This work is fictitious, and any similarities to any persons, alive or dead, are purely coincidental. Mention is made of persons in public life only for the purposes of realism, and for that reason alone. Certain licence is taken in respect of medical procedures, terms and conditions, and the author does not claim to be the fount of all knowledge.
The author accepts the right of the individual to hold his/her (or whatever) own political, religious and social views, and there is no intention to deliberately offend anyone. If you wish to take offence, that is your problem.
This is only a story, and it contains adult material, which includes sex and intimate descriptive details pertaining to genitalia. If this is likely to offend, then don't read it.
Unfortunately no politicians were injured or killed in the writing of this story, and no one else was either.
If you enjoy it, then please Email me and tell me. If you hate it, Email me and lie!
I will always welcome contact.
The legal stuff.
This work is the property of the author, and the author retains full copyright, in relation to printed material, whether on paper or electronically. Any adaptation of the whole or part of the material for broadcast by radio, TV, or for stage plays or film, is the right of the author unless negotiated through legal contract. Permission is granted for it to be copied and read by individuals, and for no other purpose. Any commercial use by anyone other than the author is strictly prohibited, and may only be posted to free sites with the express permission of the author.
Paris in the Spring, caught in the act.
“Captain Bosworth and his crew thank you for flying British Airways. We look forward to welcoming you on board a British Airways flight again soon, and hope you have a pleasant time here in Paris. Please remain seated with your seat belts fastened until the aircraft has stopped moving.”
As soon as the Airbus stopped, Rob unfastened his seat belt and stowed the magazine in the pocket provided. He had never flown First Class before, and had enjoyed it immensely. Club and business class, yes, but never first, the space and service had been wonderful. Dressed as the high-flying female executive she purported to be, ‘Katie' was immaculate in a dark Kashmir woollen skirt and top, with silk blouse. With perfect makeup, nails and hair, he was the object of attention from every male he passed.
Michael Hatton liked having a very attractive girl in his company. To all onlookers, she appeared to be either his mistress or his daughter. He didn't actually mind which they thought she was, as he was just pleased to be seen with someone as striking as she.
She was good company, capable of holding a solid conversation, and with sensible views, reasonably expressed. He was impressed with her grasp of international affairs, and she possessed a good deal of knowledge pertaining to other cultures and nationalities of which he was ignorant. She was polite and respectful, but not supercilious and subservient. She was destined to go far, so he relaxed in her company.
The cab ride from the airport passed many landmarks. Mike noted that Katie didn't look that interested in any of them.
“Been here before?”
“I lived here for a few years.”
“I adore it, but for the people and ambience, not the tourist traps.”
“Ah. I have to confess, I've only been here on business, so really have never had time to actually get out and see the sights.”
“There are some cafés that you just have to see. The problem is that businessmen are too highly charged to appreciate the laidback lifestyle.”
“Are you saying it's good to be laidback?”
“There's laidback and laidback. Take you, for example. You've been a hard worker for what, thirty years, plus? Where has it got you? Are you happy? Do you not yearn to just stop the world and get off, lounge around in whatever clothes are available, and pass the time of day with like-minded people who don't care what the stock market is doing?”
Mike smiled. Actually, quite recently, he had asked himself what all his life was in aid of.
“You're married, right?” she asked.
“Three, grown up now.”
“Do you get on with them?”
“I suppose so, why?” he asked, frowning.
“Wouldn't you like to walk barefoot along a beach with your children, with no agenda, no pressure and no time constraints?”
The concept suddenly sounded very appealing.
“I suppose so.”
“Then that's the atmosphere the cafés in Paris offer you.”
He nodded appreciating the idea, but realising the practice was not going to be his to make. She smiled.
“You're missing out,” she said.
“Then if we have time, you could take me to a café.”
“I'd like to.”
They arrived at the hotel, and had rooms on the same floor. It was a luxurious hotel, and Rob closed the door of his room, grinning with unmitigated pleasure. It was noon, but there was an initial meeting at two thirty. He had time for a soak in that wonderful bath, and then he'd be ready for the fray.
He was feeling a whole lot better after his time with his sister on the previous evening. He recognised that going with Sheena was a silly mistake. He felt more sure of himself, as his father had taken him aside as he was leaving this morning. Dressed as Katie, he was ready for his Paris trip.
