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Let's try a different group - which of Madame X's lead crew would you most like to spend the evening with? 

31%
5 deviants said Penny Harker
19%
3 deviants said Shirley Xavier
19%
3 deviants said Susan Walker
13%
2 deviants said Dominique/Caroline Jameson
6%
1 deviant said Madeline Moore
6%
1 deviant said Lily Harmon
6%
1 deviant said Charlotte Gordon

Groups

So time for advance warning - I'll be away from Saturday 20th to Tuesday 30th December en vacance, and not near a laptop or computer for any considerable length of time.

Now, I need to get my shopping finished...
  • Mood: Content
  • Listening to: Unwigged and Unplugged

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Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: strong language)
Thursday 14th May
8.45 am
St Angela’s


“Jo, Suzie, have you got a minute?”

The two seniors stopped and waited as their fellow head girl joined them.  

“I need a favour,” she said quietly, “a cousin of mine has turned up from out of town, and is staying with me for a few weeks.  I know the prom is meant to be for Angels only, but would you mind if I got a ticket for her as well?  My brother will be her partner.”

“Well, I guess we can stretch a point,” Suzie said as she looked at Jo, “where’s she from?”

“Philly – and thanks.  I’ll tell Sharon when I get home.”

“I think that’s the first time she’s asked for anything in four years here,” Suzie said as Kathy walked off.

“Yeah – must be a really good friend,” Jo said as they headed to their class.




“Do you know what is really bothering me at the moment,” Pepsi said as she walked to the English class with Ama.

“No – what is?”

“The fact that although she has every right to after this year, Jeannie is not crowing it over us about the fact her boyfriend is here and ours isn’t.”

“Why would she?  After all, she was patient enough with us – as were you, young lady.”

“I know,” Ama said with a smile, “but I am happy for her and for all of you.  Even Anna – she and Chet really seem to have hit it off.”

“Were my ears burning,” Jeannie said as she came up behind them.

“Yes they probably were,” Doc said as they sat down.

“Settle down girls – before we begin, I know the school year has finished by then, but I wish to hand out these programs for Shakespeare in Central Park this summer.  As we will be studying Macbeth next year, I urge you to go and see the production at some point in June.”


10 am
The Richmond Mansion


“Have you seen the Post?” Heather said as Carina came into the room.

“No, why?”

Heather handed her the paper without a word, watching as Carina read the report.

"Crap!" Carina dropped the newspaper on the table and looked at Heather. "While we were a handful of blocks away, she was doing another."

"This body was rather more burned by the fire then the previous one." Heather pulled up the crime scene photos that Jan had provided.

"Can you show me the neck Heather?" Cari asked as she cradled Judith in her arms and looked over her friends shoulder.

"I can try." Heather started to enlarge and improve the picture.

"Okay I can see now...Right to left, that's her work."

"I've tried matching to older crimes." Heather looked at another screen she pulled up, "I can find elements of similar crimes in Detroit, Omaha, Philadelphia, Boston, and here in the city, but the closest remains your Christmas Eve killing Cari."

"What about internationally?"

"I've not run my trawl program yet...do you want me to?"

"Please."

"It will take three or four hours for the computer to scan all those crime reports."

"Well shall we take these two little ones out for a walk in their strollers then? Maybe eat some lunch before we come back?"

"Just give me 10 minutes to set all the parameters for the search, and I think Jennifer and I will like that." Heather smiled as she started typing.


1 pm
Xavier International


“Hey,” Annie said as she walked into Susan’s office, looking to where Penny was sitting, “got time for a sub and a chat?”

“Yeah, I could do with a break from reviewing staffing memos anyway,” Penny said as she laid a sheaf of paper to one side, and joined Annie at the coffee table.  “Whatcha got?”

“Beef and mustard on rye, or chicken salad on wholemeal?”

“I’ll take the beef,” Penny said as Annie handed her the wrapper, and took a bottle of lemon tea.

“So what brings you to visit me,” she said as she unscrewed the top, “apart from treating me to lunch?”

“Well, I have a free period after lunch today, and I was in the area…”

“St Angela’s is a fifteen minute drive from here, Annie – what gives?”

Annie put her sandwich down and wiped her mouth.  “Well, it is a rather indelicate question, Penny, so please hear me out, and promise the other Penny will keep quiet for a minute.”

“Why do I get the feeling I’m not going to like this,” Penny said as she sat back.

“Did you hear about the murder in the Bronx on Sunday morning?”

“I read something about it, why?”

“Then there was this in today’s paper,” Annie said as she handed Penny the paper.  Looking at it, she frowned for a moment, and then said “I knew I wasn’t going to like this.  What do you need to tell me Annie?”

“Well, the crimes are rather too similar to a murder on Christmas Eve, 2013 – the night Judith was conceived.”

“The…  Is this the work of The Beast?”

“No – Cari was with me after the party on Sunday, and with someone else last night.  But she is scared it may get linked with what she did back then, so she’s looking into them herself, unofficially.”

“And she’s worried it might be me who’s responsible?”

Annie nodded, waiting to see what Penny would do.

“Well,” Penny said as she held the bottle of iced tea in her right hand and took a drink, “I can see why you might think that, but I assure you it’s not me.   First, not my style – I’m more a fists and kick lady.  Second, I was with Maddie and the others at Shirley’s place after the party, and you can check the security tapes to see if I left.  Finally…”

“You’re right handed.”

“Yup – not what I was going to say, but I am.  Why?”

“Whoever did this is left handed – Carina’s seen the pics.  I’m sorry Penny, but we had to know.”

“I understand why – anything we can do to help?”

“No – she’s working with someone more than capable,” Annie said as she relaxed.  “So how long until Susan’s back?”

“Another month at least – her mum and aunt fly back Saturday.”

1 pm
Inn on the Park


As Janice walked up to the front entrance, she was surprised to see Gale Callaghan standing, puffing on a cigarette.

“I didn’t know you smoked Gale?” Janice said as she walked up and kissed her boss’s wife on the cheek.

“I keep meaning to give it up,” Gale said as she stubbed it out, “but I’m a cops wife, it helps me keep calm on those days when I know Tom might walk out the door and never come home.”

“It’s one advantage of having Adam both as my partner and lover, he’s with me both at work and at home.”

“Doesn’t your Mom worry?”

“Some I guess, but she hides it well.”

“Are we the first arrivals?”

“Well the girls said meet out here, so I guess we are.”

“I’ve lived in this city for three years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten here,” Gale said as she looked round.

“It’s a good place to eat – we usually grab a booth and start chatting.”

“Hey,” Juliette said as she came over, “Glad you could make it Gale.  It’s a lovely day, so I thought we’d wait until some of the others get here and then get an outside table.”

“Sounds good to me – where’s Carina today?”

“She went to see Heather – Jennifer and Judith get on well together.”

“Sandy rang to say she has to call off for today,” Diana said as she joined them, “the project she is working on has taken more of her time today than she planned.”

"So where is this project?" Gale asked.

"Out in Yonkers...and the woman keeps changing Sandy's recommendations, frankly I think Sandy will be glad when it’s over." Juliette waved as she saw Kelly and Tonia approaching,

"Hey you two." Gale glanced at the chic outfits both women were wearing. "Those are really nice suits."

"Thank you." Kelly smiled, “they were from Donna's collection at fashion week.”

"Shall we go in?" Ju asked.

"Let's find a place on the terrace." Tonia waved as she saw Rachel McNally running along the sidewalk towards them.

"Oh Good, I was afraid I was late." Rachel stood for a moment to catch her breath.

"No we are just going in darling." Diana smiled.





"So you were a deb too Gale?" asked Rachel.

"Yes I came out at the Ak-Sar-Ben ball in Omaha." Gale sipped her wine. "Omaha isn't New York, but it's a pretty big deal in our part of the world."

"Looks like you and I Jan were the only non-debs." Juliette smiled.

"You didn't miss anything really." Pussy pondered.

"Little sister didn't enjoy her deb year." Liz spoke, "Now I adored mine."

"Will you put a girl through it even if you hated it?" asked Diana.

"I guess so, if Frieda and I are lucky enough to have a daughter, I suppose family considerations will outweigh my own opinions."

"Oh before I forget Cari asked if you could pick up some literature at the clinic for her and Annie to look at."

"I can, so which one wants a baby?" Pussy asked.

"I think Annie, I'm not sure the world is ready for a second Carina pregnancy." Juliette laughed.

"Oh all that damn chili!" Diana looked pained.

"Exactly."

"I heard Ken and Karen drove home yesterday." Rachel changed the subject. "Little John is so adorable."

"Let us just hope he doesn't grow as tall as his father." Janice poured herself another glass of wine.

"Ken is something of a stork." Ju nodded.

"So what are plans for this afternoon?" asked Tonia.

"I'm spending some of my husband’s meager salary on some new clothes, I'm almost embarrassed to be seen with you all." Gale smiled as she applied a fresh coat of her deep red lipstick.

"Go to APCO, get them to phone Alice, I'm sure you'll get the same discount we all do." Diana tidied herself.

"Oh is that the secret, you all get discounts?"

"Well it certainly helps Gale darling." Liz stood up. "Alright Pattycake and I need run...Ciao all."

"Liz!" her sister grated her teeth.

"Those two are never going to change, poor Puss she will always be the butt of Liz's jokes." Kelly shook her head.

"Juliette do you have Alice's number? I might phone her now." asked Gale.

"617 555 4210." Juliette watched as Gale jotted it down, her diary held in her right hand as she scribbled.

"Well I must rush, I need be on a construction site in 10 minutes." Tonia looked at her watch.

"You better change quickly darling." Diana replied as they both stood up.

"Alright we will see you all soon." Janice and Juliette both waved as they left.



2.30 pm
The Richmond Mansion


“Well there were a couple of killings in Switzerland last year that have a certain resemblance.” Heather looked at the printout.

“Close to where Ingy was?”

“Let me see, Geneva and Lausanne.”

“Those are both close to her old school.”

“One in London that included setting a fire I can see.” Heather read more. “Some grizzly ones in Southern Germany.”

“My Great Aunts territory.”

“Yes.”

“Oh dear goddess I wasn’t aware how many others there are out there just like me.” Carina read some of the reports. “I recognize so much in all these killings, I can empathize with the women who have done this.”

“But not with their victims?”

“Only the tiniest bit…sorry…I know that makes me a monster, but it’s who I am Heather.”

“I know Cari, I know.”

“Well it doesn’t help rule out any suspects knowing all this, it just probably creates more.”

“When do you see Natalya again?”

“She’s hosting dinner tonight for us – we might get a chance to talk then.  On which note, I need to get Judith back and start getting ready.”  She hugged Heather and said “Thanks for everything Heather.”

“Just take care, Cari – Natalya and you at least have an understanding, but this doesn’t seem to be anyone we know.  It could get messy.”

“I always do,” Cari said as she picked Judith up, and carried her out.

Heather went back into the front room, looking as Jennifer played with a soft toy.

“Want some juice Jennifer?”

The little girl looked up and said “yes,” Heather smiling as she picked her up and carried her into the kitchen.  Sitting her in the high chair, she made some squash into a cup and handed it to her, before she went to the coffee maker.

The back door opened as a very hot, sweaty Sandy came in, wearing a light blue tracksuit.

“How was your run lover?” Heather kissed Sandy as she flopped onto a barstool.

“Exhausting.”

“Well you were the one decided you need be fitter for racing.”

“I know…it will pay off in the longer term.”

“Probably.” Heather smiled.

“So what have you found to keep yourself occupied today lover?”

“Oh the usual, school runs, babysitting Jennifer…oh Cari did drop over again with Judith and we took them out for a walk.”

“That sounds nice.”

“So how is the Yonkers project looking?”

“Better than it was, but I still think that damn woman has picked an awful colour scheme.”

“Well if she won’t listen to a professional opinion then that’s her own problem.”

“I know.” Sandy said as she opened a can of Red Bull from the fridge.


3.30 pm
APCO, 5th Avenue


"So what do you do for fun Mrs. Callaghan?" Betsy asked as she wrapped up the box with the new suit in.

"Me? I ride, I belong to a riding club and we exercise our horses in the park."

"Sounds interesting."

"Well I grew up on a ranch north of Omaha, I was probably riding before I was walking."

"What about your husband?"

"Who Tom? He’s a city boy, can't stand horses. He’s always complaining about my riding crops, or helmet, or some tack, cluttering up the apartment."

"Well every hobby needs its own paraphernalia."

"I know." Gale took her credit card as Betsy handed it back. "Thank you for the lovely service."

"Well friends of the boss are always welcome."


5 pm
Complete Style


“All right girls, let’s be seeing you.”

Mary Thomas stood back and watched as Jo, Maggie and Ally came out in their prom dresses.

“Okay girls I can see why you chose these dresses.” Mary said as she walked round them.  “I think you are right though - some tiny alterations to make them absolutely perfect.”

Methodically Mary worked on each girl, pinning and marking the places she’d alter.

“Why did you never design yourself Mary?” Jo asked.

“Oh I tried for a couple of years love, but I was always better at seeing the faults in other people’s work than in my own.”

“So you drifted into journalism instead?”

“Ai, Fiona got me a job working at Complete Style as a very junior assistant, and I just worked hard and fit in I guess.”

“And instead you became the scourge of the models,” Jo said, making Ally laugh.

“Can you stand still please Ally?” Mary asked with a mouthful of pins as she adjusted the length of Ally’s red gown. “You are all wearing the height of shoe you’ll be wearing by the way.”

“Yes Mary.” All three girls answered in unison.

“Okay just checking.”  Mary stood up and looked at them one last time.

“Right – that’s perfect.  I’ll get them done and sent to your houses.”

“Thanks, Mary,” Maggie said as they went off to get changed, while Alexis Bronheimer walked in.

“Mary, Juliette is wondering if you have had a chance to review the APCO shoot yet?”

“I’ve got the portfolio on my desk to do now – tell her I’ll tell her if there are any problems later today or tomorrow.”

Mary looked at the young girl, and said “how are you finding the work?”

“I’m enjoying it, but the review is coming up. I just hope I’ve done enough to prove I am worthy of working for her.”

“I think you’ve done your best lass- just let Ju and Janine talk things over, all right.”


7 pm
The des Moines Residence


“This is what we both need, Kathy, a night out,” Sharon Kennedy said as she pulled on her top and sat at the dressing table.

"Cuz...”  Kathy looked over from her bed and said “you really should ring your dad and let him know you are alright?"

