Trials and Tribulations – Part 3
“Whatever is in that letter must be fascinating,” Harriet said as she looked at her friend.
“Because you haven’t seen the flying squirrel.”
“Oh, well… Maybe next time…” Sarah then looked round at the other teachers, and then said “Was I somewhere else?”
“Why yes, yes you were,” Harriet said, “so what’s the letter about?”
"Well… Is there another Sacred Heart?" Sarah
looked at the paper she held, "in Hempstead?"
is...but why Sarah?" Kate Hardisty looked up.
to schedule us for a game in the fall..."
do? That's a tribute to you Sarah,"
Annie looked up and grinned.
someone please explain?" Sarah said as she grabbed a coffee cup.
"They are a
girls’ Catholic high school out on Long Island... They've won the state championship many
times, and have often been ranked in the national Top 25." Kate explained,
"If they want to play us, then they must think we are a worthy opponent indeed."
Harriet said, “who has been the big change element round here in girls
Sarah sat down,
took a drink, and then said "Ama, Jessica..."
YOU!" Annie laughed hard..."Ouch baby doesn't like me laughing like
that," she said as she settled down.
"It's true Sarah, you have helped raise our profile onto the national stage." Kate looked at her papers. “So I hope you accept on behalf of the school.”
“Oh I’ll accept – I wonder what they’ll make of our new goalkeeper…”
The Senior Room
Letty said, “we've approved the idea for Miss Nightingale to get the students
teacher of the year award."
has made English Lit a cutting edge subject even for science nerds like me, and
as a coach she transformed girls’ soccer Letty."
agreed...Now what about the outfits?"
Thomas will store them."
donations hot line Jessica?"
has said his bank is more than happy to do that for us...” the freshman said,
“given it’s for such a good cause."
"Thank him for us all please Jess." Letty made a note. “I think we are ready to go then. Let’s hope they don’t hear anything…”
“That must be her now,” David said as there was a knock on the door, “want me to get that?”
“Please – I’ll start a fresh pot of coffee,” Judy said as she went to the kitchen, David smiling as he stood up and opened the door. “You must be Francesca,” he said as he looked at the tall, elegant blonde, “David Fitzstuart – please, come in?”
“Thank you,” Francesca said as she came in, “it’s very good of both of you to meet with me today.”
“Well, Carina said you may find it useful – this is Judy McNally, the real reason you are here.”
“Francesca di Cambrello,” the tall blonde said as she shook hands with Judy.
"Pleasure… Have we met?" Jude asked the tall blonde
pretty sure we haven't," Francesca smiled.
“Anyway,” Judy said as she set a tray of coffee mugs down, and Francesca drew a legal pad and pen from her bag, “in what way can I help law scholars?"
"Did you hear of this huge case filed at the European Court today?"
saw it in the online edition of the Times,” Judy said, “but again what can I do
to help....I'm a music, not a pre-law major..."
"Actually, it's your technical expertise I want to use," Vanessa smiled, "When in your opinion does a little bit of 'borrowing' in music become theft of copyrighted material?"
"Ouch," Judy grinned, "why didn't I see that one coming..."
not a musician," Francesca interrupted.
"Nor in my opinion are a lot of the people out there accusing other performers of 'stealing'," Jude paused, "but I will tell you one thing... It has been going on forever in music."
"Yeah, most of the great composers at least borrowed 'a few notes' from older music they loved and incorporated it."
"The problem is, when does just using an idea or borrowing say a couple of bars become a full scale ripoff?" David asked calmly as he handed out coffee. "And I for one have no idea where that boundary lies."
the problem, we really do not have a definitive standard on this,"
Francesca sipped her coffee, "but it might help if you can explain some of
the great historical borrowings by composers Judith?"
"I'd be delighted Marchesa. How far back do you want to go?"
“Give me some examples from your own knowledge,” Francesca said as she smiled.
“Okay,” Judy said, “well, it’s important I think to separate out the recent cases around copying from historical examples. It’s only really in the last forty years there has been an effective – well, reasonably effective – music copyright law in the US.”
“You refer to Thicke and Williams, as well as Bruno Mars?”
“That’s right,” Judy said as she smiled at David, “and you also need to dismiss ‘fair use’ rules in some areas. It’s how programs like Saturday Night Live get away with spoof songs – but if you intend to produce an album of parody songs, such as the sort of thing Weird Al Yankovic does, you need the permission of the original songwriter and artist.”
“The British series, Horrible Histories, also had to approach songwriters when they did their songs to illustrate history,” David said, “such as Boyce and Hart when they used the Monkees theme for Greek philosophers, and Kate Bush for a song about Mary Tudor.”
“So noted” Francesca said as she wrote on the pad.
“Anyway – what you are interested in is classical works, so here’s some examples. Have you ever heard Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins?”
“I have,” Francesca said.
“Good – well, Bach wrote a Concerto for Four Keyboards, which is effectively a note for note transcription of the Vivaldi work. There is a quote attributed to Stravinsky – A good composer does not imitate – he steals.”
“Reminds me of something my father once said about higher degrees in the UK,” David said, “MSc stood for Mostly Scribbled, MPhil for Mainly Filched, and PhD for Filched Definitively.”
Francesca smiled as Judy slapped the back of David’s head. “Getting back to your point however – Mahler’s First Symphony borrowed from both Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony and Frere Jacques.”
“Outside Classical music, however,” David said, “in folk, jazz, blues, they often regard taking themes from other artists and doing them their way as a sign of respect.”
“I can believe that,” Francesca said.
“It still happens in the modern classical world,” Judy said as she smiled. “A few years ago, Osvaldo Gojilov premiered a new work for orchestra called Siderius. He was accused of lifting wholesale the work of Michael Ward-Bergerman – it turned out Ward-Bergman knew and approved, but the accusation was out there. Alex Ross in the New Yorker wrote an article about it, and gave this quote…
“’Golijov can be defended on the grounds that there is a long history of borrowing and outright theft in classical music. In the Baroque era, Bach, Handel, and other masters routinely recycled their own music and reworked the music of others; the idea of the composer as a singular genius blazing an original path was essentially alien before the advent of Beethoven.’”
“Interesting,” Francesca said.
“And it happens in other musical circles – consider John Williams. One of the most famous and respected film composers alive today, right?”
Francesca nodded as Judy said “well, he acknowledges that the Stormtrooper March from Star Wars is lifted/inspired by Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring. He was never sued over it.”
“So why is that the case?”
“Partly the rules of music,” Judy said, “which, unless your name is Philip Glass, we all have to keep to. Partly, we are all inspired by listening to others. Partly, ignorance – but not always.
“Beethoven in his Op. 28 Piano Sonata freely uses Pachelbel’s Canon…
“Richard Strauss, in writing Elektra, took a lot of themes from Gnecchi’s Cassandra…
“And… Let me play you something,” Judy said as she stood up, looked through some CDs, and then put one into the player. As the music started, Francesca said “Is that Shostakovich?”
“It is,” Judy said, “to be specific, Prelude no. 15 in D Flat, Op. 87. Listen carefully.”
The three of them listened for a short while, before Francesca laughed as they heard the music to We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
“I think my point is made – but as I said at the start, when it happens, it’s a mixture of mutual respect and the lack of effective copyright law pre-1976 in the US that is the issue.”
“I take the point – so where does sampling fit into this area?”
“With great difficulty – Fair Use is only a concept recognised in the US. Normally, the person doing the sampling comes to some sort of arrangement with the originator of the work that is being sampled. When that doesn’t happen, it can be costly.”
