more
Vindaloo - Couldn't escape if I wanted to
Vindaloo - Knowing my crap will be full of you
Vindaloo - Finally facing my Vindaloo

“My, my, I tried to hold you back but you were stronger
Oh yeah, and now it seems my only chance is giving up the fight
And how could I ever refuse
I feel like I win when I lose

“Vindaloo - I was defeated, you won the war
Vindaloo - Now I'll barf for ever more
Vindaloo - Couldn't escape if I wanted to
Vindaloo - Knowing my crap will be full of you
Vindaloo - Finally facing my Vindaloo

“So how could I ever refuse
I feel like I win when I lose - 

“Vindaloo - Couldn't escape if I wanted to
Vindaloo - Knowing my fate is to be with you
Vindaloo - Finally facing my Vindaloo”


“I had to ask,” John said as he finally stopped laughing.


“What is this Vindaloo,” Nikki asked.


“I’ll tell you later,” Caroline said as Paula started singing


“Day-o, Day-o
Players they come and they take me home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Players come and they wanna me to go


“Wore a skirt that bare covered me bum
Players come and they take me home
Blouse so tight my buttons all pop
Players come and they wanna me to go


“Come, Mister player man, play now with my butt cheeks
Players come and they take me home
Come, Mister player man, come and make me feel sweet
Players come and they wanna me to go


“Show six inch, seven inch, eight inch long
Players come and they take me home
Six inch, seven inch, eight inch long
Players come and they wanna me to go


“Day, me say day-o
Players come and they take me home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Players come and they wanna me to go


“A big strong man to take me all now
Players come and they take me home
Don’t keep your man from my vagina
Players come and they wanna me to go


“Show six inch, seven inch, eight inch long
Players come and they take me home
Six inch, seven inch, eight inch long
Players come and they wanna me to go


“Day, me say day-o
Players come and they take me home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Players come and they wanna me to go


“Come, Mister player man, play with my butt cheeks
Players come and they take me home
Come, Mister player man, come and make me feel sweet
Players come and they wanna me to go


“Day-o, day-o
Players come and they take me home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Players come and they wanna me to go”




“Ah the hockey field,” Paula said with a smile as they drove down the road...



Noon GMT

Lardarn House


“April Broadhurst will need to add this to the list of places to visit,” Caroline said as she looked over the immaculately laid out grounds.


“Now we met her when we were over last year – she’s the florist and landscape designer, right?”


“That’s right,” Caroline said as she was handed a white jumper.  “So what do you call this part of the gardens?”


“They call this the Bridge of Tears Caroline,” Paula watched as the model carefully pulled the pullover on.


Caroline looked over and said “Another place of Gauntian horror?”


“Just for once no…it’s called that because the cascade that John Wills laid out when he designed this part of the park reminded the then Earl’s wife of a little row of tears as it dropped into the lake.”


“Well it is a beautiful spot,” Caroline stood patiently still whilst the makeup girl redid her face.


“Who was John Wills?” Jo asked as she awaited her turn.


“He was the landscape designer who created all this and a lot more of Ireland’s great gardens Jo.”


“I’ve never heard of him.”


“Well that’s because our Irish great estates are not nearly as well known as those in England. Wills had worked for William Kent and that was where he learnt his craft.”


“The same as Capability Brown…”


“Now how did you know that Caroline?” Alice asked as she checked the models.


“I don’t know,” Caroline smiled, “it must be a piece of trivia I picked up from somewhere.”


“Well you are quite right Caroline, Wills was the leading disciple of Kent to work here in Ireland.” Paula smiled back.


“Well Alice, Mandy, how do we look?” Jo asked.


“Wonderful – now go over and let Kevin work his magic.


As they walked over, Paula looked over to where her own family were standing, talking to Ama and Nikki as well as some of the locals who had come to watch.


“Wonderful,” Kevin said, “let’s go to work girls.”







“Give me some longer lines please Caroline,” Kevin Ryan hopped from spot to spot as he took pictures.


“Like this?” Caroline extended her leg and lifted her chin, the cardigan fastened round her with the matching belt.


