The Great Race – Part 3







Monday 31st October

9.30 pm

The Rochermann Apartment


How late was it in Pretoria? John looked at his watch and calculated the time difference. Would Hennie appreciate his phoning and waking him up to answer a couple of speculative questions?”


“Probably not,” John told himself, but equally he knew how badly the secret of who the Mouse was ate at his former commanding officer’s soul, and that the chance to at last identify who the traitor has been would make even the General forget about being woken in the middle of the night.


“But what if I’m totally wrong?” his brain asked. Yes, there was the crux of the problem; if he voiced suspicions based on such very flimsy threads he could destroy both a long term friendship with Alex, and her career.


When he’d been a serving counter-intelligence office the answer would have been easy, he’d have simply started a discreet operation in which Alex Green was put under the microscope. But he was no longer a serving officer…”What to do…what to do?” he whispered to himself.




"Is the boss alright? Liz asked Marianne, "he seems very distracted and faraway standing over there alone."

"I'd noticed," Marianne glanced concernedly at her husband.

"He seemed fine earlier."

"I know."  Alright she'd seen this enough times, something was preying on John's mind, and he was trying to make some decisions. Marianne pondered asking him what was going on, but she knew he'd simply do what he'd done so many times in the past, that nothing was wrong, and that she shouldn't worry.


“May we have a word,” Karen said as she and Itzy came over, “as sisters?”



Peter Hope sipped his drink as he looked round the room.  It had certainly being good to accept the invitation to this party – Hennie had told him of some of the people he was likely to meet.


Take, for example, the Countess de Ros.  When Hennie had told him of the encounter with the Admiral outside her house, the day after she had somehow managed to arrange a retirement no agent at her level had ever, EVER received, he had mentioned the talk with her housekeeper.  That had led him to look at their files – Diana, Countess de Ros, was indeed a formidable woman, and even now, after what the reports said had been a major operation, she was holding her own.


And as for Francesca, the Admiral Marchesa di Cambrello – she was also a formidable woman.  As was her daughter – before he had sprung the ‘surprise’ on Alex, he had read the reports of the attempt by that Soviet agent to kidnap her, and the outcomes of that.  It may have been over twenty years, but then he knew her first as the Devil Fish, and second as the outed spy.


He admired her for that as well – he admired skill in all areas, but especially that.


Hennie had been so tempted to run a surveillance operation on her, but Peter had talked him out of it.  She was suspected of having other contacts now – especially with the Sisters, a force that was working for good despite been a quasi-military non-aligned force.  He had no desire to end that.


But Hennie still had that one burning question in his mind – who was the legendary Mouse?  So he had asked Peter, because he was a friend of John and Marianne Vosloo, to plan a visit to New York at the same time as Francesca was there, and see if anything ‘dropped out of the sky’ as he put it.


Well, something had – the fact Alex had met Francesca before.   Could it be?  Was it possible?  Could the woman he loved be the most insidious agent ever to infiltrate SA security – apart from the Marchesa?  His own hairs were standing up at the back of his neck, as he considered what to do next…


Talk to John?   Problem was, he and Marianne were easily the best friends Francesca had – and he had stated to Hennie he felt enough time had passed.   Also, he and Francesca were directors of Xavier International – he did not think John would be an independent witness.


There was someone he could talk to however – even if she was no longer in SAIS.




“So can we expect any controversial revelations when your new book comes out Juliette?”  Eleanor was standing with Veronica, talking to their friend as the music played in the background.


“That depends on what you call controversial Eleanor.”  Juliette smiled a sshe saw Carina dancing with Annie.


“Oh?” the former naval officer lifted an eyebrow.


“There were several cases where my aunt disagreed profoundly with the conclusions drawn by the Boston and New York police departments, and in talking to still living witnesses, and others, I think I have at least in part proved that she was right, and the cops were wrong.”


“And why might that be controversial?”


“Because even many years after cases were closed Eleanor challenging accepted truths can open up a whole host of problems,” Veronica answered.


“I think it’s one of the reasons my publishers commissioned the book,” Juliette paused, “true crime books, especially books that reexamine famous old cases are huge sellers. Readers like ‘alternative’ theories, and in several cases authors reopening cases have led to both old convictions being overturned, and long overdue financial settlements.”


“Any notorious cases?”


“Well, I do cover a case just after the war, where they tangled with some Nazi sympathisers…”


“And then there were her forays into Europe?”


“Indeed Francesca – although some of them I am afraid I cannot give much detail on.”


Francesca nodded – she knew the story of a visit by XYY during the war to her palazio…




"I overheard Juliette talking about her book Brooke, are these rumours true that you and Curt have acted as unofficial technical advisors to her on this book?" Rachel McNally asked her old friend.

"Yes...but very unofficially," the judge smiled, "we've both helped explain some technical things to Ju."

"Such as?"

"Oh in my case various points of law, while Curt has helped with some of the background stuff on forensics and criminal psychology."

"I'm impressed," Rachel smiled.

"Janice and Tom I believe helped with information on police procedure, whilst others helped with some of Jane Huntingdown's wartime career."

"Juliette tapped into the Sinnerz network?"

"I guess you can say that Rachel," Brooke smiled.


“So what is the final story?”


“One of a woman who very quietly, by all accounts, was one of the many who gave more than we may ever know…”






"Is Halloween a big thing for you Karen?" Tom Morse asked as they sat in a corner.

"Not really," the Matabele priestess smiled, "I was raised in Africa, and educated in England, I was aware what Halloween was largely from American TV and movies, but I guess Guy Fawkes Night was always something I was more aware of."

"Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot..." Marianne laughed as she recited, "it was a big night when I was growing up in what is now Zimbabwe."

"and in Durban when I was a kid," Alex sipped her champagne.

"Treason and plot...such evocative words," Ed Preminger spoke softly.

"Kit Harington approached me about appearing in a mini series he's making re-examining the role of his ancestor Thomas Catesby and others in the plot," Cassandra spoke. "I think he's trying to explain and rehabilitate them at least a little."

"Can treason ever be explained away?' John Vosloo looked at Alex quickly.


Alex smiled as she said “sometimes, treason in the sense of betraying the leadership of the country is necessary if that leadership is criminal or corrupt – after all, is not a civil war a treasonous act?”


“Be careful, darling,” Peter said quietly, “surely it would need to be a truly heinous regime for that to happen – and even then, they may find a way to stop you.”


“So let me put it this way,” Alex said, “supposing the President decided the way to end an argument with a foreign country – Russia say – was to nuke them.  Would it not be the right thing to do to do everything possible ot prevent that act, in order to save millions of innocent lives?”


“That would never happen,” Tom said seriously.


“Perhaps not – but is there not a Stephen King novel where a man learns that us a future event, and kills the presidential candidate to stop him?  Just because it is unlikely does not mean it is impossible…”



“Having fun, little sis?”


“Yeah,” Miley said with a grin, “meeting all these interesting people…”


“Hi – we haven’t met yet.  I’m Allison Clark, and this is Capricorn Delaney.”


Laura looked at the two Californian blondes, and said “Nice to meet you – I’m Laura, and this is my sister Amelia, although she prefers Miley.”


“So who are your parents,” Allison said as she sat with them.


“Well, Agnes is our adopted mum…”


“Agnes McAdam?  I see her,” Allison said, “and your father will be Lord Donald Fitzstuart then?”


“Early next year – I guess you’re the model’s sister, Mary Clark?”


“Yup – and my mom’s Cassandra Stone,” Capricorn said.  “Listen – given you’re part of the Saints and Sinners now, we wanted to invite you to join our sub-group, HOTS.”


“HOTS?  What does that stand for?”


“Laura, Miley – your mum is looking for you?”


