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About Deviant Premium Member KP - Writer/Art Appreciator/Collector51/Male/United Kingdom Groups :iconsweetkinks: sweetkinks
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Based on my journal above and the blog entry at…, which story first? 

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When I was pulling together the next eBook, as seen in my gallery, I was reminded of how i started to bring Madame X into the world of the Pussycat Gang - a move that has led to some interesting developments in her story that I had not seen coming, and for that I thank (as always) :iconj-jell:

More recently, it even allowed me to bring George Simpson from George's Journey in, and again he surprised me by fitting right in - and he has a part to play in an upcoming story as well.

I know :icondavid-presents: and :icongolavus: have also recently brought back loved characters, but that brings two questions for me to ask.

Are there any of my characters you haven't seen for a while, and thought "What happened to them?"

And what of your own OCs - are any of them worth a revival as well?
  • Mood: Content
  • Listening to: Awesome Mixtape Vol 1 - Ooga Chakka Ooga Ooga!


"Well what did you make of Abigail Kylie?"

"She's really nice,” Kylie said as she turned in the chair, “she aint stuck up like you fink people like 'er are at all."

Susan smiled, "she's one of the nicest girls you'll ever meet."

"I liked some of the bits she showed me."

"Well lunchtime tomorrow we'll go out and assemble a makeup bag for you..."

"Thank you Susan...and see I said Susan not Sooz."

"I noticed, you're learning a bit."

Kylie looked at herself again and said "Did I 'ear 'er say it's her Aunt and Uncle 'ooze party we are going to?"

"It is. Her fathers sister married her mothers brother."

“And they really are a duke and duchess?”

“Oh yes – actually, technically Abby is the Countess Abigail de Ros, but we never use that here.”

"Gawd that sounds wot are 'er mum and dad like."

"Abby's father died when she was a baby in a car accident, but Diana, her mother is a lovely lady...A lady in the real sense of the word."

"So she never knew 'er dad eever?"

"Yes, you both have that in common."

"Well at least 'e didn't run orf wiv sum bitch from souf of the river."

"True." Susan smiled.

"I 'erd 'e died last year."

"So there's only you and your Mum?"

"Yeah, and well you know 'ow useless she is."

Susan sat down at the table and looked at the youngster.

"Kylie, tell me straight out, do you really want a life like I 'ave?"

"Are you bleedin’ kiddin’?"

"Even if one day you end up goin' to prison for a long time?"

"Even if...look Susan you grew up in our part of Totten'am, wot chance do we 'ave to get sum fink nice like this 'onestly?"

"You know that one day you'll probably need to kill someone?"

"I killed that deer dident I?" Kylie paused. "Weren't that meant to see if I 'ad that in me?"

"Very clever Kylie...well spotted." Susan smiled again.  "Well anyway to be part of all this, you need to change so you can do what I and others do and hide in plain sight."

"I guessed that.  That’s why you took me shopping and finks, and why we’re doing dis party tomorrow, yeah?"

“Yeah,” Susan said with a smile.

"We – Madame, me and some others - are discussing where to place you so you can learn your cover, get an education, and learn your trade...It will mean you leaving home...Are you up for that?"

"Yeah I spose so."

"Well to make it less of a wrench we want Marina to come with you."

"Oh Lord, Rina 'ull luv that."

"Will your Mum complain?"

"Not if she's bunged some dough she won't, all she ever wanted me for woz to screw the DSS."

"Okay I'll talk more to Madame and see what she has in mind for you."

"Fank you Susan...Fank you so much." Kylie cried as she hugged the older woman.

"Hey, you'll ruin your makeup." Susan smiled broadly.  “Look, Clint should be back soon – you watch something, and I’ll see about sorting some cocoa out.”


“You all right Susan?”

“Yeah – just little miss kicking,” Susan said with a smile.

“I heard yer mum is getting better.”

“Apparently,” Susan said as she put the mug of cocoa down in front of Kylie.  “When you’ve spent over half your life in the comfort of a whisky bottle, it takes a lot of courage to crawl out and smell the fresh air.”

“She’s a tough lady,” Kylie said as she picked up the mug.  “So will there be some girls my age at this party?”

“Oh yes – I know Natasha and Willie have invited a group that know Abby and her friends well, as well as their mothers.”

Kylie nodded as Susan said "Oh by the way Kylie, there'll be a girl from Harlow at the party and she's only your age."

"You mean 'arlow back 'ome?"


"Me Gran used to take me shoppin' there sometimes, it 'ad nice shops, but wots a girl from there doin' at a fancy party like this one?"

"Oh she goes to school now here in New York, maybe you've heard of her...Her name's Jeannie Brewster?"

"WOT!" Kylie spat a little of her cocoa out..."THE Jeannie Brewster? The Model?"

"That's her, she's a nice kid, you'll like her."

"Just 'ow many famous models do you know Sooz?"

"She knows lots," Clint said as he came in, yawning and then leaning over and kissing Susan.

"You’re late," she smiled at her husband.

"The Security Council was in late session, I drew the Armenian ambassador and he took forever to come out."

"Well you are home now...I was just telling Kylie that Jeans will be at the party."

"Along with some other famous faces - and by the way, talking of faces, congrats to Abigail, you look lovely Kylie."

"Thanks," she smiled and blushed.

"So you booked tomorrow night off right?"

"Yeah they know I have an out of my pay grade event to go to." Clint put his feet up on the couch as Susan brought him a cocoa..."You know this is one British drink that I really love."

"I'm glad." Susan laughed as she cuddled up beside him.

“You know you said ‘Rina would be coming – will she have to go to school too?”

“In a way,” Susan said, “Marina is and always was a smart girl.  She just needs a focus – so while you’re at school learning one thing, I think she will be somewhere else, essentially doing an apprenticeship.  We need to sort it out – but you need to tell her something.”

“Wots that?”

“It’s never, ever too late to learn.”

“Unless it’s my wife driving – that may already be too late.”

Susan glared at Clint, and then burst out laughing.

“So how did you two meet anyway?”

“I worked for Madame on the West Coast, driving Maddie, the number one there.  When Sooz…”


“Sorry – when Susan came out to work for her, we just fell naturally together.”

“Awww – so have you thought of a name yet for junior?”

“Nah – we’ll pick it when she decides it’s time to arrive.”  Susan drained her cup and said “Right – you need to clean that off your face, and then get to bed.  I’ll set up an appointment with Carlos for tomorrow.”

“Who is Carlos?”

“Her hairdresser,” Clint said, “this is going to be a fun night…”

Tuesday 3rd March
7.30 pm
The home of Natasha and Willy du Grechy, 5th Avenue

"I see Sandy did her usual superb job decorating this place for you Aunt Natasha." Abigail smiled as she looked round the lower part of the brownstone."

"She and Tonia must have worked like slaves." Natasha smiled. "It's really just perfect for us and baby when it arrives."

The house was a survivor, one of the few original single family homes built when the avenue was still predominantly residential. Part of a row of such houses, it was built from the characteristic New York brownstone with three stories and an attic above ground and a basement level below the street.

Not overly wide, it had however a uniquely New York charm that Tonia had kept while knocking some interior walls down to give the couple the larger spaces they desired.

Sandy in decorating the house had incorporated some of the treasures that the couple had had shipped over from France and created interiors that were warm, inviting, and just enough reminiscent of a Paris apartment.

Abigail and Natasha were standing in the reception room on the ground floor, which had been created by knocking the connecting wall between two of the rooms.   A large dining room sat behind the reception room, with the kitchen to the other side.  The dining room was serving as the bar and buffet for the housewarming, with the caterers hard at work in there.

Willy walked through with Diana, having given her the tour of the rest of the house.

“I like the idea of having your main residential rooms on the second floor, and the bedrooms on the top floor.  Very much in your style,” Diana said with a smile as she
kissed Natasha.

“Well, Willy and I are going to be expected to entertain, so it made sense when Sandy suggested it,” Natasha said with a smile.

“I must say the honeymoon has done you so much good – you look wonderful,” Abby said.

“Ah but I missed your triumph – to wear original Dior in that way must have been heavenly.”

“It was,” Abby said with a sigh, “and the show has proved so good for quite a few people.  But we are glad you have returned.”

“Well, we had to come back some time,” Willy said, “and it gives us a chance to welcome our friends and yours to our new home.”

The doorbell rang, and as Natasha went to open it Diana said “This should prove to be a most interesting evening.”

Abby was wearing a black cocktail dress, while Diana was wearing a grey and white dress with long sleeves and a knee length skirt.  Wilily was in a smart suit, shirt and tie, while Natasha was wearing a green tunic with gold decoration, and white pants.

“Juliette darling, how good to see you again,” Natasha said as she embraced Juliette.  “And you as well Carina – I was so jealous of you and Ingrid in Vienna.”

“Well, that is nice to hear,” Ingrid said as she followed them in with Klaus.  “It was an amazing experience, Natasha.”

“Come away in,” she said as they walked through.  “I’m showing the house off to everyone tonight.”

“I love what Tonia and Sandy have done with the ceilings,” Juliette said as she looked up.  “It really gives the impression of space in here.”

“Oh wow – it looks amazing.”

“Hello Jeannie,” Natasha said as the young girl arrived with Barbara and John, “I’m glad you could make it as well.  Will your friends be arriving soon?”

“I believe the bulk of them are coming with Nikki’s mother – but I saw Caroline pull up a moment ago, so I presume that…”

“Thank you for inviting us tonight, Natasha,” Caroline said as she came in with Annie and Ama, Grant and April coming behind them with Pepsi.  Ama was carrying a wrapped box, while April was carrying a large basket.

“I thought you might appreciate a herb box as a housewarming present – the gift that keeps on giving,” she said with a smile.

“Thank you – and thank you for what you did to the garden.  I cannot wait to see how it blooms over the next few months.”

“It was a pleasure,” April said with a smile as Ama and Pepsi joined Jeannie at a group of seats to the side of the room.

“Hey – did I hear a rumour it’s somebody’s birthday soon,” Pepsi said as she sat down.

“No comment,” Jeannie said with a smile as they sat in their cocktail dresses.  “I will say that I will be having a get-together at a time and place to be announced, but that is all.”

“What’s that about a party?”

“Hey you two,” Jeannie said as Nikki and Doc joined them, Nikki in an electric blue off the shoulder dress and Doc in a red strapless one with a fishtail skirt.

“So ready to have a little fun tonight?”

“Yeah – if the right people turn up,” Nikki said as she looked at Janice and Adam, Adam handing Willy handing a present as Janice kissed Natasha.

“It’s a pity Jeanne had to return to Geneva, but she has said she will visit soon,” Janice said.

“I know, but work is work – I have to report back to the office tomorrow as well,” Natasha said with a small shrug.   “On the other hand, it does pay the bills and keeps me occupied.”

“There is that,” Adam said with a smile as Valeria and Guy came down to join the party.  At the same time, Mandy Carrow, Karen Boyd and Alice McKinnon arrived with Karen and Alice’s husbands.

“The party’s beginning to heat up now,” Jeannie said as Pussy and Frieda arrived, along with Liz and the family.

“Mind you, hunk number two just walked in,” Doc said as Sandy and Heather walked in.

“We had better mingle and make the most of it – I think we’ve…”

"Well girls hunting as a pack again I see." Caroline smiled at the six Angels.

"We aren't hunting Mom." Ama giggled.

"Too few single men." Becca looked round.

"And besides your esteemed roommate has seen fit to give a test on Friday, so believe it or not we are talking Math." Anna smiled.

"To think we'd be reduced to doing school work at a party." Pepsi rolled her eyes.

"I know." Nikki sighed.

"Just remember to behave yourself girls." Caroline's eyes conveyed a message.

"We are." Jeannie looked up, "how I'm going to misbehave without Winston here anyway?"

"That's what I like to hear."  As Caroline walked away, Doc smiled – it was good to be back amongst friends.

As the room filled up, Juliette was standing with Mandy, Karen and Alice

"So is Angel happy to be back at school Tufty?"

"She is darling, she's doing a shoot with Justin Adams though over the weekend for her portfolio."

"That's impressive," Juliette nodded, "How did you get the 'enfant terrible' of British photography to agree to do that?"

"I didn't, he rang John Hammond and volunteered, seems he saw a couple of the prints from over here."

"Well that is great indeed, her face must have made an impact."

"That's what I told her." Mandy smiled.

“She’s agreed to do a shoot with me later in the spring,” Alice said, “and I heard a rumour Almador had been in touch with you, young Sweets.”

“I think it helps pay the bills,” Karen said as Ken joined her, “and if it helps with the wardrobe, well and good.”

“Such a mercenary attitude – and exactly what Cari said,” Juliette giggled.  “Well done that girl.”

“Good evening Guy,” Tom Morse said as he approached his friend.

"So how is it looking Tom?" Guy asked.

"We are ahead, but not comfortably. The party's national problems are not helping me locally at all."

"We often see that happen in France, perfectly good people in electoral troubles because of their party’s national leadership."

"Well as I said, I'm ahead, but I'm feeling guilty about taking time out from campaigning for even as lovely a party as this."

"I think though that Claire might have objected if you hadn't come." Guy nodded towards where Claire was standing, laughing, and enjoying herself with Valeria and Kelly Rochermann.

“There is that,” Tom said, “and we deserve a night off anyway.”

“Susan, I am so glad you could make it,” Natasha said as she embraced her, “we mothers to be need to support each other, correct?”

“Correct,” Susan said as she handed her coat to a maid.  “You know Clint, of course, but this is my cousin Kylie, visiting for a few days from the United Kingdom.”

Natasha looked at the young teenager, her hair cut short, looking slightly self conscious in her new dress and shoes, the makeup fresh on her face.

“It’s a real pleasure to meet you, your ladyship,” she said as she gave a little curtsey.

“It’s Natasha, Kylie – trust me, if we held to our titles here, we already have at least one princess.”

“A princess?”

“Sorry, my mistake.  Two,” Natasha said as she embraced Ingrid and Klaus.

“A magnificent new home, my dear,” Klaus said as she kissed Natasha on both cheeks.

“Thank you – please make your way through,” she said as a waitress came past, and Susan took a glass of champagne as well as one of ginger ale.

"One glass of champagne now Kylie, and one later, that's your quota." Susan asserted herself. "Otherwise you are like me and our hostess, reduced to soft drinks."

"Ginger ale sucks." Natasha pulled a face.

"Tell me about it." Susan made a similar face.

“Thank you, Susan,” Kylie said, giggling as she tasted the sparkling wine for the first time.  

“Come away through – quite a few others are here,” Natasha said as they made their way through, Kylie looking round the room with awe struck eyes.

