The Party Girls – part 1








Thursday 11th February

7.45 am

The de Ros Mansion


“Good morning mamma,” Abby said as she came down, and grabbed a slice of toast while Diana poured her some coffee.


“So what is on your schedule for today,” Diana asked as she looked at the paper.


“I have a show at six and one at eight – did Angel arrive safely yesterday?”


“She did – I spoke to Mandy last night,” Diana said, “when I got back.  Both she and Maggie are doing your six o’clock show, correct?”


“Yeah – Jo’s down tomorrow night, and we all have a part to play on Saturday.”


“Ah yes – the APCO show.”


“Right – I’ll grab something to eat before the first show, and see you later tonight,” Abby said as she finished her coffee, and kissed Diana.  “Are you seeing the others later?”


“I am having lunch with the ladies – so I will see you later?”


Abby waved as she left the house, Diana shaking her head and smiling.


11 am

Xavier International


Shirley looked up as her secretary knocked on the door.


“Shirley, David McIlroy has arrived in reception.  Shall I bring him up?”


“Ask Susan to come in first please,” Shirley said as she put her pen down.  Standing up, she walked over to the window and looked out over Central Park.


Hearing the knock on the door, she said “come,” turning and smiling as Susan came in.  She was wearing a pale grey jacket and skirt with a cream silk blouse, while Shirley was wearing a grey jersey dress with matching heels.


“Are you ready for this?”


“I suspect this is merely the first of several meetings in which he will be slowly persuaded,” Shirley said, “but let us see what he has to say as an opening salvo.  Annabelle, please bring him in here.”


Her secretary nodded as she left for the lobby.


“Interesting building,” David’s assistant said as she sat in the armchair, “functional, yet classic at the same time.”


“From what I have read of the company, it fits exactly the ethos of the chief executive,” David McIlroy said with a smile.  He was dressed conservatively, in a dark grey suit, blue shirt and grey tie, his shoes highly polished.  The woman with him wore a black jacket and skirt with a white blouse underneath.


“Mister McIlroy?”


David stood up with his assistant as the smartly dressed woman walked over.


“Miss Xavier is ready to see you now – if you will follow me?”


“Of course,” David said as they followed her through the security gate to the elevator, stepping in as the doors closed.


A few moments later, she knocked on the door as David heard the deep, smooth voice say “come.”


“Miss Xavier,” Annabelle said as she opened the door, “David McIlroy.”


“A pleasure to meet you, Miss Xavier,” David said as he came in, “I believe we met at the ball, in passing?”


“Indeed,” Shirley said as they shook hands.  “May I introduce Susan Walker, the head of my New York office?”


“Pleasure – my assistant, Deborah Winters.”


The two women nodded as Susan said “may we get some coffee for you, Mister McIlroy?”


“Please – black, no sugar?”


“Miss Winters?”


“No, thank you, but if I could have some water?”


“Of course, Annabelle, coffee for three and some water, please?”


As Annabelle left, Shirley said “won’t you take a seat,” indicating the leather chairs around a coffee table.


“It’s good of you to agree to meet me today, Miss Xavier,” David said, “I appreciate it.”


“Well, I have looked at the progress AMININCO have made over the last few years with great interest,” Shirley said as Annabelle returned, setting the tray down and placing the bone china cups on saucers, before handing Deborah a glass of chilled water.


“Indeed – we have been aware of your company for some time,” David said as he was handed a cup of coffee, “even if you yourself have been somewhat in the shadows until recently.”


“Well, in the past we have allowed our reputation for discretion to guide clients to us,” Susan said, “but two years ago, we decided it was time to become a more public facing company.  We were already reasonably well known in our West Coast branch, and we followed their model.”


“As for myself,” Shirley said as she sipped her drink, “I much preferred to remain in the background, and trust my staff, but I have also discovered the benefit of being more – outgoing.”


“Indeed – your sponsorship of major events and sporting teams, and your reputation in the niche insurance markets, have been noticed by us and others.”


“So,” Shirley said as she crossed her legs and sat back, “why is AMININCO interested in Xavier International?”


“May I be direct?”


“I always prefer openness and honesty,” Shirley said with a smile.


“Well, we have observed the leadership role Xavier Insurance has had in the insurance of fine art and high end imports and exports – a market AMININCO is very interested in expanding into.”


“So do you seek to adopt our model?”


“Actually,” David said as he put his cup down, “I wanted to inform you we were interested in purchasing your insurance arm from you.”


“You are aware this is a private company?”


“We are – hence my request to meet with you today, to inform you of our intention to make an offer.”


“Well,” Shirley said quietly as she put her cup down, “I thank you for your openness and discretion, and I am flattered such a large company as yours is interested in making a bid.  Having said which, and I cannot stop you making such an offer, at this time I am not interested in selling.”


“I understand,” David said as Deborah looked on, “but I hope the offer we make will at least make you reconsider.”


“As I say, I cannot stop you making an offer,” Shirley said as she looked at Susan, “but as a private company, any deal must be discussed with me and my board of directors.  At this stage, I must again say we are united in our desire not to sell, but we look forward to hearing from you in due course.


“I return to the UK tomorrow,” Shirley said as she stood up, “but Susan will be able to appraise me of anything you send.”


“I can ask no more than that at this stage,” David said as he stood up, Deborah following his move.  “I look forward to speaking to you again, Miss Xavier.”


“Good morning, Mister McIlroy,” Shirley said as she shook their hands, and Susan showed them out.


“So, first impressions,” David asked Deborah as they walked out.


“She intrigues me – she is definitely in charge,” his assistant said, “and she is strong willed.  I think we have a fight on our hands.”


“Good – I like a fight,” David said as they hailed a cab.


“Well, Madame,” Susan said as she came back into the office.


“I am sure they will submit a bid – remain open to talking for now, but start some background checks on both of them please.  I prefer to know my enemy.”




11 am

Complete Style


“Well, there it is,” Mary said as she watched Kylie flip slowly through the catalog, “what do you think?”


"I can't believe that of the 110 outfits Alice is showing, 12 of them are mine." Kylie shook her head and then put the booklet down.

"Well that is why it's an APCO show and not an Alice MacKinnon show." Mary Thomas smiled at her protégé.

"I guess so."

Mary leaned back against her desk and looked at the young blonde.  "You look happy at least."

"Well being here in the wardrobe always makes me happy. This place is just so incredible."

"It is isn't it?" Mary looked round happily. "So did you take a look at the new arrivals."

"Some of them...”  Kylie stood up and stretched.  “If that's what is being shown by some of the top designers then I'm not entirely sure that I'll be happy with this year’s fashions."

"Don't let this go to your head Kylie Kiddo,” Mary said, “but I personally prefer the more classic look of your APCO collection."

"Thank you darling." Kylie smiled. "I like experimentation, but some of these silhouettes I think will just look stupid on a model."

"I'm going to be VERY interested what other fashion writers make of them."

"Did you hear by the way,” Kylie said, “Juliette is letting Janine write a page on fashion week?"

"I did,” Mary said with a smile, “and it’s about time, Janine is a very good little writer, she should do very well discussing this year’s new accessories."

"Marina was talking to me about it."

"Oh?  And what did Miss Marina have to say?"

"Well darling, she has no ambitions to become a fashion writer..."

"Nor a designer like you?"

"No," Kylie smiled, "but she does think that one day she'd maybe like to see if she could move into the publishing side."

"I can see that," Mary paused, "and being in on the birth of these new editions will certainly expose her to the business side of Complete Style."

"Well it's only something she's thinking about darling."

"Yes but it's good to see she has some ambitions for herself and not just for you."


“True,” Kylie said with a smile, “very true...”


Marina opened the doors to Merlin’s Cave and looked round.


“Mary?  Kylie?  Are either of you in earshot?”


“In the back,” Mary called out, looking round as Marina joined them.


“So this is where you’re hiding,” she said with a smile.


“Working Darling – Mary was showing me the catalogue for Saturday, and some of the other dresses.”


“Well, I wanted to remind you we need to leave at two – we have a meeting with Shirley over at Xavier International.”


“I have not forgotten.”


“So what does Shirley say of your move,” Mary asked.


“She wished me luck, and said she understood it was too good an opportunity to pass on,” Marina said with a smile. 


“Ai that it is,” Mary said with a smile.  “Now, can ye take these up to Janine please?  She’ll need them.”


3 pm

Xavier International


“So, let us review what has been decided so far.” Shirley looked round the table as Susan, Cathy and Helen checked their notes.


