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Read the blog at…, then tell me which story you want first... 

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all for your messages of support and condolences over the last few days.  They are all very much appreciated, and were a comfort to me and my family.
  • Mood: Love
  • Listening to: Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl 25th Anniversary issue
  • Watching: West Wing


“Drinking beer, eating hotdogs, watching a softball game. It’s pretty All-American stuff.” Susan smiled as she held April on her lap.

“Well caught Behati.” Clint called out as the Namibian model comfortably caught a high fly ball just short of the fence.

“Everyone’s having fun and its all for charity.” Marina sat down besides them.

“And despite their own predictions that they would be uncompetitive the girls are doing well.” Clint spoke again.

“Well it helps having a star guest like Miranda pitching.”

“I take it she’s not a model?” Marina asked, “Hers was the only name I didn’t know.”

“She’s an old school friend of Carina’s, she is a cadet at West Point, and a top sports player.”

“Oh that explains it.” Marina joined in the applause as Miranda induced the batter to tamely ground out to first base for the final out of the inning.

“So we’re into the fifth innings now, the All Stars in a comfortable lead with one out…”

“Okay Jo, you go bat for Behati.” Mary made a change.

“Gotcha Coach,” Jo picked up a bat and strode out.

“And batting now for the All-Stars the face of Fitzstuart Woolens, and soon to be seen in the new Big Box Campaign … Joanne Smith!”

Jo smiled and blushed a little as the crowd cheered, adjusting her glasses.

“Strike One!” she let the first pitch go by.

Jo watched the tall nurse on the mound wind up, and tossed the next pitch…she swung, and missed over the ball as it sunk late.

“Strike Two!” Alex called.

“Alright this time,” Jo told herself. She watched the release and swung, hitting the ball in the gap between short and third. Quickly the nurse playing third got to the ball and threw it to first.

“Safe” Jo heard Erin call as she just beat the ball into the First Baseman’s glove.
“You’re quick!” the nurse shook her hand, as Jo dusted herself down.

“I am….now watch me try steal second.” Jo laughed.


“Is everything all right, my dear,” Willy said as he looked at Natasha.

“Yes – the baby just gave a very strong kick, that’s all.”

“Can I get you a drink,” he said as he held his wife’s stomach.

“Some water, please,” Natasha said with a nod.

As Willy walked off, Natasha put her head down for a moment, hoping nobody would notice as she grimaced slightly…

“All right you,” George said as he walked over to the barbecue, “Jo’s on the field – get in there and watch her.”

“Thank you,” Curt said as he headed off, George shaking his head as he turned some more of the sausages over.

“You really seem to have settled here George,” Shirley said as she walked over.

“Well, the air agrees with me, and Caroline keeps me busy – hot dog?”

“Not for the moment, no – I have a little job I would like you to undertake for me at some point, if you are willing.”

“It would be an honour – anything special?”

“I’ll tell you later…”

“And Joanne Smith makes it home safe, to increase their lead to 9-6.”

“Way to go girl,” Carina said as she high-fived Jo, the two of them sitting down in the dugout.

“And….  That’s the final out.  We’re going to take an interval at this stage, and we re-start in fifteen minutes.”

“All right girls – back into the changing room for team talk,” Mary said as she shepherded them inside.  As Jack walked over, he glanced to the side and then looked again.

“Do these aged eyes deceive me, or is this the vision of Glorious Grace Gresham in front of me,” he said as he walked over.

“You haven’t changed a bit Jack,” Grace said as she hugged him.  “Well, your taste in clothes perhaps…”

“Whereas you, my dear, are as much a flatterer as ever.  Over here for long?”

“A few weeks – Missy just got me signed up for a shoot next week.”


“That’s the one – why?”

“I’ll see you then,” Jack said with a grin as he ran into the changing rooms, waving his pompoms.  

“Welcome back, Palomino,” Linda said with a laugh.

“There are times when I wish I could lose myself in William Smith now,” Jo said as she took a drink from a sports bottle.

“Only a few more weeks – and then trust me, you’ll want to be back home at times,” Miranda said.

“Even with Curt there,” Cari said with a smile.

“We’re in the lead, girls – now we get to have some fun,” Mary said as she clapped her hands.  “We’re going to make a few more changes for the second half.  First, though, a certain Miss Beckham wishes to talk to some of you…”

As Shirley made her way back from the woman’s restroom, she noticed a group of three teenagers, two male, one female, hanging around in the reception hall.  They were dressed in leather jackets and jeans, but as Shirley approached them they started to talk to each other in low whispers, the girl looking to the door to the box office as they did so.

At first, she didn’t think much of it, but as she got closer one of the two young men walked towards a drink dispenser, accidentally brushing against her as he did so.  She heard him mumble “Sorry,” and said nothing, walking instead to the bleachers where Janice was sitting behind Katy and her grandmother.

“Janice I think we might have a situation.” Shirley sat down next to the FBI agent, “there are three kids staking out the box office.”

“What do you mean staking out?”  Janice looked at her friend, and then said quietly “OH!”

“I brushed up against one, he’s carrying.”

“Are you sure Shirley?”

“Jan I have been in the business long enough to know when I see a holdup about to go down.”


“Are you packing Jan?”

“Are you Shirley? Who brings a piece to a Fourth of July event like this?”

“No I left mine at home as well.  Would any of us…”

Janice turned and looked at Shirley.  “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Doc.” Each smiled as they spoke simultaneously.

“And Heather probably has something in her car.” Janice added.

“I’ll go find Anna…you go see Heather…Okay?”


“And we had better hurry Jan.”

Jan nodded as she looked along the bleachers, and then headed west, while Shirley turned and went back into the car park.


“Hey Janice,” Doc said as she looked up from where she was sitting with Ama and Kylie, “what’s up?”

“Listen, can you come and give me a hand with some cold drinks?”

“Yeah – if you two will excuse me,” Doc said as she picked up her purse and followed Janice to the car park.  As they walked out, they saw Shirley and Heather coming in the opposite direction.

“Have you told her yet,” Shirley said as they came closer.

“Told me what?”

“There’s a robbery going on right now in the box office – we need to stop it, without letting anyone else know or anyone else getting hurt.  Do you have anything?”

Doc patted her purse as she said “a .22 – never leave home without it.”

“You scare me girl,” Janice said, and then she looked at Heather.

“Do they look like pros?”

“Heather, they looked like they were no older than Abby.”

“All right – go, enjoy the game,” Heather said.  “Anna – with me, let’s move.”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the announcer called out, “I’d like to remind you that after the game we will be having a meet and sign session with our distinguished guests from the world of fashion. In return for donations to the appeal, they will be available for photographs and autographs.

“I would further like to remind you that each player on the all-stars will be signing her jersey, and that they will be being put up for auction online starting this afternoon.

“With that in mind, we’re ready to start the fifth innings, so please welcome the teams back onto the field!”

“They’re going back on,” the leather jacketed girl said as she looked out of the box office door.  She had pulled a scarf up over the lower part of her face, and looked back to where her two male friends were securing the legs of the three elderly women who manned the office with plastic zip ties.  Their wrists were secured behind their backs with another plastic strip, their hands palm to palm, and as they were rolled over strips of duct tape were pressed down over their mouths.

“Don’t move a fucking inch,” one of the boys said as he waved a starting pistol at them, “fill the bag up.”

The second boy nodded, a baseball cap pulled down over his head and dark glasses covering his eyes, as he grabbed a canvas bag and started to put the takings into it.  

“Come on, come on,” the girl said as she glanced around the office, the only other sound the whimpering of the three captives.

“All right, we got it all,” the boy said as they heard a cheer from the field, “let’s get out of here.”

“Don’t move an inch, any of you,” the first boy said as he walked backwards out of the room, into the outer area where tickets were sold and collected.  The blinds were down; meaning the only way anyone could look in was through the door to the lobby, which they had closed when they came in.

The girl closed the inner door, and shouted “We did it – there must be thousands here.”

“Tens of thousands,” the boy said as he waved the starting pistol round, so let’s get the…”

As they turned round, however, they saw a woman in her late twenties standing there, her brown hair cut short and framing her face, her eyes covered by a large pair of sunglasses, and her hands in a pair of soft black leather gloves.  She was wearing a white sweater and jeans, and was smiling as she said “Now, here’s what going to happen.  You two pricks are going to very quietly drop the gun and the bag, and all three of you are going to drop to your knees, and put your hands on your heads.”

“And what the fuck makes you think we’re going to do that?”

“I’m so glad you asked,” the brown haired woman said as she produced a .45 from behind her back, and pointed it at them, “here’s one reason – my friend has another.”

“That pressure you feel against your back,” the girl heard another female voice say, “is the business end of a Ruger 2245 LR.  If I fire, there will be little sound, but I assure you your back will be shattered, and if you survive the exit wound you will be crippled for life.  So, when my friend asks you to do something, I strongly suggest for the benefit of your continued living you very quietly do it.”


The two young men looked over to see a smaller woman, dressed like the brunette but with long black hair, turn and smile at them, before they dropped the bag and knelt on the floor.

“Smart – very smart,” the brunette said as she walked slowly forward, the girl dropping to her knees as well.  “My friend is going to give you something now.”

They watched as a gloved hand came over their shoulders, one at a time, and held out a sponge ball.  “Take it,” the brunette said, “and stuff it into your mouth.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Kill you if you don’t do as you’re told,” the dark haired woman whispered as she pressed the gun into the girl’s back, smiling at her whimper as she pushed the sponge into her mouth.

“She’s sensible, copy her,” the brunette said as the two boys pushed the sponge balls into their own mouths, and then all three put their hands on their heads as their heads were encircled in the same duct tape they had used in the next room.

“Nice of you guys to collect the money for us,” the black haired woman said, “but right now, right here, you’re in our way, and we need to make sure that’s not the case.  All three of you, hands behind your back, nice and slowly.”

“Whtruggntddd,” the young man said as he lowered his arms.

“A lesson,” the brunette said as she picked up a bag, opened it and took skeins of rope, handing some to the other woman before they secured the wrists of all three of them behind their backs.  It only took five minutes, but as the girl tried to flex her fingers she already knew they were going nowhere.

The feeling was increased as her arms were forced into her sides, the rope going above and below her chest, the zip at the front of her jacket forced down as the pressure increased with each tug.  The two boys were starting to cry as their arms were secured, and they were then pushed forward, landing on their faces as their ankles and legs were secured, and then their ankles pulled back, secured with rope to their chests.

Fifteen minutes ago they had been planning to celebrate – and now they were whimpering on the floor, unable to move or speak as the two women looked at her.

The brunette walked into the inner office, taking a pair of scissors from a desk and laying it next to the three bound and gagged women.  “You are safe,” she said as she placed the bag with the money on the desk, “I would appreciate it if you did not mention me or my colleague.”

One of them nodded as she went back into the outer office, closing the door.  “As for you three,” she said, “mention me or my friend, we will know, and we will find you.  Enjoy the rest.”

The two women placed their guns in a bag, and the smaller looked out into the lobby, nodding as they walked across to the rest room.  