“Thanks Kit,” the two girls said as they went off, Allison and Capricorn going to leave before Kit said “no – stay a minute.”


“You’ve talked to Mary, haven’t you?” Allison said with a sigh.


“Nope – Suzie,” Kit said before she whispered “and I know what HOTS is as well from my cousins.  I am only going to say this once – leave those two out of it, understood?”







"You are late," Marina looked at her watch ostentatiously before James Razmov kissed her on the cheek.

"I know, and I apologise," the professor said as he took a glass of wine, "but I got hung up in what I was doing and lost all track of time."

"Well at least you are here now," Dan Amatrescu smiled.

"Yes...So did I miss much?"

"Beyond Henri and Janine announcing their engagement you mean?"

"Their what Caroline?" the academic looked shocked.

"They are getting married," Marina sipped her drink, "it's very fashionable this autumn I hear."

"And was that a hint in mine and James's direction perchance?" Dan asked.


“Oh Goddess – NO!  I am not ready to marry,” Marina giggled, “and as for Caroline, when would she have the time to get ready?”


“Well, at least it is only weddings,” James said with a smile, “no babies due at the moment?”


“Not that I am aware of…”



“So you only have just over two months now to the big day,” Nessa said as she stood with Shirley.


“Indeed – and there’s still a lot of things to prepare for that,” Shirley said as she watched Maisha talking to Laura.


"So after your wedding Shirley will you still be Miss Xavier for work and public purposes, or Lady Hammond?"

"You know I haven't given that much thought Nessa," Madame whispered as she paused for a second, "I guess because my companies are called Xavier International a lot of people will still think of me as Shirley Xavier, but at least I'm hoping friends will call me Shirley Hammond."

"Especially as you are hoping to work less, and enjoy your life more darling."

"Yes," Shirley laughed, "and can I say that you Nessa have given me a wonderful example to copy since you started to really enjoy living again."

"I have rather," the American laughed before whispering under her breath, "and in large part I have you to thank for my freedom of course."

"My pleasure, and call your arranging my wedding breakfast payment in full."

:And what are you and my Mother whispering about?" Sandy asked.

"That's for us to  know..."

"And for you to find out," Nessa finished what Shirley had started to say.


“Right – secrets from you mother?  Whatever next?”



Nessa just laughed as she walked off, Sandy looking at Shirley before she said “I have not had the chance yet to say thank you.”


“For what?”


“Helping my mother at Curragh Park.”


Shirley nodded before she said quietly “it was my pleasure, and I am truly glad you do know now…”






"So are you ready to make your acting debut Caroline?” Cassandra asked as she stood with the blonde haired model.  “What is it - five weeks now till you fly to Iceland?"

"It is Cassie,” Caroline said as she sipped her drink, “and no - I feel far from fully prepared."

"How did the costume fittings go?"

"Oh they were fine, though I think they've gone a bit overboard in making me a 'sexy' goddess."

"Meaning that moviegoers will get to see a lot of those long legs of yours?"

"Exactly." Caroline laughed,"I'm still not fully sure if I'm there as eye candy, or not?"

"Well what you told me about the two fight scenes you are doing, I think it’s about a bit more then you just looking beautiful. How has your training gone for those?"

"The guy they've had working with me says I'm a natural with a sword," Caroline smiled inwardly.


“And what about Ama – I hear she has possibly been selected for an under 17 games at that point?”


“I don’t know – she is going to a training camp then, with the permission of Wilhelmina, but beyond that…”  She stopped as she saw Ama dancing with Nick, the two of them looking into each other’s eyes.


“Could be worse – could be an overdeveloped 13 year old…  Ah – forget I said that about Ama…”


“You’re forgiven – I’m just glad they are playing it safe...”




"Well are you pleased with how the season is going so far Sarah?" Juan asked as the football group stood in a corner.

"Other than that 2-1 loss to the 'other' Sacred Heart? then yes I'm very pleased."

"My daughter is still kicking herself for letting in that late winning goal," Andy Eckholm looked across the room at Mel laughing with her friends.

"She shouldn't be, they are a top team on a national level," Sarah sipped her champagne, "that we could give them such a good game tells me that we aren't bad ourselves."

"No I think we have a VERY good team," Juan smiled, "and my daughter is still enjoying herself."

"Jess has a natural eye for goal."


“Tell me Andy, is Mel like to follow in the footsteps of Jess and Ama?”


“In what way…  Oh – no we’re naturalised US citizens now.  Of course, if they ask…”





"it's a very fine line..." Dame Margaret didn't realise that she'd actually spoken aloud.

"What is Auntie?" she was surprised to hear her niece say behind her.

"Oh nothing to concern you our Pippa,” Maggie said with a smile.

"Now you have me intrigued Aunt Maggie."

"And me as well," Grace added.

"Oh I was thinking about all the people in this room who keep secrets as an everyday part of their lives."

"You mean people like me Dame Margaret?" Kay Cornwall smiled.

"Kay I said please call me Maggie, and yes I was thinking that there are an awful lot of people from both the worlds of intelligence and policing in this room."

"Not to mention politicians like yourself who sit on important committees."

"That's true Kay," Maggie smiled, "I guess I was thinking about some of the problems that might be solved if people in this room could only tell each other what they know."

"But think of all the problems that those secrets coming out might cause as well."

"That is true Pip."

"In an ideal world people should be able to put their heads together and share knowledge."

"But we don't live in an ideal world Grace," Kay took a look round the room, "no we live in a far from perfect world."


“Very true – especially at the moment…”


"Okay is this the criminal investigation corner of the room?" Sherry smiled as she found her husband chatting with the Callaghan's, Janice, and Adam.

"They are behaving themselves and not really talking shop Sherry," Gale laughed gently, "They are actually indulging themselves in good old fashioned party gossip."

"You've got my husband gossiping,” Sherry gasped as Mile looked over, “miracles do happen."

"Crime isn't the only topic I know how to talk about," Mike Babbage laughed as well, "and it is occasionally nice to relax and enjoy myself."

"Even if he is complaining about the beer," Adam grinned.

"You don't know what good real beer is over here," Mike said as he looked ruefully at his glass.

"We were actually talking about some of the youngsters as we watched them dancing Sherry," Jan spoke.

"And I was showing my age by complaining about some of the crap they call music our kids listen to."

"Oh beer and music," Sherry laughed, you weren't gossiping you guys were hearing my husband complain?"

"Well maybe just a fraction," Adam laughed.


“Oh yes,” Mike said as he slowly turned round, “and what was it you were saying about the coffee at breakfast this morning?  About it been worse than our tap water?”


“Difference is,” Sherry said with a smile, “they probably all agree with that…”




"And I still maintain I looked like a beached whale in the last few weeks," Annie was enjoying herself as she stood with the others, "even with all the help I got fashion wise from all of you, I'm not certain a heavily pregnant woman can ever look chic."

"I think I did a reasonable job darling," Carina said as she put an arm round her wife.

"But yes you didn't go full term," Judy spoke, "you would have got worse."

"I think you could start a huge argument in this room on this subject," David looked at a few people as he said this, “certain people such as Jeanne and Karen would never accept they didn't look other than stunning, even when preggers. What's your opinion on whether pregnant women can look stylish Bobbi?"

"Why ask me?"


David was taken aback by the shortness of the reply, as he stammered “I just wondered, as someone who isn’t a model, what you thought of how that would work out.  I’m sorry if I upset you…”


“Why would I be upset?  Did Judy tell you?  Did you Carina?”


Carina and Annie looked at each other, before Carina shook her head, but before she could say anything David said “oh come on, Bobbi, you’re not…”  He then looked at the shocked expression on her face, as Mandy and Will came over.


