The Reception








Saturday 2nd April

3.45 pm CET

The Furstenheim Townhouse



“All right my friends,” Frau Strecher said as she and Sharon walked into the large reception room, “the wedding party and guests will start to return shortly.  Please make the final preparations.”


“At once Frau Strecher,” the staff said as the men who had been guarding the dresses came over to Sharon.


“Caroline has asked me to thank you,” Sharon said, “and wonders if you would stick around to help with outside?  She’ll pay you the usual overtime package.”


“Sounds good to us,” their leader said as a tall blonde walked over.


“You are one of the security team?”


“That’s right Miss Lemper – is the room to your satisfaction?”


“Very much so – but I wish to see where I will be performing from?”


“Of course – this way please, I will introduce you to Frau Strecher.”



The Frauenkirche


“Thank you young ones,” Jack said with a smile as he looked at them, “now for the older girls.”


“How much longer do you think they will be,” Katy said as she stood next to Abby.


“Don’t worry, Jack will be as quick as he can,” Abby said as she looked at Doc.


"Well I'm glad the Cardinal performed the service in both German and English," Sands said as she eased her shoes off for a second to rest her feet.

"Yeah it certainly helped me follow the whole thing." Katy smiled and waved at some of the crowd, laughing as some man who seemed very vaguely familiar shouted out, "I love you Katy."

"You have your own fans." Sands laughed.


“So I hear,” Katy said as she blew a kiss back.  “But I am getting hungry, and I would murder for a drink.  What about you?”


“I am getting thirsty,” Sands said as Jack smiled.  “Thank you girls – now then...”



“Are you finished yet Jack?”


“Just about, Juliette my darling,” Jack Linklater said as he gathered the wedding party for a group shot.  “And – smile!”


“Can we go now Momma,” Judith said as she smiled, “I’m hungry.”


“We all are baby,” Carina said as Jack nodded, “and we’re going to the carriages now.  Come on – Mommy will see us there.”


Klaus held Juliette’s arm as they walked down between the two lines of police and security guards, Caroline Jameson watching from the side as Klaus helped her into the horse drawn carriage, and then sitting next to her.


“I need a drink,” Juliette said with a sigh as they set off.


“And one is waiting for you, my darling,” Klaus said as the carriage moved across the square, a police escort following.


“Okay,” Sigi said, “everyone into the cars and we’ll get you back.”




He watched the girls as they walked down the stairs, and stroked his cheek.  She had blown a kiss to him, and it had felt so good to receive it. Some of the anger and hurt he felt began to ease, but at the same time the determination grew.


She loved him – she had heard him say he loved her, and had blown a kiss to him to show him she felt the same way.  It was the signal he needed, the sign that what he was planning for her was the right thing to do.


When she returned, she would have some time at home – and then he would tell her everything. Then she would accept him forever and ever...


Oh the thoughts of what they might do together filled his brain, he yearned to protect her from everyone else in the world, to make sure no pervert out there would ever get within touching distance of his beloved. Yes he would protect the girl he loved and who had told him she loved him back. He'd remove the unhealthy influence of that slut of a mother she had, and those so-called friends who were really just out to exploit and use her.


Yes when she got back to New York he'd make sure she was safe, he'd make sure that their true love would keep them together for ever.




“So, Flush,” Grace said as she stood with Jerry, “how does it feel to see another friend married off?”


“It was truly wonderful,” Pru said as she watched the carriage depart, “almost makes you want to do it again.”


“Oh no,” Jerry said with a laugh, “once is enough.”


“Exactly”, Grace said.  “Once is most definitely enough.”


“For what,” Fergus said as he joined them.  “Fergus MacLean – a pleasure.”


“Fergus, this is Jerry and Pru Stratton.  Fergus is an old friend from my schooldays.”


“Oh – so you know Pippa as well?”


“Oh I know Phillipa Ashley,” Fergus said with a smile, “I hope to get a dance with her later.”




“Who is that standing with Grace, Pip,” Margaret Harker said as they stood further up the steps.


“That, Aunt Maggie,” Pippa said quietly, “is Grace’s plus one – Fergus McLean.”


“Where do i know that name from,” Amelia said as she put her gloves on.


“He runs a huge cattle ranch in Africa these days – but we both knew him at school,” Pippa said as she looked at them. 


“Hey Baby – enjoy the ceremony,” Winston said as he joined Jeannie with her mother and grandfather.


“Oh yes – and i used my tissue quota,” Jeannie said.  “Gotta say, the girls looked amazing.”


“Yeah – when they arrived Tommy and i could only watch.”


"Meet any interesting people while you were playing usher?" Jeannie asked House.

"A few, but showing them to their seats, then getting back to the West Door, we were pretty much all on the go."

"Did you hear that the Maestro booked Mary for a shoot for French Vogue as she happened to be sitting in the same pew?"

"Someone whispered that to me."

"Well the pleasure and pain of working for him comes to all top girls eventually, I just hope everybody tells her how temperamental he can be."

"Oh I'm sure Missy will brief her."


“Maybe – if she remembers.  I got the feeling the three witches were keeping her on a tight leash today.”


“I heard that,” Missy said as she appeared behind them, “and i will remember come September.”


“No ye winnae,” Fiona said as she walked behind her, “will ye?”


“Nae ae... No I won’t.  But I will warn Mary at the reception.”


“Ladies, you are coming in the car with us.  Winston, will you do the honours?”


“Of course,” Winston said as he offered Fiona his arm.





"Jack that was UPI, when will you be releasing the official photographs to the press?" Luke looked up from his phone.

"Tell them later, I haven't even shot the ones at the palace yet." Jack looked and sounded harassed as he looked at his bags.

"Can we help?"

"I'm not sure..." Jack looked up and smiled as he saw the Bishop of Ordford and his wife, "Did you enjoy the wedding?"

"Yes, and thank you arranging last minute invites for us," Martha smiled.

"Yes thank you, now can we help you and your crew load up?" the Bishop asked,

"Well if you don't mind?"


“Jack,” Caroline said as she walked over, “car’s ready when you are.”


“Good – let’s go people – and you, My Lord and Lady.”



As the girls got into the car, Carina and Ingrid both sighed as they sat down, Alex and Adam sitting with them.


“Wave, momma,” Judith said as she looked at the window and waved at the crowd when the car moved off.


“I suddenly have a new respect for Royal Families,” Carina said as she and Ingrid waved as well.  “So, how did it feel on our side of the altar, Alex?”


“Invigorating,” Alex said as he took some papers from his jacket and looked over them.


“Oh ho – the speech?  What are you going to say?”


“Wait and see, my dear, wait and see...”





“You know what the worst thing about being a bridesmaid is,” Angel said as she stretched her legs out, smiling at Jo and Abby.


“Same thing as being a model – standing round as our feet hurt?”


“Got it in one,” John said as he sat with Will and Willy.


“So what will you say about Klaus,” Will asked.


“Oh I have a few stories, don’t worry,” John said.




“The boys will be waiting for us,” Doc said as she sat with Katy and Sands.


“You looked so beautiful out there,” George said as he looked at his daughter.


“Thanks Dad,” Sands said as she blushed.  “Jack says he wants to take a picture of us with our parents and family – do you think Orlanda and Jennifer will like that as well.”


“I’ll ask them if you ask your mother – deal?”







"I hadn't realised Klaus was this well-liked and well-known in Munich?" Sandy spoke to Diana as they sat back in the car. "These crowds are far bigger then I expected."

"Well everybody likes a good show Cherie, but as you were saying he is particularly well liked. A lot of what he does with his revenues is support projects like small loans to youngsters and women to start up their own small businesses."

"That's very worthy of him..."

"And oui it has been a good plan that has made him very liked and respected."

"Hence the crowds?"

"Oui, and Sigi's law work also helps keep the public profile high for the family."


“Well, I could see how happy they were in the cathedral,” Sandy said.


“So was Shirley – is she going with John next week to the palace?”


“I believe she is – Grace is planning to talk to her later.”





"So how long till post time?" Guy du Grechy asked as he sat back in the car.

"We have about an hour," Jack Fitzstuart looked at his watch.

"Oy you and your horses," Pepsi rolled her eyes, "my Mom kept having to prod Dad in the ribs to stop him checking his phone constantly in the cathedral."

"He would be worse if he was actually there, Pepsi dear." Guy smiled.  “he would be pacing the stables, and refusing to relax.”


“Right – Mom needs to take his mind off it for a little while.”



The Townhouse


“Okay – the coach and the first cars are arriving,” Sharon said as she stood with Frau Strecher.  They watched as the gates opened, and the coach drew up, having run the barrage of the paparazzi waiting outside.


Two footmen walked down the stairs and opened the door of the carriage, setting steps up as Klaus stepped out, holding Juliette’s hand as she stepped out of the carriage to the cheers from outside.


“Welcome back, Your Serene Highnesses,” Frau Strecher said with a formal bow, “we have refreshments prepared for you, but the staff would like the opportunity to congratulate you inside first.”


“Shall we,” Klaus said as they walked into the assembly hall, to cheers and clapping.


"This is a big thing for them." Frau Strecher smiled as the servants on duty crowded into the hall to greet the newlyweds and to take their own pictures.

"I know it is," Sharon whispered, "It's just a pity they couldn't all come to the cathedral."

"Well I know the televisions were all on downstairs."


“Indeed,” Sharon said, “you can see how happy they are.”


“Hey – how are things?”


“You were swift in returning Frau Jameson.”


“Well, I had the photographers and a couple of assistants with me.  Klaus, Juliette, I need to add my congratulations now before I forget.”


“And with that,” Luke said, “Jack and I are going to set up.  We’ll be ready for you in a few minutes.”


“Of course,” Klaus said as Frau Strecher brought forward a tray with two glasses of champagne.


"Is the red drawing room ready for the photos?" Jack asked Frau Strecher.

"It is indeed Herr Linklater, if you and your crew will follow Hans."

"Thank you," Jack smiled, as his team carried all the equipment in.


“My friends,” Klaus said as he and Juliette took a glass each, “I thank you all, and I pray for all blessings on you.”  As they both raised their glasses and drank, the staff clapped and cheered.


“Now, to work,” Frau Strecher said, “the guests will be arriving shortly, and we must be in a position to greet them.  May I present to both of you My Lord Bishop of Ordford, the Right Reverend Clive Heller, and his wife Martha.”


“It is a true honour to meet you both,” Bishop Heller said as he kissed Juliette’s hand and shook the hand of Klaus.


“You’re Luke’s mother and father, I take it?  Then we are honoured to have you here, and to welcome you to the party.  Would I be right in thinking they are waiting for us?”


“Juliette, my Royal Darling?  In here please?”


“I think so,” Juliette said as the quartet made their way to the Red Drawing Room, as the first of the wedding party cars drew up.


“Welcome back,” Frau Strecher said as Carina and Judith walked in.  “Would you care of a drink of milk and some biscuits, little one?”


“Yes please,” Judith said as she took the estate manager’s hand and walked off, while a footman carried a tray of glasses over to them.


“Thank you,” Adam said as he took two glasses and handed one to Ingrid, Alex doing the honours for Carina.


“Ah that’s better,” Carina said as she took a sip.  “Mom and Pops?”


“Have gone for the first photos,” Caroline said, “if you two want to head into the Red room, I will get Frau Strecher to bring Judith in.”


As they made their way through, the second car arrived, John holding the door as Jo, Abby and Angel got out and walked up the stairs.


“Can we relax now,” Jo said as she came in, and accepted a glass of champagne.


“Once the photos are taken I suspect – and I also suspect Caroline is about to send us in there.”


“How right you are John – Alex is already in there for the photos, but the girls aren’t needed just yet.”


“A best man’s work is never done – see you in there,” John said as he headed in.


“So the photos, and then we have the wedding breakfast,” Angel said.


“Well, early supper, but yes,” Will said as he accepted a glass.


“Something does smell delicious,” Abby said.


“Something sounds amazing,” Angel said as they walked over to look into the grand ballroom.


“Is that Ute Lemper?”


“Is who Ute Lemper,” Doc said as she appeared with Katy and Sands.


“Who is Ute Lemper?”


“Very famous singer – one of the best  Brecht and Weil singers in the world, and obviously singing today,” Abby said as Frau Strecher appeared.


“Ladies, you are required in the Red Drawing Room.”


“Onwards and upwards,” Abby said as they walked off.


"This champagne is exquisite," Willy said as he savored the taste.

"It is indeed," Will took a sip, "just the thing to wet ones whistle so to speak."

"Indeed – ah here they come now.  How was the journey here, Diana?"


“All the better for the arrival,” Diana said as she and Sandy came in with Natasha, “the girls?”


“In with the happy couple and Jack,” Will said, “My lord Bishop, may i introduce you to my friends?  Natasha and Willy, Diana, Sandy, my Lord the Bishop of Ordford and his wife Martha Heller.  May I present Diana, Countess de Ros, Willy and Natasha, Duke and Duchess du Grechy, and Miss Alexandra Richmond.”


“I think for today, we can go with Clive and Martha,” Martha said as they greeted each other.  “Luke is our son.”


“He must be pleased you could be here today,” Diana said as she sipped her champagne.


“Very pleased – and we are proud of him,” Clive said as he looked round.


“Ah – finally,” Mandy said as she walked into the room with Karen and Ken, “now we can relax a little.”


"That champagne looks awfully tempting." Annie smiled as she sat in one of the plush red armchairs.

"I know darling," Kylie smiled, "but just a few more weeks."

"Yes...just a few more weeks." Annie patted her hump.

"By the way have you met my Mother?"


"Alright,” Kylie said, “well Mum this is Annie Kelly, she is Carina's partner. Annie this is Samantha Mitchell."

"Pleased to meet you." Sami shook hands.  As a waiter walked past, she looked at the glasses, but instead said “may I have some coca cola please?”


“Of course, Fraulein,” he said as he walked off, returning a moment later with the glass of dark liquid.

"And you.  So you were invited over as well."


“Well, yes – it was unexpected, but I am glad I came now.”


“Well, I’ll join you in purgatory,” Annie said as she took the second glass.


“So what did you think of the ceremony,” Marina said as she stood with Alexis.


“I cried – I’m not ashamed to admit it,” Alexis said as she saw Janine walk in with Henri.  “She looks amazing as well.”


“So do you – Juliette must be rubbing off on you,” Marina said with a smile.


“Well, not all of us have access to the seamstress army of Catherine Lo.”


“That is true – but that will not be for very much longer,” Marina said as she sipped from her glass.  “Who is that coming in with Jeanne?”


“I’m not sure – but they look similar.  Could it be...”




“Hello Henri?”


As he turned round, Henri smiled and said “Celeste – you are looking well.”


“And you – and this must be your new partner.”


She watched as the tall woman turned slowly, smiling under the hat as she said “Hello again Celeste.”


“You have met?”


“This young lady accompanied Jeanne when we had lunch earlier in the week.  I am glad she did – I was willing to believe the worst, but I see she is the right person for you, Henri.”


“It is – very good of you to say that, Celeste.”


“Celeste?  You are looking well.”


“And you Diana,” Celeste said as the two old friends kissed each other on the cheek, and they walked off.