“Vanilla Ice sampled Queen and David Bowie without permission. George Harrison lost a case claiming he copied the song He’s So Fine for My Sweet Lord. The Verve hit Bitter Sweet Symphony was based on the Rolling Stones song The Last Time but did not credit them – until they sued to be recognised. The list can go on.”
“Well, that’s all useful – it comes down to respect and the lack of copyright law, and mutual respect,” Francesca said with a smile.
“Hey Aunt Sigi,” Carina said as she opened the door, “come in. How did your meeting go?”
“Tiring – I’ve been in the library all afternoon as well. I hoped to meet Francesca here.”
“Well, David said she had a good chat with them.”
good… So where is she currently
"In one of
the rehearsal rooms with Judy and some of her music friends getting a lesson in
the difference between plagiarizing in writing music and just accidental or
innocent homage within an otherwise original song."
Carina said, “too much for my little brain."
"But what have you made of her...personally?"
Carina looked at Sigi for a moment, before she said “Aunt Natalya told you as well?”
“Oh I knew of
the public face – and I always thought it was a lie, so what do you think?”
"Oh I can
get it,” Carina said as they sat down, “she's lived a life under cover, but
just occasionally and if you know what you are looking for, then she shows you
that fluffy Italian exterior..."
"She created a true Renaissance Condottiera." Cari paused a second, "If she thought she was doing something because she had to, I guess she'd show no mercy."
“Well, that is in the past now,” Sigi said, “and we are looking to the… There you both are.”
“Sorry,” Francesca said as she and Judy came in, “the discussion took an interesting turn. How did the research go?”
“Got a few good cases to cite – but we probably need to compare notes. Let’s leave the youngsters to one more night of intense study, and find somewhere to eat.”
“Thanks for the hospitality – and it’s been nice to meet both of you,” Francesca said as they collected their bags and coats, and headed out.
“What is about your relatives and the people they know, Cari?”
“No idea – I’m going to call Annie, and check in with Mom and Judith. Want to get something to eat after that?”
“Sounds good,” Jude said as she sat down.
"So how is
it going out in Kentucky Grant?" April asked as Grant put the telephone
to Toddy....all is perfect."
that's what is worrying him Mom," Pepsi said as she kissed her parents. “Sorry I’m late – Oh, and I invited Katy for
supper if that's okay?"
with us," April smiled, "but what's up at home Katy?"
has her Morse for Congress meeting,” Katy said as she put the bag down, “and
Mom and Uncle Adam have gone to talk to someone about a case."
you can say so." Katy nodded. "So either I slip out to the golden
"Or as I insisted she gets a more substantial meal here." Pepsi grinned.
“So thanks – I
really mean that,” Katy said.
way darling,” April said, “you can ring Letty and tell her those over-sized
ostrich fans have arrived and I have them downstairs."
"Fans," Pepsi shook her head, “you know the head girls have this all so compartmentalized, none of us has a clue what is really going on."
“Isn’t that part of the excitement?”
“Wait until you’re there,” Pepsi said, “this is worse than last year already…”
The de Ros Mansion
“A telephone call for you, Miss Charlotte,” Edith said as she stood in the doorway, “the Marchesa?”
“Thanks Edith,” Charlotte said as she made her way to the hallway. Picking up the phone, she asked "So how is it going Mother?"
"It's hard, but its inspiring...” Charlotte could hear the excitement in Francesca’s voice as she said “maybe it’s just being in a place with so many engaged, intellectually curious people."
"Universities can be that way" Charlotte said with a smile. “So what have you managed to do today?”
have been talking and reading to try and find firm grounds on which to give
advice to our clients."
"We hope that we can advise them of some areas that are going to be particularly tough to litigate....and why?"
"So are you driving back into town?"
“Later – we’re grabbing a bite to eat first, so I will be there later. You and Piet have plans for tonight?”
“Dinner with Uncle John and Aunt Marianne. I’ll see you later tonight mother.”
“See you then,” Francesca said as the line went dead.
The Waldorf Astoria
“Here they are,” John said as he saw Piet and Charlotte walk in, standing up and hugging both of them as Marianne watched.
“Sorry we’re late,” Charlotte said, “Mother called to tell us what she had been up to in Yale. By the sounds of it, she had a good day.”
“Glad to hear it,” Marianne said as the waiter poured wine into Piet’s glass, and water into Charlotte’s, “so have you managed to catch up on things Piet?”
“I’m getting there – although I haven’t quite figured out how to tell my parents that little Roo here is actually the heiress to one of the largest fortunes in the Western world,” Piet said with a grin.
“Down the telephone might be an idea,” Charlotte said with a grin. “Anyway, he and Mother are getting along like a house on fire.”
“So long as you don’t mention wedding ceremonies,” Piet said with a grin, then a groan as Charlotte hit him in the arm.
“Oh? Francesca shared her views? Let me guess,” John said, “the bascillica?”
“Close enough to,” Charlotte said, “but neither of us are Catholic, Uncle John. I wanted a nice simple ceremony, and suddenly it’s turning into something Hello! Will want to cover.”
“Wait until they hear who you are – they’ll be knocking on the door,” Marianne said. “So is she going to meet your parents?”
“It’ll have to be in London – for fairly obvious reasons,” Piet said, “but I’ve got Pops working on it.”
“A gathering of the clans?”
“Oh yes,” Charlotte said as she rolled her eyes, “talking of which – where is Uncle Fergus tonight?”
“Taking a certain Grace Brand out to dinner,” John said with a grin.
“Well,” Charlotte said, “wherever and whatever from this wedding takes, one thing I do know – I want you to give me away, Uncle John.”
John stopped drinking, and slowly lowered his glass as he said “despite everything we did?”
“Because of it,” Charlotte said with a smile. “Will you please do this for me?”
“Of course I will,” John said with a smile, “although I suspect Pretoria is not on as a venue.”
“I don’t think I should hang around Harare either,” Charlotte said with a grin.
“Well, wherever it is, I’ll walk down the aisle with you.”
“Gotta admit, Gretna Green looks good,” Piet whispered, making Charlotte laugh.
The New Calabria
ring the Marchesa?" Adam asked his mother as she slipped back into the
Eleanor said as she picked her glass up, “and do you know it was like talking
to a totally different woman."
so?" Janice asked.
used to her being a bit light and fluffy...she was explaining what she and
Baroness Manschen were doing and it was so technical, and so..."
Adam said with a smile, “as you said yourself she had been living undercover
for many years."
"I know Adam darling, but I think this made me respect her even more."
of Respect..." Adam smiled as Tommy sat in the booth with them.
pushin' it Ball," Tommy laughed deeply.
der gents I torked ter have teenage daughters...date rape drugs aint sumfing
dey overly like."
will stay on the sidelines?" Eleanor asked.
"Dey will Captain...just let da Coast Guard lady do her thing."
“Good – we had to delay, but tomorrow will be a most interesting day…”
“Now that,” Sigi said as she and Francesca walked to her car, “has been a good day.”
“I agree,” Francesca said as she looked round. “Mind if I ask a question?”
take the Digest of Decisions in Commercial Law Sigi?"
the car and looked round. "I have
the bound volumes in my office in Frankfurt...Why?"
thinking of buying myself their digital package, it was easier working with it
online this afternoon then…"
personally prefer books....real books," Sigi laughed, "but yes it
might be an advantage, go ahead and order it and bill it to me."
for work Francesca,” Sigi said as she opened the driver’s door, “then we
purchase it via the company...you should never be personally out of
you," Francesca smiled, "It's going to take me a while to get back
into being a true team player I guess."
was impressed, and so was Herr Professor...he asked where you did your
doctorate, he was surprised you only hold a masters degree."
"I was lucky, I was taught by some fine brains at the academy."