“Rob, if you want to stop, then you must stop now.”
“Dad, I can do this.”
“I know you can, but you no longer have to.”
“I do, Dad. I need to prove to myself that I can finish it, put away Katie and start being who I should be.”
“I told you, you must be who you feel you are.”
“Dad, I need to find that out for myself. I will finish this.”
His Dad had given him a hug, and he'd left, still as Katie.
Meanwhile, back at Tremaine Tower, ‘Peter Marriott' was in the Archives. Searching through accounts material from nearly thirty years ago, Pru was looking for anything relating to Ryan Grover. She didn't hear the door open, so never saw the man who hit her on the head.
A short time later, Tony Fanshaw was walking towards Tremaine Tower. He felt so much better now that there were no secrets between them any more. He felt such a fool, for although he had been about as certain as he could be that ‘Peter' was a girl, her sheer confidence and audacity made him doubt even his own senses. For a while he wondered whether he was turning gay, as the attraction was so strong, but as he began to see through her deception he became more and more convinced she was indeed a woman. He had declared his feelings and found, to his delight, that his love was returned, and now he found the whole scenario rather exciting.
He planned to take his friend, ‘Peter' out for lunch, and as he was a little early he decided to walk the block to pass the time. As he walked down the side of the building, he glanced down into the underground garage/car park. He couldn't see much, but he saw a glimpse of two men placing an inert figure of another into the boot of a car.
He couldn't see any faces, but all his instinct told him that Pru was in trouble. What could he do?
His car was a good distance away, so he couldn't hope to get back and attempt to follow. He watched, horror struck, as one man stayed with the car, and another headed back to the elevator. He made a decision, he had no time to do anything else, so he calmly walked down the ramp into the car park.
Gavin Newman was a driver. He did little else, but he was a very good driver. He'd started out driving for a team of robbers, but found himself in Brixton Prison for three years for his part in an armed robbery. The detective inspector, Ryan Grover, offered him a deal. Pass information on robbers and even if he was involved, he'd get him off.
It worked, so Gavin still drove for the jobs, and worked as an informant. He actually made a bit of money, of which he paid thirty percent to Grover. It didn't last, as Grover was caught taking back-handers from all manner of people. However, men like Grover are very useful, and he was never out of work for long. In turn he needed a driver who didn't ask questions, so he offered Gavin a chance to turn respectable, almost.
Ryan had told him to get the car ready at the upper level of the underground car park, by the freight elevator. He complied.
Ryan told him to help put the unconscious man in the boot. He complied.
Ryan then told him to wait while he contacted the boss. He was complying.
He sat in the car, behind the wheel, listening to Capital Radio. He heard the footsteps before he saw anyone. He looked up, and frowned as he saw a strange man approach. He was a big man, looking like he meant business. Gavin wasn't a fighter, as he only drove cars. Being five eight, and no more than ten stone, six foot five of angry ex-army officer was too much even for Gavin.
He tried to start the car.
The driver's door was almost wrenched off its hinges. Gavin felt two large and very strong hands grab him, and the next thing he knew, he was face down on the concrete with consciousness ebbing away. He never even saw Tony's face.
Tony opened the boot with the ignition key, looked down at the inert figure of the girl he loved, and became even angrier. On checking her pulse, he found it strong. He knew he couldn't carry her all the way to his car without attracting attention, so he closed the boot, and jumped into the drivers seat, moving the seat back all the way.
He started the car, and drove it slowly out of the car park, turning left towards where is own car was parked a few streets away. He then changed his mind, contemplating driving all the way back to his farm. He knew the men wouldn't report the car stolen without giving their game away. He drove straight past his car, heading west towards the M40.
Ryan was reporting to Mike on the phone. Unfortunately, Mike was in Paris, so wasn't able to speak much. He was just having lunch with an attractive interpreter from the company, and so he was limited to grunting and monosyllabic answers.
“I've caught a snooper in archives.”
“He's a new bloke, works in the legal department. Name of Marriott, Peter Marriott.”
Mike looked over the menu at Katie Marriott.