“Thank you,” Ally said as she and Nell accepted a glass of champagne, and looked round as they stood with their parents.


"Trust the twins to all but steal the show," Bobbi said as she drank slowly.

"I just wonder where they got those outfits from," Judy shook her head, "I thought I looked amazing till I saw them."

"I think every girl who knows them got jealous." Becca took a glass from a waiter.

"Well I think we ALL looked incredible." Pepsi looked round happily, as Jack and she joined the conversation.

"And I will agree with that." Jack laughed lightly, "I don't think I've ever seen so many well-dressed women in one place in my life."

"Not even at Royal Ascot?" Sarah asked as she came by on Tony Camp's arm.

"Not even there."


“I agree,” Holly said as she came over.  “Today, there are ten women who outshine all of us anyway.”





“Wow – can we have a drink Pops,” Vicky said as she looked round the room.


“All right – one drink, and that is all,” Dave said, “and you boys as well.”


“There you go,” Mary said as she was handed a glass.  “Hey Sharon – how has your day been?”


“Busy – but I’m off the clock now.  How did you enjoy the ceremony, Dad?”


“Very moving,” Alan Kennedy said as he stood with Dave.


“Alan – did i see you talking to David McIlroy earlier?”


“Strictly social Roy, I assure you,” Alan said as he greeted the broker.


"Do you think they signed a pre-nup?" Roy Razinski threw the question out as he took a glass.

"Probably...but can you think that they'll ever need to invoke it?" Alan answered.

"How happy they looked then no." Roy grinned. "By the way I'm not sure..."

"Oh this is Dave Clarke...and not the old drummer...he's Mary Clarke's dad."

"Nice to meet you Dave," Roy extended a hand, "and these beautiful ladies are?"

"My three youngest girls...and all these people are making them a little shy."

"Well why don't I take them and introduce them to a few people?" Tonia Razinski asked.

"Would ya like that girls?" Dave asked.  He watched as they nodded, before Tonia said “come with me girls – let me introduce you to some of the others.”


“They’ll be all right Pops,” Mary said as she stood with David.  “We’ll keep an eye out for them as well.”



"Dad,” Pepsi whispered as she looked at her father, “if you look at that thing one more time I swear I'll kick you."

"If I don't beat you to it Pepsi love."

"Look,” Grant said, “it's getting time to walk him over to the saddling ring."

"And Toddy knows just what he is doing,” April said, “so let the poor man do his job."

"Frau Strecher will call us when the feed starts on the computer." Jack looked at his watch, "she has a big screen set up in the billiard room so whoever wants to watch can."


“And George said he would call if there were any problems – has he called?”




“So have a glass of champagne,” April said as she handed her husband one in one hand, and took his tablet with the other, handing it to Pepsi who handed it to Jack.




In the Red Drawing Room, Luke walked slowly round, running his hand over the drapes as Jack stood Juliette and Klaus, turned slightly side by side as he picked up the camera to take a picture.


“Look at me – that’s great...  You know, all that red velvet makes an amazing backdrop Luke," Jack smiled contentedly as he changed cameras.

"Well they may call this a townhouse,” Luke said, “but it is in fact a small city palace, and this is almost like a throne room."

"I know...”  Jack looked at the girls and said “Tony Snowden and Patrick Lichfield both told me what shooting British Royal Wedding photos was like...I am beginning to understand what they were getting at."


“Good models to pick from,” John said as he stood with Alex.


"Okay can I have Judith and pages sitting on the bottom step of the dais, then the girls on the steps above, and you Klaus and Juliette standing at the top please?"

"Like this Unca Jack?" Judith called out as she plopped herself down.

"Perfect little one."


Sands, Katy, Carina and Doc stood on the second step, Abby, Angel, Jo and Ingrid behind them, before Klaus and Juliette moved behind them.  Jack fussed over them for a few moments as Pat came in and stood with Luke.


“No mascara smudges?”


“Nah – we just needed to wipe some milk from Judith’s mouth and fix her lip gloss,” Luke said as Jack took the picture.


“Okay – girls, we are done until the rest of the family photos.  Luke – time for the rest of the men to come in.”


“Give me a minute,” he said as he walked out to where the guests were gathering.


"Ushers would you kindly step in so we can take some pictures please?" he called out into the room.

"Are you sure that House won't crack the Lens," Tony McNally called out.

"We are taking that risk."

"With friends like this who needs enemies," Winston snorted, and then smiled as he joined the others.




“Have you found a suitable place at the table for the Bishop and Martha Frau Strecher?" Mandy asked as they stood in the entrance to the Grand Ballroom.

"We can fit them in...” Frau Stecher looked on as some adjustments were made.  “I calculated there might be one or two last minute guests."

"Very efficient...and Thank You."

"Well,” she said with a smile, “an extra bishop and his wife with all these other distinguished guests is not hard to accommodate."

"Frau Strecher what would we have ever done without you?" Caroline asked.

"You would have coped,” she said quietly, “Princess Sigrid would have stepped into my shoes."

"Baroness Sigrid darling", Mandy corrected with a little chuckle.

"To me she will always be the Princess."

"So was it you who arranged for them to come today, Mandy?"

"It was Caroline darling, we always try and retain reasonably good relations between the Bishops Palace and us out at the castle.  And besides, it gives them a chance to see Jack’s world is more than what they perceive it to be."





“Erica, Poppy, can i ask you two a favour?”


“Sure Tonia,” Poppy said, “what is it?”


“I’d like you to meet Suzie, Vicky and Alison Clarke – their big sister is Mary Clarke?”


“Oh yeah – hey there,” Poppy said.  “I’m Poppy Ashley, and this is my friend Erica Burton.  What did you think of the ceremony?”


“It was beautiful,” Suzie said, “so do you know the bride and groom?”


“More the bride,” Erica said, “Poppy’s mom is about to become her boss, and my mom is a social friend.”


“Listen, can I get you two to take the girls under your wing, introduce them to some of the others here?”


“Sure – let’s start with these two.  Ama, Maisha, come and meet Suzie, Vicky and Alison.”


“Hello,” Ama said as they came over, “did I hear you say they are Mary’s sisters Tonia?”


“That I did – Ama’s mother is Caroline Jameson.  You may have seen her walking around, but she’s also...”


“The other model from the fur shoot,” Vicky said.  “She’s really your mom?”


“My adopted mother,” Ama said with a smile.  “So, why don’t we all go and have a drink and then we can talk.”





“Chet,” George said as he waved his friend over, “come and meet Tom and Bobby Clarke.  Boys, this is Chet van Roon, and his friend H.”


“Pleased to meet you both,” Chet said as they shook hands, “so you’re Mary’s brothers?”


“Two of them – David is over there with our pops,” Tom said.  “This is some do?”


“It is indeed – and I think it’s about to get even better...”




“All right folks,” Jack said as he stepped back, “we have all we need now.  I still want to take family group photos for those who want them, but now it’s time for you to be free and me to have a large whisky.”


“Thank you,” Klaus said as he shook the hands of Jack and Luke, and then nodded to Frau Strecher as Sigi came in.


“Photos all done?”


“Photos all done – we will start to move the guests into the Grand Ballroom in a minute,” Frau Strecher said.


“So we’ve just got time to find our partners,” Abby said as Carina and Ingrid held Judith’s hands, and they walked into the lobby.


“I need to go and find Shirley – coming Alex?”


“Of course,” Alex said as the others walked out, leaving Klaus and Juliette with Sigi.


“May we come in?”


“Of course,” Klaus said as Dieter came in with Natalya and Willy.  “How are things out there?”


“Getting busy – but...”


“Königliche Hoheiten, meine Damen und Herren - darf ich Sie bitten, starten Sie Ihren Weg in den Grand Ballroom zu machen und Ihrer festgesetzten Orte.”


“And Frau Strecher continues to be in charge,” Juliette said with a smile.


"So after today Cinderella turns back into a serving maid?" Natalya asked her niece as they watched people walk in..

"Well at least a student," Carina grinned, "I'm going to go through the family libraries, and the public library for the next few days and prepare my term paper on German history."

"Admirable dedication my dear...”  Natalya sipped her drink, and then said “and maybe you and I can have a night out?"

"Hmmmm if Annie can babysit Judith that might be fun. What do you have in mind..."

"I'll tell you in private later," the older woman put her finger to her lips.

"Looking forward to it."

"Are you going to come in and watch the race?" Willy asked.

"Probably,” Carina said, “but I have to phone two friends from Yale and see how their race went today."


"No rowers, they are two college mates of mine, they row as a coxless pair for the university."

"Ah I see."

"And little one will bug me till she knows their result."  Carina went off to the corner, passing Grace as she talked to an old friend.



"So the Pelican at long last joins the married ranks?"

"She does Mother," Grace smiled as she stood talking with her old friend and colleague. "And really it is LONG OVERDUE."

"Agreed Palomino."

"Okay Mother? Pelican? Palomino? pardon a simple Zimbabwean cattle rancher but who the hell are they?"

"They are us Hamish," Grace linked her arm in his and giggled, "they are us, just insider nicknames."

"Okay," he paused, "I get it."

"Don't sweat it." Linda smiled at him.

"Changing the subject is that Piet van der Byl over there the former Golden Lions second row?"

"It is," Grace looked across the room.

"Man he's bigger in real life even then he looked on TV." Hamish whistled, "he was a good player, pity he packed it in."

"Well he's an even better journalist, and the little redhead with her is his girlfriend Charlotte Gordon.”


“That’s little Charlie Gordon?  I haven’t seen her since she was a girl in jeans and pigtails.  What does she do these days?”


“She works for Xavier International – heads up their IT division,” Grace said.  “I didn’t know you knew her?”


“Oh it was half a lifetime ago,” Hamish said quietly as he looked at her.



"Did they win Momma?" Juliette tottered towards Carina as she came back in.

"They did."

"Yay."  Judith jumped up and down, the skirts of her dress rising and falling with her.

"And they said the loan of your teddy bear made all the difference."

"Told you," the young child smiled.

"Your Aunt Molly had it tucked in where both she and Aunt Kelsey could see it."

"Good!" Judith said with a decisive nod.  “Teddy is very lucky.”

"So are you enjoying yourself little one?"

"I am Momma...I like wearing pwitty dwesses." Judith looked round, "and having Unca Jack take my picture."


“And how do you think Grammy and Grappy look?”


“Vewwy nice...”



“And here she is, the little princess,” Jan said as Katy came over to join the family.  “How are you feeling?”


“On top of the world and my feet hurt,” Katy said as she slipped her shoes off for a minute.  “Did I look all right?”


“You looked fantastic,” Katherine said as she kissed her granddaughter on both cheeks.  “I do like the tiara and bracelets as well.”


“They’re a gift from Klaus and Juliette – Maybe we need a safe now at home mom.”


“I’ll need to look into that,” Jan said with a smile as she looked round.  “Jeanne – who were you with today?”


“My mother,” Jeanne said as she joined them.  “She is talking to Diana and her family, and avoiding my father and Janine.”


“I thought you said it went well yesterday?”


“It did – but the fact Janine is now my father’s partner may not have come up in the conversation.”





"Well have you done your patient rounds doctor?" Ken said as he held a glass for his wife.

"I have, checked on Jeanne, on Annie, gave April and Judith both little checkups, etcetera. I think I've earned this," Karen smiled..."even if it is just Ginger Ale."

"I saw you also chatting with Samantha...Is she?"

"Still sober, and still motivated I think to stay that way."

"Well we are trying to help her," Rose suddenly appeared accompanied by Maeve.

"You are doing a great job." Karen kissed both women on the cheek. "What is this I hear you flew solo to New York Rose?"

"I did."

"And I was able to go to Reunion knowing she was safe as well," Maeve added.

"Rumour has it you both had something to do with the wedding dress ladies?" Ken asked.

"Well young Kylie did create a beautiful pattern..."

"That this lady reproduced PERFECTLY!" Maeve smiled proudly.

"Well, my skilled sister did a little of the final fabric cutting."

"So that was what Bats was doing when she took that so-called business trip to London eh?"

"To quote my daughter," Rose sipped her tea, "NO COMMENT!"


“So, where is Kylie?”


“I think she’s in conference with Shirley and Alice over something...”





"So have you managed to fit in many museums Heather?" Kelly asked as they stood around.

"Oh maybe a couple," Heather's eyes twinkled, "and I'll maybe go see a couple more before we return home."

"So I take it you have been having fun then?" Tom Morse asked.

"I have.  This is a truly magical city"

"She's been teaching me what makes a good painting different from a great painting," Sands said as she came over with a tray of hors d'oeuvres.

"Well having an expert like Heather do it certainly helps." Kelly smiled.

"It does, especially as she knows so much about the artists themselves."

"Oh I don't know that much..."

"Heather stop being modest," Tom laughed.  “I found out about your thesis.”


“Her thesis?”


“My final thesis on Van Gogh – it was rather well received,” Heather said with a blush.


“Now my big sis is practising false modesty,” Jo said as she came over with Curt.


“You looked amazing there as well, Jo,” Sandy said as well with a smile.




"Frau Strecher?" Carina smiled as she came over to the estate manager.

"Yes Princess, how may I help you?"

"Is it possible for two friends of mine to share a room here over the summer whilst they train at the Olympic Regatta Center?  I just heard they have been selected for a training course here."

"Of course Princess,” Frau Strecher said, “just send me their details and I will make arrangements."

"Thanks," Cari smiled again, "they are two friends of mine from Yale."

"May I ask why you thought you had to ask MY permission Princess, this is YOUR home."

"I know," Cari shook her head, "and one day I will wrap my brain round that fact."

"Well I am only here to serve you and your family your Highness.  On which note – Herr Broadhurst"


“Yes,” Grant said as he looked over.  “Ah – thank you Frau Strecher.  Guy, Roy?”


“Ah – I believe the race is about to start.  I promise I will not be long,” Guy said as he kissed Valeria and walked off.


“It must be time for the race,” Diana said as Abby sipped her drink.


“Indeed – hopefully they will not be too long...”





“This is Mike Battaglia and Trevor Denman at the Florida Derby – and Trevor, as the horses come to the stands, the question every one is asking is can Saints and Sinnerz repeat the success he enjoyed last year.”


“Well, Mike, all the signs are good – he’s looked strong in training, and the decision of the syndicate that owns him to enter him for the Guineas is seen by many as a wise move.  Donna managed to catch a few minutes with John Todd, the trainer.”


“John,” the blonde said, “how has Saiints and Sinnerz looked on the field today?”


“He’s looked very strong,” Toddy said as he smiled, standing in his grey suot, pale blue shirt and tie.  “I was speaking to George Saunders, who is here today representing the syndicate, and he was very optimistic.”


“I understand the other owners are not here today?”


“With good reason Donna – today was the wedding in Germany of Klaus von Furstenheim and Juliette Huntingdown, and they are attending there.”


“And we’re watching Toddy,” Roy said as they gathered in the billiard room.


“And I know they’re probably watching, so I hope it was a good day for them, and we’re going to have a good day here.”


“Thanks John – Mike, back to you and Trevor.”


“Well, the horses are riding out now – Saints and Sinnerz looking good there, hanging back.”