“Yeah – I get that. Let’s head back – we need to write some thoughts up before we hit the pillows…”
The de Ros Mansion
have you been reading about Piet?" Charlotte asked as he closed off his
Great Grandfather,” the man mountain said, “from what Francesca said he
intrigued me, and what I've read on line intrigues me even more."
he essentially wasn't a truly great thinker, he was just an outstanding
practical man, he wasn't a scientist he was just a true engineer." Piet
stood up, "I admire practical men who basically say lets build the best
mouse trap possible."
he and Dad might have got along then?"
"Oh little doubt of that, each would have admired the others 'let's do this' way of thinking."
“Well, come on,” Charlotte said, “let’s get to bed…”
Friday 6th May
The residential area was quiet – very quiet, save for the few cars that were driving up and down, and the non-descript vans that were parked in front of one of the mansions.
If you came closer, however, the vans were not quite so innocent…
“Okay Joe are
your guys set?" Veronica asked the guy from the DEA as they huddled in the
when you want it to start Veronica," Joe Terranova looked at the monitors,
"a more upscale neighborhood then we usually do this in aint it?"
Veronica said, “rich daddies helping their kids have unwarranted sex with
youngsters... I guess it's a better
social class at least of perp."
said as he looked over, “tell me again how we get from a case of horse doping
to date rape?"
"It's complicated," Veronica grinned. “Let’s just say we stumbled into one from the other. But, the end is still the same – the source as cut off, now we clean up.”
"They say they can hear the maid up and about Ronnie?" the DEA man listened to his ear phones.
set at the offices and the other parents homes?"
are...Yep...Ready when you are." Veronica listened to the checks.
"Alright ladies and Gentlemen, you can start on my count." Veronica looked at her monitors, "just remember show then the warrants, read them their rights, this case does not get thrown out on a technicality if I can help it."
Veronica looked round, and then said “right… On my mark… MARK!”
The first anyone knew of what was going on was as the rear doors of the van opened, and three black clad officers ran up the stairs, one of them banging on the door as the others stood guard.
“Who on earth is that,” Bartholomew Kingman said as he came out of the master bedroom, fastening the dressing gown over his pyjamas as he walked down the stairs. As he did so, he watched the maid walk to the door, and open it slowly, saying “yes, how can I…”
“DEA,” Terranova said as he walked in, the other two agents following, “we have a warrant to search these premises.
“Who the hell do you think you are,” the grey haired elder Kingman said as he came down the last few stairs, his wife and Brewster walking down behind him.
“Agent Joseph Terranova, Drug Enforcement Agency,” was the response as Joe showed him his badge, and then handed him a sheet of paper. “This is a warrant to search your premises for illicit drugs. Spread out, search every room.”
As more agents poured in, Kingman looked at the warrant, before he said “on what basis do…”
“You have been doing business with a firm called RoideMer, Mister Kingman – and have known connections to a man called Alain Rey.”
“Monsieur Rey was found dead a week ago – but not before records were forwarded to the French authorities of his connections to a drug trade. We were alerted – and now you are going to come with us. My colleagues will take statements from your family and your domestic staff.”
“Now see here, you cannot…”
“Yes, we can,” Joe said quietly. “Take Mister Kingman to get dressed.”
“Call Richard,” Kingman said as he was escorted up the stairs, “tell him what is happening.”
“He won’t be available,” Joe said, “but by all means, try.”
Mrs Kingman picked up the phone as Brewster looked nervously round.
“Eleanor? It’s Annabeth Kingman. Is Richard…”
“You as well?” She looked at Brewster, as a voice called down “Chief – you’d better get up here.”
The Astoria Waldorf
is a new look for you Francesca," Marianne laughed as her friend wandered
in to the breakfast room, wearing an old shirt and jeans, no makeup, her hair
tied simply back, and wearing glasses.
it is,” Francesca said as she sat down, “but this is what you get when I have only
gotten four hours sleep and I spent half the night writing opinions for
like it," John said as he kissed her and sat down, "it shows under
that polish you are human after all."
As coffee was
poured for Francesca, Marianne sat back and said "I take it your new work
went well then yesterday?"
Marianne,” Francesca said as she took a sip, “and it helped me remember why I
was once inspired by pure scholarship. I loved spending time in the Law
Library, but also talking to Judy and her musician friends, and hearing the
thoughts of such bright young minds on the subject of plagiarism."
"I have to
say that does sound good." John sipped his juice.
was a joy to work with… I had had doubts that she was doing this as a favour
towards Natty, but no she does seem to both welcome and respect my
is very good." Marianne laughed again. "So what plans for
you guys and Charlotte, maybe some shopping for outfits for the races, but I
also have arranged to meet the Archivist at the Association of American
Songwriters to do an interview on his opinions regarding musical
"Busy lady," John nodded.
“Which is what I need to be now,” Francesca said, “busy.” As her cell phone went off, she looked at it and said “starting now. Sigi?
“I can be there in half an hour – Got the address?
“Oh right – I remember, another friend of Charlotte’s, and she will be there?
“Very well – take me as you find me, all right?”
Ending the call, Francesca said “change in plans… Work first, then time with you and shopping.”
The Richmond Mansion
“Welcome,” Heather said as she opened the door to Francesca, “come in, I have fresh coffee brewing.”
“Thanks – I may need it,” Francesca said as she came into the kitchen, seeing Sigi and Charlotte at the coffee bar. “By the look on your face, something happened.
this is going to get worse yet," Sigi sighed. "One of the German
corporations I routinely advise wants opinion on protection of ideas and source
coding in video games."
Francesca said as Heather handed her a mug of coffee, “I barely understand
music, I have no comprehension of computer coding."
Mother,” Charlotte said with a smile, “Sigrid, Heather and I can maybe help you
out there... we DO understand computer
coding... I think between us we can get
you up to speed."
"I hope so
darling?" Francesca smiled at her child as she scanned the documents that
Sigi had bought in.
actually easier then maybe music," Heather looked down at her own device.
"Proprietary codes are easy to spot when you pull apart programs."
about ideas Heather? What happens if two game designers come up with
fundamentally the same idea for a game?" Sigi ate some toast.
you are in the same situation as music, who had knowledge of what and when. The
problem with games is that it is so easy for developers to have similar
ideas," Heather nodded.
you said Heather, proving theft of those codes is far easier."
"True Charlotte. Here – let me show you how it works…"
NYPD 19th Precinct
Joe looked over from where he and Veronica were standing, as four detectives approached.
“I’m Joe Terranova. Captain Hammer?”
The dark haired woman nodded as she said “Detectives Bonham and Swallow, SVU. You’ve got some young men you wanted us to talk to?”
“Yeah – in these three rooms,” he said as they looked at Brewster Kingman, Dwight Elton and Kendall Jenner sitting in separate rooms. “We raided their homes today, in connection with an investigation into a new date rape drug that had come on the market.”
“What is this one?”
“Commander Veronica Joyce, Coast Guard Criminal Intelligence,” Veronica said as she handed over a file. “We discovered it in connection with an international operation in Marseilles, and from there connections to Bartholomew Kingman and Richard Elton. Their sons are here because when we searched the homes of both men, we found these in their bedrooms.”
Joe handed the Captain a clear evidence bag, with a number of pills inside. “The CSU are currently analysing a pill from each home, but we think these are the drugs we discovered evidence in France suggesting they were coming here.”
“And the third one?”
“Kendall Jenner – a friend of the other two, who had been seen at parties with both of them.”
“We’ve had a number of reports of this drug been used,” Swallow said, “but never found the source.”
“That’s why we called you in,” Joe said, “we’ll deal with the fathers, you deal with the sons.”
“Sounds good,” Hammer said, “where can we review your notes first?”
