‘tis the Season – part 3







1 pm GMT

Xavier International


“Come,” Shirley said as Lily walked into her fifth floor office.


“As promised, Madame, the file on Sami Mitchell,” she said as she laid a folder on the desk.


“Excellent – and the Janet and John version?”


“She is heading to New York – tomorrow, as I reported yesterday.  Tracy and Bev will report here at nine tomorrow morning for make up, clothing and briefing.  The new man in her life does indeed seem to be the controlling factor in all this – the details are inside.”


“Your thoughts?”


“We must protect Kylie at all costs – the transformation in her has been amazing, and we cannot afford to allow that to be stopped.  On the other hand, she is her mother.”


“And on the other other hand, we have a legal agreement she is flaunting.”  Shirley sat down and looked through the file, before she said “very well – I shall be back in New York by Noon tomorrow.  I’ll call Susan and get her and Clint to meet us at the airport, and we will talk after that.”


Sitting down, Lily said “It would be so much easier of we could scare her off.”


“I agree,” Shirley said, “but I do not think, glancing at this, the problem is her.  I think the problem is him, and until we see him face to face, we cannot act in the appropriate manner.”


9 am

The Farm




Annie walked over to the window, looking out before she put the gun down and walked back to the table.


“It’s Momma,” she said as she gave Judith her cup, “let’s get ready to give her a big kiss when she comes in.”


Judith nodded as she turned and looked at the door, clapping as Juliette led the ladies in.


“That was – AMAZING,” Carrie said as she pulled her wig off, and walked over, kissing Annie and Judith before she flopped into a chair.


“I take it you were successful,” Annie said as Jo closed the door.


“Oh yes – most successful.  Cathy?”


“She’ll be arriving in an hour – Shirley also phoned.  They’ve taken off, and will be back in New York by about three.”


“All right then,” Juliette said, “everyone changed, outfits into the black bags.  We’ll eat and then head back to the city.  How are you little one?”


“Good – Gramma want drink?”


“Oh yes – just let me change first little one.”




“That’s better,” Jo said as she pushed her plate away, “I needed that.”


“Must be all that healthy exercise,” Abby said with a grin.


“Just what did you do to him anyway?”


“Let me put it this way,” Abby said, “you would have enjoyed it.”


“That’s my girls,” Cari said with a grin as they heard a car pull up.  Annie went to the window, and then nodded as Cathy came in.


“Ladies – I trust you had a good night?”


“We did,” Diana said as she wiped her chin and stood up.  “If one of you can give Abigail a lift back, I’ll drive the van and follow Cathy to the rendezvous.”


“I’ll take her back,” Jo said as she finished her coffee.


3.30 pm GMT

The Savoy Hotel


The waiting staff moved with quiet ease and practice round the tearooms, as Rose and Maeve sat with Barbara, the three women wearing dresses as the waitress poured the hot brown liquid into the cups.


"I have to say it’s rather nice of you to invite us to tea at the Savoy Barbara." Maeve said as she put the bone china cup to her lips.

"Well,” Barbara said as she smiled, “with my daughter in tow it can be hard getting out of the hotel."

"We saw the paparazzi outside." Rose nodded as she tried an egg and cress sandwich.  “It must be terrible.”

"Are you talking about the bane of my life?" Jeannie spoke as she wheeled herself to the table.

"We were Jeannie, I just don't know how you can put up with it?"

Jeannie took a sip from her tea and picked up an éclair.  "In New York I rarely get bothered Maeve, but honestly coming home gets worse every time I do it."

"Well your commercials are on the telly all the time." Rose picked up another sandwich. "You know I could learn to put up with these sandwiches and the tea...Oh Christ is that who I think it is coming over?"

"Hello Princess." Graham Norton said as he kissed Jeannie, "so it was you rather then my humble self all those photographers outside were looking to shoot."

"Guilty as charged, O maker of stars,” Jeannie said with a smile.

"Oh now would I say that?" the Irishman said with a twinkle in his eye. "Hello Barbara," he kissed her as well. "How are you?"

"As ever on these flying visits Graham, completely tired out."

"I know what you mean, I just got back from 48 hours in Moscow."

"Any trouble?" Jeannie asked.

"For me personally?  Well then no, but a couple of my staffers out with a couple of local boys got harassed."

"If it wasn't that I know so many wonderful Russians personally, I might boycott the place for this erosion of gay rights." Jeannie shook her head.

"Well it happens...Sadly." he shook his head. "Anyway on more pleasant subjects who are these delightful ladies?"

"This is Maeve, and Rose," Barbara made the introduction. "They are the aunt and mother of a friend of mine."

"Well it's a pleasure to meet you ladies."

"Oh getaway with you." Rose laughed, "neither of us is a celebrity."

"And rather glad of it too." Maeve added.

"Oh dear God, do I detect home...You are from Cork as well?"

"So our birth certificates say." Rose giggled.


“Well, I won’t keep you from the talk any longer – Jeannie, I will see you at the studio tomorrow.”


“Looking forward to it Graham – who else will be on?”


“Wait and see Baby, wait and see,” Graham said as he waved and walked off.


“Remind me to set the recorder for that,” Maeve said with a smile.


“When do you go over?”


“Tuesday – did you see Kylie and Marina before you came over?”


“I did,” Jeannie said, “we went skiing, and they tried snowboarding with Susan.  I’m sure they’re looking forward to seeing you as well.”







11 am

Central Park West


Jan looked over at Adam as he took out his cell phone.


“Tom?  Tell me this is a social call...”


“Yeah – yeah I got that.  What do we know?”


“Oh god.”


Jan could see Adam blanch slightly as he said “Yeah, we’ll head down there now, then report back to you.”




“The bitches are back,” he said quietly as he grabbed his jacket.  “Get your stuff Jan.”




“Newburgh – and it’s a big job.  A nasty one too?”


“How many this time?”


“The seven – and they upped the ante a little,” Adam said as Katy came in.


“Going out?”


“Work,” Jan said, “will you be all right until Gran gets back from chapel?”


“Sure,” Katy said as Adam went down, and Jan pulled her coat on.  “Is it what I think it is?”


“Yeah – I knew they were doing something last night, now to find out what...”


As she ran out and jumped into Adam’s car, she said “how bad?”


“Well – three dead at the depot they raided, the wife of the manager in a catatonic state, and you do not want to know about the injuries to her and her daughters – and the son shot dead at the family home.  Tom would only say they whipped him.”


“Whipped him?”


“Between his legs – let’s go...”



1 pm



“Okay Officer, walk me through it,” Jan said as she and Adam looked at the vault.


“Best we could get out of Bolivar’s daughters, they took over the house at just after nine last night, tied them all up, and – well, the nicest thing they did was make them suck off her brother and father.”


“I take it it went downhill from there?”


“I’ll let you read the reports – what they did to the son...”


“I saw the SOCO report.  So when did they get here?”


“About six.  Killed the gate guard, then rounded up the staff – killing two more who tried to fight back.  Trussed the others up, and – well, it speaks for itself.”




“Alarms disabled, tapes wiped for the last twenty four hours.  SOCO here are trying, but...”


“Let me guess,” Jan said, “no prints, any evidence from the guns used is going to be minimal, no forensics at the home, the clothes will disappear, the transport vanish into thin air...”


“Sounds like situation normal for this lot.”


“Save the wisecracks for another time,” Adam said quietly, “how many?”


“Seven – the codenames the daughters heard match the group.”


"So how much did the thieving bitches get this time?" Adam asked.

"They are still adding up,” the officer said, “but it’s safely over One Hundred Million..."

"Dear God," Adam interrupted.

"It's probably the world’s biggest all cash robbery ever."

"They did it....YAY!" Jan thought to herself as the two men spoke.


“How are the Bolivars?”


“Simon Bolivar and the daughters are being treated at hospital.  Elaine Bolivar...”


“What about her?”


“She’s in the psychiatric ward – they reckon she’s in a catatonic state.”


“How bad was the house?”


The officer looked at Jan, before he said “Worse than here.  Much worse.”


“Okay Officer – thanks, make sure we get copies of all the reports.”


“Agents,” he said as he walked off, and Adam looked at Jan.


“One day, they’re going to slip up.”


“And we’ll be waiting,” Jan said with a grin, “we’ll be waiting...”


7 pm GMT



“Hello?”  John Hammond smiled as he said “Tell the driver to come straight up to the door – I’ll come and help them up.”


“Is that them?”


“It is,” John called back as he went to the front door, helping his guests out of the cab and escorting them back into the house.


“I’m glad you could make it,” John said as he closed the door behind them.


"Well at least we can have dinner here in peace and quiet John." Barbara allowed the photographer to take her coat and sat down.

"I saw on TV that things were pretty bad at the hotel."

"Bad is an understatement John, but Jack managed to get us out of the back door.  Thank you for saying just relax and be casual, if Jeans had dressed up there is no way we could have got out of the hotel."

"Where is Winston when you need him?"

"I know John, having my boy friend play in the big game on New Years Day has been a serious crimp in my life." Jeannie smiled as John took her jacket. "I need him here running interference for me, not for Stanford in Pasadena."

"Well at least you are safely here." Shirley came out of the kitchen. "Can I offer you both a glass of wine?"

"PLEASE Shirley. That's the worst thing about The Savoy, they know just how old I am, and I can't get a drink."

"Oh the hazards of being a teenage supermodel." John ducked as Jeannie threw one of the cushions from on the sofa at him.

"So how did Maeve and Rose enjoy tea at the Savoy?" Shirley asked.


“They loved it – they head over Tuesday.  What about you three?”


“We leave tomorrow morning,” Maisha said as she came into the room, “early.  But it means we can help you feel comfortable tonight.”


“For which you have my grateful thanks,” Jeannie said as Shirley handed her a glass of wine, “and a promise to make it up to you after the holiday.”



3 pm

Susan and Clint’s Apartment


“Oh it is so good to be back,” Susan said as she carried April into the apartment, Clint following with Marina and Kylie.


“I’ll get the coffee on,” Marina said as she went to the kitchen, Kylie closing the door after Clint had brought the bags in.


“Any messages?”


“No darling,” Kylie said as she looked out of the window.


“Hey,” Clint said as he put hsi hand on her shoulder, “you know we’ve got your back, don’t you?”


“I know,” Kylie said quietly, “but why is she coming over?”


