Should Auld Acquaintance… - Part 3
“A pleasure to meet you young ladies,” Courtney said as she bowed slightly and walked away from Ama and the girls.
“A most unusual woman,” Ama said, “her voice was deeper than Shirley’s and she carries herself in a different way.”
The girls looked at each other as Caroline came over, then burst out laughing.
“What is so funny,” Ama said as she looked at them.
“Sorry, Ama,” Jeannie said as she wiped a tear away, “Face, you need to explain to your daughter about Courtney Act.”
“What about – oh, you mean…”
The others nodded as Maisha looked at them in confusion as well.
“Problem,” Penny said as she walked over.
“Penny, help me out here – how do you explain Danny la Rue and Dick Emery to a younger audience?”
"Diana my dear," John said as he walked
over, "am I or am I not a man of the world?"
"Of course you are," Diana said with a smile.
"Then how have I lived so long without ever hearing of this beautiful lady, never mind seeing her?"
"Which one... Oh, you mean Shirley?"
"Indeed," John said as he looked over, "where has she been hiding?"
"Well she has lived a very private life. Someone hurt her a long time ago and she found solace in her business. She's known Juliette professionally for some years, and she finally got her out of her shell a year or so back."
John smiled. "A woman of mystery and taste - I saw her choice of art. What is her line of business?"
"Insurance among other things. She is a very sophisticated lady."
"One I would like to get to know better," John whispered.
George Simpson was exchanging some pleasant words with some of the men folk, and had enjoyed a particularly stimulating discussion with Alex about the differences between rugby and American Football, but he did not feel at all comfortable.
"Lily, you know I love you dearly, but this is
not my scene at all."
George ran his finger under the collar of his shirt and looked round the room.
"This is new to me as well," Lily said.
"Still why am I..."
He looked to the door, along with half the room, as StJohn Stevens came in.
Juliette walked over and kissed him as she started to introduce him to others.
"Okay," George said, "now I know why. Watch and observe?"
"And step in if necessary," Shirley whispered as she went to greet him.
“Doctor Stevens, I have heard so much about you,” Shirley said as she extended her hand, “I am Shirley Xavier.”
“Charmed,” StJohn said as he kissed her gloved hand. “Truly a stellar gathering.”
“I am pleased you think so – please, mingle and enjoy yourselves,” she said as she watched Pussy greeting four more arrivals, and taking them in the direction of the Rochermanns.
"Girls, this is Peter and Simon Lodge, my
nephews, boys meet the notorious Rochermann twins." Pussy made the
"Oh my God the old team back together."
Pussy heard the laughs over her shoulder as Kelly and Tonia danced and hugged
"You say about us being notorious, but if half
the stories I hear about those three are true, we pale in comparison."
Ally shook hands with the boys.
"No comment." Pussy grinned.
"Something about Yankee Stadium." Nell
looked evilly at the older women.
"Again No Comment." Pussy laughed out loud.
"Are these your nephews Puss?" Annie played
waitress, handing them glasses of champagne as she joined them.
"They are." Pussy beamed proudly, "And
this is Sam my brother-in-law." she grabbed him and pulled him away from
"Hello." Annie and the twins smiled.
"Sam's a damn Bostonian, but don't hold that
against him." Pussy sipped her drink.
"I'd forgotten what those three get like."
Sam shook his head at his wife and her friends as they shrieked.
"Sam, these are Kelly's daughters."
"They can't be…" Sam laughed as he kissed them
on the cheek, "The last time I saw you, you both had pigtails and
"And I thought I'd like this guy." Ally stage
whispered to her twin.
Sam laughed, "Well let me say I prefer this
"Okay you are forgiven." Nell grinned.
"So Peter and Simon where are you going to
school?" Ally asked.
"St Augustine's." Peter nodded. "I have
another semester and they agreed to take me in."
"I'm only a soph, so I get to settle in."
Simon looked round. "Is that Abby de Ros?"
"Not cool Si." His father chided him,
"When you are conversing with two beautiful young ladies, you don't ask
who someone else is."
"Sorry pardon my manners."
“It’s cool,” Nell said as she looked round, “there are a lot of beautiful women here – just let us act as your guides for tonight…”
"I have to say this apartment is wonderful."
John Hammond spoke as he sipped his drink.
"I wish I could claim the credit, but it's all
really Sandy, Tonia, and April's creation." Madame smiled.
"Well it still takes the owner to make a place a
She smiled again at the compliment. "Do you have a place in New York
"I have a loft in the East Thirties that doubles
as a studio."
"I'd like to see it some time." Shirley
hoped she didn't sound too keen.
"Well give me a ring when you are free and come
over." John smiled.
"So how often are you in New York?"
"Oh about half the year, there is always plenty of
work here if I want it."
"I've seen many many of your pictures in the
glossies." Shirley thought for a second, "Though it was that
exhibition of your portraits at the National Portrait Gallery that made me
realize what a great photographer you are."
"That was the culmination of several years
work…Portraits gives me the chance to explore the character of the sitter. To
try and capture their story in a single image."
Shirley nodded. "I was particularly impressed by
the one of Prince Philip looking so slightly ruffled."
"Well I was running late and he still works so
hard, even at his age. I think I captured him well, a slightly impatient, busy
"Is there anyone here you'd like to shoot?"
"Well present company excepted," John
smiled, "I think Alex Richmond would make a good study, sports hero, war
hero, crusading priest, wine connoisseur, he's so multi faceted."
Shirley nodded, "Yes he's a very rounded human
"Ton do you remember playing 'Spot the Virgin' at
parties like this?" Liz giggled.
"Oh that takes me back darling…I don't think
there are many here tonight though."
"Jeannie Brewster." Kelly delivered more
"Well given she's disabled, she's a special
"The two African girls." Liz guessed.
"Probably," Tonia agreed, "But wait
till both get their feet firmly planted."
"Only since he entered the priesthood.' Kelly smiled, "from what I hear he used to get more than his share."
"I thought the guest list was impressive last
time, but this is even more dazzling," Curt said as he handed a glass of
champagne to Joanne. "What did you say our host does for a
"Shirley? She has a number of business interests but she does insurance for Juliette's import of cloth."
"A very impressive woman - why does that man keep staring at you?"
Jo looked over to see StJohn move his head away.
"Him? No idea..."
"Oh my fucking God." Doc dragged Nell into a
corner. "It's him."
"That guy over there is the john who roughed me
"Fuck." Nell looked closely, "You're
"How do I?"
"Just stay out of his damn way, it's a crowded room, and you do look a bit different with your glasses on. Just keep cool."
"Well Shirley seems to have provided for my every
need." Jeannie grinned at Angel Fitzstuart who had sat down next to her.
"I can see." Angel took a glass of champagne
from one of the West Point cadets who was paying attention to Jeannie.
"There's something about men in uniform."
Jeannie said as she smiled thank you to the young man.
"So do you know everyone here?" Angel looked
round at the crush. "I must admit I feel a little overwhelmed."
"Shouldn't that be the other way round, after all
I'm the working class girl from Essex, you're the one with a title."
"Yeah but you are just so famous…"
"True." Jeannie laughed as she took a canapé
from another of the cadets.
"Having fun darling?" Mandy came over.
"I was just telling Jeannie here I feel slightly
intimidated, just so many famous people."
"Well it's a good mix." Mandy smiled.
"Society and fashion tend to blend well here in New York."
"Are you enjoying yourself Lady Ordford?"
Jeannie asked politely.
"I am and to you it's Tufty Baby." Mandy
Jeannie shook her head, "I know but it somehow
sounds rude and wrong me calling you by your nickname."
"Well get used to it, I see Missy has us doing
that Prada shoot together in a few weeks."
"Oh well at least you'll be one friendly face I
know…Oh and I better warn you Missy is coming to the party later."
"Wonderful." Mandy rolled her eyes.
"What every model in this place needs…their agent."
"I heard she's going to ask about Angel."
"About me?" Angel looked surprised.
"Well that was nice work with Cari."
"No I'm NEVER modelling again."
"Never say never darling…"
"Especially round Missy." Jeannie laughed.
"Hello Will." Guy embraced Lord Ordford.
"I see Mandy got you here to New York again.”
"She did." Will said with a smile.
"Did young Jack have a word with you?"
"About working this summer at your new
"He did and I think it's a good idea. It's good
practical experience seeing how other estates operate, and it will improve his
"I told him no special attention, he'll share a
room with another groom and get paid the same."
"Good." Will looked over towards his daughter chatting to Jeannie. "Just don't tell his sister, she'd pay you, for the chance to work with horses like that."
StJohn sipped his drink as he looked round. This
truly was a stellar gathering, and yet he felt constrained, watched.
Juliette seemed to be happy enough and there was no sign of the German. There were also many young women.
He walked up to one very tall young girl and said "quite a gathering."
She looked at him and went to move away, but he took her arm and said, " Stay a while..."
"I think you should let go of me," she said quietly.
"I believe she said to let go."
He looked at the young man beside him and said "what are you going to do - hit me?"
"No but I will."
StJohn looked at the young man mountain, apologised and walked off, George watching closely.
"Thanks House, Tony," Abby said as she looked at both of them.
The two looked at each other and shook hands. “McNally, we can at least agree on keeping Abby safe,” House said quietly.
“Indeed – if nothing else,” Tony said quietly as Abby shook her head.
Doc walked slowly over and tapped Juliette on her shoulder.
“Can I have a word – over there,” she said quietly, Juliette agreeing as they went into a quiet corner.
“Miss Huntingdown,” Doc said quietly as she looked round, “you…ummm…may have heard whispers about certain extracurricular activities of mine.”
“Will it shock you if I say yes I have Anna.”
“No…that man who knows you, he got very unpleasant with me a few nights back.”
“He did with me too.” Juliette looked resentful.
“Last Friday night….”
“Oh Goddess Anna, that was the same night he…”
Doc looked at the older woman and said “Fucked me in my ass and roughed me up.”
“Well at least I hope you made him pay for it.”
“Yeah it paid for this dress.”
“Well at least you got something…he…”
“Oh Miss Huntingdown he didn’t rape you did he?” Anna covered her mouth with her gloved hand.
“Look I can get pretty nasty….”
“There are others who can do it better.” Juliette smiled at the young girl’s willingness, “You just keep out of his way so there is no big scene…Promise me?”
“Will do Miss Huntingdown.”
Ray Razinski smiled as he joined his fellow racing conspirators.
"So are the mares settling in alright Guy?"
he asked as he sipped his drink.
"They are." Guy smiled. "Grant and I
were just going over those thoughts we had in Kentucky."
"You still think we need a stallion with real
staying power Grant?"
"Yeah, I got the books out again, I think we
overbought speed pedigrees…sorry I mean you overbought…"
"Don't devalue yourself Grant,'" Guy looked
serious for once, "You may not have invested financially, but you invested
a lot of true expertise."
"We were and are a team." Roy clapped his
friends on the back.
"You know I just wish my dad had had the chance
to work with owners like you, all I know was what he really taught me."
"Your father was a real horseman from what I
hear." Roy spoke in a low tone, "I wish I'd had the chance to meet
"Are you still planning a visit to Florida?"
"We are Grant, are you still coming?"
"Yeah I can get away for a few days, and I'd like
to look at this colt."
"Did you look at the DVD?" Roy asked.
"I did, and that right rear worries me as well, but we won't know till we look in person."
"I couldn't but overhear you gentleman talking,
but are you all racing men?" George asked.
"We are…and yourself?" Guy asked.