“Jeannie – can I ask a favour of you?”

“OF course Susan, what is it?”

“I’d like to introduce you to my young cousin Kylie – Kylie, this is…”

“Jeannie Brewster,” Kylie whispered.

“Where?”   Jeannie laughed and then said “you’re not from North London are you?”

“Tottenham – I hear you used to live in ’Arlow?”

“I did – let me guess, introduce her to the other girls and help her to feel welcome, Susan?”

“If you could, I have to make this a semi working party,” Susan said.

“Hey my pleasure – she can tell me about the gossip back home,” Jeannie said.  “Sit down – I’ll get someone to bring some food over and we can natter.”

“Thanks,” Susan said as she walked towards Sandy and Heather.

“Mind if I borrow Heather for a moment,” she said quietly as she took the young nanny into a corner.

“I cannot thank you both for the work you have done here,” Willy said as he stood with Tonia and Sandy.

“That’s my wife, the perfectionist,” Ray said with a smile, “but I have to admit, this is a wonderful achievement.”

“Indeed – and your selection of items to install is masterful,” Valeria said as she came over.

“Well you were very helpful,” Sandy said, “and I look forward to visiting in April.”

“I look forward to having you – both of you,” Valeria said as she looked over to the corner of the room.  “I would invite Annie and Carina as well, but I understand you are hosting them, Klaus?”

“Indeed,” Klaus said as he came over, “they will stay with us in Munich for a week, and then Carina is taking Annie and Judith to Vienna for a few days.”

“Sounds delightful,” Tonia said as she sipped her drink.

"So what were you and Heather talking about so intently?" Clint said as he handed his wife a glass of seven-up.

"Work...she's making progress on this attack on our system, it seems to be a Russian company with more than just ties to their organized crime syndicates that are trying to hurt our business."

"Am I the only one who finds it funny that two criminal empires are fighting, and it's over legitimate business," he whispered in her ear.

"Well Madame is far from pleased," she whispered back.  “She wants Dominique over to personally deal with certain issues.”

“And in the meantime?”

“In the meantime, we deal with this legitimately,” Susan said quietly, “excuse me a minute.

She walked over to where Adam and Janice were standing, looking round.

"Janice can I grab you and Adam for a moment in your official capacity?"

"That sounds ominous Susan?"

"I am hoping it is not.  We have a problem at work, we think a competitor is trying to hack our computers and is stealing privileged information."

"Not really our department, did you ask more specialized firms?" Jan nodded slightly in Heather's direction.

"We've got a consultant in, and Charlotte and our Techs are working on it, but I wanted to know what the FBI could do?"

"I'll make enquiries in the morning." Adam nodded.

“Thanks – I appreciate that,” Susan said as she sipped her drink, and then looked at her glass.  “Lord I could do with a strong drink right about now.”

"Is it me, but are they all a lot more restrained then normal?" Liz asked her sister.

"Who? ... Oh you mean the girls dancing with your boys, our young angels?"

"I do Puss."

"I hear Caroline and Annie read the riot act to them, and besides I think steady boyfriends have entered the picture."

"Aha well that will slow down even the wildest girls misbehavior." Liz laughed.

"Hello Katherine dear."

'Hello Mary, you decided to come then I see."

"To be honest I was intrigued to see what Sandy had done with the place."

"Well I'm no expert but it looks wonderful to my old eyes."

"So who's babysitting young Katy?"

"Sandy arranged a sleepover at her place with a nanny to supervise, so I get to come out and kick my heels up."

"Is young Kylie your cousin as well Carina?" Rachel McNally asked as she looked at the young girl sitting with Jeannie.

"No, I'm Susan's cousin, so is she, but we aren't related...opposite sides of Susan's family.

"Okay, I understand now...She seems a quiet young thing."

"I think she's a bit intimidated by all of us, but I see Jeans has taken her under her wing and is chatting to her and introducing her to some of the other girls."

“Relax – they’re really not that bad,” Jeannie said as she ate a vol-au-vent.

"So what do you spend all your money on Jeannie?" Kylie asked.

Jeannie wiped her mouth and said "What money?"

"Wot you earn?"

"I never see it,” Jeannie said as she leaned forward.  “My Mum gives me pocket money, and I get a clothes allowance, but all I earn is going into the bank to pay for my education and my future."

"You get pocket money?"

"Yeah, I told ya I aint an heiress like some of these others."

Kylie laughed as she said “You don’t know how good it is to hear a familiar accent – I feel a little our of place here.  I'm trying to tone down my accent, but it's bloody 'ard...sorry I mean HARD."

"I know,” Jeannie replied, “I need to do it at times as well, North London and West Essex, we basically speak the same."

"I'm going to try and improve my English though."

"Well you aren't the worst I ever heard, you should hear Naomi in full flow when she forgets her elocution lessons."

"Naomi Campbell?"

"Yeah, she can get to sounding like she aint been outta the East End for more than five minutes." Jeannie laughed.

"So your friends what are they like, are they all rich?"

"Becca and Nikki are, Pepsi though, her mum owns a florists shop, and Anna’s a scholarship girl, easily the cleverest girl in our class.  Hey you lot – get over here!”

“What’s up Jeans,” the four girls said as they came over.

“I want you to meet Kylie – she’s Susan’s cousin from North London.  Kylie, this is Becca Morse and Nikki Colman.”

“Pleased to meet you,” they both said as they shook Kylie’s hand.

“This is Pepsi – her mum’s the florist – and Ama Jameson is Caroline’s daughter.”

“A pleasure,” Ama said as she shook Kylie’s hand.

“And this is Anna ‘Doc’ Carlton.”

“Pleased to meet you,” Anna said as she held out her hand, Kylie staring at the young blonde before she held her hand out, and said “likewise.  I get the strangest feeling we’re going to be good friends.”

Anna looked closely at Kylie, and smiled as she said “You know, I think we are.”

Ama looked at both of them as Pepsi said “so what brings you to our fair land, Kylie?”

“Just visiting my cousin,” Kylie said with a smile, “I fly back tomorrow.”

“So have you enjoyed your stay so far.”

“It has had some interesting moments,” Kylie said with a smile.

“Well, life needs interesting moments,” Doc said, “doesn’t it?”

“Come on up and dance with us,” Becca said as they took Kylie by the hands and dragged her to where others were dancing.

"So what do you make of Kylie Jeans?" Doc asked carefully.

"She reminds me of home, she's so like so many girls I used to go to school with."

"You think she's okay?"

Jeannie nodded her head.  "A little rough maybe, but yeah I know loads of girls just like 'er."

"Meaning what?"

“They have drive, they have ambition, but somehow the breaks never come their way, Some of them find satisfaction in the bottle, some in the bingo, and some – well, let’s just say in less than legal things.

“I look at Kylie, though, and I get the feeling she’s got her break.  Susan as her cousin means she has the leg-up she might need to get ahead, if she takes it.”

“So she found her flying lesson?”

“Nice way of putting it.”
Weekend at Diana's - part 4
Please join us at Willy and Natasha's housewarming, as Kylie meets some very important people...
“It was incredible – and yet the most incredible thing about it is how hazy my memory is.  I was about to go on my break when this customer walked in – and even now I can’t remember that much about her.  We all have to wear this white dress with crimson trim and heels, and my colleague Jenna had just gone in the back of the salon to check supplies.

“Anyway – I was talking to the customer, and all of a sudden I felt light headed.  The last thing I remember seeing was her eyes – yellow, they were, and then…

“Well, when I came to I was sitting in the store room, along with Jenna.  We both had our wrists tied tightly together behind our backs, and out ankles were tied together, while a cloth band pulled between our lips was tied round our heads.  Whoever did it had pushed a roll of bandage into our mouths as well, so we had no way of calling out and warning anyone who came in.”

“And then I saw her – well, I saw me.  Same height, same build, same long light black hair down my back.  Jenna had her brown hair trapped – and she smiled at me as she closed the door.

“I know – it sounds crazy, but you found both of us when you broke the door open.  There’s no way we can be held responsible for anything to do with the kidnapping of that woman – honestly.”

Anne Hopper looked at the young shop assistant and nodded.  “I believe you,” she finally said, “it’s not the first case like this we’ve had reported this month.  The officer will take your details, and we’ll be in touch.”

She walked out of the store and took a deep breath of the October air.  This was the third kidnapping of this type in three weeks – and she still had no leads, except for the yellow eyes.

Back at the station, she opened the case file from the first kidnapping and reviewed the statement of Dr Hope Channing…

“It has been a typical day at the surgery – nothing out of the ordinary.  I was there as always, wearing my white coat over a pink coat dress and sandals.  My two assistants were also there – Carina and Elaine.  They have their own uniform – a peach coloured dress and cap, white tights and sandals.

“It was my eleven o’clock appointment – I remember that much – and Carina showed the dark haired woman into the treatment room.  I had been held up with a complicated extraction, and asked her to prepare the patient.

“As I was coming out of the other room, I saw Carina beckon to Elaine to come in, but thought nothing of it as I went to get a drink of water and wash my hands.  When I went into the room Carina was there, her mask over her face, but there was no sign of Elaine, or the patient.

“I clearly remember asking Carina where they were, and then she looked at me.  As I looked back, I could have sworn her eyes turned yellow, just yellow, and then – I fainted.

“When I came to, I could feel someone pulling ropes around my body, trapping my arms against my sides.  It took me a few moments to realise my wrists were already tied behind my back, and as the ropes pressed down above and below my chest I felt whoever was tying me up pulling them up and securing them more as well.

“That was when I heard the moans beside me, and turning my head I saw dark haired carina and red headed Elaine looking at me.  They had ropes around their chests and their ankles, and the surgical masks over their faces were covering some sort of cleave gag.

“If it was like mine, then it was a knotted cloth tier tightly round the head – I could feel the knot with my tongue, and I guessed I also has a surgical mask on given the pressure behind my ears.  Looking down my legs, I saw whoever it was had removed my sandals and tide my ankles together, the dark hose I was wearing compressed under the ropes.

“Thank you.”

“I snapped my head round and saw – me, complete with the red hair clip holding my brown hair back, and the mask over her face.  She reached over, took my glasses off and put them over her own eyes, and then she walked off.  We were sitting around the corner from the waiting room, but when I looked round I saw her showing the model into the treatment room.  I caught a glimpse of her blonde hair over the back of her black silk blouse, heard the commotion – and then nothing.

“We were stuck there until your officers arrived – and that’s all I can tell you.  Sorry.”

Anne closed the file and sat back.  The model was eventually released after the payment of a large ransom, but the way one person overpowered three women – and then made herself look like the dentist?  It didn’t sound right – and Anne wasn’t sure why.

She picked up the book and looked at the cover “Changeling – I need to talk to you, Katie Colhurn, and see what you know…”

Anne stood at the front door of the cottage, unsure of why she was here – but with the third kidnapping now, she was ready to grasp at any straw.

The door was opened by a blonde haired woman, wearing a white peasant blouse and gypsy skirt.  “Can I help you,” she said as she looked at the smartly dressed woman.

“Katie Colhurn?  I’m Anne Hopper – Berkshire CID.  I wonder if I could have a few minutes of your time?”

“Sure – come on in,” Katie said as she closed the door behind them.  “How can I help you?”

“Well, this is going to sound strange, but…”

“Believe me, Anne, I know strange, what can I help you with?”

“We have a series of kidnappings, and the witnesses all say someone disguised themselves to be a perfect copy of them.”

Katie looked at her, and then said “yellow eyes?”

“Yeah – and your book…”

“Come in, sit down,” Katie said.  “I’m just finishing some notes from a chat I had with a young woman up in North Yorkshire.  Why don’t you have a look while I sort some coffee out?”

“Thanks,” Anne said as she sat and looked at the transcript.

“I have a job that earns me some extra money, see – handing out leaflets in the street.  It’s peanuts, but it buys a few drinks down at the student’s union.  Anyway, this particular day I reported for work, wearing a white jacket with purple cuffs and collar, a purple leather skirt and black knee length boots.

“Why leather?  This particular client felt it improved the image of the club they were paying for us to advertise.  And I have to admit – I liked the way it made me feel.  Anyway, as I say, I reported for work, and I was shown this large box of leaflets that I was supposed to hand out – and nobody to help me lift it.

“So there I was – trying to drag this box along, when I heard this voice behind me say ‘Can I help you with that?’  I turned round to say thanks, but all I saw were these yellow eyes – and then nothing.”

Anne looked up as Katie brought in two mugs of coffee, sitting one down next to her.  “You got to the bit about the yellow eyes, didn’t you,” she said as she sat opposite her.

“I did – but I don’t understand what the significance of this is.”

“That’s all right,” Katie said, “keep reading…”

Anne nodded as she looked at the report again.

“When I came to, I was surprised to find myself sitting in that box, a number of the leaflets scattered on top of me.  In fact, the more I came to, the more I realised I only had my head above the leaflets, and something – rope, by what little I could tell using my fingers – was holding my wrists and ankles together.  At the same time, a knotted scarf had been tied into my mouth.

“It took me a little longer to realise I was in some sort of van, and I could hear someone talking to people outside.  The strange thing was, it sounded just like me – and then I was shocked when the back door to the van opened, and I got in.

“Literally – it was me, dressed in my clothes, with my long black hair, and she smiled at me as she grabbed another handful of leaflets from the box.  She looked at me, smiled and said in my voice ‘having a nice rest?’  Then she closed the van doors and left me in there.

“I struggled like mad to get free, but the weight of the leaflets actually made it more difficult.  She came in two more times, and then I thought I heard a car or something leaving at speed.  It must have been a good hour after that before I managed to tip the box and get myself out of it, then raise the alarm by kicking on the side of the van.  A passer-by eventually freed me, and that’s when a policeman told me what had happened.

“I still don’t know who that was, or what happened…”

Anne stopped and looked at Katie.

“Yeah – everyone gives that look,” Katie said, “but it happened to me as well.  I was talking to a friend – as far as I can recall – and the next thing I knew, I had been bound and gagged in a chair, while my exact duplicate robbed me, and then robbed my workplace.  When I was finally freed, my friend said she had left, and knew nothing of what had happened.”

“I can understand that, but your book suggested some theory as to what was going on – the Changeling theory?”

“Yeah – it’s based on an old Eastern story, of a mischievous spirit who somehow grants whoever it possesses the ability to take on the form of anyone else.  Pure speculation on my part, of course – but still, the other alternative is a disguise artist on a par with those guys from the old spy series on television.

“So why have you come to talk to me?”

