Alex hailed a Black cab, asking for the bus station she collapsed into the back of the cab, “North west is going to be Seattle…”
“so Miss Lexi I hear you might be looking for work” the figure was tall and looked very much like Maria “My Sister speaks well of you”
Alex sprang back like a scalded cat, fighting the urge to fight or flight as both would not end well. “Frack sake! Bastard taxis! they’ll be the sodding death of me, FFS”
the Spirit looked a wolf “hullo hound”
“And hullo to you too Mary”
‘Mary’ leaned forward and called to the driver “old bond street, 32 please” she sat back in the chair “my office” she said by way of explanation
“do you have any other friends in town i should know about?” Alex asked of Wolf
“I’m just a shocked as you” said wolf “I had thought they were in Paris”
“ah, what is going on with you and the sisters”
“mind your own bees wax, girl has to have some secrets”
But you a guy, male…I thought"
“I never told you that”
The journey was conducted in silence, a very awkward silence. The Taxi paid off they trooped up stairs.
dead bolt, brahman and maglock. In side had been a minimalist office space all blended walls and concealed uplighters. it was now a mess of mismatched high end furniture both antique and new on very out of place Persian rugs, massive rugs that cover the floors. Mary slipped of her shoes and planted her hoof into carpet slippers.
“please make yourself at home Darling, Mutt sit by her and don’t move.” S
She reappeared moment later with a tea tray all bone china and cream cakes.
“please tuck in, be a love and be Mum, i’m a miffy” she sat down and fizzled through paper and banged away as her desk comlink “oh bother it all deal with these whiney fools later” she accepted the tea “be a poppet and pass me one of those vanilla slices”
“ok so to business” she said as she licked her fingers clean. I took a call, so to speak, From my sister last night a very long call in which you featured very prominently" her tome changes “as did you!"
wolf look around to avoid her gaze “Mary not here, not now it really isn’t the place”
“oh Quite but when it is the time and place we will have it out”
“I know but for now business”
“oh yes I forget myself, so darling simply out, I need a body guard who doesn’t look like she’s an entry for Miss universe. all the women I have been put in contact with all look like they were made by the same firm that did stone heng. It would seem you however are an answer to my prayers. no one will believe you are a model, you’re just too tall for that but next to My silly little VJ You’ll be fine even in heals.” she leaned back in her chair and raised her wrist to her brow in mock dramatic angst" so what do you say Lexi? please say you’ll do it and save me the trouble of throwing myself out of the window “she sprawled herself across the desk reaching for lexi," please say you’ll do it, you get a lovely outfit for the night and some nice toys and get to see a sim first"
“Mary? you know is lovely but I’m not sure” Alex was already visualising hitting some creep who was assuming she was part of the buffet, “I, erm my ah. I have PTSD and I sometimes get triggered by Men coming on to me. I need to be clear on this" Wow that came out easier than I thought
“oh sweetie i know but you will be fine, your mark will not be any trouble and to be honest the two of you together i doubt even the biggest lech in the industry would try it and if they do and you do it no problem as you will be wired for sound anyway. money wise you slapping down some casting couch weinstein would be lucrative as it will not be hack able, remember you’ll be union for this so you’ll be backed up”
“Ok, so why? the red carpet has more security that a gold shipment.”
“Oh our problem is two fold, one you mark has offended The SW4 real posse and you know what that means"
“a face full of drain cleaner”
“exactly and the sort of security laid on at these events can’t help with that. If he hired two big bruisers to watch over him then everyone will accuse him of running scared, that damages him as an artist. they only get one chance at this”
“and the second thing?”
“there have been a few extractions over Christmas and his studio are worried about that. To be honest he is the studio but there it is.” she settled in her chair “so are you on with this the whole this is Spinrad enterprises so they will supply the hair clothes and accessories, you need to be at the model brief and the security brief. I’ll check to make sure you can be there and no give yourself away”
Alex raised an eyebrow
“the SW4 could be one of the models, wouldn’t be the first time”
“Oh, I see” She smiled a wry smile “won’t be the first time I’ve pretended to be someone’s hooker girlfriend”
“so you’ll do it for me?” Mary gasped
“we need to talk money/remuneration but in principal yes”
“thousand up front, another two thousand if you have to act. and 500 if you manage to do it without the papers finding out. oh and if you have any funky toys i’ll sort those for the month”
“two thousand upfront three more if it kicks of and a thousand for being discreet, along with the subscriptions for the month”
“oh she’s you’re child alright hound of that there is no doubt, “she sighed and shut her eyes “ok and the safe is over there, you might as just well empty it while you’re at it”
“ok!” Alex pretended to get up Mary sniggered. “Wait darling I’m going to make a call see if we can get some bit done now so you can have Thursday to do whatever you need to do then I run you over to the apartment”
“I have several but you can stay in this one for a while because I feel guilty coming in under budget. and it means you wont be see coming and going from offices, they can just come to you and then we just feed you into line come Friday.”
the comm link fired to life “YES?! WHAT?! SPEAK! oh Mary sorry, been a bit of a morning. I think someone left the gate open at the idiot farm. so where are we with the close insecurity? do I have to book a brace of bruisers?”
“darling, Nigel, have i ever let Spinrad down?”
“well No and you know that irks me, so what do you have” Mary spun the terminal to face Alex She was peered at by a balled well-groomed bald Dwarf. “Wow, stand up, turn round, you wearing anything under that Hoodie? good take it off. OH KAY! Mary want you back now” Mary pulled the set back “yes she’ll more that do on the image front but what makes you sure she’ll fulfil the other criteria”
“she hunts blood mages for a living and she’s damn good at it” Mary stated with a very blunt matter of fact tone"
“she does what?! never mind i heard you so she good with what a gun, pistols this is London”
“lexi do have a quick rundown”
“er well I practice Aikido but I’m better with a sword. I can take one two people with a sword and expect to put them down.”
She heard Nigel cough nervously “erm well good, is that erm in the gym or for real”
Alex rolled her eyes “I have done this for real and I’m still here”
“sorry to be crass but i don’t want a wannabe on my carpet but the voice analyser is showing your erm disquiet at my dumb questions. ok Mary I assume you have a gilded cage you can put her in and I’ll let him know not to sweat it anymore”
Mary turned the set back to her" ok so I guess your called lexi, Lexi in need you to strip off to your underwear so i can see what we can dress you in. Are you ok with that? I don’t want to scare you off. it’s just you have to appreciate that while you are there to do a job we are still just a fashion show for Spinrad, everyone from the production crew will be in company uniform so to speak so we can show case his spring summer collection. which just happens to be closely tied in with this film."
Alex nodded “its ok. I understand, basically you want to take my measurements”
“yes if i can get the Premiere the measurements in the next hour she might have something by morning, ok so if you don’t mind” his holographic image gesture to a stop on the floor “good little to your…left. Stop…forward. there now turn on the spot and …holy mother of the universe. What the hell are those!?”
“that’s why I hunt them”
Nigel hand blanched at that “ok so backless is out so well. Well I’m sorry, do those hurt. Now I mean”
“uh no the one on my shoulder aches when its foggy but not that I notice”
Nigel mouthed OH, “ok then get dressed” he pursed his lips taping his clasped forefingers against them as he focused off into never land. “OH this isn’t any problem really because you’ll be wearing a blouse and paly suits and that cape and those boots.. do you want transmuting soles? or are you does your pugilistic tendency’s run to scrapping in heals?"