“The school year ends on the 1st of July,” Cathy said, “when does Anna want Maria to start?”


“Anna officially starts her new position on 1st August,” Shirley said as she looked at her notes, “but she is keen for Marina to be here before then.”


“I would like the girls to be here for the 4th July holiday, if that was possible,” Susan said, “start their new like here with a break.”


“Sorry we’re late,” Juliette said as she came in with Marina and Kylie, “have we missed much?”


“No – there is fresh coffee in the pot,” Susan said, “we were just recognising the window of opportunity in July for the move.”


“Why don’t we all get some coffee,” Shirley said as she stood up.


"Well Kylie I understand that you got a sneak preview of things that will be shown during fashion week?" Madame asked.

"I did, and some of it I positively hate...As an example Madame darling, what is the point of having gorgeous slim models like Abby walk your show if you are going to cover them up with loose oversized garments?"

"Oh on that we agree Kylie,” Shirley said, “street inspired fashion isn't exactly me you know."

"I don't think it is any of us who are beyond a certain age," Cathy nodded as she took a cup of coffee from Susan.

"I didn't even wear that sort of thing when I really was young enough to do so." Shirley added.

"It just makes me question why I bothered raising myself out of a squat in North London if designers want to make me dress as though I still live in one." Marina also took a cup.

"I know just what you mean." Susan served herself.


"So any hints on what I should be buying Kylie?" Helen asked.

"Well from what I can see ankle boots in every conceivable shape, colour and design are going to be a huge feature darling."

"Worn with what?"

"Virtually anything." Kylie shook her head. "But good dark tights or leggings mainly."

"Okay." Helen nodded.

"Are you taking an active interest Helen?" Cathy asked.

"Well as I pass as someone on the edge of the fashion industry it behoves me to do so I think."

"Quite right." Marina agreed.


“Then the job you have, as one who follows, is to help Anna and Pippa to show the designers how wrong they are,” Juliette said as she sat down.


“Well, part of your job as well,” Marina said.


“Yeah – gonna have my work cut out there,” Juliette said with a smile.  “So, where were we?”


“Kylie, you finish school on the 1st of July, correct?”


“Well, technically it is the 8th, Darlings, but I think I can be released a week early given my situation.”


“And Marina, your contract starts?”


“First of August officially, I get the feeling Anna wants me around for a couple of weeks beforehand.”


“Well, Susan has suggested you come back for the Independence Day celebrations – and I think both Helen and I will arrange to be here for that time as well.  How did it go at St Angela’s yesterday?”


“No problem with Kylie joining next year,” Susan said, “they will forward the details in due course.”


“Excellent,” Shirley said, “Kylie, we have already agreed Xavier International will arrange payment of your fees.  Consider it a retainer.  So, it is now mid February – we have about four and a half months in which to make further arrangements.  Accommodation?”


“With all due respect to Susan,” Marina said, “we cannot stay in her apartment permanently.  I need to find somewhere for both of us.”


“We may have something to help there,” Juliette said, “the apartment we loaned to Shirley for the last few weeks is going to be kept empty for refurbishment.  I am sure Sandy is open to talking to you about it.”


“Which provides cover for Kylie for when you travel as well,” Helen said, “as well as Pepsi and others close to hand.”


“Sounds good,” Cathy said, “and I understand there are various places nearby that serve that full breakfast you like at the weekends.”


Marina laughed as Helen shook her head.


“Well, we have time to make the full arrangements,” Juliette said.  “You’re all coming to Munich in April, so we can regroup then.  When do you fly out Shirley?”


“Tomorrow – but I will see you all in April.”



7 pm

The Village


“Okay...  Let me move that over here and that back here...”


Becca and Pepsi were standing in the front room of Ama’s apartment, as Kylie moved the cloth she had put over them around.


"Why are we standing here with all this cloth just draped over us like this?" Becca asked as Kylie adjusted some of the pins she had put in the sheeting.

"You are here because Abs, Doc, and Jeannie are all walking shows tonight, and I needed models to look at these ideas on.  And we are here because Caroline is also working, and you have an excellent pizzeria nearby."

"Do you get what she's doing?" Becca asked Pepsi as Kylie stepped back a couple of places and stared hard threw her glasses.

"Stand still darling." Kylie spoke as Becca fidgeted.

"She's getting ideas regarding hemlines and other things I think." Pepsi looked at Becca herself. "Should you try a little shorter Kylie?"

"I was thinking that." Kylie started taking out pins and lifting the hem upwards. "About there?"

"I'd wear that." Ama spoke as she came back from the door with the pizzas.

"Me too." Nikki smiled as she brought out cans of coke.

"Alright then." Kylie snapped pictures of Becca from different angles.

"I like the drape of this over just one shoulder and with the fabric gathered towards the shoulder like this." Pepsi smiled as Kylie switched her attention to her.

"Well it's just an idea darling, but can you imagine it like that but in satin?"

"Very fitted over the bustline?" Nikki grabbed the fabric behind Pepsi and pulled it taught.

"Oooh nice idea darling." Kylie picked up a clip and fixed it to the back to maintain the tight line.

"Hey a girl has to breathe you know?" Pepsi complained.

"Another clip to tighten the waist...and then let it billow in a full skirt..."

"Kylie that might just work." Ama pursed her lips as Kylie took more pictures.


“All right – we’ll let you breathe and eat now,” Kylie said as she unpinned and removed the cloths, the five girls sitting round as they opened the pizza boxes.


“So you’re coming to St Angela’s then,” Ama said as she bit into a slice.


“I believe I will be darling,” Kylie said, “so long as you will have me as a fellow student.”


“Of course we will – so will you do the same classes?”


“I am not entirely sure yet – but I will join you in the joys of Math.”


“Ah, the shared torture of Jeannie Brewster,” Pepsi said as they all burst out laughing.



7 pm

The Waldorf Astoria


“Hey,” Charly said as she waved from the bar, “when did you two get in?”


“An hour ago,” Mary Clarke said as she and Trina kissed the young princess.  “Where’s your mother?”


“Gone with mine to have dinner with some friends,” Fiona Treharran said as she joined them.  “Did you all get the same message from Juliette and Missy?”


“To meet them here for dinner,” Trina said, “any sign of them yet?”


“Not yet – so let’s have a drink while we wait – one of us is celebrating.”


“Oh,” Charly said, “who?”


“Trina,” Mary said with a laugh, “although she has to endure a shoot on enemy territory.”


“I mean you doofus,” Trina said as she punched Mary in the arm, “Miss Face of Cadeau Aphrodite.”


“Oh wow,” Charly said, “that is a cause for celebration.  Let me get you a drink.”


“No time,” Fiona said, “boss at ten o’clock.”


“Sorry I’m late girls,” Juliette said as she came over, “grab your coats and come with me.  I’m going to drive you to where we’re going to eat.”


“You called home Mary,” Trina said as they stood up.


“Of course, they all wished me luck this week,” Mary said as Mary took them out to the car, waiting until they got in before she got behind the wheel.


“Now,” Juliette said, “I hope you don’t mind if we make a pit stop on the way.”


“You need to go back to the office, Juliette?”


“Oh no,” Juliette said as she pulled into the traffic, “you’ll see.  Sit back, relax – you are going to find this a very special night...”





8 pm


“Where are we,” Trina asked as Juliette pulled into the underground car park.


“As I said, don’t worry – and your security detail in particular know what is happening Charly,” Juliette said as she got out of the car.  “Please, get out and follow me.”


“Why do I feel as if I am in a bad spy movie,” Fiona said as they walked across the car park and through a door into a room.  Her idea was given some credence as they saw a figure in the room, a hooded robe covering them.


“Are these the novitiates,” the figure said as Juliette closed the door.


“They are, Sister Titi,” Juliette said, “will you wait with them and prepare them until I call?”


The figure bowed as Juliette said “wait here – you will be sent for in due course.”  She made her way through another door, as the robed figure looked at the four young girls.


“Do any of you know what’s going on,” Trina said as she looked round the room.


“Yeah – yeah I do,” Fiona said as the hooded figure looked at them.




“Calm yourselves, prepare yourselves,” she said, “I will prepare you soon...”


“Who are we waiting for?”


“One other,” the hooded figure said as the outer door opened.


The new arrival looked at Trina and Mary, in their jumpers and jeans, Fiona in her white blouse and skirt, and Charly in her blue dress.  They in turn looked at the young girl in her sweatshirt and leggings.


“Katy? Katy Carter?”


“Er – hi,” Katy said as the hooded figure nodded at Diana, who nodded in response and went through the other door.  “Does someone want to tell me what is going on?”