“Madame arrives at eleven tomorrow morning – she wants you and me to meet her Clint.”


“No problem – Marina, do you need to go into Complete Style tomorrow?”


“I do – but I just got a message.  Catherine and Helen are on their way over.”


“Okay – I was expecting that as well.  Let’s get unpacked, and then we can talk.”


4.30 pm

West Central Park


“I’m back,” Jan said as she closed the door.


“How bad was it,” Katherine said as she looked out from the kitchen.


“Bad – really bad,” Jan said as she came in.  “That smells good – Lamb?”


“Yeah – you go in and put your feet up, I’ll bring some coffee in a minute.”


“Thanks,” Jan said as she sat down and kicked her feet off.


"So how was it Mom?" Katy asked as she came in.

"Oh well up to the usual standard. Carina seems to have really enjoyed herself."

"I wish they'd have asked me."

"Well be glad they didn't darling.  There are some things you are not ready to see yet."

"Still,” Katy said, “all that lovely money..."

"I know, but you'll soon get another chance to add to your own trust fund."

"And won't be able to spend it."

"Well if you do model, Ju tells me can launder some cash that way so you do have a bit to spend."

"Like she does with you being a Huntingdown's shareholder?"


"Changing the subject from making money to spending it, mom I need a new evening dress for the party. Those dresses I have everybody has seen at least twice."


“What?   You’re beginning to sound like Carina when you say that.”




“We’ll see what is in the sale at APCO, all right?”


“Did she ask you about the dress,” Katherine said as she came in and handed Jan a mug of coffee.


“Yeah – we’ll see.  Right now, I want to chill out...”






Monday 28th December


Park Avenue


Shirley unlocked the door of the apartment and walked in, John and Maisha following her as Clint carried their bags in.  Susan followed them, closing the door behind them.


“I will take your cases to the rooms, Shirley,” Clint said as Maisha looked in the kitchen.


“The supplies you ordered have been delivered Aunt Shirley,” she said as she turned round.


“Excellent – I’ll get some coffee going,” John said as he removed his coat and hung it on the stand.


“Let me know when it’s ready,” Shirley said as Maisha went into the drawing room, and Susan followed her into the den.


“So, when is she due to arrive?”


“Sami Mitchell?”  Susan looked at her tablet, and said “at about 6.30 tonight.  Tracy called this morning to confirm she and Bobbi Vance were waiting to get on the plane.  They’ll come straight here when they have confirmed they are at the hotel.”


“Good – Catherine and Helen?”


“I talked to them last night – They have a plan, and will discuss it with you when they call later.   Dominique and Penny will also come with them.”


“Excellent – ah, the coffee is ready.”


Maisha nodded from the door as Shirley and Susan came back into the kitchen with her.


"Do you think Charlotte is unhappy she's missing out on New Years Eve in New York?" Maisha asked Shirley as she handed her a mug.

"You saw when she and Piet came to tea,” Shirley said as she sipped from her mug, “did she look unhappy?"

"No, she looked fully in love."

"And just about recovered from her work in Mogola as well."

"I think she'll be happy if she has a far quieter 2016 then she had 2015," Susan said as she sat down.

"I agree Susan. She and Piet need time together now, so they stay there.  I am sure Lily will keep her busy as well."



2 pm

Somewhere over the North Atlantic


“Oh come on Bobby – another drink won’t hurt.  OI – COME ‘ERE LUV!”


"How can Kylie have sprung from those loins?" Tracy asked as she watched the garishly made up, and cheaply dressed woman sitting opposite.  She had short flaming red hair, and was wearing a white vest top over a grey sparkly top with elbow length sleeves, black leatherette leggings and white socks.

"Well she certainly don't 'ave Kyles taste in clothes." Beverly looked across. "Glad she don't seem to be recognising me."

"She only has eyes for the muscles."

"Yeah, now 'e looks what I fink of as dangerous."

The man mountain sitting next to her was wearing a blue t-shirt and jeans, but the fit of the t-shirt left nothing of his build to the imagination.  He was shaking his head slightly as one of the attendants came over.


"Susan's brass knuckles would soon bring him down to size." Tracy laughed lightly.

"Yeah they would...Damn 'ow many drinks is she 'aving?"

"Far too many."

"And now she's gettin' stroppy with the flight attendants, You know we might not 'ave a problem, the US people might not let her in the country."

"We don't have that kind of luck."


“No, we don’t” Bev said as Sami put her head on Vance’s arm, and fell asleep.


“Excuse me,” Tracy said as the attendant passed, “could we possibly have two cokes?”


“Of course – you don’t know them do you?”


“God no,” Tracy said, “not at all...”


2 pm

Park Avenue


"One thing Madame that we do need to discuss in private."


“One moment then.”  Susan smiled as Shirley sealed the den door with a switch.  "Go on Susan."

"Mandy is the new president of the Food Handlers Union local."

"Good!" Shirley smiled happily.

"So with that control,” Susan said as she sat in the leather armchair, “we can start squeezing some of the big operators."

"Yes, well Susan you know the routine, they pay us 10% of their gross, and we make sure they don't have strike trouble."


"And by the way, WELL DONE, your idea of controlling that union will pay handsome dividends."

"Thank you Madame." Susan blushed. "We are gradually making ourselves as powerful as the other crime syndicates here in the city."


“Indeed – so why do I get the feeling there is a but coming?”


"Well...  The other thing we need is a ring kissing ceremony..."

"Susan you can't be serious?"

"Sorry Madame - it is rather part of the culture for all the politicians and business people that we own, to swear loyalty in that fashion."

"Susan we aren't the Mafia."

"I know, but as I said the local culture dictates this." Susan paused, "And you did do it in LA."

"Yes, but it was so tiresome...Are you sure?"

"I'm told it binds the bastards to us tight."

"Well if you say, but for this you owe me one Susan."

"I know Madame."

"Is it the same rigmarole of dressing up, wigs, masks, etc?"

"Yes, we cannot have them seeing faces, and I do have a very discreet ballroom booked for next Monday night..."

"And you've already issued orders for people to attend?"


"Don't be sorry Susan," Shirley smiled, "You are just doing your job as boss here in New York, and very well and efficiently."


"Thank you Madame."


“Shirley – you in there?”


“One moment,” Shirley said as she flipped the switch, and John came in.


“Sorry – business all done?”


“All done.”


“I need to get back to the girls, Shirley – is it still all right if we call round later?”


“Of course – Maisha is looking forward to seeing Kylie in particular.”



3 pm

APCO, 5th Avenue


“Clare, darling, did Simon and his family get away all right?”


“They did indeed Rachel – so you having the same thought as us?”


“It looks as if most of us did,” Clare said as Jan and Katy were looking at gowns for teenagers.


"What is this a Sinnerz convention?" one of the salesgirls asked another as Rachel went with her purchases.

"I know, half of High Society is in here today."

"Well there is a big New Year’s party coming up given by Shirley Xavier, and hosted by Diana de Ros," Betsy spoke." the boss warned me a lot of her friends might be in."

"All their money, and they wait till our sale to buy?"

"How do you think they stay rich Shelley? By shopping in the sale, and getting huge friends discounts."


“Hello Betsy,” Jan said as she came over, “do you have this in Katy’s size?”


“Alice, see if we have this will you,” Betsy said, smiling as Tonia came in.


4.30 pm

The Waldorf Astoria


“Thank you,” Maddie said as she paid the porter, while Emma looked out over the park.


“I’m glad we decided to come – after the discussions over the film, we could both use the break,” Maddie said as she closed the door.


“I do like visiting here as well,” Emma said with a smile.


"You know we really need to think about getting ourselves something here in New York." Maddie spoke as Emma went to the case and started unpacking. "I fly east so much on business, and we spend a fortune on hotel bills."

"Well we can't afford anything like Shirley has." Emma turned on the coffee maker.

"I know that darling, but it would still be nice to have a place of our own to go to."

"I guess so."

"And you have said yourself how much you enjoy being with the Sinnerz as a social group."

"Again I agree, but Madeline my love, as successful as you are, can we really justify the cost in our budget?"


“That depends – we don’t need to live here, and some of the Sinnerz live in the Village.  Maybe there?”


Emma put some lingerie away and turned round, leaning against the set of drawers.  “Hmm – walk where Bob walked?  Intriguing...  We can at least ask around.”


“Good – now, why don’t we finish unpacking, and find somewhere to eat?”


6.45 pm

JFK Airport


“Fank ew very much,” Sami Mitchell said with a giggle as she passed through the Passport check, and staggered into the baggage claim area, standing on the opposite side of the conveyor from Tracy and Bev.


Bobby Vance stood beside her, the leather jacket barely covering him while Sami’s white PVC jacket was fastened round her.  He was looking round, obviously looking for potential trouble as Sami looked nervously at her cigarettes.


“Sorry Madame,” an assistant said as she took out a lighter, “smoking is not permitted in the building.”


“Oh gawd – I thought London was bad enuff,” she said as she looked at Vance, but one shake of his head and she put the cigarettes away.


Tracy and Bev picked up their cases and made their way through, handing their white slips in and standing at the taxi rank as Sami and Vance pushed their way in and got in a cab.


“Well, I guess we know where they’re going,” Bev said, “where are we staying?”


“Susan’s got us booked at the Waldorf – let’s get checked in, and then check in.”


As they climbed into the next taxi, another family group were emerging.


"So how did the final performance with the Belmont Burlesque go Mom?" Blair asked as she ushered her family towards her waiting car.

"Very well, I think the other girls now just consider me part of the troupe, like any of the other dancers."

"So you are a lot more confident than last time?"

"Definitely my darling.  This time, there will be a winner"

"Good," Blair looked round, "Chet, H, can you pile the cases in the back."

"Is there room?"

"Should be little brother, this SUV is huge."

“Stupid question,” H said as they started to put the cases in.


"Now Sarah and H in the back seats, Mom and Dad in the middle, and you can join me up front brother."

The family climbed in as Blair got behind the wheel, and then moved off.


"So other then the burlesque, what else will be happening at this party darling?"

"Well Mom, you know the theme is high glamour..."

"Talking of glamour you should see your Mother's costume." Sarah shouted. "It is AMAZING!"

"And It was worth every penny I spent on it." Augie van Roon laughed.


“Well, I think you are going to see some amazing outfits...”



