threads

Threads: The Island



Author’s note: This story contains incest. It also contains lots of other action, and I should warn you now — it’s not a short one-page jerkoff story. Threads is a series of stories with a number of characters that cross over between the tales. They’re all interlinked in one way or another, so look out for more in the future. I’ve got three more novel-length tales written and a fouth nearly completed. Anyway. Read on, hope you enjoy it. Ratings and comments always welcome.



JJ




*



Edwin



Edwin looked at the pile of paperwork on his desk and rubbed at his eyes. It had been a really long day, and only midway through what was bound to be a long week. It had begun with his friend Danny’s death two days ago, and since then the Island had been a hive of activity getting things prepared.



In a couple of days time Danny’s children would arrive on the Island, having just found out that they were triplets given up for adoption, and they’d be meeting here for the very first time. On top of that he had a burial to organise for Danny on the Island. Add in organising supplies and planning for every contingency, and it was no wonder he felt exhausted. It was two in the morning and high time he had some stress relief.



He got up from his desk, winced at the pain in his back and moved to the door of his office, part of his home on the Island upstairs from the clinic, and headed for the exit, moving quietly down the stairs as was his habit. Once outside he smiled. He’d always loved the cool breeze that caressed the Island through the night.



He turned left and took the path down to the beach, taking a right between two large bushes on the narrow path the kitchen staff used to bring supplies into the kitchens. A couple of turns and he was moving around the edge of the building where the Islands food was prepared and stored, unstaffed at this time of night. He knew if anyone spotted him they’d just assume he was going for his habitual late night snack, but he knew different.



He bypassed the main doors to the kitchen and entered the small courtyard that served the dual purpose of somewhere to store the trash and somewhere the chefs and porters could sneak out to for a smoke. Casually he glanced around and seeing no-one he slipped over to the backdoor of the pastry kitchen and entered a code in the keypad, a different code from the one normally used to open the door.



A quiet bump sounded next to one of the bins and he moved to the corner, reached down and pulled the handle that was now protruding from the flagstoned yard. A small hatch appeared with a ladder heading down, barely visible in the moonlight.



He quickly slid himself into the narrow passage and closed the hidden hatch above him, seeing the dim lights illuminating the twenty three rungs below him. Reaching the bottom he turned around and punched another code into the wall and the small box beside it opened. He pressed his hand to the small screen inside the box and the door beside him swung open.



Edwin smiled in anticipation. He had a lot of catching up to do.



He entered the saferoom, or as he thought of it, the ‘Bunker’ where he could retreat to if the Island was ever attacked. He ignored the open plan living area and kitchen and moved straight to the door on his left, a control room where he could make contact with the outside world if need be, but his focus wasn’t on the emergency facilities. He moved straight to the console housing the covert CCTV system that Danny Tripps had painstakingly built in secret over the last fifteen years.



His friends words came back to him, as they always did when he looked at the setup. “There’s no point in being trapped in here. Much better to see what’s going on outside. Then you retain an advantage the other side doesn’t even know about. Information is power.”



Edwin smiled and moved to the large leather desk chair facing the bank of fifteen screens. Three large screens, a dozen smaller, all assigned letters from A to O. The one hundred and thirty eight cameras hidden around the island were numbered, making the system incredibly simple to operate. Simply type in the letter for the screen then the camera number, hit enter and that’s what you saw.



The whole system was set up on a motion-activation principle, immediately discarding data that had nothing happening and that suited Edwins purposes perfectly.



He settled his fingers on the keyboard, typed A68 and hit Enter. The first of the three large screens flickered into view, a camera situated in the bedroom of Danny’s favourite PA, Patricia,. She was one of Edwin’s favourites too, a hot, toned blonde with a bundle of intelligence and determination. It wasn’t her intellect that interested him at present though as he watched the live feed from her vacant bedroom, his memory providing him with hundreds of images of her sleeping in that very bed.



He felt the familiar stirring in his groin and smiled. Time to move the recording back.



His fingers found the small dial next to the keyboard, punched in the camera number and then rotated it back. The simple system allowed him to review all recorded footage from that particular camera and he was viewing it in reverse. A couple of chambermaids darted around briefly at high speed, and then the footage caught up to Patricia undressing then sleeping. The footage continued in reverse at high speed, skipping past hours of her lying still. She’d been asleep for five hours or so when he saw her leap out of bed, naked, and grab a towel, then disappear backwards into the bathroom.



He reset the dial, his left hand coming to rest on his belt, and as the footage began to play on the screen he unfastened his belt and trousers.



Patricia appeared from the bathroom, her skin flushed from the shower, wrapped in a fluffy white towel, and as Edwin pulled down his fly and slid his hand in his trousers, she opened her towel.



Seeing her side on as she lifted the towel, her body taught and firm, her breasts pert and round, Edwin slipped his hand around his cock, slowly stroking himself as he watched her dry herself. She moved too quickly for him though, drying herself rapidly then slipping under the sheet on her bed, settling down to go to sleep.



Edwin frowned and punched in B69, bringing up the footage from the en-suite bathroom in Patricia’s room. He punched 69 in next to the dial and rolled it back, seeing her in a high-speed blur in the shower, moving it back to play as soon as the maid appeared who’d cleaned the bathroom earlier.



While he stroked himself in anticipation the maid finished her work, the lighting changed and Patricia appeared. Dressed only in a black thong, she walked up to the sink, her gorgeous breasts on display and as she brushed her teeth, Edwin zoomed the camera in on her breasts, stroking himself as he watched them jiggle back and forth with every motion of her arm.



“Come on, you hot bitch,” he muttered. “Get in the fucking shower.”



The teeth brushing continued for another minute and then she disappeared off screen, so Edwin zoomed the view back out, seeing her step into the shower cubicle. The water began immediately and he slowed the footage down as she stepped out the cubicle to remove her thong. In slow motion she inserted her thumbs in her waistband and bent over, sliding the black material down her hips, thighs and finally to the floor, and with a casual flick of her foot, the thong ended up back in the bedroom.



Edwins grip tightened on his cock. She always did this before she went in the shower. Always. He zoomed in a little closer.



Patricia stood up straight and stretched, her arms rising high above her head, her breasts jutting out. Edwin groaned, licking his lips in anticipation of what came next. Her right hand slid down over her taught, flat stomach, sliding down over her shaved skin until her middle finger made contact with her clitoris.



“Go on, you fucking slut,” he muttered, his fist pumping as he watched.



Patricia’s middle finger rubbed her clit up and down a couple of times, then in slow-motion, she moved it down her slit, rubbed up and down once, then plunged her middle finger deep inside her pussy.



“Fuck that dirty unwashed cunt, you whore,” Edwin growled. His fist was pumping furiously on his cock now, loving what he saw on the screen.



Patricia dipped her finger in and out three times, and as Edwin zoomed the view back out, he smiled wickedly as she raised the finger to her lips and sucked it into her mouth, her head tilted back.



“That’s a good slut,” He grunted.



She stepped forward into the shower, and Edwin stroked his cock, watching the hot water sluicing down the curves of her body. “Come on, you dirty bitch. Do it.” His fist was pumping rapidly up and down on his cock, his eyes fixated on the screen.



Patricia turned in the shower and squatted down, her back against the wall. Edwin smiled and zoomed the camera in, framing her as her legs came up and her buttocks rested on the shower floor. He could see her pussy, her asshole, tits and face and he felt his heart lift in excitement.



“Go on. Get busy.”



She tilted one hip and her left hand appeared under her ass, her index finger rubbing at her brown puckered hole.



“Do it, slut,” Edwin muttered.



Her right hand appeared between her legs, her fingertips brushing against her clit. Her mouth was open in anticipation, Edwin mirroring her expression on screen. Suddenly she slid two fingers into her pussy, plunging them in deep and her body stiffened in pleasure.



Edwin smiled. “And now the ass, you filthy little whore.”



Patricia’s finger that had been rubbing gently at her ass suddenly pushed, forcing her up to the first knuckle in that tightest of places. He watched as her expression turned nasty and she pushed harder, sinking the finger in her ass and the two in her pussy as deep as they would go. Her breathing was fast now, as intense as the expression on her face.



Edwin realised he was strangling his cock, his grip was so tight, so he eased up the pressure a fraction and continued stroking at a frantic pace, his free hand pulling his black shirt up around his shoulders in anticipation.



Patricia began to plunge her fingers deep inside herself, fucking both her holes at once with vigour, and Edwin’s fist pumped up and down his cock, imagining it was his cock going in and out of her ass like that.



She paused for a second, adding a second finger to her asshole and a third to her pussy, then pushing hard, she slid them all back in again.



“Fucking filthy bitch,” he snarled, knowing what was coming next, feeling his balls begin to tighten in anticipation.



Patricia’s fingers were plunging in and out of her ass and cunt, as hard and fast as she could physically manage, and then her entire body stiffened and her head smacked back hard against the wall of the shower as she came.



Her fingers flew out her holes, all of them going rapidly into her wide open mouth, and as Edwin watched her suck on them, he saw her pussy twitching as she came and her ass opening and closing in glorious, exquisite detail. He came too.



Hot cum splattered out his cock onto his stomach, one spurt and a second, the remainder flopping and dripping onto his pelvis, matting his grey pubic hair, coating his hand.



Patricia’s mouth closed, sucking hard on those fingers that had been deep inside her wet pussy, her tight ass, her brow furrowed and her cheeks rosy as her orgasm washed over her.



“Fucking dirty little whore,” Edwin panted, his eyes glued to the screen as his hand fondled his sticky cock.



Patricia recovered quickly, her fingers leaving her mouth only to quickly tweak her nipples once, then she stood, rinsed herself off, washed her hands and turned the shower off.



Edwin leaned in the chair, panting and grinning as she left the shower. “Filthy fucking whore,” he muttered. Idly he wondered who he’d stroke off to tomorrow morning. Over the last decade his habit had sat him in this chair and made him stroke off to movie stars, musicians, models, hundreds of gorgeous women unknowingly recorded in their most intimate of moments while visiting the Island as guests of Danny. And Edwin had them all recorded and stored. All for his personal pleasure.



“Maybe the Doctor,” he muttered. “Or maybe I’ll get that slut to dress up for me again. Some new fodder arriving soon though.” He smiled, having seen the files of the three triplets. The two girls were hot. He was looking forward to seeing both of them in the most exquisite of detail.



Edwin carefully lowered his shirt over his cum-splattered stomach then fastened up his trousers and belt, trapping the cooling semen against his skin. Carefully he stood up and walked to the exit, feeling it oozing down his stomach. He smiled, loving the feeling, the scent of his own cum, especially if he bumped into anyone outside. He’d deliberately hold them in conversation, just to see if they’d notice the smell. Few did, none of them figured it out though.



He left the ‘Bunker’ and entered the kitchen, taking the sandwich that the Chef always left out for him, munching on it as he walked back to his apartment above the clinic.



Kyle



The phone rang on Kyle’s desk. He frowned, not needing the interruption. For the last three days he’d been working twelve hours trying to get the recommendation done for his company to purchase EDIT, an electronic records management application and he was nearly there.



“Hello. Kyle Watson, Business Strategy Team. Can I help you?” He replied, the standard answer whenever an internal call came through to his desk.



“It’s Reception. There’s a Mister Crowler here to see you. Says he’s a lawyer.”



Kyle frowned. “I don’t have him in my diary.”



“He says it’s urgent that he speak with you,” The security guy at reception stated.



“Em, okay. I’ll be right down.”



“Cheers.” The other end of the line went dead.



Kyle headed for the elevator, the frown still creasing his features, wondering why a lawyer would be coming to see him. There was nothing legal he was involved in at work, he knew he was a pretty well behaved guy, and he knew he was up to date on his loan payments and all that.



He entered the elevator and hit the button for the ground floor, leaning against the wall as he tried to think of a single reason why a lawyer would be wanting to see him, but by the time the doors opened and he reached the reception desk, he still hadn’t come up with one.



“He’s in there,” The portly security guy grunted, poking a thumb in the direction of one of the vacant meeting rooms HR used for interviews.



Kyle looked over, seeing an elderly man, around the age of retirement, but there was something very sharp about him. Maybe the slicked back white hair, or the black suit, shirt and tie, but from his initial glance, Kyle wouldn’t be surprised to find out that this guy was Lucifers lawyer. He had that supremely confident look about him.



His frown still on his face, Kyle opened the door. “Hi. I’m Kyle Watson. Can I help you with something?”



The lawyer immediately stood offering a surprisingly warm handshake. “I’m Mister Crowler, Kyle. Thankyou for agreeing to meet with me at such short notice.”



“Sure,” Kyle said, closing the door and taking a seat opposite the old man. “Do you mind if you tell me straight away what it is you want? We’ve got three of the Company Directors in the building today, so it’s kinda busy upstairs.”



The old man nodded.



“Very well. I’m sure you’re wondering why a lawyer has turned up out of the blue to see you. It involves an inheritance from a relative and you’re one of the listed beneficiaries.”



Kyle’s eyes widened at the lawyers words. “Oh.”



“Not what you were expecting?” Mister Crowler asked, an eyebrow raised at the expression on Kyle’s face.



“I didn’t know what to expect, but this wasn’t even on the list,” Kyle admitted. “Who are we talking about here? I don’t know of any relatives of mine that have died.” He frowned as he thought about it. “Not in the last few years anyway. Are you sure I’m the right Kyle Watson?”



“I’m absolutely sure.” The lawyers confident expression left Kyle in little doubt, confusing him further.



“So.. Em… Who died?” Kyle nodded.



“For that you’ll have to bear with me for a few moments while I show you a few files,” Mister Crowler said, flicking open his briefcase and removing several Manilla files, placing them on the desk in front of him. The old mans fingers tapped for a few seconds on the files before he cleared his throat.



“Kyle, you are twenty three years old, born on the 19th of March, correct?” The lawyer’s tone was precise, factual, and Kyle nodded.



“Yeah.”



“What I am about to tell you may come as a bit of a shock, so please bear with me.” He flicked open the first file, containing several photos. The first was a black and white image of three babies, wrapped in blankets and woolen hats and they looked like they were only a day old.



“Babies,” Kyle said aloud, knowing he was stating the obvious, but if he had fifty guesses at what was inside the manilla folders, a baby picture wouldn’t have even crossed his mind.



“Correct,” Mister Crowler replied. “This is a photograph taken of a set of triplets several hours after they were born on the 19th of March, twenty three and a half years ago, Kyle.”



Kyle’s eyes shot up to the old man’s, but the lawyers gaze was fixed on the photo. His finger tapped the baby on Kyle’s left.



“This baby was named Katarina.” His finger moved to tap on the infant on the right. “This one was named Kara, and the one in the middle was named Kyle.”



“Yeah, I think you’ve got the wrong Kyle, buddy,” He said immediately. “I don’t have any sisters, or twins, or whatever.” He kept quiet the realisation that the central baby did look like him in his own baby photos, but Kyle wasn’t convinced. Babies all looked the same to him anyway.



“Please, bear with me,” The lawyer said firmly, moving the photograph to one side. Underneath the photo was a stack of papers, and Kyle could see Adoption Certificate written on the top one. His fingers deftly rotated the document so Kyle could read it.



His eyes met the lawyers a few seconds later. “I don’t know anything about this documentation. I couldn’t tell you if it’s real or false. I know I’m not adopted though.”



“Is this your birth certificate, Kyle?” Mister Crowler said, sliding another document in front of Kyle.



He checked and nodded, frowning as he wondered why the hell this lawyer could have a copy of what looked like his own birth certificate. “Could be, but I don’t know how you have it.”



The lawyer flicked another document next to the birth certificate. “This is a name change by deed poll that accompanies the adoption certificate,” He continued in the factual, clinical and emotionless tone, flicking another two documents in front of Kyle. “And this is your original birth certificate.”



Kyle forced himself to look carefully at what was in front of him. He knew that his own birth certificate was correct and couldn’t see anything on it that was strange or unusual, so he began to read the name change document, and compared it with the adoption certificate. He could feel a knot in his stomach as he failed to find any inconsistencies, and with reluctance, he looked at the original birth certificate.



He read the name of the baby on the certificate and his eyes immediately shot up to the lawyers face, seeing an expression of sadness there, perhaps even a hint of empathy at the young man sitting opposite him whose very foundation was being pulled out from under him.



“The… The surname?” Kyle stammered.



Mister Crowler didn’t say anything. He simply slid another photograph across the table, this time of the three infants, cradled in their fathers arms. It was a younger version of a familiar face, known the world over. For the past few days it had never been off the news.

Kyle looked at the certificate again, seeing the surname. Tripps.



He re-read the name of the person listed as the father. Danny Tripps.



Kyle looked back at the lawyer. “Seriously?”



Mister Crowler nodded. “Finding out that you’re adopted must be a big shock, Kyle. Finding out your father was Danny Tripps must be just as big.”



Kyle shook his head. It didn’t make sense to him, this lawyer claiming he was adopted, let alone this absurd claim that Danny fucking Tripps, one of the wealthiest men in America, was his supposed father. A thought struck him.



“Did Ed put you up to this?” Kyle had two best friends, Ed and Casey. While Casey worked upstairs with him, their friend Ed worked as an illustrator on comic books, but was forever trying to punk them with practical jokes. This seemed right up his street, especially four days after the world found out Danny Tripps had died of cancer.



The lawyers expression turned serious. “Kyle, I assure you this is no joke. There is more information here for you, including a letter from Mister Tripps.”



“A letter?” Kyle smiled, convinced this was the work of his buddy. He chuckled. “Let’s see it then.”



The old man frowned but opened the second file and pulled out an envelope, the paper rich and luxurious. Kyle didn’t recognise the handwriting on the front, but he opened it up and unfolded the letter.



Kyle,



I imagine you’re in a bit of turmoil right now. Try not to give Mr Crowler a hard time — he’s a good man and a good friend who’s been stuck with a hard job.



Anyway, you’ve just found out I’m your father. Danny Tripps, billionaire, celebrity, playboy, entrepreneur, business genius, etc. I’m sorry to say that it’s true, Kyle. And you deserve an explanation.



Twenty six years ago I met a wonderful woman named Karen, we fell in love and were soon married. I started my own business making computers and doing some programming, and soon my wife fell pregnant. Life was bliss. Then the business boomed, some of the software I’d written made me a small fortune and within months I was employing hundreds of people. The business side of things isn’t important now, but a few more months passed and it was time to go to the hospital.



Karen gave birth to three infants, triplets, a month early, two girls and a boy, but immediately began to have complications. She was rushed into surgery, but it was no good. Just like that, the love of my life died. She was twenty five years old. She would have been a great mother.



I knew nothing about raising kids, and I was so overwhelmed with grief that the only thing I could think of was to throw myself into my work. Anything to get away from the pain. A doctor suggested offering you and your sisters up for adoption. I agreed, thinking it was the best for you. It was the biggest regret of my life. At the time though, it was the best decision I could have made.



You and your sisters were put with loving families, raised in nurturing and healthy environments, and despite my promise not to, I kept tabs on you all, helping out in little ways whenever I could. Scholarships, jobs and the like. I know it’s not parenting, but you and your sisters are the only family I have, even if we’ve never met.



And that brings us round to the present. As I write this I’m dying. If you’re reading this, then I’m already gone and you might have even heard about it on the news. Which brings me round to the point of all this. For twenty five years I’ve been building a business, an empire some would say, and along the way, tens of thousands of people have come to rely on me to keep their companies afloat, keep their jobs in place so they can raise their own families. It’s a responsibility that I take seriously, which may well sound ironic to you, given that I haven’t taken responsibility for raising my own children.



I’d like you to meet your sisters, Katarina and Kara. I’d like the three of you to get to know each other. All that I have now belongs to the three of you. My inheritance. I’m told it’s quite a sum.



Mister Crowler will give you the details on what happens next, but here’s the clip notes. Go to my Island in the Caribbean, get to know your sisters, learn a bit about what’s being asked of you and decide what you want to do.



Along the way you might even get to know a little more about me.



In hope and love,



Danny Tripps




Kyle looked at the date on the letter, noting it was only two weeks old.



Gone were the doubts that this was Ed’s work. This really wasn’t his style at all. The knot in his stomach was twisting as he realised he’d have to make a call and speak to his parents. He had to ask.



“Would you excuse me for a couple of minutes, Mister Crowler. I need to make a call.” Kyle saw the old man nod, but he was already on his way out the door. He moved on autopilot out the front doors of the building and onto the street, crowded with the usual mixture of coffee-toting office workers, shopping housewives and tourists and stepped into a doorway. He dialled.



“Hey, honey.”



“Hi, Mom,” Kyle replied, trying to keep his voice relaxed and casual. “Listen, I need to ask you something.”



“Okay, honey, but you’ll have to be quick. Your father and I are just about to leave,” She replied. Kyle could hear a car door close in the background.



“Oh, right. Today’s the hiking trip, right?”



He heard his Mom sigh down the phone. “I swear Kyle, you never pay attention.”



He took a deep breath. “Mom, I need you to listen to me here, okay. I just had a visit at work from a lawyer called Mister Crowler.”



Kyle paused as he heard his mother shout on his father. “Ben, you need to be in on this,” He heard her say. “Okay, son. What did he say?”



“Mom, Dad. I’ve got to ask you. Am I adopted?” Kyle had his free hand held flat over his free ear, listening more intensely than he ever had in his life.



The silence that stretched into seconds on the other end of the line added to the sinking feeling in Kyle’s stomach.



“Son, it’s me,” Kyle heard as his Dad came on the phone, his tone gentle. “It’s true, son. We adopted you when you were only a few days old. I’m sorry you’ve found out like this. Do you want to meet up and talk about it? I can come and pick you up?”



Kyle pressed his face into the corner of the doorway, trying to think. It was true, he was adopted. His mind whirled with a myriad of emotions, feeling like his world had just been turned upside down, so he took several deep breaths, and thought about what he knew. His friends were his friends. His parents had kept this whopping big secret, but they’d raised him and been there for twenty three years for him. Did it really matter that they weren’t linked by DNA? The thought helped him clear his head a little and he sighed.



After a moment he replied. “No, it’s okay, and don’t get all worried, okay. I know you’re my parents, I know you’re my Mom and Dad, you raised me and nothing’s going to change that, okay?”



He could almost hear the relief in the tones of their replies, so he pressed ahead.



“Thing is, I’ve found out a little about who I was before I was adopted,” Kyle added, not quite sure how to proceed with this bit. He opted for directness. “How much do you know about that?”



There was a hushed, whispered conversation at the other end of the line that ended abruptly after a few more seconds.



“We know who your birth father was, honey,” Kyle’s Mom said a moment later. “Do you?”



Kyle swallowed. “Yeah, I think so.” His mouth was dry but he made himself say the words. “Danny Tripps, right?”



“That’s right, son,” His Dad said quietly. “We weren’t supposed to know, but we did.”



“Has he left you something in his will?” His Mom asked. “Is that why the lawyer is there?”



“Em, I think so,” Kyle said, feeling more than a little nauseous now. “Listen, they’re telling me I have sisters.”



“What?” Both his parents replied at the same time.



“That I have sisters. Twins,” He replied. “Well, actually triplets, but I’m one of them, apparently.”



“Kyle, son, we had no idea,” His Dad said, and Kyle knew deep inside that he was telling the truth. “Sisters?”



“Two of them,” Kyle confirmed. “They want me to go and meet them.”



“Then you should go,” His Dad replied immediately.



“Absolutely,” His Mom added. “Are you alright, honey?”



“Bit shell-shocked, I guess,” Kyle replied. “Listen, I’ve got to head back in there. Are you guys okay?”



“Yeah, son, don’t worry about us,” His Dad answered. “We’ll stick around here for a few days, I think. Why don’t you come round for dinner tonight or before it you want, we’ll have a chat.”



Kyle frowned. “No, you should go on your trip. You two have been planning it for months.” Every time Kyle visited his folks they had maps up of the areas of Canada they were hiking through and he knew they had various locations booked for the occasional night in a hotel and if they set off late they’d lose their reservations. “Honestly, I’m okay. You should go on your trip, and besides, I can call you if I need to. You guys can call me too, okay?”



Kyle could almost hear them silently discussing it with looks and gestures at the other end of the phone, something they’d done for as far back as he could remember.



“You sure, son?”



“Yeah, Dad. You and Mom go on your trip.”



“You sure you’re not pissed at us for not telling you?” His Dad asked bluntly, as was his way.



Kyle sighed. “Honestly, Dad. I’m not angry. I’m a bit shocked, and I can’t say I won’t be angry in the future, but if I get angry I know where to find you.”



“That you do, son,” His father replied. “You just pick up that phone and we’ll come right back so you can vent your fury for as long as you need.”



“Can I just ask, why didn’t you tell me?”



“There was never a good time for it, honey,” His Mom replied. “How do you bring something like that up in conversation?”



“Besides, you would have asked who your parents were, and we would have had to lie directly to your face, son,” His Dad added. “We just couldn’t figure out how to tell you.”



“Fair enough,” Kyle said, managing to sound calm while inside he just wanted to vanish somewhere quiet so he could process it all. “Have a good trip.”



“Love you, honey.”



“Love you too,” Kyle finished and ended the call. He squared his shoulders, took a deep breath and walked back in to see what else the lawyer had to say.



“Everything okay, Mister Watson?” Mister Crowler asked as Kyle sat back down.



“I don’t know if I’d describe it as okay,” Kyle said a moment later. “Right, I’ve spoken to my parents.”



“So you know I’m telling the truth then?”



Kyle swallowed and nodded. “Bit of a shock.”



“I believe you. Shall I continue?”



“Might as well,” Kyle replied.



“As he mentioned in the letter, Mister Tripps did his best to keep a discrete eye on you and your sisters while you were growing up, and he kept private files with the information for an occasion such as this. As he also said, we’d like you to come to Mister Tripps private Island, where you can meet your sisters and get to know each other without any of the constraints and pressures of the outside world.”



“What does that mean?” Kyle asked.



“Pressures and so forth?” The old man asked. Kyle nodded, so he continued. “To give you one example, Mister Tripps was a very recognisable public figure with a long ongoing relationship with the press.”



Kyle nodded, having seen him at movie premieres, award shows, chat shows and in the papers too.



“The press are already making enquiries about who will inherit the vast fortune of the Tripps Empire, and sooner or later someone will remember him in a hospital twenty three years ago and either do some digging, or simply open their mouth on their favourite social networking site. In todays instant-media world, it’s only a matter of hours or days before you and your sisters get tracked down and beseiged by the media.”



“You’re shitting me,” Kyle blurted. “Seriously? That’s what you think is going to happen?”



Mister Crowler blinked. “That is what will happen, Kyle. We have experience with this.”



“I would have thought they’d…..” Kyle trailed off, thinking about it, and he knew that the old man was right in what he was saying. There would be a media frenzy, and he’d be right in the middle of it. “Fuck me sideways.”



“I see we’re on the same page, Kyle.”