All four looked at Fiona, who nodded and said “Well, I think we’re about to undergo initiation...”


“Initiation?  I’ve already had to undergo one of them,” Trina said with a groan.  “If this involves a large glass of gin...”


“No – it’s not that sort of initiation,” Fiona said.  “This is something else entirely.  Completely different...”





The scene was like an old horror movie, as the group quietened down.


"Okay Sisters it is not very often we get a near full attendance at a meeting of the Grand Council," the tall woman in the hooded robe looked at each of the other women seated at the large oval table in the darkened, candle-lit room. "So can I open by thanking you all for trying so hard to get here tonight?"

"Our pleasure darling," one of the hooded figures drawled.

"We are gathered for the most joyous of things, the ritual of bringing into our sisterhood a group of novices, and can I say that I believe this group to be among the best we have ever inducted."

"Agreed," a few voices murmured.

"Our sisterhood is a thing we all value I know, and I'm sure that each of these novices as we ourselves did will find this a night they remember for the rest of their lives."



The hooded figure turned and looked at another person.  "Sergeant-at-arms - will you please bring the novices in?"

"I will Mother."


The room watched as she bowed, walked to a door, and passed through.


“Sister Titi, the presence of the novitiates is requested.  Are they prepared?”


“They are,” the hooded figure said as she looked at the five young women.  Their wrists were lightly secured behind their backs, their eyes covered with black cloths.


“It’s okay girls,” Trina said, “just go with the flow...”


“Do not speak – you will answer the questions you are asked, and listen, and learn.  Line them up.”


The five girls were lined up; Katy wondering what was going on as they were marched into the candle lit room.  The group sat round the table in silence as they were lined up along a wall.


“Sister Titi,” Mother said, “what business do you bring before the sisterhood tonight?”


“I bring before you these five novices, mother, who have shown themselves worthy for inclusion in the sisterhood.”


“Oh god,” Fiona whispered, “It is an initiation.”


“What is going on,” Mary whispered as Mother said “Name the candidates and reveal their eyes.”


“Fiona Treharran.”


Fiona blinked as the scarf was removed, and looked round the room as Sister Titi handed to her her glasses.


“Charlotte Elphburg.”


“I see you managed to get our youngest ever candidate here,” the Sergeant-at Arms whispered to Mother as Sister Titi said “Katrina Culver.”


"Well we have already inducted Baby G's daughter at age 14, I think it's a safe risk that Lolita even though she's still only 13 will have a HUGE career as well Pelican."

“Mary Clarke.”


"Well I agree on that Mother."

"I fought it out with her mother and grandmother, we had a few heated phone calls, but they gave in in the end."

Both women paused as Katy had her blindfold removed.


“Katherine Carter.”


Katy blinked as she looked round, and then at the other four.


“Fiona, Charlotte, Katrina, Mary, and Katherine - you are brought before the sisterhood of Pi Tau Alpha to be considered for membership of the sorority.  You have been considered by the senior sisters, and have found to be worthy of the offer of membership.  To accept is to agree to do certain things, and I invite Sister Pelican, the Sergeant-at-Arms, to ask you to take the oath of fellowship.”


Mary looked at the hooded figure who stepped forward with the book, and then relaxed as she heard Juliette say “Novitiates, do you agree to be as one with your sisters, support them in their times of need, celebrate with them in their triumphs, and console them in their tragedies?”


“Respond, if you desire to join, with we do,” Mother said, looking at the five girls as they all said “We Do.”


“Do you swear to uphold the rules and regulations of the Sorority, and in doing so stand firm one with another?”


“We Do.”


“And do you swear always to support one another, sister by sister, in all you face?”


“We Do.”


“As do I,” Juliette said as she bowed to Mother, “as do all the sisters gathered here today.”


“Is this what it was like when you joined your sorority,” Charly whispered to Trina.


“There was more drinking involved,” Trina whispered as Mother said “Thank you Sister Pelican.  Who brings forward these novitiates for membership?  For Fiona Treharran – Sister Love Bandit, do you in good faith sponsor Fiona Treharran?”


“I do,” Fiona heard her mother say as a hooded figure came and stood beside her.


“Sister Topaz, do you in good faith sponsor Charlotte Elphburg?”


“I do,” another figure said as she walked over, Charly gasping as she realised it was her mother.


“Sister Tufty, do you in good faith sponsor Katrina Culver?”


“I do,” Mandy said as she walked over.


“Sister Pelican, do you in good faith sponsor Mary Clarke?”


“I do,” Juliette said as Mary grinned.


“Sister Flush, do you in good faith sponsor Katherine Carter?”


“I do,” the final figure said as she stood and walked over.


“Novitiates, these sisters in good standing have agreed to sponsor you for membership.  If you are willing and desire to join them, kneel and bow your heads.”


The five girls looked at each other, kneeling and feeling the hands of their sponsors on their right shoulders.  Mother walked over and stood in front of them.


“Novitiates, will you accept the invitation to join the Pi Tau Alpha sorority, and enter into all the rights and privileges of such membership?”


“We do,” they said as one.


“Very well then – as Principal of the Sorority, I welcome you into our sisterhood, and will grant you your new names as members of the Sorority.”


Linda walked forward and placed her head on Fiona’s head.  “Fiona Treharran, I name you Sister Magoo – welcome.”


“Thank you Mother,” Fiona said as she started to grin.


“Charlotte Elphburg, I name you Sister Flavia – welcome.”


“Thank you Mother,” Charly said quietly as Linda moved on.


“Katrina Culver, I name you Sister Gold Rush – welcome.”


Trina nodded, wondering what had just happened before she whispered “thank you mother.”


“Mary Clarke,” Mother said as she stood in front of Mary, and placed her hand on her head, “I name you Sister Worker – welcome.”


“Thank you Mother,” Mary said as she bowed her head.  This was the first time she had been invited to join anything, and it felt right


“And finally, Katherine Carter, I name you Sister Lolita – welcome.”


“Thank you Mother,” Katy whispered, still not quite believing what was happening.


“Sponsors, these novitiates have been accepted into full membership of Pi Tau Alpha, and in the presence of those sisters present, I announce them to be such members.  Let the word be spread, and let them be free to accept the honor.”


“Mother,” Fiona said as she had her hands freed, then turned and hugged her mother, “why didn’t you tell me?”


“You never get told if you are to be initiated to a sorority,” Trina said, “but this is a shock.”


“Very well deserved, darling,” Mandy said as she hugged the young heiress.


“Topaz,” Charly said as she looked at her mother.


“Long story,” Terri said with a smile.


“Juliette, what just happened?”


“Mary, you are now in a very exclusive sorority,” Juliette said.  “Look at who is here.”


Mary looked round as she saw the models remove their hoods, Jeanne Beckman hugging her and saying “welcome” before she moved to greet Jerry Hall and Trudie Styler.


"Okay will someone FULLY explain?" Katy smiled.

"PTA is the models sorority,” Pru Stratton said as she removed her hood, “only girls who are or will be, top girls are invited to join."

"You mean you guys think I will..."

"Lolita darling it's a certainty you'll make it." Tufty drawled.

"But why the nicknames?"

"It separates those who are real insiders from the wannabes." Juliette smiled, "with the exception of a few outsiders who routinely deal with us the membership list is secret."

"Grand Council is the official governing body." Natalia Voidanova smiled as she kissed each of the initiates.

"In that Supernova is right, and girls if you don't mind we have council business to talk over." Mother reminded the other girls. "There are refreshments outside if you don't mind waiting?"

"No not at all," Charly smiled.


“Come this way,” Jeanne Beckman said as she led them into a room, and gave them each a drink.


“I will say this, Lolita,” she said with a smile as she handed Katy a drink, “you have made Baby Supermodel very happy.  Well, you and Baby G, but that’s another story.”




“She’s no longer the youngest member.”


"Well I never expected this." Katy shook her head as she sipped her orange juice.

“Well, it is well deserved,” Diana said with a smile.  “I will make sure you get home later, Katy.  In the meantime, I have been asked to give you these.”


She handed them a bound folder each, with μτα embossed in gold on the front.  “Your induction packs.”


"I thought maybe in a couple of years, but this early in my" Trina shook her head.

"So you knew your mother was a member?" asked Charly.

"Yes, but largely inactive."

"Well I had NO CLUE." Charly shook her head.

"Why do I know I just did something very important, but cannot understand why?" asked Mary.

