What Katy Did Next – part 1
Saturday 2nd April
10 pm CET
The Furstenheim Townhouse, Munich
As the band continued to play, Shirley smiled and said “well, they should be well on their way now. And the party is still going strong.”
“It is indeed – another drink.”
“Sounds wonderful – I will be right here,” Shirley said as John walked off.
“Now that was a day to remember,” Caroline said as she sat down next to Shirley, Maddie on the other side.
“Can we talk business for a couple of minutes?”
Shirley turned to Maddie and said “of course – your next target?”
“We have the target selected – a social gathering with a surprise visit from Ma Baker and her family.”
“Intriguing – let me have the details. Dom?”
“I have a meeting tomorrow which Sharon will attend with me, and then I will meet separately with the local leaders, to convey your thanks for their extra help.”
“Well, I was sure their respect for Klaus would help as well,” Shirley said quietly as John came back. “So when do you both head back?”
“I head back later tomorrow – I need to do the debrief and wind things up here, but Ama has school Monday. What about you Maddie?”
“We need to fly back tomorrow – business meetings Monday. So are you looking forward to Tuesday, John?”
“I’m petrified – but at least I will have one other person with me,” John said as he kissed Shirley.
“Which reminds me – would you take a present back for April from both of us please? That way it’s a surprise for all of them.”
“Well now,” Jo said as she sat with Curt, Abby and Tony, “I guess we’re free from the marriage circuit for the moment, right?”
“Yeah, I think that’s it for this year,” Abby said as she stretched and yawned, and then looked at Tony.
“Hmm – Well, I think it’s time for bed – see you both in the morning,” Tony said as he and Abby walked off. Jo looked at Curt, before the two of them stood up and walked off as well.
“I think the kids are getting tired Pops,” Mary said as her sisters sat down, their eyelids getting heavy.
“Yeah – I think we need to make our excuses and get them back to their beds,” Dave said as he looked round. “Frau Strecher – it has been a fantastic day, but...”
“Of course – allow me to arrange a car for all of you,” she said with an incline of her head, before she walked off.
“When can we do this again,” Liz asked with a yawn.
“We’ll see – for now, bed and a quiet day tomorrow...”
“Well Bestie,” Katy said as she sat with Sands, “how are you feeling?”
“Over the moon,” Sands said with a smile, “Erik kissed me after the last dance. It was nice.”
“As nice as a girl?”
“Nice in a different way,” Sands said with a smile as George joined them.
“May I have one last dance with you before we go to bed, little sis?”
“Oh go on, since you asked nicely,” Sands said as they went onto the floor.
“Had a good day?”
“Yeah Uncle Adam,” Katy said as Adam sat with her, “but I think I’m ready for bed.”
“So are quite a few people,” Katherine said as she looked round, “including me. I think we can safely slip away now.”
“Sounds good to me,” Katy said as they stood up and walked off.
“It has been a good day,” Diana said as she sat with Sandy, Heather, Alice and Mandy.
“Yes, it has darlings,” Mandy said, “and she looked amazing. Alice, you are amazing.”
“Well, I try my best,” Alice said with a smile, “so tomorrow we all take the day off, relax and see the sights. Agreed?”
“Agreed,” Sandy said, “once we wake up...”
“I really felt like a princess tonight,” Suzie said as she slipped into her pyjamas.
what did you make of the Zetterling brothers?" Mary asked as she
supervised the girls undressing and putting their best new clothes away
were fun, they tried to teach us a couple of rude jokes in Finnish," Alice
they?” Mary hung Alice’s dress up, and
turned round. “Well did they try
"Kiss us?" Vicky giggled. "We had already agreed they all got a thank-you kiss after our last dance, and that is what they got."
"It will be fun them being in Prague as well while you and their sister work,” Suzie said, “we can enjoy the sights together."
we are meeting for breakfast and buying a guide book to talk over ideas."
"That sounds like a plan." Mary smiled as she started to tuck each sister in and give them a goodnight kiss. “But for now, sleep – the boys will be getting into bed as well.”
“Good night Mary,” they said as she turned the light off, and went into the sitting room of the suite, where Dave was standing at the table.
how are the girls Poppit?" Dave asked as he poured them both tiny glasses
for Prague...” Mary smiled as she sat
down, “they are meeting with the boys in the morning to plan out the sights to
for them...I suppose I oughta turn my brains to something similar. See if the boys want to do anything..."
probably should Pops," Mary said as she sipped her drink, "You seemed
to really enjoy yourself tonight, dancing with so many people, chatting with
others." Mary's eyes sparkled.
you mean the King? Well he's a basketball fanatic, we were talking about the
Warriors season. Alan Kennedy and Juan Murchado were talking and I got drawn
in, then the king got drawn in by his friend, and before you know it we are
chatting away like 4 ordinary pals talking the game."
good for you Pops," Mary proudly hugged her father.
- you get to talkin' you forget he's a king."
"Changing subjects,” Mary said, “did any lady catch your eye?"
Dave looked at his daughter, and then said “you know nobody’s gonna replace your ma in my heart, poppit.”
“I know – but did anyone?”
“Maybe one or two,” Dave said with a smile, “one or two...”
“Well now,” Fergus MacLean said as he sat next to Grace, “what can I possibly do to make a perfect end to a perfect day?”
“Oh come on Gus,” Grace said with a smile. “You always managed to find a way to bring a perfect end to a perfect day.”
“There you go,” Pippa said as she put a drink down next to Grace, and sat herself down, “and one for you as well, Fergus.”
“Well, that’s very kind of you Pippa,” Fergus said with a smile as he raised his glass. “To your new role.”
Pippa smiled as she said “so, when will you be returning to the wilds of Africa?”
“Oh I have some business to conduct in Europe and the US – so a few more weeks yet.”
“So you might see Grace again?”
“It’s possible,” Fergus said with a smile, and then he looked at Pippa. “Okay, what is it you’re afraid of, Phillipa Ashley?”
“I’m not afraid of anything,” Pippa said with a smile, “I just do not want to see my friends hurt again.”
“That was a long time ago,” Fergus said quietly.
“Well, you live in Africa – does an elephant never forget?”
“It’s been a long time since I saw one,” Fergus whispered. “Mugabe does not exactly like them.”
“A pity – I always wanted to show Poppy one, in the wild,” Pippa said with a sigh. “Still, don’t hurt Grace, or...”
The sound of a cell phone ringing ended the conversation as Fergus took his out.
“Are you sure?
“All right then – I will be there as soon as I can.”
“Problem,” Pippa asked as he put his phone away.
“The hotel – someone tried to get into my room. I need to go – will you give me apologies to Grace, and tell her I’ll be in touch soon?”
“Of course,” Pippa said with a smile as Fergus went to say his thanks, and then looked to the doorway, mouthing “thanks” to Sarah as she nodded and put her phone away.
“Hey – has Fergus gone?”
“I’m afraid so – but he said he’d be in touch,” Pippa said with a smile. “Drink up – I fancy another dance.”
“Well, I think it has been a most successful day,” Sigi said as she stood with Dieter.
“Yes it has – but I think we can safely retire now,” he said as he kissed his wife. “Come – you have earned this today...”
Sunday 3rd April
8 am CET
The Furstenheim Townhouse
“Gentlemen,” Caroline said as she stood with the men who had driven over from Dublin, “you went above and beyond the call of duty, and for that you have the thanks of their Serene Highnesses, of Frau Strecher, of Alice MacKinnon, and of myself.”
“Our pleasure,” the lead guard said, “and tell Mrs MacKinnon if she ever wants in on our poker game...”
“I’ll let her know – the payment has already been made, but I wish you a safe journey. God speed you all.”
Sharon nodded as they shook hands with both her and Caroline, and then headed off.
“Did you get any sleep Mom,” Ama said as she walked down the stairs.
“Enough – let’s go in and have breakfast before I do the debrief with Frau Strecher and Ingrid. Have you seen Maisha this morning?”
“I believe she is already inside,” Ama said as they entered the dining room.
“Hey,” Carina said as she helped Judith into her chair, “how are you today?”
“Not bad – any word from them?”
“They probably just touched down – and no, I will not call them!”
“Fankew mamma,” Judith said as she started to eat some fruit.
“So what is on the itinery for today boss,” Sharon said.
“After the debrief, I have some business to conduct which is private,” Caroline said, “but I want you to review a file for me. A possible new client, but something does not sit quite right with me. I’d appreciate your thoughts, so I’ll drop you off for a coffee to review it while I go on.”
“Sounds good – and we fly back tonight?”
“We have to – someone has school tomorrow...”
“Hey there,” Sandy said as she entered with Heather, “have you seen the youngsters?”
“Which ones,” Annie said, “Ama’s group still have to emerge, Poppy and Erica left a few minutes ago with Jess, and Mary’s sisters are in deep conversation with the boys Trina introduced them to last night.”
“On the other hand,” Cari said, “Mary and Fiona are off into town, and Abby and Tony have just come in.”
“Where did my sisters go,” Mary said as she came in.
“The six of them grabbed some food and went out to one of the drawing rooms...”
don't care what else I see as long as I get to see the figures come out on the
Astronomical clock." Alice Clarke said, "It will be so cool telling
all the kids back home about it."
then that is a definite," Suzie noted in her book. "But we then go to
the nearest Patisserie and sample all the various baked goods...Right?"
"It's fine with us," Eric Zetterling nodded. “And then we go and do one of the bus tours.”
“Can we go to the zoo as well,” Vicky said as she sat with Ralf and Hans.
“Well, if we get one of those round ticket things, with the entrance included, we can do that,” Ralf said.
“We need to find out when they’ll be finished, and time to get back then,” Suzie said, “but we can do that.”
was your run Little Sister?" Heather asked as Jo came in and sat down.
bad,” Jo sad as she poured some juice, “it was nice having some other people to
you can have the energy?" Sands looked up from her breakfast, "I'm
agree with you Sandy," Curt looked up, "how she keeps going so long
is beyond me."
that hinting at something?" Heather laughed.
Comment." Curt grinned.
of orange juice is the secret," Nessa poured herself and Sandy glasses
from the jug on the table.
"It works for me," David smiled cheerfully.
“Hey – good run there Jo,” Alan Kennedy said as he came in and sat with Sharon.
“My pleasure,” Jo said, “it was fun.”
“Well, with the Boston coming up, it was a good time to do that distance.”
“Well now,” Charlotte said as she sat in a corner with Shirley and Maisha, “where’s John?”
“He wanted a word with Jack and Luke before Luke’s parents join them for breakfast,” Shirley said, “which gives us a chance to discuss your suggestion Maisha. Both Charlotte and I feel it is right to do this, but we do wonder if you have any suggestions for possible initial recipients.”
“Well, Aunt Shirley,” Maisha said as she put her glass of Orange Juice down, “I feel the first recipients should come from those who were instrumental in freeing our sisters from Mogola – even if some of my suggestions will be posthumous.”
“I understand,” Charlotte said, “so who do you have in mind?”
“May I say who I believe should receive the Cross of Valour? I personally feel that the woman they called Red should receive that, as should Leader. Both showed bravery above and beyond, and without their work our sisters would still be suffering.”
She smiled as both Charlotte and Shirley nodded. “Personally, I think Leader will accept on behalf of all who fought with her, but I agree.”
“For the Distinguished Service award, I feel we should consider both Teachers,” Charlotte said, “as well as Liz. Anyone else?”
Charlotte and Shirley both looked at Maisha, and then at each other before they nodded in agreement. “I would also wish to nominate those who manned our centre in LA last year – they went above and beyond the call of duty as well.”
Nodding, Shirley said “and the Meritorious service award?”
“For all who led the charge,” Maisha said quietly.
“Also,” Shirley said, “I want the MSM to be awarded to Major Erasmus and Lucia, with the DSM to the nurses. Agreed?”
The other two nodded as they looked at Shirley.
“Hey – you look disgustingly awake today,” Sarah said as Grace came in, joining her and Harriet at the table.
“So do you – your partners?”
“Gone for a walk, now that the photographers have disappeared,” Harriet said, “what about Hamish MacBeth?”
“It’s Fergus MacLean,” Grace said with a smile, “and he got called back to his hotel last night. But he called me this morning – we’re going to meet up for a coffee before we head to the airport.”
“So what was the problem at his hotel?”