“Excuse me my dear, business calls,” he said and stood up, leaving her at the table.
“I've laid him out cold, and he's in the boot of the Merc. What do you want done with him?”
“Are you sure of what he is?”
“Why else would he be in archives looking at the 1970s accounts?”
“Hmm, have you checked with his department head?”
“Yes, and he's supposed to be looking over a contract for our transport boys.”
“Shit. Is he Tremaine's kid?”
“No. I've checked his prints, and he's not.”
“So what the hell is he? I've his sister here in Paris, she's a lovely girl, and very good at what she does. Could he just have been doing a favour for someone?”
“I don't know. I'll need to ask him.”
“Okay, take him to the usual place. Don't hurt him, not yet. Just get him to tell us everything he knows. I'll work on the sister. Maybe she's in on it too.”
Tony couldn't keep driving knowing she was in the boot. He pulled over, still within the West End. He went to the boot and looked in. She was coming round. He looked up and down the road, and lifted her bodily out of the boot and carried her to the front passenger seat.
She opened her eyes.
“Ow!” she said, rubbing the back of her head\with her hand.
“Bloody hell, that fucking hurts.”
She blinked a couple of times, took in Tony, and looked about her.
“Okay, what the hell happened?” she asked.
Tony told her what he'd seen and done.
“So, what were you up to, to bring this onto yourself?” he asked.
“Dad wanted me to look for something in archives.”
“So, the boss has probably been told, what are we going to do now?”
“Rob, we have to warn Rob.”
“We can't just call, Hatton will be suspicious. We have to assume that the men who have now lost you have told him. Katie is supposed to be your sister, so Hatton will assume you are in it together. We could call the police?”
“We'll do better than that, we'll go there and help him. Hatton won't do anything until he gets back to the UK, so he'll play it careful. If we go to Paris, we could walk in and walk out with Rob.”
“You people just don't live normal lives like the rest of us, do you?”
“Take me to Elm Park Gardens. It's time that Miss Tremaine was allowed out of her box again.”
Robert Tremaine was on the telephone when Pru and Tony arrived. It became evident that Tony knew their secret, and was the latest recruit in the Tremaine cause.
Pru left Tony downstairs with her father.
Tony was obviously still angry at what had happened and held the older Tremaine responsible for endangering the woman he loved. He stood somewhat stiffly, glaring at the older man.
“I don't suppose it would do any good if I attempted to explain?”
“Sir, you have allowed your daughter to flirt with danger once too often. She could have been killed!”
“She wasn't, and if you hadn't interfered, the undercover officers who were watching the whole thing would have arrested those responsible and tied it all into the man I'm after.”
Tony blinked a couple of times.
“Do you think for one minute that I'd let Pru undertake such a task without taking as much care of her as I could?”
“For your information, the serious Fraud office and the Metropolitan Police are actively investigating Mr Hatton, several senior officers of the company and one Ryan Grover, whom you have neatly got off the hook.”
“Daddy, stop being a pompous ass. Tony did what he thought was right, which is more than can be said for you half the time.”
Both men turned and stared at Pru.
She had stripped away all vestiges of Peter Marriott. Wearing a bright red dress, with white piping on the sleeves and hem, sheer stockings and high heels, she looked majestic. With her makeup, earrings and other jewellery, she simply took Tony's breath away. Her short hair somehow suited her, particularly the way she had styled it, and he knew in his heart that there could never be anyone else for him. Of Peter Marriott, there was absolutely no sign at all.
“Prudence, dear, I was just…”
“Daddy, Tony and I are engaged, regardless of your views on the subject. I've had enough of being dictated to, and fully intend to be a full partner, rather than just an ‘operative' of this family. Now, what shall we do about Rob?”
Tony wasn't sure what he expected, but he was more than pleasantly surprised at how feminine Pru turned out. He thought she was wonderful before seeing her like this. Now, his heart sang.
“You scrub up pretty well,” he said, and received a box around the ears.
“All right you two, enough. We must work out how we finish things,” Tony held his hand out to Pru who took it, standing as close as she could to him. They both looked at Robert.
“Okay, Daddy, let's hear it.”
Mike received a second, and very worrying call from Ryan.
“He's been sprung!”
