To Be in England – Part 2







"What's up Ama?" Jeannie said as she looked up from the book she was reading.

"I was just eavesdropping on Mrs Brand, and Miss Hooper discussing that this fashion show is an important fundraiser."

"I guessed it might be," Jeannie's eyes twinkled, "that's why I phoned Belfast earlier to see if someone could come over for the weekend."

Ama sat down and smiled as she said "And is she coming?"

"She wants to - she will let me know when she's talked to her school in the morning."

"Well she's another big name certainly." Ama smiled.

"I might also do something I hate before I go to bed, Missy flew home this morning, I'll try and catch her at her apartment and ask if she has any ideas."


“I will let you steel yourself for it,” Ama said as she stretched and yawned, “I am heading to bed.”






8 pm BST

The Savoy


“Wot am I doin’ ‘ere,” Beverley said as she and Penny got out of a cab at the entrance to the hotel.


“Going to a party?  Good evening Jack – the Marchesa’s party?”


“Through those doors over there, Miss Harker,” Jack said as he indicated the way to the private dining rooms. 


“Come on then, Ms Martello – time to mix with the Hoi Polloi,” Penny said with a grin as they walked in, Penny wearing a sleeveless high necked dress with a knee length skirt, and Bev in the classic black cocktail dress.


As they walked into the room, Charlotte saw them and came over, saying “you look amazing in that dress Bev.”


“Yeah, well – guess I need to get used to this sorta thing,” Bev said as she accepted a glass of champagne from one of the waiters.  “I guess it’s Miss Xavier tonight?”


“Actually, I don’t mind it being Shirley,” a deep warm voice said, and as Bev turned round she blushed as Shirley said “well, this is a new look for you Beverly.  I think it speaks volumes for your upcoming secondment.”


“Thank you M…  I mean Shirley,” Bev said quietly.  “Where is Piet, Charlotte?”


“Talking to John and a couple of others over there,” she said as she pointed to the corner of the room.  “Mamma is apparently on her way…”


“I’m so glad you could make it,” Lily said as she joined Maisha, “are you looking forward to seeing the girls in Wednesday?”


“Very much so,” the tall African girl said, “and I will thank the Marchesa for the invitation as well.   Beverly looks as if she is mixing well too.”


“Apologies for my late arrival – I had to talk to my housekeeper in Naples,” Francesca said as she came in, Hannah and Peri behind her.


"So where is the already indispensable Mrs. Harris tonight?" Shirley asked.

“You heard?”


“Apparently Peri was singing her praises to Angela on the telephone this afternoon.”


"Well, she’s babysitting a couple of her grandchildren," Francesca said as she kissed Shirley on the cheeks. "I don't think this is her kind of thing."

"Only if she's below stairs supervising I would guess," Shirley nodded.

"Probably." Francesca looked round, "so where is John?"

"Hopefully getting me a drink," Shirley looked round as he arrived with two glasses in hand.

"Sorry – it’s a real crush at the bar."

"I forgive you," Shirley sipped her Gin Sling. "Many ladies wouldn't," she teased her partner.

"I know," he smiled at her.


“So,” Francesca said, “I will say more later, but thank you both for your support while we got things started.”




“Well, I like your dress,” Peri said as she stood with Bev and Lily.


“Yeah – I got a couple more for when I go over as well.”


“So when do you leave?”


“After Char’s wedding – I get a bit of a handover with Marina, but she sent me a gift in the post.”


"Well at least if I'm over in Lancaster Gate, I won't be subsidising your wages Bev playing poker at lunch time," Peri laughed softly.

"Yeah I'm goin' to miss your money..."

"I like the way she says your money...and not you." Lily laughed as well.

"I noticed."

"So what is it like over there?" Lily asked.

"Very comfortable," Peri laughed some more, "it's like we have our own catering service on hand with Betty there...I'm going to end up getting fat."


“Well, I can lend you a DVD when I go – Marina sent it to me.  She said I’d thank her for using it…”






"So does the media pressure get any less Charlotte?" Hannah asked as they stood to one side.

"Not noticeably.  I mean, at least the paparazzi have thinned, but they’re still there."

Nodding, Heather said "I think I'd hate being you right now for all your fabulous wealth."

"Tell me about it…  I could very easily go back to being the old me."

"But your sense of duty wouldn't allow it would it?"

"No...I guess," Charlotte paused for thought, "when I think of the thousands of people I'm in a sense responsible for, it blows my mind.  And I don’t just mean as Little Mother."

"I can understand,” Hannah said quietly, “your mother has had me help a little with her private business documents."

"Well you know just what I mean then. Something as relatively trivial as deciding which city to build a new hotel in has so many side considerations to take into account."




“So what exactly will you be doing in HK, Bev?”


“A similar thing to what Marina was doing – but I will be liasing with ‘ead office here rather than ‘untingdowns.  Still, be quite a change.”


“That reminds me – word is you’re doing Poker on the telly this week,” Peri said.


“Yeah – I got a seat with Pru Stratton at the Chelsea table.  Should be fun…”




9 pm CET



"Ju I got the text okaying your nomination for the Lifetime Achievement award," Janine said as she wandered into the private kitchen.

"Good," Juliette grinned, "revenge will be SWEET!"

"Honestly I can't see what this is all about, she more than deserves it."

"I know,” Juliette said with a smile, “but I also know that she will not totally like the idea that we see her as eligible for a 'lifetime' award."

"Well whatever," Janine poured herself a glass of milk, "it's all agreed."

"Now I just have to wonder what she's got planned for me?"






8.30 pm

The Union Club


“Well, this is a fine establishment – and it makes a nice change to be in civvies,” the Cardinal said as he sat at the table with Alex.  “Salute.”


“Cheers,” Alex said as he put his glass down.  "So Aidan - you know a lot of secrets from the past."

"A few," the Cardinal chuckled.

"Do you know what the YY Group was?"

"World War Two," Aidan lifted an eyebrow as he looked at his old friend.  “Bit before our time even boyo.”

"Yes, well anyway Juliette Huntingdown is writing a book on her Aunt, Jane Huntingdown."

"The forensic scientist?"

"You have her,” Alex said, “and she's pretty sure her Aunt served with some shadowy wartime intelligence unit called the YY group.  Is that possible?"

As Alex watched his old friend think for a few minutes, he wondered if he had overstepped the mark.  "Yeah… She's the sort of person they would have pulled in," Cardinal Kelly finally said as he sipped his wine.


"Yes me bhoy,” the Cardinal said, “from what I've heard they were what might be called an Anglo-American dirty tricks squad, staffed with the best people they could get from both sides of the law."

"You mean cops...and thieves?"

"I do."  He took another sip as he said "they went behind enemy lines to steal intelligence, plant false intelligence, even sometimes to frame someone on the bad side up.  From what little the records have on them, they were highly effective, but their membership was never officially recorded."


"Precisely Alex, Dr Richmond as a criminologist would have been very useful to them…"

"I understand," Alex paused, 'now the difficult question…”


“That was the easy one?”


“Oh yes – the question is, what was Cardinal Enzo Morcelli's link to them, and is it a secret we can release to Juliette von Furstenheim?"


Cardinal Kelly looked at Alex, before he put his knife and fork down.  “Alex, you’re asking me to go down a very dark corridor with that one.   The work Cardinal Morcelli did is still considered very VERY hush hush.”


“I understand – Pope Pius had a very fine line to walk…”


“VERY fine,” Cardinal Kelly said, “and he paid a heavy price for it.  Having said that…”  He looked round as he said “I’ll find out what I can say officially – but unofficially, Cardinal Morcelli was the Papal Envoy in all but name to the resistance forces across Europe.  His diplomatic bag was one of the most secret for the war effort.  If Dr Huntingdown met with him, it was almost certainly to do with intelligence gathering after the fall if Il Duce.”


“So he would have been one of their main points of contact in Italy?”


“Indeed,” the Cardinal said as he leaned over.  “When the allies came up through Italy, you are aware that they received a lot of help from the Cosa Nostra?”


“So I understand – the theory was they were so relieved to get rid of Mussolini they welcomed the Americans and British with open arms.”


“Well, there is another theory – that there was an agreement, a pact, that if they got rid of him, they would support whichever party did the deed.  A pact that was negotiated in secret.”


“With the help of this YY group?”


Cardinal Kelly nodded as he said “and if they did, they would need the backing of the Vatican to make it work, so there is one reason right there.”


“But can we tell her everything?”


“I’ll see what I can do, but I need to talk with the Holy See first,” Cardinal Kelly said, “can’t say more than that.”  Sipping his wine, he then said "You know what the real function of the Grand Officer of State is in the Vatican Alex?"

"To be the hidden diplomatic arm of the papacy."

"In a nutshell that's right. If what is needed to be done requires absolute secrecy and discretion, then it falls on me to do it."

"Which is why I knew you could probably help Francesca di Cambrello."

"Exactly." the Cardinal slipped from his wine glass.  "Morcelli was the liaison at the Vatican for several Catholic resistance groups throughout Europe. He passed on intelligence that the Vatican had gained, and when necessary mediated, and kicked some arses, when groups fell out, as several of the resistance groups did."

"I remember reading what happened in Belgium between Flemish and Walloon groups."

"Yes that was very unfortunate," the Cardinal paused for thought. "Morcelli knew a lot of important people on the Fascist and Nazi side, he would have known just who had a safe worth burgling, and who might be susceptible to either bribery or blackmail."

"Just as you do today Aidan," Alex replied with a twinkle in his eye.

"No comment," the Cardinal's eyes twinkled in return.  “But if Dr Huntingdown was involved in YY, as the Princess thinks, the late Cardinal would be the man to see.”






Tuesday 14th June

7.30 am Local Time

Hong Kong

Catherine Lu’s Apartment


“Ah – is that fresh coffee,” Helen said as she came in, seeing Kylie as she sat in her school uniform.


“It is darling – shall I pour you some?”


“I’ll have some orange juice first,” Helen said as she sat down.  "So - have you come down yet from Saturday night Kylie?"

"Not really Helen," the tall girl shook her head, "fancy the girls making a presentation to me at the School Ball."

"A lot of them will miss you...”  Helen looked over as she said “and I know I will personally."

"Helen darling," Kylie stood up from the breakfast table and hugged her mentor, "you don't know how much I'll miss you as well."

"Well you'll still see each other fairly regularly," Catherine walked in.

"Yes Honoured Mistress," both bowed formally.

"With Juliette now married I'm going to have to spend more time in New York seeing to Huntingdown's business, and where I go, Helen travels as well."

"Still no luck finding a manger for that, Honoured Mistress," Marina bowed as she came in.

"There are several candidates who could run the front side of the business Marina, it's finding someone we can trust to handle the rest."

"It's a pity Janine isn't crooked, she could do it in a heartbeat."

"True," Catherine smiled, "but she's a straight...Marina could also do it, but well her work with Anna will take most of her time."

"So you keep looking darling," Kylie nodded.


“Indeed, the search continues – and in the meantime, we welcome Alexis and Beverley.”


8 am BST

Briggens House Hotel


“All right girls,” Sarah said as they left the dining room, “make sure you have your PE kit with you today, and…”


She stopped as Jeannie said “Rose!  So you’ve been roped in to help out as well?”


“Well, I had some spare time,” Rose Harper said as she looked up from the seat, a suitcase next to her, “but if I can find somewhere to store my case until later, I’d be grateful.”


“I’ll put it in my room,” Barbara said as she came over and hugged the older woman, “want some tea before we go?”


“No I’m good for now,” Rose said with a smile as Caroline came over.  “Caroline – don’t you think Barbara should tread the boards at this show?”


“I told you last night Rose – that’s Jeannie’s thing…”


Barbara then saw the way Caroline and Grace were looking at her, as she said “oh no…  No way…”


“We’ll talk about it later – right now, we have a year 11 Design class to surprise…”




5 pm Local Time

Hong Kong


“Yes, I understand Your Lordship, will you allow me some time to prepare the materials?”


