The Centre Cannot Hold – part 1







Wednesday 12th October

Noon BST

Xavier International


"So you think she will make an acceptable CFO/Comptroller for Norstar Ju?" Shirley said as she looked out over the Aldwych road.

"I think so,” Juliette said on the screen, “she's bright, she's talented, and from what she says she knows her own limitations well enough that she won't try and get involved in the areas that are beyond her expertise Shirley."

"When you have people like Missy overseeing the talent, you are right you don't need her trying to stick her nose in."

"Anyway,” Juliette said, “subject to nothing unforseen happening we are looking forward to Rhenia taking up the position as soon as possible."

"Understood, I’ll get Susan started on the transition plan when they meet today - and now, having got that out of the way, do you want to tell me why you really phoned Juliette?"

"Really phoned?"

"Ju I know you well enough that you wouldn't normally phone me to say you were definitely hiring Rhenia, and besides I can see something in your face, and hear something in your voice, something has you worried."


“Yeah – someone is trying to blackmail Holly Berryman, use her as a way to influence the Richmond family.”


Shirley sat down and frowned, as she said “is this related to the current work Francesca and Caroline are doing.”


“Big time – Shirley, it’s Andre Kannenikov.”


“Ah,” Shirley said quietly, “and as she is threatening one of you…  Juliette, I know you do not want to hear this, but we need to discuss before you make a move.  We are flying over for the race on Sunday, after the girls’ party.  Please, make no move until then.”


“All right – I think Sandy said she wanted to talk to you anyway, something her mother said.”


“Nessa?  Ah,” Shirley said quietly, “well, we wait until Sunday…”



1 pm BST



"Kay we have a very frightened property developer here in New York, and no not one of the big fish, but he's still important enough that because we effectively have him by the balls he has no way of resisting what ever we tell him to do. Do you have any ideas and input about what to do with him?"

"You make him sound very interesting Caroline. Can I ask how you managed to 'acquire' him?" the MI6 woman looked at her computer screen.

"Let's maybe say that somehow we have him thinking we can control the Russian bank that holds his markers. He's behind on his payments and the previous head of said bank was obviously starting to squeeze him."

"So we can squeeze him further?"

"If that is what gets decided."

"Well as you know I'm working on how the money is flowing through Europe, I'd love to be able to ask him some questions regarding that so my 'expert' knows if her work is being confirmed."

"I think that might be possible."

"Just where might interrogating him be possible Caroline? My experts and I can't travel to the US right this minute."

"So do you want to talk to him in London?"

"If it could be arranged please."

"I'll try, and if he won’t come of his own free will, then I know for sure a couple of people who can 'transport' him for us.  He is due to meet our contact this evening at seven – that gives us time to get a plan in place…"


Kay looked up as there was a knock on the door, and said “let me know Caroline – someone wants a word,” ending the call before she said “come in.”


As the door opened, Kay immediately stood up – the tall, balding man with grey hair at his temples was known instantly by her, standing there in a Saville Row suit, blue silk shirt, silk tie.


“Sir,” Kay said quietly, “this is an unexpected pleasure.”


“Yes, I can imagine it is,” the man said as he closed the door, “but I was passing, and I thought I would take the opportunity to pop in for a little chat.”


“Won’t you take a seat,” Kay said quietly as she indicated the chairs to one side, but he sat in front of her desk, Kay slowly sitting as she said “what exactly can I do for you Sir?”


“Well,” he said as he brushed some lint from his trousers, “I have heard you are showing some interest in financial movements in Germany.  Is there any truth in this?”


“As part of an internal investigation, I have asked for some information,” Kay said quietly, “but I did not think I was breaching any rules of mutual engagement.”


“I did not say you had – but if something was discovered that were to approach those lines, you would take the appropriate action, would you not?”


“Naturally Sir.”


“Good – then I will not detain you any longer,” he said as he stood and left, Kay shaking internally as he walked out…


Bayswater Road



"So where did you buy the girls outfits for the party Aggie?" Sherry asked as she passed a mug of coffee over.

"I didn't Sherry,” Aggie said with a smile, “Catriona insisted that she'd take them to Harrods as her treat."

"Well good for her.  Did she do the same for Maisha?"

"Yes.  Over Shirley's protests she collected all three girls this morning and took them shopping."

"I guess in a way,” Sherry said as she took a drink, “she sees herself adopting a sort of godmotherly role for them."

"That was precisely what Kay says."

"It was actually Kay I dropped in to talk to you about darling."


"Am I compromising my principles doing this analysis for her?"

"Do you think you are?" Agnes looked her friend straight in the eye.

"I'm trying not to...but I can't but help myself by what methods is all this data being gathered."

"You are worried at potential breaking of laws, intrusions on privacy..."

"And much more Aggie. I know that we are the 'good guys' but just as I had troubles way back when about what the security services do, I still have some of the same qualms."


“Look – I have some misgivings as well, but I think it has to be done this way.  If nothing else, it is doing an important role for everyone.”


“Well, I’m about ready to give my report – and then I only ever want to meet Kay socially…”


3 pm BST

McAdam Consultants

The Bank


"Hey stranger," Sue smiled as the younger woman poked her head round the door, "not very often we see you here."

"Hey yourself," Peri laughed as she walked in, "and with the amount of work I'm having to do while the boss and Hannah are in New York no one is seeing me."

"That bad?"

"Bad enough that Kevin dumped me because he said I was always too tired and busy to go out."

"Uggh that's not good," Sue shook her head.

"I know," Peri sighed deeply.

"Anyway what brings you to our door?"

"I actually come bearing gifts," Peri indicated the large bag she was carrying. "I have presents for the girls to be given to them at their party, and several files that I don't even remotely understand, but which I was ordered to deliver in person to Aggie, and not risk having them couriered even."

"Okay - Agnes, Peri is here with some material from the Marchesa," Sue said as she flipped a switch on the intercom.

"I'll be right out."


“So settled back in?”


“Yeah – we had to postpone the Ardray visit to tomorrow, so it’s a good thing you came round today…”



10 am

Xavier International


Susan smiled as she looked at the California blonde across her table.  “So you have accepted the position?”


“Subject to references and agreeing a transition plan with you and Maddie,” Rhenia said as she played with her skirt.  “That, and the threat of Louise hurting me.”


“Good – Maddie and Emma are here this weekend, and she wants you to stay until then – we’ll pick up the hotel tab, and you can start the apartment hunt.  I’m told the Village is good.”


“Har de her – any other instructions, Susan.”


Tapping the table with her pen, Susan said "I think it’s important maybe that you come to Pocono for the big race Rhenia."

"May I ask why Susan?"

"Well with Xavier's being one of the sponsors of one of the top teams we make something of a fuss and offer extensive corporate hospitality. It will be a chance for you to meet some people and maybe make some useful contacts."

"Ah, now I understand," the Californian smiled, "networking right?"


"So anyone in particular I need get to know?"

"Some of Juliette's personal staff for sure."

"Well I've met Helen York, she's an acquaintance of my sister Louise."

"She's the sort of person yes. But also someone like Sigrid von Mannschen, she's Juliette's sister-in-law, and one of the world’s top lawyers. She handles Norstar's legal affairs so a working relationship might be important."


"I'm sure Juliette will make sure you meet some of the people you need to as well."

"I'd guess so," Rhenia took a deep breath, "and what will be my relationship with you and Madame?"


