The Richmond Mansion
“It’s very good of you to let us interview all of you here,” the director said as Sandy watched them setting up the lights, George and Sands watching from the doorway with Heather.
“Come on, you need to finish your homework,” Heather said as she led them away.
“So when will we start?”
“In a few minutes,” he said, “would the five of you like to see what we have for the opening?”
“Why not,” Sandy said as she looked at Jan, Jeanne, Clint and Henri.
“Come with me,” he said as they went into the kitchen, setting up a laptop as they sat round, and then starting a film.
“The 2015 racing season produced many stories, but one of the most remarkable was the success of one of the teams making their debut at the Sebring this year – RCM Racing. Based in Pocono, they became the little team that could. Initially dismissed as three socialites playing at racing, it was evident from early on that those who held that opinion had underestimated both the skills and the determination of the team.
“But then, the pedigree of the team should have been a major clue. For example, the team manager – Henri Marais, himself the winner of several races, and one of the most respected drivers on the circuit before an accident badly scarred him, and he retired. The fact he came out of his retirement to manage this team should have been a warning.
“Or their chief mechanic – Clint Walker, who in the past worked with engineering wizard Ian Nelson when he was based in California, and no mean driver in his own right. Those who followed the Drag circuits in Southern California at the turn of the century may have seen him there. These days he works as a driver for the UN, but his mechanical skills are remembered.
“So the backroom crew had a solid foundation – and then there are the drivers of RCM. Sandy Richmond, socialite, interior designer, but a fearless force on the road. Janice Carter, FBI Agent, but once the queen of the Long Island dirt tracks. And Jeanne Marais, the daughter of Henri, and a champion Kart driver in her own right.
“Last year saw them win their class, and earn an invitation to drive at the 12 hour this year. But who are they really, and how did they form such a formidable team... Dick Berggren and David Hobbs sat down with the drivers, and the crew, for a chat last week in New York...”
“I like it,” Clint said, “although Susan may not like to be reminded of my own racing days.”
“They form part of our glorious history,” Henri said, his face smiling. “Ah, David, how long has it been my friend?”
“Far too long,” the former driver said as he shook Henri’s hand. “You are looking well.”
“My lust for life never diminished,” Henri said, “it merely needed a new focus. You remember Jeanne, of course.”
“Of course,” David said as he kissed Jeanne. “And I see you are to be a grandfather soon. How soon?”
“Later in the spring,” Jeanne said as she held her bump, “so this time, I am the spectator and support.”
“Dick,” David said as the race commentator came over, “are we about ready to begin?”
“We need to make sure the team are ready, but once that is done,” he said with a smile, “we can begin.”
The director nodded as he said “In three... Two... One...”
Dick Berggren smiled as he looked at the camera, and said “Can I say, Sandy, thank you for inviting us into your home.”
“It’s my pleasure,” Sandy said as she sat between Jan and Jeanne, Henri and Clint behind them. All three women were wearing sweaters and long skirts, while both Clint and Henri were in open necked shirts and trousers.
“So tell the viewers, Jan – how did RCM Racing get started?”
“Well,” Janice said as she looked at Dick, “it truly started when both Sandy and I realised we had a love of fast cars, and signed up together for a series of racing driving lessons. We’d been friends for some time before that, but as we did the lessons, we both felt we would like to try the real thing.”
“And how did you join Jeanne?”
“Well, I first met Janice when I was sent to New York to work on a case in my capacity within Interpol,” Jeanne said, “and we became firm friends. I was then invited to join Janice and others at a weekend at Curragh House...”
“That is the Richmond home out on the island, correct?”
“It is,” Sandy said with a nod, “and as it was a Roaring Twenties themed weekend, my mother retrieved from a museum Betsy, a racing Bugatti that my great aunt used to drive.”
“That would be Anabelle Richmond,” David Hobbs said, “we have here some archive film of her driving in the UK. Would you like to see it?”
Sandy looked at the two men, and then said “of course” as the television o their side came to light, and they watched the film of Annabelle racing at the Brooklands circuit. As Heather looked on from the sidelines, she saw a small tear in the side of Sandy’s eye.