“Not what Darling,” Mandy drawled, then she looked at Bobbi as Simon came over, and then at David.  “Ah – come with me my dear, and we’ll find your mother…”


David looked at Cari and Annie, who just nodded as Mandy took Bobbi over to where Claire and Tom were sitting. 


“Bobbi – what’s happened,” Claire said as her daughter sat down, quietly crying.


“I am afraid a little family secret may have just slipped out,” Mandy said quietly.  “My son was asking a question, and – well…”


“It’s not going to work, keeping it quiet Dad,” Bobbi whispered.  “I’m actually amazed Becca has managed to keep it secret so far.”


“Tell the truth, so am I,” Tom said quietly as Simon stood talking to his parents, and then walked to the microphone at the piano.  “Folks, may I have your attention for a moment,” he said as everyone turned to look.


“This has been a wonderful evening, and I am so pleased to be able to attend – and also to hear the good news about those couples who have got engaged.  So it’s all the more important that I do this now, to squelch all the rumours, but I must ask those of you here not to say anything outside of the Saints and Sinners groups – just yet.”


Looking at Bobbi, Simon smiled and said “Roberta Sara Morse, will you do me the honour not only of being the mother of our child, but also to be my wife at the appropriate time?”


“A little bit late for the first part, isn’t it?” Bobbi said as Ally and Nell looked at her, “but yes – I will marry you, when the time is right, Simon.”




The girls looked at Becca, who grinned and said “yeah – I can tell you now…”



“There are big secrets, and there are little secrets,” Karen said quietly, looking over as people massed round Bobbi, “Some secrets are of national, even international significance, others are just deeply personal, but just because a secret effects many people, it doesn’t mean that the consequences of its revelation are automatically more devastating than when little personal and intimate things become general knowledge.”


“Is that another warning from you as the Umlimo?” Charlotte said as she looked round.


“No that is me speaking as Karen Kumalo Charlotte, I use my eyes and my ears, and I am seeing things that a lot of other people I’m sure see and know, and I just have a feeling that in the circumstances of tonight some secrets are still left to pop out.”


“That sounds pretty Umlimoish to me.”


“So do responsible people need go into protect mode?” Francesca asked, “and I know that is probably bad English but I’m thinking in Italian and what I’m thinking is hard to translate.”


“I think we all perhaps need to be ready to give comfort because I sense tears are going to flow tonight.”





As Mike walked over to the bar, he smiled at the grey bearded gentleman who was standing there, pouring a whisky.


“A wonderful party,” he said as he poured another beer, “I don’t think we’ve met – Mike Babbage.  You are?”


The bearded man smiled as he turned and said “George Sampson – I’m Caroline Jameson’s number two at Jameson Security.”


Mike stared at the man, before he smiled and said “Well, if that doesn’t beat all.  Is Caroline aware of your – colourful past?”


“She is fully aware, DCI Babbage – and that is why she hired me.  Poacher turned gamekeeper, if you like.  My question to you is, what are you going to do?”


“Here – nothing.  I just hope you weren’t planning to go home any time soon, George.”


“Nope – my home is here now.  It’s a real pleasure to meet you though – I hope we get to meet socially again.”


“So long as it is socially,” Mike said, shaking George’s hand before he walked off.


“Who was that,” Sherry said as Mike walked back over.


“A blast from the past…”



“Are you okay little sister?” Pepsi asked as she saw Katy looking across the room.


“I’m fine Peps,” Katy smiled back, “but others aren’t enjoying themselves nearly as much.”


“Oh who?” Pepsi looked around.


“My bestie is getting to the stage of the evening where she starts to fret about seeing Holly dancing with Tommy.”


Pepsi looked over to where Sands was sitting, nursing a glass as she watched Tommy and Holly on the dance floor.  “That I had noticed,” she said quietly.


“Heather and me are doing what we can to prevent her doing something and making a fool of herself.”


“Good,” Pepsi nodded as she looked over.


“But,” Katy said quietly, “maybe you need to be looking out for two friends of yours Peps.”


“Like who?”


“Like Doc and Kylie,” Katy said quietly, “I think Chet is wondering why they’ve danced together three times tonight.”


“Oh surely not?”


“It might just be little me seeing things and jumping to conclusions, but if I was you I’d have a whisper in Doc’s ear that she needs to cool it.”


“And I’d agree with that,” Heather joined the conversation.


“I can do that but who talks to Kylie?”


“I’ll take care of that.”


Heather looked at Penny, as she said “you know?”


“Obvious, really – shall we?”



“Well, now – what are you two up to,” Francesca said as she saw Miley and Richard in a corner.


“Can I ask a question?” Miley said as she looked up.


“Always – that is how you learn,” Francesca said with a smile.


"Why do some people call you Admiral Aunt Francesca?" Miley asked.

"And Aunt Kay Commander?" Richard added.

"Well in my case it's strictly now an honorific title now that I'm retired," Francesca smiled, "but Kay is still officially a serving Royal Navy officer."

"But I thought she was a civil servant?" Mylie looked puzzled.

"Well,” Francesca said carefully, “she is, and I'm not sure I can explain it fully to you, but take my word that yes Kay is still a military  officer as well...Ask your Mothers to explain."

"I'm confused."

"So am I Richard," Mylie said as she knitted her brows.




“Well, at least it’s out in the open,” Juliette said as she hugged Claire.


“Yeah – but me?  A grandmother?”


"You know when we discovered that Carina was pregnant one of my first reactions was wondering if CS ought do a spread saying that grannie can be stylish too."

"It was Ju?" Claire asked.

"Yeah I remember that," Carina laughed, "we never did anything with the idea though."

"It's still a good idea though," Juliette mused.

"Well you might have been able to look fabulous as a gran Juliette," Yvonne sipped her champagne, "but I hope you aren't considering using me in such a project, my old face would crack lenses."

"CRAP!" Simon grinned, "Mum you are beautiful."

"Thank you darling...but you rather have to say that."

"He is right though Yvonne," Juliette spoke again, "you do have that unmistakeable British upper class style, and you would certainly not crack lenses."

"I might though Ju," Claire smiled.

"Nonsense," Bobbi joined the laughter.

"It's worth thinking about," Ju said as she took off her glasses and started to play with them.

"And I'll agree with that," Pippa spoke for the first time, "if we can get the right grandmothers then I'll certainly commission an article for CS.”

"Do daughters get a say in this?" Bobbi asked, "I'm not sure if I really want the fact I'm pregnant broadcast on the pages of CS"

"And do mere fathers even get a look in?" Simon put his arm round the woman he loved.

"You get to have an opinion darling," Yvonne looked happy, "but like your father and Tom ultimately you need accept this is 'women's business'."


“Oh wonderful, another lesson to learn…”


"Did I hear that Mike Babbage recognised you George?" Shirley looked concerned as she and Caroline finally got the bearded man into a quiet corner.

"He did, but it’s my bet he'll keep the secret," George said quietly as he sipped his wine.

"And what makes you think that George? He's a straight by the book copper you know" 

"Oh I think it’s because of her Dom," George whispered as he nodded in Agnes's direction, "he's smart enough to work out that she probably has known just who I was, and where I've been, and he'll not rake over old coals just in case somehow she gets dragged into the mess."

"You have a point George," Madame sipped her wine, "I think Mike Babbage is fiercely defensive of Agnes now he knows what happened."

"And Agnes did play a role using her contacts to find you that safe niche in Basle."

"She did Caroline,” George nodded, “he doesn't know that, but he's guessing that if I'm in place here that I have friends looking after me."

"So do you think he's worked out who I am?" Caroline asked.

"You Dom?" George took a sip, "I'd guess not, but I guess this is the time to tell a secret."

"Another secret tonight?" Shirley lifted an eyebrow.