“This girl,” Anne said, “was the second of three kidnapping in as many weeks.  I recognise her now – this was in Sheffield, and it was the daughter of the owner of a local jeweller who was…”

The ring on the doorbell made Anne stop as Katie went to answer it.  “Come away in,” she said as Anne saw a tall dark haired woman come in, wearing a grey dress coat and knee length suede boots.  Veronica, this is DI Anne Hopper.  Anne, Veronica Backhurst, the friend I just mentioned.”

“Pleasure,” Veronica said as she shook Anne’s hand, “so what brings the police to your door?”

“There’s been a spate of kidnappings recently, where the victim had been duped by someone pretending to be someone else – and somehow becoming their exact double.  I have to admit, it was clutching at straws, but…”

“Katie’s book?  I can understand – but why that?”

“Yellow eyes – all the victims who were replaced by seem to remember are yellow eyes.”

For a moment, Anne could have sworn Veronica knew what she was talking about, but then she said “sounds awful.  Anyway, I came to collect that book from you Katie.”

“Sure – one minute,” Katie said as she left them alone in the room.  Anne was starting to feel a little uncomfortable as her mobile phone rang.


“Right – I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“Problem DI Hooper?”

“Another kidnapping – will you excuse me please?”

“Of course,” Veronica said as Anne left, and Katie returned.

“She was called away – thanks again,” Veronica said as she put the book in her bag, and then left the house.  As she walked down the street, she took out her own mobile phone and dialled a number.

“We need to have a gathering – the inn by the village green, seven tonight.”

Anne walked into the interview room where an eighteen year old girl sat, wearing a grey sweatshirt and joggers.  The cup in her hands was shaking as she stared at the contents inside.

“Hello Jean,” she said as she sat down, “I’m Anne Hopper.  I know it’s been a long and difficult day, but we need you to tell us what happened.”

“What about Alexis,” she said as she looked up.

“We’re trying to find her now – but we need to hear your story as well.  What happened?”

“So I have to?  It still…”

“I know it’s difficult, but please – it may help us find your friend.”

She nodded as she said “It was this lunchtime – we’d gone into town to buy some dresses for the autumn prom.  I had on a purple jumper and a white pleated skirt, with white pumps and a denim jacket, while Alexis was wearing a polo shirt, jeans and boots.

“Anyway, I took a couple of dresses into the changing room to try on, and put them on the rack while I started to change.  Then the door to the room opened, and I turned round to say the room was occupied.  All I saw were these yellow eyes, and then…”

She stopped for a moment, Anne taking some notes as she said “it’s all right.  What happened next?”

“I don’t know how long I was out – but when I came to, I was lying face down on the floor, my arms behind my back  At first, I only knew I couldn’t move them, but I soon realised they had been tied together with rope – and there was also rope holding my arms to my side, and my ankles and knees together.

“Some sort of tape had been stuck over my mouth, and then I heard her say ‘You could do with losing a couple of pounds.’

“Do you know, I didn’t even realise I was in my bra and panties until I saw my double standing in front of the mirror, smiling as she looked at herself.

“’Yes, a few pounds, but not many,’  she said as she turned and looked at me.  ‘Sorry, but I need to take your friend for a little trip.  Have fun.’  She blew a kiss at me, and left me, closing the door behind.

“It was a good hour before an assistant found me – and by then…”

Anne nodded as the girl started crying.  “It’s all right – we’ll get an officer to take you home now, and don’t worry.  We’ll find your friend.”

Stepping out, she found her commanding officer waiting.  “The demand came to her parents fifteen minutes ago.”

“Who on earth is doing this, sir?”

“We’ve no real leads, save this report of the eyes.  What did that writer say?”

“Not much – but her book said it tends to happen up until November, and then nothing.  I still want this person caught though.”


Anne grimaced as she walked to her car.  The girl – Alexis – had been safely returned, but no sign of the kidnappers.

Sitting in the driver’s seat, she was about to set off when she suddenly saw Veronica sitting behind her.

“How did…”

“Please, forgive the intrusion DI Hopper, but some friends of mine and I need you to see something.  You will not be harmed.”

There was something different about her voice, as Anne said “Who are you?  You’re not Veronica Backhurst.”

“I am, and I’m not – please, drive where I tell you.  We will explain all.”

Anne looked at the slight yellow glow in Veronica’s eyes, and turned the engine over.  Something was compelling her, but she didn’t know what.

“What’s going on?  How are you doing this?”

“We mean no harm, DI Hopper,” Veronica said, “we are few, and we use this time of year to – well cause mischief.”

“Who are we?”

“We call ourselves the Changelings – but one of us has gone too far, and we wish to end this.  Pull in at this restaurant please, and we will find a table together.”

Anne pulled in at the bistro, and stepped out, Veronica behind her as they went in.  A waitress came over, wearing a pink and white scarf tied as a bow over a white blouse, blue waistcoat and skirt, and black heels.

“A table for two please,” Veronica said, Anne following her as they sat near the rear wall.

“We have a few moments – ask the questions,” Veronica said.

“Who – what are you?”

“We are what Katie said we are – spirits, who inhabit other bodies.”

“Oh no – I don’t believe…”

“Don’t you?  When you were a girl, Anne Hopper, did you read a comic called Misty?”

Anne nodded as Veronica smiled.  “There was a story in a particular issue, of a witch who used a spell to take the form of others.  The spell went something like this: -

“'Changer of form, changer of shape,
Trickster and thief and jackanape.
Come now and visit this human form,
Make your home here, nevermore to roam!'

“Well, we used that spell, and over the years a number of us have inhabited hosts.  The incantation has appeared elsewhere, and we are mostly harmless – seeking instead the thrill, the excitement this time of year brings.

“It would appear, however, that one of us has come with more evil intent, and – ah, look there.”

Anne looked over to where their waitress walked past a young girl with short blonde hair.  She stood up and left the two men with her, and followed the girl into the rear of the restaurant.

“We can tell she is one of us – the one you seek.”


“Not important,” Veronica said as two other women walked to the booth and looked at the two men for a moment, then left, the two men asleep at the table.

“Come with me please,” Veronica said as she stood up, Anne following as they made their way to the rear of the restaurant as well  Slipping through the staff doors, they waited for a moment as Anne said “what’s happening?”

“We can tell when one of us is at work.  This way.”

They walked along to a toilet block, and as they entered the waitress came back out, with an “out of order” sign in her hand.  Hanging it on the door, she turned, smiling until she saw Anne and Veronica standing there.

“I’m sorry, this is a restricted area,” she said as she looked at them, and then looked closely at Veronica.

“Yes, I am – and so are these ladies,” she said as the two other women walked in.  Anne went to the booth and opened it, standing back as she saw the waitress sitting on the toilet in her bra and panties.  She had her arms bound to her side, and her hands behind her back, and looked at Anne over the red tape that was smoothed over her mouth.

Turning, she saw the other two women holding the same woman who was sitting behind her, as Veronica out her hands to her head.

“You are one of us, but you have broken the rules,” she said, “it is time for you to return to face judgement.”

Anne watched, horrified as a yellow light enveloped the young waitress, and her feathers and hair started to shimmer.  Her hair shortened and went from light brown to blonde, while her face changed to that of the girl who had walked in from the restaurant.

“It is done,” Veronica said as the yellow light seemed to separate from the girl and disappear, and then she collapsed on the floor.  “There will be no more kidnappings  When she wakes, she will tell you everything, DI Hopper.”

“Wait a minute,” Anne said as the three women went to leave, “what about you lot?”

Veronica smiled as she turned round.  “They will remember nothing, and all you will remember is you prevented this girl from kidnapping a customer with her associates outside.  She,” she said as she looked at the frightened captive, “will back up your story.”

“I don’t think…”

“Yes,” Veronica said as hers and the eyes of the other three women glowed yellow, “you will…”

Two minutes later, Anne shook her head and looked at the unconscious blonde on the floor, as well as the brown haired woman in the booth.

“Are you all right,” she said as she removed the tape gag.

“Yes – you stopped her.  She was going to kidnap someone – but why is she wearing my clothes?”

“No idea,” Anne said as she took out her mobile phone,” but hold on.  I’m calling for back up and an ambulance, and then I’ll cuff her and secure you.  I must have knocked her out.”

“Yes, you must have,” the girl said as Anne made the call, and then untied her.
Changeling 3
In time for Halloween, the first story for this year - and a return to a favourite from two other stories.  Enjoy.
9 pm
Susan’s Apartment

"Well Kylie?" Susan asked as the teen came into the living room, wearing a dressing gown as she toweled off her hair after her shower.

"I feel better for that," she said, gratefully taking a cup of coffee as she sat down.

"At least it's over, I told you it would be tough."

"It was more than bloody tuff Sooz...sorry I mean Susan...when I fort the FB bloody I had killed yer, and I was sittin' on that bleedin' floor, if it hadn't been for Kitten reachin' out and 'oldin' my 'and, I fink I'd have packed it in if I'd 'ad a gun to kill meself."

"But you didn' proved something to me, my people, and I think to yerself."

"I know, I know, so who iz she?"



"Not really your business, just think of 'er as a potential future colleague."

"So you fink I have potential?"

"I do, we all do." Susan hugged her.

“So wots this about education?”

“Remember in London I said you needed to go back to school, catch up on lessons?”

“Yeah, well I’m trying, but it’s boring…”

“Yeah, I remember the place.  Look, we’ll talk about it tomorrow, but I have a few ideas.”

“Okay – so what happens now?”

“You unwind, and get a good night’s sleep – and tomorrow, I take you shopping.”

“Shopping?  For wot?”

“You’re coming to a party with me, consider it the coming out of the new Kylie…”

9.15 pm
The Village

"Will I ever see her again Caroline?" Anna sat on the couch, one of Ama's dressing gowns round her, and a towel round her head.

"Maybe, but I guess you realized..."

"That we were basically trying out for two different teams?" Anna smiled. "I got her accent, just like she one of Madame X's prospects?"

"Never ask questions it's not necessary for you to know the answers to," Caroline said as she sat up.

"Well I asked when more training started, I guess I got the answer."

“Indeed,” Diana said as she came up with Annie, “you impressed me this weekend.  Well done.”

“Praise from the Countess is praise indeed,” Ama said with a smile.

“What have you been telling her,” Diana said as she raised an eyebrow and looked at Caroline.  

“Nothing,” she replied as Annie handed Anna a cup of cocoa.  

Diana sat down and accepted a drink.  "It was important to see how you reacted under pressure in different situations. You and Kittycat were basically guinea pigs trying out the ordeal."

"I got that idea, I think we both learned a lot about handling weapons, respecting weapons, and in adversity how to dig deep within for strength."

"Also the value of friendship and teamwork I hear." Ama smiled.

“Oh very much so – especially the friendship.”  As she sipped the cocoa, Doc looked at Ama and said “Have I really been that big a bitch these last few weeks?”

“Not in my experience, no – but I am glad you are part of the group fully again,” Ama said with a smile.  “For my part, I missed your presence, as well as that of Becca and Nikki.”

"By the way,” Anna said as she looked over, “tell Jo Thank You for sitting in the room with us while we were tied up."

"How the hell did you know that Doc?" Diana looked shocked. "She was silent."

"I could smell her, she was wearing a perfume I've only ever smelled being worn by one woman, and after about 4 hours, I think she came close to check on us, and I caught her scent."

"You crafty bitch." Dominique laughed.

"That was when I guessed maybe it was a set up."

“And you said nothing?  Jo said you were cunning, and now I see how true that is.”

Anna smiled and then yawned.

“Right – bed young lady.  I’ll make sure you get up in the morning for school.”

“Oh lord – Monday Math,” Doc said as she looked pleadingly at Annie.

“No chance – I’ll see you in the morning.”

“All right,” Anna said as she stood up and walked to the room, Ama watching as she left.

“So she has proven herself,” she said as she looked at Diana.

“She has started to, and made a good start, but she has a lot to learn…”

Monday 2nd March
7.45 am
The Richmond Mansion

"Jo you are going to need change your perfume." Heather read Diana's debrief as she prepared breakfast.

"I am? ... Why?"

"Doc smelled you and identified you from your scent."

"What?" Joanne rolled her eyes, "That perfume is my one little luxury, the one thing that reminds me I'm a rich woman."

"But it's also made only for you, it's as distinctive as a fingerprint, on a job it could one day get you caught."

Jo sighed, "Okay I'll switch to a commercial brand."

“Fair enough – keep it for those nights with Curt though.”

Jo grinned as she looked at her paper.  “Right, I need to finish off quick, then go and collect Ama, Anna and Pepsi.”

“Do you think she’ll have woken up yet?”

“Mother Hen had her in bed by ten last night – she should be all right.”

“Mother Hen?  Don’t ever let her hear you call her that,” Heather said as Sandy came in.

“Curt coming tomorrow night?”

“He’s coming down for a meeting, so he’s going to come with me later on after it finishes.”

“Good – right, you’d better get going, and tell Anna well done from us.”

8 am
The de Ros Mansion

Diana was reading her paper when she heard her laptop beep.  Opening it, she held the key fob on her door keys to her eye, and then opened the chat window.

"Hello Penny, I guessed you might want to chat." Diana smiled at the screen.

"I was reading your report,” Penny said as she looked into the screen, “what we discussed last week seems to have worked quite well."

"Indeed, I think you can safely go ahead with it in England."

"I'm going to write up some protocols this week." Penelope nodded.

"Doc says she's going to write me a report on what it was like from her perspective."

"That will be helpful, she's very bright."

"I know - I still can't believe she pinpointed that Jo was in the room in that manner."

"Did you warn Jo about that scent?"

"I told Heather, she said she'd tell her."

"That will work…  By the way, Heather said she's already shipped me some of the medical monitoring gizmos, I look forward to seeing them."

"What would any of us do without Heather's tech support?"

"Diana darling I've asked myself that question more than once." Penny laughed aloud.

"Hey Penny." Abby said as she joined her mother. "I'm running late again for school, so I'll have to say Hi and Bye."

"Bye Abs," Penny laughed again.

"My daughter is not really a morning person darling."

"I know, she's Miss Lazybones."

"I'm still here Penny," Abigail's voice came from off camera, "At least wait till I'm out the door please before you start."

"Oh if magazine readers could see her now," Diana laughed, "A danish in one hand, coffee in the other, one side of her shirt out of her skirt, her hair in a ponytail, glasses on, no make-up."

"Not exactly a pin-up."


"Okay Mom I'll see you tonight." Abby yelled as she grabbed her car keys.

"There she goes," Diana smiled broadly.

“Right – need to go.  We have a supply problem I’m trying to get to the bottom of.”


“Could be – I’ll talk to you later.  Hopefully.”

