Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Title: Jess and Jamie
Series: The Eagle Chronicles.
Word Count 13,024 (total)
Summary Steven's adopted son and his cousin become involved in a bit of intrigue.
Notes: Steven takes a backseat here as the next generation gets most of the action. The setting in the first part is my hometown so street names and places are real. The title is a bit lame, sorry about that.

They pulled up in front of the main entrance to Eton College. Jessie stared up at the impressive towers. She got out of the car as Jamie came around to her side. "Intimidating, isn't it?" he remarked.

"It's magnificent."

"I guess it's like that for a non-student. C'mon, Harry's probably waiting for us." He held the door open for her. At the front desk he was greeted with a friendly smile. "I'm here to pick up Harry. Do you know where he is?"

"He's in the lounge waiting for you, m'lord. Would you like me to ring for him?"

"No, thanks. We'll get him ourselves." Jamie strolled across the foyer and into a lounge lined with antiques. The floors were covered by Persian rugs and the oaken walls were hung with portraits of past headmasters and famous students. Two young boys were playing cards at a table. "I hope you're not cheating, Harry," Jamie said with a smile.

The boy with light brown hair turned to face them. "Jamie! You're back! I was hoping you'd come before Andrew left. He didn't believe you would." He stopped when he saw Jessie.

"Allow me to introduce your cousin. Jessica Oakes, this is Henry Stuart, the Prince of Wales."

"Pleased to meet you," said Henry. "Um, this is my friend Andrew MacLiesh. He's waiting for his mom."

"It's a pleasure to meet you both," said Jess.

"Where are your bags? We'd better get on the road if we want to be at St. James Square in time for dinner," Jamie told him. "It was nice meeting you, Andrew. Enjoy your hols!"

Jamie picked up Henry's two bags and put them in the back seat. Jessie could tell Henry was bursting with questions, but being polite, couldn't start the conversation. "How old are you, Henry?"

"Seven. You can call me Harry. Jamie and Uncle James do."

"It doesn't seem to suit you. Can I call you something else?"

"Nothing silly."

"No. I was thinking more along the lines of 'Hal'."

"Digging up your Shakespeare, eh?" remarked Jamie.

"I like it. I like you, too, Jessica."

"Jessie. I like you, Hal." Jamie pulled off the main road. "Where are we going?"

"I figured since we were this close, we'd stop at Windsor. Not too long, mind," he emphasized for Henry. "Just long enough for Jessie to see where her grandfather is buried."

The impressive tower of Windsor Castle rose from the hill in front of them. Jessie held her breath as they drove up to the gates. The guard looked at them, saluted, then opened the gates. Jamie pulled up in front of the main door and waved off the assistance of the footman. "We're just here for a quick visit, John."

"Yes, m'lord. The crowd has thinned out some. It was quite busy earlier." John held the door open for Jessie and Henry.

"We shouldn't be more than half-an-hour or so. I don't think the car will be in the way."

"Very good, m'lord. Will you be requiring anything?"

"No, thank you, John. I'll let you know when we leave."

"Yes, m'lord."

Jamie led Jessica across the grounds to St. George's Chapel. Henry was eager to engage her in conversation. "How long will you be staying? Maybe you can stay weekends here. I'm sure you'll like it."

"I'll be here for at least the summer. That should give us more than enough time."

Jamie held the door open for them and Henry showed her the way to her grandfather's crypt. Jamie took the key out of his pocket and opened the iron gate. Inside was a bust of a woman. The plaque underneath read: Queen Amanda, beloved wife of James III. There was also a portrait of two men with a Scottish terrier at their feet. She realized that she was looking at her grandfather and his brother. She stared at the picture of her grandfather. He was quite handsome; brown hair and eyes, and a strong face. Set back into the walls were three stone sarcophagi. She reverently ran her hand across each of them. These people were family she had never known. Jamie's right. I should learn my heritage.

"I hate to rush you, but we'd better be going."

"Okay. I guess I can come back another time."

They arrived in London close to an hour later and stopped at Jamie's place first. He gave Jessie the key and she opened the door while he carried in two pieces of luggage. Henry tagged along after them. Jamie showed her to her room and put her suitcase down on the bed. "It's not much, but it's home."