“Yeah – Shirley is coming over for the race, but she won’t get here until late Saturday, so Sunday is the first chance you’ll get to talk.  But I think you’ll be in a similar position to Mindy in New York – a connection, help where you can, but given the connection between NorStar and Rising Stars I suspect you and Maddie will talk a lot as well.


“And on that note – start getting used to calling her Shirley.  You’ll be meeting mostly socially, so only in the office with the formal title.  Besides, she wants to meet Senior Staff Monday – I get the feeling changes are afoot again…”



The Richmond Mansion


“So have you had any further ideas about how to deal with this – vermin, Sandy,” Nessa said as she sat down.


“Beyond something illegal, no,” Sandy said quietly as she poured the coffee, “why – have you?”


"Well, I think my position as a patron of the arts is well enough known that he might very well leap at the chance to come meet with me," Vanessa crossed her legs as she accepted the cup.

"Meaning what Mom?"

"Make sure he both gets an invitation to Pocono on Sunday, and that he definitely comes. I want to see this man who thinks he can blackmail us close up"

"I can try..."

"No Sandy darling,” Nessa said as she put the cup to her red lips, “you will make it happen."

"Alright," Heather thought to herself, "where has this Nessa been hiding herself all these years?" The quietly authoritative tone was very reminiscent of that which she frequently heard from her lovers lips. "Like daughter like mother?" she asked herself.

"I'd actually be interested to hear what your uncle makes of him as well."

"Are you going to tell him what is going on Mom?"

"No, but Alex does seem to have an extra sense for trouble, I'll be very surprised he fails to work out something is going on."


“Well, he is coming later on Sunday, so he may get the chance then…”


“Excellent – so what else can we be doing?”


6 pm BST



"Thanks for taking Maisha out to buy her dress Cat."

"Well I sort of owed it to her for all the times we've 'cheated' playing her and John at tennis," Catriona laughed as they looked out over the Thames.

"You know she still complains that we do cheat?" Shirley smiled in return.

"Well between us we have done some bad things in life Shirl,” Cat said with a smile, “but cheating at tennis isn't really one of our sins."

"No it isn't," Shirley looked at her old friend quizzically, "and what made you phrase it that way?"

"Because I may just be about to sin again, and I'm wondering if you wish to join me?"

"That sounds intriguing darling. What do you have in mind?"

"There is a fraudster who has escaped every attempt by the law to prosecute him for his crimes. I think it's time another form of punishment was meted out to him."


“I see – tell me more…”


Bayswater Road


“The head of your beloved sister organization just popped in for a chat?”


“Oh yes,” Kay said as she sat down, “nice and casual and scary as fuck.”


"I thought the tensions between the Security and Intelligence services only existed in the spy novels Kay?"

"Oh no I can assure you they are very real, and even today they can get damn nasty," Kay noticed that her hand was still shaking slightly as she took the glass of whiskey from Agnes.

"So what do you think his coming to see you means exactly?"

"Oh,” Kay said as she took a sip, “that I'm being warned that I'm under scrutiny at the highest levels and that if i make even a single mistake then my neck is on the line."

"May I venture to say that there are people who want to share the glory if you are right, but are all determined that if this goes pear shaped, you alone take the blame?"

"That just about sums it up darling."

"Can you just walk away?"

"No,” Kay shook her head and put the glass down, “I'm already in too deep, and besides Ed Preminger can equally make life very unpleasant if I leave him high and dry."

"So what are you going to do?"

"I'm going to proceed with caution Aggie, and tonight I'm going to go home and demand my husband makes love to me and try and forget this happened."

"It's an idea," Agnes smiled.



7 pm



"Okay I thought it was important that I talk to all three of you before Pocono," Henri smiled as the waiter left after taking their orders.

"So you said Papa," Jeanne sipped her wine.

"We don't do this sort of thing nearly enough," Janice relaxed. "And with all else I have on my plate currently it's nice to be concentrating on my hobby."

"Agreed," Sandy smiled.

"Well before we start to talk tactics I want to say just how proud I am of all you and what you've already achieved this year."

"Thank you Henri," Sandy blushed, "but RCM is a team remember we are only as good as our weakest component..."

"And thankfully we have had precious few components fail this year," Janice finished.

"We were also lucky in having Toni able to step in while i was pregnant, or these two had other commitments."

"Yes we were darling," Henri smiled his strange crooked smile, "yes we have had some breaks from luck, but it still comes down to you three driving brilliantly in the long term."



Thursday 13th October

9.30 am BST



Rory smiled as the car pulled up outside the main doors, walking down the stairs and opening it as Agnes stepped out, Sue and Catriona following.  Agnes and Catriona were both wearing white blouses, grey jackets and tartan skirts, while Sue wore a light blue trouser suit and a camisole top.


“Welcome back, Miss Agnes,” he said with a smile, “sheilagh has some coffee ready fer all three of ye, and the meeting is due to start at twelve.  We have the room ready for ye.”


“Thank you, Rory,” Agnes said with a smile, “coffee sounds like a wonderful idea – let’s head in.”


“Welcome back Miss Agnes, Miss Catriona, Miss Susan,” Sheilagh said as they walked in.  “May I ask how the girls are?”


“Miley and Laura are good, thank you Sheilagh – they have work to do today, and their party to prepare for on Saturday, or I would have brought them as well.”


“That’s good tae hear.  Yer coffee is in the morning room.  If ye have time today, I wonder if we could discuss what arrangements may have been made for other events.”


“We’d like to know that as well,” Cat said as she looked at Agnes.


“And I’ll tell you all soon – once Donald and I have sorted some things out,” Agnes said with a smile as they walked into the breakfast room.





As Agnes looked round the room, she could see there were friendly – and not so friendly – faces in the assembled grouping, as well as some of the press.


“I see BBC Scotland are here,” Catriona whispered as she saw a grey haired gentleman sitting in the back.  “That’s Douglas Frazer, their economics editor.”


“Fair enough – I imagine the others will be here eventually,” Agnes said as Sue walked over.  “The press releases and packs are all laid out in the room,” she said quietly, “want to get started.”


Nodding, Agnes said “ladies and gentlemen, if you would take your seats please?”


As the group moved in, Agnes took a deep breath, and went to sit at the head of the table, Cat sitting next to her as Sue said “Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming today to hear our proposals for the regeneration of our local area, and through that to promote Scottish business.  To start our presentation, I am pleased to introduce Doctor Agnes McAdam, Laird of Ardray.”


As the room clapped, Agnes stood and smiled.  “Alright ladies and gentlemen - before we begin I had better reveal that I have secured from the Marchesa di Cambrello, and her daughter Mrs van der Byl, their agreement to help fund a pilot programme for rural economic development here in Scotland from a fund set up in the name of the Marchesa's late husband Dr James Gordon," Agnes said as she addressed the assembled grouping. "What this will mean is that we may also be able to access further grants from the Scottish Office, and from the Scottish parliament, to put a working scheme into practice."


There was a murmur round the room as Agnes continued “with the help of Catriona Cuthbertson, also known to many of you, this will take the form of a cooperative, owned by the people and working for the people.”

"Aye but how badly will all this be tied up in red tape Dr McAdam?" one of the local politicians asked.

"We are hoping minimally," Catriona intervened, "I've started drawing up a legal framework for what we are going to attempt that I hope will be approved by all the relevant parties quickly."


“Given the current political climate,” one woman said, “how can we be sure they will cooperate.”