8 pm

Park Avenue


“Here you go,” Shirley said as she handed Kylie a glass of wine, “I think you deserve it.”


“Thank you darling,” Kylie drawled, “Where is John tonight?”


“He’s gone to meet with Jack Linklater at the club – which gives us the apartment to ourselves.”  As she spoke, the telephone rang, and she went to answer it.


“Ah yes – I am expecting both of them.  Please allow them to come up.”


“Tracy and Bev?”


“Yes – Maisha, would you let them in please?”


“Of course Aunt Shirley,” Maisha said as she left the drawing room, returning a few minutes later with the two UK based workers, both now working black jumpers and leggings with short boots.


“Well, this is a gathering of minds,” Susan said as she hugged both of them.


“This is the time for Vipers to stand together,” Tracy said as she hugged Kylie and looked at her.  “How are you doing, kid?”


“I’m coping, darling – how bad was she?”


“We’ll talk about that later,” Shirley said.  “You know Dominique, Catherine and Helen of course.”


“We do Madame,” Tracy said as she bowed to Catherine and Helen, “it is an honour to see both of you again.”


“On behalf of Kylie, thank you for providing your assistance,” Helen replied as Marina handed them a beer each.


“So how was the flight?”


“Long,” Tracy said, “especially where we were sat.”


“A deliberate ploy on Lily’s part I’m afraid, so you could observe,” Susan said.  “Right – so what do we know?”


“Well,” Tracy said, “Sami and escort are at the Holiday Inn.  I get the feeling the flight crew were really happy to see the back of her.”


“That’s my wonderful mother,” Kylie said with a sigh.


“What about this Vance bloke?”


“Kerry and Frank rather underestimated him in terms of physical presence,” Bev said as she held her bottle.  “Before I forget, Aunty Kerry says Hi Kylie.”


“I like her – and not just because she hates my mother,” Kylie said with a smile.


“So what are we talking?”


“Based on what we saw?”  Tracy took a drink and said “the physical presence and menace of Mike Tyson, but without the intellect.  He’s the sort of person who thinks his looks and his bulk will get people to do his bidding.”


“So, typical North London thug,” Marina said as she looked at Susan.


“From the dossier Lillian put together with your help,” Shirley said as she picked up the file, “it would appear, Kylie that your mother has fallen under his sphere of influence.”


“Oh great,” Kylie said as she sat back, “it would not be the first time my darling mother has found the wrong man.  Even so, why pick now?”


“Well, I have a theory,” Shirley said, “we found out your mother was almost arrested for shop lifting at the APCO store on Oxford Street.”


“Now that does sound like her,” Marina said as she looked at Dominique.


“Okay,” she said, “but how does... Ah.”


“What do you know I don’t Dom?”


“You remember the store at Stowe was pushing the jumpers using Jo’s face?”


“I do – why Dom darling?”


“i don’t suppose Lily got a shot of the shop floor in London?”


“I sent her there on Sunday,” Shirley said as she took a photo from the file and passed it to Catherine, the Chinese woman raising an eyebrow before she showed it to Helen.




“It would appear your name is well known already in London,” Helen said as she showed the young girl the photo, with the banner saying “Designed by Kylie Mitchell” above some of the clothes based on her designs.


“Ah – yeah, that would have caught her attention,” Kylie said quietly.


“So this is about money?”


“I surmise so, yes – but we cannot be certain until she actually talks to Susan and Clint.  When is that set up for?”


“She is meant to be coming to the apartment at 10 tomorrow – I’ve told her to come alone.”




“Helen and I will be outside – Kylie, you and Marina are expected at Complete Style tomorrow.  Juliette has told Mary to keep you busy, Kylie, and I know Marina has matters to discuss with Janine.”


“Tracy, Bev, we need you to split up – one to shadow Sami, the other Bobby.  Keep in constant touch with the office, and do not engage unless unavoidable.”


“Understood Madame,” Tracy said, “do we need to be armed?”


“At this stage no – but I want to make one thing perfectly clear.  Kylie, we will not allow her to take you back to your former life.  And what is more, she will discover that to break an agreement with me can be a very dangerous thing to do.”


Kylie looked round the room before she said “thank you – thank you, each and every one of you.”


“Now,” Bev said as she sat back, “what’s this I hear of you snowboarding?”



Tuesday 29th December

10 am

Susan and Clint’s apartment


Tracy and Bev watched from the entrance to the apartment block as the taxi drew up, and the two visitors got out.  Bobby Vance looked up and down the street, the hooded jumper tight over his body, before he whispered something into Sami’s ear and started to walk down the sidewalk.


“See you later,” Bev said as she slipped out, Tracy watching the redhead on the other side of the street.  She had her white leather jacket on, and a pair of tight blue jeans, the lower legs tucked into loose fitting black boots.


She stood in front of the entrance for a few moments, before walking quickly in.


“Showtime,” Tracy said as she slipped the earpiece in.




“That will be her,” Clint said as they looked to the door, hearing the knock.  “Ready?”


“No – but we need to get this started,” Susan said as she settled April in her chair.  She stood up, brushing some crumbs from her blue silk blouse and knee length gray skirt, and walked quickly to the door, taking a deep breath as she opened it.


She looked at the woman standing there, wearing far too much eye liner and blusher, and breathed in as she said “cor blimee – if it ain’t little Sooz.”


“Hello Sami – won’t you come in?”


She stood to one side as Sami Mitchell came in, looking round as she closed the door.


“May I take your jacket?”


“Time once was you’d say dat wif a shiv in yer hand.”


“Long time ago – may I?”


Sami took off her jacket, revealing the black sweater as she handed it to Susan, who hung it on the coat rack.  “Would you like some coffee or some tea?”


“Got anything to go in dat drink?”


“Not this early – come through here.  This is my husband Clint, and my daughter April.”


“I ‘erd you got hitched – cute kid,” Sami said as she looked round.  “Long way from the Tottenham ‘igh street, Sooz.”


“Clint, would you be a dear and fetch us some coffee,” Susan said as she sat down in a seat, Sami throwing herself down in another one and crossing her legs.


“I was surprised to hear you were coming over, Sami.”


“Ah’ll bet,” Sami said with a grin.  “So where is she?  Where’s Kyles?”


“Out for the day – when she spends time here, she sometimes helps at the offices of Complete Style.  This is one of those days.”


“And ‘er big sis?”


“You mean Marina?   Well, she is on secondment to work under a friend of ours, and her duties also keep her busy today.”


“Nefer fout i’d see the day – Sowkowski working for a livin’.”


“Coffee,” Clint said as he carried through three mugs, handing one to Sami before she sat down with Susan, April giggling as she played with her hanging toys.


Sami took a sip, and held the mug in her hands.


“All right Sami,” Susan said, “pleasantries dispensed with – why are you here?”


“I told Kyles – to see her.”


“Sami, we had a written agreement that this was something you would not do.”


“Yeah, well – I’ve got a letter that says that’s not valid.  So I want to see her – and the only reason I’m here first is because I don’t want to step on yer toes.”


“Oh it’s not my toes you need to worry about,” Susan said quietly.  “Kylie’s not the little tearaway she was Sami – she’s completely different now.”


“Wot, like yer lush of a mother?”


Clint could see Susan’s eyebrow raise slightly, so he said “actually, Rose has been sober – what, nine months now?”


“Something like that,” Susan said quietly.  “Maybe you’ll see her while you are here – maybe.  But we’re not talking about my family, Sami – we’re talking about Kylie.  The agreement was you have no contact with her.”


“And I say it’s not werf the paper it’s printed on.”


“Changing the subject for a moment,” Clint said, “are you here in New York on your own Sami?”


She looked at the tall, broad shouldered Californian and smiled.  “Nah – me boyfrend’s ‘ere, and he don like people who don’t let ‘im get ‘is way.”


“Really?  Sounds like a gentleman I’d like to meet.”


Susan smiled as she saw the look of fear in Sami’s eyes.  “Well, I have consulted with my lawyers as well,” she said, “and I do have to ask if the only reason you are here is to talk to Kylie.”


“Wot ofer reason would I ‘ave?”


“Ah, now that is a question,” Susan said as her phone rang.  “Excuse me a moment.”


“More coffee,” Clint said as she went to the kitchen.




“Bev just rang – Big Boy’s heading for the Conde Nast building.”


“Damn – okay, call Madame and let her know, then get ready for when she leaves here.”




Heading back in, Susan sat down.  “Kylie is not exactly keen on seeing you – but if you insist, we can set something up at my place of work.  Tomorrow at eleven?”


“Why there?”


“If you’re going to meet Kylie, I think the rest of her support group need to be there – Marina, as well her boss and her personal assistant.  You meet Kylie, they attend as well.”


Susan watched as Sami shifted in her chair, before she said “Awright.  Eleven tomorrow.  Wer’s yer office?”


“My card,” Susan said as she took a business card from her bag and handed it over.  “I’ll let security know – both of you?”


As she nodded, Clint said “What’s his name?  For the security pass.”


“Robert Vance.”


“Then we will see you tomorrow,” Susan said as she stood up.  “In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your visit to this city.”


“You haf changed – gone soft.”


“If you say so,” Susan said as she escorted Sami to the door, “until tomorrow then?”


“Yeah – tomorrow,” Sami said as she put her coat on and headed out.  Susan closed the door and let out a sigh.


“I thought you were going to hit her when she started talking about your mother,” Clint said.


“Oh I was sore tempted – but we’ve got bigger problems.  Boyfriend is heading towards Complete Style – call Juliette will you?”


Susan went into the front room as Clint made the call, tickling April’s chin until he came back in.


“She’ll let Kylie know.  So were many of the girls you grew up with like Sami?" Clint asked.

"You mean complete slags?"

"If that's the local term then yeah."

"An awful lot of 'em are." Susan sighed, "they think that boys or men are the answer to all their problems in life. They think they are hot looking, but usually they are just cheap, and without the brains to at least make a few quid by going on the game rather than giving it away."

"That's harsh Babe."

"But true," Susan shook her head. "They get pregnant so the council has to give them a flat, they think they will get married, but the blokes usually do a runner..."

"Isn't that describing Rose?"