Kylie walked past the door of Catherine’s office as she was working, but she could hear the conversation – from Kylie’s end at least.


“I will let you know when they are on their way – and please, thank Lady Ordford on my behalf.  Have a pleasant day.”


As she walked past again, Kylie looked at her phone, and then came into the office, sighing as she said "Oh now I've put myself in a fix darling..."

"How?" Catherine smiled as she looked up from her desk.

"Well that was Lord Ordford on the phone, Alice has shown him a couple of sketches for designer knitwear, and he and Mandy want to put them into production with Fitzstuart's."

"Well that doesn't sound bad Kylie, how are you in a fix?"

"Oh,” Kylie said as she shook her head, “I'm in a fix in that he wants me to send him knitting patterns that can be given to knitters, and I have no clue how to create patters, since the other problem is Darling, that I can't knit at all."

"Oh I see the dilemma," Catherine smiled. "Luckily I employ someone who both knits and can write patterns, I'll ask her to come over tonight to help you."

"Oh thank you Mistress."




9.15 am BST

Downwood School





The class fell silent as Virginia Hooper came in.


“Right then,” she said as she closed the door, “for the rest of this week, you will be working on finishing your designs and outfits for the fashion show on Saturday – but I’ve arranged for a few extra models to help us out, so you may need to adjust some designs…”




“Hey,” Jeannie said as she answered the phone, “what’s the good word?”


"Okay BS,” a young Irish voice said, “the nuns are letting me take Friday off. If I get the six o'clock flight I'll be at Stansted by seven fifteen."

"Brilliant Emerald,” Jeannie said, “and thanks for doing this for me."

"Not a problem Jeannie,” Orion O’Ryan said, “it gets me off school for the day and I get to spend Saturday and Sunday hanging out with you all."

"Just one problem Orion...Is your Aunt?"

"No," the Irish model giggled, "as this isn't work because I'm doin' it for free it’s not covered by the law, and dad he trusts your Mam, so for once I get to fly solo."

"Can we use your name for publicity?"

"If you think it will help, but you are far more famous than I am."

"Now I wouldn't say that Emerald."

"It's just a pity Katy isn't with you."

"No she's still hung up with that damn trial."

"I know she e-mails me with updates."


“Right – see you Friday night Emerald,” Jeannie said as Rose came towards her with Barbara.





"They are going to do what Miss?" Lindsay Poindexter shook her head.

"Don't panic girls," Miss Hoper smiled. "Jeannie, Anna, Nikki, as well as Mrs Brand and Miss Jameson have all agreed to help out by modelling for you at the show."

"Can I panic?" Eric Smith asked, "as the only boy in the class?"

"Okay that I'll allow Eric," the teacher smiled, "and I'm sorry I keep forgetting you are in this class."

"You are forgiven Miss," the skinny red-headed boy laughed.

"Mrs Brewster has also arranged for a friend of hers, who used to be a seamstress in a London couture house to be with us this week, and to help you with the last minute things."

"WOW!" some of the girls mouthed.

"Oh and one more model will also be joining us, Jeannie asked a friend if she would mind joining in, so Orion O'Ryan will also be with us on Saturday..."

"Who will be Miss?" Janis Carpenter asked open-mouthed.

"I think you all heard Janis, or do I need to book some appointments with the school nurse for hearing tests?"

"Orion is coming to Downwood?" Lindsay asked still in disbelief.

"That she is class."

"HOLY SHIT!" Eric shook her head, "I suppose being round her will be the true test of if I am actually gay?"

"Not according to Julie Penman you aint Eric," Katherine Zelinski laughed out loud.

"Hey, you'll be ruining my image as the token queer," Eric laughed back.


“Okay,” Virginia said as the door opened, “I’d like all to welcome Miss Harper, the seamstress I told you about.”


“Good Morning, Miss Harper,” they said as Rose closed the door, and looked at them.


"Alright girls... and boy…  PLEASE call me Rose, I'm not really a teacher, just an old needle and thread girl..."

"Okay...Rose," Eric smiled.

"I'm here to help with the finishing of your garments and the fitting, and I'll be backstage at the show to help with any emergencies...Right?"

"Yes," the class nodded.

"Now let’s see what you've done and perhaps I can make some suggestions?" Rose looked at the eager young faces, "but before we start can anyone find me a cup of tea please?"

"I'll go get one from the staff room," Miss Hooper nodded, as she left the work room.

"Now who wants to show me something?"

"What can I do to get this bolero right?" Andrea Parker asked.

"Hmmm slip it on and let me see please?" Rose watched as the young girl put it on, before she picked up some French chalk and pins and started to make little marks and pinned a couple of things up.

"Now,” she said as she stepped back, and Andrea looked in the mirror, “is that going to be more as you saw it?"

"Yes, and thank you Rose, I've been trying for days to think what to do."


“My pleasure,” Rose said with a smile as the young girl slipped the jacket off, and the teacher came back in.

"Here Rose," Virginia quietly passed her a mug.  Taking a sip, Rose sighed and said “that’s better.  Now, next?" she said as she put the mug down and put a tape measure round her neck.

"My long skirt?" Eric asked.

"Well put it on so I can see," Rose's eyes twinkled as the girls began to laugh.


"Alright back here at lunchtime everybody, and we will try matching models to outfits," Virginia Hooper clapped her hands as the bell went.

"We'll be here," Lindsay called over her shoulder as the class walked out.

"Thank you so much Rose..."

"Oh it’s no problem, I luv trying to 'elp kids with this passion."

"Well you certainly bring a lot of professional expertise."

"Oh I know me way round a sewing machine."

"I can tell.  Where did you learn?"

"Well, the lady I trained under had been a premiere in one of Dior's ateliers in the fifties, she taught us what was right and what was wrong."

"Dior? Such a magic name?"

"I know,” Rose giggled, "we woz all a bit in awe of 'er."

"I can imagine."

"So are you walking the catwalk Miss Hooper?"

"I was hoping to avoid it," the teacher shook her head. "I think I'll have enough to do just stage managing."

"Yeah that’s a BIG job," Rose nodded in agreement.


“Anyway – let’s go and get some more tea…”



1 pm BST

Downwood School


“All right class,” Virginia said as she stood with Rose, “you have your assigned models.  Today is about first fittings and seeing where adjustments are needed, so take your time and don’t be afraid.”


“Afraid?  I think I'm as nervous as you," Nikki laughed as she tried on Lindsay's poncho and leather trousers.  “This is still a new experience for me.”

"But you are a professional model?" the young student said as she adjusted the length of the poncho.

"Who has done precisely one professional catwalk show," Nikki laughed again. "I've done some photographic work, and some television commercials, but I'm by far the least experienced. You drew the short straw getting me."

"Nope," Lindsay shook her head, "I think you are just perfect."


“Why thank you,” Nikki said with a smile. 


“I’ve heard some of the boys talking about you, and wondering if…”


“Wondering if?  Oh.


“OH!”  Nikki blushed as she said “I may have to find a way to let them down gently…”



“Okay Anna – hold still now,” Tracey said as she adjusted the shoulder straps on the cocktail dress.


“No problem – it’s a nice assymetric design,” Doc said as she stood still.


“I know – and yet…  Rose, do you have a minute to look at this?”


Rose came over and looked at the dress, before she said “Yes – for this sort of design, a side fastening is best, it is easier to handle.  But for now, let me try something…”




"Alright, calm down, calm down," Eric whispered to himself as he walked round.

"Why?" Caroline asked as she stood on the stool and Eric adjusted the skirt she had on.

"Because I'm getting to do a fitting on Caroline Jameson," he shook his head.

"Eric I'm just the model, you are the designer...this is about your work not mine."

"I know...I do know," He stood up and backed away a step and pursed his lips, "how big is your waist Miss Jameson?"

"Oh you had to ask," Caroline giggled, "It's 26 inches...and yes I know."

"Well I'll have to let the waist band out a fraction then, Eric got back on his knees, "I made this for a 24 inch waist...Sorry"

"Happens to me all the time Eric," Caroline smiled encouragingly, "I'm a slightly odd size being so tall, and maybe just a bit inclined to like great food."

"Well I can work with it," Eric started to re-pin the hem, "and you look far better in this then I do."

"So Rose told me." Caroline laughed again.


“I’ll have words with her – now, let’s see…”




"How do I do this with you Jeannie?" Casey Darlington looked perplexed.

"Carefully Case," Jeannie laughed. "It's why I roped Tony in, he can lift me about and together we can do this. Now 'ow big a mannequin have you made this on?"

"I think what Americans call a size two..." the blonde girl with the ponytail looked worried.

"Well I'm a zero, so maybe it's going to be a bit loose on me currently."

"Alright - so what do we do."

"Well Tone gets to lift me up onto that table," Jeannie nodded, "and 'im and you get to say you undressed Jeannie Brewster."


"Close yer mouth Tone your are letting in flies." Jeannie laughed loudly, "It aint like you aven't seen me in the nuddy before."

"You looked a bit different when we were both two years old Jeans." the boy shook his head.


“I could walk then as well – so come on, let’s get on with this…”  She turned her head as the door opened, and an elegant older woman walked in, wearing a hound’s-tooth design brown cape and skirt.


"Hello Darling, I was in the area and I thought I'd drop in and see you all." Mandy drawled before she kissed Grace on both cheeks.

"Well it’s lovely to see you – and a complete surprise,” Grace said.

"Well, I had heard you were helping out to raise funds..."

"And how would you know that?"  Grace shook her head – something was not quite right about this.

"Well Pepsi talked to Jack, and Jack talked to his mother,"

"I should have guessed," Grace smiled.

"Is there anything I can do to help? A donation perhaps?"

"We are going to be one model short Grace," Virginia Hooper butted in, "I just can't find another suitable girl."

"Oh!" Grace thought for a few seconds, and then started to grin as she looked at Mandy.

"Virginia Hooper, meet a friend of mine, Lady Ordford." 

"Hello," the teacher nodded as they shook hands.

"Who has just asked how she can help..." Grace laughed again.

"What?" Mandy looked puzzled for a short moment..."Oh now Grace Gresham you aren't thinking what I think you are thinking?"

"Oh but I am...Virginia meet your final model, and you might know Lady Ordford here as Mandy Carrow.

"Oh dear God," Virginia's jaw dropped as Mandy took off her sunglasses.

"Alright I know when I'm beaten...Lead on please darlings," she drawled.


“Mandy Carrow – as well as all of you and Orion O’Ryan…  Thank you, your ladyship…”


"How could I refuse anyway darling when you have a picture of me up on the wall," Mandy said as she took off her cape, and then her gloves.

"We do?" Penny Parsons asked, "where?"

"Up there," Mandy pointed.


"You modeled for Alistair McQueen?" Penny asked in awe.

"She did Penny, she was actually one of Lee's favourite girls." Grace said as she laid Mandy's handbag on a table.

"I think his work was amazing," Penny held up her outfits for the show, "I'm sort of inspired by him."

"Those aren't bad darling," Mandy looked carefully, "but a bit of advice before we start, Lee always said before you can break the rules, you need to know what they are first...Correct Rose?"

"So I always heard," Rose let her kiss her on both cheeks.

"Meaning let Rose explain a bit to you about seams and garment building, while I get a quick cup of coffee, and strip off."

"What she's Penny isn't it?" 


"Well Penny, what she means is we need to look at these sleeves, and how they are set...can I make some suggestions?"


"Well let’s unpick them a bit and I'll show you how I was taught."

"Just passing by," Grace shook her head as she looked at her phone.

"What?" Virginia asked.

"That was Darling Mandy's husband Will saying that he'd booked them in at our hotel for the rest of the week." Grace laughed, "trust Mandy to want to help pitch in."


“Are there going to be any more surprises Grace?”