George nodded before he said "you know the Marchesa asked when we first met if I was Special Branch or MI5?

"I do." Caroline nodded.

"Well," George took a deep breath, "she was in part remembering having met me before, though she doesn't know that."

"You crossed the Devil Fish's trail George?"

"I did Madame, and I can't tell you where and why, but just say that that lady was involved shall we?" George whispered before he nodded at Kay Cornwall.

"You did some work for MI6?" Caroline's whisper was almost a scream.


“Once – and it was for a good reason – but it would not surprise me if she had recognised me as well.”


“Then I think it is time Francesca and I did something,” Shirley whispered quietly before she walked off.





Kylie smiled as she turned to see Penny standing there.  “Penny, Darling – enjoying the evening,” she drawled as Chet took Doc onto the dance floor.


“I am – even given everything that is going on – but I need to talk to you about something.”


“Oh – some work Madame wishes me to undertake,” Kylie said with a smile.


“No – and it’s more about someone,” Penny said as she guided Kylie into a quiet corner.  “Kylie, can I ask a straight question and get a straight answer?”


“Of course you can, Penny…”


“Are you and Doc Carlton an item?”


Kylie glanced over to where Chet was whispering into Anna’s ear, before she turned back and slowly nodded.


“Okay – you need to be aware others have noticed – possibly including Chet – and you need to make a decision.


“And so does Anna…”




“Kay – enjoying the evening,” Francesca said as she and Shirley joined the tall blonde.


“I am actually – such a fascinating group.  Even a few faces I think I recognise for other reasons.”


“Indeed,” Shirley said quietly, “Commander Cornwall, the Admiral and I wish to have a conversation with you, in private.”


Raising an eyebrow, Kay said “on what subject?”


“Sisterhood,” Francesca said with a smile, “can we talk?”




"Alright while Madame and the Marchesa talk to Kay Cornwall George,” Dom whispered, “I want to hear just what you did for the Intelligence Service, and why?"

"Why do you think Dom?" George laughed, "they gave me the choice between doing another long stretch banged up, and helping them get hold of something they really wanted."

"They had you between a rock and a hard place?"

"Yeah they did, and they added a sweetener to the deal."

"Which was?"

"That if I did this thing for them they'd forget where I was if I left the UK."

"Hence why you went to Switzerland?"


"Was Lily involved in whatever you did?"


“Nope – it happened after I asked Madame to take her under her wing, and I was heading south.  It did mean I had to goad a certain DI Grayson a little, but hey – in every rainstorm…”


“So when we helped you escape…”


“I had the bolthole all ready – and it’s why the coastguard were conspicuous by their absence that morning.”  Sipping his wine, George smiled as he said “it meant I could plan safe in the knowledge all would be well.”


“You cunning old devil – what else do you know I don’t?”




“Tracey darling – and how are the audiences in Boston enjoying you and Sarah?”


“Very much so – look, can I ask a question?”


“Of course,” Mandy drawled.


"How au fait are you with Sinnerz teenage gossip Mandy?" Tracey van Roon whispered to the marchioness.

"I only hear what my children think is interesting enough to tell their mother darling. Why do you ask?"

"Because my son just asked me if Anna has something going on behind his back."

"And what makes him suspect that something is?"

"He's not totally sure, he just has a feeling that she's keeping a secret from him, and that it might involve Kylie Mitchell." Tracey took a sip of her drink. "Your daughter-in-law to be is one of Doc's best friends isn't she? Has she said anything to you?"

"Pepsi hasn't said a thing darling, but do you want me to ask her if anything is going on?"

"Please, if only to put Chet's mind at ease."


“Leave it with me,” Mandy said as she walked off, not noticing Angel as she looked round the room…




Catriona Cuthbertson looked over to where Lizzie was sitting with Eve and Aileen Gaunt and talking to Laura, and then noticed the grey bearded gentleman standing in the corner.  Smiling, she walked over and said quietly “I had heard a rumour you were settled here – and from all I can see going on in this room George I think it's time that maybe you and I renewed our acquaintance."

"I wondered if you might say something Lady C."  George smiled as he sipped from his glass, “although you need to remember certain people do not know exactly how other people crossed my path.”

"Oh I'm not intervening George, and if anyone asks, then I'll tell them that this is the first time we ever met."

"That suits me."

"You got caught in the middle of the game that Madame and I were playing and I suppose I ought to apologise for what I did back then?" Catriona sipped her drink, "though my introducing you to Kay Cornwall did you mean you were able to do a service to your country."

"Well I guess I owed Britain something," George took a bite from a canape, "and I should thank you for asking Agnes McAdam to help find me a safe haven when the time came."

"I felt I owed you that George."

"So you and Madame nowadays?"

"Let me say that I'm no longer quite Holmes to her Moriarty shall we?"


George nodded and said “I don’t need to know any more – unless I need to know, that is.”


“Do you think you’ll ever go back there?”


George shook his head.  “No – despite the efforts of others here, I’m still in the same position as the admiral is with South Africa.  My will, if it ever came to that – that’s another matter.”




“So you and Abby both go to the same college,” Miley said as she sat with Blair van Roon and Abby.


“We do – although we do different courses,” Abby said with a smile.


"Are you an artist?" Miley asked out of interest.  “I love drawing and painting.”

"I think that depends on how you define what an artist is," Blair smiled, "I want to be an industrial designer."

"And that means what?" Miley looked puzzled for a second.

"That I want to create and design beautiful products for people to use every day."

"So it is sort of doing art?"

"It is," Fiona Treharran said as she joined the conversation, "it's like my sculpture except what Blair wants to create will be mass produced and have practical uses."

"Exactly," Blair smiled again, "my family owns Torware the company your mom is advising Miley."

"Okay I think I understand just a little."

"Art comes in many forms," Kylie spoke as she Doc, and Chet, joined the conversation, "some say my designing clothes is a form of art."

"Well they are beautiful," Miley paused for a few seconds, "art is about a lot more than just painting and drawing really...Isn't it?"



“Oh yes,” Fi said, “Art is the outer expression of the inner soul.”


“Well, that’s you out of it,” Chet said to Doc, “you hate art.”


“I don’t hate art – I just know I’m not an artist,” Doc said as Fi looked at her and Kylie.  Abby also saw the look in her eye, as she stood up and said “excuse us,” taking Fi to one side.


“Don’t worry, Abby – I’m not on the hunt,” Fi said, “but does Chet know his lady has eyes for another?”


“No – and like me and Tony, it needs to stay that way Fi.  Got it?”



"So have you and your friends got over the disappointment at what happened in New London Carina?" Eve Stone asked as they sat at a table.

"We have I guess,” Carina said quietly, “it was disappointing after all the work we put in not to get to go to the Worlds, but we've been told that next year should be our year."

"Do you still have no clue who broke in and held you prisoner like that?"

"No," Carina's face for a second look like a thundercloud, "but if I ever find out who did that, then may the Goddess help them."

"Well there was no way that you girls were ever going to win that row off after being kept awake all the preceding night."

"No there wasn't Cassie, and it didn't help either the way they tortured Kelsey and Molly keeping us in that crate, their bodies weren't 100% either."

"Changing the subject Cassie thank you for putting us up at your house while we are in LA for the Breeders Cup races Cassie," Annie smiled.


“Oh my pleasure,” Cassie said, “the more that can keep an eye on my daughter, the merrier at the moment…”





"Pepsi darling,” Mandy drawled as she took Nicola by the arm, “can I have a private word please?"

"Why Mandy?" the younger woman looked puzzled as she was guided into the hallway, Mandy looking for a quiet spot and then looking round.

"I have a question someone wants me to ask you."

"I didn't do it," Nicola laughed, "and I can produce a dozen witnesses to back me up."

