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About Deviant Core Member Kev Pickering55/Male/United Kingdom Groups :iconwritten-in-kink: Written-in-Kink
Be Bound in words
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Literature
New Beginnings - Part 5
Monday 15th August
10 am
US Department of Homeland Security

The young woman looked up as the woman walked in, wearing her Dress uniform, her hat in place as she approached the desk.
“May I help you, Ma’am,” she asked as she looked over.
"My name is Eleanor Ball,” the officer replied, “I have an appointment to see Undersecretary Hunter."
The receptionist looked at her screen and smiled.  "Ah yes Captain Ball, if I might see some identification please?"
"Certainly," Eleanor reached into her handbag and pulled out her ID card.
“Excellent – of you will take a seat, I will inform the Undersecretary you are here,” she said, Eleanor nodding as she sat in the leather chair.
The office was cold, clinical, but she knew that was the effect that had to be projected, as she heard a young man say “Captain Ball?”  She looked at the intern, as he said “would you follow me please” and they made their way through th
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Literature
New Beginnings - Part 4
10 pm BST
Ardray

“Thank you Sheilagh,” Agnes said as Donald sat next to her, and her house keeper put two steaming mugs in front of her.
“Why such a wistful look on your face darling?”  Donald smiled as he brushed her red hair back, and said “The wedding was a huge success, and I think we can make it happen that we can adopt the girls.”
“I know Donald,” Agnes snuggled up closer, “that’s all so very true.”
“Then why the long face?”
“Because I just realized that Shirley’s plan to announce her engagement to John in New York means I won’t be able to go to her engagement party.”
“Oh…  I’d forgotten that,” Donald looked reflective.
“You can go darling, you’ll be able to take the girls as well. All her other friends will be able to be there…except me.”
“You know,” Donald said quietly as Agnes picked up a mug, “
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Literature
Understanding
“That was an amazing show,” Helen said as she sat in the passenger seat, looking at Jessica as they made their way out of the town.  Jessica nodded as she looked into the red band caused by the setting sun, and said “oh yeah – the Chippendales Mk 2 do that for you.”
“Me too,” Helen said with a grin.  She was wearing a black smock dress with a grey and gold Celtic design on the front, dark tights and knee length black patent leather boots, while Jessica wore a white jersey dress with a wide tan leather belt studded at the front, brown leggings and knee length brown leather boots.
“I can imagine – but you’d have to get them to come to you.”
Helen looked over, her blonde hair falling over her shoulders, and fluttered her eyelids as she said “and you think I could not get them running after me?”
Jessica just shook her head as they left the town centre, heading for the estate Jessica lived on at the edge
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Literature
New Beginnings - Part 3
Laura looked round at the groups standing and talking, and then at Rudi and Terri as they stood talking with two other women.  Her curiosity getting the better of her, she walked over and said "Who are the two black ladies talking wit the King and Queen Agnes?"
"Two African princesses in their own right Laura," Agnes said with a smile.
Laura whispered "You mean they are royal too?"
"They are," Agnes smiled. "the lady in the cream satin suit is the Princess Itsy Buthelezi. She's a member of the Zulu royal family. the other lady in that stunning floral dress is Karen Kumalo, and she's a member of the royal family of the Matabele people."
"They both sound so posh."
"Well they both went to public schools, then Karen went to Cambridge, and Itsy to Oxford."
"No wonder they sound like that then," Laura shook her head.
"Would you like me to introduce you?" Sue asked.
"Well if you hadn't offered darling Sue, I was about to," Agnes smiled some more as they walked over.
"Karen, Itsy, can i t
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Literature
Willow on Leather
“It is a beautiful evening, is it not,” the smaller of the two men said as they sat in the front of the grey transit van.
“It is indeed,” his taller friend said as he looked out of the windscreen.  “I love these mid-summer evenings, so full of purpose and potential.”
“Indeed – but sadly, we must be about our business.  Ready?”
The taller man nodded as he put a woollen cap over his head, and looked over.  “Shall we?”
“I think we shall…”
Rachel Flint smiled as she smelt the contents of the casserole, and put it back into the oven.  “Doing good, just a few more hours slow cooking,” she said to herself as she stood up, and dried her hands off.  Rachel was in her early fifties, and was wearing a tight white roll neck sweater, the hem lying over an olive coloured knee length leather skirt, and her legs in a pair of knee length straight black leather boots.
“Where is
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Mature content
A Flying Visit :iconkp-presents:KP-Presents 3 2
Literature
Seventies Bound: The Kidnappers
1979
July 1st

Tamiko struggled as she looked across to the bed, wondering how much longer she was going to be left in this chair.  Her arms were pulled round the chair back, her wrists secured together with rope and then tied to the chair back.  More rope had been used to secure her upper body to the chair, pulling the green waistcoat she was wearing to the sides as they stretched the fabric of her fawn roll neck jersey over her chest.
Looking down, she raised her legs again and looked at her booted ankles, the rope holding them together as the olive coloured leather of her boots was compressed underneath.  Her legs were further secured by a band of rope around her legs, above her knees, and the band lightening the green suede of her long skirt as she twisted round, the chair squeaking under her.
She wanted to say something, anything, but the brown coarse square was tied firmly between her lips, filing her mouth as the material soaked up the saliva and kept her qu
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Literature
New Beginnings - Part 2
"So which of us will be the next bride?" Charlotte asked as she spoke to Lily.
"Well don't look at me," Lily shook her head, "you and Sue have grabbed two of the best guys out there, and I am no further finding anyone even half as good."
"I'm sure there is someone out there," Piet chuckled slightly, "even for you Lily."
"Well he's taking his time finding me."
"A little patience." Francesca smiled.
“Who is this, Aunt Shirley,” Maisha asked as two taxis drew up, and a group of women got out.
“Some very special guests - You made it then?" Shirley said as she embraced the party from Sue's former place of work.
"Barely, I really should have given everyone yesterday off and we could have stayed in a hotel overnight. I understand I missed some excitement?"
"You might call it that.  How is business for you anyway Margot?"
Margot Harman smiled as she said “good – my sister sends her apologies, but she had another matter to deal with.  So where is Sue?
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Mature content
Meditation in Leather and Rope :iconkp-presents:KP-Presents 9 1
Literature
The Cat Improvises
How’s the tea – it’s a new blend I’ve been trying, and I’m getting to like it.  Anyway – in this long career I have had, there have been numerous occasions when I have had to think on my feet, and get out of the situations I would, from time to time, find myself in.  
When I was more active in my previous field, I usually staked out the places I would visit, but that wasn’t always the case.  There is no doubt the lure of an open door can be too great at times, and this particular time the open door was in a block of flats I had visited – for a purpose I may tell you about another day.
Anyway, I walked in, quietly closing the door behind me, and looked in the first door – finding the main bedroom, and searching quickly for anything of interest.  I was quick as well – but not quick enough, as I came out and saw a sixteen year old girl standing there, holding a bag I could see held books.
She was wearing a bla
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Mature content
Not A Robbery: Sister Sister :iconkp-presents:KP-Presents 10 2
Literature
New Beginnings - Part 1
Saturday 13th August
Midnight BST
The New House
Ardray

“You still awake kiddo,” Laura said as she looked up at the ceiling.
“Yeah – I’m excited about tomorrow,” Miley said as she turned and looked at her friend.
"Miley," Laura spoke softly as they lay in the dark, "when we heard you were safe I did something..."
"Not something bad?" the younger girl interrupted.
Laura looked up and said "I'm not sure."
As she raised her head, Miley whispered "What do you mean?"
"I hugged Agnes...and I called her Mum."
"Oh God!" Miley turned the bedside light on. "What did she say to that?"
"I didn't realise that I'd said it. It was only when she said that it clicked."
"What happened then?"
Laura smiled and said "she started to laugh and cry, all sort of at once."
"So she wasn't upset?"
"No." Laura paused for a second, '"she said it was wonderful."
"It would be sort of nice if she was our Mum," Miley sighed as she turned the light back out again, "then you'd ne
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Literature
Jay Spends the Day
As Jacquie Christie slowly opened her eyes, she turned her head to see the green digits on the alarm clock showing it was seven am.  Normally, she would be getting up now, and starting to make some coffee for her and her mother before her two daughters, Emma and Janna, woke up.  But today – today was going to be a very different day, and she knew that as she looked at each side of her.
Emma was on her left, wearing her black and white stiped pyjamas, her eyes closed as she snuggled in with her head.  Looking to her right, she saw Janna with her longer, darker hair, wearing her leopard print pyjamas.  She too was asleep, and she was glad of that, given what had happened in the early hours of the morning.
The signs of which were clear on all three of them – the white rope that held their crossed wrists together in front of them, and then ran down to the second band holding their legs together below their knees, and then their ankles.  She could also s
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Literature
The Inglorious Twelfth - Conclusion
8 am PT
Oakland Hills