"Why? Like he cares for me and the kids...all that grief for that rotten bitch."

"Look I know you didn't like her, but he doesn't deserve to be put through this crap.  You all went through hell that night, and he needs all of you."

"I'll tell him when I think I've punished him enough, to tell the truth I'm rather enjoying myself."

"That is sick."

"It might be, but it's nice to be striking out. Feels good." she paused as she applied fresh lipstick. "I took shit from her and he looked the other way, now it's payback time."

Kathy shook her head as she stood up, and put on her jacket.  “Well, if you’re gonna do this damned stupid thing, I’d better make sure you don’t get hurt.  Come on – I know a bar you’ll like.”

Sharon smiled as she stood up, and put on her own denim jacket.  “Good – I want to relax while I’m here.”

She looked in a large brown shoulder bag, and took out a red purse.  “Right – let’s go.”


8.30 pm
The Astoria Waldorf


The party in the private dining room was enjoying the evening, Wilhelm and Natalya acting as hosts to their family as well as Guy, Valeria and Diana.

“So what do you think of New York, Aunt Natalya,” Ingrid asked as the soup plates were cleared.

“An interesting place,” Natalya said as she picked up her wine, “The poem on the Statue of Liberty – Give me your poor, your huddled masses.  I can see how that has led to such a cosmopolitan mixture of cultures and places.”

“Well, I like it,” Carina said, “it is my home, after all, and as enchanted as I am with Vienna and other cities, it will always be my home.”

“I feel the same way about my home,” Ingrid said.

“And so you both should,” Klaus said as he sipped his wine, “we must never forget where we came from, or we cannot appreciate where we are going.”

“A mistake I made,” Valeria said, “living for far too long in the past and letting it control me, rather than learning from it.”

“But we brought you out,” Guy said, “and I for one am grateful for it.”

“Valeria,” Carina said, “I was wondering the other day about the Furstenheim family line.  I know it can be traced back to the Holy Roman Empire, but I was wondering if you knew just how widespread it was.”

“Do you mean in terms of how large the family is, or in terms of where they are located,” Valeria asked.

“Which gives the more interesting answer?”

“Spoken like a true student,” Wilhelm said.

“Well,” Valeria said, “the main line has always resided in or around Furstenheim or Munich.  Sigrid is actually one of the few who has made her permanent home outside that area.  But there are two cadet branches.”

“There are?  I did not know that,” Natalya said as she looked at Valeria.

“I have heard of one of them,” Guy said, “they established themselves in Holland in the 18th century, but I thought that had virtually died out.”

“So is my understanding,” Valeria said, “one or two may have emigrated elsewhere, but I have no recollection of a record of that.”

“Would you know what name they took?”

“I will see if I can recall it later – but as I say, there were two cadet branches.  In 1892, Princess Gerda von Furstenheim married a distant relative of mine, Count Sergei Boronov.”

Diana and Juliette exchanged a glance as Carina said “So she married and moved to Russia?”

“Precisely – but they fled before the Bolshevik revolution, and nobody knows what happened to them.  Beyond those two groups, and the recent addition of yourself Carina, I believe all the branches are accounted for.”

“Now that is fascinating,” Natalya said as she looked at Carina.  “There would be no way to know for certain without tracing the family tree of those people then,”

“I regret to say not – a fascinating exercise possibly, but working forward from one person is always more difficult.”

The main courses arrived, leaving Natalya and Carina deep in thought…

"Did my 17th century ancestress - the one they called the 'Blood Princess' - have any descendants" Carina asked.

"Officially no." Valeria looked up from her meal, “but there were rumors that she had two daughters by peasant boys.”

"I personally think it's a legend made to help scare the tourists." Ingrid looked up, "and to inspire horror movies and writers."

"Did you ever see 'Maidens of Blood' Cari darling?" Klaus shook his head. "Truly the worst movie ever made."

"No I discount all stories about her having two daughters who passed on her insanity to further generations.”  Wilhelm lifted his fork to his mouth and ate, Natalya raising an eyebrow in Carina’s direction.


10.30 pm
The Huntingdown Apartment


“This is ridiculous – nothing is making sense in this.”

“We need fresh eyes looking at this problem.” Annie said as she stretched and yawned. “These reports don’t create a pattern, it’s like she took bits from each that she liked to create an overall package.”

“Well given Aunt Natalya’s thoughts I guess that makes some sense.” Carina carried Judith in her arms as she paced. “If it it’s a newb she obviously did some research and reading and is doing the things that caught her fancy. If on the other hand it’s a returner they have had the chance to learn and absorb fresh ideas since their previous outings.”

“I have an idea for you darling,” Annie said as she stood up, “what about fiction?  There is some pretty graphic torture and sadism literature out there. You’ve been checking real crimes, maybe it’s time to consider that this is someone putting fantasies they’ve written about online into practice.”

“Oh Annie, kick me for being stupid, I never even thought of that.” Carina shook her head.

“Well we could spend half the night reading kinky porn, or we could make love and get Heather to do it for us tomorrow…I know which I prefer doing.” Annie kissed her former student by way of demonstrating her preference.

”Well if you put it that way.” Cari giggled. “Little one here is ready for her sleep, just let me put her in her crib.”

“I’ll be waiting,” Annie said as she walked towards the bed.


Friday 15th May
10 am
The Richmond Mansion


“Hey Carina, I don’t think we will get out today for a walk, this rain looks well set.” Heather looked up at the dark grey overhead clouds as she helped Cari bring the baby in from the car.

“I know, but what I have in mind to discuss probably means we have to stay inside anyway.”

“That sounds intriguing.” Heather said as she took Judith out of her rainsuit, while Cari took her coat off.

“Annie came up with an idea in bed last night…”

“I’ll bet she did.” Heather giggled.

“Not that sort of idea.” Cari laughed and blushed. “She reasoned what if our girl is putting into practice things she’s read about in online fiction?”

“Mmmm now that is smart thinking, life imitating art. I should have thought of that myself.”

“Well I thought we could maybe Google things and see what that produces.”

“Cari we need a far better search tool then Google…”

“And it just so happens you have one?”

“Now what gave you that idea…?” Heather laughed as she booted up her computer,
“Past experience – hello Jennifer, what are you drawing?”

“Yes,” Jennifer said as she scribbled on a piece of paper with some pencils.

“My search engine reaches parts of the Internet Google isn’t even aware exists.  Not just the dark web, but all shades of it.”

“I’ll make coffee while you work…want one?”

“Please Cari, and make it strong I get the feeling some of this will churn even your stomach.”

“I’ll make sure it’s really strong,” Cari said.  “But it would have to be something to shock me.”

Heather looked at the young woman, and shook her head as she typed in the search terms based on the crime scene report.


10.30 am
FBI Field Office


“Jan,” Adam said as he looked up, “have you seen these two murder reports from the last week?”

“I’ve seen them,” Jan said, “Whoever this is, she makes the Pussycats look like Sunday school teachers.”

“I agree – at first I thought it was one of them gone rogue, but this goes to a new level of viciousness.”

“What is,” Tom said as he came back from the coffee machine.

“These sex murders – the two victims were tortured, and then had their throats cut before their apartments were set on fire."

“Let me see that,” Tom said as he picked up the file, and looked through it.

“Something wrong, Tom?”

“Hmmm.   No, nothing, mind if I borrow this for a little while?”

“Knock yourself out,” Adam said as he looked at Tom, then at Janice as he walked into his office, closing the door behind him.

“What was that all about?”

“Search me,” Janice said as she looked at the closed door.


11 am
The Richmond Mansion


Carina stared at the screen, hardly believing what she was reading.

“Pardon me, but some of this is absolutely foul, and as a practitioner of the black art, I’m not sure half of it is even possible.” She said as she shook her head.

“This is downright disgusting…”

“It’s not medically possible, she would have long since killed him.” Carina looked horrified, “I never ever thought I’d hear myself utter these words, but there are some real sick bastards out there.”

“Well other than learning the depths of depravity that our minds can create, are you seeing anything that sets a bell ringing in your head Cari?”

“There are several stories in which virtually every element is present, Can you find out who the writers were, and get locations Heather?”

“With my housework, etc, it might take me a few hours, but yeah I can probably trace these back to their source,”

“Good and hopefully something in the names and locations might mean something to one of us.”

“I need to cleanse my mind – have you any idea what Jo and the other girls are planning?”

“Nope – she’s keeping things very close to her chest.  Have you heard anything?”

“Only that she got ahold of the Alumni list for some reason…”


1 pm
The Huntingdown Apartment


“Err… Hello?”

The doorman looked up to see a slim brunette, wearing a red leather jacket over a grey v-necked jumper and grey slacks, looking at him.

“I’m here to meet Miss Juliette Huntingdown,” she said as she fidgeted with her shoulder bag.

“You must be Miss Bronheimer,” he said with a smile, “go right up.”

“Thanks,” Alexis said as she walked to the lift and got in, nervously humming to herself as the lift took her up, and she stepped out.  Walking down the corridor, she stopped and knocked on one door.

“Hi Alexis." Janine greeted her colleague as she opened the door to Juliette's apartment.

Alexis walked in, taking off her jacket as she did so.  Looking at Janine, she whispered "Why did she want me to come here?"

"She'll tell you." Janine said as she ushered her into the drawing room.

"Wow,” Alexis said as she looked round the room, “you have an amazing apartment Miss... Sorry Juliette."

"Thank you Alexis,” Juliette said as she indicated the couch across the coffee table from her, “I thought it was the best place to hold our little chat."

"Okay." Alexis looked round as Janine gave her a glass of wine.

"Now how have things been going Alexis?"

"I think I’m doing alright Juliette,” Alexis said nervously.  “I mean, I know I made a few mistakes, but I got them sorted out - I think."

"You did." Juliette glanced at her notes.

"Well I hope I did." Alexis looked downwards nervously.

"Are you enjoying the work?"

"Oh immensely." Alexis smiled broadly.

"Even the long and odd hours, and the different locations?"

"Well I knew that was what was involved going in."

"Now Janine has written me a detailed report, and I've read it closely." Juliette paused. "She has brought a couple of things to my attention..."

"Oh!" Alexis fidgeted.

"A couple of them are complimentary, another few were things I needed to think upon.”

"I hope they weren't too bad." Alexis whispered as she looked at Janine.

"Juliette asked me for complete honesty." Janine replied.

"Oh, so you won't be keeping me on?" Alexis looked downcast.

Sitting back, Juliette looked at the young woman before she said "What gave you that idea?"

"Oh,” Alexis said quietly as she looked at both of them, “I thought...ummmm"

"If I was reassigning you I'd have done it at the office Alexis...Bringing you into my home, I am welcoming you into my extended family."

"You mean I got it?"

"Of course you did." Janine laughed and hugged her assistant all at once.

“Not that there are not things you need to change and do differently,” Janine said as she took another sheath of papers from the table, “but that’s part of the learning process.  Get Janine to tell you about the time she almost lost the entire lead feature of the issue.”

“What’s important is you learn from the mistakes and move in,” Janine said.

“Now, fair warning – the assistant of my associate Catherine Lo is coming in four weeks to spend some time in the city, working on contracts with me for Huntingdown Silks.  She will also spend time in the office, so the three of you need to work as a unit on that one.  You and Janine need to start coordinating with her now.”

“You’ll like Marina – she’s a fun person,” Janine said with a smile.

“We’ll work up a development plan for you as well, but for now, take this contract and read it, then sign and return to HR.”  Sitting back down, Juliette said “by the way, Alexis, you never told me what you do in your spare time.”

“Oh – well, I practice my writing.  Short stories, meditations – maybe one day I’ll get published, but I’m a long way off that yet.”

“Well, trust me – practice makes perfect.”

3 pm

“Nobody home baby,” Carina said as she took Judith out of her rain suit.  “Would you like a drink and a little snack, yes you would wouldn’t you?”

Judith laughed and smiled as Carina picked her up and rubbed her tummy with her head, and then walked to the kitchen.  As she passed the phone, it started to ring, so she picked it up and said “Huntingdown residence.”

"Cari I found another site that might interest you?" Heather spoke.

"Oh," Carina cradled the phone against her shoulder as she put her daughter into her high chair.

"It's a site for a group that call themselves Daughters of the Ripper. It's a combination of sickos and genuine Ripper enthusiasts trying to work out who he was."

"And I'll be interested why?"

"I'm not going to say - just go look at some of the names and aliases of members...I e-mailed you the link."

"Okay I'll get online Heather."

"Phone me back as soon as you've looked."

Putting the phone down, Cari made sure her daughter was secured in, and then fetched a bottle and a biscuit, handing the latter to her and putting the former on the tray, before she fetched her laptop.

“Now then,” she said as she started the coffee maker, and then booted up her machine, “let’s see what Aunt Heather has found for Mommy, shall we?”

She soon found the e-mail and opened the link, squirming slightly at the front page before she looked on the forums.

“Original that isn’t,” she muttered, and then one name in particular caught her eye.  She rubbed her chin for a moment, and then clicked on the red text, a profile coming up.

“Oh merciful goddess,” she whispered, before she picked the phone back up.

“Well?”

“It’s a joke, right?”

“I wish it was Cari – and she’s not the only one.  The girls are coming for coffee – keep looking – I’ll talk to you later.”


7 pm
Upper West Side
Susan and Clint’s Apartment


“It’s good of you to invite us over, Susan,” Adam said as he escorted Jan and Kathleen in.  “Who else is coming tonight?”

“Well you know Penny and Charlotte of course,” Susan said as they came into the lounge, “and Shirley and Sandy will be here soon with their partners.”

“Something smells nice anyway,” Jan said as she sat down, “so what culinary delight are you treating us to tonight?”

“Alright, on the menu for tonight is Toad in the Hole, followed by Spotted Dick.”

Susan laughed at the expression on her American friends faces. “For those of you who don’t know what they are, Toad in the Hole is sausages cooked inside a Yorkshire Pudding, while Spotted Dick is a steamed suet pudding stuffed with currants.”

“Is Clint cooking those?” asked Adam.

“No, Mum and Aunt Maeve are cooking, Clint’s helping and learning.”

“Adam I remember both from my childhood.” Katherine patted him reassuringly on the leg, “trust me they are good.”

“Well if you say so…are the sausages pork?” Adam looked for a way out.

“Yes, but since I’ve seen you eat pork chops Adam Ball, you can’t plead Kosher to back out.” Jan laughed at her boyfriend.

“Crap!”

“Look at it as an adventure.” Susan smiled as she handed out glasses of wine and then went to greet their other guests.