“transmuting soles would be best”
“ok” he was looking at something on his desk “that is all I need for now, Miss Lexi, if I may call you that please accept my thanks for taking this on, now unfortunately because you are neither spinrad personel nor A list you cannot keep any of these items and so you will have to agree to sign for them and return at the end of the contract” he looked up “can i have Mary back please” Mary turned back" Ok Mary, I will call you later to let you know timings for the fittings, I get the knuckle dragger to come with me so he and Lexi can chat, hope you’ve got a good emitter at this flat you taking her to."
“it the Mews in Mayfair”
“oh nice, ok good afternoon”
“right then” stated Mary “you must be hungry let nip down to the Ritz and get a bite”
“I’m not really dressed for that” said Alex as she looked down at her Jeans and hoodie"
“Oh bother that, if Carl wants to make a fuss I’ll just start going to Claridge’s”
Carl tried very hard not to raise an eyebrow but he did put them on a table near the fire escape which suited BB just fine. after a nice salad and another piece of cake Alex had to ask questions while Wolf systematically sniffed his way round the room.
“so who is my mark?”
“do you know Tall Paul?”
“er yes very I’ve always been a fan of the Wylde troggs he was a founding member left really sudden.” she look after Wolf “went on the VJ for Fabric and Home I remember”
“that’s him and he’s also been doing Sound tracks for films mainly art house stuff, even pick up two awards, but he’s always stayed close to his neighbourhood and he’s pissed of the local gang. they’ve got no idea where he lives so they have been trying to get into his gigs and clubs. this is the first open air event since it all kicked off so, we, his management team and spinrad are all a bit concerned”
“ok so who’s briefing me tomorrow?”
“Chap called jenkins, Australian, works for Spinrad as a contractor, Seems to know his stuff. More tea?”
Alex found it a little strange eating afternoon tea with a spirit, mainly because she could not get round the fact that they did not need to eat or drink. She mulled on this while Mary read the old fashioned hard copy paper. she looked up on finishing.
“I think you Going to like the outfit Nigel has planned for you, it’s very high-tech and very Avant guard. it’s so exciting to be allowed to us all of Spinrads collections. Tell me Alex truly are you excited or are you just treating this as any job”
“I can’t say I’m excited about the fashion. while I do like to dress up, I mean who doesn’t. but its more the red carpet thing, I’m not sure if I’m ready for the exposure or whether the exposure is a good thing”
“ah I see, Right lets get you to the Flat, do you have bags?”
“yes I left them at the St Martin”
“ah good I’ll send a driver to pick them up, where did I put my Comm link?” she raised her arms and looked around her
“it’s here, on the table”
“Ah good, i really need to get myself a PA but I just never get round to it”
She left the dining room talking and haled a cab, which duly took them to a Mayfair mews near Harley street. down this little side ally they walked to a large thick wooded door in a 1950 modernist style of wood panelling. it side was just as the outside all very minimalist wood with block colours. very little furniture and lots of semi concealed storage to hide the clutter.
“kitchen, diner bar, living room with office space and up those stairs two rooms and a bathroom that our roof garden and down stairs is a double garage/workspace. this place is quite fun for dinner parties in the summer. Will this be OK? I’m sorry to dash but I have two meetings soon and all the papers are at the office. Laundry was today bins are on Mondays. sorry have to dash”
As she explored the flat her comlink pinged to register her pay, then the security system offer to sync with her commlink, yes. which was a good thing as her bags arrived. She unpacked wi=hich took about three minutes then she realised she’d been living in her cat suit for about a week it needed cleaning. she bundled it up and hit the street. on Wigmore street she found an express cleaners ready tomorrow morning they open at 8, from there she walked up to Selfridges and into the basement, the book shop opened out in to the Tech shop and on to the HMV. in the Tech shop she bought four burner phones a little Sony out and about phone a spare set of trodes and a monical with image link and a pair of binoculars. she exited through the front on to oxford street and walked down in the crowds till she saw a sports apparel shop, set of sports gear later she went back to the flat, washed her new Sports kit and then set to in the garage/WORKSPACE with a proper workout with her sword as she warmed down her comm trilled and the image of a smartly dressed orc rezzed up.
“so your Lexi or should i say Big Bird? its ok I always check contractors out. Mr Fixer speak very highly of you. And I think very highly of Mr fixer so you and me are good, Do you like Lebanese food? good I’ll bring some round we can chat and then take a walk down to the square”
half an hour later the Smart Orc was at the door with two bags of food and a back pack full of plans.
“hi Jenkins please to meet Ya” he grinned.
Alex looked over his shoulder as he spoke and noted that he made no attempt to move untile she invited him in. As he cleared the door way he paused again waiting for the invit to go on up the stairs. when he reached the top he paused again and this time held up the food, Alex waved him over to kitchenette while pull her collar on.
“cam collar just in case we have an idea and forget it as the discussion moves”
“ah smooth idea, oh christ! is a spinrad product” he sounded no too pleased. “you have to excuse me but I’ve spent a month with these bludgers and I’m going of Me box!”
“too right, anyway, sorry if i have read you wrong but Elf and fit I’m guessing you’re a veggie” he grinned and he held up a box of something “does meat offend you?”
“oh a month with fad fascists will do that to you”
“no if you need to suck up half a cow go for it, I have been known to have the odd fried breakfast every now and again” Alex stopped and suddenly realised she had never had a London breakfast before, ever. She looked at Wolf who lolled his tongue in reply
“What did you get?”
“Its called a shawarma, its Arabian rather than Turkish but its like a kebab”
“You ok if i try a bit?”
“yer fine, sorry about this, I’m Australian Veggie is a heresy out there”
“Its ok, lets get the food out and then look at your plans”
Alex noticed that he kept a piece of furniture between him and her all the time if he could help it, someone had been talking or someone had found one of the few new reports that got out before the universities lawyers got on the case. she didn’t mind. in fact it might even help a bit.
they poured over the plans for three hours nibbling the food and double checking all the routes and angles. Alex walk a virtual red carpet six times with the security guy all marked out.
“I’ll leave that here we’ll pick it up when we get you on Friday. if things kick off your nark will get lifted anyway there’ll be you me and Bones who will be people less so we’ll be the QRF, we’ll run interference on anything going on. unless it our own history’s catching up with us in which case who knows”
“you got history”
“oh we all got history, jobs that went bad runner we cant stand corps we cheesed off, in this life you will tread on a few toes no helping it”
“ok so you saying hold him still till your evac team get to him then we meet at Bones? position to see what’s what”
“yes nice and simple. bones is good she used to be a boxer and a car thief so she can handle herself, you are renowned for being a hell cat and I’m not too bad me self” he grinned polishing his nails on his shirt, Alex laughed
“ok” she cut in “let’s go get this walk through done” she looked at wolf but he was gone. she walked to her room and got her posh coat and flung it on. she found wolf laying on the bed staring at the wall “what are you doing?” she asked
“staring at a wall”
“ok, why are you doing that?”
“To clear my mind, I read about it in one of those magazines down stairs”
“a lot on your mind?”
“yes, as it happens. you going out?”
“oh good, have fun. I’m going to stare at my wall some more”
“OK, I think”
Jenkins was waiting coat on bag slung As they climbed down the stairs he asked
“is it ok if I call you lexi for now Big Bird seams a little odd right now?”