"This is nice. The way you were talking, you'd think you lived in a matchbox."

"The bathroom's right down the hall, last door on the left. I'm going to put my own bag away then see what Harry's gotten into."

After freshening up, Jessica found the two of them in the kitchen going through the mail. "Anything interesting?"

Jamie shrugged. "A few party invitations plus an alumni weekend at Cambridge. I'll give them a closer look later. Are you ready to go?"

"Sure." Henry took Jessie's hand and practically dragged her out of the flat as Jamie turned to lock the door.

They arrived at 11 St. James Square less than ten minutes later. Henry ran up the front steps and threw the door open. All Jessie could hear was barking and shouts. Jamie joined her on the stairs. "Don't worry. It's only Harry and Macduff greeting each other."

The two of them were greeted in the front hall by a tall man with black hair and deep blue eyes. He smiled. "C'mon in. We've been expecting you."

"Yeah. Sorry we're a little late. We stopped at Windsor." Jamie shut the door and gave his father a hug. "How have you been?"

"Busy. Alison and I finally got a breather. No commitments for a week." He gave Jessie a hug. "It's good to see you again. You look wonderful. Dinner is ready, and, if we don't hurry, Harry will have eaten it all."

Alison served dinner herself and asked how things were in America. Jessie told them how her parents were and mentioned the polo match. "What do you have planned?" Alison asked.

"I received a few invitations and thought we'd play it by ear," answered Jamie.

"What about this weekend? Surely you're gong to that?"

"It's this weekend? I thought it was next week. That doesn't give me much time." He looked at his adoptive father. "How did you know?"

Alison answered for him. "We had a call from Andrew. He also said to tell you that Oxford demanded a re-match of the boat race."

"A re-match? That was a perfect race, everything above board."

"What's their argument?" asked Jessie.

"They claim we started before the gun. We blew 'em away, anyway."

"Do you think you can do it again?" Henry asked through a mouthful of ice cream.

"I'm not sure. It depends what kind of shape everyone's in. Should prove to be fun." He saw Jessie try to hide a yawn. "Mind if we leave the car?"

"What have you got in mind?" Steven was suspicious.

"I thought Jessie might want to walk back. You know, get a feel for the place."

"That sounds like a marvelous idea," said Alison with a smile. "The weather is perfect for a stroll."

"Can I go?"

"No, you can't, squirt. You're staying here, remember?" Harry frowned, but accepted. "Maybe we can go to the zoo. I'm not making any promises." He turned to Jessie. "Ready?"

She stood from the table. "Thank you both for dinner. It was wonderful." She gave her hosts hugs before she went over to Henry. "Good night, Hal. If Jamie's too busy, maybe we can do something. You can take me sightseeing." She gave him a kiss on the forehead which made him every happy boy.

The two stepped out into the summer night and Jessie breathed deep. "Alison was right, this weather is perfect." The square looked idyllic in the moonlight. "Where did we walk?"

"We can either go along Picadilly or cut through the park. It's up to you."

"Which will prove more fun? Will there be lots of people walking the street at this hour? I'd get a kick out of people-watching."

"Then Picadilly it is."

Jessie was impressed by the attention they attracted. She instinctively walked closer to Jamie so people would know they were together. She was proud that her cousin was so handsome. She could see the envious stares of the young women who passed by. She heard a voice calling, "Jamie! Jamie Stuart!"

Jamie stopped and looked around. He realized they were in front of the Ritz and a young woman was waving at him. "I don't believe it."

"Who is it?"

"Mags. She's a friend I wanted you to meet. C'mon." He walked to the front entrance. The doorman wasn't going to let them in because of their clothes. He refused to believe Jamie's claims, but gave in when the same young woman rushed up.

"They're with me." She walked between the two of them. "You must be Cousin Jessica. Jamie told me he planned to bring you back. When did you get in? Oh, excuse my poor manners. I'm Margaret Weston-Smythe. You can call me Mags."

Jessie was quite taken by surprise at this. She hadn't expected to be bombarded by questions. "We came in today."