"It's not you I want to talk about Pepsi." Mandy took a deep breath before continuing, "Tracey is wondering if there is something going on with Doc that maybe Chet needs to find out about."

Neither of them noticed Blair as she came out of the toilet, and stopped for a moment, out of sight as she heard her brother’s name been mentioned.  She was wondering why that had come up between Mandy and Pepsi…


"Oh," the smile vanished from the New Yorker’s lips.  Mandy looked carefully at her, and then said "Is something going on darling?"

Pepsi looked round, trying not to look evasive before she finally said "How would I know?"

"You'd know because your little group tells each other its secrets just as my friends and I share is something going on?"

"Look Mandy,” Pepsi said quietly, “if I tell you something and it got out it might cause a lot of heartache. Do you still want to tell you?"

"Darling If you tell me I'll decide whether I keep it to myself, or whether I need tell the van please what is going on?"

"Anna and Kylie have been having an affair."


Blair stood there, eyes wide open as she heard that simple statement.


Mandy stared at Pepsi for a few minutes, her lips in the shape of an O, before she said “since when?”


“Sydney, I think – but Mandy, if Chet was to find out, it would break his heart and Anna’s.”


“I can imagine – but something does need to be done, because I have a horrible feeling Chet is suspecting that as well…”



For a few seconds Blair stood quietly trying to understand the meaning of the conversation she'd just accidentally overheard between Mandy and Pepsi.

Doc was having a love affair with Kylie, she tried to think just what that meant. Yes she knew Anna had an 'interesting' sexual history, that thing she and John had helped put an end to was proof of that, but would she betray her brother like this?

Chet was deeply in love with Doc, and she thought Anna was just as much in love with him, so why would she risk that by having an affair, and a lesbian affair at that?


“Hey – what’s going on,” Abby said as she joined Blair.


“Abs – oh god – do you know about Doc and Kylie?”


Abby looked at her for a minute, before she said “not until you told me just now.  Damn – what are you going to do?”


“I…  I really don’t know…”




"You know if they don't want us to do anything naughty with boys,” Allison Clark said quietly, “there is something we could try that they haven't told us not to do Caps."

"And what is that?"

"We could pretend to make out with each other," Allison giggled.

"You mean pretend we are lesbians?" Capricorn hissed.

"Well, think about it.  Did your Mom warn you that you couldn't have sex have with another girl tonight?"

"No...just boys." For a few seconds Capricorn paused then laughed, "my Mom would have a fit though."

"So would Mary," Allison laughed as well, "but if they were silly enough to tell us not to play with boys then in a ways it's their fault...And it’s not as though there aren't several lesbian couples here."

"Agreed," Capricorn laughed again, "so how do we go about this?"

"Well for starters,” Allison said as she took Capricorn’s hand, “let’s dance this slow dance together, I'll hold you tight and let’s see what develops."




“Karen – you look concerned,” Charlotte said as she looked at the African woman.


"I am.  Little Mother, it is time to alert everyone."

"Why?" Charlotte looked round the room.

"Because I fear, to use a colloquialism, that the shit is about to hit the fan," Karen glanced round anxiously, "and while it might not be the kind of problems that the Sisters normally deal with, our aid and assistance might prevent this party being spoiled for most people."

"Understood...who do we need watch out for?"


“That, for starters, and anything that may follow,” Karen said as she looked at the dance floor, and some of the people starting to come onto the dance floor.



“Want to dance,” Chet said, Doc nodding as she put her arms round his neck and they danced to the slow music.


“So, what’s on your mind,” she said quietly as she looked into his eyes.


“You,” Chet said with a smile, “have I told you yet how beautiful you look?”


“Well, you may have mentioned it once or twice,” Doc giggled, “but don’t let that stop you saying it again.”


“I want to,” Chet said quietly as Pepsi came over with Katy to stand with Kylie, “but there’s something else I want to ask you – and I’d like an honest answer Anna.”


As she looked into her eyes, Doc said quietly “okay – what’s the question?”


“Is there someone else in your life?  You see, I love you Anna, but I don’t want to be the third leg in a party.”


Blair and Abby joined the group at the side of the room as Kylie looked over, watching the lips of both Doc and Chet.  Doc glanced over, unsure of what she was going to do, and then she saw Kylie smile, and nod.


Taking a deep breath, she looked back into Chet’s eyes, and said “okay – there was someone else for a little while, but it’s over now.   I’m sorry, Chet, I hope you can forgive me.”


As the two of them kissed, Kylie turned and walked quickly out of the room, Abby following as Marina saw them leave, and followed them out.


“What’s happened over there,” Suzie said as she stood with her sister.


“I don’t know – but Kylie looks upset about…”


“Sis?”  Suzie looked at Mary, whose eyes were wide open, and then followed her eyeline to see her sister and Capricorn.


“Oh…  My… God.”


“What is it,” Cassandra said to Aileen, and then she saw Capricorn kissing Allison on the lips.





As she looked up from the seat, Abby could see the redness in her eyes, and sat beside her, putting her arm around her shoulder as Kylie started to cry.


“What’s happened?”


Both of the girls looked at Marina, as Abby said “did you know about Kylie and Doc?”


“Well, she never said anything out loud, for fairly obvious reasons,” Marina said as she sat on the other side of the petite blonde, “but I knew she had feelings for someone.”


“I was watching them dance,” Kylie sobbed quietly, “and I had been warned, I had prepared myself – but somewhere deep down, I had prayed she would choose me…”


“How did you know at that distance?”


“Lip reading – we both can,” Marina said quietly.


“But how can you know what it is like,” Kylie said as she looked at Abby, “you have Tony.”


“True – but I’m Bi Kylie, I have had one or two little side affairs as well.”


“Ah – I understand darling,” Kylie sobbed, “but it hurts, it hurts so much.  I know we can never enjoy each other’s company in that way again now…”


Marina and Abby exchanged a look as Kylie threw her head back.  "It's not fair," Kylie called out between sobs, "I've just been dumped by the first girl I loved, and others parade their feelings in the open - now I know how Sands must feel when she sees Holly with Tommy."


"WHAT did you just say?"


Abby and Marina suddenly turned to see Tommy standing there, Holly deathly white behind him.


“Holly, what was Kylie talking about?”  She turned and looked at him as Pepsi and Katy came out, taking in the situation with one look as two men walked in, dressed as artists.


“Sorry we’re late,” Jack Linklater said with a laugh as he and Luke removed their coats, “have we…”


He watched Holly as she walked quickly off, Tommy going after her and then looked at the others.


“I’d better tell someone,” Katy said as she walked quickly back into the room, Pepsi looking at Jack as Luke sat with Kylie.





“Katy,” Janice said as her daughter walked quickly over, “what’s going on?  I just saw Tommy walk past with a face like thunder, and Holly running after him – and where did Kylie go?”


“Mom, we have a situation – actually, several,” Katy said quietly.  "A quick summary Mom, Kylie knows that Doc has told Chet she had an affair, but that its over...AND...Tommy overheard that Holly and Sands are a thing." Katy kept glancing round watching for further developments.

"And this was turning out to be such a great party," Janice sighed.

"Well stand by in case of fireworks Mom, I think this might get worse before it gets better."


As she watched Sands talking to Heather, her grandmother looked at her.

"Did you know what was going on Katy?" Katherine asked her granddaughter.

"I knew about Holly and Sandy yes, and I sort of guessed about Kylie and Anna Gran."

"And you kept all that to yourself?"

Janice looked at Katherine, before she said "Mom do you tell me secrets that your friends tell you?"

"She has a point darling."

"I know Mom, but while I understand what love can do if someone choses to make a fuss Holly is in serious legal jeopardy."