"Because in the years to come the support from your sisters will mean the world to you," everyone looked round at Grace who had just slipped in. "CONGRATULATIONS!" she embraced each girl in turn, "and you can call me Palomino."

"When I go to St Angela's?" asked Katy.

"No...Only in private, secret sorority remember, you tell no one Katy, not your family, not your friends."


"How do we identify each other then?"

"You need to read the news sheets, and have a great memory for names Gold Rush."

"Palomino, the Grand Council will see you now." Titi said as she came to the door.


“Excuse me girls – I’ll be out shortly,” Grace said as she walked through the door.


"This is like a Who's Who of the profession." Trina shook her head as she looked at the roll of sisters in her initiation package.

"I see Jeannie is a member." Katy looked up from reading.

"Baby Supermodel or BS...That's appropriate," Fiona laughed.

"Are we expected to remember all this?" Mary asked.

"I'd guess so." Trina nodded.


“Sister Greyhound?  Sister Elmore?  Now that is different...”


“Who are...  How on earth did they come up with these names?”


“I’m just grateful they didn’t call me Sister Stringbean,” Mary said as looked round the room.


“Oh I don’t know – if I can cope with Sister Stick, I think you could manage that.”


The five turned to see Abby as she arrived with Jeannie and Maggie Fife.


“Well now,” Jeannie said as Katy came over and hugged her, “I guess I really am not the baby anymore.”


“The name sticks,” Abby said as she hugged Mary and the others, “trust me on that.”


“So that’s why your mother brought me here,” Katy said, “I thought we were heading home.  Where is here anyway?”


“Not important,” Maggie said, “what is important is the fact you are here.  So have they finished in there?”


“We have now,” Mother said as the doors were opened and she came out.  “Now I get the chance to welcome you properly – and then send you home and to your hotel for a good night’s sleep.  One of you has school, and the others a busy day ahead.”


“I hear they got you for Marc Jacobs next week, Maureen and Stick,” Mandy said as she came out.


“Yeah – and then they told us about the Nun who would be walking the show as well,” Maggie said, “so we may just have to hope Holly talks to her first.”


“Oh – who is it?”


“Lady Gaga.”


“She was a Nun?”


“Oh yes – I suppose something else good apart from Nell Rochermann and Hilly came out of that...”


"Did you walk the Kanye West show Abs?" asked Fiona.

"PLEASE!" Abby shook her head, "the whole damn thing was just one big ego trip for him and the Kardashian/Jenner clan."

"Which means you did?" asked Charly.

"Yes...and hated virtually every minute."

"I'd already committed myself to doing Marissa Webb's show, and I kept the engagement." Jeans smiled.


“You were the lucky one - but it makes me appreciate Saturday all the more...”


“Forgive me, Abby, Jeannie,” John said as he came in, “but I need to get you home soon.


"As always John here is one of the unsung heroes of fashion week." Abigail smiled. "He's been planning for a while how the hell he's going to get Jeannie and some of us as well from show to show."

"Granddad is a true star." Jeannie looked up proudly.

"Well I wouldn't say that."

"You are though John." Abigail kissed him on the cheek.

"Well other then flattering John here," Missy walked in, "does everyone know where she is supposed to be and when?"

"Yes, but whether I can get from place to place on time only time will tell." Fiona nodded.

"Just watch girls like your Mom Fi, and other veterans like Grace, they know all the little tricks for getting to the end of this marathon."






Friday 12th February

10 am

Complete Style


“So what did your mother say when you got back to the hotel,” Mary said as she came into the lobby with Fiona, Charly and Trina following them in.


“Congratulations – and no more than that,” Fiona said as Mary came out of the lifts.


“Ah there you all are,” she said as she hugged each of them.  “Come on up – Missy and Juliette are in her office, but I need you to come with me for a moment Mary.  Someone I want you to meet.”


“Okay,” Mary said as she looked at the others. 


“If you three go with Marina,” Mary said as the young girl came out, “we’ll join you shortly.”


“If you will come with me,” Marina said as she indicated the elevator, the party walking in and then Mary taking the young Californian to one side as the others headed to the editorial floor.


“In here,” Merlin said as she opened the door to her cave, and showed Mary in.  As they walked in, Mary heard a young English voice saying “I am honoured you think so highly of my work darling.”


“Oh believe me, I do, and I look forward to working with you once you make your home...  Ah Merlin - and Mary.”


“Hey Bats,” Merlin said, “Mary, you didn’t get a chance to meet her properly last night by all accounts, but this is Alice MacKinnon, the head of APCO, and this little wizard here is Kylie Mitchell.”


“It’s a real pleasure to finally meet both of you in the flesh,” Mary said as she hugged both of them, “especially you Kylie.  The dress you designed for me is truly stunning.”


“Oh – something I should know about,” Alice said as she raised an eyebrow.


“A private commission, Alice darling – but, if after next week Mary is agreeable, I will show you the design.”


“Can’t say fairer than that,” Alice said with a smile.  “Right – I need to go and talk business upstairs.  Merlin, Worker, Kylie – I’ll see you all tomorrow morning.”


“See you Bats,” Merlin said as she waved Alice off, and then looked at Mary.


“How did you?”


“I’m one of the few,” Merlin said with a smile, “and congratulations lass.”


“You know, I never went to college, so an initiation is totally new to me,” Mary said.  “According to Trina, that was a positively – tame one?”


“Still, welcome to the sorority darling,” Kylie said with a smile.


“Did I hear Mrs MacKinnon say you are making your home here?”


“Indeed – it only happened this week, but my friend Marina is taking up a new position here, so I will be joining her here over the summer.”


“So you’ll finish school here,” Mary said as she sat down.


“That is certainly the plan at present – so you really do like the dress?”


“Oh yes – and the jacket does set it off incredibly well.”


“I was telling Kylie that the Vienna dresses had a fair number with the bolero jacket, so you are ahead of the game,” Merlin said with a smile.  “So, where are you tonight?”


“Donna Karin tonight, then APCO tomorrow afternoon.  What is it like walking her show?”


“Fun – different from almost any other,” Merlin said with a smile.  “You will see tomorrow.  Right now, I need to get you upstairs.  Kyles, you all right down here?”


“Of course darling – a pleasure to finally meet you Mary.”


“And you,” Mary said with a smile as they left the office.



“So what are we doing here this morning?”


“Team meeting with the powers that be,” Merlin said as they entered the bullpen, and made their way to the conference room.  As they went in, Mary saw Missy and Juliette sitting at the table, the others grabbing a coffee.


“Get a mug,” Juliette said to Mary, “and take a seat.  We have a lot to talk about.”



12.30 pm

Bishop Walden School


“So are you involved in the madness,” Liz said as she looked along the line.


"I'm only allowed to walk a handful of shows," Katy explained to her friends as they sat on the wall.

"Why?" asked Laura.

"The child labor laws." Shawnee replied.

"That's between them Mom, Gran, and Missy worked out a schedule for me."

"How many are young people’s shows?"

"Not a one Shawnee," Katy grinned proudly, "at each show I'm just another model, and wearing grown-up things."

"Whoa I bet your Mom had a fit?" Sandy asked.

"A little one, but Mom gets to watch over me at each show, so she's there in case anything inappropriate happens."


"My Mom is taking me to the Carol Galvin Cancer Gala tonight." Liz smiled.

"Heather is taking me as well." Sands looked at her friend.

"What about you guys?" Liz asked.

"Well I'm making my real professional debut at the Nicole Miller Show at six," Katy grinned, "but supposedly most of the girls are heading to the gala straight afterwards, so I’ll see you there."

"God you are all SO LUCKY!" Shawnee rolled her eyes.


“Tell that to the likes of Abby and Jeannie – they have two shows again tomorrow night...”


“So did you get invited to these things?”


“Nah - unless you are a superstar like Abby who designers practically beg to walk their show, you have to go to castings and the designers look at girls and decide who they want to use."

"Oh is that what you've been rushing off to do after school?" asked Liz.


"Did you get more invites to walk then you legally could?"

"I did Shawnee...certainly after my notorious Lolita performance." Katy giggled.


1 pm

Inn in the Park


“Well girls are we all in the mood for fashion week?” Nessa asked as she kissed all the early arrivals.


“As far as one can be given this changeable weather.” Sandy sat back down. “It’s playing havoc with my schedule.”


“And why might that be?” asked Liz.


“Because every time it turns bad again,” Sandy said with a sigh, “flights get cancelled, deliveries get delayed…when I’ve promised a client a job will be done by a certain date, this causes me no end of trouble.”


“I can get that.” Liz nodded.