"We came over on the Queen Anne."

"So, what are you doing tonight, your cousin's first night in London?"

"We hadn't given it much thought. What do you recommend?"

Mags thought quietly for a few moments. "The Marquee. There's a great local band playing there."

"Great!" Jamie was enthused. "Since Jess and I aren't dressed for dancing, why don't we go to my place to change?"

"What about my parents?"

"I don't think they'd want to go. Do you want me to make your excuses?"

"No. I can think of something." She smiled. "Helping a friend introduce a cousin to London. Wait here, I shouldn't be too long."

They arrived at Jamie's flat about fifteen minutes later. "Do you think you could help me pick out a dress to wear tonight? I want to make a good impression. Jamie, what's the matter?"

Jamie was standing in the doorway looking into the flat. "It's been ransacked," he said quietly.

"What?" Mags and Jessie pushed past him into the living room. There were cushions and pillows strewn about the floor, desk drawers were open and papers littered the floor. "I'm going to check my room to see if anything was taken," said Jessie.

"I'd better do the same."

"I'll start cleaning up in here."

Jamie came out of his room twenty minutes later and saw the two girls adding final touches to the room. "I don't get it. Nothing was taken."

"Are you gonna call the police?" asked Jessie, sitting on the couch.

"No need. Nothing was stolen."

"What about 'Breaking and Entering'? You can't just look the other way." Mags brushed off her clothes. Ever the lady, thought Jess.

"Whoever went through this was looking for something specific, something they think we have. If they didn't find it this time, they're sure to try again."


"Mags, you're the one with the hush-hush job, and you need me to explain? We may be ransacked again."

"Shouldn't we try to figure out what it is they're after? Maybe that way we'll get the upper hand."

"Spoken like a true Stuart," said Jamie with a laugh. "I'd better bring in those cases. No, I can't, the car's at Dad's." He collapsed into a chair. "Sorry about your first night in England, Jess, but right now I don't feel like going out."

"That's okay, Jamie. We have plenty of other nights ahead. I think I'll go straighten my room. It's been nice meeting you, Mags."

"We don't have to make this an early night. We can still have some fun." She walked over to Jamie's stereo. "Is this new?" she asked, flipping through his albums. She pulled out a Beatle album and put it on. "We can dance and clean at the same time!"


The next morning while walking to St. James Square in order to pick up Jamie's car, they were stopped once again by Mags. "What is it now, Mags?" asked Jamie. "I thought you had a life of your own."

"I just thought I'd help Jessie find something to wear to the Regatta."

"The Henley Regatta? Isn't that where they wear Edwardian clothes?"

"I know this great little place off Regent Street where they always sell them this time of year."

Jamie could tell that Jessie really wanted to go with Mags. "Go ahead. I've got a few things to do today." He smiled. "You'll be in good hands with Mags."

"Then it's settled." Mags took Jessie by the hand. "You'll love it." Jessie turned and waved good-bye to Jamie before she was whisked away down Picadilly.

Jamie continued on to his father's house. The first thing he did was open the boot and pull out his small case. Looking at it closer, Jamie could see that it seemed more battered than when he packed it yesterday morning. He brought it inside. Dawson, the butler, told him that his Grace was in the study. Jamie knocked on the door before entering.

"Good morning, Jamie. Did you and Jess have a good time last night?"

"It certainly was eventful." He proceeded to tell Steven the whole story, up to and including the discovery that the case wasn't his. "So I think they'll be coming back for it."

"Well, let's just see what this is all about." Steven tried Jamie's keys to open it, but failed. "So much for the conventional way." He opened his desk drawer and pulled out a slim leather case. He unzipped it, chose a tool, and began to work on the lock.

"You still have those things?"

"Old habits dies hard. Once a thief. . ." He worked on both locks and they soon popped open. "Well, well, well." Inside the case was, aside from the odd bits of paper and such, a small cloth pouch. He opened it and poured the contents into his hand. "Looks like we got ourselves some valuable gems."

"Do you know what they are?" Jamie looked across the desk at them.

"I'm not sure, but I think we have some of the finest examples of one of the rarest gems in existence." Steven fingered them lovingly.