Five minutes later, Heather and Doc appeared, looking over as a woman came out of the office, rubbing her wrists as she approached a security guard.  They walked out and towards the parking lot, where Janice and Shirley were waiting by Heather’s car.

“I’m keeping your little mother’s helper for the moment,” Heather said to Doc as she lifted a flap and deposited the bag inside.  “It’s taken care of – three stool pigeons trussed and ready for roasting.”

"Doc I don't know which fact disturbs me more,” Janice said quietly as Heather locked her car.  “That you are carrying?  Or that both Shirley and I instinctively knew you would be?"

"At least I have a secret compartment in the car." Heather looked at the teenager, "What happens if the cops search you one day?"

"Who is going to search an ordinary looking girl like me?"

"We need to have a big group discussion about all this...and soon." Janice looked serious.

“Agreed - but not today.  Let’s go and see what we missed of the game.”

Kylie looked over as Doc came back in.  “What kept you,” she said as she and Janice set down the drinks, “you almost missed the whole of the fifth.”

“Sorry – I got talking to some other people,” she said with a smile, “who wants a cold one?”

“I will take one,” Willy said as he held his hand out, catching the beer that Janice threw over as Natasha gasped slightly.

“Are you all right,” Diana said as she looked at her sister in law.

“Yes, yes – just another kick,” Natasha said with a smile, before she gasped again.

“Karen,” Diana said as Karen Boyd walked past, “can you spare a moment please?”

“Sure Countess,” Karen said with a smile, “what’s up?”

“Could you have a look at Natasha for me please?  She says the baby is kicking, but…”

“All right,” Karen said as she put her hand on Natasha’s stomach, and felt for a while.  “How far along are you?”

“Thirty nine weeks – why?”

“Hmmm – do me a favour, Natasha, just sit here for a while, and if you start to feel any different, get one of the girls to find me, all right?”

“Sure – why?”

“Oh I just want to be sure you’re not uncomfortable,” Karen said as she slipped back into the benches, and talked to the captain of the Massachusetts Babes…

“Well, Jo managed to steal third, and we need to get her home.  Juliette, it’s about time you got your turn at bat.” Mary called out, “Bat for Angel.”

“Okay.” Juliette smiled as she picked up a bat and walked to the diamond.

“Now coming into the game, legendary supermodel and fashion writer Juliette Huntingdown.”

Juliette waved as the crowd rose in applause.

“See there’s granny having a go now,” Annie said as she waved Judith’s hand at the field.

“That’s a popular cheer Ju,” Alex laughed as she took a couple of practice swings, “how long since you played?”

“About 25 years Alex.”

“Well in case you’ve forgotten first base is that way.” Alex laughed as he pointed.

“This way?” Juliette shouted back as she hit the first pitch smartly into right field.

“Welcome back,” Mary said as Jo crossed fourth base, Juliette taking first as the announcer said “and also joining the game now, Lady Ordford, more popularly known as Mandy Carrow!”

“Now this should be interesting,” Kylie said as she watched Mandy stroll onto the diamond, waving as the crowd clapped.

“Have you played this, Kylie,” Nikki asked.

“I have played rounders’ – badly – so in a way I have,” Kylie replied as Mandy took up her position.

“Well at least I managed to hit it a couple of times Mummy.” Angel laughed as her mother came back to the dugout after striking out. “You didn’t even get close.”

“Darling I never did claim I could hit a ball you know.”

“As long as you are having fun, who cares?” Anna Mitchell said as she passed Mandy a beer can.

“Actually Darling I am.  I haven’t felt this relaxed in weeks.”

“Abby and I were chatting about next year.” Angel spoke.

“Oh you are both debs aren’t you?” Anna asked.

“Yes, I think we might have a lot of fun, Abby says there are some nice girls she knows doing the season, and a few are coming over to the European events as well…”

“And of course the New York Sluts darling.” Mandy cast her daughter a little glance.

“And as you say, also Ally and Nell.” Angel giggled.

“I know – I asked them who would do the father’s dance, and they just looked at each other and giggled,” Abby said as she sat next to them.

“This is Jeanne Beckman at the Charity Softball game in Boston, and I’m taking a few minutes to catch up with a very special surprise attendee.  A fortnight ago, she had been best known as the loved headmistress of a secondary school north of London, but at the Complete Style show in London she emerged from over twenty years in the wilderness to help close the show – Glorious Grace Gresham.  Grace, welcome to the Beckman Report.”

“Thanks for asking me, Jeanne,” Grace said as they sat in the changing room.

“I guess the question our audience want most to know the answer to is the same question we asked you when we met a fortnight ago, Grace – why did you quit?”

“Well, it’s a complicated question Jeanne, but put simply I realized if I did not do something, I was going to go down a very dark and dangerous road.  I saw what the bad side of the modeling world was doing to my friends, and I knew I was in real danger of the same thing happening to me.”

“So one day, you woke up and said effectively ‘I quit’?”

“Essentially, yes – and while I love, and still love this business, I still think it was the right thing for me to do.”

“So where did you go?”

“As you said in your introduction, I returned to England, and became a teacher.  In fact, as most people who watch this now know, Jeannie Brewster was a pupil at my school when she was discovered, and I am so proud of what she has achieved.”

“So why are you here in Boston?”

“Well,” Grace said carefully, “after the show, the governors of the school I run felt I had in some way brought the name of the school into disrepute, so at the moment I am enjoying an unexpected holiday.  What it does mean is I have time to come and renew some friendships, and I have already got a few jobs over here.”

“So what is the future for Grace Gresham – teacher or model?”

“As Juliette, Alice and Karen amongst others have shown, there is no reason why I cannot do both, and I look forward to discussing the difference of view with the appropriate personnel in the very near future.”

“Grace Gresham, thank you.”

“No, thank you,” Grace said with a smile as the filming stopped.

“Nicely put,” Linda said, clapping as she came in.

“Thanks, Mother,” Grace said as she stood up.

“Tell me, do you remember Grant Burton?”

“Of course I do – what happened to him?”

“He’s now a top lawyer, specializing in employment disputes – and he’s going to call you at Karen’s tomorrow to discuss your case.  We’ll pay the costs, and we’re also sorting out your work permit for you.”

“Excuse me a moment,” Susan said as she handed Shirley little April, and then took her cell phone out.

“Hey Pamela, Ashley said you might phone.” Susan spoke into the mobile. “Are you in New York yet?”…”You are? Good, Ashley gave you the office address didn’t she?”…”Okay you come in and see me Monday and we will talk about getting you a job…Sure,” Susan smiled. “You keep your head down and I’ll see you then…It’s not a problem…Byeeee.”

“Was that the young lady you mentioned?” Shirley asked.

“Yes, looks like she got to NYC just fine.”

“She was in New Zealand, correct?”

“Yup – took the rap for a bank robbery, then escaped, made her way to an airport, and over here.  I’ll find a clerical role for her while we assess her potential.”

“And that’s the eighth innings passed, with the teams tied now at 13-13.  Who is going to win this exciting game…?”


Susan and Karen both turned and looked at Natasha as she held her bump.

“Are you…”

Natasha looked at both of them and nodded slowly, as a small damp patch appeared on the bleacher seat below her.

“All right,” Karen said, “stand up and walk with me.  Susan, can you find Willy?”

As Susan stood up, Karen could see Diana walking quickly over.  “Mon dieu,” she said quietly, “how can I help?”

“Go to the captain of the Babes, tell her I need the volunteers in the treatment room – and then call Guy.  He’ll need to let Valeria know.”

“Of course,” Diana said as she walked quickly off, while Karen and Susan supported Natasha as they made their way into the building.

“Is everything all right,” Abby said as Diana came into the dugout.

“Of course,” her mother said as she walked to the other manager and whispered into her ear.  Nodding, she beckoned to two of her staff, who nodded and headed back in...

“Willy, why is my wife approaching at great speed?”

Willy turned to see Susan approaching him, Clint and John, looking round as she did so.

“There you are,” she said quietly, “Willy, you need to head to the treatment room in the main building – now.”

“Why – I am not a doctor?”

“No, but Karen Boyd is, and some of the nurses are there as well.”

“Karen… Ah.  If you will excuse me gentlemen?”

“Go,” Clint said with a smile as Susan said “Diana is calling your father…”

“And it’s the bottom of the ninth, the All Stars ahead 16 to 12.”

“Qu'est-ce qui se passe pour moi,” Natasha called out as she gripped Willy’s hand.

“Well,” Karen said as she looked up, “you’re not just in labor Natasha, the baby is coming, right here, right now.  An ambulance is on the way, but I don’t think it’s going to make it on time, so get ready – it’s happening.”

“Do not worry, I’m here,” Willy said as Natasha panted, while Karen took a towel from one of the nurses.

“All right – when you feel the contraction, push down as hard as you can,” Karen said as she looked up.

“As…  As you wish,” Natasha panted and then she grunted as she pushed down, Karen and the second nurse watching as the first mopped Natasha’s brow.

“Right – deep breaths,” Karen said as she looked up.  “The baby is well on the way – the scissors?”

“Sterilizing, Doctor Boyd,” the nurse said as she looked at a tray, tools sitting in the clear liquid.

“Here we GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” Natasha shouted as she pushed again, Karen saying “fantastic, Natasha – the head is crowning now, one more push and we should be done.”

“I thought it would be painless,” Natasha gasped as she looked down.

“Ah if only life was so simple,” Karen said as she smiled, and said “Okay – one more push…”


There was silence for a moment, and then the cry of a baby brought tears to the eyes of both Willy and Natasha.


Karen looked up as the nurse cut the cord, and said quietly “congratulations – it’s a healthy baby boy.”

“We…  We have a son?”

“You do,” the nurse said as she brought the new born, wrapped in a white towel, and laid him next to Natasha.

“We need to get you both to the hospital and checked out,” Karen said as the door opened and an ambulance crew came in, “but I don’t see any problems.  I’ll come and see you in the hospital later, but for now you’re safe with them.”

“Thank you, Karen,” Willy said as he shook her hand, “for everything.”

“My pleasure – I’ll tell Diana and Abby, if you want?”

Natasha nodded as she stroked the baby boy’s cheek.  “Do you still think it is right?”

“I do,” Wily said quietly.  “Hello, Alain Guy…”

“We’ve got it from here Doctor Boyd,” the paramedic said, the two nurses nodding as she left the room for a minute.

“Well,” Diana said as she came out.

“You have a nephew, Diana?”

Smiling, Diana put her cell phone back to her ear.  “Papa?  You need to inform Valeria that she has a grandson, and to get here as soon as possible.

“Tomorrow?  Very well then – I will meet her at the airport alongside you.”

“STRIIKKEEEE THREEE – YOU’RE OUT,” Alex called out as the announcer said “and that’s the end of the game – with a final score of Massachusetts Babes 17, All Stars 16, a victory to the home team, but the real winner is the new maternity unit.  If you would like to have your photo taken with one of the All Stars, please make your way to the field, and wait for the official press to finish.”

As the press photographers snapped pictures of the teams, Linda was talking quietly to a few of the models, their heads nodding as they listened.

“You were fantastic,” a group of young girls said as they clustered around Jo, the young girl smiling as she signed their books, while Abby and Jeannie double teamed at another spot.