“I have to admit, I was scared stiff the first time I was offered them.” Charlotte remarked.

“You should have seen her face I said I was serving her Spotted Dick.” Penny giggled at the memory, “but she actually now makes it herself.”

“Clint is making two different custards in a bit to serve with it.” Maeve came in to fill up her wine glass.

“And knowing Adam is a custard fiend, I think we just talked him into trying it.” Janice replied.

“Alright, I know when I’m beaten.”

“Beaten at what, Adam,” Shirley asked as she and John came in.

“Susan was just describing the menu for tonight,” Penny said as Sandy and John Jacobs joined them, taking a glass of wine from Susan.

“Oh – and that would be?”

“Toad in the Hole and Spotted Dick?”

“With proper beef gravy?”

“Of course,” Maeve said as she nodded to Shirley.

“Good – it needs a proper gravy,” Sandy said.  “I still remember when Shirley tried to make it one day, and got the recipe slightly wrong.”

“To be fair,” Shirley said, “it was a mistake to make it with Lincolnshire sausage – and to make the batter mix as if I was doing pancakes.  But at least the mashed potato was all right that night.”

“Thanks to Mr. Marks and Mr. Spencer,” Sandy said with a smile.  “God, when was that?”

“It would have been about – oh, 1989 I think.”

“Well it reminds me of school days.” John Hammond laughed to himself, “Though any food is usually better then what we ate at Eton.”

“I’ll guarantee Winchester was worse,” the other John said as he shook his head.

“I never knew you were a Wykehamist John?”

“Yes,” John smiled to himself, “Though I’m not sure the school counts me as one of its leading old boys, as Eton does you.”

“The last thing we need are two public school boys trying to be modest.” Shirley intervened.

“As an outsider can I say I think you’ve both had interesting lives.” Adam sipped his drink.

“Exactly,” Shirley said in a decisive tone, “so we will have no false modesty tonight.”

“She has spoken, we must obey,” John Hammond said as he held his hands up in surrender.

“Alright folks, as a starter this is my take on Welsh Rarebit.” Clint said as he came in, carrying plates of toast covered in melted cheese as everyone took their place at the table.

“Oh Lord this is good.” Sandy said as she tasted a slice, “a dash of Worcester sauce?”

“And?” Clint replied.

“Oregano certainly.” Shirley looked up.

“And?”

“Just a hint of Dijon mustard.” Katherine finished a bit and reached for another.

“You got it.” Clint looked happily at everyone eating.

“What beer did you use Clint?”

“There’s a microbrewery nearby that does an excellent Dark Ale.”

“My compliments to the brewer,” John Jacobs said as they sat round and talked.




9 pm

“Alright I don’t know if it’s the company, or the food, but this has to be one of the nicest meals I’ve had in years.” John Jacobs said as he leaned back in his chair.

“It’s just a pleasure to hear you all laugh so much.” Susan said as she sipped her brandy, “Especially you Mum.”

“Oh.” Rose blushed.  “I’m just glad Maeve and me got a chance to thank all of you.”

“I definitely think we have to say a thank you to our cooks for tonight for such a lovely meal.” Shirley spoke.

“Indeed we do, Ladies and Gentlemen, Rose, Maeve and Clint.” John Hammond raised his glass.”

“Rose, Maeve and Clint!”

“So where is your new flat Rose?” Sandy asked.

“Well I’m saying it’s Enfield, but that’s only because Southgate sounds a bit posh.”

“That’s a nice area though.”

“It’s only three or four miles from Tottenham but compared to my old place it’s like another world.”

“And have you got a job lined up?”

“Thanks to Juliette, I’m going to be teaching sewing at the local university to fashion students…me of all people teaching at a university.” Rose shook her head.

“Well skills like you were trained in Rose need to be kept alive.” John Jacobs looked across the table, “I think it sounds like a round peg in a round hole.”

“Well I am looking forward to it.”

“I’m happy for you Rose,” Katherine looked down the table, “You can show us pictures of the new place when you come over for the christening.”

“As to who are to be April’s godparents?” Asked Shirley.
“Well after much soul searching, we’ve decided to ask Penny, Marina, Abigail and David.” Clint answered.

“And I’m glad to say they all accepted.” Susan smiled broadly.

“I hear Marina is doing very well in her new job,” Penny said.

“Indeed – I spoke with Catherine yesterday, and she is very impressed.”

“So you will return to the UK on Sunday, Maeve?”

“That’s right, then come out at the end of June for the christening.  What about you John?”

“I fly back on Tuesday – I have some business to conclude here first.  A rather nice piece of Shaker furniture that would suit a client.   I need to arrange transport and so on.”

“So have you always worked in antiques John,” Kathleen asked.

“In one capacity or another, yes,” John said as Shirley and Sandy looked at each other.  “After Winchester, I was apprenticed to a dealer, and learned the trade from the bottom up.”

Rose sipped her tea and looked at Susan for a moment, indicating the kitchen.

“Excuse me a moment – need to check the coffee machine,” Susan said as she stood up, Rose following her.

“You want to ask about Marina, right?”

“Yeah – has she, you know…”

“Turned over a new leaf?  She has mum – she works as an assistant for a client of ours in Hong Kong now.  She got a second chance as well.”

Rose nodded, and said “good – we all deserve second chances, don’t we?”

“Yeah we do mum,” Susan said as they hugged each other.

“Want a hand with the coffee?”

“Please John,” Susan said as she dried her eyes, “I’ll make some fresh tea for mum.”


9.30 pm
The Richmond Mansion


“Mum’s keeping an eye on Judith,” Carina said as she slipped her coat off, “where’s Sandy and Jo?”

“Jo’s upstairs doing some work, and Sandy went to see Tonia to discuss a project.  We’ve got the place to ourselves.”

“Good – I really don’t want them knowing about this yet,” Carina said as they went into the kitchen, and Heather put the coffee on.

“So, the Daughters of the Ripper?”

Carina nodded, before she said “I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that name as Mary Kelly, but still – her knowledge is amazing.”

“I guess that’s what happens when you’re the wife of a FBI AD, but I have to admit, when I saw Gale Callaghan’s name come up, I almost choked.  She does seem to know the full gory details of the original crimes as well.”

“I guess the question is, could she be responsible for these crimes?”

“Well, they moved here from Nebraska, didn’t they?  Maybe Jan knows what Tom was working on before he came here.”

“I’ll tell you what surprised me – seeing Maureen Gardiner as a recent joiner.”

“StudentOfAbelaine?  I know – she asked a lot of questions about the psychology of a criminal, and some of the crimes of the past.”

“Last night we asked Valeria about possible descendants, but she wasn’t sure.  Two possibilities, and then there is the legend of The Blood Princess – she may have sired two children, but nothing has even been proven.”

“So some avenues to explore?”

Heather nodded.  “One other name cropped up – HellDaughter.”

“I missed the one, who was it?”

“Sharon Kennedy – and she is reported missing from Philadelphia.  Apparently she has family in NY.”

“And we saw she has the right tendency when we called,” Carina said, “but would she be a killer?”

“Well, three to consider – want two more names?”

“The writers?”

“Oh yes – when I ran the checks, many were just nut jobs, but two – the two that matched most closely – want the names?”

“Go on – nothing could shock me anymore.”

“Alexis Bronheimer and Emma Cromwell.”

Carina had a mug of coffee in her hand as Heather said that, but she slowly lowered it.  “Emma Cromwell?  As in soon to be wife of Madeline Moore Emma Cromwell.”

“Yup – she has a definite flair in her writing, and she is very detailed.”

“Well, we can rule her out of the NY killings –she was with Maddie and Penny all Saturday night, and she flew back with Maddie on Monday.  A phone call should confirm she was there.  Who’s this Alexis Bronheimer?”

“An English graduate – I can find out where she works now easily enough.”

Carina sat back.  “So we have four possible contenders – can you work up profiles I can go through with Great Aunt Natalya?”

“Not before Monday – we’re away tomorrow.  But you can talk with her about what you know.”

“We can also do some family trees for the four we know – dig a little way.  Heather, thanks – I know this could not have been easy for you.”

“Wish I could have been more detailed, but…”

“Come on – let’s leave this now.  Get Jo down and let’s watch a film.”
Birthday Girl - part 7
As Carina and the others gather evidence, a list of suspects emerge - a very surprising list...

We re-commence on 30th December - have a Merry and Peaceful Christmas from me and :icon J-jell:
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(Contains: nudity and sexual themes)
I’ve shared Su Yin’s place for a few months now, and pay a rent for the bedroom and my share of the bills.  It’s a good arrangement – I mean, she’s ten years older than me, but she doesn’t mind if I bring the occasional boy home, and stays clear if she needs to.

But that day...

I let myself back into the house and put my bag down on the floor.  I had been at the university all day, and was wearing a long cream cardigan over a blue denim blouse, and that over a long white top.  Black leggings and knee length black biker boots completed my outfit, as well as a brown infinity scarf with a  black zigzag pattern around my neck.  I’d also met one of my undergraduate lecturers there, who had told me the great news that I had a teaching position come the next semester.

I could see Su’s bag on the floor, but there was no sign of her downstairs.  I could hear someone in the bedroom upstairs, however, so I called up “hey Su – you upstairs?”

There was no reply, but I went upstairs anyway.  It was when I got to the top of the stairs that I heard whoever was there was in her room, so I knocked on the door and walked in.

“Su, you’ll never guess who... OHMYFREKIGNGGMMMMMM”

Su was lying on her bed, her arms and legs spread out and tied with scarves to the bed, and she was almost naked, a strip of brown plaster covering her lips.  As for the muffled sound I was making – that had something to do with the large gloved hand that was gently pressed onto my mouth.

“Hush,” I heard a male voice say, “come with me.”  I was made to walk backwards, Su allowing her head to fall to the pillow as she moaned.  I had no idea why she moaned.

Not at that stage anyway – I found out soon enough.

Anyway, that wasn’t what was going through my mind at that moment, what was was the fact I was being walked into my own room, the door closing behind us as the man said “do exactly what I say, and you won’t be harmed.   Now, let’s see what we have in your cupboard, shall we?”

Okay, those were exactly the words I did not want to hear at that point, as he walked me over and I saw a gloved hand opening the wardrobe door.  I was turned round and tried to pull the hand off my mouth as I heard him rummaging around, and then he said “What’s this?”

“Hnnn,” I said as I heard him pull something out, and then place the holdall on the bed.  As he opened it, I felt myself getting redder and redder as he looked through the contents.

“SO you have been tied up before – do you enjoy it?”

I could have lied, I should have lied, but instead I nodded as he said “then allow me to show you something different.  I am going to take my hands away, and I want you to stand with your hands by your side.”

I felt him remove his hand, and whispered “please, don’t...”

“Shhh,” he said as he slipped my cardigan off me, and let it drop to the floor, before he picked a length of rope from my bag, and crossed my wrists behind my back, securing them tightly together as I bit my lower lip, making sure he took the rope between my arms as well.

“Now stay still,” he said into my ear as he took a much longer length out, and started to bind my arms to my side, taking the rope above and below my chest, tightening my blouse over my body as he took the rope under my arms and around the back of my neck to further tighten the bands.
“There,” he said as he brushed his gloved hands down my arms, “how does that feel compared to your usual partners?”

“Much tighter,” I purred, “you know what you’re doing.”

“Of course – I am a professional,” he said as reached round and started to unbutton my blouse, pulling the panels to the side before he started to massage my chest.  The soft groans came unbidden, as I bit my lips and thrust my chest forward into his hands.

“Your landlady – she does not know, does she,” he whispered as he continued his gentle arousal, and I shook my head in response, unsure if I could honestly reply or not.

“then we shall not tell her,” he whispered, “but that means you cannot alert her.  Open your mouth.”

I nodded as he pushed a small red sponge into my mouth, and then kissed the side of my neck, my moans increasing as his fingers started to play with my nipples under the t-shirt.  I heard him tear at something, and then the pulling on my skin as he pressed some of the brown plaster over my mouth, and started to pull my t=shirt up.

As my chest was exposed to the air, I felt my nipples harden, but that seem dot excite him more as he ran over them with his gloved fingers.  That was nothing, however, to what I felt as he laid me on my back, and then started to use his lips and tongue on my chest, the moans increasing dramatically a is responded to his teasing.

“I will return shortly,” he said as he took more rope from my bag, and bound my ankles tightly together, side by side, before he secured my legs below my knees.  Then he came back to kissing me on my chest, as his hand stroked up the inside of my legs, and then...

“Hswwwtjsss” I remember calling out when her first touched me between my legs, and then slipped his hand into my leggings, easing them down to my knees as he kissed my belly, his tongue tracing over my belly button.  I was powerless to stop him as he pulled my panties down as well, his finger running up my moist clit as I looked at him.

“Hnnnn...”

“no, not that,” he said as he looked at me, “this.”

I screamed as he kissed me there, and then his tongue got to work, searching me, probing me, exciting and taking me to the peaks and then down again until I could barely take any more.

I lost counts of how many times he made me shake and quiver, before he finally drove me over the edge, and I peaked, arching my back as I screamed out, my eyes wide open as he kept kissing and working me there until I slumped exhausted onto the bed.

“There – now, let me leave you with a souvenir,” he said as he tied a length of rope between my breasts, making those bands press even more, and then fed it between my legs, rolling me over and pulling it up tight as he tied it to my wrists, and then pulled my ankles back, tying them to the crotch rope as well as my chest.

Every move was pure ecstasy from that moment on, as he took my scarf off and kissed it, then left me to my imaginations...
Not a Robbery - Souvenirs: Jenny Blake
Su Yin's flatmate shares her experiences...
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(Contains: violence/gore and strong language)
9 am
The Richmond Mansion


“Hello Jennifer,” Carina said as she brought Judith in, “are you ready for the play date?”

“I’ll take her,” Vanessa said as she took the baby from her arms, and looked at her.  “Are you all right, you look tired.”

“Long night,” Carina said as she went into the kitchen, Heather handing her a mug of coffee without a word.

“Drink that first,” she said, “then we’ll take a walk down to the park.  You look like you need the fresh air.”

“Yeah – I had a night to remember,” Carina said as she sipped the hot drink.


Thirty minutes later, Carina and Heather were walking through Central Park, their jackets open as the warm spring air blew over them.

“Where did we say we would meet her,” Heather asked as they approached a café.

“In here,” Carina said as they walked in, taking a booth in the corner and ordering two coffees.  They then looked to the door as Jan walked in, her coat over a grey trouser suit and silk blouse.