“We have confidence,” Agnes said with a smile, “as you can see from our information packs and press release.”


"There is one definite thing we'd like to start work on straight away and that's to bring top grade internet access to this area," Catriona said as she looked at her notes, “it is clear that will be essential for our schemes to come to a successful conclusion.”

"Is that possible your Ladyship, is it an economically viable idea?"

"In the short term it will almost certainly need a heavy subsidy, but the Marchesa has serious business interests in this field and she's assured us that it can be done, and eventually, be made to pay for itself."

"I hate to be the negative one," Geordie Millar spoke softly, 'but of what use is this all if people can't afford to live here?"

"Which is where one of our other proposals comes in Geordie," Agnes smiled. "Lady Sithwell and I are willing to donate the land for housing to be built on, under the condition that said housing will be managed by a trust that will be legally tasked with guaranteeing keeping rents at a level that are affordable, and that though they will remain legally estate property will be protected from being sold into private ownership for a fixed number of years...In my mind 50 years being perhaps a suitable time period?"

One of the local councillors stood up.  "Will tenants have the right to renew tenancies after that?"

"Providing that the aim of maintaining an adequate stock of affordable houses is met, I think appropriate rights can be incorporated," Catriona spoke,


"Do you have any firm commitments to bring in any new jobs into the area Miss Agnes?"

Nodding, Agnes looked round the room.  "Are any of you aware of the work Lady Ordford has done in reviving top quality hand knitting?"

"Aye," a couple of heads nodded.

"Well she is seeking to set up a collection and distribution centre and I've persuaded her that Ardray may be a good location, as and when we get the new internet up and running. It will initially bring less then 10 new jobs, but it will hopefully lead to more."

"And it will show to other prospective employers that if a worldwide operation like Fitzstuart Woolens can find a home here that just perhaps there are opportunities for their businesses," Catriona added.


“We believe this will be a start, but will show the local people there is hope if they do not move away – any questions?”


"Do you have an ideas relating to the tourist industry Miss Aggie," one of the women asked, "in my mind at least, we need to talk about it."

"I agree," Agnes looked serious, "and yes the natural beauty of this area, and its other attractions, are one of our biggest assets, but the problem is the seasonal nature of the tourist business."


"All this sounds fine Dr McAdam,” the man from the local council spoke, "but you seem to be forgetting that a lot of what you are proposing will need serious upgrades to local infrastructure if it is to work, and where is the money to come from for things like new roads?"


“I agree that is a major issue,” Catriona said, “but by ensuring the electronic infrastructure is in place first, we can then seek planning applications to provide funding for the additional infrastructure.   Please remember, our plan is not to destroy the natural beauty of this place, but to use it and enhance it to our advantage.”


“Our intention is to start small, and build on that,” Agnes said quietly.  “We want to rpove we can do this in a small way, and build on what that will show.  It will not be easy, but we will succeed with your support and help…”



5 pm BST



"Well I've done all I know how to do," Kit looked into her computer, "if this party is a flop then it was never meant to be."

"Oh it’s going to be amazing," Miley smiled, "nothing can go wrong.  O just know it."

"Never say that cousin," Eve said as she looked over Kit's shoulder, "Touch wood and just say a little prayer."

"I'll make sure she doesn't tempt fate," Laura said as she sat down next to her sister.

"Are all the people Maisha asked coming?"

"As far as i know Kit... lots of her tennis playing friends from her club."

"And the major question...will there be enough boys?"

"Most of the guys are bringing friends," Laura grinned broadly.


“Well then, Saturday here we come,” Kit said with a smile.  “I hear Aunt Aggie was in Ardray today with her proposal.”


"Did you see that horrid comment on the BBC Scotland news story about her project being long on  patronising, aristocratic, wishes, and rather shorter on truly practical immediate proposals?"

"I did Laura," Kit gritted her teeth, "I find it foul that people sneer about 'our class' when we try and do our best to help the communities we live in."

"We get the same thing in Ireland when Daddy supports worthwhile projects," Eve shook her head.


“Well, I am sure Mum will do her best,” Laura said quietly.  “Your mum was there as well, wasn’t she Liz?”


“True, but I won’t get to see her until tomorrow night.  She had to go to something once she gets home…”


9 pm BST

Hampstead Heath


Albert Compton looked out of the window of his townhouse over the dark heathland, smiling as he viewed the vista.  Now that the last of the legal cases had been dismissed by the Supreme Court, he knew there was no way the authorities could touch him.  And the contents of those Cayman Island bank accounts could start to be quietly, sensibly filtered into his own account.


He had to admit a lot of people had been hurt – the pension scheme had that large black hole, and it had been spotted far earlier than he had suspected, but he had covered his own involvement well enough.


“Bertie?  What are you doing?”


He turned and smiled as he looked at the thin blonde standing in the doorway, wearing a black vest top and leather skirt.


“Merely thinking ahead, Astrid,” he said with a smile, “why don’t you open a bottle of champagne and we can have a drink together.”


“Okay,” she said as she walked to the kitchen, turning the light on as she walked to the large refrigerator and opened the door.  Reaching in, she took the large bottle out, and closed the door before she turned round.


“Don’t say a word, bitch – just stand where you are.”


She stared at the woman standing there, wearing a tight black sweater under her leather jacket, leggings and knee length black leather boots.  She also wore leather gloves, and a black balaclava covered her head, allowing only her eyes and red lips to be seen.  But the gun in her gloved hand was very real as Astrid stood there, unaware of the gloved hand that took the champagne bottle from her at first.  She then turned her head, and saw the second woman, the smile on her face as she said “open your mouth.”


As she did so, Astrid felt the rubber ball as it was pushed between her teeth, and then the straps as they were taken round her head, pushing her cheeks in as the straps were fastened together at the back of her head.  Her arms were then yanked behind her back, as she felt the ropes rubbing on her bare wrists as they were lashed together.


“Now,” the masked woman whispered as she looked at Astrid, “you will allow My Lady here to complete what she has started, and then we will go and say hello to your dipshit of a partner.  Won’t that be fun?”




“What happened,” Albert said as he heard the footsteps behind himself, “had to go to the…”


“On the floor, mother fucker, hands behind your head,” one of the two masked women said as she walked over and pushed Albert down, holding the pistol to the back of his head as the second woman dragged Astrid in.  The ropes encircled and framed her chest as they held her arms tightly to her sides, the thin bands rubbing on her flesh both above her chest and between her arms and body.


“What the shit do you thin…”


“Madame, show this piece of shit what he should be doing right now.”


“Right now, piece of shit,” the masked woman growled as she pressed the gun against Albert’s temple, “you should be shutting the fuck up and putting those hands on your head.”


“And if I don’t…”




He looked up to see the second masked woman draw back the safety and put her gun against her girlfriend’s head, her eyes wide with fear as a thin line of drool ran down her cheek.


“Any other stupid questions?”


“I think he understands the situation, My Lady,” Madame said as she pulled his hands behind his back, and used a length of thin cord around and between his crossed wrists to hold them together.  He winced as she pulled back on his hair, making him kneel before a longer length of rope was used to bind his arms to his side, his robe opening under the tension of the binding.


“Look at your lover bitch,” My Lady whispered into Astrid’s ear as her free gloved hand caressed and squeezed her chest, “do you think he would be willing to do anything to ensure your safety?”