Eventually, Mary came out and said, “Thanks you all very much – now, if you’re heading to Ju’s place, you have plenty of time to get there, otherwise have a great day.”
Born on the Fourth of July - part 2
Some new players take to the field - while Doc and Heather teach a lesson, and Natasha has a surprise...
Barry Hampton was not the happiest of policemen as he sat in his office.  Not because he was unhappy with his job – far from it, he loved it – but because of what he was reading in the file that had landed on his desk.

He had heard the report of the fire at the Mayhew Research laboratories three days before, but only about the fire.  The details he was reading now, on the other hand, disturbed him greatly – and he had seen some disturbing things over the last year or two.

The sound of his telephone ringing made him close the file, shivering for a moment before he answered and said “Yes?

“All right – show them in.”  Opening a drawer and putting the file away, he straightened his tie before the door was opened and two men shown in.

“DCI Clark, DS Mayhew – please, sit down,” he said as he shook their hands, and the two officers from the National Crime Squad sat in the seats at the other side of the desk.

“Apologies for dropping in on you again like this,” Clark said as he sat back, “but we need to discuss this matter with you, and you alone.”

“You mean the details in this file?”  Barry stood up and opened a cabinet, taking out a bottle of whisky and showing it to the two officers.  They nodded in return, as he found three glasses and placed them on his desk, pouring the amber liquid into each of them.

“How did you manage to keep the full details covered up?”

“We always said people died in the fire – we just never explained the full details, not even to the families,” Mayhew said before he sipped his drink.

“The Mayhew robbery and fire – what exactly was taken?”

“Valuable research material and equipment – but they decided to have some fun with the two techs who were working late, and the cleaner, before they set fire to the place.”

Barry rubbed his eyes before he said “I never cease to be amazed at the depths some people will sink to.  I’ve got one question before we go on.”

“I can guess what it is,” Clark said, “so ask it.”

“Why are you telling me about this?”

The two men looked at each other, before Clark said “what I’m going to tell you does not go beyond these four walls, unless we authorise it.”

“I guessed as much,” Barry said tersely.

“When you and your – contacts – dealt with the Carpetmen, we asked you specifically for two reasons.  First, we have the full record of what happened at Holderness Manor that night.”

“And the second reason?”

“You’re separate from the Met,” Mayhew said.  “We knew the Carpetmen had someone high up in the force feeding them information and helping them.  We still have no clear indication on who it is – but we do know the same person is controlling this group as well.”


“Intelligence,” Mayhew said quietly.  “At any rate, we have strong intelligence that their next target is going to be the Blaketon Laboratory, just outside Holderness.  Barry, I know it is asking a lot, but is it possible that your contacts may be able to help us out with this.”

“Without saying anything, why them and why me?”

“Easier to do the second first – because we trust you, and we need to know who the mole at the Met is.  If they can help, one objective will be to find out who he or she is.  As for the second...”

Clark looked at Mayhew, who nodded as he said “We know of the existence of Project Pink Widow.  Not everything – no names – but enough to recognise that was what happened to the Carpetmen.  We need their help – if you can get it.”

“You might be in luck, but I need to talk to some people,” Barry said quietly.  “Give me twenty four hours – if it can be done, I’ll let you know what I need from your end.”

“If it proves impossible, we’ll try another method – but if we can do this, we can end two major problems at the same time.”

“Like I say, let me make some enquiries.  How can I contact you?”

“We’ll call at this time tomorrow,” Clark said as they stood up, “and thank you again Barry.  I know this is totally off the books.”

“Won’t be the first time,” Barry said as he shook their hands, “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

Barry held the door open as they left, and then sat down, swirling the whisky round in his glass before he sat down and picked up the telephone.

“Anne Duncombe please – this is Detective Superintendant Barry Hampton, Holderness CID.”

“Welcome, Mister Hampton, Master Hampton” Mister Bridges said as Barry and Colin got out of the car.  “Robert is in the library, and the Holderness-Carter’s are waiting for you in the lounge.”

“Thanks,” Colin said as he came into Holderness Manor, “I’ll see you later Dad.”

“Have fun,” Barry said as he knocked on the door, and walked into the lounge.  He found Sarah Holderness-Carter sitting in an armchair, wearing a grey blouse and skirt with flat shoes, and Brian standing by a tray, pouring some drinks.

“Hey Barry,” he said as he looked over in his Australian accent, “can I pour you one?”

“Thanks – I need it,” Barry said as he sat down.  “I take it Anne has been in touch.”

“She has – and don’t worry, the people who talked to you have appropriate clearance,” Sarah said as she took a drink from her husband.  “So what can you tell us?”

“There is a gang – one of the more ruthless ones,” Barry said as he sat down, “that has been targeting research establishments around the UK over the last few months.  They have a very simple MO – enter the premises at night, secure and silence all staff inside, find what they want, and then leave.”

“So why can’t the normal force handle them?”

“Because someone is watching out for this gang.  The people who have approached me have their suspicions, but no certain evidence.”

“How high up?”

Barry looked at Brian, and said “very high up.”

Sarah looked at her glass, and said “What sort of research are these places carrying out?”

“Medical research – gene therapy and such like.”

Barry could see both Sarah and Brian look at each other.  “Does that bother either of you?”

“Painful memories,” Sarah said as she rubbed her hand.  “So why do you need our help?”

“My contacts would like you to infiltrate a local establishment – Blaketon Laboratory – and be in place for when this gang attacks.  When they do – you do whatever you have to do to save any other staff and stop them.  But, and this is important, my contacts need the name of the mole.”

“So we’re basically in place as the last, best hope to stop this gang?  Why us?”

“Because I’m told this same mole tried to protect the Carpetmen – he doesn’t know we’re involved again.”

Brian and Sarah looked at each other again, before Brian said “All right – when do we start?”
Taking the Trash Out - part 1
in which Barry Hampton is asked to help with another very dangerous and messy situation by the two men from the National Crime Squad - or more specifically, he is asked to get unofficial help from Project Pink Widow...
Mature Content Filter is On. The Artist has chosen to restrict viewing to deviants 18 and older.
(Contains: nudity and sexual themes)
“Well she was just seventeen, if you know what I mean...”

With the sound of the Beatles playing in the background, and the soft lighting, this particular boutique is one of my favourites.  I love the styles of the past, as evidenced by the sleeveless blue denim dress I was wearing, a pair of black leggings underneath and wedge heeled sandals on my feet.  I also had a Palestinian style scarf tied loosely round my neck.

I’d just come in to have a look round, to see if anything caught my eye, not expecting to see anything that I would want to obtain – but that was when she came in, and I could not take my eyes off her.

She was at least six foot tall, with light brown hair that fell down her back, and wore a pale cream short dress with short sleeves and a round neck.  A wide black fabric belt was around her waist, held in place by an ornate clasp at the front, but it was her legs – like matchsticks, the sort of legs that old pulp novels would describe as going all the way to her shoulders, enclosed in a pair of very sexy black over the knee fabric boots with a three inch heel.

I watched her as she started to look through a rack of dresses, my mind working overtime as I did so.  I wanted to meet this beauty, but I wasn’t sure if she would notice someone like me – she had such an air of superiority about her.

Eventually, she made her selections and went over to the counter, and I watched as she paid with a platinum card, and then collected her bag.  Quickly, I followed her out of the store as we walked along the tree lined street, keeping pace but hanging back enough to not give her any suspicions.

As she walked, I could see her bottom swaying under the dress, enticing me to the thoughts I was beginning to have, as she walked into the entrance to an underground car park.  Following her in, I wondered if I dared do this.  It had been some time since such an opportunity had arisen, after all, and I was sorely out of practice.

The urge was growing strong, however, so I walked a little more quickly as she approached a Lotus, looking in her bag for her keys.  As she came up to the car, I walked behind her and reached up, using my hand to pinch a particular nerve cluster near her neck.

The effect was instant, as her eyes opened wide and then closed before she fell back into my arms.  For a tell girl, she was actually pleasantly light, as I supported her on one side and picked up the car keys, which had fallen to the ground.  The car was a two seater, which meant no real trunk, but there was enough room in there to deposit her bags – and it would only take me a few minutes to drive to where my station wagon was.  So I sat her in the passenger seat, and set off as quickly as I could.

My own car was ten minutes away, and she remained out for the journey as I pulled up beside it.  I knew I would not have much time, however, so I went to my car and popped the trunk.  Looking inside, I found a roll of black electrical tape, which I picked up and then went back to the Lotus.  Opening the passenger door, I leaned her forward and taped her wrists together behind her back, and then sat her back, before smoothing several strips over her mouth and closed eyes.

I then lifted her legs out, and taped her ankles together, as well as her legs below her knees.  I knew I was probably ruining the boots, but that was a minor problem, as I lifted her and carried her to my car, placing her in the trunk before I closed the lid.  Throwing the keys to the Lotus inside, I closed the door and removed my own gloves, before getting behind the wheel of my car and driving off, thinking over what I was going to do...

I live in a nice little cottage near a lake, out in the country, secluded, secure – perfect for a woman of my tastes.  As I pulled into my garage, and turned the engine off, I could hear the muffled calls and the banging on the trunk lid – evidence she had woken up.

So I got out of the car, slipped on my gloves again, and popped the lid of the trunk.  She was indeed awake, as she turned her head up and said “whthllssgngnnn?”

“Hush,” I said as I stroked her cheek, “remain calm.  I am not going to hurt you, but you must trust me and do as I say.”


“Quiet, or I may put you to sleep again.”

That made her stop, as I lifted her out and carried her gently through the house.  As I walked through, my housekeeper stopped and nodded to me, I nodding back in acknowledgement as I took her into a room, and laid her down on a bed.

“There now,” I said as I looked at her, “do not move.”

As she sat there, staring straight ahead, I removed my scarf, and then unzipped my dress, letting it fall to the floor as I kicked my sandals off.  My leggings came down next, before I walked to my wardrobe and opened it, taking out a black leather catsuit and slipping my body into it, the zip pulled almost to the top, but not quite.  I then walked round, and gently pulled back the hair of my guest, using a black elastic band to hold it in a pigtail.

“Whtrudnngg,” she mumbled as I stroke her cheek with the back of my gloved hand.

“You will find out soon enough,” I whispered into her ear before I reached round and started to gently caress her chest, her wriggles as she tried to stop me only making it more exciting as her breasts rubbed on the palms of my hands.

“I think you may be getting a little warm,” I then whispered into her ear, reaching round and unclasping her belt before removing it, “I can help with that, don’t move.”

I watched as she stayed still, relishing the fear and uncertainty I could sense on her fidgeting fingers, while I gently placed the belt on a chair, and went back to the wardrobe, returning with several lengths of red silk rope.  Laying them gently on the mattress, I knelt behind my guest, and said “Just relax – you will enjoy this.”

“Plssltmmggg,” she whimpered, and I saw the start of a tear try to escape from the tape blindfold.  “Don’t cry,” I whispered as I caressed her again, her struggles making her breasts firm even more under my hands, “I promise you everything will be all right...”