“Hey,” she said as she sat down, “can I get a coffee as well please?”

“Coming up,” the waitress said as the three women looked at each other.

“Right,” Carina said as she took a deep breath, “I need help from both of you, but I’m going to ask that this is between the three of us – nobody else must know.”

She kept silent as the waitress brought the three coffees over, and then slipped the newspaper over to Heather and Jan.

“I heard Tom mention this,” Janice said as she reviewed the story, “he felt it was a NY job, especially given the similarity to the Christmas Eve slaying year before last.”

“Well, it’s not the same person.”

Jan looked at Carina and Heather, before she said “and you know this because?”

Carina just looked at Janice, before saying “The details of what happened to cause it are another story, but that was the one night The Beast was allowed to get loose without any self control.”

Jan looked at Carina, before she whispered “Judith’s father, the one who skipped town…”

Heather and Carina both nodded before Jan said “If not you, then who?”

“That is the question,” Carina said, “I had another person in mind as the possible sadist, but it wasn’t them.  We’re working together to find out what we can, but we need help – I need help.  I do not want to be blamed for this.”

“I can imagine,” Jan said, “what do you need?”

“We need to get copies of the crime scene photos if we can,” Carina said, “and to know if the details match any other slayings in the last couple of years.”

“What do we know?”

“We know she’s a sadist, she likes to burn her victims, torture them, whip them, cut them – then kill them by slicing their throat and eviscerating the corpse.”

Heather looked at her coffee and then pushed it away.  “What else?”

“Don’t ask how I know, but she is a left handed smoker.”

“You say she,” Jan said, “How do you know it’s not a he?”

“Trust me, it’s not.”

“From what you say,” Heather says, “it’s a mash up of you, Penny and Annie, with a dash of Abby.”

“I know – which is why we need to find them.  It’s not me or Annie, and I’m certain Abby would not do this.”

“Penny?”

“Annie’s going to talk to her later.”

“All right – I can get the crime scene report, send it on to you and Heather.  I’ll see if the profilers at the precinct house have any thoughts as well.”

“Thanks Jan – and not a word of this to anyone else please.”

“I’ll be in touch soon,” Jan said as she walked out, Heather looking at Carina.

“Long night?  Where did you and Natalya end up?”

“Staten Island – whoever did this is a Beast like me and her, but it’s neither of us.  The body was – informative.”

“I don’t want to know,” Heather said, “I’ll find out later.”

“Heather?”

“Does it match any of the ones we were worried Ingrid had a hand in?  No, I double checked when I guessed this was what our meeting was about.  Let’s see what the report points to.

“Come on – let’s go and play with the girls for a while, clear your mind.”

1 pm
Vanessa Richmond’s Apartment


“Miss Richmond?”

Nessa looked up from her chair to see her maid standing at the doorway.

“Yes Maria, what is it?”

“A Mrs. Maureen Gardiner is here to see you.”

Nessa put down the book she was reading and stood up, brushing her trousers down as she said “please, show her in.”  Maria went out, returning a few minutes later with Maureen Gardiner.  She looked at Allyson’s mother, wearing a black silk blouse and knee length skirt, and said “hello Mrs. Gardiner – I’m sorry you weren’t able to come after the funeral, but I am glad you came today.”

“Well, both Tony and I felt after the funeral that we had to spend some time away, grieving,” she said as she sat down, “but I really did wish to talk with you, so thank you for agreeing to meet me.”

“Of course – Maria, coffee for two please,” Vanessa said, the maid nodding as she left the room.

“Mrs. Richmond…”

“Please – we must not stand on ceremony.  It’s Vanessa – Nessa is preferable, but I’ll accept Vanessa.”

“Very well, Vanessa – sorry Nessa.  I prefer Mo, if truth be told,” her visitor said as she sat back.  

“Nessa and Mo it is then,” Nessa said as Maria brought in a tray with the coffee, and left it on the table.  “Sugar or cream?”

“I drink it black thank you,” Mo said as Nessa poured her a cup and handed it over, taking the handle in her left hand and sipping.

“Can I say once again how much I mourned Allyson’s passing,” Nessa said as she sipped her own coffee.  “When I invited her and George with Jennifer for the weekend, I hoped it would help her, but instead…”

“Nessa, you must not blame yourself for what happened,” Mo said as she put her cup down.  “Allyson – my daughter had been unwell for sometime, ever since that horrible invasion of the charity event nearly two years ago.”

“Sandy was there as well,” Nessa said quietly.

“Yes, I know – I’m afraid our family and yours do have a habit of…”

Mo put her head in her hands for a moment, as Nessa said “What’s wrong?”

“Nessa, there is something you need to know about Allison – and my father, her grandfather.”

“Your father?  What about him?”

“Nessa, there is no easy way to say this - my father was Freddie Hughson.”

Nessa looked at Mo for a few minutes, before she whispered “you do know what he did to me?”

“I learned when I was eighteen – I grew up in the Midlands in England, born in 1966.  When I found out that he had almost killed someone, I asked him about it, but – well, he got violent with me.  I left home that night, and immigrated to the US, cutting off all ties with my family.  Three years later, I met Tony, and we were married soon after.  Allison was born in 1989.”

“Did she know about him?”

“I didn’t tell her – but last year, I learned my father had died, and he had left some family papers to us.  I wanted to destroy them, but Allyson said she would take care of it.”

“When last year?”

“May – after you all visited at Easter.  Ever since then…  Well, we tried to help her, but then that horrible break in happened, and we thought she was getting better.”

“We all did – Sandy, all of us.  Mo, you can’t be held responsible for what happened to me back in 1964 – it was a lifetime ago.”  Nessa walked round and sat next to her, taking her hands in her own.  “What is important now is we are both there for George and Jennifer – he is, after all, the father of my grandchildren as well.”

Mo looked into Nessa’s eyes and said “what was the last thing she said?”

“She was barely coherent, but – she did mention emeralds and family.  Had I realised at the time…  May I be honest, Mo?”

“Please.”

“I think she had gone by that point – and I was scared for my own life as well.  I tried so hard to talk her down, but…”  

Nessa started crying as Mo gripped her hands.  “Perhaps we can be friends now – let me try to make up for my father’s hatred fifty years ago.”

“Thank you,” Nessa said quietly, “I would like that very much.”


1 pm
La Maison


Natalya looked up and smiled as Carina walked over to join her.

“Did you manage to get any sleep dear,” she said as he niece sat down.

“No, I’m afraid not.  How much time do we have?”

“Klaus and Ingrid will join us in fifteen minutes.  Have you given the matter any more thought?”

“I’m hoping to get a copy of the SoC report – I have a friend who is dating a criminal psychologist, who is doing some work for the NYPD.  Strictly off the record – I told her it was for a drama project.”

“I approve – tell me, are you and your partner free tonight?”

“I can check – why?”

“I think we can benefit from visiting some of those bars we identified yesterday – could you find out now?”

“In disguise, of course?”

“Naturally,” Natalya said as Carina sent a text to Annie.  “Ah Klaus, Ingrid – so glad you could make it.”

“Thank you for inviting us, Aunt Natalya,” Ingrid said as she sat down, “where is Uncle Willy?”

“Talking horses with Henri and his friends – shall we order some wine?”


1.30 pm
FBI Field Office


Jeanne came over as Jan returned to the office.

"Hey."

"How was lunch?"

"Oh I just had a coffee with Heather and Carina in the park."

"Sounds fun." Jeanne paused. "This isn't our business, but Mr. Kennedy the Philadelphia bank manager has filed a missing persons report on his daughter Sharon."

"I remember her...poor kid." Janice looked downwards.

"Well he feels like she may have come to New York, and NYPD cross-referencing her name thought we needed a heads up."

“Why here?”

“Apparently his first wife had some relatives in the area – but he doesn’t know the name.  They weren’t very close.  It’s a long shot, but you never know.”

"I understand...there's nothing we can do but maybe pray for her safety."

"I know Jan, I totally agree."

“Hey,” Adam said as he sat down, “did you tell her the other news?”

“What other news?”

“We all have a dinner invite to Natasha’s house on Friday – just the three of us with her and Guillieme.”


2.30 pm
Complete Style


“Janine, where’s Alexis?”

“On a break Juliette,” Janine said as she looked up, before they both saw her walk back in.

“Sorry – I needed a cigarette,” she said as she came in.  “A menthol one,” she then said as she looked at both of them.

“Right – I need you both in here for a minute.  There are some upcoming dates we need to block out in diaries.”

“Coming,” they both said as they followed Juliette into her office.


9 pm
The Waldorf Hotel


“You must tell me what you use on Uncle Willy,” Carina said as she sat on the chair, pulling on the tight leather boots and zipping them up the back.  She was wearing a black leather split skirt, and a tight black blouse open at the top three buttons, while she had covered her blonde hair with a brown wig that came to her shoulders.

“A simple concoction,” Natalya said as she finished applying her lipstick.  “I do like your disguise however – so different from the normal Carina,”

“Thank you – it’s a pity Annie cannot be here, but she did say this needed the true professionals.  Nobody will recognize me in these.”

“Wigs, different makeup, it’s amazing how we women can disguise ourselves,” Natalya adjusted her wig in front of the mirror, the black hair falling down her neck and shoulders with a hint of grey.

“Those pants look like they’ve been sprayed on you Aunt.” Cari shook her head.

“One has to be comfortable,” she purred as she looked at herself.  Her tight black leather pants were paired with a black bustier top and velvet jacket, and four inch heel sandals on her feet.

“Well,” she finally said as she turned around, “do I pass inspection?”

“If you want to be a fabulous looking cougar on the prowl then you do.” Carina had a thought. “But your voice? The German accent.”

“What German accent?” Natalya spoke with a neutral American voice.

“How the hell do you do that?”

“Practice…I used to find the odd target among American servicemen, this voice helped.”

“Aunt Natalya the more I learn, the more you amaze me.”

“As you do me child.”

“Alright, well no one would associate the real us with these two women.”

“Yeah, so let’s go and see where our instincts take us, and not Carina and Natalya, let her out niece, as I’m letting mine, let’s see what ‘they’ can discover in the slums.”

Carina nodded as she closed her eyes, and then opened them again, grinning as she said “thank you, aunty – let’s go on the hunt.”


10 pm
The Bronx


The customers looked up as the doors to the bar opened, and two women dressed to impress walked in.

"This is where she found him." Carina said as she sniffed the mixture of alcohol, sweat and cheap perfume inside the subterranean tavern.

"I think you may be correct, if this was me this is a place I'd chose to find someone."

"Well..." Carina smiled at the few glances they attracted from patrons, "Let's buy a drink and see what the bar staff have to tell us."

"What will it be ladies?" the barman asked as Carina hiked her tiny skirt up further, and crossed her legs as she sat on the bar stool.

"Tequila...straight." Natalya answered..."for both of us."

"Coming up."

As the bartender poured the drinks, both Carina and Natalya looked round.  The clientele were the type you’d expect to see around here – none of them paying attention to anyone except themselves.

“Quiet night,” Carina purred before she sipped her drink.

“Yeah – you hear about that guy got killed round here?”

“I saw it on the news – why?”

“He was a regular here – came as a real shock.”

“So was he in here Saturday night?”

“Yeah, but he left alone.”

The two women looked at each other, before Natalya said “Did you know him well?”

“I’m a barkeep lady – I know a lot of people well.”

“Quite – two more, and one for yourself,” Natalya said, watching as the barman poured three more drinks.

“Your very good health,” he said, as he drained his drink and then called out “Mick – I’m on a break, back in ten.”

They watched as he went out of a back door, finishing their drinks before they followed him out.

“Hey – private moment,” the bartender said as Natalya reached into her bag.

“Well, forgive the intrusion,” she said as she produced a .45 and pointed it at him, “but we need to know who the man left with Saturday night?”

“Hey, if you’re cops, show me your badge.”

“Gladly,” Carina said as she pushed him against the wall, and produced a scalpel, “who did he leave with?”

“I told ya, no-one…”

"You are lying to me." Carina held the blade of her knife to the mans throat. "I can sense it....SHE was here wasn't she?"

"Yes....YES!" he screamed as Cari nicked his cheek starting it bleeding.  "Blonde, short hair, great little figure...she kept to a booth, but I remember she carried a large shoulder bag as she left."

"Would you recognise her again?" asked Natalya from behind the .45.

"No she made sure she stayed in the dark, I never got a clear look..."

"Never?" Cari nicked his other cheek.

"NO!" the man almost started crying, “but I'll tell you what..."

"Yes?" Natalya asked.

"She was chain smoking...in her booth...I found lipstick smeared butts. Not many even try to smoke inside now."

The two women looked at each other, before Carina caressed his face.

“Very good – if you see her again, call the police.”

“Oh – and if we hear talk of two women here tonight, you’ll wake up with your ball sac in your mouth.  Capiche?”

He moaned and nodded before Natalya pistol whipped him, the two women walking back into the bar.

"The smoking?" asked Carina.

"Nerves." Natalya answered. "Our killer was either a frighteningly skilled neophyte, or someone returning to this who hadn't done in it in several years."

"Can you stop?"

"If you are like us? Then no...But a pure psychopath driven by different motives, yes I've heard tales of them being able to stop themselves for extended periods."

"I wish I'd thought of this before but it just occurred to me...Does 'she' have any American descendants I don't know about?"

"Now that is an interesting thought...I may have to pick Wilhelm's brain about the blood lines."

"I could do the same with Valeria."

"It's work for the morning, but at least we have gathered ideas on her modus operandi as the police call it."

As they walked out, they failed to notice the overflowing ashtray, red lipstick marks on the butts…





10.15
Somewhere in the Bronx


“It’s not much, but it’s home – what do you think?”

She looked round the apartment, nodding as she put her large brown shoulder bag on the floor.

“Not bad – you live here alone?”

“Yeah – not that I’m alone, but it’s all I can afford.  So,” he said as he turned and looked at her, “can I get you a drink?”

She looked at him as he took off his leather jacket and threw it over a dirty chair cover.  Early twenties, looked as if he kept fit, short brown hair, six foot tall – all she looked for in a man.  He would be perfect.

“So what do you want, beer or water?”

“I’ll have a beer if you have it,” she said as she felt in her pocket, and took out something she wanted to show him.  He made his way into the kitchen, coming back through as he said “I only got Bud – I hope that’s…”

“All right,” she said as she leveled the gun straight at him in her left hand, “put the cans down, nice and slowly, and then look at me, keeping your hands in view at all times.”