“Perfect.”  He continued to take shots as he walked round the tall blonde.


“This isn’t what I imagined a photo-shoot would be like at all.” Eve said as she stood by Jo, while the younger model awaited her turn.


“Yeah, it’s a lot of hard work,” Jo said, “and out of every 50 frames he shoots he might get one that Alice will eventually approve for use in the advertising.”




“So is that the girl with the boyfriend of the month club?” Jo nodded to a brunette with lustrous hair standing in the crowd watching.


“It is…and how could you tell?”


“I know the type,” Jo giggled, “just a little bit overdone…too much makeup, those jeans are a size too small, and she looks and smiles at every man.”


“Well yes that is what my brother considers to be the love of his life.”


“Well I hate to tell him,” Jo said, “but her type loses her looks quickly. Now The Knight, she will stay a beauty all her life.”


“Yeah – but tell him that...”


“Hello Arabella,” John said as he walked to where she was standing in the crowd, “I’m so glad you could come and watch today.”


“Well I had nothing really better to do,” she said in a deep voice, John totally failing to pick up on the tone in her voice.  “So that is Jo Smith and Caroline Jameson – they don’t look that beautiful to me.”


“Oh I don’t know – they have an ethereal beauty about them.”


“Always the poet, John Gaunt.”


“Well, if I only had words to describe...”


“Hello Arabella – I see you managed to make it here today.”


“Christine,” the brunette said quietly, “what an unexpected pleasure.”


“So would you like to join us for lunch, Arabella?  We’re having a buffet for the crew and everyone else.”


“Oh yes, do please join us,” Kit said with a fixed smile, “I am so sure the girls will be delighted to see you.”  She looked at the hangdog expression on John, and quietly shook her head.


“Well, if you insist, how could I refuse,” Arabella said.


“WONDERFUL!  I’ll let them know,” John said as he walked quickly off.


“If you even think of hurting him,” Christine whispered under her breath.


“Oh relax – I’m just having some fun,” Arabella said with a smile, the blonde swearing quietly under her breath as she looked at John.




8 am

Holiday Inn, Sebring


“Well, if you’re going to have a party, that’s one way to have it,” Jeannie said as she, Barbara and John made their way to the restaurant for breakfast.


“True – but you have a busy day today, so it is best to...”


The three of them stopped as they looked at one of the tables, and the four women sat round it.  The small blonde girl smiled as she looked through her glasses, and said “hello Jeannie darling – I see you are the first to really surface.”


“Kyles?  Nobody said you were coming!”


“Well,” Catherine said as she put her glass of orange juice down, “that is possibly because nobody knew.  As it was, we found none of us had any commitments that could not be re-arranged between today and Tuesday, so we booked the flights and accommodation.”


“I suspect you will not be the only ones that are surprised – good morning Winston.”


“Marina?  This is an unexpected pleasure.  Perhaps we can take the table next to you?”


“Please,” Helen said as she helped Marina to move the table over.  All four women were wearing short sleeved blouses and shorts, Kylie smiling as she said “I wanted to thank you for the present, by the way.  I was not even aware the girls knew when my birthday was.”


“Well, Alice told me,” Jeannie said, “but I’m glad you liked it.  I figured you would appreciate the designs.”


“So where is everyone else,” Marina asked.


“Well, we had rather a good party last night,” Jeannie sad with a grin, “and there was a little bit of a celebration.”


“Oh – what for?”


“Frieda van Roon had a baby girl in the early hours of yesterday morning,” Barbara said, “she should be coming back here today?”


“A baby girl?  How wonderful,” Kylie said with a smile as Janine came out with Juliette.


“Marina?  You should have said you were going to be here!”


“Ah, for that I apologise,” Catherine said as she greeted Juliette.  “I hope we will be able to attend the hospitality tomorrow?”


“We’ll get all of you in tonight and tomorrow – there’s a special ceremony today to unveil the new sponsorship deal for RCM racing by Lerrabella, and a cocktail party tonight.


“Shirley, John – we have unexpected guests.”


“Hello Catherine,” Shirley said as she greeted the young Chinese woman, “I’ll get Tanera to add you all to the lists.”