NYPD 19th Precinct
“Who wants to know,” the teenager said as he looked at the thin, grey haired, spectacle wearing man who came into the doorway, Veronica accompanying him. He smiled at the attorney sitting with him, as he said “I’m Detective Swallow, and the lady here is Commander Joyce, US Coastguard. Sorry we had to make you wait, but we needed to check a few things first.”
“Where’s my father?”
“He is talking to agents of the DEA at the moment. The thing is, Brewster, we need to talk to you about what we found in your room when the agents called earlier today. One of the agents found a small bag of pills in your room – can you explain what they were?”
Glancing at the attorney, Brewster smiled and said “vitamin pills – I have finals coming up.”
“So they were there to give you a lift, boost your energy – let me guess, caffeine and guarana?”
“Yeah – solid Red Bulls,” Winston said, smiling as he nodded.
“Okay,” Swallow said as he sat back, “so if I told you we’ve had the pills analysed, and while we found some interesting things, we did not find caffeine, never mind Guarana, what would you say?”
“I’d say you made a mistake,” Brewster grined.
“I am showing Master Kingman and his attorney the chemical analysis results from the pills,” Veronica said as she placed two sheets of paper on the table, “along with a copy of the composition of some pills recovered from a raid in Marseilles. Would you care to comment?”
Before Brewster said anything, his attorney said “I need a moment with my client, Detective, Commander.”
“Take what time you need,” Swallow said as he stood up, “we need to talk to the other two anyway. Oh – one small thing.”
“We want to know what parties you have been to over the last six months – you may wish to start compiling the list.”
As they stepped out, Veronica looked at where the other officers were talking to Brewster’s two friends.
“What do you think?”
“They’ll be released on bail – with strict orders not to talk to each other.” Taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes, Swallow said “I imagine they will meet up before tomorrow morning. We’ll be watching them.”
“You won’t be the only ones,” Veronica whispered to herself.
As she looked up from her desk, Charlotte saw Susan standing in the doorway.
“Sorry to disturb you,” Susan said, “but Pamela had a call from reception, she called me, and… Well, there is someone here to see you.”
“Oh? I wasn’t expecting any other callers today?”
“I guessed as much,” Susan said as she stood to one side, and a tall, thin man in an expensive suit came in, carrying a pilot’s case.
“I asked to see Carlotta Gordon?”
“I think this is who you are looking for,” Susan said, “Charlotte Gordon, this is…”
“Signor Claudio Pirelli,” the tall man said as he handed over a business card, Charlotte looking at the Naples address.
“Well, my mother calls me Carlotta – and what can I do for you?”
“I believe I have a package for you, Signorina.”
for me?" Charlotte asked.
are Signorina Carlotta Gordon, formerly resident of Johannesburg, South
suppose in a way I am. May I ask what it
the man said as he opened the case, and handed over a thick white envelope, “I
am instructed to give you this to read first."
"Okay." Charlotte took the letter, noticing the seal in wax, and took a letter opener, slitting through the top and taking out the headed sheet inside.
“What is it,” Susan asked.
“A letter…” Charlotte said as she read.
Carlotta mia bella nipote...
If you are reading this then it means a
process has been triggered by certain events, and you are currently with a
representative of my lawyer. Firstly, can I congratulate you on your marriage
to come, and to wish you all the happiness that both your Grandmother and I
have had, and which was so tragically denied to your parents.
Christ, it's from Grandfather," Charlotte found herself having to sit
As I write this letter, I have no way of
knowing if your father and mother are even going to be still alive, though it
has been accompanied by a prayer that they did eventually refind each other,
and recover their happiness.
Your grandmother and I are watching from
afar and for all our sadness that James still prevents us from seeing you, we
know you are growing up happy and strong...and that you are also very clever.
Please do not judge your parents too harshly – love can do strange things,
especially when it is so strong.
Grandpapa," Charlotte whispered to herself.
Your Grandmother and I have recorded several video messages for you, that will be given to you eventually. Before that, however, there are some things that need to be placed in writing.
When your parents were separated, we both know it hurt your parents deeply, and we wanted to heal the wounds. As you will by now know, your mother had a form of nervous breakdown, from which she has sadly never truly recovered, and your father wished to protect you from anything your mother was part of hurting you again. This hurt us, but we know why he did it. We also were able to make arrangements to ensure you were provided for. Please, ask the representative to give you the next envelope.
“I am apparently to ask you for the first envelope,” Charlotte said, Pirelli nodding as he removed from the case a large brown envelope and handed it to her. Opening it, she removed a number of documents.
We wished to ensure that you, and any great grandchildren, were provided for. The documents you have been handed describe the arrangements that have been put into place in terms of a trust fund which has been set up. Our lawyers have managed this on our behalf, and I strongly recommend you continue to employ their services. You will need time to study and understand them, so do not feel you need to respond immediately.
Charlotte nodded, and then said “I wish to continue to employ the services of your firm in the matters described in these documents, until such time as I come to a decision on the future management. Do I need to put that into writing?”
“We anticipated this,” Signor Pirelli said as he removed a document from a second envelope, “if you will read this simple statement, and your colleague witness it, then we will continue to do so until such time as you direct otherwise.”
Charlotte took the document and read it, then passed it to Susan, waiting until she nodded before she picked up the pen and signed both copies. When Susan had witnessed them, she handed one copy back to the visitor, and kept one herself. She then read on.
Carlotta, your mother will have inherited some of the homes, and an allowance, but the business remains in the hands of my friend, Claudio Morelli. I have arranged for a separate instruction to be sent to him to contact you. Please, meet with him, and be good friends with him. I know you are a bright girl, but accept his advice as well.
The representative will now give you three things, which are private and from your Grandmother and I. First, the recordings I mentioned, which are for the eyes of you, your husband to be, and your parents if they are still alive.
Looking at Pirelli, Charlotte watched as he removed a wallet, handing it to her as she looked at the DVDs inside.
Second, your Grandmother wishes you to have this. She took it with her when she and Baroness Buchenwald tried to see you, and even though you are a grown woman now, I know she will smile as you see it.
As she looked over, Pirelli took from the large bag a Raggedy Ann doll, and handed it over, Susan seeing Charlotte smile as she stroked the braided hair.
Finally, I suspect you will not have been presented in society in the same way your mother was, but it is the wish of both of us you accept what is now going to be handed to you, in the hope that one day, your own daughter will wear them in Vienna.
Pirelli removed three old black boxes, placing them on the table and opening them to reveal a jewelled tiara, a set of pearls, and diamond earrings. “I would normally offer to keep them in security for you, Signorina,” he said, “but I know of your firm, and I am sure your own security arrangements will be more than adequate.”
Nodding slowly, Charlotte read the rest of the letter.
The representative will hand you three more letters – one to your mother, one to your father, and one for when you have viewed the messages. If one or both have died, you may read them, or destroy them – the choice is yours. But please, watch the messages and then read the final letter to you.
Carlotta, as I said a process has been put into place, of which this is the start, and you will hear from Claudio soon. My lawyers will also appraise you of other matters as they progress. Above all else, always remember what we could never tell you in person, that we loved you, and we are very, very proud of you.
I vostri nonni amorevoli
“Goddess,” Susan said as Charlotte folded the letter, and put it down. “Do you want me to find Caroline?”
“Yes – and can you see if Shirley is still here,” Charlotte said quietly. As she left, the young redhead looked at Signor Pirelli. “The letter says your firm will be in contact with me over other matters.”
“That is correct, Signorina Gordon,” he said with a small bow “but I am not at liberty to discuss those matters today.”
“Of course – may I offer you some coffee while arrangements are made for the safe storage of these items?”