"Yeah in a way, and I'm being a hypocrite I know.”  Susan finished her coffee and looked into her mug.  “Anyway to continue, they drift from bloke to bloke until their looks start to go, and most are already drinking or doing drugs. Their kids end up hating them the way they did their own Mums, and the whole cycle begins again."

"So how did you escape?"

"By becoming a Viper, and deciding I didn't need no bloke running my life."

"So I don't?" Clint laughed.


“We’re a team, lover,” Susan said, “on which note, we need to get to the airport soon.”


11.30 am

Complete Style


Mary made her way through the racks of gowns, finding Kylie as she looked at an electric blue gown which went over one shoulder.


“Thinking of that for Thursday?”


“What th...”  Kylie turned suddenly and looked at Mary.  “Oh – forgive me Darling, my mind was far away for the moment.”


“So I see – you all right, lass?”


“I am, thank you – and yes, I was thinking of Thursday.”  Taking off her glasses, and wiping them before she put them back on, she said “what can I do for you darling?”


“Ju just rang down – can you nip up for a few minutes?”


“Of course,” Kylie said as she walked off, her suede skirt moving with her as she made her way from Merlin’s Cave to the editorial floor.  She held her arms round herself as she looked round, and then made her way to Juliette’s door.


“Hey,” Marina said as she walked past, “you were summoned?”


Kylie merely nodded as Marina followed her.  The older girl was wearing a black waistcoat over a cream jumper, brown pants and black boots, compared to Kylie’s black fabric boots and red jumper.


Knocking on the door, Kylie took a deep breath before opening it and saying “You wished to see me, Juliette?”


"Come in girls, I want a chat please," Juliette gestured towards the armchairs as Marina followed Kylie in, closing the door behind herself.

"Well how did it go?" Kylie asked, “even Mary has been asking why I'm so nervous today.”

"Not well I'm afraid.”  Juliette sat opposite the young girl and said “Susan has set up a second appointment for a meeting at her office tomorrow."

"CRAP! Darling."  Kylie rubbed her forehead as she looked at her friends.

"She really is determined isn't she?" Marina spoke.

"It looks like it, and she's bringing the boyfriend along tomorrow as well.  So Susan made it clear Cathy and Helen would be there too – as well as you Marina." 

"Did Susan say how bad she was?"

"She wanted an alcoholic drink, and she insulted Rose,” Juliette said as she looked at the teenager, “does that answer your question?"

"Perfectly Darling." Kylie crinkled her nose in a little annoyed expression.  "Susan should have asked her why she was so content when I was living in squats and running with the Vipers, yet now so desirous of meeting me when I'm making something of myself."

"I'd like the answer to that as well." Marina nodded. "Sami always was a nasty bitch, but I'd never have allowed a daughter of mine to live the way she let Kylie."


“We’d all like the answer to that question,” Juliette said, “but don’t forget, your real family are here with you in all this.  Now, I’ve asked Doc to come in this afternoon, to see the model side of the magazine world as part of Missy’s induction program.  Kylie, you can help her with that.”


“Anna?  What else has happened darling?”


“We may have someone outside you don’t want to meet alone.”




11.30 am

Xavier International, NY


“I see Susan – in the main, I think you did the right thing.  I’ll inform security here.”


Shirley ended the call and thought for a few moments, before she picked up the phone.


“Lillian Harmon speaking.”




“Madame – I trust you had a good flight?”


"I did.  Lily, can you do something for me please?"

"Certainly Madame."

"Find Kylie's aunt and get her on the first plane to New York please."

"Okay.  Not easy, but I'm sure we can do that..." Lily paused, and then said "may i ask why?"

"Because Miss Sami Mitchell needs to learn a few home truths,” Shirley said, “and they are usually better heard when they come from family.  Book a room in the same place as Tracy and Beverley."


"So as soon as possible please Lily, and if people need to work all night, then that's unfortunate but necessary."

"They might not like it, but I'll lay down the law if I have to."


“Excellent – inform me when the arrangements are in place, and I will make sure she is met.”



12.30 pm

Complete Style


Billy Vance watched carefully as people walked in and out of the office block, looking from time to time at a photograph in his hand.  It showed a young teenager, dressed in an old leather jacket and jeans, her chestnut brown hair dirty and unkempt.


She had called, as he had told her to, and told him where the woman Susan had said she was – and as a young blonde walked in, he looked carefully.  No – no way was that her.


And yet she had to come out some time, eat some time.  So all he had to be was patient.


He saw the blonde come out again, her black jacket closed up, a large bag over her shoulder, and he smiled at the sight of the teenager with her.  She was blonde, and very sophisticated, her large glasses on her nose as they talked to each other.  Her skirt and jacket matched, and the jumper under the jacket looked expensive.  Not the sort of thing a little slapper like...


“Fancy a salad, Kyles?”


“Darling, that sounds like a wonderful idea.”


“What the...”  Bobby looked again at the blonde, with the cultured voice, the walk, the style – and then at the picture in his hand.


“Bev?  That you?”


Beverly looked at the redhead who walked over to her, and nodded as she said “friend of Kylies?”


“Yeah – and that, I take it, is the boyfriend?”


“Yeah – shit he’s made her.”


The two older women watched as he walked quickly after them as they turned down a road, and then they followed on afterwards.


“Hey – kid!”


Anna and Kylie stopped at the sound of the voice, before Doc turned and said “are you talking to us?”


“Yeah – it’s you isn’t it?  Kylie Mitchell?”


“Nope – my name’s Anna.  Now if you don’t mind...”


“Not you,” Vance said as he looked at Doc, “your friend.”


“May I ask who is enquiring?”


Bobby stared at her, and then the picture, before he said “You can put on all the airs and graces you want...”


“Are you implying something about the way I speak Darling,” Kylie drawled as Anna looked at them.


“What the hell are you girl,” Vance said as he reached out to grab her, “I should knock some sense into...”


He never saw it coming, as Kylie grabbed his arm and flipped him, Vance landing heavily on the sidewalk as she put her booted foot on her chest.


“Darling,” she said quietly, “that was uncalled for.”


"Now apologise to Kittycat slime ball," Doc said as she indicated the pistol in her handbag, "she's a classy lady, not one of your cheap London bitches."

"Wiv a Mum like Sami, You have gotta be jokin'?" the man laughed.

"Darling the only connection the real me has with her now is purely genetic.  So tell her I will see her tomorrow – and only then.  Now, if you will excuse us..."


Bev and Marina watched as they left Vance getting up, Bev shaking her head as she said “She’s good...”



2 pm

JFK Airport


“She flipped him?  Oh I would love to have seen that,” Susan said with a grin as she looked at Clint. 


“So they’re enjoying the Statue are they?  Okay then, you and Bev keep me posted.  Talk to you later Tracy.”


“What happened,” Clint said as he held April.


“Apparently, the bruiser tried to introduce himself to Kylie when she and Doc went to get some lunch – and she objected to his manner.  I get the feeling tomorrow just became much more interesting...”




She turned and waved as she saw Maeve and Rose coming towards them, wheeling their cases alongside.


“Oh it is good to see you both again,” Susan said as she hugged and kissed them both.


“Come on – give her to me and you can help with the cases,” Rose said as she took April, kissing her cheek while Clint found a trolley and put the cases on it.


“How was the flight?”


“Quiet, actually – but that’s not what’s important.  Did she come over?”


“Oh yeah – I met her this morning,” Susan said.  “She hasn’t changed that much.”


“Oh lord above,” Rose said quietly, “so what now?”


“You two relax and enjoy your break,” Susan said, “we’re going to sort things out tomorrow with any luck.  Besides, I have been told to tell you, mother dearest, to eb ready at seven tonight.”


“Oh – what for?”


“A dinner invite...”




3.30 pm

Xavier International


“Thank you for calling round Juliette,” Shirley said as she welcomed her friend to the office, “Catherine and Helen should be here in a few minutes.”


“How was Christmas for you,” Juliette said as she laid her coat over the back of a chair, and sat down.”


“Christmas was wonderful,” Shirley said with a smile, “We had Charlotte and Piet along with Lily over for Christmas Dinner, and then we all went to the park for a walk.  It was just a pity I had to go into the office on Sunday.”


“Yeah – how bad could this get?”


“I am hopeful that...  Excuse me a moment.”  She pressed a button on her phone and said “yes?”


“Madame, this is Lily.”


“Ah – what news do you have for me?”


“I think we may need to fund a sales trip while she’s there, but Kerry Burke will arrive at JFK at approximately 11.15 tomorrow morning.  We took care of everything at this end.  Do you wish me to inform Susan?”


“No – I want this as a surprise for both of them.  I’ll send someone to bring her straight to the office – and thank you again Lily.”


“Just make sure she’s all right Madame?”


“I intend to,” Shirley said as she ended the call.


“Who is Kerry Burke?”


“Possibly,” Shirley said as she sat back, her fingers under her chin, “the one person in the world that can talk some sense into Kylie’s mother – if that is still possible.  Let us set that to one side however,” she said as the door opened, allowing Catherine and Helen to come in.


“Welcome,” Shirley said as she looked to the secretary.  “Coffee for four please Elaine.”


“Of course Miss Xavier,” the secretary said as she closed the door, Helen and Catherine removing their coats.


“Well met by twilight,” Helen said as she looked out of the window.


“Penny called to say she has returned safely,” Shirley said.


“She called me earlier today,” Helen said with a smile.


“So,” Juliette said once the coffee was brought in, “may we talk business a moment?”


“Of course,” Shirley said, “we have the final figure I believe Cathy?”


Helen handed Cathy a letter, which she handed over to Juliette.  She opened the envelope and looked at the sheet inside, raising an eyebrow as she said “I...  I am astonished.  That much?”


“Each – the money has already been deposited for each of you.  On which subject, Juliette, we should perhaps begin discussions on Carina’s account.  When she turns twenty one, you need to decide on her access to the account.”


“The paper reports on your activities were quite revealing – you have for certain entered the history books.”


“Maybe I should retire now,” Juliette said as she put the envelope in her bag.


“Somehow, in that you are like me Juliette,” Shirley said as she sipped her drink, “you will be unable to retire.  Still, I think the time has come for a rest – you have a wedding to plan for, after all.”


“Maybe,” Juliette said with a smile, “so, Kylie?”


“Catherine, i need you and Helen to be here tomorrow for 10:45.  Sami and her male friend will be here for a meeting at eleven with Kylie – Marina will also be here.”