“I guess so,” he replied unhappily. “So what happens now?”



“There should be a car outside for you. There’s a private jet due to arrive in,” He glanced at his watch, a polished silver pocket watch, then dropped it back in his pocket. “Nine hours time, that’s half past eight tonight. Take-off will be around nine o’clock and the flight from San Antonio to Guadeloupe Island, the nearest airport to the Island, is around seven hours. From there you’ll take a boat for an hour to the Island itself, so you should be there at around sunrise.”



“Overnight journey?” Kyle asked, frowning. “It sounds exhausting.”



“Unfortunately we have to get all three of you to the Island as soon as possible, so it’s unavoidable on this occasion. However.” The old man paused. “At the airport will be a woman named Patricia, an Executive Assistant to Mister Tripps with many years experience. She’ll be your liaison, your point of contact and your assistant for the duration of your trip.”



“Why do I need an assistant?” Kyle asked.



“Because you’ll have a lot of questions,” The old man said simply. “Now, Patricia is very good at her job and she’ll be a real asset to you, so make sure you rely upon her.”



“We’ll see,” Kyle replied, knowing he still wasn’t sure if he was going to go to this Island at all. The idea of buggering off with his folks seemed appealing, despite his well-known aversion to hiking.



“In between now and tonight you’ll have a driver to look after you. Her name is Caroline, I’m assured she’s very good, and she’ll have a few forms for you to complete. I also have this for you.”



The old man slid an envelope over the table. Kyle opened it and emptied the contents. A Visa card, a Mastercard, a clear envelope with cash in it and a small keyfob.



“What’s all this?”



“The credit cards are for you to purchase some suitable clothing for your trip, the cash for if you don’t want to use your credit cards or if you need to tip, and the keyfob is a personal alarm,” The old man explained. “If you push the red button, a security team will converge on your location and extract you from any situation or threat in the vicinity.”



“Like bodyguards?” Kyle asked, shaking his head. “This is too surreal.”



“I’d imagine there will be many surreal moments in the days to come,” The old man replied.



“Pin numbers for the cards?” Kyle asked, picking them up and looking at them. They seemed almost holographic.



“The year of your birth. We can change that tomorrow for you.”



“I suppose they’ve got like a twenty grand limit or something extravagant like that?” Kyle laughed.



“Not quite, no.” Mister Crowler smiled. “I believe they’re somewhere in excess of a couple of hundred thousand dollars, but they were set up in a hurry, so we’ll get that straightened out too in the next few days.”



Kyle snorted with laughter.



“Another surreal moment?” The lawyer asked, his expression blank.



“Something like that.”



“So I’ve got a driver, a load of credit and cash and a goon-squad on standby, just to cover me for nine hours until I catch a plane to an Island paradise?”



“Not a plane, a private jet, but yes, close enough,” he nodded.



“Fucking hellfire,” Kyle said quietly, the laughter and incredulity of the moment stopped. “So do I just go back to my desk until I finish work now? What happens?”



“Oh, good lord, no,” Mister Crowler replied, looking taken aback for the first time. “Mister Tripps actually owns this company, although it’s not widely known. However, no, you don’t need to return to your desk. In fact you don’t need to return to it ever again if you so choose.”



“What about my boss?” Kyle asked. “Sometimes he’s a real dick, and I don’t want him to throw a bitch fit.”



“Kyle,” The old lawyer said, leaning forward across the table. “It’ll take a while to get your head round some of the changes that are going to happen to your life in the next few days, weeks and months. However, if your boss is, as you put it, a real dick, then you can always deal with it by coming back here in a few weeks and firing him.”



“Good point actually.”



“Now then, onto the last file,” The old man said, gathering the other documentation away.



“What’s in this one?”



“Your sisters.”



Kyle felt that cold sinking feeling in his stomach again and suddenly his mouth was dry. He realised he was craving a cigarette again, and had been for some time, which was unusual as he’d quit nearly a year ago and hadn’t had a craving in seven or eight months.



“Okay, let’s see them,” Kyle said, feeling a hint of excitement and fear at the thought of having sisters and wanting to find out who they were.



The lawyer opened the folder and slid two photographs across the table and Kyle’s breathing almost stopped. His face turned white.



“Is everything okay, Kyle?” The old lawyer asked as Kyle stared at the photographs on the table. “You’ve gone a little pale.”



In a voice barely above a whisper, Kyle said, “Oh, fuck, please let this be a joke.”



Three Years Ago



Kyle Watson smiled. It had been an epic weekend so far.



Spring Break with his buddies hadn’t really been something he was looking forward to, particularly as their destination was Myrtle Beach. Not exactly Cancun, Miami or Acopulco, but then, they weren’t there for the sun. They were there to party.



Party they had, Kyle wearily observed. They’d arrived on the Friday morning, got drunk and partied with some chicks from University of Phoenix all night, but Ed had been the only one to score. Or at least, he was the only one who claimed to score. If he actually did, Kyle knew it would have required some divine intervention.



Once they’d slept a few hours they hit the Myrtle Waves Water Park. Kyle had felt too tired to do much but lie around with his shades on, admiring the ladies that passed by in their swimwear, but Ed and Casey had immediately hit the slides. It only took half an hour for Ed to return with a limp. Casey couldn’t stop laughing as he told how Ed had taken off down one of the slides after a hot girl in a bikini and had been pushing himself so fast that he flipped sideways out the slide and landed on the edge of it, narrowly missing his balls but injuring his right leg in the process.



Kyle sat with Ed and listened to him grumble about his injury while Casey did what Casey does and took off in pursuit of several girls heading for the lazy river.



“You should get your shades on, Ed,” Kyle suggested. “Some of the women going past here are fine. You can really check them out.”



His buddy grunted, so Kyle shrugged and put his iPod on, listening to some tunes while he admired a particularly hot MILF in a red thong and matching top strolling past.



An hour or so passed and Casey finally came back full of excitement insisting they come and meet these girls from Bekeley College, down from New York for Spring Break. He’d met them on the lazy river and had been chatting with them for the last forty minutes and they wanted to meet Kyle and Ed too.



Kyle figured it sounded like fun, so he nodded and stashed his iPod under his towel, then got up to follow Casey. Ed grumbled but joined them anyway. It took ten minutes of paddling to catch up with the four girls on the lazy river, but Casey introduced them all as Jessica, Shanice, Julietta and Margarita.



“So I take it your names are all fake then?” Kyle had laughed, getting a round of grins from the girls.



“Well, if you fine-ass bitches are using fake names, it must be for one reason, and that reason is carnal sinning,” Ed said, earning a scowl from Casey. “I’m fucking right, aren’t I?”

“What a fucking douchebag,” the brunette called Julietta muttered. Kyle did the only thing he could think of to remedy the situation. He tipped over Ed’s inflatable, dumping him sideways into the river.



Thankfully the girls all laughed as he came up spluttering and the tension was eased. Over the next couple of hours they hung out with the girls, Kyle mostly chatting to Julietta, Casey to Margarita, while Ed tried unsuccessfully to get chatting with Shanice and Jessica, much to everyone’s amusement.



With it being late in the afternoon though, the girls announced they had to head off.



“You guys want to meet up tonight at a party we’re going to? It’ll be around midnight, if that’s not too late,” Julietta said, placing her hand on Kyle’s arm.



“I think we should be out partying by then,” He grinned. “Where about?”



“Meet us in Club Boca. Know where that is?”



“Sure,” He nodded. “We passed it last night. You want to give me your number?”



She shook her head, but smiled. “I wouldn’t hear my phone anyway. Maybe later,” She said, winking.



“I’ll look forward to it,” Kyle replied.



As the girls got out at the steps, Kyle casually back-paddled his inflatable, watching as they got out the water. Jessica was the first out, a thin blonde with a black one-piece making her skin look very pale. Second out was Shanice, a black curvy girl with a dazzling smile and nice hips, followed by Margarita, the most tanned of the group.



Kyle smiled, knowing why Casey had hit on her. She had by far the nicest body of the group and was the tallest by a couple of inches. Long dark hair tied in a ponytail, a black bikini, tight and firm all over, and an ass that reminded him of Jennifer Lopez.



Last out was Julietta, the girl he’d spent the last couple of hours chatting with. Her multi-coloured one-piece was slashed red and gold and showed her off quite nicely. She was average height, and pretty much average build. Nice ass, bit of a nice cleavage, nice legs.



Despite there being nothing outstanding about her, Kyle found her the most attractive of the four.



Julietta turned and waved to Kyle. “Remember. Midnight.”



“We’ll be there,” He waved back.



“Feel free to forget the douchebag,” She called as she disappeared.



“The douchebag will be coming,” Ed shouted loud enough for half the park to hear. Realising everyone was looking at him, he muttered,”Shit,” then tipped himself into the water.



“Come on!”



“He’s got the bit between his teeth on this one,” Casey admitted.



“I know,” Kyle grunted. Ed had been going at them non-stop for the last hour about hitting a strip club, but Kyle and Casey were reluctant.. It wasn’t that Kyle was against looking at naked women writhing all over him, but it was the amount of money they’d spend.



Three times in the past couple of years the three of them had gone to strip-bars and each time Kyle and Casey had spent over two hundred bucks each, while Ed had spent everything he had, and ended up relying on his friends to get him home again afterwards. Given they were planning on hitting the clubs to meet up with the girls later, Kyle and Casey were reluctant to let Ed loose or they’d end up paying for him all night.



“It’ll be fun, fuckers. Come on,” Ed repeated. “We’ll see some tits, some hot ass, some wet pussy. Maybe even get a couple of girls to give us a private show, know what I mean?” He winked.



Kyle knew what he meant. He meant that Ed would chip in his last twenty bucks and Kyle and Casey would have to put in a hundred each so that the three of them could sit there and feel awkward watching two chicks play with each other for a couple of minutes. Then they wouldn’t have enough money to do anything else.



“Ed, we can visit strip clubs back home. I want to get laid, and that doesn’t happen with strippers,” Kyle pointed out. “I want to meet the girls later.”



“Yeah,” Cased added. “You can’t control yourself in these places man.”



“Alright fuckers, what do I need to do to convince you not to be lame-ass cunts and go?” Ed said quickly, his gaze darting between his two friends. Kyle could see how eager he was.



“How much money have you got left, Ed?” Kyle asked.



“Two hundred and four bucks. We fucking leave tomorrow, guys. Pickup at ten past eleven,” Ed said. “Come on, let’s jjust go nuts, party like mother-fuckers and leave it all out there.”



“I’ll go if you give me one hundred and four bucks to keep for you until after we leave the strip club,” Casey said after a moment.



“What? No fucking way, cocksucker,” Ed blurted. “That’s my cash.”



“Yeah, but Casey’s got a point,” Kyle argued quickly. “It’s gonna cost us at least twenty bucks to get into the club, plus drinks and then a cab back here. Throw in some food tomorrow. You can’t afford to spend more than a hundred in a strip bar.”



“Hundred and four bucks,” Casey said, holding out his hand.



“No fucking way,” Ed said. “Stop being such a bunch of fucking cockblockers.”



“Yeah, I’m not going unless you give the cash to Casey either,” Kyle said, crossing his arms.



“Or you can go out yourself, go to the stripclub on your own, and then wait for us to get in, but we’re not giving you any cash at all. Not even tomorrow,” Casey added.



“Fucking bitches. What the fuck?” Ed protested, but his resistance crumbled a moment later. “Okay, okay. Hundred and four bucks, but I want that fucking green back the second we leave the strip club, cunts.”



“Okay,” Casey shrugged, while Kyle grinned and headed into the bathroom for a shower and a shave. He really wanted to impress Julietta tonight. Or whatever her real name was.



Derriere’s Gentleman’s Club, the sign said outside.



“This place looks like a dive,” Kyle muttered quietly. Still it did offer fully nude dances and you could bring in your own booze.



“Come on, losers,” Ed grinned, a six-pack tucked under his arm. “Let’s go see some shaking milk-bombs and wide open tampon-tunnels!”



Kyle shook his head at Ed. Sometimes the guy could be such a dick, but his vocabulary for slang terms when it came to the female anatomy was inexhaustible.



“Dude,” Casey said. “If you call them that in front of any woman you’re never gonna get laid.”



“I do fine, fucktard,” Ed grinned. “Come on, let’s go.”



Kyle followed Ed and Casey into the club, paying the steep twenty five dollar door fee. The club looked a lot better inside than it did outside, and there must have been a hundred guys in the room, with a bit of a relaxed policy of under twenty-one getting applied by the security staff. There was even a table of women across the room, getting cheers as one of them slipped a note into the g-string of a dancer. True to the advertising, a dancer was on another stage, gyrating around a pole, dressed only in black stockings and heels.



“Full nudity, bitches,” Ed announced.



“Come on, let’s go get a table,” Kyle said, keen to get out of earshot of the security before Ed got them bounced right back out the door.



They sat down around a small table with four armchairs and within thirty seconds Ed was waving a twenty at a tall, skinny redheaded dancer with underwear the same colour as her hair.



“You looking for a dance, sugar?” she asked, her accent betraying her East-european origins.



“You better fucking believe it, baby,” Ed grinned, leaning forward in his chair.



“Follow me, big boy,” she purred, taking him by the hand and leading him off through an archway draped with strings of silver beads.



“He’s gonna get kicked,” Kyle laughed.



“Yep,” Casey nodded. “No chance he can keep his hands to himself.”



“Bet you five bucks it takes less than two…” Kyle’s voice trailed off as he caught sight of a familiar face. “That’s Julietta…. from the waterpark!”



She was about thirty feet across the room, with long black curly hair, tied up at the back and dressed in black and silver underwear that showed off her body to perfection. She stood amidst a table of four guys, baiting them on to buy a dance.



“The stripper with the long dark hair?” Casey asked, looking where Kyle’s gaze was fixed. “That a wig she’s got on, bro?”



“Must be.” Julietta’s hair was cut in a short bob that swept to one side, but her hair was a similar shade to the wig she was wearing. “She never said she was a fucking stripper. Business student at Berkeley, she told me.”



“Well, if she’s working here, she must have been planning to blow us off,” Casey pointed out. “I wonder if the rest of the girls work here too. I’m going for a look.” Kyle nodded as Casey got up and left the table.



He watched Julietta for a minute or two, feeling pretty disappointed that she’d lied to him today. He genuinely thought they were getting on good, that there was a mutual attraction there, and he felt optimistic about his chances tonight. Not now though.



“Hey baby,” Kyle heard as he felt a touch on his arm. He turned to see the dancer from the stage when they’d first come in, now with a tight black dress on to supplement her stockings and heels.



“Hi,” he replied, not really sure what to say.



“You gonna spend the night looking at Sahara from afar, or would you like to look at Piper close up?” she purred quietly.



“Erm… which one are you?” Kyle asked, confused.



The dancer laughed. “I’m Piper, sweetie. The girl over there is Sahara. You looking for a dance with me?” She lowered her voice and whispered in his ear. “I don’t tease like she does. I deliver.”



“Mind if I ask something?” Kyle blurted, partially intoxicated by Pipers perfume, but determined to get to the bottom of the Sahara/Julietta thing.



“As long as it ends up with you and me having some private time, sweetie,” she replied, turning and sitting on his knee, her stocking-clad legs crossing on his lap.



“Sahara,” Kyle began. “I met her today, at the water park. Is her real name Julietta?”



To his surprise Piper laughed. “I think you’re getting her confused with someone else, sweetie. Sahara wasn’t at no waterpark today. The girl can’t even swim.”



Kyle frowned. “She was only on the lazy river anyway. It’s only four foot deep.”



“Trust me, sweetie,” Piper smiled. “Sahara wasn’t at no water park today. And her name ain’t Julietta neither.”



“Well if it wasn’t her, she must have a frickin twin in town,” Kyle said, turning back to look at the brunette that was the spitting image of the girl he’d spent two hours talking to that afternoon.



“Anyway, enough about Sahara,” Piper said, whispering in his ear once more. She shifted her hips slightly on his lap, getting his attention. “Let’s you and me go for a dance.”



Kyle felt drawn in two directions. He really wanted to get a dance with Sahara to find out if it was Julietta or not, but Piper had been very helpful, her scent was intoxicating and her butt felt very nice as it wriggled on his lap.



She stood up and took his hand, then cocked an eyebrow at him. “Let’s go.”



Before the dance Piper said she delivered, but Kyle honestly thought he’d had much better lapdances. It was as if her heart wasn’t in it, and neither were her acting skills. He gave her twenty bucks anyway for going through the motions, thanked her and then returned to Casey, joined a moment later by Ed.



“Woo, mother fuckers,” Ed crowed as he sat down heavily. “That girl was all over me like a fat kids tongue on chocolate ice cream.”



“You just had a lapdance and all you can think of to describe it is a fat kid licking ice cream?” Casey laughed. “Dude, that’s fucked up.”



“That’s not what I fucking meant,” Ed said quickly but the damage was done and while Kyle kept an eye on Sahara, Casey kept getting digs in on Ed.



“Hey, did you find her friends here?” Kyle asked Casey, remembering his friends search.



“No, man. They’re not here. I even asked if there was girls on their break through the back, but the bartender said they were all working because it was so busy.”



“I asked one of the other dancers and she said it’s not her,” Kyle explained. “Her name’s Sahara apparently.”



“Stripper names are hot!” Ed added.



Kyle and Casey ignored him. “Do you think she was telling the truth?” Casey asked. “Be a shame if it was her and the girls weren’t going to meet us, but if it’s just someone who looks like her then the girls might still be at Club Boca at twelve.”



“She said that Sahara can’t swim, and definitely wasn’t at the waterpark today.”



“You should get her over for a dance,” Casey suggested. “You can ask her yourself.”



“I’m waiting for her to be done with those guys,” Kyle explained.



“Fuck that shit,” Ed said getting up. “I’ll go get her.”



“Fuck no!” Kyle said quickly while Casey grabbed Ed’s wrist. “You’re not exactly Mister Tact-And-Diplomacy, Ed.”



“So? She’s only a stripper and I know how to talk to strippers.”



“Yeah? What about the four guys she’s talking with though?” Casey pointed out.



“Man, you’re such a pussy,” Ed stated. Much as Kyle didn’t like to agree with Ed on much, what he said was true. Casey would avoid any kind of potential physical confrontation and if one happened he was off like a scalded cat. He had no problem talking with women, but if there was other guys nearby showing an interest he’d avoid them like the plague rather than risk starting something.



“Ed, have a seat, man,” Kyle said. “I’ll get her as soon as she’s done with those guys, okay? Besides, there’s no big rush. We don’t have to be at the club for another hour.”



“Yeah, man,” Casey added. “It’s probably not even her anyway.”



“Whatever, bitches,” Ed said, taking a seat and opening another of his beers.



They sat there for another half an hour while Sahara took three of the guys individually in for dances, with Kyle biding his time. Ed disappeared for another two lapdances and Casey went for one. Another dancer approached Kyle but he declined the offer and after that the dancers seemed to leave him alone.



By the time Sahara returned after the third dance and the fourth guy at the table declined a dance with her, Kyle was about ready to hop out his chair and go over but she turned and looked right at him and then strutted over.



It was so bizarre, he thought to himself as he saw absolutely no flicker of recognition on her face.



“Hey, gorgeous,” she said as she sat on the arm of his chair, and he knew there and then it wasn’t Julietta. It was her voice. It was different. A completely different tone. Different accent. More husky and a little more Southern than Julietta’s Manhattan twang.



“Your name’s Sahara, right?” Kyle said, more for a way of starting the conversation off.



“That’s right,” she nodded slowly. “A little bird told me you’re looking for some quiet time with me.” She didn’t ask a question but made it a solid statement.



“Yeah, see today I was at a waterpark and I met this girl.”



“And she teased you, am I right?”



“Not exactly,” Kyle replied, a nervous smile on his face. He couldn’t get over how much she looked like Julietta. “I met this girl and you two are unbelievably similar. I thought you were her.”



“Well I don’t have any sisters, and I wasn’t at any waterparks today. I was too busy working on my all over tan,” she said, making every word sound seductive. “Want to go to a private room so I can show you it?”



“Em… sure,” Kevin replied. He’d spent most of his time in the club watching her, and if it wasn’t Juletta then he wanted her to dance for him. If it was Julietta, then even better. He handed her the twenty bucks he had held in his hand for the last half hour.



“Follow me,” she said firmly. “What’s your name, handsome?”



“Kyle.”



“You already know my name.”



“Sahara.”



“Shall I tell you what else you know?” she said, dragging the beads out the way and beckoning him through the archway.



“Sure,” Kyle stammered, feeling suddenly more nervous now than he had since his first ever time in a strip club.



“That I’m going to give you a dance you’ll remember for the rest of your life,” she purred. Her hand dragged him into a small booth to the right of the archway and he thumped into the seat. A single light shone down in the booth from above and music pumped from speakers high on the walls throughout the room.



“Remember, no touching, Kyle,” she breathed in his ear as she sat down astride his lap. She sat upright, her thighs either side of his and took a hold of his wrists, then paused a second, giving him a curious look.



“What’s up?” he asked, intensely aware of her chest inches from his face and the weight of her body on his.



“Nothing,” she said quietly as if breaking from a trance. She took his wrists and placed them either side of him on the chiar. “Keep your hands there, Kyle. You’re not gonna need them.” Then she winked. “I know you’ve been watching me for a while now.”



Without a seductive smile, Sahara leaned back, her pelvis pressing into his and she continued, arching her back until her head was on the small table in the booth. Then, in time with the pulsing music, she began to pump her hips on his, as if she was riding him.



Kyle took a deep breath as his body immediately responded to this sultry woman gyrating on him, grinding her crotch on his through her thin black panties with the silver lace.



Sahara bumped him extra hard, then four beats later the same again, then once more. Her hips resumed their quick movement, rocking on him in time with the music.



“Oh Jesus,” he muttered, feeling his cock begin to rise in his jeans. With his hands at his sides he could feel it getting thicker and longer, growing down the right leg of his trousers. Without adjustment it was going to get painful.



Sahara flicked herself back upright on his lap, a graceful and erotic movement that placed her chest right in front of his face. Kyle licked his lips, acutely aware of her breathing and the rise and fall of her breasts.



He felt Sahara’s hand slip around behind his neck and she began to slowly ride him, as if on a bucking bronco in slow motion, grinding her hips on him, her flat taught stomach rolling with each movement.



“Oh Jesus,” he repeated.



Her hands came up to her chest, barely a foot from his face and her finger glided slowly over her bra, tender fingertips caressing the material until they met in the middle. A smooth graceful motion had the front clip undone and then she rolled her head back and thrust her chest forward as her bra slid off her shoulders.



The luxurious full shape of her breasts moved within inches of Kyle’s face and as his mouth dropped open of it’s own volition, suddenly she swung away again, her left hand landing on his forehead. Kyle felt his head being held firmly agianst the seat as Sahara rose onto her knees, her breasts hovering deliciously over his open mouth.



He watched in agonisingly close detail as her free hand caressed her nipple for a moment, her face invisible in the silhouette of the overhead light, and then she brought it towards his mouth. Kyle’s tongue flickered out, so close, aching to taste her tight little pink nub, longing to suck it into his mouth and pleasure her.



Her body swayed, bringing her nipple closer then swinging away out of reach by a few inches, then back again once more. Kyle’s tongue darted out at each swaying movement, but her hand held his head firmly in place, his tongue as little as an inch out of reach of it’s target.



He groaned, an involuntary sound that brought her nipple closer. His tongue stretched out, as far as he could make it reach and he strained as she inched her breast in, closer and closer until he was sure he would be able to lick her nipple. He positively ached for it, and it was all he could do to keep his hands at his sides and not drag her into his mouth.



She released his head from the seat, but before Kyle could smother her nipple in his mouth she stood up, swaying her hips from side to side above him, slowly shuffling backwards for a moment, before she suddenly dropped to a crouch.

With the lightest of touches, her hands spread his knees apart, and her head darted between his legs, down low, almost under his balls, and he felt her nose touching the material of his trousers.



“Holy fuck,” he growled, his breathing deep, his cock straining tight against the inner leg of his trousers as she moved her head around his groin.



Sahara’s tongue darted out a moment later, right at the bottom of his button-fly, pressing through the denim on the base of his shaft, then slowly probing along the length of his cock, it’s bulge easily visible. It continued, sometimes above, sometimes below, but always in contact until her tongue met the tip of his trapped erection.



Her eyes rose to meet his. “Now this won’t do, will it?” she purred, barely audible above the pulsing music. Her hands slid down the inside of his thighs, her right caressing the underside of his balls, the left positioning itself under his cock, and as Kyle gasped, she maneuvred his erection until it was upright in his trousers.



Sahara’s tongue dragged itself up his button fly, bulging from the contained erection, from bottom to the tip and for a couple of seconds her head bobbed up and down, as if she was sucking him off. Kyle felt a desperate need to wrap his fingers in her hair and hold her in place, but before he could lose control and grab her she had moved again.



This time she half stood and turned around, her back now to him, her luscious, gorgeous buttocks in front of him. Again he licked his lips as they slowly lowered onto his waist, nudging a little from side to side until he could feel his erection nestled between the cheeks of her ass.



This was already a completely different class of lapdance from the one he’d experienced with Piper a short time ago.



Sahara slowly dragged her ass down the length of his cock, and as Kyle’s head pressed back against the chair in blissful agony, she slowly rode back up him. Her hands rose to either side of her head, lacing themselves in her hair as her buttocks began to slowly ride his cock, pulling his foreskin up and down with every motion.



Kyle was in heaven. If it was possible to fuck someone without penetrating them, then this was it, and Sahara was really going to town on him. As her ass dragged up and down either side of his cock, she leaned back slowly until her head lay on his right shoulder. He could feel her breath on his neck as he looked at her breasts, her nipples tight and hard and agonisingly close, yet still out of reach.



He shivered as her tongue darted out, caressing the skin of his neck, slowly tracing an invisible pattern higher and higher until his ear was sucked into her mouth. Kyle’s eyes closed, the sensations all over his body becoming more intense by the second as Sahara manipulated his senses.



His eyes snapped back open as she released his ear from her mouth and he watched as her fingertips took a light grip on her nipple, twisting it slightly, pulling it a little, making it stiffer and harder as her buttocks pressed down on his cock.



“Fuck,” he said, his voice thick with desire.



Sahara slowly sat upright, her ass lifting off his cock as she stood and bent over, yet her hand darted down, caressing his erection as if reassuring it. Kyle could see right between her legs and the outline of her pussy through the black panties. His heart raced in hope that she was about to take them off.



Her knees bent again, bouncing her ass off his cock a couple of times as if she was riding him, but her legs straightened again a moment later and one of her hands moved between her legs, a finger tracing the the lips of her pussy and continuing between the cheeks of her ass.



Kyle licked his lips again as the finger continued up past her ass, stopping at the waistband of her panties and hooking inside.