“I have no idea, Virginia – no idea at all…”




“Okay,” Jeannie said as Tony settled her on top of the table, “you can start.”


Casey nodded as she removed Jeannie’s shoes and slipped them off, while Tony lifted her jumper over her head, then unbuttoned her blouse and removed it.  He then lifted Jeannie as Casey removed her skirt, and picked up the pleated skirt.


“Can you lift her again Tone?”


“Promise me this doesn’t get back to the House,” Tony said with a grin as he lifted Jeans up, Casey easing the dress up her legs and then waiting as Jeannie slipped her arms into the capped sleeves, before Tony sat her back down, and Casey fastened the back.


“Okay,” Jeannie said, “now for the tricky bit.  Is Mum looking?”


“Nope,” Tony said as he looked round.


“Right – put that stool on the ground Casey, then move me to the edge of the table Tone.  I’ll moe so that you can make any adjustments.”


“If you’re sure…”


Casey put the high stool down, Tony moving Jeannie to the side of the table, before she pushed herself up on her arms and balanced with her feet on the stool.  “Work quick,” she said with a grin as Casey pinned the dress, before she nodded and Tony lifted her back into a seated position on the table.


“How did you…”


“Practice – now, I’m in the chair, so you may need to lengthen the skirt a little…”




"You know Mick Harran?" Lindsay again looked at Nikki in amazement.

"Well,” Nikki said as she put her jacket back on, “strictly speaking I know Nell Rochermann his girlfriend, but yeah I've met him at a few places."

"Jesus H Christ, there's not a girl in this school who wouldn't drop them for him," Lindsay shook her head.

"Oh come on there must be the odd lesbian?"

"Even the lesbians would," Lindsay giggled.  “He’s that dreamy…”

"I'll have to tell Nell that when I see her next week." Nikki joined in the giggling.


“Next week?”


“We’re all going from here next week to go to a birthday party, and Nell will be there?”


“Oh?  Whose birthday?”


“Abby de Ros.”


Lindsay just stared at her for a moment, before she whispered "So… who else do you know is famous?"

"Other than who is in this room?"


"Well,” Nikki said with a smile, “I know Cassandra Stone..."


"Well, I had a teeny tiny part in the Pussycat Gang film."

"OH MY GOD!" Lindsay all but screamed. "you did?"

"Yeah I was in two scenes briefly as a prisoner of theirs. I say precisely 21 words in the final cut, and look as terrified as I could."

"So you are going to be an actress? or a model?"

"Actually neither," Nikki shook her head, "I actually want to fly Navy jets off aircraft carriers."

"You'll give up acting and modeling to be a sailor?"

"In a heartbeat Lindsay," Nikki smiled.


1.40 pm BST

Downwood School


“Well, at least we get to have a late lunch,” Nikki said as she and Doc walked alongside Jeannie.


“Yeah – give me a minute will you,” Jeannie said as she slipped into the disabled toilet.  As she closed the door, she looked round, and then checked under each of the doors in the stalls, before she slipped her jacket off.


“Where’s Ama and Pepsi,” Nikki asked as she and Doc stood outside.


“Getting ready for the football…”


“Fucking ‘ell – what the shit do we have here?”


Doc and Nikki looked at the two girls standing in front of them, wearing the school uniform, but with the blouses pulled out from their skirts.


“Sorry – were you talking to us,” Doc said with a smile.


“You see any other fancy dandies round here,” the second girl said, “who the fuck are you, and what are you doing ‘ere?”


“Well, since you asked so nicely,” Nikki said, “I’m Nikki, this is Anna – and you are?”


“We run this school, you stupid little…”  The two girls suddenly looked over as the door opened, and Jeannie wheeled herself out.


“Sorry about that,” she said as she closed the door, and then looked over.  “Crystal, Yvonne – I heard you were still here?”


She expected a sarcastic comeback, or something worse – but instead they looked at her, then at Doc and Nikki, before they turned and walked away.


“Charming young women,” Doc said, “you know them?”


“Yeah – didn’t expect them to just walk off though.  Come on – I’m starving.”


“Hey Jeannie,” the dinner lady said as they came in, “got your lunch here.  Eat it while it’s hot…”


2.15 pm BST

Downwood School


“There you are girls,” Grace said as they came into the staff room, “come and sit with us.”


"They've all clearly put a lot of effort and thought into this darlings," Mandy drawled as she sipped her coffee in the staff room.

"Well Virginia always was a very good design teacher." Grace poured herself a cup.

"How come you didn't invite her to the O2 last year Jeans?" Caroline asked as Nikki passed her a drink.

"She wasn't here the day I was Face,” Jeannie said, “else I would have."

"Yep she hated that she was off sick those days," Grace laughed, "she was green with envy when she found out."

"And what did she have to say darling,” Mandy asked, “when she found out her boss was a former top girl?"

"Virginia's a lady, I'm a lady, and I'm too polite to repeat some of the words she actually knows," Grace giggled.

"Quite right," Rose nodded, "and can I ask a favour please, can I get one of you to buy me some teabags later please? This crap is bleedin' awful."

"The coffee is pretty bad as well," Doc sat down.

"Yeah one thing that has definitely not improved since I left." Grace looked at her own cup.

"Poor Lindsay, I think she's more professional then I am," Nikki stretched and relaxed.

"According to Virginia she's got true talent..."

"I'd agree with that," Rose nodded, "she's working with leather and that's not easy, but it will look great if she finishes it right."

"So how did you get on with Janis Palomino?" Jeannie asked.

"Not too badly, but I think she still remembers I was once head, and I make her nervous...she twice stuck me with pins,"

"Young Eric did the same to me," Caroline smiled, "And Jeannie a question..."

"No he's not gay," Jeannie interrupted, "he just loves art and design, and the other lads don't understand, so he plays to their stupid thoughts and pretends he's gay."

"Ah that explains it."

"He's really just takin' the piss out of all the boys who are bigoted."


“And the girls?”


Jeannie looked at her mother, before she said “you mean my two friends?”


“Have they seen you,” Grace asked.


“Yeah – they just stared at me and walked away.  That was weird…”





3 pm BST

Downwood School


As the whistle was blown, the two teams of girls high fived each other, and then shook hands with Ama and Pepsi as Sarah came over.


“Miss we could use a few of these girls at St Angela's," Ama said as she stood with her hands on her knees catching her breath.

"Yeah, most of them are still pretty good," Sarah nodded her head.

"Well I'd never make this team," Pepsi said before she sipped some water.

"Oh you might," Sarah looked over the field. "You know this field holds a lot of memories."

"Pity we can't come over as a school to play them." Ama stood up straight.

"Yeah it would be a good game," Sarah thought hard for a second.




“Hit the shower girls,” Sarah said quietly, “I need to make a phone call.”  She watched as the girls went off with the other players, and then dialled a number on her mobile phone.


“Wilhelmina Tennant speaking.”


"Wilhelmina its Sarah Nightingale"

"Hello Sarah...Nothing has happened has it?"

"No, well not really,” Sarah said, “I've just had a very silly idea and I'm ringing to discuss it with you."

"Silly Sarah?"

"Well you'll probably laugh at me, but is there any way that we can raise the money before the end of August to bring the soccer team over to England to play against my old team here at Downwood?"

"Before we start school again?"

"If it could be arranged at such short notice...I'd just love to see them play each other."


"As I said it's just a silly idea Wilhelmina, I better hang up."

"Actually…  It's not silly Sarah, can you give me 48 hours to talk to some people?"

"Yes,” Sarah said as she looked round, “but even we at St Angela's can’t afford to put together an instant foreign tour...can we?"

"Oh you'd be surprised what we at St Angela's can do," Wilhelmina laughed lightly, "as I said Sarah give me a ring on this the day after tomorrow please."




1 pm

The Tavern on the Green


"Hey girls," Kelly Rochermann said as she slipped into the groups usual extended booth, "who is, and who isn't ready for a trip to France?"

"Well I'm not," Sandy looked up from the wine list, "I can't get Heather to do her usual efficient thing yet."

"Why not?" Liz Lodge asked.

"She's spending all her spare time working on and worrying about her lectures for LIFA in London. I'm the one having to think about mundane things like packing, making sure the kids clothes are washed, etc."

"Hey it's a very big thing for Heather," Jan smiled.

"I know, I know, but I'm so used to her doing all of that I'm somewhat out of the habit."

"Poor you," Rachel put her hand on her old friend’s.

"Well I'm only need make sure that Hubby, me, and for once just one daughter, are going to be there."

"Nell already being in Europe," Claire Morse nodded.

"She is."

"So is she enjoying being on tour with Mick?" asked Frieda.

"Not overly," Kelly shook her head, "she's having to fend off Russian groupies who are almost throwing themselves at Michael."

"The problem of being a pop star’s girlfriend." Paulie said as she gestured for the server.

"Well I'll give Michael his due, he is devoted to Nell, and he is resisting temptation."

"Good for him." Sandy smiled.

"So will the trial be wound up in time for you to fly Jan?" Gale Callaghan asked.

"It should be," Jan looked a little pained, "and it can't be a moment too soon for us that they put that bastard away.  I think closing statements are due after lunch."

"Well on that we can all agree Cherie...and I apologize for my lateness," Diana said as she kissed her friends, "my Board of Trustees meeting ran longer than I thought it would."

"Any particular reason Diana?" Sandy asked.

"Wilhelmina had a very interesting idea she wanted our opinions on."

"Sounds intriguing," Gale raised an eyebrow.

"Well at the moment it’s still an idea,” Diana said as she sat down, “but we will see what develops."

"And you aren't going to tell us more than that?" Nessa enquired.

"Unfortunately my lips need to be sealed."

"Pity." Liz grinned. "So who are we waiting on?"

"Ton and Elaine." Puss looked up from the menu, "and they are on their way from downtown as we speak."


“So is Abby ready for her party?”


“To be honest,” Diana said, “I have not seen much of her for the last few days.  She and Joanne have been working.”


“No holiday for her either, Sandy?”


“Nope,” Sandy said as Elaine and Tonia came in.


“Good news – the apartment is done,” Tonia said as she sat down.


“Marina and Kylie’s place?”


“That’s the one Jan - ready for the new neighbours?”



7 pm BST

Briggens House Hotel


“All right Tufty,” Grace said as they sat in the hotel bar, “spill it.  You really are here for another reason.”


"Honestly darling,” Mandy drawled as she held her glass, “we came down for Jack's college May Ball...  Do you know how hard it is to get a hotel room within reasonable distance of Cambridge during ball season?" 

"Okay,” Grace said with a raised eyebrow, “but I refuse to believe it was a coincidence you chose the same hotel we are all staying at Mandy."

"Of course it isn't darling, but we thought we could spend some time with Pepsi, and that we'd drive her to Cambridge with us for the ball."

"Tenuous, but alright I'll accept that Mandy," Grace nodded.

"And I really didn't think you'd rope me in to model, I really was thinking just maybe I could help out backstage, and write a donation cheque."

"Not that you mind walking though," Grace laughed, "Mandy darling you are a catwalk addict."

"Well I wouldn't say an addict."


“Words,” Caroline said as she sat with them.  “so, the outfits?”


“For year 11 students, they are extremely good -did I hear Jeannie say Emerald will be here as well?”


“Apparently – this is going to be fun…”  Taking another drink, Mandy said “so are we going back tomorrow?”


“Nope,” Harriet said, “we oldsters are going shopping in London, while the girls are going to be the guest of Maisha at Queens – then we’re meeting up for a show tomorrow night.”


“It sounds delightful,” Mandy said as Will came in.  “I meant to ask if you contacted Kylie, darling.”


“I did – she’s going to sort something out,” Will said as he sat down.  “Listen – when are you lot heading to Rosville?”


“First thing Thursday next,” Caroline said, “Eurostar and then the TFG to the town.”