“Be still, be happy,” I whispered as I slowly unzipped her dress, pulling it down so that her teal coloured bra was uncovered.  As I reached round and caressed her chest again, her pleas became more muted, and I could feel her nipples under the silk getting firmer.

“See – it’s only natural,” I whispered as I moved her ponytail to one side, and kissed the back of her neck, gently, slowly, moving down her back as she arched it in response.

“Is that so bad,” I whispered as I stroked my gloved hands down her arms, smiling as she shook her head, and then picking up the first length of rope.  I gently wrapped it around her arms, pulling them together so that her elbows touched and then securing them, the bands going around and between her arms, her shoulders pulled back and her chest forced out.

“Whtshpnnggg,” she moaned as I reached around again, and caressed her chest, my fingers gently kneading her breasts as she let her head fall to one side.

“Enjoy,” I said quietly as I took some scissors, and cut the tape around her wrists, taking her dress down to her waist before using a second length of rope and binding her wrists together.  I saw the way she made fists with her hands as I did so, so cute and helpless, and then her hands shoot open as I pinched her elbows.

“We need to lose this,” I whispered into her ear as I unclasped her bra, and then cut through the shoulder straps, “but don’t worry, I have a replacement in mind.”

She gasped again as the bra came off, and then I wrapped a long, long length of rope around her body, pulling her arms against her back as I tightened it under her chest, and then took it above, under, above, under, above, each time pulling it tighter as the band settled on her breasts.  That was tightened still further as I pulled the bands together, my lovely knot settled between her shoulder blades, and then fed the ends over her left shoulder, under the lower band and back up, then tied off behind her back.

“See, I told you I had a replacement in mind,” I whispered in her ear before I kissed it again, my fingers gently pinching her nipples as she moaned.

Yes, moaned rather than pleaded – it appeared she had accepted her fate in this aspect, as I kissed the side of her neck and then laid her down on her back, easing her dress off as she writhed under me.

I sat across her legs, getting pleasure from the way she was rubbing against me while I massaged her chest, whispering sweet nothings as she moved her head from side to side, the ropes forcing her breasts out, so prominent, so tempting to me...

I leaned down and kissed her nipples, loving her muted gasp as I did so, and then looked at her teal panties, seeing the dark stain in the middle.

“Stay still,” I said as I fed more of the rope under her waist and then fed the ends through the loop, pulling it gently before I knelt up, and then said “roll over.”

She complied, a good first step, as I pulled the rope between her legs, and moved it to and fro, loving the way she squirmed underneath me, and then bound it to her elbows, saying as I did so “this feels good, doesn’t it?”

I could see the hesitation as she lay there, and then she turned her head and slowly nodded.

“Good,” I said then as I cut the tape on her legs, and bound them tightly together with the rope, then moved down and cut the tape from her ankles, before retying them, and pulling them back, securing them to her crotch rope.

“I need to take care of some things,” I whispered into her ear as I rolled her onto her side, “lie still, relax, and consider how this makes you feel.  I shall not be long.”

As I walked off, I turned and noticed how she started to move the rope between her legs, before leaving, closing and locking the door behind me.


I turned to see my housekeeper standing there, her head bowed, her hands clasped in front of her.

“Mistress, have I displeased you?”

“OF course not,” I said as I looked at her, “what gave you that idea?”

She looked to the locked door without saying a word.

“Ah – no, you have not displeased me.  I will explain in due course, and I will require your help later.  For now, prepare food for all of us, and inform me when it is ready.”

“Yes mistress,” she said with a smile as she turned and walked away...

Ninety minutes later, I unlocked the door, standing to the side as my housekeeper wheeled a trolley in.  On the trolley was a plate of food, with water in bottles.

She raised her head and moaned, and as I untied her ankles and let her legs fall down I could see the sweat on her back, which I kissed gently.  I then untied the crotch rope, seeing the dampness on it and her panties as I and my housekeeper helped her to sit up.

“I am going to remove the tape from your mouth so that you can eat – do not make any loud noises, as nobody else will hear you.  Do you understand?”

She nodded slowly as I peeled the tape away, and my housekeeper gently used a moist wipe to clear away the residue.

“Where... Where am I,” she whispered.

“With me,” I said quietly, “now, open your mouth.”


“Are you hungry?”

She nodded, and then opened her mouth, as my housekeeper placed a forkful of the Spaghetti Alfredo in her mouth.  I watched as she slowly chewed, her chest rising and falling in the rope bra, and then swallowed.

“That tastes good – who made it?”

“Not important for now – open your mouth again.”

I watched as my guest was fed, and then allowed to drink some water before she wiped her mouth.

“Please,” she said as she looked round, “I want to go home.”

“Do you not like what has happened?”

“It’s not that – but you kidnapped me.  I want to be let free...”

“That’s what we’re going to do – in a way,” I whispered into her ear as I began to caress her chest in my hands.  I smiled at her sigh, her moan, as she said “But...  Please...”

“Hush,” I said, motioning to my housekeeper.  She smiled as she walked forward and knelt down, starting to caress my guest with her own hands as I kissed her neck and her back.

“Oh god, that’s so wrong, but it feels so good...”

“Do you wish me to remove the blindfold?”

She nodded slowly, before I said “if I do, I must do other things first, so do you still wish it?”


Nodding, I took the scissors and cut at the sides of her damp panties, sniffing them before I made a wad and said “open your mouth.”

“Please, be gentle...”

“I am – now open your mouth.”

As she did so, I pushed the cloth in, and pressed on her jaw to make her close her lips over it.  Getting off the bed, I returned to the wardrobe, and took out a wide roll of white medical tape, which I wrapped tightly round her head, while my housekeeper continued to caress and kiss her chest.

Slowly, carefully, I removed the black tape blindfold, and as she blinked the first thing she saw was my housekeeper, in her black leather dress, her black hair cut short, her face lit up by the smile as she continued to kiss her body.

I then walked in front of her, and her eyes widened as she recognised me, even in my new attire.  

“Welcome,” I said quietly as she closed her eyes and moaned again, “my housekeeper is going to untie your legs, and remove your boots.  Do not resist.”

She nodded and watched as the ropes were removed from her legs, and then her boots were slowly pulled down, the hands stroking her soft skin as she moaned even more.  As she rebound her legs below her knees, taking the rope between them to tighten it still more, my housekeeper smiled and said “thank you for this mistress.”

“Continue,” I said with a smile as she untied my guest’s ankles, removed the boots and the ankle socks she was wearing, and then re-tied her ankles.  As she did so, I say her squirm as the fingers ran over the soles of her feet, so I said “Lie down.”

As she did so, my housekeeper smiled at me, before she began to suck the toes of my guest, her moans increasing with each touch of the red lips on her digits.

“I thought as much,” I said quietly, “you’re a submissive, aren’t you?”

Her eyes narrowed and then she slowly nodded as I said “Good – would you care to spend the night with her?”

“May I mistress,” my housekeeper said “in the usual manner?”

“You may – go and prepare,” I said quietly, my housekeeper rising and bowing as she went out backwards.


“Are you commenting on her response to me, or are you talking to me?”

She looked at the door, and then at me, before she said “eddntknwww.”

“Good – you and she will spend the night together, but first I need to properly prepare you.”

She watched as I picked up another length of rope, as well as a white object, lozenge shaped, about four inches long.  Smiling, I reached down and kissed her clit, making her shiver before I inserted the object into her passage, and then tied the crotch rope back into place.

“I am ready, mistress.”

I turned to see my housekeeper, standing naked save for the crotch rope she had tied between her own legs.  She handed me a small box, and then stood in front of the bed, smiling as she moved her hands behind her back, and I began to bind her.

Fifteen minutes later, she and my guest were kneeling on the bed, facing each other as I secured their upper bodies together.  My housekeeper was bound in the same way as my guest, and I had tied ropes around their waists and their shoulders to hold them together.  Their legs were also secured to each other above their knees.

“Now, lie down,” I said, the two of them falling to the side as I adjusted their legs, and put cushions under their heads.  My housekeeper was also tape gagged, and as they looked at each other their eyes connected in a real way.

“I require sleep now,” I said as I walked away, “but you have both performed well today, and you deserve a reward.”  I started the vibrators nestling in their passages, both women squirming as their taped lips brushed, and I turned the lights off...

The next morning, I came in, wearing a silk kimono, and saw them lying there, their eyes closed, smiles under the tape.  I smiled in turn as I untied them from each other, and then released my housekeeper.  She started to wake as I did so, and stood up, her hands clasped in front of herself.

“Go – shower, change and start to prepare breakfast,” I said as the guest started to stir.  “I will see you later.”

As she walked out, the other girl looked at me and said “plssmmetlk?”

“What is it,” I said as I peeled the tape away, and removed her damp panties.

“Last night, I was not sure what I was saying,” she gasped as the vibrator continued to work.  “Are you her mistress?”

“I am – she came some time ago, like you, and remains with me.”

“Of her own....  Ahh..... Her own free will?”

“Indeed – she is allowed to come and go as she pleases, but she is mine.  Why do you ask?”

My guest looked at me, and said “you were right – I am a submissive, and I seek a caring mistress.”

“Is there something you wish to say?”

“May I serve you?”

Smiling, I removed my kimono, revealing my body as I said “if that is what you desire, then show me.”

Nodding, she said “will you help me kneel please, mistress?”

“Of course,” I said as I helped her to her knees, and she started to kiss my neck and chest, showing her pleasure...

We now live in the shack as a threesome – she moved her things in, and is my secretary, taking care of my correspondence as I write my novels and travel.  With my Housekeeper, they serve me willingly, and serve each other.  I allow them this in my absence, and as a reward in my presence, but I am their mistress, and they never forget that.

There is complete trust, complete joy in their service and devotion, and I reward them for that – as is right and proper.  In fact, as I type this, they are facing each other, in their leather dresses, their arms round each other, their panel gagged mouths touching as they force the double headed dildo deeper into each other, the ropes holding them securely, lost in their love and devotion.
She Saw Her Standing There...
This was the winner of the picture poll - so here's a little tale...
Saturday 4th July
11 am
Tufts University Softball Field

“Explain to me again why I’m playing softball this Fourth of July instead of working on my tan?” Carina moaned as she sat in the changing room.

“Because you of all people should want to raise money for and support Mass General’s appeal to raise funds for a new maternity unit darling,” her mother reminded her.

“And anyway it will be fun.” Abigail said as she pulled her jersey on.

“I think it’s going to be fun, even though I’m useless at hitting anything.” Carolyn Murphy laughed as she pulled her cleats on her feet, “and they have sold a lot of tickets to watch us all make fools of ourselves.”

“Well what use I’ll be I don’t know, I’ve never even watched baseball.” Angel adjusted her cap with the CS logo on it.

“It’s softball darling, not baseball,” her mother reminded her.

“There’s a difference?”

“YES!” most of the American girls shouted back.

“We are in trouble.” Marnie came back into the locker room shaking her head. “I was just watching the nurses practice, they can all really play this game.”

“Well lucky Anna brought in a ringer then isn’t it?” a tall black girl in a West Point uniform said as she stood in the doorway.

“Miranda,” Cari hugged her old friend. “Okay at least we have a decent pitcher now.”