"Only as a punter, I've spent a lifetime chasing
fast women and betting on slow horses."
"A man after my own heart." Guy laughed
"I'm George by the way, my niece Lily is one of
"Ah that explains the accents." Guy looked across
the room. "Your niece is charming."
"Thank you, and I was thinking as I was listening
- have you looked at maybe some of the better Australian and New Zealand based
stallions, after all staying is very much their game."
"I'd thought on it." Roy agreed, "but I
got put off by the costs in transporting mares, etc."
"Have you looked into leasing a stallion for a
Northern Hemisphere season, quite a few are doing that now I read."
"That's actually not a bad idea." Grant looked deep in concentration. “Certainly something worth considering, if we can strike the right deal…”
Lily, Annie and Penny found themselves sitting
together in a corner, just watching and observing.
"This is a bit overwhelming for me." Lily
admitted, "my usual scene is a night out with the girls down some wine
"It's not so different." Penny reflected,
"except the wine is free and it tastes better."
"Not so different?" Lily spluttered.
"These people are all so bloody posh…"
"Or famous." Annie added.
"Have any of them tried to freeze you out or make
you feel unwelcome Lil?"
"Far from it, I just wonder though what they are
saying behind my back."
"Well take your cues from your Uncle. He's over
there enjoying himself immensely with a Duke, a billionaire, and the husband of
a florist from Greenwich Village."
"He is?" Lily glanced.
"Yeah racing men, talking racing…George fits
right in I suspect."
"This is a wonderful mix of people, just relax
and enjoy yourself." Penny's words trailed off as one of the West Point Officers
pulled her out to dance.
"She's right you know Lily, just have FUN!"
“Yeah, you’re right,” Lily said as she stood up, and walked over to talk to some of the others.
“They’re talking horses again,” Tonia said as she stood with April and Valeria.
“True,” Valeria said with a smile, “but it is Guy’s area of expertise, so I see no harm.”
“Still, get them finished before midnight, that’s all I ask,” April said as she looked round.
"April I have had a few inquiries about roof
gardens. Would you be free on Sunday to have a chat?"
“Of course Tonia – would you excuse me a moment,” April said as she made her excuses and walked to the bar, turning and watching Pepsi talking to Jack in whispers.
"You as well?"
She turned to see Lord Ordford by her smiling.
"Don't worry he really likes her.”
"She's a little young for him still though Your
"April my name is Will, and yes you are right,
but he's a little immature and I think she's a good influence."
"Alright Will it is," April smiled, "And
yes David does seem more like the older brother."
"Mandy and I have told him if they are still a
couple when Pepsi is 16 then that's probably when they can have a real
"Yes at 16 she should really be responsible for
her own actions."
"Meanwhile both Mandy and I think she's delightful."
“Well, if you are happy…”
“Don’t worry – Angel can still beat him up if need be.”
"You know our parents think we are BOTH a bit
young to have fallen in love." Jack kissed Pepsi's neck as they danced.
"I know both my Mom's do." Pepsi giggled
Jack looked at her and said "what do you mean
"They don't know I know, I think I knew before
"I'm lost dearest."
"Look at Janice Carter, then look at me
Jack looked carefully, "Well there is a certain
resemblance…I suppose you might be sisters, she's not old enough to be your Mom
"That's what I thought when everyone noticed how
much we looked alike. Mom and Dad never made a secret that I was adopted."
"So what did you find out?"
"I got Doc to hack my adoption records, it's
there, the name of my biological mother….Janice Carter…aged 14."
"Oh dear God no wonder she gave you up for
"It gets worse, I was conceived when Janice was
only 13 and she was the victim of a multiple rape."
"Oh Dear Christ!"
"I figure they'll tell me when they sort it out in their minds, but I sorta think its dolls having two moms watching out for me."
"Remember we are supposed to be running
tomorrow." Annie smiled at Jo as she walked over.
"After all this snow tonight?" Jo looked out at the still falling flakes.
"Treadmills at my gym won't be covered."
"Curt, my coach is determined to kill me."
"Hi Annie." Curt shook her hand.
"Getting used to the group yet Curt?" Annie
"Not sure I will ever get used to the fact that
Jo moves in such high society."
"They aren't so bad….once you get to know
them." Annie sipped her drink.
"And it's not like you are the only
academic," Jo reminded him, "Pussy and Frieda are as well."
"So are the two young army officers." Annie
"I guess that's true, but Pussy as you call her
is as rich as they come." Curt paused, "And they are all physicists,
they lose me from the start."
"I know it's like they speak another language when they talk shop." Annie burst into laughter.
Jo giggled as Abby walked over.
"Jo can I borrow Curt to dance with?"
Abigail almost pleaded.
"You have two guys of your own and you want to
"That's just the damn problem, I dance with either
of them the other will go bananas."
"I guess so." Joanne smiled in sympathy.
"Curt would you please dance with my dear neglected ugly sister of a
"I'd be delighted, as long as neither of those
two young men beat me up afterwards."
"No you're safe." Jo looked at both Tony and
House, "They know they'd have to deal with me if they touch you."
"Thanks" Abby mouthed the words to her friend as Curt and she started to dance.
Shirley had hired a small band for the evening, placed
in the corner of the room as space was cleared for the dancers. Jeannie made eye contact with Pepsi as she
and Jack danced by slowly, he holding her very close and tightly. She didn't
usually feel jealous of anyone, or suffer from bouts of self pity, but at that
very moment she was regretting it would never be her out there on the dance
floor like that.
"A penny for them?" House asked.
"Oh, hello Winston,” Jeannie said, “I was just
regretting the fact that I can't dance."
"Who says?" Winston laughed.
"House dear, I'm a paraplegic remember…"
"And you weigh less than 100 pounds."
"Well put your arms round my neck, I carefully
hold you round the waist…and who says you can't dance." he lifted her up
and gracefully danced her round the floor in his arms.
"Oh Dad!" Barbara said as she spotted what
"Don't worry - I think he's worked this
out." John smiled as his granddaughter floated by cradled in the big young
"Oh Goddess isn't that beautiful." Heather pointed out Jeannie to Sandy.
"Carina look." Annie pointed out.
"Ohhh Winston just got huge brownie points."
"And this is the moment everyone will remember
for ever about my party." Shirley murmured to Penny, as the other couples
stopped dancing and gave House the room to waltz Jeannie round to the soft slow
"That young man just made her year." Penny beamed.
As the music stopped, the whole room applauded as House gently sat Jeannie back down, and then bowed.
“Oh…” Jeannie said quietly, “oh my…”
“Are you all right,” Nikki said as she sat next to her.
“I think so,” Jeannie said as she smiled shyly, “I really think so…”
"So what plans till school starts Jeans?" Jo
Jeannie rolled her eyes, "I get to spend a lovely
few days in LA filming commercials and doing the matching photo shoots."
"Your cosmetics contract?"
"Yeah, at least it's not totally roasting out
there this time of year."
"And you get to escape this snow."
"Yeah at least that's one good thing." Jeannie smiled at the thought. She also smiled as she imagined being in the arms of House again…
"That was a wonderful thing to do House."
Abby kissed her old boyfriend on the cheek.
"What was?" for a moment Winston looked
confused, "Oh the thing with Jeannie….well she looked so out of it poor
"Well you know she got an instant crush on
"But she's still a baby."
"Darling she's only two years younger than
"So you and McNally eh?" Winston tried to
change the subject.
"Yeah I guess…Tony was here when I needed him,
playing football on the coast you weren't."
"So is he exclusive now?"
"Oh." House's shoulders slumped.
"Don't be cross Winston, you are still a very special friend I hope?"
“Always,” House said with a smile as he kissed Abby on the cheek, then watched Tony walk over.
“Good luck,” he said as he shook Tony’s hand, “but if you hurt her, I will find you.”
“Winston, if I do hurt her, you have my permission to kill me.”
"Puss I must congratulate you on your Saintly recruitment plan." Shirley passed the wealthy physicist a salmon sandwich.
"Yes everyone appears to be having fun."
"The numbers are far more balanced."
"Yes far less competition among the younger
"They are still hunting though." Shirley
laughed as she watched Doc lick her lips as a cadet walked past her.
"I just hope there are enough beds to go round." Patricia joined the laughter.
"Pattycake, we were trying to work out if you
ever made it with a guy?" Liz asked her sister.
"Don't be a bitch Liz, you know I hate that name,
and yes you three damn bitches know I did since you set me up with Alderson
Hunter, and watched through the peep hole."
"Alderson was hung like a horse…" Tonia
licked her lips at the memory.
"Did you ever consider what you three did that
night probably made me gay?" Pussy hissed.
"No we knew already you were a lesbian, we just
had a bet on if you were bi or not?"
"You were betting on my sexuality?" Pussy
"Calm down Pattycake, it was obvious seeing you
with Alderson that you were really just Les."
"Okay Pussy…it was pretty…"
"I was still only 13."
"We decided you needed to know early rather than
later." Kelly and Tonia shook their heads.
"If I need therapy, you three get the bills…" Pussy half-smiled.
“Ah – one of my most special guests just walked in.”
Shirley saw the tall grey haired man walk in with his
daughter and made her way over.
"Your highness, you honour me by joining us tonight" she said as she extended her hand. "I am Shirley Xavier."
"The honour is ours," Klaus said, "my daughter Ingrid."
"A pleasure," Shirley said as Guy and Carina approached.
"Allow us to make the introductions," Guy said as Valeria walked over.
Juliette smiled as she saw Klaus, but then felt an arm on her hand.
“It’s all right StJohn,” she said as she moved the arm away, “I just need a minute to myself.” He watched her walk away, wondering why she was so cold to him suddenly.
"Forgive me Shirley, but may I ask a question of
Shirley smiled at Valeria and said "of course Countess. How may I help you?"
"Well it is a little embarrassing, but do you own the Du Morassa vineyards in Loire?"
"Well I have a shareholding in them. Is there a question of wine you wish to raise?"
"Only to compliment you on the vintage this year - truly exceptional."
Shirley blushed and smiled as Tom Morse came in. Bobbi smiled and joined Cari while Becca tapped Billy on the shoulder.
"Hey missed me?" she said with a smile as Billy looked at her.
"Well hello, fancy meeting you here.:.”
“Yes I did,” she said as they kissed.
"So that is Juliette's prince?" Tonia ran an
expert eye over him. "I'd never have let him go."
"As I hear the story he didn't have a lot of
choice, his father picked his bride." Kelly murmured.
"You can tell the daughter and young Carina are
sisters." Liz nodded.
"You can?" her friends both said.
"Take a look at their baby blues…identical."
"I'd say similar…but point taken Liz." Tonia
"Now that is old school European manners, he's
chatting so nicely to Shirley, when you just know there is only one woman in
the room he really wants to talk to." Kelly smiled.
"And why would he want to talk to me…?"
"Boofhead!" Liz dug an elbow gently in her
"Nice to see your boys chatting with my girls
Liz." Kelly nodded in the young people’s direction.
"Have they ever spent the night chained to a
bed?" Tonia asked trying to sound innocent.
"Not as far as I…Oh No Kel they haven't learned
that from you have they?"
"Darling Liz I have taught them nothing…."
"Yeah they just seem to picked it up on their
own…a real policeman had I understand the night of his life cuffed to Ally's
bed at Halloween." Tonia smiled devilishly.
"Oh no!" Liz laughed. "Remember the
training table at the stadium."
"Some might say that legally we raped him…"
Tonia shook her head.
"He had too much fun for it to be rape."