“What…  What are you doing to her…”


“Oh, would you like to be doing this instead,” My Lady whispered as she squeezed Astrid’s left breast hard, making her call out through the rubber ball gag.  “We’ll have to see.  Madame?”


“We’re going to ask some questions,” Madame whispered as she pulled the ropes tighter, and smiled.  “Answer truthfully, we reward.  Lie…”


Astrid screamed as her chest was squeezed again, as My Lady said “we have disabled your security system – pathetic, by the way – and turned off those hidden cameras.”




“Oh you didn’t know did you bitch – he films everything in these rooms.  I’m even told he has pleasure watching what you did on his own.” 


Astrid stared at Albert as he said “she’s lying!”


“About what – you watching them on your own or the tapes,” Madame said as she pulled his head back.  Albert remained silent as Astrid was pushed over to him, and made to kneel down.  “Don’t move,” Madame whispered as My Lady left the room for a few minutes, returning with a large black holdall which she dropped on the floor.  Opening it, she took out more rope and started to bind the blonde’s ankles together, as Madame looked at her.


“I hope he truly loves you,” she said quietly as she looked at Albert, “so let’s start with a simple question.  The combination to the safe in your office.”


“Fuck you.”


“You may want to, but I’m not going to let you,” Madame said with a grin as My Lady bound a length of rope round Astrid’s waist and then let the long length drop in front of her – then laughed at her squeals as she reached between her legs and yanked it up hard, forcing the cords against her pussy as she secured it to her chest ropes.


“I’ll ask again,” Madam whispered as My Lady slowly pulled Astrid’s vest top up, revealing her bare chest as she started to massage it with her gloved hands, “combination.”


Hllbhrrtphllssss,” Astrid mumbled as she felt her chest firming under the caress, and tried no tot show exactly how the feel of the leather covered fingers on her sensitive nipples was making her feel.  My Lady, however, smiled as she pulled on the crotch rope, while gently squeezing her nipples at the same time.





“All right, all right,” he said quietly as he gave a series of numbers.


“Now backwards.”


“What – why would you…”




He suddenly looked over as a pair of silver clamps were fastened over Astrid’s nipples, Madame looking on as she felt the warmth between her legs and said “backwards, mother fucker!”


“All right,” he said as he reeled the numbers off, Madame nodding as she said “make sure he stays right there” before she walked off.


“Let’s make you just as secure,” My Lady said as she fasten a sliver chain between Astrid’s nipples, and then quickly walked round, forcing his feet together as she started to bind his ankles.


“Who the hell are you,” Albert called out as he felt the rope rubbing on his ankles, and then on his legs around his knees.


“We’re the uncommon criminals,” My Lady whispered as she saw the beads of sweat on Astrid as she twisted round, the rope rubbing on her crotch, “the Avengers, if you like.”


“You’re no Black Widow.”


“Oh, if you only knew,” My Lady whispered as she pulled the rope tight, tied it off, and then reached round and grabbed his crotch.  “Oh I knew it – you’re aroused by her situation – or is it your own.”


“I am not…”


“Yes, you are – and if you’re going to lie…”  Albert opened his mouth again as his hair was pulled back, and the red ball pushed in before the leather straps were fastened tightly round his head.


“Better,” she whispered as she reached round again, pulling his pants down as Astrid’s eyes widened at how large his cock had become – and then heard his screams as she gripped his ball sac in her gloved hand.


“I do so love the smell of fear in the evening,” she whispered as she squeezed tighter, Albert’s eyes almost popping out of his head as Madame came back in.


“The safe is open – want to go and examine the contents while I ask some more questions.”


“It will be a pleasure, Madame,” the other masked woman said as she walked off, Madame popping the cork as she said “you don’t mind if my friend and I have a glass, do you?”




“Manners,” Madame said quietly as she walked over, and then kicked Albert in the groin, the man rolling over as he moaned, “We are been nice to you after all – we could have forced you to strip naked and beaten the living shit out of both of you pissants.”


Pouring the champagne into two glasses, she sipped from one of them, and then walked over, kneeling behind the panting Astrid as she said “now you – I think you are enjoying this aren’t you?”


Nhhmmshhttshchrddhmmmmmm,” Astrid said, shaking her head as Madame slowly pulled the crotch rope to and fro, feeling the dampness under the cords as she tried not to show how she truly was feeling.  Her nipples were sore, and she wondered what else they could do to her.


“Oh I know you are – but this is good isn’t it?  And your mother fucker of a partner seems to be enjoying it as well.”


Astrid looked over at Albert, who was lying on his side, but she could also actually see his cock getting larger, firmer as he watched her.


Uhhh...   Uhhhfkhknnnlhtllprfrrtt…”


Albert could only groan, the drool running down his chin as Madame said “now, we do have another thing for lover boy here to do for us, but you’ve been good, and I can see you want to enjoy the rest of this evening.”  She slipped her gloved fingers under the rope and into her slit, Astrid closing her eyes and groaning loudly as Madame worked her for a few minutes.


“Hmmm yes – you are enjoying this aren’t you,” Madame whispered, Astrid slowly nodding as she came close, oh so close…”


“I see you are having fun, Madame?”


“There is always time for fun in work My Lady – what did you find?”


“Most of what I desired – but I think we should get this man here to pay for his sins,” she said quietly as she opened his laptop and placed it on the table.




“Yes fucking way,” Madame said quietly as she removed her hand, Astrid slowly opening her eyes – and then opening them wide as she saw the flame from the lighter running across the chain between her nipples, the heat on them from the clamps getting steadily higher and higher…


“Let me make it simple,” Madame said as she forced Albert back onto his knees, “the moment you use the retinal identifier built into your laptop to access your accounts, the less pain she suffers.  I am told it can leave permanent marks if you wait too long…”



“PLLSSHHHLBHHRRTTT,” Astrid pleaded as the heat started to make her sweat – but curiously, she felt hotter elsewhere as well…


Albert watched as she writhed round, feeling the throbbing in his own cock, before he nodded and said “hllrhththldhhttt.”


“Much fucking better,” Madame said as My Lady brought the laptop over, holding the retinal scanner to Albert’s eye as the screen changed, and she returned it to the table.


“How thoughtful of you, Madame,” My Lady said as she took the second glass and sipped from it, then typed on the screen as Madame looked at the two captives, Astrid panting as the metal slowly cooled.


“Well, I think we need to keep you both distracted,” she said quietly.  “You have been patient, my dear girl – you deserve a reward.”


Fnkuh,” Astrid mumbled as the vibrator was turned on, and slipped into her passage, the blonde shaking violently as she fell onto her side and Madame hogtied her while she had an orgasm.




“You – you deserve exactly what you gave all those innocent pension fund members,” Madame whispered before she thrust the dildo into his rear passage, Albert screaming out as she switched on the built-in vibrator before he fell over, and she hogtied him as well.


“Transfer begun,” My Lady said as Madame walked over, and kicked Albert between his legs as well, “thank you, you stupid little fucking prick.”


The two could only watch as the masked intruders looked at the computer screen, sipping their champagne as they watched the screen, and then putting the glasses and the laptop into their bag.


“Have you both had an enjoyable evening?”


They watched as Madame took her gun, and pulled the safety back.  “Good – you should always end with a smile on your face.”



As they got into the car, Cat pulled the balaclava off her head and let out a long, deep moan.


“Well, most of that money will go to support the sisters,” Shirley said quietly, “and the piece we take will be well spent.”