“I thought basketball was your sport Miranda?” Diana said as she kissed the female soldier.

“Oh she also plays a very mean game of softball.” Abby laughed.

“I was just named as an honourable mention All-American after the season we just finished.”

“Alright...Way to go that girl.” Cari high-fived her friend.

“So how was your first year at the Point Miranda?” Juliette asked.

“Hard, tiring, everything you hear about how tough it is true. We do both academics and military training, whilst these softies at places like Yale are laying in bed we are already long since up and doing.”

“Rather you then me darling.” Mandy laughed.

“So who else is on our team?”

“Kate Upton’s here, she’s outside signing autographs Miranda, Jo’s playing, Carolyn’s here, Behati’s playing, so are Lindsay Ellingson and Julie Henderson.” Juliette called out.

“The crowd will get their quota of supermodels.” Abby smiled.

“Aunt Linda is here to throw out the first pitch.” Cari added.

“We also have a secret weapon.” Mary came into the room, “Marisa Miller just turned up, and she plays quite well.”

“Well, maybe we won’t make absolute fools of ourselves.” Cari laughed.

In the car park, Clint and Curt were working behind a pair of barbecues, turning the meat as Heather and Orlanda supervised the children in a nearby sandpit.

“How long,” Heather called over as Sandy and Nessa reclined in chairs by the cars.

“They’re done when they’re done,” Nessa called back as Janice and Adam walked over.

“Nice day for the game,” Jan said as she looked over at Katie, the little girl waving as she went to join little Sandy.

“Indeed – want a hand with them?”

“We’re good for now,” Clint said with a smile.

“Yeah,” Susan said as she sat with Shirley and John, “pull up a chair, grab a brew, and relax.”

“So where’s George?”

“He’s walking around somewhere,” John said as he looked up, “something about wanting to find the men’s room.”

“And believe me, I found it – eventually,” George Simpson said as he walked over.   “Where did the girls go?”

“They went in with April,” Grant said as he joined them, “and the other parents to get a space fixed on the bleachers.”

“Explain this game again to me Jeannie,” Ama said as she sat with Maisha in the front row of the bleachers.

“It is very similar to the game of rounders, Ama,” Jeannie said, “or Baseball, on a smaller pitch.”

“Ah – then it will not last as long as a game of cricket then.”

“Oh thank the lord, no,” Ray Musynzki said.

“Good,” Natasha said as she held Willy’s arm.  “I want to see the fireworks tonight as well.”

“Careful Natasha,” Karen said as she sat down with Ray, John on her lap, “you know what happens when we get together.”

“And why are you not playing Karen?”

“Care to tell me which side I should play on?”

“Fair point,” April said as she looked at John.

“This is a nice way to spend a holiday,” Marina said as she and Janine walked along the bleachers.

“Indeed, darling,” Kylie said as she carried two bottles, “ah, there they are now.”

“Hey you guys – have a seat,” Pepsi said as she waved from behind Jeannie.

“I hope we have plenty of drinks,” Marina said as she took her seat.

“All taken care of,” George said as he appeared, carrying a large ice box, “and plenty more where these came from.”

“This is Jeanne Beckman, for once not habiting the catwalks or the fashion houses, but reporting instead from the changing rooms at Tufts University, outside Boston, where a team of models is taking on a team from Massachusetts General in a Fourth of July find raising softball game.”

Jeanne looked round the changing room as the girls were making final preparations.  “As you can see, a top team have agreed to appear here today free of charge to raise money for the maternity unit at the Boston hospital.  Team captain for the Complete Style All Stars is style guru, and newly recognized by royalty, Mary Thomas.  Mary, do you have a few moments?”

“Hi Jeanne,” Mary said as she stood next to the reporter.

“So what led you to agree to this event?”

“Well, as many of your viewers know, Little Cari Huntingdown’s daughter Judith was born in the unit, and when Karen Boyd asked if we could put a team together for this event we were more than delighted to agree to do so.”

“I see a number of the older stars have agreed to play alongside the likes of Joanne Smith – so they feel threatened?”

“Of course not Jeanne – we’re all here to have fun and raise as much money as we can for a worthwhile cause.”

“Well, I’ll be trying to speak to the players throughout the afternoon, but for now, good luck.”

“Thanks Jeanne,” Mary said as the cameraman signaled the filming had stopped.

“Fancy taking a couple of swings?”

“OH no – you can count me as an enthusiastic supporter,” Jeanne said with a smile.

“So who are the umpires today?” asked Mags as she tied her hair back into a ponytail.

“Alex Cabot, Father Richmond, Johnny Damon, the former Red Sox and Yankees player, and Erin Andrews the sports broadcaster, she’ll be at 1st base.” Anna Mitchell came into the changing room, smiling broadly.

“And no jokes about every man in the crowd wanting to get to first base with Erin…. PLEASE!” Juliette yelled out.

“Now would we do that darling?” Mandy laughed slyly.

“Girls, just remember we are here to raise a lot of money for a great cause, so go out and have a lot of fun, and just remember the score doesn’t count if everyone enjoys themselves.” Mary gave the team a pep talk.

“Oh and I thought we needed an honorary batgirl.” Alice MacKinnon grinned, as Jack Linklater came in wearing what looked like a cheerleader’s uniform.

“Oh Jack she didn’t?” Juliette called out, before breaking into near hysterical laughter.

“Payback for his walking in on us all those times.” Alice grinned.

“Well at least I have the legs to wear it,” Jack wiggled through the locker room, till Pru chucked a mitt at him.

“Oh this is going to be hilarious.” Abby laughed.

“All right girls,” Jo said, “are we ready?”

“Yes,” the room mumbled.

“I said ARE WE READY?”

“YES,” they shouted back.

“Then let’s go out and have a fun time,” Jo said as she put her cap on, “Batter up!”

“Is Heather okay?” Diana asked Sandy as they stood drinking beer.

“No, not really.”

“Oh? Anything I can do to help?”

“Not unless you know a good way to wipe clean childhood memories.”

“The bad dreams have started again?” Diana looked very concerned. “I thought they had stopped.”

“No for some reason since we returned from Europe they’ve started up again big time.”

“Poor Heather, you know she really ought to see a therapist.”

“I’ve tried to persuade her so many times, but she won’t do it.”

“Poor girl, we all suffered our own trauma, but hers was the worst. I can’t imagine having my father rape me repeatedly for all those years.”

“Well I think I may have a quiet word with Karen after the game, see if she can recommend a good therapist.”

“It might be for the best.” Diana whispered as Heather came back with hot dogs.

“Mmmmm these are good,” Sandy bit into one.

“Good?” Diana looked pained as she sampled hers, “Mon Dieu, I despair of Americans sometimes.”

“Hey it’s the fourth of July, It’s tradition.” Heather laughed.

“I swear, on Bastille Day, I will show all of you…”

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls,” the announcer on the PA said, “Welcome to this special charity match to raise funds for the Massachusetts General Hospital Maternity Unit.  Please welcome to the field the home team, the Maternity Babes!”

The crowd cheered as the nurses and doctors ran onto the field.

“And now welcome on to the field Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, the Complete Style All-Star team.” The announcer said as the girls ran out onto the field and stood along the Third base line.

The girls stood in their red shorts, white jerseys and red caps and waved to the crowd.

“And Ladies and Gentlemen you think the Red Sox have a huge payroll, just think what these girls earn in a year.”

“Yes but they look better then the Sox do?” someone in the crowd shouted.

“Aint that the truth,” the announcer laughed. “Anyway today though they are all here giving of their talents for free to support the appeal to build a new maternity unit at Mass General.”

The girls smiled as the crowd applauded.

“Now before we do the player Introductions, let us welcome the Colour Guard from Norwich University, and I ask all to remove your caps for the playing of our national anthem.”

The crowd stood as one, and began to sign as the band played.

“O say can you see by the dawn's early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,

O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

In the parking lot, Shirley, George and John stood and watched as everyone else joined in – including Susan.

As the music finished, Susan turned and saw Shirley raise an eyebrow.

“Well – I’m thinking of taking on dual citizenship.”

“Good – I approve,” Shirley said quietly.

“Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen…Now introducing the starting lineups.”
“For the Mass General nurses…” the announcer ran through the list of names each girl stepping forward and taking her cap off as her name was announced.

“And now for the Complete Style all-stars, playing centre field and leading off…Abigail de Ros!” Abby stepped forward.

“Batting second, and playing First Base…Kate Upton.” The crowd broke out into huge applause. “Batting third and playing pitcher…Miranda Jones, Batting fourth and playing second base,…Marisa Miller, Batting fifth and playing left field Lindsay Ellingson. Batting sixth and catching…Maggie Fife, Playing shortstop, and batting seventh Carina Huntingdown. Batting eighth and playing out in right field Behati Prinsloo, and finally batting ninth and playing third base…Angel Fitzstuart.”

The crowd burst into cheers and whistles.

“Alright those of you on the bench we will get everyone into the game at some point.” Mary addressed her troops. “Just go out there…have fun….and ENJOY yourselves.”

“Now to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, please welcome to the field, the beautiful Miss Linda Evangelista.”

Linda walked out to the mound, waving and smiling to the crowd, before tossing a strike underhand into Maggie’s mitt as she crouched behind home plate.

“Nice throw.” Maggie smiled as she gave Linda back the ball as a souvenir.

“Thank you darling.” Linda turned and waved to the crowd as she walked toward the dugouts.

“Alright now - big applause Ladies and Gentlemen for the Complete Style All-Stars as they take the field,” the announcer spoke.

“Okay Mags same signals we used to use at school,” Miranda whispered to her catcher.

“I know.”

Miranda walked out to the mound and began tossing warm-up pitches to Maggie.

“Batting first for the nurses, Sheila Docherty.”

“Good luck.” Maggie shook her hand.

“Okay ladies…LETS PLAY BALL!” Alex called out as he took up his position behind Mags at home plate.

Miranda looked at Mags, signaling before she sent a curve ball over, Sheila swinging and missing as Alex called out “STRRRiikkke One!”

As the first innings began, a meeting of the senior members of Pi Tau Alpha was in session…

“So PTA membership for Marnie and Mags as we discussed Mother?” Juliette sat in a corner of the dugout talking with Linda.

“Oh certainly, they are both going to be huge.”

“Ingrid?” asked Karen.

“The same, a second-generation PTA girl.”

“Talking of second generation, Pelican won’t raise this, but I think we invite Carina to join.” Alice spoke.

“She’s only a part-timer…”

“But we all know that will change when she graduates from Yale Ju. She’s too damn beautiful, even if she is only five three.” Pru interrupted.

“I think she’s in.” Linda raised an eyebrow at her old friend, “but if you think…?”

“I think she will be honoured Mother.”

“Now I have a name to raise,” Linda smiled, “Joanne Smith.”

“Jo?” Juliette looked genuinely surprised. “I don’t think modeling is more than just a sideline for Jo.”

“But she’s good Ju, very good.” Alice replied. “I’m certainly hoping to use her a lot more.”

“I agree with Bats.” Linda nodded, “that kid has a future, and like it or not I think she has a future modeling, as well as in her career path.”