"Well I guess I better not expect the boys home
"Liz darling that might be wise."
"You know if I was writing a novel I think I'd
imagine just such a group of eclectic characters for my subject." Curt
"Now you've lost me." Jo whispered.
"Well look round you, all humanity is almost here
in this room."
"I thought you had decided they were just high
"No…I've been watching, looking and listening,
the standard and range of the conversation is amazing."
"I thought it was mostly gossip?"
Curt smiled, "So initially did I…but listen
really listen, and it's far much more. I've overheard quite learned discussion
on breeding racehorses, very detailed discussion on the merits of certain
artists over others, a discussion on the nature of matter that passed straight
over my head, even a passionate argument about the perfect way to prepare roast
"Well I guess that's because they are real
people, they share interests." Jo nodded.
"I thought I'd feel an outsider, but I'm
beginning to feel at home."
"Darling I think you just cemented your place as a Saint." Joanne kissed him gently on the cheek.
"Oh Shirley you didn't invite the three
witches?" Caroline laughed as she saw Anna Mitchell, Mary Thomas, and
Missy Auerbach have their coats taken by a maid.
"And why not? We need to balance you youngsters
with a few more mature heads." Shirley smiled as she greeted the
"Blwyddyn Newydd Dda." Mary spoke the
greeting in her native tongue.
"Diolch Mary…and that more or less exhausts my Welsh."
Mary laughed, "at least you know it is Welsh. My
two American friends here…" she rolled her eyes.
"Well all three of you are more than welcome. How
are the weather and crowds outside?"
"Large crowds slowly turning blue in the
cold." Anna grabbed a glass of champagne for herself.
"Well good thing so many of my friends defied
political correctness and wore furs tonight."
"I certainly needed mine." Missy sipped her
"Now remember Darling…NO WORK….just like we
talked about,” Anna and Mary looked strongly at Missy.
"Okay Okay for tonight I forget I'm an
"And pigs might fly." Mandy smiled as she kissed the arrivals.
“Good to see you Mandy – and all the kids as well. Now, where’s that drink?”
“Penny for them, Winston?”
The giant youth turned and smiled as he looked at Jeannie.
“Not much to tell – Abby made her choice, and I lose.”
“Well, you’re still friends aren’t you?”
“Yeah – but they say you always remember your first love.”
“I’ll let you know when I find him,” Jeannie said with a smile.
Adam, Alex and Ken Boyd had managed to find themselves
a corner and a half bottle of scotch.
"To fallen friends." Adam made the toast.
"Fallen Friends." the three men touched
"So where did you serve Ken?" Adam asked.
"Field hospital, mainly up near Fallujah."
"I've always admired the medical people just about more than any other soldiers." Alexander spoke quietly, "Adam and I in our jobs, man dies that's a success, in your line, man dies that's a failure…I think that's much harder to do."
"Gentleman while you are remembering fallen
comrades may an ally also join in."
"You may indeed Major Hammond." Alex passed
John a whiskey.
"To those whose memory should never be
forgotten." John made a toast.
"So what were your wars John?"
"Oh nasty little places like Oman, Borneo, the
Falkland's…I resigned after the First Gulf War."
"Never Northern Ireland?" Ken asked.
"The one blessing of being in the Irish Guards,
we were prevented from serving there."
"Ever mount the guard at Buckingham Palace
John?" Adam asked.
"My dear boy more times that I care to
"That is why I've always admired the British
Guards Regiments, that ability to switch from ceremonial duty, to combat duty
and be superb at both."
"Thank you Father Alex….we are rather proud of it too."
"I know I promised to be in non agent mode
tonight Juliette, but can I make a suggestion?"
"Always darling." Ju smiled.
"Use the St Angela's girls who posed for the
calendar, that calendar has earned them all some fame and infamy, capitalize
upon it and get each girl to walk the show."
"And how many do you have signed as clients
darling?" Mary asked with a wicked look in her eye.
"As of now just Abigail and Jeannie, but I know
I'm not the only agent thinking hard, those girls did the sexiest calendar of
"I don't understand what all the fuss was
about." Mary sipped her champagne. "Not a tittie, not a pubic
"But pure raw sex appeal." Tony McNally
joined in as he collected drinks, "I'm under orders to bring back as many
signed copies as I can get for the boys at school."
"And that Juliette is why I think we recruit them all as models." Mary smiled.
“You can try, but I’d be willing to bet there is at least one girl you will not get,” Juliette said.
“As much as you bet I would not sign Caroline?”
“Well, that was a unique contract,” Mandy said, “but you mean Kadeeja, right?”
Juliette nodded as Missy smiled.
“I grant you that one – but I’m telling you, those eyes could sell anything. Having said that, her parents will not allow her to be seen on a show like that, even veiled, so I except her. The others? We shall see.”
“Now I know it’s nearly New Year – Missy agrees with me!”
"I remember last new year," Ingrid said as
she sipped her champagne. "It was the last we spent as a
family. Momma knew the end was near, so we went to the mountains and sat
round the fire, talking and drinking. What
of you Jeannie?"
"We spent it at home watching Graham Norton. If anyone had told me then I would have met him, never mind anything else."
"Mom and Dad took me to Times Square," Pepsi said. “It was freezing.”
“It’s always freezing in Time Square,” Doc said, “but
we were at home. And now here we are…”
In the next corner, Ama and Maisha listened with Penny and Annie.
"This must be very different for both of you," Annie said.
"Indeed - I was with my father," Maisha said. “We sat as we did most nights, under the blue sky, watching the stars.”
“Will you try to find him one day?”
“Perhaps, but I am not ready to return, not until I
complete my education. Shirley is a
wonderful guardian and mentor, and I owe her so much.”
"I was in the cellar," Ama said. "I cried myself to sleep, and prayed that release would come. And then my prayers were answered. Now I have family friends and school."
"And don't forget that," Penny said. “The most important people you will ever know are the ones who support you through these years – make the most of them.”
“What were you doing when you were our age, Penelope,” Maisha asked.
“Surviving,” Penny said as she stood up, Annie looking at her as she walked away.
Lily looked at the door and smiled.
"Susan, Clint, you made it!"
"No thanks to American," Susan said as she hugged her friend. "Apple juice please."
Shirley hugged and kissed them both. "How was Maddy?"
"Coming to see you in two weeks - I need to come home for a few days?"
"I need to sort a few things out. Quite a party..."
“Who’s the older man with the others over there,” Clint said as he looked at George with Guy.
“Lily’s uncle,” Shirley said.
“George Simpson? How the hell did he get in the country?”
“Ask Caroline – but not tonight. It’s nearly midnight…”
"StJohn looks a little unhappy, should I…?"
"You stay right where you are." Diana held
"There is someone far more important heading your
way." Sandy smiled at Klaus.
"Your Highness." All three women bobbed
"You know I'm cheerfully going to strangle all
three of you if you keep that up"
"Yes, but it's still fun seeing your face." Sandy giggled.
“Listen, may I have a word with you Juliette,” Klaus said, “in private?”
“If you must,” Juliette said as they walked off, the others watching.
“Finally, I never thought I’d get you alone.” Klaus ushered Juliette into the den.
She turned round, her eyes blazing in anger. “And what’s so important that you can’t tell me in public Klaus? You’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding me since you arrived.”
“Are you still that upset with me Darling?’
“Klaus I’m not sure what I am exactly, but yeah upset is one of them.”
“Well, if it helps, I was merely being polite out there and doing my social obligations…”
“By avoiding even saying hello properly?”
“I thought your English friend…”
“I’m not talking about him, and he’s no longer my friend for your information.”
“Don’t stand there with that superior look on your face Klaus, and just say Ah like that, I take it you got the results of the paternity test…”
“It is certain Carina is my daughter.”
Klaus looked taken aback at the reaction. “Well you don’t exactly sound happy at the news Darling.”
“Let’s just put it this way, life was a whole lot easier when I thought she was the daughter of an unknown rapist.”
“Call me Juliette Klaus,” she growled, “you made it clear I wasn’t your Darling when you married Renate.”
“I never stopped…”
“If you say you never stopped loving me, I’m going to slap you.”
After a moment’s hesitation, he said quietly “I thought you’d be excited by the news we had a daughter.”
“No Klaus, I have a daughter, you have a biological relationship with her. It’s up to Carina, not me, if she accepts you as her father, and thus that you do have a second daughter. As far as I’m concerned I’m still her only parent.”
“Oh….Well I want to announce it straight after midnight.”
“Good….Go ahead, pardon me if I stay in here though.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes…Please leave Klaus, it’s what you are good at.”
“That was unfair…”
As Klaus left, Juliette sunk into a chair crying her eyes out.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Klaus heard Shirley say in the deep rich voice as he came out, “I just wanted to see two things. Firstly, thank you all for coming. Secondly,” she said as Penny nodded, “In Ten… Nine… Eight…”
The room joined in as the countdown reached zero, and then erupted with HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! The band struck up and everyone started singing – with two exceptions.
Lily and George led the singing, shaking hands as everyone hugged and kissed – Sandy and Heather, Pussy and Freida, Adam and Jan, everyone.
Then all eyes were turned to look at Klaus as he walked to the front.
"Ummmm can I beg silence please." Klaus
stood nervously while the music was silenced. "I have a rather important
piece of news I wanted to make the first you heard this new year. Many of you
are sure have heard some gossip about my past relationship with Juliette
"That's ancient news." Mary called out.
"Well ummm largely at the instigation of the two
girls, I recently undertook some tests, I got the results earlier this evening,
and they prove without doubt that Carina is my daughter…"
"Oh my God!"
"You are kidding!"
A mass of humanity surged forward to hug Carina and Ingrid.
StJohn scowled as he saw everyone congratulate the
German. Looking round the room, he saw a young blonde standing alone and
Doc and Nell saw him approaching Nikki, and both moved to stop him, but they were beaten to it.
"Forgive me," George said as he stood in front of StJohn, "but I have the strangest feeling we have met before."
Stevens stared at the man as Doc ushered Nikki away. "Simpson? What the hell are you doing here?"
"Security - and if I see you make a move towards any of the girls here, I and my friend Caroline will make sure you leave."
StJohn turned to see Caroline behind him.
"I believe I have the message," he said as he walked to the bar. Things were falling apart for him, and he had no idea why as Diana looked over in his direction.
"Well well," Guy whispered to Valeria,
"so little Carina has the family blood in her."
"Fascinating - go back far enough in that line and you find Bathory."
Diana nodded slowly as she smiled. That would explain much for her.
"There is no way I am bowing and scraping to
Carina…princess or not." Bobbi smiled.
"Join the club." Nell laughed.
"So does this mean I have to bow to you now"
Jude said as she hugged Cari.
"No it does not! I'm not taking any title, although Klaus does want to be recognised as my dad. No I'm still plain Carina Huntingdown."
"Good," Joanne said. "Last thing I need is another royal to put me down."
"Klaus my congratulations," Alex said. 'So do you get to take two beauties to the ball?"
"Oh no Carina still has the honour of your arm. I am not her legal father at this time."
"Where's mom Aunt Diana, she missed Midnight and
Auld Lang Syne."
"As well as your father’s announcement
"Do you think she's upset?"
"I think I need to go check." Diana grabbed a second champagne glass to take to her best friend. As she entered the den, she found Juliette slumped in a chair, her head in her hands.
“Ju? Goddess, whatever is the matter?”
“Diana,” Ju said as she looked up, her eyes red, “how did I get it so wrong?”
“Get what so wrong, darling,” Diana said as she sat down and held her old friend’s hand.