“That’s it,” Grant whispered under his breath as April stood with him, “nice and easy, just like we said...”


“So, current odds?”


“As the horses make their way into the stalls, Saints and Sinnerz and Nyquist are joint favourites at evens, Gunrunner at 5-1, Fellowship and Mohaymen 10-1, Takeittotheedge 15-1, 30-1 bar.”


“Okay just three more horses to go in here at Gulfstream Park, and then the 2016 Florida Derby will be underway.”


“Has the race started yet,” House said as he came in with Tommy.


“Not yet,” Guy said as Grant whispered “that’s it – go on in my boy, you’re going to be just fine.”


“Stop worrying Pops,” Pepsi said as she stood with Jack, “he’s going to be fine.”


“The starter is getting into position...”


The billiard room was slowly filling up, both men and women coming in as they screen showed a man walking up some stairs to a platform.


“All horses are in, and....  THEY’RE OFF!”


The stall gates opened as the horses set off, racing down the straight as the commentator began.


“And Fellowship is taking the early lead, Nyquist and Saints and Sinnerz tucked in behind...”


“Come on boy,” April said quietly as the horses approached the bend.


“And it’s Fellowship, with Nyquist and Saints and Sinnerz breaking away from the rest of the field.  As they come into the bend, Fellowship is being caught...”


“Remember,” Roy whispered, “round the bend...”


By now others were coming in, John with Rose, Adam, Tommy, John Gaunt with his father, the room filling up as they watched.


“And as they come out of the bend Nyquiat is just in the lead – and her comes Saints and Sinnerz round the outside.  Nyquist is unbeaten so far this year, but Saints and Sinners is level, and inching ahead...”


At the course, George was standing next to Toddy, both watching through their field glasses as the horses were neck and neck.


“Less than a furlong to go now, and it’s too close to call, they’re coming up to the finishing line.... Saints and Sinnerz is just ahead...  and at the line...”


In the main room, the crowd turned as they heard the cheering from the billiards room.  “I think we can guess the result,” Diana whispered to Sandy.


“YES!”  Jack punched the air as Roy and Grant hugged each other, Guy quietly nodding and smiling. 


As the room cheered, Roy took out his telephone.


“George?  Yes we watched it – congratulate Toddy and Marcus for me, will you?


“Okay – I’ll get Caroline to call you in a few minutes.  Have a drink on us.”


“ NOW will you relax Grant,” April said with a smile.


“All right, all right – I’ll relax now.”


“Good – come on, they’re calling us in for the meal.”



“Why were they cheering, Marina darling,” Kylie asked as she rejoined her and Samantha.


“Saints and Sinnerz won the Florida Derby,” Marina said.


“Ah excellent – I know we are missing Kentucky, but there will be other opportunities once we have relocated.”


“You have an interest in a racehorse, Kyles?”


“Only an interest, mother darling – but the horse is owned by four of our saints, so we all watch keenly when he races.”


“So what did Shirley and Alice want,” Marina asked as she sipped her drink.


“Oh a little summer job – I’ll tell you about it later.”




“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Frau Strecher called out, “please take your seats.”




“Father Richmond.”


Alex turned to see Cardinal Marx standing behind him, now wearing a black jacket over the purple shirt.


“Your Eminence,” he said as he went onto one knee and kissed the ring, “I was honoured to play a part today.”


“We’re off the clock, to use a phrase – shall we agree to first name terms?  Reinhard.”


“Alex,” he said as they shook hands, “so you will join us at the top table?”


“I believe Frau Strecher wishes me to give thanks – will you introduce me to our brother in the cloth?”


“Of course – His Eminence Cardinal Marx, may I present my Lord Bishop of Ordford, and his wife Martha.”


“A pleasure to welcome my Anglican colleague,” Cardinal Marx said as they shook hands.  “What brought you here today?”


“Our son is Luke Heller, Jack Linklater’s assistant,” Martha said.


“Ah of course – I look forward to talking to both of them later.”





“Well, if it isn’t Philippa Ashley – you’ve hardly changed a bit.”


“Neither have you Fergus – worst luck,” Pippa said as the bearded man smiled.  “This is my daughter Poppy – Poppy, Fergus MacLean, a – friend – from when I was your age.”


“Pleasure,” Poppy said as she sat with Sarah, Harriet, Dennis Law and Tony Camp.


“So what do you do to earn a crust these days Pips?”


“I edit a fashion magazine,” Pippa said, “and I’m about to...”


“It seems we’ve been placed with you as well – may we?”


“Of course, Mother,” Pippa said. “Fergus, you remember my mother, and my aunt Margaret?”


“Of course – a pleasure to see you both again.”


Margaret smiled as she sat down, and then looked at the other tables.  “Certainly high company – and there’s someone I’ll see next week.”


“Prince Charles?”


“Yup – I think John and I are at the same ceremony.”


“There you are,” Shirley said as she kissed John, “I guess you get the high table?”


“Indeed – I think you are with Sandy, Diana and Madeline as well as the others.”


“Yes I do – but i am having the first dance with you, understand?”


“I would not have it any other way...”  Shirley kissed him again as she went to join Sandy, Little George holding her chair for her as she sat down while Sandy held the chair for Heather.


“How are you feeling Jennifer,” Little George said as she sat next to Orlanda in a high chair.


“Will we eat soon, George?”


“Yes, we will eat soon,” Orlanda said with a smile as she looked round.


“It’s not Orlanda Cormack, is it?”


“Lady Lardarn,” Orlanda said as she stood up, “I did not see you earlier.  I trust you are keeping well.”


“You know Tom and Paula Gaunt,” Sandy said with a smile.


“She was kind enough to support me at college,” Orlanda said, “and I always will be grateful to her.  Perhaps we will talk later?”


“Of course,” Paula said as she went with the rest of her family to sit with Eve and Stephen Stone, as well as Cassandra and Rick.


“You’re looking well Eve,” Cassandra said as her cousin sat down, “how are your studies?”


“As complete as they are going to be,” Eve said with a smile.  “Now I wait for the joy of the examinations to begin.”


“You get used to it,” John said as he looked at his phone.


“Do you really?”


“Nah – sorry, that was Kit.  She was watching the ceremony and loved every second of it.”


“Well, we did as well,” Aileen said.




As Henri held the chair out for Janine, he heard a quiet voice behind him say “hello Henri.”


“Celeste,” he said as he turned round, “it is good to see you again.  I trust you are well?”


“I am – I see Jeanne and I are joining you at this table.  Janine?”


“Celeste,” Janine said quietly as Henri held her chair for her, “this is my assistant Alexis – Alexis, this is Celeste, Jeanne’s mother.”


“A pleasure,” Alexis said as Celeste nodded.  “I like your outfit – where did you get it?”


“Dior in Paris – you?”


“APCO – please, be seated.”


“So,” Henri said as he sat down, "Niki told me that you had talked to him a few weeks ago."

"Oh,” Celeste said, “when was that Henri?"

"At Sebring, we managed to get a little time together and talk of old times."

"All those visits he paid you in the burns unit?"

"Well, among other topics.  We talked of regrets and those no longer with us."

"Well,” Celeste said as she supped her wine, “you share a lot in common...and I mean beyond the scars."

"I knew what you meant." Henri smiled his crooked smile, "and yes he and I have very similar outlooks on life, and the same way of evaluating people."

"Which means you both despise ME I suppose."   Celeste sighed as she put her glass down.


Henri looked at her as Jeanne was talking to Jeanne and Alexis, before he said quietly "and why would we do that?"

"Because I didn't have the moral fibre to stand by you after the accident."

"You did as well  as you could," Henri tried smiling again, "but I understand how difficult people find confronting this image I see everyday in the mirror."

"Janine seems to have no problems."

"No," Henri chuckled, "and she even goes so far as to say she doesn't know who she finds or Niki?"

"She can joke about it,” Celeste said as she looked across the table, “and yet still love you?"

"I know, it's a lovely and rare thing that she can see under these injuries..."

"Which I of course NEVER COULD," she said as she let her temper rise.

"You tried...” Henri said as he held her hand, “You tried well, but..."

"I tried hard,” Celeste said quietly, “but just somehow I could never get it in my head that underneath was still my 'golden man'."

"And that led you to your breakdown...and after the treatment, our divorce."



“Celeste, none of this was your fault,” Henri said quietly, “but it happened, and now I have not only Janine, but we are to be grandparents.  Can we finally start to put the past behind us, and look to the future?”




“Charlie?  Charlie Gordon?”


Charlotte turned to look at the big man standing there, and said quietly “Uncle Fergus?  I thought that was you I saw with Grace today.  You’re looking well.”


“Oh I can’t complain – but look at you lass.  You look amazing.”


“Thanks,” Charlotte said with a blush, “so, how is life in Zimbabwe?"

"If one can keep one’s head down, and keep out of the attention of the fucking government...then it's pretty much as it always was Charlotte."

"You know I see Uncle John occasionally."

"Yeah,” Fergus said with a laugh, “I see the old bastard occasionally myself when I'm in SA. He looks good for his age."

"Well you don't look so out of condition yourself."

"The ranch keeps me going."

"So,” Charlotte said, “I never knew that you knew Grace Gresham?"

"Oh Ja, she was at Wycombe Abbey, whilst I was at Stowe, we got to know each other on inter-school events."

"I heard a few whispers she was very hung up on you?"

"That would be from Pip," he laughed, "and Ja I know she had a big crush on me."

"And you on her?"

"Oh I knew several girls," he smiled at the memory, "but Ja Gray was 'my girl' for a while back then."

"Why did you split up?"

"I was a year older, I went back to Africa to go to UCT, she began modelling...we stayed in touch for a while, but it wasn't ever going to last....unlike you and a certain journalist I hear?"


Charlotte looked over to where Piet was sitting, and smiled as she nodded.





"So how does a Zimbabwean cattle rancher get invited to an event like this?" Shirley asked Sigi as they stood to one side and watched Charlotte talking to the big man.

"He's family...his grandmother and mine were sisters."

"Ah THAT explains it," Shirley smiled.

"I'd forgotten that he and Grace Gresham were once an item," Sigi smiled as one of her children ran through the room chasing a little girl.

"She's like a giggly schoolgirl all of a sudden."

"He can have that effect on women Shirley. I had a huge crush on him once."

"So how does he know Charlotte?"

"Her father spent two or three years or so looking at the minerals on Bavaria Ranch, Charlotte like all good mining brats went with him."

"Ah so they are literally old friends."

"Yes," Sigi smiled even wider as her son ran back across the room pursued by the little girl.




“Folks – can I introduce you to Fergus MacLean, an old friend from Africa.  Fergus, let me introduce you to the others.  This is Susan and her husband Clint with April, Lily, Penny, Maddie, her wife Emma, and Shirley.”


"It's a pleasure to meet you all." he smiled as Charlotte made the introductions, “and you all work for the same company as Charlotte?”

"Other than Shirley - she is the Xavier in Xavier International." Lily laughed slightly.

"Oh Charlotte's big boss eh? I guess I had better not tell tales of her as a scrawny little redheaded kid with pig-tails eh?"

"On the contrary - I'd love to learn a few things." Shirley smiled brightly.

"Oh," Fergus shook his head, "I know a few things about miss here...You know I always thought she'd end up working with diamonds not computers, she always loved shiny stones."

"I still do,” Charlotte said, “but jobs are easier to come by in IT for a woman than in mining."

"That's because too many old-fashioned men like me run the mines I suppose...Male chauvinist pigs."

"Well at Xavier's we pride ourselves on our equal opportunity programmes."

"That you do Shirley my love," John Hammond brought round a fresh tray of food.

"Fergus, meet my life-partner John Hammond."

"Oh Ja, you are the famous photographer?"

"Not in this room," John laughed, "there are far better photographers in this room today then me."


“Almost,” Jack Linklater said as he passed by.





"Who is that amazingly tanned man over there?" Paula Lardarn asked her sister-in-law as she looked at the other table.

"A cousin of Klaus's from Zimbabwe," Eve answered, "He's also an old boyfriend of Grace Gresham's."

"He is? From where?"

"He was at Stowe whilst she and Pippa were at Wycombe."

"He was at Stowe...?"

"Well,” Tom said, “I suppose some poor idiots go there..."

"Tom don't be an Etonian snob," his sister interrupted.

"Oh like you Benenden girls don't look down on every girl’s school in the world?"

"You know he has yer there," Stephen Stone smiled.

"Benenden girls are taught to be ladies...not snobs." Eve answered.

"Then explain yer comments regardin' Roedean girls my love?"

"Oh that is all together different."

"Quite right Aunt Eve," Aileen laughed, "certain schools really are beyond the pale."

"Which explains what I said about Stowe." Tom laughed, "and I bet I'm not the only one..."


He grabbed Will as he walked past and said "Tell me, Will, do Harrovians recognise the existence of a school called Stowe?"

"Not if we can help it."




Eve and her nieces shook their head as they watched.




"And who are these two lovely looking young ladies?" Fergus asked as the two African girls walked over.

"This is Maisha my ward,” Shirley said, “and this is Caroline's daughter Ama.  Maisha, Ama, this is Fergus MacLean, an old friend of Charlotte."

“A pleasure to meet you,” Ama said as she extended her hand.


"Two lovely daughters of the red soil originally though I bet?" he kissed their hands making them giggle.

“That is true,” Maisha said quietly.


"Where was your home once?" he asked in Ndebele.

"Sorry,” Ama said, “we are both originally from Mazengwe."

"Ah - It was and will be a lovely country," he replied in both Awahli and in Zemba.

"It has been a while since I heard my peoples tongue," Maisha replied in Awahli.

"I speak no Awahli, but I do speak this language." Ama replied in Zemba.

"Were they both?" he asked Charlotte in Afrikaans.

"Yes they were among the liberated," she replied.

"A bad business," he shook his head, then switching back to English, "may I later beg a dance with each of you so I can say I danced with the two most beautiful girls at the wedding?"


“Well, I cannot speak for them, but we will be happy to dance with you later,” Ama said as Caroline walked over.  “Mom, this is Fergus MacLean.  Mister MacLean, my mother Caroline Jameson.”


“A pleasure,” Caroline said as they shook hands.  “If you will take your seats, I believe the happy couple will be coming in soon.”






“Oh hello Charly,” Mary Clarke said as she kissed her friend, “Pops, this is Charly Elphberg, a fellow model.  Charly, my pops and the rest of the family.”


“Pleasure to meet you all – Mother, Father, this is Mary’s family.”


“I met your father in San Francisco over lunch,” Teri said with a smile.  “Rudi, you met Dave Clarke last night, right?”


“I did indeed – but it is a pleasure to meet the rest of your family,” Rudi said as he shook hands.  “Did you enjoy the ceremony?”


“We did,” Alice said, “it was great fun.”


“Well, I hope we get a chance to talk later,” Terry said as they walked to a table.


“I did not know you knew their majesties,” Antonio finally said.


“We met in passing – well, Her Royal Highness and I did,” Dave said, the others looking at him.


“That...  That was a royal family,” Tracy whispered.


“Oh yes – close your mouth,” Mary said, “you’ll catch flies.”