“er ok, I suppose”
they cut through SoHo they had to go round last night fun and games so cut straight down Berwick street and in to china town and started walking the routes and rechecking the angles, it was obvious Jenkins had been over this every day for a month so Alex deferred to him as he gave her the grand tour. when they were done the grabbed two soycafs from the Mc Huges and say on the stone benches watch the flow of the people. Jenkins either stood or crouched and generally kept his distance as they carried out full conversation while looking over each other shoulders watch the square. the fans were already starting to form, they had tents, sleeping bags huge fishing umbrellas. many seem to have met before.it the two/three hours they were there the crowd doubled in size
Jenkins looked at his watch “we should get back you can have one more walk through with me and pone on you tod when I’m gone then I’m ordering you to go to bed” he gave her a wry smile “you have no idea how these dickheads can waste your time doing nothing and make it seem earth shatteringly important”
As Jenkins left he thanked for her time and check she had his comcode then left. Alex took the last walk through on her own. and then as instructed went to bed.
She woke in the morning to memories of crying women and shouted arguments. she didn’t mind as it wasn’t a certain persons leering face. she ate a breakfast of left over Lebanese food she was sorting the rubbish and a tea when her Comm trilled
“Ah miss Lexi we are just setting out there will be four of us you know Mr Jenkins, I hear, and the premier and his assistant and myself of course.”
just as she hung up she hear the door slam, Alex palmed a big knife and position herself between the door and the roof garden. Mary crashed into the room with something in a bag and something that smelled like real coffee in a tray.
“are they here yet?”
“no they just rang they are on their way”
“ugh, Nigel will be late for his own funeral I do declare” she pulled a savoury Danish out of the bag and through a full mouth and much pointing of claws explained breakfast was not optional. Alex looked around for wolf but he was nowhere to be seen.
The bell rang again twenty minutes later and the four entered the room in a tidal wave of stuff, just stuff and more stuff and stuff with extra stuff.
Alex found herself push out of the room while they set up
“I’ll get a shower” she declared
Jenkins followed at a discreet distance “can I hide in your spare room?”
Alex felt odd having a man this close in her life like this. and it was not a good odd either, she had check the locks on the door twice and her sword had found itsway into the bathroom. as she towelled off. she did not check herself in the mirror, she did not even wipe the steam off it, she did not want to see herself just in case the breaks were starting to show.
she pulled on her sports kit as it was the lightest and went back down stairs. Nigel stood in front of a sea of clothes and shoes and accessories and staring looking equipment.
“Please, Miss Lexi could you just step up on to the step here so we can confirm my measurements form yesterday.” then she was handed a blouse with amour in it and a one peice trouser suit. she nipped upstairs to try it on. it was made out of the most extraordinary material. it was like looking in to pure darkness, it reflected no light and sh pulled it on over the blouse she realised she was effectively wearing a shadow or a silhouette. it was amazing. the leg where cut long so she pulled on her heals to get down the stairs without falling.
as she walked it Mary gasped “oh my word that’s just stunning, Nigel with the cape quick”
Nigel walked over with a cape which he draped over shoulders. it was short can down to her elbow and it had a high collar. then Nigel pressed something in the collar and it disappeared, when she moved it strobed and pixelated and then when it settled down it also disappered.
Nigel smiled. “it really very effective, an amazing effect. it military tech rhuthaminum polymers in the cape and the suit is a thing called void Black. He had to pull a lot of strings to get hold of this” Nigel looked to the dwarven premier who gestured to the set up with a smile of someone who loves their work. for the next two hour she adjusted Alex’s suit till she was satisfied to let it go. the boots were fitted and then had to be programmed hence the machine to check gait. Then, finally, Jenkins stepped forward with a box and a big smile.
“hope you got your pissing pants on because you’re going to wet yourself when you see this” he opened the box a took out a solid metal belt “tah dah” he beamed “oh sorry” with pretend fluster he pressed a stud on the side of the belt and Alex gawped as it morphed into a sword. she put her hands to her mouth while her eye grew greedily intense
Jenkins passed her the weapon and she hefted it in her hand. it was well balanced and a useful length. if the other guy has a monosword or such she would be at a disadvantage but she’d have surprise.
“is this thing armoured?” she asked plucking at the suit
“yte and a full range of extras, so stun guns, petrol bombs and drain cleaner will not be an issue. there two pocket so you can have two comlinks on the go”
Jenkins chimed in, “yer one on public with a Ute full of ice and an agent the other on private with more stealth that a banshee on the Denver line” he smirked “give us redundancy and resilience in those first few moments of any rush”
“Ah, ok, i just would never have thought about running them at the same time”
“we got the :trix back up to run it here.”
Nigel piped up “Ok so we are done here for now Premier will be back this evening for final fitting I will see you tomorrow morning. I leave you to thugs to talk though your controlled violence wet dreams” and with that the team started to pack away, which happened very quickly and neatly even down to a little vacuum cleaner to hide any trace of their passing. Alex made a metal note to and vacuum cleaner to her wish list.
“Well i don’t have any questions for you, you for me?”
“no, I’m good. I’m going to walk the sim again, just need to get the names down pat so I can call out any deep field plays I spot”
“right so it mid-day, i want to pick your brain about that article you wrote and thermal and voice empathy software. I think I’m missing a skill set or mind set” he stood back with his hands behind his back “lets hit one of these restaurant in the swanky department stores and you can tell me your thought process judging these things”
“ok” she said a little unsure “I think you’re over stating the situation or my expertise’s, OH and I have to go get my dry cleaning”
“we’ll it’s making waves. don’t think you realise just what a cat you put amongst the pigeons with it. there are runners lining up outside method acting schools wanting to learn how to “be the part”
“well ok on that I might overstate that just a bit but it is now yet another layer to consider”
“I’d go if I were you” said Mary
Jenkins dived across the diner bar while Alex pulled out her knife and dropped in to a crouch"
“struwth, Mary knock or something, I’m gonna need a shovel and a clear set o strides here”
Mary and Alex laughed
“that’s twice my dear” smiled Mary “now go out with the nice gent he trying very hard to be Gossip mag perfect gentleman, such endeavours should be encouraged”
“what should be encouraged?” asked Jenkins as he picked himself up
“self-help and healing” said Mary" now darlings I have to go I think and if I don’t then maybe I can think about posting a job add for a PA" she turned to go
Jenkins rush forwards “you forgot your Link miss Mary”
“oh thank you, right really must be off”
They walked the short distance to Oxford street and headed for John Lewis as it had an enclosed balcony. Alex grabbed picking up the tab ‘it was her turn’
She found his questioning very close and pressing, then she found it very un-nerving that he was taking copious notes. it then got even more odd as he started asking for the reference to the research she quoted. then it calmed down, he skipped out ad brought more tea. then they got down to practical examples and they started using people in the room to profile. it was lunch time and they were supplied with a good through put of examples. as they spoke Alex forgot to switch off as Jenkins asked a question. OH NO the signs where they the blood rush to the sensitive part ears lips fingertips, the breathing the voice pattern the rise in pitch. OH no
“What’s wrong lexi, you’ve gone white as a sheet”
“oh it just i scanned you by accident… look Jenkins.. the signs are obvious”
“obvious, shit..did she see me staring…ah bugger it”
“eh what..who.. who’ve you seen”
“over there end booth two trolls and the two orc ladies, the one facing us is Missy Mayhem, sorry if I wasn’t paying attention, so got the hots for her”
Alex started laughing to herself "well why don’t you go get her autograph or a selfie2
“are you off your box, I’ll drool and trip over my tongue. I’ll make a right prize dick of myself”
“oh Spirits protect me” she rolled her eyes and got up
“lexi where… no.. you wouldn’t…lexi no”
Alex couldn’t help but smile. it was so school yard but it was fun. she approached the table the two troll took note and professionals acknowledged each other
“missy Mayhem, I’m sure you get this all the time but my colleague over there has such a crush on you could I get a selfie for him or something. The orc Woman had already looked her up and down, manly up seeing as she was sat down. The biggest Troll started to move " look dandi…"
Mayhem Held up her hand “Trevon, manners, these peopw pay your wages, ‘cose drlin’ ‘ere ge’ ‘is number up, we’ll send ‘im a a picky ’e’ll hard copy an’ laminate” the other girl singgered " wot?"
she her Lexi’s link up and lined up the shot of their faces together “Free too, won” and as the flash went she tuned her head and kiss Lexi on the cheek. "gizz that ‘ink lofty, wots yer name?