“I see,” Helen said, “and how much of our hand do we show?”


“As little as possible – Susan has arranged this so that hopefully her mother will see sense.  There is, however, a complication.”


“The incident at lunchtime?  Marina called to inform us – it means Mister Vance is aware of some of Kylie’s skills.”


“Though by no means all of them,” Cathy said as Helen nodded in agreement.  “It means her mother will have an inkling of what awaits her.  We can only hope this gives her some pause for thought.”


“And if not?”


“We shall consider other approaches tonight,” Catherine said quietly.



6 pm

The de Ros Mansion


Edith walked to the front door of the mansion, smiling as she opened it and welcomed the two visitors.


“Madame and Miss Abigail are currently in the drawing room,” she said as she closed the door and took their coats, “if you would like to go through, I do not believe they are talking on confidential matters.”


“Thank you,” Angel said as she and Tony walked across the marble floor, the heels of her black boots clicking as they did so.


“Who was it Edith,” they heard Abby call out, and as they opened the door they saw her sitting in an old grey sweatshirt and joggers, her legs curled under her as she read a magazine.


“Oh nobody special...”


“Tony!  Angel!  You’re both here,” she said as she jumped up and hugged both of them.  “Where’s your mother?”


“Resting at Rachel’s house,” Angel said.  “She has been in training with Arlene Philips for the party on Friday, but she won’t tell any of us what she is going to be doing.”



Wednesday 30th December

10.45 am

Xavier International


“You wait here with Marina,” Susan said as they sat with Kylie in her office, “I’ll come and get you in a few minutes.”


Kylie nodded as she stood up and walked out of the window.  “Thank you darling,” she said as she stared out.


“Come on,” Marina said as she came and stood with her, “how bad can it be?”


“Honestly, Darling?”


Susan looked at them, Marina in her Fitzstuart jumper, white pants and red suede boots, and Kylie in a pleated brown leather skirt and cream blouse, her legs sitting in a pair of black high heels.


There was a knock on the door, and Pamela looked in.


“I’ll be back in a minute,” she said as she went to the conference room, where Cathy and Helen were looking at the screen.


“So this is the enemy,” Helen said as she looked at Sami and Bobby Vance, waiting in the reception area.  He had at least smartened up, wearing a dark suit and open necked shirt, as he shifted uncomfortably in the leather seat.


Sami had dressed up a little as well.  But in her case it looked wrong – a fake leather pinafore dress over a white blouse, grey leggings and grey ankle boots, obviously from a cheaper store.


“We must not think of them as the enemy – not yet,” Cathy said quietly.


“OF course not,” Susan said as Pamela came in.


“My eleven o’clock is here – can you show them here please?”


“Of course Susan,” Pamela said as she left the room.




“Miss Mitchell?  Mr Vance?”


Sami and Bobby stood up as a young woman, dressed in a knee length black skirt and wool jumper, approached them. 


“Yeah,” Bobby said as he looked at her.


“If you would follow me?”  Pamela nodded to the receptionist, who allowed them through the gates as they walked to the elevators.


“’so oo are you,” Sami said as they entered.


“I am Pamela, Mrs Walker’s personal assistant,” she said as they went to the top floor, and walked along a corridor.  Knockign on the door, they heard Susan say “come in,” as Pamela opened the door.


Sami looked round the meeting room as they went in, and then the three women sitting at the conference table.  She recognised Susan, in her powder blue two piece suit, but the other two were strangers.  One was obvoulsy Chinese, her dark hair cut to frame her face, and wearing a blue jersey dress, stockings and black shoes.  Behind her stood a second woman, about the same height as Susan, with short dark brown hair.  She was wearing an open necked blouse and dark pants, and looked at both with them keenly.


“Sami, thank you for coming,” Susan said, “and this must be your current partner.”


“Yeah, dis is Bobby,” Sami said as she smiled at him.  Bobby just looked round.


“Kylie will be here in a moment, but I wanted to introduce you to these ladies first,” Susan said with a smile.  “Catherine Lu is the Hong Kong manager of Huntingdown Silks, and has been the sponsor for Kylie, while Helen York is her personal assistant.  Cathy, Helen, meet Sami Mitchell, Kylie’s mother.”


“A pleasure,” Cathy said as she stood up and came over, her hand outstretched.  “I am so glad to meet you.”


“Yeah, right,” Sami said as she shook her hand, taken by surprise by her grip.  “Pamela, some coffee while I go and fetch Kylie please.”


“Of course,” Pamela said as Bobby watched her walk out.


“So yer ‘er guardian in ‘Ong Kong?”


“I act as the responsible adult, and both Kylie and Marina reside in my home, that is correct.”


“And you?”


“As Miss Lu’s assistant, I help with their education,” Helen said quietly as Susan came back, Sami’s jaw dropping as she saw Kylie and Marina walk in.


“Hello Mother,” she said in her slow drawl, “do be seated.  I am told coffee is on the way.”





“Oh yes, it is me Mother, surprised?”


She looked at Bobby, who sat down silently, and said “how nice to see you again.  I wanted to apologise for my conduct yesterday – you took my friend and I by surprise, and the self defence lessons I have had from Helen just took over.  An automatic reflex – I hope you forgive me.”






She looked at Marina, startled by the cultured voice that came out, and simply nodded.


“So,” Susan said as she smiled and sat down, “perhaps you can tell Sami how well Kylie has been doing?”


“Of course,” Cathy said as she opened a file.  “According to the latest report from HKGGS...”




“Hong Kong Girls Grammar School, Mother,” Kylie said as Cathy passed over a picture of her in the uniform, Sami laughing as she looked at it.  “You look like someone down Golders Green way Kyles.”


“At any rate,” Cathy said, “Kylie has made excellent progress, and has shown a marked aptitude for both English Literature and Social Sciences, particularly History.  She still has some difficulty with Mathematics, but even with that, she is predicted to gain a B in the end of year GCSE exams, and A or A* in the other subjects.”


“Yer kiddin!”


“No, she is not kidding,” Marina said quietly, “Kylie is doing exceptionally well.”


Sami looked at both of them unable to comprehend what she was hearing.


"It turns out Mummy Darling that I wasn't stupid,” Kylie said as she sipped her coffee, “the problem was my eyes were so bad that I couldn't concentrate without getting headaches, and that was the reason I was doing poorly in school.  It was only when I came here, prior to going to Hong Kong, that this was discovered much to everyone’s surprise, not least me."


Kylie looked crossly at Sami, and said "not that you ever even cared."

Sami shifted uneasily in her chair, looking at Bobby before she whispered "you wuz doin' alright..."

"Darling,” Kylie said, “I was part of a street gang and skipping school virtually every day. Be honest - what future lay ahead of me?"

"I dunno."

"I do, probably prison." Kylie took her glasses off and started cleaning them."Now I'm going to pass my GCSE's, then my A Levels, and hopefully will get into either a great university or one of the better schools of art and design depending on what career I finally decide pursuing."


Kylie put her glasses back on, before saying "and I like the fact that now I have all those different options to explore...Do you get that Mum, I LIKE my life now."


“In addition,” Marina said, “Kylie had developed an aptitude for fashion design.”


“Yeah,” Vance finally spoke, “I saw her name at that fancy store in London.”


“As did you I believe Sami.”


Sami glared at Susan, when there was a knock on the door.


“Apologies, Susan, you are needed in reception.”


“I’ll be back in a moment,” Susan said as she left the room.


"So what about you bitch," Sami said as she looked daggers at Marina, "I 'ear yer actually earnin' an 'onest crust."

"Not that it's any of your business Sami, but yes I am enjoying making the most of the opportunity I was given."

"Gawd I'll never get over that la-di-da accent cummin out yer mouf."

"Well if I'm going to speak other languages well,” Marina said quietly, “I should at least speak my own language in a way that doesn't embarrass my employers."

"So what they got yer doin' Rina?"

"Again though it's none of your business Sami, I'm in Hong Kong on secondment from Xavier International to Huntingdown's, working with Cathy and Helen, while I add Mandarin, Cantonese, and hopefully now some Japanese to my linguistic skills."

"Cor lissen ter that...linguistic skills yet." Sami laughed.

"The plan is that I will return to London to become a multi-lingual PA to one of the Xavier executives."


“Tā zhēn de méiyǒu nǐ píngjià hěn gāo, shì ma?”


“Yěxǔ yǒu dàolǐ de - wǒ bù zài shì tā rènshí de nǚrén.”


“Tem ne meneye, otsutstviye uvazheniya trevozhno.”


“Deystvitel'no , gospozha, no ya budu terpet'.”


“Oy,” Bobby said angrily, “wha’s dat mumbo jumbo?”


“My apologies,” Cathy said, “I needed to raise a private matter.”


“Perhaps, Darlings,” Kylie said with a smile, “we should keep to English for now.”




“Oh my god,” Kerry Burke said as she came into the room, and looked through the glass, “that isn’t Kylie and Marina is it.”


“It is,” Susan said as she closed the door, “Kerry, thank you for coming over.”


“Well, your agents said it was important, and it would help Kyles – I cannot get over how different she looks, how different she sounds.”


“Which is why this visit from her mother is an issue,” Susan said.


“Did you used to run with Marina?”


“I did – I formed the White Vipers with her, if you want the honest truth.”


Kerry looked at her, and said “You’re Rosie’s girl – Sooz?”


Susan nodded and said “all of us have changed ourselves, bettered ourselves.  We – me, Marina, her friends – do not want her to go back.”





“Were you learn to talk so posh anyways,” Bobby said as he looked across the table.


“At school, and as Marina says, living with Catherine and wishing to not be an embarrassment to her,” Kylie said.


“And yer clothes?”



“I have acquired a certain level of taste, that is true.  A taste and sense I am sad to say you do not share.”


“Wot do you mean,” Sami said in surprise.


Kylie leaned forward and looked at her mother.  "Just look at yourself Darling..."

"Wots wrong wiv me?"

"Mother,” Kylie said quietly, “you are a walking fashion disaster zone."

“I’m not dat bad!”  Sami then looked at the other women, before she said "Well anyone can dress posh when they 'ave genrous friends like yours."

"Darling even if I was just buying my clothes from charity shops I hope I would hope that I could make myself at least look presentable."


“You cheeky little...”