“That... That was quite a sight,” she finally said as the film finished on her smiling face.
“I think the racing blood runs in your family as well as Jeanne’s,” David said with a smile, “Janice, I remember reporting on you some years ago when you raced on the dirt tracks on Long Island. So I would say, despite what people may think, there is a rich racing heritage behind you.”
“So, returning to Curragh Park,” Dick said, “you had the chance to race in this magnificent car?”
“All three of us,” Sandy said, “and that, combined with the generous sponsorship of other friends, allowed us to begin what was then Richmond-Carter racing. Having said that, Jeanne was part of the team from the start – hence the change this year to RCM Racing.”
“So it literally was friends deciding to do something for fun?”
“Essentially, Dick – yes.”
“Turning to the obvious racing heritage,” Dick said, “and to you Jan, you were a champion driver on the dirt rings, and then you quit. What happened?”
“Essentially,” Jan said, “real life pitched me a few surprises – in my case, I found I was expecting, and my father passing away meant I had to find a real job. So I joined the FBI, and became an agent based in New York.”
“When I was researching for this interview,” Dick said, “I came across an article I wrote back in 2001. In it, I wrote ‘In Janice Carter, I believe we have a future champion in the making, and I personally look forward to seeing her progress in the years ahead.’”
Jan smiled as she said “thank you – but, well, times changed.”
“Indeed – and now your daughter, Katy, is beginning to make a name for herself as a model. Does this mean she has no interest in racing cars?”
“Not at this time, no, but she is still only thirteen,” Jan said with a smile.
“Henri,” David said, “there is also a strong history in your family, of course. How does it feel when you see Jeanne out on the track?”
“A mixture of fear and pride in equal measure,” Henri said with a smile, “but it is a pride I share in all of them.”
“When Jeanne was a kart racer in France, I remember watching you and your wife there, and the pride was evident in your face then. It almost seemed as if you were prouder of that than some of your own achievements.”
“Of course,” Henri said as he put his hand on Jeanne’s shoulder, “as any father would be. Now that my own days behind the wheel are in the past, I am honoured to help her.”
“How do your employers feel about your driving, Jeanne?”
“They are most understanding,” Jeanne said, “I think they view it as an – additional skill. However, on this occasion, for this race, I must sit on the sidelines and support.”
“For very obvious reasons,” Jeanne said with a smile as she patted her bump. “My doctor assures me this is the time for rest, so we have invited Antoinette Marais, my cousin, to join us for the Sebring meeting.”
“Do you regret that?”
“Not at all,” Jeanne said with a smile.
“Sandy Richmond,” Dick said, “you are the odd one out in a sense in the team.”
“Well, in the sense that I am the true amateur, and they have to carry me a little...”
She smiled as both Jeanne and Janice shook their heads in disagreement, while Clint said “she preaches false modesty.”
“Indeed – although you had no previous experience, the times from last year show you more than holding your own as part of the team,” David said. “The legacy of Annabelle Richmond most definitely is carrying on.”
“Well, it’s very kind of you to say so,” Sandy said with a smile.
“And of course, with Henri and Clint heading the pit crew, you have first rate support.”
“May I say one thing,” Henri said as the ladies looked round.
"No one is quite sure who came up with the saying an army marches on its stomach,” Henri said, “but whether it was Frederick the Great or Napoleon, as you very much remember David a motor racing team certain is only as good as its cook."
"That is true Henri."
"Well I need to especially praise Janice's mother Katherine, who keeps everyone happy and well fed, and who if you asked most of our backup crew at least, can be considered the most important member of the team."
"She'll appreciate that Henri," Jan smiled.
"Well after a lifetime round racing I'll vouch to the fact that the happiest teams are the best fed ones," the interviewer smiled.
“So here we are, at the start of a new season, and the word is you have new sponsors.”
“Indeed – as was announced yesterday,” Sandy said, “LerraBella have agreed to act as the major sponsor for us, alongside our existing supporters.”
“Does this now put you at the same level of some of the more established teams in terms of finance.”