"Really? What are they?"

"Black opals from Australia. They certainly took the long way."

"That's all well and good, but why did they choose me?"

"Because Customs won't go through your luggage. Pretty ingenious, if you ask me. The only snag is that you left before they could get the case back."

"So what do we do? We can't let them have the gems." He picked up one of the opals between his thumb and forefinger.

"I'll call Dolittle and see what he has to say." He picked up the phone and called Superintendent John Dolittle of Scotland Yard, an old friend from his war days.

Henry came into the room. "Hi, Jamie. Are we going to the zoo now?"

"Maybe later." Jamie was trying to listen to Steven's conversation. "Something important's come up."

Henry picked up one of the opals. "What a neat rock. It's so shiny."

"Harry, that's not a rock, it's a black opal, a very rare gem." Jamie turned to his father who ha hung up the phone. "Well?"

"He's bringing over an expert who specializes in opals." He looked at his nephew. "And what do you want?"

"To go to the zoo. If you're busy, maybe Jessie'll wanna take me." He looked around the room. "Where is she?"

"Shopping with Mags."


"Jessie, that dress is perfect," Mags said after two hours of searching.

Jessie finally decided on a cream cotton dress with white lace at the collar and cuffs. She was pleased with herself and felt that she would have fit in Edwardian society. "What about you, Mags? What are you going to wear?"

"Oh, I've already bought mine. Grey with black trim."

Jessie came out of the dressing room. "I'll pay you back for this," she said, handing her dress to the salesclerk.

"I know you will, otherwise I wouldn't have offered."

They left the store and walked down Regent Street towards Picadilly. Mags began to point out stores and give her opinion on them. At the Circus, Jessie heard her name but didn't think it was for her until she heard her last name as well. A man waved to her from the opposite corner and made his way across. Jessie recognized Dennis Howell.

"I didn't think you heard me," he said with a smile. "I yelled as loud as I could." He turned to Mags. "Hello."


"I'm sorry. Dennis Howell, Lady Margaret Weston-Smythe. Lady Margaret, Dennis Howell. We met on the Queen Anne."

"Pleased to meet you," said Dennis. "I was wondering, would the two of you care to accompany me to lunch?"

"We'd love to," said Mags, enamored.

"Where do you have in mind?" asked Jessie.

"Fortnum's. You don't mind, do you?"

"Of course not. How nice of you to ask."

Dennis smiled and hailed a taxi. He held the door open for the two girls. "Fortnum's," he told the driver as he got in. He turned to the girls. "How was your first day?" he asked Jessie.

She filled him in on her day, excluding what happened at the flat. She stopped as they pulled up in front of the store. She followed the others to the restaurant and saw people waiting in line. "I hope we'll get a table."

"Don't worry, I know the head waiter." Mags walked up to the maitre d' and began to talk animatedly, pointing at Jessie and Dennis. The man smiled and Mags waved to them. "It's all arranged," she said as they came up beside her. "My favorite table is free, and, since I'm something of a preferred customer. . ."

The maitre d' held Jessie's chair out for her while Dennis did the same for Mags. "Enjoy your meal, your Grace," he said before he left.

Jessie turned on Mags. "You told him! You know it's not official yet!"

"I'm sorry, Jessie. I couldn't help it. It just slipped out."


John Dolittle made the introductions. "This is Edward Simpson, our opal expert. This is his Grace, the duke of Edinburgh and his son."

Edward shook their hands. "It's a great honor to meet you, your Grace. I followed your early career with professional interest," he said, referring to Steven's days as a jewel thief. "You kept us all on our toes."

"I'm glad I kept you busy."

"Where are the opals you called about?" asked John.

Steven bent under his desk and pulled out the case. "Here they are, all present and accounted for."

"Don't you believe in safes?"

Steven looked at his friend. "Safes can be broken into."

"You should know."

Steven opened the case and Simpson looked inside. "Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful." He picked one out and examined it. "How did you come by them?"

"That's Jamie's story."