“And we got some revenge for the pensioners,” Cat said quietly as she looked at Shirley.  “Want to come to my place for – something?”


Shirley smiled as she drove off…



Friday 14th October

2 pm

The Astoria Waldorf


As they heard the knock on the door, Anouska glanced to the door that led to the inner bedroom as Selena stood up.


“You ready?”


“As ready as I will ever be,” Anouska said as she stood up and walked to the window.  She was dressed conservatively, in a black jacket and skirt with a cream silk blouse underneath, and low heeled shoes, while Selena wore a leather skirt and black jumper, with knee length boots.  “Is this necessary?”


“Regretfully, yes.”


“Very well,” Anouska said as Selena walked over and opened the door to the suite.


“Mr Harding – please, come in,” she said, standing to one side as Jack Harding came in, looking round as Anouska stood in the window with the sun behind her.


“Madame Kalinikov,” he said as he nervously looked round, “thank you for agreeing to meet me today.”


Anouska nodded to Selena, who indicated a chair with the back to the bedroom door and said “be seated, Mister Harding.”


“Thank you,” Jack said as he sat down, mopping his forehead as Anouska walked over and picked up a file, looking through it before she said “Tak kak ty khochesh' igrat' v eto, Selena?


“Madame Kalinikov welcomes you,” Selena said as she sat in a seat between the two, “and asks you to state your case.”


“Madame,” Jack said as he leaned forward, his hands clasped together, “I am aware that I owe your late husband’s bank a great deal of money, and I am aware that I am behind on repayment.  It would be entirely within your rights to…  To take appropriate action, but I wish to explain why I need some clemency.”


Selena turned and smiled, before she said “Eto odin ochen' nervnyy chelovek - my mogli by poveselit'sya s nim.


Nodding, Anouska said “Pravda. i on takzhe ochen' obespokoyen tem, chto ya mog by sdelat'. Skazhite yemu, chto ya nedovolen, no ya budu slushat'.


“Madame Kalinikov has reviewed your file, and the repayment records,” Selena turned and said, “and I am allowed to say she is very concerned at what she sees.”


Jack started sweating as he heard this, before he said “I know I do not deserve a second hearing, so I thank her for this.  What I said in our previous meeting is true, however – when he has won the election, I am assured of a number of contracts, the payments for which will be made quickly, and then I can repay the whole amount owing.”


Selena turned and said “Chertovski tipichno - on dumayet, chto bekkhendery budut oznachat', chto on nakhoditsya v otkrytom vide s ikh pomoshch'yu.


Nodding, Anouska looked at him, then slowly closed the file and set it down before she stood and walked back to the window.  Davayte posmotrim, naskol'ko on v otchayanii - skazhite yemu, chto ya ne sklonen pomogat' mne, i ya otzyvayu kredity.


Selena turned and smiled as she said “Madame Kalinikov is not minded to grant your request – in fact, she is so concerned she is contemplating calling your loan in.


“In full.




Jack stood up, his face white as he said “no…  No she cannot do that, I will be ruined!  I have been a good servant, done all that was asked of me in the financial markets.”


Anouska turned and looked at him, as she said “YA slyshal dostatochno - vremya dlya nego, chtoby otpravit'sya v puteshestviye.


Selena nodded, looking over Jack as the door opened silently as she said “we are aware of your willingness to serve.  Will you do what is required if the loan is forgiven.”


“Anything – what is it you want me to do?”




Jack’s eyes opened wide as the cloth was pressed firmly over his nose and mouth, his mind clouding as the fumes got to work, and then he slumped into the arms of the two women behind him.


“I will arrange for the letter to be delivered to his wife and family,” Selena said as they lifted Jack into a laundry basket, Anouska smiling and waving as he was wheeled away.


5 pm

The Burton Apartment


"I'm so happy you are coming to Pocono as well Mel," Erica looked thrilled as they both packed suitcases with what they needed for the weekend trip.

"Well, with Mom and Dad both having the weekend off work they were able to accept the invitation.  They’ll drive up some of the way tonight, and meet us there tomorrow."

"I just hope you and they won't be bored," Denice said as she put her head round the door, "for all it looks so exciting, motor racing can often be pretty dull if you aren't into it."

"Dad loves soccer, but he's into most sports, and it gives Mom a chance to get to know all the other Sinners."

"We will just have to keep your brother and sister occupied," Erica closed her case.


“Oh they’ll find something.  It’s a pity none of our British friends are coming, but with what’s going on over there, I’m not surprised.”


“Oh I know – a lot of good things happening there as well…”



The Richmond Mansion


“I’ll see you on Sunday,” Sands said quietly as she ended the call, and then picked up her bag.


“Right, kids – Jo will meet us there tomorrow, so let’s go,” Heather said as they left the house, piling into the SUV before they drove off.


From a nearby car, Andre watched – such a normal looking family, and yet so well placed.  Perhaps he could turn the invitation on Sunday to his advantage…


Complete Style


”Are you set for Pocono Kylie?" Juliette asked as she sat with the teenager in Merlin’s cave.  Kylie was still in her school uniform, some of her Design work laid out on the desk.

"Not really,” Kylie drawled as she held a mug of coffee, “but I'll be there, and I'll do this photo-shoot Juliette."

"Well Gio was actually quite right,” Juliette said with a smile, “there will be some wonderful backdrops for him to shoot you in your own designs against."

Shaking her head, Kylie said "I still don't think I'm going to look right."

"Take it from me,” Juliette said with a smile, “you'll look fine."

"Marina says I'm panicking like I do before shows."

"Well Kylie darling she does have a point on that," Juliette laughed, "everyone is aware that you can get more than just a little stressed."
"I know and I'm trying....honestly.  But I am still so unsure of myself in this area."

“The Swan is afraid?”


“In this situation,” Kylie said “she most certainly is darling.”


"So,” Juliette said as she sat back, “are your Mom and aunt coming over with Gio?"

"They are - and strange as it might have one day sounded, I’m really looking forward to seeing Mum again."

"I'm glad."

“And talking of Mothers thank you for letting me add my little bit for the video from everyone over here for the girls in London at the party."

“Well, I was sure you would want to send your good wishes as well.  I think it’s wonderful that Shirley and John are adopting Maisha."

"And that Agnes is adopting Laura and Miley as well."


“Indeed,” Kylie said with a smile as Mary came back in.


“Right lass,” she said as she walked over, “let’s see what ye have for me today…”


Saturday 15th October

10 am BST

McAdam Associates


“Maisha is here to see you, Agnes,” Sue said as she held the door open for the young African woman to come in.


“Hello Maisha – what can I do for you?”


“Some things Mum wanted you to get personally,” Maisha said as she laid a package on the desk.


"Oh yeah – I was expecting them.  Thank you for delivering those things from your mother Maisha," Agnes leaned back in her office chair, "so are you all set for the party tonight?"

"I think I am," the tall black girl sat on the edge of Agnes's desk. "Can I ask you a question please Agnes?"

"Please, go ahead."

"Do you think they'd ever accept me as a student at the London School of Economics?"

"You want to go to the LSE?" Aggie looked up slightly in surprise.

"After all the talk in France about universities I did a little research, and I looked at their website and there are a couple of their courses that greatly appeal to me."

"Alright that I can understand," Aggie smiled.

"So is it possible?"

"For next year?  Then probably not, but for you to apply for admittance in 2018, if you did as well in your exams as I'm pretty sure you could, then yes it could well be possible."