"Who was the phone call from Susie?" Mary asked as she prepared her father's lunch box.
"Nikki in New York," the younger woman poured herself a mug of coffee. "The news is spreading that Mick Harran has proposed to Nell."
"Did she accept?" David asked as he came in carrying a small bag of shopping and the newspaper.
"She did," Susie reached in the bag and put the fresh milk in the fridge.
"He's a lucky guy," David grinned as he started to help put the groceries away.
"I remember you being very impressed with her at Trina's ball kiddo," Dave came in wearing his work overalls and sat down.
"Well for all her reputation," Mary cast glances at her three sisters, "underneath the New York Slut, Nell is a lovely person."
“We know…”
4 pm BST
The New House, Ardray

“That was an amazing trip,” Miley said as she and Laura walked into the hallway, Aileen and Edwina following them in.  “I’ve never seen anything like th
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Literature
The Inglorious Twelfth - Part 14
7 pm GMT
The New House
Ardray

"This feels so strange," Miley said as she buttoned up her white blouse, and then stood up, looking at herself in the tall mirror.  Her hair was swept back, and as she turned the pleats of her skirt flowed.
"What does," Laura said as she walked in with Eve and Aileen.  Like Miley, the older girl was wearing a white blouse and tartan skirt, while Eve and Aileen wore dark green party dresses.
"Dressed like this, I just look... Wrong."
"Well I think you both look amazing," Kit said as she and John looked in.  "Come on, we have a party to go to..."
"We look nice Miley," Laura said as she put an arm round the younger girl while they walked along.
"I know, but when we have to go back to London and all this ends..."
"Then we go back to our real lives," Laura interrupted.
"Is this just a dream?"
"No, but as long as we just enjoy it as the holiday it's supposed to be then I guess we will have something lovely to remember Miley."
“True,
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Literature
The Inglorious Twelfth - Part 13
9 pm BST
Cavalry and Guards Club, 127 Picadilly

“to Colin!”
“TO COLIN!” the room shouted out as Sir Simon toasted the groom to be, Jimmy and Tom at his side at the head of the dining table as he stood up.
“Gentlemen,” he said in a slightly slurred voice, “I wish to thank you for the find dinner, the wonderful wince and brandy, the excellent company – and the fear of not knowing what might be next to walk through the door of this dining room!”
The New House
"I wonder if Sue's party is as much fun as swimming was this afternoon?" Miley asked as the younger girls sat round the big kitchen table.
"Did you have such a party Mum?” Morag asked as she sipped her cocoa.
"Well nothing as big and fancy as they are doing for Miss Sue," Sheilagh sat down and wiped her hands. "Your Aunt Caitlin and a few of the girls hired a room at the Shinty Club, and we had a wee party there."
"Was there a male stripper?" Laura asked.
"No,"
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The Queen of Soul has passed on, but we have our memories - and the music...

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Personal log update - I got an interview on the 30th for a senior post.  Time to prepare...
The Queen of Soul has passed on, but we have our memories - and the music...

To core or not to core?
53%
17 deviants said That is the question.
22%
7 deviants said How do you like your apples?
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6 deviants said Is it that time again?
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Monday 15th August
10 am
US Department of Homeland Security


The young woman looked up as the woman walked in, wearing her Dress uniform, her hat in place as she approached the desk.

“May I help you, Ma’am,” she asked as she looked over.

"My name is Eleanor Ball,” the officer replied, “I have an appointment to see Undersecretary Hunter."

The receptionist looked at her screen and smiled.  "Ah yes Captain Ball, if I might see some identification please?"

"Certainly," Eleanor reached into her handbag and pulled out her ID card.

“Excellent – of you will take a seat, I will inform the Undersecretary you are here,” she said, Eleanor nodding as she sat in the leather chair.

The office was cold, clinical, but she knew that was the effect that had to be projected, as she heard a young man say “Captain Ball?”  She looked at the intern, as he said “would you follow me please” and they made their way through the security gates, and along the corridors.

Eventually he opened a door with “Jefferson D Hunter” on the glass panel, Eleanor following through as he knocked on an inner door.

“Come!”

“Captain Ball to see you sir,” he said as he held the door open, Jefferson Hunter standing as he said “thank you Tony – Eleanor, please, come in.”

As tony closed the door, Jeff walked round and kissed Eleanor on both cheeks, saying “you look good – retirement must be suiting you.”

"It's been a while Jeff,” Eleanor said as she sat down, “how are Jacqueline and the family?"

"They are fine Eleanor, Deb just made me a grandfather...for the fifth time."

"Oh that makes me feel old Jeff, I remember her as a little girl herself." Eleanor shook her head.

“What about you?  I’ve seen your picture in society pages with your son and his partner.”

“Oh I’m good – Adam and Jan are good, as are their family.”

"Anyway,” Jeff said as he sat down, “the reason I asked you to drop in..."

"You were a little vague Jeff."

"Well it's nothing really official Eleanor.”  Sitting forward, he said “You remember Agnes McAdam from London don't you?"

"Indeed I do, and I recently had the pleasure of renewing my acquaintance with her at a wedding in Naples."

"Ah.  Whose wedding?"

“Charlotte Gordon di Cambrello and Pietre van der Byl.”

“Ah the Marchesa’s daughter?  That was a shock announcement in many ways…”

"Getting back to Dr McAdam though…  Why do you ask Jeff?"

"Charles Gresham-Fox has asked me to look into her case."

"Now I get you,” Eleanor said as she sat back, “he wants us to review the bar on her getting a visa because of her criminal convictions?"

"Precisely," the government official leaned back in his chair, "what is your opinion Eleanor?"

"Well, for a start Aggie presents no risk to security, and we might even owe her a little for her aid in that affair I worked in London.”

“True – did you come clean with her?”

“I did – it was a weekend for admitting truths.  Also, the Vatican has cleared her to see some of its most sensitive documents of the 20th century to help another friend, so that means something.  Finally, just to add some icing if you like, if what I've heard over the weekend is true, she'll soon be the wife of Britain's ambassador in Paris."

“Lord Fitzstuart is married.”

“Widowed – you need to check your UK briefings.”

"I see…  So you think we can and should grant her a visa waiver?"

"I do Jeff." Eleanor smiled, "and given that she's advising one of our country’s biggest companies in Torware, I think there are many justifications for doing so."

“Very well then – I’ll arrange for her to be invited to the London Embassy for a formal interview and visa grant.  So, what else are you doing today?”

“Checking some facts for the same friend – her great aunt was Dr Jane Huntingdown.”

“The criminologist – in what context?”

“YY.”

Jefferson nodded as he said “she was at the OSS for a while – and it was rumoured she was connected to YY, but nothing ever proven.  Good luck.”

10 am
Complete Style Magazine


Kylie smiled as she stepped out onto the editorial floor, wearing a sleeveless blue blouse and shorts, with white heels, and looked round.  She then walked towards the Lair, opening the large doors as Casey walked past.

“Hey Kylie – back home for a while?”

“Indeed darling,” Kylie said with a smile, “is Merlin in residence?”

“She’s in the back – but I better warn you, Alice is there as well.”

“Not a problem, darling,” Kylie said as she walked slowly along to the viewing table, hearing Mary Thomas say “Ai – that one, that one and that one?”

“Agreed” Alice said as Kylie joined them, “now to ask the question that has not been asked yet.”

“Very philosophical of you, Mary darling?”

“Kylie,” Mary said as she and Alice turned round, “just the young lady we wish to see.  Got a little job for you?”

“Nothing heavy or strenuous,” Alice said with a smile, “and we’ll be by your side all the way?”

“And the task is?”

