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Based on my journal above and the blog entry at kppresents.blogspot.co.uk/2014…, 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!

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“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.

“Hopper?

“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.”




“HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!”

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.”

“How?”

“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.
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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't...you proved something to me, my people, and I think to yerself."

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

"Who?"

"Kitten?"

"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 yours...is 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."

"Nope."

"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.”

“Serious?”

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


10 am
Xavier Holdings


“Susan?”

“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?”

“Wassat?”

“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."

"You...you...you'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."

"Gawd!"

"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...
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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.”

“Eight…”

“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?”

“Two.”

“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?”

“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…”

“HUGHSON!”

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.”

“Rocky?”

“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...
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“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…”

“Uh-huh.”

“And they were…”

“Uh-huh.”

“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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Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: strong language)
"We could have rehearsed that better." Janice smiled ruefully as she took off the FBI SWAT team gear.

"Well the firefight had to look convincing." Diana removed her bloodstained jacket.

"I'm still not sure about stressing them this hard." Susan looked remarkably healthy for a corpse as she looked over Heather's shoulder at the monitors.

“After the day they’ve had,” Heather said, “I think they were fairly stressed anyway.”

"They think they have been captured by the law, tied, up and blindfolded, if they are going to make it in this business this test will tell us." Diana looked intently at the screens.

"Remember though one is just 14 years old, the other is 15, this could damage them for ever." Janice joined the watchers.

"It's why Jo is in that room, and why we hooked them up to those monitors." Heather explained.

"Those things are as tiny as these voice modifiers." Janice removed hers from her collar.

"That was a nice job of binding them up by the way Carina." Heather smiled as Cari came in holding Judith. "Have you been studying up on your bondage?"

"Now what might give you that idea," Cari replied with a glint in her eye.  “It’s a method developed by the Chinese – fast, efficient and incredibly difficult to undo by yourself.”

"You need to show me." Susan laughed, "Clint has often said he'd fancy me as a domme."

"Okay it's a deal, once baby is born." Carina looked concernedly at the screens. "Are they holding up?"

"Anna's readings are up, but marginally only." Heather looked at her computer.

"As I said nerves of steel, she's probably gaming every possible way she has of escaping in her brain." Carina smiled.

"What about Kylie?" Susan sounded concerned.

"Not too bad, she panicked badly at first, but I think she's realized nothing is happening right now."

"Heather can you zoom in on their hands?" Diana asked.

"I think so." Heather pressed buttons. "Now into focus..."

Suddenly the image sharpened of the girls tied back to back.

"Look." Diana smiled, "Somehow Anna has reached out and is touching her hand. That's why Kylie is calming down."

"Should I separate them?" Jo whispered over the com.

"No, that's important." Janice smiled, "Anna is showing compassion and leadership, and they are bonding."





“Kitten, they’re dead aren’t they?”

She felt the hand holding hers as Kitten said “Don’t try to think about that, Kittycat.  You need to stay calm and not panic – they don’t know who we are, so we have that advantage.”

“But they fuckin’ shot them, they shot Su…”

“Hey – codenames only.  Remember, they didn’t tell us.”

She sat there, listening carefully, trying to find any give in the rope around her.  Eventually, however, she stopped, holding her friend’s hand as they stayed silent.

“What do you think they’re going to do to us?”

“I don’t know, but we’re together, and they’ve left us alone – so far, I think we’re all right.  Stay calm, and we’ll get through this.”

“All right Kitten – together,” Kittycat said, as Doc smiled under her mask.




“So how long are you going to leave them there before you tell them?”

“As long as it takes – Heather, you all right pulling an all nighter?”

“That’s part of the deal, Susan – you go and get some sleep.”

“Okay – Janice?”

“I need to head back, make sure this stuff is back in storage.  I’ll see you all on Tuesday, if not before.”

“Thank you again for doing this, Janice – what did you think of them?”

“Carina has it right I think – but I look forward to getting your full evaluation.”