“Well, we are proud to be sponsored by them,” Clint said, “as well as our other sponsors. And yes, it provides funding. But at the end of the day, the race is won or lost by the skill of the driver, not just how much money we have to spend.”
“Exactly,” Jan said, “it is the skill of Henri, Clint and the others that makes this a true team effort.”
Dick smiled as he said “So you are sponsored by some high powered companies. How to you respond to the claim you should be sponsored by the Social Register?”
“If they want to sponsor us, fine – but I think they can find other things to support,” Jeanne said with a smile.
“So, today – what would be a good day for you?”
As the other two laughed, Jan said “seriously, it’s an honour just to be invited to be here, and to take part. So we hope we show what we can do, and we take it from there.”
“Well, thank you for talking to us, and good luck today.”
“Thanks,” Jeanne said as the camera stopped rolling...
The Astoria Waldorf
As he approached the doors to the suite, Philippe Aumont was nervous. He knew exactly who it was he was coming to see, and the prospect was one he did not like at the best of times.
And by any measure, the last few days had not been the best of times.
Swallowing hard, he adjusted his tie and knocked on the door, waiting as a tall, broad shouldered man looked out, and then indicated to Aumont to follow him inside.
“He’s expecting you,” the man said to Aumont, “in there.” He indicated an interior door, Philippe nodding as he opened the door and went in.
“It is a pleasure to see you again, sir,” he said as he closed the door, and looked over to where Alain Rey was standing by the window. Aumont stood five foot ten tall, so he towered over the five foot two Rey, but as the grey haired man turned and looked at Aumont there was a look of pure evil in his eyes.
“A pleasure? Tell me why it has been necessary for me to come here, Aumont.”
“I know there have been delays, sir...”
“I understand another truck was hijacked today, despite the route been changed?”
“Sadly, sir yes, but the second truck was left alone...”
“That is unacceptable,” Rey said quietly as he walked to a table. He was impeccably dressed, in a dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie, his shoe leather gleaming. Pouring a drink, he said “what else have you done to try and end the trouble?”
“I went to see a man I believe is behind much of our troubles – a Thomas Morgan.”
“I saw the company name in the reports – one of the leaders of the owners in the market?”
“Correct – I offered him a share of profits in return for his support, but...”
Rey looked at Aumont, an eyebrow raised as he said “and?”
“He refused, he wants no part of it, and I fear I may have caused more trouble.”
“I see,” Rey said quietly. “Will he go to the police?”
“No – he is old school, and will wish to make it clear what he feels without involving law enforcement.”
“And the other issue – the interest of Madame X?”
“She had – not responded to my requests for a meeting.”
He didn’t hear the door open behind him, as Rey sipped his drink.
“I am – disappointed,” he finally said, “and I think you need to know the extent of my disappointment.”
“Sir, I assure you, I have...”
The breath left him as the man drove the knuckledusters into his stomach, Aumont doubling over in pain before the knee was driven in.
“You have forty eight hours to fix this,” Rey said as he watched the man beating Aumont up, “or I will be forced to take more – permanent measures. I want Morgan taken care of, and I want these difficulties to end. I trust I make myself clear.”
“Yes,” Aumont groaned as he stood up.
“Good – leave.”
Walking slowly to the door, Aumont left, wondering what his next move should be...
“Excuse me Aunt Shirley,” Maisha said as she came into the drawing room, “but you have a business call in the den.”
“Ah,” Shirley said as she stood up, “I have been expecting this call John – it’s about a business deal on the West Coast. I should not be too long.”
“Of course,” John said as Shirley made her way into the den, securing the room before she sat down.
“Good evening Madame.”
“Ah Mermaid – Tommy has already communicated on the subject of his meeting today. What news do you have for me?”
“I can confirm Alain Rey arrived in the US yesterday – he is resident at the Waldorf.”
“Ah – I did wonder how long it would take for him to come.”
“Madame, I am concerned – Aumont is nervous, and he may try and do something stupid, involving Tommy’s family.”
“Hmm – past experience would tell him that was not a good idea where Tommy is concerned. Remain vigilant Mermaid – I will arrange additional cover for his apartment and the Calabria in the meantime.”