“Please,” he mouthed silently, smiling as the finger began to draw her panties down, inch by inch, right in front of him. They peeled slowly from her skin, Sahara bent over right in front of him, presenting him with the best possible view, close up.



Kyle took a deep breath, his heart racing as his eyes focussed on her imminently visible asshole yet Sahara twisted her body a half-turn to the right, teasing him further. He could see the wicked grin on her face as she watched his reaction, swaying her ass from side to side as she slid her underwear down over her buttocks, then slowly down her thighs, dropping them to the floor.



Kyle wanted her desperately to resume her previous position, yet she continued swaying her hips before him, side on so he couldn’t get a glimpse of what he longed to see. His cock was aching for attention and he shifted his hips a little to try and ease the pressure.



Sahara paused, stopped the swaying of her hips and placed a hand back on his forehead. The view of her body in profile just intensified Kyle’s lust and he was sure he could hear his heart thumping above the beats of the pulsing music in the small room.



He gasped as Sahara moved quickly, a graceful fluid motion that suddenly had her feet either side of his hips with her hips above his head, her gorgeous pussy right in front of his face. Kyle swallowed, an unconscious reaciton to the sight before him.



As he watched, Sahara held his head in place, barely a foot away from her naked pelvis and she slid her free hand slowly down over her stomach, over her hip and then onto her shaven mound. Her fingernails traced in circles on the sensitive skin and Kyle was sure there were goosebumps there, so delicate was her touch.



Her fingers slid lower, caressing the lips of her pussy, sliding back and forth along either side and Kyle mouth opened wide as she slid her index finger inside her, a quick dip that accepted her whole finger with no hesitation. Her finger slowly began to slide back out yet darted back in as deep as it would go. Sahara arched her back as she fingered herself, and Kyle licked his lips, feeling as if his cock got any harder it would burst.



As he watched she slid her finger free from the depths of her pussy, and as she brought it towards Kyle’s mouth he opened wide, pressing forward to meet it, wanting nothing more in that instant than to suck her finger clean and taste her wetness.



Sahara’s hand pressed firmly on his forehead keeping him in place and his eyes flickered up to hers, seeing the delightful smirk of a born tease on her beautiful features. Before he could make another move her wet finger swiped right under his nose, drawing from left to right, leaving a moist trail of her scent between his lip and nose.



“Yeah,” Kyle blurted, immediately closing his mouth and inhaling through his nose to try and catch a whiff of her. His tongue darted out and wiped his upper lip, catching a slight hint of pussy on the tip of his tongue, but not enough to satisfy him.



Sahara’s hands moved to either side of his head and her pelvis began to sway towards him. He felt his head get yanked back a little and he opened his mouth and stuck his tongue up, desperately hoping to taste her, to pleasure her and to feel her writhing on him. He knew he was breathing fast, was aroused beyond belief, and he wanted this girl, even if it wasn’t Julietta. She was too toned, too firm to be the girl he’d chatted with that day. Sahara was like the evil-twin version of Julietta. Well, her erotic alter-ego.



His tongue probed as her pussy got closer, longing to make contact with that beautiful moist haven, yet she remained just out of reach. Her hips rocked back and forth in front of him, and he could smell her, sense that she was aroused too. She was too close for him to see but it was all instinct.



Each time he tried to lift his head and plunge into her with his tongue she either pressed his head back into the seat or her hips swayed just out of reach. She was an incredible tease and she was playing him like an expert. He was overcome with desire, longing to taste her, touch her, or possess her, trapped by the knowledge that if he pushed his luck and used his hands or used his strength to taste her his feet wouldn’t touch the floor until he was on his face out on the street.



His eyes flickered up to hers, and she paused, frozen with that same curious, quizzical look on her face she had before the dance started. She was looking at him as if something wasn’t quite right.



As she stood there above him, her pussy barely inches from his mouth, he took a chance and pushed his tongue forward, then pulled the back of his head from the seat.



Kyle was in heaven the instant that the tip of his tongue slid between her lips, immediately tasting her scent, her arousal. He flicked his tongue up, seeking and finding that delicious little bud that maximised the pleasure and he dragged his tongue firmly up it, flciking upwards with the very tip of his tongue.



It had been only a second, probably not even that, yet he saw the expression of pleasure cross her face at the same time as her back arched and her pussy lifted back out of reach. The hands on his head pressed him back, yet Kyle was exultant. He’d tasted her, she was wet, and it was all he could think of.



Sahara began to sway to the pulsing music, now further away from him, but as his eyes slid slowly up her body Kyle thought she had never looked hotter. His eyes met hers and he could see the intensity of her eyes, staring at him as if trying to decide something only she knew. He hoped she would decide to give him another taste.



Kyle watched as she bent at the knees, her feet still either side of his hips and her hands slid to behind his neck as she slowly squatted down onto his hips, bringing her to a similar position to when she had first started the dance for him, although now she was naked, he was hard and he knew she was wet.



He felt her pussy resting on his erection, only the denim of his trousers separating them and then she lifted free of him, her hips rising and falling a moment later further down his cock. A slow, body-arching movement dragged her pussy up the length of his erection and Kyle growled in intensity of the pleasure and desire coursing through him.



She repeated the movement again, then a third time, and then as he was thrusting up to meet her she paused, leaving him there humping his jeans. She smiled, and Kyle smiled too, knowing he was being manipulated by a master and not caring. He was loving every second of it.



Sahara slid back and lowered her feet to the floor. Her body swayed, twisted and danced for him between his thighs, shadows and light flickering over her skin with each movement. As she rotated slowly Kyle glanced down at her ass, firm and taught yet shapely enough for him to want to bury his face in it.



She backed into him, the back of her knees hitting the inside of his thighs and then she slowly lowered herself down, resuming the position she’d held earlier, her buttocks enveloping his erection through his trousers and she began to rock her hips.



Sahara leaned back, this time to his left. Her head came down on his shoulder as her buttocks continued to rock up and down his pelvis, jerking him off, making him gasp. She sucked his ear in her mouth again, intensifying things further for Kyle, further than he could handle.



“Did you enjoy your wicked little taste?” she whispered in his ear, her voice deep and husky.



Kyle nodded, his eyes closed. He longed to lift his hands and grab her hips, her breasts, anything to keep her in place. The constant motion on his cock was going to make him cum, he knew, but he didn’t care he was still dressed, didn’t have any thoughts beyond the pleasure of that moment.



“Thrusting your tongue into my wet little pussy like a bad boy?” she continued, drawing a groan from Kyle as her ass worked his cock. He could feel his breathing deepen. His balls begin to tighten and he knew it wouldn’t be long.



“And now you want to cum, don’t you?” she whispered.



“Yes,” Kyle gasped. He felt her suck in his earlobe once more, releasing it quickly. Her hips took a longer and slower ride down his cock.



“I bet you want to touch me, don’t you?” Sahara whispered. “To grab me, to take me, to fuck me.”



Kyle’s cock was going to explode and he knew it. His breath was coming in sharp gasps now, hard and fast as Sahara lay on top of him, working his cock with her buttocks, working his mind with her words.



He felt her hands fasten on his wrists, lifting them both. She pulled them up to meet her rocking hips and he gripped a hold of them, holding them in place to push his cock against, but Sahara continued to arch her back, riding his length up and down, manipulating his cock. He could feel it start to happen and his entire body tensed up.



“Is my ass going to make you cum, Kyle,” she whispered in his ear.



Before Kyle could reply Sahara’s buttocks tensed up, gripping him and her hips rocked fast, much faster than before, riding him hard and firm through his trousers. It sent him right over the edge.



His breathing changed, deep fast pants of breath mixed with groans, right in her ear. His cock pumped out spurt after spurt of cum onto the inside of his boxers. His body exploded in waves of pleasure, hard surges of bliss as the dancer on his lap manipulated him into and through his orgasm.



“Good boy,” she murmured, jerking him off with the cheeks of her ass.



Moments later Kyle’s hands fell away from her hips, exhausted and sated as the last of his orgasm washed over him. Sahara lay still across his body now, relaxed and motionless. Her tongue darted out and traced a circle on his neck.



“Did you enjoy the dance, Kyle?” she said quietly as he lay there panting.



He nodded, not really capable of words or coherent sentences.



“And it’s a dance you’ll remember for the rest of your life, isn’t it?” she said. He could hear the the wickedness in her voice with a hint of self-satisfaction for a job well done.



He nodded. “F… fuck yes,” he stammered a moment later. “Incredible.”



She kissed him on the cheek, a surprisingly tender and gentle kiss, her right hand coming up to hold him in place. “My pleasure,” she murmured.



Kyle felt her shift her weight as if she was about to get up, and his hands clasped her hips. “Don’t go.”



“I gotta get dressed, Kyle,” she said, smiling at him. She wiggled her hips from side to side.. “Besides, I think you might need to go clean up.”



She kissed his cheek once more, a disarming gesture that provided affection at the same time as reminding Kyle that the dance was over. This time as she shifted her weight to sit up he let her go, feeling her sitting upright on his lap, her back to him.



Kyle became aware of how the inside of his trousers were plastered with cum, and it was rapidly cooling now. She was right, he knew. He’d need to go clean up, and with a sigh of regret he accepted that the dance was finished.



“You’re a hell of a good dancer, Sahara,” he said, watching as she bent over to pick up her panties and bra.



She wiggled her hips on him, giving him a physical response rather than a verbal one he probably wouldn’t have heard anyway. He took it as a sign she was pleased with his compliment and while she slipped her panties around her ankles, he pulled another twenty from his pocket.



Sahara stood, bent over at the waist and slid her panties back up her legs. It was the first glimpes Kyle got of her ass and of her pussy from the rear and it made him lick his lips. She straightened as she slipped her black panties with the silver lace back up, adjusting them on her hips and then she half-turned and sat on his right thigh.



“Here,” Kyle said, lifting the twenty and handing it to her. “Best dance I’ve ever had. If I could give you a hundred bucks I would, and you’d stil deserve a tip.”



“Aren’t you sweet,” she said, and gave him a brief peck on the lips. “Thank you, Kyle.”



Sahara slipped her bra back on in a swift, practiced movement, fastening it and then running her fingers quickly through her hair, shrugging it back into place.



“Shall we?” she said, standing and holding a hand out to Kyle to help him get up.



He smiled, took her hand and stood up, feeling a little wobbly for a moment, making her chuckle.



“Knee trembler?”



Kyle nodded. “Told you you were good.”



“Oh, I know I’m good,” she said, smirking. “Honestly though, I don’t usually get turned on when I do a lapdance, but there’s something about you, Kyle.”



Kyle smiled, but he knew that was a line. He didn’t say anything further, but let her lead him from the booth and back through the beaded curtains to the main room.



She stopped and gave him a peck on the cheek, and with a whispered, “Thanks for the dance,” she was off. Kyle looked over at his friends, watching a dancer up on the main stage doing naked acrobatics with her thighs clasped around a steel pole, and smiling, he headed for the bathroom.



Kyle, Ed and Casey arrived at Club Boca but had to wait in the queue. The time passed quickly with Casey repeatedly reminding Ed not to be a total dick and Ed repeatedly quizzing Kyle about the lapdance. Since he cleaned himself up in the bathroom at the club, Kyle hadn’t said a word about it to his buddies. He’d also ditched his boxers in the restroom waste-paper bin and ended up going commando. There was no way he was going to tell Ed that story.



At a little after twelve they were admitted to Club Boca, a large place focussed around dancing and drinking, with DJ’s playing a mixture of mainstream dance and latin house music, and Kyle immediately picked up on the cool chilled vibe of the place. Ed and Casey hit the bar while Kyle went looking for the girls. The guys had caught up with him again by the time he spotted them, so the three of them walked over to join them.



“Hey,” Kyle smiled as he approached Julietta.



“Hi Kyle,” she said, smiling back. “So you guys made it then? We thought you weren’t gonna show.”



Kyle smiled, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that Sahara wasn’t Julietta, but the similarity to her was frightening. Realising he hadn’t answered her, he smiled. “Yeah, we got stuck in the line outside. Here now though.”



“Glad to hear it,” Julietta replied giving him a nudge with her elbow.



“Hey, wanna dance?”



“Sure.”



Kyle followed her down to the dance floor and took the opportunity to check her out. He really dug the short black skirt and boots and the black and white cut-off top she wore really showed her off. Once they were on the dance floor, Kyle let himself go. He’d always enjoyed dancing, especially in clubs and when a lot of his friends went through that phase where they thought that dancing was ‘gay’, Kyle was able to dance with most of the hot chicks in his school. Now he was twenty he felt comfortable on the dance floor.



While they enjoyed the music, Kyle noticed the odd guy checking out Julietta from time to time. She really did look hot, he noted, and he liked how she kept looking at him. Despite his earlier orgasm at the strip club he could feel a tingle of excitement in the pit of his stomach.



After fifteen minutes or so out on the floor, where they were briefly joined by Casey and Margarita, they stopped for a drink. Kyle grabbed them a couple of stools looking down on the dancefloor and they sat down.



“So what you been up to tonight then?” Kyle asked.



“Oh, you know. This and that,” she grinned. “Four girls out on the town.”



“I can imagine,” he laughed. “Lots of teasing and flirting?”



“Little bit,” she replied, laughing. “Bit of drinking, bit of dancing too.”



“Good stuff.” He took a swig of his beer and after offering Julietta another drink, he popped down to the bar and got a round of drinks in for them all. When he got back Ed was telling them all about the strip club they were at earlier.



Kyle groaned, as he hand’t intended telling any of the girls about Derriere’s Gentleman’s Club but he should have known that Ed was incapable of any kind of tact or diplomacy. He popped the drinks down on the table and picked up his and Julietta’s, handing her it.

“Sometimes he’s a total asshole,” He muttered.



“Now that’s a bad case of stating-the-obvious you’ve got there, Kyle,” Julietta said. He could see she wanted to ask a question of him.



“Did he tell you about the girl who looked like you?” Kyle asked, figuring he might as well cut to the chase.



She nodded. “He said you thought she was me?”



“Yeah, I thought that at first, so I asked another dancer but she said Sahara couldn’t swim, so it couldn’t be her at the waterpark,” Kyle explained as he saw Julietta snigger. “Excellent stripper name, huh?”



“Classy,” Julietta nodded. “So Ed said you got a dance with her?”



Kyle nodded, his expression serious. “I wanted to find out if it was you or not. I know it wasn’t now, but I had to speak to her to find out. I didn’t know if you were serious about meeting us here tonight and were actually a stripper, or if there was someone who looked like you and you were still gonna be here.”



“Right,” she said slowly. “So you got a lapdance with my doppelganger to find out if I’d be here or not?” He could see Julietta found the story pretty amusing.



“Pretty much,” Kyle admitted. “Anyway, me and Casey only went to the club because Ed was gonna go and we’d promised him before we left home that we would.”



“You didn’t want to go see naked strippers?” she asked quickly.



“No… I mean, yes but…” Kyle stopped, realising she was messing with him. “Nice one,” he laughed.



Julietta winked at him and sipped at her cocktail. “Hey, was it any good?”



“Was what any good?”



“The lapdance? Ed said you wouldn’t speak about it.”



“You really want to know?” Kyle asked, looking at her curiously, wondering where she was going with this.



“Of course.”



“Why?”



“Because I want to know if this stripper is good or not, especially if other people might think she’s me. A girl has a reputation to uphold after all and quality matters.”



Kyle laughed, pleased to see she hadn’t decided he was a creep because he went to a strip club with his buddies. He did noticed that the more Ed talked the more Jessica and Shanice frowned at him. Meanwhile he could see Casey and Margarita getting cosy, with hands slipping around waists, gentle touches and nudges aplenty.



“They seem to be getting on well,” he said quietly to Julietta.



“Yeah,” she nodded. “They’re cute together. I’m glad they’re getting on.”



“How are we doing?” Kyle asked on an impulse. He liked to take people by surprise from time to time.



Her cheeks flushed a little as she looked at him. “Not too bad so far. Definitely potential there.”



“So you think I’m hot then?” he said, careful not to speak too loud.



“You’re okay,” she said archly. “What about me?”



“I think you’re hot. You’re cute and sexy and lots of fun,” Kyle said, making it up as he went. “I think you’re a really good person too, and you deserve to have some fun.” He swivelled the stool so he was no longer facing the group, positioning himself facing the dancefloor. He was pleased to see Julietta doing the same, their shoulders now touching as they sipped at their drinks.



“I’m…. glad you think so,” she said a moment later, her cheeks a little blushed.



“You know, we could just take off right now?” he suggested, but she smiled and shook her head.



“Not yet. It’s our last night here, so I want to party some more.” She gave him a very firm look. “Later though, you might get to come back to our place. We’ve got a villa.”



“I’m sure we’d both enjoy that,” he said carefully, smiling a little. On an impulse he leaned forward to kiss her, but she jerked her head back and brought a finger up to his lips.



“Please tell me you washed after your lapdance.”



Her statement made Kyle chuckled. “Of course I did.”



She narrowed her eyes. “You’re sure?”



“Definitely,” he nodded, and then was pleased when she leaned in and kissed him. Her lips were soft yet assertive and they kissed for a few seconds.



“Consider that a canape to start your appetite,” she said, smiling.



“If that was a canape then my stomach is making growling sounds already,” he laughed.



They hit the dancefloor after that, pausing occasionally for drinks, but always heading back to dance. As the evening wore on they touched more and more, starting with light brushes and progressing to some pretty firm grinding and caresses. While drinking Kyle and Julietta were either touching each others hands, or Julietta was leaning into Kyle’s chest, at one point sitting on his knee. It was two hours of solid foreplay before the club closed.



The seven of them left the club, with Casey and Margarita firmly paired off like Kyle and Julietta, while Ed tried unsuccessfully to get anywhere with either Jessica or Shanice, but the most he got was when he tried one of his chat-up lines and they couldn’t stop laughing for several minutes. Casey suggested that he hop in a cab, but Ed wouldn’t have it, and if his buddies were going to a party, he was too.



The walk to the villa Julietta was staying at took about twenty minutes and by the time they got there, they were all feeling pretty buzzed with the alcohol. When they opened the front door Kyle was really impressed. It had several bedrooms, a large lounge area and a swimming pool and jacuzzi out the back.



Kyle just shook his head as Ed made straight for the pool, bombing the mirror-flat surface from as great a height as he could manage, fully clothed.



“What a fucking moron,” Julietta laughed.



“He’s a good guy,” Kyle laughed. “He just…. he’s not that tactful and there’s no filter between his brain and his mouth, but if you ever need someone to get your back, he’s there.”



“He sounds like he’d get you into more trouble than out of it though,” she teased, holding his hand.



“He has his moments,” Kyle said, smiling.



“Come on,” Julietta said, dragging him into one of the rooms off the lounge. Kyle’s heartbeat accelerated as he entered Julietta’s bedroom. Typical of a nineteen year old girl there was clothes, shoes, magazines and makeup everywhere.



“Nice and tidy,” he laughed.



“There’s some floor somewhere,” she shrugged. “And don’t get your hopes up just yet, mister,” she added quickly. “I figure if we’re gonna have a swim, you can pick out a bikini for me to wear.”



“You gonna model them for me?”



“No,” she said, laughing. “But you can choose what I’ve to wear, and then later I might let you take it off me.”



“I can cope with that job.”



“Thought you might,” she grinned. Julietta rummaged around on the floor, gathering up various different coloured bits of swimsuits and while she did that, Kyle looked around, spotting a rather fancy camera on one of the units.



“Nice camera.”



“Yeah, it’s not too bad,” she smiled. “I’m really into photography, but I didn’t want to bring my good camera with me. That’s just a D80.”



“I know it’s a Nikon, but I don’t know one model from another,” Kyle smiled. “Looks expensive.”



Julietta shrugged. “The body isn’t that expensive. The lens is a bit more though. Twenty-eight to seventy, F two point eight.”



Kyle chuckled. “I don’t know what any of that means.”



“It’s not the standard lens that comes with the camera. It’s more a… specialist portrait lens,” she explained. “I make a little side income with my photography back in New York. Actors headshots, Corporate portraits, stuff like that. It finances my hobby.”



“Very cool,” Kyle murmured, genuinely impressed. “Is that what you do at Berkeley?”



She shook her head. “Nope. Study business. It’s really boring though, so I might drop out and do the photography thing full-time.”



“That’s seriously cool.”



Julietta shrugged. “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Lot of time spent in front of a computer editing. You have to really love it. Fortunately for me.”



Kyle liked what he was seeing of this side of Julietta. This casually artistic and passionate person that had been inadvertantly hidden from him under the persona of a nineteen year old clubbing student on a spring break weekend.



“So which one?”



Kyle looked at the three bikini in her hands, one black, one silver and the other blue and gold. He had no idea about styles, or cuts, but he thought the black one and said so.



“Why the black one?” she asked as she dropped the other two.



“I thought it would go nicely with your hair,” Kyle said honestly.



“I like that answer,” she smiled, moving forward. Her lips found his for a few intense seconds, until they broke.



“Right, out you get,” she ordered, smiling.



He moved to the door. “Hey, I don’t suppose you’ve got any shorts here that’ll fit me, do you?”



Julietta raised an eyebrow. “You’re commando?”



“Afraid so.”



“Ask Shanice. I think she packed a pair of her brothers shorts by accident.”



“See you in a minute,” Kyle nodded. “Hey, you sure you don’t need me to stay and supervise you getting changed?”



“All good things come to those who wait,” she said, then lifted a hand, pointing out the door. “Wait being the operative word. Out.”



Kyle closed the door, smiling.



Shanice turned out to have a pair of shorts he could use, although they weren’t for swimming but they’d do, so he popped into the bathroom to get changed. In the ten minutes that he spent waiting for Julietta, the three girls had all gotten changed and were in the water, while Casey had simply stripped to his briefs and plunged into the pool after them.



Eventually Julietta reappeared though, and Kyle walked over to the pool with her, liking the sight of her in the black bikini. A momentary memory popped into his head of Sahara, the stripper, with her black underwear and the similarities were abundant between the two, yet the slight differences were more pronounced at the same time.



Kyle nearly blurted out, “Are you sure you don’t have a sister,” but he realised that reminding her he was thinking about a stripper and not her probably wouldn’t go down too well. He opted for diving in the pool.



For an hour or so they mucked around in the pool, sending Ed to make them drinks out of whatever liquor was left in the villa. Surprisingly Ed was the first to pass out, on one of the sunloungers that surrounded the pool. At that point Casey and Margarita were definitely doing their own thing together in the jacuzzi, and Jessica and Shanice had gone inside to get some items to give Ed a ‘makeover’.



“Let’s leave them to it,” Julietta whispered in Kyle’s ear.



He nodded, immediately getting out the pool and helping Julietta out. She didn’t let go of his hand, but pulled him after her into the house.



Kyle followed her into her bedroom, not pausing as she pulled him straight into the bathroom and handed him a towel. As he dried himself off in the dim light from the bedside lamp, he watched Julietta, rubbing a towel through her short bobbed hair. It was at that length that it looked awesome if it was neat or messy.



With both of them dry apart from the wet clothing, they paused, looking at each other, the air thick with tension. Kyle broke it.



“I will if you will,” he smiled.



Julietta blushed a little but smiled back at him. “It wouldn’t be smart to get into bed with wet clothes, would it?”



“Downright stupid,” Kyle agreed, his hand sliding down over his stomach to the button of the cargo shorts he’d borrowed.



“Really stupid,” Julietta nodded, reaching behind her to undo the strap of her bikini top. The two black cords dangled down at the sides of her stomach, the top only held in place by the string around her neck. Kyle could see the mischevious grin on her face, the slight flush on her cheeks and chest and he knew his own breath was coming quicker.



Throwing caution to the wind he shrugged his hips and pushed at the shorts, dropping them to the floor in one swift movement.



“Bear in mind the water was cold,” he added, smirking.



Her eyes flickered back up to his face. “Poor baby. I’ll make sure you’re all warmed up.”



At that Julietta reached back and pulled open the remaining knot on her bikini top, dropping it to the floor. Kyle took a deep breath as he saw her breasts, nice and firm, not too full, and the phrase ‘more than a handfull is a waste’ popped into his head. Her nipples were tight and hard from the cold water, and he longed to suck them in his mouth.



“Like what you see?” Julietta asked, biting her lip as she awaited his response.



“Hotter than I could have imagined,” Kyle said immediately. “Beautiful.”



“Oh, aren’t you the smooth one,” she replied, pleased at his compliment.



“Honest.”



“Well, Mister Honest, you better get dried before you get in this bed. One of us is wet enough already.” Julietta blushed a little more as she finished the statement but her words had an immediate effect on Kyle, and he rapidly scrubbed his damp bits dry with towel as he walked around the double bed.



Julietta chuckled as she saw him do a bandy-legged hop-walk as he dried himself, getting a grin back from Kyle. Seeing how unabashed he was she quickly shed her bikini bottoms and dried herself with her towel before slipping into bed alongside him.



Kyle had his arm out and Julietta immediately slipped into it, snuggling into him.



“Are you cold?” She murmured a moment later.



“Yeah.”



“Me too. Cuddle into me,” Julietta ordered, rolling onto her side and dragging him to spoon in behind her.



Kyle slipped his arm around her waist as his legs slid in, matching her position under the covers. Her butt felt cold in his lap, but it was a naked Julietta butt. It could have been made of ice and he wouldn’t have moved away. He traced his fingers in a small circle around her belly button.



“That’s nice,” she murmured, worming her head inbetween Kyle and the pillow.



There was something incredibly intimate and comforting in the way their bodies were conforming into each other to Kyle. He realised that both of them were making unconscious minute adjustments, his upper leg sliding between hers, her calf resting behind his own with her foot looped under his. Her hand found his left arm and she pulled it in to her body, his hand sliding between her breasts as his right slid from her belly button to between her and the bed, wrapping her tight, her arms wrapping around his until they were as tight together as could be.



There was nothing erotic about it, he realised, just an incredible intimacy as their two bodies fit tightly together as if made for it.



“Oh my,” Julietta purred in his ear. “I could stay like this all night.”



“Um… me too,” Kyle admitted. “And I’m not a cuddly type of guy.”



“But this is so nice…”



“I know,” he admitted. “It’s…. “



“I know,” she finished.



They lay there, wrapped up in each other under the blankets.



Sahara



“Night, Tiger-Lily,” Sahara called back as she left the dressing room of the Derriere’s Gentlemens Club, smiling as she always did when the dancers said goodnight to each other using their ‘stripper names’. She walked past the bar, seeing her blonde haired room-mate, Anabeth waiting for her.



“You ready to go?” Anabeth asked. “I’m beat.”



“Yeah. Busy night, huh?” Sahara replied, opening the door.



“Don’t think I’ve ever done so many dances in one night. Goodnight, guys,” She added to the security guys.



They turned right and walked the seventy yards to the door of their apartment block. Anabeth opened the door and the two of them climbed the two flights of stairs then entered their small scummy two-bedroom apartment.



Anabeth slumped down on the sofa. “Want a drink?”



