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.
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It all comes together.
Pru was in seventh heaven. Tony was as steady and strong in bed as he was on dry land, so to speak. She'd had a few brief and unsatisfactory sexual encounters in her life. Mostly because her father managed to scare off any potential bed-mate before it ever reached that stage. Unlike Rob, she'd spent more time as her own gender than he had. She was in no doubt as to her correct gender and sexuality.
It had been like coming home, for both of them.
They'd both been nervous, as neither were experienced in sexual matters. Tony had lost his virginity at eighteen to a mother of a friend from school. Although the experience had taught him a good deal, it also scared him a little. He had been a big and good-looking lad, and girls would all but throw themselves at him. He found the girls he was attracted to were the ones least likely to be an easy lay.
He actually preferred this, as he wanted to find someone with whom he could be a friend with first, and just enjoy their company, sharing common interests. To become lovers was secondary, and in Pru he found the perfect compromise.
“You know, I think Professor Higgins would approve of you,” he told her as they lay together as the dawn broke, sending slivers of pale light through the chinks in the curtain.
“He wanted a woman to be more like a man.”
She rolled on top of him, so their noses were almost touching.
“So, I'm more like a man, am I?”
“Yes and no. Yes, in that I can relate to you easier than any woman I have ever known. I feel I don't have to explain things to you, as you will automatically understand. But, no, because you are without doubt the most beautiful and sexy woman I have ever met.”
“More beautiful than Katie?”
“I love you, Pru,” he said, and she did something amazing with her tongue.
Tony rose first on the Monday morning, as he did most mornings, presenting her with continental breakfast in bed, with a single red rose.
Saturday had seen a very subdued Hatton attend the various meetings. Rob had seen that the man was clearly distracted, and the meetings, although satisfactory, managed to pass without much input from Tremaine Industries senior executive.
Sunday gave ‘Katie' an opportunity to see some of the city. As Mike stayed in the hotel, still trying in vain to contact Ryan, so the ‘nice American couple' agreed to accompany her.
There was a final meeting with three members of the Tech -American group. There was no need for ‘Katie' to be present, as they all spoke English. However, Mike Hatton was feeling insecure, and wishing to make a good impression, he asked her to attend as his PA.
It was a brief meeting. The senior negotiator was a vice-president of the American company, Harry G. Laszsciw, a third generation New Yorker of Polish descent. He was a hard-nosed man, who gave little. He saw Tremaine Industries as a small fish, but quite a valuable one. Their possession of a large section of the European and Far Eastern Market rendered them a valuable asset in the global picture of Petrochemical Industrial and agricultural machinery, in particular - pumps. Vast areas of low-lying land depended upon Tremaine pumps to irrigate and drain. They were dependable and easily maintained, with cheap parts and were now being constructed in factories in the countries themselves.
Tremaine, although not a huge corporation, was a wealthy one, and had great potential.
The short but constructive meeting fascinated Rob. Tech-American was offering a substantial sum for the smaller British firm. Although Laszcziw didn't say so, Rob understood that as soon as it was acquired, it would be split into divisions, asset stripped, with the British end dissolved. He had a tape recorder running throughout.
Mike was more relaxed after the meeting, having come to an understanding with Laszcziw. There was the Shareholders Board Meeting on the Thursday where a vote would be taken. Mike seemed complacent that he would win the day. He stood to win an enormous personal fee from the Americans for engineering the deal, as well as transferring his shares from Tremaine to Tech-American, which would also benefit him greatly.
“I think it's quite sad. I mean, this company was built up by one man, and here you are selling it up.”
“That, my dear, is what we call progress,” he said, quite cheerfully. They were in the taxi to the airport. Rob knew that the end was now in sight. Though quite what that end would mean, he had no idea.
As he boarded the plane, and he took his seat next to Mike in First Class, he noted that his sister and Tony were in Business Class, a little way back. Pru gave him a little wave.
The short flight was uneventful, and they whizzed through immigration, collected their luggage and were out of the Terminal in no time.
“I'll see you in the office tomorrow. There's no need to go in today, I have to, but you can have the rest of the day off. Please don't talk to anyone about the meeting this morning, it is strictly confidential until after this Thursday's meeting.”