“I think that is a good idea – I also have a message from Veronica. The troubles for RoideMer are just beginning.”
“Excellent – now, I must consider how to let Monsieur Rey know I am watching...”
Wednesday 9th March
Susan looked up as Pamela opened the door and looked in.
“Visitor – can you spare a few minutes?”
“I could do with the break – show them in,” Susan said as she put her pen down.
"Katy Carter to see you Susan," Susan's PA ushered the girl in her school uniform in.
"This is unexpected Katy,” Susan said as Pamela closed the door, “what can I do for you?"
"Well for starters,” Katy said as she looked round, “you can say if we are secure?"
"We are now," Susan said as she pressed a button, before they sat down. "Now what do you want Katy?"
"Mom thinks I'm going shopping with the girls tonight, but that's only because I don't want her worrying."
"Oh and why might she worry?"
"Because,” Katy said quietly, “I'm now convinced I'm being followed."
"Are sure you aren't being paranoid, now that you are becoming a celebrity Katy?"
"I thought that might be the case at first,” Katy said as she sat forward, “but well... It's like I keep seeing a blur out of the corner of my eyes that vanishes when I look properly."
"That sounds like what people say when they see ghosts."
"I thought of that as well, but no, this is someone real, and they are trailing me for sure."
"Well,” Susan said as she sat back, “I know you mentioned it to your Mom."
"Yes and I know it concerned her, but with this Fish Market thing she has more than enough on her plate..." Katy took a breath, before she said "So I'm asking directly if you can put a team to watch me for a few days to see if they can see anyone else doing the same?"
"Well we could try," Susan said quietly, “but we need more discretion than a team.”
She sat and looked at Katy for a few minutes, before she said “I have an idea – I need to make a couple of phone calls, but if you can tell Janice I’m coming round to see her later, I can see if the idea I have is feasible. Sound good?”
“Sounds good to me – and thanks Susan. I know it’s asking a lot.”
“Not a problem,” Susan said as she walked round and hugged Katy. “I’ll get Pamela to call a cab to take you home.”
As Katy went out, Susan said “Can you arrange a cab for Katy, Pamela, and tell Shirley I need to see her for a few minutes?”
“Got it boss,” Pamela said as Susan went back to her desk.
“Dom? Susan,” she said as her call was answered, “I need to run a scenario past you...”
As Susan looked at her laptop, she saw Bev Martello appear on the screen in answer to her Skype call.
“Hey Susan – You needed to talk to me,” the brown haired girl said.
"Bev I have two questions for you," Susan spoke to the former Viper back in London. "The first is do you fancy a few days in New York?"
"Does the Pope eat..."
"Yeah I know that saying," Susan laughed, "the second thing is do you think you could pass for a 13 year old if I asked?"
"Hmmm," Bev was clearly thinking, "probably...just about...why?"
"Have you heard of Katy Carter?"
"Yes, that's her,” Susan said. “Well I'm a friend of her mothers."
"And Katy is convinced she is being followed by someone as she goes about her life."
"Alright,” Bev said, “so what do you think I can do?"
"If I can get Jan's permission,” Susan said, “I want you to pose as Katy's cousin from England."
"Okay, but aren't they Irish...you do remember my family is Italian?"
"I think you can pass...Anyway what I want is for you to bodyguard Katy for a few days. I will tell her grandmother that you are one of Caroline's operatives, but apart from the family and me, only Caroline and Madame will know you are there for security."
"Alright Susan, when do you want me there?"
"Pack a bag and get your passport, Lily will be there in 30 minutes to get you to Heathrow."
“What if they say no?”
Thursday 10th March
As Caroline stood in the near-deserted reception area, she smiled as she saw Bev make her way through the arrival doors, pulling a case behind her.
“Hey,” the younger woman said as she came over, “thanks for coming out to meet me. I have NO idea if I can get a cab this time of night.”
“Best not to ask,” Caroline said as she took her case, “come on – the parking lot is over here.”
“It was strange coming in over the water,” Bev said as they crossed the lanes, “only able to see the boats in the water. We did see a couple of boats with bright lights, but that was all.”