Sahara shook her head. “Think I’m just gonna go to bed.”



“Want some company tonight?” Anabeth asked, grinning. “I’ll make you sleep real good.”



Sahara smiled, but shook her head at her occasional fuck-buddy. “Too tired, but thanks anyway, baby.”



Anabeth shrugged. “I’ll just have to fuck myself silly with my toys tonight instead.”



“And probably wake the whole block when you cum,” Sahara replied, smirking.



“Nothing wrong with enjoying yourself.”



Sahara’s mind conjured up the image of the young dark-haired guy who she’d danced for earlier, deliberately making him cum.



“You’re smiling,” Anabeth said immediately, her eyes narrowed. “What did you do?”



“Made a guy cum tonight,” Sahara smirked.



Anabeth rolled her eyes. “That’s called a professional hazard.”



“Deliberately though.”



“Oh, really?” The blonde sat forward, her interest obvious. “Tell me.”



“Some guy called Kyle. There was just something about him,” She explained, shrugging. “I thought he was really hot, and when I was dancing for him I got really fucking wet. Even let him stick his tongue in my pussy for a second.”



“You dirty slut,” Her friend laughed.



“Hardly,” Sahara replied. “But I did make him cum in his pants, and then afterwards I told him that it was rare I got turned on but there was something about him.”



“Sounds like a stripper line,” Anabeth grinned.



“Yeah, I think that’s what he thought,” Sahara admitted. “Thing is, if he’d shown any interest I’d have given him my cell number, or told him to meet me here at closing time, and he would be in my bed right now.”



“If he was that hot, I might have joined you,” Anabeth replied, winking.



“Oh, I know,” Sahara smiled. “And now I’m off bed alone. Night, Anabeth. Sleep good.”



“You too, Kara.”



Kyle



It was still dark when Kyle awoke, sensing a slight movement in Juliette, a slight change in posture, in position, and he knew that his own body had responded. He could feel his breathing deepen, matching hers as his cock continued to grow, nestled between the lips of her pussy, inching forward as it became thicker and longer in the darkness.



Without asking he knew she was awake, lying there with her head beside his, experiencing the same exquisite physical and intimate sensations he was.



He felt her neck stiffen as the tip of his erection glazed her clit, and hearing her exhale was a wonderous sound in his ear. Kyle turned his head and gently kissed her, a soft, tender brush of his lips on her jaw.



He felt her hand grip his a little tighter as he brushed his lips a little further along the line of her jaw until his breath was on the soft, sensitive skin below her ear.



Julietta moaned softly as he held there, breathing on her with a tender intensity. Her hand came up, her fingers lacing themselves in his hair, softly steering his head to kiss her once more.



Kyle brushed his lips down her neck, barely touching the skin, his lips softer than they’d ever been in his life, going purely on instinct as he experienced something beautiful. He felt Julietta roll her hips in a luxurious caress, drawing him up and down her soft cleft, feeling her welcome on his arousal.



His lips traced down her neck, brushing against her collarbone as his whole body moved forward, his lips rising back up her neck as he entered her.



Julietta’s head rolled back, exposing her neck to him as she whispered his name.



“Kyle.”



Her body moved in response, her back arching as her head rolled back, her pelvis tilting, welcoming another inch inside her.



Kyle felt like he was in heaven, in another place and time where everything was emotion and intimacy, sensation and connection, as if the world had come to have no meaning and all that mattered was the here and now. This moment.



His lips met hers, the exquisite gentleness of their lips making them both moan. His hand slid out from under her and was met by her own, steering it to caress her breast, her soft skin moving with every breath under his fingertips.



Julietta moved her body, a slow-motion writhe that expressed her desire, her passion, and drew Kyle’s mouth to hers while she pressed into him, teasing a little more of him inside her.



Kyle’s senses were electric, every motion and movement he made focussed on bringing pleasure to this beautiful woman in his arms. His left hand moved to her breasts, caressing her nipple between finger and thumb while his right hand moved down, his fingertips tracing invisible patterns in her skin as she began to softly sway her hips on him. He felt her tongue probe into his mouth as if tasting him. Kyle’s fingers traced down over the little stripe of dark curly hair until he found what he sought, that delicious little spot that brought and enhanced so much pleasure.

As his finger tip brushed it lightly, Julietta moaned in his mouth and pushed back a little further with her pelvis, tilting it and pushing, arching her back and pressing her buttocks into his lower stomach, seeking him, wanting him inside.



They broke their kiss, each breathing hard inches away from the other. Kyle knew he was fully inside her and he was almost delirious with pleasure, but his only desire was to make sure she felt the same.



His finger slid a little lower, feeling the natural moisture on his cock as Julietta slowly moved her hips back and forth on him. Kyle coated the tip of his finger with it, then dragged it back up to her little pleasure-nub.



“Oh, Kyle,” Julietta whispered and Kyle kissed her once more, delighted with the pleasure in her voice. His finger began to slowly circle her clit as their passion built further, Julietta rocking her hips a little to move him inside her.



Kyle tensed, moving his own hips so he could begin to move himself inside her and as he did, his first slow thrust inside her, Julietta moaned. Kyle repeated the movement, slowly withdrawing then sliding back in until he was fully inside her, his finger brushing her bud with every motion of her breathing, his other hand caressing her nipple to a taught hardness that he longed to take in his mouth.



Once more he withdrew then slowly thrust himself inside her, feeling her back arch and her chest thrust out.



“Don’t stop,” she whispered, breaking their kiss. Her head rolled back on his shoulder once more and she took his earlobe into her mouth, sucking softly on it as her body moved, writhing in a series of connections with Kyle’s.



Kyle wanted to pleasure her, ached to pleasure her, and so he continued to slowly slide inside her, each movement a finely controlled symphony of muscles moving in harmony to provide her with that pleasure.



Idly he realised he had never experienced anything as intoxicating as this in his life, focussing solely on providing pleasure for another and feeling more intimate than he had ever been in his life. He thrust the thought aside, for truly, it didn’t matter to him. All that mattered was the here and now, Julietta and the connections they were sharing in that instant.



Kyle continued his movements, concentrating on Julietta now, seeking to heighten her pleasure in any way possible, so while his hips continued their slow thrusts, his fingertip worked on her clit, his other hand teased her nipple to a stiffness that would penetrate steel and his mouth returned to its teasing soft kisses, first on her collarbone, then up the side of her neck, then behind and around her ear.



He knew she was breathing deeper and faster as he made his way around her, teasing and breathing on her, and she moaned as she began to push back with her own hips, seeking him, wanting more.



He increased the pressure with his finger on her little pleasure node, working it a little harder, the tip of his finger stroking it up and down, in tune with her breathing and as it increased in intensity he matched it. Unconsciously his hips did the same, a synchronous movement that tied everything in with her own arousal, growing firmer and faster as her breathing increased, as her body rolled and arched and craved more.



“Fuck, Kyle,” she panted. “Please.”



His lips met hers once more, locking together in a passionate, hungry embrace that matched the intensity of their bodies. He heard her involuntary moans from deep inside her, felt her begin to tremble and he stepped up to match her.



Gone was the slow tender thrusts. Gone was the tender touches. Gone was the teasing caresses. They were from a moment in the past. The present was hunger, intensity, a different type of connection with a life of its own.



Julietta’s hips began to shake, their rhythm erratic and uncontrolled. Kyle didn’t waver, didn’t let up, didn’t stop, just kept on going, pushing inside her, firmly manipulating her clit, his other hand holding her tight against him as her body arched, stiffened and her breath exploded from her.



She broke their kiss as she orgasmed, each breath she panted bringing forth a moan of ecstasy. Her body shuddered hard against him, shaking and squeezing, and Kyle thought it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever experienced.



He could feel her tensing inside, like miniature spasms gripping him as he thrust and withdrew. Kyle felt her vulnerability and pleasure and the intimacy and eroticism of the moment tightened him, made him moan.



It was sudden and intense, a hard and fast orgasm that he didn’t expect but that blew him away. His hand moved from her clit to her lower stomach, pulling her in to his body, his muscles throughout his body strong and rigid, pressing her into his shoulder, his chest, into his pelvis, pushing himself inside her as deep as he could go.



“Oh, fuck,” Kyle moaned as he came inside her, bucking and lurching as Julietta’s body still quivered against him.



She moaned aloud knowing he was experiencing the same pleasure she was, and her hand held his head to hers, alongside each other.



“Kyle,” she moaned in a near whisper into the darkness. “Yes.”



Hot, spasming pleasure surged through Kyle in the beauty of the moment, being inside her as they both reached that place together, locked tight in his arms, both breathing fast and hard in sheer bliss.



They stayed like that, locked together, Kyle inside Julietta. Neither wanted to let the experience go, yet as they gradually subsided, as their orgasms slowly eased away like shadows chased by the sun their tense bodies eased, relaxing and melding together in that comfortable way that only lovers can.



Julietta was the first to speak. “Kyle, that was…..”



“I know,” he said simply. “I’ve never experienced anything like that.”



“It was so beautiful,” she replied, kissing him softly on the cheek. Then she giggled. “You’re still inside me.”



He grinned and moved his hips back a little, tilting his pelvis and as he slid out of her Julietta sighed.



“I miss it already,” she murmured.



Kyle re-adjusted his hips so that he was pressed back against her again, his soft penis lying against her buttocks. As Julietta snuggled her ass back into his pelvis she giggled again.



“I can feel your cum running down my skin.”



“Yeah, sorry about that. I should have put a condom on but I was kinda caught in the moment,” he said gently. He felt her squeeze against him, a movement of reassurance and comfort.



“Me too, but I wouldn’t change it for the world,” she whispered back, kissing him once again on the cheek. “You know how people say about memories that last a lifetime?”



“This was one of them,” he agreed.



“Why do you have to live so far away?” she whispered softly. Kyle knew exactly what she meant. He’d had girlfriends and one night stands, and none of them had even come close to this. Not once, and it was with a woman who he would never see again after this night.



He felt so incredibly close to her, so intimate that he had to ask. “Julietta, I wasn’t going to ask, but I have to know. What’s your real name?”



She lay there in silence for a moment, then her lips turned to his ear.



“Katie. It’s short for Katarina.”



Three Years Later



“Is everything okay, Kyle?” The old lawyer asked as Kyle stared at the photographs on the table. “You’ve gone a little pale.”



In a voice barely above a whisper, Kyle said, “Oh, fuck, please let this be a joke.”



Kyle was reeling, the instant recognition of the two faces in the photos making him feel nauseous, excited and angry at the same time.



It was Katie and Sahara, the two stars of his own personal spank-bank, the sexual memories that came back to him every night when he lay in bed, his eyes closed, stroking his cock. The two hottest women he’d ever encountered and God, or Fate, or Destiny had decided to fuck him up and reveal they were his sisters. He cursed the part of himself that was excited at the thought of meeting them again. He knew that he couldn’t have known they were his sisters, that there was no possible way he could have known, but still he felt disgusted with himself, the strength of the social and legal taboo so strong that he just felt…. wrong. Dirty, and not in a good way.



The conflicting emotions and memories made his already knotted stomach feel like a stuffed toy inside a washing machine on a spin-cycle.



“Kyle,” Mister Crowler asked again. “Is everything okay?”



Kyle looked at the old man across the table and took a deep breath. “Mister Crowler, are you my lawyer?”



“No, or more precisely, not yet. Right now I’m representing the interests of Mister Tripps. Do you need a lawyer?” The old man tilted his head, looking at Kyle across the table. “You need someone you can talk to confidentially with your best interests at heart and no-one elses?”



“Something like that,” Kyle replied. Then another realisation struck him – that when he hooked up with Katie as he thought of her, there were other people around. Ed and Casey, his buddies were there, but also her three friends. Five other people who knew the two of them had hooked up. Ed and Casey knew that he’d got a lapdance from Sahara who was actually Kara too. And if the press were going to find out about them, then all it would take would be someone to open their mouth and all kinds of shit would come out.



“I’m not going to ask any questions just yet, however I would advise you to speak to Patricia about the problem tonight, whatever it is,” Mister Crowler said firmly. “She is appointed to you to look after you, not to look after the business or to steer you in any particular direction, so if there’s a problem, or if there may be one in the future, discuss it with her. She’ll help you out.”



“Is she a lawyer?” Kyle asked.



“No, but she can talk to one without incriminating you, or arrange a discussion with one for you. Either way, discuss it with her. Then once the last will and testament has been read, I can give you legal counsel if it’s required. Is that sufficient?”



Kyle shrugged helplessly, having no idea what to do about this. “I guess it’ll have to be for now.”



“Do you have any other questions?”



Kyle thought for a moment, then nodded. “My… sisters. Are they being told just now too?”



“That’s my task for today, I’m afraid,” The lawyer replied. “As soon as we’re done here I’m off to let them both know too. All going well you’ll all meet for the first time on the Island tomorrow.”



“We’re all taking the same plane? Sorry, jet?”



The old man shook his head and began clearing up the documents and photographs from the table. “No, Kyle. You’ll all be making your way there and they’ll arrive together.”



“Oh, okay. So what do I do now?” The words came out on auto-pilot. Inside, Kyle still felt like he was reeling.



“Get in the car outside, go shopping for some clothes for a week on a Caribbean island, and whatever else you want to take with you. There are limitations though.”



“Such as don’t buy a Lamborghini?” Kyle shook his head, experiencing one of those surreal moments.



“I daresay you could if you wished, but I think Mister Tripps has a couple anyway,” The old man replied, smiling slightly. “Limitations. You can’t discuss this with your friends, and if they ask, tell them you’ve had to go away on a business trip, advising the three Company Directors that turned up out the blue today. Currently they’re smoothing things over within the organisation so that people will think you’ve been selected for a fast-track career path and are off around the country for a week or so.”



“That’s why they’re here?”



The lawyer nodded. “They don’t know the details, but yes, they’re here only to give you a legitimate excuse to vanish for a week.”



“Shit.. What about my friends? I can’t tell Ed and Casey?” Kyle asked.



“That’s correct.”



“I kinda already told my parents that I’d be going to meet these sisters of mine,” Kyle said, frowning.



“That’s okay, Kyle. They’re your parents, although I’d strongly suggest you call them and ask them to keep quiet about it over the next couple of days.”



“Okay, I will do. What else?”



“That’s us,” The lawyer said, placing the files in his briefcase. “Oh, here’s a suggested list of items you should bring, along with a list of places you can find them. It’s from a creative professional on the Island. To be frank, she’s a bit of a nuisance, but she does know how to make you look good.” The old man slid three sheets of paper across the table to Kyle.



“Come, Kyle Watson. I’ll walk you to your car, introduce you to your driver and then I’ll see you late tomorrow.” Mister Crowler stood up and beckoned Kyle to the door.



Kyle led the lawyer out to the Reception, absently patting his pockets to make sure he had his housekeys. He could feel the wad of cash in his wallet along with the new credit cards. They exited the building and Kyle’s eyes widened as he saw the two limos parked at the kerb.



“Wow, this is really real,” He murmured.



“What was that?” Mister Crowler asked.



“Sorry, nothing. Just muttering,” Kyle replied.



“Well, Kyle Watson, it was a pleasure meeting you, and once again, my apologies for turning your world completely upside down. Let’s hope when everything settles down it looks better than it did before.” The old man offered a hand and Kyle shook it.



“Best of luck today, Mister Crowler. Can I make a request of you?” Kyle said quickly as the old man turned to leave.



“Yes?”



“When you meet my sisters could you give them a message for me?”



“It depends on the content of the message, Kyle.”



“Can you tell them I wish I knew I had sisters, and I’m looking forward to meeting them both for the first time tomorrow?”



The old lawyer’s eyebrow raised. “Indeed? I’m sure I can pass that on. Good luck, Kyle, and I’ll see you tomorrow. And don’t forget your passport.”



Kyle nodded, breathing a sigh of relief as the old man turned his back. The message had been a spur of the moment thing, and the wording impromptu, but he wanted to get a message to them if they remembered him. Telling them he wished he knew he had sisters would remind them that none of them knew they were related when they’d met before, and adding that he was looking forward to meeting them for the first time tomorrow was something he was rather pleased with. A hidden message saying don’t admit that we’ve already met. In the event that one or both of them didn’t remember him then the whole message would seem quite sweet.



Kyle smiled, his stomach still doing flip-flops, but nowhere near as bad as it was a few minutes ago.



“Mister Watson?”



Kyle turned, hearing a woman’s voice from beside the car. “Hi?”



“I’m Caroline, your driver for today, sir.” Caroline turned out to be a short-haired dirty-blonde woman in her mid to late twenties, dressed in the classic black suit, white shirt, black tie and the peaked hat, common among limo drivers.



“Hi Caroline. Call me Kyle.”



She nodded. “Very good, sir. Kyle. Whatever. Where are we going?”



Kyle smiled. “That’s an easy one. Somewhere I can buy cigarettes. Then, apparently there’s a list of things I’ve to get.”



She nodded, opened the door, Kyle slid in on the leather seat and moments later they were off.



That first cigarette was a guilty pleasure, but it just made Kyle feel a little sicker than he did already, so he binned it halfway through. The three hours that followed passed in a blur.



Caroline drove him from store to store, picking up business suits and clothes of a far superior quality than anything he’d worn to date. Designer clothing stores, designer luggage, everything that was on the list was specific and labelled, put together by someone called Margaret.



Kyle was reluctant at first to accept that someone could pick out what he should wear and know better than he did what would suit him, but she seemed to have unerringly good taste. In the first three stores he tried on a few items, and after that he just checked the sizes were right and handed them to the sales assistants that followed him around. Turning up at the front door in a limo and wearing designer clothing certainly got their attention and service was excellent all afternoon.



Eventually the adrenalin of the whole thing began to wear off and Kyle felt exhausted, and realising he hadn’t eaten at all that day, they stopped for lunch. Kyle insisted that Caroline join him, rather than eat alone and they got talking about life as a limo driver in the city.



“You see some sights, believe me.”



“Like what?” Kyle asked, enjoying the novelty of being able to order whatever the hell he wanted and have a pretty hot woman for company.



“Alright, couple of nights ago I’m driving these three German businessmen around, and I pick them up from the restaurant and they’re all blitzed, right?”



Kyle nodded and took a bite of his burger.



“Well, one of them comes up to the window and taps on it, so I lower it down while I’m driving and he asks me to take them to get some hookers.”



Kyle coughed. “No fucking way. Just like that?”



Caroline nodded, brushing her hair back from her face. “Yeah, plain as that. So I’ve got three options, right? One, I can ditch them and get no tip, and probably get fired. Two, I can go and find some meth-head skanks that are probably riddled with Christ knows what diseases, or I can go with option three.”



“Which is?”



“Call my room-mate and get her to round up some friends.”



Kyle blinked. “Your room-mate’s a hooker?”



“Escort, and a very well paid one at that,” Caroline replied with a raised eyebrow. “She only works one night a week and she earns more money than I do.”



Kyle nodded. “Whatever works for you, I guess.”



“Exactly. So I call her, tell her about these guys and she makes some calls, right?” Caroline paused for a sip at her Pepsi.



“So you go and pick up all these girls?” Kyle asked, amused at how matter of fact she was about it all.



“Yeah,” She nodded. “Three guys, five girls, a big fucking orgy in the back of the stretch limo for three hours. Got to give those guys some kudos for keeping it up for that long.”



Kyle laughed and raised his bottle of beer. “To German businessmen.”



“And the girls they rode in on,” Caroline laughed, chinking her glass against his beer.



Kyle made a face. “What about cleaning the limo afterwards?”



Caroline shrugged. “Someone elses job. And no, that’s not the same limo. Yours is brand spanking new. Don’t know how you managed that, but it suits me fine.”



“Whatever works for you,” Kyle smiled. “So is it like that quite a lot?”



“What? In the back of the limo?”



“Yeah.”



“Sometimes. You kind of get spells where it goes a bit nuts and then nothing happens for ages. I’ve had all sorts back there though. Couples who hire it for a night just to drive around the city fucking behind tinted windows. Try to spice up the old marriage. I’ve had guys who jacked off on their own, women who’ve helped them, sometimes even men who’ve helped them.”



“Fucking hell,” Kyle muttered. “It’s like a whole new world I didn’t know about.”



Caroline laughed. “You should try it out. See how the other half live.”



Kyle grinned. “What? Jerk off in the back of the limo on the way home? Nah, not really my style.”



“Ha! You should hire a couple of classy escorts, have a threesome. It’d blow your mind.”



“You’re insane,” Kyle laughed. “Have you ever?”



“What? Me? I’ve never hired an escort,” She chuckled. “Those girls cost a fortune.”



Kyle laughed, let the subject drop and finished off his burger. “Want some dessert?”



“Coffee?”



“That’ll do for me,” Kyle agreed. “I would tell people I’m a latte-junkie, but it’s the lamest sounding thing ever.”



“Yeah, I wouldn’t try and use that as a line on a girl. Talking of which, have you spotted the two girls to my right checking you out?”

Kyle chuckled. “Good one.”



“No, seriously.” Caroline nodded, her face earnest.



Kyle took a swig of his beer and casually glanced over to the booth where two girls were watching him. They jerked their eyes away quickly and began to giggle.



“Want me to get them in the back of the limo for you?”



Kyle burst out laughing. “You sound like my pimp.”



“You’ve got a pimp?” She teased. “Seriously though, it’s pretty easy. You’re a decent enough looking guy, and the clothes make you look good. Plus you’re sitting with a limo driver, talking shit, while it’s parked right outside the door. You look good to them right now, so I bet if you picked up their check and got a bottle of champagne to go, I could walk over there and invite them to join you in the limo.”



“That shit actually works?” Kyle snorted. “Sounds like something from a bad TV show.”



“Oh, it works. I’ve got tons of clients laid doing stuff like that.” She grinned. “All part of the service, my lord.”



“Why you so keen to get me to hooked up?” Kyle asked, looking at her. “If it’s not these girls, it’s hire some hookers and have a threesome. What’s that all about?” He took a swig of beer.



Caroline shrugged. “I like watching people fucking. I’m a perv, I don’t care.”



Kyle nearly choked and definitely lost a number of dude points during the coughing fit that followed while Caroline sat there and laughed at his reaction.



“You should totally look up a friend of mine,” Kyle said a few minutes later when he’d recovered. “His name’s Ed, he’s nuts and lots of fun, and you two would hit it off.”



“I dunno. I’m kinda fussy.” Caroline shrugged again, and Kyle smiled. It seemed to be her favourite movement.



“Fussy how?”



“Well, actually I’m not that fussy,” She grinned and got her phone out. “What’s his number?”



Kyle chuckled and got it out his phone for her. Once Caroline punched it into the address book she grinned, a smile with a deliberate hint of evil to it. “I’m totally gonna mess with him for a week or so.”



“You really should. He’s a comic book artist. That’s what he does for a living. Better warn you though, he’s a bit of an asshole, and he’s got a ridiculous vocabulary for parts of the female anatomy, if you know what I mean.”



“Oh, I’m sure I can give him a run for his money. My room-mate is a professional sex worker, remember.”



They left the restaurant ten minutes later, with Kyle managing to avoid Caroline’s repeated suggestions that she drag the two girls with them. Ordinarily the idea would have held a ridiculous amount of appeal to Kyle, but after todays revelations, not least of which was that he had inadvertantly made love to one sister, had a lapdance from another, then jerked off to the memories several hundred times, he wasn’t in the mood for anything sexual.



To kill some of the remaining hours, Kyle went home and Caroline helped him pack the luggage he’d bought with the new clothes. A ridiculous amount of tags, bags and packaging accumulated beside Kyle’s sofa, but with an hour to spare they had everything packed that he’d need and into the limo. It wouldn’t all fit in the trunk, but Kyle wasn’t bothered about a few bags in the back with him. He knew he wasn’t that guy, yet.



It came as a bit of a surprise at one point when Caroline took off her jacket to reveal a pistol in a shoulder-holster. Seeing Kyle’s astonished look, she explained that she split her time between limo driving and close protection security, and that today she was doing both. Kyle thought it both surreal and funny that his first bodyguard was a woman who kept trying to get him laid and could kill him if he made the wrong move.



He had another cigarette, called his folks to ask them to keep quiet about the days events and let them know he was heading out to Danny Tripps private Island for a few days to meet his sisters. His folks seemed relieved that he seemed to be taking it in his stride, but Kyle explained that he thought it either hadn’t sunk in yet, or it didn’t matter to him that he was adopted because they were the only parents he’d ever known, and given both his birth parents were dead, it wasn’t like they were going to steal him away.



His folks promised to call him in a couple of days, but reminded him he just had to call and they’d come to wherever he was. He rang off, nodded to Caroline and they left for the airport.



Kyle waved farewell to Caroline once the flight crew had loaded the bags onto the small private Jet, and he turned towards the small lounge in the Executive Privilege Airlines building. He looked up at the sign. “EPA? Someone’s got a sense of humour.”



He opened the door into a brightly llit reception area.



“Mister Watson?” An old black man with wrinkles on his wrinkles asked from behind the receptionist desk.



“Yes.”



“Can I see your passport please?”



“Oh, yeah. Sure.” Kyle handed it over to the man who gave it a cursory glance and handed it back.



“If you’d like to go into the lounge, sir, your aircraft will be ready in ten minutes.”



Kyle nodded and entered the lounge, seeing a woman rising to her feet. Shoulder-length blonde hair framed a pretty face with a pointy chin and eyes that missed nothing. A charcoal gray business suit covered a body that Kyle could see was in great shape. For someone who had the potential to look like Pamela Anderson in a red swimsuit, she didn’t come across that way at all. The minimal makeup, the lines of her suit, all created a professional ensemble that looked businesslike above all else.



“Mister Watson?” She asked, taking a step towards him. Her voice was sure, confident and clear.



“Kyle,” He replied, offering a little wave. He rolled his eyes at his own lameness.



“I’m Patricia Miller. I understand Mister Crowler told you I’d be meeting you here?”



Kyle nodded, and moved forward, shaking hands with her. “Yeah, he said that you’re going to be helping me out. Is that right?”



“Yes, sir,” she nodded, motioning him to a seat, taking the adjacent one for herself. “I was Executive Assistant to Mister Tripps for nine years, and my role with you is to primarily look after you, act as your liaison and schedule manager, set up whatever you need and answer any questions you might have.”



“So we’re going to be working together quite a lot then?” Kyle asked cautiously.



“Yes, sir.”



“Well, if we’re going to be working together all the time, then you should call me Kyle.”



“Yes, sir.”



Kyle noticed the hint of a smile twitching at her mouth. “Funny.”



“Kyle it is then. I may ‘Sir’ you in public from time to time though.” Her eyes really lit up when she smiled, he noted.



“Cool. Whatever works for you,” Kyle said. “So how did you get landed with me then? Lose the lottery?”



Patricia took a deep breath then let it out slowly. “Can I be honest, Kyle?”