“I won't,” Rob lied.
Mike went to the cab rank and got into the next cab in line. Rob watched him go as Tony and Pru joined him.
“Now what?” he asked.
“Now, nothing, it's business as usual.”
“I've just talked to Dad. The SFO are about to close down Mr Hatton. Four of his top people are also under investigation, so I think we have to carry on as normal. At least, you have to, Peter Marriott has disappeared.”
“What are we going to do about that?”
“Nothing, she's coming down to my place in the country, and will stay there for a while,” said Tony, placing a proprietary arm around he shoulders. She looked up at him, grinned and kissed him.
“Until Thursday, that is,” she said.
“Daddy has put some shares of Tremaine Industries into our names. We have enough to attend the meeting.”
“Which names?” Rob asked, reasonably enough. After all, he'd used so many over the years.
“Ours, silly, Robin and Prudence Tremaine.”
“We're Tremaines now, then?”
“Daddy says we always were.”
“And you believe him?”
“Not normally, but this time, yes, I think I do.”
“Hmm,” said Rob, unconvinced.
They caught the bus to the long Term Car Park. It was quite crowded so they spent the journey in silence. Rob reflected on everything that had happened, and was not a little unsure of the future.
The bus dropped them off within a few metres of Tony's Range Rover, so very soon they were heading into town. The plan was to drop ‘Katy' off at Elm Park Gardens, liase with Tremaine senior, and then Tony was taking his fiancée down to his home in the shires.
Robert was pleased to see them. He was excited, as clearly developments had occurred while they had been in Paris.
“Everything is on hold until the meeting,” he told them. “The SFO and police are holding back and will wait for the end of the meeting. Ryan has been charged with conspiracy to kidnap and murder, he's being held incommunicado at a police station. He was at court this morning and has been remanded back into police custody.”
This was especially exciting news, for it was Ryan who had engineered the false allegations against Robert all those years ago.
“So what do I do, Dad?” Rob asked.
“You must go to work as usual. This is a crucial time, as my cousin must be lulled into a false sense of security into believing that nothing is wrong.”
“Won't he twig about Ryan?”
“Who knows? He is probably worrying more about the accounts being frozen. The SFO froze them to monitor them, but have released them now. The bank is cooperating and will state they had a mainframe closure.”
So, Tony and Pru left for Buckinghamshire, Pru looking more relaxed and at ease than Rob could ever remember. He felt faintly envious, and that made him think of Letty and then of Sheena.
His father went out, to meet with the SFO, so Rob sought Theresa in the sitting room.
“Why the long face, Rob?”
“I don't know if I want this to end. In a way, it's all I know.”
“Don't look at it as an ending, but as a fresh start of a different part of your life.”
Rob sat down. Theresa smiled sadly, for he sat properly, as a young woman in a skirt.
“Theresa, what should I do?”
“I can't answer that, only you can.”
“If I knew, I wouldn't have to ask.”
“In your heart, what do you want to do?”
“In my heart? I don't know. Part of me wants to be Rob, to love Letty and live happily ever after. But another part of me wants to be Katie, to become as much a real woman as I can, and to take life one step at a time.”
“There is a third way,” Theresa said.
Theresa told him.
‘Katie' turned up on time for work on Tuesday. There seemed no difference at Tremaine Towers, and Rob completed the reports on the weekend's meetings that Mike had asked him for.
In fact, everything was so ordinary, that rob was inclined to think that his father might have been mistaken. At lunchtime Sheena sought him out.
“What's happened with your brother?” she asked.
“Why, what have you heard?”
“There's a rumour he was kidnapped, and may be dead. But seeing you here, I suppose that's all it is, a rumour.”
“Peter was involved in an attempted theft of a car from the car park. He saw someone trying to steal a car, and they thumped him, taking the car. They took him a mile or so and then dropped him off. He was slightly hurt and is having a few days off. That's all.”
Sheena looked relieved.
“I'm glad he's alright.”
“How was Paris?”
“Fine, it was fun.”
“Did the MD try to bed you?”
“No, he had a lot more on his mind.”