“Hey, is that a toy gun?”

“Oh no,” she said with a smile, “it’s a very real one.  Now, put the drinks down, and then stand nice and still.”

“I don’t believe…”

He heard the phut and then saw the feathers fly form the cushion, before he put the cans down and raised his hands.

“Better,” she said as she reached into the bag, and took out a blue ball gag.   “Take this,” she said as she held it up, “and fasten it into your mouth.”

“Are you into kinky games or something?”

“Something – now do it, or I kill you right now.”

She could feel the fire starting to build as he walked slowly forward and took the gag from her right hand, opening his mouth to push the ball in and then fastening the straps round his head.  “Tightly,” she said, “or you die.”

“Whrruggngtddd,” he said as she walked round him, looking at him.

“Oh don’t worry,” she whispered, “we have all night to find out.  Now, strip.”  She waved the gun at him, reveling in the fear she could see as he removed his shirt, shoes, socks and trousers.

“The boxers as well,” she said, smiling as he pulled them off as well.

“Good – very good,” she said as she reached into her bag, and took out a pair of steel manacles, linked by a heavy chain.  “Now, put your hands behind you, there’s a good boy.”

He stared at them and then meekly turned and put his hands behind his back, her fire rising as she slammed the manacles closed around his wrists, and then stroked her gloved hand down his body.

“Oh we are going to have so much fun,” she said as she grabbed his arm and pulled him into the bedroom, dropping her bag on the floor again as she pushed him down on the bed.  Taking some rope from the bag, she grabbed his right ankle and wrapped one end of a length round it, before she tied it to the leg at the foot of the bed, and then repeated the process on the other side.

“There now,” she said as she stroked her hand up the inside of his leg, “I think we’re ready to begin.”  She drew a packet of cigarettes from her pocket and put one into her mouth, lighting it up and drawing on it as the tip burned red.

“Do you smoke?”  She watched as he shook his head, and said “Quite right, filthy habit, it kills people and hurts them.”

She then drove the lit end into his stomach, seeing his scream and hearing his muffled cry as she said “see – but I do enjoy a good smoke.”

She drew in again, making the top glow red before she pressed it into his stomach again, smiling as he squirmed to get away.

Again she made the tip grow red, again she pressed it into his skin, and again she loved the sound of his screams.  She lit a second and continued, dotting his abdomen and chest with burn marks as she screamed and sweated.

“There, that’s lit up the evening,” she eventually said as she smiled at him, “but we’re only just getting started.  Would you like to see what other toys I have for you?”

He shook his head, burning from the cigarettes and his mind racing, but she just smiled and went back to her bag, pulling on a pair of latex gloves before taking out a riding crop.  She walked over and pulled him up by his neck, kissing and biting his neck before she said “lean forward.  If you move an inch, I’ll kill you.”

“Plswwhwrudngthsss…”

“Shhh,” she said as she stroked his back.  “Yours not to reason why, but to experience.”

He felt the leather as she brought it down against his back, gasping in pain, and then gasping and screaming again and again and again as she rained blow after blow down on his back…


Thirty minutes later, she threw the crop away, and pulled him down, looking at him as she said “Well, that really has woken something in me.  How about you lover boy?”

“Plsstpppp,” he moaned, looking at her.  She looked down at her white blouse, and said “Oh my – I did work up a sweat didn’t I?”

“Ufknggbsshhhhh!”

“Language,” she said as she pushed him onto his back, the covers rubbing against the red raw flesh of his back, and picked up the crop again, “you need to be taught a lesson.”

He felt the crop as she brought it down on the soles of his feet, and screamed in agony as she turned them into a bloody pulp, the anger in her face evident as she rained blow after blow down.


“See what happens when you don’t say thank you,” she finally said as she went back to her bag, and took out a pair of pliers.  “You need to be punished for that now.”

He shook his head, and then rolled his eyes as the agony of feeling his toenails been ripped out flashed into his mind.  He screamed in agony as the fire spread through his feet, and she smiled even more, aroused to a new peak by the experience.

“OH god, you are so hot,” she screamed as he watched her reach under her dress, and pull her panties off, before she tore open a silver square and started to massage his cock.  He hadn’t realized in the fog of the pain how firm it was, but her gloved hand on it working him, and eh realized to his horror he was getting more and more aroused by this.

She paused for a moment to pull the sheath over it before she jumped on the bed and mounted him, throwing herself up and down on him as she felt her grip on his member, and started to throb more and more.

“Hswwetjsssssntlkthssss” he moaned out as he started to move as much as he could, pushing himself up to meet her as she pushed down on him, hearing her moans and gasps as she brought both him and herself to a climax.

He was powerless to stop himself climaxing in her, as he shot out, the pleasure overwhelming the pain for a moment before she screamed in her orgasm, and then climbed off the bed.

“See,” she said as she lit up again, “Obedience will be rewarded, and you will have your reward.”

He screamed again as she brought the end down between his legs, and then put the cigarette out, pushing in firmly in as it burnt him.

“Oh don’t cry,” she crooned as she took something from the bag, and made him sit up, kneeling behind him as she stroked down his chest with her hands, “you are a very special young man, you know that don’t you?”

He nodded, too afraid not to, and hoping this would soon be over, but then he caught the glint of light in the object in her left hand, and felt the first incision as she sliced the scalpel across his chest.

“Such a little cut” she whispered into his ear before she kissed it, and cut him again, loving his pleas as the scalpel worked over her chest, never going far in, causing him the exquisite agony her lovers all deserved when they had satisfied her.

“Oh dear,” she suddenly said, “look at all that blood.  We need to clean all that up, yes we do.”

He stared straight ahead as she slipped off the bed, too scared to do anything else as she listened to her opening a bottle, and then screaming again in agony as the bleach flowed down his body, across the cuts, the burns, his cock – everything.

“There, all nice and clean,” he heard her say as she held his head with her right hand, “how does that feel?”

“Plsssss,” he said with tears in his eyes.

“Of course – and thank you,” she whispered as she sliced into his throat from right to left, the blood spurting as his jugular was severed, his death quick.  She held him until she was sure, and then allowed him to fall back onto the bed, his lifeless eyes staring into the ceiling.

“You were magnificent,” she whispered as she took the scalpel, and sliced down his abdomen, the blood flowing as she opened him up…



She glanced at her watch as she looked at herself in the mirror, freshly showered and cleaned, her blonde hair toweled dry.  Opening the plastic bag, she put on the panties and bra, the leggings and the jumper, and the flat shoes, before picking up her shoulder bag and walking out, turning the lights off.

Her blood stained clothes were in a pile at the foot of the bed, with her skirt lying to the side.  She looked at him for one last time, and then took out her lighter, holding it the hem of her skirt and waiting until it caught aflame.

Walking quickly, she left the apartment and then the block itself, heading down the road as small flickers of flame started to appear in the window.  Two blocks away, she hailed a cab and got in, giving her destination to the driver without a look back.
Birthday Girl - part 6
As Carina asks for help from Jan, another victim falls into the killer's hands.

Fair warning - this is not for the timid.
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(Contains: violence/gore)
“We are in the kitchen Dad.” Carina called out.

“Hello,” Klaus said as he came in with Sigi.  “We thought we would form the advance guard before our uncle and aunt get here.  Everything all right?”

“Fine,” Juliette said as she closed the laptop.  “Coffee?”

“Thank you,” Sigi said as she sat at the table.  “Where’s the most beautiful woman in this apartment then?”

“Right here,” Klaus said as he kissed Juliette.

“I think we got played,” Sigi said as she shook her head, Carina nodding in agreement as she went to the apartment door.


8.30 pm
The Village


“Come on Pepsi, it’s not that bad.”

Pepsi looked at the two girls as they all heard the apartment door open and close.

“How were Karen, Ken, and little John?” Ama asked as Caroline and Annie arrived back from the hospital.

“All looking wonderful.” Annie smiled.

“Any calls while we were out?”

“Both your boyfriends called while you were out Mom…you know you really need to choose?” Ama looked knowingly at Maisha as she spoke.

“Perhaps you should talk to Bobbi Morse,” Annie said, “although I think she might have a different view after last night.”

“I’ll phone them both in a bit,” Caroline took off her jacket, “Is that coffee fresh?”

“I made it ten minutes ago.” Pepsi answered.

“Should still be good then.”  She made her way to the kitchen to fetch a cup.

“So Jack and his family got away on time?” Annie asked.

“Yes, and that’s why Pepsi is here sulking and crying on our shoulders.” Maisha laughed.

“It will be weeks now till I see him again.” Pepsi pouted.

“Aww, poor little Miss Broadhurst – perhaps we should arrange some extra end of year lessons for you?”

“NO – I mean no, I will be fine,” Pepsi said with a smile.

“So tell me about John?” Ama said as her mother came back from the kitchen.

“Well he’s small, pink and adorable.” Caroline sat in an armchair. “It’s just so wonderful that Karen is at last a mother, she’ll be a great one.”

“Oh, before I forget - Great Granddad phoned and I told him, he said he was going to send Karen a little something.”

“I’m just glad you and he get along so well my darling.” Caroline looked at her daughter. “I’d forgotten for all those years how important family is.”

“Of course it is,” Ama said, “it is everything.  You have shown me that so clearly.”

“Thanks, Ama,” Caroline said with a smile.  “But you’re right, I do need to pick between them.  I just wish it wasn’t so difficult…”


Monday 11th May
8.30 am
St Angela’s


As John helped Jeannie into her wheelchair outside the school gates, he noticed her friends waiting outside the school gate.

“I guess they only have one question on their mind,” John said as Jeannie put her bag on her lap.

“Yup – see you later Granddad,” Jeannie said as she wheeled herself over.

“Well?”

“Well, Miss Carlton,” Jeannie said to Doc, “what is this rumour I hear you were seen in the park yesterday with a certain young van Roon, gazing adoringly into his eyes?”

“I don’t trade in rumours,” Doc said quietly, “but Chet was special.  Don’t dodge the issue, however, you know what we all want the answer to.”

“Yeah, I know what you want to know,” Jeannie said as they walked in.

“And?”

“Sorry Ama,” Jeannie said with a smile, “I’m afraid you’re it now?”

“Do not worry,” Ama said as she hugged Jeannie, “my time will come.”

“All right, so how did he…”

“Ahem.”

The girls turned to see Jo and Abby behind them.  “You’d better get going,” Jo said quietly, “lot of things to do this week...”


“Good morning ladies,” Miss Tennant said as she walked into the Senior common room, “thank you for meeting with me here today.”

“Good morning Miss Tennant,” the replied in unison as she sat down.

“It is the time of year again when I hear your suggestions for the head girls of the class of 2016,” Miss Tennant said, “but I cannot begin the process without acknowledging the exceptional job the current head girls have done.”

Kathy, Suzie and Jo blushed as the room cheered.

“So, who do you suggest?”

“Before we begin,” Kathy said, “we all would like to say that had it been possible, Abigail de Ros would have been at the top of our list.”

“I would agree,” Miss Tennant nodded in reply, “but her place as a patron of the Jamie Kirkham fund is invaluable to us, and in addition she will have other duties next year which will take her time.  So, who do you wish to propose?”

“Our first nomination,” Kathy said, “is Annabelle Petrie.”

“A good choice – one of the most academically gifted girls of the Junior class.”

“Our second nomination,” Suzie said, “is Rachel Merriman.”

Wilhelmina Tennant nodded as Jo looked at the other two,

“Our third nomination,” she said, “is Letty Kinman.”

“Letty Kinman,” Miss Tennant said as she thought for a moment, “explain.”

“I know she seems an unusual suggestion,” Jo said, “but she is one of the leading athletes of the Juniors, and she has life experiences which will prove invaluable as the three seek to lead next year.”

Miss Tennant nodded as she stood up.  “Very well, I will take your suggestions forward.  The prom?”

“All is in readiness – tickets will be available from tomorrow.”

“Excellent – thank you ladies.”  She walked out of the room, the girls talking amongst themselves.


5 pm
The Brewster Brownstone


“I’ll get it,” Jeannie said as she wheeled herself to the front door, pressing the button that allowed the front door to swing in.

Standing on the top of the stairs was a woman with short brown hair, wearing a long brown coat, a pair of brown Ugg boots on her feet.  She turned and looked straight ahead, and then down to see Jeannie smiling at her.

“Hello, can I help you?”

“Oh my,” the woman said as she looked at Jeannie, “I…”

“Who is it love,” Barbara said as she came to the door, and then looked at the woman standing there.

“Hello Barbara,” she said, “it’s been a long time.”

“Denise,” Barbara said quietly, “you look well.”

“So do you – New York obviously suits you.  And this is Jeannie?”

“Mum, who is…”

“Jeannie,” Barbara said quietly, “this is your Aunt Denise.”

“Aunt Denise – the same Aunt Denise Granddad came out to live with when I was a baby?”

“The same – may I come in?”

“Of course,” Barbara said as Jeannie wheeled herself back, watching as her aunt removed her coat.  She was wearing underneath a checked blouse over a grey t-shirt, and electric blue leggings.

“This is a nice house Babs,” Denise said, “how’s Dad?”

“He’s working at the moment, but he should be back by six – would you like a drink.  We’ll go through to the kitchen.”

The two older women walked through, Jeannie following as she looked at them.  Side by side, it was obvious her mother and Denise were sisters, but while Barbara had her light brown hair cut in a tight bob, Denise had her hair hanging loose and long.

“So where do you live now, Aunt Denise,” Jeannie said as she stopped by the dining table.

“Tulsa,” Denise said, “I work for a television station down there.  I had some vacation time coming, so I thought I would come back to New York, see some old friends, and – well, see you as well.”

Jeannie watched her mother as she switched on the coffee machine, and then stood, her hands gripping the work surface.

“Mum?  Are you all right?”

“Yes – yes I’m fine,” Barbara said.  “Jeannie, would you give me and your aunt a few minutes alone please?”

“Sure – I’ll be in the front room,” Jeannie said as she looked at both of them, and then wheeled herself out.

“She’s a bright kid – takes after you,” Denise said as Barbara handed her a coffee and then sat opposite her.  They stared at each other for a few minutes, before Denise said “so what do you work as here?”

“I’m a hospital administrator at Temple Hill,” Barbara said as she sipped her coffee.

“I’ve seen Jeannie in the magazines and on television – she’s a strong girl, isn’t she?”

“It’s a Bolden family trait, as you know Denise,” Barbara said as she put her mug down.  “Denise, there is something I have to ask.”