“Thank you – may I?”
“Of course – be seated,” Charlotte said as she picked up the telephone. “Sandra – coffee for two please.”
“I am asked to offer the congratulations of our firm on your engagement, however.”
“Thank you,” Charlotte whispered, “thank you…”
As the door opened, Sandra brought the coffee in, and then went out as Caroline came in.
“Susan said you wanted to see me Charlotte?”
“Yes I did – Signor Pirelli, Caroline Jameson of Jameson Security. She manages the security for this building – I have some items here that need to be put into secure storage until I make arrangements for them.”
“Of course,” Caroline said as she looked at the boxes, “I’ll have them placed into our internal vault for the moment. Anything else I can help you with?”
“Allow me to accompany you to the coffee club this afternoon – I need to talk to a couple of people, including my mother if she is still there.”
“I’ll get you a receipt for these,” Caroline said as she took the boxes out, Charlotte pouring the coffee before she handed the Italian lawyer a cup.
The Richmond Mansion
“Hey Charlotte,” Sandy said as she and Susan came in the back door, “come to check on the workers?”
“In a way – hey everyone,” Charlotte said as she waved to the mothers, “I’ll come and see you all later. Which way Sandy?”
“In here,” Sandy said as they made their way to her office.
“Carlotta Darling – what has happened,” Francesca said as she looked over.
“Well,” Charlotte said quietly, “you know you said my grandparents had set a timeline in place?”
“I did – what happened?”
“A member of the law firm that represents their interests called on me today,” Charlotte said, “with a letter from them. Several things actually - but one of them is this.”
She handed Francesca the large envelope from her Jameson bag, Francesca glancing at them and then handing them to Sigi.
“If I read this right, it is details of a trust fund, and steps you need to take to access it?”
“I agree,” Francesca said, “I told you they had set something up, Carlotta.”
"There are other things – I’ll share them later,” Charlotte said, “but…”
“Oops – sorry, am I interrupting?”
“It’s all right Jeannie, come in,” Heather said, “we need to give you the details of tomorrow, don’t we?”
“Mother,” Charlotte said, “allow me to introduce Jeannie Brewster and her mother Barbara. Jeannie, Barbara, this is Francesca, my mother.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Barbara said as Charlotte took the papers back from Sigi.
“It says in
this I must nominate my own outside lawyers to act as well in these matters,
but I don't know any lawyers."
there was a reason that fate had me drop in," Jeannie grinned,
"because I on the other hand do. Ring Brewster, Beddoes and Menzies."
relations Charlotte, but certainly of Winston's, and the Judge she used to be a
partner there as well."
sort of keep it in house," Barbara mused.
"It's a good idea Jeans," Susan smiled.
they would be a sound choice Carlotta to represent you..."
you, or Sigi?"
an interested party,” Francesca said, “and therefore barred. Sigrid is my
business partner, a few days ago well maybe she could have. But even if we
could I am not sure either of us should do it."
do you know of Brewster, Beddoes and Menzies Mother?"
well-established firm with a reputation for practicing common sense law,
nothing flashy, just right I think for this, especially as you have a couple of
acquaintances who have connections to them."
set up an appointment for you to see Winston's grandfather then." Susan
do a lot of Richmond Trust business," Jeannie called over.
"Yes, add my name to those you say recommended them." Sandy smiled.
“Well, that solves that,” Charlotte said with a smile. “Now to tell Piet…”
“He asked if I would sit down with him and a colleague later,” Francesca said, “To talk about their research. I just hope this Jane Molloy is not a giantess.”
“No – but she’s a really good writer and a good egg,” Jeannie said.
Jeannie's boyfriend Winston is a slightly younger version of my Piet
"Oh? In what way?"
another man mountain, an all-American football player at Stanford University,
with brains. After he graduates he will combine playing professionally with
studying the law."
sound a bit alike."
never forget a thing happened in London, Susan's aunt’s car literally blew its
engine up outside Shirley's home. Winston and Piet took an end each and
literally lifted it out of the way so it was not blocking traffic."
they can both dance more than just a bit Marchesa," Jeannie smiled.
look forward to meeting your Winston Jeannie."
flying in from the West Coast for the races, I'll introduce you then."
"Thank you. I’m looking forward to meeting this social circle Carlotta…"
Sandy said with a grin, “what is this I hear that you'd like Piet and Charlotte
to be married in the Basilica in Naples Francesca..."
answer that question Mother!" Charlotte broke in.
darling,” Francesca said as she looked round, “it's a perfectly innocent
that Sandy asks is 'perfectly' innocent...and I refuse to let her take bets on
where my wedding will take place."
someone fill me in please," for once Francesca looked truly bemused.
the Sinners bookmaker... She runs books
on events in the life of the gang."
it’s just for fun Charlotte..."
understand...I think." Francesca
still looked a little bemused.
gossip with outsiders Francesca," Sandy laughed again, "we keep each
other’s secrets, but why shouldn't we have some fun guessing when an event
where?" Charlotte spoke.
"Can I ask
what some of these bets are?"
"Well for example, how many times will Pepsi return her engagement ring, before she and Jack eventually meet at the altar?" Sandy smiled, "that sort of thing."
“Hang on,” Charlotte said as she looked over, “they’re engaged? When did that happen?”
“You mean nobody told you,” Heather laughed. “It happened at Nikki’s party. They’ve said they will wait, but…”
group sounds like you have FUN!" Francesca laughed as she sat back and
to," Sandy said as she served more coffee... "So should I be giving odds?" she
whispered to the Marchesa.
just say that I have some powerful tools on my side...Including I'm hoping the
words of the dead."
Sandy's voice became quizzical.
Mother was able to talk James into us being married in Naples, I'm willing to
bet that in the things she left to Carlotta she has made the same powerful
to know," Sandy made a mental note.
your uncle took my confession on Sunday."
did you make of him?"
both impressed and amazed...such an understanding of the human condition."
"Yeah… That sounds like Uncle Alex."
I'd known him for many years, instead of meeting him for the first time."
"A lot of
people say that...he came to his vocation the hard way though."
about Vietnam...he told me."
also tell you though that the reason he went to Vietnam was that the girl he
was in love with married one of his best friends."
"No that I had not heard...but it makes sense of a couple of things he said about true love."
“I think more people are arriving – work is over for now folks, let’s go and join the others.”
are,” Piet said as Charlotte and Francesca came in, “someone I need to
introduce you to. Francesca, Marchesa di
Cambrello...my mother in law to be...please meet Jane Molloy."
famous Jane Molloy," Francesca smiled.
“It is a pleasure to meet you.”
famous maybe...” Jane smiled as they
shook hands, and said “but I hope I'm a good working journalist."
"That is a
good attitude Jane."
you...now has Piet outlined what we have been working on?"
worldwide traffic in human beings..." Francesca nodded, "something I
have a little practical as well as legal knowledge of."
last duty in the Italian Navy was in part with regard to that Algerian Refugee
Jane raised an eyebrow.
don't always match realities Jane."
"Hmmm okay this isn't the woman the files say she is," Jane made a mental note at Francesca's little smile.
“We can talk more tomorrow – if you are coming to the race meeting?”
“Well, I am invited – all I need to know is who I…”
The room turned as Susan and Clint came in, with John Bolden behind them.
have the car and plane assignments." Clint waved papers as he walked in.
“I recognise him – he drove me to the United Nations the other day,” Francesca said with a smile. “But we were never properly introduced. Who is he?"
"Clint is Susan's
husband Mother,” Charlotte said as she looked at the couple, Clint putting the
sheets on the kitchen table “and as tough as you are...don't mess with
"Warning noted," Francesca laughed. "So what are our travel plans?"