“How was Jack when you left him,” Juliette whispered to John.


“He’ll be fine – he just needs to sleep it off.  So why did you get him to come down?”


“I’ll explain later,” Juliette said with a smile.


“So is it easier to ask who is not here than who is, darling,” Kylie drawled.


“Well, Angel arrived late last night, but essentially everyone who is not in Ireland is here – except Maisha.  She’s back in London, right Shirley.”


“Yes she is – she has some exams upcoming, so she wanted the time to revise.”

"Oh I have something to show you Kyles?" Jeannie smiled as she reached for her mobile, "Jo just sent me these a few minutes ago."

"She sent you what darling?" Kylie's mouth opened wide as she looked, "Oh dear Goddess she never told me she was having those made?"

"What made?" Marina asked.

"Do you remember those extra long Arran cardigans – the ones that I was playing round with drawing a few months back?"


"Well,” Kylie said as she handed Marina the phone, “look darling."

"Oh my God, now they are VERY special," Marina shook her head.

"Let me see," Catherine asked.

"Oh I must buy myself one of those," Helen said as she looked over Catherine's shoulder.

"Oh me too," Juliette looked.

"So flattering," Shirley approved.

"Well just on the opinion in this room Kylie you have a hit Kyles." Jeannie grinned.


“Kyles?  Okay now I know we are going to have fun!”


“Hello darlings,” the young Londoner said as she greeted Doc, Pepsi and Becca.  “You MUST catch me up on the gossip.”


“Well, there’s the small matter of Katy’s English cousin coming to stay and helping out.”


“Oh?  I did not know she had an English cousin,” Kylie said as she looked at Doc.


“Well, you can meet her now – here come the RCM team,” Pepsi said as Jan and Sandy came in with Sands, George, Katy and Bev.  “Hey guys – look who popped up as a surprise.”


“Catherine – and Helen,” Jan said as she hugged them both, “come to see us make idiots of ourselves?”


“No, I have come to see you do your best,” Catherine said with a smile. 


“Hey Marina, Kylie,” Katy said as she came over and hugged them both, “I want you to meet my British cousin Beverly.  Bev, this is Marina and Kylie – they’re both based in Hong Kong at the moment, but coming to New York in the summer.”


“A pleasure to meet you darling,” Kylie said as she kissed Bev on both cheeks, “so you are young Katherine’s cousin?”


“Yeah – I got sent over for a couple of weeks, and ended up in this mayhem.  So are you studying in Hong Kong?”


“Oh yes – Marina works for Catherine here.  Listen – I think I will go and get some food from the buffet.  Would you care to come with me?”


“Sounds good – you want anything Katy?”


“No I’ll come in a minute,” Katy said as she sat with the older girls, Bev nodding to Jan before she went with Kylie.


“Katy’s British cousin?  Beverly darling what are you doing here?”


“I got hauled over last week,” Bev whispered as they each put some food on a plate, and then found a quiet table.  “Katy went to see Susan, because she thought someone was stalking her.  Susan called Lily, and the next thing I know I’m landing in New York at two in the morning, and acting as Katy’s thirteen year old cousin.”


“I see,” Kylie whispered, “and were her fears justified?”


“Oh yes – and he’s here in Sebring.” 


“Is he indeed?”


Bev took out her mobile phone and showed Kylie the picture.  “Susan’s asked the office to try some facial recognition, and George is keeping his eyes open as well.”


“Then send it to me and Marina – we will keep our eyes open as well,” Kylie said quietly.  “If our help is required, simply ask – I am sure Catherine and Helen will understand.”


“Thanks,” Bev said as she put her phone away.  “So, you’re going to be coming to New York now.”


Kylie nodded.  “Marina was offered a position as a personal assistant to Anna Mitchell, and she accepted, so I will be coming here and attending St Angela’s.”


“Good – you need friends as much as the rest of us Kyles.  Oh – and happy birthday for a few weeks ago.”


“Why thank you –shall we head back before...”


“Before I begin to wonder where you’ve got to?”


Both girls turned to see Marina standing behind them.


“How do you do that,” Bev asked quietly.