“Why did Klaus have to pick Renate, why did I agree to do that wedding… What would have happened if he had let his heart rule over his father?”
“Ju, Klaus is a man of honour – I don’t think he wanted to hurt you, and I do think he wants to make amends.”
Juliette suddenly looked up. “Then why did I tell him to get out, why did he avoid me all night, why did I have to pick that fucking sadist StJohn for a boyfriend…”
“I’m sorry, Juliette, say that last bit again.”
Juliette looked at Diana and said “Forget it – I’ll deal with him.”
“Ju, if he hurt you…”
“I said I’ll deal with it,” Juliette said in a quiet, dangerous voice. “As for Klaus – Goddess what could have been…”
There was a knock on the door, and Carina came in.
“Mom, are you all right?”
“I don’t honestly know, darling,” Juliette said as she stood up and smiled. “Happy New Year.”
The three of them hugged before Diana said “Ju, come and see me later this morning – I want to talk to you about all this.”
Ju nodded as the three of them walked out, staring at StJohn as they did so while he stood in the corner.
The Prince's little announcement had taken whatever wind was left right out of his sails. He was being ignored, and he frankly wasn’t sure anyone who mattered realized he was even there.
Juliette was totally oblivious to his presence, and her friends were cold shouldering him. He had been warned off the plentiful young meat with some quite chilling threats of violence to his person. He was isolated and alone, it was like that first night in prison all over again. It was a feeling he detested – no longer being in control.
“Screw this,” he muttered to himself as a familiar voice beside him said “just out of curiosity, how did scared little Steve Johnson become art expert StJohn Stevens?”
“None of your fucking business, Simpson,” he whispered back, “and how the hell did one of Britain’s most wanted men end up working security at a swank party like this?”
“I have friends in high places,” George said as he looked over at Lily, who was dancing with Dave Fitzstuart. “I don’t know what your game is, young man, but take some advice from an old lag – know when to quit.”
“Like you did, old man?”
“Like I did,” George said as he walked off. StJohn stood for a moment, and then said “If I go down, she goes down with me.”
He walked across the room to where Janice was standing with Natasha and Jeanne.
“Good evening ladies,” he said quietly, “may I have a word Janice – in private?”
“Of course,” Janice said with a smile, “will you excuse me a moment, I’ll be right back.”
Alex, Ken and Adam watched as StJohn led Janice to one side, and said “I think Juliette Huntingdown is a member of the Pussycat Gang.”
"Please repeat that, StJohn," Janice
whispered as they stood in a corner of the room.
"I have evidence that Juliette Huntingdown either is one of, or knows who is and acts for, the Pussycat Gang."
Jan looked round and said quietly "and you're telling me because?"
"I want them taken down and so do you." He looked over and said 'let her have this night and then take her down."
Jan looked at her, then Adam, before she said "meet me later today, 10 am, at the ice rink in Central Park. We'll talk then."
As he nodded and walked off, Jan watched him walk to the bar and then walked to Shirley.
Shirley nodded and said “Heather, darling, let me wish you a happy New Year.”
As they embraced, she whispered into her ear “Send the file later this morning.”
“Got it,” Heather whispered back as she nodded at Janice.
"Everything all right Jan," Adam said as he
joined her and Heather.
"Yeah just talking about Jeanne," Janice said, "She seems to be having a good time."
Adam nodded as he looked at her talking to Guy and Valeria.
'Would you excuse me a moment," Jan said as she walked to Sandy and Carina.
"Ladies it is on - tomorrow. I'll call in the morning."
“Good,” Carina said, “The Beast is ready.”
As they spoke, Diana walked over to Shirley.
“He did it,” Shirley said quietly.
“Good – can you be at my house tomorrow, and let Dom know? We need to show her the truth.”
Shirley nodded as she looked round the room, and Stevens came over.
“Forgive me, Ms Xavier, but I must depart - I have a business meeting tomorrow.”
“I am glad you could come,” Shirley said as he walked away.
“Hey mom,” Pepsi said as she looked up, “what’s happening?”
"Pepsi you can bring Jack back for the night if
you want." April smiled, "I'd rather know you were safely in bed at
home then sneaking out to meet him."
"Thank you Mom." Pepsi embraced her Mother,
"What does Dad…?"
"He doesn't like it overly, words about you
always being his little girl, etc…but he'll be cool….I promise."
"Darling you better tell your family you will be staying at my place." Pepsi beamed at her boyfriend.
“We heard,” Will said. “Call in the morning.”
"Is Billy coming home with us?" Tom Morse
asked his wife begrudgingly.
"What do you think?" Claire looked as her daughter
floated by in her young man’s arms, her lips attached to his in the most
passionate of ways.
"Well at least he's her own age, not like…"
he nodded at Anna who was practically climbing into the uniform of one of the
West Point Cadets she was dancing so closely to.
"That's lust, but that's love though, real
love." Claire pointed to Tony and Abby, "They are so beautifully
"Like Joanne and her young man." Tom smiled,
"For all the high promiscuity among so called socialite girls, they do eventually
find the right one to settle down with."
"Well I did." Claire kissed her husband.
“Don’t wait up,” Jo said to Heather and Sandy, “I’ll see you later.”
“I’ll take care of her,” Curt said as they walked off, while Abby stood with Tony, kissing him passionately.
“You know,” Jeannie said as she saw Winston looking at them, “there is someone here you could always give a new year kiss to.”
He looked over at her, and said "Look Jeans I
only just broke up with Abby."
"Shut up Winston." Jeannie got a little
strident. "I'm 14, I'm considered one of the most beautiful women in the
world…AND I"VE NEVER EVEN BEEN KISSED!"
"Nope." Jeannie smiled, "So rebound or
not, please kiss me."
Slowly he lifted her and cradled her in his arms. Slowly
she moved her lips towards is, unsure what to do, awaiting his experience to
Agonizingly slowly they moved together till their lips
"Mmm that was nice." Jeannie breathed.
"I can do better."
Winston held her tight as they had a long exploratory kiss, her mouth opening to receive his tongue, the sensation exciting her as never before.
“Oh my,” she whispered, “perhaps we can do that a little more?”
“Perhaps,” he said as he smiled, and kissed her again.
“Look at them father – so happy together,” Ingrid said as she looked round the room.
“Indeed – and your newly found sister looks so happy…”
The Prince sighed as he spotted Diana walking towards them.
"Klaus a word please," she said as she took him by the arm and led him away.
"You aren't going to lecture me as well are you Diana?" He sighed as they went into a quiet corner.
"For once no….you might even say I'm on your
"Well that makes a change."
"Don't take anything Ju said to you earlier too
"She said some harsh things."
"I know,” Diana said, “but she's confused,
regretful, upset, and what the bastard did to her when she told him it was over
even me she won't tell."
"You think he hurt her Diana?"
"If you are talking about The Pelican,"
Karen pointed her nose in, "Both Ken and I think she's been battered,
we've seen enough of it in the ER not to know the signs."
"That bastard…" Klaus started looking round.
"Just leave it to others, he'll get his." Diana tried to calm Klaus down.
“Doctor Stevens has already left, your highness,” Shirley said as she came over, “but be assured Juliette is safe with her friends.”
"So Uncle George, “Lily said as she handed him a
whisky, “any immediate plans?"
"Well, Lily pet, looks like I might be flying
down to Florida for the weekend."
"Guy, Roy and Grant have invited me to go look at
this two-year old they are interested in buying, private jet down and back,
first class hotel, and the company of some great chaps, I thought I'd enjoy
"Well just remember…"
"I know…but these papers and passports this
Hidden Hand sent me seem to stand up to all security checks."
"I hear the Hand is excellent…"
"Well I might just linger in the US, life is rather cooler over here if you get my drift."
“If you keep your head down, that is – I’ll ask the boss if she can find a place for you to stay.”
“Much appreciated Lily – and I’ll call your mum at some point as well. When do you head back?”
“End of next week – Maddy is coming next Wednesday, and I fly back with Penny and Susan. Shirley is staying out for a few more weeks.”
"Bobbi and Pru are going back to their hotel with
the two captains." Claire told Tom as the two military men helped the two
beautiful girls into their mink coats.
"I just hope they are careful, we really don't
"I could ask Adam to play bodyguard, but I don't
think Janice would ever forgive me." Claire laughed as Janice danced past
"Should I maybe send a police…"
"Tom Morse you dare." His wife looked daggers. "They are attractive men, and she and Pru are beautiful women, just let nature take its course."
“Very well, we’d better gather the troops…”
Ken, Adam and John were standing in the corner, watching the couples as they paired off and said their goodbyes.
“A fantastic party,” Alex said as he smiled at Sandy, “and it does this old heart proud to see the others happy.”
“Indeed,” Ken said, “if I wasn’t so happily married to Karen, I might have been attracted to some of them.”
“Oh,” John said, “and if you were a free agent, who would attract you?”
Ken smiled. “Well, I know so many of them too well – but there aren’t too many in my age range that are single and available.”
“There’s Diana,” John said, “I’ve known her for years, and although she can be a pain in the aged behind at times, she is a good woman.”
“No,” Alex said with a sad smile, “she has been hurt very badly in the past. I count her a very dear friend, but she will never marry again.”
“At least Abigail has the right man,” John said with a smile.
“What about Shirley’s employees?”
Ken looked over. “Well, Susan has the blonde giant, and Lily is a lovely girl if a little over awed still. Penny – Penny intrigues me. She is naive, quiet, polite, but catch her sometimes when she thinks nobody is looking, and there is a fire and sadness in her eyes.”
“Yes, I have seen that too,” Alex said. “Caroline is the same – see how protectively she looks at Ama and Maisha.”
“Karen spoke a lot about her before she reappeared – she always hoped wherever she was, she was happy, and it looks as if she finally is.”
“Did you meet her mother?”
“No – it was before I met Karen when she died, but the stories she tells.”
“Stella was,” John said quietly, “one of a kind and a real victim – I’m glad Caroline has found some peace now.”
The three men watched as she left with Ama and Annie.
“And then there is Juliette,” Alex said quietly. “I’ve known her for nearly twenty years, and her strength is amazing.”
“She could have had any man she wanted, you know,” John said, “and yet she’s brought up Carina almost single handedly.”
“Hardly that – Diana, Sandy, Mary, the others have been with her the whole time,” Alex said.
“Even so – she is a beautiful woman, isn’t she?”
“Yes, yes she is,” Ken said, “and although I met her for the first time tonight, I hope she finally finds Mister Right.”
“Or Prince Right?”
“No, John,” Alex said as he shook his head, “there has been a lot of water under that bridge. If it is meant to be, then I pray it happens, but forgive me if I say I’ve seen too much hurt in her life. When Carina was shot over a year ago, she nearly broke.”
“Carina, and now Judith, are the centre of her life,” John said as he looked at Shirley talking to Tonia and some of the other ladies.
“Ah yes, our hostess – what do you make of her Ken,” Alex said quietly.
“Very well read, very educated, and obviously at ease with all – but above all, she has something about her that demands respect.”
“I think it is more than that,” John said, “she speaks with the voice of one in authority, who knows how to lead and earn respect. You hear it in the very best commanders – and she has that.”
“Is that why you are so fascinated by her, John?”
The photographer smiled and said “I’m not sure – but she intrigues me. I would like to get to know her better – maybe get her to sit for a portrait for me.”
“Sit for a portrait? Only that?”
“Gentlemen,” John said as he refilled their glasses, “Look at Juliette, and look at Shirley, and what do you see?”