“ok ’er we go an’…. sen’" she handed back the link and then stepped back seriously appraising her" yo’s not a dancer is yooo’s? no, oh dats pity cos you fine, ISN’T SHE TREVON" she sat back down
“thank you” said lexi just as she heard Jenkins choke on his tea
“if you really want to thank me, tell him he’s cute” she gave her a direct challenging look.
As she slid back in to her chair Jenkins was blushing, “what did you just do?!”
“me Nothing, just a little penance for my arrogance”
“what? nver mind look what she sent”
“don’t break my Bea Lexi’s heart break mine, call me”
“is there a com code?”
“well she did say you were cute”
“really, made a point of saying it”
“oh this is so school yard”
“has occurred to you to double check the guest list for the after party?”
“and do a background check for gang affiliations” Alex smiled “really don’t want to have to chin your date out” Jenkins laughed
“I think lessons are over I need to get back a reload these subscriptions on to my profiles. and then the final check start so I will see you tomorrow at the security brief”
they split up at the door after Jenkins had managed to make a complete ‘dick’ of himself as Mayhem waved to him. he dived in a lift while Lexi turned gave a deep bow and headed for the escalators. she walked a spiral back to the apartment and cleared her six. she spent the rest of the afternoon walking the rout in the sim, getting all the callsigns to stick in her head. Wolf watched impassively but with undivided attention when it got to five o’clock he spoke
“that’s it, any more and you head will leak” he headed for the stairs “I’m hungry and need to stretch my legs”
“I need a shower and food, are you ok?”
“yes, now shower I want food”
They wandered around SoHo for an hour as the rush hour traffic swarmed around them, by half six it was definitely time Alex found a Korean kiosk, as she sheltered from the rain under some scaffolding and shovelled rice and vegetables in her face and watch the world rush passed.
her com trilled it was Harry
“hi Lexi its me, Archi and I..well…we talked and he’s agreed to go to the quaks with me” Harrys face looked as though it had been a long conversation and none too pleasant"
“are you ok harry”
“no I’m good, just emotionally exhausted” She shifted" where are you?"
“SoHo, eating and people watching, been a long day got some work” then an idea entered her head “I need to engineer a meeting”
“just had an idea for Charly charly charles charles. talk about it later. I have a long day tomorrow and I’m gonna need some sleep. I Will call you on Saturday when I’m clear of this job. is that ok?
“oh yes just wanted to let you know I hadn’t chickened out”
“bye” and she ended the call
wolf was still watching the street
Alex took a long rout back more to enjoy the crowds than any security decision. She checked her messages as she walked, Sabrina was still trying to get her back to the UCAS but all the Cyoties where busy, there was something going on and that Sabrina didn’t mention anything meant she knew but couldn’t say. Alex sent her a message that she was fine with this as she had work and was fine till the end of February at least.
she got back to the Flat, the premier called to tell her that all would be fine for tomorrow and she would not need to visit so Alex made herself a coffee and went to bed.
the next morning Mary arrived with breakfast and an tall orc in tow,
“Now Lexi darling this is My charge Tall Paul”
“how yu’ dowin’ Miz Lexi. thank you for doing this”
“its fine the moneys good so we’re sweet as’”
he nodded “OK mary so whats next”
“breakfast and then get you two briefed dressed and then the show is on”
For someone who was known as a VJ and essentially paid to talk Tall Paul was very quiet. Alex commented on it.
“sorry lot on my mind. big decisions to be made and tonight is a distraction I could do without.
“OK so i need to take you through some basics before we get out when you need to talk to me put you hand on top of and I will do the same, try to keep contact between us to a minimum, this is for your protection as much mine, ok?”
“ok, look if your …”
“it’s not that, it the papers it your fans but most importantly it so if we do touch it’s for good reason and we pay attention, keeps it simple. Now if I need to guide you while we are still on the carpet I will get hold of you thumb and guide you that way. I’d rather get you quietly out of harm’s way than trigger a full on bug out, are you fine with that?”
“That’s cool for me, make sense”
“no going near the edge of the crowd without me ok”
“and that goes from when we step out this taxi”
“now why don’t you have a… crew someone your stature should have a crew of some kind”
“that’s what this is all about I ditch them when I found they were taking my cash and making their own of the back of my name. that’s true disrespect. any ways they go running to th sw14’s cry for their mummy’s and I find out I’m due a face full of Mr Muscle. This is my first time really big. to be honest I had kept it local for a reason yu’ nar’”
“oh I see.”
“but if this sim goes big then i can really sign up for the big time and really do some good”
“we’re here I’ll get out while you pay the man”
As they pulled up to the hotel spinrad had taken over there was a little group of people waiting. Alex staid close, scanning the line just ahead of Pauls line of advance, a human girl ducked in to stand in front of him but Alex caught her by the elbow.
“alright Bitch” she spat “not trying to move in on your meal ticket, just want his swipe” in a very well healed accent
“well one can’t be too sure, can one, what?” Alex mirrored
Paul smiled and waved his com over the girls “it’s cool, she just lookin art fur me’s is all she’s cool, you cool, alls cool its good”
The girl quailed as Alex spoke realising she had just been very rude in front of her idol but his smile and calm demeanour had her trembling, Paul waved her off and headed for the door which he held open for Alex
“oh Don’t fank me, fank me mum, i wanned tu bee a fug” Alex smiled at the joke
Inside was organised chaos all directed by Nigel and his assistant, he glided up “ok so Miss lexi you have hair and makeup now and final fitting when we’re done there, Mr Paul you are upstairs in suite 23 there is a goon on the door with instructions that only myself, Miss lexi or Miss Mary are to be allowed in. I understand you just want to chill out till we’re ready for you.” he turned as Jenkins arrived
"ok2"he slapped his hands together" if miss lexi can get her hair done and then upstairs with Mr Paul"
Nigel faded “but her thing won’t be her till midday"
“well we improvise but they changed the hotel without asking, we haven’t vetted half the staff here yet…”
“OK OK erm lexi if is sent a gut to the flat could you use you own clothes till we have to get ready for the evening event? or how about a suit! h=yes an nice gents suit, give me a moment, Maria! Maria! can you fix this next I’ll be right back.”
half an hour later she was upstairs playing PA with a modified business suit and her hair straightened and set. she hovered met each reporter in turn, briefed (and appraised them and then signalled when it was time to wrap up. eight times in two hours.
Food came as sandwiches, fruit juice and crisps, good quality but not many. Alex passed coment on that, Paul confessed he was on a diet
“if it’s there i eat it, just don’t stop”
“how do you manage at home?”
“are well home is complicated” he smiled
a young elf popped “security brief in ten minutes”
This was a half hour of legal niceties and basics for basics. that done, they were both taken to one side to go over the arrangements. Alex notices several people being taken to their own person briefings. In a way she felt sorry for the Girls knowing that if it hit the fan, they would be just left standing as the stars where hustled away. Wolf looked at her and shrugged
“It is what it is”
there was one last interveiw to do with the BBC and then there was the wait to be called. the limos would take them the short journey to the end of the red carpet, there had to be dispateched to a strict time table. Paul paced the room looking for something to do when his link chimed up. he flicked it up and the face of a troll loomed in the room, it was max man from Wilde trogs
“Max, man, wud up blud?”