“With your permission, we’ll book ourselves on the train and travel with you.  Makes sense, given the planeload flying in on the Thursday from the US.”


“Oh yeah – I had a message from Worker to say she and Gold Mine were flying into New York with their families on Tuesday, and spending a day sightseeing before they fly out.”





Wednesday 15th June

8 am Local time

Cathy Lu’s Apartment


"Great news," Marina beamed as she hung up, "we will have somewhere to live of our own when we move to New York."

"So we won't be sqattin' like Rina?" Kylie briefly reverted to her old accent.

"Nah," Marina laughed.

"Damn that was a little hard," Kylie shook her head as she returned to her more normal accent, "a cockney accent doesn't come naturally to me anymore."

"I'd noticed, nor to me I confess."

"So,” she said as she finished her drink, “fully up for your college reunion?"

"I guess, it's going to be so hard remembering I wasn't really there, or that i didn't go to school at City of London School for Girls."

"Well darling that's a very academic school, "not a great party school, and you have learned to drop the names of teachers and other girls who were in your year there, and you do know the area round the Barbican."

"Only because i used to burgle places there," Marina shook her head.


“True – although it would be prudent to keep that quiet, darling…”


8 am BST

Biggins House Hotel


"Who was that on the phone Niks?" Becca asked as her friend came into the breakfast room.


"Hmm?  Oh, it was Harri."

"And what did your big sister want?"

"Oh she was just checking up on me, like Bobbi does on you."

"She does know she's venturing into hostile territory at the birthday party doesn't she?"

"Yeah," Nikki giggled, "she knows that she and Nell will be on hostile territory with all those current and former Angels there."

"Well I've known worse Nuns then Harriet." Becca smiled as she picked up the cornflakes.

"Talking of Nuns, she was telling me that rumor has it that Holly is stepping out with someone on the side."

"Other than Tommy," Becca looked shocked, "Oh and by the way what was she still doing up this late herself?”

"Harri had a double date with Ally."

"Oh enough said," Becca poured the milk on her cereal.


“Good morning everyone,” Jeannie said as she wheeled herself in, “are we the first ones up?”


“So far – want the cereal?”


“Please,” Jeannie said as she saw Doc, Pepsi and Ama come in, followed by the adults.  “So, we get the day off today.  Looking forward to seeing Maisha Ama?”


“Very much so – our friend Nyala is apparently arriving next Monday for a visit, so we will meet up with her next week as well.”


“We’ll accompany you to the club, and then head off from there,” Grace said.  “A car has been booked to pick you up and bring you into the city to meet us.”


"Do you like watching tennis Palomino?" Jeannie asked.

"I used to BS, do you?"

"It isn't bad,” Jeannie said as she wiped her mouth, “but as I can't play I don't appreciate it as much as say Becca does."

"She's a fan?"

"Oh yeah all the Morse ladies are, Aunt Claire gets season tickets for the US Open each year.”

"Well I live and learn."

"Ama says Maisha is into tennis in a big way and has lessons twice a week."

"Shirley is ensuring she gets an all round education then?"

"Oh yeah," Jeannie reached for the coffee.

"Here let me..."

"Mum, there are some things I can do on my own you know." Jeannie looked at her mother impatiently.

"I know, sorry."

"Not sure I want it now," Jeannie wheeled herself away.

"Problems Barb?"

"Oh I just sometimes forget she's a grown woman Grace and I tend to still want to do everything for her."


Ama stood up quietly and followed Jeannie out.  “I may be speaking out of turn,” she said as she sat with the young model, “but your mother meant well.”


“I know,” Jeannie said quietly, “but she has to realise I am my own woman now.”


“I am sure she does – but I can imagine, if our positions were reversed, Mom would still be looking out for me, as she has always done since she adopted me.”


“Yeah, I know – but I want my independence as well Ama.”


“As do we all – it is just that little harder for her.”


Nodding, Jeannie said “Thanks – and you’re right.  I’ll apologise later.”


“I am glad to hear that – we need to be there for each other, after all…”


Nodding, Jeannie wheeled herself back in and said “sorry about that, can I have some coffee please?”


8.30 am BST



“I need to go and get ready,” Maisha said as she stood up, left her napkin on the breakfast table, and made her way to the bathroom.


“Big day for her today,” John said with a smile as he sipped his coffee.


"Indeed.  Now, while Maisha and her friends are at Queens John Hammond, I'm taking the afternoon off work to make sure you will at least look tidy at Abigail's party," Shirley put some marmalade on her toast. "Meet me in Savile Row at One please darling."

"Yes Sir," John pretended to salute.

"And none of that please John,” Shirley said as she shook her head.  “I looked at your dinner suit again last night, there are moth holes in it now. Why didn't you bring over the one you keep in New York?"

"Darling,” John said with an apologetic look, “I just forgot to pack it."

"Well we will get you one made...” Biting into her toast, she chewed and then swallowed before she said “I think we just about have time, if Jack and Thomas can work their customary magic."

"Oh I'm sure they can Shirley."


“Good – well, I have a meeting with Charlotte and Barb today, so make sure you are there at one,” Shirley said as she stood up. 




1 pm CET

Munich, the Furstenheim Townhouse


“The Princess has returned with her friends, Your Highness,” Frau Strecher said as Annue came down the stairs. 


“Thank you Frau Strecher – will you ask the nurses to put Rudi and Mags into the strollers in a little while?  We’re going to take a family walk in the park.”


“Of course,” the steward said as Annie saw Carina at the dining table, taking a long drink.


"So how did it go darling?" Annie asked as she joined Carina for lunch.

"Kelsey and Molly are bitches..." Carina mumbled as she cut into her pork.

"Eh? Why?"

"They had us doing some pieces of 500 metres work with a couple of German girls they knew.”  Carina chewed on her food, before she said “they didn't tell me that both the German girls and their cox are former Olympic Gold Medallists."

"Sounds like the last CS show," Annie smiled, "your Mom knowing your nerves never told you that you'd been booked for it."

"Well I know I get nervous when I step outside my comfort zone, but honestly they are GOLD medallists," Carina shook her head,

"Well anyway, how did you shape up?"

"We won a couple of the pieces, and I kept us in a more or less straight line."

"She did well," Kelsey said as sje sat down, "our German friends were impressed."

"Especially in those pieces where the side winds really hit us, Specs steered a beautiful course." Molly added.

"See," Annie smiled at her wife.

"You are beginning to get a sense of current and wind Specs, that's the true test of a cox," Molly smiled as two servants brought in hers and Kelsey's lunch.

"Damn you girls need eat, I thought we runners loaded up." Annie shook her head.


“Bulk and stamina – we need the protein,” Kelsey said with a smile.


1 pm BST

Queen’s Club, West Kensington, London



“Welcome,” Maisha said, “please, come with me.”


"So shopping where girls," Barb asked as they dropped the girls off at the entrance, "Oxford Street?"

"For Abigail de Ros' birthday party?" Grace answered, "Not Oxford Street, it's Knightsbridge today girls."

"Is this going to bust my credit card Grace?"

"Hopefully not Harriet,” Grace said, “but it’s not going to be cheap. Do you want to stand out badly at Rosville?"

"No...  But..."

"No, ‘but’ nothing Harriet, if needs be I'll treat you to make up for you lending me the money to fly to America last summer."

"Alright so where do we start?" Sarah asked, "Harvey Nicks, or Harrods?"

"I was thinking Harvey Nicks.” Grace replied, "we can grab some lunch on the Fifth Floor first."

"Well sounds like a plan to me," Caroline spoke.

"Yes it does darling, and if anyone talks themselves out of something, then I'll treat them to it,” Mandy said.  “After all I like dressing up and not being the pig lady in my old jeans and wellies, so I understand my friends wanting to do so as well."

"One day Mandy, I'm going to have to come visit and see these fabled pigs," Barbara laughed.

"At least Will remembers you are a woman now darling," Grace hugged Mandy.

"Well at least when I'm not at home darling," Mandy smiled.





“Here you go, Ms,” the steward said as Maisha nodded, the six girls following her.  All were wearing light coloured short sleeved dresses and heels, as they took their seats at the table.


“I am so glad you could join me today,” Maisha said as the waiter brought over a large bowl of strawberries, a jug of cream and seven bowls.  “I think you will enjoy the game today.”


“I hope so,” Becca said as she put some strawberries into a bowl and added some cream.


"So Tomorrow night you are going to a ball at Cambridge Pepsi?" Maisha asked as she and her friends sat and sampled the strawberries and cream.

"I am," Pepsi delicately wiped some cream from her chin. "Mandy and Will are driving me...The original plan was that I was going by train, this I like a lot better."

"And then Friday morning Orion arrives from Belfast...I have to be at Stanstead Airport at some unholy hour of the morning to meet her," Jeannie commented.

"Then the girl who was fitting on me extra," Nikki looked up, "can meet her real model, and I can concentrate on the outfits I'm wearing."

"It sounds...complicated," Maisha nodded to a lady she knew.

"Well Niks has the closest body to Emerald's," Jeannie wondered if she should eat more strawberries.

"Doc's boobs are way bigger." Becca added.


"So her designer gets Friday and most of Saturday to fit the clothes to Emerald," Jeannie decided she would eat some more.


“I might ask Aunt Shirley if we can come – offer our support…  Ah, the first game is about to begin.”



10 pm Local Time

Hong Kong – Cathy’s Apartment


"What are you looking at Marina?"

"Oh Hi Helen," the Englishwoman looked round from her computer screen, "I'm just looking at personnel files from Xavier's looking for someone who might just be able to work in New York."

"Any luck?"

"One girl would be perfect,” Marina said, “she works in LA, but she's strictly straight side of the business."


"I know, whoever does this though must be able to work with Janine and Juliette, plus you and Cathy, and not have a fit if she spots how we launder money through Huntingdown's accounts."

"Yeah, I know the job description."


“There must be…  Hello, what do we have here?”


“Oh yes – that has possibilities…”




8.30 am

The de Ros Mansion


“So you have a day off,” Diana said as Abby sat down at the breakfast table, and Edith put a plate of pancakes in front of her.


“I do Mama, which I intend to enjoy,” Abby said with a smile.  “After all, after this week, it’s a month before I am home again.”


She put a forkful of pancakes into her mouth as Diana watched.


"Mama,” Abby said as she put her knife and fork down, “you don't have a problem with me going to Munich on my own for a few days or so...Do you?"

"Not really,” Diana said quietly, “I know you want to work on your summer project."

"And Tony's parents are coming to meet me as well."

"Yes, I will have to keep American and British McNally's separate in my mind at the party."

"I will too," Abby smiled.

"It's just..."

"I know Mama,” Abby said quietly, “this is the first time I've done a trip like this without you, but you are seeing me on the plane, and Aunt Ju and Carina will be at the other end to collect me."

"I keep forgetting you are grown up...  Que vous n'êtes plus ma petite fille."

"Je serai toujours ta petite fille, Maman."

"I know," Diana hugged her daughter as they both cried a couple of tears…



9 am

Vanessa Richmond’s Apartment


"So did you see Aidan off last night, brother dear?" Nessa asked as she poured the coffee.

"I did,” Alex said as he accepted a cup, “and he's going to see what he can and can't tell Juliette about her aunt’s wartime links with the Vatican…"

"Well that should be easier then what he said talking to the Archbishops and Bishops was like."

"Yes,” Alex said with a chuckle, “it sounded like it got a bit acrimonious at times.”

Putting down her coffee cup, Nessa looked at her brother.  "Ever regret that he and some of your other friends could never get you a bishopric?"

"At times," Alex nodded, "but just as if you hadn't been Vanessa all those years you wouldn't be Nessa today, then if I'd been a bishop I'd not have been who I am today."

"I suppose that's true," his sister reflected.

"Changing the subject…  Did I hear that your duet with Mick of Rockin' Good Way is now officially a hit in several European countries."