Sunday 1st March
6 am


It was the sound of the heavy boots that made Kitten wake up, as she felt the rope finally being removed from her legs and she was made to stand up.

“What’s happening,” she said as she heard Kittycat groan and then felt her nudge her.  Whoever it was made her walk again, and she felt the cool air as she was taken outside, then back inside again.

“What is your name?”

“Kitten,” Doc said, then hearing her fellow captive say “Kittycat.”

“Why were you here?”

“No comment.”

“Who were you seeing?”

“No comment,” Kittycat replied this time.

“I see – remove their blindfolds.”

Kitten blinked as the blindfold was removed, and then saw who had spoken, removing a small disc from their throat.

“What the…  But we saw you…”

“Yes, you did,” Miss Leopard purred.  “Untie her.”

Kitten stared at the masked woman as her arms were released, then turned and looked at Kittycat.  Her eyes were wide open as well, and it looked as if she was crying as Miss Jaguar started to release her.

“Come with me,” Miss Leopard said as she took Kitten by the arm and walked her to the door.

"You fucking bastards, that was beyond cruel."  Anna cursed as she was taken into the kitchen. "D..."

"Remember code-names only Kitten."

"You scared Kittycat to death." Anna's eyes blazed through the slits in her mask.

"Hmmm Hmmm."

"I'm sorry,” she said in a calm, controlled voice, “you scared Kittycat to death...MISS."

"Are you okay now Kittycat?"

Kitten turned and watched as Miss Jaguar walked the young girl in, and sat her down.

"I am Miss Leopard, may I beg some water to drink please though?"

"I'll get us both glasses Kittycat." Anna's temper was far from cool as she brought over two large glasses of clear liquid. "Drink this." she spoke softly to her fellow trainee.

“Thanks,” Kittycat said as she sipped the water, “I don’t understand – why?”

“Why did we do what we did?”

“I think you owe us that much, MISS” Kitten said as she turned round.

“In the life we lead, in the work we do,” Miss Leopard said calmly, “there is always the risk that one or more of us will be shot or taken prisoner.  If – and I admit we plan so it is a very big if – that happens, your fellow teammates need to know you will carry on, and that you will not crack or divulge important information under stress.”

Kitten sat down as she considered what she had said.  “So you staged the whole thing, Miss Leopard?”

“A little stage effects, and a few trusted associates – but trust me, it was real enough for me, and also for Miss Jaguar.”

“Are you sure you’re all right,” Kittycat said to Miss Jaguar.

“I’m fine – we monitored you both as well as ourselves through the night.”

Kitten nodded as she sipped her drink.  “I still think it was a cruel thing to do – but I understand why you did it.  Did we pass Miss?”

“To be discussed later,” Miss Leopard said.  “We will have breakfast shortly, and then you are coming with me.”

“Where to,” Kittycat said as she looked out of the window, the rain starting to fall.

“To catch dinner.”

“To catch…”

“Change from the clothes you are wearing into the boiler suits and hiking boots you will find in the room.  By the time you come down, coffee and bread will be ready.”

The two girls nodded and headed to the room, where the grey boiler suits and boots were waiting.

“No chance of a decent kip then,” Kittycat said as she stripped off the skirt and jacket.  “They really went for it, didn’t they?”

“Yeah,” Kitten said quietly as she stepped into the legs of the coverall.

“You still mad at them?”

“A little – but I think I see why they did it.  Miss Leopard is right – these ladies play for keeps, and they understand and appreciate the risks.  We need to be able to do that as well.”

“Yeah, I kin see dat now,” Kittycat said, “but it still scared the life out of me.  How did you stay calm?”

“Oh I was scared too – but I knew we had to stick together, whatever happened.”  She sat down and laced on the hiking boots, before standing up.  “Come on – I’m starving.”


9 am

“Recognise this,” Diana said as she laid the Browning BAT on the table.