“Plays merry hell with construction as well.” Tonya smiled as she sat down.


“Which again has a knock on effect for designers.” Sandy sighed.


“I get it, both of you want a nice early spring.” Paulie said as she arrived with Jan and Jeanne.


“It would help.” Sandy stood up and kissed the newcomers.


“Returning to fashion week?” Nessa tried to restart the conversation. “I hope everyone cleared space for the Blind Fashion Show next week?”


“With it meaning so much to Olivia and Fiona,” Sandy said, “of course I have Mother.”


“I got tickets for me and the girls.” Paulie added.


“I just hope it becomes an annual event,” Jan smiled, “it is such a worthwhile idea.”


“As is the cancer benefit tonight.”


“Agreed Mother,” Sandy looked up from the menu, “Heather is taking Sands, but I’ll just send a donation from me.”


“Why is that darling?” asked Tonya.


“You know very well Ton,” Sandy said as she shook her head, “I have to go calm down that witch out in Greenwich because she can’t have a completion till next weekend.”


“Which gets us straight back to the weather.” Tonya laughed.


“Did anyone see that awful show last night?” Liz tried to steer back to topic.


“I did,” Gale sat down, “I know that Kris is a friend of yours Nessa, but really?”


“I know,” Nessa said as she shook her head, “I was discreet when I phoned her, but the phrase mutton dressed as lamb did occur to me.”


“It was far too radical for me to wear.” Diana plopped herself down, “and I’m sorry I’m late.”


“Katy was in raptures over the Kanye show.” Jan tried attracting a waiter’s attention.


“She was?” asked Pussy who as usual arrived looking a little dishevelled.




“Well I suppose you have to be her age to understand why one might wear it.” Paulie nodded.


“Am I the last?” Pussy asked.


“No we are waiting on Kelly and Claire.” Sandy smiled as a waiter finally approached.


“So is Katy ready for tonight Jan?”


“I guess she is Claire.” Jan stood up to allow the Congressman’s wife to slip in.


“Runway is a whole new kettle of fish when you are doing it professionally.” Sandy smiled as the waiter took the late arrivals orders. “I hated it, it’s one of the reasons I got out of modelling.”


“Well Mary has been working with her on her walk, and I must admit I’m impressed with it.” Juliette said as she rushed in.


“I thought being fashion week you’d not be with us today Ju darling.” Diana hugged her.


“Janine and Alexis are covering for me, but if anyone rings you don’t know where I am…okay?”


“Day Two and you are already needing a break?” Tonya giggled.


“YES!” Juliette rolled her eyes.


“Well coming back to Katy, she really seems totally prepared.” Jan sipped her wine.


“We were saying she may be the only one who liked the Kanye West show,” Nessa said as Kelly slipped in.


“She may well be – I know young Kylie wasn’t impressed.”


“Kylie Mitchell?  Becca was telling me she was at St Angela’s on Wednesday.”


“She was,” Juliette said, “she and Susan were starting the process for her to come there next year.”


Juliette looked at the rest of the table.  “Oh of course – only Sandy and Diana know this.”


“Sandy told me,” Nessa said, “but you can tell them now.”


“Wasn’t she going back to London after Hong Kong,” Pussy said.


“Change of plan – Marina has accepted a post with Anna as one of her new assistants, so they will be making their home in Manhattan.”


“I’m going to have the empty apartment in your block renovated for them Jan,” Sandy said, “make it more suitable for two young women in Manhattan.”


“Do I need to put that on my list,” Tonia said with a smile.


“Yup,” Sandy said with a smile as the waiter took their orders.


“So will she do the exams she wanted to?”


“Grace says it can be arranged – they need to get the results from the exams she sits this year first, but even if she has a complete disaster.”


“Which she won’t,” Sandy said.


“Even then, the Diploma gives a good start.”


“So I presume the young designer of the year will spend time with you and Mary as well Ju?”


“And with Alice – excuse me, I’ll be back in a minute.”


As Juliette went off, Nessa whispered “everything ready for two week’s time?”


The table nodded as she smiled.




5.30 pm

Nicole Miller Show


Jan looked round as she watched Katy sitting in the makeup chair.


“Relax Mom,” Katy said with a smile, “I’m not going out in a swimsuit or anything like that.”


“I know, but still...”


“It’s Janice Carter isn’t it?”


Jan turned her head to see Olivia and Fiona standing there.


“I’m Olivia Savage – my daughter Fiona Treharran.  Juliette said you would be here with Katy, and asked us to introduce ourselves.”


“Oh right – she said one or two of the others would be acting as a big sister for Katy.  Pleased to meet you.”


“Hey Katy,” Marnie Paget said as she walked by, “welcome to the world of mayhem.  You only get to do one show today, right?”


“Yeah – then we’re going to the cancer gala to meet some of the others.”


“Okay girls – to the dressers please.”


“Showtime,” Fiona said as she checked her glasses, “let’s get dressed.”


Katy nodded as she followed them to the backstage area, as Missy came alongside Jan.


“Forgiven them yet for last night?”


“I still think she’s too young Missy, but when I see her like this...”


“You coming to the Carol Galvin show after this?”


Jan nodded as Missy said “I’ll drive you there – John is taking Abby and the others there from their other shows.  Come sit with me – you get a ringside seat for this.”




“Olivia Savage is wearing the jacket and skirt in black silk with the red rose design, while Fiona Treharran wears the matching outfit in grey...”


Olivia and Fiona walked down the catwalk, their hair parted as they smiled and posed, the skirts covering their legs as the cameras flashed, and then they walked back together. 




“No,” Katy said as she swallowed.


“Well, remember the wise words of Mary,” Marnie said.


“And those are?”


“Imagine your best friend is out there, and do it just for them.”


“And now with designs for the young at heart, please welcome Marnie Paget and Katy Carter.”


Katy took a deep breath and walked out, remembering what Mary had taught her as she kept step with Marnie, posing and smiling as her mother watched with Missy.


“I still see the kid who loved My Little Pony and had pigtails, you know,” Jan said as she looked at Katy with her parted hair.


“Oh she’s still there...”


“Well done,” Marnie said as she hugged Katy at the other side of the curtain, “now we go and get the next outfit on pronto.”


“The life of the model – not glamour at all.”


“No – but fun.  Most of the time...”




6.30 pm

71 West 35th Street


“I’m sorry Mom couldn’t make it, but I’m glad you came instead Heather,” Sands said as they entered the venue.  The young girl was wearing a light grey trouser suit with a camisole top underneath, and black ankle boots, while Heather had on a blue jacket over a white jersey dress.


“Hey Sands!”


“Hey Liz – you excited as well?”


“I am indeed – you know Heather, don’t you Mom?”


“Hello,” Liz’s mum said as they shook hands.  “Why don’t we sit together?”


“Of course – come on...”



Backstage, a very nervous Mary Clarke was sitting with Trina and Charly.


“Jeanne Beckman wants to talk to me?  Why?”


“Because you’re a shining new star, doofus,” Trina said with a smile.


“Make way, make way, girl in a wheelchair,” Jeannie said as she and Abby came in, grabbing a bottle of water each and taking a long drink.


“Glad you could make it,” Trina said with a smile.


“First show overran – for both of us,” Abby said as Jeanne walked over.


“Mary – are you ready?”


“I guess so – what do I need to do,” Mary said as she walked over to where the set was waiting.


“First sit down, take several deep breaths, and let my people work their magic,” Jeanne said as the makeup artist touched up Mary.  “Now, I’m going to ask you about what it’s like to be here, and what this show means to you.  Relax, just be honest, all right?”


Mary nodded as the director said “and in three...  two... one...”


“Hello everyone, I’m Jeanne Beckman, and this is the Beckman Report.  I’m in New York for Fashion Week, backstage at the Carol Galvin Foundation Women’s Cancer Fundraising Gala, and I’ve managed to grab a few minutes with one of the breakout faces of 2016, Mary Clarke.  Mary, welcome to the Beckman Report.”


“Thank you Jeanne,” Mary replied quietly.


“Mary, you were discovered by the legendary Missy Auerbach in San Francisco, and in a relatively short time have graced the pages of Complete Style and Vogue, as well as becoming the face of a major hotel in your home town.  Have you managed to catch your breath yet?”


“Honestly, Jeanne,” Mary said as she relaxed, “I’ve only just begun to realise what has happened.  I’m just taking it one day at a time.”


“What’s been the biggest surprise to you?”


“How accepting everyone has been – I think I’ve made some real friends over the last few months,” she said, smiling as she saw Trina and Abby watching.


