The Party Girls – Part 2
“Are you sure we should be seen in the same place together,” Pippa Ashley said as she came in with Anna Mitchell.
“It’s public knowledge now anyway,” Anna said, “but for now, we are the editors of two of the biggest selling fashion magazines, attending the same show.”
“Fair enough,” Pippa said as she and Anna made their way to the front row – Anna sitting next to a small, elderly woman with bobbed blonde hair. She was wearing a pair of sunglasses, and wore a soft grey leather jacket, pleated leather skirt, cashmere jumper and knee length leather boots.
“Anna darling,” she said as she stood up and kissed Anna Mitchell on both cheeks, “I haven’t had the chance yet to offer my congratulations – or to you Phillipa. You are stepping into a huge pair of shoes.”
“Thanks Miss Wintour,” Pippa said.
“Oh please – call me Anna. You know Grace of course.”
“Of course I do,” Pippa said as she embraced Grace Coddington, the design queen of Vogue putting down her sketchbook and pencil first.
“So are you looking forward to this?”
“I am actually,” Anna said as they sat down, “it’s like a works night out for me now.”
“So have they sorted you put Pippa,” Grace asked as Pippa sat next to her.
“Yeah – they’re buying out the last month of my contract at New Mode, but tonight I’m here to represent them.”
“Good – always remain professional to the end,” Anna said, “it is the only way to survive.”
“And ye’d know all about that Anna.”
“Mary my dear,” Anna Wintour said as she hugged Merlin, “come, join us. Let the papers have a picture of you for once. I hear you know this young designer Alice has found – Kylie Mitchell?”
“Ai – I think you’ll be surprised and delighted,” Mary said as she sat down.
“Katy Carter, thanks for spending a few minutes with me, and good luck for the future.”
“Thank you Jeanne,” Katy said, smiling as the camera went dead.
“Well done – the first one is always the worst. Just ask Abby.”
“So why do they call you Titi Jeanne?” Katy asked after they concluded their interview.
“Well fully it’s Queen Nefertiti Katy, and it’s because of this,” the television personality turned her head and showed her profile.
“I don’t get it.” Katy shook her head.
“Alright,” Jeanne laughed. “There is a famous bust of Queen Nefertiti the ancient Egyptian that was found in the desert, and is nowadays in the Neues Museum in Berlin.”
“Okay,” Katy shook her head.
“Well one day we were shooting a fashion spread there and a certain model who I will simply describe as having a great Swedish actress for her mother, and an Italian film director for a father, started remarking that my profile was identical to the bust.”
“Well at the time I was still a young model and as yet had no nickname…”
“And they started calling you Queen Nefertiti…I get it,” Katy giggled.
“Well over the years it’s just been shortened to Titi.”
“Well I’ve heard worse stories of how girls got their nicknames.” Jeannie wheeled herself into the conversation.
“You being the prime example, BS?”
“I was thinking of Pelican actually,” Jeannie said with a smile. “Katy, they need you in wardrobe – Kylie needs to check for final adjustments.”
“On my way,” Katy said as she walked off.
“Right – time I went off as well, before Alice gets upset...”
“Congratulations on joining PTA, Worker,” the blonde supermodel said as she sat next to Mary Clarke.
“Thanks,” Mary said as she glanced at her phone.
“In a way – the contracts are complete with SVA”
“I heard about that as well – very impressive.”
“Do you know I’m going to pay as much in tax on my Cadeau Aphrodite contract as I’d probably have earned in a lifetime as a chambermaid?” Mary looked away from her phone.
“Well I hope you have a good advisor to help you look after what the government does let you keep.”
“I do Fractures,” Mary smiled inwardly at now calling the great supermodel by her nickname. “Missy and Ju put me in touch with an estate planner from Xavier International’s branch in LA.”
“Okay you are done,” the hairdresser finished putting Mary’s hair in curlers.
“I hear they are a good company,” Fractures said as they swapped places.
“Well she suits me.” Mary looked at her reflection. “She’s suggested various ways I can invest what I was going to give my siblings for college in tax free savings schemes.”
“That all helps.”
“Yeah, it will be nice that they can have the chance to go to great schools.”
“Well, don’t forget to treat yourself from time to time,” Fractures said as the hairdresser got to work.
“Seeing my brothers and sisters happy and my dad proud of all of us – that’s my reward. That and my car...”
“Okay – put them on, tell me what you think.”
Olivia and Fiona put on the dark glasses, and then smiled as they looked round.
“Prescription sunglasses – the idea whose time has definitely come,” Olivia said, “and stylish too. Where did you get the idea?”
“Vera Wang, if truth be told. Right – time to get into costume, girls...”
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE TAKE YOUR SEATS!”
“Showtime,” Pippa whispered as the lights dimmed, and the announcer said “welcome to the APCO show, and leading us off tonight, two of the newest sensations in the fashion world – Katy Carter and Orion O’Ryan!”
"Okay girls GO!" the stage manager called out as he set Katy and Orion out on the catwalk, each stood and posed in front of the backdrop before Katy started walking down the runway, her hips swinging in time to the pounding music, her knee length tweed skirt moving with her hips as she opened the matching jacket to reveal the top.
Ten seconds later Orion started to follow her, walking confidently on her stilettos.
At the end of the
runway Katy stopped, posed then turned, drinking in the applause, and barely
noticing the flash of the photographer’s lights, as she passed Orion. Back at
the backdrop she again stopped and posed, then walked off.
Ken called out as she dashed by him, "you have your change to do."
"I know." Katy ran to start undressing.
“Next up, please welcome Maggie Fife and Marnie Paget.”
Maggie and Marnie came out onto the catwalk, their longer coats open and showing the Arran style jersey dresses they were wearing. The audience started applauding as they posed, the cameras flashing before they walked back, posing again in front of the display before Olivia and Fiona came out and posed.
Olivia was wearing a grey coat dress, with an off-centre line of buttons and a thin cold belt, while Fiona was wearing one of Kylie’s designs, a light blue sundress with capped sleeves and a scallop style skirt which was above knee height at the front, and half way down behind.
As they walked down the catwalk, looking out through their sunglasses, Kylie was watching from backstage with Marina.
“See Kiddo,” the older girl said as the audience applauded, “I told you you’d be all right.”
“What she said,” Doc said as she and Jo came up, both wearing Fitzstuart jumpers with leather leggings and heels. As the announcer called their names, they walked out, high fiving the mother and daughter before they posed.
Missy asked as they looked round backstage.
Jan looked round at the
models and dressers rushing round, before she exclaimed "It's CHAOS!"
"Pretty much, but
what about your fears for Katy?"
"It looks like she
doesn't have time to get in trouble."
"Yeah, with Alice
using each model twice they are rushed off their feet."
"I do love the
clothes though...just so girly, if I'm not using the wrong term."
"No they are classic Alice, very easy to wear, sexy enough to be interesting, and easy for other women to see themselves in. APCO are a lot more commercial then a lot of companies."
“I may even order some of them myself,” she said as she saw Juliette and Carina walk by in leather skirts and low cut sweaters.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll take a ten minute break at this point...”
"Well how are we
doing?" Alice asked as she looked over her husband’s shoulder.
"Not at all badly,”
Duncan MacKinnon said with a smile, “the buyers out there look VERY happy, and
our sales team are already fielding enquiries from said buyers."
"So in other
"You won't be
losing your company this year my love," he said as he turned and kissed
"Any feedback on
my ideas?" Kylie asked nervously.
Duncan said, “I think we maybe need to put you under contract so you don't
start up a rival brand."
"See I told
you," Alice smiled as she hugged the Brit.
"Oh no way that I'd even attempt to compete." Kylie blushed.
“Still, let me think on it before you come back in the summer,” Alice said, “we may have something to talk about...”
“So, your thoughts so far,” Anna whispered to Pippa.
“An amazing show – I really don’t know how she does it,” Pippa said as she looked at her notes, “and the way she uses authentic materials in a new way.”
“I agree,” Grace whispered as she looked at her pad, “a refreshing change from the other shows – and she always seems to get the best out of the models.”
“Indeed,” Anna Wintour said, “I must go backstage and say hello to Olivia. We have missed her over the years.”
“Will you be at the big show next week?”