"So Mick said when he phoned,” Nessa laughed as she sat back.  "Mind you, can you imagine how Mother and Father - wherever they are now – would react to hearing that I had a hit record?"

"Oh yes," Alex laughed, "teach them a lesson for doing what they did to you though."



3 pm BST

Queen’s Club


“Well, I have to admit, it’s good to see so good a game up close,” Becca said, “normally in the Ashe we need binoculars.”


"I agree,” Jeannie said as the group moved along, “It's nice being here as the guest of a member..."

"Oh I think you'd be getting the first class treatment anyway Jeans," Ama shook her head, "you do know it’s us who are supposed to try get  the players autographs, not for them to try and get yours."

"I liked it," Maisha smiled, "I think one or two of them are just so handsome, and I actually got to meet them."

"Someone get her down from Cloud Nine." Becca laughed.

"So who shall we go try watch play next?" Pepsi looked up at the scoreboard.

"Someone who doesn't drool over Jeans," Doc laughed.


“Well, Andy Murray is due on centre court soon – let us see if we can get in there.”



3 pm BST

Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge


The ladies watched the door to the changing room as Grace looked at her phone.


"Virginia wants to know when they can expect us back at Downwood Saturday afternoon Barb?"  she said as she looked up.

"I'm not sure precisely Grace,” Barbara said as she looked over.  “Jeans does the opening at 12.30, I guess they'll expect her to mingle for a couple of hours...Hmmm...say three at Downwood?"

"Okay I'll tell Virginia," Grace started to tap on her phone.

"So?" Harriet asked as she came out of the changing room and did a twirl.

"I was right you know darling," Mandy answered, "that white summer dress with those tiny light blue Fleur de Lis really does make you look very chic."

"And very French," Sarah looked carefully. "Now what accessories if you buy this?"

"She'll need matching shoes," Grace finished texting.

"And a clutch in that same shade of blue," Caroline pursed her lips.

"What is this going to cost?" Harriet rolled her eyes.

"Let us worry about that darling.  Can you assist?"


“I believe so Madame,” the assistant said as she walked off.


“What about you Mandy?”


“Oh my outfit is set up – but you have reminded me that there is a christening that weekend as well in Rosville.”


“There is?”


“Indeed – young Patricia van Roon and her partner’s daughter.”


“Oh yeah – forgot that for a moment,” Barbara said.



Queen’s Club


"You know Andy Murray's backhand is just so smooth," Maisha swung her arm as though she was hitting a ball, "I have a jerk in my motion."

"Well its better than having a jerk in your bed," laughed Pepsi.

"OUCH! Please someone hit her for that," Jeannie shook her head, "I'd do it myself but she can run quicker than I can wheel myself."

“We’ll store it up for later,” Becca said before she applauded the winning volley.


"Who would have once thought we would be here like this sister," Ama said quietly, "and you'd be worrying about how you  play tennis?"

"I know," Maisha suddenly looked serious, 'am I wrong to be enjoying my life so much?"

"No, we both have amazing futures to look forward to" Ama hugged her friend, "but we must never forget our pasts either."

"Well said Ama." Doc added quietly.




"And?" Sarah asked her friends as she looked at the shoes, then at them.

"I don't know… they still don't quite match Sarah." Grace shook her head.

"Well I can go look again Madame," the assistant was desperately trying to keep her temper at the perfectionism of these customers.

"I think you'd better," Sarah nodded, "these guys are the fashion experts," she apologised as she removed the shoes, and handed them back.

"I will see what we have in stock in the back room," the Assistant bit her lip.

"So do you think they've found Harriet a bag yet?" Sarah asked.

"Hopefully, but it will have to be just right to satisfy Mandy."

"I know," Sarah shook her head, "it's so different shopping with models like you girls, you all have such great eyes."

"We learn it by experience," Grace looked as the assistant opened a rather dusty shoe box, "Oh now they look as though they could be perfect...Try them on Sarah."


3.30 pm

Lancaster Gate


"Francesca can I beg a few minutes of your time?" Hannah asked as she poked her head round the door.

"Always...What can I do for you?"

"Advise me on this," Hannah continued as she put a file on the desk, "I'm going cross eyed looking at the precedents and they seem so contrary to each other."

"Which enquiry are you working on?"

"This one," Hannah flipped the file open, "the maritime salvage off the Spanish coast thing."

"Ah yes...I understand," Francesca readjusted her glasses.  "I can see where maybe you are getting confused."

"What are they talking about Miss Peri?" Betty asked as she brought coffees into the outer office.

"Don't ask me Betty,” Peri said with a smile.  “I don't get 90% of what they say, they are both so knowledgable - I just write up what I'm told to, and hope I get all the spellings right," Peri smiled.

"So shall I take these in?"

"You better, but don't be surprised if they both aren't so involved in the topic they barely notice you...that happens to me a lot."

"Alright," Betty laughed, "here goes."



3.30 pm

Saville Row


"What's so amusing darling," John asked as the two tailors removed and adjusted the sleeve.

"Maisha telling me about all the players trying to ask Jeannie out, and them getting invited briefly into the players dressing rooms."

"I bet she got a lot of autographs," John smiled, "more or less her idea of heaven."

"Yes sometimes having such famous a beauty as Jeannie along can open certain doors." Shirley looked critically through her glasses, "talking of doors gentlemen, doesn't that fly need adjusting."

"It does Miss," Jack and Thomas looked up together, "the Major always has a button fly, we will get to that next."

"Alright," Shirley smiled, "well it looks nothing at the moment but I know it will look incredible on him when you are finished."

"Oh we can guarantee that Miss Xavier," Jack smiled, "with the figure the Major has he cuts a fine figure in evening clothes."

"Yes he does," Shirley remembered the first time she had seen John across the room at a party.





10.30 am

New York County Criminal Court

100 Centre Street


“Mister Sipowicz?”


“Thank you your honour,” the DA said as he stood up and walked over to the jury.  “Ladies and Gentlemen, I will be brief – there is no need for me to go yet again over the evidence that has so clearly been presented to you for consideration.”


Looking over to where Katy was sitting with Janice, Adam, Katherine and Eleanor, he said “both my friend, Miss Perez, and I agree that, for that period in April, Katy Carter was held captive in the cellar of Daniel Morgenstern.  There is no disputing that – so the case is not about whether or not Daniel kidnapped Katy – he did.


“What is at question here is the motive.  We have presented evidence to you that clearly demonstrates Daniel had followed Katy for months, across both this country and abroad, watching her, drawing up his plans.  You heard from Caroline Jameson of the steps she took, as well as the testimony of the agent she brought over to act as Katy’s bodyguard, as well as the expert testimony of Agent Majewski on the computer records.  You have seen the photographs of the room he created in the basement of the house, and the videos and recordings of the time Katy spent there.


“Now my friend has constructed a case that this was all paid for, and arranged, by Katy’s mother, Agent Janice Carter, to further Katy’s career.  She has been unable to prove this case, as the presentation of Janice’s accounts show, and the simple reason for that is, there is no case to prove.”  Looking at Janice, he said “the testimony of those who supported her at that time show a mother sick with worry, not a calculating version of Mame Lee.


“No, the simple truth is Daniel Morgenstern developed an unhealthy obsession with Katy Carter – and when his plans were foiled by a combination of good detective work, luck and her own bravery, he snapped.  His dreams were broken, and he decided to take revenge on what had been the focus of his life.  You heard from Sharon Kennedy and Katherine Carter how he broke into the apartment and fired at Katy’s bed, and how he escaped.


“What happened after that remains – unclear, unproven, but we find ourselves now, here, and you good men and women of the jury need to answer a simple question.


“Do you believe Daniel Morgenstern was so blinded by love he was led astray in a monstrous plot to serve Katy Carter’s career, or that he coldly, calmly planned and executed the kidnapping of this young girl?  Was he acting out of a desire, however misplaced, to protect her, or did he seek to satisfy his own needs at the expense of her freedom and her family’s grief?


“You must make the decision the evidence leads you to – it is the contention of the state Daniel Morgenstern is guilty of the crimes he is charged with, and I am confident you will come to the same conclusion.”


Nodding to Judge Markovic, Sipowicz sat down, as Janice looked at Rhoda Perez.  She was looking at her notes, before she stood up, smoothed down her skirt, and looked at the jury.


“Yes, Daniel Morgenstern took Katy Carter from her family, and yes he held her in the cellar of his home for a period of just over twenty four hours.  I am not going to dispute those facts, but there is an alternative explanation to what happened.  In Janice Carter, Katy has a mother who wishes to push her fame to her own gratification.


“Yes, she presents a picture of a calm, competent agent, but she has a troubled past, a childhood…”


“Miss Perez…”


She glanced at the judge, and coughed as she said “my apologies – in her life, Janice Carter had had setbacks and disappointments, and in Katy she sees the opportunity to live her lost dreams through her.  Who can blame her for promoting that, for wanting to find ways to further that career?


“I contend Janice Carter hired Daniel Morgenstern to hold her own daughter hostage, to further her career.  The innocent part here is Daniel, and I hope you see that.”


As she sat down, Judge Markovic looked to the jury.  “I ask you to retire now, and consider your verdict.”  As the jury and court stood, he left, the jury then walking out.


“Let’s go get some lunch,” Eleanor said, “we’ll be called when they come back.”


“How long do you think they will be Mom,” Katy asked Janice as they filed out.


“Miss Carter?”


Jan turned and looked at the grey haired woman, dressed in a dark blue jacket and skirt, and said “I’m sorry – have we met?”


“No…  I’m Ida Morgenstern, Daniel’s mother.”


“Mrs Morgenstern…  I’m not sure we should be talking…”


“I know – but I wanted to say whatever happens now, I’m sorry my boy hurt your girl.”  She saw Eleanor and nodded as she said “that’s all I wanted to say.”


“Thank you,” Jan said quietly as Ida left with two other women, and they made their way to the café.



2 pm

The de Ros Mansion


“Juliette – the time in Munich is agreeing with you I see,” Diana said as she looked at her laptop.


“Well, we are getting a lot done,” Juliette said on the screen as Diana saw the Red Room behind her.  "So is Abigail looking forward to everything Diana darling?"

"She is Cherie."

"Well her coming to me in Munich on Saturday, at least it gets her out of yours and Valeria's way whilst you do all the final preparations and setting up."

"This is true, but it’s still going to be so strange letting her fly away without me."

"You'll just have to get used to it," Juliette nodded.  “She’ll travel down with us on the following Thursday as well.”

"Changing subjects,” Diana said as she sipped her wine, “how are things progressing in London?"

"Excellently, it should be a go for the day I only worry is that despite appearing to play tourist, what has a certain Miss Tanaka been up to?"

"Still very little in the way of clues?"

"Very little.  Catherine would hate me for saying this, but she is being inscrutable."

Diana smiled as she said "What is Shirley going to about that while we are all outside of the country?"

"Have Tamiko Tanaka and her goons watched EXTREMELY tightly.  What about over there – any word on the trial?”


“The jury is out, according to Jan – we are in their hands now…”



3 pm

New York County Criminal Court

100 Centre Street


Tom looked up as Katy and Jan walked quickly into the lobby, the rest of the family following.


“When did you hear?”


“I called as soon as I was told – they should be coming back in a few minutes, and I knew you would want to be there to hear.”


“Thanks,” Adam said as they made their way into the courtroom, sitting in the public seats as Sipowicz and Perez came in and sat at their desks.  Daniel Morgenstern walked in, turned and looked at the Carter family as Eleanor stared back, and then sat down as the usher came in.




The room stood as Judge Markovic came in and sat down, and then the jury came in.


“They’re not looking at him,” Eleanor whispered to Katherine.  “I know what that means in the films and on television.”


“Is that true though?”


Before Eleanor could reply, Judge Markovic said “will the foreman please rise?”  A red haired woman, streaks of grey showing, nodded as she stood up.