10 am
Xavier Holdings


“Hmm?”  Susan looked up from her desk as her secretary looked in.

“Your 10 am call from head office.”

Susan nodded as the door was closed, and then pressed the loudspeaker button.

"Good Morning Madame."

"Good Afternoon Susan."  The rich familiar tones rolled out from the speaker.  "How are things looking in NYC today?"

"Nice, it starts to feel almost spring like."

"It's raining in London..."

"Poor you."

"Did you pass on mine and John's apologies to Natasha and Willy?"

"I did and they both understand you have work commitments."

"We do, John is booked solid, and I'm practically camping in the office as we get straightened up."

"Do you need any help sent over?"

"Not unless you have a clone of Charlotte, she has actually been sleeping in her office as she gets the legitimate computer system set up."

"I could ask Heather?"

"Heather is already helping, she thinks she and Charlotte can get it sorted by midweek without her leaving New York."

"I hope so, things are busy here."

"So I hear you are taking young Kylie dress shopping?"

"Yes, I want to see how she copes in a social situation...Any ideas yet where to place her?"

"Still not quite sure, but I think she might require a little hand-holding at first."

"How Madame?"

"Diana predicts she will get homesick at first."

"That's possible," Susan paused.

"So despite what I said previously about her age, I think we will invite your friend Marina to join us as well."

"Well that makes me happy personally, Rina is an old friend, and yeah she will at least be a familiar face for Kylie."

“Indeed – from your description of her, I think Lily and Penny could find her a position at the country farm, once initial orientation has taken place.”

“I wonder if Maisha would appreciate the company as well.”

“The same thought had occurred to me, and I will give it further consideration.”

“Well, I will keep you appraised of progress.”

“Excellent – then I will leave you to continue your work.  Until tomorrow, Susan.”

“Madame,” Susan said as the call ended, and then Shirley heard the cursing from next door.

“Right,” she said as she walked out and looked where Charlotte was shaking her head, “Coffee break.  Now.”

11 am
Upper West Side.

“Hey,” Clint said as Kelly came in, stretching and yawning, “I was beginning to wonder if I had to come in and wake you up.”

“What time is it,” she said as she rubbed her eyes and looked at the clock.  “Wow – I slept twelve hours?”

“You were exhausted,” Clint said as he stood up.  “Come on through and I’ll fix you some brunch.  How does Eggs Benedict sound?”


“Ham and eggs on a muffin with a sauce.”

“Sounds good,” Kylie said as she sat at the coffee bar.

“Susan told me what you did over the weekend – well done.”

“Fanks – so where is she?”

“Work, my dear cousin – she says to get a cab to this address to arrive at two thirty.  I’ll leave money – I need to be off at one to get to work.”

“Oh yeah – driving the hob nobs around?”

“Not as bad as it sounds – you’d be amazed what you hear.”

“So dis party Susan’s talking about – who’s crib is it?”

“Will and Natasha?  They both work in connection with the UN – you’ll meet their mum and dad as well.”

As he had talked, Clint had cooked the breakfast, which he now placed in front of Kelly.

“Wow dissgiiddd,” she mumbled as she ate the creation.

“Good – but remember, do not talk with food in your mouth,”

“Sorry,” Kylie said as she swallowed her food, and took a drink of orange juice.  “So this couple, what is their married name?”

“Oh, du Grechy – the Duke and Duchess du Grechy.”

Kylie stared at Clint as he said “Right – eat up and then get ready.”

1 pm
The Refectory

“You look like the cat that got the cream, Doc,” Becca said as she looked over the table.  “Just what did you and Ama get up to over the weekend.

“Nothing special – we sat up all Saturday night talking and watching DVDs, then slept until Sunday lunchtime.  What about you lot?”

“Campaigning all weekend,” Becca said as she put some salad on her fork, “at least there’s only just over two weeks to go before the vote.”

“Fashion week is over as well,” Jeannie said as she ate her wrap, “so I get some peace and quiet until Easter.”

“Hey – you all going tomorrow night?”

“Oh yeah – the housewarming.  I didn’t know you were coming Doc.”

“We all got invites, so sure I’m coming.”

2 pm
Xavier Holdings.

Susan was putting her jacket on as the door to her office opened.

"Hey Heather, what are you doing here? I'm just on my way out to buy Kylie a dress."

"I heard, I was hoping I could borrow your office while you are out to work on the legitimate computer system."

"Madame said you and Charlotte were having problems, so go ahead be my guest...”  She then stopped and looked at her friend.  “Hold on I smell a rat, since when did YOU have to be onsite to work with any computer?"

"Just occasionally even I do you know."

"Okay, I know you know the passwords." Susan slipped her jacket on as Heather turned the computer system on.

"Shit," a worried look came on Heather's face as she looked at the screen.

"Okay that look I know, what's the problem Heather?"

"This system is being attacked..."

"IT'S WHAT!" Susan screamed.

"Keep your voice down Susan,"

"Who the FBI, Interpol?"

"No it's not the secure services, my defenses make it virtually impossible to start even trying to hack that... No this is industrial espionage, a competitor is trying to look at quotes, delivery routes, etc.”

"Any idea who?"

"I recognise some Russian activity, and it ties into the fur hijacking, but for now they are driving me and Charlotte crazy, with all the misdirectional stuff they have going on."

"Does Madame know?"

"Of course."

"Damn I knew there was a reason she wasn't grabbing the jet and coming over for the party."

“Well, I think it’s time to fight back,” Heather said as she downloaded some information.  “These stupid idiots are about to discover what it means to come up against the Hidden Hand…”

“I’ll leave you to your fun – I need to go and meet Kylie,” Susan said as she left the office.

2.30 pm
Saks 5th Avenue

“Sorry I’m late,” Susan said as she met Kylie outside the main entrance, “problems at work.”

“That’s all right, Sooz, but what are we doing ‘ere?”

"We need to buy you a dress for tomorrow night's party."

"In a posh place like this Susan?"

"Why not?"

"Back 'ome I went in a place like this, they'd bleedin' arrest me on suspicion of shopliftin'."

"Well over here they won't, but while I do fink of it, please remember to keep your feevin' 'ands from doin' anyfink stupid."

"I'll be'ave Susan."

Susan smiled as she opened the door and the two walked in, Kylie looking at the outfits as they passed across the floor.

"Hello Serena." Susan greeted one of the associates in the fashion boutique.

"Hello Mrs. Walker, what can we do for you today?"

"My cousin here is over for a visit for a visit from England, and we have a social engagement tomorrow night, might you have something appropriate for her?"

"Let me see, she looks like a 2...can I bring a few things for her to try?"

"Please," Susan smiled as she sat down.

"Blimey Susan, 'ow do you get treatment like that, an' you sound so bleedin' posh?"

“I’m a regular customer, and I’m a regular customer – so time to practice those manners and slightly less harsh accent, all right?”

“Of course, Susan,” Kylie said with a smile as the associate brought some dresses over.  “Might I suggest we start with the basic black party dress, and then see if a different colour would suit.  Can you go in there please – I’m sorry your name is…”

“Kylie – and thank you,” she said as she took the dress and went into the changing area.  

“A nice young girl – just visiting for the week?”

“That’s right – she has to fly back to England on Wednesday,” Susan said as Kylie came back out.  The dress was held up with spaghetti straps over the shoulders, and came to just above her knee.

“Hmmm,” Serena said, “with no disrespect, I do not think you have the body yet to fully carry off a strapless dress, Kylie, but I wonder if one with cap sleeves might work.  Here – try this.”

She handed Kylie a royal blue dress, which she took back into the changing room, coming out as she looked at herself in the mirror.  The skirt came just above her knees, while the neckline allowed the top of her chest to be seen.

“Now that looks more promising,” Serena said as she looked at it.  “Heels?”

“She’s not comfortable on very high heels – got anything suitable with a two inch?”

“Let me have a look – her shoe size?”

“7,” Susan said as Serena walked over to a rack of shoes.

“My gawd - sorry, god, Susan, I look so different in this.”

“That’s the idea – look your best and hide in plain sight,” Susan said as Kylie twisted round, looking at herself in the mirror.

“Here – try this,” Serena said as she brought over a pair of black pumps, watching as Kylie sat and slipped them on, and then tried walking round in them.

“How do they feel?”

“Very soft, very nice – how much?”

“That is not important Kylie, what is important is to you think you can spend the evening wearing them?”

“I think so yes.”

“Good – we’ll take them, and some silk hose in the appropriate size as well.”

“If you would get changed,” Serena said, Kylie nodding as she went out, and came out again in her jumper and skirt.

“Your purchases, Mrs. Walker,” Serena said as Kylie walked over to join them.

“My thanks Serena,” Susan said with a smile as she and Kylie left, and hailed a cab.

“Come on – I’ll take you back to the apartment.  We need to talk about a few things.”

6.30 pm
Upper West Side

“All right, I admit it Sooz – they do good pizza over here.”

“Glad to hear you say that,” Susan said as she took the plates back to the kitchen.  She had changed from her business clothes into a pair of jeans and a polo shirt, and returned with some wipes and a towel.

“So what do we need to talk about?”

Before Susan could answer, there was the sound of her buzzer interrupting.  “Hold that thought,” she said as she left, Kylie turning and watching as she returned.

"One of the skills you need work on Kylie,” Susan said as she came back in, “is putting your makeup on so you look like a lady, I thought I'd ask a friend to show you how tonight...Kylie meet Abigail...Abs this is Kylie."

"Hi Kylie." Abigail waved from the doorway. "Susan said you might need some makeup tips."

"'re Abigail de Ros..." Kylie's jaw dropped.

"So my Mom tells me." Abigail laughed.

"Oh my God, wait till the Vipers, I mean the girls, here about this...You are really her aint you? Not just someone who looks like 'er."

"Kylie this is the REAL Abigail."


"I see you brought your small makeup kit." Susan laughed at the huge bag slung over Abby's shoulder.

"You never know what you might need." Abby smiled as she dropped the bag.

"Kylie doesn't wear makeup usually, she's 14, and I'd like her to look special." Susan smiled proudly at her young protégé.

"Well there are a variety of things we can do." Abigail stood hands on hips looking at Kylie. "You know you are really cute, you ought to wear at least some makeup though."

"What do you suggest Abs?" Susan brought a large mirror out and sat it on the dining room table in front of Kylie.

"Your skin is a tad oily Kylie,” Abby said as she looked at the teenager, “what cleanser do you use?"

"Wots a cleanser?"

"Tell me she didn't just say that?" Abby rolled her eyes as Kylie looked at her.

"I think she did," Susan sighed.

"Susan grab that bottle of the Garnier Radiance Renewer Cleansing Gelee from my bag please, I think we are in for a long evening."

Kylie watched as Abby draped a towel round her shoulders, and then used a hairband to keep her hair back from her face and forehead.

“First things first,” she said as she put some of the cleanser on a cotton wool pad and gently wiped it over Kylie’s face, “let’s show you what a cleanser can do for you.”

“But I washed – several times,” Kylie said as Abby worked on her.

“I’m sure you did,” Abby said, “and yet…”  She showed Kylie the cotton pads, and the dirt that was on them, before she said “now, take a look in the mirror.”

“Oh my…”  Kylie stared at the fresh faced youngster looking back at her, and said “I… I don’t remember the last time I looked like dat.”

Susan and Abby looked at each other, before Susan said “she’s right, by the way – you do look kinda cute, but now we get to make you look fabulous.”

“Despite what you may have seen of me in magazines and shows,” Abby said as she sat and looked at Kylie, “the key to good makeup is not to try and look like someone in a photo.  It’s to bring you out and show you in your best light – and often, less is more.”

Looking at Kylie, she said “So let’s start with some foundation – I think a subtle one will work best for you…”

8.30 pm

“There – I’m not a make-up artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I think that works.  What do you say Kylie?”

The teenager looked at herself in the mirror, her cheeks highlighted by the blusher, her eyelids shaded and her lips rouged.  She hardly recognized herself, and it showed in the way she kept staring.

“Get her to Carlos tomorrow, Susan, and she’ll fit right in.”

“Is…  Is that me?”

“As far as I can tell, you’ve been in that seat the whole time, so it’s still you,” Abby said.  “Having said that, I didn’t wear makeup regularly until I started modeling, so I do know what you’re thinking.  It can transform you – when done properly.”

Closing her bag, Abby said “I need to get back – I’ll see you tomorrow Kylie at my aunt and uncle’s place.”

“Yea – and fanks, I mean thanks,” Kylie said, still staring at the mirror as Susan walked Abby to the door.

“She really is an innocent in this, isn’t she?”

“Yeah – and she isn’t in other ways.  That’s the dilemma, like I faced – to balance the two.”

“Well, good luck – I think you’re halfway there,” Abby whispered as she left, Susan closing the door and walking back in.
Weekend at Diana's - part 3
in which Kylie and Doc reflect on what they have learned, before Susan shows Kylie what she can really be...
In all the Jeeves stories, I believe there is only one that is told in the third person.  Time for a challenge – this takes place some time before Bartholomew Judas Rhymaes met Gladys Pugh…

The apartment was spotless, spick and span, so clean you could eat your breakfast off the table if Jayes had allowed it.  He would have it no other way – in his role as Gentleman’s Personal Gentleman to the Honourable Bartholomew J Rhymaes, Bart, he exercised perfection in all things, both domestic and professional.  In fact, as he looked around the modern apartment, Jayes was reminded of the old maxim “Tidy room, tidy mind.”

This particular spring day, Jayes was putting away some small items, while his employer was discoursing on a subject close to his heart…

“Jayes, I tell you she is perfection incarnate.” Barty reclined on the sofa, reading the newspapers in his dressing gown, as was his practice to do so.  It was important to know who was where and dating who – you never knew when such knowledge would come in handy.

“I understand your opinion of the young lady,” Jayes said as he turned round, “but one must view the complete picture sir.”

“Meaning,” Barty said as he looked over at Jayes, erect and alert in his dark suit and white shirt with black tie.

“Well, one must always remember, sir, that she is American.”  Not that Jayes was prejudiced against those who hailed from across the Atlantic – he merely recognised certain issues came with them.

“American Schmerican as they might say in jolly old New York, I’m telling you Jayes that Miss Annabel Richmond is any man’s ideal of the perfect woman.”

“Can I take it from that sir,” he said quietly, “that she’s blonde, beautiful, and most importantly an heiress?”

“She and her young brother will between them inherit twenty-five million dollars Jayes, but that is irrelevant. Miss Richmond is just so beautiful that I think half the club would marry her today, fortune or not.”

Jayes smiled as he said “Well as you yourself say sir, she does indeed sound perfect.”