“Now, we’re here to raise money for research into women’s cancers.  I understand this is a subject dear to your own heart.”


“Indeed – my mother died of breast cancer when I was 14, and when I was asked to walk this show tonight, I was not only honoured, I wanted to use it to say thank you to her, wherever she’s watching from, for everything she did for me and my family.”


“I’m sure she’d be very proud of you.”


“I hope she would be.”


“Mary Clarke, thank you, and good luck tonight.”


“Thanks, Jeanne,” Mary said as the director said “we’re out.”


“Thank you,” Jeanne said as she leaned over and put her hand on Mary’s, “I know that could not have been easy.”


“Well, thank you for letting me say that,” Mary said as she dabbed her eye.  “I’d better get back to getting ready.”


“Go for it Worker.”


“Thanks Titi.”


Jeanne watched as Mary walked off, Trina putting her arm round her shoulders as she comforted her.


4 pm Pacific Time

Oakland Hills


“All right,” Dave Clarke said, “you can watch so long as you do your homework after dinner.”


“Thanks Dad,” Vicky said as she started up the laptop.


"Mary setting us up with the additional show coverage online is great."

"Means we should see everything."

"Well it aint cheap girls," Dave smiled, "but I think we can afford it."

"Yeah just about," the girls giggled.


“Hey – the show’s just starting!”


7 pm


“Hey Ju – working or looking?”


“All three,” Juliette said as she sat down with Heather.  “I want to see how this goes.”


“Big night for a few of them,” Heather said as the lights dimmed.


“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome,” the announcer said, “and please welcome to start our show, Abby de Ros and Trina Culver!”


The audience clapped as Abby came out, wearing a black lace backless evening dress, the skirt reaching the floor, while Trina wore a white version with a knee length skirt.


As the audience clapped, Mary was taking a deep breath at the entrance to the cat walk.


“Next out, one of the newest faces to grace the modelling world, Mary Clarke.”


Mary strode out, her long red sleeveless jacket falling to the ground behind her as the hood sat over her head, the red mini dress fitting her like a glove.  She smiled and posed for the cameras as Charly walked out behind her, Jeannie following in her chair...


“These outfits are amazing,” Liz said as she sat with Sands, “but why are some of the women wearing animal masks?”


“I think it’s because they’re wearing fox furs – they’re making a statement of some type.”


“It just looks silly...”


“No – that was last night...”


“Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Meredith O’Connor!”


As the dark haired singer started to sing, backstage the girls were having some water when Kate, Missy, Jan and Marnie came in.


“Hey,” Abby said, “how did the show go?”


“Not bad – Olivia and Fi headed back to the hotel, but we thought we’d come and join you,” Missy said.  “So far, so good?”


“So far, so great,” Trina said, “these clothes are amazing!”


"Who is the other rather young looking model Abby?" asked Katy.

"Orion O'Ryan...and believe it or not that is her real name, she's the 14 year old kid from Belfast been doing what you've been doing here back in London."

"My competition eh?" Katy assessed the redhead carefully.


“In the same way Lily and I are, hopefully,” Abby said.


“We’ll go and join the others front of house,” Jan said as she guided Katy to the door, “see you all later.”




“Hey Jan, Katy,” Heather said as they sat down, “all done for the night?”


“In terms of Katy working, yes – how has the show been so far?”


“Different, but fun,” Sands said as she handed a bottle of Coke to Katy.


“Well, these are different from what I was wearing,” Katy said as Abby and Jeannie went past, Abby in a blue sheath dress, Jeannie wearing a lace mini dress with black boots.


“The joy of Fashion Week – wait until the APCO show tomorrow,” Jan said.  “That is going to be very different for you...”





The Richmond Mansion


“We’re back,” Heather called out as she and Sands came into the mansion.


“In the kitchen,” a voice called out, the two of them smiling as they saw Jo sitting at the breakfast bar.


“Hey,” she said with a smile, “did you have fun tonight?”


“I did Jo – how come you’ve only arrived today?”


“Training, young Sands – I’m only walking tomorrow and Sunday, and I fly back Sunday night.  But tomorrow is Alice’s show – so all hands to the pumps, as it were.”


“How’s the course going?”


“Going well – but I do have one bit of bad news, so let me get that out of the way now.”


“You can’t come South with us?”


“Sorry – I’m going to Dublin with Caroline and Ama.  But I will make the first race of the new season, and I will watch with Caroline.”


“Well, it can’t be helped,” Heather said.


“I’m going to bed – night Heather, Sandy.”


“Good night Sands,” the two women said as she went up the stairs.


“So, I take it Buffalo got cleared up,” Jo said quietly.  “That cop I paid a visit to was found in her house, with her throat slit.  Clean, no clues – I smell Silent Death?”


“And friends – both of whom are going to be moving to the city now in the summer.”


“Marina and Kylie?  Carina told me she’d been offered a job at CS.”


“Offered and accepted – Kylie is going to do what you did, and join St Angela’s as a Junior next year.   Grace is hoping a timetable can be drawn up to help her take the exams she wants to do.”


“Well, I think she’d be fantastic there,” Jo said with a smile, “and she will bring a certain something to the old girl.”


“Oh she’ll certainly bring something,” Heather said, “that much is certain.”




Saturday 13th February

6.30 am

West Central Park


Katherine woke up, wondering what the tapping sound she could hear was.  Getting out of her bed, she could see the light was on in the kitchen, so she put her robe on and walked in.


“Don’t tell me Jan is being called out again,” she said to herself, only to stop as she saw Katy tapping on the keyboard of her laptop, and drinking from a mug.


"Sorry did I wake you Gran?" Katy said as she looked up from the computer.

"Katy - it's six thirty in the morning."

"I know...I'm sorry...but I was too excited to sleep."

"Is there any...?"

"Coffee? Yes I just brewed a pot."

"So what are you looking at?" Katherine asked as she sat down with a cup of coffee in her hand.

"Pictures from the shows last night...I was also checking out a model called Orion O'Ryan."

Katherine looked at the picture of the young redhead and said "Who's she?"

"She's a 14 year old Irish girl, and she's getting a lot of publicity."

"Just like you eh?"

"Yes Gran." Katy enlarged one photo. "She's good though, I get the feeling she and I might be competing for things."

"What about young Kaia Gerber?"

"Oh I think Kaia is a little further up the ladder then we are."

"Do either of you know what time it is?" Jan came in looking bleary eyed.


“Sorry Mom – I was just excited about today, and I was looking at some of the things from last night.”


Jan poured herself a mug of coffee and sat down.  “This is going to be a long day, isn’t it?”


“Yeah,” Katherine said, “let’s see if we can catch a mid-morning film before we need to be there...”


“So long as it’s not Zoolander 2,” Katy said, “from what the girls said of it, you would think Kanye West directed it as well...”



8.30 am

The Richmond Mansion


“Good morning,” Sandy said as she came into the kitchen, wearing a pair of old joggers and a sweatshirt, “is that fresh coffee?”


"What time did you get back from Greenwich Mom?" Sands asked as she did herself and Heather French Toast.

"About two thirty this morning...Sorry if I disturbed you lover."

"You didn't really," Heather finished the coffee and handed Sandy a mug.  "We got back about midnight and I think we both went straight to sleep."

“Once they had a chat with me,” Jo said as she came in, and took a mug of coffee as well.”


“Want some French Toast Jo?”


“Sorry, Sands – I’ve got time for a coffee and Danish, and then I need to get to Adam Cabot’s place for a shoot before the show later.”


“The life of the model,” Heather said with a smile.


“Hey – it pays the bills,” Jo said as she grabbed her coat.  “I’ll see you girls and George later.”


“Drive safely,” Heather called out as Jo ran out.


"So,” Sandy said as her daughter sat next to her, “was it a good show?"

"Oh it was mainly the work of that woman who won Project Runway. What's her name Heather?"

"Irina Shabayeva."

"That's her...this one red dress was so wonderful."

"I only said we might see about getting it made for you." Heather laughed.

"It would be so perfect for my birthday later in the year."

"She wants a couture dress?" Sandy laughed, "It's a good thing I did finally get paid last night.”

"Yes I think she might have raided her Trust Fund last night - your daughter liked a lot of the clothes."

"Talking of clothes any reports on Katy?"

"We were going to look online later at the show Mom." Sands ate her toast, "but she really did enjoy walking the show. She dropped into the show after hers finished."

"Was Jan happy?"

"Yeah, she seemed glad the first one was out of the way." Heather finished her cup.