“Thanks for the other night, I think.”
“I'm sorry things didn't work out like you'd hoped.”
“I'm still here, and you're still talking to me,” Sheena said with a small smile.
“I still have some stuff to sort out, and don't mean to fuck you about. I think it's best we just leave things the way they are for a bit.”
Sheena nodded, clearly disappointed, and yet there was a little hope there for her.
“May I still be your friend?”
“Sheena, of course, but when this is all over, you may not want to be.”
Rob smiled sadly.
“Let's just say, I'm a very complicated individual,” he said.
“Aren't we all?”
“Probably, but believe me, I am more than most.”
Sheena smiled uncertainly and left Rob alone once more. He shook his head sadly, there were going to be a lot of casualties after this was all over.
Wednesday was a repeat of Tuesday. Peter Marriott was officially sick, and Rob had to answer a few questions about his adventure, but once it proved to be quite minor, they dwindled to nil very quickly.
On Wednesday evening Letty called on the phone, and ‘Katie' spent nearly an hour chatting to her. After the call was over, Rob retired to his room, and lay on his bed staring at the ceiling. His friendship with the other girl was one of the finest he'd ever had, and he knew that once the truth was out, that friendship was possibly never going to be the same again.
He didn't know which he valued most, being Katie and her friend, or being Rob and her lover. He also kept trying to imagine what a lesbian relationship with Sheena would be like, and was coming to the conclusion that it was not destined to be either lasting or realistic.
There was a knock on his door.
He got of the bed and opened the door. His father stood there.
“Rob, may I come in?”
He opened the door and his father entered his room, sitting on the bed.
“Son, we need to talk.”
Thursday morning saw Theresa in the kitchen making breakfast. Robert came down and kissed her cheek.
“Good morning my dear, have you given any thought to what I said?”
“Robbie, we have known each other for years. I will, on one condition, the company comes second.”
“Done. You fix the day.”
She looked surprised, and then pleased.
Rob appeared, for the first time dressed as a male, in a smart dark suit, silk shirt and tie. His hair was very short, and he looked uncertain.
“Excellent, you look very smart my boy. Theresa, your hairdressing skills have not diminished over the years,” Robert said.
Rob smiled uncertainly.
Theresa handed him a full English breakfast.
He looked at it, and then at her.
“What's the occasion?”
“First, you need building up, if you are to be the boy again, and secondly, why shouldn't your future step-mother spoil you a little?”
“Congratulations. It seems everyone is getting settled except me.”
“That my boy is also up to you. I'm sure that Sir Charles would like his letter returned and Miss Letty would like the truth?”
“That's what I'm afraid of. What happens when she rejects me because of the deception and lies I've perpetuated?”
“My boy, believe me, Letty is an incurable romantic, she'll love you all the more. Trust me.”
“Yeah, right,” said Rob, once more unconvinced.
They ate their breakfast, and Robert kept looking at his watch.
“Expecting someone?” Rob asked.
“Yes, at it happens. Your sister should be here soon, and I'm expecting a chap called Goodyer.”
“Is he a policeman?”
“No, he's a Barrister, but he's part of the SFO. We are all going together. You'll need these,” he said, passing over some documents.
“What are they?”
“Proof that you own twenty three percent of Tremaine Holdings shares.”
“Twenty three percent? That's quite a lot.”
“Pru has the same, and I have five percent.”
“I transferred most of my original twenty percent to you two early on. Then I've bought a little more over the years, in bits and bobs, just to keep them unsuspecting. So, the three of us now own fifty one percent of the shares, and therefore can outs the current board and management.”
“Ah!” said Robin, a light coming on.
“Why the subterfuge?”
“Because if he'd suspected that I was buying up all his shares, he'd have blocked me legally, and if that failed he'd have had us all bumped off. So, all my intrigues were for a purpose, believe me.”
There was some noise at the front door. Pru and Tony came in, closely followed by Graham Goodyer and another man, who was introduced as a Detective Superintendent Paul Gration from the Fraud Squad.
“All here, anyone for a tea or coffee before we go?” Robert asked. There were no takers. “Right, into the fray.”