"Are you alright Bev?" Caroline asked as they got to the car in the airport parking lot.
"Other than being wiped out from the flying,” she said as she lifted her case into the trunk, “yes I'm fine."
"Yeah, that is an uncivilised time of night to fly over."
"You are telling me. At least I managed to get some sleep, so i don’t feel totally dead."
"Anyway,” Caroline said as she moved away, “did Lily brief you?"
"Yes she did."
"Alright - so you know this is a completely legal, kosher, piece of security work?"
"Yes, it's celebrity protection. I made sure to bring clothes a young teenager would wear, as opposed to me and Tracy at work."
"Excellent. I have a gun for you at the office, and a permit to carry...Both are legitimate."
Bev turned and looked at Caroline as they drove down the road. "Am I actually for the first time earning an honest dollar?"
"You might put it that way," Caroline said as the lights shone when they moved past. "Just remember this is not bent at all, so no thieving or other such activity."
"As if I would...Now?" Bev laughed.
“Right – we’ll go back to my place, and you can crash on the couch for a few hours. Then I’ll take you into the office for Susan to share the full details. By the way – what do you think of motor racing?”
“Can be fun – why?”
“You’ll be working as pit support crew next weekend at Seiberg – RCM racing are taking part in the 12 hour, and as Katie, George and Sands help with food and drink...”
“So will I? Oy vey...”
“I told you it would be fun...”
4 pm Local Time
Kylie came into the apartment, smiling as she looked into the main room, and then made her way to her room. She removed her hat and hung it carefully on the hook behind the door, before removing her jacket and hanging that as well.
“Ah – there you are kiddo.”
“Hello Marina darling,” she drawled as she turned, “you have finished early.”
“Indeed,” Marina said with a smile, “would you come with me please? Catherine and Helen wish to see us on the balcony.”
“But of course,” Kylie said with a smile as she followed her friend out to the balcony that ran along the side of the apartment.
“Ah good – there you are Kylie,” Catherine Lu said as she and Helen looked over, “I trust you had a productive day?”
“I did, thank you Mistress,” Kylie said as she stood with her head bowed, “how may I serve you this evening.”
“By relaxing and taking the night off.”
Kylie looked up and said “Mistress?”
“Kylie,” Helen said, “we wish to say two words to you.”
“And that is?”
“Happy Birthday,” Marina said as she hugged Kylie. “I know we cannot have the same sort of sixteenth birthday as your friends in New York have, but that does not mean we cannot celebrate.”
Kylie stood there, for once speechless as Helen produced a bottle of champagne, opening it and pouring into three glasses while Catherine indicated a small side table, on which were a number of presents and cards.
“I... I don’t know what to say. I thought you had forgotten, and did not wish to make a fuss,” she finally said as Marina handed her a glass.
“Indeed – forgive me darlings, thank you,” Kylie said with a smile.
“There are cards here from us and others, and we have bought you a few presents,” Helen said, “but we will all go out for dinner tonight. It does mean an early start tomorrow, but...”
“Tonight, we celebrate,” Catherine said, “to Kylie – happy sixteenth birthday...”
Fulton Fish Market
“What’s going on over der,” Tommy said to Eleanor as he saw Aumont coming down from the offices of RoideMer, gesticulating wildly.
“You ain’t heard,” Nicky Marino said as he came over.
“Obviously not, or I wouldn’t be askin,” Tommy said as he looked at the other man.
“Word is two of their boats got stopped by de Coast Guard,” Nicky said, “and impounded. No catch for dem today.”
“So how comes der truck is going out,” Tommy said as one of their trucks set off.
“Not to worry,” Eleanor said, “they’ll be followed.”
Tommy nodded as Aumont walked past, a face like thunder fixed on him.
Bev wrinkled her nose as the aroma of freshly baked bread and coffee mingled in the air. Opening her eyes, she saw Ama passing by in her school uniform, before she looked over and smiled.
“Good morning – we’re just having breakfast, if you would care to join us.”
“Sounds good,” Bev said as she stretched, and saw Annie coming out, her top covering the very prominent bump.
“Good morning Bev,” she said as Caroline came out of her room, “did you manage to get a little more sleep?”