“Ha ha,” David said quietly as he looked round.





The low hum that was travelling round the room grew louder as more and more people sat, and the wedding party took their places at the long top table.


Eventually, Frau Strecher stood by the doorway and called out “YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESSES, MY LORDS, LADIES, GENTLEMEN.




As the large doors were opened, the room applauded as Klaus and Juliette entered, Juliette’s veil now replace by a tiara as they walked towards the high table.  As they passed by, Guy formally bowed as Valeria curtseyed, others following suit as Juliette blushed.


“Tell me that’s not going to happen every time we enter a room,” she whispered to Klaus.


“Only on the most formal of occasions,” Klaus said as he bowed to Rudi and Terry, Juliette nodding as well, before he walked her round the table and waited for her to be seated next to Alex.


As she did this, Caroline and Sharon slipped to their places.


“Time to relax, Mom?” Ama whispered.


“Oh yes – time for both of us to relax,” Caroline whispered back as Sharon talked to her father.


As Juliette took her seat, Klaus then sat, the guests sitting themselves as Cardinal Marx stood up.


“Lord,” he said, “bless this celebration here today, and this marriage, as well as this meal.  Amen.”


“At last,” Doc whispered to Jo, “I’m starving.  What is on the menu?”


“Well, how good is your German?”


Doc picked up the embossed menu and read


Zur Feier der Hochzeit von Prinz Klaus und Julia






Tafelsptiz mit Beilage, Meerrettichsauce und Remoulade




Grööner Hein




Hähnchenbrust mit wilden Trüffel gefüllte und in Parmaschinken, serviert mit Gemüse




Wilder Pilz und Knoblauch Gulasch, serviert mit gedämpftem Reis








Sekt und Kaffe


“Okay,” Doc said quietly, “translation?”


“Well,” Jo said, “the second course is a choice of beef or a bacon dish, and the main course is chicken or a mushroom goulash.  Apart from that, it’s a voyage of discovery.”


“Lovely,” Doc said as an army of waiters and waitresses brought bowls of soup to the guests.  It was a chicken broth with chunks of chicken, asparagus tips, noodles and what looked like pieces of brittle floating on the top.


“This, I take it, is the Hochzeitsuppe,” Angel whispered to Abby.


“It is,” Dieter said, “the things floating are called Eierstich, and are basically eggs, butter, milk, nutmeg and herbs.  In effect, they are a form of crouton.”


“That makes sense,” Abby said as they started to eat.



“This is good soup,” Ally said as she sipped on a spoonful, and looked at her sister.  “Hey – time to talk to Mick Harran later, O darling sister of mine.”


“I know,” Nell said as Mick looked back over and smiled, “I can wait.”



“Eyes front, Michael,” Charles said quietly, “you will have plenty of time to dance later, amongst other things.”


“Am I that transparent?”


“YES,” Olivia and Fiona called out in unison.




“Do you like your juice Judith,” Sands asked as she looked at the young girl.


“Yes, it’s nice,” she said as she carefully put her cup down.  “I like this.”


“Well, we have some vegetable sticks and ham next for you, little one,” Sigi said as she sat by her side, and the plates were cleared away.


“Okay Jo – spill.”


“Okay, okay – Tafelspitz is a beef boiled in a vegetable broth, cooled and served with pickles, horseradish sauce and a roumalade, while Grööner Hein is pears, green beans and bacon with potatoes.”


“Fine – I’ll have that,” Doc said to the waitress as she nodded and took the plate.




“Now this is what you want at a wedding – good hearty food,” Fergus said as he put a forkful of the beans and bacon into his mouth.  “How is the beef?”


“Amazingly tender,” Hannah said, “what do you think Dennis?”


Dennis Law held his hand up as he finished eating, and then said “it is – the sauce is a little strong, but very well made.”


“So, without giving too much away,” Grace said, “how is the old school?”


“Oh we manage to get by,” Dennis said with a smile as he took a drink, “but I have to say, the Grace Brand Library is proving to be a great hit.”




“This chicken is wonderful,” Juliette said as she carefully put another forkful into her mouth, “and I hadn’t realised I was so hungry.”


“Well, it has been a long time since breakfast,” Klaus said with a smile as he sipped his wine. 


“But it has been a wonderful day,” Juliette said with a smile.


“That it has,” Juliette said quietly, “that is has.”


"Enjoy the food kids, because when we get home it's back to MY cooking." Mary smiled as she watched them eat.

"I LOVE your cooking Poppit," Dave said with a smile as he put his hand on his daughters.

"Yeah, but Mary could never prepare anything like this." David spoke.

"I don't know - if I had time to practice I maybe could."

"And Pigs might..."


"Sorry Pops." David smiled, "I apologise Mary."

"Well even royalty don't eat this way all the time, I've eaten at Juliette's and it was Shepherd's Pie on trays as everyone sat in her den and watched TV."

"Poppit you are spoiling the illusion." Dave laughed, "people want to think folks like this are special, not ordinary just like us."


“Well, that’s the secret Pops – they all are.  Wipe your mouth Tracy.”


“Sorry,” her sister said as she wiped it with her napkin.





"As an experienced television journalist myself I am willing to bet you have been rushed off your feet all day."


Jeanne nodded as she swallowed some of the goulash, and took a drink of water, before she said “that would be an understatement, your highness.”


“Please, Jeanne, today is not a day to stand on formality – call me Letizia.”


“Well, I have to admit I have been busy – after all, I was a guest as well as reporting,” Jeanne said with a smile.


“So I heard – you were one of the few this morning?”


“I had that privilege,” Jeanne said as she took a drink, “and it was a beautiful, simple ceremony.”


“As it should be – I love the tradition of a simple, informal civil ceremony before the main one.”  Letizia took a sip from her wine before she said “I do follow your show when I have the time to do so.”


“I’m honoured,” Jeanne said, “although I am not as famous or experienced as you.  After all, you were there for the 2000 election, 9/11, and in Iraq.”


“True,” Letizia said, “but that was work.  With you, it is obvious it is a pleasure as well as work.”


“That is true,” Jeanne said, “I do enjoy seeing the new designs and meeting the new models.”


“Many of whom are in this room – did I see Mary Clarke here?”


“Yes, she’s here with her family.”


“I wonder if you would introduce us later – I saw her spread in Complete Style, and she looked enchanting.”


“I’ll see what I can do...”




“Cake momma!”


“That’s right,” Carina said as a slice of the layered cake was placed in front of Judith, “now eat it nicely.”


“So this is the Baumkuchen,” Sands said.


“That is correct,” Manfred said, “it is made in a special oven, by adding layers of batter and letting them cook one at a time.  I think you will like it.”


Sands put a piece on her fork, and then tasted it.  “Does this have some alcohol in it?”




“Why does your cake look slightly different Mother,” Kylie asked as she looked at the plates placed in front of Samantha and Rose.


“Have a taste of yours,” Marina said, Kylie nodding and placing some in her mouth before she slowly chewed.


“Ah – of course,” she finally said, “very thoughtful of them darlings.”


“Yes it is,” Rose said with a smile, “but I hope they have...”


“Fraulein, Frau Strecher has asked me to assure you tea will be served for you and your party after the plates are cleared.”


“Then I really cannot ask for anything more.”




“This cake is amazing,” Sharon said as she wiped her mouth, “what do you think Dad?”


“I think the kids would have wolfed it down – and being sick later,” Alan Kennedy said with a sigh.  “So, how does it feel to have played a part today?”


“Strangely nice – Caroline really is very good at her job.”


“Well,” Ama said, “Mom would say the successful security person is one who is never seen.”


“You’re making me blush Ama,” Caroline said with a smile.


"Did you slip your shoes off like I suggested?" Doc whispered in Sandy's ear.

"I did...” Sands sighed and said “my feet are beginning to feel better."

"Well whilst we are sitting here then nobody can see your feet Sands, so getting out of those heels at least for a time is going to help."

"Amen to that." Katy also whispered.

"So looking forward to dancing the night away?"

"Well at least until I get too tired to continue." Sands smiled.

"Or our boyfriends can't dance any longer." Katy winked.

"KATY!" Sands hissed.

"Hey I was just thinking your baron looks very handsome..."

"I'm still only 12."

"Don't pressure her Katy." Doc scolded.



The crowds outside were watching the townhouse, bur despite the fact they could see or hear nothing, they just wanted to be there to say that they were there.  In a way, he could understand that, but he also knew he was there for a purer reason, a higher motive, and he knew the price he had paid for it.


She was in there literally only yards away from him, but neither he, nor she, could tell each other of their oh so pure and true love for each other. To say it was frustrating was putting it mildly. He wondered internally if it wasn't driving him to the point of madness.

Her smile though, as she had passed by him in the square – it had been so sweet, just so perfect, that he knew in his heart they both recognised that they were made for each other.

No, it was these other people were keeping them apart, keeping him from protecting her. He had had to borrow the money for this trip to Europe from his mother...HIS FRIGGIN' MOTHER!...Didn't they realise how embarrassing that was having to crawl, cap in hand, to that old bitch to lend him the cash to make this trip? No of course they didn't? Or did they? Was this all part of some vast conspiracy to make him look bad in front of Katy?

He would have to think upon it, but for now at least he need comfort himself that she was at least close by, and in an emergency he could always snatch her away to protect.  He was her shining knight, ready to protect her...





Once the plates had been cleared, coffee and glasses of sparkling wine were taken around, as Frau Strecher watched from the side.  She then nodded to Sigi, who stood up and said “Your Highnesses, Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you to attend to Father Alexander Richmond.”


As Alex stood, Juliette whispered “still time for you to get out of here, Klaus.”


“No, I will endure...”


“Your Royal Highnesses, Distinguished Guests, Ladies, Gentlemen, Kids,” Alex said with a smile, “I have to admit, this is only the second time in my life I have played this role.  The first was when my niece married, and I was proud to be by her side then.”


George looked at Sandy and nodded as Jennifer made a little burp, and smiled.


“And today, it is with that same sense of pride that I stand here now, having had the honour of escorting Juliette on this, her most special day.  You know, I still remember when I saw Juliette for the first time.  It was during the summer of 1982, and I was visiting our holiday home when Juliette and her parents called on a visit.  I will not embarrass her by describing how she looked, suffice to say the style at the time for denim dungarees was very well illustrated.


“Alexandra was a year old at the time, and I well remember young Juliette sitting and playing with her, forming that lifelong friendship that has continued to this day.  I’ve watched both of them grow up together, mature, learn, and become wonderful young women as well as wonderful mothers.  And I have to admit, to see my great-niece looking almost as beautiful as her mother did that day is a truly wonderful thing.”


As Sands blushed at the applause, Sandy beamed as well.


“Now, the tradition is for the father of the bride to impart his wisdom to his daughter and to tell the new husband a few home truths about his new wife.  On this occasion, however, I feel a slightly different approach is appropriate, given the fact that both Klaus and Juliette bring their own life experiences to this.


“So I will say only this – the story of how Klaus and Juliette met, parted and then met again is well known, and does not need to be repeated here by me.  It has been a true joy for me to see them over the last few months reunite, and for their love not only to rekindle, but to grow into the burning flame we are here to celebrate today.  It has also been a true joy to see Carina and Judith discover a family they never knew they had, and grow stronger because of it.


“So if I must impart some wisdom, it is simply this.  To cherish each other and the family, to seek to support each other, to not let the sun set on your anger, but to forgive and forget.  And also to remember what we do is not just for ourselves, but for those we love and care for as well.


“I wish to say no more than that, but to do one more thing, as I ask you to join me and raise your glasses, and to offer a toast and our hopes for their future happiness, to the bride and groom.”


“The Bride and Groom,” was the response as the room toasted Klaus and Juliette, before Judith could clearly be heard saying “Grammy and Grappy!” and everyone laughed.


“And now – much against my better judgement,” Sigi said with a smile, “Please attend to my brother, the groom.”


The room clapped and cheered again as Klaus stood up, and used his hands to calm things down.


“All right, all right – I know you want me to be brief before the dancing can begin,” Klaus said, “but it’s not just me you have to listen to.  I do, however, wish to say a few words and offer some thanks to various people.


“Many of you were also here when I married Renate, and I hope that wherever she is watching this from, I hope and pray that she is happy and that she knows Ingrid and I, as well as Juliette and her family, are happy as well.”


For a moment, Klaus felt a chill as he thought her heard Renate whispering “I am, my darling” in his ear, but then he looked round and smiled.


“Today however, I am so happy you could all be here, to see my life complete again, and to see our joy as we became man and wife.  Juliette, you have made me the happiest man in the world today, and I do not have the words to express it myself.


“So I will let someone else do that – Gentlemen.”


The room turned and looked as Mick Harran, Kevin Troy, Alexis Tropov and Izzy de Lupe went to where the band had been playing, and took the microphones before Mick started singing, the other three humming behind.


“Thanks for the times
That you've given me
The memories are all in my mind
And now that we've come
To the end of our rainbow
There's something I must say out loud”


The three boys then provided backing vocals as Mick sang


“You're once, twice
Three times a lady
And I love you

“Yes you're once, twice
Three times a lady
And I love you
I love you.”


Mary smiled as her sisters sighed, and then saw Abby sighing as the song continued


“When we are together
The moments I cherish
With every beat of my heart
To touch you, to hold you
To feel you, to need you
There's nothing to keep us apart


“You're once, twice
Three times a lady
And I love you
I love you...”


As the quartet bowed, the room clapped and cheered as Juliette wiped a tear and gripped Klaus’ hand, whispering “thank you.”


“So,” Klaus said as the applause died down, “some thanks are in order.  Firstly, to the staff here and at the Cathedral, for looking after us so well, and in particular to my sister Sigrid and to Frau Strecher, for keeping us all on time and in the right place.  Thank you all, and especially you two.


“My thanks also to Cardinal Marx for conducting the ceremony today, and to the musicians at the cathedral for making it so enjoyable a ceremony for all of us.


“May I also thank Alex for being there to support Juliette, and to John for agreeing to support me.  May I also say the cheque is still there if it stops you saying anything later.


“I also want to thank those who supported John and myself, and also to the young men who acted as stewards today.  To all of you, my thanks.


“Normally, I would also thank our mothers, but of course neither are here.  I therefore wish to single out, as well as Sigi and Frau Strecher, two women who have supported Juliette through this time – Diana and Sandy.  We have something here for all four of you.”


The room watched as four large bouquets were brought in and presented to the astonished Frau Strecher, Sigi, Diana and Sandy, all four crying as they accepted them.


“Finally,” Klaus said, “there are nine very special young ladies who today have supported Juliette, and I want to say an especial word of thanks to them.  Three are family, all are good and close friends, and I think we should toast each and every one of them.


“Please, take your glasses, and join me in a toast to the bridesmaids.”


“The Bridesmaids!”


As the room clapped, Sigi said “Okay – I think it’s time for the best man.  Please, welcome Sir John Hammond.”


As John stood up, he took several sheets of paper from inside his jacket, and looked carefully at them before he said “Sorry – I just wanted to have my will in order before I did this.”


Jack and Luke, who were sitting to one side, burst out laughing as he said that.