“I tell you Jayes I think I’m jolly well in love.”

Jayes merely raised an eyebrow and said “Again sir…”

“All those other times didn’t count Jayes, they were trifles, mere affection, this is different. I am willing to tell the whole world I’m in love with Miss Richmond.”

“Might I enquire as to the source of the young ladies fortune sir?”

“Property Jayes, lovely expensive Manhattan real estate. Seems her Grandfather brought up whatever he could when he moved there from Ireland, and her family has been buying more and more and getting richer and richer ever since.”

“That is indeed a most felicitatious story sir.  Perhaps there is indeed a possibility of a romantic engagement.”

“Isn’t it just Jayes…isn’t it just?” Barty leaned backwards and sipped his mid morning cup of tea.  

“As we are discussing financial matters, sir, I wished to ask if you had any plans for replenishing the coffers?”

“One or two ideas, Jayes, one or two.  I shall consult in due course, but for now lead me to the bath – I have an appointment at the club this afternoon.”

“Of course sir, may I suggest the light grey suit today?”

“As you wish Jayes, as you wish.”

Not a million miles away from Mayfair, but in an altogether far less salubrious place tucked somewhere behind Regent Street and Oxford Street, a conversation of an altogether different kind was taking place in the jewellery store of one Saul Isaacs. The sign over his door might claim that Mr. Isaacs was a purveyor of fine diamonds to the gentry, what it did not reveal was the source of such diamonds resulting from what many might describe as the lower strata of London society.

Take for example the young woman currently to be found in the backroom of the establishment. She might be dressed something like a lady, in a long coat over a grey dress, but her awful attempt at the accent of the upper classes revealed to anyone with half an ear that her origins lie in altogether a different milieu, and that despite her perfectly bobbed black hair, this young woman was certainly not an English lady of quality.

“They are worth two thousand Isaacs. I know it, you know it.” The woman said grimly as she held on tightly to the diamond necklace.

“They might be worth that to Lord Ordford,” Isaacs said quietly, “ they might be worth that to his insurance company, but how am I going to sell these gems for anything like that.”

“So what will you offer me?”

“Three Hundred.”

“Are you joking?” The woman stood up.

“What were you thinking?”

“A thousand…”

“You bleedin’ well ‘ave to be joking yerself…Five Hundred.”


“Seven Hundred and that’s my final offer.”

“Seven fifty…and maybe I need find a better fence?”

“Your breakin’ me ‘eart Ghost…alright it’s a deal.”

The woman smiled as the jeweler counted out the bank notes. “It’s a pleasure doing business with you Mr. Isaacs.” She looked content as she exchanged the diamonds for the cash.

“Keep bringing jewels like that, and you can come any time,” Isaacs said as she walked out.

Five minutes later, Isaacs looked up from the counter to see a tall man walk in, wearing a dark suit with the collar turned up, and a scarf round his neck, pulled up to cover his face.

“Well, well, you came again,” Isaacs said as he opened the counter.  “What do you have for me this time?”

He placed a small valise on the table and opened it, Isaacs looking in and taking out some candlesticks.  “Excellent – come away through.”

The Antilles Club, off Pall Mall, was the place to be if you were a young gentleman about town, of reasonable income and plenty of time.  The entrance was a typical white marble and mahogany door affair, with a liveried doorman outside under the marble upheld cover, but anyone passing was more likely to hear the latest jazz sounds coming out, or the “vue haloo” of a hunting party.

As Barty walked in that morning, he ducked to avoid the flight of bread rolls, and walked into the bar.

“Afternoon, Watkins – the usual please.”

“Very good, sir,” the barman said as Barty looked round, and spotted a friendly face through a door.  Taking up the liquid refreshment, he walked over, neatly dodging the canes set to trip him.

“Bongo old thing.” Barty cheerfully greeted his old school chum as he sat down in the club smoking room.

“Oh hello Barty.” Lord David Fitzstuart said in a monotone, looking morose as he sat there reflecting on the chances and misfortunes of life.

“You look like you’ve lost a five pound note and found a farthing Bongo.”

“I have Barty, haven’t you read the newspapers?”

“Just the racing pages old boy. I got a nice winner at jolly old Hirst Park”

“Oh that I was that lucky,” Bongo said as he raised his hands up, “my father’s threatening to cut me off without a penny.”

“What’s the old lion caught you doing this time?”

“Mater’s diamond necklace got jolly well pinched last night from Ordford House.”

“That was a trifle unfortunate, but why does the old gentleman blame you?”

“Well I got a trifle squiffy at Beetle McDonald’s party at the Tontom club last night…”

“I know old thing, I was there as well, but that doesn’t explain anything.”

“Well it seems that the thief was able to gain access through an open window…”

“Oh that’s bad luck, but again how does that get you threatened yet again with ruin?”

“Well it might just have been the window I climbed back in through, and that just maybe I forgot to close it.”

“Oh that’s damned unfortunate what?”

“Exactly…could have happened to any chap, but the lion has taken it in his head that it was all my fault.”

“Hard luck old thing, here let me buy you a W and S.” Barty signaled to one of the waiters.

“The damned thing is, I could have sworn I did close it Barty – I just don’t know what happened…”

A short distance from the Mall, the crowd at the Star was quietly talking, enjoying the early evening.  The local bar, it was a sociable place, one a certain tall, imposing man knew well from his childhood.

“So how go things with young Mr. Rhymaes Mr. Jayes?” Jack the landlord of the Star asked as Jayes supped happily on a pint of Skinners Best in the snug.

“As always tolerably well Jack.” Jayes stood at the bar.  “He is a most amenable employer, and the opportunities that arise in his daily life are always either amusing or profitable – and often both.”

“Did you read the Evening News Mr. Jayes, about that diamond necklace getting removed from Ordford House?”

“I did Jack, most unfortunate, I also heard something from the horse’s mouth so to speak. Mr. Rhymaes having spent the afternoon consoling Lord David Fitzstuart on his unfortunate role in the whole affair.”

“From what I read they all but invited The Ghost in, fancy leaving a window open like that?”

“Fancy that indeed Jack, it was as you said all but an invitation.”

To Jayes, the open window was not a true method of entry – a true artist would affect an entry no matter what the circumstances.  But he did admire the skill and guile.  As he supped on his pint, he wondered if The Agency would have any suggestions as to who this thief – The Ghost – was.

He would like to buy him a drink.

Romulo’s was full of bright young things, being bright young things.  Champagne was flowing like the water down the Thames, though with slightly more sparkle and joie de vivre, and the in house band were playing the latest show tunes.  Barty and Bongo were sat at a table, looking at the dance floor, and especially a blonde haired girl, tall and thin, her hair cut in the latest bob fashion and wearing a tight black dress that came to her knees.

“Look at her Bongo, the Goddess I adore dancing with that stinker Hughson.”

Alasdair Hughson was the prospective Tory candidate for Knightsbridge, and held himself in a very high opinion – far higher than many of his contemporaries.  At the Antilles, he was the three times winner of the “most likely to end up looking at you from the magistrate’s chair on Boat Night” award – not that he ever called to collect it.  Tall, slicked back black hair, and an air of insufferable superiority.

“Which goddess Barty,” the rather unsteady Lord David mumbled as he tried to focus his eyes.

“Miss Richmond old thing, the woman I am going to marry,” Barty’s voice trailed off wistfully as she looked at him laughing with Hughson.

“The Yankee heiress? Good luck there Barty, half the fortune hunters in London are chasing her like a jolly old fox that has bolted out from cover.” Lord David thought hard for a second, not something that came easily to him even when not in his cups, and in this state likely to cause his head to ache. “Maybe I need to pay court myself, would at least solve the jolly old cash flow crisis if the lion does cut me off.”

Barty looked at his old friend with a shocked expression.  “You are being so mercenary about the woman I love Bongo.”

“But you’ve never even talked to her Barty.”

“It doesn’t matter, I’m worshipping her from afar…”

“Or tonight from a bar…I say that’s rather clever.” Lord David chuckled, “from a bar instead of from afar.”

Barty closed his eyes, immune to the charms of the other beautiful women in Romulo’s tonight, and… “Oh I get it now, that is rather good, a bar…afar.”

Annabel glanced over at the two men gazing in her direction and smiled.  They looked like good men to know, in one form or another…

“And she spent half the night dancing with that blighter Hughson Jayes.” Barty complained as he sat on the sofa, drinking his 11 o’clock cup of tea just after midday.

Jayes put the tea pot down and stood at attention, seeking to support his young employer.  “A most unfortunate choice of dance partner sir.  His reputation amongst the other gentlemen’s personal gentlemen is not of the highest standing.”

“I know, hasn’t she heard why that swine was sent down from Oxford?”  Barty thought back to the unfortunate incident involving the bursar’s wife, the washing line and the diamond and silver tiara, shivering when he remembered how close he had come to being involved in that.

“I would consider it unlikely sir,” Jayes said quietly, “with the young lady being an American and only arrived in our country comparatively recently.”

“That probably explains it Jayes.” Barty sighed. “So any decent tips from the landlord of the Star for this afternoon.”

“I am led to believe that Emerald Star in the 3.15 at Kempton Park is what is sometimes vulgarly called a cert sir.”

“Hmmm 6 to 1 eh Jayes, might be worth a small investment what?”

“I have already taken the liberty of telephoning your turf accountant sir and placing a wager of twenty pounds.”

“Good show Jayes, what would I jolly do without you.”

“Heaven knows sir,” Jayes said quietly.  “I will lay out the heather tweed for you to wear today sir.”

“Very good Jayes – oh, and I promised old Bongo I would dine with him tonight and then go on to the Tontom Club.  You may have the evening off.”

“Very good sir – I have some small personal matters to attend to, but I shall be in situ in time for your return.”

“Very good Jayes – now for the bath, the suit and the cane.  A walk in the park beckons.”

As Jayes left the flat, and stepped out of the building lobby, he breathed in the crisp evening air and smiled.  He had an appointment at The Agency, and was looking forward to a most productive evening.

As he passed the Star, however, he noticed the landlord being escorted from the building by two of London’s finest.  Jack was a fine, upstanding gentleman in all ways, but he did have a little side line in procurement, and it was obvious to Jayes that sideline had come to a sudden end.  Making a mental note to inform the correct groups, he made his way down the street, whistling the latest Novello tune to himself as he walked along.

He stopped outside a plain looking building and knocked on the door three times, removing his head and nodding to the doorman as he was admitted.

“Good evening, Mister Jayes,” he said as he took the coat, “the committee are awaiting you in the main room.”

Barty’s aunties might not approve of the syncopated rhythms, the wailing saxophones, and the mesmeric notes from the horns, but to Barty himself the music at the Tontom Club had the same effect on his soul as a chorus of angels might. It was so modern, so perfect after all the bad times, the oldies might not approve but Barty and his generation felt that they were allowed this chance to let their hair down, relax, and to try somehow to forget.  From the polished wooden dance floor, to the chrome and glass tables and chairs, and the Rennie McIntosh décor, it was the very definition of chic.

“This way, sir.”

“She’s a rather attractive little thing, “ Barty smiled as a brunette hostess showed him to a table. He might be in love with the divine Miss Richmond, but even goddesses forgave admiration of their handmaidens.  This one wore a black dress with a white trim, and had a nice smile, and he thought her rather attractive in a provincial way

“Did you stop in at Lords this afternoon Barty?” Rhino Sopworth asked from the next table.

“I did old boy.”

“How was the score?”

“Haven’t got the foggiest old thing.”

“You went to Lords and never watched the cricket?”

“Rhino old chap who in their right minds goes to Lords to watch cricket, one goes to stroll around and meet old friends.”

“I’d still like to know if Eton won.”

“Rhino old chap I sometimes wonder about you, fancy actually being keen on the result.” Barty shook his head.

“There you are,” Bongo said as he sat down, “I got lost on my way from the gents.”

“Sit down and watch,” Barty said as Annabel came in, a vision of perfection in a white lace slip dress over a white silk v-necked garment, cut to show a flash of chest and a little knee.  Her feet were in perfectly made white heels, and her gloves were of kid leather.  She wore a shimmering grey chiffon wrap, as well as a diamond tiara in her hair and matching bracelets.

As she laughed, the pearls around her neck seemed to move and shimmer.  Truly, in Barty’s eyes, she was the one – and there was only one blot on the horizon.

That blot being Hughson, who sneered as he accompanied her to the table on the far side of the dance floor.

Pouring the champagne, he passed the bottle to Bongo, who said “Cheers” and drank it straight down.

“Another bottle of shampoo.” Barty signaled to the dark haired hostess.

“Here you are sir,” the woman brought it over in an ice bucket from the bar. She looked at the other man, and said “Do I need to call a taxi for your friend sir.”

“No he’s fine.”  As Barty said that, Bongo beamed and fell head first onto the table.

“You know best sir,” she looked doubtful as she walked away. “And here at the Tontom Club the customer is always right.”

“What does she see in him Bongo?” Barty lifted his friend’s head from where it was reposing on the top of a table.

Lord David grunted as his head dropped again.

“What Ho Barty?”

“What Ho Slasher.” Barty smiled as George Hendrick sat at his table.  The Honorable George Arnold Hendrick was the third son of Baron Ponsonby, third Baron of Holborn, and made his crust of bread designing book jackets.

“Word is you made a nice coup today?” Slasher looked slightly worse for wear himself.

“Jayes information sources as perfect as ever.”

Mr. Hendrick glanced round, “you know a real chum would spread the jolly word if he got a hot tip from such an unimpeachable source.”

“Many apologies old boy…” Barty thought hard trying to remember something one of his aunts had once told him. “Aren’t you that stink…I mean aren’t you a cousin of Hughson over there?”

“It just happens I am, another bounder who doesn’t share his good fortune, damn blighter I’ve heard has an absolute fortune in emeralds stashed in his safe, all brought in illegally from South America, all nicely hidden away from the taxman.” Slasher Hendrick grumbled.

“Would you happen to know that adorable thing he’s dancing with?”

“You mean Miss Richmond, just happens I do…”

“I couldn’t wangle an introduction could I Slasher old chum.”

“To the heiress Barty,” he said as he sat back.  “Oh no - don’t tell me you are smitten as well?”

“Rather, Slasher…So what chance on that introduction?”

“What’s in it for me Barty?”

“Jayes next hot tip…”

“How about the next three?”


“It’s a deal Barty.” Slasher stood up slightly unsteadily and motioned for Barty to follow him.

As they staggered across the floor, Barty adjusted his tie and tried to smile in a nice natural manner.

“Hello Hendrick.” Hughson scowled as his cousin approached.