The three of them looked over, before Ken said “I don’t get it.”
“I think I do – they’re very similar in themselves.”
“Precisely Alex – strong, beautiful, alluring. Juliette is a friend, I hope to make Shirley one as well.”
“Just a friend?”
“A wise man once said, Ken, to truly love a woman, be a friend first and a lover second.”
“That wasn’t you, was it?”
“No – but I wish I had,” Alex said as he raised a glass. “Gentlemen, a toast – to the women.”
“Mom,” Peter said as he approached his mother, “Would you object if we went with Ally and Nell for a walk?”
“No, I don’t mind,” she said as Pussy and Kelly looked on, “but try to be back before dark tomorrow, all right?”
“Damn – how do we find our way home again?”
“I’ll push them in a cab at some point,” Kelly said as the twins led the brothers out of the party.
“And that’s them for the night,” Tonia said as Ray brought her coat over.
“Happy, Miss Carter?”
“Ecstatically so, Mister Ball,” Janice said as she looked into his eyes, “what do you say to a nightcap at my place?”
“Actually, I was going to suggest one at mine – it is closer.”
“Why, Adam Ball, are you asking me to climb into your bed?”
“I am Janice Carter, coming?”
As they walked off, Heather smiled, feeling Sandy’s arms around her.
“How much longer do you think we can leave it until the kids are asleep?”
“Who knows – why, do you have something in mind?”
“Don’t do anything we would not,” Pussy said as she and Freida joined them. “I know this little bar that has a lock in – interested?”
“See you girls tomorrow,” Penny said as the quartet went out.
Barbara turned to see Winston standing behind her, pushing Jeannie in her wheelchair.
“I was wondering if I may have the honour of calling on Jeannie before I return to Stanford.”
“Hmm – problem, Winston. She flies out to LA at one tomorrow. Of course, if you wish to accompany us to the airport…”
“It would be my pleasure,” Winston said, Jeannie beaming from ear to ear.
“Truly a memorable night,” Caroline said as she and Annie collected their coats. “Ama, are you coming?”
“I am,” she said as she hugged Maisha. “I will come with you tomorrow, if you collect me at one?”
“Where are you going,” Annie asked.
“To visit the girls – it is time I saw them as well, before some return home.”
Caroline nodded as she said “Good – and then we get ready for next week.”
She nodded to Juliette and Carina as they collected their coats.
“Are you gonna be all right, mom?”
“I’m fine,” she said as Alice and Karen came over with their husbands. “Good night Penny.”
“Good night,” Penny said as she and Lily looked at the room, while the maids and catering staff cleared up.
“Time I got to bed,” Lily said as she stretched and yawned. “Have you seen Shirley?”
“She went into the den with that photographer,” George said as he loosened his tie. “They took the scotch with them as well.”
Penny grinned, and said “We’ll leave them to it – come on. A new year awaits…”
Thursday 1st January
The skaters held little interest to him, but when he
saw Janice Carter waiting for him at the café near the rink, StJohn allowed
himself a little smile. He may not have solved the mystery of how those
bitches knew the paintings were forgeries, or the break in at his storage
facility, but at least he would have his revenge on the chief bitch. Then he could return home and deal with
matters in London.
"Janice," he said, "thanks for meeting me. I trust you enjoyed the party?"
Jan smiled and crossed her legs as she indicated the seat opposite her. She was wearing her great coat, but he could see the tight black suede boots that hugged her legs. He wondered if he should have made a play for her, but that would have meant dealing with Adam Ball – not an idea he found appealing.
"Mostly,” she said quietly, “but your claims
about Ju shook me. You say she knows who the Pussycats are?"
"I believe so yes - a summary of my findings," he said as he handed Janice a paper. She read through as he watched - the finance, the times she had known or been near hits, the search of her house.
"All very interesting, StJohn, but lacking hard evidence. How do I know this is not just a lover’s quarrel that could turn very bad? And if you are so sure, why meet here instead of in the office.”
“Because I don’t want that she devil Marais to overhear. I think she is one of the Pussycats, and the last thing I want to do is tip her and them off.”
“Jeanne? How could you think such a thing?”
“Someone is feeding her information, and the files suggest they have a inside man or woman – the theory fits.”
Jan nodded as she leaned over. “I’ve had the same feeling for some time –
but we need hard evidence to take to Tom.
Where is that?"
"I'll take you to it, if we can use your car."
Jan nodded and stood up, making a call as she did so. "Adam, it's me. New evidence has come to light, I'll brief you later."
“What do you think he will say,” StJohn said as he climbed in.
“He wants them as much as I do – you’ll get a reward for this.”
“I know I will,” StJohn said, “a well deserved reward.”
As they drove off, Jan said "so who do you think they are?"
"The rest of the bitches."
"Oh I have suspicions, but I want her first."
They pulled up at a set of lights, as Janice looked across the junction. "So this is professional, not personal."
"Good, so is this."
He was surprised as the rear doors of the car opened, and two women got in - Sandy Richmond and Joanne Smith.
"Hello Stevens," Sandy said as Jo clamped a chloroform soaked cloth over his nose and mouth, "have a nice day..."
"You made a HUGE mistake dickhead." Janice
giggled. "You surmised the Pussycats had an inside woman, but it’s not
Jeanne – it’s me."
"You trusted the wrong person Stevens, you should have talked to Adam, and he’s the honest one." Sandy smiled.
His eyes were wide open as he tried to pull the arm
down, but the young girl's grip was like iron, and he soon succumbed to the
fumes, his head falling to one side.
Pulling over to the side, Jan and Sandy got out of the car.
“Did Jeanne get the file?”
“Heather sent it fifteen minutes ago, and Diana and Shirley are talking to Ju as we speak. Leave him to us now.”
"Have fun," Jan said as Sandy got behind the
wheel and drove off.
The de Ros Mansion
"Come in Miss Huntingdown," Edith said, "you will find Madame de Ros in the drawing room."
"Thank you," Juliette said, but as she walked in she was surprised to see Shirley and Dominique there too. She handed Edith her coat and sat down, the hem of her knee length skirt rising as she did so.
"Come in darling," Diana said, "we need to talk to you "
"About what," Ju said as she looked at them.
"There is no easy way to say this," Shirley said, "so I will say it. StJohn Stevens is a liar, a fraud and a dangerous man."
Juliette looked at all three of the women, and then said quietly “I already knew one of the three was true, but…” She suddenly started crying again, as Diana sat next to her and held her.
“Ju, what happened,” she said quietly.
“The night… the night I found out about Klaus and Carina, I asked him to come round so he could explain. I wanted to make things right, but then he… Then he…”
“Let it out Juliette,” Dominique said quietly. She was wearing a jumper and jeans, as was Shirley, both of them waiting until she had finished crying.
“He attacked me – but I wasn’t the only one he did something to that night. One of the girls…”
“Ju, did he do what I think you are implying?”
Juliette nodded slowly as Diana held her, and said “forgive me, darling, but you need to admit that before we can tell you what else we know.”
“What else? I knew he was dangerous, but a fraud?”
“Indeed,” Dominique said as she sat forward and handed Juliette a cushion, “for starters, his name is not StJohn Stevens, and he is not a Doctor of anything. His name is Steve Johnson, and he is a fraudster who taught himself enough about the art world to fool almost everyone.”
Juliette looked at them, as the tears ended and the anger started to build. “Steve Johnson? How did you find out?”
“You met Lily’s Uncle George last night?”
As Juliette nodded, Shirley said “George Simpson is one of the more notorious of our career criminals – not for violence, but for planning and cunning. He saw a picture of Stevens and recognized him – but that was the final piece of the puzzle. For the start, we need to tell you about Geraint Watkins.”
“The man Heather suspected of the forgery of the paintings? What about him?”
“Forgive us for not telling you before,” Dominique said, “but we needed to be certain.” She then told Juliette about the facts Lily had uncovered, the role of his granddaughter, and that Stevens had blackmailed her.
“So he knew all along, and… Why? Why did he target me?”
“I think – and I mean no disrespect in this – you were just the first on the list, and he somehow awakened you to some long unfulfilled needs. I am afraid he left the rest of us distinctly cold.”
“So when Cari disturbed him in our utility room, he was trying to open the secret store?”
“That’s what she told me and Annie,” Dominique said, “but she moved everything to our place. Then…”
They stopped talking as Edith brought in some coffee, and then waited until she had left.
“I regret there is more that we must tell you, Juliette,” Shirley said. “You are aware of the finding of the fraud at the Royal Collection?”
“Yeah – I heard Heather played a part in uncovering it, Sandy said it when we…” Juliette sat back, her eyes closed. “He ran out when he heard Heather was an art expert, and at the Royal Collection, and a few hours later Jan hears a forgery has been uncovered. He was responsible for that as well?”
“He was – we found the original in a lock up he had on the Island. Jeanne has returned it and several others by discrete means,” Diana said quietly. “It is the other matter he did that is more distasteful.”
“Other matter? What other matter?”
“He commissioned someone to kill Heather.”
Juliette put her mug down, and said quietly “he did what?”
“He paid someone to arrange a hit on Heather, but she was quicker to the draw. We had a word with the intermediary, and he confirmed Stevens paid him.”
“When you say you had a word, you mean…”
“When you are next in the United Kingdom, either of you, I will take you to my place in the country. We modeled it on your country home, Diana – and it was one of my staff who encouraged him to talk.”
“Not me,” Dom said, “but I’d love to know who.”
Now all three women looked at Shirley. “I know, I know – it was as much a surprise to me as you, but it was Penny. Anyway, between us we have accumulated quite the dossier about Stevens, and right now Heather has sent it as the Hidden Hand to Jeanne, Tom and other key agency staff.”
“The final insult,” Diana said, “he was going to betray you as a member of the Pussycat gang to the FBI. Fortunately, we anticipated and steered him in the right direction.”
“Jan – he went to Jan, didn’t he?”
“He did,” Dom said as her cell phone rang. “Excuse me a moment,” she said as she stood up and left the room.
“We – that is, the rest of us – needed to stop him, but killing him was not an option at any time, so long as he was involved with you. By reporting you, he freed us to execute our plan.”
“You’ve been watching my back?”
“As you watched ours before,” Diana said. “Just forgive us for not telling you, but he had to be kept in the dark.”
“And the plan?”
“Has already started,” Dom said as she came back in. “Jan has met him. She will drive him to a rendezvous with Sandy and Jo, who will subdue him and take him to the Farm.
“Once they get there, they will express their views on what he has done – but that is only the appetizer.”
“Cari – Cari wants her pound of flesh.”
“I think she wants much more than that,” Shirley said. “I suspect you do as well.”
“Annie also called – Cari has asked her to come out with her, so I need to head back. Shirley, do we need a rep there?”
“Leave it with me – if you can spare the time to come and appraise Lily and Penny?”
Dom nodded, and then looked at Juliette. “Earlier, you said he had assaulted one of the girls as well as you that night. Which one?”
“Anna – I am afraid she may have gone back on her promise, Dominique.”
“Something to discuss at a later date. Right now,” Diana said, “I am driving you to the Farm.”
“I will join you there later – I have some questions for this man to answer,” Shirley said as they all stood up. “Until then…”
“Are you all right, darling,” Diana said as she touched Ju’s arm. As she turned and looked at her, Diana saw a familiar glint in her eye, one that had been missing for some time.
“I want to see the bastard suffer for what he did to me and the others – let’s go.”
As Diana went to get the coats, Juliette said "You
know Anna told me she'd dispose of StJohn for me if I asked."