Mary and Alice looked at you, before Alice said “to do a photo shoot for some of your designs?”

“I am flattered darling – and who do you have in mind to wear them?”

“Well…”  Mary leaned back on the table, smiled and said “you.”

The staff walking past heard the clear North London shout of “Ye’re freaking jokin!”…


3 pm BST
The Savoy


“Good afternoon Dame Margaret,” Jack Doherty said as he opened the door, “Princess Juliette is waiting in the tea rooms.”

“Thanks Jack,” Margaret Harker said as she walked through, smiling as she saw Juliette sitting at a table.

“Maggie – thanks for joining me,” Juliette said as she stood to greet her friend, “sit down, I’ll get some coffee brought over.”

“Thanks – it’s been one of those days,” Maggie said with a smile, “so how did it go at the Records Office?”

“Intriguing – a lot of the stuff is redacted, but it is clear Jane Huntingdown worked as some sort of liaison between intelligence groups in the Allies, as well as for this YY group.”

“Did the records say anything about who was involved?”

“No names are visible, but the dates and locations of some of the dispatches do confirm she spent a lot of time in Italy after Mussolini fell.  I’m hoping Agnes can corroborate that when we talk tomorrow.  One thing is certain – she and Sandy’s great aunt were more than mere secretaries.”

“You know the full story may never come out?”

“True – but I think I have enough…”


11 am
Complete Style Magazine


Anna Mitchell laughed as she entered her office, Marina looking up as she said “what’s funny?”

“Did you hear the explosion in Merlin's cave Marina?"

"No,” Marina said as she sat back, “but several people have told me about it Anna.  I did warn them…"

"I know you warned them how Kylie might react if we asked her to model some of her own creations."

"I did," Marina said as she picked her mug up and sipped her coffee, "modelling doesn't exactly fit Kylie's self image."

"Agreed, but I think she has enough going on that she won't look totally out of place doing so."

"Did you talk to Susan about it as her legal guardian boss?"

"Yes I did, and I rang her mother in London, both of them think that as long as she wants to do it then its fine with them."

"And did you ask Gio?"

"I did, and yes  he says he'd love to photograph her."

“Well, we’ll get her mother and aunt over as well – make it a real family affair…”

4pm BST
Kilcraig


"Oh that's one shoot I'd pay to see," Pepsi giggled as she looked at her phone.

"What is darling?" Mandy drawled as she looked over.

"CS have asked Kylie to pose for a shoot wearing some of her own designs Mandy."

"They have darling?" Mandy looked amused. "As you say I think I might even pay to see that myself."

"See what?" Will asked.

"CS have asked Kylie to model some of her own creations," Mandy stood up and kissed her husband. "Enjoy the day?"

"Very much so, and as you say that might be a sight to see." Will grinned as he said, "and talking of modelling, are you, Grace, and the others set for tomorrow?"

“Well, it must be done, and then we need to think of preparing for the Christening darling.”  Mandy then looked serious as she said “did Donald talk to you?”

“He did, and he’s talked to Victoria and Archie – they’ve agreed the cremation and internment plan.”

“Good – with luck, we can do that in a few weeks…”


The New House
Ardray


"Have you seen the papers and the television news Aggie?" Donald said as Agnes came back into the drawing room.

"I have Donald," Agnes said as she sat down, "to be honest I rather expected it to be a lot bigger story."

"It doesn't exactly profit anyone to look too closely darling," Donald replied quietly as he sat down and kissed her. "Given the political situation the government would rather it all went away quietly, and none of her family and friends has much interest in having the media rake over the coals."

"No, most people just want to forget."

"So how was your day?"

"Most of it was rather routine, I spent most of it going over estate matters with Rory and Sheilagh, but I just got a surprise telephone call."

"Oh,” Donald said with a smile, “and what was that?"

"An invite from the American Embassy to come in for an interview with regards to my status vis-a-vis getting a visa."

“Really?  Well, if they are inviting you, it is a step forward.  When?”

“I’ll fly down Tuesday – I have to meet with Juliette anyway, so I’ll kill two birds with one stone as it were.  Can you take care of Laura and Miley that day?”

“I’ll get Mandy to invite them to Kilcraig for the day,” Donald said with a smile.


"He did what?" John Gaunt asked as he sat in the parlour with the other girls.

"While you and so many others went shooting perfectly innocent birds darling, Jimmy gave us all some dance lessons." Kits smiled.

"And it was actually huge fun," Eve added.

"Tiring, but fun," Miley added her opinion.

"In a way I'm sad I missed it," John gave Kits a kiss.

"He even knows a lot of Scottish dances," Aileen said as she finished her lemonade.

"So hopefully come Friday night we won't look too bad for the thing Agnes is giving for the tenants and the other local people," Laura said as she sat down.

“Oh you wouldn’t do that anyway -  promise you,” Kit said with a smile.


8 pm BST
Chelsea


“It is good to be back again,” Maisha said as she walked into her home, “shall I make some coffee?”

“Please,” John said as he put the bags down, and paid the taxi driver.  “Shirley?”

“I need to make a call, start to let some people know,” Shirley said with a smile as she hung her coat up, and went into the main room, smiling as she sat down and took her phone out.

“Sandra?

“Yes, it was a wonderful wedding.  Listen – can you call round to the office tomorrow, say at about 3?  I need to discuss a matter with you…”

6 pm
West Central Park


“Calmed down a bit now,” Marina said as she and Kylie came into the apartment.

“A little darling – it just came as a complete shock to me.”

“I guessed - by all reports Tottenham Kyles made a dramatic reappearance.”

“She did – but I was soon back to normal.  Did Anna say anything?”

“Gio will do the shoot – so it might be time for your mum and aunt to visit us.”

“Just in time to see me in my new uniform, darling?  That should be an entertaining week…”

“Anyway, I think we’ve got some chicken and vegetables – how does Chow Mein sound?”

“Divine, darling…”



The Richmond Home
Manchester, CT


Heather stopped outside Sand’s door and knocked lightly, saying “can I come in?”

“Sure,” Sands called out as Heather opened the door, seeing the young teenager in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.

“I wanted to see how you were feeling,” Heather said as she closed the door, “now that Holly has gone back to the city.”

Sands smiled quietly as she said “I still miss her, but I know she needs to spend time with Tommy now, and I’m not going to stand in her way with that.  We’ll catch up again in a few weeks, I’m sure.”

“You’ve come a long way this summer, young Padwan,” Heather said as she kissed her young charge’s head.  

“Have I?  I suppose so,” Sands said quietly, “but I do miss her.”

“I know – so what are you going to do this weekend in Germany?”

“Well, Tommy and Holly are not coming, so it won’t be so bad – and then I have school again.”

“Well, just remember your mom and I are here if you need to talk.”

“Thanks,” Sands said as Heather stood up.  “Heather – should I tell the other girls?”

“Well, Katy already knows – and we can trust her to keep a secret.  What about the other four?”

Sands sat for a moment, and then shook her head.  “No – I may just keep quiet about that for now.  If they ask, I’ll think about what to do then.”

Tuesday 16th August
11 am BST
Kilcraig


“Those are just SO stylish and classic,” Pepsi watched as Mandy and Angel posed in the vintage inspired tweeds, “they are just what I always imagined ladies did wear in places like this.”

“You watch too many historical shows my love,” Jack said with a smile as he put his arm round her.

“I love English Literature and History as well…things like that inspire me. And unlike you Jack Fitzstuart I wasn’t born to all this, so I don’t take it for granted.”

“I take your point,” Jack paused, “are you going to be okay for Germany?”

“Do you mean have I got my head round the fact that I’m  going to be a prince’s godmother yet?”

“Yes.”

“Sort of.”

“Meaning what?”

Pepsi siled as she said “that I just keep telling myself that Rudi is the son of Cari and Annie and that they are both simply friends. I’m trying to ignore the titles.”

“I guess that makes sense.”  Jack laughed as Grace and Olivia joined the group with Fiona.

“Darling, will the budget stretch to you buying this for me?” Mandy shouted to Will as she nodded down at the outfit she had on.

“I guess so.  We just need to sell more jumpers with Alice.”



10 am
Xavier International, New York


“Alright what is there that I MUST do before I fly to Europe on Friday?” Susan asked as she looked round the room.