“Yes Miss Leopard – you showed us it yesterday and got us to shoot with it,” Kittycat replied.

“Good – show me how to load it.”

She watched as Kitten loaded the rifle and laid it down.

“While it has other uses, the Browning is primarily a hunting rifle,” Miss Leopard said as Miss Jaguar laid a second rifle next to it, “and that is what we will be doing this morning.  You will accompany me as we make our way to the woods, and a hide we have there, and I will show you how to use the rifle as a hunting implement.  After that, you will provide the meat for dinner tonight.”

“We’re going to kill something?”

“Hopefully a deer – but some rabbit never goes amiss either.  Put the rifles in the bags and over your shoulders, and follow me.”

“Yes Miss,” the two girls said as they slipped the rifles into leather bags, flung them over their shoulders and walked out of the farmhouse.

Miss Jaguar sat for a moment, finishing her coffee, before she said “want some?”

“Thanks,” Heather said as she came in.

Opening the laptop, Miss Jaguar smiled as she went onto the secure network, and opened a video call.

“Morning ladies – how goes it,” Dominique said from the Village.

"Diana has them out hunting for a deer." Susan removed her mask, and shook her hair. "Thank the Goddess baby means I can't do it."

"Oh and we all know just how much you love going hunting." Dominique smiled.

"Well I'll go extra once she's born."

"And pigs might fly." Heather laughed.

"So how are they doing?"

"Well they haven't quit..."

"And they haven't killed you...yet."

"No but I think Anna came close this morning," Susan said as she looked at Heather.

“The stress test?”

“Yeah.”

“She's showing what we already knew, that she has leadership qualities, and cares for colleagues." Dominique looked happy.

"Very much so." Susan nodded, "She looks ready to my eyes."

"Kylie has shown spunk and endurance, we've stressed her and she's bounced back each time. I can see what you see in her Susan." Heather glanced at some notes.

"I think her big test will come Tuesday evening." Dominique spoke knowingly.

"Tasha and Willy's housewarming party." Susan nodded in agreement, "See how she can adjust to a room full of people from various backgrounds, some she knows are crims like her, others she knows are straight..."

"And she doesn't know which is which." Dominique smiled again.

"Yes I agree it will be a huge test for her." Heather nodded.

"I better take her to Saks and buy her a dress tomorrow." Susan laughed, "And she's going to love wearing high heels...I don't think."

“But so far on the weekend?”

“I think they’re doing well – but Diana is the final arbiter on that.”


11 am

“Remember, lie quiet and still, let yourself become part of the woods,” Miss Leopard whispered as the two girls lay flat in the hide.  They had practiced, and now came the practical test.

"Well they said it would be bloody tough." Kittycat thought to herself. She was cold, her clothes were wet, and she was as tired as she'd ever been in her life thanks to the lack of sleep.

"Over there." Kitten whispered as she spotted the deer upwind of them.

"I have it." Kittycat tried to calm herself down, regulate her breathing, just as they'd been taught as she trained the telescopic sights of the rifle on the animal.

"You on it?" Kitten whispered.

"Yeah and you?"

"Yes."

"Okay on three we both shoot." Kittycat whispered. "One, two, three,"

Simultaneously the shots were fired and the animal fell.

"Nice shooting ladies." Miss Leopard patted them both on the back. "Now let’s go skin it and butcher it and you can pack the meat out of here."

"Oh joy." Kitten smiled at Kittycat.  The two girls wriggled out and shouldered the rifles as they walked with Diana towards the deer.

“See,” she said as she pointed to the head, “two nice shots.  She would have felt no pain, just a quick end.  But just as we respected her in life, it is important we respect her in death, and also leave tribute to nature.”

“So what do we do,” Kitten said, as Miss Leopard drew two large hunting knives from her backpack.

“First we have to remove the skin – then we remove the meat, pack it into plastic bags, and carry it to the farm.  We have a smokehouse and freezers ready – and, with the age of this animal, venison steaks for dinner.