“I intend to be, all things being equal,” Grace said, “it is going to be amazing.”
“Leading off our evening gown collection, welcome please Karen Royce, Mandy Carrow, Angel Fitzstuart and Mary Clarke!”
“Go,” Brian said as they stepped out, their gowns in a classic twenties style, with long gloves and high heels. They moved two at a time, Karen and Mary walking together, followed by Mandy and Angel.
The quartet posed at the far end and then walked back, as Abby, Carina and Jo came out, wearing mid-length skirts and belted blouses with soft leather gloves.
“Katy, Pru – you’re up next!”
“Ready to knock them out,” Pru said as she slipped her bolero jacket over her grey slip dress.
“I certainly am,” Katy said as she sipped her jacket up just enough to support her chest.
“And – go!”
As the models walked out and lined the catwalk, the announcer said “Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for joining us tonight – and join the models in thanking the person who made tonight possible, the CEO of APCO, Alice MacKinnon.”
The audience stood as Grace and Olivia led Alice by the hands down the runway, the photographers lights flashing, the crowd standing and applauding, the models lining the side of the runway clapping.
"Thank you...THANK YOU!" Alice stopped and blew a kiss to the crowd. “But I also want you to applaud a stunning young designer who was also presented tonight. Please, welcome Kylie Mitchell!”
The audience came to
its feet as Jeannie, and Katy, led the reluctant Kylie down the line of models
to the end of the runway.
"But this is
Alice's collection." Kylie whispered.
"And yours." Jeannie looked up at her friend and joined in the clapping. Alice took Kylie and kissed her before raising her hand as well, and then both of them applauding the models as they walked off.
"Well you have another hit on your hands darling." Mandy drawled as the models all filed backstage.
“I believe I do – right girls, food and drink await once you’re changed, and your discounts are safe for another season!”
“There she is,” Katherine said as she saw Katy walk over.
"Alright just let
me get this off please Mom and Gran." Katy laughed as her relatives hugged
her. "If you guys damage it you'll have to buy it from Alice."
laughed, "but it might be worth it."
"I finally get
what all the fuss is darling," Katherine smiled broadly, "you do just
look so right out there."
"I guess I'm just
a natural show-off Gran."
exceedingly beautiful young woman." Duncan hugged her, "thank you for
walking the show Katy."
"It was my pleasure Uncle Duncan."
“So did you speak to young Orion?”
“In passing – bur Gran talked to her chaperone.”
Jan looked at Katherine, who said quietly “I’ll explain later.”
“Hey Pops,” Mary Clarke said as she say down, “so what did you think?”
"That was a WOW!" Dave spoke as Mary listened on her phone.
"Yep it was Pops and you should feel the atmosphere...It's just like when the Giants won the World Series."
"The girls asked
if you remembered to collect some autographs for them?"
"I've been doing
so," Mary sat down and kicked off her shoes. "Tell them they'll have
a great collection of signatures."
Worker." Kate Upton said as she hugged the Californian.
"Who was that?"
"She calls you
"All the girls do,”
Mary said with a smile, “it's because I treat this as a regular job, the girls
have started calling me The Worker."
"I sorta like that," Dave laughed, "shows it aint goin' to your head. So what are you doing the rest of the night?”
“Get something to eat, then collapse – I have another show tomorrow,” Mary said as Kylie came over and kissed her on the cheek.
“Thanks for making my design looking fantastic, darling.”
“That was Kylie Mitchell Pops – she designed my dress for next week.”
“Well, I’ll let you get back. Talk to you tomorrow?”
“Always, Pops – always.”
“Well, you have another success on your hands, Alice.”
“So it looks Jeanne – but as always, the proof comes over the next few days.”
“And we’re out,” the director said as Alice relaxed.
"Off the record
Alice where did you get those amazing silks from?" Jeanne asked once the
camera stopped rolling.
Huntingdown's...a lot of the fabric tonight came from their places in Japan and
"Did they make
them up in China?"
"No, part of my
deal with Juliette and Cathy is that as always my clothes are made mainly here
in the US."
costs." Titi lifted an eyebrow.
"Yes but at the
prices I charge I'm still not exactly going broke." Alice laughed.
"And our workers
get well paid as well Titi." Juliette hugged Alice.
"I know you weren't Titi, but with so many people using Oriental sweat shops, it's important to both Juliette and me that we maintain a good reputation as employers."
“Now THAT was a show,” Maddie said as she came back stage with Emma.
"Hey you made
it." Missy said as she hugged Madeline.
"Barely, my flight
from LA got delayed."
"Well at least you
"I did...and I saw
Katy walk...are you sure she's still only 13?"
"You saw the white
dress photos Maddie."
true...she has a very versatile thing going on."
"We have another
girl or two you might look over for us please Missy."
"Yeah an agency
doing kids went broke, we picked up some of the children, and one 14 year old
and a 15 year old might just have some age group crossover potential."
"Alright I'll take a look on Monday." Missy nodded.
“Hey Emma,” Caroline said as she came over, “did you enjoy the show?”
“Very different,” Emma said.
“So what’s the word on the movie?”
“Brian showed me a rough first draft of the script – he’s certainly captured the mood of the time. We’re meeting Cass Stone next week to go over options and possible casting.”
“Any word on her new film?”
“Apparently it’s in the editing suite...”
“The first reviews are in,” Annie said as the girls started to look at their tablets and phones.
“Looks that way,” Carina said as she looked round, then saw the frown on Ingrid’s face.
"Don't read Rotten
Apple's rantings Alice." Ingrid looked up from her device. "I swear
those bastards just love saying crap."
"Okay what didn't
they like?" Alice steeled herself.
"The age of some
of the girls, the luxury of some of some of your fabrics, the inability of the
ordinary woman in the street to relate to your clothes...Do I need go on?"
"No it sounds like
the Apple's usual crap."
"Why did you even give them a press pass?" Janine said as she grabbed a glass of champagne. "I was sitting next to their guy and he was DETERMINED not to enjoy the show."
“Who can fathom the mind of some people,” Maggie said with a smile...
Katy looked round to see Orion standing there, two glasses of champagne in her hands.
“I won’t tell if you won’t,” she said as she handed Katy a glass.
“Deal – you did really well tonight.”
“So did you – you know they think we’ll be rivals?”
“I did at first as well – but not any more. We could lead the way together – what do you say?”
“I’ll drink to that,” Katy said as they raised their glasses to each other, and took a drink.
“Oh boy,” Orion said as she saw Brenda standing behind Katy, “there you are Auntie Brenda.”
“Hey Gran,” Katy said as she saw Katherine behind the red haired Irish girl.
“It seems some things never change in families,” Brenda said quietly.
“Just what I was thinking,” Katherine said quietly with her arms folded.
The two girls looked at each other, and then turned to look at their older relatives.
“There you both are,” Karen said as she came over and hugged the two teenagers. “Well done, both of you.”
“Thanks Auntie Karen,” Katy said as Katherine took her arm. “Your mother is looking for you Katy,” she said as she led the young girl away, Katy looking at Orion with a raised eyebrow.
"Your accents are
very different." Sweets tried chatting with the stern-faced Irishwoman.
"Well I'm from the
far south of Ireland Miss,” Brenda said, “I married a Belfast man."
"I'm Belfast born and bred," Orion smiled. "Our accent is rather harsher. A lot of people think I need elocution lessons."
“Oh I don’t know, accents can be a good thing,” Sweets said. “Well, enjoy the night.”
“All right Aunt Brenda,” Orion said as Karen walked away, “spill. What is it about Mrs Carter?”
“Family, Orion, Family...”
"What are the
models worst enemies?" Katy asked as she stripped down to her undies next
"Diet pills and
tilted her head.
"Too many girls THINK they have weight problems Katy," Pro said as she slipped her jeans on. "Now look - me, you, Kate, we are all naturally well endowed girls. When I started though I was under CONSTANT pressure to lose weight...honestly I was getting addicted to caffeine and diet pills trying to keep my weight unnaturally low."
"What she's saying Katy, is that we as an industry have, or are trying to overcome our obsession with slimness." Mary Thomas helped Katy tuck her shirt in.
“Be happy in yourself, and you’ll be the better model for it.”