They walked with others to look at the sheets, smiling as she said “so you are coming with John, Marianne and Fergus, as well as me and Piet in one plane. Clint will collect them from the hotel, and then come to pick us up.”
“What about Diana and Abby?”
“They will accompany Valeria and myself, with Natasha Willy and Alain.”
Francesca smiled as she saw Guy standing in the doorway. “Francesca, my dear – this is a most pleasant surprise. What brings you to this city?”
“I’ll tell you later,” Francesca said as Guy kissed her on both cheeks.
“I look forward to it,” Guy said as he went to talk to Nessa.
“Well now, who is this Charlotte?”
Francesca looked at the smartly dressed man, smiling as Charlotte said “Roy Razinski, meet Francesca, Marchesa di Cambre…”
“Francesca – this young lady’s mother,” she said as she kissed him on both cheeks. “So what do you do for a living?”
“I manage money,” Roy said, “while my wife is an interior designer and builder. She works with Sandy a lot – they just finished work on an apartment for two young friends to move into in July.”
“So are you involved in the horse as well?”
“One of the
co-owners. So are you a racing lady
sense? That I go to the races a lot Mr Razinski?"
Roy...and yes in that sense...but do you also own horses?"
owned a few..."
Filadelfiat," Willy Buchenwald said as he came over and sat down with his
wife's old friend and the American.
God, then you owned one of the all time greats..." Roy looked impressed.
"She was such a sweet filly."
husband talking racing to you Francesca?" Tonia interrupted.
"I am, but
to a lady like the Marchesa I'm not sure I'm boring her darling." Roy
something of a racing personage in her own right." Natalya said proudly.
stinks at trying to be modest about it." Natalya laughed.
"Look tonight we are just organizing travel...all this talk of horses can wait till Louisville." Tonia pronounced. "Let poor Francesca circulate and meet both some of the youngsters, and their parents."
Taking her by the arm, Tonia led Francesca away as more of the Saints and Sinnerz came in.
“Dear lord,” Janice said as she came in, “is there a fire somewhere?”
“Nope – just confirming the arrangements for tomorrow,” Heather said as she handed her a coffee.
“Mom – what is going on here?”
“Never mind,” Heather said as she saw Sands come in with Katy, “come into the kitchen with me…”
for rescuing me Tonia,” Francesca said, “Willy can get obsessive..."
"So can my husband," Tonia laughed. “And wait until you meet Grant…”
"Is this house always like this?" Francesca looked around.
"Usually once a week, mothers and children meet here to arrange their weekends,” Tonia said, “but because of Churchill Downs there are more people here than usual."
"Hey Tonia," a black lady said as she kissed her.
Denice," Tonia smiled, "Francesca di Cambrello, meet Denice Burton,
proud mother of a scholar at St Angela's...and like me to use a Brit
"Oh? Do you race cars Mrs Burton?"
it’s Miss Burton – but please, it’s Denice.
And no, but I do work with Heather in doing the tech support for RCM
Racing as my hobby."
"I'm impressed. Who else is involved in the team?"
“Clint heads up the race crew – and here is the team leader.”
“Henri? Henri Marais?” Francesca walked over and embraced the former racing driver.
“Marches di Cambrello? What beings you to our little gathering?”
“I’ll tell you later,” Tonia said with a smile, “come and meet some of the kids.”
She took Francesca into the front room where Abby and Letty were sitting with some of the girls. “OH hi Francesca,” Abby said as she looked up, “I didn’t know you were here. This is my friend Letty Kingman, and let’s see – Pepsi Broadhurst, Anna ‘Doc’ Carlton, Nikki Colman, Becca Morse, Jess Murchado, Erica Burton, Poppy Ashley, and I think you know Ama and Jeannie already.”
“Sit with us, Marchesa,” Ama said as she patted the seat next to her, “tell us of Italy…”
“Okay Diana,” Brooke Hutton said as she and Diana sat in a quiet corner table, “nice as it is for you to invite me for a drink, what’s going on?”
“Now what makes you think something is going on, as you so eloquently put it Brooke,” Diana said as she sipped her wine.
“Instinct,” Brooke said quietly. “So what’s going on?”
“I need your word this would go no further,” Diana said.
“Okay, duly noted – what’s happened Diana?”
“You heard about the DEA raids today?”
“Oh yes – a new date rape drug being smuggled into the country. But how did you hear about it?”
“Because Abby heard that some – shall we call them young gentlemen – had been using the drug for their own purposes.”
Brooke put her glass down, and looked into Diana’s eyes. “I did hear certain young gentlemen were taken in for questioning on matters related to the raids this morning. Amazing how obtuse the legal chatter can be at times… But this is where you tell me there is some substance to that chatter?”
Diana slowly nodded as she said “you were not at Nicola Colman’s sixteenth party, were you?”
“No – why?”
“Certain young gentlemen gate crashed that party, and slipped some of the girls these drugs – with, in one case, rather unfortunate results.”
Without turning her head, Diana could feel something change in Brooke, as she said quietly "are you saying one of 'ours' was a victim of these bastards Diana?"
"Yes,” Diana said quietly.
Sand's friend Laura..."
old?" the judge said as she gritted her teeth, fighting back the memories
of her youth.
that a legal term?” Diana said, “or some
For a second
Brooke looked at Diana sideways... "Don't
try jokes when I'm angry Diana...Especially when I bet its mainly underage boys
anyway, but with rich parents able to mould the legal system anyway."
those thoughts...” Taking another drink
from her glass, Diana continued “we know it’s not the law but we were thinking
what might happen if this was put before a 'true justice' system?"
a Star Chamber? As a judge I'd have to
immediately walk away." Brooke
looked into her glass, lost in her own thoughts.
"So why are you still here?" Diana asked five seconds later.
“I presume Laura has said nothing to her parents?”
“Not that I am aware of – she stayed with Jan after the party, and she talked to her afterwards. But she’s not the first – two of Katy’s other friends were also given the drug, but we managed to stop anything happening to them. There must have been others…”
Brooke looked forward, fighting again to put behind her the memories of her childhood, before she said “I’m not just a judge, you know. Who else knows about this?”
“In terms of our friends or the authorities? Janice knows – Adam’s mother Eleanor went to Marseilles to assist Guy with a problem he had with doping at the race track, and by pure accident stumbled on the source of the drugs. She informed the authorities there, they informed the authorities here…”
“But without some of the girls coming forward, it becomes a possession charge – and chances are if their parents are implicated, it may be rolled into their charges, leaving them free and on the streets.” Diana could see the way Brooke’s hand was tightening on the glass, before she said “I cannot interfere in an ongoing investigation, especially a federal one. Of course, if they could establish where said young gentlemen have been, and ask some questions, that is a different matter. Perhaps we should leave this to the SVU?”
“Perhaps – but if you were not satisfied with the outcome?”
Brooke stared straight ahead for a moment, then turned her head and looked at Diana. “Then I may need to forget I am a judge for a short while.”
The de Ros Mansion
“A very interesting group of friends you have Abby,” Francesca said as they sat in the drawing room, having a drink before they went to bed.
“We are,” Diana said, “and it is good that so many are coming with us tomorrow. We will need to get a reasonably early night however – we need to be at the airport by ten at the latest tomorrow.”
“I think we all could do with a day off, after the events of the last week or so,” Charlotte said as she leaned against Piet.
“Ja – especially to you Roo,” Piet said as he put his arm round her shoulders and hugged her, “so these things you had delivered to you today?”
“Plenty of time to sort that out after the weekend,” Charlotte said, “plenty of time…”
Saturday 7th May
Louisville International Airport
As the plane taxied to the allotted space, Pepsi looked out of the window and smiled. “At least we have a good day for it,” she said as she sat in her blue jacket and slip dress, the large blue hat sitting on her lap.