“So, when Klaus asked if I would act as his support and best man today, I will confess he took me by surprise, but then I realised he was actually paying me a great honour.  After all, if you are going to be court martialled for saying something, then you should do so in the most magnificent of settings, and I think this certainly qualifies, so I thank you for allowing me the honour to stand by your side today, and to see one of the women I am proud to call a good friend become your bride.”


As the room applauded, John smiled at Klaus and Juliette, before he said "in collecting things to say to the couple I came across one very interesting statistic that I personally think all married people should know...It is NOT true that married people live longer...but it is true it just seems that way." John waited for the laughter to subside, "and I hope my late wife will forgive me for that quip."


“I’m sure she will,” Jack shouted out to more laughter.


“Now, before I share some of the findings of my research, I have been asked to read some messages to the happy couple.  First, I have a message of congratulations from Buckingham Palace – wishing you all joy and happiness for the future, Elizabeth R.


“To the bride and groom, my congratulations on the happy occasion, Angela Merkel.


“And finally, I have a message from someone called Albert, wishing you all the best on this happy occasion.


“Now, what can I say about Klaus von Furstenheim?  Well, I admit it would be all too easy to focus purely on Juliette, because I have known her for far longer, but that is not my job is it?  Save to say that when they first met in Paris in the nineties, Klaus already had a reputation as something of an attraction for the ladies.  According to my researches, he was seen in the pages of Acustar and Voici on an almost weekly basis in the years of 1994 and 1995.  What we need to know, Klaus, is was the story about you and the niece of Francois Mitterand true?”


“Sadly, yes,” Klaus said as he shook his head, “she did beat me on the squash court.”


As Sigi giggled, John looked round the room.


"Klaus has always combined impeccable manners with the complete openness that a true gentleman has towards people from all walks of life. Today’s gathering is proof that, despite his aristocratic breeding and upbringing, Klaus knows some of the most interesting people it has ever been my pleasure to meet."

John paused and took a sip of water.

"And it is not only true of the people sitting here.  At the parade yesterday I met an old man from Furstenburg who was proud to tell me that he was still marching though he is now 83 years old, his name was Thomas Richter, and he has been the blacksmith on the estate since he was apprenticed there just after World War Two.


“He has known Klaus, or as he insisted telling me he still calls him, 'that young pest', since Klaus was old enough to toddle into his shop."

John paused for the laughter.

"Well anyway he was kind enough to tell me some distinctly funny stories about Klaus as a young man, as a bachelor, and of more recent years. Klaus it seems has spent many hours of his life in that smithy, and according to Sergeant Richter he has all the skills of a first-rate craftsman and knows his way fully round a forge. While I may spare Klaus's blushes regarding some of the details of other things I was told, I will say that I finished our conversation feeling his deep pride and affection in Klaus, and the feeling that it was reciprocated."

"It is indeed." Klaus murmured.


“And that is reflected today in the crowds that have gathered, and their welcome for Juliette, Carina, Annie and Judith yesterday. 


Sigi giggled as John continued “But then, eighteen months ago, Klaus brings his daughter, after Renate sadly has left us, to New York, the city of discovery – and finds the biggest discovery of them all. 


“Namely, that the hotdogs in New York are the second best in the world.”


“The second best,” Carina shouted out.


“After those in Munich, of course,” John replied as Klaus thumped the table.  “Anyway, he found himself the only father in a gaggle of mothers, and a single parent at that.  A fact which I am sure he was well prepared for.”


Alan and Dave looked at each other as John said this, both of them remembering a lunch in San Francisco and nodding.


“I think that same sense of breeding and manners stood him in good stead then as well – or so I heard from various of the ladies when I met with them after the event.  He also made an impression on some of the men as well – on me when I met him later that month, and on many others as well.


“As we now know, of course, that was where Juliette and Klaus met again, and the flame reignited.  I have it on good authority from my spies...  Sorry, my friends, that Klaus was as surprised as Juliette – although the rumours that he called his sister and screamed down the phone ‘it’s her!’ are totally unfounded.”


“Well, he did call me, but those were not the words he used,” Sigi said quietly.


“But seriously – and I say this as someone who also found someone special at the same time – to see Klaus and Juliette rekindle their love, and to see that love grow stronger and stronger, has been a privilege and an honour.  I am so happy you have become man and wife, and we wish to toast you and offer you our congratulations for the years ahead.  And we want you to join in as well – so I hope i get this right.


“Bitte bringen Sie die Hochzeitbecher!“


The audience clapped as Frau Strecher opened the door, and two servants carried in a silver chalice.  It was in the form of two cups - The larger of the two cups was formed like a lady with a long wide dress holding up another, smaller cup. The second cup was connected to the first by a hinge, allowing both cups to tilt in opposite directions.


It was placed in front of Klaus and Juliette as they stood up, Klaus holding the larger cup and Juliette the smaller as John said “Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in toasting the Prince and Princess!”


“The Prince and Princess!”  And as they drank, Klaus and Juliette drank together from the same chalice, everyone clapping and cheering.



As more coffee was brought round, one of the other women at Heather’s table turned to her and smiled.


"So,” she said with a smile, “I understand you are an art-historian Fraulein Smith?"

"Well not professionally," Heather blushed.

"Heather you are being too modest." Lily Cole spoke up.

"How so Fraulein Cole?"

"Heather has acted as a consultant on a couple or more of my shows, she really is a true expert."

"Oh despite what Lily says I'm still more an enthusiast than anything else."

"Well expert or enthusiast, have you been enjoying our city's cultural offerings?"


“Well, I have visited a number of the museums with my charges.”


“Your charges?”


“Heather’s day job is nanny to George and Sands Richmond – Sands is one of the bridesmaids.”


“Ah yes – one of the younger ones?”


Heather smiled at Sands as she talked to Doc and Katy.


“Yeah – but one of the most beautiful.  However, to answer your question, I really enjoyed the exhibition of post-war art in the Pinakotech ”



“That, Bats, is easily your finest creation,” Linda said as she looked at Juliette.


“Well, I look at it more as a team effort,” Alice said with a smile.


Sipping her coffee, Linda then said "Do you have a lot of that antique lace left Bats?"

"Surprisingly yes Mother."

"I can't believe your friend says it was found in an old chest," Linda shook her head.

"Well I couldn't wait to see it after Heather phoned me.  And then I got it at a very, VERY good price."

"So would you be open to using some more in another wedding dress?" a voice asked from the other side of the table.

"Yes I would...and sorry do we know each other?"

"No I'm sorry, I'm Maria-Theresa de Borbon."

"Oh I'm sorry I didn't recognise you your Royal Highness," both Alice and Linda bobbed their heads.

"Well as you may have heard I'm getting married in the late autumn, would you care to design my dress for me?"

"I'd be honored." Alice swallowed a trifle nervously. "And you and Prince Milan are getting married in Paris I believe?"

"We can I make an appointment to come see you in New York please?"

"I'd be honored."


“Excellent – I look forward to it,” she said as Bats made a note.


As the top table stood and dispersed, they moved round and sat at some of the other tables, talking and laughing with the other guests.


“You were wonderful,” Shirley said as John sat next to her and kissed her. 


“Well I try my best – and at least he does not want to kill me.  So what gossip have i missed?”


“Gossip?  Us?”


“Yes you, Mrs Moore and Mrs Cromwell.”


“Well, there is the previously unknown family friend of Charlotte,” Piet said with a smile.


“Oh – and that would be?”


“That would be Uncle Fergus – he’s over there talking to Grace,” Charlotte said.


John looked over and frowned slightly.


“Is something wrong John,” Shirley asked.


“No – no, nothing at all,” John said as he smiled at her.




“Thank you for the flowers,” Diana said as Juliette sat with her and Sandy.  “So, Your Serene Highness, how are you feeling?”


“Like the giddy schoolgirl again,” Juliette said with a smile.  “Thank you both for today.  Curt – Jo’s heading your way.”


“So I see,” Curt said as he stood up and kissed Jo, while George came over and hugged Jennifer.  “So what happens now?”


“We have the dancing in a little while – but for the moment we get to mingle here,” Jo said as she watched Carina and Judith walk over to where Annie was sitting.




“Hey there you two,” Annie said as she picked up and hugged Judith, then kissed Carina, “I’ve been wanting to do that all afternoon.”


“Ditto – how are you coping?”


“Looking forward even more to the birth,” Annie said with a sigh.


“Yeah – about that,” Carina said, “how would you feel about coming back here?  My friends are coming here training, and somehow I think it would be right if the new baby was born here.”


“We can talk about it,” Annie said with a smile, “we can talk about it.”




“Fraulein Smith, may I have a word please?”


“Of course Frau Strecher – how may I be of service?”


“On this occasion, it is I who should thank you on behalf of the Prince and Princess, Fraulein – the painting you were asking about how has been reappraised and the experts have agreed that it is a Reubens.”


“Nice to know I’ve still got it,” Heather said with a smile, “so what happens next?”


“We adjust our insurance and security accordingly – and I am sure the Prince and Princess will talk with you later,” Frau Strecher said as she walked off.




“Kylie – do you have a moment please?”


“Of course Alice darling – will you excuse me for a moment?”


“Sure, Kyles,” Samantha said as Alice took Kylie into a corner.


"It looks like we have another royal wedding dress commission Kylie."

"Oh whom?" the Londoner looked round.

"Princess Maria-Theresa de Borbon,” Alice said, “she wants to make an appointment to come and see us in New York..."

"Us?" Kylie interrupted.

"Us," Alice repeated, "you are an integral part of the design team now."

"Well,” Kylie said quietly, “I will need to fit it round my exams in Hong Kong."

"I know, but in the meantime put your thinking cap on please."

"Yes Darling." Kylie's brain was already moving away dreaming of patterns.

"I have some very rare antique raw silk fabric if you want to look at it Alice?" Catherine joined the conversation.


“That sounds amazing, Catherine.  Let’s talk...”



“Juliette – you look amazing,” Susan said as the bride came over.


"You know I hear I need to say a HUGE thank-you Rose." Juliette kissed the older woman.

"And why is that?"

"For the countless hours you must have put into this embroidery..."

"Well thank Kylie, she designed it."

"Ah, but you sewed it."

"Oh it kept me busy and my mind off other things."

"Don't be modest,” Juliette said, “I'm insisting to Jeanne that she mention you in her wedding reporting."

"Oh that isn't necessary..."

"I think it is Rose."

"And I agree," Klaus said as he also kissed the London woman.  “So, allow us to praise you, my dear lady.”


"And who is that lady Juliette and Klaus are kissing?" King Rudolf asked Eve Gaunt.

"I believe that is Rose Harper – Susan’s mother. She's the woman who did all that amazing embroidery on Juliette's dress."

"She is excellent, why have I never heard of her?" Teri asked.

"Well she teaches sewing in the fashion department of one of the universities, but I heard she used to have a severe drink problem. Juliette found her that job when she got sober."

"Well she is a top notch craftswoman...Hmmm I wonder if she might refurbish some antique embroidery for me?" the queen mused.

"Well you can only ask her,” Eve said.  “and she can only say yes or no.”



“Your Royal Highnesses, Lords, Ladies, Gentlemen,” Frau Strecher called out, “if you will make your way to the ballroom, the Prince and Princess will lead off the dancing.”



"I notice your sister is attracting an awful lot of praise Maeve." Katherine said as she joined her friend.

"Well she deserves it,” Maeve said, “she worked her socks off doing that embroidery."

"She must have,” Katherine said with a smile, “and let me guess that the real reason behind her trip to New York was to see Alice, and give her a progress report?"

"It was, but of course with so much security regarding the dress design she had to be careful."

"That I understand." Katherine sipped from her glass.

"So what did you think of the ceremony?"

"Made my own wedding at St Helen's in Brooklyn look VERY small." Katherine chuckled.

"And mine, but mine was a registry office job."

"It has still managed to be something like an intimate wedding though."

"It has," Maeve smiled, "but that's because we are insiders...and doesn't that strange coming from my lips?"


“It does – do you miss him?”


“At times – I told him not to smoke those bloody things but would he listen?  But now Rose is back with me, and with Samantha as well, I found my family again.”




"So why do I sense we might have a wedding one day in the cathedral?" the Bishop of Ordford's wife asked Jack and Pepsi.

"I couldn't possibly answer that..." Jack said with a smile, “but I think you may need to talk to David as well...”

"Spoilsport," Martha smiled at the couple, "I enjoy great weddings."

"Well you must be loving this one then?" Pepsi spoke.

"I am Nicola... I am enjoying it excessively,  and so is Clive, even if he doesn’t say it."

"Changing subjects, what do you and your husband make of Jack as a partner for Luke?"

"We both like him very much Jack...and he adores Luke."

"You have sometimes to get past Jack's public persona to see the 'real' him."

"We quickly learned that Nicola. Underneath that flamboyance is actually a very serious man."





"So how does life as the bishop of a provincial diocese suit you after life in the military?"  Cardinal Marx asked as he stood with Luke’s father.

"It's a gentle change of pace...but the work is just as challenging," the bishop spoke reflectively, "and how is running a huge archdiocese like this?"

"Challenging, especially when combined with all the other work I've taken on."

"I have read about some of it, advising His Holiness, Synod Chairman, the thought of just all that travel frightens me."

"And we both know that isn't true." the Cardinal laughed lightly.

"Can I maybe beg a word as an old friend on a personal matter?"

"Regarding Luke's relationship?"

"You might say so."

"Well I may be regarded as a Liberal in the Catholic Church, but homosexuality remains a theological minefield even for men of conscience such as ourselves."

"I remember you saying that when you were Bishop of Trier and I was a humble BAOR chaplain."


“So I turn to the simple question – what would our Lord have said,” the Bishop said quietly, “and he would have reminded both of us we cannot judge, and also that we are called to love all as he does.”


“Wise words,” Bishop Ordford said, “wise words...”



“There you are,” John said as he clapped Jack on the back, “I hear the fashion press is going wild over the photo of Juliette and Klaus.”


“I think I did good today,” Jack said with a smile as he sipped his drink, “and I’m not done yet.  Family group photographs to take.”


“Which he will take in good humour,” Luke said as they were joined by Antonio and Stephen.


“Jack, you will be remembered for today,” Stephen said, “so join me in a toast.  To memories.”



“A penny for your thoughts Guy?”


As he turned and smiled at Valeria, he said “I was looking at the gathered friends and guests, and admiring both the youth and the maturity.”


“And you are amongst the great houses as well.”


“An admirable lesson in humility for me, my dear,” he said as he kissed her.  “It reminds me that age and maturity come to all, regardless of where we start.”


“I see you are enjoying the occasion,” Natalia said as she and Willy joined them.


“Oh indeed,” Guy said with a smile, “and with our horse winning, we have double cause for celebration.  So allow me to charge your glasses.”


“And the toast?”


“To the young in body and at heart...”


“I will drink to that,” Willy said as Valeria and Natalya exchanged a glance.





“Well now,” Judy said as she and Bobbi sat with Carina, Jo and Abby, “how much do you want to get out of those dresses and into something else?”


“You have no idea – and thank you,” Abby said as Tony brought her a drink.  “But I love this gown – it really does fit like a glove.”