Sunday 14th February
Susan and Clint’s Apartment
“Hey Alice,” Susan said as she opened the apartment door, “what can I do for you?”
“Business I’m afraid,” Alice said as she came in, “where’s Kylie?”
“Gone with Marina – they leave later, so they needed to pick up a few things. I hear your show was a real success last night?”
“Indeed – and Kylie played a part in that,” Alice said, “but I need to talk to you about something.”
“Oh – what,” Susan said as she made some coffee, April giggling on her play mat.
“Yeah – I’ve had a number of enquiries about licensing rights for some of Kylie’s designs.”
“Licensing rights? You mean for repro?”
“Yeah,” Alice said as she accepted a mug. “It’s standard practice after a suitable period, to allow chain stores and other overseas markets to do their own versions. It’s all above board and legal, but it does mean it is made with cheaper fabrics, and sold at reduced prices.”
“So Kylie gets a share of that?”
“Oh yes – but she can’t sign the agreement. It needs to be an adult – hence my visit to you, Susan.”
“Okay,” Susan said as Alice handed her some paperwork. “Promise me sweatshops are not involved in this?”
“If I find they are, I remove the contract.”
Susan nodded as she said “let me read this, talk to Kylie, and then call me tonight. I don’t think there will be a problem, but it’s her call.”
“Of course,” Alice said, “and how are you today April?”
April and Susan looked at each other, and then at the young girl.
“Did she just?”
“Sounds like it – and now the fun begins...”
“So, here we are again,” Carina and Ingrid said as she sat in a booth. “Did everyone get invited?”
“I think so,” Ingrid said as she saw the door open.
"How did I guess
I'd find you two here?" Jo asked as she sat down besides Carina and
usually eat here the day after big events?" laughed Cari.
"Well I do agree
last night was something pretty big." Jo picked up a menu and smiled.
"Easily my fave
show of all time." Ingrid looked up, "But according to Grace and
Olivia todays Nick Wu show is also well up there."
"I still have a
soft spot for Betsey Johnson." Carina grinned, "she is just so FUN to
professional models are we supposed to have opinions?"
"Why not Jo?"
Ingy asked, "we are also buyers, and women...we should have opinions I
taken." Cari nodded.
"The actual reason
I knew you were here though is I dropped in your Moms quickly."
"I know it is
Cari,” Jo said with a laugh, “but Annie made me play with Judith and her cable
"Okay you paid the
toll then." Carina laughed.
Jeannie smiled as she wheeled herself in. "All recovered?"
"Just about," Angel said from behind her as she came in with Mary and was followed by Maggie and Marnie.
“So we gather again and eat again,” Abby said as she joined them.
"Is anyone else
working later today?" Mary asked.
"I think we all are." Ingrid nodded. "An early brunch and gossip though help ease you into yet another Fashion week day."
“Hey,” Trina said as she slipped in with Charly, “look who we met outside.”
“Thanks for inviting me,” Katy said as she came in, “Mom and Grandma said they needed to have a serious chat about something.”
“Look at us,” Maggie said with a smile, “last night we were being called the most glamorous women in the city, and this morning...”
“We’re off the clock,” Jo said.
"Where are the
oldies congregating?" asked Jeans.
Mother's." Carina nodded.
"And my Mom for
one would not like to be characterised as an oldie." Fiona joined the
“Or mine,” Abby said as the young waiter came over.
starters ladies?" the waiter asked.
"You are reading
minds again Alfredo." Cari laughed, "plenty of it..."
"AND STRONG!" Katy added.
“So what’s good,” Trina said as she perused the menu, “I remember the steak sandwich isn’t too bad...”
"Oh by the way I
invited Orion along." Katy looked up from her menu.
"Get her away from
the dragon?" asked Marnie.
"Pretty much so," Katy smiled as she saw Orion outside getting out of a cab, looking very young in just jeans and a sweatshirt.
“Hey,” Abby said as she came in, “come on over, we’re all just considering food.”
“Thanks,” Orion said as she sat next to Katy, “my aunt decided she wanted a lie in this morning.”
“So you finally get to cut loose, free from the influence?”
"Yeah she's pretty
severe." Orion agreed. "At one time she was going to be a nun, and I
swear even after she was married she saw sex as sinful."
Jeannie shook her head.
"She hates it here
in New York, but London is worse, she calls it Sodom and Gomorrah."
"That can be bad with
you working there." Behati spoke. "Why doesn't your Mother?"
dead," Orion looked sad. “...and no
it wasn't a terrorist attack, even though I'm from Belfast, she had a heart
condition and died just aged 29."
sucks!" Marnie looked up from eating.
"And I'm sorry we
all have stereotyped views of Belfast." Maggie smiled. "But on TV
news over here..."
understand." Orion smiled again.
“We’re not all McGuinness and Paisley.
And people die from just ordinary of things."
"Agreed." Jeannie reflected on her own father.
Susan and Clint’s Apartment
“Alice needs permission from me to do let others make copies of my designs?”
"The designs are
your intellectual property Kylie." Susan explained, "So to copy them
legally you need give permission."
"Just let me get
this straight in my head darling, companies will pay to copy my ideas?"
"They will, and it can be very lucrative Kyles." Marina looked up from the contract. "Well I only know what business law I've learned this past year, but it does look like Alice is looking after you pretty well."
“I agree – these are very fair terms. I know I have to be the one to sign it for legal reasons, so if you don’t want me to, I won’t.”
“No,” Kylie said, “I am more than happy for you to sign this Susan darling.”
“All right then,” Susan said as she picked up a pen and signed the papers. “Now, you two need to get your things together. I need to take you to the airport to meet Cathy and Helen in...”
The sound of the doorbell ringing made all three look up, as April looked at them.
“I wonder who that could be,” Susan said as she stood up and walked to the apartment door. Looking through the spyhole, she whispered “what the...” and then opened the door.
"MUM!" Susan looked
stunned as she glanced past Rose. "Where's
"She isn't here love,” Rose said with a smile, “we decided it was time I tried this on my own, without a guardian angel."
"Oh that's a fantastic idea." Susan hugged her mother before she picked up her case and they came in. "Well you've arrived just as Kylie and Marina are leaving."
DARLING!" Kylie embraced the older woman. "How are you?"
"I'm good Kylie, and so is your Mum."
“Has she heard the news yet?”
“She has, and she’s asked me to congratulate Marina. She’s also said she wants you to do what’s right for you, so if it means stay in New York, stay in New York.”
Kylie smiled as they went into the front room.
“Look who’s here April,” Susan said, “it’s Granny.”
“Oh my,” Rose said quietly, “since when?”
“Who’s a clever girl,” Rose said as she tickled April’s chin, the young girl giggling as she did so.
“Well, why don’t I fix some lunch for all of us,” Susan said, “before I drive you to the airport.”
The Nick Wu show
“Alice, darling,” Nick Wu said as Alice MacKinnon came over and greeted him, “come to check out the competition?”
“In the same way you did at my show yesterday, Nick,” Alice said with a smile. “Did you enjoy it?”
“Oh I think we complement each other well,” Nick said with a smile, “and we do employ the same models.”
“Only because we employ the very best,” Alice said as she looked round the room.
“I knew there was a reason we were here, darlings,” Mandy said as she, Karen and Juliette looked at them.
“Well then,” Olivia said as the hairdresser worked on her, “let’s give him our very best.”
“Yes, Bandit,” Juliette said with a smile as Olivia smiled. She had missed this – the noise, the laughter.
“So what do you do when you’re not modelling or at school,” Orion asked as she looked at Katy.
“Well, I hang out with my friends, go swimming, shoot air pistol...”
“Sorry,” Orion said with a shocked look at the teenager, “what was that last thing?”
“I shoot competitive Air Pistol,” Katy said with a smile.
Orion shook her head to fully understand.
"Yes,” Katy said
as she sipped her coffee, “and it's not such an unusual sport for girls to take
not." Orion looked round the room, "so I wonder what other odd things
women in this business do as hobbies?"
"Well I know a
lady who works for Huntingdown's who makes her own fireworks..."
"Now you are
kidding me Katy!" Orion interrupted
not," Katy giggled, "she lives in Hong Kong, and on top of practicing
martial arts, and dancing, her other hobby is making her fireworks."
never," the Ulster girl shook her head.