“False alarm – but it was too late for him to get back when he found out. Anyway, we’ll meet up, have a coffee, a chat – maybe arrange to meet up again later...”
“Oh lord she’s off in her heaven again,” Pippa said as she sat down, Poppy heading to the buffet with Erica and Jess.
“Oh let her be,” Harriet said as she sipped her coffee, and then put some bread and cheese on a slice of pumpernickel bread, “she deserves to have a little fun now and then.”
“I know she does,” Pippa said with a smile, but she looked carefully at Grace. Neither of the other two knew what happened at the school – or how close it had come to a serious problem.
“Let me see, let me see,” Kylie mumbled to herself as she looked at another shot.
look very serious Luv," Sami said as she sat down next to her daughter.
just looking at the clothes the Princess usually wears Mum," Kylie
indicated the pile of magazines in front of her. "If I'm going to
contribute to Alice's design I need to have a sense of her style."
her style is?"
darling," Kylie drawled.
"Those are a coupla my pics," Gio looked over Kylie's shoulder, "not too bloody bad if I do say so meself."
“So the idea is to reflect her style as well as the wedding?”
“Exactly, Mum,” Kylie said as Marina came in, talking to Anna Mitchell and sitting at a far table. “I see Marina is starting to learn her new duties.”
“Exactly,” Helen said. “I spoke with Caroline – you and Marina will head from here to New York tomorrow and fly back later in the week.”
“Thank you Helen darling,” Kylie said as she looked across the table, “I think Susan will appreciate the extra help.”
tell you wot,” Rose said, “this ruddy Turkish coffee is potent stuff,"
is Mum, so you better watch how many cups you have or else you'll be bouncing
off the walls." Susan smiled.
"I told her she should only be drinking tiny cups of that stuff." Maeve smiled as well.
"I'm going to have to order some for meself...If I'm going to be embroidering this uvver weddin' dress I'll need it to keep me awake."
heard Teri wants you to repair some embroidery for her as well," Karen sat
"She does, and I wish I could get used ter people just callin' a queen by 'er name." Rose shook her head.
“She’s a friend Mum – and you’ve talked with princesses on a first name basis. She’s just the mum of one,” Susan said with a smile.
"Can we arrange to meet in New York on Tuesday your Royal Highness?" Alice asked on the phone.
"Yes I know it's short notice - but with Kylie taking her exams in Hong Kong soon I'm afraid that's the only time you can sit down with the entire design team."
Alice paused and listened for a few seconds while the princess obviously checked her schedule.
can make it?...Oh Good...Do you know where the offices of Complete Style
magazine are?...Good...Well shall we say there at ten in the morning?"
listened again while the princess paused.
"Good," she replied after the princess spoke again, "I will see you then."
Ending the call, she turned and smiled at Kylie and Rose. “Meeting set for Ten on Tuesday. That means you can set off back on Wednesday morning Kylie, and be back at school.”
“Wonderful,” Kylie said with a smile.
“So, you will be visiting Buckingham Palace on Tuesday Shirley?”
“I am indeed,” Shirley said as she sat drinking coffee with Diana and Catherine, “and I have to thank you for delivering my outfit.”
“Well,” Catherine said, “I think classic grey is the best choice. A styled and fitted jacket and skirt will send just the right message.”
Cathy showed Diana the picture of the model wearing the jacket and pencil skirt, the top buttons undone.
“Much more stylish than most of what Fashion Week showed,” Diana said as she handed the photo back. “I am glad there will always be the place for the classic line.”
9.45 am CET
“Well, I think that covers everything,” Caroline said, “my thanks for joining us here today, Father Schmidt, and providing feedback from the viewpoint of the cathedral.”
“It was my pleasure, Fraulein Jameson – His Eminence was most impressed, and wanted me to convey his thanks as well.”
“In that case,” Frau Strecher said as she stood, “I think we are finished here. Forgive me – I have to ensure everything is ready for the departure of our guests later.”
“Again, my thanks,” the priest said as he shook her hand, then Caroline’s, and finally Sigi’s, before Frau Strecher saw her out.
“Right then,” Caroline said, “Sigi, are you all right taking Ama and Maisha shopping?”
“Of course – you will be back for lunch?”
“We both will be,” Caroline said as she put her blazer on. She was wearing a black jumper and slacks, while Sharon wore a dark skirt and jacket, with a white blouse on underneath. “Now, if you’ll excuse us, we need to go to our meetings. The car should be waiting outside.”
As they walked outside, the chauffer opened the car door, Sharon and Caroline sitting in the back as he closed the door. “Now then,” Caroline said, “enjoying the working life?”
“It’s an education,” Sharon said with a smile.
“Good – this is the file I wanted you to have a look at,” Caroline said as she slipped the young woman a thin manila folder. As she opened it, Sharon looked at the picture of a thin woman, with an angular face and long blonde hair. From the jewellery hanging from her ears and round her neck, she could see she was wealthy – a fact that was confirmed by the details that had been noted in the files.
“I see she’s a young banking executive – does Dad know her?”
“No – she’s too low down the line, but she likes to play above her position. Take a look at my personal notes from our meeting.”
Sharon read through the meeting report, nodding as she tried not to give away her glee. Caroline was very thorough – notes on the lack of security, access points, and some of her personal observations. This was too good a target to pass up on, but she hid her pleasure, saying quietly “so what do you want me to do?”
“While I have my meetings, sit quietly, make your own notes, we’ll compare when I am done. I know personally what my response is likely to be, but a fresh pair of eyes never hurts.”
“Well, it’s a challenge – all right, I’ll do my best.”
The car pulled up outside a coffee house, Caroline jumping out as the door was held open and Sharon joining her.
“I recommend the Strudel,” she said as they walked in, Sharon taking a seat at the table. “Whatever you see, remain here, and do not come over.”
As Sharon nodded, Caroline walked to an alcove on the other side of the shop. She wasn’t sure why she was been asked to observe – maybe to step in if something went wrong? At any rate, as the waitress came over she ordered some strudel and a large coffee, and looked through the file again.
“Fraulein Dominique – it has been some time. It is good to see you again.”
Caroline smiled as she looked at the two gentlemen standing by the table. “It is good to see you both again as well – please, be seated. I have taken the liberty of ordering coffee for all three of us.”
Sharon looked at them – tall, broad build, and she could see the bulges in their tailored jackets. Perhaps Caroline employed some extra muscle for external crowd control?
“May I first compliment the inestimable Frau Strecher on yesterday – it went with military precision,” the second man said as the coffee arrived.
“I will pass on the good thoughts – and on behalf of the Serene Highnesses, I am grateful to you for the peaceful way the last few days have gone. I have also been asked to convey the personal thanks of Madame.”
“It was a pleasure – Prince Klaus is well respected, and we also wished to ensure their special day passed without incident.”
“You will, of course, receive recompense, but I wish to offer some additional advice. Stay out of Augsburg tonight.”
“May we ask why?”
“I am aware of some friends who are planning to visit – friends you will wish to avoid.”
The two men nodded as they stood up. “Did you know,” the man said, “in that wig, you resemble the model, Fraulein Caroline Jameson?”
“It has been commented on in the past. Stay safe gentlemen.”
The two men stood and bowed before they walked off, Caroline smiling as she put some papers away.
“Well this is an unexpected pleasure.”
Caroline sighed as she looked at the thin, rat-faced man who had sat next to her.
“Weasel – what are you doing here?”
“Now my dear Dom...” A look from her was enough for Viktor to stop and say “my apologies. Now, my dear Caroline, I merely saw you sitting here and wished to say hello. Is there anything wrong with that?
“And by the way, have you taken on a new apprentice?”
Caroline looked over to see Sharon look quickly down at the file, before she said “a question for another day. What are you doing in Munich Viktor?”
“You have such a suspicious mind Caroline...”
“Would you like me to get my friend Helen to join us? I am sure she would enjoy meeting you again.”
She smiled as Viktor blanched, before he said “unnecessary – I was asked by those I liase with to pass this information over. I believe it will be of interest to your employer – some rather unusual dealings with a certain insurance company in our homeland.”
He removed a file from the slipcase he was carrying and passed it to Caroline, who placed it into her own case.
“Madame thanks you,” Caroline said quietly, “and to show my thanks, I will give you the same piece of advice I gave to my previous meeting. Stay away from Augsburg tonight. Oh – and Weasel?”
“Yes, dear lady?”
“There are still a lot of models here – if I hear of anything happening to any of them...”
“I understand – safe journeys home,” Viktor said as he slipped off, Caroline smiling as she closed her case and stood up.
“Who was that,” Sharon said as Caroline joined her.
“A courier for some clients I have in Eastern Europe,” Caroline said. “So, Miss Prynada?”
“I think she is a good risk, but your notes indicate your distrust of her and the answers she gave. Think over for a while?”
“Well,” Caroline said, “I promised I would contact her at the end of the week. Time enough to consider before then, however. Now, we had better head back – your father will be waiting for you, and we all have planes to catch.”
Sharon nodded as she stood up. Miss Prynada was going to get an unexpected visitor before then...
10 am CET
The English Garden
“Well, at least we got a chance to stretch our legs for a while,” George said as he, Katy and Sands walked along the path.
“Ten hours on a plane – wonderful.”
“But at least we get home at a semi-reasonable hour,” Sands said as she looked at her phone.
necessary. I've sent you a copy of the
notes that Shawnee sent me for the classes we missed." Sands typed into
I suppose I ought to read them on the way back home." Katy typed in
"Yep, back to school," George whispered in his girlfriend’s ear.
“You as well George – or are you telling me you were exempted totally?”
“Well no – let’s grab a drink and sit on the bench, compare notes...”
He watched from the cafe table as the three of them bought drinks and then went to sit on the bench on the far side. They looked happy, laughing and giggling as they looked at each other’s phones.
But he knew this could not be the truth. She was his – he knew it, she knew it, so why was she acting as if she was denying it?
could be only one reason - She was doing it deliberately to annoy him. Sitting
and hugging George Richmond on a park bench for the entire world to see...And
now kissing him...and like that?
He was sure George Richmond was a queer, she only used him to provoke 'real men' such as himself, after all other then all that fuckin' money did the kid have to offer?
No, he was convinced now, it was time to free her from these lies, and let her be with him, the perfect couple together. Where nobody would ever disturb them, or break them up...
“Well, if anything is designed to send me to sleep, it’s civics,” Katy said with a sigh. “Still, I suppose it beats not been able to watch the horror film on the plane.”
“Oh the joys of been a minor,” Sands said with a laugh before she looked at her watch. “We’d better head back – they’ll be waiting for us.”
The Furstenheim Townhouse
“Frau Strecher, our thanks for your hospitality these last few days,” Jan said as she stood in the entrance hall.
“It has been our pleasure to host you and your family, Fraulein Carter,” the steward said as Adam handed the last of the cases to the driver, “may I wish you all a safe journey home.”
“Please accept our thanks as well,” Sandy said as she and the others came out of the room. “It has been a truly memorable time.”
“You are most welcome – again, a safe journey,” the older woman said as she watched them walk out.
“I’ll see you when the semester’s done, if not before,” Jo said as she hugged Abby and Carina, “and you look after Annie for all of us.”
“I intend to,” Carina said as the two girls came out to wave them off.
“So when do you leave?”
“Later – Grandpa and Grandma want to talk to me and Mama about the party this summer,” Abby said. “So what are you doing tonight?”
“Well, Dieter has invited Tom out for dinner with some of his friends, so Natalya and I are going out for dinner with Gale. A nice quiet meal...”
“Does someone want to explain how we are going to be awake for school tomorrow,” Erica said as she sat with Jess and Poppy.
“I think the clue is to get some sleep on the plane back, and then some more when we get home,” Poppy said.
“So you’re not going to be in London to see your aunt get her award?”
“No – Mom needs to be in the office, but Gran will be going with Aunt Maggie. I think they only allow one or two guests anyway.”
“So what are we heading back to,” Jess asked.
“Eight more weeks of school – and the infamous charity stunt the school pulls off.”
“I remember hearing about last year’s one,” Poppy said, “Mom almost pulled me from the school after that.”
“What happened,” Jess asked.
“Something about a parade of bras...”
“So what exactly do you have planned for tonight,” Gale said as she sat with Natalya.
“Well, we shall repair to an apartment I have in town, and change there, before heading to Augsberg.” Natalya smiled as she said “it has been some years since I was there, but there was a bar there that has proven – fruitful in the past.”