“Don’t say it,” Curt said as he looked at Tony.


“Say what?”


Curt merely raised an eyebrow as Jo laughed, and then said “I’m amazed Judith is still going – isn’t she tired?”


“Probably – but she wants to have as much fun as possible,” Carina said as she watched her daughter walking round the tables, holding Annie’s hand as she stopped to talk to some of the other guests.  “She’ll probably sleep in tomorrow instead.”


“So when are you guys heading back?”


“I’m staying out here with Annie and Judith for a few days – finish my work for my term paper – and then head back for the exams,” Carina said as she sipped her drink.


“We’re the same as you – heading back Monday, with tomorrow to recover,” Jo said.  “Got those end of year exams to get ready for.”


“So word is it’s Cooper Union for you next year, Abby?”


“It is – I get to spend my Junior year in France, and I get to learn about something i hope to use later.”


“So you can see yourself on the other side of the camera one day?”


“Who can say?  But I’m looking forward to the challenge.”





“Hello Alexandra.”


Sands turned round to see Erik van Manschen standing there.


“Hey Erik,” she said as Katy looked on, “did you enjoy today?”


“I did,” Erik said quietly, “you look very pretty in the cathedral.”


“Why thank you,” Sands said with a blush as George came over to join them.


“I was wondering if I may have the honour of the first dance with you,” Erik said as he looked at her.  Sands blushed again, smiled and said “I would be delighted.”  As she took his arm and they walked off, Katy whispered “we’re having the first dance right?”


“Oh yes,” George said quietly, “try and stop me.”




The guests slowly made their way back to where the dancing was to take place, lining the walls of the room as Frau Strecher walked up to where the small orchestra were standing.  She whispered into the ear of the tall blonde woman standing there, and then to the band leader, before the blonde said into the microphone “please, welcome to the dance floor Prince Klaus and Princess Juliette.”


As they came onto the floor to a round of applause, Jack and Luke watched with a smile as the band started to play a tune – a tune recognisable to all as Ute Lemper began to sing, and the couple began to dance.


“You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh...”


“A beautiful choice,” Diana said as they started to dance, everyone watching and cheering before Alex took Carina onto the dance floor, and John Ingrid.


As the song continued, more and more couples came on, Klaus looking round as he whispered “thank you for making this so special a day.”


“You made it very special for me as well,” Juliette said as they both kissed, and she then laid her head on his shoulder, smiling as she watched House pass by, holding Jeannie in his massive arms as well.




“Look at them lover,” Heather said as they watched George dance with Katy, and Erik with Sands, “they really are growing up, aren’t they?”


Sandy nodded, a tear in the corner of her eye as she watched them cross the floor.  “Yeah,” she said quietly, “they are, aren’t they?”


“I think we managed to raise two great kids there, despite everything,” George Senior said as he came over to join them, holding Jennifer in his arms. 


“Well, I think so too,” Sandy said with a smile.  “Are you enjoying yourself Jennifer?”


“Yes – can we dance daddy?”


“Of course we can my angel,” George said as he put her on the floor, then held her hands as they danced away.



"So,”Judy said as they watched, “Prom Queen Abs?”


"I hope not Judy,” Abby said quietly, “it would be nice if it was one of the other girls."

"And who else in your class is as beautiful as you?" Bobbi asked.

"Oh there are several girls...and most of them have been far more involved in school life then me."

"I don't know trainer with the running teams, yearbook committee...  It's not like you haven't participated Abs."

"Thanks Bobbi,” Abbi said, “but just for once I'd rather not win."

"Is that the old Stick I hear?" Judy laughed.

"No...I just don't want to be seen as a big-head."

"Abby dearest, trust me you won't be." Carina hugged her oldest friend as she came over.


“Well, we’ll have to see,” Abby said as she looked over.


“Anyway – what about the end of year stunt?”


“No comment...”




“Blue team, what is the situation outside?”


“All in order, Boss, nothing to report...”


Caroline suddenly turned round to see Dan standing there.


"I think it is time you stopped worrying about the security, and you danced with me." Dan smiled at Caroline.

"But...I...What if?"

"No questions...” Dan said as he took her hand, “it is time you relaxed.  Frau Strecher, Sigrid and your new assistant seem to have everything under control."

"Well I guess for a few minutes," Caroline said.  To her surprise, she felt herself relaxing as he led her by the hand onto the dance floor.

"You know,” Dan said as they moved off, “you work too hard."

"Oh like you don't Dan,” Carline laughed.  “I saw you deep in conversation with the German Minister of Sports."

"He's just an old friend..."

"Who happens to know a lot about the corruption in FIFA," Caroline interrupted.

"That is true, but no honestly 75% of what we said was talking about other, more personal, matters."

"And like a true diplomat, you lie beautifully Dan," Caroline smiled as they started to twirl across the floor.


“I see Dan and Mom are having fun,” Ama said as she sat with Maisha.


“But you wish Alex was here,” Maisha said quietly.


“True – I do, surprisingly.”


“Ladies – may we have this dance?”


“Of course,” Ama said as David and Tommy led them onto the floor.






"So how are arrangements going for Abigail's birthday party Mama?" Natasha asked as she sat with her and Guy.

"Very well my darling," Valeria smiled in reply.

"Well whatever I can do to help."

"Well, you can maybe write me out a complete list of her American friends that I should invite."

"I'll ask Diana to help me.  We should be able to, as they say, pull it together."

"What about her friends in the fashion world?" Willy arrived bearing drinks.

"Miss Auerbach is preparing me a list."

"Well she will know who her friends are certainly.  Although I suspect many are here today..."




"Can anyone tell me what has possessed CS to have its award show in Sydney this year?" Severine Pascal asked.

"I know Brick," Jeannie rolled her eyes, "I for one am not looking forward to those flights."

"It's not too bad...I was there a few weeks ago," Marnie Paget spoke quietly. "The city is amazing, and I barely got any jet lag."

"Well I'm bound to get it Maureen." Jeannie shook her head.

"Are you ladies talking shop again?" Winston broke up the conversation.


“We were discussing doing the round the world in June after Abby’s party,” Jeannie said.  “Complete Style have decided to do their award show there this year.”


“I know – Mary Thomas corralled me today to see if I was free.”


“And are you?”


“I think so – know for certain when we get back.”





“You are being unusually quiet Missy,” Mary Thomas said as they sat at a table.


“Well, Mary, that may be because for once I am truly, truly lost for words.  This has been a truly special...”


"Can I beg this dance Miss Auerbach?"


Mary and Fiona watched as Missy looked up at Dave Clarke, standing by the table.

"You certainly can Mr. Clarke," she said as she stood and followed him onto the dance floor, Fiona and Mary talking quietly.

"Just tell me if I tread on your toes too much...” Dave said with a shrug as they started to dance.  “I hadda couple of refresher lessons with House, but I never was much good at this sorta thing."

"You actually aren't too bad Dave,” Missy said as they danced round.  “I can tell you some true horror stories from events like this."

"You'll have to one day," he smiled, "do you go to a lot of these things?"

"A few..."

"Well I bet a whole lot more then a humble body-shop worker like me," Dave smiled again.

"Mary seems to be enjoying herself."

"Yeah,” Dave said as he looked over, “that singer guy is good on his feet."

"Most of them are. Comes with having a natural musical sense."

"I guess."

"I heard David got into Stanford?"

"He did, and boy was he pleased."

"Almost as pleased as you were I suspect Dave."

"Yeah, well, he's a bright kid, a good college like that he'll really make something of himself."


“Well, I am sure you still want the best for all the kids.”


“We both do – Mary and me.  That way we’re happy.”


“Will the others be dancing?”


“I’m told others are on it...”



“There you three are!”


Suzie, Vicky and Alice turned round as they saw Trina Culver standing there.


“Hey Trina – who do you have there?” Vicky said.


"Girls these are the Zetterling brothers, Eric, Ralf, and Hans, I know their sister and between she and I we have decided they are safe for you to dance with." Trina giggled as she looked at them.

"But we can't really dance," Susie looked panicked.



“Come – follow my lead,” Eric said as he took Suzie’s hand and led her onto the floor, his brothers following with the other two girls.






“I meant to ask,” Fergus said as he and Grace moved across the dance floor, “Grace Brand?”


“A very short lived marriage,” Grace said with a smile, “long forgotten now.  It kind of helps me split my careers – Grace Brand the teacher, and Grace Gresham the model.”


“And yet you are still the same girl at times.”


“Oh no – trust me Fergus, that Grace is not the woman you’re dancing with now.  I’ve changed a lot – hopefully for the better.”


“Well, you certainly look good.”


“So do you – is there a significant other, Mister MacLean?”


“Not at this stage – not for the lack of trying, mind you.”  Fergus looked over at the table where Pippa was sitting.  “Pippa hasn’t changed much either.”


“Oh she has – but she’s taking on an amazing new job now.”


“She still doesn’t like me very much, does she?”


“Oh she doesn’t dislike you – she’s just very cautious about some things at the moment.”





“I hope she’s not falling for him again,” Pippa said as she sat with Margaret.


“Oh?  He seems nice enough?”


“Well he is – but Grace always used to swoon so much around him, she didn’t see what else was happening.  When we were at the Abbey, she sneaked out a few times to see him in town, and we had to cover like crazy for her.”


“So she drops her guard?”


“Oh yeah – that’s when she could get hurt, and she’s had enough of that in her life.”


“Y’know, a year ago you would never have said that,” Maggie said with a smile.


“True – but that was a year ago...”







"So Dan enjoying yourself?" Will Fitzstuart asked the diplomat as they waited to be served at the bar.

"I am,” Dan said with a smile, “and yourself?"

"Oh yes.  It's always good to see so many old friends, and family members."

"I suppose it is.  I confess, it is a new experience for me, but still..."

"Just one tip,” Will said as he gave his order, “don't work too hard..."

Dan looked shocked as he said "now why does everyone assume I'm working?"

"Because they know that you political and diplomatic types love a good wedding, or good funeral, gives you a chance to chat 'informally' and out of the public gaze. Having a younger brother in the FO, I know just how you chaps behave at times like this."

"Well,” Dan said, “and Will this is a secret...  I am merely here to have a good time."

"Darling you are a HUGE liar," Mandy joined in, "I suppose that long chat with Guy duGrechy, who just happens to be on the board of the European Thoroughbred Breeders Association, had nothing to do with the new UN guidelines on horse illnesses and international movement?"

"No comment." Dan grinned.


“And the chat you had with the German football officials?”


“All right, we may have used the occasion to sound out on a few issues,” Dan said, “but I am not the only one.  After all, I am sure Missy has been doing some deals of her own this weekend as well.”


“I know the Three Witches have been trying to stop her,” Mandy said.


“The Three Witches?”


“Anna Mitchell, Fiona MacKenzie and Mary Thomas,” Will translated.  “But they failed, so yes, you have a point there.”


“I heard poor Mary Clarke has been asked by Il Maestro to do a shoot at very short notice in Prague next week,” Mandy said, “some of us need to educate her on what to expect...”






"Enjoying yourself Mum?" Kylie smiled, passing her mother a glass of ginger ale as she came off the dance floor.

"I am," she smiled as she paused to get her breath back, "but remind me not to accept a dance with him again."

"Oh why?"

Taking a sip, Samantha said "because Piet is too big, too good, and above all too fit, for the likes of me to dance with."

"What darling?"

"One waltz and I feel like I've run a bleeding' marafun."

"I should have warned you Sami." Maeve laughed. "He should carry a fitness warning."

"Yeah he should." Sami sipped her drink, "how does that little girlfriend of his keep up?"

"By being the type who runs marathons and climbs rockfaces Mum."


Sam looked over at Charlotte and nodded.  “Yeah  - you may be right Kyles...”




“Have you seen Mamma anywhere,” Abby asked Guy and Valeria as they at at a table.


“She was talking to Juliette and Klaus a moment ago,” Valeria said, before they heard a solo clarinet playing on the stage.


“That’s Mrs Craig,” Poppy said as she stood with Erica, “and I recognise the tune.  But why is she playing it?”


As if to answer, Ute Lemper came up to the microphone and started to sing.


“Falling in love again
Never wanted to
What am I to do?
Can't help it”


“Oh Goddess,” Sandy then whispered as Diana came up to another microphone, smiled and began to sing as well.


“Love's always been my game
Play it how I may
I was made that way
Can't help it


“Men cluster to me like moths around a flame
And if their wings burn, I know I'm not to blame”


“I didn’t know your mom could sing that well,” Doc whispered to Abby.


“I’ve heard her singing backup, but never the lead,” Abby whispered back as Diana continued.


“Falling in love again
Never wanted to
What am I to do?
Can't help it.”


She then stepped back as Ute came back to the microphone.


“Fallin' in love again
Never wanted to
What am I to do?
Can't help it


“Love's always been my game
Play it how I may
I was made that way
Can't help it


“Men cluster to me like moths around a flame
And if their wings burn, I know I'm not to blame”


Both women then harmonized as the crowd watched.


“Fallin' in love again
Never wanted to
What am I to do?
Can't help it


“Men cluster to me like moths around a flame
And if their wings burn, I know I'm not to blame


“Fallin' in love again
Never wanted to
What am I to do?
Can't help it...”


As they nodded to each other, the room burst into loud applause as Diana left the stage.


“Mamma that was amazing,” Abby said as she walked over and joined them.


“It has been some time since I did that – it felt right and good today,” Diana said with a smile as she sipped her drink.




"Would you gentlemen care to dance?"


David looked up in surprise as Katherine, Maeve, and Rose approached him and his brothers.

"Isn't this usually the other way round?" Jack grinned.

"Yes, but we decided you were taking too long to ask for your usual dance boys," Maeve giggled.


“Well then, how can we ignore such a request?  Gentlemen?”




"Did ya notice yon Dave Clarke dancin' wi a variety of ladies?" Fiona asked her friends.

"I did," Mary Thomas smiled, "and they seem to be enjoying his company as well?"

"Well Maddie is particularly safe bein' a lezzie."

"Fiona you need to update your terminology," Anna smiled. "Most lesbians would be very insulted by that."

"Ach well,” Fiona said as she shook her head, “Ahm gittin' old, ahm gittin' cranky...I have excuses not ta be politically correct."

"Whatever will we do with you?" Merlin shook her head.


“Give her another drink of course,” Anna said.





"Unca Jack, Unca Jack, picture please." Jack felt the little hand pulling at his pants leg and looked down.

"Picture?" he said as he smiled down at Judith.

"Me an' Jennifer dancing please."

"Okay," he smiled again, "where?"

"Over here," Judith led him to where Jennifer stood near her father.

"Alright," Jack pointed his camera as Judith held Jennifer's arms and they started to twist a little on the spot.

"I see our daughter is already asking other girls for dances," Carina whispered into Annie's ear.

"Yes," Annie grinned, "and don't they look adorable."


“They do,” Carina said as Annie gasped and held her back.


“A kick?” 


“Yeah – strong ones too.”


“Maybe we should tell them, Monster Momma?”


“No – i don’t want them worrying.  Not now.”


“Well, it’s your choice – let’s dance...”