“That I do get – come on, we need to find Pussy or someone…”



Shirley looked over to where Tommy and Holly had left the other side of the room, and said “I think we have a situation.  Did you see how Kylie left after Chet was dancing with Anna?”


“It confirms something I had wondered about,” Susan said, “since – well, you know when.”


“Indeed – Kylie has done the brave thing, but it must be devastating her…”


"I'll go talk with Kylie Madame and try help her."

"Thank you Susan. I think she's going to need your support to get over this."

"She needs her Mum really,” Susan said with a sigh, “but I'll do what I can."

"I know you will, and I remember just how much I leaned on my mother for support when my first romance broke up." Shirley took a long drink as she glanced across the room at Catriona.

"Yeah it’s never fun.  And Holly and Sands…"


“We must trust to others for that…”



As Anna walked to where her parents were sitting, Caroline said to Ama “did you know?”


“I did – but as always, I keep those secrets,” Ama said quietly.


"Ama darling, can you see if you can get Doc to come talk to me please."

"To talk to you as who Mom? As Caroline, or as Dominique?"

"As her friend.  I may be able to help her walk through the consequences of her choice."

"I'll try to get her away after she's finished talking to her parents,” Ama said quietly, “but isn't she better left to others?"

"I'm hoping that she might listen to me where she might not listen to others because I'm both Caroline and Dominique."

"I'll try Mom."






“Well, that is a pretty kettle of fish,” Jack said as he talked to Mandy.  "Luke my darling others can look after the girls, I think we maybe need talk to these young men."

"Agreed," Luke nodded to Jack, "so shall I see if I can talk with Tommy, while you see if you can have words with young van Roon?"

"And I'll join you Luke," a voice spoke.

"Please Judge," Luke replied.

"There are certain legal niceties that need to be explained," Brooke took a stiff drink, "because as angry as I'm sure he is, I'm sure Tommy doesn't want to either see this become a public scandal, or see Holly charged with a crime."

"Those are wise words," Jack nodded.  “Do what you can – I will find Chet.”


“Which way do you think they went,” Luke said as he and Brooke headed to a door.


“I think, we follow the raised voices,” she said quietly as others started to hear the argument elsewhere.  As they went into a small room, they saw Tommy and Holly standing there, Tommy staring angrily at his girlfriend.


"I thought you said you loved me Holly?"  Tommy almost shouted at her.

"I do," the petite blonde whispered as she looked down at her feet.

"Then why the hell are you seeing someone else...and a girl at that?"

Raising her head, the tears almost welling in her eyes, Holly pleaded "because…  Because I'm also in love with her Tommy..."

"You are fucking WHAT?" the young man screamed as he interrupted

"I'm in love with you both," Holly fought hard to try and keep herself calm and stop the tears coming in.

"Are you sick in the head?" Tommy stared in disbelief.


"Are you having sex with her bitch...Well are you?"

"Tommy language like that isn't going to help," Luke said quietly as he and Brooke joined the couple.


“Stay out of this,” Tommy said as he turned and looked at the new arrivals, “this is none of your business.”


“Perhaps not – but others can hear you,” Brooke said as she looked at Holly.  “I cannot begin to imagine how you must feel, but believe me, the worst thing you can do now is speak in anger, and say something that cannot be taken back later.”


As Tommy looked at them, Heather slipped in and walked over.  “I heard,” she whispered as she stood with Holly.


“I know,” Tommy finally said “but…  But…”


"Tommy while you talk to Luke and Brooke let me talk to Holly please," Heather asked quietly.

"Are you going to be alright?" Holly looked through her glasses at the man she loved.

"Like you actually care?"

"I actually do care...a lot...I love you," Holly felt tears coming.

"Just get out of my sight."

"Come with me," Heather put her arm round the now sobbing Holly and led her away.





“Did you know,” Annie said as she looked at Carina.


“Honestly?  The answer to both is no,” Carina said quietly as she looked at Anna standing with her mother and father.  “I just…  Fi.”


“Yes Carina,” Fiona Treharran said as she walked past.


“You must know what’s happened?”


“About Kylie and Anna?  Yeah, I got the gist – and the fact another couple are possibly on the rocks.  Susan has joined Abby and Kylie outside.”


“Can you talk to your talk to your parents, make sure they talk to the others?”




"Mom what is going to happen to Holly?" Sands looked up at her mother’s face looking for comfort as she sat with her and her grandmother.

"I don't know Princess," Sandy took a big breath, "I'm hoping nothing bad, but I'm rather scared this may get bad."

"It's not her fault."

"I know and we will do all we can to help and protect both of you. Won't we Mother?"

"Of course we will," Nessa put her arms round her granddaughter.




“Mum, what just happened,” Laura said as she went towards Agnes and Donald.


“Well, I think a few other secrets have come out,” Agnes said, “and not the sort that can be easily hidden again.”


Donald nodded as he said “some of the girls have done things others may find – difficult to accept.”


“Illegal things?  Like me?”


“Not quite, but for some people, just as bad…”



Anna Carlton walked over to where Caroline was sitting, nodding as she said “well, that was fun – I hope the van Roons are as understanding.”


“I see Pussy going over to talk to them now – but you realise of course that you've been completely stupid don't you Anna?"

"I know I have Caroline," Doc looked a shadow of her normal self, "I didn't want either Kylie or Chet to find out what they found out tonight."

"You've got so used to getting yourself out of trouble I really think you thought you were fire proof Doc."

"I know, believe me now I do know."

"So what are you going to do to make amends and try and put things right?" Caroline crossed her arms, "because at this moment you are so deep in the shit..."

"At least I'm better off than Holly..."

"Anna that wasn't nice," Dom glared at the younger woman.


“Sorry – but I do know Kylie had seen, and knew I would have to make a choice.  I have to rebuild my relationship with her as well as with Chet.”


“That would be a good first start,” Caroline nodded.  “You need to talk to Tracey and Augie as well, and say hwo sorry you are for how they have been hurt.”


“Where is Kylie anyway?”


“Abby and Susan are with her- give her time tonight.  She was the one who spilled the beans about Holly and Sands as well.”



“Mum, Dad,” Chet said as he stood with his parents, “I needed to clear the air.  I never, ever thought there would be such a kerfuffle afterwards…”


“Forgive me, Augie, Tracey,” Jack said as he came alongside, “may I have a word with your gentleman of a son?”


“Go on,” Augie said with a smile, “we need to go and see someone.”  As they walked off, Jack said “Tough night?”


“In some ways – Mr Linklater…”


“Call me Jack son – let’s not be formal.”


“Jack – was I just blind to what was going on?”


“I don’t think so, it’s more a case of you never looked,” Jack said as they sat down, “but let me say, I am proud of the way you handled the question.  From what I heard, you asked nicely, and Anna made her choice.”


“Yeah – and believe me, I am happy for that – but the trouble it’s causing her and others…”


“Chet,” Jack said quietly, “you are discovering a great secret about the adult world.  Everything we do has a price attached, and somehow, some day, that price comes due.  Most people do not see that coming – count yourself lucky you were able to head off something worse.”


“But others have got hurt.”


“Second lesson for tonight – love hurts Chet, but the key to making it hurt less is to forgive.  I hope you have started to learn that lesson – I suspect for others, it will be more difficult…”





“Sit down, son,” Luke said to Tommy as he sat between him and Brooke, “we need to talk to you.”


“I know I need to try to keep my temper,” Tommy said as he looked down, “but I am angry.”


“I think you have every right to be angry,” Luke said, “but before you say anything else, to anyone else, you need to think through the implications of what you now know.”


“What – apart from having my life ripped apart?”