“Should be fun – and we will return late?”
Natalya slowly nodded and smiled.
8 am Local Time
It was the sound of lapping water that started to bring Juliette back round, slowly waking her as she lay on the bed with only a silk sheet covering her. As she opened her eyes, she felt the gentle breeze on her face, and smelt the sea air that was coming through the open screen doors.
“Good Morning, Mrs von Furstenheim.”
She smiled as she saw Klaus standing in the doorway, and said “good morning, Mister von Furstenheim. What time is it?”
“About eight – I have some breakfast outside if you want to join me?”
Smiling, she slipped out from the sheets and put on a short robe, before stepping out and taking a seat. A waiter came forward and poured some orange juice for her, as Klaus took a seat beside her.
“This is truly heaven on earth,” Juliette said as she looked over the crystal blue waters, “and we have this all to ourselves?”
“Well this part of the island at any rate,” Klaus said with a smile. “I had told others we would be alone, but that was not possible. We will, however, not meet any others until we attend a dinner later in the week.
“Apart from our host – we have an invitation to a private dinner with him tomorrow.”
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Richard – that could be fun,” Juliette said with a smile. She sipped her orange juice and closed her eyes, feeling the warm sun on her face. “This is true paradise, Klaus – a wonderful choice.”
“Well, the family have orders not to disturb us except in a dire emergency,” Klaus said, “and I do not anticipate any of them. So, we can relax, and just enjoy being together.”
“Would Her Highness care for some scrambled eggs this morning?”
“That sounds wonderful – and then we can spend some time on the beach.”
“A private beach,” Klaus said. “Maybe we should take some advice from Mrs Stratton-Levin?”
2 pm CET
The Furstenheim Townhouse
“So did Sharon read the file,” Penny said as she sat with Susan and Caroline.
“Oh yes – I think one night this week will see her visiting Miss Prynada one night this week. I made it clear I was going to decide one way or another by Friday.
“She won’t go out tonight,” Susan said, “not when we’re all getting back late. The apartment is ready however – you’re okay coming over for the week, Penny?”
“Oh yes – it’s important we do this together,” Penny said as she looked at Caroline. “Hopefully, she will accept our offer.”
“I hope so – I like her, and she has talent,” Caroline said, “but she needs to learn how to control and focus her anger. That’s where you’ll come in Penny – if she accepts the offer...”
“Cassie,” Elaine Colman said as she came down the stairs, Bradley following with their cases, “got a couple of minutes?”
“Sure,” Cassandra Stone said with a smile, “what’s up?”
"What have you been able to work out with regards to the premiere Cassie?" Elaine asked, "can Nikki go watch herself?"
"As far as I'm concerned then yes, but Brian is being awkward, he's afraid it will attract the wrong sort of publicity."
what? I would have thought the fact the
whole film deals with a gang of psychotic females, who murder and rob, would
cause enough problems."
and I will probably have to have a fight when I get back to LA," Cassandra
please try Cassie, my daughter has her heart set on going to the
I just hope she will have both her party, and that to look forward to."
"What was that?" Nikki suddenly popped round the corner with Doc. "Do you both know things I don't?"
“I know many things you don’t” Elaine said as she hugged her daughter, “so get your coat – we’re heading off soon.”
“Oh I think I can promise I will look after Luke here,” Jack said with a smile as he came out of the room with Luke’s parents.
"Well Jack, I can honestly say it has been a total pleasure meeting you,” Bishop Ordford said as he shook Jack’s hand. “You will have to come see us next time you are at Ordford Castle."
"Or you can skip Mandy and Will's dubious hospitality and just come stay with us at the palace." Martha kissed him on the cheek as the driver came in.
might just take you up on that," Jack smiled.
Dad, tell the guys I'm sorry I missed them this trip, but that I will see them
"We will Luke," his father shook his hand. “Don’t be a stranger.”
“We’ll see when I’m next over,” Luke said as they escorted his parents out, waiting as they got into the car and waving as they drove off.
“Well, I think that went rather well,” Luke said with a smile.
“Yeah – now finish packing. We have a shoot in Queens tomorrow, Luke my boy.”
Strecher said I'd find you up here," Annie said as she wandered into the
I'm working Monster Momma." Carina looked up from her notes and smiled at
dear Goddess that looks serious reading," Annie shook her head as she
looked at a couple of the books Cari had on the desk.
is,” Carina said as she removed her glasses, “but even at Yale we don't have
some of these, so I figure I maybe get some extra points for using them as
"Well rather you then me." Annie sat down and said “when are you heading off?”
“Six – sure you don’t want to come?”
Annie looked at her bump and said “bit of a giveaway, right? You have fun – and tell me all about it.”
look serious darling," Mandy looked up as Kylie came into her room, and
then closed her case.
I?" Kylie smiled, "I guess that's because I come to beg your
"Yes...” Sitting on the bed, she said “you know Alice
is under consideration to design the Princess of Borbon's wedding dress?"
I've been told darling...Kudos for her...and for you."
"Indeed,” Kylie said with a smile. “Well, you know she has that wonderful tiny waist."
"Yes...but what does that have to do with me..." Mandy broke into a smile, "aha I see where you are going with this."
you have a natural 20 inch waist as well darling,” Kylie said.
“So will you let me hang some cloth on you so I can get some
would be a privilege darling," Mandy drawled, "where and when?"
I have Mum outside with some lengths of fabric if you don't mind?"
let's do this then," Mandy started to undress out of her jeans.
“You can come in Mum,” Kylie said as Sam carried in some cloth.
should I ask?" Will enquired as he came in.
really darling,” Mandy said, “I'm acting as a dressmakers dummy so Kylie can
try out some ideas on me."
well, that’s nice" Will said as he went back to what he was reading.
you really alright wiv this Mandy?" Sami enquired.
Samantha darling, if it helps trigger ideas in Kylie's brain for this
commission I could hardly refuse...By the way darling bra on or off?"
"Off please," Kylie lifted up a length of fabric, "now we need to exploit that fabulous waist," she whispered to herself as she got to work.
8 pm CET
The bar was a quiet one, with a few locals and visitors enjoying the atmosphere. In a corner table were seated three women – one tall, thin, with shoulder length black hair, wearing a black leather jacket, tight jeans and short black ankle boots. The woman next to her was wearing a tan leather jacket over a brown jumper and pants, with knee length leather tan boots. The smallest of the three wore a grey bomber jacket and jeans, with grey sneakers. She had mousey brown hair, while the middle of the three women had short blonde hair. All three wore dark glasses, and sat quietly, looking round the bar.
“So what are we looking for,” Gale said as she sipped her drink, “someone with some class, or a little rough?”
“Well,” Natalya said quietly, “it is possible to find both here, so relax, and let our other selves have their fun. Ready?”
All three women nodded and closed their eyes, smiling as they opened them again.
“You are right, cousin,” Carina said quietly, “the air is ripe with anticipation.”
Gale looked round the room, and her gaze fell on two men sitting at a far table. They were dressed casually – polo shirts, trousers, shoes – and were talking quietly.
“What of them?”
Natalya looked over and smiled. “Yes – young, and they look fit and strong. Do you believe they will satisfy all three of us?”
“Perhaps – although we can see afterwards,” Carina said. “so, how shall we approach this?”
“Would you object if we took the lead, cousin?”
“Not at all,” Natalya said with a smile, “I am most anxious to see how you have progressed.”
She watched as Gale and Carina stood up, and walked towards the bar.
“Two screwdrivers,” Carina said before she turned and smiled at the men. As the barman put the glasses in front of them, they turned and smiled at the two men.
They smiled back, and then talked to each other before getting up and walking over.
“I don’t think we’ve seen you around here,” one of them, with dark hair, said as he looked at Gale.
“We’re just visiting,” she said in an English accent, “and enjoying a quiet night in this fine establishment.”
“And you two,” Carina said in an impression of Mandy.
“Oh we’re local,” the blonde said. “I’m Karl, this is Albert.”
“Mandy and Alice,” Carina said. “So, what does a girl have to do to have a good time around here?”
“Oh that line is old,” Albert said with a smile. “So, if you want some fun, we know a place where we can have a drink, get to know each other better...”
“Sounds intriguing,” Gale said, “what do you think Mandy?”
“Sounds good – let us get our bags, and you can show us this fun place.”
The two men watched as Gale and Cari collected their bags from the booth, and then went out with Karl and Albert. As they walked down the road, Natalya hefted her own bag on her shoulder, and walked a short distance behind.
“Well, this is our place,” Karl said as he opened the door, standing to one side as Gale and Carina walked in, Albert closing the door behind them. “What do you think?”
Gale looked round, the decor of the flat looking as if it was straight out of a Seventies porno movie – shag pile rugs, block patterns on the walls, shelf units sticking out of walls in asymmetric patterns, and a stereo that would not have looked out of place in a blaxploitation movie.
“Classy,” Carina said as they sat on a leather couch. “So, what have you got that will amuse us?”
“Oh we have something that you will find life changing,” Karl said with a smile as Albert brought out a bottle of wine and four glasses. “But before we have some fun, how about a drink?”
“Well, that does sound like a good idea,” Gale said with a smile as Albert used a corkscrew to pull the cork out, and then poured the amber liquid into the glasses.
“So – here’s to a fun night,” Karl said as he handed them a glass each, and he Albert took the other two. “Ladies.”
Gale and Carina looked at each other, before Carina said “well, may we ask one favour first?”
“After a drink surely?”
“No – no I don’t think so.”
Both men turned round as they saw Natalya standing in the doorway, a red haired man in front of her, his eyes wide open as he tried to speak.
“Your friend here was waiting outside the door when I arrived,” Natalya said, “so I used a little something on him – a particularly good neurotoxin that paralyses the throat, but causes excruciating pain as well. Given he was carrying this, I felt it a prudent move.”
Gale and Carina saw the gun in Natalya’s gloved hand, and then sniffed the wine.
“The wine is drugged, isn’t it,” Carina said quietly as she looked at Karl, “now that is very unfriendly, very unfriendly indeed. What do you say, Mandy?”
“I say,” Gale said as she reached into her bag and pulled out a gun, “that these boys are going to discover a new way to have fun.”
“Now, we don’t have to be upset,” Albert said, “it was just a bit of fun. Isn’t that right Nikolai?”
The mute man could only stare as Carina stood up, and poured the wine on the carpet. “Oh this is going to be good,” she said quietly as she walked over and stroked Karl’s cheek – before kneeing him in the groin. “So, what shall we do first, cousin?”
“Well,” Natalya said, “I think these two fine young men should apologise for seeking to drug you.”
“Oh no apology is necessary,” Gale said as she drew from her bag two sets of handcuffs, and walked round, yanking Karl’s hands behind his back and securing the cuffs round them, and then cuffing Albert as well. “I think we should show them just how much we care for their attentions to us.”
“Look, you don’t have to...”
“Did I say you could speak,” Gale snarled as she pulled Karl’s head back, and stoked her finger over his throat.
“So first rule – speak when you are spoken to,” Cari said. “Bathroom?”
“Over there,” Albert said as he nodded.
“Good – back in a minute. Why don’t you make these three comfortable?”
“Sit down, shit for brains,” Natalya said as she pushed Nikolai onto the couch, Gale pushing Karl and Albert over and forcing them to kneel as Natalya grabbed soem lengths of rope.
It was only then they noticed both women were wearing leather gloves – and that Carina was also wearing them as she took her bag into the bathroom.
“Not a fucking word,” Gale said as they started to bind the ankles of Karl and Albert, “or we shut you up permanently.”
A few minutes later, Cari returned – wearing a long sleeved black blouse, the top buttons open to reveal her ample chest, a tight knee length black leather skirt, stockings and black patent leather shoes with four inch heels. The three men stared at her before Karl whispered “my god...”
“I thought I told you to be quiet, shit for brains,” Gale said as she pushed a large red ball into his mouth, fastening the leather straps round his head as Natalya slipped out.
“You know, we should thank you,” Carina said as she stroked the cheek of Nikolai, “we thought we would have to share you two friends, but then you came along – and we get to play with one of you each. Which takes your fancy cousin?”
“Oh we have plenty of time to discuss options,” Gale said as she removed a riding crop from her back, and ran it over Albert’s chest. She then brought it down hard on his cheek, making him cry out before Carina pushed a ball gag into his mouth.