“I agree.” Karen smiled, “Oh and before we forget Angel as well?”

“Oh there’s no doubt.” Linda laughed. “She’s got it all.”

“Now we just need decide on names.” Carolyn Murphy spoke.

“Well, if she’s coming into the sisterhood, we already have an informal name for Cari,” Alice said.

“And do you think she will agree to it full time?”

“She likes it – she may complain like heck about it, but so did I about Pelican…”

“All right then – Sister Elmore it is.  Next up – Maggie?”

“With that head of red hair,” Carolyn said, “there is only one possible name.”

The women looked at each other, before Linda said “Sister Maureen?”

She watched as the others nodded in agreement.  “All right – Ingrid.”

“We already have Heidi and Valkyrie – Lorelei?”

“I thought of that,” Karen said, “but didn’t you say she’s an opera buff Ju?”

“Yes – yes she is,” Juliette said, “is Isolde taken?”

“Nope – so Sister Isolde?”

Again, there were no objections as Linda looked round.  “Very well then – that leaves Marnie, Angel and Joanne.”

“Well, Joanne is a runner, and is dogged…”

Juliette and Karen looked at Alice, as she said, “and she does have an affinity for dogs…”

“Oh no – no, you can’t be serious?”

“Oh yes I am – I nominate Sister Greyhound.”

“Well, if nothing else it will make Jeannie feel better,” Juliette said as she shook her head.  “Marnie?”

“Have you ever seen the film Private School?”

“Nope,” Linda said as she looked at Carolyn.

“One of the characters goes horse riding in the nude – and that calendar shot.”

“How a propos – the name?”

“Sister Jordan?”

“Won’t a certain Katie Price be upset?”

“Nah – she’ll see the funny side.  Which leaves the daughter of Tufty.  A Kid Squirrel if…”

“Or a Kit Squirrel?”

The ladies looked at each other and nodded in unison.”

“Very well then – induction after the game?”

“Agreed,” they said as one as Marisa caught a second runner from the nurses team.

“So that’s one run, and two out for the nurses team, as Debbie Fittermann takes to the plate.  She swings – she connects – and she’s caught by Angel Fitzstuart.”

The crowd cheered as the All Stars came in, and the opposing team took to the field.

“First up to bat for the All Stars – Abigail de Ros.”

“Swing for it Abby,” Miranda called out as Abby touched the ground with her bat, and took the stand.


“Oh, hello Heather,” Annie said as she played with Judith on her knee.  “Where are the kids?”

“Having some hot dogs with Shirley and John watching them.  How’s the game going?”

“They’ve got one home, second and third occupied.”

“Well, that’s something,” Heather said as she looked at Marisa hitting a home run, bringing the other runners home.

“You all right?  You look tired.”

“I’ve not been sleeping very well,” Heather said as she looked out.  “Listen, don’t tell Sandy, but thanks for letting me see that material.”

“No problem – got you thinking?”

“Possibly – but I’m not ready to say anything yet.”

“Well, if you want to talk – about anything?”

“Thanks,” Heather said, “really, thanks.”

“And that’s the end of the first innings, with score at 4-2 to the All Stars.”

“There you are,” Karen said as she looked at the longhaired blonde, wearing a sleeveless blouse and shorts, who was walking towards the group.  “Feeling better?”

“A little – and thanks for letting me sleep on,” she said as the others stood up.

“Grace what are you doing here?” Diana asked.

“School hasn’t finished yet has it Miss?” asked Jeannie.

“No…the bloody governors have suspended me without pay.”

“For what?” Barbara Brewster spoke.

“Oh for being Grace Gresham basically. They claim that when I got the job at Downwood that I falsified my CV by leaving out that I’d been a model, failed to reveal that drunk driving conviction of mine, and that appearing like I did on TV I’d brought the school into disrepute.”

“The bastards!” Barbara’s jaw dropped. “So what you are saying is after all those wonderful years of service to that rotten school, they trumped up some charges to get rid of you?”

“That is how it sounds to me.” Diana said as she put her arm round the blonde.

“Well my case won’t be heard till August, I had nothing to do, so I thought I’d come visit old friends.”

“Good idea – have a beer,” Barbara said as she reached into the icebox and tossed a can to Grace.

“That looks a bit empty,” Curt said as he walked up, “let me get a fresh box.”

“You want anything to eat,” Winston said as he looked at Jeannie.

“Well, I won’t say no to a chicken leg if they’re ready?”

“Let me go and find out,” Winston said as Mandy walked over.

“So, my dear Kylie,” she said as Kylie looked at her through her glasses, “I hear you have modeled yourself on me.”

“I hope you don’t mind, Your Ladyship,” Kylie said quietly, “but I am a great admirer of yours.  If I have offended, then I apologise totally.”

“No, no offence taken, darling,” Mandy said with a smile, “Angel is right – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

“Thank you, darling,” Kylie replied with a smile as the other senior ladies came over.

“Grace I heard, I’m so sorry.” Linda gave her a huge hug.

“Oh it’s no one’s fault but the damn people on the school governors who had never liked me Mother.”

“Do they have the right?”

“They do Ju, and I suppose they are technically right about the model thing, and I didn’t say I had that driving conviction, but I think the disrepute charge is totally bogus.”

“I can’t believe it.” Karen shook her head.

“So anyway, can a blonde in her late forties make a few bucks legally over here?”

“Palomino you know damn well you can…Missy can find you all the work you like.” Juliette answered.

“Did you retain a lawyer to represent you Grace?” asked Linda.

“No lawyers cost money, with my mortgage, I’m not exactly flush, and Harriet lent me the money for my ticket.”

“Don’t worry PTA will pay for a lawyer.” Linda looked for approval from the other top girls round her.

“Its totally bullshit Grace, and I agree with mother, PTA will get a lawyer for you.” Pru spoke.

“It’s why we have a legal fund.” Carolyn Murphy nodded. “To help members like this.”

“Thanks – I’ll talk to them when I get back, English law and all that.”

“There’s more we can do, darling,” Mandy said, “does Fiona know what has happened?”

“What’s happened,” Mary said as she came over, and Karen explained the situation.

“Oh they did, did they,” Mary said when Karen had finished.  “I think they’re about to find out what can happen when you upset Fiona McKenzie.  Excuse me a moment – Ju, take over as coach for a minute, will you?”

“No problem,” Juliette said as the PA boomed out, “and at the end of the second innings, the scores are tied at five each…”

“What made you come to Boston Grace?” asked Caroline as she sat beside her.

“I figured Karen would put me up for a few days, let me get my head together. So I turned up unannounced at her door yesterday, surprising both her nanny and her husband, and once I’d unburdened myself she insisted I stayed.  I hadn’t realized so many of you would be in town until she left me a note this morning, telling me to get a cab out here.”

“Mum used to wonder where you’d gone you know?”

“I know she did, my old agent said she phoned several times.”

“Did you know ‘him’?”

“Yes I did,” the older woman nodded, “we all knew he was bad news, but your Mum she always just failed to break from him.”

“You know he was murdered?”

“I saw it in the papers.”

Caroline nodded and then clapped as Maggie hit a ball to the outfield.  

“Why didn’t you come to mum’s funeral?”

“I was there, I just kept out of sight Caroline. I waited till you’d all left then I went to the graveside to pay my respects.”

“But why Grace?”

“Too many people like Fiona who knew me, I didn’t want them seeing me.”

“Well, I can kind of understand that,” Caroline said, “I hid myself away as well for quite a few years once he’d died.”

“True – but look at yourself now.  Successful in both your fields, and a mother as well.”  Grace put her hand on Caroline’s arm, and said “Stella would have been incredibly proud of you.”

“Aunt Shirley, I wondered if you were going to join us,” Maisha said as she made room for Shirley and John.

“Well, I confess I find the sport a little boring,” Shirley said, “but I wanted to see how things were going.  In addition, I had to bring these two along.”

“Our apologies for our late arrival,” Catherine said as she sat with Helen, “the traffic was somewhat heavier than we had anticipated.”

“At least you made it,” Marina said as she handed them cold bottles of water.

“No beer Helen?”

“Not at the moment – I prefer water,” Helen said with a smile.

“So what do you make of everyone after all this time Grace?” Karen asked.

“Pelican has become such a strong woman, she was really still just a kid breaking through when I split.”

“I know, Ju has done wonderfully well for herself.”

“I once went to APCO in London, I couldn’t believe Bats had made such a success as both designer and retailer.”

“She has done well.”

“And while raising a family.” Grace smiled. “Mandy is still well…Mandy.”

“She’s still her own self.” Karen laughed.

“I knew Diana when she was still Diana de Grechy, I just couldn’t believe it when her daughter made it so big.”

“Young Abigail is amazing, and you had Jeannie under your nose at school.”

“She was always an extremely beautiful girl, but with her disability, you know modeling never occurred to me as something she might prosper in.”

“Well Missy, then Mary, both saw something special in her.”

“I know.  That show in New York before she moved over – I had to stop that clip and watch it again and again…”

“Caroline is so much her mother…”

“But without the weaknesses in Stella.”

“I sensed that.”

“So what about you Palomino?”

“I want my job back Sweets. But I also want to model again if I can.”

“Oh no doubt about that…Missy doesn’t grab flights like that to sign someone she can’t find work for.”

“Did someone mention my name?”

“Oy Vey,” Karen said as Missy appeared as if by magic, “how do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Appear whenever anyone talks about you?”

“Oh come on – with many of my girls here, how could I miss the opportunity?”  She looked at Grace and said “Ju told me what happened – can you spare a couple of days next week?”

“Possibly – why?”

“I got a call from…  Oh my god, is that Jack Linklater leading the cheering?”

“It most assuredly is,” Karen said as Jack danced round, waving his pompoms as the crowd sang along.

“Well I…  Anyway, I had a call from a client, who needs a model for some shots.  I was going to ask someone else, but they want a mature person, and if you need the employment…”

“Oh yeah – I could use that,” Grace said with a smile, “tell me about it.”
Born on the Fourth of July - part 1
What says Independence Day more than a charity softball game - a time to meet and for some things to be said...
“So what are you going to get for a wedding present Caroline?”

“I have a few ideas, but I’m not going to do anything about it before I return.  There’s a guy in the village I need to talk to on behalf of myself and Ama – Annie and Carina are going together on another present.”

“As I expected,” Penny said, “they seem to have grown closer since I last saw them.”

Caroline nodded in agreement.  “I can see that as well.  At any rate, what about you?  I don’t think Emma’s quite ready yet for your taste in entertainment.”

“That’s not what I heard.”

“Unconfirmed as yet – and if it is, Maddie doesn’t know.  So?”

“Don’t worry – I sorted something out jointly with Charlotte and Lily.  I think they will appreciate it.”

“And Maisha?”

“Did you know Maddie invited her to be one of the attendants?”

“No that I did not know.  Who’s the other one?”

“A cousin of Emma’s from north of the border.  They should make quite the couple.”

“Male or female?”

“I have no idea – their name is Andy, but how that is spelt she will not tell me.”

“I think most of you know Stephen and Eve Stone don’t you?” John called out as a smartly dressed couple in their sixties arrived.