“Never mind, darling,” Kylie smiled, “brief Marina, and then we will head back.”




In a quiet corner of the restaurant, John sat down next to a slightly hung-over Jack Linklater.


“Hey – how’s the head this morning?”


"Did I disgrace myself last night?" Jack asked quietly as he sipped the strong coffee.

"Not really,” John said, “but you hopefully did some of the grieving you needed to do when Gianni died."

“I know – but I just shoved it away like so many other things.”  Jack took another drink, before he said, "You and Juliette were good listening to an old drunk like me..."

"Jack we just did what true friends do for each other."

"I know." Jack tried a smile, "but still...Thank you John."

"Did you see the honeymoon pictures Pru has posted, they'll make you laugh."


"Yes," John punched a few buttons on his mobile and showed a picture of the model with her new husband – somewhat lacking in clothing.

"Oh she never posted that on her Facebook page?" Jack's laugh returned.


1 pm GMT

Lardarn Castle


As Kevin started to check the settings for the next shoot, Christine walked round, before she saw Jo talking to one of the assistants.


“Hey Jo – I see you’re hard at work.”


"Hello Kit," Jo said as she embraced the girl, "Come meet Caroline."  She walked her over to where Caroline was talking to Ama and Nikki.


"Caroline,” Jo said, “meet the Knight of the Red Knife, or as she prefers Christine, or Kit, Mahan-Gaunt."

"Hello," Kit extended a hand.

"You are the school friend of Eve's she told me about," Caroline said as they shook hands.

"I am."

"Well it's lovely to meet you.  This is my daughter Ama, and her friend Nikki."

"Hi,” Kit said as she shook their hands as well.  “I just wanted to say it's lovely to meet someone as famous as you, the girls back at school will be cursing my luck."

"Oh I'm not that famous."

"Fly into Heathrow soon,” Catherine said, “your lipstick advertisements are EVERYWHERE."

"Oh dear," Caroline laughed, "I'll need to adopt another persona and wear wigs so I can just have a private life."

"I suppose you might have to." Christine looked around, and then glared at John paying strict attention with a group of other boys to Arabella.

"I take it you don't like her." Caroline whispered.

"How did you guess?"


“Instinct – is she the hated rival?”


“No – just the hated bitch,” Kit whispered quietly.  “Anyway – what are you going to be modelling next?”


“The Arran jumpers, I think...”




“Yeah Bats?”


"Just for a few seconds can you come sit on these fallen stones Caroline? Kevin wants to shoot a couple of test frames."

"On my way Alice."

"There are just so many great places to take pictures here at the old castle." Jo took a sandwich from the tray Aileen was handing round, "and dear Goddess these salmon sandwiches are to die for!"

"They are aren't they?" Aileen smiled happily. "And you know I'm seeing this ruin through completely fresh eyes as I hear everyone talk."

"Aileen aren't you going to introduce me?" the slinky brunette said as she walked over.

"Jo, this is Arabella..."

"I'm an old friend of the family and one of your BIGGEST fans Jo...You don't mind me calling you Jo do you?"




“Good – so can you tell me how you manage to look so wonderful...”


"She is such a two-faced bitch," Kit could not control her rage as she looked on, "just a few minutes ago she was telling me that Jo and Caroline weren't that attractive."

"One day she will get hers." Eve nodded, "that bitch deserves a good thumping."


“Get in line,” Kit whispered quietly...



“How do you do, I’m Arabella,” the brunette said as Caroline came over.


“Pleasure – Jo, you’re up.”


“Time to earn my fees for next year,” Jo said, whispering “thank you” to Caroline as Ama and Nikki walked over.


“I said I’m Arabella?”


“Oh sorry – Caroline Jameson.”


“May I call you Caroline?”


“No – Ama, Nikki, how are you doing?”


“We’re having fun talking to John’s sisters,” Ama said as Arabella looked at her.  “Forgive me – is there something on my face?”


“No – no sorry,” Arabella said as John came over.


“Arabella, I was wondering if we could meet up later – have a chat or something.”


“Oh very well,” Arabella said with what she thought was a sweet smile, “when and where?”