“Ah good – he was a little noisy.”
The three men stared at Natalya as she walked in, the sleeves of her black lace top pulled down to reveal her bare shoulders, the black girdle fastened tightly round her waist and stomach. Her legs were in a pair of tight black leather pants, with over the knee leather boots completing the outfit with her black leather gloves and the choker round her neck.
She swung her own riding crop down into her hand as Gale walked off. “Cousin,” Natalya said quietly, “I think we need to make sure these fine gentlemen are not encumbered. Which will you take first?”
“Him,” Cari said as she took a cloth packet from her bag, unrolling it on the low table and taking out a scalpel. Karl tried to wriggle out fo the way as she walked forward, and then slit his polo shirt from neck to waist, pulling it open as he stared at her.
“Hmm – nice abs,” she purred,”real washboard look. I am going to enjoy playing with that.”
“Of course,” Cari said as she passed the scalpel to Natalya, watching as she smiled and cut Nikolai’s shirt open. “He would appear to be slightly less fit.”
“Well, not a problem to me,” Natalya said as Gale came back. She was now wearing a black jacket and short skirt, like Carina showing much of her chest, a black bra and stockings, and over the knee patent leather boots with four inch stiletto heels.
“Now then,” she said as she smiled at Albert, ”shall we begin?”
“Well,” Carina said, “I think it’s so unfair that young Nikolai here is suffering, and the other two who sight to date rape us are to in pain. We should deal with that first, do you agree cousin?”
“I do,” Gale said as she walked behind Albert, and then ripped his shirt off him, before she picked up the riding crop and pushed him off the couch, the others watching as he fell on his knees.
“Get a chair from the table,” she said quietly, watching as Carina carried it over and placed it in front of Albert. Gale then lifted him up and lay him over the seat, pulling his arms up and over his head and making him scream into the ball gag as she secured the cuffs to his legs under the chair.
“Pull his trousers down.”
The other two watched as Natalya pulled Albert’s pants down, before she and Cari picked up a riding crop each.
“Whtruugntddd,” Albetr mumbled a she looked over his shoulder, and then he cried out as Gale brought her riding crop down hard on his arse. Carina and Natalya looked at each other and then joined in, whipping his buttocks as the other two men watched.
Albert continued to try to cry out, each whip raising a new weld, and then feeling the blood as it slowly started to trickle down from the cuts and marks. Carina walked over and turned the music centre on, turning the music up and then returning to the whipping as Albert started to sob.
He then started to moan, surprised to find himself reacting in an unexpected way.
“Well, well – it would appear your friends have enjoyed your suffering as well.”
As he slowly turned his head, Albert’s eyes widened a she saw the bulges in the trousers of Karl and Nikolai.
“Oh my, they do seem to be happy,” Natalya said as she walked over, and pulled Karl to his feet, whipping his behind as she made him hop over. As she pulled down the young man’s trousers, Carina smiled at his enormous cock.
“Well, it seems a shame to waste that – fuck him.”
“I said,” Carina smiled as she traced the edge of the scalpel across Albert’s throat, a thin red line appearing, “fuck him or I cut his fucking head off, and then cut your dick off and stuff it in his lifeless mouth.”
“Hmggddmsreee,” Karl said, crying as he was forced to stand behind Albert, looking at his butt with the blood criss-crossing the raw red flesh. “Plssdntmmkkmdthsss?”
“Why not,” Gale said as she hit him across his buttocks with the crop, “you wanted to fuck someone, and you’re certainly ready – do it.
She whipped him again anad again, making him shuffle forward and then penetrating Albert as he raised hsi head and screamed in agony.
“And do not think we are neglecting you,” Natalya said as she walked to where Nikolai was sitting, her gloved hand stroking his cock, “you obviously are enjoying the show as well, are you not?”
He shook his head from side to side in denial, listenignt o the screams of both Albert and Karl, but as Natalya tightened her grip on his ball sac she said “I know you are lying, and lying is a sin. And sin must be punished, must it not?”
“Oh now, there is no forgiveness here,” Natalya said with a smile, “there is only punishment. If you lie again, I will cut your finger off.”
His eyes widened as he saw the pair of secateurs in her hand, as she said “so. Once again, are you enjoying the show?” She watched, smiling as he shook her head, and then gasping at his scream as he cut the little finger of his left hand away behind his back.
“Are you enjoying the show?”
He looked at Albert and Karl, the two men crying as Albert was raped, and shook his head again – then screamed as the next finger was removed. At the same time, Karl cried out as he came, and then was roughly pulled back by Gale, blood flowing from Albert’s rear as she did so. He looked down, his cock covered in shit and cum, and collapsed onto his knees as Gale looked at him.
“Now wasn’t that fun,” she said as she went back to her bag, and took out a bottle of clear liquid, “here, let me clean that off for you.” Forcing him onto his back, he watched helplessly as she unscrewed the top of the bottle, and poured the clear contents over his cock and ball sac, laughing at his screams as the acetic acid burned him.
“See – they are both having fun – you should as well,” Carina said as she went to her own bag, taking out a bottle of lemon juice and pouring it liberally over Albert’s raw flesh.
As Nikolai felt the last of his fingers fall off, he looked into Natalya’s eyes and pleaded “plssnnmmrrr.”
“Oh, are you starting to get some feeling in your throat? Well that’s good,” Natalya said with a smile – a smile of evil and malice. “Cousins, will you join me in a game of noughts and crosses?”
Karl and Albert looked over, eyes red with tears and racked with pain, as the two women walked over, Carina handing a scalpel to Natalya. Nikolai could only watch as she drew a three-by-three grid on his stomach, and then said “who would like to go first?”
The two could only watch as Nikolai’s eyes rolled back, the pain increasing as Carina won the first game – and celebrated by squeezing his ball sac tightly in her gloved hand.
“My turn,” Natalya said as she and Gale played, winning and celebrating as she pressed her gloved hand to his cheek – and then sliced his ear off.
“Oh they wish to comment,” Gale said as she walked over to Karl, and then kicked him where the acid had been poured, making him scream out again. “Is there something you wished to say, pisspot?”
As Karl shook his head, Gale knelt next to him, placing her hand on his cock and massaging it again as it started to engorge, the pain almost sending the young man over the edge as the music played.
“Is he having fun,” Carina asked as she walked over.
“Well,” Gale gasped as she reached under her own skirt, and felt the dampness, “I most certainly am, so i am sure he is as well.”
“Oh dear,” Carina said as she walked over and pulled Albert’s head up, “you should not have said that. We’re not bitches – we’re your worst nightmare.”
“Now, we have some fun,” Natalya said as Gale pulled a large penis with a belt attached from her bag.
As Cari forced Karl onto his knees, Natalya walked over while Gale removed her skirt.
"And don't think that if you let us do what we want we might just let you live, because I can assure you boys you are going to die tonight...it's only a question how long you can hold out," Gale laughed as Natalya fixed the strapon on the American..."Now which of you will I fuck first?" she mused.
The three men looked at each other, shaking as she went “Eenie... Meenie...” She then walked behind Karl, smiling as she pushed him over so that his chin hit the floor. He started shaking in fear, and then screamed as Gale pushed herself in from behind.
Gale pushed in hard as Cari knelt in front of Albert, smiling as she said “I think your friend is enjoying the experience now – but we don’t want you to feel out of it. Me, I prefer a more – scientific approach.”
“Well, I will free you from the chair,” Cari said as she cut the rope holding his wrists his ankles, and then forced him to kneel on the floor.
"You in the meantime...CLEAN MY BOOTS!" Natalya commanded as she looked at Albert, "I want them so shiny I can see my reflection in them."
The man looked up asking in his eyes what he had to do.
it with your tongue Arschloch," her eyes taunted him a she removed the
ball gag, "and use your personal polish."
man looked up in question again.
"This you dumme stuch fleisch!" she pointed with her riding crop to his crotch.
Albert nodded slowly as he shuffled forward and started to rub her boots with his crotch, feeling himself getting hard again as Natalya smiled, and then hit him again on his back.
“Off,” Carina said as she pulled Nikolai off the couch, watching as he slowly moved round before she sat down in front of him.
“Hush,” Carina said as she looked at him, and leaned forward, attaching two sticking plasters to his crotch. As she leaned back, she raised her leg, and placed the tip of her heel on his lips.
She smiled as she looked at him, and said “you must enjoy when you force the girls to blow you off – your turn to feel the joy.”
Nikolai tried not to scream as she pushed the heel into his mouth, and then moved it in and out.
"Oh come on you'd expect me to take far more then that down my throat." Carina laughed as the man gagged taking her stiletto deep in his mouth. "Now eat my heel like you'd expect me to eat your cock."
flicked out her whip hurting the man’s face as he kneeled in front of her
whilst she sat in the armchair.
"SUCK ME OFF!" Carina started to finger herself as the man took all 5inches of her heel in his mouth, her leg pumping in and out as she used to rape him orally.
Nikolai could do nothing as he felt the hell stabbing into his throat, adding to his pain as he felt the warm blood trickle down inside. But when Cari pressed a button, and an electric shock passed across his scrotum, he almost fainted in the pain.
“No staying power,” she said with a smile as she thrust the heel in, and he felt the soft tissue tearing.
“No, no, NO!” Natalya brought her crop down again on Albert’s back, “lick it all up.” He nodded and licked the cum away before rubbing the leather again with her crotch, praying she wouldn’t hit him again.
“AAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Gale cried out in her own orgasm before she withdrew from Karl, watching as he fell onto his side and curled up in a ball. “That feels so much better – does it feel better for you?”
“Oh not yet,” Gale said as she rolled him over, removing the strap no and throwing it to the side, “we have so many other things to do. For example, your toenails need a trim – let me help you.”
He watched, helpess as she fetched a pair of silver pliers, and then pulled his toe nails off, one by one by one...
“Hmmm,” Natalya said as she looked at his boots. “Not bad, you little puissant – but not good enough.”
Albert screamed as she drove the heel of her boot into his scrotum, his eyes bulging as she drove it in so hard the sac ruptured, his testicles hanging out in the blood and pus.
“Oh shit the fuck up,” she growled as she pushed a cloth into his mouth, and then picked up the secateurs. “If it’s causing you so much pain, that can easily be fixed.”
He shook his head, and then cried out again as she castrated him, screaming in joy as she did so. “Oh yes,” she called out, “I think you’re ready now.”
He looked up as Natalya pulled his head back – and then felt nothing more, as the blade sliced through his jugular. Karl and Nikolai looked over, as Gale and Carina screamed in joy – before Natalya looked at them and nodded.
“It has been fun boys,” Cari said with a smile as she pressed down on the button, Nikolai screaming with pain as the current ran through him, before his eyes rolled back into his head and he fell over to the side.
Karl looked at Gale, pleading as she knelt next to him. “My cousins like to end things quickly,” she said with a smile. “Me, I take a more – leisurely approach.” She took from her jacket pocket a thin length of cheesewire, with wooden handles on both sides, and wrapped it round his neck, coming to an orgasm again as she slowly choked the life out of him.
As his head fell to one side, his body fell the other way, the three women looking at each other with deep, contented smiles. “That was a good way to spend an evening,” Gale eventually said.
“Will you join me in a drink before we clean up,” Natalya said as she drew a bottle of red wine and three plastic glasses from her bag, using the corkscrew to open it and pouring the deep red liquid into the receptacles.
“A good vintage,” Cari said as she took a sip, “what year?”
“2005 – a businessman I met in Budapest,” Natalya said with a smile. “It has mellowed with age.”
“Very acceptable,” Gale said with a smile as she looked round. “So what shall we use?”
“We put the bodies together,” Carina said, “and then we try something I heard of when I was researching some other work. A trick used by some agencies – I have everything we need.”
An hour later, three casually dressed women walked out of the apartment block, looking at each other as they walked down the street.
“As good as it has been to spend time with you, cousins,” Natalya said, “it is time for us to return. I look forward to talking with you both again soon.”
The other two nodded as they all closed their eyes, breathing in and then relaxing as they opened their eyes again. “Wow,” Gale said quietly, “I am going to either sleep or fuck Tom’s brains out.”
“Or both,” Cari said with a smile. “Come on – let’s drive back.”