“I need a decision on hiring new staff for my department.”

“I need approval on those equipment purchases.”

“We need you to sign off…”

“Alright I get the picture,” Susan laughed as she interrupted, “there is a lot on my plate.”

“We also need to finalise some agreements for the special training course,” Sandra said as she looked at her pad.

“True – we can discuss that later.  Tamera, come and see me at eleven to discuss the staffing requests…”


3 pm BST
The Savoy


“I looked at the notes you sent me of what you discovered yesterday Eleanor. Thank you for doing that research for me it confirms so much that I’d suspected.” Juliette looked at her computer screen and smiled at the sight of her friend sitting on the deck of her house with Chesapeake Bay in the background.

“Well it’s clear that she and her friend Annabel Rockland both spent the war undercover, and were very involved in the activities of the YY group.”

“As you say, it is pretty obvious,” Juliette paused, “I know that both the British and US authorities will want to keep some of this secret, but I’m hoping that I’ll be allowed to reveal at least a few of the operations they were involved in.”

“I can’t see why they really should. This was over 70 years ago after all.”

“Well I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”

“With my being Jewish, does crossing mine count?”

“I’m not sure Eleanor,” Juliette laughed. “Anyway while I head back into the archives this afternoon what plans do you have for your day?”

“Beyond meeting Veronica for lunch? then not much. We will probably go do some shopping so neither of us looks too out of place at a certain royal christening.”

“I can’t imagine which one,” Juliette said with a smile.  “I meet Aggie tomorrow to see what I can learn from the Vatican papers, but it already looks amazing…”

Xavier International

“Did you enjoy your shooting Madame?” Penny asked on the secure computer link.

“Very much so,” Shirley smiled, “though I discovered the difference between merely being a good shot and being a great one like Tom Lardarn. I was next to him in the line and I swear he didn’t miss a bird all day.”

“A couple of people told me over the weekend how excellent he is.”

“Anyway before Sandra arrives, and we meet John for dinner, what news do you have?”

“All quiet here – Lily is debriefing her team, and a full report will be on your desk tomorrow.”

“Good,” Shirley said as Amanda buzzed the intercom.

“Miss Kirk is here, Shirley.”

“Okay – bring her in and bring some coffee.  Penny, we will talk tomorrow.”

“Until then Madame,” Penny said as she ended the call, and Amanda showed Sandra in.  Shirley was wearing a light blue dress, her jacket on the rack, while Sandra was wearing a red jumper and dark skirt.

“Sandy – thanks for meeting me today.  I trust you have your evening clear today?”

“As you requested – but why?”

“We’re having dinner with John Jacobs at the Dorchester – but before then, I want to discuss the training schedules for some new recruits…”




11 am
Saks, 5th Avenue


“Well, here we go again,” Erica said as she, Denice, Eva and Melinda walked into the Schools department.

“No supermodels lurking are there,” Denice said with a smile.

“Good morning Miss Burton,” the dark haired department manager said, “it’s a pleasure to see you again.”

“And to see you Louise,” Denice smiled, “you know it seems impossible to think that it’s a year since we were last here doing this.”

“I know, time flies.”  Denice and Eva were wearing jumpers ad slacks, while Melinda and Erica wore shorts and blouses.

“That’s true,” Denice said with a shake of her head. “Anyway - I have a couple of people for you to meet. This is Eva Eckholm and her daughter Melinda. Melinda is this year’s winner of the Kirkham.”

“Hello,” Louise smiled, “it’s nice to meet both of you.”

“And you,” Eva said as she looked round, “St Angela’s said we needed to come in and see about Mel’s uniforms.”

“Of course,” Louise looked Melinda up and down. “It looks like I’m going to continue needing to order in long blazers at least for a few years.”

“Yep,” Erica laughed, “Mel is yet another girl that I’m going to get a crick in my neck looking upwards at.”

“Just face it, you are short Bones,” another voice was heard behind them.

“Well compared to you and Mel I am Poppy,” Erica turned and smiled at her friend.

“Hello Eva, hi Denice,” Pippa said as she kissed her friends, “while Louise and the girls do their thing, can I tempt you both to coffee?”

“That sounds an idea to me.”

“First rule of Angel’s moms,” Denice said, “all is solved over coffee…”




“So what’s up?” Pippa asked as the three women sat down.

“Well, Eva and Mel are staying with us for a few days whilst Sarah has the soccer squad doing intensive training.”

“I think I heard Poppy mention that.”

“It means that while my daughter and her teammates practice, I’ve been buying bits for her new room, and getting a lot of her school supplies sorted.” Eva said as she took a sip.

“Well that sounds a good idea to me Eva.” Pippa nodded. “So do you think it’s going to work out her staying with Denice and Erica?”

“I think so. It’s going to help that she and Erica have so much in common in their intellectual interests.”

“Even if my daughter hates soccer,” Denice laughed.

“Well mostly the same interests,” Eva laughed.

“I know you won’t make the Friday Coffee Clutch,” Erica said, “but I hope you do get to come to some of the events and parties.”

“Oh yeah – the parties,” Pippa said, “who has the honour of hosting the Halloween party this year?”

“Still to be decided…”


8 pm BST
Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester


“That Foie Gras was amazing,” John Jacobs said as the plates were cleared, and the waiters brought out the caviar and crackers.

“This must be important for you to bring us here,” Sandra said as Shirley smiled.

"Well I'm not going to complain about an invitation to eat at such a wonderful restaurant Shirley,” John said as he adjusted his tie, “but I have to ask myself why you've done so."

Shirley wiped her lips and put her napkin back before she looked at the other two.  "I have some important news I want to tell you Uncle John, and I thought that this made a great place for me to tell you and Sandra."

"Now you have me very intrigued Shirley," Sandra spread a little caviar and put it in her mouth.

“So what is this vital news,” John said as he sipped his wine.

"Last Saturday morning," Shirley took a deep breath, "John asked me to marry him...and I accepted."

John and Sandra looked at each other as John slowly put his glass down.  “Did I hear you correctly,” he said, “John and you are engaged?”

“Yes, yes we are,” Shirley said as she drank from her own glass.

"Oh that is amazingly good news," John grinned from ear to ear, as he first stood, and then leaned over and kissed her.

"It is WONDERFUL news," Sandra hugged her old friend, "and if I might say so, long since overdue."


“Thank you – both of you,” Shirley said as she blushed.

"So have you set a date yet?"

"No, we've vaguely talked about having a wedding just before Christmas, but nothing firm yet."

"Alright,” John said, “just let me know when you have decided and I'll put it on my calendar."

“Hell, I’ll clear the week,” Sandy said with a smile, “and so will quite a few people I suspect.

"Thank you Uncle John, Sandy," Shirley said before she paused, "I do have one date for you though, we are proposing to have a party in New York in a couple of weeks where we will tell everyone."

"So keep this a secret till then Shirley?

"Please Sandra, can I beg you not even to tell Maddie, I want to tell her in person first."

“And when do you plan to do that?”

“Before I go to bed tonight…”

"I understand.  So, will this be here or in the US?"

“As I said, no idea – yet…”


4 pm PT
Los Angeles


“Maddie – Skype call from London,” Emma called out as Maddie came into their apartment.

“Who is it,” she said as she came in to see her wife seated in front of the coffee table.

“Hey Maddie – I tried the office, but they said you had already left.”

“Shirley – is everything all right?  It’s midnight where you are?”

“I know but there was something I had to ask both you and Emma.”

“Okay,” Maddie said as she sat down, “and that is?”

“Can you come to New York in a couple of weeks – John and I are going to host a party, and we want all out friends to be there.”

“Well, I suppose we could,” Emma said, “but what’s the occasion?  John going to make an honest woman of you?”

As both women looked at the screen, Shirley just smiled and nodded.

“Oh my GOD!  He asked you?”

“And I said yes Maddie – only a few other people know for certain.   Ju, Catriona, Agnes, John, Sandy – and now you two, so please, don’t tell anyone else.”

“Well, I presume Maisha knows as well,” Emma said with a smile, “and she gets to be a bridesmaid.”

“Yes, and yes, but we need to decide where and when first.  Hopefully, by the time we announce it publicly, we’ll know, but Emma – we want you and the girls to play at the wedding once we have date and venue sorted.”