“I did thank you,” Bev said as she came over, “but the coffee would be very welcome.”
“There you go,” Ama said as she handed it over, and then began to eat a muffin.
"So,” Bev said quietly, “any clues as to who might be stalking Katy Caroline?"
"We are not totally sure anyone is yet Bev, but Katy is pretty sure she can sense someone out there."
"Okay, so what are we talking a fan stalking her?"
"That's one possible scenario, a second is that it relates to the current case her mother is working..."
"Which is what?"
"Jan is trying to bring down some extremely nasty French drug dealers."
"The sort that aren't above kidnapping a cops daughter to get her to lay off?"
"That is what worries us...Jan also was very prominent in bringing down a gang from Buffalo recently, Shirley wonders if that might be relevant."
"So much for my thoughts this would be a few days vacation."
"Yes you'll be working Bev, just remember to keep those street smart eyes of yours wide open."
“So, Spring Break gets underway tomorrow,” Alexis said as she sat next to Janine.
“Indeed – Carina and Ingrid get back tomorrow, and Jo is bedding down with Diana and Abby for the weekend, before she flies to Dublin.”
“And the racing road trip?”
"Well, the advance Guard are leaving today," Judith sat on her desk sipping her coffee. "Heather and Sandy will drive the truck, whilst Katherine and Tonia will handle the Winnebago."
"And the rest of the crew?" Alexis asked.
"We get to fly down in the coming days," Janine smiled.
"Is Jeanne flying in her condition? and what about Annie and Frieda?" Alexis thought aloud, "Is Karen supervising travel for them?"
“Well, they’re not flying to begin with,” Janine said. “Ken and Karen, with Carina and Pussy, are going down by train on Monday. I think the kids are flying down with Janice, Adam and George on Tuesday, and the others follow Wednesday.”
“And then the fun really begins – what about the team colours?”
"Alice has designed, and Cathy has promised delivery on not only the new overalls, but also team jackets, and lots of other fashion items."
“So this really will be a party?”
"We may not win the race," Janine laughed, “but we are going to be very prominent in the fashion race.”
"Well just remember your assistant back here manning the desk, and grab me a team jacket." Alexis looked up.
“Oh I’ll make sure I bring something back,” Janine said as Juliette came out.
“Right girls – team meeting. I want to make sure everything is good for next week...”
The Richmond Mansion
“Okay,” Katherine said as she closed the door to the rear of the Winnebago, “everything is stowed away now.”
“Are you going to be all right driving Mom,” Jan said as she stood with Katy.
“Of course I am – Tonia and I will split the work, and we’re following these two all the way,” Katherine said as they walked into the house, joining the other road trip candidates in the kitchen.
"Okay... Not allowing for us getting lost, or other detours, this should be about a 1,170 mile drive," Heather looked up from her computer. "I've printed up maps, I've programmed the gps in both vehicles."
"If we drove perfectly..."
"Observed speed limits," Heather interrupted Sandy.
"...and hit no bad traffic, then we can do it in just under 18 hours."
"But allowing for things like eating, and some sleeping?" Katherine asked.
"Then I figure we get there about this time tomorrow," Heather smiled.
"Or a bit earlier if we are lucky," Sandy and Tonia said as they high fived each other.
“Mom – you still here?”
“Of course we are,” Sandy said as Sands came in with Katy and George. “No way would we leave without saying goodbye to you guys.”
“In here Orlanda,” Heather said as the young nanny came in with Jennifer.
“I’ll go and get their bags,” Heather said as she left the kitchen.
“You are going to drive safely down, aren’t you mom,” George said with a serious face.
“I will save the speed for the track,” Sandy said with a smile as Katherine came in.
“Now you keep safe – and give Bev my love,” she said as she kissed Katy.
“My English cousin,” Katy said, “she decided to come over for a few days, and she’ll be coming down with us for the race. She’s even going to help us out.”
“Sounds like she’s a fun girl to meet,” Heather said, “but we need to get going.”
"Now kids behave for your father, and we will see you in Florida when you arrive...okay?" Sandy asked as she kissed both her children.