As they walked round the corner, there was a blinding light and an explosion as the leak from the gas main they had cut finally reached the bare electric wires from the broken bulb...
West Central Park
“And we are back,” Jan said as she turned the lights on, Adam and the concierge putting the bags down as Katy and Katherine took their coats off.
“And I for one am so glad to be home,” Katy said with a smile. “Don’t get me wrong, Ireland and Munich were fun, but I have missed my own bed.”
“Well, you can get ready for it,” Katherine said, “while I sort some cocoa out. We can unpack in the morning.”
“I need to get back to my place,” Adam said with a smile, “so I will see you at the office tomorrow. Try and keep out of trouble until then.”
“I’ll try to,” Jan said as they kissed, and Adam left with the concierge. She closed the door and then picked up the mail.
“Bills, bills – a couple for you Mom – and some for you Katy.”
“I’ll look in the morning,” Katy said as she stretched out and up, “I’ll go and get changed first.”
As she went to her room, Jan went to join her mother. “Well, we’re back,” she said quietly, “and hopefully nobody following us.”
“I hope so,” Katherine said, “I really hope so.”
The Richmond Mansion
“All right you two,” Heather said as George and Sands took their coats off, “upstairs and get changed for bed. I’ll make us all some cocoa.”
“Okay,” the two youngsters said as they walked up the stairs, Jo smiling as she ptu the bags down. “I guess we unpack properly tomorrow,” she said with a sigh.
“That’s the plan,” Sandy said as she paid the cabbie, and then closed the door. “Given they have school tomorrow, I’m not going to worry about it tonight.”
“Well, I have to head back tomorrow night, but at least I can crash out here,” Jo said as she stretched and yawned. “Cocoa sounds a great idea right now.”
“Well, a nine hour flight and six hour time difference – and then getting through customs here – can take it out of you.”
“Jan’s got back safely,” Heather called out, “and Caroline’s in a cab with Ama. Looks like life is going to start to get back to normal soon.”
Monday 4th April
“Now I see I’m going to have my work cut out for me,” Letty said as she saw Abby walk over, Doc and Nikki walking with her.
“What – to keep me awake,” Abby said as she yawned, “well, there’s a whole group of us like that.”
“Did you see yesterday’s Post?”
“The lifestyle section? Edith had it laid out for us when we got back last night,” she said as she looked round. “I’ll have a proper look later, but Goddess Jack did an amazing job on the official photos.”
“Their photographers did a great job as well,” Letty said, “and so did the Good Morning America team – I watched with Mom, and you all looked radiant. Especially little Judith.”
“She did kind of steal the show,” Abby said with a smile as Caroline pulled up, Ama getting out and letting Pepsi, Erica and Poppy out. “Oh – and congratulations.”
“You as well, Countess de Ros – you got into Cooper Ross, a first I believe for this school.”
“Is it? Well. Tennant wants to see us today anyway, so I guess we’ll find out then.”
“I’ll come and pick you up at the end of school,” Caroline said as Ama looked in, “try not to fall asleep.”
“Thanks Mom – see you later,” she said as Poppy and Erica walked over to join Jess.
“Seems a bit of an anti-climax, having to come back here today,” Erica said as they looked at the gates.
“After an amazing week, it does a little,” Pepsi said, “but it’s a necessary evil. Still, only a few weeks left. Right now, we have to hope Miss Nightingale has not recovered from the flight yet. Come on then – let’s get this over with.”
The girls slowly made their way in, taking their seats in the assembly hall and talking quietly to each other before the doors opened and Miss Tennant came out, standing at the dais.
“Ladies, welcome back from the holiday break,” she said with a smile, “and I trust that you have all had a restful holiday, even if some of you of you still feel as if you should be away. In this, I suspect you are in agreement with some of the faculty, but we must continue.”
Abby had to stifle a giggle as she saw Grace yawn slightly.
“On an equally celebratory note, I wish to meet with the Seniors this morning in lieu of your first lesson. I will join you in your room for a discussion on upcoming matters. With that, let us sing the school song, and then continue our journey of discovery together.”
As the girls filed out, Letty and Abby walked with the other girls to the Seniors room, and sat in the chair.
“I wonder what she is going to say,” Abby said as she swung her legs.
“Long flight,” she said as the door opened, the girls standing as Miss Tennant and Mrs Brand came in.
“Please be seated,” she said with a smile as the girls sat down. “I wanted to take the opportunity to congratulate all of you on the results of your college applications. The early Easter has meant this is the first chance I and Mrs Brand have had to speak to all of you, but we do offer our heartfelt congratulations to each and every one of you.”
“Thank you, on behalf of all of us,” Annabelle Petrie said.
“Now, the time has come for you to start to make preparations for the end of this year. I ask you to form a committee, with Rachel as chair, to confirm the arrangements for the Senior Prom, and I also invite you to start to consider your nominations for Head Girl for next year. Now, i am sure you have much to discuss.”
“Should any of you wish to discuss your college places, and any additional questions, I will be in my office all day,” Mrs Brand said, “particularly if you are going to a university outside of the US.”
“I will leave you to your discussions – Abigail, may we have a quick word outside?”
“Of course,” Abby said as she left the room.
“We both wanted to add our personal congratulations to you,” Miss Tennant said, “you are the first student from this school to win a place at Cooper Union, and you should feel justifiably proud.”
“Thank you Miss Tennant,” Abby said as she blushed.
“You may return now,” Grace said as Abby went back into the room.
“What did the Tennant want?”
“Not important – what is important is the question of how we are going to raise money for charity. The floor is open for suggestions...”
Susan and Clint’s Apartment
“There you are,” Clint said as Kylie came out of the room, stretching as her silk kimono rose up, “I was beginning to wonder if I should come and wake you.”
“No, I am up now – and thank you for letting me sleep in darling,” she said as she put her glasses on, and poured herself some orange juice, “I did not realise just how tired I was until I lay down. Am I the last up?”
“No – Susan has already gone into the office, and April is out for a walk with Maeve, but Rose still has not woken up.”
“I have now,” Rose said as she came in, “any chance of a cup of tea?”
“I’ll make a pot,” Kylie said as she made her way to the kettle.
“Sami rang by the way – Gio and Maggie made sure she got home safely, and she was going to a meeting this afternoon.”
“Wonderful darlings,” Kylie said with a smile, “when did Marina leave?”
“She’ll be back in a little while – she had to head into CS, but she’s also picking something up on the way back for Wednesday.”
“You’re all right with working out of the office today, Caroline,” Sharon said as she sat at the table, a mug of coffee in her hand.
“Well, what we’re dealing with has nothing to do with the insurance side of things – this is a meeting with Anderson Lowe, to discuss the security issues for his new private gallery.”
“I remember meeting him at Sebring,” Sharon said. “So Susan managed to get him to sign up to the insurance package?”
“On condition I provide security advice – we helped insure the Star of Siam when the first firm went bust for the tour last year, and he was suitably impressed. So today is an initial meeting to review his plans, and provide some initial thoughts and ideas for security.”
“I see,” Sharon said, “and then he decides if he likes or dislikes your ideas, and you start to negotiate round that.”
“That’s the idea,” Caroline said with a smile as the telephone rang. Picking it up, she said “Caroline Jameson?
“Oh hello Miss Prynada, I was going to contact you later today.
“I see – well, that is of course your right, and I’d like to thank you for considering using Jameson Security. Have a good day.” Putting the phone down, Caroline shook her head and said “that is one very stupid woman.”
“I take it she won’t be your client?”
“She feels she does not need security – I just hope she doesn’t find out the hard way,” Caroline said as the door opened and Pamela came in.
“Anderson Lowe is in the lobby, Caroline.”
“Thanks Pamela – could you bring him up, and then fetch some coffee for him?”
Sharon smiled – so the nice lady had turned down the offer? She would have to pay her a visit that night...
Pamela opened the door and admitted Anderson Lowe, who looked at Caroline in her trouser suit and blouse, and Sharon in her light dress.
“Anderson – thank you for coming in today,” Caroline said as she came forward and shook her hand. “I think you met Sharon Kennedy when you visited at Sebring?”
“I did indeed – do you work for Miss Jameson now Sharon,” he asked with a smile.
“Interning before I go to college,” Sharon said with a smile.
“Excellent idea – and thank you,” Anderson said as Pamela brought in some coffee.
“Caroline, Susan would like to see you when you have finished here,” Pamela said quietly.
“No problem – I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Caroline said as Anderson smiled. “So – do you have the plans?”
Bishop Walden School
“So what was it really like,” Shawnee said as they sat in their spot on the wall, eating their lunch.
“Amazing,” Sands said with a faraway look in her eye, “like a real fairy tale...”
“But our feet hurt like crazy,” Katy said, “and I’m still tired.”
“Well,” Liz said, “give it a couple of days and you’ll be right as rain.”
“Yeah,” Cassie giggled, as Laura shook her head.
“What’s up,” Sands said as she put her arm round her friend.
“I just missed both of you,” Laura said quietly. “So can we get together this weekend?”
“Sounds good to me – let’s all go to my place and have a girls’ night,” Sands said, the others nodding in agreement.
The editorial boardroom at the office was silent, boxes for sandwiches and empty juice bottles to one side as the coffee machine bubbled away. Betsey, the APCO manager, was sitting next to her boss as Alice looked over some sketches, while Rose poured herself a cup of tea and looked on.
Betsey stood up and looked over Alice’s shoulder as the blonde teenager sat on the other side of the table.
boss what do you think?" Kylie asked as she fidgeted nervously.
"Interesting...” Alice looked through her glasses and said “very
"Oh no Darling,” Kylie said, “it's not that bad is it?"
"Not at all," Alice smiled as she looked up, 'these are excellent."
"Well it's usually when someone says something is interesting, they mean it’s crap darling."
both had similar ideas." Rose had spread the sketches in front of her on
the table from both Alice and Kylie and was looking at them.
have you know," Alice pursed her lips.
speaking for someone from retail, you know I could sell any of these,"
Betsey spoke as she stood next to Rose.
could?" Kylie said as she pushed her glasses back on her nose.
No problem at all."
"If I can speak from a purely technical point of view,” Rose said as she looked closely, “this bodice you've designed Kylie with seed pearls, diamonds, lace and embroidery would be almost impossible to recreate."
"Oh!" Kylie's jaw dropped.
said ALMOST luv," Rose grinned, "but I think I could do it."
then as our main choice why don't we marry that bodice to this skirt?"
need a tiny waist to make it look great..."
bride's is 20"," Kylie said as she shook her head.
then I see it totally," Betsey smiled.
I'll draw that up as one of the options then?" Alice asked.
everyone nodded in agreement.
will be our main idea then, but we will need others," Alice pulled out her
sketchpad, "so for another..."
The women all crowded round and with that, the start of a long session began...
stay out of the boardroom if I was you Mary." Janine said as she looked
"Oh? And I may I ask why?"
Janine said quietly, “Alice MacKinnon has borrowed it for a design session for
a wedding dress."
Ai, well I'd love to see it..."
threatened to stop all her advertising in the magazine if any of us go in
Merlin," Alexis laughed.
"Really? Little Miss Alice is getting too big for her
boots." Mary looked a trifle upset.
know, I know," Marina joined the conversation, "but she approached
Anna late on at the wedding reception..."
when Anna was tipsy," Janine grinned.
got a promise from her she could have the boardroom this afternoon."
"That is called taking advantage," Merlin grumbled some more.
“But done with real style, no?”
Mary grinned and nodded. “Still, to be a fly on that wall...”
Susan looked up as Caroline came in. “What have you done with Sharon,” she said as she put her pen down.
“I gave her the afternoon off,” Caroline said as she sat down, “but she asked to borrow the Prynada file.”
“She did – why?”
“Research – she wanted to try and figure out why she did not accept our offer.”
Susan sat back and said “so, you think she’s bitten?”
“Oh yes – I can see that look in her eyes,” Caroline said with a smile. “Is Miss Prynada ready?”
“She is indeed – so you’re in for a fun night or two.”
“Hopefully, she will go tonight – so, the party?”
“Clint’s mother and father arrive tomorrow – and then we have the party on Wednesday. So yeah, one less thing to worry about would be nice...”
Susan and Clint’s Apartment
“Finally,” Clint called out as he heard the front door open and close.