“Now, who wants to use the knife first?”

“Me, if I may Miss,” Kittycat said, as Miss Leopard hung the deer by the head from a branch, and showed her how to open the deer to the sternum.  She produced a series of plastic bags, before saying “all right Kitten – pull the stomach out.”


1 pm

Miss Jaguar opened the door as the three hunters came back, the girls carrying packs full of meat as Miss Leopard carried the skin.

“Right – bring the meat this way, we need to hang it and make sure it matures,” she said as she walked towards the barn,

“I thought you said we would have this venison for dinner, Miss Leopard?”

“And you will – but the rest has to be properly stored.  Once it is done, we will have lunch, and then begin your final exercise of the weekend.”

“Oh joy,” Kitten said as they walked to the barn, returning a short while later with a sample of the meat.

“We’ll marinate this in some red wine, herbs and berries to tenderize it,” Miss Leopard said.  “Right now, take a toilet break, then join me in the kitchen for lunch.”

The two girls nodded as they headed to the bathroom, returning as Miss Jaguar laid out four bowls of steaming home made soup.

“This is what you need after a morning with Miss Leopard in the hide,” she said as they sat round the table.

“It smells wunderfull,” Kittycat said as she put her spoon in and tasted it, “what is it?”

“Beef and barley – in this weather, you need this to warm your innards.”

The girls are greedily as Miss Leopard and Miss Jaguar looked on.

“Slow down – the last thing you need to do is make yourself sick,” Miss Leopard said.

“Sorry, but this tastes so good,” Kitten said as she looked up

“While we eat, we wish to put a few scenarios to each of you.  I want your immediate response, as this will see how you respond to different situations.”

“Kittycat,” Miss Jaguar said, “you and a fellow associate have decided to raid a convenience store.  You are armed, and when you enter you see there are two customers as well as the clerk, and there is a door behind the clerk.  What is your first move?”

Kittycat thought for a moment, and said “Get the customers in one place on the floor, and cover them and the clerk while my partner checks the back room – you don’t know if someone is hidin' in there.”

“Good,” Miss Leopard said.  “Kitten, you are part of a team that have invaded the home of a bank manager.  He is home, and so is his wife, his eighteen year old daughter and his sixteen year old son.  Who do you secure first?”

“The son – he is the most likely to cause trouble, in fact, get the older girl to do it while holding the family at gunpoint.”

Kittycat was eating a spoonful of soup as Miss Leopard said “Kittycat, how effective is a tape gag?”

“Depends on the type of tape.”

Miss Jaguar smiled as she said, “You have a choice of masking tape, duct tape or cloth plaster.”

“I’d go for the duct tape – masking tape is no good, and plaster can hurt someone.”

“Kitten?”

“She thought for a moment, and then said “for quickness, the sticking plaster.  That stuff can hold a mouth closed.  But if I had time, duct tape over something like a cloth or a pair of panties.”

“True or false, Kitten – it is impossible to get free from a zip tie without string scissors.”

“False – I saw a show where they showed how to force them apart, or use a piece of plastic to force the clasp.”

“Kittycat, how long a piece of rope do you think you need to bind the average person’s wrists?”

“I dunno – I use tape usually.  Maybe about six feet?”

“Okay – final question for now.  Who are your heroes – the ones you look to and say you want to be like them.”

Kittycat thought for a moment, before she said “I look up to the leader of my crew, but I know some people who got out and made themselves better.  I guess I look at them and think ‘can I do that?’”

Miss Leopard nodded and said “Kitten?”

“I guess it’s the ladies of the Pussycat gang.  I dream of being one of them at night.”

“Okay then – this afternoon, we’re going to do some simple physical tests, assess your physical strength, and also I want you to do a simple paper based test before I give my final assessment.”

“Yes, Miss,” the two girls said as they finished their lunch, and waited for Miss Leopard to lead them out.