“Yes, apart from that,” Brooke said, “because you are going to have to remember it’s not just you and Holly who are going to be hurt by this.  There is someone else you need to consider as well.”


“Sands?  She’s what – thirteen?  How could Holly have done something so stupid…”


“Love makes people do stupid things,” Luke said quietly, “I suspect Brooke could tell a few tales that would shock you, and I know I could.”  Brooke said nothing as Luke continued “and sometimes, those things are stupid that it ruins any relationship – between any two people, regardless of what sex they are.”


“Tommy,” Brooke said quietly, “I think somewhere, deep down, you still care for Holly, despite the pain right now.  Which is why we need to ask you to do something that I don’t think you will want to do.”


“And that is?”


“Keep Alexandra Richmond Jr out of this,” Luke said, “because if you say anything to anyone outside this group, then not only will you hurt Holly, badly – you will expose her to the full extent of the law.”


“They will, literally and metaphorically, throw the book at her,” Brooke said, “and no matter how much you may want to hurt her, that will destroy her – and Sands as well.”


“You just want me to ignore it?”


“No – we want you to take the time to work through how you feel about this, and then, when you are feeling calmer, more rational, talk to others – such as Heather and Sandy.”


“I know it will be hard,” Luke said as he put his hand on Tommy’s, “but trust me – it is the brave thing to do.”


Tommy looked at them, and then nodded wuietly as the door opened, and Jack came in.


“Did you talk to Chet?”


“I did – a very level headed young man, but I think I need to say something here as well.  Tommy - I've got a story to tell you that if I ever hear it repeated I will totally and ultimately deny."

"Does it have anything to do with Holly two-timing me?"  Tommy gave a hollow laugh as he looked up.

"Yes," Jack smiled, "Luke darling will you and Brook give me ten minutes alone with Tommy please?"

"Of course," Luke said as he ushered the judge to the door, and Jack sat next to Tommy.  "Okay then… You obviously know I'm queer?"

"Yes...and so it seems is the girl I thought I loved," Tommy snorted.

"What would you say then if I told you I was once deeply in love with, and engaged to marry...a woman."

Tommy suddenly looked round as he said "You were what?"

"She was another student at DePauw, we met as freshmen and despite the fact I knew that I was gay I fell in love with her."

"So what happened?" Tommy despite what he was feeling was getting interested.

"Oh it was a traditional college romance in so many ways...I look back and it’s almost like a cliched 50's movie.  We went to the fair I bought her candy cotton, we went on the Ferris wheel…  Went to the movies, and the next thing I knew, she had my ring on her finger."

"So again,” Tommy sad quietly, “what happened?"

"Oh my parents approved, they liked her immensely. Her family liked me. We were going to get married the June after we both graduated...then two months before graduation she discovered me in bed with this boy I'd met." Jack breathed deeply, "it wasn't even a love thing, it was pure lust, I'd seen him in the student union and I was smitten."

"So you ended up having sex with the guy?"


“Oh yes – and she ended up walking in on us doing it.  She looked at me, said nothing – and left.  I got the ring back the next day in a hand delivered letter, and we told our parents we had broken it off by mutual agreement.”


“So you could not stop yourself?”


“Not back then,” Jack said sadly as he shook his head.  “She became a teacher, and I think she now is a headmistress.  The thing is, Tommy, I tried to deny what I was, and it caused immeasurable pain.  Which brings me to Holly…”


“She’s a lesbian…”


“No, Tommy, all I head suggests she is bisexual.  She is attracted to both men and woman – well, one man and…  Actually, let’s not go there just now.”


“Tricky not to,” Tommy laughed.


“Agreed – but the point is she has discovered she has needs from both camps, and she has been seeking that fulfilment.  Yes, she has hurt you – no denying that – but she’s hurt herself as well.  Right now she’s probably got a flood of emotions going through her, just like you have.   It’s going to need some time for both of you to work through that – take that time, son, and don’t act in anger.  You will both be hurt much more by that.”


“I understand – well, I don’t really understand,” Tommy said as he stood up, “but I take the advice.  It might be best if I leave now – but will you make sure someone gets her home?”


“Of course I will.”


“And – tell her we do need to talk, but not yet.  I don’t know when, but not yet.”


Jack nodded and shook Tommy’s hand, before he walked out of the room.  As he did so, he passed Kylie sitting with Susan and Marina.


“Are you going to be all right kiddo,” Marina asked quietly.


“Hopefully – when she looked at me as she was talking to Chet, and I realised he had asked her, I knew she had to make a choice.”


“And she chose Chet,” Susan said.  Kylie nodded and dabbed her eyes, before she said “What is that old movie – Love means never having to say you are sorry?  Well, if you love someone, you want the best for them – and I want the best for Anna.”


“Do you remember Davey Boyd?”


“The guy you went out with for a while?  I do darling,” Kylie said as she looked at Marina, “and I remember the day you dumped him over that other girl.”


“Yeah – that hurt him more than it hurt me,” Marina said with a smile, “but it had to be.  I think you did the right thing tonight – even though it will hurt.”


“True – but it an only make us stronger…  My one worry now is Holly and Tommy – and Sands.  What they must be going through…”


“Is someone else’s concern,” Susan said as Kylie started crying on her shoulder, “you need to let things out first…”




“Mister Colman, Mrs Colman?”


“It’s Patricia isn’t it – Chet’s cousin?”


“Yeah,” Pussy said as she stood with Emma and Steve, “I guess you’ve had a shock tonight as well, right?”


"To say the least.  Can you explain what has been going on Patricia?" Emma Colman asked, "does all this mean our daughter is a lesbian?"

"No she's bi-sexual I think,” Pussy said quietly, “and what I think has been going on is that while she's in love with Chet, she's been exploring the other side of her sexuality with Kylie."

"Oh."  Emma looked at Steve and said “why did we not notice?”


“Parents are usually the last to know,” Pussy said with a smile.  "I've seen this kind of thing before and it rarely ends well, someone’s heart always seems to end up getting broken."

"My daughter's heart is being broken?"

"No Steve,” Pussy said quietly, “I think it's more likely it's Kylie."


"Because I think the relationship meant a whole lot more to her then Doc. As I said I think for Anna it was in many ways just an experiment, but for Kylie it was the real thing...true love."

Emma shook her head as she whispered "the poor girl."

"Given her powers of persuasion I think Anna will be able to repair things with Chet okay, but she might have destroyed a friendship tonight."


“Surely not!”


“That’s going to depend on Anna, Kylie and their mutual friends – but I don’t think it can be quite the same again…”


“So what can we do?”


“Don’t judge Anna – she’s going to be just as hurt as some others.  Support her, never stop loving her – and be prepared for the rocky road ahead…”




“It had to happen sometime,” Heather said quietly as she sat with Holly, “although we all hoped it wouldn’t be quite like this…”


"How did I end up in a mess like this Heather?"

"By following your heart Holly, and falling in love with two different people at the same time," Heather said as she held the younger woman in her arms, Holly sobbing into her chest.

"I tried to stop it with Sands, and now I'll end up going to prison, my family will disown me....What will I do?" the tiny blonde started to sob even louder.

"Let's cross those bridges when we get to them shall we," Heather said as she held Holly’s head.

"I fell in love and now everyone will think I'm a pedophile."

"Look, your friends are having quiet words with everyone else Hol....remember Sinnerz keep their own secrets. Hopefully we can keep this confined."

"But what about Tommy, he's so angry. what is he going to say?"


“Can I interrupt?”


“Jack – where’s Tommy?”


“He went home – Luke and Brooke talked to him, and so did I.”  Taking Holly’s hands, he said “you’re about to walk down a long road, young lady, but let me put your mind at ease for now.  He has calmed down, and he won’t say anything to anyone.”


“Where is he?”