"So what else do
fashion industry people do for fun?"
"Well Pru Stratton
plays poker professionally, she even met her husband to be over the
"That I think I
"I won't name
names, but I know of one model who is a sculptor, and several who paint to
"Well those are
more conventional hobbies." Orion thought hard, "I suppose my only
real hobby is watching television. Work and school keep me fully occupied
"Not as yet...what
"Mom and me do
both yoga and meditation classes together."
"It is so cool you
"Sorry,” Katy said
quietly “was I being..."
"No...I miss Mum, but I know her spirit watches me."
“So,” Katy said, “changing the subject – your aunt and my gran. What is going on there?”
“I tried asking her about it,” Orion said, “but she just pulled that face that tells me not to ask. Did you ask your gran?”
“Nah – I got the feeling it was not a topic to raise. It’s what that tells me that intrigues me – we’re Waterford Irish, so is there a possibility there’s bad blood?”
“A family feud? I could always ask me pa, see if he knows...”
"Just a little
point darling, but wasn't the mythical Orion male?" Mandy enquired
as she came over.
"He was, but my
Mum loved the name and she thought the doubling of the sounds as Orion O'Ryan
"And that was how
you were named."
doesn't do me any harm in this business, it's a name people don't tend to
"Now that certainly
is a point in its favor." Kate Moss drank from her bottle.
darlings." Mandy hugged the youngster and smiled.
spotted the photographer, "I thought you had returned home with
"Alas no, I had a
shoot in Vancouver, and now I'm required to stay this week and photograph you
"Well, have you
met Orion darling?"
"I haven't had
that pleasure." Orion blushed as he shook her hand. "I'm John
"I know Sir John...and I LOVE your pictures."
"Well it's nice
always to meet someone else from my part of the world."
"You are from
Northern Ireland Sir John?"
"My family are from just outside Ballymena."
“You don’t sound Irish?”
“Ah, the privilege of money I’m afraid – I went to school at Eton, and served in the Irish Guards.”
"I just got a text
from my boyfriend saying he and your brother were going to spend the day
dancing with 'other' girls." Jeannie smiled as she approached Mary.
pair," Mary laughed, "but it's nice of House to teach us both some
ballroom...and nice of some of Trina's sorority sisters to volunteer to have
their toes trod on by my brother."
"Winston likes him
a lot, and I look forward to meeting David."
"Yeah David's a
"So how are your
"Aching,” Mary said, “but I think my walk is improving."
"Yeah, I think it is." Jeannie nodded. "Not a problem I have."
"No, but I think
its great how you use your chair on the catwalk."
"Thank you, I try
hard, but I still wish I could just for once walk down and back on my own
"I think I understand." Mary said quietly.
“Hey, it’s fine,” Jeannie said with a smile. “I do what I can, with what I have. It’s all I can do.”
“But how did you manage those poses for the tribute issue?”
“Practice, training – and Stephen Stone working damn fast...”
"You know Nick,”
Juliette said as she looked at her outfit, “the tailoring of these boleros is
"And how would you
know that Ju dear?" the designer looked closely as she slipped the top on.
"Well on my
marriage I become a Lieutenant Colonel in a German Rifle Regiment..."
"Alright that you
simple really... Klaus has the right to
maintain his own small company of troops, and on marrying him, then I become
their Lieutenant Colonel."
"And how I know
about military tailoring is from having my uniforms made."
"Okay I suppose
that makes sense in a funny European Royally way." Nick stepped back,
"and the cut is courtesy of a man called James Albon who joined me after
15 years making uniforms in London as my head tailor."
impressed...I think your customers will be too Nick."
"I told him that Pelican." Olivia said as she got the okay on her outfit.
“Katherine not with you today Jan,” Abby said as she saw Jan backstage.
“Nope – she was going to come later, but I just got a text from her. Rose is in town, so she’s going round to Susan’s for tea and chat while she runs the girls to the airport.”
Susan and Clint’s Apartment
“I will see you soon Rose darling,” Kylie said as she kissed the older woman on both cheeks.
“Are you sure you’ll be all right with April Mum,” Susan said as she put her coat on.
“Oh we’ll be fine,” Katherine said as she came out of the kitchen, with a tray on which sat a teapot and cups, “you get those young ladies to their flight, and leave us older bodies to our fun.”
“Okay then – have fun,” Susan said as she picked up the car keys and headed off, Katherine sitting down and pouring the tea as Rose watched her.
“Susan told me about last week,” she said as she accepted the cup of tea, “someone actually took a shot at you.”
“At me and the mystery guest star of the week,” Katherine said, “Captain Eleanor Ball, USNR.”
“Eleanor... Adam’s mother?”
Katherine nodded. “Oh yes – I think she has some of the Irish in her somewhere despite actually been descended from Eastern European stock.”
“Frighteningly so,” Katherine said as she picked up her cup, “but brave, I will give her that. She pushed me to the ground before the shots started flying.” Sipping her tea, she said “First of a week of shocks, her turning up at the apartment.”
“Sounds like it – so what else has happened?”
“Oh let’s see,” Katherine said as she sat back. “Eleanor Ball appears out of nowhere, turns out to be the one person who scares Adam, I got shot at – and then my past comes back to haunt me.”
“Oh,” Rose said, “who was that?”
“Her name is Brenda – Brenda Kelly. Her brother was the one who...”
“Sorry Rose – Brenda’s brother got me pregnant when I was Katy’s age – that’s the reason I came over with my parents.”
“Oh my,” Rose said, “does Jan...”
“She knows – I lost the baby during the sea voyage over, but it still hurts thinking about it at times. Given it was that or the laundries...”
“So have you seen her since then?”
“No – she’s acting as chaperone to a young Irish model who’s here for the shows. I know Katy’s met her, because she got invited to have breakfast this morning with some of the other models, and she was asking Orion along as well. Enough about me however,” Katherine said, “what’s happening with Maeve and Kylie’s mother?”
“Sami? Oh she’s a changed woman – the Sami I knew of old would have sworn the place down if she heard about Kylie’s decision, but she took it in her stride. Having said which,” Rose continued as she sipped her tea, “it still came as a surprise.”
“Well, not so much for us,” Katherine said. “I know from Jan that Juliette and Shirley had been aware for some time Marina might be offered the job, But they wanted Marina to talk to Anna first – so it’s all started to be sorted out this week.”
“Kylie will go to school here?”
Katherine nodded. “They’ve talked to Grace Brand, and a place will be found for her at St Angela’s.”
“Good – she’ll need friends,” Rose said with a smile. “I still can’t believe the change in her.”
“You need to see Katy – then we can talk about change...”
The Nick Wu show.
“Showtime,” Olivia said as she stepped out onto the catwalk, the audience clapping as she walked in her cream coloured leather jacket and skirt, while her heels clicked on the wooden floor. She smiled as the cameras flashed, now wearing what were becoming her trademark dark glasses, before she walked back and high fived her daughter.
“Having fun, Bandit,” Abby said as she waited with Katy and Orion.
“Oh more than you could possibly believe,” Olivia said with a smile as Kevin came over.
“Thank you, dear,” he said as he kissed her on both cheeks, “you are a true professional.”
“As are you, Nick,” Olivia said with a smile as the girls came back, the audience applauding. “Now get out here and enjoy the adulation.”
She took Kevin by one arm, Mandy taking the other as the models made their way out, and applauded him as he came to the front.
“Ladies, thank you all,” he said as they went back, “you are magnificent.”
“Right – everyone’s invited to my place for drinks tonight,” Grace said, “let’s have some down time.”
“Younger ones can come to my house,” Abby said, “and share a few drinks.”
“For a little while,” Jan said to Katy. “Orion?”
“Oh all right – for a little while,” Brenda said quietly.
“So seven at both places?”
“DONE AND DONE!”
"Okay ladies - who
is up for a real challenge?" Olivia stood hands on hips looking at her
colleagues as they changed.
"Last week in
"Filming a 10
minute imformercial for Nick in Paris Tufty."
concept?" asked Caroline.
"He wants to
recreate a classic early fifties Paris 'house' show, and he wants models to
play both mannequins and customers."
"So showing his
current line, but in a fifties style setting." Juliette looked up,
"Can I suggest
before you do anything more you talk to Missy and check who is free?" Karen
"I know about
that, but does the idea appeal?"