Kylie and Mum not come home with you?" Susan came towards the door
Marina sighed and relaxed as she took off her jacket. "Alice is taking
them all out to dinner so they can work further on the Princess de Borbon's
they could have phoned before I cooked for all of us," Clint yelled from
you didn't did you?" Marina asked apologetically, "I've agreed to go
out with Janine and Alexis. I only came home to change."
are you lot all in trouble," Susan giggled. “Clint keeps his cool for most things, but
were going to eat, then go hit a couple of clubs...SORRY Clint."
damn well should be," Clint stood in the kitchen doorway, "what do I
do with all this food?"
it for your parents arrival love." Susan suggested.
the sauce will be ruined..."
Clint looked at Susan, and then shook his head. “All right, I can do that. We’ll have something else...”
67th and Columbus
The soft wind blew through the open window as a shadow passed over it, and then entered the third floor apartment, noiselessly stepping on the floor as it straightened up. The shadow resolved into a woman, standing over six foot tall, the moonlight shining off the latex and leather she was wearing. She stood still, allowing her eyes to adjust to the change in the light as she looked round. A black silk scarf was tied over her nose and mouth, her blue eyes glistening as she looked at the furniture.
It did not disappoint her – tasteful, but showed good money in the construction. Smiling, she walked over to the bookcase and looked carefully through the contents, smiling as she revealed a small safe and took out what resembled a small crowbar.
She managed to force open the safe, and took out several bundles of bank rolls, placing them in her knapsack before looking for other items. The safe yielded nothing, however, so she left the room and walked along the corridor.
The door to the bedroom was slightly ajar, and as she pushed it open she saw the Prynada bitch under the covers, the sheets gently rising and falling. Walking in, she reached into the knapsack and took out a handgun, the light from the window now reflecting on her knee length patent leather boots and latex bodysuit. She held the gun in her gloved hand, thinking of the fun she was going to have with the rich bitch, the smile under her scarf growing as her black hair fell over her shoulders.
She took several deep breaths, before she reached down and yanked back the sheets, saying as she did so “don’t move until I tell you to, you rich little cocksucker.” She expected the woman to look over with eyes full of fear.
What she didn’t expect was the brown haired woman, dressed in a black jumper, jeans and short boots, who turned and smiled as she said “Ah – I have been looking forward to meeting you, young lady.”
The masked woman stared at her as she turned the light on, her eyes widening as she recognised her. “What the hell...” she stammered, before she heard a second voice saying “hello Sharon – why don’t you remove the scarf, and then we can all have a nice little chat.”
She spun round to see Caroline standing there – also wearing a black rollneck sweater, leggings and knee length leather boots, and holding a Luger in her hand. She then turned and looked at the woman she had believed to be Miss Prynada, who sat up and looked at her.
“Seriously Sharon – we know it’s you, so pull the scarf down. I can promise you, we’re not going to call the police.”
“Why should I believe you,” the masked woman growled as she looked between the two women.
“Because we invited you here. For the record, Prynada is Belarusian for bait – and Penny was the bait for you.”
She looked between the two women, and then reached up, pulling the scarf down as she said “so what happens now? And how did you get onto me?”
“Well,” Caroline said, “most recently, you tried to rob a client and friend of ours. Remember the sixteen year old with the gun?”
Sharon slowly smiled as she said “yeah – she has your security model, right?”
“Amongst other things,” Penny said, “but if you want the honest truth, Sharon, we’ve had our eye on you for some time – certainly since last year. You are definitely skilled, but our concern is you are losing control – and some of the things you have done are getting dangerous.”
“Oh? And how would you know what drives me?”
“Because we were there,” Penny said quietly. “I am Miss Wildcat, and this is Miss Civet.”
Sharon stared at both of them, especially when Caroline reached up and removed her blonde hair, her own black hair falling to her shoulders. She then started laughing, shaking her head as she said “fuck – you’re two of them? Pussycats?”
“We are,” Caroline said, “and we were also watching you last May – we identified you as a possible suspect for a set of sex murders in the Bronx. As it turned out you weren’t, but certain – associates of ours remembered how you vented your anger on your stepmother.”
“Sit down,” Penny said as she stood up, “as my friend said, you’re not going to be reported to the police. We want to help you, if you will let us.”
“Who are you – who are you really,” Sharon said.
“Oh we really are Penny and Caroline - although Caroline is better known by another name in the organization we work in.”
“Penny’s right,” Caroline said. “I offered you an internship, not only so that you could experience business, but so that we could hopefully show you a way to ease the pain and drive in you, and use it in a constructive manner.”
“Big words – and why should I agree?”
“Because you know we’re right – I have my own demons, Sharon, and I learnt to deal with them. We want to help you too.”
Sharon looked at them both, then put the gun to the side and sat down. “I remember how you showed your feelings for your stepmother,” Caroline said, “and I understand why you still carry that anger round. But the things you are doing to express that anger are getting much more violent – and one day you may take that extra step.”
“They all deserved it, thinking they are so secure, that they can twist men round their fingers...”
“Still,” Caroline said as she opened Sharon’s knapsack, and took out the flagella, “she was lucky to be alive. I can understand that anger – and so does Susan – but unless we find a way to help you channel that, then one day you will kill someone.”
“Would that be so bad – one less golddigging bitch...”
“I can understand that sentiment,” Penny said quietly, “believe me, we both can.”
Looking at them both, Sharon smiled and said “just out of interest, what did you think while I was beating her?”
“Not important,” Caroline said, “what is important right now is this question.
“Will you join us?”
“If I say no?”
“Well, we let you go – but when you go over that line, and we honestly think you will, we won’t be there to help or protect you,” Penny said. “And trust us – we are uniquely positioned to help you.”
“Dad says you’re both directors of Xavier International – you head up the UK office, and you Caroline work alongside them...” Sharon suddenly looked at both of them and said “just what organization were you talking about?”
“Answer our question first,” Penny said quietly, as Sharon saw a fire in her eyes – one she recognised.
“Do I really have a choice? You’re not going to try and tame me, are you?”
“We said we would help you focus your anger, not tame it – that’s my job, and that of others,” Penny said.
“As for me,” Caroline said, “I’ll show you how to learn more skills and planning.”
“If you wear a blonde wig – who are you really?”
“Have you got your clothes in there?” As Sharon nodded, Penny said “get changed – there’s an excellent all night diner nearby, we can talk there.”
Tuesday 5th April
10.30 am BST
Maisha stood, with the glass in her hand, looking at the paintings hanging on the wall of the gallery. She was wearing a pale green coat dress, with white gloves and shoes, and looked more nervous than she had ever been.
“Relax,” Shirley said as she put her arm round her ward, “remember, they are just people as well.”
“How very true,” Amelia Ashley said as she joined them, “a fact I have had to remember recently. Shirley – a pleasure to see you again.”
“And you Lady Amelia – you are supporting Margaret today?”
“I have that honour – and believe me it is an honour. Margaret goes just before John, correct?”
“So I understand – they should be getting their briefing about now,” Shirley said as a uniformed officer appeared at the door.
“Honoured guests, will you please make your way to the Royal Ballroom...”
“Are you as terrified as I am,” Margaret said as she stood with John, looking round.
“I think you are,” John said with a smile. He was wearing his morning suit, while Margaret wore a dark blue jacket and skirt, with black heels. Around them were other recipients of knighthoods and CBEs.
“Is this everyone for today?”
“Ladies and Gentlemen.”
The room turned to see a uniformed officer at the door.
“My name is Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Matheson, and it is my honour to be the Secretary of the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, and the Sergeant at Arms for today’s ceremony. In a moment, I will ask you to come out in the order I call your names, and we will go to the entrance to the Royal Ballroom for the Investiture Ceremony.
“When we approach, you will be called out to receive your honour from Her Majesty. When your name is called by the Lord Chamberlain, you will walk forward, turn and either bow or curtsey. For those receiving the Honour of Knighthood, you will see a small stool in front of you, and we ask you to kneel. Others will take two steps forward and stand to receive their award.
“Her Majesty will say a few words, and then you step back, again bow or curtsey, and turn to your right, where you will be directed to your seat at the rear of the room. Once all awards have been made, you will be escorted to an ante room to meet your guests.
“Above all, try to relax and enjoy the door. May we start with Professor Sir Richard Boys?”
“Time to go to class,” Margaret whispered as she was called forward, and then John. As others lined up behind them, Colonel Matheson came over and said “may I offer my congratulations, Major Hammond?”
“Thank you sir,” John whispered back as they shook hands. As the officer nodded, he said “follow me please,” and led the line to the Ballroom.
11 am BST
“Please be upstanding for her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second.”
Shirley, Amelia and Maisha stood with the others as the doors at the side opened, and Queen Elizabeth came in, escorted by two Gurkhas and by officers from the Yeomen of the guard. As she walked up the steps to the stage area, she turned and waited as the Orchestra of the Band of the Royal Artillery played the National Anthem.
As the band stopped playing, the audience sat down as Maisha whispered “why is there a stool there, Aunt Shirley?”
“You will see,” Shirley said as she saw John standing in line.
As the first person was called forward, he knelt on the stool, Maisha watching as the Queen took a sword and tapped it on both his shoulders, saying “Arise, Sir Richard.” Handing the sword to an officer, the man stood and they spoke briefly as she pinned an insignia to his chest, and then he moved off.
“For services to Charity, the Honourable Margaret Harker, MP, receives the honour of Knighthood.”
Margaret walked forward, turned and curtseyed before she knelt on the stool, he head bowed as the Queen took the sword again.
“Arise, Dame Margaret,” she said as she tapped the sword on both shoulders, then turned as Maggie stood and pinned the insignia to her chest.
“My congratulations,” she said quietly, “and I look forward to seeing you continue your work in my Parliament.
“It is an honour to serve you, Your Majesty,” Margaret said as they shook hands, and she stepped back. Shirley saw the smile of pride on Amelia’s face as Margaret walked round.
“For services to Photography, Major John Hammond, MC, MBE, is awarded the honour of Knighthood,” Earl Peel said as John walked forward, turned and bowed his head, before kneeling on the stool. He felt the gentle tap on his shoulders as the Queen said “Arise, Sir John,” and returned the sword. Taking the emblem of office, she smiled as she pinned it to his chest, and said “Phillip asked me to pass on his congratulations for this.”
“Please, pass on my thanks, Your Majesty,” John said before he stepped back, bowed and then turned, Shirley smiling broadly as he went to his seat.
“I see – so it is the way they pass this honour on?”
“Indeed – see,” Amelia said, “they remove the stool now, as the other awards are made.”
Maisha nodded as the investiture continued for another forty minutes, before they stood again and the Queen left the room with her guard. “Follow me,” Amelia said as Shirley and Maisha went with her to the gallery outside, where Maggie and John were waiting.
“Congratulations,” Shirley said as she kissed Maggie on the cheek, and then John on the lips.
“Where are the medals Her Majesty put on you,” Maisha asked.
“Right here,” John said as he showed her a box, with the insignia lying in it. “They took it off us as soon as we came out and boxed it.”
“So it’s now the Honourable Dame Margaret Harker,” Amelia said.
“Amy lass, drop it – all right?”
“Okay then,” Amelia said with a grin. “Let’s go into the courtyard and have some photos taken.”
“Will you join us for lunch,” John said, “we have a table booked.”
“Delighted – and then back to work.”
As Ama came out of her bedroom, she was surprised to see Sharon Kennedy sitting there, talking on her cell phone.
“I should have called Dad, I’m sorry – by the time I realised what time it was, I knew you’d be in bed, and I didn’t want to wake you up. I came straight to Caroline’s, and she’s letting me borrow a change of clothes.
“Thanks Dad – I’ll cook tonight, all right,” she said with a smile before she ended the call, and saw Ama looking at her.
“Good morning,” she said with a smile, “would you like some coffee?”
“Thanks – I think,” Sharon said as Ama went to the kitchen. “You don’t seem surprised to see me here.”
“I know Mom works strange hours – I presume you met up with her and she invited you back,” Ama said as the aroma of fresh coffee came through. Sharon looked to the door as Caroline came out, fastening her blouse.
“That’s better – is that fresh coffee Ama?”
“It is Mom – I’ll pour you some,” Ama called back as Sharon looked at Caroline.
“Yes – and I’ll explain why later,” Caroline said as the phone rang, and she picked it up.
“Oh hi Annie – when can we expect you back tonight?