“He's done a bunk. We had him in the boot of the car, I left Gavin while I called you, and some big bastard laid out Gavin and nicked the car.”
Mike apologised to Katie again, and walked out of the restaurant to a secluded spot.
“You mean the car's been stolen with a body in the boot?”
“That's what it looks like. Only he's not a body, yet.”
“You fucking idiot. Can't you do anything right?”
“There's another problem.”
“Oh, bring them on, the more the merrier.”
“I've just been speaking to Reg Clarkeson in accounts, he says that some of our accounts have been frozen.”
“What do you mean, frozen?”
“We can't use them, no money in, no money out.”
“Call the banks, it's probably a computer thing.”
“He says he tried that, and was told it was technical. But, he checked with Infratronics, just down the road, they use the same bank, and they have no problems.”
Mike looked at his watch. He had a meeting in less than half an hour in this very hotel. It was an important meeting, and one he could not afford to miss. He looked at Katie Marriott, sitting poised and elegant at the table, as she finished an excellent meal. Mike didn't want to think she was involved, as she seemed too nice.
“Find the car, find Marriott, find out what his game is, and if necessary change banks. I'm switching this bloody phone off, and won't be available until five o'clock.”
He turned the phone off, returning to the table.
“Sorry about that, my dear. Such are the trials of high office.”
Rob was astute enough to realise that trouble was occurring. He also knew that his father was probably the instigator. It was possible that Pru was in trouble, which meant he could be in danger. Mike was charm itself, and slightly more oily and greasy than he had been before the first call.
Nevertheless, the man gave no hint he suspected anything was amiss. Indeed, they went into the meeting as if nothing was wrong. ‘Katie' was kept very busy, as there were representatives from four language groups, so Mike had her translating all four in rotation.
The hours sped past, and as the meeting broke up, Rob realised that it was now almost half past five.
Mike was pleased. The meeting had gone very much better than he had anticipated. He was really pleased with Katie, as she had managed to keep ahead of the game, and even surprised the delegates with her linguistic skills. She kept a cool head and didn't become flustered even when discussions became heated. Such was her calmness that gradually the speakers took their cues from her, and only continued when she had finished interpreting.
The more he saw her in action, the more he became convinced that her brother was operating alone, and probably had no real idea what he was doing or what he was after. The question was simple, for whom was he working?
He proposed to see if Katie knew the answer. It had to be done subtly, and over dinner in the hotel.
“Katie, you did remarkably well, today. Thank you.”
“Thank you, sir, I try.”
“You will join me for dinner, won't you?”
“I'd love to, thanks. What time?”
“Super, it'll give me another opportunity to try the spa-bath.”
Rob returned to his room, where he attempted to call his sister. Her mobile was switched off, and was diverted to answer phone. He thought about calling his father and decided not to. His father always had the attitude that problems were for solving, not sharing.
Rob ran the bath, and after making sure the door was once again secure, he had a luxurious soak, shaving his legs, arms and anywhere else that needed it.
He was early down to the bar, dressed in a little black number he'd bought in Italy a few months previously. With shapely legs, sexy high heels and a gorgeous figure, he was conscious of the frankly appraising stares of most of the men in the bar as he entered.
He walked over to the bar. A tall, elegant woman in a bright red dress was perched with her back to him on a bar stool, her long legs as shapely and slightly longer than his. Her broad American accent marked her origins, but her escort was very tall and was dressed in a check shirt and tan trousers. Rob assumed him to be American also.
“Honey, can we go see the loov tomorrow?” the woman asked, but Rob was staring at the man. It was Tony, but Tony was looking through him as if he didn't recognise him.
Then the woman turned round. Rob nearly fainted, for it was his own sister in all her glory and then some.
“Hi, or should I say bonjoor. Are you French?”
“No, I'm English, my name's Katie Marriott,” Rob said, looking puzzled.
“Hi Katie, my name's Marianne McCulloch, and this here is ma husband Tony. This is our first time here in gay Paree. We were going to London first, but there were all kinds of problems there,” Pru said emphasising the last five words.
It was at that moment that Mike turned up, looking very smart in a dark suit and tie.
“Is this your husband, honey?” said the outrageous Pru.