"I've seen them on
film, and read about them in books...if it can be arranged I'd love to be in
it." Jeannie smiled, "and I know ways I can be included without my
"Well as the last
working model who actually did such shows I'm willing to be there."
"Thank you Carmen." Olivia blew her a kiss.
“I think I’m back form my honeymoon by then,” Juliette said.
“Where are you going?”
“I have NO idea...”
“I may need to cry off,” Grace said, “but the idea is certainly intriguing...”
“So you’ve invited a few friends round for a drink,” Sarah said as she and Harriet sat at the table with Grace. “Fair enough – you need a break tonight. I don’t think your feet have touched the floor since Thursday.”
“Tell me about it,” Grace said with a smile as she collected the plates, and took them through to the kitchen. “Let me load the dishwasher and then we can relax for the rest of the night.”
“So who exactly is coming,” Sarah said as the doorbell rang.
“Can you let them in,” Grace called out, Harriet heading down and opening the door.
“Hi Harriet,” Juliette said as she came in, “this is Mandy and Alice. Are we the first?”
“Yeah – yeah you are,” Harriet said as they walked up.
“Hey – come on in,” Grace said as the women took their coats off, “wine is in the cooler.”
“Thank you Darling,” Mandy said as she sat down, “my feet need the rest.”
“Hey – we’re not first,” Karen said as she arrived with Caroline, “and you only live a few blocks away.”
“Well, you’re the one who wanted to talk to Ama about Madrid,” Caroline said as she added two bottles of wine to the collection.
“Well, better she’s briefed,” Karen said as she handed Caroline a glass of wine.
“Started already, I see,” Olivia said as she came in with Pru.
"You know if we
were naming Olivia nowadays we'd have to call her Roy," Karen said as she
Bats...those dark glasses?"
"I still don't get
"Roy as in Roy
Orbison...now do you?"
"Okay now I understand." Alice laughed, "and as long as designers can put up with her wearing them I know she is happy with them."
“So come on Pru,” Karen said, “what are you not wearing on the twelfth?”
The room burst into laughter as Pru said “I’ll tell you what I will be wearing if Alice here spills on Juliette’s dress.”
“Which is not going to happen,” Alice said, “so you’ll just have to wait for the day.”
The de Ros Mansion
“Oh that is better,” Mary said as she sat down and put her feet up on the stool, before taking a drink from the bottle of coke.
“So what did the girls say,” Trina said as she and Charly sat next to her.
“They loved watching the show again – but Pops has them doing their assignments now.”
“Good for them,” Charly said as Katy sat with Orion.
"So you are back
at school in the morning Katy?"
"Yes,” Katy said
with a smile, “the Cinderella bit comes to an end."
"But you are
walking a couple of evening shows during the week?"
basically my life reverts to normal."
"Well my school
has been generous with this time off,” Orion said, “but after a couple of bits
at London week, the sisters want me back at my desk."
"You go to a
"Yes...I know you
go to Catholic Schools, but mine is the real thing, teaching nuns and
"Rather you then me." Katy laughed.
“What about you two,” Trina asked Abby and Jeannie, “back to school tomorrow.”
“Oh yes – I have a test on Shakespeare tomorrow,” Jeannie said.
“As for me, I have a meeting with my counsellor, and I put my portfolio in tomorrow to support my application.”
Monday 15th February
The Richmond Mansion
“Hello Alex,” Heather said as she opened the door, “what brings you round here this morning?”
“I’m looking for Nessa actually,” Alex said as he came in, removing his great coat and adjusting his jacket, “I called at her apartment, but I was told she was here with Pauly.”
“She is – but I think you’ve only just managed to catch her. They’re sitting in the drawing room – can I get you some coffee?”
“Thank you, that would be wonderful,” Alex said as he walked into the front room – and then stopped as he saw the other older woman sitting there.
“Glenda,” Alex said as he recovered himself, “what brings you back to New York?”
“Oh I felt like spending a few days here – take in some of the fashion shows, things like that,” Glenda said, smiling in that way he remembered so well, “so I flew down yesterday, surprised Pauly this morning, we surprised Nessa, and together we dropped in on Sandy.”
“Coffee,” Heather said as she handed Alex a mug. He took a seat, looking at the three women sitting there in the leather seats. All three were wearing blouses and pants, Nessa and Pauly wearing cardigans while Glena had a jacket on over her blouse.
“Thanks,” he said as Heather sat next to Sandy. The two younger women were wearing sweatshirts and jeans, smiling as Sandy said “Mom was telling me about the Valentine’s Day present she got from David. The maid is apparently still trying to get the flowers sorted into vases.”
“How romantic,” Glenda said as she laughed, while Alex drank his coffee. “Well, the three of us need to be on our way.”
As she stood up, Glenda said “oh – I almost forgot. I have tickets for a box on Friday, and I was hoping you and David would come. Gus and Pauly have already agreed.”
“I think I can accept for both of us,” Nessa said, “but who will be your partner?”
“Well – I was wondering if Alex was free...”
The other two looked at Alex as he seemed to squirm for a moment, before he said “well, I will need to check my diary, but I think I’m free...”
“Then it’s settled – Sandy, Heather, a pleasure to meet both of you again,” Glenda said as the three women left. As the door closed, Sandy looked at her uncle.
“Is it my imagination, Uncle Alex, or are you blushing?”
“Me? No, no...”
He looked at them both, before he said “sorry, was I lost for a moment?”
“The remembrance of things past, the thought of the path not taken?”
“Possibly,” Alex said with a smile, “so, what has been happening with both of you?”
“Oh my goddess,” Juliette said quietly as she looked at the sketch, “Bats this is... This is...”
“Can I take it you like it then?”
“Of course I do,” Juliette said, “and as for the bridesmaids...”
“Well, I try my best,” Alice said with a smile. “And all because you don’t want one little secret revealed...”
“I thought we’d agreed to bury that,” Juliette said quietly.
“Of course we have – now, I want to get a first fitting in a week Friday, just for you. I’m seeing the girls at various times between now and then to do a first fitting – it’s next to impossible to get them all together this fortnight.”
“Tell me about it,” Juliette said as Janine looked in.
“I have Cathy on line two for you Juliette.”
“Thank you,” Juliette said as she put the phone on speaker. “Cathy – all arrived safely then?”
“Indeed – are you alone at the moment?”
“She will be in a minute,” Alice said as she picked up her bag. “I have to get going – see you on Thursday Pelican?”
“The Blind Fashion Show – definite three line whip Bats.”
“Bye Cathy,” Alice said as she went out, closing the door behind her.
“Okay,” Juliette said as she sat down, “what’s up Cathy?”
“Something I thought you should be aware of. While we were in New York, the Honoured Father was made aware of a target you may be interested in, based in the city’s Chinatown...”
4 pm GMT
Xavier International, Aldwych
“I think that is all for now Amanda,” Shirley said as she sat with her executive secretary, “if you could type the letter up before you leave tonight, I will review it before leaving myself.”
“Very good, Madame,” the chestnut haired woman said as she left the office, and Charlotte knocked on the door.
“You wished to see me Madame?”
“I did,” Shirley said as she stood up, her skirt falling to cover her legs as she picked up a file, “but we need to meet in the conference room, where Penelope will join us.”
“Oh? Is there a problem?”
“Yes – and no,” Shirley said as she walked down the corridor, Charlotte following. As they walked in, she saw Penny sitting there, wearing a red roll neck sweater and grey skirt, her jacket over the back of her chair.
“Madame, Charlotte,” she said as she looked up, “the others should be dialling in soon.”
“Excellent – have they been informed?”
“Not yet no – Susan wanted to tell her when – ah, good morning Susan.”
“Hey,” Susan said as her face appeared on the main screen. She was sitting with Maddie and Caroline, the Manhattan skyline visible behind them.
“Madeline – I hear you may have found an apartment?”
“Not in your league Madame, but comfortable enough. We will view it again in a couple of days.”
“And where is Emma?”
“Meeting with Cassandra Stone – she is in town doing some pre-publicity for a certain film, and wanted to discuss casting suggestions with Emma.”
“Good – all right then. Susan, proceed.”