“Let me know when you know,” Emma said with a smile, “and congratulations.”

“Right – I’ll let you sleep now.  See you in a few weeks,” Shirley said as she ended the call.

“I wonder if Vanessa had a book?”

“Find out in two weeks,” Emma said as she stood up.

“Where are you going?”

“Champagne of course…”

Wednesday 17th August
10 am BST
The Savoy


"Did Shirley fly you down Agnes?" Juliette asked as they sat in her suite.

"She did,” Agnes said as she sat down, adjusting her tweed skirt, “I have to say I envy having her own plane like that."

"So do I...  That's a luxury though that I'm not sure even Klaus's and my joint budget can stretch to."

"She was going to see both John Jacobs and Sandra last night to tell them in person about her and John getting engaged."

"I know how close she is to both of them, I think its lovely that she wants to tell them in person like this."

"Agreed."

"Anyway if I can change topics,” Juliette said with a smile, “what can you tell me that was in all those lovely Vatican documents that I’m barred from seeing?"

"Some pretty amazing things,” Agnes said as she shook her head, “even I wasn't quite prepared for a lot of what I read, but your Aunt certainly had a distinguished wartime career Juliette."

"The more I research her, the more obvious that's becoming."

"My big question is how do you want the answers to your questions. I can give you a handwritten report, or I can put it all on a computer file."

"Well, which is easier for you Agnes?"

"Handwritten, but given the complaints over the years from people that my handwriting is unintelligible, I suspect I had better put it all on the computer," Aggie giggled.

"That might be easier," Juliette joined in the laughter.  “So, can you give me the highlights?”

“Essentially – yes, she was the unofficial liaison between the Holy See and US intelligence, and had a hand in the conference that determined how the peace would be maintained after the fall of Il Duce.  She also seems to have spent time in France and the Lowlands before D-Day.”

“One of the women parachuted in?”

“Indeed – but I’ll see what I can tell you.  Ah, thank you,” Agnes said as the coffee was poured.

“So what else have you planned before you fly back tonight?”

“I need to go into the school, and do a few things -  and then I have an appointment at Grosvenor Square.”

“The US embassy?”

“Indeed…”

1 pm BST
Hopkins Street


“Agnes,” Kathy said as she saw the older woman coming into the office standing up and hugging her as she said “I heard the news.  What was she doing where you were?”

“Trying to hurt me – and failing,” Agnes said as she looked round.  “How have things been in my absence?”

“No problem – are Laura and Miley having fun up there?”

“Oh yes – and there’s something I need to tell you about both of them.  You know their place in Paddington?”

“Yeah – Laura gave me a spare set of keys for safety.

“Good – I want you to go and make sure everything is all right, and they have some food and things in.  They’re going to be moving soon.”

“Oh – where to?”

“To live with me – I’m adopting them Kathy.  They’ll still come to the school for the time being, but I want to make sure they have what they deserve.”

“The kids will be so jealous – but they deserve it,” Kathy said with a smile.  “While you’re here, want to check the latest deliveries?”





3 pm BST
US Embassy
Grosvenor Square


Agnes thanked the security guard as  he showed her into the compound, and she walked to the entrance he indicated, looking round as he did so.  Entering the building, she walked up to the reception desk.

“Good afternoon, Madame,” the girl sitting there said in a California accent, “how may I help you today?”

“Hello I'm Agnes McAdam, I'm supposed to be seeing someone called Richard McAdam from your consular section, am I in the right part of the building?"

"You are," the receptionist said as she looked at her computer screen. "Hmmmm he's running a few minutes late, can you wait?"

“Of course,” Agnes said as she sat in the leather chairs, flipping through the copy of Time Magazine.

“Dr McAdam?”

Agnes looked up to see a tall, well built man with a blonde buzzcut.  “Richard McAdam,” he said as he held his hand out, Agnes standing and shaking it.  “If you will come with me?”

Agnes nodded as they walked down some corridors, and then entered an office, Richard indicating a chair for Agnes as he sat at the other side of the desk.

“May I first say, it is an honour to finally meet the McAdam of McAdam,” Richard said as he looked over the desk.

“An honour?”

"I'm a member of the McAdam Clan Association back home Dr McAdam,” Richard said with a smile, “and it is a genuine honour it is to meet you in person."

"Thank you,” Agnes said with a smile, “and it's always a pleasure meeting members of our clan."

"Well I'm hoping that if we can get this all cleared up today, one of the things you'll be able to do is come over and address our clan gathering next spring."

"It's something I'd very much like to do Richard."

"And maybe bring the black flag for people to see?"

"Of course." Agnes smiled.

"So,” Richard said, “can I ask beyond giving your clansmen the honour of your presence why you will be wanting to visit the US?"

"Can I say that my first trip would be to attend a party?"

"Oh?" Mr McAdam lifted an eyebrow.

"Yes, a friend got engaged last weekend, she makes her home partly in New York city and she'll be having her engagement party there."

"Ah I understand," the man smiled.

"But I'm also anticipating having to travel on business at times."

"You are an economist?"

"I am, and I'm doing some consultancy work for Torware, and I'm hoping that in the future other companies might want to make use of my expertise."

“And your – shall we say, past employment?”

“Is in the past – I can provide the legal papers if need be.”

“I also understand congratulations may be in order?”

“Well,” Agnes said with a blush, “we have a funeral to attend to first, but hopefully after that…”

“Do you have your passport with you?”

Agnes nodded as she handed it over, Richard nodding as he looked at it and then took out a stamp.

“It gives me great pleasure, Dr McAdam, to confirm that you have been granted a Visa to allow you to visit the United States, with immediate effect,” he said as he stamped her passport, and signed the form that was imprinted on the page.  “And I do look forward to finally seeing you at the gathering next year.”

“Thank you,” Agnes said as a tear started to form, “I need to ask – I am in the process of adopting two young girls.  If they wish to come?”

“Complete the ESTA form on line, with their passport numbers, and give your visa number.  There will be no problem.”

Handing over her passport, Richard stood and offered his hand again.  “Good luck,” he said as Agnes took his hand, “let me show you out.”
10 pm BST
Ardray


“Thank you Sheilagh,” Agnes said as Donald sat next to her, and her house keeper put two steaming mugs in front of her.

“Why such a wistful look on your face darling?”  Donald smiled as he brushed her red hair back, and said “The wedding was a huge success, and I think we can make it happen that we can adopt the girls.”

“I know Donald,” Agnes snuggled up closer, “that’s all so very true.”

“Then why the long face?”

“Because I just realized that Shirley’s plan to announce her engagement to John in New York means I won’t be able to go to her engagement party.”

“Oh…  I’d forgotten that,” Donald looked reflective.

“You can go darling, you’ll be able to take the girls as well. All her other friends will be able to be there…except me.”

“You know,” Donald said quietly as Agnes picked up a mug, “Catriona told me that she’s confident she can get your conviction overturned?”

“I know,” Agnes nodded as she sipped her Ovaltine, “but even if that happens the Americans might still deny me a visa because of those things I pled guilty to, and I’m worried about publicity leaking out that Lady D’eath is seeking to have her conviction quashed. The newspapers I’m sure will still find plenty of mileage in stories about me Donald…and about you.”

“Have you thought about talking to Charles?”

“Which one?”

“Gresham-Fox. As our Ambassador in Washington he must know just who to talk to so that you can get this all sorted.”

“I’d thought of that, but what would be the fallout if somehow it leaked out that he was helping Lady D’eath?”

“Who says it would become public knowledge?”

“It probably wouldn’t,” Agnes said quietly, “I just don’t want to take the chance of hurting anyone of my friends Donald.”

“So what do you want to do Aggie?”

“What I’ve done all these years darling. Just accept that I’m excluded and just dream a dream of all the fun you’ll all have.”

“Nope, not this time,” Donald said quietly, “let’s see what can be done…”


Penny’s Country Home

“You’ve been working out,” Sue giggled as Colin carried her across the threshold, “you did that a lot better then you did the first time.”

“I guess I did,” Colin said as he put his wife back on the ground and kissed her deeply, while the driver brought their cases in.

“Mmmmm and you are better at that too,” Sue giggled some more, “are you sure you haven’t been practicing with some other woman?”

“No Mrs. Gresham-Fox,” Colin smiled, “there was only, and will only ever be you Sue.”