“No, this is my employer, Michael Hatton. This is, I'm sorry, Marianne, I've forgotten your surname.”
“McCulloch, honey. It's Scotch.”
“That's Scottish, dear. Scotch is a drink,” said Tony with a dry but definite New England accent. Rob was impressed, and smiled in spite of his confusion.
Mike was anxious to distance himself from the brash and ignorant Americans. He suggested to ‘Katie' that they go to their table.
“Yes, I'd love to. Would you mind if I powdered my nose first?”
“What? Oh, no, not at all,” said Mike, slightly embarrassed.
‘Katie' headed for the ladies, followed a little while later by the big American woman.
They had the lavatory to themselves.
“What the hell is going on?” Rob asked.
Pru told him.
“Tony knew? You found out yesterday and said nothing? Shit, Pru, you're slipping.”
“No, I'm getting out. As soon as this one's over, I'm going to move in with Tony. We're getting married.”
Rob stared at her.
“Good for you. It's about time, and I approve, he's a cracking bloke.”
“I know. What about you, little brother, which way are you going to go?”
Rob shook his head.
“I honestly don't know. I think I love Letty, but I also love being a girl. I'm screwed up!”
“You need to lose Katie for a while. Learn to be Rob again, then make your choice.”
Rob changed the subject.
“So, what can we do about Hatton? I do know he's seriously worried about something, and I think it's more than just Peter Marriott.”
“Look, we're here now, we'll back off a little and let Hatton start to see what you know. You ought to know that Daddy did a deal with the powers that be, and there is a full scale investigation into Tremaine Industries.”
“So, it all comes to a head?”
“Yup, then we can go back to being normal, kid.”
“Pru, what the hell is normal?”
“That, my dear brother, is what you can have fun finding out.”
‘Katie' returned first, and accompanied Mike into the restaurant. Pru returned to Tony and they sat in the bar, keeping a casual eye on Rob.
“I'm a little concerned,” said Mike, as he looked at the menu.
“Yes, it appears that your brother has been accessing files that don't concern him.”
“Yes. One of the security men found him in the archives. Would you know if he has a hidden agenda?”
“I don't think so. I know he told me that he got a call from an ex-employee who wondered about ex-gratia payments for those injured before the 1987 Industrial Accident Regulations. He told the man to see a solicitor, but he said he couldn't afford one. I think Pete is a bit of a soft touch for a sob story, so I think he could have been looking into that.”
Mike Hatton felt a degree of relief, as it all made perfect sense. Anyone could pretend to be an ex-employee, and by calling the legal department, the clerk would feel legally bound to check out the claim, before notifying management. Robert Tremaine could have instigated such a search, and the searchee would have no idea they were being used.
He experienced the lifting of a cloud from his mind, but there were still other clouds to annoy him.
Now he had a problem with Ryan's hasty actions. Where was Peter now, and was it likely he'd sue? What a mess.
As for the frozen accounts, what was that all about? Was there a Trojan attack on the account or was it more sinister, were they the target of an investigation?
He wouldn't be able to find out until Monday. By which time he would be flying back.
“You seem distracted,” said ‘Katie', as the waiter finished taking their order.
“I'm sorry, there are several things happening that are worrying me. Not least the board meeting next Thursday.”
“Oh, that's a big one is it?”
“Yes, one of the most important for a long time. It could decide the future of Tremaine Industries.”
“It's not meant to. In a changing world, the larger corporations and multi-nationals are best suited to survive, so it seems logical that we must look to amalgamate with a multi-national to give us the boost in the world market.”
“It's different when one looks at companies as being started and run by a single family. With big corporations taking over, the people on the ground seem less important. Priorities seem to focus on the turnover and the shareholder, rather than the worker and the families they are trying to support,” she said.
“That's a slightly naïve view, in this day and age. For we have seen that strength comes with the security of a big company.”
“Not necessarily. For with every buy-out there are casualties. I mean, when Morrisons bought out Safeways, they had no interest in perpetuating an effective HR system, so all the HR staff, from management down were out on their ear. The systems that had taken years to develop and put in place were scrubbed instantly. Morrisons HR handling was barbaric, but effective. So many were left scrabbling back in the job market place after having had their secure jobs removed.”