Jamie told them of his flat being broken into and his realization that the case he had been carrying wasn't his. "I brought it here and let Dad open it this morning. He figures that I was the perfect courier because my bags wouldn't be checked at Customs."

"You two certainly are magnets for trouble," remarked John. "Why didn't you call about the break-in?"

"Nothing was taken so I didn't think I needed to."

"Don't harp on it, John," Steven told him. "At least now we've got a chance to catch them." He looked at Simpson. "Your opinion?"

Simpson removed his eyepiece. "Excellent workmanship. Definitely Australian quality. We had a report that a shipment had been waylaid. It's an estimated worth of £2 million."

"Is there a way we could pull a switch? Exchange these for fakes?"

"It is possible," Simpson mused. "I'd have to take these back to the Yard to try and find a match."

"I don't see any problem. We'll need them as soon as possible for when they try again."

"I'm sure we can have them by early tomorrow morning. If not, we'll call."

Steven stood. "I appreciate your coming over on such short notice, Mr. Simpson."

"It was worth it, your Grace. It was a pleasure meeting the both of you."

"See you Friday, then, John?" Steven asked.

"7:00." He stopped at the door and looked back. "I almost forgot, good luck in the race, Jamie." He smiled and the two men left.

Jamie looked at his father. "How did he know?"

"A lot of people heard about the grudge match and have correctly assumed that you are going to take part."

"Wonderful." He collapsed onto the sofa.

"The price of fame, m'boy."


Outside on Duke Street after lunch, Dennis looked at his watch. "I didn't realize it was this late. I'm sorry, ladies, but I have to go."

"Oh, really?" asked Mags.

"Tryouts for a new play my agent told me about, Hopefully, something will come of it."

"If not this part, at least your name will be out and circulating," said Jessie.

"Thanks. Um, is it all right if I call you sometime?"

"Sure." She was a bit surprised. "Let me write down the number for you."

"Picadilly -0131," quoted Mags. Jessie looked at her. "I used to call Jamie a lot," she explained.

Dennis laughed. "Thanks for the number. I'll see you soon." He waved good-bye and walked towards the Underground.

The girls watched him disappear then Mags let out a sigh. "He is absolutely gorgeous! You certainly are the lucky one."

"He's just a friend, Mags. I hardly know him." Jessie was a little annoyed at Mags for trying to push the association any further than friendship. "Why don't you try for him?"

"And leave Jamie to the piranhas? You must be joking. No, Jessie, Dennis Howell, actor, is all yours. You never know, he might be the next Olivier!"

Jessie couldn't help but smile. "Now where?"

"I was thinking Carnaby Street. You aren't bored or tired, are you?"

"If I were, would I ask where we were going?"

"Guess not." She hailed a taxi. "Now we can spruce up your wardrobe," she said as they clambered inside.

"Have you ever thought of being a fashion consultant?"

Mags laughed. "I definitely have to introduce you to Rebecca Adamson. She's always said the same thing." She leaned over. "How well do you know Jamie?"

"Mags! I've only met him once before two years ago."


"So, I really can't say. Besides, my opinion would be a bit biased anyway."

"Did he ask you to stay with him, or did your parents think of it?"

"Oh, it was his idea, but don't you go getting any ideas. It's purely out of friendship."

"Of course it is. Whatever you say."

"Don't smirk like that. It's perfectly true."

"It's not just me that will think these things. How will you handle it, say, the newspapers found out?"

"They wouldn't know what they were talking about."

"Once they get a hold of something, they won't let go. It could be embarrassing."

"I've nothing to be embarrassed about. He's my cousin."

"Only by adoption."

"Can we drop the subject now?" Jessie asked as the cab came to a halt.

"Sure. Just don't come to me when the inevitable happens."

"You don't have to worry."


Steven sat down opposite his son. "I didn't get a chance to ask you yesterday, how was Greenwich?"

"It was fine. On the first day Jessie took me down to the Indian Harbor Yacht Club. We met a friend of hers there who invited us to a polo match."

"You went, of course."

"Of course." Jamie smiled. "The ironic thing was they were playing the Guards."

"Interesting coincidence."

"I knew they were touring the States, but I didn't know they'd be in town the same time as me. They asked me to play and it was impossible to turn them down."