“Hughson,” Slasher nodded. “Miss Richmond may I have the pleasure of presenting Barty Rhymaes, Barty can I introduce Miss Richmond.”

“Charmed Miss Richmond.” Barty bowed slightly.

“The same.” Miss Richmond smiled – a real warm smile that warmed him.

“Barty fagged for me at Eton donchaknow.” Slasher murmured as he slipped to the floor.

“Oh dear I think Mr. Hendrick is what you Brits call a bit squishy.” Miss Hendrick flashed her smile.

“You must forgive him, he has a hard time recently.”

“He would not know a hard time if it walked up, said hi and kicked him up the arse.”

Both Barty and Annabel looked at Hughson, before Barty said “I understand you are visiting our fair land.”

“Oh yes – learning, having fun, visiting all the right places with Jane…”


“Jane Huntingdown, my travelling companion.  Papa insisted I came with one, and we were roomies at Smith.  She’s not the outgoing type – prefers museums, and stays in reading while I get out and party!”

“Sounds delightful,” Barty said with a smile, mentally filing this young lady under the category of ‘determined to improve Rhymaes’.”

“Oh she is,” Annabel said with a smile.  “Tell me, Barty, are you free tomorrow?”

“Rather – why do you ask?”

“I’m going out to Brooklands with Jane to visit Peggy.  Why don’t you come with us?”

“And may I ask,” Barty said in a light carefree way, “who is Peggy?”

“Oh just a little something I like to drive round.”

“Well, that sounds fun – and in return, perhaps you could come to my place for a spot of supper tomorrow night?”

Annabel smiled, but before she could answer Hughson said “But you promised to accompany me to the soiree tomorrow!”

“Oh we can do both – if you don’t mind hosting for Hughson as well, Barty.”

“Of course not – I’ll invite my friend Bongo.  We’ll make a jolly party, what?”

“Good – I’ll pick you up at two tomorrow at your apartment.  Where is it?”

“Lavender Gardens, Mayfair.  Ask for me at the door.”

“Until then,” she said with a smile as Hughson stood up.  “We need to go, Miss Richmond.”

“Oh no – I want to dance with this charming young man before we go,” Annabel said with a laugh as she dragged Barty onto the dance floor, Hughson standing and fuming.

“Would you care for another drink sir?”

Hughson turned and glared at the hostess.  “Listen, you little strumpet,” he growled, “if I wanted another drink, I would have ordered either you or one of your equally imbecilic co-workers over and asked for one.”

“Sir,” she said quietly, “there is no need for you to be so aggressive.”

“That was not aggressive,” he said as he suddenly pushed her against the wall, his hands on her hips, “this is aggressive.  Is that what you want you little…”


Barty and Annabel turned and looked at David, who was standing in front of Hughson, his fists clenched.

“You owe this young lady an apology, sir.”

“What are you going to do about it, Bongo?”

“Oh dear,” Annabel said as she crossed the floor and took Hughson’s arm, “apologise, Alasdair darling.”

He looked at David, then the hostess, before grabbing his coat and walking out.

“Please, accept my apologies at least,” Annabel said as she collected her bag.  “Until tomorrow, Barty.”

“She is adorable Jayes, simply adorable, a smile like the morning sun, a voice as melodious as bird song, a laugh that is like a chorus of angels.” Barty looked rapturous as he had his mid-morning cup of tea at one in the afternoon.  He was already dressed, in a dark blue blazer, white shirt with cravat neatly tied (by Jayes) and cream trousers.

“She does indeed seem a remarkable young woman sir.” Jayes smiled.

“So any tips for today Jayes?”

“I must unfortunately report that Jack the landlord at the Star, was otherwise engaged last night sir.  I very much fear we may need to seek appropriate information from other sources for the foreseeable future.”

“That’s a damn shame Jayes, a damn shame. I could have used a couple of your jolly old inside tips as payment for Slasher.”

“Indeed sir.”

“Now, Jayes, I am hosting a small dinner party tonight – myself, Miss Richmond, Lord David and Hughson.”

“Indeed Sir?  May I enquire what led you to this arrangement?”  Although he showed deference, Jayes was worried about what might be about to happen.

“To show Annabel why I am the best choice, of course,” Barty said as he heard a horn outside, and looked out of the window.  “They have been asked to be here at seven for cocktails, and we dine at eight.  Please prepare a suitable menu for four Jayes.”

“May I suggest a cold consommé, chicken in white wine and mushroom sauce with dauphonoise potatoes and greens, and a light soufflé for the food sir.”

“Sounds topping Jayes – go to it,” Barty said as he left, Jayes shaking his head before he went to collect his coat.  The provision of additional supplies was essential.

Miss Richmond might be admired for her beauty, but the beauty she truly admired was her very own sky blue Bugatti Type 35B that she kept garaged and raced at Brooklands. The thrills she got from opening up the throttle round the Byfleet Banking was almost indescribable. The moisture in a certain part of her body hugging driving suit proof of the excitement racing created within her only added to the pleasure.

Barty and Hughson watched from the pit lane, either side of a tall blonde haired girl Annabel had introduced as Jane Huntingdown.  She wore a grey cardigan and skirt with a white blouse, sensible brown brogues and glasses, but there was something in her eye that caught Barty’s as well.

Annabel pulled to a stop at her pit, got out of the car, removed her helmet and shook her hair.

"Well Boys what did you think?" she asked Barty and Hughson.

"Simply amazing Miss Richmond." Barty smiled as he looked at the car.  “A real beauty.”

"Damn lot of nonsense if you ask me..."

"But Mr. Hughson....the excitement." she trilled the words.

"I'd rather get excited watching my shares rise on the market."

“I prefer F Scott Fitzgerald,” Jane said without looking up.

“Come on Hughson, where’s your spirit of adventure?”

“Safely invested.”

“Party pooper – Come on, I’ll drive you both back to the big bad city.”

“Annabel Richmond?”

She turned to see a red haired woman standing behind her, wearing a leather jacket, cap and large goggles.

“Oh my – Betsy?  Betsy Morse?  What brings you over here?”

“En Vacance, my dear.  Want to race a few laps?”

“Why not – you all right for a little while longer?”

“Of course, old fruit,” Barty said as he waved her back to her car.  The fact she was so skilled only added to her attraction in his eyes.

The two women wore form fitting white mechanics overalls that didn't defeminise them at all, showing their attractive curves as they put their hair up under their helmets before going out again to test themselves against the circuit’s curves.

“There is something fundamentally wrong with a woman who prefers a fast car to a man,” Hughson grumbled as she drove off.

“Oh I don’t know, Hughson – it tells me she enjoys risk and the fast things in life.”

“Or that she finds the car more reliable than a man,” Jane whispered under her breath.

Barty heard the comment and smiled, but Hughson just seemed to redden in anger as she passed by.  “You don’t think she’s one of them, do you Rhymaes?”

“One of what, Hughson old chap?”

“Women who hate men.”

“What, a latter day suffragette.”

He turned and stared at Barty, before saying “Are you really that imbecilic?”

“Hughson, old pip, did I say something to upset you?”

Hughson just growled again and walked over to where Annabel had stopped with Betsy Morse, Barty looking at Jane before they walked over as well.  As they got closer, they heard Hodgson say “I warn you, Miss Richmond, you vex me too much.”

“Oh good – it’s good for a man to be vexed,” Annabel said with a smile, making Hughson even angrier.  

“I think it is time I played the prix chevalier,” Barty said as his put a hand on the other man’s shoulder, and said “Hughson, old boy, walk with me a minute.”

As he led the other man away, Jane whispered “well?”

“Oh yes – we’re doing this.”

“Well it would never do in my family Mr. Jayes,” Mrs. Bellows the daily said as she shook her head, “A young lady like her coming alone to visit a young gentleman’s flat.”

“She’s an American Mrs. Bellows, I am led to believe they have different standards of propriety in that country.” Jayes sat sipping his tea in the pantry.

“Well it still aint right Mr. Jayes, it just aint right.”

“Indeed.  I shall, however, do my duty whatever my personal views on the matter.”

“So who else is coming Mr. Jayes?”

“I’m informed that Lord David and Mr. Hughson will also be in attendance.”

“Three gentleman and one lady, it just aint proper.” Mrs. Bellows shook her head again.

“Not at all.”

“So Mr. Jayes did you read that this burglar they call The Ghost robbed Lord Shearwater’s house?”

“I did indeed Mrs. Bellows, this rogue is most daring.”

“Fancy creeping into his lordship’s bedroom like that and taking ‘is snuff box collection.”

“Fancy that indeed Mrs. Bellows.”

Jayes had considered raising the prospect of a visit to Lord Shearwater, but alas, the opportunity had passed.  The more he heard of this Ghost, the more he desired to meet him.

“Good evening Miss Richmond, Mister Hughson” Jayes said as he held the door open, allowing the two new arrivals to come in.  Jayes was dressed in what Barty unkindly referred to as “full battle dress” – the impeccable shirt, black dress jacket and trousers, waistcoat, bow tie and white gloves.

“Well now, and who are you,” Annabel said as she looked at him.

“My name is Jayes, Miss Richmond, and I serve as Mister Rhymaes’ personal gentleman.  May I take your coat?”

Annabel was wearing a long white fur coat with a large collar, which she allowed Jayes to remove, revealing an ivory flapper style dress with ornate patterning, and a beaded layered overskirt.  She also wore ivory opera gloves, and a large set of real pearls around her neck.

Taking Mister Hughson’s coat and hanging both up, Jayes bowed and said “if you will come this way, please.“

“ah there you are,” Barty said as they came in, dressed as was Hughson and Lord David in evening clothes. “Jayes, cocktails for my guests.”

“Certainly sir,” Jayes said as he moved to the drinks cabinet.

“Bongo old thing, meet Miss Richmond.”

“Miss Richmond…charmed.” Lord David bowed.

“Your Lordship.” Miss Richmond curtsied.

“Just call me Bongo, Miss Richmond.”

“Evening Hughson.” Barty tried to sound welcoming.

“Fitzstuart, Rhymaes.” Hughson barely acknowledged the greeting as he looked round.  “Very nice house Rhymaes – your uncle must have left you a small fortune.”

“I get by,” Barty said in an effort to be sociable.

“Well aint it just thrilling you three boys inviting me to supper?” Miss Richmond laughed.

“It’s our pleasure Miss Richmond.”

“Well ah guess if you are wanting me to call you Bongo Lord David, all you gentleman probably ought to call me Annabel.”

“Your drink, Miss Richmond,” Jayes said as he presented it on a silver tray.

“You can call me Annabel too, Jayes.”

“Forgive me, Miss Richmond, but it would not be proper.  If you will excuse me?”  He bowed and made his way to the side of the room.

“Real polite, isn’t he?”

“Oh Jayes can be a  bit of a stuffed shirt at times, but his heart is in the right place, and he is invaluable to me.”

“He speaks true, Annabel,” Bongo said as he sipped his drink, “Many have tried to lure Jayes away, but he remains true to Barty here.”

“A loyal manservant – you’re a diamond in the rough, are you Jayes?”

“I prefer to think of myself as a light in the darkness, Miss Richmond,” Jayes said as he slipped noiselessly out.

“So where is your companion tonight Annabel?”

“Jane?  The poor dear had a headache, so I left her at my apartment, curled up with the latest edition of The Spectator.”

“Well, I hope the poor little lamb recovers soon,” Barty said as Jayes reappeared.

“Jayes you can serve please.” Barty nodded.

“Very well sir.” Jayes repaired to the kitchen.

“In addition to his other talents Jayes is a first rate cook Annabel.” Barty was reveling in the American informality of his principal guest.

“Then I look forward to sampling the wares,” Annabel said as Barty escorted the young heiress to the table.  As they say, Jayes brought through the tureen and served the soup, Barty and David looking at Hughson as he slurped his serving.  Jayes merely raised an eyebrow and nodded as he removed the tureen, and took it back to the kitchen.

The rest of the meal passed in a fairly pleasant, if strained manner, as Jayes brought the food through and cleared the plates.  Once the dessert plates had been cleared, Barty stood up and said “Perhaps we can take brandy and coffee in the front room.  Will you bring the coffee and decanter through please Jayes?”

“With your permission, sir, I will bring the decanter and glasses first, and then bring the coffee through.”

“I tell you what Jayes,” Annabel said, “I’ll take the brandy through for you.”

Jayes stared at Annabel for a moment, before he said “the offer is much appreciated Miss Richmond, but it is hardly…”

“Jayes, you cooked a fantastic meal tonight,” Annabel said, “and I want to show my appreciation by helping.  You would hardly deny a lady her request, would you?”

“Well, when you put it that way Miss Richmond, I cannot refuse.  Allow me to show you to the drinks cabinet, and I will fetch a tray and glasses.”

As they went in one direction, Barty led the other two gentlemen to the front room.

“She is an angel in form, wouldn’t you agree Bongo?”

“She has something, I agree,” Bongo said.

“Both of you can back off,” Hughson said as she sat down.  “I am marrying Annabel Richmond – she doesn’t know it yet is all.”

“I must say, she seemed unimpressed with you today, Hughson,” Barty said quietly,

“And as for last night…”

“I was showing her who was boss,” Hughson said as Annabel appeared with the brandy decanter, Jayes laying the tray with glasses on the low table, and then bowing as he left the room.

“I’ll pour,” Barty said as he poured four glasses.

“No, five – let your man have a drink as well.”

“He will refuse, but – all right,” Barty said as he poured a fifth glass, while Jayes appeared with the coffee.

“Shall I pour, sir,” he said as he looked at Barty.

“In a moment, Jayes – join us for a brandy first.”

“I am not sure it is my place to do Miss Richmond…”

“Oh come on, my man – relax a little.”

“It’s all right Jayes – I’ll allow it this once,” Barty said.

“Very well Sir,” Jayes said as he accepted a glass.

“A toast – to fun,” Annabel said as she raised her glass, and all of them put the glass to their lips.

“If you will excuse me, Sir, I will pour the coffee now,” Jayes said, but as he went back to the table he stopped for a moment and held his head.

“Problem, Jayes,” Barty said as he looked over.

“I must apologise sir, but I suddenly feel a little unwell.  Would it be possible for me to leave the coffee for you, and retire for the evening?”

“Of course, my man,” Barty said as he sipped his brandy, “I’m sure we can manage the coffee and drinks.”

“Forgive me, gentlemen, Miss Richmond,” Jayes said as he bowed to them, Annabel saying “I hope you feel better in the morning” as she stood by the large potted plant.