“Yeah – it does look that way,” April said as the plane came to a stop. She was wearing a pale lemon shift dress with a white jacket and hat on her lap, both women wearing matching heels. Tonia smiled in agreement – she wore a red trouser suit with a black camisole, and a black hat was in the overhead locker.
“So this is another of the famous American races, Mom,” Ama said as she sat with Caroline. Both were wearing matching outfits – white slip dresses with matching heels, hats and bags.
“It certainly is – so George is in his element with the others,” she said as she looked at Grant, George and Roy, all three were wearing pale blue jackets and slacks, white shirts and pale blue bow ties. “And may I say, you look very dapper today?”
“I know – don’t I just,” George said with a smile as he stood up, and retrieved a white Homburg from the locker. “I take it Sharon is coming with her family?”
“I believe they came down last night, so we should meet them there,” Caroline said as the plane door opened, and they made their way down to the waiting car.
“Mr Razinski? We have some refreshment inside for you and your party, and here are your passes,” the driver said, Roy nodding as he took the package and they all climbed in. Handing the passes round, Roy smiled as he said “here we go…”
The driver climbed behind the wheel and then set off, skirting round the parking area as he made his way away from the airport itself. It wasn’t long before they were on the Henry Watterson Expressway, Ama looking out as she said “it seems so busy already.”
“One day, I may get your Aunt Shirley to take you to Ascot or the Epson downs,” Caroline said, “then you can see what busy really is.”
The car soon left the expressway, turning right onto Crittenden Drive and passing what looked like a fairground on the right.
“What is that,” Pepsi asked as they drove past.
“I think that is Kentucky Kingdom,” April said, “I read about it. A local amusement park.”
The car then turned left onto Central Avenue, Roy smiling as he said “that’s where the Cardinals play,” pointing to the large stadium on the right.
“And I presume that is Churchill Downs on the left,” George said as he looked out.
“It is indeed,” Roy said as the car swept up to the main entrance, the group getting out as Sharon came out of the entrance.
“Hey boss,” she said as she looked at Caroline, “Tanera and I arrived earlier today to make sure everything was ready.”
“Good stuff,” Caroline said as their passes were checked.
“And they’re off,” April said as Grant and Roy made their way to the stables. “Come on, you can take us to where we can get something to eat.”
“Of course – we have a small breakfast buffet for early arrivals in the suite,” Tanera said, “if you will follow me…”
“Now this is certainly different,” Francesca said as she walked across the tarmac to the waiting jet, Charlotte and Piet behind her. The Versace grey jacket and dress moved with her every step as the large hat shaded her eyes.
“She still manages it,” Marianne said as she walked alongside John.
“And with style,” Fergus said with a grin. Both he and John were wearing blazers, light coloured trousers, white shirts and dark ties, while Marianne was wearing a blue floral print dress with a dark blue jacket, and a large blue hat with a lace trim.
“So, another day at the races,” John Hammond said as he walked out with Shirley. “Looking forward to it?” He smiled as Shirley held his arm, and said “immensely so. After this week, this will be just what the doctor ordered…”
They walked over to where a large group of Saints and Sinners were waiting to board other planes. Mary Thomas stood with Erica and Denice, the two older women talking in Welsh as Poppy talked to Erica. Pippa Ashley was talking with Grace, Sarah and Harriet. In another group, the von Furstenheim family were standing by one plane, the van Roons and the Richmond clan at another, alongside George, Orlanda and Jennifer.
have everyone’s attention please? Okay
just for the benefit of those of you haven't changed, there is, courtesy of the
Chicago branch of the van Roon family, a double-wide trailer in the parking lot
at the racecourse. It's staffed with a couple of hairdressers and some make up
artists...also there are extra outfits in case anyone has a last minute crisis
of confidence in what she's wearing." Charlotte beamed.
beauty salon...why didn't I join this group years ago," Francesca laughed.
you've EVER needed help with makeup in your life lady." Marianne shook her
I've seen some school pictures of her now Aunt Marianne...there was a
bet she didn't look as bad as we girls at Dominican Convent in Bulawayo did
when we first tried makeup...we were pretty bad."
to a convent school Marianne?" Piet asked.
"It was open to all faiths, no I'm an Anglican, and not secret RC."
“Right everyone – on the planes. Guy and some of the others will be there already…”
“Well, here we are,” Guy said as he stepped out of the car, “Churchill Downs. Allow me my dear.”
“Thank you,” Valeria said as Guy helped her out of the car, smiling as she put her cream fascinator on her hair. She was wearing a red shift dress, matching jacket and shoes. Diana and Abigail were next out, both women wearing Dior inspired bar jackets and pleated skirts, with wide brimmed black hats.
“We’re going to take advantage of the offer,” Mercy Kinman said as she and Letty headed for the trailers, while Natasha put Alain into his pushchair, Willy holding her cream hat. The two men were wearing blazers, slacks and crisply ironed shirts with smart ties.
“I see some of the others have started to arrive,” she said as she put the hat on, looking to one side as another car pulled up, John Boldon stepping out to fetch the wheelchair from the back before lifting Jeannie in. She was wearing a yellow dress with matching shoes, a white jacket and a wide brimmed white hat with a yellow band round the brim. Barbara was wearing a similar outfit with the colours reversed, while Nikki Colman was wearing a blue dress with a matching hat.
“Thank you for bringing us down,” Barbara said as Juan and Amelia got out of the car with Jess.
“Our pleasure,” Juan said as Nikki’s parents got out. “Shall we?”
is the access like?" Barbara asked as Nikki wheeled Jeannie into the huge
lifts to you Mum...up to the box level. Ramp access into the viewing area, all
in all I've been to worse places for the disabled."
that's good news."
means Winston doesn't face the prospect of lifting me in and out all
ordered some strong coffees."
Aunt Barbara," Nikki smiled, “up so early to get ready and catch flights, it's
a bit early to even consider any fizz."
were just my thoughts Nikki."
Squirrel," Jeannie reached up to kiss her fellow model...I thought that
you and Marnie would already be back looking at the horses for the upcoming
I'd meet her by the paddock in 20 minutes," Angel smiled.
"Well a lot of us are going to listen to your tips today." Barbara kissed the English girl.
“Well, for once I beat you here.”
“Hey big guy,” Jeannie said as Winston reached down to kiss her, “when did you get here?”
“I was offered a lift, along with a few friends,” he said as Cassandra Stone and her husband Rick appeared with their children. “Mary is taking the family to take some pictures first…”
“And so here we are,” Francesca said as she and Charlotte led the group into the entrance area. “Where will your friends be?”
“All over the place,” Charlotte said as her mother looked at the tented area, already filling with friends. Shirley smiled as she and John went to join Guy.
“Pietr my man – I hear double congratulations are in order.”
“Thanks House,” Piet said as the two men shook hands. “Francesca, may I introduce Winston Brewster the Fourth, known by all as the House, and the boyfriend of young Jeannie Brewster.”
“Now I see what Jeannie meant yesterday,” Francesca said as House kissed her hand, “Francesca di Cambrello, and it is a real pleasure to meet you.”
“The pleasure is mine,” House said with a smile. “Charlotte, do you mind if I borrow him for a few minutes?”
“Of course not – just don’t keep him to yourselves,” Charlotte said as they walked off, talking together.
“All right – LET THE SUMMER BEGIN!”
“And the party has started,” Carina said with a smile as Ally and Nell Rochermann came over. “All done with Harvard for the year?”
“Almost – get our results Tuesday, home Wednesday. Hey there Judith – have you grown since Christmas.”