“Eight o’clock by the Hanging Tree?”


“I will see you there,” Arabella said as she walked off, Nikki watching her.


“Friendly, isn’t she?”


Caroline nodded as John walked off as if in a dream.


11 am



The crowds were dressed soberly as they stood in the Green Park, a stage set up at one side with a brass band playing by it.  On the stage Mario Andretti was sat with Nikki Lauda and Henri, as well other drivers.  Jackie Stewart was there, as were past champions of tourist car racing, Formula 1 and other versions of the sport.


A choir were singing on the stage as well, as a number of ministers at with them.  Eventually, one of them came forward and stood at the dais.


“We are gathered today,” he said quietly, “to pay our respects and remember one of the greatest tragedies this sport, and this circuit, have ever known.  Fifty years ago, this circuit, this race, was witness to two crashes.  In one, we lost Bob MacLean, a fine young man who died far too young.  In another, four spectators died when a car spun off the track after an accident.”


Henri put his hand on Mario’s shoulder as the famous driver closed his eyes in prayer.


“Today, we honour and remember Bob MacLean, Willis Edenfield Sr, Willis Edenfield Jr, Mark Edenfield and Patricia Heacock.   We ask you now to join us in a minute’s silence in memory of those five people.”


The crowd fell silent and bowed their heads, the singers after a minute starting to sing Abide with Me.  As the crowd joined in, Mario and Henri started to lead a small procession down to where an area of the green was covered.


As the cover was removed, a brass plaque was revealed, the inscription commemorating the events of 1966 and naming those who had died.  Mario took a wreath from one of the girls standing there, walked forward and laid the wreath by the plague, standing with his head bowed for a minute before he stepped back.


Henri laid a second wreath, and was followed by Jeb Bush and other dignitaries.  “It is good that they are remembered,” Henri whispered to Mario.


“I know,” Mario whispered back, “It is sad that Don Wester could not make it, but I understand the reasons why he felt he could not come.”



As the ceremony continued, in the RMC Garage a different scene was unfolding, as Jeannie was posing by the newly painted racecar, Giorgio watching as Jeff Kovacs took the pictures.


“I have to admit – it looks different,” Jan said as she stood with Katy, Sandy and Jeanne.


“I know – still, at least it is not luminous pink,” Sandy said with a smile.  “And she does look fantastic in that outfit in the car.”


“Whose seat did we put in?”


“Mine,” Jeanne said as House lifted Jeannie out and put her in her chair, wheeling her to put the next outfit on, “it seemed the best fit.”


“When will Henri be back?”


“the ceremony is not meant to last long – so soon.  The official unveiling is two o’clock, correct?”


“Yeah – we’ll go and get changed before that.”



“Alright,” Jack said, “now I’ve sobered up, just what am I here to do Ju?”


“Just take your camera Jack, and go out and patrol the place looking for interesting pictures for me.”


“Not just fashion?”


“No,” Juliette said, “but if you do see women wearing something great remember to get them to sign a model release, and to…”


“Juliette Huntingdown,” Jack smiled as he interrupted, “how many years have I been doing this?”


“I know Jack…Sorry.”


“So what is the premise of your article?”


“I just want to show that racing cars still have that element of glamour, and international glamour at that attached to it, especially in this type of race.”


“As opposed to Bubba and Joelene at Nascar events?”


“Well I wouldn’t quite put it that way, but yes, show how international racing still draws on the International elite, as well as the ordinary enthusiast.”


“Well I can try my best.”


“I know you haven’t done reportage for a while, but you used to be so great at this type of thing.”


“Why thank you Miss Huntingdown.” Jack started unpacking his camera cases. “So anyone you want in particular?”


“Tracey van Roon is looking amazing. Giorgio Mancini and Jeannie. The Olafsson family…”


“The Norwegian oil guy with the stunning wife and daughters?”


“Yes, and well you know the type of person that our reader will recognize in the magazine.”


“Okay, well as I said I can but try.”



5 pm GMT



As the crowd watched from around the town square, Jo and Caroline stood together, looking at a map and then up into the distance as Kevin took his pictures.