“Gotcha – we’ll have some food ready. Got a lot to catch you up on. We’ll see you tonight.”
“Was that Annie,” Ama said as she came in with three mugs, and some toasted muffins.
“It was – she should be back by seven tonight.”
“Good – and she is well?”
“She is indeed,” Caroline said as Sharon took a mug of coffee, and yawned. “You need to get your head down for an hour?”
“No – I’m good,” Sharon said quietly. Ama looked at both of them, before she finished her muffin and said “Will you be at home today Mom?”
“No – I need to go to the office, there’s something I need to show Sharon there. I already called Letty, and she’s going to pick you and Pepsi up today.”
“Then I must go and get ready,” Ama said as she stood up, and walked towards the shower as Sharon drank from her mug. She looked at Caroline, who said “Okay – Ama knows who I am, she knows what I do, she knows who I work for – and she says nothing. I will tell her about you later – although if I am being honest, she will already be questioning your story.”
“But surely she is not...”
Caroline shook her head. “No – no she isn’t, but she and I are incredibly close.”
“I remember hearing you met her after Jane Molloy introduced you both – is that what really happened?”
“In part – but I’m not going to tell you that story yet. Today I’m taking you in to talk to Penny, and we’ll explain what exactly we want to offer you – and what we want you to do for us.”
“I still can’t quite believe what you told me – and she really thinks I can be of use to her?”
“She wouldn’t have sanctioned what we did if she didn’t. She’s in London this week, but when she comes back she will want to talk to you.”
Nodding, Sharon said “does everyone feel this poleaxed?”
“You’re not the first, and probably not the last,” Caroline said with a smile. “Anyway, drink up – we need to be on our way soon.”
Susan and Clint’s Apartment
“Well there you are,” Susan said as she wiped her daughter’s chin. “Have fun?”
for being back in so late last night darling." Kylie smiled as she poured
herself some coffee. “We literally lost
track of time.”
was just explainin' to Susan that we were practically thrown out of the
restaurant." Rose said as she sipped her tea.
as long as you are all ready for the meeting with the princess this
morning," Susan smiled as she looked up at the clock, "you both don't
have that long to get ready you know."
"I know, I know." Kylie grabbed some toast out of the toaster and spread some butter on it. "I can get dressed quickly though."
"Well,” Susan said as April burped, “Marina long since left for CS."
"We will grab a cab...quicker then the subway." Kylie sat on a stool to eat.
“I agree,” Rose said, “so when do Craig and Alice arrive?”
“At about four – Clint will take them to the hotel, and then here for dinner. You’d better go and get ready Mum – you’re not as fast as Kylie.”
“She’s here,” Janine said as she looked into the conference room, “shall I show her in?”
“Please – and then get some coffee,” Alice said as she sat with Kylie and Rose. Janine nodded, returning a few minutes later with Maria de Borbon.
“Welcome your majesty,” Alice said as she stood and bowed, “may I present my design team, Kylie Mitchell and Rose Harper.”
“Your Majesty,” they both said as they curtseyed.
“Thank you all for meeting with me today,” Maria-Therese said as she sat down, and Janine brought some coffee in. “I was very impressed with the design you did for Princess Juliette.”
“It was our pleasure,” Alice said. “Let me pour you some coffee, and then we can discuss some of the initial ideas we have had.”
11 am Local Time
Klaus watched from his recliner as Juliette came out of the water, her hair falling over her shoulders as she walked towards him in her swimsuit. “The water is amazing,” she said as she lay down, “want to come in for a swim?”
“Of course – in a moment,” Klaus said with a smile. “I wish to enjoy the warmth and the peace a little while longer.”
“Well, the warmth certainly,” Juliette said as she sat across him and kissed him, “but not the peace. Not for the moment anyway...”
“Hmmm – such a distraction can be hard to resist,” Klaus said with a smile.
“That’s the whole point,” Juliette said with a smile as she kissed him again.
“You know,” Klaus said with a smile, “I could stay here for all time with you.”
“I know – it would be so easy to stay here and leave everything behind,” Juliette said with a smile.
“Forgive me, your highnesses,” a maid said as she came over, “a package has arrived for you. It has been left in the main room for you both.”
“A package? Did you order those films Klaus?”
“Not I – although I was sore tempted. Come – let us look.”
The couple got out of the recliner and walked hand in hand into the hacienda, where a package wrapped in blue was waiting. As Klaus poured two drinks, Juliette unwrapped the package, and took from a box a photo album.
“It’s from Jack – the wedding photos to review.”
Klaus walked back over, handing Juliette a glass as they started to flip through. “He has done an amazing job,” Juliette whispered, “an amazing job...”
3 pm BST
Xavier International, The Aldwych
Charlotte was reviewing some reports on activity for her groups when the telephone rang.
“Charlotte Gordon,” she said as she picked up the receiver.
“He is? Well, allow him through and tell him to come straight up. He has full clearance.”
She put the receiver down, and then picked it up again. “Karen, Colonel John Vosloo is on his way up. Show him in and then bring us some coffee, will you?”
Replacing the receiver, she turned and checked something on her computer, before there was a knock on the door and the tall, lean John Vosloo walked in, wearing a grey suit and an open necked shirt.
John, what brings you to London?" Charlotte stood up, walked round the
desk and hugged her visitor.
combination of business and pleasure I'm afraid..." he said in his soft
Charlotte said as she indicated some seats round a low table, “you are afraid
of letting Aunt Marianne loose in Knightsbridge eh?"
"A bit," the colonel smiled. “But that was a moot point after we got here.”
There was a knock on the door, and Karen brought in a tray with a coffee pot and two cups.
"And the work is the pleasure bit?" Susan said as Karen went out.
"No not really," the colonel sat down and fidgeted - something Charlotte had not seen before.
work,” he finally said, “may or may not be because old friends and relatives
are in potential trouble."
whom?" Charlotte said as she became all business.
"Well,” John said as he picked up his coffee, “let's just say it's your Uncle..."
"Dammit,” Charlotte said as she shook her head, “I thought he was holding something inside at the bloody wedding."
talking about Uncle Fergus, right?” As
John nodded, Charlotte took a sip from her cup.
“He was at the wedding in Munich, accompanying Grace Gresham. He seemed his usual self, but there was
something going on...”
how did you guess young lady?"
call it female intuition...” Putting her
cup down, she said “so - what kind of trouble is he in?"
that's what your aunt calls it,” John said, “and Fergus is attracting some
attention from people even we in South Africa don't like."
finding homes and work for people the government doesn't overlike in
that’s why he was in Munich,” Charlotte whispered, before saying out loud "that's
sailing close to the wind Uncle John."
also suddenly come into a lot of cash that no one can explain..."
grinned. "He was already quite
wealthy – the mine after all."
this is money he's giving to political causes,” John said, “and where it's
coming from even I'm not sure."
Charlotte paused, "so from where in their government are you hearing the
looked directly at her, before he said "The very top."
"Him? Is he not senile yet?"
"Not where he sniffs easy money from."
sat back and closed her eyes for a minute.
"Okay,” she said finally, “well the question becomes why come to
you know people who can act in unofficial capacities in a way me and my people
can't." John Vosloo stopped a second, "plus I think THEY have someone
passing on intel from us."
Charlotte whispered the word.
"So I'm asking...No I'm pleading for help from the sisters Charlotte. Find out what’s really going on, and do whatever you can to protect him – because I’m not sure I can do it for much longer."
Charlotte stood up and said “how long are you in town for?”
“We fly back Saturday – we’re at the Savoy.”
“Okay – let me talk to some people, make some calls. I’ll come and have tea with you in a day or two.”
“Thank you Charlotte,” John said as he straightened his jacket. “Well, I’d better go and find out how much she has spent.”
“I know you’re worried, Uncle John – I am too. So let me get into this.” She hugged him again, and walked him to the door. “Would you show John out please,” she said to Karen, and watched as they walked to the lifts.
her door, she looked out of the window to the street below, deep in
thought. After thinking for a few minutes
Charlotte reached for her phone and dialled a series of numbers, sitting down
as she waited.
“This is Little Mother – I need to speak urgently with Teacher.”
“One moment,” the woman said, before after a few moments a more familiar voice said “This is Teacher.”
it's Charlotte,” she said as she looked round, “how are things down
were going very quietly till you rang," the voice on the other had a
hint of a Swedish accent.
when you phone out of the blue Charlotte,” Helga said with a laugh, “there is
thankfully at this moment it is still just percolating I hope."
ounce of prevention..."
"Exactly Teacher,” Sharon said quietly. “Look, is Liz Egwegwe there?"
"No she's in Windhoek."
guess so,” Helga said, “it's a fairly low priority job...Why?"
her there will be a ticket for London waiting for her at Hosea Kutako airport,
I need her here asap."
to tell me why Charlotte?"
for now..." There was a knock on Charlotte's door. "Just pass on my
best wishes to everyone, and see who you can find and bring in who speak fluent
Ndebele and Shona please."
it's THERE is it...Alright will do Charlotte."
"Bye." Charlotte hung up. "Come In."
“Sorry to interrupt,” Karen said as she came in, “but you wanted me to remind you of your meeting with Shirley at five.”
“Is she here or at home?”
Nodding, Charlotte said “very well – thank you Karen.”
Penny looked over and smiled as she saw Pamela standing in the doorway. “Is she outside,” she said as she sat down at the table.
“Yes – shall i show her in?”
“Please – and then make sure we are not disturbed,” Penny said, watching as Sharon came in and then Pamela closed the door. “Sit down,” Penny said as she indicated a chair by her side, “and don’t look so worried. I don’t bite – not at the moment anyway.”
“Do you sometimes,” Sharon said with a weak smile.
“That rather depends on the situation,” Penny said quietly. “So, you’ve had some time to consider last night, and you will have questions. I’m not saying I can answer them all, or indeed ever will, but you should feel free to ask them.”
Sharon looked at her for a second, before she said “I need to know – you said you were there last year in Philadelphia, but you took orders from Miss Panther?”
“Well, she does lead them,” Penny said quietly, “so let me head off another of your questions for now – no, apart from myself and Caroline, I am not going to tell you who else was there or who else is in the Pussycat Gang. If and when the need is there for you to learn that, you will be told.”
“Compartmentalization – that much I have picked up already from Caroline,” Sharon said as she rubbed her head. “Okay then – just what sort of business is Xavier International? And no – none of this is going back to my dad.”
“Well,” Penny said as she sat back, “you are obviously aware of our main areas of interest – insurance, shipping, logisitics, security, and some activities in modelling and video production?”
“Yeah – I got all that from Dad, but there has got to be more behind it.”
“Oh there is – a lot more,” Penny said with a smile. “It will take some considerable time to get you up to speed – but for the moment, let us say we are like an iceberg.”
“There is a lot more going on then there appears to be from the surface?”
Penny slowly nodded as she said “my turn – we need to talk about the source of your anger. But before we do that, tell me about your mother – your birth mother.”
“Mom?” Sharon looked at Penny for a second, before she said “that’s tricky – how did you feel about your mother?”
“I never knew her – not really,” Penny said, “but given your very well articulated antipathy to your stepmother, I wondered how much of that came from the way she was treating your father, and how much from your memories of your mother?”
Sharon shook her head for a moment, before she said “I don’t think I can really answer that – I mean, was I angry at her? Yeah I was. Did I want to punish her? Oh god I most certainly did, and I jumped at the chance to do so.”
“And did you get great personal satisfaction from it – even sexual pleasure?”
“Yeah,” Sharon said bluntly, “and I still do. I want to punish those who are bitches, and if I get enjoyment from so much the better. You can look shocked if you...”
“I’m not shocked.”
Sharon looked at Penny as she stood up and looked out of the window. “As you work with us, you’re going to find out something Sharon – all of us have got our past traumas, the things that have driven us to where we are now, to a greater or a lesser extent. In my case, it was an abusive father, and a childhood on the streets. In your case, a hatred and mistrust that I think ignited something else in you – something that we’re not going to talk about now, but we will discuss at the appropriate moment.”
“And in Caroline’s case?”
Sitting down, Penny said “when she’s ready, she’ll tell you her story – it’s tied in a lot with Ama’s actually. Right now, you need to tell me what you want to do next?”
“Now?” Sharon sat back and said “I know how close I’ve come to killing someone – and I know I’m capable of doing it. How do I stop myself crossing that line unless I have to?”