“Thank you darling,” Sue said as she kissed him, then walked towards the kitchen, “now according to Penny there should be…”

“Should be what?”

“These,” Sue held up the bottle of champagne, and two glasses, that she pulled out of the fridge.

“We have such thoughtful friends you know,” Colin reached for a towel and started to uncork the wine.

“I know, it was wonderful of Martin to fly us down here in his plane.”

“So – what shall we do now, Mrs Gresham-Fox?”

“Oh I think we’ll figure something out…”



The New House
Ardray



Miley was sitting on her bed, her knees drawn up under her chin as she heard the sound of running water, and then Laura came back in wearing her pyjamas.

“That’s been some sort of day Kiddo,” Laura smiled as she climbed into her bed.

“I know,” Miley shook her head, “last night we were saying that it would be so nice if Agnes and Uncle Donald could become our mum and dad, and now it looks like it might come true.”

“It’s like a dream.”

“There is so much needs sorting out though.”

Laura nodded as she said “Mainly for you Miles.”

Looking across the room, Miley whispered “How sad are you really about your Mum?”

“A bit I guess,” Laura said as she finished her milk, and out her glass on the bedside table, “but when I ran away from Ipswich I knew that I’d never see her again.”

“That’s how I feel about ‘them’ as well.”  Miley looked down for a moment, and then said “sod them” with a smile.

“Anyway,” Laura said as she plumped up her pillows, “that’s our past life, we have a whole new life to look forward to…Amelia,” Laura giggled.

“You dare call me anything other than Miley,” the younger girl glared.

“Well within the family, but I think it’s nice that Agnes wants to name you after her own mother.”

“And it’s convenient that Uncle Donald’s mum was named Laura.”

“Isn’t it?” Laura turned her light out. “You know Laura and Amelia Fitzstuart, those names sound pretty nice.”

“Yeah – really nice…”




Kylie smiled as she closed her suitcase, and looked out over the forest.

"So how did you spend your Saturday darling?"

"Showing the Chinese contingent some of the sights of New York," she heard Marina say with a yawn.

"Rather you then me Marina.  I’ve had enough excitement this weekend."

"Well at least I get to put my feet up tonight, Anna and Pippa are taking them out to dinner."

"What are you having?"

"I,” Marina said with a sigh, “just placed an order for a large pizza."

"Sounds yummy."

"So what was the food like at the wedding? and what was the reaction to your designs?"

"The food was wonderful, and people have been very kind about my designs," Kylie said as she sat on her bed.

"Even Sir Charles?"

"Yes," Kylie giggled, "even after getting my bill, he still thought Lady Bobbi's outfit was wonderful."

"So back tomorrow?"

"Yes,” Kylie said, “and I am just so looking forward to getting back home..."

"You do realise you just called New York home?" Marina broke in.

"I know, being on this trip though has made me realise it really is my home. It's where most of the people I love and care for are, and that makes it where I want to be."

“Well, we’ll celebrate tomorrow.  Safe travels Swan.”

“And blessings onto you, Mongoose…”



11 pm BST
Dunmarnock


"You know you might just kill me BEFORE we get married Shirley," John laughed as he pulled the sheet up over their nude bodies.

"Well,” Shirley said as she leaned on her elbow, and stroked his cheek, “you deserved something special after such a special day my love."

"I think I need to put a request for an industrial sized pack of Viagra on our gift list."

"It might be an idea," Shirley giggled.

"So why have you asked people to not spread the news?"

"Because,” Shirley said with a smile, “certain people who are very special to me, I want  them to hear in person."

“A job for next week?”

“Indeed - I just hope those who know can keep the secret."

"Oh I think we can trust Ju, Cat, Aggie, etc to keep secrets," Shirley smiled inwardly.




"Well I saw your Mother dancing with several men Roo," Piet said as he sipped his cocoa.

"Oh yes she was dancing,” Charlotte said quietly, “but that was all."

"For a woman who had the reputation that she had..."

"You mean for sleeping around?" Charlotte interrupted.

"I guess so," Pet said with a wry grin as he looked over.

"What I think you are trying to say you big lump, is why is she suddenly celibate? Right?"

"It was sort of what I was thinking."

"Just remember a lot of that was part of her cover," Charlotte paused, "the rest though was her punishing herself in a way."

"Punishing?"

"Yes herself,  and indirectly Dad." Charlotte finished her drink.

"Do you think she will ever..."

"Have sex again? I'm guessing only if there is some my father can be resurrected from the dead."

“Pity – surely someone…”

“I’m not going to answer that Piet – and you should not ask…”

Sunday 14th August
9 am BST
The New House
Ardray


“Good morning everyone!”

"Well Mummy is there anything you want to tell me?" Christine smiled as Tamsin and Charlie came into the breakfast room together.  Tamsin was wearing a white jumper and jeans, and Charlie an open necked shirt and pants.

"I choose not to answer that question, darling, on the same grounds that you'll probably use if I ask you what John is doing here." Tamsin smiled.

Shaking her head, Christine said "Was he any good?"

"KITS!" Tamsin hissed, "there are certain questions that are beyond the pale."

"I know," Christine laughed, "but I wanted to see your face if I asked."

“Are all teenagers like this,” Charlie said as he sat down.

“Most of the time,” Tamsin said as John and Kit shook their heads.

“Good morning, Miss Agnes,” Sheilagh said as Agnes came into the breakfast room with Miley and Laura, the two girls going to join the main party.

"How did the early breakfasts go Sheilagh?"

"They went fine Miss Agnes, the girls and me got the ladies and gentlemen shooting this morning on their way nicely."

"Good, and for those people with more sense than to want to get up early after a wonderful party like last night?"

"I'll be serving a buffet breakfast most of the morning Miss."

"Sheilagh,” Agnes said with a smile, “what would i do without you?"

"Och getaway with yer Miss Aggie," the housekeeper smiled, "I'm only doing my job."

"But you are doing it magnificently...Thank you.”  In the background, she heard John say “girls, fill up – we’re going into the village later."

“Good morning,” Karen said as she came in, “is that fresh bacon I smell?”

“It is indeed, help yourself,” Aggie said as they loaded their plates, and then sat next to each other at the table.

As Karen poured tea into two cups, she said "Is Donald shooting this morning Aggie?"

"No," Agnes shook her head, "he's gone to talk to Archie and Victoria, and from there he was going to see the police and the other official people. Anyway it wouldn't quite look right if he went shooting this close after her death."

"I understand," Karen nodded. "You know if there was one thing bad about being educated in England, it's that I have a fatal addiction to full breakfasts."

"There are worse addictions," Agnes smiled.  “A lot of my friends share the same problem.”

"I know, but too much of this will play havoc with my figure."

"You know, I need thank you and all the other Sisters for what you've done," Aggie whispered."

"Agnes you are a sister, we protect our own."

“Even so, you went above and beyond for me and Miley.”

Smiling, Karen said “I told you to endure a little longer, but now that time has ended, and it is time for your reward.

“In all things.”

“What do you mean by - no, don’t tell me.  Let me find out myself…”



10 am BST
Dunmarnock


“Ah that’s better,” Rose said as she took a long drink from a mug of tea.

"Did Kylie get away on time Rose?"

"She did Shirley," Rose glanced at her watch, "she should almost be at the airport by now."

"Good - I didn't get a proper chance to thank her, I'll have to do it when I see her in New York."

"She was worried that you might not be talking to her after you got her bill for all the outfits."

"No," Shirley laughed, "it's fine. I knew Kylie Mitchell originals wouldn't come cheap."

"As my old Mam used to say,” Rose said quietly, “you have to pay for quality."

"Agreed Rose, and Kylie's work is of the highest quality."

"It is."

"Oh and by the way I need to congratulate you and your helpers as well, when I send Kylie a cheque I'll include a bonus for you all."

“No need – but a donation to the Design department of the school…”



"Did you ring your flatmates Grace?"

"I did Vicky,” Grace said as she sat down, “I told them to tell Wilhelmina and others that I got caught in a Missy ambush and that I'm shooting this tweed collection."

"Are half the stories I've heard or read about Missy Auerbach true?"

"Oh you better believe it Vicky," Grace shook her famous blonde hair, "she's a living legend."