“At eleven this morning,” Susan said as she looked at some papers, “I receive a formal bid from American International Insurance Conglomerate, for the purchase of Xavier Insurance in the US. I can give the salient details now, but it does seem a fair offer in the market currently. Full details will be with all of you in due course.”
“I see,” Shirley said quietly, “well, we knew this was coming, but as I told the representative of AMININCO at the time, I am not interested in selling. I will convene a formal board meeting to discuss in the next few days, but for now, how do we proceed?”
“As required by law in the US, I have acknowledged receipt of the offer, and we have 14 days to give our reply. Charlotte, our records?”
“Clean as a whistle,” Charlotte said, “no worries on the score. Madeline?”
“Susan has taken the initial steps, but I suspect if we reject they will come with an increased offer. In the meantime, I recommend increased cyber vigilance. While I understand you respect their lead contact, others may be less open.”
“Agreed – Charlotte, liaise with Dominique and Natalya to ensure increased security on all fronts in New York and here. Madeline, I think you are safe in LA, but just in case...”
“Understood,” Maddie said with a smile.
“Good – we can do no more without the offer papers Susan. Let us turn our minds to another matter.
“The weekend away with Juliette, and what we are going to get her as a present...”
The Tavern on the Green
“Thank you,” Susan said as the waiter waited for her and Maddie to sit down, and then handed them the menus.
“Can I get you ladies anything to drink?”
“Just Perrier for me please,” Susan said.
“A soda water and lime,” Maddie said, the waiter nodding as he walked off.
"I hear you have
your Mum for company this week Susan?" Maddie asked as they perused the
"I have,” Susan
said with a smile, “and it's going to be nice, just me, her, and April."
"Nope he's down in
DC all week."
"He's spending the
week as a guest instructor teaching evasive driving skills to trainees. It
seems it’s quite a big deal they asked him to do it."
"Well given his
record in his job it comes as no surprise to me." Maddie smiled.
"When Clint needed his reference after he left us, I only wrote the
"Yes he's pretty
damn good...and I'm not just saying that because I'm his wife."
"Talking of drivers." Maddie smiled as she saw John and Rose come in.
“Well now – long lunch hour,” Rose said as they came over.
“In a way – would you care to join us?”
“Why not – if you don’t mind,” John said as the waiter brought the two drinks over. “Could we have two waters and two more menus please?”
“So how have you been spending the morning, Mum?”
“Well, given John had the morning off, we spent some time walking in the park. You?”
“Busy – I’ll have the tuna salad please.”
The waiter took their
orders and then brought more water over, before Maddie said "How is
teaching Jeannie to drive without having feet to use going John?"
"Not at all badly
Madeline." John looked round, "as in most things my granddaughter, when
she applies herself, usually works out how to do things."
"Still it can't be
easy..." Susan spoke.
"Well it's not
that hard either,” John said as he sipped his water, “and I'm just glad Clint
has helped a little too - suggesting modifications and taking her out for
lessons when I couldn't."
"He has enjoyed
it," Susan said.
Maddie looked across
the table and said "So what was it like flying over on your own
Rose smiled, "you know sober or drunk, that's the first time I ever did
anything like that on my own."
"What was the
"Oh getting a cab
in from the airport, well you hear such stories, and I was convinced something
"I told her she should have phoned me." John gently put his hand on Rose's.
“Well, she didn’t call me either,” Susan said, “so we can share in that.”
“So I hear April has started to talk?”
“In a way – Clint is so upset he missed that.”
“Oh there will be plenty of other times for him,” Rose said with a smile.
Hobart William Smith
“Come in,” Curt said as he kept writing at his desk.
“Hey – is it all right if I join you for a minute?”
He looked up and smiled as Jo stood in the doorway.
“Sure – what’s up,” he said as he put his pen down.
“I had a text from Juliette – she’s going to call in a few minutes,” Jo said as she sat down, “something she wants our help with.”
“Juliette wants our help? Any idea what with?”
“We’re about to find out,” Jo said as the telephone rang, Curt putting it on speakerphone as he said “Curt Richardson speaking.”
“Curt – it’s Juliette. Is Jo there with you?”
“She is Juliette – how can we be of help to you?”
“Well, I need to tap you two as sources, to coin a phrase. I’ve been asked to write a book about my esteemed ancestor, Doctor Jane Huntingdown, and some of the cases that she worked on.”
“Interesting,” Curt said as he raised an eyebrow. “Didn’t Carina say at Curragh last year something about her personal papers been burned?”
“True – but I was wondering how you access any records held on police file for cases she worked on?”
“Well, first step would be to find cases she acted as an expert witness on – then see if we can trace any records. What about the lab at Curragh – might there be anything there?”
“Nessa and Alex are on my list of people to talk to. Can I impose on you – and Jo if she can – to see if the list of cases can be drawn up?”
“Should not be too difficult.”
“That’s not the difficult bit – or the other thing I wanted to ask you. There’s a period of her life she never talked about – the war years, especially from ’42 to ’45. Officially, she worked with Annabel Richmond in the War Office in Washington.”
“Officially? Your question is of any unofficial records?”
“Yeah,” Juliette said, “anyone you can point me to?”
“Let me talk to a couple of people, but no promises,” Curt said, “some of the stuff that people did then is still secret.”
“Any help you can give gratefully received,” Juliette said. “I’ll talk to you soon.”
“Thanks, Juliette,” Curt said as he ended the call, and then looked at Jo.
“Do you know anyone who can help with war records?”
“I might do – right now, if you have some spare time, hit the library, and see what we have on Jane Huntingdown.”
8 pm GMT
Maisha looked over as the telephone rang, and then stood up, pausing the film she was watching before she walked over.
“Good evening,” she said as she held the handset to her head, “how may I help you?”
“Good evening Maisha,” the American voice said, “it’s Nessa Richmond here. IS Shirley there?”
“One moment, I’ll see if she is busy,” Maisha said as she put the handset down, and went to the study. Shirley was sitting, reading an old volume as she looked up.
“Aunt Shirley, Vanessa Richmond is on the telephone for you.”
“Is she now? Thank you Maisha,” Shirley said as she stood up and walked into the hallway.
“Could you close the door please Maisha?”
The young girl nodded as she went back into the front room, Shirley smiling as she picked up the phone.
"This is a
pleasant surprise Nessa,” she said, “to what do I owe the pleasure of a phone
"Well let me just
say a certain gentleman friend of mine talks in his sleep."
Shirley laughed out loud.
"Yes, and I thus
know he is leading a bid for one of your units, and I understand that it is an
"Well I certainly
don't wish to sell."
"I had got that
impression." Nessa halted, then
said "Shirley after last years events at Curragh Park I owe you a debt of
"No you don't
"Well I feel I
do," Nessa paused, "look I'm pretty sure you have the resources, but
I felt duty bound to offer additional financial support from The Richmond Trust
if you should need it."
"Well that's kind
of you to offer Nessa, but I think my defence strategy is pretty sound, and I
have adequate reserves of capital if I should need them."
"Alright, but just
remember I'm here if you need me."
"I will, and thank you so much for being a friend." Shirley felt herself smile. "I own 74.9% of the voting stock, and the rest is held by trusted employees and friends, like Maddie and Juliette."
“Well, the offer is there,” Nessa said.
“And I am grateful – very grateful. Thank you Nessa.”
The Huntingdown Apartment
“Is that you Juliette,” Klaus called out as the apartment door closed.
“It is – I have time for a quick coffee before... Sigi? What brings you over?”
“The irresistible force known as Frau Strecher,” Sigi said as she sat in the seat, wearing a black jacket and skirt with a white blouse. “First, we are to review the arrangements for your wedding breakfast.”
“Oh deep joy – and why?”
“Because the invitations are in the post,” Sigi said as she glanced at her watch, “now. Secondly, Edwin Breitz.”
“Oh Goddess,” Juliette said, “not that film again?”
“Indeed,” Klaus said, “while you attend the show tonight, Sigi and I will meet with him and – agree terms. At the very least I wish to understand why he is so keen on this film.”
“Rather you than me – I’ll make some coffee, and then we can look at the wedding plans.”
“February 10 1940.
"Unlike in the
first great war, I feel no conscience for saying my sympathies are entirely
with the Allies in this war." Carina read from Lexa's diary again as she
spooned the food onto Judith’s plate.