Bobby started to stand up, and then looked at both Marina and Helen, seeing the steel in their eyes before she sat down again.


“I must ask you not to interfere,” Cathy said as she looked at Bobby “you are here as Sami’s partner, and at Kylie and Susan’s sufferance.”


Bobby looked at Sami, and then sat with his arms folded.


“So, Mother, you have seen me, and we have talked – now, if you will forgive the phraseology, just what is it you want that meant you had to come all the way here?”


“Cant a mum cum to see ‘er kid?”


Raising an eyebrow, Kylie said “of course – but they would not normally travel several thousand miles when they previously would not take a walk two hundred yards down the street.”


Sami looked at Bobby, before she said quietly “I ‘ad me reasons...”


“So let us hear them.”


“We saw your name in that fashion store...”


“Indeed – Alice MacKinnon at APCO has been kind enough to like some of my sketches, and actually to manufacture them for sale.  My earnings from that have gone to starting a college fund.”


“And nun come to yer poor mum?”


“I do not know the particulars of the agreement you came to with my sponsors,” Kylie said quietly, “but I have no influence or input into that, Mother.”


“Yer sponsors?  Do they pay yer fancy school fees and buy yer clothes as well?”


“In part – and yes, they are very generous in that way,” Kylie said.  “I receive an allowance, carefully controlled by Catherine, and free board and lodging, as well as my fees paid.”


“An wot do dey get in return?”


“My grateful thanks,” Kylie said as she stood up, “for recognising my worth and small talents.  Something you never, ever did, Mother Darling.”


Sami heard the steel in her voice as well, as she stared across the table.


“Perhaps this would be a good moment for a small break,” Cathy said as she stood up.  “Kylie, Marina, will you come with us please?  They will return shortly.  Allow time for tempers to cool.”


The four women stood and walked out, Sami watching her as she walked out, and the door was closed.


“And she frew yer ofer ‘er shoulder?”


“Yeah,” Bobby said, “there is some of you in her you know.  I’d still tame her though – I tamed you after all.”




“The bastard,” Kerry whispered under her breath, as the door opened and Kylie led the group in.


“Aunty Kerry?  What are you doing here darling?”


“Looking at a little miracle,” Kerry said as she put her hands on Kerry’s shoulders.  “Two actually – Marina?”


“Kerry – long time no see, but I share Kylie’s question – why are you here?”


“We flew her over,” Susan said as the dull sound of the conversation in the next room came over the speaker.  “We felt you could add some weight to the discussion, if required.”


“You fink Sami’s gonna lissen to me?”


“She might, Aunty Kerry – you always tried to be the voice of reason to her.”


“Yeah – look wer it got me.  But look at you – you look good gal.”


“Thank you,” Kylie said with a smile.


“Kylie, you’d better come and look at this.”


“What is it Darling,” Kylie said as she walked over, and watched through the window.  The voices were getting more raised, as the others came over to watch.


“Bobby, please, I had no idea...”


“You listen, you little cow, you said you could get more money from her, that she was a soft touch – you screwed me...”




“Please forgive me Honoured Mistress,” Kylie whispered as she walked to the door, Marina following as Helen nodded to her, and Susan picked up the phone.


“Is Dom in the building? 


“We need her on the executive floor ASAP.”




“Excuse me darlings,” Kylie said as she walked in, “I just felt I had left one thing unsaid, which may be pertinent to what comes next.”


“Oh yeah,” Bobby growled as he turned, Sami dropping from his grip to the floor, “and what would...”


He never finished the sentence, as Kylie flew through the air, the heel of her shoe hitting him in the Solar Plexus as he crumpled to the floor.  With one movement, she landed and twisted him round, forcing his arm up his back as he struggled to breath.


“I would have thought you would have heeded the warning of Kitten and myself yesterday,” Kylie whispered, her voice calm and measured, “but obviously you did not.  Also, despite what I may say of her, she is still my mother, and I would not see her treated like a dumb animal.”




“Marina, darling, would you make sure my mother is safely out of here?  I desire words of import and meaning with this gentleman.”


“Kylie, this is...”


“Please,” the blonde said as she looked at her friend, Marina nodding as she helped Sami out.


“Now,” Kylie whispered, “one of the things I have been learning involves the use of nerve manipulation.  Care to have a sample?”



“Marina, what the hell is going on?”


“Kylie’s in there with one Robert Vance,” Marina said as she supported Sami, “I think she’s like Susan with Rose.”


Caroline looked at the two women, and said “do I want to go in there right now?”


Marina shook her head before she said “Come with me Sami – we’ve got a good medical room here.”


As they walked down the corridor, Helen came out of the room.


“Entertaining though it is to see Kylie wipe the floor with him, the Honoured Mistress wishes to talk to her – we are to express our displeasure.”


“So you get to play with him?”


“Indeed – but first?”


“Where’s Penny when you need her,” Caroline said as she opened the door, she and Helen walking in as Kylie hissed “I would love to take a wire and slowly, slowly...”




She snapped her head up to see Helen and Caroline standing there.


“Centre yourself,” Helen said quietly, “I understand your anger, understand the reason, but you must divorce yourself from that.”


The young girl nodded, slowing her breathing and standing with her head bowed as Vance groaned on the floor.


“Forgive me,” Kylie said quietly, “I lost focus, and have allowed my personal feelings to cloud my judgement.”


“Understandable,” Caroline said, “but you must go now.  Helen has been told to continue the explanation to this man of his error, and the Honoured Mistress wishes to talk to you.”


“Of course,” Kylie said as she bowed to Helen and Caroline, and walked slowly out of the room.  Caroline nodded and said “we have transport waiting downstairs.  Do you require assistance?”


“I accept the offer,” Helen said as Caroline made Vance stand, and they left the room.



Kylie went into the other room, closing the door and bowing in front of Cathy as she said “I apologise, Honoured Mistress, I have failed you.”




“This humble one allowed her own emotions and feelings to cloud her judgement, and in that she forgot the lessons you and others have taught her.  I fear I have brought dishonour to you, and wish to make amendments.”


“Let me ask you a question Kylie,” Cathy said quietly, “despite all, do you still have feelings for your mother?”


“I do – I still wish to respect her as the one who gave me life, even if our paths have and must continue to diverge.”


Cathy stood upright as Kylie bowed her head.


“Then what you did is the most natural thing in the world – a little indisciplined, perhaps, but natural.  No censure is required, but I wish you to spend time with Helen when we finish here in meditation to clear your mind.”


“Thank you, Honoured Mistress, this humble one does not deserve such grace.”


“Come,” Cathy said, “Susan took your aunt to get a drink, but it is now time for you to talk again with your mother.”  She walked over and hugged Kylie, before opening the door and walking with her down the corridor.


As she walked into the medical room, she saw Marina pressing an ice pack to her mother’s arm, while Sami was having a drink of water.


“Where’s Bobby?  And wer the ‘ell did ye learn to do dat, Kyles?”


“Your partner is having a discussion with my personal assistant,” Cathy said as she sat down, “he will be returned to your hotel later.”


“Are you all right Mother,” Kylie said as she looked at Sami.


“I’ve ad worse – you lisenin at the door?”


“I heard him hurt you,” Kylie said as she removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes.  "Mum,” she eventually said, “how did you end up hooking up with a piece of slime like him?"

"Bobby? 'e int really so bad."

"Mum Darling he was just beating you up."

"Well your old man did worse to me when wuz togevver."

"And that justifies what happened?  You know,” Kylie said as she sat down, “I really have never understood why some women don't feel happy unless they have some man beating the crap out of them..."

"It shows they care." Sami interrupted.

"What it actually shows Sami is that they are damn nasty bastards." Marina said as she stood with her hands on her hips.

"Well that's easy fer yew to say 'Miss Posh Voice' with your good job and prospects..."

"Even when I was living in a Tottenham squat Sami, I knew better then to think I needed to rely on some stupid berk of a man to validate who I am."

"Well sum of us don't 'ave your strenf of Character Rina."


“It’s not strength of character Sami,” Marina said quietly, “it’s realising the only person who can make you one hundred per cent happy – is you.”


"Mum do you think this transformation that Marina and I have undergone has been easy?"

"Well 'asn't it?"

"You have no idea do you darling," Kylie shook her head. "First, we needed to move to the other side of the world to get away from our past lives."

“We had to open our eyes and realise some hard thing about ourselves,” Marina said, “and begin to sort ourselves out, learn self discipline.”


"In Hong Kong," Catherine continued, “the girls both do what amounts to a 11 hour study day of school, work, and lessons, on top of which they do a minimum of 3 and a half hours physical training with Helen...and that isn't just Monday to Friday, that is EVERYDAY of the week."


"On top of which we have social lives where we are expected to put into practice all that we have learned." Marina added.


“But you see the results, Mother Darling,” Kylie said as she stood with Marina and Cathy, “it has made us who we are now – and nothing, and nobody, is going to stop me continuing on this path.”


Sami looked at them and slowly nodded, as she said “yeah – yeah i can see dat, but...”


“May I come in?”


Sami looked up as Susan appeared in the doorway.


“How are you feeling Sami?”


“Better – I fink.”


“Look – shall we go back to the meeting room?  It has been tidied, and I think we need to talk over a few things.”


Sami nodded as they walked back to the meeting room – only for Sami to stop as she saw Kerri sitting at the table.


“Damn,” she said as she turned round, “you’ll ave a shiner there tomorrow Sami.”


"Kerry,” Sami said as she sat down, “what the 'ell you doin' 'ere bitch?"

"I'm 'ere because Susan and her friends fort I might be able to talk some sense into ya Sams."

"And why the 'ell wud I need that?"


“I ‘eard what happened to the man thug – where is he anyway?”


“As I told Kylie’s mother,” Cathy said, “my personal assistant is talking to him.  She will hopefully help him to see the error of his ways.”


“Is she anyfing like Kyles?”


“She is Kylie’s teacher.”


Kerry nodded as she looked ay Kylie.  “Did yer really kick him were it urts?”


“A little higher Aunt Kerry darling.”


“Good – maybe you need dat approach to knock some sese into the brain o yers as well, Sami.”


“Again, why the ‘ell wid I need that?”