“All right,” he said eventually as he looked up, “I think that’s a wrap for today.   Let’s pack up and get back to Lardarn.  We can review the shoot and confirm plans back there.”


As his crew started to pack up, Eve and Christine watched Arabella as she talked to some of the local boys.


“Wonder what she’s planning now?”


“Probably to hang out with them later – it is a Friday night after all.”


“Oh lord yes – Youth Club.”


“And what are you two planning,” Aileen said as she came over.  “Christine, Mum and Dad are inviting you to dinner tonight.”


“I’d love to – are you coming with us John?”


“Yeah – got some things to do at home,” John smiled as he looked at them, Eve shaking her head...




“So, I think it’s gone well so far,” Caroline said as she removed her makeup.


“Yeah – apart from one blot,” Jo said.  “By the way, Jeans texted to say Kylie was in Florida, and she’s shocked at her designs being used again.”


“One day, I may tell her in advance,” Alice said as she and Mandy came over.  “Well done both of you – down time tonight, a nice dinner and then an early night.”


“Sounds like a plan to me,” Jo said with a smile.  “Give Ama and Nikki some time to tell us about Madrid – and Dan.”


Caroline blushed as Alice said “well, that must have been a nice surprise for you.”


“Oh leave the poor girl alone Darling,” Mandy drawled, “we were young once...”


“By the way – when do the RMC items get unveiled Alice.”


Looking at her watch, Alice said “in about two hours...”


2 pm



The other teams watched from the sides of the pit lane, the press lined up outside the entrance to the RCM Racing garage as Shirley looked out through a crack in the door.


“Well, there is quite a crowd out there,” she said as she turned and joined Roy and Augie, “so what do you think of the car now?”


“I’m happy with what they have done,” Augie said as he looked at the car.  It had been painted a deep red, with the Lerrabella logo prominent on the front, and the logos of Xavier International, Razinski Brokers and Torware prominently displayed on the sides and back of the car.


“Thank you all for coming,” Giorgio said as he and Giovanna came over, “we wanted to show we are partners in the support of the team with all of you.”


“It’s our pleasure,” Shirley said as they saw Sandy, Jan, Jeanne and Antoinette come out.


“Oh my – Alice did do a god job, didn’t she,” Shirley said as she nodded in approval at the classic a-line dresses three of them were wearing, Jeanne in a maternity version.  The dress was in grey silk with a dusky pink trim, and came to just above their knees.  Each of the women also had a matching grey jacket, and grey pumps with a three inch heel.


“Wait until you see the girls,” Sandy said as Sands and Katy came out in a matching outfit, while Heather, Denise, Tonia and Janine came out in grey trouser suits with dusky pink blouses underneath.


“Very chic,” George said from the side, “and the men.”


“Does this answer your question Dad,” George Jr siad as he came out with Henri, Clint and the crew, in a grey suit, white shirt and pink tie.


“Well, if we are ready?”


“No time like the present,” Sandy said as the garage doors were opened up, and Giorgio went out to where Jeannie was waiting.


“Here they come, darlings,” Kylie said as she stood with Katherine, Beverly and Marina.


“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Giorgio said, “we thank all of you for coming today, and joining us on this special occassion, here at this famous racetrack.


“As you can see, we are joined today by Jeannie Brewster, the face of New You cosmetics, and an ambassador for Lerrabella cosmetics, as we announce this major new sponsorship deal with another group that promote the image of the strong, independent young woman.


“Ladies and Gentlemen, Lerrabella is proud to announce that they will be a major sponsor of Richmond-Carter-Marais Racing, and we ask you now to welcome the team – Sandy Richmond, Janice Carter, Jeanne Marais and for this meeting as a guest driver, Antoinette Marais!”


The crowd applauded as the four women came out, waving and acknowledging the applause.


“Also, please welcome the support team for RCM racing.”


Sands looked nervous as she came out, but Katy lapped up the attention and the cameras.


“Bev darling,” Kylie whispered, “look at four o’clock.”


As Bev looked over, she saw the man from the previous night.  “Watch her will you,” she whispered back, Kylie nodding as she slipped into the crowd.