"In the first conflict I was of cause torn by family love and loyalty. On the one hand, that my beloved husband and so many relatives were fighting against an enemy. On the other hand, given I was born three quarters British, that side had had even more of my loved ones fighting for it.
“In the end, I had to
side with my husband, and it took years to rebuild the relationships after the
war ended. This time, however, it is
clearer. Then, the war began as a result
of pacts and secret treaties. This time,
those who had eyes to see saw it coming – and knew it was for no other reason
than hatred and greed.”
"It can't have
been easy." Cari murmured as she gave Judith her supper.
“Fanke ew mamaa.”
Judy asked as she came in from a late class.
that during World War One she had friends and relatives fighting on both
re-reading her diary again?"
"Yes I seem to
find more in it each time I look."
"Oh like a
reference to a grizzly murder that occurred in a village near where my
ancestors lived in the mid thirties. I'd never noticed till now that the boy’s
family name was Breitz."
"Isn't that the
name of the filmmaker wants to shoot about your Mom's wedding?"
"It is, I thought
that was quite a coinkydink."
"I doubt it, Breitz is a common surname in South Germany and Switzerland," Cari said.
“Who was it who said there is no such thing as coincidence, only the illusion of it?”
“It’s from the film – V for Vendetta – but I take the meaning,” Cari said as she read on. It did seem strange, and she made a note to ask Natalya about it when they next met.
The Huntingdown Apartment
“Long day,” Klaus said as he handed Juliette a glass of wine.
“Oh yes – I know it’s over on Thursday, but I’m going to be ready for a holiday after this one,” Juliette said with a sigh. “When are you going to tell me where we are going for our honeymoon?”
“Well,” Klaus said with a smile, “I have a definite plan, and a definite plan as to when I am going to tell you.”
“And that is?”
“Right before we set off,” Klaus said with a smile as he kissed Juliette.
“You’re really not going to tell me, are you?”
“Not only am I not going to tell you,” Klaus said as he looked at her, “I am not going to tell the girls, Annie, Sigi – anyone. This is going to be a surprise for you, understand?”
“Yes, sir,” she said with a smile as they kissed.
Tuesday 16th February
Susan and Clint’s apartment
“That’s right,” Susan said as she looked at the screen, and sipped her coffee, “I got the letter today from Grace confirming the offer of a place from August. The colour of the year for you is going to be crimson.”
“Well, that’s one thing to tick off the list, darling,” Kylie said with a smile. “I’ll let Marina know.”
“She not there?”
“No – she and Helen were going over to Macau tonight, to talk to the Honoured Father. He wished to start to brief Marina on some of the people she may need to be – aware of.”
“Fair enough,” she said as Rose came in, wearing a dressing gown over her nightdress.
“Good morning Rose darling.”
“Good evening Kylie,” Rose said as she looked at the screen, “good first day at school again?”
“Not too bad – so how are you enjoying your stay, Rose?”
“I am – listen, your mum is going to call you tomorrow morning.”
“Good – I need to talk to her. Any idea when?”
“About seven your time.”
“Okay – I’ll let Helen know and prepare for the discussion. I need to go now – I have a paper to finish. Bye bye April.”
The young girl waved at the screen as it went blank.
“Is the coffee fresh?”
“Fresh enough, but I’ll make some tea if you would prefer.”
“No – coffee is good this early,” Rose said as she went to the kitchen, returning with another cup. “So what are you going to do today Mum?”
“Well, Katherine said to drop in for lunch, but I’m really here for a holiday,” Rose said with a smile. “What about you?”
“I’ll be spending all day going over this with a fine toothcomb,” Susan said as she held up a document.
“From what I’ve read so far, the start of a takeover battle,” Susan said as she shook her head.
“Are you going to be ready for this?”
“I will face it as I do any job Mum,” Susan said with a smile, “plenty of pre-planning and several options. Right little one – if Granny gives you some breakfast, can Mommy go and get ready for work?”
“She does like using that word,” Rose said with a smile as Susan stood up. “I’ll get her sorted – you go and shower.”
As she looked up, she saw Pamela standing in the doorway.
“Your eleven o’clock is here.”
“Ah good – show him in please,” Susan said as she stood up. She looked at the smartly dressed man who walked in behind Pamela.
“Mrs Walker? Alan Kennedy, Penn State National Bank.”
“Thank you for coming in and seeing me, Mister Kennedy.” Susan waved her visitor into a chair. “Can I offer you tea or coffee?”
“Coffee will be fine Mrs. Walker.”
“Please call me Susan.” Susan signalled to her PA, “and two coffees please.”
As Pamela walked out, Susan said “it is very good of you to call at such short notice. Mister Kennedy.”
“If I have to call you Susan, than you must call me Alan,” he said as he placed his case on the floor. “May I complement you on your office arrangements?”
“It suits our image and work ethic,” Susan said with a smile as Pamela brought the coffees in. “How do you take your coffee?”
“Black, thank you,” Alan said as Susan poured the coffee.
“So, I appreciate you have only had a short time, but I’d appreciate your initial thoughts,” Susan said as she sipped from her cup.
”Well I’ve read the offer,” Alan said as he opened his case and removed some papers, “and if I was being honest, I’d have to say it’s actually a fairly decent one.”
“But a hostile one none the less,” Susan said, “and given that mergers and acquisitions are your job, we’d like to retain your bank to advise us.”
“Okay,” Alan said, “we can do that.”
“Given that three quarters of the shares are held personally by Shirley, and that we are not a public company I initially believed this might be easy, but our lawyers have seen several possible tripwires.”
“Regarding shareholder rights if AMININCO acquires even a small stake, and foreign ownership rules.”
“Well, one thing in your favour is that, although Xavier International is registered in London and New York as a private company, the list of shareholders is small and limited. It means we can advise each of them – have any given any indication they may wish to sell?”
“I can only speak for myself as a shareholder, and of course for Shirley, but neither of us is willing to sell at this point. I suspect my colleagues would be the same – so if I read what you’re saying correctly, we need to identify who might be pressured to sell first?”
“Indeed – I would ask your permission to set up meetings with the local shareholders, yourself, Caroline Jameson and Juliette Huntingdown. I understand Madeline Moore is also in town at the moment?”
“She is – she works from these offices while here, so I will see if we can arrange an appointment for you for this week. As for Juliette, I suggest you contact her PA and arrange an appointment – I’ll give you her number.”
“And Miss Xavier?”
“I am empowered to act on her behalf for the initial period, but she will be back in the country in a few days time. I will arrange for you to meet her then.”
“Well, in that case,” Alan said as he put his cup down and stood up, “the next thing I need to do is look over your accounts and company reports, and examine the bid in detail. May I suggest we meet again Friday and compare notes?”
“I think that would be acceptable – please, feel free to call or contact me if you need any further information.” Susan stood up and walked over to her desk, scribbling a number on a card before she came back over. “This is Janine’s number – she’s Juliette’s PA, and can set up the meeting for you.”
“Excellent,” Alan said as he took the card, and handed Susan one of his. “Until Friday then?”
“Until then – please, allow me to show you out.”
“So what’s the diary like for tonight,” Abby said as she sat with Jeannie and Doc.
“Just the one for me tonight,” Doc said, “I seem to be double dealing with Katy tonight and tomorrow.”
“What about you Jeans?”
“5 and 7,” she said as she checked her diary.
“Same here – I am so going to need a holiday.”
“Well, you’re the one flying on Thursday to San Fran with your mom and Tony,” Jeannie said.
“I know – but I do the promos and the shoot on Friday, then the chat show, and another shoot Saturday before I get the chance to finally relax.”
“Ah yes – the last of the balls. Looking forward to it?”
“I am actually – after the glitz of New York, and the formality of Vienna, this one has something extra added.”
“Oh,” Doc said, “what’s that?”
“FUN! And the fact we’ll all be kicking back after this week...”
“So have you got your tickets booked,” Jess said as she stood in line with Ama.
“Mom had it all in hand,” Ama said quietly, “and we are guaranteed good seats for the Champions League and LA Liga tie that week.”
“Excellent – although I still think you are in the wrong stadium.”
“We must agree to disagree,” Ama said with a smile as they joined the others.