“Do you have a verdict for me?”


“We do, your honour,” she said as she handed a folded sheet of paper to the usher.  He walked over to Judge Markovic, who opened and read the sheet, then nodded as he handed it back.


“In the case of the state of New York versus Daniel Morgenstern, on the charge of abducting Katherine Janice Carter in contravention of section 135.25 of the penal code, how do you the jury find?”


Katy gripped Janice’s hand and closed her eyes.




Katherine and Eleanor looked at Ida Morgenstern as Daniel turned to look at her.


“On the charge of criminal possession of a firearm, in contravention of section 265.04 of the Penal Code, how do you find?”




“On the charge of criminal use of a firearm, with intent to wound or kill, in contravention of section 265.09 of the Penal Code, how do you find?”




As Katy looked at Daniel Morgenstern, his head dropped as the usher continued, “on the charge of stalking the said Katherine Janice Carter, in contravention of section 120.60 of the Penal Code, how do you find?”


“Guilty, your honour.”


Judge Markovic looked at the jury as Rhoda Perez talked to Daniel.  “This is the unanimous verdict of the jury?”


“It is your honour.”


Katy could feel the tears of relief starting to flow as Judge Markovic said “Daniel Morgenstern, stand.”  He waited as Daniel stood up, and said “you have been found guilty of the charges laid before this court, and I now pass sentence.  You have been convicted of a number of serious crimes, and I therefore pass the following judgement.


“I sentence you, Daniel Morgenstern, to serve a period of 25 years for the kidnapping of Katherine Janice Carter, and a period of 25 years for possession of a firearm with intent to use it to harm another.  For the charge of stalking Katherine Janice Carter, I regret to say I am limited by the sentencing guidelines for this misdemeanour, and I sentence you to serve five years.  The sentences to run consecutively.  Take him down.”


There was a gasp as Ida Morgenstern fainted, and the other ushers went to her assistance, helping her out as Daniel Morgenstern was handcuffed and led away.


“Miss Carter,” Judge Markovic said, “I wish to record my admiration for the way you presented yourself in this court.  Members of the jury, you are dismissed.”  He banged his gavel and stood, the usher calling out “All Stand” as he left.


“It’s over?  It’s really over?”


“It is,” Adam said as he hugged Katy, “I suspect his attorney will appeal, but as far as you are concerned, he is in your past now.”


“I agree,” Tom said, “go home and get ready for the party next week.”


As they left, Eleanor said “I’ll catch you up” and walked to where Ida was sitting with her friends.


“Captain Ball – I am truly sorry…”


“I know you are – if you ever want to talk, let me know.  I have contacts in a number of synagogues who can lend a sympathetic, non-judgemental ear.”  She handed Ida a card, and then walked back over.


“You know, it’s her I feel the sorriest for,” Jan said quietly.


“Yeah – she’s the one who got hurt the most,” Katy said as they walked out…



10 pm BST

Briggens House Hotel


“Your hot water Madame,” the waiter said as she placed the tray next to Rose.


“Ah – thank you so much,” she said, waiting until he had left before she slipped a couple of Typhoo tea bags from her handbag and dropped them into the pot of hot water, stirring them round.


“Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of pure imagination…”


"So did you enjoy your day out girls?" Rose smiled as she saw them all return, looking tired but happy.

"Immensely Rose," Jeannie wheeled herself over and gave the older woman a hug, "what about you?"

"Oh I was at Downwood seeing if there were any little things I could do to help with the girls’ outfits."

"And was there?" Barbara collapsed into an armchair and dropped her shopping bags.

"Oh a few bits," Rose sipped her tea, "you know those children are I think even more eager to learn then my students are?"

"It's nice to see."

"It is Barb.  Anyway, moving onto other matters," Rose said as she looked at the group, “Susan sent me a message from New York.  The trial is over.”


Grace suddenly sat up and said “and?”


“Guilty on all counts – he is going away for a very long time.”


“Excuse me a minute – call of nature,” Pepsi said as she suddenly got up and walked to the restrooms, taking her phone out as she did so.


“Will you excuse me as well Darlings,” Mandy said as she followed her out.


“Thank the Goddess,” Doc said quietly, “so it’s over?”


“It’s never over until the fat lady sings,” Caroline said, “but she’s warming up at any rate…”


“I am pleased as well,” Ama said as she took the drink from the waiter, “it is never a good thing to have a cloud like that hanging over you.


"Well Thank God that Jan and Katy and the family can now get on with their lives again," Becca said shook her head.

"Yeah,” Pepsi said as she came back in, smiling.  “I just phoned Mom and Gran, and I mean my biological Mom, and they are going to have a nice quiet night in, and one of Gran's Irish stews."

"And you won't be there to get some of the stew," Nikki quipped.

"Well I'll be there in spirit.  I’ll call my mom in a little while – she’ll still be at work."




5 pm

West Central Park


“So it’s done?”


Katy smiled as she looked at Orion O’Ryan on the screen of the laptop.


"Yeah…  I'm happy its done with and he will be locked up and hopefully getting help with his obsession at the same time Orion, but we all feel a bit sorry for his poor mother."

"That I can understand," the girl from Belfast replied.

"Well you look all dressed up anyway?"

Orion smiled as she did a twirl in her linen jacket and dress.  "I was filming a bit for a video trying to boost the local linen industry, its virtually dying out.  You know we produce the world’s finest linen here in Northern Ireland?"

"No - that I didn't know," Katy shook her head.

"Well we do, and if I can help save the industry, so much the better."

"Okay I'll remember that," Katy smiled, "anyway looking forward to your long weekend in England?"

"That I am.  Even if I have to be out of the house at a ridiculous hour."


“Just think of Jeannie – she and Barbara coming to pick you up.”


“True, true – anyway, I need to get going, and you need to eat.  Talk to you soon Lol.”


“You too Em.”



5.30 pm

The de Ros Mansion


“I’m home,” Abby said as she came into the drawing room, Diana looking up from the table where she was reading.


"Did you hear the trial result Cherie?" Diana asked as Abby draped her long body on the couch.

"I did, Missy came over and interrupted the shoot in person."

"Yes,” Diana said as she stood up and walked over, “well it means that people can relax now ahead of your birthday party."

"Yep," Abigail said as she yawned.

"A hard shoot?"

"No just a very physical one,” Abby said as Diana sat on the other end of the couch, “Sakamoto San had the bright idea of having me posing on scaffolding."

"In evening dresses?"

"I know,” Abby laughed, “it's ridiculous, but Japanese magazines seem to want very different images to our American ones."

"So he had you climbing in high heels?"

"He did Mama, and I'm pretty tired."

"Do you want to go take a nap?"

"I guess I better."  As Abby stood up, Diana said “I will have Edith call you when dinner is ready.”


“Thank you Mamma,” Abby said as she went up the stairs.  Diana smiled as she heard Edith answer the telephone.


“The Countess de Ros calling from Rosville, Madame,” Edith said, Diana nodding as she took the phone.


“Valeria – have you managed to arrange the meeting?


“Good – I want it dealt with first thing in the day, so it does not cast a shadow over anything else…”




10.30 pm BST

Lancaster Gate


Francesca looked up as Betty came into her drawing room, turning off the television as the news came to an end.


“May I ask a question, Marchesa?”


“Betty, please – I don’t mind Francesca.”


"I will try to remember that.  Is Miss Hannah going to be staying the night Marchesa?  If so, I can prepare a spare room."

"Has she still not gone home?" Francesca glanced at her watch.

"No - I've taken her in some food, but she says she is determined to finish what she is working on tonight."

"I'll go and look in on her in a moment Mrs Harris," Francesca smiled, "she certainly is eager."

"What is Miss Hannah's exact job title Marchesa?  One of my granddaughters was interested."

"Well I guess technically she's my Clerk...or my Law Clerk," Francesca considered, "but she does a lot of other things beyond the job description."

"All right I'll remember that to tell Eve." Betty collected Francesca's coffee cup. "By the way I heard on the TV that that man in New York was found guilty of kidnapping that young model."

"He was...Good...his lawyer she fought hard, but she really was playing a losing hand."

"Who was?" Hannah walked in stretching, "and any chance of some fresh coffee Betty?"


“The trial of that man accused of kidnapping Katy Carter – he was found guilty.”


“Was there ever going to be any doubt?  From what little I saw in the press, his defence attorney got slapped down a few times by the presiding judge.”


“Yeah – I’d love to see the full transcript at some point.  Mrs Harris was asking if she should make up the spare room?”


“Could you,” Hannah said as she looked at Betty.  “I’m nearly done, but I’ve at least another two hours ahead of me.”


“Let me get that coffee, and then I’ll take care of it,” Betty said as she left the room.


“Get some sleep at some time,” Francesca said as she looked at Hannah, “and that’s an order.”


“Yes Boss,” Hannah said with a grin.



7 pm

The de Ros Mansion


Abby opened her eyes as she heard her cell phone go off, and reached over, looking at the caller ID before she accepted the call.


"Hey Jo," she said as she sat up, "I was having a quick nap."

“Long day?”


“I needed the break,” she said as she looked round.


"Did you hear the verdict?"

"Yes,” Abby said as she stood up, “guilty as charged."

"Yeah, so Katy can now start putting it behind her, and the rest of us can concentrate on Rosville.”  There was a pause before Jo said “looking forward to it?"

"I am, but I'd be looking forward to it more if Mama and I could settle this problem?"

"What problem Abs?"

"My Memories contract is up for renewal."

"It is? Goddess time does fly." Jo paused, "so have they made an offer?"

"Yeah, two more years, four point two for the first year, four point six for the second."

"And you haven't already signed on the dotted line girl?" Jo practically shouted.

"Missy and Mama say I should wait and entertain other offers."

"Well I suppose they have a point...but still?"

"I know, I like the Memories people, I like the product."

"But Missy thinks you might get a better deal?"

"So she says...I just know I'd rather like to have it settled before my party."


“I’m sure it will be – I talked to Cari earlier as well.  Apparently her friends had her racing against Olympic champions?”


“Sheesh – she must have been terrified…  If she knew…”


“She didn’t,” Jo laughed, “they kinda sorta forgot to tell her…”


“Thanks,” Abby laughed as there was a knock on the door, “I needed that.”


“My apoogies Miss Abigail,” she heard Edith say, “but dinner is ready.”


“Coming – gotta go eat Jo.  What are you up to?”


“Watching George and Sands for the night – when they get back in.  Talk to you later…”




7 pm

Complete Style


“Sorry we’re keeping you up Fiona, but this was the only opportunity we’ve got to talk before we head over.”


“Aye ah know,” Fiona MacKenzie said, “dinnae worry.  So, we are decided on this one?”


“I just hope Katy isn’t too disappointed – she’s had a remarkable year, after all.”


"There's been an inordinate number of young girls making it big this past year Mary." Fiona looked at her on the screen.

"I know, but I think we've arrived at the right decision."

"Ah agree, young Katy has nae been in the business quite long enuff yet."

"Yes, and kids like Baby G's girls haven't really broke through yet outside the US."

"So we ah definitely givin the award ta Orion?"

" decision." Mary smiled again.

"And I endorse that," Anna spoke. "Katy's reward came today at the trial."

“Aye – serves him right,” Fiona said.”


"Now,” Anna said as she looked at her papers, “which category are we going to award Kylie?"

"Well she canna be given the encouragement award and grant, she's already established."

"Then Young Designer of the Year?"

"I think we have to give it to her." Anna agreed.

"Yeah ah agree too," Fiona nodded.


“Good,” Mary said with a smile, “what’s next?”



Thursday 16th June

8 am Local Time

Catherine Lu’s Apartment


“I trust my associate was able to be of help to you Kylie,” Catherine said as she looked across the breakfast bar at the teenager.


"Oh she was - Mrs.Wu is a wonder," Kylie smiled broadly, "she took one look at my woolen designs and she said she'd make up samples of each, and produce the pattern whilst she did so."