"So what do I need do first?"

"Well first let me talk to John and Shirley tonight, but if they want you to do it then I guess we start making plans for you to prepare to take formal qualifications."  Smiling, she said “just out of interest, has Ama said anything about where she might look?”


“As of yet, no – I think she is concentrating on other things at the moment.  Are Laura and Miley looking forward to tonight?”


“Oh yes – in fact, they are probably talking to some of the others about it right now…”


Bayswater Road


“Oh come on – I have to listen to them AGAIN?”


"You sound like Fiona, complaining like this Edwina,” Clodagh said as she sat in the armchair, Laura handing drinks round to the other girls as Aileen shook her head.

"I just don't see what the fuss is about LeMachine coming over from LA to play this party is all about."

"That's because Mick is your big brother," Miley giggled, "to the rest of us 'normal' girls he is just the most handsome man on..."

"But he's Michael?"

“She's like Fi, she'll never get it," Kits laughed.  “But I for one am glad they got to come – even if we have to keep that bit a secret between ourselves.”


“But what else is happening tonight Kits?”






“Mandy,” Olivia said as she looked up, seeing her friend coming to join Paula and Tamsin at their table, “what brings you here today?”


"Shirley and Agnes asked me to help chaperone the party darlings, and it gives me both the chance to see my youngest son, and to do some more work on the burlesque event."

"How is that coming along by the way?"

"Well between Dita, Tracy, and myself we have managed to twist a few arms and ensure that several top dancers will be there."

"Sounds good."

"It should be.  Coffee, please.  So, between then and now?"


“We relax…”



1 pm BST

McAdam Associates


“Well, I have to say it is a nice change for a weekend, coming this way,” Donald said as he sat with Agnes.


“Of course you were going to be here this weekend – and are you coming tomorrow night?”


“So long as the redtops are not around,” Donald said with a smile as the door to the office opened.  "So what plans do you and Colin have for tonight Sue?" Donald asked as she brought the coffees into the inner office.

"Me, Lord Donald?  A nice quiet night at home."

"So not coming to the party?"

"I did invite them both," Agnes spoke.

"No," Sue smiled, "all those teenagers aren't quite my scene."

"Since when?" Donald smiled as well.

"Since I realised that to them I'm a member of the 'older generation'," Sue shook her head.

"Ah I understand." Donald laughed lightly, 'that happens eventually to us all."

"A few quiet nights at home like this and maybe you'll have your own younger generation?"

"That's the hope Aggie," Sue both smiled again and blushed.

"You are trying for a baby?" Donald nodded, "then I totally understand the appeal of a night at home."


“Indeed – and we need to head back soon.  I suspect the girls will be getting ready already…”


9 am



"So Mick is in London Nell?"


"Yeah,” Nell Rochermann said from the screen, her Harvard room in the background, “he and the guys are going to try out some of the new stuff for the album on a real audience."


"Sounds fun, but I bet you'd have preferred him coming here if they have the weekend off?"


"Of course I would, or that I could be in London Cari,” Nell sighed, “but I'll be seeing him next week, and he did sort of promise Agnes that he would entertain at the girls party."


"Are you and Ally going to be going to London for Mandy's burlesque thing?"


“We'd like to, and Mom says we might even work up a three girl routine, but I'm all but snowed under with work at Harvard and while I can justify a trip to Pennsylvania like this, and to the Breeders Cup in LA, where at least I will get time with Mick, I'm truly not sure if I really should take time to fly to London like this."


"It's for a great charity though."


"I know," Nell sighed, "and with the dancers who are doing it then it’s an honor just to be considered good enough to perform.  But we’re just going to have to enjoy the race tomorrow instead…"



4 pm BST

Bayswater Road


"So for now your surname will be McAdam?" Edwina asked as the younger girls tried to help each other with hair and makeup.

"It will be," Miley said as she looked at her own reflection in the mirror, "but when Mum and Dad get married then it's going to be Fitzstuart-McAdam."

"The Honorable Amelia Fitzstuart-McAdam," Clodagh smiled, “that sounds pretty good."

"Honorable?" Mylie looked quizzical.

"According to my parents,” Clodagh said as she turned her head, “it’s odds on that one day they'll make Uncle Donald a lord, which will make you an Honorable, just as I'm a Lady because I'm a duke's daughter."

“You really think that will happen?"

"I'll take bets on it," Aileen smiled as she looked in on the youngsters’ preparations.




“Seriously,” Laura said as she sat with Kit, Liz and Eve, “it’s only a couple of months since Miley and me were rooming in the Paddington dump, and now you’re saying we will be The Honorable?”


“I imagine so,” Kit said, “but for a moment, consider me – Lady Christine Mahan-Gaunt, Knight of the Red Knife, Master of Ardray.”


“Well, when you put it that way – good lord is that the time,” Laura said as she jumped up.  “Girls, is the bathroom free…”




6 pm

The Babbage home


"Well do I look presentable?" Mike Babbage said as he did a twirl.

"Just about," Sherry laughed as she saw her husband in his suit and open necked shirt.

"I can't believe that I let you talk me into help chaperone this party."

"I think we are there as a bit more then chaperones darling. The girls aren't going to be formally christened, but she wants Kay and Ray, Catriona Cuthbertson, and us, to sort of become the girls’ godparents."

"I know, and I think it’s a lovely idea." Mike sat on the edge of the bed. "Agnes is finally getting the life she always dreamed of."

"I know,” Sherry said as she looked in the mirror, and slipped her earrings on, “she'll have Donald as her husband, and two wonderful children of her own."

"She's still working hard with the school as well you know?"

"I do," Sherry nodded, "she's asked me if I'd consider helping out a little."



"Do you want to darling?"

Sherry turned round and looked at Mike.  "Well it would get me out of the house a couple of mornings a week, and it is a very worthwhile thing to do...I told Agnes I'd talk to you about it."

"Could you fit it round whatever it is you are doing for Kay?"

Looking carefully at her husband, Sherry said "For Kay?"

"Sherry darling, I may be up to my neck in these knife murders, but I'm still at home some of the time, and I’m not blind you know...  I saw the new computer, I overheard a whispered conversation between you and Kay. I put two and two together, remembered you are a genius statistician, and it wasn't hard to work out she has you doing some analysis."

"Do you mind?"

"Not really," he said as he stood up, put his arm round her and kissed her.


"Don't you two knock?" Mike turned and looked at Bridget and Richard and laughed.


“You never do to our rooms,” Bridget said as she stood in her dress, Richard dressed like his father.  “So where are we going anyway?”


“Funny you should ask…”



7 pm BST

Ublock, The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane



“Well, at least there is plenty of room,” Eve said as she walked into the large open space with Kits and Liz.


“Well, I go the feeling a confined space was the last thing we needed,” Kit said as she looked to one end of the room, where a DJ was making the last checks on his equipment.  “Especially for later.”  The DJ was on one side of the stage, on which various instruments were set up – as well as four microphones.


“Well, it’s an intimate gig, that’s for sure.”


“And we need to thank you for that, Mick,” Kit said as Michael Treharran kissed her on the cheek, “it’s going to be so good for them.”


“Well, it gives us a very different audience,” Mick said as a group of children walked in, a young woman standing with them as they gazed round.




“That’s right,” the older woman said as Kit walked over, smiling as she said “and these must be Laura and Miley’s friends from the school.


“Yeah, they are.”