“Go on, I can guess what it is?”

“Where the hell were you when he died,” Barbara whispered, “even Dad came back for a couple of weeks, but from you – not a peep.  So where the hell were you?”

“What did Dad say?”

“He said you couldn’t get the time off.  But I want the truth, Denise – what happened?”

“Babs…”

“Denise, just tell me the truth please.”

“All right – I was too embarrassed to come back.  I came out here to be a huge success, and instead I was doing bit parts in crap television shows.  When he died, I wanted to come back, but – I was too scared of what people might say.”

“It hurt,” Barbara said, “it hurt so much.  My own sister was not there for me when I needed her the most…”

“I’m sorry,” Denise said as she reached over and held Barbara’s hand in hers, “I know I let you down, and I’ve never forgiven myself for it.  But now – now I hope you can forgive me.”

Barbara looked over the table, tears forming in the corner of her eye as she said “Yeah – I can’t hold grudges anyway.  Come on – you need to meet Jeannie properly.”





Tuesday 12th May
The Astoria Waldorf
10.30 am


The lift doors opened, allowing the people riding in it to get out, including the tall grey-blonde haired woman in a grey jumper and pants.  She looked round and made her way over to the coffee bar, seeing Carina sitting in the corner as she walked over.

“Good morning,” she said as she stood up, Judith sitting in a high chair with her, “thanks for agreeing to meet me, Great Aunt Natalya.  Where is Uncle Wilhelm?”

“He is making preparations for his trip to the racecourse this afternoon – not a pursuit that interests me, but I allow him his hobbies.  A large black coffee, if you would be so kind.”

The waitress looked at Carina, who smiled and said “Another iced tea please.”

As she walked away, Natalya sat back and smiled.  “So, pleasant though it is to see you and the delightful Judith again, I suspect there is another reason you asked to see me this morning – something you do not wish to discuss in front of the others?”

“There is indeed,” Carina said as she leaned forward, “do you read the local newspapers while you are staying here?”

“I tend not to read any newspapers – I prefer to hear the news on the radio.  Why?”

Carina took out a copy of a newspaper from her bag, and laid it on the table, Natalya looking over the report she pointed to.

“Interesting,” Natalya muttered as she took in the details.  “And this is reckoned to have taken place in the early hours of Sunday?”

“As far as the reports say yes,” Cari said as she took the paper back, and the waitress brought the drinks over.  Natalya picked up her cup and took a sip, looking at Carina the whole time.

“No,” Carina said quietly, “it wasn’t me.  I need to know if…”

“It was not me either,” Natalya said as she put her cup down.

“Forgive me, but…”

"Carina look into my eyes,” Natalya said, waiting until the young woman was looking at her before she said, “I am not responsible for this.  Now, am I lying to you?"

"No… No, I'd sense it if you were." Carina looked befuddled for a few seconds. "But if it wasn't you, and it wasn't me Great Aunt Natalya, who the hell was it?"

"Your little friend Annie?"

"No, she was in bed with me."

"Well,” Natalya said as she sat back, “I'm afraid that you two are the only others I know here in New York, now if it was back home in Germany I might know a couple of possible suspects.  So why would this concern you Carina?"

Quietly Carina explained her activities that Christmas Eve.

"So Judith's father...ah now I understand fully." Natalya nodded.

She watched as Judith picked up a biscuit from the tray of the seat and started sucking on it.

"Well whoever it was knew the details of what I did on that Christmas Eve." Carina was deep in thought.

"What disturbs you most Carina, the killings? Or the fact that people will assume it was you?"

"I just loath the idea that my beast will be blamed for something she didn't do."

"That's what I thought." Natalya smiled, "Well then dear niece I suspect that you and I will have to catch this killer and expose her."

"Us? Isn't that a bit screwy, two psychopathic serial killers trying to catch another one?"

"I will admit it's a challenge, but it might help pass the next few days here in New York in a fairly amusing fashion."

"Alright,” Carina said, “where do we start?"

"Well while your uncle is at the races this afternoon, how about we visit the scene of the crime?  I will meet you here at three – I suggest casual clothing."



1 pm
The Refectory


“So who have you got lined up for the prom,” Jo asked Ally as she came back with a pair of tickets.

“Not telling – but it will surprise all of you.  Mom’s tearing her hair out at the moment with the fact our proms are one after the other – I go first, then Nell.”

“So is Curt coming down to accompany you, Jo,” Kathy asked as she walked past.

“Of course – I need to go and sort the gown out later with a little help from my fashion advisors.”

“You called,” Abby said as she sat and joined them.  “Still on for after school?”

“Sure am – what about Cari?”

“She cried off – something about a business thing she needs to sort out…”

3 pm
Aqueduct Raceway, Queens


“Well for the lesser of the two city tracks, this still isn’t a bad facility.” Henri smiled as he joined the party in the grandstand.

“Welcome Henri.” Guy embraced his countryman. “Our horse is in the next race.”

“He’s not much of a secret though.” George Simpson glanced at the Pari-Mutual board, “he’s barely going to start at evens.”

“Well I brought some cash to place on him.” Henri looked round, “so where are Roy, Wilhelm and Grant?”

“Down in the saddling ring with the trainer and jockey.” Guy explained. “Ah here come the ladies.” He smiled as Tonia, Valeria and Katherine returned.

“Good afternoon Henri.” Valeria said as she embraced him.

“Well we added the gang’s money.” Tonia watched as the odds trimmed even more.

“I hope it wasn’t too much.” George looked up from his race program, “as Grant has been cautioning, it’s first time out, we aren’t sure how he will react.”

“Well, it is out of our hands now,” Roy said as he Grant and Wilhelm came up into the stand. The group watched as the horses were led out and walked to the stalls.  

“Which one is our horse,” Katherine said as she looked down.

“Blue silks with white diamond on the back,” George said as Saints and Sinnerz was led to the stalls, the jockey sitting across his back.

“He’s loading nicely.” Grant whispered to himself, “no need for the hood or blinkers.  Always a good sign.”

They watched in silence as the remaining horses were loaded into their stalls, and the starter mounted the stairs.

“And they’re off.” The track announcer called as the gates opened.

“Okay just let him run his own race Jorge.” Grant muttered as he watched through his binoculars.

“He broke smartly out of the gates.” Wilhelm nodded as he trained his glasses.

“That’s nice early speed.” Henri whispered.

“Now let him go Jorge.” Roy urged as they rounded the bend.

“Come on my Son!” George started yelling.

“Come on my Beauty!” Katherine screamed as the horse pulled away down the stretch.

“Magnifique!” Valeria smiled as he pulled away.

“YES! YES!” Tonia screamed as he crossed the line.

“And the result,” the announcer said “First Saints and Sinnerz, second Galloway Boy, third Philly Lady…”

“Well he idled a little in front when he got there.” Grant tried to find something critical to say despite the broad grin on his face.

“Spoken like a true horseman.” Roy smiled. “But he won by 12 lengths.”

“He proved what he showed in training wasn’t false.” George said as he poured champagne for everyone.

“So now we try him up in class, that race at Belmont in the opening week we discussed?” Guy asked.

“Oh I think we have to.” Roy kissed his wife.

“Well while you and the gentlemen work on plans, I think I’ll accompany Wilhelm and the ladies to collect our winnings.” Henri grinned.


4 pm
The Bronx


Carina and Natalya stood on the sidewalk, looking over at the scene on the other side.  Cari was wearing her old Angel hoodie, the hood over her head, jeans and Ugg boots, while Natalya had on a brown jacket and long peasant skirt, with a headscarf tied over her hair.

“Such a waste,” the older woman said as she shook her head.  “No real style or elegance, but that is the point isn’t it – to use it to hide the real details?”

“Well we can’t exactly claim the moral high ground Aunt Natalya.” Carina said as she looked at the half burned out tenement building. “It’s not as though either of us has never done something just like this.”

“Exactly, so we bring an experienced eye to the situation.” Natalya looked upwards. “Am I right in thinking this was a pretty shabby place in a shabby part of town?”

“Yes, this is not exactly a place even I’d like to be after dark.”

“Alright then - logical question.  Where would she have found this man?”

“I found mine right out on the street.”

“Yes,” Natalya said with a smile, “but you yourself said that she was reckless that night, that Carina had to clean up her mess. This woman planned this, it wasn’t off the cuff like yours.”

“Okay that sounds logical,” Carina said as they turned and walked slowly down the street, “where do you find your victims Aunt?”

“Bars, clubs, the sort of places where no one looks at anyone too closely.”

“Well there’s plenty of bars round here might fit that description.” Carina craned her head, “I can see five from here.”

“Come on Cari, reach inside, what do ‘her’ instincts tell you?”

Carina closed her eyes and thought for a moment.  “These bars out on the avenue are too public…on one of the side streets?”

“That was what I was thinking as well.”

“Okay - she picks him up in a bar, they go back to his place…”

“She springs her trap.” Natalya looked round. “This is not the sort of place I would guess that she could count on her victim owning the toys that she’d want to play with.”

“So she’d bring her own,” Cari nodded, “cuffs, whips, knives.  She would have been carrying a fairly large bag.”

“I concur.” Natalya smiled.

“I wish we could access the crime scene photos.”

“I would rather like to look at the body itself.”

“Why aunt?”

“Because every bitch has her own way of torturing a man, the pattern is usually as good as a fingerprint.”

“I still don’t see.”

“With our, what might you call it…professional knowledge, we might see clues that totally escape both the coroner and the police.”

“Well the body will be in the morgue.”

“Which is where?”

“I’m not sure, I’d have to look it up…”  Carina suddenly stopped and looked at the older woman.  “Oh no Aunt Natalya you aren’t thinking what I think you are?”

“Why not? About four in the morning, things will be very quiet, I’m sure between us we can get in.”

“Oy,” Carina rolled her eyes, “I’m going to break into the morgue.”

“I’ll sedate Wilhelm and then I’ll slip out to cruise the bars.  I may be able to find out if anyone has seen a woman carrying a large bag round – they should stand out like a sore thumb around here.”

“Why do I get the feeling you’ve done that before?”

Natalya smiled a very knowing smile. “I’ll meet you in the parking garage of your building at three thirty. I’m pretty sure you know how to dress for a break in.”

“I do…” Carina paused a second. “Do you want me to bring guns?”

“Messy things, but yes I suppose you should.”

“Very well then – three thirty tomorrow morning.  I need my head examined…”

“No – I think you have a very good grip on who you are, my dear, as I do.  For now, let us find somewhere to wash the taste out of our mouths.”


5 pm
APCO, 5th Avenue


Abby held the door to the store open as Maggie, Ally and Jo walked in, closing it behind herself.  All four looked out of place in their school uniforms, amongst the fashions and accessories.

On one side, Jo could see a display of Fitzstuart Woolens – and behind the display, the picture Adam had taken of her playing with an Old English Sheepdog, laughing as he tried to lick her.

“Okay this is weird,” she said quietly, “coming into a store and seeing huge pictures of myself on the walls.”

“You get used to it Jo.” Abigail smiled.

Jo turned and looked at Abby, before saying “You do?”

“Well,” Abby said with a shrug, “you get used to it a bit.”

“Hello ladies can I help?” an associate said as she approached.

“Can we look at prom dresses please?” Ally asked.

“Of course, this way please.”  She led them to an area of the store with mannequins wearing a range of dresses, as well as the accessories.

“Nice of Alice to give us all discounts.” Maggie smiled.

“Well you three are famous, and I’m infamous.” Ally laughed. “I guess it’s good advertising.”

“That is certainly one way of looking at it,” Abby said as a black hared woman in a coat dress walked over.

“Hello Miss de Ros. Miss Fife, Miss Rochermann, and of course Miss Smith, welcome.” Betsy the store manageress smiled as she approached.

“Hi Betsy.” Abby smiled. “The girls need prom dresses.”

“Alice warned me you’d be in.”

“Can we have a look, and then try on a few?” Jo asked.

“Of course ladies, follow me please.”  She led them through the collection, pointing out some suggestions as they looked round.


6.30 pm

“The detailing on this bodice is wonderful.” Maggie looked closely at her own reflection as she turned from side to side, the green silk moving like a wave as she did so.

“You’ve come back to that dress three times Mags, I think it’s the one.” Abby sat looking.

“Maybe a couple of tiny alterations…ummm?  Perhaps a little higher in the skirt…”

“Well Mary said she would do them for us.” Jo looked at herself in a shimmering ivory and silver fishtail evening dress. “Oh yes this is the one,” she whispered to herself.

“Damn be glad you found that dress first Smith.” Ally grinned as she checked herself out in a strapless red gown.

“Oh Ally that’s THE one for you.” Abby smiled.

“The colour supports my devilish nature you mean?” Ally turned and looked at different angles. “I must admit though it is damn near perfect.”

“You’ll all need the right gloves of course.” Betsy looked closely.

“Yes.” Maggie spoke as she tried piling her hair up to get the impression of an updo. “Yes I will take this,” she finally convinced herself.

“All greens look good on beautiful redheads.” Betsy added her approval.

“Are you all set?” Abigail asked.

“For dresses yes.” Jo looked again, “now for shoes, gloves, bags…”

“We can help with all those.” Betsy looked at her assistants. “Girls can we also beg autographs for the staff…and myself.” She blushed.

“Sure.” Jo smiled, totally happy now that she’d found THE most beautiful dress in New York.


11 pm
The Huntingdown Apartment



"Well if it wasn't Natalya then who might it have been?" Annie said as she turned and looked into Carina's eyes while they lay in bed.

"The only other possible suspect I could come up with is Penny, she's shown she can get plenty vicious."

"I guess....but still…Penny?"

"I know,” Carina thought hard, "But we need to eliminate her as a suspect just in case."

"I'll try having a word...I had a thought.  What about Abigail?"

"Not really her style, and I’m 99% certain she and Tony were together all night, but I guess we also need to make sure."

"So Natalya doesn't know you are Miss Lynx darling?"

"And she's not to Monster Lady, but I think we may need Heather and Jan's expertise in this."

"All without Natalya suspecting they are helping." Annie paused, "That won't be easy."

"I know, but it’s necessary.  I’ve already got the fridge number through Heather for the corpse, and I’ll talk to both of them tomorrow."  She turned and gently kissed Annie’s lips.  “Can you hold me for a little while?  I have no idea what my aunt is up to, but I need to rest before I prepare to meet her.”


Wednesday 13th May
3.30 am


Cari stepped out from the lift, pulling up the zip on her leather jacket, and looked round.  She was dressed in black, knee length boots over leggings, and short gloves as well as a woolen hat on her head.