"Who are you talking about Grace?" Juliette asked as she sat down and stirred a mug of coffee.

"Missy. Victoria was asking if the stories are true."

“Which ones – the ones about how she appears just when you least expect her, or…  She’s just come into the room hasn’t she?”


"So what news from New York Ju?" Shirley asked her friend as Missy walked off.

"Saintz won easily, RCM had engine problems but still managed to finish third..."

"That I knew, I got a text from Sandy earlier. she wasn't happy, but at least its more qualification points in the bag."

"It's just what Jan said. "So what else? Everyone is looking forward to the Christening"

"That's a given Juliette darling."

"Vanessa and her friends have been invited to sing at a doowop festival in Los Angeles..."

"You didn't tell anyone about John and I?"

"No, I promised," Juliette smiled, "and according to Heather planning for those projects I mentioned is going ahead."

"That's excellent, I might even join you for a couple of them."

“You’ll always be welcome…”


Ardray
The New House


"So when does school restart for you all in New York Pepsi?" the young Irish girl asked as she put her coat on.

"The first full week in September Aileen."

"So you fly home next Sunday after the Christening, then fly back the next weekend, you have a week of football games, and then you fly back yet again to start school?"

"Yep."

"God and I thought Paula and I were going to be busy."

“Welcome to our world – anyway come on – we promised Kit we’d be crowd control as well…”

The Moor

"So Piet you ended up loading for Caroline this morning?" Catriona asked as she started to help unpack the hampers from the SUVs.

"I did,” the big man said as he stretched his arms up, "Ama and Francesca went to Mass in Oban this morning."

"Maybe a lot of us should have gone to church and given thanks," Catriona spoke quietly, "we all have a lot to be thankful for."

"She won't be overly missed, Cat dearest."

"On that I think most of us agree." Catriona paused for a moment and looked at the big man. "Pieter I know you are a journalist, but if I tell you something can I have your word it won't end up in your newspaper?"

"That sounds intriguing?"

"Do I have your promise?"

"As long as it’s not something that breaks my personal ethical code, then yes you do."

"Alright," Cat took a deep breath, "you've no doubt heard that years ago Agnes was convicted of some prostitution offenses?"

"I had."

"Well it turns out that Catherine had used blackmail to ensure that the judge gave Aggie the maximum penalties."

"She hated her that much? Even back then?"

"Yes," Cat shook her head. "Anyway Clarissa Latimer, Francesca, and I believe the evidence is clear enough that the Ministry will readily agree to the overturning of Agnes's conviction on the grounds of judicial impropriety."

"Sounds very likely to me as well."

"The problem is that Agnes is afraid that if she does ask for her conviction to be quashed, all her dirty linen will get washed in public opinion again." Clarissa paused again, "as a top journalist Piet is that likely? Is there some way we can ensure it doesn't?"


"So where are the girls and some of the other children Agnes?" Fiona asked as she sat with her hostess.

"Elizabeth's man Thomas has driven them all into the village. Kit and John were going to take them to Mrs McDonalds to shop for sweets Aunt Fiona, and Pepsi agreed to go as an extra pair of eyes."

"Does she still have all those jars full of old fashioned goodies?"

"She does."

"We all probably paid the price in fillings, but even so shopping there remains one of my fondest memories of childhood," Lady Fiona smiled, "and that was back in the days when OLD Mrs McDonald owned the shop."

"I remember dad telling me all about it." Agnes laughed lightly. "Children nowadays grow up so fast but it’s still nice that a few old pleasures remain to them."

"Listen,” Fiona said quietly, “Simon told me what you and Donald are planning with the two girls."

"I hope you both approve?"

"Well I'm not sure that I like the recourse to extra-legal methods,” Fiona said quietly, “but Simon and I will both turn a blind eye."

"Thank you Aunt Fiona.  Given their background, I want them to have so much more…"

"Simon's happy that you are going to rename Miley for Amelia."

"Well we will still call her Miley most of the time, but I think Mummy would like it."

"Amelia would love the idea, and its convenient that Miley can be taken as a shortened form of Amelia." Fiona sipped her tea. "So are you going to move them into Bayswater Road with you?"

"I'm proposing to."

"And what about schools?"

Agnes sat on the tailgate, and said "I'm open to advice, but I know Laura dreams of being back in a proper traditional school."

“It might be best, once they are settled, but it would mean getting them assessed.  Have you spoken to Shirley?  She had tutors for Maisha as well as you?”

“It’s a possibility, at first anyway, but I think we get Catherine buried before we start to think seriously about that.”

“On the other matter – your passport and your right to travel…”

“Oh lord – please, don’t involve HIM!”

“Oh Boris is off limits – let’s just say Simon and Sir Charles are double teaming on this…”

1 pm BST
Ardray Village


Mr McDonald hung her coat on the hook by the store room door, and looked round as the door opened, smiling as she saw Kit and John come in.

“Miss Christine, Master John – what brings you to my store today?”

“Not us so much as these young ladies and gentlemen,” Kit said as Aileen, Chlodagh, Edwina, Charles, Laura, Miley and Robert came in, Pepsi closing the door behind them as they looked round.  

“Oh my – and who do we have here,” Mrs McDonald said with a smile.

“Well, that’s Edwina, Clodagh and Miley over there,” John said as the three younger girls looks through the glass front at the liquorice laces and swirls, “the other two girls are Laura and Aileen, and the boys Charles and Robert.”

“And hae they all been here for the wedding?”

“Among other things – anyway, we wanted them to get some sweets, and Agnes said to ask for a quarter of the usual.”

“Aye, that we can do,” Mrs McDonald said as Miley looked round.  “I’ve seen the shops in Leicester Square and Covent Garden,” she whispered, “but this is so different.  What are in all the jars?”

“Toffees, mints, gobstoppers and boiled sweets – what do you really like Miley?”

The young girl looked at Mrs McDonald, before she whispered “I really like mint creams.”

“Well, I think we can help wi that,” Mrs McDonald said as she took a jar down, Miley watching wide eyed as she poured some chocolate discs into a scale, and then into a paper bag, twisting it round and handing it to Miley.

“Thank you,” she said quietly as Laura said “do you have any red liquorice?”

“With or without sugar strands?”

“Without,” Laura said as Mrs McDonald took half a dozen sticks and put them in a separate bag.

“This must all be new to them,” Pepsi said to Kit as the younger kids each asked for their sweets.

“True – best to let them be kids.”

“Is I may ask, Miss Kit – who are they really?”

“Well,” Kit said quietly, “we have Lady Edwina and Lord Charles Treharran, Lady Aileen Gaunt, Lady Clodagh Gaunt, and Master Robert Babbage.”

“And the other two girls?”

“Well – they will soon be adopted by Agnes, so you may be seeing more of them Mrs McDonald, but not a word please.  For now, Laura and Miley are just two ordinary kids.”

Mrs McDonald smiled as she said “ah good – more young voices…”



The New House

Donald walked in as Sheilagh closed the door, and said “Miss Agnes is in the drawing room, Lord Donald.  If you go through, I will bring some tea.”

“Thank you,” he said as he walked into the room, Agnes looking up as she said “rough morning?”

“I’ve had better days,” Donald said as he sat down and Sheilagh brought the tea tray in, setting it on the low table before she left and closed the door behind herself.

"Well darling?" Agnes asked as Donald poured himself a cup of tea.

"Well - Archie and Victoria agreed that my idea for her funeral sounds about right."

"So we will have her cremated and then her ashes put in the Fitzstuart family vault in Ordford Cathedral?"

"We will Aggie," Donald sighed, "she will be buried as my wife with all due ceremony."

"Did you talk to Clive?"

"I did,” Donald said as he took a drink, and put his cup down.  “He asked that, when we can, Victoria and I should make an appointment to see him to discuss the exact arrangements."

"Do you think many people will actually want to come to her funeral Donald?"

"To be honest,” Donald said with a sigh, “I don't know, but I think at least for appearances sake several people will force themselves to."

"Am I being wicked in thinking that given how much appearances mattered to her, that somehow seems what she'd love?"

"Who knows?" Donald finished his tea. "It was one of the things that Victoria and I talked about, whether either of us really did know the true Catherine."

"Did you talk to Will about all this?"