“Also, please welcome the other major sponsors of RCM racing – Shirley Xavier, Roy Razinski and Augustus van Roon the Fifth.”


As the trio came out and waved, Bev made her way slowly through the crowd, watching her mark as she did so.


“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Jeannie said as she was handed the microphone, “please welcome the RCM car for this year.”


There was applause again as four women in pink coveralls wheeled the car out, the photographers flashing as they took their pictures with the four drivers standing behind the car.


“We are also proud to announce that, with the kind help of APCO, a new range of fashion accessories and designs will be made available.  Details will be announced next week.”


“Samples in the bags for tomorrow,” Shirley whispered as she watched Bev approaching the man.  As she got close, he suddenly turned and walked off – but not before bumping into Bev.  As he walked quickly away, Bev smiled as she looked at the card wallet in her hand, and made her way back to Kylie and Marina.


7 pm GMT

Lardarn House


“That was a magnificent meal, Mrs Brown,” Tom said as he wiped his chin, the housekeeper smiling as she gathered the plates.


“Would you like some help,” Ama asked as she looked over.


“No thank you miss,” the housekeeper said.  “You relax, and I will take care of things.”


“Will you excuse me, mother, father,” John said as he stood up, “I have something I need to take care of.”


“Sure, son,” Tom said, “we’ll go and have coffee in the drawing room.”


“You look tired, mom,” Ama said as they made their way through.


“Just a long day,” Caroline said with a smile, “and I am looking forward to bed tonight.”


As they took their seats, Paula poured coffee into various cups and passed it round.


“So,” Jo said as she sat with Kit and Eve, “what do we do for fun round here on a Friday night?”


“It’s Ireland Jo – Friday Night is Misery Night.  We get to make our own entertainment here.”


“Okay – so I suppose John has gone to do something important.”


“Well, he’s taken the jeep,” Eve said as she saw the headlights out of the window.  “Probably gone to meet a friend or something.”


“Well, as long as it wasn’t to try and find Arabella,” Kit said quietly, “she was planning to get together with some of her ‘boyfriends’ tonight.”


“But he’s going to see her.”


“What did you just say,” Jo said as she looked at Nikki, who was sitting with Aileen and Ama.


“Nikki’s right – John arranged to meet her at eight o’clock in Eventon.”


“Where exactly,” Eve said quietly.


“The tree on the hill – why?”


“Because that’s where she said she was meeting the boys,” Eve said as she looked at Jo and Kit.


“I’ll drive,” Kit said as she stood up, “come on!”


2.15 pm



“May RCM Racing know success and prosper this year,” Giorgio said as he raised a champagne glass.


"This way please Jeannie."

"Smile Jeannie."

"Towards me if you can."

Jeannie turned and posed for the press photographers. Behind the press she noticed Sandra sitting in her chair smiling at her. It was nice that she could be an inspiration to someone like Sandra.


Katy and Sandy smiled as they stood to the side.  Even with her limited experience, she knew they were there to take photos of the others – but as she saw Jan walking back into the garage, she followed her in as well.


“Mom?  Are you all right?”


“I just need to sit down for a minute,” Jan said as she went into the Winnebago.


“Jan?  Is something wrong?”


Katherine watched as her granddaughter came in, both of them watching Jan as she sat down and put her head in her hands.




“Oh boy,” Jan said as she raised her head and smiled, “this was meant to be a hobby, a way for me and Sandy to let off some steam, and now...”


“Now look at us,” Katy said as she sat down.


“Now look at us – I’m an FBI agent, I’m meant not to be in the spotlight so much, and yet all those photographers, all this attention...”


“It’s not really you, is it Mom?”


Jan shook her head as Katherine sat at the other side of her.


“Look – tonight, show your face at the cocktail party for a little while, but then why don’t all four of us sneak off, have a quiet meal somewhere, and just have some time to ourselves.”


“Yeah – yeah that would be nice – but the others...”


“They’ll understand Mom,” Katy said with a smile.


“Hey – are you all right,” Sandy said as she looked in.


“I just needed a few minutes,” Jan said as she stood up, “I’m ready now.”







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