“Very practical,” Natalya said as she stepped out.  She was wearing a pair of dark brown pants; the legs tucked into suede boots, a brown fleece, and also had a hat on her head.  “Did you get what you said you needed?”

“Borrowed from a friend,” Carina said as she took the .45 from her pocket and handed it to Natalya.  “How was your night?”

“Fruitless, I regret to say, but there are so many bars and so little time.  Shall we?”

“We’ll take a car – we need to get over to Staten Island,” Cari said as she took a set of keys from her pocket.  “There’s a Chevy over there we can use.”



4.15 am
Coroner’s Office, Staten Island


The office was in darkness, as the two dark clad figures waked past, entering the storage area.  The smaller of the two looked at the numbers on the doors, before she stopped in front of one in particular.

She turned and nodded to the other woman as she opened the door, and they opened the door, pulling out the male body into the air.

They shone the torches on him, looking at him with a professional, almost detached air.   Eventually, the taller woman looked over, her eyes blazing in the holes in the balaclava, and said “Well Carina what can you see?”

“She made a true mess of him. She either left covered in blood, or carried fresh clothes and showered.”

“I would lean towards the shower theory.”

“She had shackles on him of some sort, I’ve seen those abrasions on my own victims wrists.”  Carina lifted the left wrist in her latex gloved hand and shone the light on the red bruises.

“Those are pretty obvious, and ropes tying his legs.”  Natalya looked at the ridged marks on his ankles.

“She’s used disinfectant and fire to destroy any fluids she may have left that could be identified…just as I did that time.”

“Whoever did this,” Natalya whispered, “was clearly using your killing as her template.”

“I can see one difference, she was left-handed, and I’m right-handed.”

“The way she cut his throat?”

“Yes, she was behind him and drew her blade from right to left.”  Cari traced along the wound in his neck.

“It looks like that.” Natalya looked at the skin closely. “I also think she burned him as well…look?”

“Those aren’t match burns.”

“No she was smoking and using her cigarette to burn him.”

“Okay we are looking for a left-handed smoker.”

Natalya nodded before she said “Turn him over.”

“Yuck,” Carina looked pained but did what her Great Aunt asked.  Natalya looked at the red weals and wounds on his back, nodding as she recognized the imprints.

“She used a riding crop, and heavily, she really hurt this thing.  All right, lay him back down.”

Carina rolled him back and then looked down.

“Have you looked at his feet?”

“Ah,” Natalya said as she looked at the matted soles of his feet, and also the nail beds, unprotected and exposed, “she did that to him as well.”

“He would have been begging to die by the time she started to cut him.” Carina looked at the wounds.

“A scalpel I’m guessing, and designed to be very painful, but not fatal.”

“She was determined to enjoy it as long as possible.”

“Yes, this woman loves inflicting pain.”

“I know what you are thinking Great Aunt,” Carina said quietly, “yes I love to hurt, but this wasn’t me.”

“I know,” Natalya said with a smile, “you are neither left handed or a smoker.”

“So can you see a fingerprint?”

“Yes, her choice of tools, the way she cut him, the pure sadism. I’ve never seen this work, but if I did see it again I’d know her.”

“The opening up of his guts?”

“After death Carina, I think she paid a little homage to the Ripper by laying his organs like that.”

“So anything more?”

“No I think I’ve seen all I need to.” Natalya smiled under her mask.  “Let’s leave him to his rest – and I need to get back before Willy wakes up.  Can we meet for lunch?”

“Sounds good,” Carina said as they pushed him back in and then closed the door.  “I’m following up some leads this morning – I’ll tell you more later.”
Birthday Girl - part 5
As Cari meets Natalya, an uncomfortable truth emerges - but both Barbara Brewster and Jo Smith also have their hells to face...
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“Mum, would it be all right if Winston was to escort me home?”

Barbara looked at Jeannie and nodded, smiling as she said “Will you be taking your chair with you?”

“I’d better,” Jeannie beamed as she nestled in the House’s arms.

“I’ll go and fetch it for you,” she said as Winston turned to Shirley and John.

“You will have to forgive our early departure,” he said as he blushed slightly, “but Jeannie wishes to…”

“Say no more, Winston,” Shirley said, “thank you both for coming tonight.”

The two teenagers smiled as Winston carried her to the chair, then draped her coat over her shoulders as he wheeled her out of the door.

“You all right Babs?”

“Yeah Dad,” Barbara said as she put her hand on John’s, “just realizing she’s a young woman now.”

“Listen, about Denise…”

“It’s all right Dad – it’s about time we sorted things out anyway.”  Barbara turned round and kissed him on the cheek.  “After all, you came out with her didn’t you?”

“True, but with what happened, and then she moved…”

“Dad – leave it till she comes round, all right?”




There were wild cheers as Nessa came back to the microphone.

“Alright everyone, I’ve been asked to sing again.” Vanessa smiled. “We have had about 10 minutes to rehearse this, so pardon if we crucify this lovely song.”

Vanessa smiled as the people laughed.

“I’m going to sing with the professional band, but my back up singers will be Dieter, Sigi and Diana, so please welcome them up here.”

To applause and catcalls the three took up position round a microphone.

“Okay maestro if you don’t mind playing as we discussed?”

The bandleader nodded.

“Alright,” again Vanessa laughed, “here we go, and fingers crossed.”

Vanessa started to croon the lyric, the others harmonising with her.


Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,
Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,
I hate to leave you, but I really must say,
Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight.

Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,
Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,
I hate to leave you, but I really must say,
Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight.

Well, it's three o'clock in the morning,
And baby, I just can't do right,
Well, I hate to leave you, baby,
I don't mean maybe, because I love you so.

Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do

Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,
(Do-do-do-do-do)
Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,
(Ba-do ba-do)
I hate to leave you, but I really must say,
Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight.

Well your mother and your father,
They won't like it if we stay up too late
Well, I hate to leave you, baby,
I don't mean maybe, you know I hate to go.

Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do

Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,
(Do-do-do-do-do)
Goodnight, sweetheart, well it's time to go,
(Ba-do ba-do)
I hate to leave you, but I really must say,
Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight.


“Dieter sings a more than tolerable bass doesn’t he?” Klaus applauded as he and Juliette stopped dancing.

“And I’d forgotten both Diana and Sigi have nice voices to sing harmonies.”

“That was beautiful.” Carina kissed Annie as they finished their slow dance.

“Yes, it was,” Annie whispered, “May I accompany you home?”

“I thought you would never ask…”



"You loved that didn't you Mom?" Sandy said as she hugged her mother.

"Yes...very much so, I think of all the things your grandparents made me give up when Nessa had to become Vanessa, singing was the hardest." Nessa sniffed back a tear, "I used to sit in the bathroom and just sing softly to myself, just to remind myself I could still do it."

"And do it very well darling." Mandy hugged her.

"Well like you and Will I also adore opera, so at least I could support that form of music without anyone criticising me."

"But your true love was still rock and roll." Sigi hugged her.

"I guess so."



"Well that was a truly lovely end to a truly wonderful birthday party." Shirley smiled, as John held her close.

“Folks, if I can have your attention for a moment?”

The room turned to see Caroline and Alice standing at the microphone.

“Before we all, sadly, start to go our separate ways,” Alice said, “can we have three cheers for the birthday girl, Shirley.  Hip hip…”

“HOORAY!”

“HIP HIP…”

“HOORAY!”

“HIP HIP…”

“HOORAY!!!”

“We also have one more announcement to make,” Caroline said.  “Karen and Ken Boyd asked us to apologise that they had to leave early, but they had to go and meet someone.  John Royce Boyd arrived at just after eleven, checking in at seven pounds ten.  Baby and ecstatic parents are all fine.”

The bandleader turned to the band and motioned as they started to play “Congratulations” while everyone joined in.



11.30 pm
The Brewster Townhouse


Winston closed the door behind him, and then helped Jeannie out of her coat, looking at her as he said “Have I told you how fantastic you look in that dress?”

“Several times – but don’t let me stop you saying it again and again,” Jeannie said as she put her head to one side.  “Nervous?”

“Does it show?”

“Lift me out of this, will you,” Jeannie said, holding her arms up and waiting until House had her in his arms before she pressed her lips against his, their kiss continuing as he carried her up to her bedroom.

Sitting her on the bed, he smiled as he knelt down and slipped her shoes off, looking back up as she placed her hands either side of his face, and kissed him again.

“Don’t be afraid,” she whispered, “I trust you completely and totally.”

She pressed her lips against his again, and then started to open his jacket, smiling as she removed his bow tie and then opened his short as well, tracing her fingers down his chest.

Winston smiled in return as he reached behind her, and slowly pulled down the zip on her dress, kissing her neck as he did so, Jeannie smiling and gasping at the gentleness and the caress.

She pulled her dress down, and then started to kiss his chest as her hand went between his legs.

“Hmmm – that fells good,” she said as she caressed his crotch, hearing him gasp before he ran his hands slowly down her back, kissing her lips and neck as he did so.

“Oh yes,” she breathed, and then she reached behind herself, unfastening her bra and exposing her chest to the cool air.  Winston looked at her as she breathed in and out, and then gently, gently placed his large hands on her breasts and stroked them down.

“Oh,” Jeannie gasped, “do that again.”

He nodded as he held her chest again, this time holding them for a moment before he stroked down them.  Jeannie nodded and began to stroke him between his legs as he did so, hearing him groan a little.

“Does that feel good, my House?”

He didn’t answer, instead looking into her eyes before he leaned down and gently kissed the front of her neck.  He then looked at her and said “Would you like me to continue?”

“Only if you let me do this,” Jeannie said as she unfastened his trousers, pulling them gently down as he removed his shoes, and leaving him in his boxers, and her in a pair of panties and her stockings.

Jeannie was sweating a little, and then shivered as he leaned over and began to kiss her chest, gently caressing them with his lips as she began to stroke between his legs.  She could feel little electric shocks running through her as he did this, shocks that only seemed to increase in intensity as his lips covered her chest, his tongue playing gently with her nipples as she felt them hardening.

It was not the only thing that she could feel hardening, as he groaned more loudly, and Jeannie was both surprised and pleased to hear her own voice joining in.  She leaned over and started to kiss the side of his neck as he started to gently suck on her nipples, saying “oh god” under her breath as the shocks seemed to gain in intensity, to merge into a feeling she was enjoying immensely.

He then moved and started to kiss her neck as he ran his fingers around her nipples, Jeannie biting her lips at the way she shivered to his touch, the way the tip of his finger seemed to make her dance to a tune of desire.

As he gently pressed down on her nipple, she drew him close and kissed his ear, her tongue tracing round it as he continued to caress her chest in his hands.

“Oh my lord, is this what it feels like,” she said as she looked into Winston’s eyes, and saw the same realization in him, as he laid her on her back and covered her neck and chest with his kisses.

“OH god,” Jeannie moaned, as his kisses made her feel more and more excited, “oh yes keep doing that…”

She opened her eyes as he stopped for a moment, to pull his boxers down, his hard penis making her smile as she looked at it, reaching up and caressing it as she felt the throbbing in her hand.

“I love you Jeannie Brewster,” Winston whispered into her ear, before he started to nibble on it as well –an act that made Jeannie scream in delight, as she started to use her hand in him, gasping more and more as the hardness and throbbing increased.

She didn’t notice as he slipped his hand into her panties and pulled them down, or as he touched her there, but she saw his smile as he said “Are you ready?”

“Of course I am, my love,” she whispered as he leaned over and used his lips and tongue on her body, her gasps getting shorter and shorter as she felt a totally new feeling for her.

“I want you to put this on me.”

Jeannie nodded as she tore the small foil square and slipped it over Winston’s manhood, feeling it as it pulsed in her hand.

“In the top drawer,” she gasped as she felt it, “there’s some jelly.  May I put some on you – to make it easier.”

Winston nodded as he opened the drawer and handed the small jar to Jeannie, gasping softly as she took some KY jelly and smoothed it onto his covered member, using her touch not only to spread the lubricant, but also to make him more ready.

“OH god, do it,” she whispered, watching as Winston gently moved her legs apart and moved between them. Leaning down and continuing to caress her body with his mouth, she panted more and more, feeling the electricity getting more and more intense as he slipped into her, his smile growing as he moved in and out.  


“God, I wish I knew what it you felt like in there,” Jeannie gasped as his hands caressed and played with her breasts, “because the rest of my body feels fucking fantastic.”

She looked down and saw the little trickle of blood as he came out, then nodded and wrapped her arms round him as he went back in, and kissed her neck, nibbled her ear, and then heard her go “OH MY FUCKING GOD” as she arched her back, and he came to a climax as well.

They looked at each other and then gently kissed as they relaxed, Winston coming out and holding her for a few minutes.

“Thank you,” she eventually said as she stroked her cheek, “thank you for loving me.”

“Of course I do – and thank you.”

“Will you hold me?”

Winston nodded as he lay on his back, Jeannie putting her head on his chest as he put his arm round her and rolled her over so she lay next to him.

"Now did I or didn't I take my birth control pill?" Jeannie's eyes contained devilment as she looked up at her man.

"Oh Christ you did...didn't you?" Winston gasped.

"Of course I did silly," she giggled, "But thank you for still remembering I can have a baby."


Sunday 10th May
8.30 am


“Morning Dad,” Barbara said as John came into the kitchen, “Coffee is freshly brewed.”

“Thanks,” he said as he sat down and accepted the cup from his daughter.  “Any sign of Jeannie up and about yet?”

“Not yet – I deliberately did not go into her room last night when we got back, but I presume Winston got her home safely.”

“I’m sure he did,” Barbara said as she sat down, “the question is, did he stay?”

The sound of the lift coming down made Barbara and John look at each other, and then to the kitchen door as Winston wheeled Jeannie in, the young girl wearing a dressing gown and Winston in his shirt and trousers.

“Morning,” Jeannie said with a huge smile, “can I have some coffee please?”

“You can both have some,” Barbara said as John looked at him.  “Do I need to change the sheets?”

“I’m afraid so,” Jeannie said as Winston sat down, “sorry, mum.”

“For what?”

“Young man,” John said quietly,  “I trust you…”

“I did, sir,” Winston said, “have no fear on that score.”

“Good – can I offer you some pancakes, Winston,” Barbara said as Jeannie shook her head.


8.30 am
The McNally Apartment


“I hope you didn’t mind Aunt Rachel, but Harry brought me home last night, and he sort of stayed.” Angel blushed as she and Harry came into breakfast.