"Well I'm glad she solved your problem Kylie," Catherine looked up from her computer. "So looking forward to your travels?"

"Let me see…   New York, London, France, yes darling they'll be fun. But then back around the globe again to Sydney, then back to Italy...I don't know why I need to go to Sydney."

"Alice wants to show off her prodigy at the CS events Kylie.  It is an honour for her and you."

"Well I get that darling,” Kylie said as she finished her coffee, “but isn't everyone just over rating me as of yet."

"No they aren't," Catherine smiled broadly. "now did you hear the New York trial result?"


“I did – and I am glad Katy can have a measure of security now.  It is going to be interesting living in the same building as her family.”




9 am CET



“Over fifty years?  I thought kidnapping could get you a life sentence?”


“For what I understand,” Juliette said as she sat in the room with Annie and Carina, “the judge took into account the fact he did not contest the act, only the reasons.”

"Mom,” Carina said with a grin, “you know we can always 'liberate' him, and I can give him a really well-deserved punishment."

"I would probably join her in that." Annie smiled, "I've been such a good girl for so many months, I need let off some steam."

"No we aren't interfering in this one," Juliette smiled as well, "let the law take its course.  Justice will be served."

"Pity," Carina shook her head.

"Yes," Annie laughed, "hearing what Sharon did at that club I think stirred something in both of us."

"What did I ever do to get a daughter and daughter-in-law who are sadistic psychopaths?" Juliette looked skywards.

"You fell in love with my nephew," Natalya's voice was heard quietly, "and you really must learn to check and lock rooms before you talk of these things?"

"I know, I do know," Carina shook her head. "I'm getting sloppy."

"Sloppy can put you in prison darling," Natalya shook her head.  “But I am pleased that young Katy’s tormentor has been jailed.  After all, the society in those places will have a special welcome for him…”



7 pm BST

Briggens House Hotel


“So where is the young lady,” Doc said as she sat in the hotel bar with Nikki and Bobby.


“Oh I’m sure she will be here in due course,” Caroline said, “so be patient, all will be revealed in due course.”


“Well – how do I look?”


The girls all stood and looked as Pepsi came in, smiling as Ama stood behind her.  She was wearing a royal blue silk dress, with a square neckline and capped sleeves, the waist gathered and the skirt falling in soft pleats to the floor.  She wore long opera gloves in the same shade of blue, and a double string of pearls was around her neck.  In her ears were a pair of white gold earrings, and they could all see the ring on the third finger of her left hand.  Her blonde hairwas also in soft waves, as Mandy came in and said “I did learn a thing or teo from the people I worked with darling.”


“You look amazing,” Caroline said, “and is that the first time…”


“Yeah – I figured this was the best day,” Pepsi said as Jeannie wheeled herself in.


“You go girl,” she said as she looked at her friend, “just remember, no jumping into the Cam at the end of the ball!”


“You talking about me or Jack,” Pepsi giggled as she allowed Ama to put the matching wrap over her shoulders.


“Both of you,” Will said as he came in, “the car is waiting outside, and we will see you all tomorrow.”  He was wearing a three piece suit and a shirt with a Harrow tie, while Mandy was wearing a cream jacket over a white dress.


“And what will you be doing,” Grace asked as she came in.


“Dinner with the bursar – enjoy your evening darlings,” she said as they went out, and Rose came in.


“The last minute adjustments?”


“No problem Grace – so what is on the menu for tonight?”








11 am PT

Oakwood Hills


Mary looked at the brunette sat by her side, dressed in a fawn coloured jacket and skirt with a white blouse, and said “well, it all looks straightforward enough.”


"Good…  So if you just sign there Mary," Liz Applebee said with a smile as she indicated the line on the form, "then I think we are done."


“Done - and done,” Mary said as she signed the forms, and handed them back.

"Coffee Liz," Dave Clarke called out from the kitchen.

"Please Dave," the financial planner called back.  “We’re finished in here anyway.”

"You know I can't quite believe that the money I'm making modelling makes even more money with how you have it invested Liz," Mary said as she gave Liz back her pen.

"Well you and the family live so frugally Mary,” Liz said as she sat back.  “You don't even spend a quarter of what you are earning in returns on your investments, let alone any of the principal."

"But we seem to be spending a fortune," Mary looked concerned as she sat back.

"A fortune!" Liz laughed, "you drive a used car Mary, Dave here still works..."

"But I just bought David a car?"

"That is eight years old," Liz shook her head.

"And he's driven it to LA to go see Sally Murphy and her family, and that's not cheap..."

"Mary I despair of you, he's staying at a Motel 6 for damn sakes." Liz laughed some more, “you really are never going to change are you?"

"I hope not," Dave hugged his daughter after he put the coffee on the table.  Liz took a mug and drank from it, before she asked "So is the family set for France?"

"Oh and that's involved expense...  New clothes and things…"

"Dave,” Liz said as she shook her head, “if you hold her down can I hit her please?"

"I know Liz,” Dave said as he smiled, “but when you've never had much money like us, you either go hog wild spending it, or you fret that it will one day just vanish."

"I know Dave, but really - you can all afford to have a great holiday in France."


“Well, we’re going to make a real trip of it,” Mary said as she looked at her watch.  “When is your car coming?”


“I have the time to enjoy this – so what are you doing next week?”


“Going to New York on Monday, spending a couple of days there, then joining the plane on Wednesday night.  Gives us Thursday to recover before the party.  The weekend there, and then I fly to Hong Kong, spend a night there, then to Sydney while the others fly back.”



2 pm

Complete Style


“Well now Anna,” Mary said as the Editor appeared in her cave, “What can I do for you?”  She didn’t look up as her boss came in.


"Mary we have a problem for Sydney."

"And what might that be Anna?" Merlin looked up from what she was examining.

"Local TV want Kylie Minogue to sing."

"Well we already knew that, it's not a problem."

"But this is, you know we are honoring PUMA for their commitment as a brand to ethical employment and environmental practices?"


"Well they want Kylie Jenner as one of their global ambassadors to accept the award on their behalf."

"Again Anna love, what's the problem?"

"That she and Ms Minogue are in a huge legal battle over the trademark of the name Kylie, and that we are also making a big thing of Kylie Mitchell."

"Oh I see," Mary smiled, "It's going to be seen by some as the Battle of the Kylie's."

"Exactly Merlin dear, so what do we do?"

"I say we leave well alone, and if sparks fly it will merely generate interest Anna."


“Well, if you say so…”



8 pm

Kings College, Cambridge


“Will you stop worrying Jack,” Simon Leventhal said as he watched his friend pacing the floor, “she will be here soon.”


“I know, I know – why couldn’t Roberta come?”


“Family commitment,” Simon said with a smile, “but she knows I have a suitable replacement lined up.”


“Of course I am,” Angel said as she adjusted the diamond bracelet round her gloved wrist, “and I get to keep an eye on both of you as well.”


“They’re coming to the gates now,” Jack said as he looked at his phone, and slipped into the inside jacket of his jacket, “shall we?”


The trio made their way out of the room, both men in black tie and tails, Angel wearing a white ball gown, and walked past the other students who were making their way to the rear of the quadrangle, before they stepped through the ornate gatehouse and saw the grey Daimler pull up on the parking area outside.


“My Lord – I see your parents and your partner have arrived?”


“They have, sir,” Jack said to the Bursar as Will got out, and shook hands with the academic.


“A real pleasure to see you again Robert – how is he behaving himself?”


“Passably well – Amanda, my dear.”


“Robert,” Mandy said as she took his hand and kissed it, while Jack walked over and took Pepsi’s hand.


“Wow – you look outstanding,” Simon said as she stepped out, holding her blue clutch purse.


“Why thank you – how are you tonight Jack?”


“All the better for seeing you,” he said as he offered his arm, “shall we?”


He walked off with Pepsi, Simon offering Angel his arm, before they walked back through the entrance, Jack and Simon nodding to the gatehouse and the porters as they passed under the dome.


“Shall we,” the Bursar said as he indicated to Mandy and Will to follow him.


The party emerged onto the immaculately kept lawn of the inner quadrangle, the water from the fountain flowing as small groups of students stood around.


“I thought Yale had character,” Pepsi said as she looked round, “but this is truly amazing.”


“I know – and so are you,” Jack whispered.


“Is that where they ran the race in that film – Chariots of Fire?”


“No, that is Trinity College,” the Bursar said, “but that is an understandable mistake.  However, for the film they did not use Trinity.”


“They didn’t?  Where did that use?”


Jack and his father exchanged a pained look as the Bursar said “Eton…”


“So are these all rooms that go round the quadrangle?”


“Mostly Tutor’s rooms and final year, if truth be told,” Jack said, “we have rooms in the main accommodation block, opposite the chapel there.”


“The Glittering Spires, as Frederick Raphael put it,” Angel said quietly.


Jack nodded as he said “Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!

“And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent
spray's edge -
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song
twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
- Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!”


“Browning,” the Bursar said as they moved between the Chapel and the accommodation, and walked with the other couples along a long red carpet to where a large marquee had been set up by the river bank.  She could see lanterns hanging from ropes attached to poles on either side of the carpet, as they waited in turn to go in.


“Ah there you are, Robert,” a grey haired woman in an ivory dress with a matching wrap said, “and I see you found Will and Mandy.”


“We did indeed,” the Bursar said as they went to one side.


“Welcome to the May Ball,” Jack said as they finally went in, a band playing at one end of the vast dance floor as couple stood and talked to each other, “shall we dance?”


“I thought you’d never ask,” Pepsi said as they walked onto the wooden dance floor.





"So why are they called May Balls if they take place in June?" Pepsi asked as they made their way to a table where Will and Mandy were sitting with the Bursar and his wife.

"Because up till 1882 they used to be held in May at the time of the bump races, and before examinations," Simon explained, "that year they were switched to after the exams in June, but the traditional name was kept."

"And as you can tell young lady, tradition is very important around here," the bursar smiled.

"I can see," Pepsi smiled as she shook her head.

"Now," Edith the bursar's wife spoke, "can I ask why you are called Pepsi? or is that actually your real name?"

"No," the young American laughed lightly, "my actual name is Nicola, but we have two Nicola's in my little social group, so everyone calls me Pepsi which is the nickname my mom calls me by."

"Ah that explains it," Edith smiled, "when young Jack told us William and Amanda were bringing Pepsi, we weren't sure if he meant a young lady, or the drink."

"I have to say it clears a couple of things up in my mind." Robert chuckled.

"And without being rude, may I ask where you got your dress from?" Edith continued.

"Kylie Mitchell designed and made it for me, just for tonight."

"She did?"

"Kylie is a personal friend of Pepsi's Edith darling," Mandy drawled.

"And she will be in the same class as her at school next year." Will added.

"To have such a famous friend," Robert chuckled, "you'll have all the other young ladies quite jealous of you."

"Oh I hope not," Pepsi blushed.  “So they still insist on calling a ball in June the May Ball here?”


"Well…  Strictly speaking we call this ‘The Kings Affair’ and its usually a slightly more relaxed thing then the true May balls," Simon spoke.

"But this year the theme is "High Society" so just for this year we've gone back to all the old glitz and glamour." Robert laughed lightly.

"Well I think it’s fantastic," Angel commented.

"And so do I," Robert nodded, "reminds me of my own undergraduate days in the late 70's when we still held formal May Balls every year."

"It's where we met," Edith put her hand on her husbands.

"Oh that's so romantic," Pepsi sighed.

"You know strictly speaking we are an alien little group," Robert laughed lightly, "a group of Harrovians at a college initially built by Henry VI to cater to damn Etonians."

"A fact that Sir John Hammond never ceases to remind me of," Will looked heavenwards.

"Oh John just knows he can get a rise out of you darling." Mandy smiled.