As he left the room, Barty said “Another brandy, gentlemen…”

The Hughson house in Belgravia had a number of lights on, indicating the staff were about their duties, but the street outside was quiet.  Nobody paid much attention to the young man in the cloth cap, the collar of his jacket turned up, as he walked past the house, and then back in the opposite direction.

Slipping down the stairs at the front, he produced a thin bayonet from within his jacket, and worked on the scullery window, managing to move the lock and slide it up as he made his way inside.

As he closed the window, he listened for any noise, and then stepped to the side as the door opened and a maid came in.  She barely had time to close the door before he grabbed her, putting his wool gloved hand over her mouth as he said in a high pitched voice “Not a word – do you have any twine in here?”

Outside, a taller man was walking down the street. The collar was turned up against the cold, and he stopped to look up at the open window on the second floor.

“If I was to try to obtain entrance in that way, Miss, I would make use of the trestle.  I believe it will support your weight.”

The man wheeled round to see Jayes standing behind her, no longer wearing his formal outfit, but instead a black high necked jersey and dark trousers, with a black cap on his head.

“What the…”

“Good evening, Miss Richmond – forgive the manner of announcing my presence, but I felt it prudent to let you know I was here.”  He looked at the house, and said, “Mister Rhymaes and I have often considered paying Mr. Hughson a visit, but the opportunity never presented itself.”

“You and…  Don’t tell me you’re both…”

“Indeed Miss Richmond – and it is always a pleasure to meet a fellow practitioner.  I have never held with those who believe our profession is exclusively a male domain – indeed, many of the finest practitioners I know are female.”

“So how did you work it out Jayes?” Annabel asked.

“It was when I saw you putting what I believe you Americans call a Mickey Finn into the brandy Miss, and then insisting that I should join you all in drinking it.  An unusual ploy, but an effective one.”

“And I take it that you also saw me pour mine into the Aspidistra pot?”

“Indeed Miss.”

“You then pretended to head to bed early, while they all passed out as though they were drunk.”

“While your taxi-cab arrived Miss and I was able to procure a similar vehicle in which to follow you.”

“Seeing me change into this.” Annabel gestured to the black man’s suit, the flat cap with her hair tucked underneath, and the black scarf hanging round her neck.

“Just so, Miss.  A very effective disguise – but I do not believe you are this Ghost that has been active recently,”

In the scullery, the maid struggled as the masked man tied her bound ankles to the chair leg with the twine.  Her arms had been pulled round the chair back, her wrists tied together and then to the chair back, while her arms were tied to the side of the back support.  A large towel was tied in her mouth.

“Just sit still, you’ll be fine,” the man said as he opened the scullery door and crept up the stairs.

He stood to one side as a footman went past, and then let himself into the study.

Annabel looked at Jayes, and then said “So, are you going to turn me into the Bobbies?”

“No Miss,” he said quietly, “For one thing it would be most unprofessional.  For another, given the rather unlikeable character of Mr. Hughson, I believe it will provide a salutary lesson to him.  Instead, may I volunteer to keep cavy for you out here?”

“You’d do that for me Jayes?

Jayes smiled as he said “It would be my honour and my pleasure Miss.”

“I’m going to climb up and get in that open window Jayes.”

“May I enquire as to if you know where the safe is Miss?”

“I do Jayes, it’s in the next room, I saw him open it in my powder compact, so all I need do is reverse the actions and as you say over here ‘Bobs my uncle’.”

“If I may be so bold Miss, can I remind you that the servants and a guard will probably be about their business?”

“It’s why I have this Jayes.” Annabel pulled a revolver from her pocket and held it in her gloved hand.

“A wise precaution Miss.  I wish you good fortune.”

Annabel smiled as she started to climb the trellis, Jayes retreating to the shadows of the passageway.

The young man smiled as he placed the last of the jeweled boxes into his sack, and then opened the door, looking from side to side before he slipped out and started to climb the staircase.  

Entering the master bedroom, she started to search through the furniture, smiling even more as she retrieved a collection of gold coins and placed them in her sack.

“Oi – who do you think you are?”

She turned suddenly to see a tall man standing in the door, looking at her as he turned the light on and came in, closing the door behind him.  He slowly backed up, searching for something in his pocket as the servant walked towards him.

“You must be this ghost I heard about,” he sneered, “the boss will be glad I ca…”

She watched as he fell to the floor, and a second figure appeared behind him, wearing a dark suit, cap and a scarf masking his face, and putting his revolver back in his pocket.  The two figures looked at each other, before the new arrival said, in an American female voice “The Ghost I presume?”

“Yeah – who are you?”

“Not important – he keeps his cash in the bottom drawer, but can you come and give me a hand first.  I want to empty his safe.”

“Yeah – go on,” the other man said as Annabel realized this was not a man.  “What are you going to do anyway?”

“Empty his safe,” Annabel said as she opened the door and looked round.  “Come on – it’ll only take a minute.”

“What about him?”

“He’ll be out for a while – come on.”

The two thieves slipped into the next room, closing the door as Annabel turned on the desk light.  “Now then,” she said as she looked at the second intruder, “want to help me open the safe?”

“You know the combination?”

Annabel smiled as she took a compact from her pocket, and stood with her back to the safe.  “All right then, to your left 32.”

She recalled the sequence and called out to the Ghost, who quickly turned the dial and then pulled the door handle down, smiling as there was a click and the door swung open.

“Neat trick – pity there’s no way I can ever make use of that in my current position.”

“Nothing to it when you know how,” Annabel said as she put the compact away and knelt next to her new partner, loading trays of gems into her bag.  She then picked up a velvet bag, and opened it, taking out a green emerald and looking at it.

“Cor – what are they worth?”

“Priceless,” Annabel said as she returned the jewel, and put the bag in her own.  “Anything else?”

“More bank notes – foreign ones this time,” the Ghost said as she extracted them and placed them in her bag.  “Come on – we need to get out of here.”

“I hope you have a head for heights,” Annabel said, “you’ll need it.”

For once even Jayes was lost for a word as the two small black clad figures came down the trellis.

“Here Jayes catch.” Annabel hissed as she dropped the sack containing the emeralds.

“Certainly Miss.”

“And this.” the other figure also dropped a bag.

“As you wish, Miss,” Jayes said as he caught the second bag.

“Well this is certainly a conundrum most pleasing.” Jayes shook his head as both figures descended into the passageway.

“Jayes meet The Ghost, Ghost meet Mr. Jayes the burglars best friend.” Annabel pulled her mask off and smiled.

“It’s a bloody pleasure Mr. Jayes,” the brunette removed her cap to loosen her hair and pulled the scarf off.

“The pleasure is mine – but may I suggest ladies that we make a hasty exit?” Jayes looked up as screams came from the house.

“As always Jayes your timing is impeccable.” Annabel laughed as they proceeded away from the scene of the crime.

As they walked down the street, they heard a police whistle behind them, and the sound of feet running in the opposite direction.

“Let’s go to my place – we can have some tea and talk things over there,” Annabel said.  “It’s only a short walk away.”

Fifteen minutes later, Jayes was pouring tea into three cups as the brunette sat at the kitchen table of Annabel Richmond’s flat.

“So can I enquire what you real name is Miss?” Jayes asked as he passed a cup over.

“My name is Annie Xavier…Mrs. Annie Xavier.” The brunette said as she sipped the cup of tea.

“Does your husband…?”

“I’m a widow Mr. Jayes, my ‘usband was shot two days before the end of the war.”

“Oh that was tragic.” Annabel came out from changing into a simple dress.

“I work as a hostess at the Tontom club, I listen what the customers say…”

“And you take advantage of the information?” Jayes smiled.

“I do, I tell my two boys I’m going to be in late so they don’t worry…”

“And you rob your targets.” Annabel laughed. “I have to say I think you are inspiring Mrs. X.”

“Forgive me, but was your husband John Xavier?”

“Yeah that’s right – did you know him?”

“I did, one of the finest safecrackers in the city.  I was one of his pupils at one time – but I took a slightly different career path.”

“Mister Jayes and his employer, Mister Rhymaes, are fellow criminals,” Annabel said.

“Really?  You don’t strike me as the common thief, Mister Jayes.”

“With all respect, ladies, I am not – but I and Mister Rhymaes choose our targets carefully and hopefully with minimum discomfort.  Of course, it does not always turn out that way, but we can try.”

The door to the kitchen opened and Jane Huntingdown came in, wearing a brown woolen coat.

“Did you get them going the wrong way Jane?”

“I did…” the tall bespectacled blonde replied, “Last I heard was the Bobbies heading towards Pall Mall.”  She looked at the two strangers, and said “Did I miss something?”

“Jane can I introduce Mr. Jayes the wonderful gentleman who kept watch from the passageway under the trellis for me, I suppose for us.” Annabel smiled at Mrs. X. “Jane was playing lookout in the square Jayes, it was her job if trouble started to use her police whistle and draw people off in the opposite direction.”

“If I might take the liberty of saying so Miss, a most clever arrangement.  It provided time for an effective retreat.”

“Oh I like this one,” Jane said, “May I have some of that tea?”

“Of course Miss,” Jayes said as he poured another cup, and handed it over.

“Well we’ve done it before Jayes, Jane has a way of just disappearing into the background, and people just don’t see her.”

“The advantages of being a plain looking girl I guess.”

“Might I venture that it’s more a case of acting skill then genuine plainness Miss Jane,” Jayes paused, “Might I additionally venture a compliment that behind your disguise is an extremely beautiful young woman.”

Jane blushed before she said “Well keep it to yourself please Jayes, our little scheme has worked very well to date.”

“Indeed, I seem to recall several burglaries in the vicinity of Fifth Avenue when Mister Rhymaes and I had an apartment in the city.  Having met you both tonight, I suspect you know very well what happened.”

“Who us Jayes?” both American girls feigned ignorance.

“But why miss, you are after all a considerable heiress…”

“I may be but Jane isn’t, I love the excitement but she needs the cash so she can continue with her research and study.”

“Ah well that would explain a lot of things Miss Richmond, Miss Huntingdown.  I fear one must do what one must to survive in this world.”

“So you approve?”

“It would by hypocritical of me to try to remonstrate with you given my own profession, ladies,” Jayes said with a smile.  Glancing at the clock, he said “I fear I must leave you now however, to settle matters between yourselves.  May I see it has been a pleasure and an education?”

“What will you tell them, Jayes?”

“I will inform Mister Rhymaes that I could not sleep, but found you alone with the other three incapable of providing company.  I therefore escorted you back to your apartment, where Miss Huntingdown was gracious enough to offer me some refreshment before I returned.”

“Sounds like a plan – and me,” Annie said.

“I invite you to visit The Agency,” Jayes said as he handed her a card, “I think they will be of help to you.  Ladies.”

And with that, he stood and collected his hat, nodding to them as he walked out.

“I honestly thought they were all gone,” Annie said.

“Who had?”

“A real gentleman – and he is one.”

“Oh my head,” Barty moaned as he slowly woke up, and saw both Bongo and Hughson sprawled across his chairs.  The morning sun was shining into the room, but as he tried to focus he could see that everything had been cleared up.

“Good morning Sir,” Jayes said as he shimmered in, “I believe this may be of use to you.  The raw egg provides protein, and the Worcester sauce bite.”

Barty nodded and downed the proffered drink, waiting for the customary explosion to pass before he said “thank you Jayes – Miss Richmond?”

“I made sure she was safely returned to her accommodation, sir – it seemed I was only passing unwell.  When I returned and saw the three of you asleep, I felt it prudent to leave you alone.”

“Oh lord,” Bongo said as he woke up, “what was in that brandy?”

“Drink this sir,” Jayes said as he offered a second drink to Lord David, standing back as he swallowed the contents, seemed to turn red for a second, and then stood up.

“I should say, your lordship, that your father has called here to see if you were present.  I said you had stayed the night, and would meet him at Claridges at ten.”

“It’s nine now – may I use your bathroom Barty?”

“Be my guest – and Hughson?”

“Let him sleep sir – I will prepare some breakfast.”

“I must say Jayes,” Barty said as he looked round, “I owe Annabel an apology for my beastly behavior.”

“It would not be my place to say so sir,” Jayes said as he watched Lord David heading to the bathroom, “but an apology may be the gentlemanly thing to do.”

“More than he will I suspect,” Barty said as Hughson let out a loud snort.  “How he managed to con the local association…”

“I cannot venture an opinion on the matter sir.  If you will excuse me, I will prepare breakfast.”

When Hughson finally started to come round, the smell of bacon and eggs was in the air, and Barty was having a mid-morning cigarette and cup of tea.

“Wh… What time is it,” he said as he looked round.

“Just after ten Hughson old fruit.  I’m afraid we all fell asleep last night.  Bongo has gone to see his father, and Jayes can prepare you some breakfast if…”

The door bell rang and Jayes returned, bearing a telegram on a platter and accompanied by a policeman.

“A telegram for you, sir, and the constable is here to see Mister Hughson.”

“Oh,” Barty said as he opened the missive.  “Miss Richmond will call later this morning, Jayes.”

“Very good sir – Mister Hughson,” Jayes said as he indicted the man rubbing his head on the couch.

“My apologies for disturbing you here, sir,” the policeman said, “But your butler informed me you were dining here tonight, and you had not returned home.”

“I think I drank a little too much,” Hughson said as he rubbed his head, “what can I do for you officer?”

“I regret to inform you that your home was robbed tonight, by two slim gentlemen.  I have to inform you that one of them was identified as the Ghost.”

“The…”  Hughson jumped up and then groaned.  “What was taken?”

“According to your man, your collection of boxes and coins, and your safe was emptied.  Your maid was secured and bound by one of the intruders, and another knocked out your…”

Barty and Jayes were watching as Hughson slowly took in this revelation, and then reddened as he turned to look at Barty.  “Rhymaes, you bastard – you did this to me.  You got me so drunk I fell asleep, and then got someone to rob me.”

“My apologies, Mr. Hughson,” Jayes said, “but you may recall I left the room early last night.  I returned a short while later to find all three of you asleep in the chairs, and incapable of any actual movement.  I took it upon myself to escort Miss Richmond home, as I am sure she will confirm.”

“I don’t believe you,” Hughson fumed.  “I had a fortune in gems stored at home – diamonds, rubies…”  He suddenly looked at the constable and said, “Was the safe emptied?”

“I believe so, sir, yes.”

“NO!  I had those emeralds brought in under cover, and now some little upstart has stolen them – and you know who it is.”

“Hughson, I have no idea what you are talking about,” Barty said, backing away as Hughson walked towards him.