“Hey Laura – you look amazing, and so do you Miley,” one of the older girls said as they looked at the latest arrivals.  Laura was wearing a black dress with short sleeves and a knee length skirt, while Miley wore a green party dress, both with matching low heels.  Donald and Agnes came in behind them, Donald in a jacket, shirt and casual trousers, while Agnes was wearing a blue blouse and jeans.


“Hey – we’re glad you could all make it,” she said as the DJ started to play Adele, “help yourselves to some food and drink, and above all have fun – tonight you’re Laura and Miley’s friends, and you don’t have to worry about what anyone else is going to say.”


“Come on,” Laura said as she joined them, “this is Aileen, Clodagh and Edwina, they’re our friends as well, and others are on their way.”


As the group moved off, Kit smiled, her smile getting broader as she heard a soft Irish accent say “well, it seems we arrived at a good moment.”


“Hey John,” she said as she turned and kissed John Gaunt, “who have you brought?”


“Eric, Steve, meet my girlfriend – technically she is the Master of Ardray and the Knight of the…”


“Kit will do fine,” she said as she greeted the other two boys.  “The DJ should be starting in a few minutes – feel free to eat, drink and mingle.”


“Come on boys – I’ll introduce you to the Gaunt girls,” John said as he walked off.


“It would appear things are starting nicely?”


“They are indeed, Mummy,” Kit said as she saw Tamsin, Paula, Mandy and Olivia come in, and then her smile broadened as she said “Fi – weekend down here?”


“Last minute call, actually – but I needed a break,” Fi Treharran said.  “And I had to bring him along.”


“Laugh it up,” young Michael said as he came in with two of his school friends, all wearing smart jeans and sweaters.  “This way boys.”



As the room slowly filled, and the noise increased, Kay walked over and whispered to Agnes “Well, this is shaping up to be a good party.”


“It is indeed,” Agnes said as she looked round.  “Did Sherry talk to you?”


“She is seeing me tomorrow – she now has what we need to move at that end, with luck.  But tonight – tonight is about them.”




White lips, pale face
Breathing in snowflakes
Burnt lungs, sour taste


Lights gone, days end
Struggling to pay rent
Long nights, strange men


And they say
She's in the class A team
Stuck in her daydream
Been this way since eighteen
But lately her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries


And they scream
The worst things in life come free to us
'Cause we're just under the upper hand
And go mad for a couple grams
And she don't want to go outside, tonight
And in a pipe she flies to the motherland
Or sells love to another man
It's too cold outside
For angels to fly, for angels to fly


“It would appear the party is going well already,” Maisha said as she arrived with Shirley and John.  She was wearing her black velvet dress with heels, the two adults more casually dressed as she went to greet some of her friends from the tennis club.

Ripped gloves, raincoat
Tried to swim and stay afloat
Dry house, wet clothes


Loose change, bank notes
Weary-eyed, dry throat
Call girl, no phone


And they say
She's in the class A team
Stuck in her daydream
Been this way since eighteen
But lately her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries


And they scream
The worst things in life come free to us
'Cause we're just under the upper hand
And go mad for a couple grams
But she don't want to go outside, tonight
And in a pipe she flies to the motherland
Or sells love to another man
Its too cold outside
For angels to fly
An angel will die
Covered in white
Closed eye
And hoping for a better life
This time, we'll fade out tonight
Straight down the line


And they say
She's in the class A team
Stuck in her daydream
Been this way since eighteen
But lately her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries


They scream
The worst things in life come free to us
And we're under the upper hand
And go mad for a couple grams
And we don't want to go outside, tonight
And in the pipe fly to the motherland
Or sell love to another man
It's too cold outside
For angels to fly, angels to fly
To fly, fly
For angels to fly, to fly, to fly
Angels to die


“That was Ed Sheeran,” the DJ said, “and now a request for John and Kit.”


“Oh, and what has someone picked for us,” Kit said as the music started to play, and then she smiled as Phil Lynott started to sing Whiskey in the Jar.


"Who are all those guys?" Steve Chancellor asked John.

"Haileyburians," John smiled, "the mother of the Cornwall boys is an old friend of Dr Mc Adam, so I guess they were asked to bring friends along."

"Do you know any of them?"

"No, but if I grab Laura here," John leaned over and kissed her on the cheek, "I'm sure she will make the introductions."

"Introduce you to who?"

"Those guys over there."

"Well I only know Sean and Niall, but I'll certainly introduce you to them."







“Oh hello Eve,” Maisha said with a smile, “you look wonderful in that dress.”


“So do you – and it is good so many of your friends and those of Laura and Miley are here.”


“I know – they do seem to be mixing well, don’t they?”


"Mmmmmm for once a party with plenty of guys to chose from," Aileen sipped her drink and looked round.

"The idea to get the boys to invite friends turned out to work well," Lizzie nodded to a couple of boys she'd met in Scotland once.

"And they are of all ages as well," Fiona added.

"I didn't think men were your thing Fiona?"

"They aren't Eve darling, but at a thing like this me dancing with other girls might just be a bit much, so it's nice to at least have a selection of men to dance with."


“Just what I was thinking sister,” Aileen said with a smile.




Miley turned and smiled as she saw Richard standing there.  “Hey yourself – fancy you been here?”


“Well, there was this girl I was hoping would dance with me – if she wanted to…”


Miley blushed a little, and then said “I’d like that very much” as they went onto the dance floor.



"Well the problem we used to have at school dances is starting to ease," Shirley smiled at john as they stood watching the kids enjoying themselves.

"You mean getting kids from different schools to interact?" John smiled back.

"I did."

"Well it took a while, but they all seem to be mixing now."

"Even the kids from my school, and the people from Queens club are all starting to mingle," Agnes added as she and Donald brought fresh drinks over to their friends.

"It's nice to see." John nodded.

"So did Maisha tell you that she asked me about going to the LSE?"

"She did," Shirley smiled again, "I'm happy that she's starting to plan out just what she wants to do in life."

"Well it will take some hard work on her part, but she certainly has a good enough brain to do that."

"I agree Agnes," John took a sip of his drink.




“This is some party,” one of the boys from Queens said as he danced with Maisha.  “I didn’t know you knew Mandy Carrow?”


“The Marchioness?  She is a friend of my mother and father – as is Lady Treharran and the others Paul.”


“Well, I’m glad you invited me,” the redhead said with a smile as he looked at Maisha.


“I’m glad you came,” Maisha said as she looked at him.




"Who is the redheaded boy that Maisha keeps dancing with Shirley?" Sherry asked as she looked over the dance floor.

"His name is Paul Ireland, he made the last 32 at Junior Wimbledon earlier this year Sherry."

"Ah - that explains how Maisha knows him."

"Yes he's doing the Centre of Excellence course."

"Maisha seems rather keen on him darling," Mandy drawled.

"Well he plays tennis excellently, and he's handsome," Shirley smiled, "remember when we were her age, that would have probably the guy for all of us to be interested as well."

"That's true," Sherry found herself giggling.


“But still, it is clear she likes him,” Shirley said quietly, “I wonder if there may be something – and if he knows Maisha really well…”




“Are we all having a good time?”


The kids cheered and clapped as Agnes came onto the stage.


“Look, as you all know, you’re here to celebrate three of your friends now having a family again after so long – but there are some people who wanted to say hello who could not be here this weekend, for two reasons.  First, most of them have to be at a race meet this weekend, and secondly they kind of live a fair distance away.”