“We have plenty of room.” Rachel smiled as Abby came in with Tony wearing nothing but an oversized rugby shirt.

“My brothers didn’t get home last night.” David smiled as he nibbled on Judy’s ear.

“It was…. well safe?” Abby whispered in Angel’s ear.

“He wore something.” Angel whispered back.

“We better get you on birth control.”

“I couldn’t agree more darling.” Mandy laughed gently as she surprised the two girls from behind.

“Hmmm Lord and Lady Ordford, I think I ought to…”

“Harry I’m too hung-over for apologies.” Will gratefully took a coffee from Rachel’s hands. “Consider yourself chastised for sleeping with my daughter, then sit down and enjoy your breakfast.”

“Thank you, Sir,” Harry whispered as he sat down, smiling at Tony and Angel.

10 am
Park Avenue


“John – thank you for joining us,” Shirley said as she allowed John Jacobs to come in.”

“Well, an invite to brunch should never be refused,” John said as he came in to join Maddie, Sandy, Emma and John Hammond.

“The younger generation has gone to Caroline’s place in the village,” John said as he shook his fellow countryman’s hand.

“Which allows us to sit and talk as serious adults about serious things, correct?”

“Well, we were thinking more of discussing the others, but if you want to talk politics, feel free,” Maddie said as she sipped her orange juice.

“I jest – and I am on holiday anyway,” John said as he took a seat, and thanked the maid who brought him orange juice and coffee.

“Hey,” Lily said as she came in with George, “I hope we’re not too late.”

“Of course not,” Sandy said, “but I thought you were with the others.”

“I asked her to stay,” George said as they sat down, “we have some family matters to discuss.”

“I’d just like to say how wonderful it is to see two such lovely couples in this room.” John Jacobs smiled. “John, Emma, you have both made old friends of mine very happy, and I thank you both for it.”

“Well Emma and I just hope as many of our friends as possible can make it out to the West Coast for our wedding.” Maddie said as she held her partner’s hand.

“Of course we will be there.” John Hammond held Shirley’s hand as well.

“I hope to be there as well,” John said, “if I can work my schedules out.”  Sipping his coffee, he then said “I have to say Lily and Penny had warned me I’d meet a wide selection of people at your party, but I think even I was surprised at how eclectic a selection of humanity was assembled.”

“I wish I could claim credit for the group Uncle John.” Shirley sipped her orange juice, “but in this case I was taken into the group by others and welcomed.”

“Aristocracy, Academia, the Arts, all were so well represented.” John Jacobs reflected briefly, “and I certainly think it’s the first time I ever attended a party and had a detailed discussion on 18th century American silver with an 18 year old.”

“I didn’t realize Blair was such an expert,” Shirley smiled, “When she was here as a debutante though, I’m thinking that there was never the time or opportunity to get to know her better.”

“I still can’t get over Nessa’s singing.” John Hammond spoke. “She really was good.”

“I know.” Lily looked up from her breakfast. “Tom Callaghan danced with me to her version of Buddy Holly’s ‘Everyday’ and he had me in stitches laughing as he tried to copy the way Klaus was dancing with Juliette.”

“I know Gale was saying Tom was born with three left feet.” Penny joined the talk.

“He’s certainly not the most nimble dancer.” Shirley reflected.

“Unlike young Winston,” John Jacobs smiled. “The way that boy was dancing with young Jeannie, so beautifully, so tenderly.”

“I know, and she finally got him into bed last night.” Lily replied. “The texts have been flying all morning about who left with whom last night.”

“These young people have a very healthy attitude towards sex.” John Hammond spoke up. “It’s not underhand, it’s not secretive, and they all take precautions….”

“And they all seem to enjoy it.” Sandy smiled as well.

“They do.” Shirley joined in.

“So what are the plans for today?” John Hammond asked.

“Well my love, you are taking me out to Monticello to visit with the racers.” Shirley kissed him gently.

“Racers?”

“Xavier International are one of the sponsors of the Richmond-Carter car team, and we’re going to see where the money was spent.”

“Sandy, Maddie and I are going to go to Central Park and take in the sights,” Emma said, “What about you, John?”

“I thought I may take in some of the antique stores in the village, in a professional capacity of course.”

“Well, George and I can take you down,” Lily said, “and we can drop in on Caroline as well.”

“Sounds good to me,” John said with a smile.


11 am
The Carlton home


“So what do you want to do today Anna?” Chet asked as they stepped out of the Carlton house into the spring sun.

Anna looked at him and smiled.

“Oh no, we did that all last night…I need a break and some fresh air.”

“Spoilsport.” Doc laughed. “But if you don’t want me in bed again yet, how about we go for a nice walk in the park?”

“That might be nice.” Chet smiled as she put her arm in his.

“I know a good place you can buy me lunch as well,” she looked at him happily.

“That sounds okay,” he stopped and gently kissed her. “You know I owe Carina a thank you for introducing us.”

“I’ll be sure to pass it on.” Anna grinned as they walked arm in arm towards Central Park.  “And to your sister as well…”


11 am
Central Park Cafe


“There you are,” Carina said as she and Bobbi watched Holly walk in.  “We just ordered – he’ll be back in a minute.”

“Who was that gorgeous man with your sister last night Cari?” Holly asked.

“Adam Cabot the photographer.”

“That is my idea of a handsome man.”

“I saw you slipping your glasses on to check him out.” Carina smiled. “Holly you have to accept that in our case men WILL make passes at girls who wear glasses and keep them on.”

“I know, Tommy’s always telling me I’m vain.”

“He was quiet last night?”

“We had a bit of a fight.”

“Anything serious Holly?”

“Oh I guess not really, just he has a summer internship here in the city and won’t be coming on vacation.”

“That’s playing with fire leaving you to your own devices all summer.” Bobbi eased into the booth.

“I know, I said if guys ask me out I’m not going to say no.”

“And he said?” Cari asked.

“That it was fine with him.”

“Ouch no wonder things looked a bit strained.” Carina turned to look at Bobbi. “So did you cradle snatch last night?”

“Yes,” Bobbi blushed, “I took Simon to my bed, and for a 17 year old he made love pretty damn well.”

“Well done that girl.” Cari grinned.

“Did Becca bring Billy back?” asked Holly.

“She did, my mom just takes it all in her stride.”

“Mine did too…Adam and Annie both there for breakfast she didn’t say a word, nor did Dad.”

“Well, you’re lucky,” Holly said.

“I can’t stay too long – Mom and I are going to see Karen this afternoon, say hello to the new baby.”

“Well say hello from us – now, that drink…”


1 pm
Monticello


“Hey Clint,” Heather said as she looked at Mario Andretti and another man walking over, “we’ve got company.”

“Really – who,” Clint said as he turned round and looked, and then smiled as he recognized the stranger.

“Hello Boss, what perfectly good car are you trying to destroy today?” Clint said as he shook hands with the tall blonde man.

“Hey Clint, good to see you, I heard you’d got back into racing,” the tall man shouted as he embraced him. “Jaguar have me testing a new prototype…Hello Henri, it’s been a very long time old friend.”

“Ian, nice to see you, what car are you ruining today?” Henri smiled.

“Okay I have to ask, what do you both mean…Destroy? Ruin?” Sandy enquired.

“Sandy Richmond, this is my old boss Ian Nelson, Ian tests cars and components on experimental prototypes and sees if he can break them.” Clint replied.

“You can only test so much on computer simulations and on test benches, before you need someone like Ian drive a vehicle and test it to its limits.” Henri nodded. “A lot of the features you take for standard nowadays on cars Ian here initially tested on the track.”

“Well! Now that does impress me…you are a sort of car test pilot then?”

“It’s one way of putting it Miss Richmond.”

“If you don’t want me calling you Mr. Nelson, then it’s Sandy.”

“Okay Sandy it is.”

“Ian does what Colin Chapman had his GP drivers doing in races early on in Lotus history.” Henri paused. “He would make components progressively lighter till they broke in a race, then he knew where the limits were.”

“It sounds dangerous.” Heather joined the conversation.

“But it’s often the only way forward.” Ian smiled again. “So what are you guys doing here on a Sunday afternoon?”

“Practicing pit work for our opening race in a couple of weeks.” Sandy smiled.

“Ah yes, the six hour – I’m looking forward to that, but surely with Clint and Henri on your side you have no problems?”

“As you will testify, Ian, practice makes perfect,” Clint said, “on which note – Jeanne, bring her in next time and we’ll do a tire change.”

“Roger that,” Sandy heard Jeanne say on her com.  “Gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure, but if you will excuse us?”

“Of course – see you soon, Clint,” Ian said as he and Mario headed off.


1.30 pm
Temple Hill Hospital


“Hey,” Juliette said as she, Carina and Judith came into the room, “how are the new mother and father?”

“Exhausted,” Karen said as she looked over from her bed, “I’m never going to complain about the language some of my patients come out with.”

“She taught me a few phrases I don’t know,” Ken said with a huge smile, “including a few in Welsh I suspect.”

“These are for you,” Juliette said as she handed Karen a large bunch of flowers.

“And this is for John,” Carina said as she laid a large plush toy on the bed, then looked round at the cards and flowers.  "This room is as bad as mine was."

"I know," Karen smiled. "A lot of very old friends have been far too kind."

"Oh dear Goddess, this is from Wormhole, it's been years since I saw her." Juliette looked at a blue teddy bear.

"A lot of people must have been working their phones very hard last night." Ken smiled as he sat on the edge of the bed.

"Well little John reverses a trend," Cari smiled, "a lot of little girls recently, but a shortage of boys."

"I know." Karen smiled happily. "In 17 or 18 years time he will have a lot of beautiful girls to dance with."

"So what about our bet?" Carina asked.

"You won, I gave up and asked for drugs." Karen laughed. "I'll pay up next week."

"Easiest twenty bucks I ever earned."

"So did we miss a lot?"

"Further proof that Nessa can sing beautifully." Juliette looked up from reading labels.

"She sang Goodnight Sweetheart and it was beautiful." Carina looked as the nurse brought the baby in.

"Oh he's adorable Karen." Juliette said as she looked at him, wrapped in a blue blanket.

"He's going to have the Boyd chin though," Karen looked up at Ken as she cradled the baby in her arms.

"Well no man should be totally perfect." Carina laughed softly.

“Hey, it never did me any harm,” Ken said as he lowered his glasses and looked at Carina, “but I take the point.”



2 pm
Monticello


“Well after a birthday party like last night, I didn’t expect to see you guys out here this afternoon.” Roy Razinski shook John and Shirley’s hand as they entered the pit area.

“No hangovers?” Tonia smiled as she kissed both newcomers on the cheek.

“No, I never do.” Shirley smiled.  “Plenty of water before retiring for the night – among other things.”

John smiled at the memory of the previous night.

“Hi guys.” Heather came over and hugged everyone. “How are you all?”

“We are all doing well Heather dear,” Shirley took the sights and smells in, “I’ve been to the British Grand Prix a couple of times, but always in executive suites, I always wondered what went on behind the scenes.”

“A lot of hard work.” Heather smiled as Jan brought the BMW screeching to a halt.  They watched as the pit crew leapt over the wall and changed tires and simulated putting fuel in.

“That’s not bad chaps.” Henri clicked his stopwatch, “but we can do better.  Okay Jan, take her round again, and let’s try this time with a driver change as well.”

“Roger that.” Jan spoke in her com.

“Sandy you are up.” Henri shouted.

“I need to get my camera out.” John smiled, “This action needs capturing.”

“I’ll take some prints for one John.” Roy called out.

“Hello Aunt Shirley.” Katy came over in her Richmond-Carter overalls.

“Hello Katy what are you doing here?”

“We’re working,” the young girl replied with a grin. “Sandy and I look after the drinks, the energy bars, the bits you don’t need an adult to do.”

“I’m impressed.” Shirley smiled back at the youngster. “So where is George?”

“He’s helping the mechanics by fetching and carrying.”

“It sounds like we stand still too long Shirley, they’ll find us jobs to do.” Roy laughed.

“I think we’re safe,” Shirley said, “but I am impressed with the organization and the team you have assembled here.”

“Indeed,” Henri said as Jan came to a halt, and unfastened her harness, jumping out and helping to secure Sandy in place before she drove off.

“Good, good,” Clint said as the team came back over, Jeanne clapping Jan on the back as she removed her helmet.  “The car’s really moving well Clint,” she called out, “I think you’ve ironed out that problem.”

“We’ll find out in practice in two weeks time,” Clint said.



3.30 pm
The Huntingdown Apartment


“Come on, little one,” Carina said as she rubbed her nose on her daughter’s stomach, Judith giggling and waving her hands about, “who’s a lovely little girl, who is, who is…”

Juliette shook her head as she went into the kitchen and started the coffee machine, opening her laptop to check the on line editions of the newspapers.  She sat and looked at the screen, and then looked again.

“CARINA!  COME IN HERE NOW!”

“Mom?”  Carina came in and looked at the white face of her mother, “what’s wrong?

"You promised me no more.”

“No more what mom?” Carina came round and looked hard at the screen.

“Christmas Eve killer returns.” Juliette read the headline.

“Burned, tortured body found in apartment after fire.” Cari read aloud.

“See.”

“Mom this one wasn’t me I promise, I spent all night in bed with Annie, and she can probably tell you in detail what we did.”

“Oh crap…but then who?”

“Great Aunt Natalya springs to mind.” Cari grabbed a mug of coffee for herself.

“And she just happens to repeat almost exactly a murder you did?”

“Hey I researched her, she’s not dumb, and she could have worked out that killing was me.”

“We will talk more later.” Ju whispered as she heard the door open.
Birthday Girl - part 4
As Shirley's party draws to a close, a special arrival is announced, and Jeannie has a magical night - before a storm cloud starts to gather...
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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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:iconmistermistoffelees:
MisterMistoffelees Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
And thanks too for the new chapter fave!... :D
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:iconmistermistoffelees:
MisterMistoffelees Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Many thanks for the Invasions fave, KP!... :D
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carmag34 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014
Thank you for the fav~
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:iconcreated-by-caz:
Created-By-Caz Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for the fave!
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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
Mmm absolutely love your "Not A Robbery" stories.
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:iconkp-presents:
KP-Presents Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014
Why thank you - do feel free to peruse other of my stories
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:iconcreated-by-caz:
Created-By-Caz Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for the fave, glad you enjoyed it!
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Driver651 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014
Thanks for the faves!
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bjmar00 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014
Happy Birthday !!
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