“askin’ yooos the sames pal, we get you not wid us no more but not even a frackin invite to da afterparty. W….T…F blud?
“oh max you know i can’t with the thw WC4 crew on my case, we know you guys is tight”
“wud fing wid the da four?”
“jimmy and his leaches went whining to spoll jam when i kick they poncing asses on da street inni’” he waved his hands in the air in complete frustration “next i ’ere am due a face full of mr muscule!”
Some one elbowed the troll out of the way and a rough looking orc in a basball cap and gold tips to his smashed up tusks looked in
“hey spools waguwon Blud?”
“‘ows flappin; they chops you down for a isle 8 face lift? tell me now! they gettin’ a dry slap up their face. Man we tight you real blud, i knows your secret ,man kept wid mine. you true tusker; fams first. you not got no beefs wid me an mine”
paul looked at Alex anly to see her turn white. she shot to the door. “come on lets go get Jenkins” she looked at thelink “you to can stay close to you links”
“aw man you going up in the world thats fine, girl i’ll say close if your callin’”
“Bluds thats ny securtiy, ease up i gotta keep her sweet”
they found jenkins directing final set up for the dispatch
“what you two doing here, you were told to stay where you were flippin’ put!”
“over her and turn off your link”
“do it now jenkins”
“what got a burr up you ass?”
“theres no beef from that gang, they just called to find out why they weren’t invited to the after party. they went flipin mental when they found out”
“oh” mouthed jenkins “thren why?….but we…and oh crap” he put a finger to his lip in thought" ok so we go.. we’ve got 30 minutes to get a plan c in place…any bright ideas?"
“erm if we could go in the back?”
“john chimed in whats goin’ on what do you mean”
“your the mark for the extraction tonight” said alex “the gang thing was just cover to create the threat. they’ll trigger it in a way we’d have no choise up to go with a full pull out and they’ll be waiting for us at the extraction point. because your private we can’t aford a full security deatail to that point. the idea was that I’d fight you to that point”
“oh what with?”
“got this sword I can hide”
“might want to check that”
“ok so we recycle our links, check our weapons and what run into the crowd?”
“I could call Spool jam and he’ll give us security for the thing point” said paul “and if the Wilde troggs turn up and do a gurilla gig or a podcast thing at the back we can run to them”
Jenkins noded “happy with that and….oh frack thats why they hired me to hang me out to dry. wankers! well never mind we’ll just. wait if the WC4 turn up and make themselves known the team might bottle it”
Alex looked round 2so its an inside job?"
“ah no its give someone not enough to handle whats coming then blame them, there’ll be no evidence of an inside job and I’ll be burned and he’ll be in the can”
Wolf looked on with his tounge hanging out like he’d just run 12 miles “oh this is so much fun”
“Right in here quick” Jenkins “right Lexi legs this is your mark your show do what you need to, get it done Make it happen. I dont want to know, just make it happen” with that he left.
Alex looked at Tall Paul “turn your link on and off, soon as its booted get hold of Max and ask him to call flash mob for peace and reconcilation in leicester square propper. then we’ll ask your gang freind to flood the pace looking for any problems. we have 90 minuted before we leave here.”
Johns link pinged back on line and he called
“max man listen we need to to put out a flash mob now, sos’ Blud but you gotta make it about me, yu get me?
“Tall man it’s cool beans we’ll get the crew and any fans we can” he was typing while he was talking “and …then… we’ll …get …our …rottin’…green ….tusks …down there aaaaaan’ send that bad boyeeee!” Alexs phone rang with a gitar riff “you a fan?”
“massive!” she said with a big star struck grin
“well thats made my day”
“MAX!! Gezzaa!! stop hitting on my staff”
“oh cumon, gimme a break bruv, she’s da hottest elf I’ve seen in a while And she’s a massive fan I gotta plus I recon she tall enough i don’t got to bend down, ma back gez’”
“your so rock and roll man”
“sex drugs and sausagerolls man” he gave a cheeky salute “laters” and was gone
“sorry about that, he just…”
“we dont have time for this, get that spools guy on the com, here let me get the door, wait keep walking. here in those toliets. go go”
as they bundled in the toilet just as the link was answered
“Wow I be jokin’ about you callin’ me sweet pea. I guess you not lookin’ for a booty call or nothing innit?”
Alex out line her plan
“i just got the message about the P&R so i’ll message the LDN massive to say we callin’ it nutral ground. that good for you?”
“i’ll take your word for it, as you can tell i’m not Postcode material”
“mores the pity anyways i’ll get some of me fam’s and bluds to join me to make sure no cars can hang around your drop off we’ll do it just as you hit the carpet” there was a pause
Alex broke it “what? have i got spinach in my teeth?!”
“ha ha no i’m typing, and thinking. whats to stop them tryin the after party?”
“you looking to snag tickets?”
“NO NO NO not my… yes leicester square. what? fat ronnie tell him its true note, sorry not my scene but you’ll need some more back up”
“we’ll the only crew i know are public school girls so i’m out of cards, unless Missmayhem can swing a punch” Both guys laughed “what?”
“pauls broken tusk, Mayhem did that when he turned her down, but they’d do a job they know when to shut up and they scrub up well, what do you think Talls”
" I gots loads of tix’s for it I can get her on the list, she still got those fixe crazies in tow?"
“lets do it on the door when we get there” Alex piped up" i’m just following her on insta, get her to post a pic of all five of them together and tag them so i got their name, if they do it once we’re in so there’s little tiome to react or block it. Paul will post a shot of me and him in the venue as the signal. that should get them in. no bang no blades no pepper. I’ll get hold of something pointy in the venue. oh that reminds me" she toggled the stud on the belt and it morphed in to a blade and morphed back then on an instinct she toggeled it a few more times still a sword, she figered it had not been linked to a PAN yet, she would keep it that way and her heals too did not think trying to run acoss the square with alloy swim fins did not appeal to her. she checked them all fine
then she realised bpoth tall and Spool where watching.
“whats you name” asked Spool “seriously what do people call you?”
“ok big bird sorry for sleasing you up like that, if anyone in my massive disrespect you just tell me. you really know how to use that thing don’t you”
tall paul interuppted " we should get back if anyone misses us it will raise suspicions"
“no it wont man they’ll just be well jel and you be a fella”
“no not with this lady man she don’t do that, been warned she REALLY don’t do that”
“they don’t know that do they”
“true blud true”
“right see you later”
they went back to the room and waited paul paced even more. ;lexi checked and rechecked her kit and stashed her comlink and a buner in the cape, she put her contact in but left them off line. finaly they were called, nigel checked there dress and marie was there to check hair, she waved an gushed, wolf jumped and gambled about excited “I want to hunt them down!”