"She did?" Dominique looked surprised.
"I think if I'd said yes, he'd be floating in the
East River about now." Juliette smiled.
"That girl bears close scrutiny before she gets
herself in deep trouble."
"At the moment prostitution is her preferred
criminal activity, but I can see her graduating to our kind of work one
"So can I Ju…Big question is not if we bring her
in, but when I'm afraid."
"I can forgive her a lot now," Juliette smiled some more, "that offer to whack Stevens for me was a genuine act of kindness."
His arms felt like lead, and he could not feel the floor with his feet. The last thing he remembered was talking to Jan, and then…
Jan – she had admitted she was the inside woman, which meant she was one of them. And then the lover and the sister – which added three more to the list. As he allowed the fog from his mind to clear, StJohn Stevens wondered where he was now.
When he opened his eyes, StJohn looked round what appeared to be an empty barn. Looking up, he could see he was suspended from a rafter, his wrists secured above his head. Looking down, he saw his bound ankles and legs, and said one word.
"Looks like DOCTOR Stevens is awake," he heard Joanne say, and as he spun himself round he saw them looking at him. The young sister, her blonde hair pulled back as she stood there in a tracksuit, and the lover, Sandy Richmond, in a jumper and slacks. He had thought Alex Richmond was the dangerous one, but now he was beginning to realize just how wrong he had been.
“Well, well, well – it appears you have me at your mercy,” he said as calmly as he could.
“Mercy? You really have no perception of the mountain of shit you have landed in have you, dickhead?” Sandy stepped forward and stroked her leather gloved hand against his cheek, before she slapped him hard.
"What's going ommmpgh," he said as Jo hit him in the stomach, the knuckle dusters on her fingers sinking into his stomach.
"I'll explain," Sandy said, "you have hurt people we love, and we Pussycats do not like that."
StJohn instantly regretted speaking as Jo kicked him again.
"Yes we are," Sandy whispered, "and we look after our own. In our case, you paid someone to hurt and kill my lover and her sister. We do not like that, do we Joanne?"
Jo merely hit the man again.
“Now, you see, if it was just that, this would be a very short and sharp interview, but we have heard a lot about you, Stevens, and we don’t like what we hear. We hear you attacked another of us, and hurt her as only one man has ever done before.”
“Bitch Huntingdown had it AAARGGHHHHH!”
The knee in his groin from Sandy took him completely by surprise. “But do you want to know what your really big mistake was? You crossed Madame X – which means you get to suffer an even more exquisite agony before you answer her questions as well as ours.”
Stevens slowly opened his eyes and looked at them. “Oh Christ – she was one of the clients for the art theft, wasn’t she?”
“He is a bright boy – do you think if he had applied himself, he might have made something of his life?”
“What, like you – hiding in the rich world, poor little killer?”
“And I thought I was the psychology student,” Jo said
as she hit him again. "I should
kill you - but I have a better idea. You should meet Miss Lynx."
"The psycho? Listen I..."
It was Sandy who hit him this time and said "Hush, speak when spoken to. She prefers it that way."
The two women watched as they heard a small trickling sound, and saw the stain between the man’s legs. “Well, at least we don’t need to worry about him going to the toilet now,” Sandy said quietly.
“She doesn’t scare me,” he said defiantly.
"I should do, but then I can see you’re lying – just like all the other times."
StJohn looked at the small blonde who has just come in and laughed.
"Me," Carina said. "Have fun girls but leave him conscious - We'll be along later."
“Of course,” Sandy said as she made a fist and drove it into Stevens’ stomach, and then Jo kicked him in the back…
FBI Field Office, New York
Jan walked into the office to see Adam waiting for
"What's going on," she said as she saw Jeanne in with Tom.
"Stevens - I knew there was something wrong about him. Tom was one of several people to get a dossier basically saying he was a fraud and behind the forgeries."
"You're kidding me," Jan said as Tom emerged.
"Jan, Adam, come with us - we need to have words with Mister Steve Johnson..."
“Any idea where he may be?”
“We’ll try the hotel first – and then take it from there.”
“Wow – you look particularly hot today, lover.”
“Why thank you,” Annie said as she came down, wearing a sleeveless leather minidress with a zip down the front, and over the knee leather boots. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and she wore a leather collar round her neck. The zip was pulled down enough to show her chest.
Carina was sat in the chair, pulling on the black PVC wader boots over the legs of her leather catsuit. She was already made up, with her hair held back, and walked over to check her reflection as Annie put the deepest red lipstick over her lips.
The sound of a car pulling up outside made Annie go and look from the window. “They’re here,” she said as she walked back, the door opening a moment later as Diana and Juliette came in.
"Hey Aunt Diana, Mom, we were waiting for
you." Carina smiled.
"Is he still…"
"Yeah Mom,” Carina said, “Sandy and Jo are just roughing him up a little.”
Juliette and Diana looked at the monitor, as Jo pulled the rope around Stevens to secure his back to the chair. He was sat with his wrists tied to the chair back, and his ankles tied to the front legs.
“We figured maybe you might want to break your rule and watch on the CCTV, Madame and Penny should be here any second as well.”
"I feel so stupid….."
"Juliette,” Diana said, “he even had Lloyds fooled, so don't take it personal."
Annie pulled on her opera gloves as Carina stood up.
"Ready darling?" Carina asked.
"Yes my love." Annie nodded after checking her reflection in the mirror.
“Then let us go and enjoy ourselves.”
They walked across the courtyard and into the barn, Jo and Sandy looking up as they did so.
“Thank you ladies,” Annie purred as they walked in, the six inch heels of their boots clicking on the stone floor, “We can take it here from here.”
StJohn looked up as the two women stood in front of him, smiling.
“What was that then, getting your friends to soften me up so I’d talk,” he growled as he looked at them.
“Hardly,” Carina said as she walked to a set of cupboards on the barn wall, “that was them expressing their displeasure at the way you threatened to – what is that phrase?”
“Rub Heather out,” Annie said as she looked at Carina.
“Oh yes – rub Heather out. You see, it was bad enough you hurt my mother, but to arrange to kill one of my friends…”
“How do you know I had anything to do with that?”
“Oh, we’ll come to that soon enough,” Cari said as she carried over a set of cloth pouches, and opened them, StJohn’s eyes widening as he saw the array of tools, “but a little fun first, I think. Make sure he is secure please, darling.”
"Is she really…?" StJohn asked as Annie
stooped behind him to check his bonds were secure.
"Is she what?"
"Oh," Annie giggled, "imagine what rumours
you've ever heard about Miss Lynx, then double them, and you might just be
approaching the truth."
"Good God." the man trembled.
"God won't help you in here," Cari swished a
whip, "This is my domain, inside these walls only my law prevails."
"I knew you were trouble from the second I saw
"Well you should have trusted your instincts then
and left." Carina expertly used her whip just to flick his cheek causing a
Stevens cried out, he was used to causing pain, not
"Okay some ground rules for our little
game." Carina giggled. "I'm Mistress Carina, she's Mistress Annie,
you may address us either by our full title, or just simply as Mistress."
"You will speak only when spoken to and answer
promptly and politely." Annie picked her riding crop up from the table and
slapped it in the palm of her gloved hand.
"You will tell us nothing but the truth, and we
will extend you the same courtesy." Carina smiled.
"Drop dead Bitch."
"Oh sorry…Wrong Answer." Cari flicked her whip stinging Steven's other cheek.
"You're a psychopathic bastard." Stevens
spat the words out then cringed awaiting the inevitable flick of the whip.
For five seconds he waited and there was no response,
he opened his eyes…"What no comeback?"
"Why? You told the truth - I am a psychopath, and
since my parents were not married then I'm a bastard…As I said tell us the
truth and you will not be punished."
"The disrespectful tone however." Annie smacked his cheek hard, "That will be punished."
He winced at the leather on his cheek, and then looked at both of them.
"Normally if you were here just for a little chat
shall we call it, Annie and I would disguise ourselves with masks, but since
you are never leaving this room alive we thought it unnecessary."
"Tell me Mr. …Sorry, I mean Doctor Steven's, have
you eaten a woman's shit?" Annie asked evilly.
The bound man just glared at her until she hit his
back with her riding crop causing her to shake his head.
"Remember." Carina yanked him back by his
hair, "You are nothing but a large turd, you answer when you are spoken to
PROMPTLY, else you will feel the sweet sting of our whips."
"You've passed into a world where the female is the superior part of the species, and men who forget that fact soon learn better." Annie purred the worlds.
“No, I have never, Mistress,” he said in response.
“Much better – perhaps you will before we have finished,” Annie said as he put her hand between his legs and felt his hard cock. “Hmmm – you’re excited by our attentions, aren’t you?”
StJohn slowly nodded as she felt him caress his sac. “Well then,” she whispered into her ear, “Who knows what might happen if you co-operate. Tell me why you wanted Heather killed.”
“Because she’s a dyke,” StJohn whispered, and then screamed as Annie closed her hand in a vice like grip.
Ju was so involved in watching her daughter exact
revenge she barely felt a hand on her shoulder.
"How are you," Shirley said as she watched.
"Shaking, confused - but I want him to suffer."
"That's why I came."
Ju turned to see Diana standing with Penny.
"Dom briefed me about his tastes and what he did," she said as she walked over, a long sable coat covering her as she looked at the screen. "If you will excuse me?" Juliette looked at the woman, startled at the way she looked and sounded.
As she walked off, Diana looked at Shirley.
"Honestly, I am as much in the dark as you are. She asked to come, and after what happened in my farm I..."
Shirley fell silent as the door opened on the screen.
“Anticipation is so wonderful, dickwad – I bet all the possibilities of what we can do to you have already gone through your head,” Carina said as she stroked the whip over StJohn’s chest.
“But you won’t have ever imagined what we might do…”
Annie had started to relish her role as Carina's partner in torture. Slowly they were building up the psychological terror on this piece of slime, and she could see the reaction in his face, the fear in his eyes.
jumped when the door opened behind them, and there stood Penny wearing a
leather mini, thigh high boots, a red silk shirt, and short black leather
gloves. Her makeup was full, her eyes popping out from the smoky eye shadow,
her lips, deep, deep red, her hair tied back in a severe ponytail.
"Mind if I join you ladies?" Penny spoke in the most non Penny voice possible – deep, soft, yet full of menace.
"Not at all Mistress Penelope." Carina recovered her wits quicker as the young woman walked forward.
"You know you really are pathetic." Penny
lifted his head and smiled at the man. "To think a mere man could destroy
our organizations." She slapped him hard, "That you could try
perpetrating such blatant fraud without us noticing."
"Oh I forgot to tell you that didn't I, we pussycats and Madame X's organization have a working agreement." Carina laughed lightly.
“You… You work for Madame X? But that would mean…”
“Yes, yes it would,” Penny said in her husky voice, “Shirley is her – not that that is going to save you, you worthless piece of bovine excrement. I have come to add my skills to theirs – I hope you enjoy the experience.”
Annie and Carina looked at each other – where had this come from was the thought they exchanged.
"Can I try something I learned several years ago
Mistress Carina?" Penny asked.
"Be my guest." Carina watched in fascination as Penny produced a perfectly ordinary pair of nail clippers from her purse.
"Do I get a pedicure bitch?"
"In a way." Penny smiled knowing what she
was about to do.
"Ladies may I have his hand please."
Annie untied and gripped his left hand as she held it
"Thank you." Penny snipped back the nail of
his little finger. "Do you know why our sense of touch is so keen?"
Stevens shook his head.