“It has been such a long time since I have heard you sing, Cherie,” Guy said as he sat with Willy and Diana.


“I know – it made me think of Mama.”


“Ah yes – when she used to sing in the nightclubs, before I married her.”


“What was she like then,” Natasha said.


“Ah a raven haired chanteuse and beauty – she could command a room,” Guy said quietly.  “I still hear her sometimes, on quiet nights, singing quietly in the room.”


“And do you still sing back?”


“Sometimes,” Guy said as he looked round the room, seeing the generations dancing, talking, having fun, and then started to sing quietly.


“Thank heaven for little girls
for little girls get bigger every day!

Thank heaven for little girls
they grow up in the most delightful way!


“Those little eyes so helpless and appealing
one day will flash and send you crashin' thru the ceilin'


“Thank heaven for little girls
thank heaven for them all,
no matter where no matter who
for without them, what would little boys do?


“Thank heaven... thank heaven...
Thank heaven for little girls!”






"Can I claim this dance?" Jack said as he bowed slightly towards the Bishop's wife.

"You may Jack," Martha said as she stood up and allowed him to lead her onto the dance floor. "Taking a few minutes off from photographing people?"

"Letting your son try his luck," Jack chuckled, "he needs the experience."


"No not really,” Jack said as they waltzed round, “Luke has become a first rate professional in his own right now."

"I know,” Martha said.  “I saw the pictures he took in Vancouver...the character he has captured in those faces."

"I agree, it really was impressive, and I hope I don't sound big-headed when I say he has learnt his lessons from me very well."

"No you don't sound big-headed at at all Jack, he came to you knowing you would make him a better photographer." Martha smiled, "his falling in love with you was just a bonus for Luke."


“Oh it was a bonus for both of us,” Jack said as the music stopped and they applauded.








"We haven't had a chance to chat yet, but thank you for coming Tom," Klaus said as he shook the FBI's man hand.

"I wouldn't have missed it for the world Klaus...the one pity is that we didn't arrive till late last night, I'm told I missed a hell of a bachelor party."

"Well it wasn't too police were called."

"Unlike on the ladies night out," Gail kissed Klaus on the cheek, "I am TRULY sorry I missed that fight..."

"Uh Hmmm," her husband coughed.

"I mean party," Gail laughed softy.


“Well, I heard nothing about that,” Klaus said, “you may need to talk to the others.”


“Hello Gale,” Carina said as she came over, “I’m sorry we haven’t had a chance to speak yet.”


“Well you’ve been busy,” Gale said with a smile.  “You looked amazing today – you all did.”


Turning their backs to the menfolk, Carina whispered “and welcome to your ancestral home, cousin.”


“Thank you, cousin – it does feel strangely good to be here.”


“Will you be staying long?”


“For a few days – I persuaded her partner a holiday would be good at this time.”


“Excellent – I am sure we will have the opportunity to talk later.”







“Well now,” Mary said as David sat down next to her, “you seem to be enjoying yourself?”


“And you’re not?”


“Oh I never said that – I think we all are.  I mean, look at Pops.”


Mary smiled as she watched her father dancing with Maddie.  “Yeah – it’s been a heck of a long time since I’ve seen him this relaxed.  Come to think of it, we’re all so relaxed – how did that happen Mary?”


“I think,” Mary said with a smile, “because I know some of them as people rather than their titles.  So we treat their friends in the same way, and – well, it grows from there.”




Mary smiled as Trina Culver sat next to her.


“You’re finally getting it Mary – good for you.”


“I get there in the end, Trina,” Mary said with a smile as Abby and Angel walked over.


“We hear on the grapevine Il Maestro had hired you for next week Mary.”


“Antonio Bell?  You go girl.”


“We need to cue you in on a few things with Missy – a crash course on working with him, if you’ve got the time.”


“I guess work does come in sometimes – find me if I don’t return in half an hour,” Mary said as she walked off with them.


“Listen – Sally asked me if I had heard about your application, so I passed on the good news to her.  I hope you don’t mind.”


“Not at all,” David said, “I tried to call her, but she wasn’t at home.”


“Yeah – her parents dragged her off to a surprise holiday.”  Trina looked at the young man, and said “you really are cute on her, aren’t you?”


“Well, she’s a nice kid...”


“Oh you are sweet on her,” Trina said with a smile as she shook her head.


“Trina – got a minute?”


“Of course Jo,” Trina said as she turned to look at the blonde, who was standing with a smaller woman with reddish blonde hair.


“Abby asked if I’d introduce you two.  Trina, this is Charlotte Gordon.  Charlotte, Trina Culver.”


“Hey,” Trina said as they sat down, “so what do you do for a living?”


“Well, I’m the IT chief at Xavier International...  You’re not from the Culver Mining dynasty, are you?”


“Dammit, you discovered my secret,” Trina said with a smile.  “Why – do you know something of jewels?”


“My late father was a mining engineer – I grew up in southern Africa with him going round the fields there.”


“Oh my...  You don’t mean Donald Gordon, do you?  There are some pictures at home of my father and him at a conference.”


“Yeah, that’s him – but he’s been dead for a few years now, so...”


“Well, I’ll be sure to pass on that I met you.  Do you know the big guy over there with Grace Gresham?”


“Uncle Fergus?  Yeah, I know him.”


“I’ve seen him in some photos as well,” Trina said.  “I’ll need to ask Dad about him as well...”



“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Ute said at the microphone, “we have a special event for you now.  Please welcome to the stage Sigrid von Manschen.”


The guests applauded as Sigi came forward, and said “well, since others have sung today, and we have one of the greatest exponents of Brecht and Weill here entertaining us today, I could not pass on the opportunity of singing one of my favourite songs of theirs.


“But I am not the only one who wishes to share in this.  Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome to the dance floor Helen York.”


As they clapped, Helen came out, now wearing a red jumper and a long black skirt, split to her hip at one side.  A pair of black high heels completed the outfit.


“I presume Helen is going to dance,” Marina said as she sat with Penny.


“Oh yes – I’ve seen her rehearse,” Penny said as the music started.


“Isn’t that Mack the Knife,” Sam asked as she sat with Kylie.  “It sounds different that way.”


“If Sigi is singing with Ute, darlings,” Kylie said with a smile, “then that means...”


“Und der Haifisch, der hat Zähne
Und die trägt er im Gesicht
Und MacHeath, der hat ein Messer
Doch das Messer sieht man nicht”


Helen started to dance round the room, her steps deliberate, almost angular, as the singing continued.

“An 'nem schönen blauen Sonntag
Liegt ein toter Mann am Strand
Und ein Mensch geht um die Ecke,
Den man Mackie Messer nennt

“Und Schmul Meier bleibt verschwunden
Und so mancher reiche Mann
Und sein Geld hat Mackie Messer
Dem man nichts beweisen kann”


Helen danced and swayed, smiling as she brushed against some of the men, and arching her back as she moved with true grace and fluidity.


“Do you know what truly amazes me,” Shirley said quietly to Maddie, “she uses the same grace and speed in her work for us, but here it is to add to the entertainment of the song.  For us, it is for a far more sinister purpose.”


Maddie nodded as the singing and dance continued, Sigi and Ute harmonizing,

“Jenny Towler ward gefunden
Mit 'nem Messer in der Brust
Und am Kai geht Mackie Messer,
Der von allem nichts gewußt

“Und die minderjährige Witwe
Deren Namen jeder weiß
Wachte auf und war geschändet
Mackie welches war dein Preis?

“Und die einen sind im Dunkeln
Und die anderen sind im Licht
Doch man sieht nur die im Lichte
Die im Dunklen sieht man nicht

“Doch man sieht nur die im Lichte
Die im Dunklen sieht man nicht!”


The cheers as Sigi and Helen bowed filled the room, before they both moved off and the band started playing again.




“Juliette, my love, would you come with me for a moment please,” Klaus said as he took his wife by the arm, and walked her to a side room.


“It’s not time to leave already is it,” Juliette said with a smile.


“No, no – but there is something I wanted you to see,” he said as they entered the doors, to find Frau Strecher waiting for her.  “Is everything ready?”


“It is, your highness,” the steward said, “we merely await the arrival of – ah, here she is.”


“Sorry – needed to do something,” Sigi said as she came in.  If you would do the honours, Frau Strecher?”


As she nodded and opened a second set of doors, Juliette walked in, her eyes widening as she saw the gifts laid carefully out around the inner room.  “Goddess,” she said quietly, “and these are all gifts to us?”


“Indeed,” Sigi said, “while you are away, we will ensure they are all catalogued and that thank yous are appropriately sent – save for the truly personal gifts.  We will leave them to you.”


“And those are?”


“On this table over here,” Frau Strecher said as they walked to where some gifts had been left, clearly labelled.  On the floor by it, resting on some wooden stakes, was a sherry barrel, Klaus bending and smiling as he read the words branded onto the side.


“We must be sure to thank Will for this in the appropriate way,” he said quietly as he looked at Juliette.  “Are you all right?”


“Yeah – yeah I really am,” Juliette said with a smile.  “Come on, let’s go back to the party.”




“And say something!”


Jack smiled as Emma and Steve stood either side of Anna, while the photo was taken.


“Excellent – you can go back now,” he said as they left the room, and he saw Luke bring in the final group.  “So, we a full group portrait here.  Can you and Nessa take a seat, Sandy, and then Orlanda and Heather on either side?”


“Are you sure you want me to be part of this group picture,” Orlanda said as she stood beside Nessa.


“Yes we do – you are as much a part of this family as any of us,” Heather said as Alex and George stood behind Sandy and Ness respectively, Little George and Sands sitting on the step in front of their mother and grandmother while Jennifer sat between them.


“If you can bunch up a little,” Jack said as Luke checked the lighting, and passed him the camera.  “And then look at me...”


George and Sands grinned as Jack took some photographs, and then said “wonderful – I’ll let you all see them next week.”


“Thanks Jack,” George said, “I want to make sure Jennifer’s grandparents get a copy as well.”


“I’ll sort it with you later,” Jack said as he looked to the door.  “Kylie, my angel, what can I do for you?”


“Jack, darling, I was wondering if we could avail ourselves of your offer?”


“Of course – what do you want?”


As Kylie came in, Jack smiled as she was accompanied by Marina, Susan, Clint, Rose, Meave, April and Samantha.


“Two pictures actually if we can do so – one for Susan, and one for me, Marina and Samantha.”


“But of course – who would like to go first?”




Mary looked over, smiling as her three sisters danced again with the younger boys, and enjoying themselves at the same time.  That made her happy as well, to see her family so happy...


"My brothers seem to be having fun dancing with your sisters."


Mary looked round to see a very tall, obviously Scandinavian, blonde behind her.  "Yes they do," she smiled, "You must be Yeli Zetterling?"

"I am,” she said as Mary stood and shook her hand, “and you are Mary Clarke."

"Guilty as charged." Mary giggled.

"You know I was working with Dimitri in Helsinki last week,” Yeli said as they sat down, “and he was singing your praises to the roof."

"He was being too kind," Mary said with a blush.


"Nonsense...I've seen the pictures from St Petersburg, they were incredible."

"Well thank you for saying so."

"We are working together in Prague I hear next week?"

"Well subject to contracts, but yes, and I'm looking forward to working with Antonio Bell...Is he really as difficult as people say though?"

"I don't know, this is my first time as well."


“Stick and Kit took me to one side, basically said to do as he says, and he’s not as demanding as Adam Cabot.  But he can be – a little tempremental.”


“Hey Mary – Jack was wondering if we could round up the Clarkes for a family photo?”


Both girls looked at Luke and smiled.




“Luke – Il Maestro.”


“Antonio,” Luke said as he glanced to where Antonio was sitting with Mandy and the family.  “What do you need to know?”


“Are the stories true?”


“Let me tell you the secret to working with Antonio...”





“Ladies and gentlemen, we have another treat for you tonight.  Please welcome to the stage Emma Cromwell, Nessa Richmond and Mick Harran.”


“All right, this is one of those things that seemed a good idea at the time,” Mick said, “but Alex told us that this was one of Juliette’s all time favourites songs, so this is for her.”


“What are they talking about,” Carina said as she stood with her mother, and then heard the music as Mick played the guitar.


“You have got to be kidding...”  Sandy watched as Nessa started singing.


“Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Little Jackie paper loved that rascal Puff
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff oh”


Emma and Mick joined in as they sang “Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee”


Emma smiled as she continued “Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on Puff's gigantic tail
Noble kings and princes would bow whene'er they came
Pirate ships would lower their flag when Puff roared out his name oh”


Nessa and Mick then sang with her the chorus, Juliette starting to cry a little as Mick took over.

“A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar

“His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane
Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave oh


“Sing along,” Emma said as everyone joined in the chorus.

“Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee”


“Thank you,” Juliette whispered as Klaus put his arm round her shoulders.  He then whispered into her ear, before the two of them slipped quietly out.




"So are arrangements coming along for April's first birthday party Susan?" Carina asked as she wandered up to her friend.

"They are...” Susan said as she looked round.  “We are just going to have a group of the little ones she plays with at nursery and her friends from our group, plus their Mothers, over to the apartment."

"Sounds perfect...and the catering?"

"Well it won't be 'her' cooking." Rose laughed and sat down as one of the servants brought her a fresh cup of tea.

"So Clint?"

"No,” Susan said, “my darling hubby is excused duty, her grandmothers are going to share the catering."

"That we are," Rose sipped her tea.

"Clint's going to take his dad out to the track and show him his 'other baby'."

"Gotcha," Carina smiled.  “so a real family birthday.”


“That’s right – and you and Judith are coming, right?”


“Oh yes,” Carina said with a smile.

"Did I just hear you'll be in New York Rose?" Alice called out.

"I will, I fly in with them tomorrow - why?"

"I have a tentative order to make the Princess de Borbon's wedding dress...”  Alice sat down and said “if I can arrange it, can you sit in on the meeting with her?"

"Wot? ME?" Rose looked flummoxed.

"Yes you, I can't talk embroidery if I don't know what my star seamstress says...can I?"

"Well I'd hardly..."

"She'll be there if I have to drag her myself Alice." Susan smiled broadly.

"Well I bleedin' never."  Rose looked up as she sipped from her cup again, "I might need a REAL drink. First a queen asks me can I repair old lace for her, now I'm goin' to the design meeting for a Princess’ wedding dress."

"Well it's long overdue success." Susan hugged her Mum and smiled.

"And on that 'real' drink?" Carina asked.

"No...No, It seems I can get happy on tea.” Rose smiled as she fully absorbed what had happened.


“And there is another advantage – John will be around.”


“Yeah, there is that...”





“There you three are,” Tom and Laura said as John, Eve and Aileen sat down.  “We haven’t seen you since the dancing started.”


“Well, I had to fulfil a number of dance requests,” John said as he sat down and stretched his legs, “and then I got into a discussion with someone called the House and a friend of Jo’s about American football and rugby.”


“While Aileen and I have been dancing with princes and pop stars,” Eve said with a smile, “and also talking to Ama and Jo, catching up with them about things.”


“Ah good – I managed to get all of you at the same time?”