“Alright hell must have frozen over.” Mandy shouted. “How the bugger did you get him out of Dublin Eve?”

“By the same miracle that helped you get Will away from his pigs,” the Irish former supermodel answered as they hugged.  “And it is so good to see you as well, Tufty – so many of you in fact.”

“Stephen you never did book me for THAT shoot,” Juliette laughed gently as she kissed the famous photographer.

“Missy would never let me do it Juliette darlin’. She always claimed that posin’ nude might ruin yer marketability.”

“Oh there is nude photography, and then there are Stephen Stone nudes darling.” Mandy kissed him as well. “Yours are high art, not pornography. Most of us back in the day would have killed to model for you.”

“Well compliments are always graciously accepted,” the Irishman’s eyes twinkled, “and what do you mean back in the day? I’d still love ter photograph yer now.”

“Not unless I got my boobs fixed first.” Juliette shook her head.

“In my case Will would want to buy all the prints just for himself darling.”

“I see Cassy when she’s in New York Eve, who’d have ever thought that little Cassandra would ever become such a great actress?” Diana kissed her old friend.

“I could say the same, who would have ever thought that Abigail would become such an iconic model?”

“I know,” Diana looked proudly across the room at her daughter, “I certainly never saw it, luckily Merlin did.”

“Uncle Stephen!” Carina threw herself at the Irishman. “No one said you were coming.’

“Cari mah darlin’ aren’t yer getting’ a little bit too old ter do that?”

“Never,” Cari smiled broadly.

“I remember when yer were still a tiny baby, and now yer have one yerself.”

“I do, and you and Aunt Eve must meet her.”

“Is my daughter being a brat Stephen?”

“Juliette mah darlin’ she’s still perfect, but she reminds me how old ahm gettin’.”

“Nonsense,” Juliette said, “if there one man who will never get old it’s you.”

“Oh compliments yet from a lady who never ages.”

“You Irishmen are all so silver tongued.”

“And what is this I hear about you and a certain German prince?”

“Book’s still open,” Sandy called from across the room.

“I may take some of that action,” Eve said as she walked over to greet them.

“Klaus and I are getting on well, thank you – although the shock of discovering her was Carina’s father still surprises me from time to time.”

“Girls if ah may, can ah beg an introduction ter…” he nodded towards Caroline.

“Certainly,” Juliette said as she led him over by the arm.

“Stephen Stone, meet Caroline…”

“We don’t need introducing Ju.” Caroline kissed the Irishman, “Thank you for the lovely words you said at Mum’s funeral Stephen. I never got the chance to thank you.”

“I wasn’t sure you’d remember me, it’s why I asked Juliette fer an introduction. I bet everyone says it Caroline but you are the image of her.”

“They do, and I take it as the highest compliment,” she smiled. “You know that reclining photo of Mum in the nude with just the sheet draped on her was her favourite picture of herself?”

“Well, she was a special presence and seeing you out there as well just shows how special she was.  And this must be young Jeannie Brewster?”

“It is indeed,” Jeannie said as she shook his hand.  “I’ve seen a lot of your work, Mister Stone…”

“Please – call me Stephen.  I think you’re a pioneer young lady, and some day perhaps…”

“You’d need to go through the protection first,” Jeannie said as she looked at her mother and boyfriend, “but I am flattered you would think of inviting me.”

“The offer will be there,” Stephen said with a smile as Ama and Maisha came over.  “Would this be yer daughter, Caroline?”

“It is indeed.  Ama, this is Stephen Stone; he’s a very famous photographer.  Stephen, meet Ama and Maisha.”

“You are a beauty as well,” he said, “any plans to follow in your mother’s footsteps?”

“Oh no,” Ama said quietly, “My path lies elsewhere, and Maisha lives here.”

“Still, you must allow me to take a picture of both of you at some…”

“Now, boyo,” Eve said as she came over, “leave the poor girl alone.  A pleasure to meet you at last, Face, BS.”

“Likewise,” Jeannie said, “I keep meeting my idols all the time…”

“I like this one,” Eve said as she looked at Juliette and Mary.

“So how are things really going Eve?” Diana asked as she and Juliette sat in a corner with the former model.

“I presume Cassy told you?”

“She did.” Diana held the Irishwoman’s hand.

“He has his good days like today, he has his bad ones. This party was a very good excuse to get him over to London to see a specialist at UCH.”

“Parkinson’s is a lousy disease.” Juliette shook her head.

“Well he keeps working, and it does seem to be a little in remission at the moment, but it’s such an unpredictable thing.”

“We see a lot of Michael and Tracy in New York so we understand,” Diana spoke.

“Well his case is far more advanced, I’m amazed how well he does. Tracy and he did send me a lovely supportive letter after Cassy told them.”

“Did Cassy tell you she is lending us her house while she’s visiting with you in a couple of weeks?”

“She did Ju, I hear there is a hotel room crisis for this wedding you are going to.”

“There is, I think Maddie is regretting choosing that particular weekend.”

“So have you known Shirley long? She seems really nice and so good for John.”

“Both Diana and I have known her a while, among her businesses she owns a specialist insurance company, I’ve insured shipments with her.”

“Oh that explains it, they met at one of your sets parties didn’t they?”

“They did, and I think it was instant attraction.”

“Talking of attraction, what is this I hear about you and Klaus back together?”

“They are VERY together.” Diana smiled.

“Let me just say, we are happy as we are.” Juliette smiled shyly.

“Okay that gives me some inside information when I lay my bets with Sandy.” Eve smiled.

“What is this about betting?” Stephen asked as he walked over.

“The Juliette and Klaus Stakes Stephen.” Diana looked up. “Eve reckons she has gained some valuable insight.”

“Well my dear wife seldum backs a loser.”

“I didn’t when I married you,” she stood up and kissed her husband.

“Ah but that was more the lack of the Irish,” Stephen said with a smile.  “My glass appears to be empty – anyone else want a refill?”

“Let me walk with you,” Juliette said as she took Stephen’s arm, Eve smiling as she watched them walking away.

"Penny for them?" John Hammond asked as he saw Jeannie with her brows knitted.

"I was just thinking about Mrs. Brand, I know when she fled she dyed that beautiful hair of hers, but why didn't anyone recognise her name?"

"Because Grace's real surname was double barreled, she modeled as Grace Gresham, but her name was actually Grace Gresham-Fox, so she simply called herself Grace Fox and no one knew anything different."

"Oh is that how she did it?"


“Mind you, if they ever found out what my middle name is…”

“Annie must know – she’s your teacher.”

“Uh oh,” Jeannie said as Annie walked over, “Annie, you don’t…”

“Don’t what?”

“Know my middle name – do you?”

Annie smiled as she said, “I do – but its confusing enough keeping track of everybody’s first names.  So your secret is safe with me, Jeannie L….”

“NO – don’t say it,” Jeannie said as she shook her head, “don’t say it.”

"Did you invite Maeve and Rose Shirley" Abby asked.

"I did, Maeve rang and said her car wouldn't start so they'd be late."

"Oh that explains it?"

"Explains what?" Shirley asked as Abby led her to the window.

Down below a group was gathered round an old Honda Civic that was belching smoke from the bonnet, and Maeve and Rose looking harassed and harried.

"What's wrong?" Piet asked as he looked over their shoulder.

"I think Maeve's car just blew up."

"Winston, Jack, come and help me," Piet called across the room, "I think we have some ladies to rescue."

“On it,” Jack said as the two man mountains walked out of the house, Piet and Winston returning with Rose and Maeve on their arms.

“Welcome,” Shirley said as she hugged and kissed both of them, “what happened to the car?”

“I think the distributor is shot,” Jack said as he came in, “I’ve called a mechanic I know in the area, and we’ll get it sorted as soon as we can.  In the meantime, we’ll make sure you get home tonight.”

“You would do that for us,” Rose said as she looked round.  

“Of course – you’re friends,” John said, “now come on – I have instructions to show you to the kitchen and make some tea.”

“Thank you,” Maeve mouthed to Shirley as John escorted them to make a pot.

“I spoke to the kids earlier,” Heather said as she sat with Jo,” they’re so looking forward to showing us what they did in Orlando.”

“I can imagine,” Jo, said, “I still can’t believe I only have a few weeks before I have to set off for college.”

“And that time is going to fly,” Heather said as she looked across the river.  “I couldn’t be more proud of you, and I couldn’t be dreading a day more.”

“I know – me too.”

“Hey, why the long faces?”

The two of them turned to see Mary Thomas standing there, as John and Shirley greeted Fiona and the other guests behind them.

“Growing up Mary – happens to the best of us.”

“Oh really?  Tell you what – when I do, I’ll let you know, all right?”

The two women looked at her and then burst out laughing, as Jo said “come and sit down with the youngsters then.”

“Why thank you kindly,” Mary said as she took one of the seats.

“So has it fully sunk in yet?”

“What the award?  Nah – I’ll end up leaving it somewhere like a certain photographer and forgetting.  Honestly, work is the reward for me.”

“Enough of a reward to fly over here just for the housewarming?”

“Not just for this – Fiona wants my help with some arrangements, and I thought I might head home for a couple of days as well.  Janine and co have things well in hand.”

“So you’ve seen Marina?”

“I have – and a confident young lady she has turned into.”

“It’s going to be interesting seeing her again,” Heather said with a smile.

“Ah that hits the spot,” Rose said as she sipped the hot steaming drink.  “Thank you very much John.”

“So how are you doing Rose?”

“Surprisingly well – I go to meetings twice a week, Maeve keeps me on the straight and narrow, and I’m practicing my old skills for the new job.”

“Well, practice makes perfect,” Maeve, said with a smile.  “So are you coming for the christening John?”

“I believe I have been hired as the official photographer, but even if I wasn’t, I would be coming.  Shirley and I will be out with Maisha next Thursday.”

“Shirley, is that your phone ringing,” Lily said as she looked over at a side table.

“It would appear to be,” John said as he picked up the handset, and said “hello?”

Smiling, he handed the phone to Shirley, who said quietly “Shirley Xavier.”

“Hi Shirley.  So how is the party going?" Kelly Rochermann asked.

"If I put you on speakerphone you can hear and talk with everyone." Shirley replied as she pressed a button and replaced the handset.

"Okay, can everyone hear me now?"

"We can Kel." Juliette called out.

"It sounds like a great party going on there."

"Well we have had the odd thing go wrong. Maeve's car blew up outside."

"Oh no Shirley is she okay?"

"Yes but her poor car isn't."

"You can say that again." Maeve shook her head as she drank her wine.

“Don’t worry – Jack Fitzstuart called their mechanic, and he’s going to have a look at it.”

"So how did SaintzandSinnerz run?" Sandy asked.

"He won very easily I heard, and at three to one."

"Ooh my bookie will be paying out." Heather laughed.

"I think most of us will have made money."

"How are Ally and Nell?" asked Abby.

"We are great," Ally shouted from her end. "Just wait till you meet the new Kylie."

"I hear I will notice a resemblance." Mandy spoke.

"You will." Nell called out.

"Well they do say Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery Mother." Angel laughed.

"I suppose so." Mandy answered in her languid drawl.

"So any other news?" Carina asked.