“May I have this dance,” Simon asked Angel as he took her onto the dance floor, while Jack went to the bar.


"So what does a bursar do?" Pepsi asked.

"We are the college's financial managers," Robert replied, "do you not have one at your school in New York?"

"No we have a dean."

"Ah that's a different job altogether."

"But the Principal, she runs the financial side of the school."

"I understand."

"The vice-principal runs the education side, and the dean..."

"Who is my old friend Grace Gresham," Mandy interrupted.

"She runs all the matters related to student life."

"It sounds like a good system," the bursar nodded. "so the principal is the one who sends your parents the bills for your tuition, etc."

"Actually not Sir," Jack beamed as he came back and sat down, "Pepsi is on a full academic scholarship."

"So a scholar and a beauty eh?" Edith asked.

"Well not really," Pepsi blushed, "I'm not bad, but I'll never be asked to be a model, and academically I'm not in the same league as my friend Anna Carlton."

"Very, VERY few people are darling," Mandy said languidly.

"I take it she's extremely bright?"

"According to rumour Robert,” Will said "she's already been assured by Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, as well as several other major universities that she just has to apply to be admitted."

"And she still has two more years at St Angela's to go yet." Jack nodded.

"Oh My she does sound like a prodigy."

"She is Sir," Pepsi nodded, "compared to her I'm a mere mortal."

"And she's also a model who is beginning to carve out a career in that business as well." Angel looked round.

"I'd like to meet her," Robert looked serious, "I wonder if she's considered us at Kings?"

"Well she's in my little party from school that are in Essex," Pepsi volunteered. "Do you want me to ask her?"

"Maybe we can arrange a visit?" Robert smiled again. "But anyway returning to bursars one of my predecessors here at Kings was John Maynard Keynes..."

"The greatest of all economists." Simon spoke with enthusiasm, "despite being an Etonian."

"Young progressives like Simon have rediscovered Keynesian theory," the bursar smiled benevolently, "it's a rather more 'liberal' approach to economics then the so called Chicago school's ideas."

"And Simon is all but a red," Jack baited the younger man.

"Well leaving economics aside, what is your academic specialty Sir?"

"Oh you had to ask Pepsi," the bursar laughed loudly, "My background is in veterinary science."

"And he's the rotter who advises Will on his pigs darling." Mandy pretended to look daggers at Robert.

"I was running a research station attached to the University when I was asked to become bursar here at my old college, and because the also let me fit in some teaching, I accepted."

"Talking of Pigs, my Marigold is..."

"NO WE ARE NOT TALKING OF PIGS DARLING!" Mandy closed down her husband before he started.  “Come on – we’re dancing!”


8 pm



Shirley looked up as she heard the intercom buzz, and stood, walking over to look at the screen.




“Hey,” she heard Penny say as she waved the camera, “my apologies for dropping over unexpectedly, but I have a visitor who wanted to see you tonight.”


Shirley smiled as she saw Helen behind Penny.  “Come on up,” she said as she released the gate lock, “I’ll open a bottle of something.”


She made her way to the kitchen, taking a bottle of wine from the fridge and finding three glasses, before she opened the front door.


“Apologies for the unexpected visit,” Helen said, “but Kylie asked me to pass on some details of when she will do the fitting for the bridesmaid’s dresses next week.”


“Well, it’s still a nice surprise,” Shirley said as they went into the front room.  “Is she looking forward to her travels?”


“With fear and trepidation,” Helen said with a smile.  “It also gives me the opportunity to meet with Beverley tomorrow and assess her fitness.”


“Remind me not to warn her,” Shirley said with a smile.


“So where are John and Maisha tonight,” Penny asked as they sat down.


“Well, John is at the club,” Shirley said, “and Maisha is just finishing a session with a tutor.  Actually, that will be them now – I’ll ask them to drop in.”


She stood up and walked out as Penny and Helen talked quietly to each other, only for Penny to gasp as she returned with Maisha and another woman.  She was as tall as Maisha, with shoulder length grey-blonde hair, wearing a grey tweed jacket and knee length skirt with a white blouse underneath.


“Hello Penny, Helen,” Maisha said,” this is my Economics tutor, Agnes McAdam.”


“Yeah, I know,” Penny said quietly, “it has been a long time Agnes.”


“It has,” Agnes said with a smile.  “I’ve been following your career with some interest Penny – or is it Penelope?”


“Penny is fine – Helen, meet Agnes McAdam, also known as Lady D’Eath.”


“Ah – Penny has told me a great deal about you,” Helen said as she stood and bowed.  “It is an honour to meet you, my Lady.  I offer the greetings of my mistress, Madame Lu, and of my Honoured Father.”


“And I accept those greetings,” Agnes said as she bowed.  “Your actions speak of training in the Far East?”


“Indeed,” Shirley said, “come, sit with us and let us talk of the old days.”


As they sat, Agnes looked at both Penny and Helen, wearing jumpers and jeans.  “I have to say, you have done well for yourself, Penny,” she eventually said, “and come a long way from the girl I first met.”


“Well, you were the one who set me on my path, My Lady,” Penny replied. "Agnes was as near a thing as I actually had to a mother growing up, but she was like that for a whole group of runaways living rough in London."

"You were always one of the exceptional ones Penny though."

"Now I feel like a teenager introducing her first boyfriend to her parents," Penny giggled.

"Well in many ways Shirley and I have shared that honour."

"You never told me though that you knew her Agnes?"

"Shirley,” Agnes said quietly, “I learned early that young Penny compartmentalizes her life, I didn't want to be an intruder from her old life into her new one."

"I understand and respect that," Shirley nodded.

"So you finally decided to let your heart fall in love Penny?"

"I met an exceptional person, like me wounded in many ways, we found common ground, we were attracted to each other..."

"And from almost the start we fell in love," Helen spoke, her eyes cast down.

"I hoped it might happen one day," Agnes smiled broadly. "Penny does she know what you hide inside?"

"She does Agnes," it was Penny's time to look downward, "she knows about my father, just as I know of the tragic death of her parents."

"And that other...the VERY dark thing?"

"Yes, she knows of that Agnes."

"Lady D'Eath,” Helen said quietly, “I have my own secrets, to many who are the enemies of my masters and mistresses, I'm known as Wúshēng de Sǐwáng."

For once in her life Agnes took a few seconds to gain her composure, "you Helen are the one they call Sudden Death?"

"I am Mistress," Helen replied and bowed instinctively.

"Well now you and Penny do make a MOST interesting couple.  But you have never forgot the lessons we taught you, Penny?"


“No – never…”


"What was the prime lesson Penny?" Agnes asked.

Helen and Shirley were both shocked to see Penny stand, her hands clasped together as she started to recite.

"The prime lesson is to remember that we must keep our bodies and souls together at all times.


"That it has been a good day if we lay our heads down in a place that is warm and dry, and that our stomachs are not uncomfortably empty…

"It is a bad day if we fall to sleep in the hands of the authorities, as well as those who seek to use and exploit children such as us, UNLESS we are fully aware of our actions and have freely consented.

"Or that we fall to sleep, cold, wet, sick, or hungry and unable to find the help and support of anyone.

"We promise to do all we can to survive and to try to help each other, and we beg pardons for the things we need do to stay alive.

"That is the Prime Lesson Ma'am."

Penny and Helen looked stunned as Penny sat down.


“And she has done that, has she not Shirley?”


“She most certainly has…  So what else did Agnes teach you Penny?" Shirley looked as though tears could come at any second as Helen took her partner’s hand.

"Where there were a couple of struck-off doctors who weren't bound to report treating us. Where the AIDS and sexual disease testing places were. She gave us lectures on drugs and tried either to convince us not to do them, or to be extremely careful and to recognize addiction and overdose symptoms."

"What else?"

"That when we got lucky, how to use the money we had. She ran a little savings bank and would hold money for us till the bad days came round again, and she'd then let us have it back a little at a time. She showed us where the libraries were so we could go read, and kept the newspapers and made us read them."  Penny paused for a moment as she looked over.  "For some of us in dire need she found employment in places no one asked for identification or wanted forms filling in...

“Above all though she taught us that despite what might have happened before, there was one person who genuinely cared for us in this world?”


“That was what these children needed more than anything,” Agnes said.


“Penny – that actually answers a question in my mind.  When we rescued your brother, and then we found you were an only child…”


“Paul was one of my friends at the school - to us, we were all brothers and sisters.”


Shirley nodded as she saw Agnes smile.


"Agnes,” Penny eventually said, “do you still have your dungeon?"

"Yes, BDSM is my business its still my pleasure," the veteran domme smiled, "But I must admit it’s never quite been the same since you were the star attraction Penny?"

"Then why did you ask me to leave my Lady?"

"Because you nearly killed that man,” Agnes said quietly, “and I could see that it had become more than a job to you Penny. You were no longer giving and taking pleasure from the pain, you just wanted to hurt people period."

"Well I also was working at something else....”

"And you found it easier restraining that rage in you while you were into burglary and home invasion, and via the grapevine I heard that somehow you had subdued that creature within you."

“Indeed – when I first met Penny,” Shirley said, “I had no idea of her other side.”


"She's still there Agnes,” Penny said quietly, “I have let her escape on occasion."

"And the results were?

"On one level gloriously satisfying, but to this Penny - the one who lives and has to function every day – it is deeply shaming because I know that the psychopath is the real and true me."

"And what of you Helen,” Agnes said as she looked over, “what do you think of the real Penelope?"

"I am hardly in a position to criticize....  After all, I am a professional assassin."

"Diplomatically put dear." Agnes smiled. 

"Do your questions have a point Agnes?" Shirley asked.

"Not really,” Agnes said with a smile, “they just make me wish that one more time i could see the greatest dominant I ever knew do her thing."

"No Agnes," Penny smiled, "I love you so much, but if I was to ever enter a dungeon again and do another turn as Princess Penelope, then this time I know for certain I wouldn't be able to control myself and some poor masochist would end up dead.”


"One question I've always wanted to ask Penny, why do the China Dolls never talk."

"Well I know a couple of theories," Madame interposed.

"But only the original dolls know the real reason Madame," Penny made an effort to speak. "And that was because Kay worked out that if I couldn't talk, then I was going to find it very hard to get angry, and that thus I wouldn't hurt anybody too badly."

"Is that the truth?"

"It is Agnes, in fact on the earliest Doll jobs I had my lips taped so that I couldn't say anything and there be a boil over."

"Well I learn something new every day," Shirley shook her head.

"Me too," Helen looked closely at her lover.

"It helped...It helped teach me self control," Penny tried a weak smile.

"Still it’s an unusual way to do it." Agnes shook her head. "Shirley I have to say I can see a huge change in you as well, when you called me in to tutor Maisha I barely recognised you."

"Should I take that as a compliment Agnes."

"Yes.  Whatever happened, it has been the best thing to happen to you for a long time."

"Well you are still Lady D'eath Agnes, probably the only Dominatrix in the world with a PhD in economics, and still a woman I admire immensely."

"Thank you Madame," Agnes smiled. 

"If you are Doctor McAdam why do you not teach at a university?" Helen asked.

"Oh just after I got my doctorate it came out how I'd paid my way through my education," Agnes sighed, "It was front-page stuff in The News of the World, and then the rest of the rubbish press. After being exposed like that there was no way I was going to get a job in either business or academia. So after months of turndowns I went back to what I probably did best anyway."

"I see," Helen nodded.

"Agnes at various times 'consulted' on businesses like mine giving advice and suggesting ways to expand our profits." Shirley added, "and we all benefited from her expertise."

"Meanwhile I took a big interest in kids like Penny, and a lot of the other waifs and strays living on the streets of the West End, the price of my help to the Underworld was protection for my dungeon, and funds to help me look after the children."

"And she does both things to this day." Shirley smiled.  “Which is why I wonder if you could call into the office tomorrow.  I think we should support the school with a further donation.”







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