hair and attire doen Paul very gentlmanly help her in to the Car. on the way there he recited over and over again the instruction Alex had given him, she had to lay a hand on his knee and tell him to calm down, then the car pulled up, Paul climbed out and helped Lexi out in to a wall of flashes, screaming and shouted question. She smiled a dark smile and gave a camera a direct hard look “wow this was fun” all the time scanning for targets
(Wardor street, Rivet pulled up his car into the spot where the mark should run to all was clear about the only thing going right. Tiny was now stuck a sea of gangers, the same gang she was pretending to be from the was a Troll rock group doing a support flash mob for their mark and that had brought much more security with it. the plan wasn’t lost tiny could go with plan b all she had to do was flush the guy form the carpet in to the open, the other guy would heard him and gather him up on-rout to or at this point and they would be gone. The mark ahd just stepped on to the carpet and thre roar from the crowd confirmed it. a tap on the window broke his concentration on the radio. a massive troll stood by the door armes folded it mouthed “jog on” and emphasided it with a thumb. as if more emphasis were needed more large figures came out of the door ways and shadows. OH FRACK, blow i’m blown there 10 extra security at the RV. i’m moving, plan b guys and gals plan b)
ALex and john worked down the line he was giving swiped Alex searching for targets still. Paul said thing about representing london and a great honour an all such as reported and Trid team collared him. she was asked her name severl time she just said “people have taken to calling me Miss lexi” Wolf ran up and down the line sniffing and then when he realised there was not going to be any action hurried of inside the cienema. As they got in to cover Alex still couldn’t help scanning around Just incase Plan b was inside. as she scanned the hoard of people milling around playing ordinary people at the counters she spotted the production team doing a meet and greet, at the back ws one man who looked like he was seeing a ghost or having a psycotic episode, he clapped eyes on Her and if look could kill.. The director and producer called Paul over
“well tall Paul seems you have made it unscathed,” the speaker nodded his thanks to Alex
“Well man its all cool we found out waagwon wit de WC4 and they cool now but ders some gezzer out der, i tel you guy he’s in for a bad time an’ting, dey well mad up now dey gonna make it rightcouse one ways or nover, you get me”
“yes i think i do”
Tall paul Laughed swiching back to plan english “it should be fine Mr wex, I’m looking forward to seeing how I finaly fit in to all this. the last few months have been an education”
“I’m sure they have, well enjoy the show”
“I will, Miss lexi, shall we”
“what was that about”
“just letting him know that I’m useful for a reason and all this…this sillness has made those reasons harder”
Alex didn’t watch the sim she kept her trodes off and watch the room instead. as did wolf, ears prick up and head moving this way and that. when it was finished the were yet more photos. Alex found herself being asked to be in more and more, but she found an easy out by saying that Mr Paul needed her" this was offten followed by “are you going to the reception Later”. Alex dutifuly Helped Tall’s with each interview and mics where thrust in their faces. final and hour after the film finished they managed to get to the car. Maria and Mary were both waiting in the back. Wolf took one look and “i’ll walk its ok” and was gone.
the sisters simpered and trilled about what a victory it was but Alex was looking out of the back all the time, suddenly she had enough she turned to the driver “you recon you can lose a car following us?”
“’course I can love, watch this. er you might wanna sit down” he indicated one way then flung the car down a side street rocketed out the far end and quick nip up an one way nad across a pedestrian area. “your gonna ask for a taxi innit”
“you psycic?” he smiled
“her you go taxi rank you want me to still go to the hotel?”
“er yes just in about 15 minutes”
“ok” they all fell out of the car and fled to the nearest taxi as the hevens opened. the taxi soon dropped them out the front of the hotel and not the car park where all the other booked car were dropping.
they all walked in the front and were directed upstairs. the you lady on the front checked her list and nodded to the to guys on the doors which were duly open and they where ushered inside
Inside was a suit od rooms all decked out in mock baroque opulance, waiter brought drinks and canopes, there was a proper bar and buffet for the hard core drinkers and eaters(and struggling actors). they were the last to arrive it would seem, Alex took a quick selfie with Talls and posted it, and then headed for the bar for a soda water and lemon (real lemon!) her com trilled back with a picture of five you ladies squished in to a cab all smiling all very dressed up. Alex skiped to the front with Paul and spoke with the girl, explained that were on Mr Pauls list. She nodded but asked to speak to Jenkins
“wasup Lexi?” he smiled “got five guests for Mr Paul I see, OK they all friends of his I take it”
“er yes but high end and his proffesion more that background” Paul raised an eyebrow
“ah should be fine” his eyes norrowed
just as Alex looked at the floor and fingered her collar the five appeared all in high spirits MIssy Mayhem untanged herself from the melle and came over to Air kiss Alex,
“don’t worry we’re all sober just Avin’ a larf” we pulled back “we sweet?”
“oh of course”
“om my gosh you are so posh” then she took her arm “is he really”
“oh no he’s austrailian”
“oh ripper! why don’t you give me the introduction and i’ll DO! the rest”
Alex giggled, this messing around was infectous " ok,"
she just couldn’t help it it just came out of her mouth by passing every filter 2hey Jenkons this in Missy, missy mayhem, she fancies you something rotten" then she turned to the other girl who has stopped in stunned amazment “come on girl lest find the bar and leave these two to their awkward silence” the four decended into a fit of giggles
“ok lofty” said the girl Alex recognised from the day before “lead on, ‘am gasspin’”
and they left. once inside sjhe turned Right you all know Tall Paul so one of you is close to him at all times. I dont care how you dress it groupie hook old friend what ever. it goes down Jenkins and I’ll will go for the attakers younget him to the fire exit and stay there it we’re done. is that ok?"
“yes” “YUP” “OK You Boss” “right”
“if you see anything or or think of anynthing change over and come find me” right letts do it. Paul hung back
“was there a need for all that background and proffession drek?!”
“yes, we let four ganger girl loose i here they’ll star drinking, turning pocket amd starting fights. and while Jenkins is sorting that BAM your gone, you knoe it i know it and he knows it. he needed to know then and there those girl arn’t going to do anything dumb. So yes there was a need. my job is to keep you on the streets where its real, not blow smoke up yer butt”
“ok, wow your direct” then he smiled “you talkin’s about wilde troggs and keepin’ it real in that accents wierd. i wan to record you reading the trogg manifesto from ‘dumb grunts’”
“maybe another time, now i got a job to do, and you have people to schmooze”
“come with me”
“oh not like that” he lent in “Big secret, ok I’m married that why I left the Wylde”
“oh OK Sorry”
As Paul move round the room he talked to various artist actors and exects. Alex foun herslef being collared by various people Did she Modle, dance, sing, act? did she want to Model, dance, sing act? would she Model, dance, sing, act? the twentieth iliteration of these questions. after a while the girls were swapping who was asking what, they had the advantage in that they were established artistsJenkins walked past with Missy, he shot her a dark look and then winked, later as he walked past he asked missy to stay with Paul while he had a word with Alex.
“i just wanted to say, look, i read your file and i think you pretty amazing, most people would have folded to the envitable but you didn’t and most people surviving that would be a gibbering wreck” he smiled shyly “That’s it really” he smiled more directly “and don’t think i have forgiven you for dropping me in it with Mayhem, revenge will be had…eventualy”
Alex wended her way back through the crowd to Paul, the girls were all in close attendance intercepting people with a smile and a hello. She moved up to his side with a smile to Mayhem.
“I think Jenkins is Mad at me” rolled her eye on mook contrition
“it was a bit Dank, gurw. piss funny though, gonna jack that sometime.”
Alex turned to Tall Paul “this is still going, i thought people would be drifting out by now”
“i heard that spinrad might be coming so I think people a hanging on, that and the rain”
Alex realised that the threat might be differnet now. if he was coming security waould be going through the roof. that meant they would have to hit them outside or have a resonable reason to be in the building. Alex had a peak out of the window to the street below she could see pairs of armoured security guards waling up the allyway. She looked round the room scanning looking. She began to think she prefered it when she was just waiting for the fight to start.
Jenkins walked past, “not a job for the impatent this. don’t know how you’re keepin’ a lid on it” alex looked over at the door where wolf was scrating at the door.