"Yes, and he said that he will put up guests attending the funeral at Ordford. Mandy says she will organise a small thing for after the internment as well."

"I guessed she might," Agnes held her fiancés hand. "So any idea when her body will be released and what legal hurdles that need to be jumped?"

“Essentially, although she was a wanted woman, it is still an unexplained death, so we need the permission of the local Sheriff to release the body.  Normally, an inquiry is needed, but I know Simon and Mike Babbage are arguing int his cse there is no need for that.”

“And once that permission is given?”

“We take her south and make the arrangements, and in many ways, the sooner the better.”



“So what is America like Maisha?” Kit asked as most of the younger people sat round Sheilagh’s kitchen table having their lunch.

“I find it interesting.  The contrast between New York and London is amazing.”

“I can’t believe that Miley and I will be going there soon,” Laura shook her head. “I pinched myself to make sure I was awake when Uncle Donald told us.”

“Well for me it’s my home,” Ama smiled, “I’m the opposite, I get excited coming to Europe.”

“You come back in a fortnight?”

“To play some football games, yes.  I will see my sister again as well.”

“Your sister,” Mylie said.

“Uma – she was adopted by a woman near Harlow, and we will meet when I go there."


3 pm EST
Furstenheim


"In the end it wasn't even really a race Mom," Carina said as she looked at her computer screen, "and Tuesday and Wednesday in Rumania will be as bad the girls think."

"Did they even break a sweat?"

"Not really," Carina smiled, "it just seems pointless on the part of US Rowing ordering us to do these two regatta's."

"Sometimes what the authorities ask in so many aspects of life seems like that darling."

"I know Mom. At least with so little really needing doing I finished a couple more of the books I wanted, and needed, to read."

"That's what I like to hear. Student/Model/Athlete always remember the Student bit comes first..."

"You missed out my being a Mom as well," Cari giggled.

“True – well, Klaus will be flying back on Tuesday with Rudi and Terri, while I head to London and complete my research, and then we have the Christening before we all fly home.”

“I’ll be back Thursday morning – and I cannot wait to see the family again.”

“I know the feeling…”



2 pm
West Central Park


“Right – I’ll let them know and get back to you – we’ll talk soon Emerald,” Katy Carter said as she ended the Skype call, and left her bedroom.

"Was that Orion I heard you talking to Katy?" Katherine said as Katy came into the kitchen.

"It was Gran – she sends her love to everyone here."

"Did she have anything interesting to say?"

"Basically just the dates for the Irish Fashion Fair in Dublin, and then the Linen Show in Belfast."

"When are they?"

"At the end of September," Katy poured herself some orange juice. "I'll need a week off school."

"You'll what young lady?" Janice said as she walked into the kitchen.

"Mom,” Katy said with a sigh, “you know I promised both Eve Stone, and Orion that I'd walk those shows."

"I know you did," Jan poured herself a coffee, "but I'm still not overly happy with you having to ask for time off school to do so."

"Jeannie will be in the same position."

"I know."

"If neither you or Barbara want to travel I can find some good excuses to go home," Katherine offered.

“We’ll talk about it later,” Jan said as she looked out of the window, “and talking of travellers, looks like one has come home at last.”



Marina looked up as the telephone rang, putting the Times supplement down as she stood and picked up the receiver.

“Hello?

“Oh thanks Charles – I’ll open the door,” she said, replacing the receiver and opening the apartment door before she hugged the young blonde standing outside.

“Welcome home,” she said as Kylie came in, Clint following with her bags.

“Thank you darling,”  Kylie drawled as she took her jacket off and hung it up, “and thank you Clint for meeting me.”

“No problem Kyles – Susan says she’ll see you both tomorrow,” Clint said as he left the apartment, Kylie collapsing into an armchair as Marina looked at her.

“Tea?”

“Oh yes – I just want to do nothing for the rest of the day…”


2 pm
Washington DC


"Well Jeff - do you see the problem?"

"I do Charles," Jefferson Davis Hunter said as he looked at his computer screen.  He was sat in an opulent oak-panelled room, the sun shining through the window.   "She does seem to be a case where yeah technically we shouldn't let her have a visa, but when you consider every detail then just maybe we need to review the case and maybe grant an exemption."

"I know you are with Homeland Security now Jeff,” Charles Gresham-Fox said from Scotland, “but you used to be at the embassy in London, you know Donald, and I've no doubt you've heard of Agnes."

"I have," the American smiled, "and no, I’m not going to tell you how.  Okay - just let me look at the paperwork in the office tomorrow Charles, and I'll get back to you."

"Thanks Jeff, that's all i ask."

As he ended the call, Jefferson sat back and thought for a moment.  She knew who Agnes McAdam was, of the legendary discretion, and of the role she had unwittingly played some years ago.  Perhaps it was time she was repaid…”


7 pm BST
The New House
Ardray


“Agnes, thank you again for a wonderful weekend on behalf of all of us,” Penny said as she stood with the other girls in the hallway.  

“It was a pleasure – the cars will get you to the airport for the plane down to London, and I’ll see you all some time in the next fortnight.”

“Stay safe,” Helen said as she kissed Agnes on both cheeks, “and look after those two.”

“Oh don’t worry, I feel a lot safer now,” Agnes said with a smile s she walked them down to the cars, waiting as they set off before she walked back in.

“Aggie,” Tamsin called out, “you’d better get in here, there’s something on the neas you need to hear.”

“What is it,” Agnes said as she came in, and saw Sally Magnusson on the television from the BBC news studio.

"Police have confirmed tonight that the body of a woman, which was discovered near Oban on Friday night, was that of Lady Catherine Fitzstuart, the wife of the British Ambassador to France, Lord Donald Fitzstuart.  While no details have been released of the circumstances of the discovery, a police statement says that she is believed to have died as a result of an embolism.  

“Lady Fitzstuart had recently absconded from a psychiatric hospital where she was receiving treatment following a recent breakdown.  A report has been presented to the Sheriff of Oban for consideration,  Lord Donald has issued a statement on behalf of himself and Lady Victoria Gordon, stating that they wish time to mourn their loss, and ask for privacy at this time.

“In other news,,,"

“Well,” Kit said, “it’s out in the public now.”

“It surely is – where are the girls?”

“Helping Sheilagh with supper - why?”

“I need to take care of something – let me know when dinner’s ready,” Agnes said as she went up to her room, and opened a laptop up.  “Well, here goes nothing,” she said quietly as she opened a Skype window, and placed a call.

“Well this is a surprise – what cane I do for you Agnes,” Heather said as she appeared in the Manchester kitchen.

“Sorry to disturb your Sunday Heather…”

“Ah dinner’s done and the kids are out with Jo. What do you want to talk about?”

“Actually,” Agnes said quietly, “I need your – specialist help.”

“Okkayyy – that sounds serious.  How can I really help you?”

“Heather – I don’t know how much of what has happened this weekend has reached your ears…”

“Apart from the wedding?  We have heard about certain other events.  On which note – congratulations I hear are due.”

“Thank you – but that’s the reason I called.  Donald and I are planning to formally adopt the two girls I brought from my school.  Laura, the older one, is an orphan, but Miley’s parents have left the country and abandoned her.  Heather…”

“I get the problem, Agnes.  Let me have her date of birth – or a reasonable guess at it – and I’ll see what can be done in terms of what you need.”

“Heather, thank you.  If I let you have that info later today?”

“I’ll see what I can bring to Furstenheim.  Be at peace Agnes – we’ll talk at the weekend.”
New Beginnings - Part 4
A nice relaxing Sunday as some news is released, and plans laid..
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KP-Presents
Kev Pickering
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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This week's update at the site has the missign part of Sins of the Past...
Fri Oct 28, 2016, 1:09 PM
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Ta mate! Hope I can stay longer this time round ;)
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:iconsilkenvixen:
Silkenvixen Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2018
I never made it online yesterday to wish you a happy birthday!!  I'm sorry, I hope it was wonderful!
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Achast Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2018
Happy birthday! Have your cake and eat it too 
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Happy birthday!
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Happy Birthday!
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J-Jell Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2018
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
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Happy Birthday!
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Golavus Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2018
And a very happy birthday to you sir!
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Jack-Rabbit2 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
Happy B-day!
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Happy Birthday, Kev! :D
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Happy Birthday and 2018, buddy!
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