“Now that is a very good question,” Penny said as she smiled. “And one we can begin work on immediately. First however, someone wants a word with you.”
Picking up the telephone, Penny said “Pamela, is she on line?
“Thank you,” she said as she put the phone on speaker and looked at Sharon. “Good afternoon Shirley – how did it go today?”
“It was a truly memorable morning,” the deep mellow voice said over the line, “and I understand you have had an interesting day as well. Is she there?”
“She is indeed,” Penny said as she raised an eyebrow.
“Good... Good afternoon Miss Xavier,” Sharon said, “I trust you are well?”
“I am indeed, Sharon – and I would like to say first thank you for accepting our invitation. I have been aware for some time of you, and of your activities – it is my hope that by working with you, we can show you a better way to express yourself.”
“Well, it was hardly an invitation I could refuse – but can I have your assurance my father will never find out.”
“You have it,” Shirley said, “for reasons you will discover in due course, we only reveal to people what we need to. I look forward to talking with you after I come back to New York at the weekend – for now, listen to both Penelope and Caroline, as they talk to you.
“Penelope, the item I asked you to take care of?”
“Will be delivered tomorrow,” Penny said. “I return to London on Sunday, but I look forward to seeing you on Saturday.”
“And I you, Penny – until then.”
Ending the call, Penny looked at Sharon. “Come on,” she said as she stood up, “Caroline’s buying lunch.”
“And after that?”
“We need to create a file on you – so eat first.”
5 pm BST
“Hello Charlotte,” Maisha said as she opened the door, “Aunt Shirley is in the den.”
“Thanks,” Charlotte said as she walked through with Maisha, “did you enjoy today?”
“It was an interesting experience,” Maisha said as she opened the door, Shirley smiling as Charlotte came in. “Thank you Maisha – will you tell John I will be through in a few minutes.”
“Of course Aunt Shirley,” Maisha said as she closed the door, Charlotte waiting as Shirley secured the room.
“So, John Vosloo is in town?”
“He is,” Charlotte said as she accepted a drink, “he came to see me earlier, and I need to talk to you about it. You met Fergus MacLean over the weekend, right?”
“Farmer in Zimbabwe, knows Grace and Pippa more than passable well?”
“That’s him,” Charlotte said, “so, John came to tell me a story...”
Shirley listened, frowning before she said “I see – it is never a good idea to get in the bad books of that particular leader, that much is true. Which does raise a question – how has he managed to continue farming there?”
John has always run political interference for Uncle Fergus,” Charlotte said, “making
sure through channels that they knew the SA government would not tolerate
things like the appropriation of Bavaria Ranch by the government up
Shirley paused, "why doesn't John Vosloo simply..."
Uncle Fergus may have gone too far this time, and also Uncle John thinks he
might have a mole in his team."
he's asking for the sisters’ help?"
actually pleaded, and you know how hard that is to a man like him."
do." Shirley nodded, "so do you want time off to investigate all
"If I can be spared?"
“What steps have you taken so far?”
“I’ve asked Liz to come over – she should arrive tomorrow. Give me to the end of the week to formulate an initial plan and discuss with you?”
“Agreed – now, you must excuse us. We have tickets for Sunny Afternoon, and then dinner afterwards.”
“Thank you Shirley,” Charlotte said, “and enjoy your evening.”
Bishop Walden School
He watched as the six girls sat on the wall, kicking their legs up and down as they ate and talked. She looked so pure, so virginal in her uniform, so much the person she knew she really was. Not the painted strumpet, but the perfect partner for her.
Not that he didn’t want her to wear make-up, or look nice, but it had to be for him, and because she wanted to please him. Not because she wanted to tease, but to please. As for the other girls – he knew the sister of the preening gayboy was her best friend, but the other four meant nothing to him.
The one thing that mattered to him was they were a barrier to their happiness together. And as such, they had to be removed, or she had to be removed from them. The former was intriguing, the latter? Easier in the short term. He had everything ready now, all things prepared. All it required was the right moment.
He saw her, laughing and smiling, and felt glad in his own heart. Soon. Soon...
“They’ve been in there a while,” Marina said as she sat with Janine and Alexis. “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
“To quote Grace, it’s an interesting thing,” Janine said as the doors to the meeting room opened, and Alice stepped out.
“I thank you for the honour,” she said as she curtseyed again, “and for the initial approval. We will meet again in Boston in two weeks to confirm the measurements.”
“I look forward to the results,” Maria said as she set off, Kylie and Rose appearing in the doorway.
“Well, I think we have work to do,” Alice said with a smile. “Kylie, finalise the embroidery design, then let Rose have the details. I’ll talk to Catherine about getting the silk shipped to the Boston office.”
“So you got the commission?”
“So it would appear darlings,” Kylie said with a smile. “Rose darling, we need to return to the apartment before Clint’s parents arrive – and have the meal we should have eaten last night.”
“Well, before you go back,” Alice said, “you and I need to go and see Mary – we’re going to need her help with something.”
“We are darling?”
“Research – come on, the Wizard is probably tearing her hair out, wondering what we are doing anyway.”
Clint and Susan’s Apartment
“Hey – we’re here.”
“Craig, Alice – come in,” Rose said as Clint followed his parents in, “we’ll get some coffee or tea brewing in a minute.”
“Hello little one,” Alice Walker said as she tickled April’s chin, the little girl giggling as she did so, “you’ve grown a lot since Christmas.”
“Yes,” she said as Alice laughed, and Clint took their coats.
“So is she looking forward to tomorrow,” Craig asked as he accepted a mug of coffee.
“Well, she knows something is happening, but not what – I think she’s just glad to see her grandmothers, isn’t she?”
As April giggled, she held her arms up for Alice to pick her up, then cuddled in as she smiled.
“So how are you? I know you’ve been busy with this takeover attempt,” Craig said as he sat down.
“Oh I’m coping with that now – and the wedding last weekend was an amazing break,” Susan said with a smile. “Still, tomorrow is all about you little lady.”
“Oh – hello Alice darling,” Kylie said as she came in with Marina.
“Kylie – I did not think you would be here.”
“I was asked to do something with Marina – we fly back at the end of the week,” she said as Marina hung their coats up.
“Right – nobody goes anywhere, I’m resurrecting the meal from last night.”
“Actually...” Susan ducked as Clint came towards her, and then they kissed...
“So Sharon will be helping you in other ways Mom,” Ama said as she stirred the casserole.
“She will be, but we are inducting her slowly, and I will ask you to tell her our story at some point,” Dom said as she checked the potatoes, “so a little...”
“That smells nice.”
“Welcome back,” Ama said as she came down and helped Annie up with her case, “how was your flight?”
“Long, but i am glad to be back,” Annie said as she took her coat off. “Cari and Judith are at the apartment – they’ll head back after the party for April tomorrow.”
“I’ll call her in the morning – I need to let her know of something,” Dom said as she came out. “Sit down – I’ll get you a drink.”
“So,” Annie said, “what have i missed?”
“The fact we confirmed Sharon Kennedy is the thief who tried to rob Doc?”
Annie stopped, her glass halfway to her lips, and said “so Cari was right?”
“Oh yes – I’ll call her later about it. Apart from that, all is as it should be – party tomorrow, and then hopefully a nice quiet time...”
“Good – a few days down time is what I need right now, especially since the little one has been kicking again. That smells good – what is it?”
“Chicken,” Ama said, “we will eat in a few minutes.”
Wednesday 6th April
10 am BST
Xavier International, The Aldwych
As Charlotte came out of the lifts, she saw Liz Egwegwe sitting in the reception area, wearing a knee length cotton skirt and short sleeved blouse.
“Liz – thanks for dropping by this morning,” she said as she came through and embraced her friend. “I told Piet you were visiting, and he insists you join us for dinner tonight.”
“I’d be delighted to,” the former intelligence officer said as Heather escorted her to the lifts, and they travelled to the executive floor. “Although I have to say, the invitation came as a bit of a surprise.”
“Well, a project came up that requires your input,” Charlotte said as they entered her office, Liz looking round as Charlotte closed the door, and poured some coffee.
“Very nice – certainly different from the view from my office in Pretoria, or where I have been for the last week,” she finally said as Charlotte indicated the seat.
“I can imagine, and I am grateful you could come so quickly.”
serve the Heart and the Strength – so, what am I here for Charlotte?" Liz
asked in her slow South African accented English.
for starters,” Charlotte said as she sipped her coffee, “a bit of rodent
John thinks there might be a rat in your old office in Pretoria."
"Ah – gotcha," Liz said as she picked up her cup. “What makes him say that?”
“He’s in London – he came to see me yesterday to ask for help with the second matter.”
“And that is?”
"To see if we can help and protect a family friend who is giving shelter and support to dissidents in Zim." Charlotte put her cup down and looked at Liz, who was nodding.
MacLean," she quietly said.
looked at her in total surprise. "Now
how the hell did you know that Liz?" she asked.
name is being whispered into the wind a bit too much,” Liz said, “and I listen
to the winds. I asked Leader if she had
heard something, and similar whispers have reached her ears."
Charlotte said quietly, “it seems he's not being too discreet. The people you do not want to upset are
becoming aware, and the protection Uncle John has been able to offer is wearing
put a sister on Bavaria Ranch just a month ago to keep me informed." Liz
smiled, "just in case. Looks like
that was a prudent move."
"No,” Liz said, “but you knew her sister.”
- she's Red's younger sister."
Charlotte choked back an involuntary tear.
pretty darn good Charlotte, but she’s only been observing until now. Do I need to activate her?"
Charlotte looked at the London wetness outside, "but I hate the thought
"She wants to serve, just as her sister did."
“I understand that,” Charlotte said quietly. “I’ve asked Teacher to find some more sisters to assist, but I think we’re going to have to go out and look into things ourselves.”
“Into Zim? They know who I am Charlotte – and I’m fairly damn sure they’ll know who you are as well.”
“I know – so we need to use the diplomatic route. Right now, let’s share what you know, and what we need to find out...”
Susan and Clint’s Apartment
Kylie looked up from her book as Marina came in, poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down.
“Maths – the first exam,” Kylie groaned as she ate a bite from another slice of toast. “The sooner this is out of the way, the happier I will be darling.”
“Hard at work,” Susan said as she carried April in. The young girl was wearing a new blue dress with leggings, and smiled as she was strapped into her chair.
“Well now,” Kylie said as she put her book down, “do you know what is special about today little angel?”
“Yes,” April said with a smile, then she looked at Susan and said “mamma.”
“That’s right,” Susan said with a smile, as she gave April some toast to eat. “And all your friends are coming round to have a little party, aren’t they?”
“I’ll be ready in a few minutes, Mom,” Ama said as she went to her room, and Caroline finished her coffee. As she put her mug down, the telephone rang.
“Bit early,” she thought for a moment, before she picked up her handset and said “Jameson Security.”
Caroline," the voice on the phone was familiar after the last week “I
trust I found you well?”
Strecher...and how are you? Are things quietening down in Munich?"
are,” the German voice said, “I saw the princesses off at the airport
personally for their return to the United States yesterday, and now things
return to normal."
was good of you – I can assure you they arrived safely, and I will see Carina
later. Now - to what do I owe this phone-call?"
Breitz, the filmmaker,” Frau Strecher said, “his activities are beginning to
and his crew have been asking lots of questions on the various estates."
Caroline said, “I guessed he might want commentary from the servants and
tenants on the family..."
he is asking a lot of questions in particular about the activities of the
Princess Natalya," Frau Strecher interrupted.
why? I thought the documentary was on the whole family history?"
"So did I Fraulein. I am beginning to wonder, however, if he has a different motive. I know it is outside your normal remit, Fraulein Caroline, but would you talk to Princess Carina, see if she may have any ideas?"
“Leave it with me, Frau Strecher – I will call tomorrow. The Baroness?”
“Has returned home.”
“Do not contact her yet – we will talk tomorrow. Forgive me, but I have a school run to do,” Caroline said as Pepsi came up.
“Of course – and thank you,” Frau Strecher said as she ended the call. Caroline put the phone down as Ama came out.
“Who was it Mom?”
“Frau Strecher... I will be at April’s party when school finishes, Ama.”
“That is all right Mom – I will be working on an assignment with the girls at Pepsi’s apartment,” Ama said as she picked up her bag.
“Right then – let’s go.”