3.30 pm

“My arms ache,” Kitten said as the two girls walked back into the house.  “Why shift bags of corn like that?”

“The answer is simple,” Miss Leopard said as she followed them in, “the sacks are roughly the same weight as a money bag, so you need to be able to heft and carry one with ease.  Also, the distance is roughly that from the vault to the door of an average bank.  Everything this weekend has been designed to test some aspect of the work.”

“And the lashing together of…”  Kittycat stopped and put her lips into a small circle as she answered her own question.

“Now, I want you both to sit here, and answer the questions on the sheet as quickly as you can.  You have one hour – and do not talk while you do it.”

The girls sat down, picked up the pen and started to do the test as Miss Leopard and Miss Jaguar left the room.

“Well?”

“Normal increase in heart rate and respiration during exercise – nothing to worry about there,” Heather said as she turned round.  “Once they’ve finished the tests, I’ll get them analyzed and pass to you.”

“Interesting idea of Joanne’s – test their intelligence at the end of the two days rather than the beginning,” Diana said.  “We have a baseline for Doc, but not for your girl Susan.  It will be interesting to see how the results compare.”

“Well, I’ll start preparing the meal,” Susan said, “We can give our thoughts to the feedback while they change.”



4.30 pm

“Very good,” Miss Leopard said as she took the papers.  “Now, I want you both to go upstairs and change into the clothes you came in yesterday.  Dinner will be ready in half an hour, and afterwards we will talk.”

“Yes Miss,” Kitten and Kittycat said as they headed upstairs.

“Wow – I guess it’s nearly over,” Kittycat said as she started to strip out of her damp clothes.  

“Yeah – do you think we passed?”

“Dunno – what do you fink?”

Kitten sat down in her underwear and smiled.  “I have absolutely no idea – I hope so, I really hope so.”

“It’s funny – I never thought I’d say it, but I’m feeling a little homesick.”

“Well, you’ll be home soon,” Kitten said.  “As for me, I just want to give my head a damn good scratch.”

“Tell me about it,” Kittycat said with a smile.  “Mind you, something smells really good.”

“Oh I agree – come on, let’s eat.”

The two girls walked downstairs to find the room empty, but the table laid and a large pot placed in the centre.

“Sit down,” Miss Jaguar said as she came in with a bowl of potatoes.  “Miss Leopard will be along in a moment, she’s just pulling her thoughts together.”

“Yes, Miss Jaguar,” they said in unison as they took their places at the table.  She put the venison steaks on plates and handed them to the girls.

“Help yourselves to vegetables,” she said as Miss Leopard came in.  “Good - I am very hungry this afternoon,” she said as she sat down and helped herself.  “Eat – we will talk afterwards, but right now, relax – the tests are over.”

“This is beautiful,” Kitten said, “is that juniper berries in the sauce?”

“Well spotted – it is an old recipe,” Miss Leopard said.



Three quarters of an hour later, the table had been cleared and the two girls were sitting side by side, Miss Leopard looking through her notes.

“All right,” she said as she looked up, “I have reviewed the notes Miss Jaguar and I have taken over the last two days, as well as feedback from the associates we invited to take part in the over night exercise.  I have also taken note of your physical prowess, as well as the results of the test you completed earlier today.”

“Kitten,” she said as she looked over, “you showed remarkable coolness in a number of stressful situations, and you have shown a good degree of leadership and support to young Kittycat here.  I do note a certain anger under certain conditions, which is something that you need to work at, learn to channel in a useful direction as opposed to lashing out, but you did retain control and showed the correct level of obedience.

“I believe you have shown great potential, and will be recommending to those who have sent you here that you begin training in the necessary techniques.  I do, however, also recommend a training regime to build up your core strength – it needs a little improvement.  That apart, I am pleased to say you have passed.”

Kitten beamed as Miss Leopard looked at Kittycat.