“Please.” Kyle meant it too. If he was going to have to rely on Patricia, as Mister Crowler suggested, then he much preferred the thought of her giving it to him straight.



“Out of the three of you, you and your sisters, I asked to be assigned to you. You have experience in business, and not just at a ground level. That makes my job a little easier because you’ll be quicker on the uptake. Likewise, I sometimes find other women can be difficult to… establish good working relationships with from time to time.”



“You mean because sometimes women are bitches?” Kyle said, opting for excessive honesty himself. He was no stranger to office politics either.



Patricia chuckled. “Yes, pretty much. I’ve encountered resentment because of how I look on plenty of occasions, and it’s usually overcome by sheer professional competence within a month or two, but I think that the next few days and weeks are going to define a lot about how Mister Tripps businesses end up being run in the future, and I want to contribute to that.”



“So by working with me, you think we’ll get on better and quicker than you would if you were working with a woman?” Kyle asked, admiring her honesty, but a little confused.



“That’s part of it,” She nodded. “Mister Tripps and I worked together for nearly nine years, and I invested a lot of time and effort into his businesses. I think you’re the most business-oriented of the three of you, based on nothing more than your files, but if you are, then that’s the area I’d prefer to be working in.”



“And that’s all of it?” Kyle asked.



“Pretty much.”



Kyle nodded. “Mister Crowler told me I could trust you. He said you were great at your job and you’d be a real asset to me if I could learn to rely on you. Any idea what he meant by that?”



“It could be something as simple as trying to encourage you to open up and trust me. That way I can learn how to support you more effectively, do my job more efficiently and help you out as much as possible.” She frowned. “Did he really say that?”



Kyle nodded, looking around as his craving kicked back in. “Yeah. Do I just go outside if I want a cigarette?”



“I didn’t know you smoked,” Patricia said, tilting her head, her expression curious.



“Recently took up the habit again. It’s been quite a day.”



“I bet it has. How are you feeling?”



“Tense, nauseous, bemused, and kinda like I’m watching someone else in a movie, except the movie’s my life going in strange and wacky directions,” Kyle replied. He moved to stand, but Patricia placed a hand on his leg and got up herself.



“I’ll get you an ashtray. Just smoke here if you want one.”



“Fucking weird” Kyle muttered, lighting up indoors. She returned shortly with an ashtray.



“Want something to drink? Beer? Cocktail? Coffee? Soda?”



Kyle shook his head. “No, thanks, but don’t let me stop you.”



Patricia shook her head and sat back down. “So how did the shopping go?”



“Kinda bizarre,” Kyle said, grinning. “Pulling up in a limo and wearing designer clothes when you walk in a store is a different level of service than I’m used to.”



“It’ll get more bizarre than that in the next few days,” She warned. “Wait until you start getting fitted for tailored suits by Margaret.”



“She’s the person who wrote this list for me, right?”



Patricia nodded, a slight frown on her face. “That’s Margaret. She’s got a really great eye for dressing people.”



“But…” Kyle added, guessing there was more.



Patricia smiled. “But she’s arrogant and a nuisance, and believes that fashion is the ultimate reason for the human race being on the planet.”



Kyle laughed. “Sounds like a joy to work with.”



“Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often, or my schedule would be shot to hell by brunch on a daily basis.”



“So, I’m meant to lean on you for advice and all that. What mistakes should I try and avoid?” Kyle asked, figuring he might as well find out.



“Time management is going to be a factor for you. There’s only so many hours in a day, and everyone will want a piece of them, so don’t accept any appointments. Refer them all to me.”



“Okay, that makes sense, I guess. I’ve never had an assistant before so I’m kinda groping in the dark here,” He admitted.



“You’ll get used to it,” She said, smiling disarmingly. “What else can I suggest? Ask me anything. Don’t be afraid to ask it if you think it will upset me, or if you think it’s stupid. Don’t worry about asking twice either. You’re going to be taking so much information in over the course of a day that you’ll forget some things, so rely on me. It’s what I’m there for.”



“Great. My very own wiki?”



She chuckled. “Wiki? I like that. Okay, what else? Let’s see…. be honest with me, if something annoys you let me know and I’ll either agree or we’ll fight about it and I’ll win.”



“As simple as that?” Kyle grinned.



“Probably not, but we’ll figure that stuff out as we go. One last thing for now,” She said, pausing. “Please don’t lie to me. If you start doing that, then I can’t do my job, and you’ll be the person who feels the impact of that.”



“Because you’ll punish me?” Kyle asked, still grinning.



Patricia snorted. “No, but if that’s what you’re into, I think we have people for that. No, what I mean is if you’re having an affair then tell me. It’s no-one elses business, but if it can have a future consequence then I need to know so I can prepare, or take action to make sure it doesn’t become an issue.”



“Wow, okay. Well, I’m not having an affair, so that’s one thing off the list.”



She shook her head. “Just one of a million different things you could use as an example.”



There was a knock at the door and the receptionist entered. “That’s your aircraft ready for boarding. Hope you both have a good flight.”



“Thanks, LeBron,” Patricia said, rising and heading for the door.



“Yeah, thanks, man,” Kyle added.



“Shall we?” Patricia asked, waving towards the small Jet parked on the tarmac fifty metres away.



If you’re going to fly, then private luxury jet is the way to do it, Kyle thought. Big leather reclining seats, big TV, DVD’s, games, great food, drinks, even a kick-ass internet connection. Bathroom with a multi-head shower, a kitchen with a proper coffee machine. Luxury in a steel tube at thirty seven thousand feet.



“Very nice,” Kyle noted as he finally took his seat.



“Your first time in a luxury jet?” Patricia asked, settling herself across the small aisle from him.



He nodded. “Only ever flown with United and the seats aren’t exactly spacious.”



Patricia smiled. “Well, if you’re flying then most of the time it will be in jets like this. You should buckle up. We’ll be taking off in the next few minutes.”



“Cool.” Kyle did as asked and got comfortable in his leather seat, facing forward on the right side of the aircraft, while Patricia did the same to his left. As he looked around he had another of those surreal moments, wondering how the hell his day had started writing a paper on ‘Project Budget Control and Financial Reporting Issues’ to suddenly being on a private jet with his ‘assistant’ about to travel to a Caribbean island to meet sisters he never knew he had.



The thought of Katie and Kara brought the subject to the fore in his mind again and he frowned.



“Everything okay, Kyle?” Patricia asked. “Are you nervous about flying?”



“What? No, never been a nervous flyer.” He considered telling her about Myrtle Beach, but figured he’d better get to know her better and then decide. Kyle knew if it was just him and his two sisters who knew what happened then he wouldn’t ever need to tell anyone, but he was genuinely worried that there were five other people who already knew.



Patricia turned her head forward and settled back in her seat. “I used to be terrified whenever I got on an aircraft, but in the last nine years I’ve been on so many flights it doesn’t bother me at all anymore.”



Just at that, the Pilot of the jet appeared, introducing himself as Captain Oates. He ran through the usual safety announcement, where the lifejackets were, and that the forecast was good for the weather and the flight should be arriving on time.



He disappeared into the cockpit and locked the door and seconds later the jet was rolling onto the runway. It accelerated rapidly, pressing Kyle into his seat and then they were off the ground. He watched out the small window, looking down at streetlights and cars moving on the Interstate, seeing the glow from the city in the night sky.



As soon as the aircraft levelled off Patricia unbuckled her seat belt. “Fancy a drink?”



Kyle shrugged. “Sure.”



“Well, get comfortable. We’re going to be here for a while. How does a Mojito sound?”



Kyle gave her a thumbs up and unbuckled his seatbelt, then reached down and unlaced his new boots, bought earlier that day, then slid them under the seat. He pulled out his phone and checked his emails while Patricia was in the galley.



Nothing from Casey, but an email from Ed, so he opened it up.



Hey fucker,



Casey says you’ve fucked off on a business jaunt for a week. WTF, dude? We’re meant to be poon hunting this weekend! Anyway, where the fuck are you? And how much dick are these director fuckers gonna make you suck?



Ed, Esq.




Kyle shook his head. Ed had the subtlety of a wrecking ball sometimes, but he was a good friend. He typed back a reply.



Nutsack, Busy working, preparing briefings on all kinds of stuff. Could really do without this, but if I do a good job then instant promotion. That’s worth another 27K a year. Think how many beers that would buy!!! I’ll be in touch in a couple of days. Stay OUT my apartment!!! You still owe me new sheets from the last time! K ps gave your number to a limo driver chick. Kinda hot, you two should have babies. :D



Patricia appeared with a large jug on a tray as well as two glasses of Mojito. Kyle could smell the lime before she even put it on the table in front of his seat.



“Emails?”



“Yeah, my buddy, Ed.”



“You didn’t tell him what’s going on, did you?” She gave him a stern look as she sat down opposite him.



Kyle chuckled. “No, just told him it was a business trip for a week and that I might get a promotion out of it.”



She nodded and sipped at her drink. “I’ve always loved these.”



Kyle tasted his own and nodded in agreement. “Nice.”



“The pastry chef on the Island does a Mojito Sorbet. It’s incredible.”



“Sounds it,” Kyle replied. “So tell me about the Island then. What’s it like?”



“It’s basically paradise. It’s hot, there’s a gorgeous cool breeze in the evenings and the air always smells really clean. It’s got white sandy beaches, clear blue water, palm trees. The accommodation is… luxury, to say the least. It’s very chilled, open and bright. The main house is a mixture of ancient Japanese architecture with a beach hut twist.”



Kyle laughed. “That sounds like a sales pitch.”



She smiled. “It’s how one of the guests described it and it’s kinda stuck. Let’s see. What else? Well, it’s got all sorts of facilities. A gym, swimming pools, a club, recording studios, helipad and a pier for the boat. There’s a couple of speedboats too if you want to go for a run. It’s got state of the art facilities to run the businesses from, as well as all the usual tennis courts, medical clinic and a whole load of guest houses.”



“It sounds enormous,” Kyle observed. “And amazing.”



“It is amazing. It’s not huge though. As Islands go it’s pretty small. It’s built around two peaks with the main house on the western side and the guest accommodation on the eastern side. The southern side is a wide bay and the northern side is mostly cliffs, but it’s gorgeous, and the view of the sunsets from the main house are incredible.”



“How many people are on it?”



“Between serving staff, kitchen staff, maintenance and cleaners, as well as the Doc, the Dentist, trainers, security….”



“Quite a lot then?” Kyle asked, surprised. He thought she was going to say somewhere between seven or twelve.



“I think it’s usually around ninety people residing there at a time, but they’re not there permanently. Four months on, two months off is the normal rotation. Edwin is the only one who lives there though.”



“Who’s Edwin?”



“The Island Manager. He was involved in building the place years ago and stayed on to do upgrades and improvements. Mister Tripps lets him live there, and he runs the place like a finely tuned engine.”



“That’s handy, I guess.” Kyle took another sip of his drink. “So what should I expect when I get there?”



Patricia smiled and put her drink down. “Well, it’ll probably be a bit of a culture shock when you get there. Edwin will probably call you Master Watson, or Master Kyle. That’ll be because the staff on the Island will follow his lead. You’ll be waited on hand and foot, but you’ll also have to work really hard.”



“Doing what?”



“Everything from reading briefings on the various businesses to improving your own personal image, to…”



Kyle frowned and cut her off. “What does that mean? Improving my image?”

“There was an article in Forbes earlier this year and they cited that there are over twelve hundred billionaires in the world now. When Mister Tripps died the number went down by one, but now it’s gone up by three. As such you’ll be a public figure and you’ll be photographed by the paparazzi every time you go out in public.” She shrugged. “At least for a while.”



“Mister Crowler mentioned something about that,” Kyle said, his tone distinctily unenthusiastic.



“So as a result we have to manage your image, make sure you look like what people would expect from the son of Danny Tripps. Someone confident, cool, smart. Stylists like Margaret will take care of what you wear, how your hair is styled, etc, but what kind of shape you’re in will require some work.”



“Eh?” Kyle frowned, wondering if he’d just been called fat. He was in pretty decent shape, wasn’t overweight and played basketball a couple of night a week with his friends.



Patricia smiled. “I’m not trying to cause offence, Kyle. Right now if someone took your picture while you were sitting on a beach your stomach would look like it was all rolls of fat, even though it isn’t. So we need to tone you up and quickly.”



“Is there going to be press on the Island?”



“No, but there is going to be press when you get back. That’s guaranteed, so let’s make sure we control what pictures are taken and by whom, and lets make sure you look great in them. That’s what I mean by improving your personal image.”



“So hitting the gym then?”



“That’s the start of it,” She nodded. “There’s a trainer on the Island called Julian. He’ll work with you and get everything set up for fast results.”



“Okay,” Kyle said, not convinced but knowing arguing about it now wouldn’t change anything until he talked to this trainer guy. “What else should I expect?”



“There’ll be a lot of video conferences, lots of papers to read and decisions to make, and lots of work to do, so pretty much from the moment you get up until the moment you go to bed you’ll be living life by my schedule.”



“Oh.” The idea of paradise seemed a lot less exciting the more he discovered about it.



“Now at some point it’s going to get you pissed at me because I’ll be hustling you to get things done. That’s understandable and expected, so I’m explaining this right now so you understand why at times I’ll seem like I’m bugging you.”



“Sounds delightful,” Kyle chuckled.



“If your schedule creeps, ten minute delays adding to other ten minute delays, and before you know it you’re two hours late getting to your bed. That’s two hours less sleep than you should be getting. With me so far?”



“Yeah, and if that goes on for a few days…”



“Exactly. By that point you’re not thinking straight, your decision making is poor, you feel like shit and all because you feel a little uncomfortable skipping the small talk after meetings.” Patricia looked very earnest. “Now, if it affects you like that, then it affects me more. I’m up before you in the morning and down after you at night, so it’s important we try and stick to the schedule as much as possible.”



“Okay,” Kyle nodded. “I can’t promise I won’t get grumpy or anything, but I’ll try and do my best.”



“That’s all I ask,” She replied, giving him a dazzling smile. Kyle smiled back.



They watched a movie on the big TV and Patricia asked him all about his life, what it was like growing up, what was his life like yesterday and in the months previous. Did he have a girlfriend, what was life like at school, what hobbies did he have. Kyle felt at a couple of points that he was being mined for data and tried to turn the questions back on her to find out the same answers about her life, but Patricia skillfully turned the questions back on him, and did it in such a way that Kyle felt relaxed and open with her.



Around one in the morning Patricia suggested they should try and get some sleep and disappeared back to the bathroom to get changed. She reappeared a few minutes later wearing a pair of jogging pants and a white t-shirt that showed the form hidden beneath the business suit.



Wow, she’s frickin hot,” Kyle thought as he watched her lowering the leather chair into a bed. His eyes roamed over her tight ass, her flat stomach, her full breasts. “Don’t be an asshole, Kyle! After today the last thing you should be doing is hitting on your new assistant, even if she is fine. Really fucking fine.”



“Are you getting changed, Kyle?” She asked, interrupting his musings.



“What? Oh, all my clothes and stuff are in the luggage in the hold.” Kyle wished he’d packed a daysack or something with his Kindle in it. At least then he could read something because he didn’t feel like sleeping. There was too much going on in his brain.



“You can access the hold through here,” She told him, leading him past the bathroom to a panel on the wall. She pushed against it and it clicked open. The hold was small but lined on the right with his bags, a stack of small metal flightcases lining the left side.



Kyle moved forward and had to open four bags before he found a pair of track pants and his favourite hooded jersey, and grabbing his Kindle he headed for the bathroom, got changed and then slumped in his seat to read for a while.



No matter how tired Kyle felt, he couldn’t seem to shut his brain down and his usual trick of reading it into unconsciousness didn’t work. He was quite surprised when Captain Oates re-appeared to wake Patricia and let them know they’d be landing in thirty minutes.



“Did you get any sleep?” She asked as she sat up and rolled her neck, easing out the kinks.



“Nope,” Kyle said, tapping the side of his head. “Too much going on up here.”



“Make sure you let me know when you feel tired and I’ll see if I can get you an hour or two,” Patricia replied. She yawned. “Mind if I dive in the shower first?”



“Sure.” Kyle turned back to his book but then changed his mind and went to the galley to brew some coffee. By the time he’d got it figured out Patricia re-appeared, dressed now in a pair of beige linen trousers and a white vest top with a white linen shirt over the top.



“Is that coffee I can smell?” She asked, rubbing her hair with a towel.



“Yeah, I think I’ve figured the machine out,” Kyle grinned. “Want a latte or something?”



“Espresso, if you can manage that?”



Kyle nodded and got to work while Patricia finished towelling her hair dry. By the time he’d got his own latte sorted out and an espresso for Patricia she’d hung the towel up and opened a box of danish, muffins and scones and piled them all on a plate.



“Breakfast sorted,” She announced, heading back into the cabin.



As Kyle sat with her, picking at a cherry muffin he realised how weird this was. Here he was sitting in the cabin of a private jet with a really hot blonde who was fresh from the shower, checking her emails on her phone with one hand while eating her breakfast with the other.



“I guess the surreal didn’t stop with yesterday,” he murmured.



“Sorry, Kyle. Didn’t catch you there.”



“Nothing. Just thinking out loud.”



By the time he’d eaten something and drunk his coffee he barely had time for a quick shower. When he emerged, Patricia had laid out some clothes for him, a pair of dark blue denim jeans, a pair of black boots and a loose black shirt, along with a leather belt and a pair of shades.



He shrugged and went into the bathroom, got dressed and then took his seat again.



“Good timing. We’re about to land,” Patricia told him, still flicking away at her phone. Her hair was straightened and tied in a neat ponytail behind her, her minimal makeup was re-applied and everything was neatly packed away in the cabin.



Kyle fastened his seatbelt, suffering a nicotine craving. “Looking forward to getting off the aircraft so I can have a smoke.”



Patricia laughed. “You should have just had one, Kyle. It’s a private jet. You can do what you want.”



“Yeah, but you don’t smoke, and the whole passive smoking thing is not good,” He pointed out.



“When I’m out partying I chain smoke,” Patricia admitted. “Go for it. It’s fine.”



Kyle shrugged and lit up. He looked out the window as the aircraft descended into the clouds. He turned back to see Patricia still flicking through information on her phone.



He frowned as her words of the night before came back to him. Don’t lie, tell the truth, talk to me about anything, trust in me. He wondered how much he could trust in her, specifically could he tell her about Sahara/Kara and Katie/Katarina. Did he have the courage to tell someone that he had carnal knowledge of his sisters, even if he didn’t know they were his sisters at the time.



The thought of the five other people knowing swam to the fore, and he bit his lip as he considered what would happen if it ever came out.



“Patricia,” He said hesitantly.



“Yeah?” Her gaze lifted up from her phone, turning to a frown as she saw his serious expression.



“Remember how you told me I should trust you, and that you needed to know about things before they became a problem so you could take action?”



“Yes.”



“Well, there’s something I’m going to tell you, and…”



“Kyle, whatever you tell me and whatever we talk about is between you and I,” She said firmly. “Is it something bad?”



“It’s kinda fucked up,” He said after a moment.



“Go ahead,” Patricia said, placing her phone in her lap and twisting to face him.



“Three years ago I was on spring break in Myrtle Beach. Ed, Casey and I met these girls, four of them, and we hit it off. We agreed to meet them later for drinks, but before we did we headed for a strip club, mostly because Ed’s a raging pervert, but whatever.”



Patricia nodded. “Okay.”



“Well, I spotted this stripper that looked a lot like the girl I was chatting to earlier, one of the four, right?”



“Go on.”



“So I got a lapdance from her, and it was… memorable.”



“What happened?” Patricia asked.



“Oh, nothing bad. It was just… an exceptionally good lapdance,” Kyle explained and blushed a little.



“Oh, okay. So was there a problem?”



“I’m coming to that. Anyway, we went and met the girls, and me and this girl who called herself Julietta hit it off. The four of them and the three of us ended up back at their place and I spent the night with Julietta.”



“Alright. Was there some police involvement or something?”



“No, nothing like that. It was a great night, probably the best night of my life,” Kyle continued. “Here’s the problem.”



Patricia sat waiting patiently for Kyle to continue, really not sure where he was going with it.



“Yesterday Mister Crowler showed me two photographs of two….”



Her hand flew to her mouth. “No fucking way,” She blurted.



Kyle nodded, his expression frozen. “The stripper was named Sahara, but her real name is Kara, and the girl I spent the night with, Julietta was actually called Katie. Her full name is Katarina.”



“And you didn’t know?”



“Not a fucking clue,” Kyle replied. “I just went on vacation, got lapdances from two strippers, spent the night with a hot chick I met at a waterpark and now I find out three years later that….” His voice trailed off.



“Okay,” Patricia said after a moments thought. “Alright, I appreciate you trusting me with this Kyle.” She shook her head as she thought about it, her eyes distant. “Talk about bad fucking luck.”



“Tell me about it.” He agreed immediately.



“Your friends know.” It wasn’t a question. “And so do hers.”



“Yep,” Kyle nodded. “And if we hit the papers they’ll all realise at the same fucking instant that we’ve got…. history.”



“Okay, we can deal with this,” Patricia said quickly. “There’s things we can do to ensure they stay quiet, make it in their best interests to keep this to themselves.”



“Hey, I don’t want anything bad to happen to them,” Kyle said quickly.



“It’s not like that,” Patricia replied. “Positive reinforcement. We reward them for doing the right thing. If they agree to keep quiet then we can make sure they have a nice life, maybe a nice vacation every year or scholarships for any children they may have. We can remove any records of you having ever been to Myrtle Beach, things like that.”



“Oh. Okay. Can it all be done quietly?”



“Very discretely,” she nodded. “So run me through this again. You were with your friends, Casey and Ed?”



“Yes.”



“And Katarina was….”



“Katie,” Kyle said. “She told me she goes by Katie.”



“Okay, Katie was with three friends?”



“Yes.”



“Do you know their names?”



“I think they were fake names, but there was Margarita. She was hispanic, kinda looked a bit like Jennifer Lopez, and her and Katie seemed quite tight. There was a black girl called Shanice, I think, and Jessica was the blonde one. Really skinny,” He added.



“And you don’t know if these names were real or fake?”



He shrugged. “I think they were fake names, but the four of them seemed like close friends, so you might be able to get the information from Katie.”



“I can find out who they are,” She said firmly.



“Oh, and they all went to Business School together. In New York. I don’t remember which one.”



Patricia nodded. “Okay, I have to make a call, set some wheels in motion. Don’t worry about this for now. It’ll all be handled discretely, and nothing has been decided yet as to any courses of action. Right now it’s about getting information and time is of the essence.”



Kyle nodded and sank into his seat. It was almost like a bit of relief he felt, having told someone about it finally and their reaction wasn’t horror or revulsion or disgust as he feared. He still knew deep down that he wasn’t to know who they were, but a part of him felt sickened about it, mostly because he knew they were his favourite masturbation memories and the thought of seeing them again in the flesh gave him a tingle of excitement.



“Hi, it’s Patricia,” He heard her say, her phone pressed to her ear. “Yes, I’ve got an urgent tasking for you, personal investigations on three people, reports every twelve hours….. New York, attended Berkeley Business School between one year and four years ago… friends with Katarina Lawhead, aged 23. She dropped out two to three years ago…. Names are aliases, but they were friends with Miss Lawhead. Subject one is a hispanic female, twenty three years old, named Margarita, possibly an alias…. Yes, Subject Two is a black female, twenty three years old, named Shanice, possibly an alias…. Okay, Subject Three is a white female, twenty three years old named Jessica, possibly an alias. Blonde hair, very skinny….. No, that’s all I’ve got.”



Kyle watched her head tilted to the side, her expression intense as she listened to the person on the other end of the line.



“Okay, that’s good…. Right, yes… Yes, please. Send me their files right through, no redactions.” She saw Kyle looking at her and gave him a smile, and Kyle wondered what the hell was going on. How on earth they could track anyone down with as little information as that was insane, but it appeared that something was happening.



“Yes, please. Email them directly to me…. There’s another two taskings for you too…. Kyle Watson’s friends, Ed and Casey….. Yes, please. To my email too….. Thanks. Speak to you in a few hours.” She ended the call and turned to Kyle.



“Okay, we’ve got the names of the three girls. The one called Margarita was actually her real name but the other two were fakes,” She explained simply.



“How the hell did you do that so quickly?” Kyle blurted. “You were only on the phone for five minutes.”



“Oh, the investigator I was on the call with looked up Katie’s facebook photos for her spring break vacation and looked at the tags on the names.”



“Oh,” Kyle said, feeling a bit stupid. “As simple as that?”



“Sometimes that’s all it takes,” Patricia shrugged. “Anyway, they’re going to start sending me information through to find out how we can get some leverage on them.”



“Shit,” Kyle breathed, almost frightened at the lethal efficiency he’d just seen.



Patricia looked out the window and turned back to Kyle with a smile on her face. “Welcome to Guadeloupe, Kyle.”



He looked out the window, seeing the jet about to touch down on a runway. To the right he could see a small housing estate and beyond that the blue waters of the Caribbean sea. The sun was just starting to come up and it cast everything on the ground in amazing shadows.



“Wow.”



“Exactly,” She replied.



With a gentle bump the jet touched down and after a couple of minutes it pulled up at a small building where a black four by four waited with a couple of serious men in suits outside it. A local official waited to one side, probably to check their passports.



“That’s our ride,” Patricia told him. “They’ll take us to the boat.”



“Boat?”



“Yeah, it’ll take us to the Island,” She explained. “It’s very cool.”



Kyle shook hands with Captain Oates and thanked him for the flight, then followed Patricia across the tarmac to the waiting vehicle. Two aircrew retrieved their bags and put them in the trunk under the supervision of the two security guys while the official checked their passports, and within minutes they were off.



Kyle looked out the windows at what he expected to be an amazing sight, a whole new culture, but most of it was still asleep and it ended up being little more than mostly deserted streets. Five minutes later they took a turn onto a harbour and Kyle smiled. The view of the water looked amazing and dozens of fishing boats lined the piers at the small port.



The vehicle drove to the end quay and the Security guys got out and opened the doors for them. Kyle shook his head at how odd it seemed. He’d never had anyone guarding him before and these guys were grim and silent.



“Ah, there’s Captain Wales,” Patricia said. Kyle followed her gaze down the quay to where a portly man in faded jeans and a partially buttoned white shirt approached.



“Patricia,” He boomed, his voice deep and strong.



“Morning, Captain. Are we ready to go?”



“As soon as you’re on board,” He replied. His gaze turned to Kyle and he looked him up and down. “This him? The resemblance is there.”



“Kyle Watson,” He said, thrusting out a hand to the Captain.



“Bart Wales,” The man said, crushing Kyle’s hand in a fearsome grip. “Follow me, lad.”



As soon as his back was turned Kyle massaged his hand and caught Patricia grinning at him. She nodded with her head and they followed the Captain down the pier. As they neared the end Kyle caught sight of a boat in the water, unlike any he’d seen before.