“I never revealed anything about those emeralds, you must have…”

“Forgive me Mister Hughson,” the constable said as he took out his notebook, “what is it you meant about emeralds brought in without notification?  That is a serious offence sir.”

Hughson looked at the constable, and then at Barty, before an animal growl escaped from his mouth and he sprang at the young man, only to fall to the ground as he tripped over Jayes’ outstretched leg.

“My apologies sir,” Jayes said as he pulled Hughson’s arm up his back, “but you must be aware you were about to make a very grievous error.”

“My thanks, sir,” the policeman said as he produced some cuffs, and Jayes stood.  “Excuse me sir, I heard the bell a moment ago,” he said as he left, returning as he said “Miss Richmond sir.”

“Barty, I called to see if…”  Annabel stood still, wearing her large fur coat, and stared at Hughson as the police constable forced him to his feet.

“I know you did this, Rhymaes,” Hughson snarled, “just so you could get your hands on Miss Richmond here.”

“I swear, Hughson old thing, I had no idea what you are talking about.  I am as much in the dark as you are.”

“Be that as it may sir,” the constable said as he took Hughson by the arm, “you tried to assault this unarmed gentlemen, and the inspector may wish to discuss the emeralds you mentioned.”

“I took the liberty of alerting the local station by means of the doorman, constable.  I believe you will find a vehicle waiting outside.”

Hughson glared at Barty and Annabel, before he was led from the flat.

“Golly – I did pick my moment,” Annabel said as the telephone rang, Jayes answering while Barty said “I am awfully sorry about that, Miss Richmond.”

“That was Lord David sir – he will be calling shortly to see you and Miss Richmond.”

“Well, I had better tidy myself up,” Barty said quietly, “will you entertain Miss Richmond for the moment Jayes?”

“Of course sir – may I offer you some tea or would you prefer coffee?”

“Coffee if you have it Jayes,” Miss Richmond said as she sat down, Jayes heading to the kitchen and Barty to his bedroom.

Returning with the coffee, Jayes poured the liquid into the cup and handed it to Annabel.

“So did you ladies agree on a fair division of the spoils after I left Miss?”

“We did Jayes…we also agreed that two ghosts working in London was maybe one too many, so I’ve decided to sail for home on tonight’s sailing from Southampton.  The other jewels I hawked – sorry, passed on today, but the emeralds come back with me.  I have plans for them.”

“Let me suggest that might be a most sensible and prudent idea Miss.” Jayes nodded.  “I know it will be a wrench for Mister Rhymaes, but I am sure he will overcome in time?”

“If I read your man correctly, it will take him no time at all,” Annabel said with a smile.  “However, we have more than enough funds to meet Jane’s needs and Rocky has been missing me.”


“A dear friend, Mister Jayes,” Annabel said with a smile as Barty reappeared, wearing a herring bone tweed suit with a shirt and tie.

“Very natty,” Annabel said as Jayes went to the door, and showed in Bongo.

“Barty, Annabel,” Bongo said as Jayes stood to the side.

“We must both apologise for our deplorable behavior last night Annabel…I mean Miss Richmond.” Barty looked rather downcast.

“I had a meeting with my father today, and he convinced me that maybe I’m squishy a bit too often Miss Richmond. I apologise as well.” Bongo looked down at his feet.

“Well it’s a good thing I had a gentleman’s gentleman to escort me home and protect my reputation boys.” Annabel smiled at Jayes knowingly.

“Your limousine is here I believe Miss Richmond.” Jayes reminded the young American woman.

“Thank you Jayes,” Annabel said as she stood up.  “Well, Southampton here I come.” She laughed.

“You are leaving London Miss Richmond?”

“I am Barty,” Annabel’s eyes sparkled, “My fiancé is expecting me back in the states.”

Barty stared at her, as he said “You are engaged to be married?”

“Didn’t I tell you boys? Now wasn’t that naughty of me.”

Barty’s face dropped.

“Oh don’t worry – you’ll make someone a wonderful husband one day, Barty – and you too Bongo.  But not me – Rocky is a very wealthy man, and you will hate him.  He played for Notre Dame.”

“If you will allow me, Miss Richmond,” Jayes said as he went to the door.

“Well wish me bon voyage boys.” Annabel swept out the door in her huge fur coat.

Bongo and Barty looked at each other, as Jayes closed the door.

“Well I never,” Bongo eventually said.  “It seems we were all out of luck, Barty old thing.”

“Indeed – Jayes, Lord David and I shall head to the club.  We may eat out – I will call if such is the case.”

“Of course sir,” Jayes said as he started to collect the cups.

“Well Jayes, I suppose we should count our blessings, I could be old Hughson.”

“Indeed sir - I happened to see the article in the paper this morning.  Forgive me if I say it is an inevitable outcome of a disorganized mind.”

“I will forgive it, Jayes – because whatever you just said sounds right.”  Barty sat drinking his morning tea at eleven o’clock. “Well the one good thing was that rotter getting robbed Jayes.  I wonder who this Ghost is anyway?”

“Most fortuitous sir.” Jayes smiled.  “As for the identity of the Ghost, the Agency were not forthcoming, but I shall watch their career with interest.”

“On which topic, Jayes, the heiress – Miss Morse – I understand she has a reasonable collection of jewels as well.  What chance we may visit her before this Ghost.”

“I anticipated your thoughts Sir – I understand she is out tonight.  Shall I lay out the suitable garments later?”

“Do so Jayes – and now, my buttonhole, my cane, and my hat – there is a park to be walked in.”
Jayes and the American Heiress
Plotted by :iconj-jell:, and taken from the memoirs of Bartholomew J Rhymaes, a tale of a certain American visitor that Barty feel in love with - and what happened next...
“Don’t do that to me,” I said as I turned to see Sam, “how come you didn’t go in?”

“Because I recognised someone else in there – our Civics teacher.”

“Miss Boone?  I never knew she had it in her…  So Tony and Jessica are in there?”

“Hmm – I don’t think we can go in if Majors has gone in, true?”

“True – why do you think he’s in there anyway?”

Before we could get an answer to the question, Sheriff Majors came out and placed a brown bag in his car, before he got in and drove off.  A few minutes later we saw Miss Boone come out, wearing a black all in one suit with the legs tucked into brown suede boots, and walk in the opposite direction, a grey bag over her shoulder.

Tony and Jessica came out and walked over to us.  “Interesting place, very well laid out,” Tony said, “so why didn’t you come in?”

“Apart from the local sheriff paying the place a visit – as was our Ethics teacher?”

“That’s a double ooch,” Jessica said.  “Come on – let’s go and see that film and we can grab a bite to eat afterwards.”

I called mum to let her know what was happening, and then the four of us went in, with me still wondering if the mystery friend was Tom Majors or not…

“Tom Majors?  Not a chance.”

Kristen laughed as she sat with us at the California Pizza Company table – she had come in to meet her boyfriend and go to a late film, and we had just finished eating.

“What?  Are you saying he would not be a good match for Mum?”

“No I’m not saying that,” Kristen said, “it’s just I know who he is seeing – and it’s not mum.  Not unless mum is suddenly three inches smaller and a redhead.”

“Three inches…  You have got to be kidding me?”

Kristen looked at her watch, then at me before she said “come with me – and if anyone asks, you’re all my guests.”

We left the money for the food and went with Kristen to a bar across the road from the mall.  As we went in, the doorman said “Hey K – friends of yours?”

“Yeah – I’m taking them upstairs if that’s okay?”

The doorman nodded as we went up a narrow staircase.  At the top, Kristen turned and said “mot a word to mum about this,” and then opened it, showing us into what was obviously the upper floor.  It was one long room, with tables and comfortable chairs, and a few people sitting in the dim light.  

We walked over and sat by a table, Kristen calling over a waiter and ordering five beers.

“What is this place,” I said as I looked around.

“It’s a private club – I’m a member, but I have an hour to spare before I meet the boyfriend.  You need to see this to understand…”

The lights dimmed even more as the waiter brought our beers over, and I saw Tom Mason come into the spotlight that shone down on the stage.  He was dressed casually – black t-shirt, jeans, and trainers, and as he looked round I could see him smiling.

“Welcome to tonight’s demonstration,” he said quietly, “of love bondage.  Tonight, we shall demonstrate the safe hog tie, but also how it can enhance the pleasure of the subject as well as you.  Please welcome to the stage my partner, Carol.”

Sam and I had to stop ourselves gasping as Miss Boone came into the light, her red hair falling down her back, the red vest top hugging her chest as the matching satin shorts hugged her behind.

“For an ethics teacher, she’s a looker,” Tony whispered as Tom said “As always, we will be using pre-prepared rope, washed to remove all starch and thoroughly dried.  We start, as usual, with the wrists.”  He turned Carol to the side and crossed her wrists, using a suitable length of white rope to bind them tightly together, taking several passes around her arms and then between them.

“Remember, cinching the ropes helps to take up the clack, and keep the coils in neat layers to prevent rubbing and catching,” the sheriff said as he tied the ropes off, and tucked them into the binding.  “Now, take a longer length of rope – about twelve feet, and use it as a belt around the waist, letting the ends drop in front of your partner.”

He passed the rope around Carol’s waist, tying a simple hitch knot at the front under her belly button and then letting the ropes drop to the front.

“At this point, if you wish to do an elbow tie, to would be best to do so, using the techniques I showed last week.  Remember always to check your partner is happy – but tonight I have other plans, so don’t worry Carol, no need for that.

“Instead, take the ropes – the more adventurous of you may wish to tie strategically placed knots, but not tonight, as this is a first time demonstration.  If the partner is male, remember to separate the ends and take them either side of the scrotum.  If female, keep the lengths together as you take the ends between the legs, and gently – gently pull them up behind your partner.”

We watched as he tied the crotch rope on Carol, seeing her gasp and smile as he pressed her shorts against her body and then secured the rope to her wrists, leaving short ends dangling behind her back.

“Note we have some rope left – we will deal with the later.  For now, we deal with the binding of the upper body – I will be doing the classic rope bra tie tonight.”

As he got to work, Kristen said “that’s how I know it can’t be Tom – he is a regular demonstrator here, and he and Carol have been seeing each other for at least six months now.”

“But she’s our Ethics teacher,” Sam said as we watched her arms being pressed into her sides, the vest stretching over her chest as Tom took the rope above, below, and eventually between her breasts.

“And is she doing anything that contradicts what she teaches?  Mark, everyone is entitled to their private life,” Kristen said as Tom turned her round, took the dangling lengths of rope and tied them to the chest ropes behind her back.

“There – now her upper body is immobilised, but she is also able to gain some pleasure as she tries to move around.  Now for her legs – please, sit down on the floor, Carol.”

Out teacher sat and crossed her ankles as Tom started to bind them together, and Kristen finished her beer.   Once Carol’s ankles and knees were secured, Tom helped her to lie on the floor and rolled her over, pulling her ankles back and tying them to her chest ropes.

“You may, of course, choose to bind the ankles to your partner’s wrists,” he said as he stood up, “and if you have secured those to the crotch rope as well, that can add to the stimulation.  You must always be safety conscious, however, and for a lot of people the strain on the wrists would be very uncomfortable, so the chest ropes provide a safe and secure alternative anchor – and as they pull on them, it provides stimulation in another form.

“Now we need to keep Carol here nice and quiet – open wide my dear.”

I watched, and could see Tony was fascinated as well, as he pushed a sponge into Carol’s mouth and then covered her lips with white tape.

“Now, as always you may feel free to come and inspect the work, or try yourself – I will be available to provide guidance if you so wish”

“And that is our cue to leave, quietly,” Kristen said as she stood up, “before Tom arrests me for bringing you all in here.”  We stood up and left the room, heading outside as Kristen looked at her watch.

“Right – I need to go.  I’ll see you at home later Mark,” she said as she went over to the mall.

“Want to come back to my place,” Sam said as we walked back to the car.

“Actually, would it be awful if I asked you and Sam to drop us off at Sam’s place,” Jessica said, “I’m keen to try that technique with someone…”

“All right then,” Sam said, “just don’t disturb Mum.  I’ll drop you off and then head round to Mark’s for a while.”

I dropped them off, and then drove Sam to my house.  As we went in, the light was on in the front room, but it was quiet.

“Mum must have gone to bed,” I said as I closed the door to the front room, “so how are you feeling?”

“Horny as hell – this rope has been rubbing all day, you know…”

“Well,” I said as I put my arms round her neck, “would you like a little relief?”

“I wouldn’t say no,” Sam said with a smile before we started to kiss each other, and I put my hands down her body…

“Want a drink?”

Sam nodded sleepily as she lay on the couch, while I got up and put my pants back on.  The damp rope sat on the floor, while I went into the kitchen and found two cans of soft drink.

When I came back in, Sam had gone upstairs, I presumed to go to the toilet.  I put one of the cans on the coffee table, and opened the other, but then I heard Sam whisper “Mark?”

Turning round, I looked at her as she beckoned to me with her finger.  I followed her out and up the stairs, stopping outside Mum’s room.

“I had just finished on the toilet when I heard a noise in here,” Sam whispered, “so I peeked in.  You need to see this for yourself.”

I looked in the half open door and could see Mum lying on the bed, wearing – well nothing, if truth be told, save the four silk scarves that had been used to secure her wrists and ankles so that she lay spread-eagled on top of the covers.  A pair of panties had been pushed into the mouth, and a final scarf used as a cleave gag to hold them in place.

Nothing really that unusual in itself – what was was the person lying next to her, their head on mum’s chest as they quietly slept, their arm around mum’s waist.

I looked at Sam, and then back in, before I mouthed “Oh my god” and we went back downstairs.

“I did see correctly, didn’t I,” I said as we sat back on the couch.

“If you didn’t then I didn’t either,” Sam said as she picked up her drink.  “That was…”


“And they were…”


“Which means…”

“It seems to mean that, doesn’t it?”  I took a drink from my can, and then said “I didn’t even know…”

We then heard steps on the staircase, and watched as the room door opened.

“Ah – I guess you’re wondering about upstairs?”
Binding Relationships - Part 4
So who is Mark's Mum's new partner?  The answer will surprise you...


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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


Oct 23, 2014
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vladen13 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014
From past Jetson future , thanks well for present faving! :) (Smile)
LeggyLinda Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014  New member
Mmm absolutely love your "Not A Robbery" stories.
KP-Presents Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014
Why thank you - do feel free to peruse other of my stories
Created-By-Caz Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for the fave, glad you enjoyed it!
Driver651 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014
Thanks for the faves!
bjmar00 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014
Happy Birthday !!
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Happy Birthday Kevin:party:
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Happy birthday!
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Happy Birthday to you, sir!
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Hope you are enjoying your birthday today!
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