“It’s Patricia van Roon, isn’t it,” Paula said as they kissed each other.  “What can we do for you?”


“You can accept these,” Pussy said as she handed Tom four white envelopes.  He passed them to Paula, who saw “Christine Mahan-Gaunt” printed in black italics on the front.


“One for each of you as well,” she said as she looked at the other three.  Eve took hers and opened it.


“Nikki’s Sweet Sixteenth?”


“That’s right – two weeks today at my parent’s place in New York.  We hope you can all attend.”


“A trip to New York,” Aileen said, “sounds like fun.  What’s the theme?”


“Grease will be the word...”





"Ama can I have that dance you promised me please?" Fergus asked as he came over.

"You certainly can," Ama stood up, "but first can I present a friend of mine from school?"


"Well this is Erica...the BIG brain of the freshman class, and her mother."

"It's a pleasure to meet you." Fergus kissed both mother and daughter on the cheek. "And how do you know Juliette?"

"Oh we run with the same social crowd," Denice smiled. "I also work with the RCM racing team."

"My Mom is an engineer." Erica spoke proudly.

"Well not quite, but one day I will be I hope."


“Oh don’t put yourself down Mom,” Erica said as Fergus took Ama onto the dance floor.




“There you go,” Mick said as he handed Nell a drink, and they looked over the room.


"Who are those men practically undressing my sister with every glance?" Nell asked Mick.

"No one I know,” he said, “but judging by those slight bulges under their arm pits I'm willing to say security services."

"Well don't they know they are on duty?"

"Doesn't Ally know she's leading them on?" Mick laughed as Ally made a whole production out of bending over to retrieve a napkin.

"If you ever see me being THAT obvious...KICK ME PLEASE Michael Treharran." Nell shook her head.


“You have a deal,” he said as he looked to where Fi was sitting talking to a young man.  “Any idea who that is?”


“Some cousin of Sigi I think...”



"Is she enjoying herself?" Henri asked as he danced with Alexis.

"Who - Janine?"


"She is...she feels almost like a princess herself she says."


"No cross words with..."

"No your ex has behaved herself impeccably."

"Well I'm happy then," Henri relaxed. "Jeanne too is enjoying herself."

"That she is...well as far as she can."

"I know," Henri shook his head, "me a grandfather."

"You'll be perfect at it." Alexis smiled.





"Okay I just got the message...he got them at the auction." Heather whispered in Elaine Colman's ear.

"Oh that makes today PERFECT", Elaine's eyes danced.

"Well they didn't go cheap, but yes you are now the proud owner both of an authentic Pink Ladies and an authentic T Birds jacket from the movie Elaine."

"WONDERFUL! and thank you for getting your friend to bid for us Heather."

"Well it's a little out of his usual line, but we are good customers of Andrew's furniture restoration business."


“Now we can really get things started...”




“Excuse me.”


Fi turned and looked through her glasses at the small, brown haired girl in the strapless dress who was standing beside her.


“I don’t think I’ve ever had the...”


“Get your fingers out of my boyfriend.”


“Can we take a step back please?  Hi I’m Fiona Treharran.  And you are?”


“The girlfriend of the guy you are chatting up,” the brown haired girl said as she looked at them.


“Tanya, I promise you, Fiona is not doing that.  My sister attends her school.  And besides...”


“Tanya,” Fiona said as she looked at the other girl through her glasses, “I assure you, the furthest thing from my mind is stealing him from you...”




Fiona quietly stood up, and looked at Tanya before she said “There is a very good reason why I would never, ever steal a man from another woman.  A woman from another woman, well that’s a ...”


She was cut short by the slap of Tanya’s hand on her cheek, as Nell and Mick walked quickly over from one side, and Angel and Abby from the other.


“Well now,” Fiona said as she rubbed her cheek, “that was a little uncalled for.  Where do you go to school?”




“Because, if you went as I did to Roedean, you would know what’s coming next.  But first, let me let you into a secret.”


“And that is?”


Fiona grabbed Tanya’s hair and pulled her hair back, before whispering “I’m a lesbian, you stupid little girl.  Now, if you want to fight, fine, but I think you’d rather apologise and walk away with your boyfriend – right?”


Tanya looked at Fiona and nodded as she was released, and walked off with her boyfriend.




“Relax, Angel – I wasn’t going to hurt her.  She made an honest mistake.”


“Still, sis...”


“Seriously, Michael – would I really create a scene here?  No way...”





"So you are both doing some publicity for the new film while you are in Europe?" Adam Ball said as he sat talking with Cassandra Stone and her husband.

"Yes...the BORING part of the whole process," Cassie moaned. "Always just the same questions...I give the same answers..."

"Just they are in all different languages." Rick interrupted. "We both loath doing publicity, but well it is necessary."


“So what sort of reaction have you had?”


“Interesting in a boring way – why pick this subject?  How did you research the role?  Why are you keeping the cast under wraps?”


“What Rick’s not saying,” Cassie said with a smile, “is that the reaction to that first teaser trailer has been overwhelming.”


“One thing you need to know,” Rick said, “we’ve been in touch with the families that have – well, survived meeting them, and offered them the chance to see the film before anyone else.”


“Did anyone take you up on it?”


“One or two have seen an early cut – all they will say is we captured something of their terror.”


“Well, I guess I’ll let you know when we see it at the premiere,” Adam said as Emma came over.  “Hey Emma – you know you three reduced Juliette to tears?”


“So I’ve been told,” Emma said, “not our intention, I assure you.  Listen, I wanted to let you know I’ve talked to the girls, and we like the current draft.  We only had a couple of suggestions.”


“I saw them, and they’re good ones.  Did you look at the casting suggestions?”


Emma smiled.  “Seriously?  Renee playing me?”


“Well, she can sing, you know that – but I take the point.  She’s a bit old now anyway.   Who would you see?”


“My dream?  Hayden Panettiere.”


“Interesting thought,” Cassie said, “very interesting thought...”


“On the other hand, we’ve signed a deal to reissue some of our albums, and we’re certainly up for a publicity tour...”









“Hey Ingy – can I drag you away from Adam for a few minutes?”


“If you must,” Ingrid said, “what’s up?”


“Have you seen Mom and Pops anywhere?”


“Aren’t they still danc...  AUNT SIGI!”


“You hollered,” Sigi said as she came over.


“Where are they?”


“Well, it’s funny you should say that,” Sigrid said with a smile, “I think you need to spread the word...”





Klaus looked at himself in the mirror, adjusting the knot of his tie so that it sat centrally under the tips of his collar, and then smiled as he heard Juliette say “you really are a handsome man, you know that?”


“Not just in a uniform then?”


“No, not just in a uniform,” Juliette said as he turned and looked at her.  She was wearing a pale cream jacket and knee length skirt over a pale yellow camisole top, and matching shoes.  Walking over, she brushed a thread from his shirt and said “so, what chance of a quiet getaway?”


“With Sigi involved?  Absolutely none.  And doubly so with Frau Strecher in charge.”


“I guess not – so, what happens now?”


“Well, I understand there is a jet waiting to take us somewhere very warm, and very private for two weeks, and then back here for that fashion shoot before you return to New York.”


“Hmm – sounds fun,” Juliette said before they kissed, and then looked to the door as they heard the tap.




“Forgive the interruption, your highnesses,” Frau Strecher said as she opened the door, “but the car is ready.  The cases have already been loaded, and it is time for you to leave.”




“Not a chance,” Carina said as Judith came in, her arms up as Juliette picked her up.


“Have a nice twip, Grammy,” she said as she hugged Juliette, and then Klaus, while Ingrid and Sigi stood in the doorway.


“All right – what’s waiting for us down there?”


“My advice,” Carina said as she took Judith, “is to just come and endure it.”


“Well then.” Klaus said as he slipped on his jacket, and Juliette picked up her purse, “shall we?”




As they walked down the stairs, Juliette could see the staff lined up in the hallway, smiling and nodding as they stood and waited while Frau Strecher took her place with them.


“My friends,” Klaus said as they stopped at the bottom of the stairs, “I wanted to thank you all for everything you have done to make this the most special of days for me and Juliette, and for looking after our guests so well.  And to say thanks, we have something for you.  Sigrid?”


As Sigi came forward with a box, Klaus opened it, he and Juliette opening it and handing out smaller boxes to each of the staff.  As Frau Strecher opened hers, she saw the silver plate, engraved with the date and “in thanks for your help at our special day – Prince Klaus and Princess Juliette.”


“On behalf of the staff, thank you, Your Serene Highnesses,” Frau Strecher said as she and the staff bowed formally.


“And now,” Carina said as she and Juliette opened the doors, “to say goodbye to the others.”


“Ladies and Gentlemen,” John said as they walked in, “please welcome back Klaus and Juliette.”


“We know you have to leave soon,” Shirley said as she came forward, John joining her, “but we all want to wish you Bon Voyage, and to say our own goodbyes.”


“We know,” Juliette said, “and we could not go without saying goodbye and thank you to you all.  And we wanted to thank you for allowing us to use your jet.”


“It is the least I could do,” Shirley said as she kissed Juliette and Klaus, ”I hope you have an amazing time.”


“Make sure you take good care of her,” John said as he shook Klaus’ hand.


“I intend to my friend,” Klaus said as he clasped John’s hand in both of his, “and thank you as well.”


Juliette walked over to where Missy was standing with Alice, Karen and Mandy.


“Make sure he spoils you rotten,” Alice said as they hugged and kissed.


“And when we meet in two weeks, have plenty of tales,” Karen said.


“As well as a ridiculous tan, darling,” Mandy added with a smile.


“And all over,” Pru Stratton said as they embraced, “I will know.”




“Any plans to follow our example,” Jerry said as he and Klaus shook hands.


“No comment, but the opportunity will be there,” Klaus said with a smile.


“Don’t go giving him any more ideas,” Tom said as they shook hands as well.  “Although if they have oysters at this place...”




“Mother thank you for being here today,” Juliette said as she hugged Linda.


“I was delighted to be invited – and thank you.  Have a wonderful time.”


Juliette then smiled as she walked over to Nessa and Alex.


“Alex, I could not have asked for a better escort today – and Nessa, I thought you were wonderful tonight.”


“You were the true star today – well, apart from Judith,” Nessa said, “but I am so happy you have finally done this.”


“And so say all of us,” Pussy said as she, Paulie, Tracey and Liz hugged and kissed her.




“We slipped a little something onto the plane for you to celebrate with,” Augie said as he and Gus both slapped Klaus on the back, “try not to drink it all at once.”


“Although I am sure you will find something else to do,” Stephen Stone said as he shook Klaus’ hand, Tom and Rick joining him.


“Well, we may find a way to pass the time...”



“Sláinte na bhfear agus go maire na mná go deom” Eve said as she embraced Juliette, Paula and Cassie following suit.  As Cassie hugged her, she whispered “and may the Goddess look over both of you.”


“Thank you,” Juliette said with a smile as she went over to Sandy, who was standing with Heather and Jo.


“Well, you finally went and did it,” Sandy said with a smile, “and I could not be happier for both of you.  Thanks for letting us be part of it.”


“I could never have done this without you – all of you,” Juliette said as she kissed all three of them.  “Given you any ideas?”


“Oh no – we’re happy the way we are,” Heather said, “although Jo may fight for the bouquet.”


“Oh no – not this time,” Jo said with a smile, “but thanks for letting me support you – it meant I finally got to do something for you instead of you for me.”


“I’ll see you all soon – and look after each other,” Juliette said with a smile as she moved on.




“You are a very lucky man,” George said as he shook the hand, “I wish all happiness to both of you.”


“What he said,” Dieter said as he embraced Klaus, “now go and have fun – both of you.”



“Diana,” Juliette said as she held her oldest friend’s hands, “it has been a long time coming.”


“It has indeed,” Diana said with a smile, “but I for one am overjoyed the day finally came.”


“As are we,” Valeria and Natasha said as they embraced her.  “Love has truly found a way here.”


“As it always does,” Juliette did as she hugged Abby.  “I will see you all soon, and I want you all to keep safe until then.”


“Of course we will – relax and enjoy your time away.”


“I intend to,” Juliette said as she smiled.




“Klaus, may your journey be pleasant, and your life long,” Guy said as they clasped hands.


“Thank you – and thank you Rudi for coming today.”


“I was here the first time – of course I would be here to see you in blissful wedlock once again,” Rudi said with a smile.




“So when shall we three meet again,” Juliette said as she hugged Mary, Fiona and Anna.


“When you get back, ye daft lass,” Mary said, “but enjoy your honeymoon.  We’ll muddle along until you get back.  Anyway, Fiona will see you first.”


Juliette smiled as she moved on to Catherine.


“May your tomorrows be as blessed as your yesterdays,” Catherine said as they embraced.


“And may you receive all the blessings you deserve,” Juliette said as they hugged.  “Helen, Marina, take care of her.”


“We will do,” they both said quietly, “as will Kylie, if she has any spare time for the next month.”


“I expect to hear good things of you,” Juliette said as she hugged Kylie, “on all counts.  Enjoy your time with your mother.”


“I will darling – and thank you again,” Kylie said with a smile.


“Juliette, my love...”



“Ladies and Gentlemen,” John said as the servants came round with trays, “before they leave us, join with me in a last toast to wish them a safe journey as they start their married life together.”


He waited until Klaus and Juliette were given their glasses, before raising his and saying “Bon Voyage, Klaus and Juliette.”


“Bon Voyage,” the reply came back as everyone raised their glasses and toasted them, the happy couple doing likewise.


“And now,” Sigi said as Judith carried in Juliette’s bouquet, “it is time to find out who will be next.”


“All right then,” Juliette said as the single women formed a group behind her, everyone else stepping back to the sides of the room, “whoever catches this, if they are half as fortunate as I am, they are indeed blessed.  Ready?”


“So who will it be darlings,” Mandy said as she and the other women and the men watched, Juliette turning her back and then sending the bouquet spinning over her shoulder.  It flew through the air, everyone holding their breath as it came into the crowd and...


Alexis cheered and clapped as Janine caught the bouquet, blushing slightly as Jeanne laughed next to her father.


“Right – and on the note, we have to go,” Klaus said as he and Juliette headed for the car, the group following and throwing confetti as they walked outside and down to the waiting limousine.  Juliette shook her head and smiled as they both turned and waved to the group, and then got into the back of the car as the chauffer held the door open.


Klaus then got in beside her as the window was dropped, both looking out, smiling and waving as the chauffer got behind the wheel, and the car moved off.  As the gates swung open, the waiting photographers tried to take pictures, but they moved smoothly away as the police kept them back.


“I have my instructions, Your Highness,” the chauffer said, “and the jet is ready.”


“So, are you finally going to tell me where we are going,” Juliette said as she sat back.


“Somewhere warm and very, VERY private,” Klaus said, “I hope you packed your swimsuits...”




“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Sigi said as they went back in, “although the happy couple have gone, please enjoy the rest of the evening – I intend to.”


“Let’s PAR-TAY!” Ally called out as the band started to play again.


“Tired momma,” Judith said as she yawned.


“Yeah – come on, let’s take you up to your bed,” Carina said as she held her daughter in one arm, and took Annie’s hand with her free one.









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