He could see it was a double-hulled Catamaran, but it wasn’t a sailboat. It was like two speedboats welded together then given to Ferrari to turn into something fast and cool. A large cabin sat astride the two hulls with angled windows, topped by a small seating area upstairs, and the entire ship was coated in a kind of metallic charcoal colour. It looked fast, predatory and dangerous.



“This is the Betsy,” Captain Wales announced and Kyle chuckled. “Something funny, lad?”



“Not at all, Captain,” He replied quickly. “I just expected her to be named Dagger or Razor or something sharp and deadly. It’s a really cool boat.”



“You never knew my Betsy,” He winked.



Patricia led him on board and the two Security guys appeared a couple of minutes later with their bags. The other two members of the crew carried them into the cabin and stowed them out the way while Kyle and Patricia sat down.



“Do you get seasick, Kyle?”



“No idea,” He replied. “I’ve never been at sea before.”



“Okay, take one of these pills,” Patricia replied, taking a bottle from her bag. She took one of the pills out and popped it in her own mouth then handed the bottle to Kyle. “They’re anti-nausea medication.”



“They’re yours?”



“Yes,” She nodded. “I have to take them everytime I come on the boat.”

Kyle nodded and looked around for something to wash the pill down with. He found a bottle of water in the galley and took the pill, then joined Patricia on the sofa.



“This boat’s something,” She said, a warning note in her voice. “You want to be seated when it opens up.”



“Should we go upstairs?” Kyle suggested. The boat had really got his attention and he wanted to see what it was like.



“Sure,” Patricia nodded and they headed out the back and up the stairs.



“Come to enjoy the ride?” Captain Wales asked as they appeared on the upper deck. He was standing beside a large console with one hand on a steering wheel and the other on a large lever. “We’re just about to cast off.”



“Kyle wants to see what it’s like when you open her up, Captain,” Patricia told him, and Kyle detected a hint of amusement in her tone.



The Captain grinned and looked over the side of the boat. “We good?” He called down, then grunted a moment later, hit some buttons on the console and Kyle felt the big engines come to life. The sheer power vibrated through his feet.



“Wow,” He murmured.



“I know,” Patricia replied. “It’s gets better.”



“Can’t wait.”



The Captain moved the lever forward an inch and the boat began to move away from the quay slowly until they were clear of the other boats. A turn of the wheel had the nose pulling around to the right towards the open water.



“Hold tight, kids,” Captain Wales told them, and he pushed the lever most of the way forward.



Kyle was pressed right back in his seat as the engines roared and the nose of the boat lifted. For a terrifying second he thought the boat was going to flip over, but then it raced forward. The wind was blasting through his hair in seconds as the Catamaran blasted out to sea. He glanced over his shoulder, seeing a huge spray of water coming up behind him from the back of the boat.



“Holy fucking shit,” He grinned, and laughed as he saw Patricia laughing at his expression. “This is seriously bad ass.”



Kyle sat on the upper deck for ten minutes, revelling in the blast of fresh air in his face, but he began to yawn so Patricia suggested they went back downstairs. Once they were seated in the cabin one of Captain Wales’ crew brought them coffee and fruit juice, and Kyle poured himself a cup.



“So I need to talk to you about Security, Kyle.”



“Okay,” Kyle nodded. He figured that there was bound to be some security on the island, so he was about to get a briefing on it.



“From this point forward, and in many different ways, you’re going to be a target,” She said flatly, taking him by surprise.



He blinked. “A target?”



“Yes. In many different ways. Because you’re worth a lot of money, you’ll be a high-level target for kidnappers, people will try and con you, the media will pursue you, women will try and seduce you, politicians will try and court you, basically you’ll be sought after in many different ways.”



Kyle laughed, drawing a frown from Patricia. It wasn’t the reaction she’d been expecting, but it was one particular line in there that made him laugh.



“Women will try and seduce me? I think you can chalk that one off as a non-existant threat,” He told her.



For all Kyle’s life he’d been the pursuer, and not particularly successful at it either. He’d had a few girlfriends, but nothing serious, and certainly no-one he wanted to spend a great deal of time with either with the exception of Katie, but he’d always had to do the work. Kyle didn’t think a woman had ever put the moves on him in his entire life.



Patricia sighed and clasped her hands together. “Okay, Kyle. How much do you know about perception?”



“You mean what you see?”



“No, I mean how others see you. How your perception of yourself differs from how others see you.”



He shrugged. “I can’t say I’ve given it much thought. You mean like an image though?”



“Sort of. Let me explain how people will perceive you, assuming you end up accepting everything thats on offer from this trip.”



“Okay,” He replied, no longer laughing.



“From out of nowhere comes this guy, one of the heirs to the Tripps billions, and he looks a lot like Danny Tripps himself. He’s slim, in pretty decent shape and by the time the stylists have been over him, he’s looking pretty good. He’s got a degree in Business from Stamford so he’s bright, and no-one really knows anything about him. With me so far?”



Kyle nodded, listening.



“So there’s this guy. Rich, tall, dark hair, well groomed, smartly dressed and single. He’s got sports cars, helicopters, boats and an unlimited supply of cash, so he can pretty much do whatever he wants, go wherever he wants and anyone he chooses to take with him is going to have the time of their life, right?”



“Yeah, but that’s not me,” He pointed out.



“That’s how people will perceive you though,” Patricia said quickly. “Guys will be envious of you, women will be attracted to you, and you’ll be on the cover of magazines all over the world.”



Despite the tablet earlier, he suddenly felt his stomach tense right up. Kyle shook his head. “I’m sorry though, Patricia, but I’m not an attractive guy. I’ve never been good with women and I’ve always had to do the chasing.”



“And in the future, many of the women who would have laughed in your face before will throw themselves at you.”



“Why?”



“Because you have everything they could possibly desire,” She shrugged. “On a genetic level you’ll turn some women on simply because you’ll be able to care better for any possible children they could have and that’ll make them want to mate with you. One of those genetic urges. Like why so many women think Simon Cowell is hot.”



“I thought that was because he oozed confidence though.”



“So does a double-glazing salesman,” she pointed out. “Besides, soon you’ll have more confidence about you than even Simon Cowell does. Plus, he’s a asshole. You don’t seem like that kind of guy.”



Kyle rubbed at his head for a minute, thinking. “So if what you say turns out to be true, I can pretty much get my pick of women?”



“Pretty much,” She agreed. “And therein lies the problem. If women are easy for you, then the ones who play hard to get become attractive to you, right? That means you can be manipulated. Then you score and the next thing there’s a sex-tape on the internet, and some girls famous. Or you’ve got a baby scandal on your hands and you’re paying millions every year in alimony payments and some girl who’s smart enough to seduce you gets set up for life. Do you see where I’m coming from?”



“I guess,” He shrugged. “I’m still not convinced that women will throw themselves at me though. That sounds a little too surreal, even for the weirdest day ever.”



“Well, that’s only one particular threat out of many. Throw in the risk of kidnappers, conmen, paparazzi, people trying to spike your drinks, and basically your life just became a lot more restricted than you thought it might be.”



“So if you’re right, then I’ll have the money to be able to do whatever I want, but I won’t be able to do whatever I want?”



“That’s about right,” Patricia nodded.



“Whereas yesterday I could do whatever I wanted, but didn’t have the money to do whatever I wanted,” He stated.



“More or less.”



“So what’s the point in being rich?”



“Different people want to do different things, have different motivations,” Patricia explained. “As soon as you figure out what you want to do with your life then you’ll have goals you can strive towards. For now, just take each day at a time and try not to go crazy.”



Kyle sat and thought about that for a few minutes then asked another question.



“So how does it work then?”



“The security side of things? You’ll have a bodyguard, or more usually several, depending on where you are and what you’re doing, but there’ll be one guy who stays with you, looks after you and advises you if something’s too risky. I’d suggest you listen to him if he says that though.”



“So who’s mine?” Kyle asked.



“That depends who you appoint. We do have a shortlist of suitable candidates though, but in the meantime, the island is secure so it’s not an immediately pressing concern.”



A thought struck Kyle. “Is that why this boat’s so kick-ass, but only used as a ferry?”



Patricia smiled, pleased that he’d made the connection. “If we’re on the water, then we’re vulnerable, so the boat has the power to get us far away from any threats very quickly, and if there’s any we can’t outrun, then Captain Wales and his crew are more than capable of fighting off any threats. He’s an ex SEAL. So are his crew.”



“Wow,” Kyle murmured. This was serious stuff, he realised and he sat quietly considering it all for a while. If what Patricia said was true, and even if he ended up returning to his normal life after a few days, he’d still be a target. Kyle’s life had well and truly changed.



He still didn’t know if it was for the better, but it was certainly going to be different.



The Island came into view and Kyle stood up at the windows for a better look. It was gorgeous, a tropical paradise of palm trees and beautiful white sandy beaches. The cliffs that rose up out of the water to the east and west were natural and rugged and the structures he could see seemed to enhance the natural beauty rather than detract from it.



“It’s better than I imagined,” Kyle admitted.



“I know,” Patricia said, standing beside him. “I love it here.”



Kyle could feel the nerves building in his stomach again as the boat approached the pier and all too soon it was alongside it, the crew tying the Betsy against it. He could see several people waiting at the end of the pier and he took a deep breath, then let it out slowly.



“What’s the Island Manager guy’s name again?” He asked.



“Edwin,” Patricia replied. “It’s the guy there with the white hair and the black shirt. He always wears black shirts.”



“Why?” Kyle asked, more to keep the conversation going than out of any real interest.



“Don’t know. He just always does.” Patricia chuckled. “I’ve no idea why I even brought that up.”



“So what happens now?”



She turned to face him. “You’ll meet Edwin. He’ll walk you up to the main house, show you your suite and probably give you a quick briefing on the Island over a cup of tea. He likes his cups of tea. Anyway, by the time he’s done with that your luggage should be in your suite, and you’ve got around eight hours before your sisters arrive.”



“They’re both coming?” Kyle asked, not knowing how Mister Crowler had got on with them.



“Oh, did I not say?” Patricia scowled. “Sorry, Kyle. Yes, they’re both coming.”



“Okay.” He felt that little lurch of excitement at the thought of seeing them again, and looked unhappy.



“Kyle. Can I just say something,” Patricia said softly, moving a step closer to him.



“Sure.”



“You know it can’t happen again, right?” She said, her voice low. “You and Katie, I mean.”



“Oh, I know,” He replied immediately. “Believe me, I know. This is fucked up enough without anything else happening.”



She nodded quickly. “Good. I just wanted to… make sure you knew.”



“I definitely know,” Kyle replied.



“Good. Shall we disembark then?” Patricia smiled. “Go and explore paradise? We can run through the rest of your schedule later.”



Kyle squared his shoulders and nodded. “Okay.”



Patricia led him up the gangplank onto the pier where the first person to step forward was Edwin, an elderly gent in his early sixties. They shook hands.



“Welcome to the Island, Master Watson,” Edwin said, his accent like the stiff upper lip British you’d hear in an old sitcom like Fawlty Towers.



“Kyle’s fine, Edwin, and thanks.”



“Master Kyle then,” He said. “Welcome to the Island. If you’d care to follow me?”



Kyle nodded, realising he wasn’t going to be introduced to the four men and women waiting nearby. They were dressed identically in purple polo shirts and black trousers, and he realised they must be some of the staff from the Island, probably there to carry his bags.



Edwin began walking along the wooden pier, its thick planks held up by wide round posts sunk into the ground that reached waist height.



Kyle followed, feeling the heat already in the air despite it only being an hour or so since the sun came up. The water on either side of the pier was the clearest blue he’d ever seen, like something from a picture postcard, and the white sand on the beach matched it perfectly.



The pier ended at a wide flagstoned pathway leading straight up the beach and into the trees and Edwin led them straight up. “This is the main pathway up from the dock, Master Kyle,” Edwin explained as they walked. “There are a number of pathways criss-crossing the Island, but I’m not going to show you them all now. We’re simply going to head for the main house, which is directly up this hill.”



The path was quite steep as it rose up from the beach, but not at such an angle that stairs were required. As they entered the treeline Kyle slowed and looked at the Palm trees shading them, rising tall and majestic in a myriad of curves, casting angular shadows over the path.



“Please keep up, Master Kyle,” Edwin said briskly as he strode ahead. Kyle glanced at Patricia, who gave him a quick grin then nodded with her head that he should get going.



They continued up the sloping path, veering around a couple of small buildings that Edwin identified as a Security office and a storeroom for scuba equipment, and then a large two-story building came into view.



“The lower floor of this building houses the Islands medical facilities and some administrative offices. The upper floor is my home and office, should you ever need to find me,” Edwin announced. “Our path leads to the left now.”



They rounded the building and Kyle found himself on a wide wooden walkway that reminded him of Mister Miyagi’s garden in the original Karate Kid movie. It was slightly above the level of the gardens beneath it and lined by palm trees on either side. The far Eastern influences were obvious, and as his eyes followed it he paused, seeing the main house for the first time.



It was a mixture of ancient Japanese and Caribbean, a strange combination, but one that really worked in the surroundings. A two story central tower was flanked on either side by three story towers, the main structural beams all wooden and instead of rice paper doors and walls it was a mixture of opaque and clear glass. The roofs were circular, like you’d expect in a beach hut, and the whole structure looked like it was made from natural materials.



“That’s gorgeous,” Kyle blurted.



“Thank you very much, Master Kyle,” Edwin replied, stopping. “It took me nearly four months to get the designs right and another eight months to build it, but I am rather proud of it.”



“You designed it?”



“Yes, Master Kyle,” The old man nodded. “Architecture has always held a fascination for me. In fact, I’m fortunate enough to say, all the buildings on the Island were my designs.”



“That’s very impressive,” Kyle said and saw the old man smile.



“If you’ll follow me?” Edwin led off again, heading for the main house.



“Well done, Kyle,” Patricia whispered as they moved to follow. “Edwin likes being flattered.”



Kyle shrugged and nodded, not really meaning to do it as he was just being honest.



They followed Edwin up to a wide flagstoned patio and as they approached the house, Kyle could see inside it. The central tower must have been sixty feet wide and the ground floor was smooth polished wood that shone as the light reflected off it. A dining table that must be able to seat thirty people took up the right side of the room, and the left was split into several seating areas, wide sofas and coffee tables, and a massive fireplace sat against the wall. A wide thoroughfare led straight out open doors at the other side to a large decked area and an infinity pool with a view straight over the ocean.



“Oh, wow.”



“Oh, yes,” Patricia replied. “Wait until you see the rooms.”



As Edwin led them inside Kyle could see wooden staircases on the far corners of the room leading to the floor above and wide doorways under them leading to the flanking towers.



“This place is amazing,” Kyle said, his eyes continually roving around the room. Photographs of the Island were dotted around the walls, along with vases of flowers and plants in pots. Baskets of fruit sat on the coffee tables and as they walked out the other side of the house Kyle saw the pool area.



The two flanking towers had buildings behind them, he saw, two story rectangular structures that enclosed the main house right to the edge of the cliffs, sheltering the pool area on three sides, the other side opening to the ocean. Deckchairs and sunloungers lay to the right and left of the large pool and a canopied area with tables and chairs sat to his immediate right.



“Welcome to the main house, Master Kyle,” Edwin said, turning to face him. “I’ll just give you a quick description of the layout, if that’s alright?”



“Sure.”



“Well, the main social area of the house we’ve just been through, and your suite is located on the floor above,” Edwin stated. “If you look you can see the balcony that overlooks the pool area and runs around the upper floor of the three towers.”



“I bet the view is amazing up there,” Kyle muttered.



“The sunsets are rather spectacular as it faces the West,” Edwin replied. “Now, to the right of the pool is a bar and restaurant, with two small guest suites above it.”



“Sorry to interrupt, Edwin,” Kyle said as he looked at the building. “Is it okay if I smoke out here? I don’t know what the rules are, and…”



Edwin raised his hand in the air and snapped his fingers. One of the staff appeared from inside the house. “Bring Master Kyle an ashtray.” The old man turned back to them. “Where are my manners? What would you like to drink, Master Kyle?”



Kyle shrugged, not really knowing. It was too hot for coffee and he felt tired and grubby from the travel and a lack of sleep. “Some fruit juice or something?”



“Two orange, peach and cranberry juices please, Ellen,” Patricia said, addressing the member of staff directly. She nodded and disappeared. “I hope that’s okay? It’s nice and refreshing, Kyle.”



“It sounds it.” Kyle took out his cigarettes and lit up.



“Moving on, on the opposite side of the pool is a business suite on the lower floor and another two guest suites above it. The business suite continues through to the ground floor of the tower here, and links up with the main room.”



“That’s a lot of business suite,” Kyle noted.



“Mister Tripps liked to conduct a lot of business here,” Edwin replied. “On the middle floor of each of the towers are large suites, similar in size to your own. Your sisters will have them, Kara on the right and Katarina on the left.”



“So on either side of mine then?”



“That’s correct, Master Kyle.”



“Okay,” He nodded, not entirely sure what to say next. It was all quite overwhelming.



“That leaves the ground floor of the left tower, which contains a small cinema, a couple of meeting rooms and some staff facilities. The top floors of each of the towers are used to house our communications equipment and IT infrastructure.”



“Server rooms?”



The old man shrugged. “It’s a little more complicated than that, but in essence, yes.”



“That’s a lot of room.”



“Yes, Master Kyle,” Edwin replied. “Now, if you’ll excuse me for a few minutes I’ll go and check on your suite.”



As the old man disappeared into the house Kyle looked around.



“This place is stunning. How do you get any work done? I’d just be sitting looking around all day.”



Patricia chuckled. “You get used to it.”



Kyle smiled and walked over to the edge of the deck where it looked over the ocean. The view was spectacular, miles and miles of ocean stretching into the distance.



“Where do you stay when you’re here?”

“I have accommodation that I share with Lakshmi, one of the other Executive Assistants. It’s just to the left as you go out the main house, but because of…. everything that’s going on, I’ll be staying in your suite.”



Kyle cocked an eyebrow at that.



“If that’s okay with you, of course?” She added. “Your suite has two en-suite bedrooms in it, as well as a dressing room, office and lounge area. Plus there’s the balcony.”



“Holy shit,” Kyle muttered. “It’s the whole floor?”



She nodded, smiling. “Taking a bit of getting used to?”



“Yeah, you could say that.”



Ellen appeared with the ashtray for Kyle and two large glasses of fruit juice on ice, garnished with straws and orange wedges on the rim of the glass. Kyle sipped at the drink, finding it delicious and refreshing.



“Thanks, Helen,” He said as she disappeared again, pleased when she turned and smiled. Having staff to answer his beck and call was something that seemed really bizarre to Kyle, so he was determined to know their names at the very least.



“Kyle,” Patricia said, a grin on her face.



“Yeah?”



“Her name’s Ellen, not Helen.”



“Oh, balls.” Kyle grunted. “So much for learning peoples names.”



“If you want to do that we’ll get the staff to wear name badges for a while.” She suggested.



“That’d be helpful,” Kyle nodded. “I suck at remembering peoples names, but the idea of having staff is…. odd. Know what I mean?”



“As the primary member of your personal staff the idea doesn’t seem odd to me at all,” She laughed. “Just try and relax if you can. Want to run through your schedule for the day? There’s a lot to do.”



Kyle nodded and sat down at a small table outside the bar. “Go for it.”



“Okay, once we’ve seen your suite we’re off to see Doctor Kerr, the Islands physician to give you a checkup and any innoculations you’re behind on. If we have time after that we can get you in to see the Dentist too for a quick checkup. Margaret will want to fit you for a tailored suit and explain your wardrobe to you and then we’ll get you down to the salon for a haircut.”



“It sounds like I’m on Extreme Makeover,” Kyle muttered.



Patricia chuckled. “It’s actually all about getting you to look good for meeting your sisters.” She gave him a pointed look then added. “For the first time.”



Kyle frowned, not needing the reminder of her unworded message. “Okay.”



“I’ve got about three hours cleared for you to get some sleep, assuming you’re going to need it,” Patricia continued. “Once Mister Crowler arrives then the three of you will be in a meeting with him so that he can read you Mister Tripps will, and then I’ve got time set aside with you to answer any questions you’ll have.”



“Do you know what’s in it? The will, I mean.”



Patricia paused, then nodded. “Yes, but I can’t tell you what it says, Kyle. I’m not allowed, and anyway, it’s only a few hours away.”



Kyle frowned but nodded. “So what else?”



“Well, there’s lunch and dinner too, and some time for you to chat with Kara and Katie. I can tell you that Mister Tripps was keen for the three of you to get to know each other, so over the next few days you’ll be doing a lot together.”



“A lot of what?”



“Briefings, meetings, activities, meals.” Patricia shrugged. “Nothings firmed up yet for times and dates, but I’ll be managing your schedule carefully to make sure you’re not snowed under, okay?”



“And don’t accept any meetings myself,” Kyle stated, remembering her advice.



“Correct.”



As Kyle stubbed out his cigarette he caught sight of Edwin on the balcony, beckoning him up.



“Looks like your suite’s ready,” Patricia said, rising to her feet.



“Okay,” Kyle said, grabbing his glass and following her. She led him into the central building and up the stairs, back along a landing, and then he was up on the balcony overlooking the pool.



“Oh, wow,” He muttered. “It looks even better from up here.”



“As I said, Master Kyle,” Edwin replied. “Wait until sunset. Now, this is your suite.”



Kyle turned around and looked in. The glass doors had been folded back along the entire length of the balcony revelaing a bright, wide room. Several leather sofas sat around a huge TV on the left side of the room, and on the right sat several desks with computers and phones on them. The middle of the room was wide and spacious, more polished wood floors leading to a series of individual white walls, angled to break up the view of whatever was behind them.



“If you’ll follow me, Master Kyle.”



Edwin led them inside, ignoring the office area, but explaining that the sofa’s were the winnings of a wager between Danny Tripps and Steve Jobs and the wooden coffee table between them was crafted by Harrison Ford as a gift. Kyle didn’t quite know what to say, finding it all very surreal.



He followed the old man through a gap in the walls, seeing a bedroom off to the right, and then it opened up to a large area at the back. Directly in front of him was a very large bed, a four poster draped at the corners with fine linen. To either side of it the white walls curved from the sides to the back, with archways in each.



“To your left is your en-suite bathroom, Master Kyle,” Edwin explained. “Over on the right is your dressing room. Your luggage has been unpacked, although many of the items are being pressed and will be returned within the hour.”



“This is my bedroom?” Kyle asked, looking around. A couple of big armchairs sat to the right with another TV on the wall, while the left side of the room was covered in bookcases.



“This is it, Kyle,” Patricia told him. “My room is just over there,” She added, pointing to the right at the bedroom he’d spotted as they came in.



“This is messed up,” He muttered, feeling really awkward. He’d never been in such luxury in his life, let alone inheriting it. The idea of being an owner of this… paradise was overwhelming.



“Can you give us a minute please, Edwin,” Patricia said quickly. As the old man disappeared, she took Kyle by the elbow and steered him over to the bed and sat him down. “Are you okay?”



He spread his hands, looking around. “This is insane.”



Patricia frowned. “Maybe you should get some sleep, Kyle. You’ll feel better for it.”



Kyle shrugged, knowing he was exhausted but there was just too much going on in his head. “I don’t think I could sleep if I tried.”



“Try,” She said firmly. “What’s your usual sleeping habits?”



“What do you mean?”



“Do you sleep on one side of the bed in particular? Do you wear pyjamas or sleep in the nude? Do you usually read, or watch TV, or just shut your eyes until you drift off?”



“Let’s see. I usually sleep on the right side of the bed, and I don’t wear pyjamas,” He explained.



“You sleep in the nude?”



Kyle blushed a little, but nodded.



Patricia shrugged. “It’s no biggie. Me too. What about before you drift off?”



Kyle grinned sheepishly.



“Okay,” Patricia said immediately. “Probably time we had a frank discussion, actually.”



Kyle sat upright, wondering where this was going.



“I worked for Danny Tripps for a long time. It’s a demanding job, often with eighteen hour days, meetings, office days, social events, vacations, everywhere he went I went.”



“Okay.”



“You can’t work that closely with someone without knowing a lot about them personally,” She continued. “When it came to Mister Tripps I knew almost everything.”



“Like personal stuff?”



“Very personal stuff,” She nodded. “Intimate stuff. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen him naked, or he’s seen me naked. When you pretty much live with someone in hotel rooms, places like this, or you’re getting changed in a limo between a meeting and a social engagement, it kind of makes personal modesty a bit of a nuisance.”



“It kind of sounds a bit… above and beyond the job description,” Kyle said, really not sure where she was going with this. The thought of seeing Patricia naked at some point definitely held a great deal of appeal though.



“Let me give you a hypothetical example,” She said, grinning. “You lie down here and go to sleep, right. I come and wake you up in a few hours and you need to urinate. What does that mean?”



“I need to go to the bathroom,” Kyle shrugged.



She rolled her eyes. “If you’re asleep and you need to urinate, how does your body react?”



“Oh,” Kyle said quickly. “I’d get an… erection.”



“Right,” She nodded. “So I’ve come in to wake you up, you’re lying sleeping on your back with only a sheet covering you and you’ve got a bad case of morning wood.” Patricia grinned. “Do you think I’m not going to notice?”



Kyle laughed. “Okay. So I won’t sleep on my back.”



She shook her head. “The point I’m making is that stuff like this is going to happen. At some point I’ll see things, you’ll see things, and it’s important that you don’t get all bent out of shape about it.”



Kyle just shook his head. Another bizarre conversation amidst a series of bizarre experiences.



“Let me give you another example,” She continued. “From time to time Mister Tripps would entertain… female company. I would sometimes make the arrangements.”



“You mean hookers?” Kyle asked bluntly, frowning.



Patricia laughed and shook her head. “Do you think Mister Tripps ever had to pay someone to sleep with him?”



Kyle thought back to all the times he’d seen him in magazines or on the TV, often with a model or actress or singer on his arm. He was a common recurrence on the top 100 bachelors lists on a frequent basis.



“I guess not,” He replied. “But then some people like that.”



“They do,” Patricia nodded. “If that’s something you’re into then I can arrange that for you too.”



“Hookers?”



She nodded calmly as if it was like ordering a sandwich. “Sure.”



“Not really to my tastes,” Kyle said, shaking his head.



She smiled. “I didn’t think so. That’s good for me. However, if you’re attending film premieres or public events, sometimes it will be good for your profile to have someone on your arm.”



“A girl?”



“Yes, but more specifically a public figure. Actress, musician, model, TV presenter. We tend to steer clear of the reality TV crowd.”



“So you arrange stuff like that?”



“Sure,” Patricia nodded. “Sometimes it’s only for walking the carpet, get a few pictures. Sometimes it’s a real date. Occasionally it’s a hookup.”



“Holy shit. Talk about a different world.”