“I’m chewing my teeth out truth be known” she gave him a dark look “i’m a wolf not a shepard” she looked round the room “sheep”
“to survive, we are survivours. he understands this is how we survive in the city but that doesn’t mean he likes it” she felt guilty and she should get back to Paul. the next half hour was nerve wrecking. then it all changed paul tuned to say something but stumbled ad he did so hespilt his drink, alex looked down at her hand. the colour had changed, she looked to Paul, met his eyes. To her horror they were glassed and crossed.
“i dont feel good girl….i…ah…erm”
Paul very slowly crumpled in front of her. And that’s when she noticed that more people were leaning over a bit to far. The slurred speech! The drinks had been flowing freely among the guests, but, there hadn’t been the other behaviors that go with drunkenness! And Alex felt it, that feeling of exhaustion. When you’re so tired you can’t put two thoughts together and you’re as likely to fall down on any semi-reclining surface and sleep it off. Several people were already slowly sliding down the walls, having lost their last ditch effort to remain standing.
Jenkins was pushing through the crowd towards Paul. “Plan C.” he said and grabbed Paul throwing him over his shoulder with a grunt. “Shove through this lot. I’m right be….” he started to say. And then every bit of light in the room went out. “Shit. I can see in this. Can you?” he asked her.
yes, now hold on”, She grabbed his free hand and ‘excuse me’ed’ and pushed her way through the crowd to the fire exit at the back. when she got there two of the girl where waiting
“Maggie went daaan I da naa ’bout others” the youngest shouted over the did of the crowd
“call Trevion and get the car or what ever it is” Alex shouted as she pushed against the fire door she whispered in Jenkins ear “we’re going up, hide on top floor”
Alex had just a moment to see glowing red eyes above the crowd. And then they were through the door and the air in the stairwell was noticeably fresher.
“oh shit! We got company already, let’s get a move on” as she shut the door she shouted “just shut up and get to the cars!”
Then they started up the stairs, really fast. she hissed through her teeth " that door opens we stop, silence"
It was only five flights to the top. Tall Paul’s party rated a good view. They had almost made it when they heard the door open. Alex jammed her finger to her lips. She gave the two girls a direct look, and was pleasantly surprised by the steely looks he go in reply. The leant against the walls their ears straining to hear which was their pursuers went And then the door on their level opened and a man in the clothing of the hotels staff came through. Upon seeing them he first started to say, “Oh, excu . . . .” then. “The hell? Is he drunk? Should I call the front desk for you?” His puzzled look and offer to call the front desk would have been comical in other circumstances.
Alex didn’t hesitate, her forehead impacted on the bridge of the poor guys nose.
“terribly sorry old chap” she said as she strong armed him, spluttering and whinging, back in to the corridor. She quickly ushered the other four through. then she saw the fire extinguisher, and her face broke into an evil grin
“find the down stairs or a room” she hissed then she seized the foam extinguisher and sprayed it down the stairs. she left it squirting as she ran after the others wondering how Jenkins was holding up carrying all that dead weight, Wolf paused by the still spluttering man
“don’t you dare!” barked Alex, she could hear him laughing under his breath as she ran to catch up with the others.
The hallway looked clear. She heard the guy cursing behind them and then nothing as the door closed. Ahead Jenkins didn’t even seem to notice Tall Paul’s weight as the burly orc ran. Alex caught up with the other as the ran down the corridor, she kept sprinting ahead to check the corners, strong and fit as he was, there was no way Jenkins could slow down very quickly, if they met any ‘friends’ coming the other way. over her breath she strained to hear the tell tail sounds of people coming round the corner. She started to look for open doors to rooms. towards the end of the hallway there were a few open doors with a housekeeping cart outside the doorway.
Alex ran up to the troll chambermaid, putting on the best smile she could manage
“hi” big warm smile " we need to hide my friend from some paparazzi" Flutter eyelids " could you see your way to letting us hid in here for a few hours?"
Jenkins caught up as did the other two girls
“is he allright” asked the maid looking at Jenkins load “OH MY GOSH, that’s TALL PAUL!!” then she clocked the two girls “and and and your Katty and Delilah, Melt down massive! oh wow oh wow, quick, quick in there, in there!”
as she shuffled the group into the room she looked down the corridor.
“stay here I’ll be back in an hour” she smiled" I’ll go some other rooms, and tell ’em you went down the fire escape"
As she left Katty swiped her comm code
“its chill” and she gave them a wink
Jenkins looked round the room, suite. pointed to some furniture which they quietly and carefully put up against the door they put Paul in the room furthest from the door with the two girls, turned the lights out and hid in corners.
Wolf jumped up on the sofa and tried to watch the door but soon announced he was bored and started to wash (yes, eww, do you have to?) then settled down then sleep.
It was only about an hour before Paul woke up, “Damn my head is splitting.” he groaned. Then, “Oh shit, I didn’t miss any of the press shots did I?” Jenkins immediately leaped and put a hand over his mouth hissing. “Quiet. Party got hacked by pro’s. Whoever wants you it aint just a gang of bruisers.” Paul nodded and then staggered up whispering, “Bathroom!” and then grabbed the trash can and hurled into it. At least the air filters worked. They had the smell filtered out in less than fifteen minutes. They then had another uneventful couple of hours until the maid came in saying. “They aint been back for hours. I think it safe. Can I get an autograph an a selfie with you all? My daughter will be chuffed if she has a pic ta show of her mum with Tall Paul”, she said nervously.
Paul smiled “sure fam’s just lemme get cleaned up an ting yer?”
Photos done “here, how olds your daughter? cools cools, so next time yous free and shi’ call my agent we get you’s all back stage and ting innit” he said “Na Na mas your a lifesaver its respec’ innit”
He looked up at Alex and Jenkins “we good? so left do this”
Jenkins rebooted his link and got on to the security “yer yer aphal five five …elephant…no its custard…no we hid ’im upstairs. No he find, bit of a gippy tummy but good to go…any plod about? cool no worries down in a jiffy” Jenkins looked up "ok we’re good to go, these a very anguish management team waiting to see you down stairs, I’ll lead, girls if you could flank and Lexi there you follow up the rear. right lets go
As they reached the foyer of the hotel four suits and Mary were all waiting the finance chief was fuming , A suited Elf stood forward. “Tall Paul so glad to see you safe and free. hate to think of the damage to your creativity being a corporate captive would do. Please accept the apologies of all the Spinrad companies involved” and then he smiled and pretended to whisper “Please don’t sue, we kinda need you for a fashion show too”
“well a’ dunno guy, see I got fams ‘an shi’ to look after so this fashion show best be go gold innit” paul paused and then laughed, “just messing wid you guy. its chill, your security guys kept me safe innit so we good. Don’t we have a press conference or summit to do”
“you’ll still do it?!”
“of course guy, dats wud yous payin’ me four innit. an’ any ways me mums always says” he put on a hid pitch voice " al weys do yur best if de payin’ yu never na, de might be dumb enough ta cum back!"
another man, a dwarf, stepped up to Jenkins and Alex "hi you guys ok? good good. we all know what went on her and we all know I’ll never prove it. thank you for the good job I’ve sent payment and a reference to Miss big birds account. I’ll hail a cab to take you, big bird, to the other site so you can change out of those clothes and get some rest. again thank you for a good job well done. I will! be in touch later for a quick debrief.
Mary and Alex sat in the cab in silence while wolf look out of the back window. Alex got changed in to her suit and fixed her hair. Alex broke the silence
“please can I use the flat tonight? I clean up and clear out tomorrow, but it late and I don’t fancy my chances with getting a room tonight”
“oh hm what? oh of course” said Mary as she was startled out of her thoughts “no wait stay a while, longer, please. it would dashed ungrateful of me to”
Alex’s comm trilled she absently tripped it while she tried to figure out what was going through the spirits mind.