"Because you are trying to ruin your daughter's wonderful opportunity in life yer stupid cow." Kerry stood up, "just look at 'er Sams, she's grown into a real young lady, she's doin' well in school, she's proved to people who know these fings that she has a talent fer fashion. Fanks ter Susan seeing sumfink inside the little street fug that you wer raisin', this Kylie has a real better future in life to look forward to. Far better 'n anyfink we ever 'ad."

"Well she coulder spred around a little of the old dough?"

"Why should she give you any of 'er money Sams? That money is because she 'as a talent for design. She's puttin' the money it earns towards 'r future, not doin' what you'd do, spend it all staright away on fags, booze, and pills."


“Gal’s gotta haf sum fun...”


“Oh yes, you have to ‘ave sum fun in life – but look at yerself Sams.  Fink of wat Kyls was like before she left, and now look at ‘er – and Marina fer dat matter.  You should be damn proud of both of dem, not trying to fleece ‘em.”


Sami looked round the room, and sat quietly for a few minutes.


“Mum,” Kylie said quietly as she say and held Sami’s hand, “I am becoming what I was always meant to be.  As is Marina.  Be happy for us, but allow us to do this, without interference.”


“I don’ know...”


Susan looked to the door as Pamela brought in a slip of paper.  Looking at it, she said “thank you – please tell Shirley I will be with her momentarily.”




“Shirley Xavier, my boss.  Marina, would it be possible for you and Kylie to take her mother and aunt out for some lunch?  We can meet back here at three.”


“Will that be all right with you, darlings?”


Sami and Kerry looked at each other and nodded as Susan said “Excellent.  Pamela will be here to escort you to reception in a moment.”


As she stepped out, she saw Caroline standing there.


“How is she?”


“Kylie or her mother?”


Caroline raised an eyebrow as Susan said “I’ve suggested they go out for lunch.  Does she want to see you as well?”


“Yup – come on...”



Shirley looked up as Susan and Caroline came in.




“Sami Mitchell will have some bruises, but she will live.  Marina and Kylie are taking her and her cousin into Central Park to grab some lunch.”


“And the gentleman?”


“Helen took him for a chat.  She will not kill him, but she will make it very clear that the best possible thing he could do would be to forget about Sami and Kylie.”


“I somehow suspect he will be afraid of Kylie anyway,” Shirley said with a smile.  “Like all bullies, he fears that which does not fear him.”


“You have booked Kerry into her hotel?”


“Indeed – and i have asked Tracy and Bev to shadow them.”


“Good – I have one further suggestion that may be of use in convincing Sami.”


“I am, as always, eager to hear Madame.”


Shirley smiled as she said “invite her to coffee tomorrow – at your apartment- so she may meet your other house guests.  I think it is time for Sami to see the other error she has made.”



1 pm

The Inn on the Park


“Well now,” Tonia said as she sat next to Sandy, “did everyone have a good holiday?”


“I certainly did,” Diana said, “and I want you to thank Roy again for his most generous donation.”


“Well, it’s a charity he supports, and I wish to as well,” Tonia said as she looked at the menu.  “So, Miss Huntingdown, inquiring minds wish to know – when are you having your party?”


“Party?  That’s tomorrow night at Diana’s house...”


“You know what I mean,” Tonia said with a smile, “If you are marrying in April, then a ladies night is called for in February at the latest.”


“It may have to be then, given the way my diary is filling out for January,” Juliette said as she looked up.  “Well, well – welcome back to New York, both of you.”


“Thank you for inviting us,” Maddie said as she sat down with Emma, “Shirley just called me to pass on that she would be here in a little while – a work matter she has to deal with first.”


“Emma, let me introduce you to Tonia Razinski, our resident interior designer and socialite.  Tonia, this is Maddie’s wife Emma Cromwell.”


“Pleasure to meet you,” Tonia said as they shook hands, “visiting for the party?”


“That and a meeting with Juliette and Missy Auerbach,” Maddie said, “but yes, mainly to party and catch up with friends.”


“Well, it’s the best way to spend this time,” Sandy said as Mandy Carrow and Rachel MacNally joined them.


“Hello Darlings,” Mandy said as she sat down, “I trust you are all well?”


“We are, Tufty,” Juliette said, “I take it Angel is with Jo and Abby today?”


“Indeed – this day the younger generation may do the work, while we elders and betters set the world to rights.”


“On which note – two bottles of Chateau de Ros Chardonnay, please?”


“So when do the others get back from Furstenheim Juliette?”


“Later tonight – Sigi and Dieter are coming back with them.”


“So have you heard from Jeannie at all?”


“She’s on the plane back tomorrow,” Sandy said, “according to John at any rate.  I’ve only seen him in passing for the last few days.”


“Well, I gave him the time off,” Nessa said as she arrived with Paulie.


“And where are the rest of the van Roon clan,” Diana asked.


“They are in conference over tomorrow night – I think they really want to win this time Mandy.”


“Ah, but I have also been practising,” Mandy said, “so we shall see who has the upper hand this time darling.”


“Am I missing something,” Maddie said as she looked at them.


“A bit of a Burlesque Battle tomorrow night,” Diana said as she shook her head.


“And the name Rochermann has not come up once in connection with this?”


“The name Rochermann is deeply involved in this,” Rachel said with a smile, “but you’ll see how tomorrow.”


"So are you here now for a while Tufty?" Juliette asked.

"It's going to seem like an eternity darling, but yes I'm here for the entire New York season so my darling daughter can fulfill all her social obligations."

"Which I suppose she is dreading?"

"As it turns out...No. Even I was surprised.”

"And you are both also modeling?"

"Well Missy has us both booked to do quite a bit."


“And the rest of the family?”


“My darling husband is here, but the rest of the boys go back on Sunday except for David.  Diana, darling, we need to coordinate the travel from here to Vienna.”





2 pm

Central Park



“Well, that was good to eat at any rate,” Sami said as the four of them walked down the pathway.


“Well, consider this Mother darling,” Kylie said as she looked round, “living in Hong Kong helps me appreciate there is more to food than the greasy spoon establishment and kebab shop...”




“Who’s dat Marina,” Kerry said as she saw the tall woman wave Kylie over.


“That would be Missy Auerbach – she’s a model agent, and runs the Norstar agency – although  the majority shareholder is Juliette Huntingdown.”


“Wot would she want wif Kyles?”


“Well, it would be rude of me to ignore her,” Kylie said as she walked over.  Missy was wearing a long tan coat, while next to her Anna was watching the models at work, wearing a long padded coat.


“Missy darling,” Kylie said with a smile, “I trust you have had a good holiday.  So who do we have walking today?”


“Well, we have Greyhound, Maureen, Stick and Kit Squirrel for four – and young Anna is here is to observe and learn.”


“Oh yes – so when is your first shoot, Anna Darling?”


“Next week – Buffalo.  I ask you – Buffalo?”


Kylie smiled as Jo came out, wearing an evening dress in electric blue with a wrap effect front, and a skirt that flowed from just above the knees at the front to the back.


“One moment, Anna darling,” Kylie said with a smile, “but would that be?”


“One of yours?  Oh yes – let me guess, Alice forgot to tell you.  Again.”


“Did that girl just say Kyles designed that dress?”


“I think she did Kerry,” Marina said as Sami stared at her.  The three of them walked over to join Kylie and Anna as they stood by the cordon rope, Sami looking at the woman running around.


"Who are all these skinny bitches? are they models?" Sami asked.

"No these are just assistants." Kylie smiled, "and no way they could ever model, they are all at least a size 6."

"I don't know..." Sami shook her head.

"If it is who I think it is in there, I'll show you some real models." Kylie said as she pushed forward.

"How would she know who they are Rina?"

"Oh because several of her friends model." Marina flashed a smile.

"Can you tell Abigail Kylie and Marina are here with my Mum and Aunt." Kylie spoke to the security man.

"Okay."  She waited as the tall man walked off, then returned and lifted the rope.


“Come along darlings,” Kylie said, Sami and Kerry looking round as Marian followed them to the shoot area.


“Hi Kylie.”


“Jo darling, that looks fabulous on you.”


“Well you designed it kiddo,” Jo said as she walked off, and the quartet approached the fountain.


“Abigail darling, thank you for letting us drop in.”


“No problem Kylie – who is this with you?”


“Well,” Kylie said as she smiled, “this is my mother Sami and my aunt Kerry.  Mother, Aunt, may I introduce you to Abby de Ros.”


“Oh me gawd,” Kerry said, “you really are Abby de Ros!”


“Well, as my mother likes to say, I have lived my whole life as her,” Abby said with a smile.  “You must be really proud of her, to do so well.”


Sami was stunned into silence as Abby said “excuse me a moment” and walked to her spot.


"Who's the photographer?" Kylie asked.

"Giovanni Capraccio, we are shooting for French Elle." Abby called from where the assistants were trying to pose her.

"Wot's 'e Italian?" Kerry asked.

"I'm about as Italian as you are luv." a voice behind them laughed, "I was born in bloody West 'am."

"Gio, meet Kylie, Marina, and some of Kylie's relatives." Abby shouted.

"Pleased ter meet yer girls," he extended his hand.


“Oh gawd, this is ridiculous,” Kerry said.


"’Ang on.  Yer Kylie Mitchell the designer?" Gio said as he shook her hand.

"I wish I was a designer, I've just been lucky enough that Alice has liked some of my sketches and has used them darling." Kylie drawled.

"Well then yer a bluddy designer girl." the photographer shook his head.


“Well, it is very kind of you to say so darling,” Kylie said with a smile.


“Hey – Kylie, can you spare a few moments,” Jo said as she came over, “one of the dressers is having fun with your tiered dress on Maureen.”


“Of course darling, excuse me for a few minutes,” Kylie said as she sashayed over.


“Marina, can I speak to you for a moment?”


“Of course Missy – Sami, Kerry, there’s some coffee over there.  Why don’t you grab some and have a seat, I’ll be back as soon as I can.”


“Come on Sami, we’ll wait over there,” Kerry said as she took the arm of her cousin and walked her over, then handed her a cup of coffee.


“Gawd Kerry,” Sami said as she looked round, “we’re not in bleedin’ Tottenham now, are we?”


“No we’re not,” Kerry said as she sipped her coffee.  “So come on Sams – can we talk wifout trying to bite each other’s ‘eads off?”


“Okay,” Sami said, “I can try.”


“So,” Kerry said as she watched two girls in their early twenties hustle past, “come on – what did you think you were expecting to see when you got here today?”