“That’s one of the million reasons why I’m here, Kyle,” She reminded him. “It’d primarily business but I’m here to help you personally too. There’s lots to learn and I’m here to help. Now, back to the topic at hand. Getting you some sleep.”



“Yeah.”



“I’m gonna be blunt here, Kyle. Sometimes it’s the best way,” She said, looking him in the eye. “Most people masturbate before they go to sleep. I take it you do too?”



Kyle laughed, unable to hide the slight blush that hit his cheeks. “And I thought all this was insane before.”



“You’ll get used to it. Incidentally, if I know this now then it means I won’t be walking in on you midway through.”



“Okay, fair enough. Yeah, I usually do.” His thought flitted to Katie and Kara, the inspiration for many of his late night fantasies. He pushed those thoughts away, knowing that to think of that now was kinda fucked up.



“Okay. I’m more of a shower girl myself,” Patricia added, shrugging. “Fair’s fair, so if you tell me, I’ll tell you.”



“That’s gonna mess with my head,” Kyle said, grinning.



“You’ll get over it,” Patricia chuckled.



“You sure? In the last five minutes you’ve talked about me having erections, told me I’ll see you naked tons of times and told me how you play with yourself. You do realise you’re really hot, right?”



Patricia laughed. “Oh, I know where this conversations headed, and I’m telling you, accept right now that it’s never going to happen, Kyle.”



“What? Me and you?” The idea was tantalising, and maybe it was lack of sleep but Kyle decided to throw caution to the wind. “I think it’s a great idea.”



“It’s never gonna happen, Kyle,” She said, smiling. “It never happened with Mister Tripps, and it’s not going to happen with you either. We won’t have that type of relationship.”



Kyle chuckled. “Well that’s a bit depressing.”



“Let me clarify something. You’ve seen your friends Ed and Casey naked, right?”



Kyle screwed up his face. “Why did you have to put that thought in my head?”



Patricia chuckled. “They’re your friends, right? You sometimes see things with them, but it doesn’t make it a sexual thing. You don’t actively look, but sometimes you see stuff. Sometimes you even joke about it, right?”



“I guess.”



“Well, think of me that way.”



Kyle chuckled. “You know you’re a woman though, and they’re guys, right?”



“As I said, you’ll get used to it. We don’t cross that line though, okay? I can’t do my job if things start getting weird… emotional, know what I mean?”



Kyle saw she was being serious and met her gaze. “I hear what you’re saying,” He said finally. “There’ll be moments, but if we talk about it now, then it won’t be a big deal when it happens and we can just move on, right?”



“Pretty much.”



“You know you’re hot though, right?” Kyle grinned.



“Oh, I know it. I know at some point you’ll get drunk and make a move on me too, and I’ll have to put you to your bed and mock you mercilessly for days about it. I know at some point I might even get a bit smitten with you, but I’ll get over it.” She shrugged. “The gist of this conversation? You can talk to me about anything. I’ll help you out with whatever you want or need, no judgements, but there’s a line. Fair enough?”



Kyle frowned but nodded. “I guess so. This couldn’t have been easy for you to bring up.”



Patricia laughed. “I’ve been planning this conversation in my head for two days.”



“Did it go as planned?”



“Nowhere near it,” She laughed. “But I think we’re pretty clear on where we stand, right?”



“Yeah,” Kyle nodded, actually feeling closer to her now as a result of it.



Patricia grinned. “And you know that it’s not an invite to just walk in on me when I’m showering?”



Kyle chuckled. “Well, the temptation will be there, but I’ll restrain myself.”



“Good,” She said. “Now try and get some sleep. And if you need some female company, just let me know. There’s a very good masseuse who works on the Island, and she’s certainly enthusiastic.”



Kyle’s eyes widened. “You mean?”



“I mean she was about to go into a career in porn because she’s that enthusiastic.”



“You’re kidding?”



“Nope.”



“So that’s why she works on the Island?” Kyle asked, his eyebrows raised.



“Actually not at all,” Patricia replied. “She’s a first class massage therapist and a very good physio too. She just happens to have a very high sex drive and an open attitude about it.”



“Sounds like the perfect girlfriend,” Kyle laughed.



“Maybe in your old life,” Patricia smiled. “Now you’ll have to get someone more in line with your status. Once we get you in shape, of course.”



“Oh yeah. The personal trainer,” Kyle said, deliberately looking glum but kind of relieved to change the subject. He was all too aware that the conversation with Patricia was creating a little tingly feeling, but the thought of her arranging a casual hookup for him with someone who might work for him made him more than a little uncomfortable.



“When you’ve got a rippling six-pack and pecs that women drool over you can thank him.”



Kyle shook his head. “Patricia, you seem pretty sure I’m going to get plenty women. I know that Danny Tripps was pictured with all these different hotties all the time, but I’ve never been successful in chasing girls.”



He stood up, wanting to go outside to have a smoke. Patricia followed.



“Kyle, there’s something you should understand about Mister Tripps,” She said as they walked back through the suite. “I only put this together a few days ago, but in all the time I knew him I never saw him fall in love with anyone. He would date these beautiful women, but only for a few weeks at a time and then he’d withdraw. I don’t think he liked letting people get close to him.”



Kyle sat on a wooden armchair on the balcony and lit up, listening intently to Patricia talk about the man, not the public figure.



“People like Edwin or Mister Crowler became like brothers to him, and in some ways he treated us, me and the other assistants, like his family, but he was always that bit withdrawn, as if there was something he kept inside himself that no-one could touch.”



“Okay.”



“I think he loved his wife so much that after she died, when you and your sisters were born, it kind of broke him. I think he wouldn’t allow himself to feel pain like that again, so he never allowed anyone to get close to him in an intimate way.”



“Sounds like a shit way to live,” Kyle said, meaning it.



“It sounds lonely,” Patricia replied. “The thing is, he acted like he wasn’t. Now I just think it was all a front, but I’m sure inside he was miserable. It would certainly explain why he was a workaholic.”



Kyle sat for a moment thinking about that. “You know, he didn’t need to give me up. Or Katie and Kara. He had the means to take care of us, and I get it. It must be tough to lose your wife, but other people do it and carry on every day.”



“Actually, at the time he didn’t really have the means. He was up to his eyeballs in debt for years, taking on as much as he could manage to grow the business as fast as possible. He was in a real technology race and couldn’t afford to fall behind, so really, he didn’t have the means back then.”



“He could have managed,” Kyle said flatly.



“Maybe,” Patricia allowed. “The truth is we’ll never know. You can find out a lot of information and make educated guesses, but the only person who knew the rationale behind everything was Danny.”



“I suppose,” Kyle shrugged. “Hey, what did you mean earlier when you said someone more my status?”



“Oh, that.” Patricia said, taking a seat. “I mean that you can’t just turn up at a black-tie event with some girl who works in the local Walmart and lives with her parents.”



“Why not? Lots of good people work in Walmart,” Kyle said, frowning.



“Because it’s not what’s expected of you. Because it’s not someone you’ll have much in common with, and because there would be this enormous gulf between you. You wouldn’t be equals, or even in the same social circles.”



“Different can be good though.”



“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking down on people or being elitist when I say this, Kyle,” Patricia explained. “Imagine a year from now what you’d have to talk about. She’s just had a shit day at work because a customers kid peed in one of the aisles and she had to clean it up. You just flew into town from Hong Kong on a private jet, dumped your stuff in a nearby mansion and met with Giorgio Armani for lunch.”



Kyle frowned. “It doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen though.”



“No, it doesn’t,” She agreed. “But it would take a special kind of woman not to be intimidated or out of her league holding her own in a conversation at a dinner with three movie stars and a couple of millionaires while the media dig into her life for the latest exclusive scraps and scandal. No disrespect to the staff at Walmart or anyone else who works their ass off to put food on the table, but there aren’t many people like that around.”



“So what’s my options then?” Kyle asked out of frustration. “It’s not that I’m looking for a girlfriend, by the way. I think my life’s complicated enough right now.”



Patricia chuckled. “Yeah, I hear you. Okay, options. You can date athletes, actresses, musicians, socialites, anyone with the means to retire in their twenties, basically. Oh, and they have to be hot.”



“Why?” Kyle blurted, not that he objected.



“That’s a social profile thing. People will expect you to be confident, on top of your game, so you date beautiful women. It makes you look powerful and it’s good for business.”

“You’re joking,” Kyle said, but from her expression he could see she was serious. “And that’s how I’m meant to live my life?”



“Kyle, is there something wrong with dating someone beautiful, talented and successful?” Patricia asked, an amused smile on her face.



Kyle shook his head, finding this conversation a bit much. “I think I’m getting irritable. I’m going to try and have that sleep now, I think.”



“Good idea,” Patricia nodded. “I’ll wake you in a few hours.”



As Kyle stripped off in the bedroom and slipped under the sheet he thought about what had happened since he got out of bed over twenty four hours ago. Adoption, inheritance, the cruel twist of fate when it came to his siblings, Patricia, where he was and what was else was happening to him. It was like watching a movie, he realised. A series of insane events happening to someone else.



His thoughts drifted back to Patricia. Kyle knew she was hot, and she knew he thought so. He wondered what the hell that conversation was about, telling him she frigged herself in the shower. How the hell was he meant to sleep after that.



“Kyle.”



“I’m awake,” He blurted, feeling Patricia shaking his shoulder. “Hello.”



“Have a good nap?”



“Uh.. What?”



Kyle looked around, blinking the sleep from his eyes as he tried to focus. He remembered where he was instantly, exactly where he was, what had happened and what was about to, but he felt like he’d only just nodded off.



“What time is it?”



“It’s one. You’ve slept for nearly six hours.”



“Oh, balls,” He muttered. “What time are they arriving?”



“You’ve got a couple of hours,” Patricia grinned.



Kyle was lying in the middle of the bed on his side and Patricia was sitting on the edge.



“I figured it’s time you woke up, had some lunch and then met with a few people before your sisters arrive, so you need to get up and get in the shower, Kyle.”



He rubbed at his eyes and yawned. “Okay.”



“I’ve already turned the shower on for you so you can walk right in. Towels are on the rail.” Patricia got up and walked away from the bed, her back to him. “Move it, sleepyhead.”



Kyle looked in the doorway to the bathroom, the soft light in the oval white room coming from the floor. “Patricia, is the lighting in the bathroom from the floor, or are my eyes screwed up?”



“Clever, isn’t it?” She replied. “The white walls reflect the light to give you an even soft light. No harsh lights or shadows in your face.”



“It’s weird,” Kyle grunted. “I’m getting up now.”



“Finally,” She chuckled.



Kyle slipped out the bed, all too aware he was naked and Patricia was only six feet away, her back turned. He shook his head and walked into the bathroom, idly noting that there was no door, just an arched gap in the wall. The glass shower cubicle looked roomy and Kyle stepped inside and closed the door. As soon as it closed he blinked as the walls turned from clear to an opaque white.



The water wasn’t like a normal shower, but came from a series of heads and vents, more like a steam clean than a blast of hot water, but it enveloped him in a foggy cloud of warm moisture that both cleaned and refreshed him at the same time.



“You in the shower now?”



“Yeah, the glass stopped being clear,” Kyle called back. “Kinda freaky.” He heard her heels click on the floor as she entered the bathroom.



“So here’s what’s happening,” Patricia said.



“You’re in here while I’m showering?” Kyle said, chuckling. He grabbed a bottle of shower gel and sniffed at it.



“You can’t see me, I can’t see you,” Patricia pointed out. “It saves me shouting from outside the room.”



Kyle smiled and shook his head at the strangeness of it all. He squeezed out a dollop of gel and began to soap up.



“When you get out the shower we’ll have some lunch, and then Margaret will join us. Try not to get crabby with her.”



“Is she that annoying?” Kyle asked, soaping his chest and stomach.



“Sometimes, but keep that to yourself,” Patricia replied. “Then we’re off down to see Julian, the personal trainer. He’ll start putting a program together for you. After that we see the Doc, then back here to get changed.”



“How many times a day do I need to get changed?” Kyle asked. “I seem to be going through a weeks worth of clothes in the last twenty four hours alone.”



“You got something against looking good?” Patricia laughed.



Kyle didn’t reply. It was a bit weird soaping his balls up while he talked to her. He paused as he realised he could be standing here jerking off while she sat a few feet away and she’d be none the wiser. His cock gave a slight lurch in response to the idea, but he shook his head and moved on.



“So after I get changed? What then?”



“You go to meet your sisters, Kyle.”



“Fuck,” he muttered.



“Nervous?”



“Terrified,” He admitted. “Looking forward to it, but also shit scared, if you know what I mean?”



“Yeah, I do,” Patricia replied. “You done in there yet?”



“Just about.” Kyle began to rinse off all the gel, feeling a lot more awake than he was before.



“Cool. I’ll step out so you can get dried. There’s some shorts and a top on the bed for you.”



“You’re picking out my clothes for me too?” He laughed.



“Just keeping you moving,” Patricia called from outside the bathroom.



Kyle cracked the door open on the shower cubicle, blinking again as the white glass suddenly turned clear, but he could see Patricia wasn’t in the room anymore, so he grabbed a towel and dried off.



Wrapping it around his waist he stepped into the bedroom, spotting a baggy pair of dark blue shorts and a dark green sleeveless t-shirt on the bed. He got dressed quickly and walked around the suite, looking for Patricia.



He found her sitting on the balcony, a low table in front of her with half a dozen different plates of food on it.



“The chef wasn’t sure what you’d like for lunch, so he made you up a few platters with different stuff,” She explained.



Kyle sat down and looked at the dishes. “Wow.”



Patricia smiled. “Yeah, Chef’s fantastic.”



Kyle could see four or five different types of fish, lobster and prawns. There was chicken, steak, a pate of some sort on crumbly biscuits, different breads, vegetables and fruit, as well as several sauces, dips and garnishes.



“There’s enough here for ten people,” Kyle noted, grabbing a prawn. “Oh my god, that’s delicious.”



“I’m allergic to prawns or I would try it myself,” Patricia replied, putting a piece of seared tuna and some salad on a plate. She drizzled a dressing over it, then leaned back with a fork to eat.



Kyle knew it was uncultured, poor etiquette and not a particularly good display of manners, but he simply pulled his chair closer to the table and got stuck in with his fork.



After a few minutes picking at different dishes Patricia reminded him not to overdo it as he was getting fitted for a suit and meeting with the trainer, so Kyle made a sad face and put his fork down. Any punchlines he could have made were stopped by the arrival of Margaret, a heavy older woman with a stern expression.



“You would be Kyle,” She said, looking him up and down like a piece of meat that had gone mouldy. “Hmmm.”



“You must be Margaret,” He guessed.



“Who else would I be?” She asked, looking at him as if he was dumb. “Stand up.”



Kyle looked at Patricia who had a slightly amused look on her face, obviously having dealt with Margaret before. He stood and moved away from the chair.



“Arms up. Feet apart.” Kyle did as she ordered.



“Hmmm. You need to get him in shape, Patricia,” Margaret stated, scowling.



“We’re seeing Julian right after you.”



“Can’t happen soon enough,” She muttered. Margaret produced a measuring tape from her pocket and began to poke and prod at Kyle, occasionally taking measurements and sighing in exasperation when he didn’t lift his arms or turn around quick enough.



“Make sure Julian recommends injections, Patricia.”



“Injections?” Kyle asked. “What do I need injections for?”



Margaret looked him straight in the eye. “Because you’re in a pitiful condition and my work will be impossible unless every possible step is taken. Just do as you’re told.”



“Excuse me!” Kyle blurted. “I don’t like your tone, Margaret.”



“I imagine there’s lots of things in life you don’t like,” The old woman replied. “Now, can you stop talking so I can get finished up and do my job?”



“Jesus fucking Christ,” Kyle muttererd.



“Margaret,” Patricia said, standing at her shoulder now. “I think you’re done. Kyle has another appointment now.”



“Two more measurements,” She replied, ignoring Patricia’s words. “I’ll tell you when I’m done.”



At that she dropped to her knees and Kyle felt a hand at his groin, probing and searching for his genitals. He stepped back quickly.



“What the fuck are you doing?”



Margaret looked up at him. “Have you never been fitted for trousers before, young man? I need to know what side you dress to and how much room I need to allow. Now stand still.”



Kyle looked at Patricia who was trying not to laugh. “This isn’t funny,” He muttered as he stood there, trying not to think about the annoying woman cupping his balls.



“Hmmm. You dress to the right then?”



“Yeah,” Kyle grunted.



“You should have just said so,” Margaret replied, sighing as she measured his inside leg.



“You didn’t give me the chance.”



“Whatever,” Margaret said, getting to her feet. “I’m done. I’ll be back tomorrow for a fitting. I’ll need forty minutes.”



“I’ll let you know,” Patricia replied. “Margaret, can you go and select an outfit for Kyle to wear when he meets his sisters please.”



The old woman sniffed, then cast her eyes up and down Kyle again. “Very well.”



As soon as she left Kyle lit a cigarette. “I see why her reputation proceeds her.”



Patricia chuckled. “Wait until you see the suit she’ll put together for you though.”



Kyle put on the mock sad face. “Still, I feel violated.”



“You’ll get over it,” Patricia said. “Come on. We need to go see Julian now.”



Julian turned out to be much nicer than Margaret. Inanely cheerful and almost overdosing on enthusiasm, he bounced around full of energy and Kyle found it uplifting talking with him. He’d been working on the Island for three years now, having had a chunk shot out his buttock during military service in Afghanistan. While the Army had patched him up, he was left with a decidedly odd-looking ass, so when he was raising money for surgery to fix it, he came to the attention of Danny Tripps.



“Mister Tripps paid for the surgery, then my qualifications as a trainer, and then he hired me to work here with the staff. I’ve been here for nearly three years now. Man, it’s an awesome place to be.”



“It seems it,” Kyle had agreed.



After Julian had a look at him, he had pulled out a rapid tone-up plan that would require Kyle to have three workouts per day, a special diet and he finally found out about the injections.



The first was a booster to his metabolism, enabling a rapid burn-off of his body fat. The second was a little more unusual. One of the pharmaceutical research companies owned by Danny Tripps had come up with a muscle-repair serum that enabled torn or injured muscles to repair themselves at a rapidly accelerated rate. It was designed with injured troops in mind, allowing those with minor injuries to return to the front line much quicker, and those with major injuries to repair and heal faster too. Part of it’s design also assisted the extraction of protein from his diet, which helped to build more muscle. It was classified and not publicly available, being restricted to the military for the time being, but it had also been tested with a number of body builders and the results were phenomenal. Kyle was concerned that it was some form of anabilic steroid but he was assured by Julian that it was ‘all cool’.



Then they were off to meet the Islands resident physician, Doctor Kerr. The doctor was in her late thirties, with short and tidy red hair, but her cheeks were flushed, as if she was having trouble with the heat.



While she gave Kyle a physical examination, he asked her about the injections that Julian had recommended. To his surprise she seemed perfectly fine with it, as long as he agreed that they lasted no more than two weeks. She also informed him that he needed a Tetanis booster, and he should probably have a contraceptive injection.



“A what?” Kyle asked.



“It’s a hormonal contraceptive injection for men,” She had shrugged. “Short term, only lasts for a month or so and then things are back to normal a few weeks later, but it stops the production of sperm. Given the injections you’re already getting, the enhanced endorphins from the exercise and a sudden boost in confidence that you’re likely to receive, it’s almost certain that your libido will sky-rocket.”



“My libido?” Kyle asked. “Right now it’s at absolute zero.”



“Oh well. That’ll change.”



“You seem really sure of that, Doc,” Kyle pointed out.



“Kyle, I’m very good at my job. Everyone here on the Island is,” She explained. “I’m recommending you have this injection, because it’s the smart thing to do, and it certainly won’t do any harm. Now, are you planning on having any babies in the next eight weeks?”



“What? No.”



“Then what’s the big deal. Take the injection.” She shrugged and disappeared into a side room.



“Fucking hell,” Kyle muttered, realising that no matter what had happened in the last thirtysix hours, things just kept getting crazier. “Patricia!” He shouted.



The door opened. “Yeah?”



“The Doc’s saying I should have a contraceptive injection.”



“Go for it,” Patricia said, shrugging as if it was a no-brainer. “What’s the problem?”



“I’m….”



“Kyle, women have been taking the pill for years. Now they get injections, or these new implant things too. If you ask me, it’s about time men took their turn.” At that she grinned and closed the door.



Doctor Kerr re-appeared, a small tray with four needles on it. “Yes or no, Kyle?”



He closed his eyes, sighed and reminded himself it was only temporary. “Okay.”



“Drop your shorts and turn around,” The doctor told him, taking a seat on a chair beside him.



With a slight flush, Kyle did as requested and felt her rubbing at his buttock with an antiseptic wipe.



“You should feel a small prick,” Doctor Kerr warned him. “Probably not something a lot of guys want to hear when it comes to something going in their ass, is it?”



Kyle chuckled, then flinched as she chose that moment to stick the needle in him. “Sneaky, doc.”



“Only for the first one.”.



Kyle felt the process repeated on his other buttock a moment later, although this time he felt heat in the muscle as the fluid entered his system.



“Right, turn around.”



“With my shorts still down?” He confirmed, feeling a little uncomfortable at having his genitals right in her face.



“Yep.”



Kyle took a breath and turned around, carefully examining the wall on the other side of the room in detail. He felt her pinch the skin a couple of inches below his belly button.



“Try and stay still, Kyle,” she said as she slid the needle in.



Kyle frowned, really feeling that one. It seemed like it was in for ages and felt really uncomfortable. As soon as it was withdrawn he tensed his stomach muscles up, tilting his pelvis to try and relieve the discomfort. As he looked down he saw Doctor Kerr chuckle.



“Trying to make the little man dance?” She asked, teasing him.



“I swear, you’re the strangest doctor I’ve ever met,” Kyle replied, trying to make a joke, despite the discomfort and the awkwardness.



“I have my moments,” She replied, lifting the last needle from the tray. “You know where this one goes, right?”



“No idea,” Kyle shrugged, then realised what it must be. “Oh, Jesus.”



“Just relax. Would you prefer to lie down?”



Kyle just wanted it over and done with. “No, as long as I don’t have to look.”



“There’s an eyechart on the wall behind me for that very purpose.”



Kyle looked at it, concentrating on reading the letters to himself. He tensed as the Doctor touched his penis, gripping it between finger and thumb and he felt her pull it upwards.



“Try to push your testicles towards me, Kyle,” The Doctor said, sounding all business.



He tilted his hips again, feeling utterly exposed, but reminding himself it must be nothing in comparison to getting a smear or giving birth. “Man up, Kyle,” he muttered, then it was all he could do not to move at all as he felt the needle slide in just below the base of his penis.



It tingled like crazy when the injection went in, like being tickled on the inside of your balls by feathers and he tried hard not to squirm. It was like instant relief when the needle came out and he could move around, and without conscious thought he turned and scratched furiously at his genitals, trying to relieve the tingle.



“I swear, every guy does that the instant the injections done,” The doctor said, sounding like she was about to burst out laughing. “Now, you’ll want to masturbate a couple of times in the next twelve hours to empty the good sperm out your testicles and then that’ll be you sorted.”



“Thanks, I think.”



“No problem,” She shrugged. “You can get dressed now, Kyle.”



“Oh, shit. Yeah, of course.” He grabbed his shorts and pulled them back up, sorting his top back into place. “Is that us done then, Doctor?”



“Yeah. I’ll want to see you again in a couple of days to check how the program is going. If you have any trouble sleeping or are feeling particularly stressed, come and see me anytime. I can give you medication to help, or just a confidential ear if that’s all you need.”



“Thanks, Doc,” Kyle said, shaking her hand.



“How did it go?” Patricia asked as they walked out the clinic.



“Um… interesting injection for the male contraceptive,” Kyle replied carefully.



“Where about did it go in?”



“Under my err… penis,” Kyle said flatly. “Felt really fucking weird.”



“Oh. Ouch.” Kyle could see the sympathy on her face.



“Oh, and apparently I’ve to masturbate a couple of times in the next twelve hours to get rid of my good sperm.” Kyle shook his head at the insanity of the personal information he was telling Patricia, a relative stranger.



Patricia chuckled. “On doctors orders too? They should give you a note for that.”



Kyle laughed. “Or at least a special lubricant or something.”



“You can always go back and ask for one,” She suggested.



“And risk getting another needle stuck in me? No, I’ll pass on that one, thanks.”



It only took a few minutes to walk from the clinic to the salon, so Kyle had a cigarette while they followed the path. It was the first time he’d been to the east side of the Island and he loved the flowers and bushes between the palm trees, the mixture of fragrances and fresh air being so much better than the city he was used to.



As they walked Patricia pointed out various paths leading to the helipad, the recording studios, guest and staff accommodation and the main security office. The time passed quickly and all too soon they were entering the salon.



There were three stylists who worked in bright open space. The Senior Stylist was a short japanese man with a bright purple mohawk. Both his arms were covered in tattoos, and Patricia introduced him as Shiro. Working with him was Betty, a short petite blonde who seemed to have trouble meeting his gaze and Alex, a tall bald man with a razor-thin goatee.



The three of them set to work, with Shiro taking position behind Kyle in the chair, doling out orders and cutting his hair with rapid movements. Kyle thought it was like watching the team dealing with a trauma on ER. Shiro kept asking for things Kyle had never heard of and everyone moved very quickly.



While the team got on with his hair, Patricia moved into view.



“Want me to run through the schedule for the rest of the day, Kyle?”

“Sure.”



“Well, after this we go back to the suite. You get changed and we go to the dock to meet Katie and Kara.”



Kyle swallowed nervously, feeling the nerves rise again in his stomach suddenly.



Patricia leaned forward and looked him in the eye. “It’ll be fine. Now, immediately after they get off the boat, the three of you are meeting with Mister Crowler to have the will read to you. That’s probably going to take a while by the time he runs through it all with you.”



“Okay. Not looking forward to that, but okay.”



“After that it’s dinner, a few drinks, time for you guys to chat and get to know each other. I’ll be around too if you have any questions, or if you just need to talk.”



“Thanks,” Kyle replied. He would have nodded, but Shiro was doing something around his ear with a very sharp pair of scissors. “That’s it for the night?”



“Yeah, but you should remember you have an early start tomorrow with Julian.” Patricia grinned at him as his face fell. “Six o’clock sharp.”



“Oh, balls.” Kyle rolled his eyes. “Well, I’ll give it a go, see how I get on, but if that guys a sadist then I’m out of there.”



“Don’t worry, Julian’s cool.” Patricia flipped open her phone, tapping away at it to get whatever information she was after. “Let’s see. After that you’ve got breakfast with your sisters, then a business briefing for two hours, then a meeting with a Security Consultant.”



“Ah, crazy Mister Connor?” Shiro said suddenly, breaking into a broad grin.



“Yeah,” Patricia nodded, then looked back at Kyle. “Connor Grant is a Close Protection specialist, runs his own bodyguard team and he’s a guest on the island just now while he recovers from injuries.”