“We will mom,” Sands said as they went outside with Katy, Jan and Orlanda, Jennifer waving as well as they got into the two vehicles and drove off.
“Right,” Jan said as she hugged Katy, “we need to go and meet your cousin...”
The de Ros Mansion
“Are you at home, Mamma,” Abigail said as she came in.
“In the drawing room, darling,” Diana said as Abby came in. “I was just confirming the delivery arrangements for next weekend, as well as our travel arrangements.”
“Have you heard from Jo,” Abby said as she sat down, and poured herself some coffee.
“She called a few minutes ago,” Diana said, “and hopes to be with us in time for dinner tomorrow. I take it they left safely?”
“I passed them on the way home,” Abby said, “quite a sight. How far are they going tonight?”
“I believe they intend to stop south of Philadephia to eat, and then get past Richmond before they stop.”
“Some journey – I’m glad we’re flying down later in the week...”
West Central Park
“Can you get the door Katy,” Jan called out from the kitchen as she heard the bell.
“Sure, Mom,” Katy called out as she went to the door, opening it and saying “you made it – thanks for meeting her Caroline.”
“Well, you and your mom had to wave Katherine off,” Caroline said as she came in, pulling the case behind her as the young girl followed her, wearing a white t-shirt over a black long sleeved top, jeans and trainers.
“Well, welcome to New York Bev,” Katy said as she closed the door, before she said “and I really mean it. Thanks for coming.”
“My pleasure,” Bev said as Jan came out.
“Are you sure this is necessary,” Jan said.
“Put it this way,” Caroline said, “this frees you to concentrate on the race and affairs of work. Bev sticks close to Katy, and makes sure she feels safe as well.”
“Have you been taking lessons from Sigi,” Jan said as she looked at Bev.
“If you mean Ingrid’s aunt, no – and trust me, this is tight,” Bev said with a smile, “but I’ve been fully briefed and I come prepared.”
“You’ll come to school with me tomorrow,” Katy said, “my teachers know you are here on holiday, and want a taste of school over here.”
“I’ve got some dinner ready – can you stay Caroline?”
“Sorry – Ama and I need to finish our packing tonight,” Caroline said with a smile, “I’ll leave you to settle in. Susan will check in with you twice daily by phone, and she’ll update me.”
“Got it – have fun in Spain.”
“I intend to,” Caroline said as she left the three of them alone.
“So,” Jan said, “my niece from the home country who speaks with a North London accent?”
“Dat’s de way de cookie crumbles,” Bev said with a shrug.
“Come on – let me show you where you’ll sleep...”
The Waldorf Astoria
As Eleanor stretched and yawned, she noticed her phone buzzing. Picking it up, she said “hello?”
“Eleanor? Veronica – we hit paydirt.”
“In what way?”
“The two boats we seized this morning – full of drugs. Tom is getting a warrant together, but I wanted to give you a heads up – they’re moving in the morning at five.”
“Right – so the guano is flying?”
“Indeed – be prepared...”
“Thanks Veronica,” Eleanor said as she ended the call, and then dialled another number.
“Madame? Mermaid – the fire starts tomorrow morning...”
West Central Park
“So it is drugs?”
“It is,” Tom said as he sat with Jan and Adam, “so we have a warrant. We’re going in tomorrow at five, and we want you both there.”
“Great – i hope Katy and Bev don’t mind being left alone...”
Adam looked over as he said “one of Katy’s cousins – she called yesterday to say she was coming to stay at very short notice. Katy!”
“Oh hi Uncle Tom,” Katy said as she looked in with Bev, “What’s up?”
“Katy, I need to go into work early tomorrow – can I trust you and Bev to get yourselves to school?”
“Leave some money for a cab, and yeah.”
“See – she copes,” Jan said as they left the room.
“Yeah,” Tom said, “her cousin?”
“Yup,” Janet said, “so when do we meet?”
“We need to be in position for 04:30. Eleanor will notify Tommy.”
“Okay then,” Adam said, “mind if I stay here tonight?”
Janet raised an eyebrow as Tom stood up. “Just be there on time, all right?”
“Now why would we be late?”