"How did you do?"

"Scored a couple of goals. We won."

"How were Sheila and Dave?"

"They were great. It didn't take much to convince them to let Jessie come for the summer."

"And Cambridge?"

"That was the weird thing. She said they wouldn't be able to afford it. It was like she had totally forgotten she's an heiress."

"You have to remember that she never knew her father and grew up just a regular kid. Sarah and I, on the other hand--mainly me--had vague memories of what our life used to be like. It was easier for us to accept."

She said that if Jessie wants the title and decides to live over here, that she'll accept it and won't hold her back."

"That's fantastic!" The telephone rang. "Hello. Oh, hi. Yeah, he's out with Alison. How was your trip?" He mouthed "Sarah" to Jamie as he listened. "Jamie's back. We were just discussing his. Tea? I guess so. What time is it now?" He looked at his watch. "2:30. You want us there at 5:00? I think that's possible. Okay, see you then." He hung up the receiver. "If you couldn't guess, Sarah wants us over for tea at 5:00."

"How are we going to get a hold of Jessie? She's still out with Mags."

"Where should they go?"

"Knowing Mags, all the trendy shops. Sloane Square, Carnaby Street. . ."

"Okay. You go see if you can track her down and give her enough time to dress for tea."

"Sure thing. Wait a minute. What about the opals?"

"Damn. Forgot about that. I'll think of something. You go find Jessie."

Jamie saluted and ran out the door, shouting "Hello" to Alison and Henry on their way in.

"Where was Jamie off to in such a rush?" asked Alison after she greeted her husband.

"To find Jessie. Sarah's home and asked us to tea. I figured that he had the best chance of finding her, knowing where Mags is likely to take her."

Henry danced around Macduff, Steven's Scottish terrier. "Mommy's home! Mommy's home!" he chanted.

"Why don't you get all your things together then get ready for a bath," Alison told him.

"A bath? But it's the middle of the day."

"You don't want your mother to think we let you run wild, do you?" Steven questioned.

"Why not?"

"She might not let you visit again."

"In that case. . ." He ran upstairs.

"You certainly have him trained," remarked Alison with a smile.

"Blackmail is a wonderful tool in the discipline of children." He walked to the living room and she followed. "So, what do you think of Jessie?"

"She's a very sweet girl, very basic and natural. It seems quite funny that Mags has taken to her so."

"I think she's taking advantage of the fact that she'll be seeing Jamie more often."


"It could be. You know how much she likes him."

"But to say she's using Jessie."

"I didn't mean it that way. It's just a golden opportunity she can't pass up."

They heard the phone ring in the distance and a moment later Dawson was at the door. "A Mr. Simpson is on the line, sir."

"Great, I was just about to call him." He picked up the extension. "Stuart. They'll be ready at 4:30? Okay. I have an appointment at the Palace at 5:00 so I'll stop by and get them on the way. Thanks."

"What was that all about?"

"Opals. A little something Jamie unknowingly brought back with him. The thieves already tried once to get them so we've arranged a switch in case they try again."

"Do you think they will?"

"If you had £2 million in opals, would you let someone else have them?"


Jamie made his way to Carnaby Street and parked his car at the north end. He then walked among the crowds checking each and every shop. Halfway down the road he saw a patch of red hair in the crowd in front of him. He headed towards it and called out. the red stopped for a few moments then turned into a boutique. Jamie reached the shop in triumph which turned to confusion as he saw only the sales girl. "Did a brunette and redhead just come in here?"

"Jamie, is that you?" Jessie's voice called from one of the dressing rooms.

"Yeah. We've had an invitation to tea and Dad asked me to come find you."

Jessie stepped out wearing a pale yellow mini-dress with green trim. "How long have you been looking?"

"Not long." He kept staring at her.

"What do you think?"

"It's great. You've got taste."

"Mags helped me pick it out. How are you coming, Mags?"

Mags opened her curtain and Jamie saw that she had on an emerald dress. "I'm not sure."

"I think it looks fine. Green is the right color for redheads."

Mags turned to Jamie for his opinion. "It's fine." He turned back to Jessie. "You'd better hurry. We've got to get going."