“You have also shown great potential, Kittycat – your core strength and fitness are exceptional, and your marksmanship is remarkable for one who has never held a gun before.  The stress situation last night at first worried me, but with Kitten’s help you calmed down and came through.

“My concern is your youth – but I think there are ways of dealing with this.  I also think you need further education both in a formal sense and also in the skills required.  I do not say you are not intelligent – in fact, the tests show a great deal of intelligence – but it must be used with knowledge to further yourself.  A broad knowledge may seem unnecessary, but it is essential to provide the background against which you can weigh and judge situations.

“Despite that, you also have passed, and I will make some further recommendations to your sponsor.  A full report will be with them by the end of tonight, but for now – congratulations.”

The girls hugged each other as Miss Jaguar stood up.  “With that, we need to return you to the city.  As with your arrival, you will be blindfolded, and the masks remain until you are returned.”

“I look forward to meeting you in the future, and wish you the best for that future,” Miss Leopard said as the scarves were tied over their eyes, and then Heather came through.

“Take them by the long route,” Diana whispered, “give us a chance to get back first.”

She nodded as she took the arms of the girls and walked them out to her car.

“I’ll drop you off at your place, and then head to the village,” Diana said as she removed her mask.  “The reports have already been sent.”


8 pm
Upper West Side


Kylie heard the door open by her side as an arm helped her to get out, and then the car driving off as the scarf was removed.

“You can take your mask off now,” Susan said as the teenage reached up and removed the balaclava, rubbing her head as she did so.

“Jesus H Sooz, that was one hell of a weekend.”

“Well, it’s over now – come on up and get yourself cleaned up.”

“I would kill for a hot shower though – and a hot drink.  Got any vodka?”

“You can have coffee and like it – come on, let’s get you upstairs.”



8.20 pm
The Village


Doc allowed herself to be taken out of the car, and then walked up a flight of steps

“Welcome back,” she heard a familiar voice say as the blindfold was removed, and she saw Caroline and Annie sitting in front of her.

“Thanks Ama,” she said as she removed the balaclava and ran her hand through her hair.  “I must look a mess.”

“You have certainly looked more soigné,” Annie said as she looked at the young girl, “but trust me, nobody looks good after spending time where you were, doing what you did.”

“Never mind spending the night trussed up and blindfolded on the floor of a barn,” Caroline said as Anna sat down.

“You know?”

“Well, we have the report from Miss Leopard,” Caroline said, “but I suspect you recognized the place.”

“Yeah it’s where I was taken last week.  I recognized the kitchen.  Where was it?”

“No comment,” Annie said, “but it is owned by Diana, who will call round shortly.  I presume you realized she is Miss Leopard?”

“I figured out who all seven of them are – but I said nothing, and followed orders.”

“Right – I strongly suggest you go and have a long shower, and we can talk when you come out.”

“Thanks – I ache in places you don’t think you can ache,” Anna said as they stood up.

“And you have some blood on your wrists,” Ama said, Anna looking and then nodding as she headed off.
Weekend at Diana's - part 2
Will Kitten and Kittycat survive the weekend?
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KP-Presents
KP - Writer/Art Appreciator/Collector
United Kingdom
Writer of "detective magazine" fiction which I publish with other works at www.kppresents.com. 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 kppresents.blogspot.com/

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
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Torpedo585R:icontorpedo585r:
Ta mate! Hope I can stay longer this time round ;)
Sat Nov 23, 2013, 4:45 AM
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:iconvladen13:
vladen13 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014
From past Jetson future , thanks well for present faving! :) (Smile)
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LeggyLinda Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014  New member
Mmm absolutely love your "Not A Robbery" stories.
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KP-Presents Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014
Why thank you - do feel free to peruse other of my stories
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Created-By-Caz Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for the fave, glad you enjoyed it!
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Thanks for the faves!
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Happy Birthday !!
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Happy Birthday Kevin:party:
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Happy birthday!
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David-presents Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Happy Birthday to you, sir!
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Hope you are enjoying your birthday today!
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