"Because there are thousands of little nerve ends
in our finger tips. Let me show you." Penny snipped a small piece of flesh
off next to the fingernail.
Stevens screamed in pain.
"There that should do." Penny watched as the
cut bled lightly.
"Should do what?" Annie asked.
"Just touch your finger on it."
"Okay." Annie wasn't prepared as Stevens
jumped and quivered in pain.
"What have you done bitch?"
"Oh just exposed a few nerve ends that we will
use to remind you who is in charge here."
Penny squeezed the wounded finger.
"You see, you smug little bastard," Penny
said as she held his hand and rubbed the finger tip, "each of us had
learned their trade in different ways. I cannot speak for Mistress Annie,
but I do know how Mistress Carina is skilled."
"And how did you learn your trade, Mistress Penelope?"
Penny looked at Annie and smiled. "Tell me, doctor dickwad, have you heard of Lady D'eath?"
StJohn looked at Penny as Carina smiled. "You knew her?"
“Charming lady and so refined... She taught me a great deal, and I learned fast.” She cut the nail on his middle finger, and snipped the flesh, before pressing on that as well and seeing him shake in the chair.
"I have my own refinements." Carina purred
as she put a few drops of vinegar on the open wounds, causing Stevens to jump
with the pain and shock.
"Now imagine if she was to say remove a toe nail
and drip it on that." Annie threatened through narrowed eyes.
Stevens’ mind nearly overloaded thinking of the pain.
“Perhaps later,” Carina said, “right now, I think we should allow Mistress Penelope to speak.”
Penny looked down at him as he panted in the chair. "I hear from sources that in prison you acquired a taste for buggering young men.”
“Sources – oh you mean Lily’s uncle?”
“Indeed, Mistress Penelope,” Sandy panted, “a very experienced man in the ways of the criminal world, and so helpful in filling in the blanks. The story he told of what happened your first night in the Scrubs…
“Anyway, the thing is, since you've been out you've also been doing it to young women, preferably very young women…" Penny yanked his head back and said “Well?”.
"Is that fucking true?" Annie stared into his face from close range.
"Go back to fucking hell bitch?"
The riding crop cut into his skin as Annie brought it down. “You will answer or you will suffer,” Annie growled “Is it true?”
"I heard a rumour that you buggered a young
associate of the Pussycats." Penny's voice was like silk.
"You mean the whore?"
"Which whore?" Annie spat the words out.
"Angel I heard, and he hurt her as well."
Annie stared at him, and then grabbed the vinegar, pouring it over his fingers as he screamed.
"Oh Artemis are you going to get it." Carina
"Mistress Annie, would you look in my bag - there
is something in there I bought for you."
Annie opened Penny's bag and smiled evilly as she pulled out the huge strap on.
"Oh look at Mistress Annie's latest little toy." Annie waved it in his face. "Ladies can you help dress me in this please?"
"Why didn't any of you warn me about him?"
Juliette asked as she watched the three dommes work their particular magic on
"Because no one was totally sure…" Diana
"And we didn't want to ruin your relationship if
we were all wrong." Shirley added.
"He revealed himself in his true colours when Sir
Galahad rode into the scene." Diana smiled at the thought.
"Sir Galahad?…Oh you mean Klaus."
“Indeed – his attack on you that night, the same night he did what he did to Anna, was the trigger. Carina knew something was wrong, and then so did I. So, as I said earlier, we laid our plans.”
Diana took her cell phone out, and talked for a moment before putting it away. “Abigail is coming with Heather, once Vanessa gets to the mansion.”
“What did we miss,” Jo said as she and Sandy came down, and looked at the screen. “Dearest Artemis, is that Penny?”
"Have you ever done this before Annie?"
Penny whispered in her ear.
"No…but I know the theory."
"That's a math teacher for you." Carina
giggled, "I hate to do this but it will help you." Carina lubricated
the artificial penis.
"Yeah I'd rather he felt it dry." Penny
nodded, "but Annie will need the aid to get it in."
"Okay you girls tie him over the chair, I'll do
the rest." Annie's breath shortened at the thought of what she was about
She watched in fascination as Carina and Penny untied StJohn, and then retied him to the chair presenting his asshole for use in a most inviting manner.
"Now let's see how you like it?" Annie uttered the words as she carefully inserted the tip in the man’s asshole.
"Feel good Baby." Carina squatted and
tenderly stroked the man’s face, smiling at
the anguished look. She then signaled
Annie to begin her assault.
Stevens’ scream would have drowned out a jumbo jet at takeoff as Annie thrust in the plastic cock with one long hard push.
Suddenly Carina felt Penny's lips on hers, as the
English girl got turned on by the sight of Annie anally raping Stevens. She returned the kiss, the two women
caressing and kissing each other as Annie thrust in again and again and again.
“Oh my god,” Cari said as Penny kissed her neck, “I never knew you were into this.”
“Shut up and kiss me – we’re turning Annie on, and that makes it better for him.”
“And we all get what we want,” Annie shouted out, an orgasm building in her as Stevens screamed again.
"Now that's a surprise." Madame laughed back in the kitchen as she and Juliette watched. "I've thought of Penny for so long as this slightly fluffy, but asexual woman, I'd never realized what might lie under the surface.”
"Well Carina won't mind I can tell you." Juliette laughed as her daughter responded to the other woman's kisses.
“I still don’t get it,” Sandy said, “where the hell has this Penny been hiding?”
“None of us knew,” Shirley said, “but I also know Lady D’eath, and she never mentioned knowing Penny.”
"It doesn't matter how sexually adventurous she
is, there was no way he was getting away with hurting one of my students."
Annie whispered as Penny removed the nasty, dirty, strap on.
"I guessed that might be your response, it's why
I brought it along." Penny smiled.
"You ladies need drinks?" Cari passed round
bottles of water.
"Did you bring a list of questions that the
others want answered Penny?"
"I did Carina."
"Well I guess we stop having fun for a while and
start getting some answers out of him."
Penny and Annie both nodded as StJohn looked at them, his face contorted with pain and fear.
“Now then,” Carina said, “We have some questions, and we will take turns answering them. Answer to our satisfaction, you get rewarded. Answer any other way, and what you have experienced so far will be like a nice pleasant country stroll. Mistress Penelope, you may go first.”
“I want him hanging from the rafters, if that can be arranged,” Penny said, watching as Annie released his wrists from the chair, only to cuff them together, and tie some rope to them, which she threw over a beam and used to pull him upright, his legs still attached to the chair.
“Now,” Penny said as she ripped his shirt off, leaving him standing naked, “I want the names of the forgers you have employed to begin with. We know you misused the name of Geraint Watkins, a true British hero – who did you really use?”
“Go to hell,” he grunted, only to scream as Penny brought the whip down on his back.
“Wrong answer,” she said quietly, “who did the forgery of the painting in the Royal Collection?”
“Go to…” he said before he felt the whip again, and screamed. “All right, all right – a man called Dumas in Paris. He did it while it went for cleaning.”
“Very good,” Penny said, “now, what other paintings did he forge for you?”
As he gave titles, he looked round, and winced when the whip came on his back if he was too slow, or hesitated, or seemed to give the correct answer – and sometimes because Penny wanted to. That reason became more prominent as she felt the burning, egged on by Carina and Annie as they kissed after every one of Stevens’ screams…
“Hey,” Heather said as she and Abigail entered the farmhouse, “what’s happening?”
“Well, we’re getting a list of all the forgers, and what paintings have been stolen and replaced,” Diana said as she looked at the screen.
“Wow, sounds like the Beast is in full flow,” Abby said as she heard another scream.
“It’s not Cari – look.”
"It's Penelope, and that amazes me." Diana
watched as she flogged Stevens. "This is a girl who threw up trying to
skin a deer, but can laugh like that and practically orgasm as she flays the
skin off a man’s back.
"I know…I had no idea either." Shirley shook her head.
Heather looked at the screen, as Penny laughed and screamed out, and gazed. “Where the hell did she get that from?”
“No more – please, I’ve told you all…”
Penny glanced at Cari, who looked at the printout and nodded, before she threw the whip down and walked over, embracing Annie as they kissed deeply.
Stevens stared at them, groaning as he felt the blood run down his back.
“Give him a few minutes,” Cari said, “then it’s my turn.”
“Here,” Sandy said as she handed the glass of wine to Juliette.
She held it, looked at it and took a sip before saying
"I just can't believe I fell so hard for a little piece of shit like him
"Well superficially he was just what you are
looking for in a man." Shirley spoke.
"But when the real thing came back into your life
it became obvious he was nothing but a cheap imitation." Diana smiled as
he squealed in pain.
"If Klaus is the real thing…then why am I giving
him such a hard time?"
"Because he hurt you and broke your heart."
Shirley held her friend’s hand.
"And because you are scared that he won't like
today’s you, and you'd rather drive him away then let him be disappointed in
"She's right you know." Shirley nodded.
"You know very well Ju Darling you've never stopped loving Klaus, the best you've ever achieved is to find substitutes to help block him out slightly."
Juliette sighed and said “It’s too complicated now, too much water under the bridge.”
“Only if you let it be, Ju,” Sandy said as Heather looked at the screen.
“Oh boy – the Beast is at work.”
“We know you ordered the hit on Heather,” Cari said as she knelt down, and held Stevens’ bound ankles, “so there is no point in asking you that. After all, your contact already confessed to Madame. All I want you to do is openly say ‘I did it’.”
StJohn looked down and spat at Carina, but she just smiled as she put a pair of wire cutters around the base of the little toe on his left foot.
“Say it,” she said once more, and when he stayed silent she said “Good – I want to do this.”
He screamed again as the blades sliced through skin and bone, and he heard the soft thud of his toe on the floor.
“Now, on to the next toe – what do you say, dipshit?”
“YES I ORDERED IT!”
“Good, good,” Carina said as she looked up, “but I have the distinct feeling she was not the first. Confession is good for the soul, my son – who else have you had killed to keep your grubby little secrets secret?”
“No… NO AAARRRGGHHHHHH.”
His next toe landed on the floor as Cari said “Who else?”
“There was… There was a reporter, John Dean – he got close, so I arranged for the brakes to fail on his car in the Alps…”
“I remember that one,” Shirley said, “Killed him and his wife. Their three year old twin girls only survived because they were ill, and their grandmother kept them in the holiday villa.”
“Well, they may rest easier now,” Diana said as Juliette stood up. “Where are you going?”
“To prepare some food,” she said quietly as she left the room.
Stevens screamed once more as his left big toe fell to the floor.
“You really have been a bad boy, Stevens – and now we come to the question I really want to ask. Why my mother? What made you think she was a Pussycat?”
“I knew… I knew the man in Macau who called the FBI. He boasted of a famous model with a dark secret, but never named her.”
“Go on,” Carina said as she nestled the cutters over his right big toe, the other two watching in a state of permanent arousal.
“When… When he was killed, I hacked his laptop before it was impounded. He had her name on it, and her picture – so I decided to target her. Looks like… Looks like I was right.”
He screamed again as the big toe fell to the floor. “Oops,” Cari said, “butter fingers. Did you find any definitive evidence?”
“Did you tell anyone your suspicions?”
“ONLLYYYYY Only Carter – and she is one of you.”
“All right – I believe you,” Carina said as she stood up.
Sandy answered her phone and said “Janice? What’s happening?”
“We hit the mother lode,” Janice whispered, “his computer had full and extensive records of his dealings. Jeanne is coordinating raids as we speak. How about your end?”