“Right – I presume Jo is keeping after the show clear tonight?”


“Yeah – why?”


“Family time – I’m insisting on it...”


8.30 am

The Huntingdown apartment


"Are you all ready for the day?" Klaus asked as Juliette, Ingrid, and Carina sat gossiping and drinking coffee.

"Yes...After I run by the office." Ju stood up and kissed her man.

"Well I have a BIG day planned for Judith and myself...Don't I?"

"YES GRAPPY." his granddaughter nodded her head in a decisive manner.

"You don't mind babysitting Pops?" Carina asked.

"Not at all."

"Well normally Annie would do it, but she's helping Alice out as a favour today."

"I fully understand." Klaus chuckled. "I get too little time with my granddaughter anyway."

"So did I hear Adam?"

"He came in for coffee and promptly left." Ingrid smiled. "Fashion week is as busy for photographers as it is for models."


“What’s he doing this morning?”


“A shoot with Jo...”



8.30 am

The de Ros Mansion


Diana looked up as her daughter appeared in the doorway.


"Tired Cherie?"

"I am Mama." Abigail stretched and yawned as she entered the kitchen, then adjusted her glasses.

"Coffee Miss Abby?"

"Oh please," Abby slumped into a chair, "I need waking up."

"Another week of this yet darling." Diana looked at her over the pages of the Times.

"Don't remind me...and then guest spots at shows in Europe each weekend of their fashion weeks...PLUS school...Remind me again why I do this?"

"Because you love it, or I'd never allow it." Diana put down her paper.

"Yeah once I'm awake I start getting the buzz."

"Pancakes Miss?"

"Oh please I have a very long day, I need the calories to burn."


“I have booked the tickets for next week, before I forget – we fly out Thursday lunchtime, and do the show Friday night after the shoot.  You then at least get Saturday off before the ball.”


“Sounds good – I may sleep until midday then...”


8.30 am

The Waldorf Astoria


"I'll see you later Min." Mary waved bye to the Chinese model as her friends came in for breakfast.

"Where is she off to?" asked Charly as she sat down.

"She has some pictures to shoot."

"Yeah I have some to do later." Trina glanced at her phone.

"Everyone ready for another busy day?" Angel giggled, "you know I feel like the veteran with you lot."

"Well you are." Fiona started looking at the menu.

"Where's your Mom Fi?" Mary asked.

"Final fitting and a rehearsal with Nick Wu for tomorrow."

"That's where Min was off to."

"Yeah, this is all about a lot more than just turning up and walking."

"As I keep telling's a real job."

"We know Worker," the others laughed in unison.

"Do you mind if I join you?" a girl with a strong Belfast accent asked.

"You may," Trina looked up, "It's Orion isn't it?"

"It is."

"Where's your guardian?" asked Charly.

"My aunt lets me at least eat without her." Orion smiled a little, "and I saw you all last night."


“Yeah – you did well last night,” Mary said.


“I meant to ask – who was the blonde you were talking to after the show last night.”


“You mean Katy Carter?  She’s about the same age as you.”


“She didn’t walk the cancer charity show?”


“No – she had an earlier one.  This is her first Fashion Week,” April said, “so she’s on a restricted list.  You’re both doing this afternoon though, right?”


“Yeah – what has she done before?”


“One or two things – she modelled the Lolita outfit at the charity show a few weeks ago.”


“OH – she’s THAT Katy Carter,” Orion said, “right...”


10 am

The Brewster Brownstone



"I know Granddad it's showtime." Jeannie wheeled herself in wearing an old tracksuit, and trainers, her hair in a ponytail and no makeup.

"If the people who read the glossies could only see you now, " Barbara laughed.

"Well what sense me putting my own makeup on?"

"I know."

"Girls if we are going to do this?" John looked at his watch.

"Rehearsals, fittings, and two shows...This will be a TOUGH one." Jeannie spoke softly.


“Right – we need to go or you will be late,” John said, “onwards and upwards!”


11 am

Adam Cabot’s Studio


"That's great can take a break now." Adam looked up and smiled.

"Is it just me,” Jo said as she stood up, “or are these the best thing Alice has ever done?"

"Well I think they are pretty special Jo." Aileen the shoot stylist helped her out of the garment.

"It's going to be a pretty wonderful show if these are the things she's NOT showing." Jo shook her head.

"Well these are for the Fitzstuart campaign."

"Like the ones I'll be modelling in Ireland?"


"Well I know these are designed items and not the simple woollens that the first lot were, but I'm going to see if I can get one of those chunky Arran cardigans we did first today...This time of year it will be perfect for cold mornings on campus."

"Adam already ordered himself one." Aileen laughed.

"Hmmm well if he will wear it I wonder about getting Curt one?"

"It's a thought."

"It definitely is." Jo sat down to let them redo her makeup.



11 am



"Very nice Caroline darling." Jack smiled, as she stood out on 35th Street seemingly oblivious to the crowds round her and posing.

"Pru and you are earning your fees this lunchtime." Minerva Turner of Elle the stylist smiled.

"Well she has a trousseau to pay for, and I have a teenage daughter...all work is gratefully received."

"Isn't it just?" Pru looked up as Luke explained the next setup to her, "and besides unlike a lot of my colleagues I understand some of this street fashion."

"Well I'm glad I got to borrow these highlights for the shoot." Minerva looked at the pics Jack was downloading.

"As if ANY designer isn't going to let Elle display their wares." Pru laughed as she signed a couple of autographs for the watching crowd.


“Listen, Pru,” Caroline said as she came over, “Lolita?”


“Oh yeah – she did well the other night and last night by all accounts.”


“She did – but she’s going to need some of us watching over her.  Up for it?”


“I already am dear,” Pru said with a smile before she walked towards Jack,




11.30 am

The Village


"I should be there by now." Grace said as she grabbed her keys.

"Slow down you have time for coffee." Harriet stood up and pulled her into a chair.

"You'll burn yourself out at this rate Grace." Sarah looked up from reading the Saturday sports pages.


“All right, all right – coffee,” Grace said as she put her hands in the air.



1.30 pm

Backstage, The APCO show



Juliette was sat in a chair, a bottle of water to her side, her laptop open, her face deep in concentration.


"Well certain shows are going to stand out as beacons of elegance and style." Juliette typed into her computer as her friends watched.

"Like what?" Karen asked as she looked over Juliette's shoulder.

"Well like the APCO show naturally."

"Thank you." Alice spoke, "I am standing out a bit though against the trend."

"Well the trend SUCKS!" Caroline spoke up, "so little of what I'm modelling is stuff I'd actually wear."

"It's always been that way darling...Remember we lived and worked through the grunge era."

"Oh don't remind me Tufty." Juliette shook herself

"Well Nick's show tomorrow has a certain class to it..."

"Other than we are all walking it and giving it that something extra Bandit darling?" Mandy interrupted.

"Well that helps,” Olivia said, “but I think he knows there is an audience and buyers out there are looking for more then most designers are showing."

"True," Juliette nodded as she typed.

"You know the kids are calling it the old ladies show?" Grace sat down.

"And why might that be?"

"Because they all think we are positively ancient darling...including my dear daughter."

"Well Nick was looking for models with sophistication, and I guess as older women he thinks we have it."

"Why am I walking it then Olivia?" asked Caroline.

"Because having a teenage daughter ages you darling." Mandy ducked as a water bottle came at her."

"You asked for that one Caroline." Karen giggled.


“Yeah – yeah I suppose I did.  And some of said youngsters are here as well...”




“So Katy’s coming later?”


“That’s what Abby said,” Carina said as she stood with Jo, “anyway, come and meet some of the newest sisters.”


She walked her over to where Trina and Charly were sitting with Fiona.


“Fiona, you remember Jo, but I wanted to introduce her to Trina and Charly. Flavia, Gold Rush, this is Greyhound.”


“Welcome to the show I still can’t quite believe I’m in,” Jo said as she hugged them.


“She sounds just like Worker.”


“Mary?  I do want to meet her, where is she?”


Looking at her watch, Trina smiled and said “checking in, probably...”



In a back corner, Mary smiled as she dialled a number on her cell phone.


"Hey Pop."

"Hey Poppit...”  Mary smiled as she heard her dad say “Howse my girl?"

"Not too bad...but my feet hurt."


"So much damn walking. I know I used to complain when I worked at the hotel, but at least there we wore sensible shoes, and not these high heels."

"Didn't I once hear you say aching feet are an occupational hazard for models?"