The Kennedy Apartment
“All right you two,” Sharon said as she looked at her brother and sister, “up to your rooms and get your homework finished.”
“Aw, do we have to?”
“Yes you do,” she said as she looked at Dawn and Andrew, “get it done in an hour, and then you can have some supper before you go to bed.”
She watched the two younger members of the family walk up the staircase, and then went to the kitchen, making two cups of coffee before she carried one through to the room her father used as an office.
“Good lord,” she said as she looked at the papers open on the table, while her father looked at a laptop and made notes on a pad. “What is all this?”
“Paperwork, reports, accounts,” Alan said as he looked up, “new client, so I need to start the homework.”
“That’s rather heavy duty homework when you’ve only been based permanently based in NYC a week Daddy,” Sharon said as she handed him the mug, “so what is the case?”
“A hostile takeover, we are being retained to aid the defense.”
“Well that sounds like you are being thrown in at the deep end.”
“It is a bit Sharon, but it is my job, and at least I know some of the participants personally.”
“So without my being nosey?” Sharon asked as she looked at her father.
“One of Xavier International’s divisions is a high-end niche insurance business. AMININCO are coveting said business. Xavier’s do not wish to sell.”
“Alright you already passed my boredom threshold.” Sharon laughed.
“Would you rather talk about your social life?”
“Well it’s a bit livelier,” Sharon smiled. “Todd has got leave to be my escort for Trina’s ball.”
“You are a little stuck on him.” Alan smiled back.
“It shows, right? Anyway, we’ve got our tickets to fly out on Friday night, and we’ll be back Sunday evening.”
“Look at my girl, all grown up – your mom would have been very proud,” Alan said with a smile.
“Yeah – we did the right thing moving here Daddy. Dawn and Andrew seem to be settling into their schools, and I’m starting to make a few friends around here as well.”
“Good – and the college applications?”
“I’m looking local, so we’ll see what pans out. I’m going to watch some television – don’t work too late?”
“Never – not now,” Alan said as he watched Sharon walk out of the room.
The Richmond Mansion
“Get ready for bed, both of you,” Heather called up the stairs before she went back into the kitchen, and started to make some coffee.
The ping from her laptop made her look at the screen, and then smile as she looked at a very sweaty Jo.
“Hey,” Jo said, “I got your text.” She took a swig from a bottle of water and said “what’s up?”
“So Little Sister,” Heather said with a smile, “you look tired.”
“You think Carina is a sadist,” Jo looked at the screen, “Coach is worse.”
“The outdoor track is clear of snow and she had me doing sprint reps…sets of twelve.”
“Hey geeky sister remember,” Heather said with a laugh, “but I take it those are not fun?”
“Two hundred metres flat out then jog 100 metres, repeat 12 times, and do it three times in my training session, dear geek.”
“Ouch…No I’ll stick to doing my workouts on a computer,” Heather winced.
“The lactic acid build-up in your legs is INTENSE!”
“As I said, just leave me at my screen,” Heather laughed.
“Anyway what can I do for you Big Sis?”
“Oh this is just routine, your airline tickets for Ireland arrived today.”
“Okay - keep them there please. I’m coming back for a few days R&R before I fly out anyway. So – next Friday. What’s the game plan?”
“Listen carefully – I need you to take care of something before anyone gets there...”
Wednesday 17th February
The New Calabria
“This,” Adam said as he stopped outside the front of the bar, “has got to be a first, even for me.”
“Well, you were in on the call,” Janice said with a smile, “he sounded as if he was genuinely worried about something – and if something is scaring Tommy Morgan...”
“Now on that, you do have a point,” Adam said as he turned the engine off. “I heard from Mom last night.”
“Oh yes – and what was Iron Balls saying?”
Adam smiled, before he said “that she was looking forward to seeing us when she visits on Sunday.”
“Oh lovely – I’ll call Lesley and Claire before that one. Right – let’s see what he wants.”
The two of them got out of the car, Jan adjusting her knee length pencil skirt, before they walked in the front door. Tommy the Fish looked up from behind the bar as he heard the door.
Carter." Tommy smiled as the two FBI agents entered the bar.
"Hey Tommy," Janice
grinned, "isn't this something new, you actually inviting us over?"
"I know," the
Fish shook his head, “I'll be givin' dis place a bad name. Pull up a pew and let’s talk."
"So from your
message I take it you aren't turning informant for us?" Adam smiled as he
sat on a stool.
"Go wash yer mouth
out Ball." Tommy laughed. "No,
the other guys at der market asked if I knew anyone who might know anyone can
help with our problem."
"Well, if you tell
us what the problem is, maybe we can help?" Janice smiled as she eased
herself onto a stool, displaying her great legs.
"Well we aint sure
if it's illegal,” Tommy said as he poured himself a drink, “but ter use a word
I'm sure you know Ball, we don't think it's kosher."
guys?" Annie offered.
Adam nodded, "so what has you in a bother Tommy is these guys are
undercutting most of the established merchants?"
"They are payin'
prices no one can possibly make a profit on." Tommy shook his head.
"Could it simply
be a business strategy to drive other firms out of the business?"
"Well if it is, deyse close to success...I ask you both, who wears a suit to da fish market?”
“You when you close a particularly good deal?”
“Har har,” Tommy said
as he looked at Adam. “Seriously
Ball... These guys don't even look
right...and from your point of view, certain guys who may or not be connected
to certain udder guys, are getting angry enough to fight
"We get it
Tommy....Okay I'll take a look, then put the right people on it if it looks
wrong," Janice sipped her drink, "but in the meantime though, how's
the junior member of the family."
"Real good," Annie spoke, "and I see your girl is doing well."
“Oh tell me about it,” Jan said with a sigh. “At least tomorrow, it’s all over, and she can go back to being a regular schoolgirl again for a little while. Where is Tammy anyway?”
“Oh she goes to a nursery three days a week,” Annie said, “gives me some time here without worrying where she is.”
The Naeem Khan Show
Mary Clark looked round from the chair and saw Karen standing there with an eleven year old girl.
“Oh hello Karen – what can I do for you?”
“Actually, it’s this young lady who wishes to meet you,” Karen said. “This is Trinity Moran, and she comes from Texas.”
“Hello Karen,” Mary said with a smile, “It’s nice to meet you. Are you a model like Katy or Orion?”
“No,” Trinity said as she stood in her dressing gown, “I’m just a girl from Texas – and I have Rhabdomyosarcoma.”
“Oh my,” Mary said as she took her hand, “I am so sorry.”
“It’s all right,” Trinity said, “but I love the Fashion world, and someone arranged for me to come and walk today. I saw you at the Cancer Gala, and the interview with Jeanne Beckman, so I asked Karen if she would allow me to meet you.”
“Well, you are a very brave young woman,” Mary said, “and I’m glad to have had the chance to meet you.”
“May I have your autograph?”
“Of course,” Mary said as she signed the book, “on the condition you give me yours for my sisters.”
“Ah there you are,” Naeem Khan said as he came over, “thank you for looking after our special guest Karen. Come with me Trinity – your dress is ready.”
FBI Field Office
“You want to run that by me again.”
Tom Callaghan sat back and listened as he looked at the three agents – Adam in his suit, Jan in her jacket, camisole and pants, and Janine in her dress, the bump showing on her stomach.
“And that’s the situation as it was explained to us Tom,” Adam said as they looked at each other.
"Just so I am
clear... We are doing a favor for Tommy
the Fish?" Callaghan looked in turn at Adam, Janice and Jeanne.
"Yeah, and I know
it's not our turf, but reading between the lines there is trouble brewing at
the market, and Tommy is trying to avert what could become a bloody little gang
war." Adam spoke.
"Okay - it's a
good read, but I still don't like the idea of helping someone we think arms our
"Well given they
are quiet, and from what I've heard talking to people in the last hour,
whatever else The Fish does, he's doing a public service alerting us to
Janice," Jeanne nodded. "As a matter of routine I ran this by my
superiors and one or two people who they are interested in from Marseilles
might be involved in this."
"Okay so we are
looking at trouble on the fringes of gangland?" Callaghan asked.
“Okay – I’ve been asked to go to Buffalo, do some assessments, so work on the background for the next couple of days, let me see what you’ve got.”