“We’ll share later, see if he didn’t record something. Anything on us?”
“No – he kept that separate. The lock-up?”
“Nothing there either – so he kept his thoughts to himself.”
“What’s happening now?”
Sandy looked at the screen and said “I think it might get messy…”
“Hello StJohn, or shall I call you Steve,” Juliette said as she walked in, carrying a bowl and a spoon, “having fun?”
“What do you think, you cow,” Stevens said, “you really are a piece of work, aren’t you?”
“I am what life has made me – and congratulations, arse fucker, you added to that with what you did,” Juliette said as he noticed the gloves on her hands. “But Cari and the other girls have been a terrible host – they haven’t offered you anything to eat.”
“No,” Stevens said as he got the whiff of the aroma from the bowl, “you wouldn’t…”
Annie stood behind him and pulled his hair back, making Stevens open his mouth as Juliette pushed the first spoonful of her faeces in, then Penny held his mouth closed as he was forced to swallow.
“There – was that so bad? Have another…”
“No, please donttgggnnnnnn”
She fed him spoonful after spoonful, until the bowl was empty and he was retching, but nothing came up.
“I’ll be back in a little while – once Annie has talked to you,” Juliette said as she walked off, Stevens whispering “Please, no more” as Annie looked at him.
“Don’t worry, I’m not after names,” Annie said as she stroked his cheek, “I want numbers. I don’t expect you to remember just the name of the owner of every single arse you have shoved that prick up – but how many, how many were unwilling.”
She walked over to the table and opened a cloth bag, taking out a scalpel.
“How many, prick?”
“I… I don’t know. I lost count…”
“Ten? Fifty? A hundred?”
“Over… Over a hundred, please…”
“and were any, any of them a hundred percent willing?”
Stevens looked at her, pathetic, broken, and shook his head.
“Fine,” she said as she took the scalpel and sliced into his chest, Stevens reduced to a moan as she worked.
“That sends the message,” she said as she stepped back, “would you agree, Mistress Penelope?”
Penny looked at the red streaks showing ‘> 100’ on his chest and nodded. “Yes, but I feel it needs something more – that personal touch.”
“Tell me,” Carina said as she looked at the scalpels, “does the name John Wayne Bobbit ring a bell, shitface?”
"This is why I won't normally watch."
"Because of her surgical kit?" Diana asked.
"Not just that, it's at this stage I actually
feel sorry for the victim, all I want is for my daughter to put the poor
bastard out of its misery."
"For her this is better than sex though."
Madame winced slightly at what was going on.
Carina had picked up a pair of medical shears, and was kneeling in front
"I know,” Juliette said, “and honestly knowing
she descends from Elizabeth Bathory explains a lot, but I still find it hard in
my mind reconciling the fact that the creature we are watching resides in the
same body as my daughter."
"What is she doing now?” Madame watched in fascinated horror as Carina removed the man’s penis with her scalpel.
Stevens almost passed out as Cari stood up, and handed the severed organ to Annie.
“This has been up so many unwilling victims,” she whispered as she held it in front of him, “there is only one fitting resting place.”
She walked behind him, and rammed it deep into his anus, Stevens too delirious to care anymore.
“I think we have all we need now,” Carina said as she went to another cupboard, and took out a large hunting knife and a Magnum. “Ladies, it is time for you to come in.”
They stood and watched him as the barn doors opened, Stevens looking up to see Juliette, Diana, Abigail, Joanne, Sandy, Heather and Shirley come in.
“Well, Steve Johnson, you have your wish – we are the Pussycat Gang,” Diana said as she picked up the hunting knife. “Any last words?”
“Please, end it,” he whispered as he looked at them.
“Soon – but first we all want to show you how we feel about the fact you hurt one of us, physically and emotionally, and tried to kill another.” She stood in front of him, smiling as she drove the knife into his belly and pulled it out.
One by one they took the knife, Abigail, Joanne, and Sandy, and drove it in. As Heather took the knife, she smiled and said “When you get there, say hi to all those we sent before, and tell them this – they were the lucky ones.”
She drove the knife in and twisted it, before handing it to Juliette. She looked at him, and spat in his face as she stabbed him, and then looked at Annie, Penny and Shirley.
“No,” Shirley said, “this is your business, it is your ending.”
“Thank you,” Carina said as she picked up the gun, cocked it and fired it into his face at close range, “see you some day, fucker.”
“It is over,” Diana said as Juliette looked at the lifeless body, “come – you three need to change.”
Penny nodded as she, Annie and Carina led the way out.
“How are you Mom,” Carina said as she sat on the couch, feeding Judith as Annie sat next to her. They had showered and were wearing bath robes, while Diana and Sandy prepared some food.
“I honestly do not know how to describe it,” Juliette said as Penny came down the stairs, wearing a tracksuit.
“Thanks for the loan,” she said to Jo, who nodded as she sat down and looked at them. “I guess you’re all wondering what happened to me tonight?”
“You think,” Jo said as she passed her a beer, “you were an animal in there. Not that I’m denouncing you, but – where the hell was she hiding?”
“Somewhere very very deep inside me,” Penny said as
she took a swig. “That was my old self,
a person I had tried very hard to forget.
I'd created a whole other Penny totally different from the real one, the
one you saw there, and I guess my self-discipline was so strong she became the
“I saw a glimpse of her at our farm,” Shirley said,
“but never full steam like that. So what
triggered her return?"
"Killing that clerk in the Liquor Store
holdup." Penelope blinked back a tear. "At the time I was genuinely
shocked at myself. Over the next few days though I began to remember and accept
that there was and still is a very dangerous woman inside me. Someone I had denied for years, but had been
gnawing away inside"
"Like the beast in me." Carina nodded.
"I guess so…but she has always frightened me in a
way that your Beast does not do to you."
"I can release her happily…you can't."
"No." Penny blinked back some more tears,
"When she takes over I become this wild creature who lives to give others
pain. I orgasmed whipping that bastard today, and I'm ashamed of it."
"Whereas I feel no shame." The Beast spoke from within Carina.
"Exactly," Penny said. "This
Penny wants only revenge on those who hurt girls or their friends, so in some
ways she is like you. But she does it so they are not hurt in the way she
was - abused, beaten if they took a step out of line, made to feel
She looked up as Diana and Sandy carried in trays of food, and laid them on the coffee table.
"Penny," Shirley said, “We all have our dark sides. It’s just yours has come as a shock to all of us.”
Penny smiled a little smile and said “and you mean all of you. My God, I felt so wonderful in there, but now I feel so guilty…”
“But I don’t understand,” Jo said, “how did you end up like that?”
Penny looked at Heather, before she said “my father abused me too – not like you, but he beat me, belittled me, made every opportunity to hurt me…”
“You don’t have to do this, Penny.”
"It's all right, I want to say this. My dad was a Regimental Sergeant Major and he was a right..."
The tears came as Shirley held her.
“My mum died giving birth to me, and my dad – he fought in the Falklands and Northern Ireland, and it made him hard. Bringing me up, I had to be perfect or else I had to be disciplined. You’ve seen what that did to me physically.”
Shirley nodded as she said "An RSM? Which regiment?"
"Let's just say he was based in Hereford shall
"Oh," Shirley got the meaning, "Hence
why you are attracted to live in the Cotswolds?"
"How old were you when you ran away from home
Penny?" Annie asked.
"Twelve. I just had enough, so I packed what I could into a rucksack, and hitched a ride into London."
"And you fell into prostitution." Shirley shook her head.
Penny nodded her head, "He was this BIG hero who
was ever going to believe me that he beat and whipped me for every little
mistake. So I hid as I said, sleeping on peoples floors till Lizzie suggested a
way I could earn some money for myself."
"But what about your education?" Juliette
asked, "You've always struck me as so knowledgeable."
"Basically I taught myself, I read a lot, and there was a little unofficial school for runaway kids in Soho that I went to a bit as well.
"That's where I met Agnes, she taught the girls
about money matters."
"Agnes? Agnes McAdam?"
"Yeah Cari - Lady D'eath. To this day I don't know why she invited me to work at her place. I did the diary at first, but she allowed me to assist her and then service clients myself. I felt strong making these powerful men suffer, and I was very very good at it."
Shirley nodded. "It's not an unusual story, but when did you move on?"
"I was starting to enjoy it too much, and Agnes suggested I try something different. She needed a debt recovered, so she asked me as Mistress Penelope to rob the house of a client. I pretended to be an Avon lady, tied up his wife - and found a second vocation. Eventually, my need to control was more satisfied by that, so I began to be that person rather than the old Penny, and gradually buried her. Then I met John one night – and the rest is history."
"I’ve met Agnes," Shirley said, "She
never mentioned you."
"I asked her not to. Part of the reason she took me on a different road was I almost killed a man. I went too far, and she reeled me back. The reason I stepped back from the Dolls was not just because I was wounded. Subconsciously, when we wounded that guard, I was afraid my other self would return."
Penny smiled as she looked at them. "See I really am one of you. Damaged made good. Wonder what Dom will say about this?"
Heather walked over and sat with Penny, putting her arm round her shoulders. “We can’t judge – but I hope it feels better that you have opened up now.”
“It does actually,” Penny said. “I move into my new house when I get back – I think I’m finally ready to face that demon.”
“Is he still alive?”
“My father? Yeah – but I’m not ready to face him yet.”
“As for Dominique, she understands where you have been,” Shirley said, “so talk to her. As for the other Penny – we can discuss her later.”
“So what about…”
“We will dispose of the body,” Sandy said as she looked at Jo, “as well as the materials. He can stay there for now.”
Carina sighed as Judith detached herself, and she winded her daughter. “You are getting a bit big to do that with,” she said as Judith smiled back at her. “We may have to start thinking about bottle milk.”
“So how was Tony,” Jo said as she looked at Abby.
“None of your business,” Abby said, but she smiled as she looked over. “Did I see House kissing Jeannie?”
“You most certainly did,” Heather said, “and she is in seventh heaven.”
“So are Pepsi and Becky, I shouldn’t wonder,” Diana said, “they got to take their boyfriends home.”
“Angel, Ingrid and I are going to meet up tomorrow and visit the sights – if one of you can babysit for an hour or two,” Cari said. “Then I need to pack – back to Yale on Sunday.”
“And school on Monday,” Annie said as she looked at Jo and Abby. “Which of you is bringing Ama?”
“It’s my turn to pick up Pepsi,” Abby said, “so I’ll collect her. About eight fifteen?”
“Sounds good – I’ll let her know,” Annie said.
“And what next for you, Juliette,” Shirley said.
“I need to have a long talk with Klaus, clear the air,” she said quietly, “and then there is a bank in Rhode Island that demands my attention.”
“She’s back,” Sandy said as the room burst into laughter.
The Huntingdown Apartment
“She’s asleep,” Cari said as she came down from the bedroom, and sat next to Annie, taking a drink from her mother.
"It’s funny,” Juliette said as she sat down, “but
now it's all over darling, all I really feel like doing is running to your
father and asking him to make love to me once more."
"Why don't you do it? Carina asked.
"Because life is not that simple and we can't all
be like The Beast and do exactly as we want to without tears and remorse."
"Life might be simpler like that." Annie's
arm snaked round her girlfriend’s waist.
"But life is not meant to be simple."
Juliette blinked, "It's about making the best of the good things, and
minimizing, or exploiting the crap."
"That's a dark view of life Mom."
"And besides who even says Klaus still finds me
even remotely desirable?"
"OH MY FUCKING GODDESS!” Cari threw a cushion at her mother, who caught it and threw it back…