“What Manchester?”


As the room laughed, Agnes shook her head and said “no – I’ll let them explain.”


As the lights dimmed, Maisha smiled as she saw Ama appear on the screen.


“Hello London,” she said quietly, “my name is Ama Jameson, and I and my friends live in New York, but I am also a friend of Laura and Miley, and Maisha – Maisha is like my sister.  When we heard over here about the party, a number of us wanted to say hello and congratulations to them, but I wanted to go first.


“You see, like Maisha I was adopted by my mother, and I have a younger sister Uma who was adopted and lives in England.  But what I want to say is, like me, I know Maisha, and Laura, and Miley, are discovering just how much their new mothers and fathers love and care for them – and I know they will be happy as well to be with them.


“So congratulations, all three of you – and I will see you in just a few days at a big party over here – but right now, another friend wants to say hello to you.”


Maisha smiled as the scene changed to St Angela’s, and she saw Pepsi sitting with Doc.


“Hi everyone,” Pepsi said with a smile, “for those who don’t know me, I’m Nicola, and this is Anna – but we’ve both known Maisha for a while, and we met both Miley and Laura last summer.”


“We wanted to congratulate all three of you,” Doc said, “on your adoptions.  And we’re not the only ones who want to do that – are we?”


“Hello darlings.”


“Hey Kylie,” Laura called out as she put an arm round Miley, who smiled as she remembered what had happened when they went to Ardray.


“I also wanted to offer my congratulations to all three of you, and I wanted to wish you all good things for the time ahead.  In fact, I want to do it in a very special way, so I asked another good friend if they would do something very special for you – and I hope, if we have timed this correctly, he is ready.”


“We are – thank you Kylie.”


As the screen suddenly went blank, a spotlight shone on Mick Harran, as he said “Boys and girls – and slightly older ones – we are LeMachine, and this first song is for the three ladies of the moment – Maisha, Laura and Miley.  Hit it!”


The girls started to scream as the band played, the boys singing one of their new songs as they danced in front of the stage…




"How the hell do these girls rate having Lemachine play their party in person?" one of Billy's friends from Harrow as they stood by the bar.

"By being wonderful people...and by their adoptive parents knowing Mick Harran's parents, and him thus being considered a family friend," Billy replied.

"I remember him as a prefect when we started at Harrow," another boy spoke.

"Yes at least he's one of 'us'," Billy looked over at John Gaunt standing with his friends from Eton and wondered if inter-school rivalries were being put aside enough tonight to go over and chat.


“There’s a lot of kids I don’t know here – what school do they go to?”


“I think most of the other friends of Miley and Laura go to a – a day school in London.  They and Miley are home schooled just now, as is Maisha the older girl.”



“This is one of the songs from our new album – and each of you will get a copy tonight,” Izzy said as the band started to play over the cheers of the kids.


"Wow can you dance," one of the Etonians shook his head as he escorted Dawn back to her friends, "do you take lessons?"

"No," she laughed, "but some of us practice together regularly."

"You make me look clumsy out there."

"You aren't so bad,” she said with a smile, “you just need to let yourself go a bit more."

"So where do you go to school?"

"Here in London," Dawn wasn't going to spoil this by telling him that she was a runaway who slept on a friends floor.


“Nice – listen, if you’ve got a pass out one night, perhaps you’d come to the cinema with me?”


Dawn looked at him, not sure what to say, before she replied “let me think about that.  I’d love a drink now though.”


“Coming up,” he said as he walked away, and Dawn looked at Tiffany and Julie.


“OH my….  GOD,” she whispered.


“You’re not the only one – let’s get a drink and talk…”






"Can I have your autograph please?"

Aileen turned round to see a blonde girl, about the same age as her, wearing a blue blouse and skirt.  “I’m sorry?”


“Can I have your autograph?”


"You want my autograph?" Aileen looked stunned for a second.

"I've seen some of your pictures in GND ad' are one of those models aren't you? I'm not mistaken am I?"

"No that's me," Aileen laughed, "but how did you recognise me, I personally think I don't look a lot like my pictures."

"Really?”  The girl smiled as she said “I think you look amazing."

"There are several women here are real top models, are you sure you don't want their autographs instead?"

"Not really, I want yours and...  Would you like to dance?"


Aileen smiled as she said “why not” and went on the dance floor with her.


“Who’s that dancing with Aileen,” Eve asked Liz.


“I think it’s one of Aggie’s girls – why?”


Eve smiled as she said “oh no reason…”



"My husband has cottoned on that I'm doing some work for you Kay,” Sherry said as she stood with her old friend.

"Oh - Is he objecting?"

"To my major surprise, no he's not."

"Well I've got someone I think I might want you to talk to coming to London."

"Talk?”  Sherry turned her back to the others and whispered “Kay, you said nothing about talking to people, only that you wanted me to look at records and tell you what I could see in them."

"So is there nothing in what you are seeing that you'd like answers to while we interrogate this guy?"

"Interrogate?" Sherry suddenly looked worried, "is this man talking to you of his own accord Kay?"



"Kay it was because I hate crap like this that I turned down the opportunity to join the Service in the first place."


“I know – it was just a thought.  I’m sorry…”


Sherry glared at her friend, and then walked over to where Agnes was watching the kids dance.


"Do you know anything about this man that Kay has hold of and was asking if I wanted to interview Aggie?" she asked as she came alongside.

"No I don't darling...and I'm not sure if it’s a topic we should be talking about in the open Sherry."

"She all but confessed that this man has been abducted by 'our' people."

"Well, just sometimes, that's what happened..."

"AGNES! How can you be so casual about all this?" Sherry all but screamed as she interrupted.

"By trusting that Kay and the security and intelligence services know what they are doing, and that the information this man has is of vital importance and that can justify bending the rules."

"BENDING THE RULES!" again Sherry got loud, "this man could very well have been kidnapped Aggie, and he's almost certainly being held against his will."

"I know,” Agnes said quietly, “and most of my sense of morality is revolted, but I also have lived near enough to the world in which this sort of thing happens, to know it’s never done casually. Kay must be convinced this is of vital importance if she's going along with it."


“But this is extraordinary rendition – Christ Aggie, that’s Dubya all over again.”


“Except I don’t think this guy will end up in Guantanamo,” Agnes said quietly as Bridget came over with a dark haired boy.


“Mum – this is Dave, he goes to a school near us.  We were wondering – could he take me to the cinema next week?”




"I don't know which school they go to," one of Billy's friends from Harrow said as he passed his friend a beer, "just it’s a day school."

"Some of those girls are HOT!" another boy said as he shook his head.

"Guys we go to an all boys school, they let us out like this and most girls look amazing," Billy laughed.

"Well they aren't going to be top models like your Mom Bill, but they certainly aren't bad."

"And at the moment they only have eyes for Etonians," Doug sighed.

"That's only because they've had the guts to ask them to dance and we haven't."


“The man has a point,” Doug said as he looked round, “are we going to allow them the battlefield gentlemen?”


“HELL NO,” the others called out as they walked off, Billy shaking his head.


“It is a strange feeling, isn’t it William – been the attached and responsible adult.”


Billy looked at Mandy and shook his head as he said “Lord, am I turning into David – or Jack?”


“I hope not – but I do hope you are growing up,” Mandy said as she watched some of the girls been talked to by his friends.







Return to the Pussycat Gang index


Return to the main index