"You did, the other girls all told me, but I didn't quite believe them till today." Mary laughed, "Most people think models carry makeup, etc round with them...NOT TRUE...most are carrying small medical kits designed to care for their feet."

"You know Poppit you are destroying all the illusion of glamour for me." Dave laughed.


“Good,” Mary said with a smile.  “I really do love doing this, pops, but it’s a job I’m beginning to love doing – sore feet and all.”


“Well, we’ll all be watching you tonight up there.”


“Yeah – this is a very different show to the others I’ve done so far.  Much more relaxed...”


“Time, ladies!”


“Gotta go Pops – I’ll call you later tonight.”


“Stay safe, Kiddo.”


“Love you,” Mary said as she ended the call, and walked out.”


“Mary – come here a minute will you?”


“Sure Abby,” she said as she walked to where Abby was standing with another familiar looking girl.


“Mary, this is my old friend Jo Smith – we were at school together until last summer.  Jo, meet Mary Clarke.”


“Pleasure,” Jo said as they shook hands, “Abby’s told me a lot about you.”


“I’ve seen your adverts – print and television,” Mary said.  “You’re a student, right?”


“Yeah – Psychology major at William Smith.”




“I see we arrived just in time,” Katy said as she came in with her mother and grandmother.


“Yeah – time to get to work...”



3.30 pm


“Okay girls – take a break and then make your final preparations.”


The models broke off into small groups, as Juliette stood talking to Alice for a few minutes.  Unseen by most of them, Mary Thomas made her way from the back of the hall, and took a seat near the catwalk.


"Okay Mary what do you think?" Alice said as she sat down next to Merlin.

"Well at least you are giving them something to look at Alice,” Mary said with a smile, “not 40 to 50 models all just wearing one outfit and the whole thing over in less than 35 minutes."

"Well I've always thought a show should be a show."

"I know," Merlin sipped her coffee, "one or two of the girls were off cue if I put my production hat on, but I'm sure you spotted that?"

"I did." Alice nodded.

"Young Katy nearly face planted herself."

"I saw that...” Alice smiled as she said “she knows why she lost balance."

"Well other then that I think you have a huge success on your hands as usual."

"Do I?"

"Yes, and I know that the trends are anti-sophistication this week, but when you tot up orders I'm willing to make a bet far more numbers get moved of your line than most of the people who grab the headlines."


“Well, I can’t say fairer than that,” Alice said with a smile.  “So where’s Kylie?  I want her backstage for the show.”


“She’s around somewhere...”



Doc walked along the back of the room, watching Kylie as she sat in a chair, her feet on the seat and her knees under her chin.


"Why are you sitting up here in a corner Kylie?" Doc asked as she sat down.

"Nerves,” Kylie whispered, “and watching that run-through did not help."

"Why, everyone loves the clothes..."

"They say they do," Kylie interrupted, "but what will the professional critics say? And will it be my pieces they dislike?"

"You are afraid of letting Alice down?"

"I am Kitten."

"Well don't be...”  Doc smiled as she sat down.  “I had to look see which designs were hers and which were yours...Both were equally good."

"Or equally bad." Kylie started to fret again.

"Kittycat you are worrying needlessly." Doc sat down and put her arm round the English girl.


“I suppose so Darling,” Kylie said with a smile.


“Come on, come and meet some of the other models...”


Kylie and Doc made their way backstage, passing the Beckman Report travelling set as Jeanne Beckman was talking to Mandy Carrow.


“So what should we look out for tonight, Mandy?”


"Classically chic evening dresses darling, they are Alice's trademark almost." Mandy smiled as she looked at Jeanne. "They make a woman feel like she's a woman."

"Are there any other things you'd like to reveal?"

"No, only that I know the public will not be disappointed later tonight."

"And thank you Mandy." Jeanne made a cutting motion across her neck.

"Phew I hate talking on camera darling." Mandy shook her head. "I always feel like I'm having to act."

"No you come across just like your friends know you," Jeanne smiled.

"Well I just really wanted to say that Alice's collection is classically light and very feminine."

"And you did darling." Jeanne laughed as she parodied Mandy's drawl.


“Okay, okay,” Mandy said as she left the set, and Alice came over.


“Let’s try and do this in one take people,” Jeanne said, “this is a busy woman.”


“Careful, Titi, or I’ll get you back on there as well,” Alice said as she was touched up.


“Not a chance,” Jeanne laughed as the director counted them in.


“Joining me now at the Beckman report is Alice MacKinnon, the CEO and Chief Designer of APCO.  Alice, thanks for taking a few minutes out to join us today.”


“Always a pleasure, Jeanne,” Alice said with a smile.


“From what I’ve seen so far, your show is going to be very different from many so far this fashion week.  Last year the Dior retrospective was one of your major influences.  What has inspired the designs you are presenting tonight?”


“Well, in terms of styles, I wanted to combine the classic lines with modern sensibilities and materials.  I personally see no reason why it is not possible to combine style with functionality.  So like Vera and others, looking back for inspiration and bringing them to a modern view.”


“The colours you have selected have also drawn my attention – a call back to the New England autumnal scenes?”


“In part – but I have drawn inspiration from other areas.  Some of the new designs we are producing with Fitzstuart Woollens reflect the style of the Hebridean heritage that area shares.  Having said that, Jeanne,” Alice said, “I have used browns and oranges in combination with other materials.”


“You’ve also included a number of designs by young Kylie Mitchell, a rising talent in the design world.  Do you see her having a future in the design world?”


“I would hope so, and I hope people enjoy and appreciate what she brings to the show tonight.”


“Alice, you are also famous for the accessories your models wear – the gloves, bags and other items.  Will you be bringing them to tonight’s show as well?”


“Of course – I also hope people appreciate the new line of waist cut jackets and mid length coats designed to complement the outfits.”


“So what surprises can we expect tonight?”


“Sorry Janine, but Mary Thomas was not involved in tonight’s show, save as an adviser.  I can promise classic, stylish clothing for the sophisticated woman, be they old, young or just discovering themselves.”


“Alice, good luck tonight.”


“Thank you Jeanne,” she said as the camera went off.




"How did the Fitzstuart shoot go darling?"

"Very well Mandy." Jo looked at the reflection behind her in the mirror. "I admired the designs so much."

"Well those are down to Alice,” Mandy said with a smile, “my knitters just supply what she asked for in the way of fabric."

"I saw in the online version of The Scotsman newspaper that you have been buying from knitters all over Western Scotland."

"Well after the huge success of the basic sweaters it seemed logical to expand, and most importantly it helps maintain these rural crafts in the Highlands and Islands."

"Well I'm ordering two of the Arran cardigan/jackets one for myself one for Curt."

"Yes they are rather nice aren't they darling?"


“Oh yes,” Jo said with a smile.  “So this Irish shoot?”


“Ah yes – it should be educational and interesting.  I know it means missing the race, but it cannot be helped, and you go straight to Munich from there,” Mandy said with a smile.


“There is that,” Jo said with a smile, “there is that...”




"So what happened?" Jan asked Katy.

"I got cocky and tried a twirl-turn...I know better now."

"Well it's good to hear you are learning something from all this darling."

"Mom I'm just learning SO MUCH!" Katy bubbled. "But I have to stop being over-confident."


“Well, if you don’t try, you don’t learn.”


Jan and Katy looked at the young redhead standing in front of them.


“I’m Orion O’Ryan – you’re Katy Carter, right?”


“Yeah – I saw your photos from last night.”


“And I’ve seen yours.  It’s good to meet you.”


“And you.  Have fun later.”


“She seems nice enough?”


“Who does,” Katherine said as she joined them.


“Orion O’Ryan over there.”


Katherine looked over at the young Irish lass, and the grey haired woman standing with her.




“Oh nothing dear – nothing...  Will you excuse me a minute?”


Katherine walked slowly out of the room, standing in the corridor as she closed her eyes and took several deep breaths.


“Oh dear God,” she said quietly to herself.  “Her?  After all these years?”


“Kathy?  Kathy O’Dowd?”


Katherine turned her head slowly and looked at the grey haired woman standing next to her.


“It is you?  Don’t you recognise me?”


“Oh I do – Brenda, it has been a long long time.”


“I know – forty years at least.  What are you doing here?”


“Well, my granddaughter is Katy Carter.  You?”


“My great niece is Orion O’Ryan.  You look well.”


“So do you,” Katherine said quietly.  “Well, we’d better get back to chaperone duties.”


“I know – but if there’s a chance, can we get together while we’re here?”


“I’m not sure – me and your brother...”


“Please – I’d like it if we could.”


“Okay - let’s talk later...”







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