“I think he’s gone home – he asked me to tell you you will need to talk – but not yet, and he doesn’t know when.  My advice is to give each other that space for now.”


“And my family?”


“That’s up to you, but I suggest you say nothing as well.  You’re coming for the weekend, but he wasn’t right?”  As Holly nodded, Jack said “well, take that time – and remember, we’re all here for you.  Including this young lady.”


He turned as Sands looked in, and said “can I come in?”


“I’ll leave you to it,” Jack said as he smiled and left.





“There you are,” Pepsi said as Kylie came back in, “we were worried about both of you.”


“Well, it was a shock,” Kylie said quietly, “but I will talk to her later…”


"Are you okay Kylie?"

"Not really..." a look of surprise came on the English girl’s face as she turned and saw who was asking the question.  “You – forgive me, but you are the last person I thought would want to talk to me just now.”

"Well, I think it's important that we talk, and soon rather than later."  Chet gently took her arm and guided her to one side as she said "Why Chet?"

"Because Anna telling me that you two had been having an affair, but that she wanted to still be with me hurts you most."

"Oh,” Kylie said quietly, “I'll be fine."

"No you won't Kylie. I can only guess how much you are hurting inside, but I do know how much it would have hurt me if she had chosen you instead of me."

"I didn't mean to fall in love with her Chet,” she whispered, “and I never wanted to come between the two of you."

"I know," Chet tried to smile, "but I fell in love with her because she's such an incredible woman, and I can hardly blame you for doing the same thing."

"You know I'd never have broken you two up?"


“I know – I saw the way you were watching us, and your smile and nod.  You knew then – so thank you.  I hope, and pray, someone out there finds you as well.”


As he walked off, Pepsi and Ama came alongside her as Ama said “now, how do you feel?”


“Drained – but I need to see someone before I do anything else.  Where is Holly?”




“Some night,” Ally said as she and Carina passed in the door to the ladies room.


“Yeah - so what’s the latest?”


“Tommy left – he apologised to Mom and Dad.  Others are talking – do what you gotta do, and then come back.”


Carina nodded as she went into the room, finding an empty stall and sitting down.  It was out of her corner she saw the misty cloud appear from nowhere.


"What the hell?" Carina hissed as the mist appeared beside her in the bathroom and then took human shape.

"Hello dear," the apparition smiled, "and - I need to apologise for the circumstances of my visit don't I?"

"You think Grandma Lexa," Carina shook her head while she shifted slightly on the toilet, "but as I'm sure you remember a little privacy is appreciated while a person does this."

"I do know that darling," Lexa giggled, "but I needed to talk to you privately, and where else at a party like this was I going to get a chance?"

"I suppose,” Carina said quietly, “but what is so all fired important?"

"If you are to save Holly from the consequences of her folly Carina, then it's going to require you having strong words with Tommy to deter him from doing anything stupid."

"You think I have any influence over that?"  Carina stood up and adjusted her clothes as Lexa shook her head.

"Yes darling. First of all he still carries a little torch for you in his heart..."

"But is that enough to get him to listen to me?" Carina interrupted.

"Well secondly you have quite a forceful way shall we say of making your points?"

"That's true," Carina reflected, "but it still might not be enough."

"Well if it doesn't dearest then I'm authorised by a greater power to tell you that if you need use that demon that lives within you to totally persuade him, that this particular time would be overlooked when your soul meets its judgment."

Carina stared at her ancestor, before she whispered "You've been told to tell me that?"

"To protect poor Holly and Sands, and to save Tommy from himself, then yes this time they are prepared to overlook you breaking the rules just a bit."

"Oh I like that you can call it 'breaking the rules'," Carina laughed. "I'll see what I can do when I talk to Tommy, and just hopefully I'll not need let 'her' out."


“I know you will – I told you this time was coming, but I must go,” Lexa said as she faded away, and the door opened.


“Cari?  You alone in here?”


“Now I am,” she said as she came out and saw Annie.




“Tell you as we walk…”



"I get told that the powers of good don't mind me doing my thing Mom, and for the first time ever I'm hoping and praying that I don't have to let the beast out...Isn't that screwy?"

"Just a bit darling, but some might say that in the tangled lives we lead that it's just about par for the course," Juliette smiled.

"So when are you going to try have a word with Tommy?"

"Probably tomorrow Annie, luckily most people haven't even realized that all this has been going down, and those that do I know are going to keep their mouths shut to protect Holly and Sands."

"Even the forces of the law," Annie nodded towards where Brooke was talking to a few law enforcement people.


“Yeah – it’s time to protect the family again…”



“Hey – can I come in?”


“Of course you can,” Heather said as Kylie came in and closed the door, looking nervous.


"I think I need apologise to you both," Kylie whispered. "blurting that out about the two of you was not on. Will either of you ever forgive me?"

"I'm not sure that we need to," Holly tried smiling, "it was a secret that was always going to come out eventually..."

"Though you could have chosen a better night then Halloween Kylie," Sands added.

"I didn't do it deliberately darling,” Kylie said as she looked at them, “but I got upset and out it popped."

"I know," Holly said as she stood up and put an arm round the slender English girl, "shit just happens sometimes."

"Are you going to be okay Holly...Are they going to...?"

"If Tommy can keep it to himself, and that's a big if,” Holly said quietly, “then it seems I might avoid going to prison, even though I know our FBI friends aren't exactly happy that they know I've been dating an underage girl."

"Gran says that the Sinnerz though will close ranks to protect us."

"I hope they will Sands," Kylie nodded, "you guys don't deserve to get in trouble because I couldn't keep my big mouth shut."

"What about you though?" Holly asked, "are you going to be alright?"

"I suppose I will be,” Kylie said as she took her glasses off, cleaned them and then put them back on.  “I always knew that it meant more to me then Anna, but I was hoping that she was starting to love me as much as I loved her."

"Will you be able to stay friends?"

"I guess so Holly," for a second Kylie paused, "do you think Tommy and you will ever get over this?"

Holly shrugged her shoulders as she replied "I've been so worried about getting arrested and exposed I haven't really had time to even think about that yet."

"He, me, and Holly need one day to sit down, together, and talk this all out."


“Once he’s calmed down enough,” Holly said as she looked at Sands.

"That's a very mature thought darling," Nessa joined the three young women.

"I suppose,” Ktlie said with a smile, “Chet, me, and Doc, need to do that as well."

"It might help Kylie," Vanessa said kindly as she put an arm round the designer.

"At least you guys aren't facing possible legal consequences," Holly looked shaken again, "what am I going to do if this does all get out?"

"Let others help.  That’s why we’re Sinnerz, Holly, none of us are perfect."




“I didn’t think we’d cause such a stir,” Capricorn whispered to Allison as they saw the small groups talking.


“Wow – maybe the grown ups will stop giving us such a hard time now,” Allison said with a smile, before a voice said “you two – over here, now.”


Allison turned to see Mary standing with Cassandra, the girls looking at each other before Capricorn said “sure Mom – what’s the problem?”


“Care to explain why did what you did out there,” Mary said as she looked at Allison.


“We were just exploring…”


“Just exploring?”  Cassie looked at Mary, and then said “well, I’m afraid your little show had some intended consequences – some people got hurt tonight, and even if you didn’t mean it, you had a part to play in it.”


“So you two are coming with us tomorrow morning – we want to talk to you about it.  Right now, we’re leaving…”






“Some party,” Daniel said as he closed the door on the last of the partygoers, “engagements, pregnancies, and a couple of illicit affairs coming out.”


“Normal night then,” Kelly said as she sighed, “and a lot to sort out still.  At least you two didn’t drop a bombshell.”




Daniel and Kelly looked at Ally, before she and Nell burst out laughing.







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