“I didn’ know – I mean, I knew she had a la-de-dah voice, but when she walked in and looked at me...  I swear, Kerry, it took me breaf away.”


“Yeah – me too.  She’s not the little Viper bitch any more – but she’s still got a bite.”


“Tell me about it – she walks in, all posh and simperin like – and the next thing, she;s hit ‘im in the gut and almost making ‘im beg for mercy.  Where did she learn that?”


“’Ong Kong I’d imagine.”


“Yeah – that Cathy said they do three and a ‘alf hours training with her assistant?  And she said she’d learned some self-defence?  Must have been ‘hat.”


Sami smiled as she said “mind you – ‘e deserved it.  He was ‘ittign em somefin ‘ard.”


“So I see – you’ll need to cover tat up.”  Kerry looked round and said “but seriously – she’s not the girl we knew.  How’s she doin’ over there?”


“Amazing, to tell the truf.  I can’t get me mind round it – and as for Marina?”


“Yeah – she’s totally different as well.”


Sami sipped on her coffee, as she looked over to the tent the models were coming in and out of.


“So come on Sams – fess up.  ‘ose idea was it to come and try to shake ‘er down?”


Sami swallowed before she said “’is mainly.  I miss ‘er at times – I know it don seem that way, but I do.  When ‘e learned what i was being paid, and saw ‘er name in the fashion papers, ‘e bought the tickets and we flew in.  ‘Ow did you know we were ‘ere anyway?”


“I got a visit – couple of girls you may remember.  Tracy and Bev?”


“Oh Gawd – where are they now?”


“The work for the same group that sponsors Kyles and Marina – anyway, one of their friends came to see me yesterday, said I was needed, and this morning I was on the plane over.”


“They seriously fought you’d talk me over?”


“No – they were seriously worried you’d force Kylie to give all this up, Sams.  Look at her – look at what she’s become...”  Sipping her coffee, she said “Remember when we were ‘er age?”


“Yeah – GIRL POWER!”


Kerry laughed and said “yeah – mooning over Ronan and Stephen...  What did we want to be then?”


“You wanted to be Posh Spice...”


“And you wanted to be Buffy.  Well, look at Kyles, Sams – I think she managed to be both of them.  You can’t stop ‘er being that – and I don’t fink you want to either.”


Sami looked up as Kylie walked out with a tall, red haired girl, smiling as she made an adjustment before she shook her head.




Both women looked at Marina as she stood there.


“Look, I just had a call from Catherine, it seems your boyfriend had packed and got on a flight home.  We’re going to pick up the tab for both of you at the hotel until New Year’s Day, and Susan wants you both to call round and see her tomorrow at her apartment.”


“E dumped me?  ‘Ere?”


“I’m afraid so – and do not blame Kylie.  Despite what she says, she does care about you.”


“My apologies, darling,” Kylie said as she came back.  “Marina, do we need to get back?”


“Not yet – we’re escorting your mother and aunt to the hotel, and then we will see them tomorrow.”


“Of course – shall I hail a cab darlings?”






Thursday 31st December

10 am

Susan and Clint’s apartment


“Cor, Sooz has done well for herself, hasn’t she,” Kerry said as she and Sami walked to the door of the apartment.  Both women wear wearing denim jeans and jumpers, with thick coats on.


“I know – and i need to apologise to ‘er for the other day,” Sami said quietly as she rang the bell.  Marina opened the door, smiling as she said “come in both of you.  Kylie – your mother and aunt are here.”


“Oh hello darlings,” Kylie said as she came out of the main room, wearing tight jeans and a blouse, “Allow me to start a fresh pot of coffee.  I will also be making tea, if you prefer.”


“Coffee would be fine Kyles,” Kerry said as Marina closed the door, and took their coats.  “Susan had to step out for a few minutes, but she should not be too long.  Come and join us.”


“Well...”  Sami and Kerry followed Marina into the front room – only to stop when they saw the two women sitting there.  They were both wearing cardigans over their floral dresses, the younger looking of the two holding April on her knee.


“Hello Sami,” the other one said, “it’s good to see you again.”


“Rose,” Sami said quietly, “you’re looking...”


“Sober,” Rose said with a smile as Kylie brought in a pot of tea and a cup on a tray.  “Thank you Kylie dear.  Would either of you like some?”


“I will, if you can bring a spare cup,” Kerry said as she sat down.


“I’d rafer ‘ave coffee,” Sami said as she sat down.  “Gotta admit, you like good Rose.  How did you do it?”


“If you want the honest answer, a combination of Susan and these girls,” Rose said as she looked at the new arrivals.  “Susan came to see me earlier in the year, and – well, I realised I needed to stop being who I was, and find myself again.  Wasn’t easy, I can tell you – but now, I can be here for her and for little April here.”


“Gawd...  Rose, I need to say sorry to you.  I said somefin awful ‘bout you the other day...”


“I heard – Susan told me.  Thing is, Sami, once you would have been right – but no more.”


“I don believe it,” Sami said quietly as Marian handed her a mug of coffee.  “Kyles – I’m sorry.”


“Sorry for what, Mother darling?”


“For been a rotten mother...”


“It wasn’t that you were a bad mother as such, Sami,” Rose said, “as that you were like me – you couldn’t cope, in my case I turned to drink.  In yours – other things.”  She took a sip of her tea, and then said “but we’re alike in another way.”


“Oh – ‘ow?”


Rose looked over at Kylie before she said “we both thought our daughters would amount to nothing, and we were both wrong.  Susan is a successful businesswoman, and she has a beautiful daughter, as well as standing by me every step of the way of cleaning myself up.  Kylie...  Kylie is so full of potential and love, it is unbelievable.


“They both got the chance and grasped it with both hands – so has Marina, and so have the rest of her gang to some degree.”


“So are you saying to leave Kylie to what’s happening now?” 


“She is,” Maeve said, “but what me sister is forgetting is I was there for her every step of the way as well.”


“Sams, why do yer fink I give you so much grief over you and ‘ow you treated Kyles?  It’s because I hated wot you were doin...”


“Mum,” Kylie said quietly, “I need to do this, and you need to let me do this without interfering.  But I want you to be happy – and you can’t unless you change as well.”


As Sami slowly nodded, and thought about what she said, the door opened and Susan came back in with Clint.


“Sorry about that,” Susan said with a smile, “I need to sort a couple of things out for tonight.”


“Did you manage to find them darling?”


“I did – and I packed them off to Betsy to see what they could find.  Sami, Kerry – thanks for coming round today.  I hope Mum and Maeve haven’t been boring you.”


“Nah – wef’ just been talkin’” Kerry said as Clint went through to the kitchen.


“So how are you feeling this morning Sami?”


“Sore – and feeling like I need a drink,” Sami said, “but I won’t. No today – not yet anyway.”


"How did you work your way up to this Sooz?" Kerry asked as she looked round the apartment.

"Pure luck..."

"Like hell it was luck," Rose interrupted. "She got a university degree in Finance when she was working in California, and now she's working on a Master’s degree. Her company knows talent when it sees it."

"I was in the right places at the right time I guess." Susan blushed as she remembered Sandra grabbing her arm, and looking at her.

"A bit more than that," Clint said as he brought in more coffee. "Last quarter revenue was up 310% quarter on quarter for her branch of Xavier's."

"That's pretty impressive Sooz, even I know that." Sami sipped her coffee.

"It's VERY impressive," Marina said as she sat on the arm of Susan's chair. "Head office are over the moon."

"I can imajin." Kerry nodded.

"So wot made you fink my Kylie had potential to do as well as you Sooz?"

"She reminded me a lot of myself at the same age Sami." Susan paused to take a sip. "She was bright, spunky, and really it was fairly obvious if I could arrange a lucky break for her she might prosper as I had."

"I just came along to babysit." Marina laughed.

"Oh now who's putting herself down darling?" Kylie smiled. "Marina is like a sponge, she soaks up languages. It was hoped she'd pick up one language in our time in HK, but she's going to go home having learned three new languages."

"If I can get my head round Japanese grammar I might," it was Marina's turn to blush.


"And wot do you do Clint?" Sami asked.

"I work for the United Nations..."

"Wot are you sum kinda diplomat?"

"No," Clint shook his head, "I work in diplomatic protection...I'm sort of a glorified bodyguard."

"Well you could protect my body anytime." Kerry whispered under her breath as she looked at him.

"He's a genuine hero." Maeve spoke proudly of her family member. "He was the driver who got that British diplomat to safety here in New York last year."

"Well I bleedin' never." Sami shook her head, "You are a family that's dun well."

“Because we took the chances we were offered – including Kylie, Sami.”


“I know,” Sami said quietly, “so i just wanna say, I’m sorry Kyles – you need to keep on this road, and I’ll manage somehow...”


"Mum Darling, would it be offensive if I arranged for you to talk to a friend of the family before you went home?" Kylie spoke hesitantly.

"Just who?" Sami said suspiciously.

"She's the doctor who delivered April, but she's also a long time recovered alcoholic and junkie."

"I aint that bad..."

"Sami take it from one who's been there...You are." Rose looked straight at Sami. "And yes I'd recommend seein' Karen, she's bin where we've bin, and 'onestly she can 'elp."

"Please see her for me Mum...PLEASE!"


“Awl right – no promises, but i’ll talk to ‘er.”


“Thanks Mum,” Kylie said as she went over and kissed Kylie, hugging her before she sat down and smiled.


“Susan,” Marina said, “are you thinking what I’m thinking?”


“Am I?  Oh Goddess – now I am.”


“Wot?”  Kerry and Sami looked at each other, and then at Susan.


“It’s taking a huge risk, Kylie.”


“I know – but they both really need to see just who we know.  Mum, aunt Kerry darlings – you’re coming to a party with us tonight.”


“Wot sort of party?”


“a nice one, Sami – the type you may not have been to for years,” Rose said as she sipped her tea.


“I need my head examined – all right, where do we start?  Betsy?”


“I think so,” Kylie said.  "Mother darling we are going to a store where they know me by name. You keep your hands to yourself and don't try and pinch anything."

"I'll make sure she don't Kyles." Kerry nodded.


“So, let’s take this a step at a time,” Marina said.  “At least the way you’re dressed you can come in there.”







Return to the Pussycat Gang index


Return to the main index