"Okay." Both girls went into their respective rooms and drew the curtains. "Where are we going, anyway?"

"Oh, the Palace," he said as he fingered the dresses near the booths.

"The Palace! What will I wear?"

Jamie looked at the pile of boxes on the floor. "I'm sure you'll think of something."

She shoved some of the boxes out with her foot. "Do you mind helping me carry some of these to your car?"

"I hope they'll fit."

"It's not that bad."

"Okay. I'll wait for you."

"I'll be right there."

Jamie picked up some of the packages and walked to the front door. He felt silly holding all those boxes, but not as silly as he would be carrying them down the street.


At 4:30 they were all seated in the grey Bentley driving out of the square. Steven detoured to Scotland Yard to pick up the opals. Neither Dolittle nor Simpson were there, but the office on duty had been informed of the pick-up. Steven locked the case in the boot of the car and then resumed the trip to the Palace.

Jessie was amazed that she was actually driving through the Palace gates. Jamie smiled at her wide eyes. They were greeted by a footman who opened the doors and escorted them to the entrance where the butler then took over. "A pleasure to see you again, sir," he said as he led them through the halls. "Her Majesty is waiting for you in the __________ Room."

Henry ran ahead of them and found his mother. "Did you miss me?"

"Of course I did," Queen Anne said as she hugged her son.

"Did you miss me?" his father, Prince John asked, kneeling.

"Oh, yes!" Henry ran over and gave his father a bear hug.

"What a lovely family photo," remarked Steven from the doorway. "I wonder what the Mail would give for this?"

"Hello, Steven, Alison, Jamie. Thank you for keeping an eye on Harry for me." She stopped. "You have to be Jessie." She hugged her. "You certainly do look like Sheila." She smiled. "Here I go, putting you on the spot. Let me introduce my husband. John, this is Jessica Oakes, my cousin."

"Call me 'Fitz'," he said. "Everybody does."

"And you must call me 'Sarah'. You are family, after all." She sat and everyone followed suit. "Harry, will you ring for tea, please?"

Jessie was still in shock. Here she was having tea with the Royal Family--and she was part of it! She listened with one ear to the conversation. Henry had let it slip that Jamie's apartment had been ransacked and that they thought it might happen again.

"There's nothing to worry about," Steven was saying. "I've brought Dolittle in on it."

"I certainly hope so. Though I don't know what good it'll do."

"Sarah," exclaimed Fitz, "you know perfectly well that John Dolittle is an excellent detective."

"That's not what I meant. With Steven around, he doesn't have much of a chance."

Alison laughed. "John has the edge, I think. Steven is out of practice and a little rusty."

"Okay, laugh at my expense," Steven said with a grin. "Just remember when the name of the Eagle filled evil men's souls with fear."

"You've been reading your own biographies, haven't you?" asked Sarah.

"I think it sounds like good movie material," remarked Jessie.

Alison looked at her husband. "Do you want to tell them?"

'Tell us what?" questioned Henry.

"Alison and I received a letter the other day from Pinewood Studios. They want to buy to movie rights to my life story."

"That's fab!" cried Jamie and Jess.

"What did you tell them?" asked Sarah.

"I haven't said anything yet. Alison and I both agree that it's a good idea, but we wanted to run it by you first."

"Steven, you don't need my approval. You're older than I am and can male your own decisions."

"You've finally admitted it."

"You needed a steadying influence and now you've got Alison. All I ask is a private viewing once it's done."

"Deal." Steven shook her hand.


Two days later, on Friday, Jamie said good-bye to Jessie and drove up to Cambridge. "I'll see you at the finish line in Henley. It should be over at about midday."

"Okay." She gave him a sisterly kiss on the cheek. "Good luck."

She was waiting in the living room the following day when Mags and her family arrived to take her down to Henley. Her parents were very kind and her brother Brandon wasn't as bad as he could have been because she had been properly warned. It was no wonder Mags nicknamed him Brat.