“That's progress, my dear.”
“No, its called profit for shareholders and bonuses for management. There seems to be no honour, respect or decency left. It's dog eat dog, and to hell with the little guy.”
Mike stared at this very attractive girl. Her views weren't the ignorant ideas of an idealist, she had sound views based on real facts, and it perturbed him slightly that the system was that transparent.
Wisely, he changed the subject, and they spoke of lighter matters. She was very worldly and well travelled, and he enjoyed her descriptions of the lady-boys of Thailand.
“Seriously, you can't tell they aren't girls. I suppose the only effective way is to inspect their nether regions, but there are many travellers and sailors who didn't find out until the last possible moment, and hey, any port in a storm.”
“I find it hard to believe that males can disguise their masculinity as effectively as that. Even with breast implants and hormones, there will always be traits they can't hide,” Michael said.
“Really? Like what?”
“Hands, for one. Take your hands,” he said, looking at her slender hands with beautifully manicured and varnished nails. “They are so different to mine.”
“But if I'd been taking hormones for years, wouldn't they look feminine?”
“Probably not. They'd be bigger. Like your size, and strength; a male is just naturally bigger, and no amount of hormones would alter that. I find it had to accept that males can ever successfully pretend to be female.”
Katie had a strange smile on her face.
“The other thing you have to realise is that the Thais and other oriental people groups have smaller frames to Caucasians and African peoples. The different structure of the male and female skeleton is less marked than ours, so it is easier to create an impression of being female,” she said.
“Well, maybe, but I think I'd always know one when I saw one.”
Katie smiled and nodded.
“Yup, I think you probably could,” she said.
“I mean, Looking around here, the only one which could possible be a male would be that bloody American woman, and that's only because of her size. But with those boobs and her general shape, one can see she's a genetic female.”
“So, I couldn't be a transvestite, then?” she said, teasing him.
“You? Oh dear me, no. There are several good reasons why you could never be mistaken for a man in drag.”
“Look around you. Every male in the place wants to take you to bed, apart from the fact that you ooze sex appeal, you are just far to feminine.”
Katie smiled, but refrained from saying anything else, as the waiter brought their wine.
The meal was very good, helped by ‘Katie's' excellent French. Mike noted with relief that the noisy Americans came in later and were seated a long way from their table.
After the meal, Mike excused himself, returning to his room to make some phone calls.
Rob found Pru and Tony in the bar.
“Hi guys, how's it going?”
“Dad called. The police have found the car and picked up a man called Ryan Grover and the driver Tony hit. As Peter Marriott has ‘gone missing' the police are treating it as a potential murder enquiry. The driver has already told the police about the body in the boot business and then the car being stolen. Mr Grover is in deep brown stuff.”
“Has Dad told them the truth?”
“Does Daddy ever tell anyone the whole truth?”
“Well then, what do you expect?” asked Pru.
“I don't know, I wish I knew what was on his mind.”
“Is there anything coming up that he's got plans for?” asked Tony.
“Not that I know….wait, yes, Mike was mentioning something about a board\meeting on Thursday. It seems there may be a takeover bid forthcoming, and judging by what he was saying, the management are in favour.”
“Don't the board of shareholders have to agree?”
A light came on for both Pru and Rob.
“The meeting, Dad must have been buying up loads of shares to attempt a coup at the meeting.”
“Isn't there a rule about how many can be owned by a single individual?”
“Probably, but that's where we come in. I'd bet anything, we are the major share holders, and he will just have enough to get him access to the meeting.”
“Now all we have to worry about is Mike,” said Rob.
“Nah, he's history.”
“He could still go down fighting.”
“He can try, but look at who he's facing,” said Tony with a grin.
“That's true. Look, shall we go out to a night club?” suggested Rob.
Tony looked at Pru, and the latter had a smile on her face.
“No, I think Mr McCulloch is gonna have to take Mrs McCulloch to bed,” she said, in her best (or worst) American drawl.
Rob smiled, but Tony smiled even more.
“Goodnight Katie, see you in the morning,” said Pru.
In his room down the hall, Mike Hatton was a very worried man. Ryan's numbers were simply unobtainable, and he started to sweat.