“Not really – we went swimming with the girls this morning, and Pepsi said something about Ama bringing her home some vintage clothing.

“She has it packed and ready to deliver,” Caroline said as Ama looked over from her seat with Jeannie.

“I think you have a lot more to tell us than we you, Cari – both the fashion show and what happened in Germany and Vienna.”

“We’ve seen the reports here – how was the burial Ju?”

“Very moving actually – there was a honor guard from the government, and there was even a message of eulogy from the Israeli ambassador.  It’s Birgitte that is the talking point.”

“I know – Curt has made a number of radio appearances to discuss her.  Jo needs to know she has to talk him down.”

“Don’t worry – I have my game plan ready,” Jo called out, “and it starts with dinner next week.”

“Kelly, what’s happening with the special event Nessa and Paulie are setting up?”

“She’ll tell you next week Ju – she says she needs to talk to Sandy and Heather first.”

“Mom,” Ally called out, “Dad’s back.”

“Right – gotta go.  See you all next week, girls.”

“Bye Kelly,” Shirley called out as they party cheered, and the line went dead.

“Lily, a word,” Sandra said as she took the young woman into a corner.

“How can I help you,” Lily said quietly.

“I heard of what you did last week – nice job.”

“Bullies need to be shown the error of their ways,” Lily said quietly as she looked at Jeannie, “and I hope I showed them a few lessons.”

“Well, we are watching them now – we’ll see what will happen next.”

Lily nodded.  “One of them showed remorse and promise more than the others – I wonder if one day she will be of use to us?”

“We will watch, and we will learn,” Sandra said as she sipped her wine.

Monday 29th June
2 pm
JFK Airport

“Home again,” Carina said as their luggage was loaded onto a trolley.

“We’re going to get a cab back to the village,” Caroline said as she loaded her bags onto a trolley, Annie adding hers.  “April promised to get some things in, but we need to get back to normal.”

“Understood,” Juliette said as Annie kissed Carina.  “See you for lunch tomorrow?”

“You bet, Monster Momma,” Carina said as she smiled.  “Have a good night.”

“So what chance of finding a cab that can take a baby as well,” Carina said as Judith gurgled against her.

“I don’t think we’ll need it,” Juliette said as the doors opened in front of them.

“Janine you are a lifesaver.” Juliette embraced her assistant as they came into the International Arrivals hall.

“I figured you guys might appreciate a friendly face to pick you up.”

“It’s nice to be home.” Carina smiled as she cradled Judith in her arms.

“She’s grown again.” Janine smiled back.

“She has,” the proud mother looked at her daughter, “she’s become an experienced traveller while we were away.”

“Any problems at the office?”

“Nothing that can’t wait till tomorrow Juliette.”

“Good,” Juliette said as she yawned, “a nice long bath and an early night in my own bed are just what I need.”

“So any news Janine?” Cari asked.

“Not a huge amount, Marina’s been helping in the office…”

“Good,” Juliette nodded.

“She, Alexis and I have had a couple of girls nights out.”

“Did you meet any guys?”

“We might have Cari,” Janine giggled.

“Oh tell me more…” Carina signaled for the skycap to load their luggage in the back of Janine’s van.

“I’ll tell you as we drive.” Janine climbed in as Juliette tipped the skycap.

“Welcome home,” John said as Sandy and Heather appeared with Jo, “I trust you had a good trip?”

“Very good, thank you John,” Sandy said as she let him take the luggage trolley.  “Jeannie and Barbara are on the next flight in – do you have time to get us back and come back for them?”

“Naturally,” John said with a smile.  “Your mother and the kids are waiting for you at home.”

“I can’t wait to see them either,” Heather said as John loaded the bags into the car, and they climbed into the back.

“And they want to see you – I understand they have bought Joanne a Minnie Mouse hat, and they expect her to wear it.”

“Oh deep joy,” Jo said as they drove off.

2.45 pm
The de Ros Mansion

“Oh thank the goddess – home again,” Abby said as she stepped into her home.

“I agree entirely,” Diana said as the cab driver put their bags into the hallway, and then accepted their payment.  “It is indeed good to be home.”

“Welcome home,” Edith said as she came through from the kitchen.  “I have coffee ready for you if you so desire.”

“Thank you Edith – bring it through to the front room please,” Diana said as she and Abigail sat down, stretching their legs out.

“At least we have a few days off now,” Abby said, “and I intend to make use of every second of it.”

“Ah – you have safely returned.”

“Hello papa,” Diana said as she saw Guy walk in, “we’re just having some coffee.  Care to join us?”

“I would be delighted – we can share stories of the last week or two…”

3 pm
The Richmond Mansion

“It’s very quiet in here,” Heather said as the three of them walked back in.

“Too quiet,” Jo said.  “John, I thought you said the kids were here?”

“They are,” John said as he put the bags down.  “Forgive me, Sandy, but…”

“Go,” Sandy said, “and we’ll see you tomorrow.”  As John left, Sandy walked to the front room, and opened the door.


Little Sandy and Little George jumped out fo their hiding places and hugged their mother, while Vanessa and George sat in the armchairs.

“Sorry – they wanted to surprise you, and it was worth it for the look on their faces,” Vanessa said as she stood up.  “Welcome home, all of you.”

“It’s good to be back,” Jo said as she hugged the kids.  “So, tell me all about Disneyland…”

“It was fantastic,” George said as Jo took them by the hand, “we met Mickey and Buzz and Donald, and we saw lots of animals…”

“Where’s Jennifer?”

“She should be here any minute – ah, that will be her now,” Nessa said as she walked to the door, returning with Jennifer in the arms of a tall, thin red haired young woman, wearing a white blouse and a knee length skirt.

“Welcome back, Miss Richmond, Miss Smith,” she said as she handed the toddler to George.

“Please – it’s Sandy and Heather, Orlanda.  How was Jennifer?”

“As good as gold,” she said with a soft Irish accent.  “Shall I do tea for the children now?”

“Not tonight,” Heather said quietly, “Allow me to cook for you – a thank you for the last few weeks.”

“Well, if you insist,” Orlanda said as she sat down.

7 pm
Village Florist

“Hey there,” Pepsi said as she opened the door to see Jeannie with her grandfather, “come on up, the gang’s all here.”

“Great – I’ve missed all of you,” Jeannie said as John lifted her up and carried her up the stairs, Pepsi putting her wheelchair at the bottom before closing the door.

“Hello Jeannie,” April said as she came into the open area, “have a seat, I’ll have the snacks ready soon.”

“It’s so good to see you guys again,” she said as she looked at Nikki, Becca and Doc, “but where’s this transformed Kylie?”

“I believe Jeannie is asking where you are, Kylie,” Pepsi called out.

“I am helping Nicola’s mother with the food,” a posh English accent called back, Jeannie looking at the others as John sat her down.

“That’s Kylie,” she whispered, the others nodding.  Pepsi, Nikki, Doc and Becca were all wearing t-shirts and shorts, while Jeannie was still in her leggings and top from the flight.

So when Kylie came in, wearing a short sleeved khaki blouse and matching short skirt, Jeannie could only look on as she said “hello Jeannie darling, you look wonderful” before setting a dish of chopped peppers and celery on the table.

“All right,” Jeannie said quietly, “Who are you and what have you done with the real Kylie Mitchell?”

“Oh, it’s me all right,” Kylie said with a smile, “I just made a few changes while in Hong Kong.  Do you like them?”

“I love it – come here,” she said as she hugged the young woman.

“You look radiant,” Kylie said as she eventually sat down, Nikki reclining on the couch as April brought through some drinks.

“So where’s Ama?”

“She cried off – something about a quiet night in for all three of them.”

“So what was the highlight of the trip Jeans?” asked Pepsi.

“You mean other than finding out my former Headmistress was a long lost Supermodel?”

“Yes – apart from that little bombshell,” Becca said.

“I think sitting with and talking to Eve Stone.”

“Who?” asked Doc.

“You know as smart as you are Anna there are big gaps in your general knowledge…Eve Stone was one of the greatest models of the late sixties and seventies.”

“She must be ancient then?” remarked Becca.

“If I look that good when I’m that old I’ll be VERY happy…no she’s still so beautiful.”

“Is she any relation to Cassandra Stone the actress?” asked Kylie.

“Her mother.”

“Wow you met Cassandra Stone’s mom?” Nikki sat up suddenly. “You all know she’s my favourite actress?”

“We do,” groaned Anna, “you’ve dragged us all to enough of her movies.”

“You enjoyed them.” Nikki glared at her friend.

“Ladies!” Jeans laughed, “Getting back to Eve, she knew and worked with people like Twiggy, Lauren Hutton, Cheryl Tiegs, and so many more.”

“Who?” Doc asked, ducking as Jeannie threw a cushion at her. “Okay,” she laughed, “I do know who they all were.”

”She was telling me some wonderful stories. Did you know when she started models had to do their own hair and makeup?”

“Wake me up when she’s finished talking about model history.” Nikki lay back down again.

“Oh I don’t know, I find it fascinating,” Kylie said, “so she told you about the old days, Jeannie?”

“Oh yes – her husband was a charmer as well.  He’s what the call an artistic photographer?”

“And what does that mean,” Pepsi asked.

“He gets to take nude photos that are not pornography – I do know a few things,” Doc said with a grin.

“Only because he was in that magazine you were reading at the bookstore yesterday,” Pepsi said with a grin.

“All right, I admit it,” Doc said as she held her hands up.  “So sue me!”

“Not a chance, we would lose,” Jeannie said with a laugh.  “So come on – what happened while I was away…”

As she listened to the gossip, Jeannie leaned back and whispered “it is so good to be home…”


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KP - Writer/Art Appreciator/Collector
United Kingdom
Writer of "detective magazine" fiction which I publish with other works at The text boxes you see here contain extracts from some of my stories. Click on the link and look for the category mentioned in the description for the full text. For quick updates to my site, try my blog at

I am always open to story ideas or collaboration requests - :iconrequestsopen: :iconcollabsask:

Current Residence: UK
Favourite genre of music: Classic Rock, sixties female
MP3 player of choice: I don't own one
Favourite cartoon character: DangerMouse
Personal Quote: It's the quiet, unobivous ones you have to watch


Ta mate! Hope I can stay longer this time round ;)
Sat Nov 23, 2013, 4:45 AM


Jan 31, 2015
12:54 am
Jan 31, 2015
12:50 am
Jan 31, 2015
12:13 am
Jan 30, 2015
11:28 pm
Jan 30, 2015
11:00 pm


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MisterMistoffelees Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
And thanks for the new Invasions fave, too!... :D
MisterMistoffelees Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the Invasions fave, KP!... D
AshFan Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2015
Happy 2015 buddy!
Driver651 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2014
Thanks for the fave!
MisterMistoffelees Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
And thanks too for the new chapter fave!... :D
MisterMistoffelees Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Many thanks for the Invasions fave, KP!... :D
carmag34 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014
Thank you for the fav~
Created-By-Caz Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for the fave!
vladen13 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014
From past Jetson future , thanks well for present faving! :) (Smile)
LeggyLinda Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014
Mmm absolutely love your "Not A Robbery" stories.
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