Jessie was welcomed warmly into the Stewards' Enclosure. Men were dressed in striped blazers with cravats and boaters and the women wore elegant gowns similar to hers. She asked the Weston-Smythes not to tell anyone of her relations for the obvious reasons. With her American accent, she was able to ask questions and not be thought a dunce. "Is the Oxford-Cambridge race always held here?"

"Originally it was, but since they've lengthened the course, they've moved it to another location."

"Why are they having it here today?"

"To coincide with the Regatta, for one thing, and, because it's shorter, there's more of a challenge."


Mags came over. "They've started the finals for the Princess Elizabeth Cup. They've timed it so it'll be over by the time the race is ready to start."

Even thought she really didn't care about that particular race, Jessie made her way to the finish line so she would have a perfect view to see Jamie cross the line. While crossing the Enclosure, she thought she heard her name called--in a definite American accent. She turned to see Cliff Mead coming her way. "Oh, my God," she murmured.

"What is it?" Mags turned when she realized Jessie had stopped.

Jessie didn't have time to answer as Cliff came up. "Jessie, you look absolutely fabulous! I almost didn't recognize you."

"Cliff, I thought you weren't coming until later," she stammered. Mags nudged her discreetly. "Um, Cliff Mead, I'd like you to meet Lady Margaret Weston-Smythe."

Cliff tipped his hat. "Charmed, I'm sure."

The crowd cheered as they spotted the first crew upriver. "Who's ahead?" called Mags.

"Cambridge," came the answer from a disappointed Oxford supporter.

They rushed to the bridge rail. Jessie could see Jamie in the stern of the boat, keeping the rowing on an even tempo. Mags, in turn, shouted encouragement from the rail with the rest of the crowd. Jessie just watched, absorbing everything.

Cambridge won by at least two lengths. Jamie and his crewmates then rowed to the nearest dock and climbed out to be greeted by an enthusiastic crowd. He spotted Jessie and Mags trying to get through and waved to them. The people, noticing this, opened a path for them.

"You were fabulous!" Jessie told him. "I've never had so much fun at a race before."

A man with the greyest eyes Jessie had ever seen came up and clapped Jamie on the back. "Splendid race. They can't argue with that."

Jamie introduced him as Tristan Forbes, a friend of Steven's. "I didn't think you'd make it in time, Tris."

"I left as soon as you went to set up. By the way, your change of clothes is in the boot. The car is parked in a reserved spot by the Enclosure."

"Great. I'd better go change, then. Save me a glass of champagne, will you?"

Jessie turned to Tristan. "How do you know my cousin?"

"Six years ago, in 1959, when he had amnesia, I was the constable assigned to keep an eye on him."

"Why you?"

"I had read for psychology and the needed someone who knew how to handle an amnesia case. Granted, mine were only textbook cases, but I had the best qualifications. I helped him out on a few cases and know I'm studying for my doctorate."

"I knew I recognized your name, I just couldn't place it."

Jamie strolled up to the Enclosure with the rest of his crew. "See you inside. I have to get a few things." He spotted the Aston-Martin.

As he was taking his clothes out of the boot, a voice said, "Hello, your lordship. It was a wonderful race."

"Thank you," he replied, turning around. A familiar man was smiling at him, his hand in his pocket.

"Yes, it is what you think. You have something we want, m'lord, something in a black case."

Jamie wracked his brain to remember where he had seen the man. "You're from the ship, aren't you? The one who talked to me in the newsstand." The man nodded. "I knew the case wasn't mine," Jamie said, lifting it out. "I kept meaning to take it to the line's offices, but I never got any further than that."

The man took the case in his left hand and whistled. A car pulled up and the man slowly backed over to it, his gun aimed at Jamie. "Don't follow, m'lord. It can only lead to trouble."

Jamie stood still and watched the car head for the exit only to be blocked by the guards Dolittle had set up. He smiled and took his clothes inside to change.

Inside he saw Jessie between Cliff Mead and the newly-arrived Dennis Howell. Both were vying for her attention and he couldn't help but feel a little jealous. He could just imagine the attention she would get once the public found out who she really was. He put that behind him and joined the others in a glass of champagne.


SPN Dean Writing

Latest Month

July 2018
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Witold Riedel