“Yes Aunty Ally,” Judith said quietly, “we’re going to Jermany soon.”
“SO I have heard,” Nell said as she looked at Annie. “Just as well we brought a special guest with us.”
“Are you trying to make me start now,” Annie saw as she saw Helen Reichmann standing with the Rochermanns, her and her sister wearing matching coat dresses and large hats, in the same way as Nell and Ally were.
“If so, at least you’re in good company.”
“Hey Jo,” Ally said as she embraced Clint and Jo, “when do you formally head back?”
“Thursday for me – but we’ve come down for today. Oh my – you are becoming quite the young lady Sands.”
“Thank you Jo,” the thirteen year old said as she stood in her white dress and jacket. Clint, like all the other men, was wearing light coloured pants and a sports blazer, but in his case he wore a striped bow tie under the collar of his shirt – and that included George as he went to join Katy.
“Ah my dear,” Henri Marais said as Denice came in with Erica, “ready for a relaxing day?”
“Oh yes – a week of exams is more than enough for me,” Denice said as Jeanne walked to join Adam and Janice.
“All right,” Veronica Joyce said as she looked round, “this makes up for the last two weeks.”
“I thought it would,” Eleanor said with a smile as she stood in a blue jacket and skirt with white trim, the black camisole matched by her shoes, while Veronica smiled under her wide blue hat. She wore a blue slip dress with a matching shrug, dark stocking and black heels. “I always found after a trip like last week, letting your hair down is a wise move.”
“Very true – it looks as is Francesca is relaxing as well,” she said as she looked over.
answer a question for me please,” Francesca said as she looked across the
tented area. "Who is the extremely
beautiful girl with the slightly nervous looking man?"
Mary Clarke Mother," Charlotte glanced over, "and though I've never
met him, I can make an educated guess that's her father with her."
father...well there is something refreshing in the fact that one of this
world's most beautiful women comes to an event like this with her Papa..."
talking about Mary and her dad?" Abby joined the conversation.
them?" Charlotte pointed.
is," Abigail smiled, "I love that despite her fame they are still
such a tight family."
lovely to see," Francesca smiled as a group of young people joined the
Clarke's. "And they are?"
brother David and his girlfriend, and all Mary's other brothers and
"They look such a happy family," Francesca and Charlotte spoke together, and simultaneously let go little sighs.
“Wow Pops – this is another big party,” Tommy said as he and his family looked round.
“Yes it is – so behave yourselves all of you.”
“Oh they’ll be all right Mary,” David said as Carina walked over with Judith and Annie.
“Hey – glad you could all make it,” Carina said with a smile. “I want you to meet my partner Annie. Annie, this is Mary Clarke, her father Dave, and – let’s see if I get this right – David, Suzie, Tom, Vicky, Alison and Bobby.”
“You got it right,” Mary said as she hugged Annie. “How long?”
“It cannot happen soon enough,” Annie said as she held her back. “I’m due any day now, but it may be after we go to Germany in a week or so.”
“I heard you got into Stanford – congratulations,” Carina said as she looked at David, “and you are…”
“This is my cousin Sally,” Trina Culver said as she walked over.
“David’s girlfriend,” Vicky giggled as David and Sally blushed.
“Well welcome, all of you,” Carina said, “and have fun!”
"So before you go all obsessive on our race Grant, any second thoughts regarding the Derby?" Roy asked as the 4 partners gathered.
don't see a second American Pharoah out there." Grant said as he looked at
his copy of the racing form.
don't come along very often dear boy..." Guy smiled.
fields go, it’s pretty average in my opinion."
regrets we missed it?" George asked.
we saw from Nyquist in Florida," Grant shook his head, "he's plenty
fast and he can run hard a little longer than our guy."
way he won the Florida Derby, proved we were right in racing the Florida
Guineas instead." Roy nodded. "At a mile we can beat him, at this
distance though we lose."
was close to him in February in the San Vicente," George nodded.
where I think he will be today gents." Grant smiled, "They are clear
first and second in my opinion, and barring a total upset, the rest are
fighting for third."
"So we bet
the Exacta, and make some money, but concentrate on our own race." Roy
"That's my opinion," Grant nodded.
“Good – let us join the ladies – you as well, Grant – and enjoy the event…”
is more important darling, the see and be seen? Or the actual racing?"
I'm not sure," Charlotte smiled, "I suppose it depends on whether you
are an owner, a gambler, or just here to have a good time."
understand,” her mother said as she nodded “and by the way, do you gamble
Carlotta my love?"
small amounts that I can stand to lose...That's what Dad taught me."
"As in so
much James was of course absolutely right," Francesca nodded in approval.
one or two quite serious ladies about the horses you know."
“Are there indeed,” Francesca said as she looked round.
Charlotte said as she looked at the tall blonde and redhead, “those two models
over there are Angel Fitzstuart, and Marnie Paget, and don't let the fancy
outfits fool you, both are at heart dedicated stable girls. They take looking
at and assessing horses very seriously...and they are good at it, or so I'm led
"Always useful to know," Francesca made a mental note.
“Okay Cousin,” Trina said as she stood next to Sally, “I know that look. What gives?”
“Come on – you have been quiet ever since we got here. What’s eating at you?”
“I don’t know,” Sally said as she took off and wiped her glasses, “I just feel like the odd one out here. All of you models, and me…”
“With one of the hunkiest blokes in the tent,” Trina said as she nudged Sally.
“Yeah – he is cute,” Sally said as she looked at David talking to House, Tony McNally and Piet, “but I’m still… Just look at me, Trina.”
Trina cast her eye up and down her cousin – her blue silk jacket, cream dress and shoes, and her hat.
“Problem,” Mary said as she came over.
“I think Sally has a bad case of the not as good as,” Trina said as she nodded.
“Oh yeah – I get that a lot,” Mary said with a smile. “But I think I know how we can cure that.”
“You do? How?”
Mary and Trina nodded at each other, before they took Sally by her arms and escorted her out of the tent, towards the large double trailers.
“Well now,” Janine said as she looked over, “who do we have here?”
“Janine, meet my cousin – and David Clarke’s girlfriend – Sally Murphy. Can your team start work on her while Mary and I have a look at what you’ve got from the Cave?”
“Gotcha,” Janine said as she took Sally by the arm, “come with me, Sally, let’s see what we can do…”
“Well met by the racecourse,” Cassandra said as she came over to Juliette, “I wanted you to know I’ll be in town on Friday for the weekend – want to invite some people round for a movie night?”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Juliette said, “Shirley, fancy seeing a film with the girls on Friday? I understand Maddie may have seen it already?”
“Indeed – let’s
meet at mine, John is away for the weekend on business. So, are you in pre-production for the
Ladydown movie Cassandra?" Shirley asked.
Cassandra said, “and I'm looking at a couple of scripts I've been offered as
the actress laughed and shook her head, "a couple of comedies."
far lighter eh?"
butt in?" Nikki asked.
Aunt Shirley, Aunt Juliette... I wanted
to ask Cassie what she thought of my commercials?"
aren't bad," Cassie smiled, "You and Anna make a good team."
Nikki said as she blushed, “with the masks on not a lot of people recognise us
as the girls in the ads."
"Well that sometimes isn't too bad...” Cassandra smiled as she said “I remember getting fussed over when I did my first ad...oh way back when...I was pretty awful, but a lot of people suddenly knew my face." Cassie laughed, "despite what the critics said I guess that damn commercial did more to raise my profile as an actress then the three 3 years I did on stage in Dublin ever did."
"Silence is Golden..."
"See even Shirley still remembers," Cassie laughed as Nikki listened to the song.