“OH MY GAWD!!! LEXI YOUR ON THE TELLY AHHHHH!”
“what was it like where did you get that suit or was it AR? and was he nice and..”
“harry please, it was work, and I’ve only just finished, I’ve got a date with a food drink aspirin and bed”
“oh poor darling ok lunch tomorrow 12:30 sharp at fortnums, promise? Promise!”
“ok Promise now can I die in piece?!”
“OK BYE RED CARPET GAL AAAAAH”
Mary looked up “who was that?”
“Old school friend, she introduced me to Maria in fact, she’s lovely but rudderless, fill her time trying to organise everyone else”
“oh really, what time you meeting? again? might I impose?”
the dined Moroccan and then went for tea at a coffee house, Alex filled her in on what had happened after the gas. Maria filled her in on the one hundred and forty eight work offers she had been given for Lexi. which was a laugh as they went through them one by one rejecting them and laughing at the hastily put together prose.
Mary opened the door to the flat slowly “I’m really quite scared what if their waiting for us to take some ghastly revenge”
“I think they will be hiding right now, spinrad wont take kindly to that kind of break in”
At the top of the stairs they found no one and Mary did start to breath (even though she didn’t need to Alex made a note to talk to both Mary and Maria about their manifestation ) they both took a room.
Wolf padded into Marys room." guess you want a chat?"
“I doubt I can change your mind and we’ll only end up arguing, lets argue later”
“I meant about tonight”
“oh no tomorrow , I need rest”
“OH my god lexi I think I actually hate you right now” came the message from the face in front of her, confused images of a pack of wolves surrounded her as they sat round a table talking with a haggard looking elongated old woman. Why were they playing bridge? blinking away the images of her sleep she tried to focus
“you, you cow, you wake up and you look fab, hate you so much”
“wait who are you?”
“its me, Maggie”
“oh, hey, what can I do you for Sweet pea?”
“can we go for a rage tonight?!”
“me and the girls want to say thanks for getting us in we got so much exposure”
“uh ok, I got meetings lunch time i think, but why not call me when I’m human, need liquid”
“Oh, my head” she lay back on the bed and started at the ceiling, letting her mind become like the paint she stared at. she rolled out of bed and
showered in silence keeping her mind blank.she dressed and walked down to the kitchen. nothing in the fridge. Wolf nudged her
“fresh air” she suggested
“OK open sky” she countered
“yer, get you fed and watered” he padded expectantly to the door
Alex looked around for Mary, Wolf offered
“Mary’s staying here she’s still puzzling over yesterday”
They walked in big circles and ended up in Hyde park, as they walked round the Italian gardens sipping a hot chocolate Alex offered up a
“do you mind that Mary tries to interfere with your relationship with Maria?”
“that’s a good question. it shows a long thought process. No I don’t. its aggravating at times but its good to know that someone cares about her
too, Marys got a much more romantic view of the world. Maria get to hear, and feel all the hopes and fears of the world as she cuts hair, Mary
just get to feel the hopes and aspirations, wow that was deep for me" he jumped down from the bench back he was balancing on. “lets get back and get Mary, I want her to meet Harriett. I like her and I want an excuse to call her pack.”
“I pose question or make statements”
Mary was still in the bedroom when they got back. Alex knocked on the door “Out in a minuet Darling”
Mary was in the kitchen by the time Alex got down stairs, dressed immaculately “have you seen my comlink?”
“is it in the room or did you leave it at the reception?”
“Ah, not sure. would be a sweetie and take a peek in the room” it was there in the middle of the bed.
They walked, it was a clear winters day and they could walk down bond street and take in all the shops there. there was a crowd out side Spinrad
as people took pictures of the clothes from the show yesterday
“they seam to like it” said Mary. Alex prayed no one recognised her.
they were talking practical office wear when they arrived, Harriett was already seated and waved. As they walked over Alex took Mary’s arm gently.
“watch what happens, just wait for it later”
“harry my love, you look better.”
“oh I am feel like a weight has been lifted and it only an appointment”
“may be the secret was the weight, not the problem”
“probably, and your friend?”
“Harriett, this is Mary my employer she knows Maria”
“ohhh, Hiiii, shall we, oh are you and Maria family, I see a likeness”
“sort of, as you can get”
“oh how wonderful any way tell me about last night how wonderful was it, ahhh all the stars and all the dresses”
“sorry my dear” interrupted Mary “Dresses do you like such things?”
“I think you need a good buyer, some one like Lexi’s here”
“but Harry sorted this out, Mary”
“We darling you need to dress to your best, that is a acceptable ensemble but you could be so much more”
“well I suppose I could brighten thing up a bit and may be get some heels, I’m getting a massage this afternoon and Archi and I are going out
tonight. so tomorrow, have to be before two though have to meet Anna Marie to help her with her shoes”
“see” said Alex “this is why I thought you two should meet, now shall we eat, I am starving”
While Alex reading the menu Harry and Mary started talking, soon comlinks came out and outfits were analysed and dissected. Alex lent back and
enjoyed the sound while she reach for Wolfs ear
“happy?” they both asked at the same time
Mary looked up
“oh your are starting to be the Bain of my life young Lexi legs, how many time can I tell these people you cannot do swimsuit, you not an actor and at 6 foot scary skyscraper tall you are only good for couture. ACK. but you are good for security arn’t you darling, I wonder if I could ‘it’ girl you! that would be fun!”
this was not good news but as Harry and Mary started to plot Alex let them even as she started search for messages from Sabrina.
And there it was, “Congrats on making the fashion show. I have a little black suit you might be interested in wearing for me.”
“tell me? These girls want to turn me in to the next it girl” as she looked at her comm array a thought popped in her head “is this UK or UCAS based clothes horsing?”
“UCAS. An old friend found some interesting accessories.” she answered.
Alex sent a selfie with her raising an eye brow
“Car waiting for you.” When Alex turns she sees a brilliant yellow skylark parked outside.
Alex looked up, wolf whined excited and skipped around. Mary looked at Wolf and then at Alex
“Oh my” she said with her heart in her mouth “are you going to break my heart?”
“yes” Said Alex with a straight stare
Harry chimed in “what? Lexi What?” then she go the idea “No you just got here, we only just got you back!” she tried to look ‘brave’ “do you have to go? do you truly have to?”
“I’ll need to get my things from the flat, I better go or we’ll just get all worked up and I might never leave”
Mary looked at wolf “is this your doing!?”
“no Mary no, it’s me; it’s business. I am wolf!” she pleaded “I have to hunt” Alex stood up and leant forward kissed Mary on both cheeks and then went round and hugged Harry for the longest time
“I have to go, I’ll be in touch, any problems message me”
Alex strode to the door, surprised at the lack of tears. truth be told while it had be a nice busman’s holiday she need to get back on the road.
The door car door popped opened and she climbed inside.
“Mayfair mews please I need to collect my things”
Wolf looked out of the back of the car and Alex caught a glimpse of a tall figure stood at the curb, hands clasped together in a dignified show of selfcontrolled concern.
As the car pulled away from the flat Alex’s Comm trilled, It was Maggie
“hey doll we should meet at the loop….”
“yer ‘bout that. I have a new contract and have to fly today, I’m on my way to the Airport now, really so sorry I was so looking forward to it”
“aw no fare’s that’s just dench, so anywhere nice”
“all I know is middle east right now, but I’m guessing HK or Shanghai.”
“OK Sweet, send a post card or summut yer? Love you baby doll and you owe me a night on the lash remember that!”