“What kind of injuries?”



“Gunshot wound to the right leg. Did you hear about Sir Richard Branson’s Island? Had a big fire on it a while back?”



Kyle frowned, remembering seeing headlines about it on the net. “Something about Kate Winslet rescuing his mom?”



“That’s it,” Patricia nodded. “Well, Connor is a friend of Kate’s. He’s done some work for her in the past and is tight with her family, so he was out there on vacation with them, as guests of Richard Branson.”



“And there was a fire?”



“There was an attempted kidnapping.”



“Holy shit,” Kyle muttered. “So the fire was just a story then?”



Patricia rolled her eyes. “Stop jumping ahead of the story, Kyle. This team of criminals got on the island in the middle of the night, set off some alarms, and Richard Branson escaped on this mini-scuba submarine thing he’s got.”



“That’s good.”



“Well, not really,” Patricia frowned. “He left everyone else to the criminals, including his mother, Kate Winslet and her kids and twenty three other people. Including Connor Grant.”



“So he took them out?”



She nodded. “Not without cost though. He had to set fire to the main building as a diversion, and when he was taking the kidnappers out, he got badly beaten and took a bullet to the leg in the process, but he did it.”



“Wow. Sounds like Rambo or something.”



“I know. So Branson comes back at lunchtime the next day from where he’s been hiding in a cave, and by that time there’s Police and extra Security all over the place. His media people have already put the story out about a lightning strike causing a fire, and this whole thing about Kate Winslet rescuing Bransons mother.”



“So why is Connor Grant here instead of on Bransons Island recovering?” Kyle asked. “Did they fall out?”



“Yeah. Branson made this big song and dance in front of all his staff about how Connor was a hero and he would be getting all his medical bills picked up, as well as a large bonus for protecting his family. Connor called him a cowardly bitch in front of everyone and told him he’d rather shove wasps up his own ass than accept a penny from a piece of shit like him.”



“He really said that?”



“Yeah. That’s from three different people who were there,” Patricia said firmly. “Of course, as soon as Mister Tripps heard about it, he had Connor whipped off to the best medical staff, then brought him here to recover. Mister Tripps even flew in Connors mother and nephew for a couple of weeks too.”



“Can I ask,” Kyle said, hesitating for a minute. “Surely Richard Branson escaping was a good thing, right? I mean, if he wasn’t there, then the kidnappers wouldn’t have their target. Isn’t that what he was supposed to do?”



“That wasn’t the problem,” Patricia grinned. “When the alarms tripped, Branson ran so fast for the sub that he took the keys for the safe room with him, and knocked his own mother off the pier and into the water in his haste to escape.”



“Man, that’s low,” Kyle muttered. “He knew he did it?”



“Oh, yes.”



“Wow. No wonder Connor was pissed. I bet Branson’s mother was too.”



“I believe she actually hit him with her handbag,” Patricia chuckled.



“That’s awesome,” Kyle said, smiling. “Hey, Shiro. How come you called him crazy Mister Connor?”



“Mister Connor is a bit….” The hairdresser began, but Patricia cut him off.



“When he’s working, the guy’s a legend. Seriously, he’s < />that good.”



“But?”



“But when he’s off duty…. think Hank Moody in Californication,” Patricia explained. “Drinking, womanising, getting into trouble. Eliza Dushku described him as having the morals of a horny dog.”



Kyle started laughing. “Sounds like they’ve got history.”



“Yeah, I’ve heard stories, but nothing concrete.”



“He sounds like quite a guy.”



“Kyle, if you start to act like him, I’m quitting,” Patricia told him, a smile on her face. “However, as I said, when he’s working he’s first class. So tomorrow he’s going to help you guys pick out your personal security team leaders.”



“Oh. Cool.”



“Maybe. Just don’t take him in the bar, okay?”



“I won’t,” Kyle agreed.



“So after that there’s another workout, lunch and a full afternoon of business briefings. Then your third workout of the day, dinner and bed.”



“Oh, Master Kyle,” Shiro grinned. “Your legs are gonna be wobbly like jelly.”



“But my hair will look good, right?” Kyle smiled.



“Not good. Awesome.”



“Awesome works for me.”



It took another ten minutes before he left the salon, and Kyle had to admit, his hair looked awesome. They’d left the stubble on his face but trimmed it to a uniform length, and while he thought it sounded a bit George Michael, it didn’t look it.



Patricia hustled him up to his suite and bluntly ordered him to get dressed. Margaret had laid out a pair of heavily faded black jeans by Armani with a belt already laced through them, a pair of black leather boots and a loose black shirt with a sheet of paper in the pocket. “Roll the sleeves, don’t fold them. Leave the top three buttons undone,” He read. A pair of sunglasses lay to the side of them on the bed.



He got changed as fast as he could and met Patricia back on the balcony.



“Have I got time for a smoke?” He asked, his stomach rolling like a rowing boat in a hurricane with nerves.



She frowned and checked her watch. “Have one as we walk down. You’ll smell like smoke though.”



“It’s either that or I need half a bottle of tequila and a sedative to calm my nerves.” Kyle muttered.



The closer they got to the pier the more nervous Kyle got. It didn’t matter that he’d met both Katie and Kara before. If anything, that made it worse. He didn’t know if Kara would recognise him at all, or if she did, would she have him chalked up as one of a thousand perverted losers who’d paid to see her naked. Worse, he might be remembered as that creep who jizzed in his pants.



As for Katie, Kyle knew that she’d remember him. That night they’d spent together was burned in his memory, and he knew how she felt about it at the time too. They’d made love in the dark, then again when they woke in the morning, not a word exchanged. They’d showered together, then lay holding each other until they couldn’t avoid getting up. Even then, he’d accompanied her all the way to the airport, shared a really tender goodbye kiss with her, and then kicked himself for months that he hadn’t got her contact details, or just up and moved to New York to find her.



What would her reaction be now? He was sure she’d recognise him in the photo that Mister Crowler would show her, and he only hoped that his message had got through to her. To both of them, if Kara remembered him at all.



“Kyle,” Patricia said, stopping just before they got to the beach. He stopped walking and she steered him to one side of the path. “Take a deep breath, relax. Both of them are probably going to be as terrified as you are, so now would be a good time to step up, be confident and show them around. Show them that you’re a nice guy.”



Kyle looked around and admitted his worst fears, knowing Patricia already knew the worst of it. “What if they’re disgusted with me, Patricia? What if they think I’m some sleazy scumbag pervert weirdo?”



“The only thing you can do right now is show them who you are, Kyle. That’s all that’s expected of you, and once you get the chance to chat with each of them alone, I bet you’ll find that they’re as scared as you are. Plus, you had to come to this place on your own. At least they’re doing it together, with Mister Crowler accompanying them and their own assistants too.”



Kyle rubbed at the stubble on his chin. “Fuck my life.”



“You’ll be fine,” Patricia said firmly. “Come on. We need to get out on the pier. I can see the boat coming in.”



“It’s here already?” Kyle blurted. “Fuck.”



They hustled down to the beach to meet Edwin and the three of them walked towards the end of the pier. Kyle could see the Betsy coasting towards them, slowing as it approached the end of the wooden walkway.



His palms were sweating and he could feel his heart beating fast in his chest as the boat got within a few feet of the pier and one of Captain Wales’ crew hopped up and tied the boat to one of the posts.



“Fuck fuck fuck,” Kyle whispered, knowing the moment was fast approaching.



“Hey,” Patricia whispered. “Take a breath and stop looking so grim. Just relax.”



Kyle took a deep breath and tried to get a grip, but he saw his hands were shaking. “Fuckety fuck fuck.”



Patricia moved a little closer until she was standing directly beside him. As Kyle watched the crew setup the gangplank between the boat and the pier, she whispered, “Maybe I should just push you in the water. What do you think?”



Kyle looked at her and saw the smile twitching at the corners of his mouth and despite his nerves, he smiled.



“That’s a little better. Now you don’t look like you’ve just discovered you’re in bed with an angry Lorena Bobbitt.”



“The penis chopper woman?” He muttered, shaking his head.



“That’s her,” Patricia nodded. “Striking fear into mens pants the world over. At least you know she’s not your sister.”



“That’s not even funny,” Kyle whispered, knowing that he couldn’t help but chuckle. As Captain Wales stepped out the cabin onto the rear deck, Kyle realised that Patricia’s jokes had settled his nerves a bit and he made a mental note to thank her later.



It was too late to think about anything else as a woman appeared on the rear deck and shook hands with the Captain. Kyle recognised the long, dark curly hair, the taught physique that couldn’t be hidden by the calf-length olive shorts or the loose white blouse.



As she turned to walk up the gangplank to the pier, Kyle knew she was looking at him, knew that on the other side of the huge sunglasses that completely covered her eyes that those eyes were looking at him.



He swallowed and took a step forward to take her hand as she stepped clear of the gangplank.



“Hi,” He managed to croak, his mouth dryer than a drought in death valley.



“You must be Kyle,” Kara said, shaking his hand.



He recognised her voice immediately, that slight huskiness bringing back memories of her talking to him in the strip club.



“Pleased to finally meet you,” He mumbled. Then remembering Patricia’s earlier advice to just be himself, he added, “Sorry. I’m really nervous.”



“Oh, you’re not the only one,” She smiled, and Kyle felt himself relax a little.



“That’s good to know.” Kyle turned a little and gestured towards Edwin. “This is Edwin, the Island Manager.”



Kara moved clear of the gangplank to shake hands with Edwin and Kyle felt his stomach tighten again suddenly.



Katie.



She was standing at the boat end of the gangplank looking directly at him, searching with her eyes, seeking assurance it was really him, he knew. He did the same, an unconscious gesture, his eyes taking in her dark hair framing her face, her figure that closely resemlbed her sister but seemed somehow more voluptous, more natural. Kyle watched as she gently bit her lip, then stepped forward.



“You must be…” Kyle began.



“Call me Katie,” She said, cutting him off with a friendly smile. She reached the gangplank and as he offered a handshake, she bypassed it and he felt her body close with his.



Kyle was startled and froze, not sure exactly what to do. Katie gave him a kiss on the cheek and he felt her squeeze him, so somewhat awkwardly he gave her a quick hug.



“Sorry to startle you,” She said stepping back. “I just thought if I’m meeting my brother for the first time, I should give him a hug.” She made definite eye contact with him for those two important words, letting him know she’d got his message from the lawyer, and it had been understood.



Kyle let out a breath and nodded. “Nice to finally meet you,” He said, stepping back. He knew as soon as he did it that it was a bad move. He felt the tip of his toe brush the edge of the wooden walkway, and as his arms flailed to reach the nearby wooden post he knew he’d failed on an epic level.



Kyle fell into the water.



“I still can’t believe I just did that,” Kyle said as he showered the salt water off his body in his en-suite. “What a fucking moron.”



He heard Patricia chuckle from her seat on the edge of the bath. “Hey, it could have been worse.”



“How?”



There was a pause. “Good point.”



“Cheers,” He grunted.



“Oh, I know,” She said quickly. “You could have dragged Katie in with you. Or you could have fainted and broke your nose. Those would have been worse.”



Kyle paused. “Yeah, okay. I’ll give you them. Either of them would have been worse.”



“Plus, it’s kinda like making a dramatic entrance. The proverbial big splash.” He heard her chuckle again.



“How long you been saving that one up?”



“Since before Captain Wales pulled you back onto the pier.”



Kyle finished rinsing the gel off him and turned the shower off. “I’m done.”



“Alright. I’m gonna go grab you some clothes.”



Kyle heard her move out the bathroom and opened the door, still surprised at how the white glass turned clear as he opened the door. He grabbed a towel, dried himself off and then wrapped it around his waist and walked through to the bedroom.



Patricia had thrown a pair of faded blue jeans on the bed and a pair of Converse All-Stars with a pair of socks sticking out the top.



Kyle grabbed the denims and turned his back to the dressing room. He got his left leg into them when the towel fell off and as he hurried to put the right leg in and pull them up, Patricia appeared from the doorway.



Kyle knew she’d just seen his ass as he hopped upright, yanking the jeans up to cover himself. He glanced over his shoulder, seeing her amused expression.



“Sorry.”



“Don’t worry about it,” She smirked, and turned back into the dressing room. “You need to get some sun on that.”



Kyle chuckled. “You talking about my ass?”



“Yeah,” She called back. “Don’t tell the boss though. I dont’ want to get fired for harassment.”



“I think that only happens if I talk about your ass, doesn’t it?”



“Don’t know what to tell you, Kyle,” Patricia called back. “I guess we’re a long way from sexual equality in the workplace. Someone should look into that.”



Kyle smiled as he sat on the bed to pull on his socks and sneakers. He’d been really enjoying the conversations recently with Patricia. He didn’t know if it was just him, or if they had a bit of a flirty thing going on. Maybe it was her frank honesty, but Kyle felt drawn to her, as if she was a friend he’d known for a long time.



With a frown he realised she was the only thing he had on the Island that was even close to a friend. He didn’t know what Katie was and he was all too aware that he’d felt like a lovestruck teenager when he saw her on the boat. As for Kara, he had no idea if she’d recognised him or not. Whatever the case he knew he’d need to tell her.



His good mood now gone, he fastened on his sneakers and stood up. “Patricia. Have you got a top for me?”



“I can’t decide,” She called. “Come in and help me choose.”



Kyle sighed and walked into the dressing room, seeing her flicking through the racks of tops and shirts that hung neatly on two rails. She turned and looked him up and down, then pulled at a lemon coloured polo shirt.



“No,” Kyle said, immediately shaking his head.



“The only thing I’ve got that goes with those jeans is this mental bermuda shirt,” She said, frowning. “I’m quite surprised that Margaret put it on the list.”



“She didn’t. I kinda bought it on impulse.”



Patricia chuckled. “Well you’re gonna have to take the jeans off and change them, Kyle.”



“Just give me something black. It’ll be fine.”



“Hey, you’re not the one who’s going to have to put up with an apoplectic Margaret,” Patricia muttered as she pulled out a dark pair of loose linen trousers and a black v-necked top. “Come on, Kyle. Get your jeans off so we can get out of here. Everyone’s waiting for us.”



“Right here?”



“I’m not gonna look, so stop being a baby,” Patricia replied.



Kyle stared at her for a second but she was busy browsing through the tops again. He shrugged and bent down to unlace the sneakers, then stepped forward to grab the linen trousers.



Patricia held them out to the side, and as he took them he saw her eyes flicker down to the side, as if trying to catch a glimpse.



He frowned as he replayed it in his head, wondering if it had just been an involuntary movement, a sensing motion kind of thing, or if she’d deliberately tried to sneak a glance at his cock.



“For fucks sake, Kyle. Just get changed,” He told himself.



With his eyes fixed on her, he pulled the denims off and slipped the linen trousers on. It felt a little odd to see her standing there, only a few feet away while he had his junk out.



“Maybe I’m just imagining it.”



“Got the pants on yet?”



“Yeah,” Kyle replied, lacing up his Cons again. Patricia turned and brought him the v-neck top and he slipped it on and shrugged it into place.



“You’ll do,” She told him. “Let’s go.”



“Where are we meeting?”



“Downstairs in one of the business suites.”



“Wait, I need to dry my hair,” Kyle said quickly.



“Leave it,” Patricia replied quickly. “They’ll think you’ve been rushing and haven’t waited to dry it.”



“That’s kinda true.”



“Except for the wardrobe uncertainty,” Patricia agreed. “You’ll want to gloss right over that part.”



Kyle followed her downstairs and around the side of the pool, turning left to head into one of the business suites where he could see Mister Crowler sitting behind a desk. On the other side of it sat three large leather chesterfield armchairs, Katie in the one on the left, Kara on the right.



He took a deep breath, feeling the tension of what was to come. He knew inside that room he would find out what his future would be like, what his responsibilities were and what Danny Tripps, the man who had gave him up for adoption would have to say to him and his sisters.



“Good luck, Kyle,” Patricia said quietly. “I’ll see you when you get out.”



He entered the room and closed the door.



“It’s a lot to take in,” Patricia said gently.



Kyle was sat on his balcony, chain-smoking and watching a spectacular sunset that he just couldn’t appreciate. The afternoon had been too draining.

The meeting had lasted nearly three hours. Mister Crowler had read them Danny Tripps’ last will and testament, a lengthy document that had taken up forty one pages in total and then he’d gone through each item on each page, answering questions from the three stunned siblings.



“Do you want to read it?” Kyle asked, nodding towards his copy of the will in its binder on the table.



She shook her head. “I helped write it. I can tell you it’s had one hundred and fourteen revisions that I know about.”



“Fuck me,” Kyle muttered. He knew about document control and records management from his work, but a document with a hundred and fourteen revisions belonged in Government.



“It’s a lot of information.”



“It’s a lot of fucking money,” Kyle blurted. He lit another cigarette.



“What is it that’s bothering you about it, Kyle?” Patricia asked after a moment. “Most people would be delighted that they’re suddenly rich.”



“It’s not the money,” Kyle said immediately. “It’s the weight of responsibility. And he just fucking dumped it on us, having never said a word to any of us in twenty three years. He’s got no clue if we’re up to the job and he’s made us responsible for the livelihood of thousands, tens of thousands of people all over the world.”



“He wouldn’t have done it if he wasn’t sure, Kyle.”



“How could he be sure though? He’s got no way of knowing, no knowledge of us beyond what he’s read about us in reports from other people. He doesn’t know us.”



Kyle looked at the blue binder on the table, seeing the big letter T embossed on the front. He wanted nothing more in that moment than to throw it over the pool and into the sea, then pretend it was all some horrible mistake.



“So now me and Katie and Kara have been landed with this massive burden of responsibility that we can’t walk away from, and our lives are no longer our own,” He continued. “I mean, think about it. I’d have been lost without you here, and I can’t imagine what it’ll be like in a few weeks or months time without your help either. I can see clearly why I’ll need security around me, why I’ll need people to cook and clean for me, and I get all that. I understand it. But my life’s not my own anymore either. I can’t date who I want, I can’t finish work and then decide to just go to the cinema with my friends. Or go get hammered and phone in sick. I can’t go home and close my door or drop in on my mom and dad for a chat. My time’s no longer going to be my own.”



He slumped down in the wooden chair and put his feet up on the table.



“It’s like prison for the uber-rich. You can have anything you want except free will, and there’s no escape. That’s what’s bothering me about it,” He concluded.



“Just give it a bit of time, okay,” Patricia said gently. “Give your head a bit of time to wrap itself around the enormity of everything that’s happened. It’s not as bad as it seems, believe me.”



Kyle shrugged. “We’ll see.”



“Am I interrupting?”



Kyle turned in his seat, recognising the voice. “Hi, Katie.”



“Hi Katie, I’m Patricia.” Patricia moved forward and shook hands with Kyle’s sister. “I’m Kyle’s assistant.”



“Like Heidi is for me?” She asked, smiling.



“Yes, exactly like that,” Patricia said, giving her a warm smile. “Or like Garius is for Kara.”



“Garius? He’s…. Um….” Katie’s voice trailed off.



Kyle remembered the strange looking black man he’d seen walking down the pier behind Kara. There was something about him that reminded him of Mister Potato Head in spandex. Kyle remembered a few of Ed’s favourite put downs, and the one about Forest Whitaker and Ugly Betty having a lovechild who didn’t so much fall out the ugly tree as smash it to bits on the way down seemed particularly apt.



“He’s a really nice guy and smart too,” Patricia said quietly. “Thinks all men are secretly in love with him though, which I’m pretty sure qualifies him as delusional. I love him to bits.”



“He seems nice,” Katie agreed. “Kyle, you got a minute?”



“Sure.” Kyle took a deep breath and got up.



“I’ve got a couple of things to do,” Patricia said, moving towards the stairs. “I’ll see you in ten, Kyle.”



“Okay.”



Kyle turned to Katie and beckoned her inside and they sat down on the leather sofas in front of the TV.



“Harrison Ford made this table,” Kyle said, feeling nervous and immediately cursing himself for blurting out the first thing that popped into his head.



Katie rolled her eyes. “That’s… interesting.”



For some reason it made Kyle chuckle. “Okay, fair enough. So how you doing?”



“Shocked. Scared. Confused. Exhausted. I haven’t slept since I found out.” Katie looked at him closely and lowered her voice. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw your photo.”



“I nearly passed out,” Kyle admitted. “I must have gone white as a sheet.”



“Me too.” She frowned. “So what are we gonna do about this, Kyle?”



“Well, it’s probably not the best idea to pick up where we left off, is it?”



“That would be no,” Katie replied flatly. “So we keep quiet, right?”



He nodded. “I think that’s the way to go. The problem is Ed and Casey know.”



“Oh, fuck,” Katie blurted. “And my friends too.”



“Yep.”



Katie ran her hands through her hair then rubbed her face. Her eyes met Kyle’s. “Are you still close with them?”



“They’re my best friends, both of them. What about yours?”



“Still close with Margarita, not so much with Shawna or Rosie,” She replied.



“Listen, I realised this problem yesterday, so I’ve had a bit of time to think about it and try and figure my way through it,” Kyle began slowly. “Last night I was freaking out, and Mister Crowler told me I should trust in Patricia, so I…”



“You told her.” Katie’s expression hardened instantly, and for the first time, Kyle saw her angry.



“We need help with this,” He told her bluntly. “There’s ways we can make sure it’s in everyones best interests to conveniently forget.”



Katie’s mouth fell open and Kyle quickly clarified.



“I’m not talking anything dark or dodgy. I mean positive things. Like annual vacations, a career, or college scholarships for kids, medical stuff. Helping people have a good life. Not threatening them or blackmailing them, or anything like that.”



Katie took a moment to think about what he was saying, then gradually settled. “I was worried there.”



“Yeah, I was the same. Anyway, Patricia’s getting each of our friends investigated. It’s all being done discretely and she’s confident we can sort it out.” Kyle sighed. “As if everything else wasn’t bad enough.”



“I’ll need to have a chat with her,” Katie said a moment later. “Rosie’s got a kid now and he’s got some kind of health problem. I don’t know what, but she’s in and out the hospital all the time.”



Kyle thought for a second. “You should call her and tell her we’ll cover every medical expense she’s got, get her the best physicians, expense money for trips to the hospital and shit like that. All she hs to do is keep her mouth shut.”



“Hi, Rosie. It’s Katie,” Katie said, looking at Kyle as if he was stupid as she made her mock phone call. “Yeah, I know we haven’t spoken in over a year, but I’m just gonna promise to cover all your costs and I can’t tell you how, or even verify that I have any money. Yeah, that’s right. I fucked my brother on Spring Break, but don’t tell anyone, okay?” She paused and shook her head. “Yeah, I can see that going down well, Kyle.”



Kyle sat there, lost for words.



“Sorry,” Katie muttered a moment later. “I’m pretty… stressed, you know?”



He nodded immediately. “I know.”



“And it had to be you, of all people.”



Kyle smiled, despite the situation. “I know that feeling. Probably the closest, most intimate experience of my life and now….”



“Fucking ruined,” Katie concluded. “I thought about you a lot, you know.”



“Me too,” He admitted, surprising himself with his honesty. “I kicked myself for months for not getting your number or address.”



“So did I,” Katie replied. “All things considered, it’s just as well really.”



“You think we’d have hit it off?” Kyle asked.



Katie’s eyes met his. “I used to daydream I’d bump into you in New York.”



“I used to daydream about looking for you. In a city of eight million people though?” Then he chuckled. “Do you have any idea how many photographers are listed for New York?”



“Yeah, there’s a few of us kicking around,” She replied, then frowned. “Kara doesn’t know.”



“Nope. Listen, about Kara…” Kyle began, frowning.



Katie’s eyebrow shot up. “She was the stripper that you thought was me?”



Kyle nodded slowly.



“I wondered about that when we were on the plane,” Katie explained. “Man, when he showed you those photographs….”



“Yeah. Look, did Kara give any indication she recognised me?”



Katie shook her head. “She plays things close to her chest, Kyle. She’s quiet, withdrawn.”



“I have to talk to her about it.”



Katie thought about it for a second. “You going to tell her about us?”



“I don’t know,” He admiited. “I wanted to talk to you first.”



“Let me think about it for a bit.”



“Of course.” He nodded. “So how insane is all this?”



“It’s bizarre,” Katie replied. “I keep feeling like someone’s gonna jump out and shout Candid Camera or something.”



“I have these surreal moments where it’s like watching a movie. Weird shit happening to other people.”



“Yeah, I understand that. How’s the Island?”



“Oh, it’s gorgeous. Stunning. And it’s got everything.”



“Has it got a trampoline?” Katie grinned.



“Probably. It’s got its own hair salon.”



“Yeah, Heidi tells me I’m down there tomorrow at some point,” Katie smiled. “Did they do your hair?”



“Yeah, about twenty minutes before I fell off the pier,” Kyle replied, rolling his eyes.



“Well, I thought you looked hot,” Katie said quietly. “Before you got all wet, of course.”



“Thanks, and no problem. Glad I could entertain you.”



There was a knock at the door and Kyle stood up as Patricia entered.



“Sorry to interrupt. Dinner’s going to be served in ten minutes. Thought I’d better let you know.”



“Cheers, Patricia,” Kyle nodded.



“I better make a move,” Katie said, getting up. “Cheers for the chat, Kyle.”



“Anytime.”



Patricia waited until Katie was inside her own suite before she spoke. “How did it go?”



Kyle shrugged. “Okay, I guess. What’s happening with the whole….”



“Discrete investigation?” Patricia asked quietly.



Kyle nodded. “I told Katie you know.”



“How did she react?”



“Angry at first, but she’s had a lot to deal with. She told me about one of her friends though. She’s got a kid that’s got health problems. Can we help her with that?”



“I already know about it,” Patricia said quietly. “As I said, we move quick and quiet when we need to.”



“So what else do you know?”



“Who do you want first?”



“Ed? Casey?” Kyle shrugged. “Whoever.”



“Okay, Ed’s maxed out on his credit cards, he’s on the verge of defaulting on a loan too, and he’s got an online gambling problem. Also, some very unhealthy porn habits, but you don’t want me to go into that, do you?”



Kyle shook his head. “I know about Ed’s taste in porn. He’s not exactly quiet about things he finds on the internet. How bad’s the debt?”



He felt bad prying into his friends personal business, but Kyle reminded himself the problems it would cause. Besides, he realised, if his buddy needed some financial help then he would be happy to help him out anyway.



“He’s in about forty grand,” Patricia replied.



Kyle’s eyes widened. “Fucking hell. How many cards has he got?”



“I’m not sure,” She admitted. “I can find out for you if you really want to know.”



Kyle frowned and shook his head. “I don’t suppose it matters, really.”



“No. Not really.”



“And Casey?”



“Casey’s squeaky clean. We can’t find anything bad on him at all, which is kinda impressive, I guess,” Patricia admitted.



“I’m not really surprised. Casey’s an honest guy, and he’s really conscientious about work and bills and shit like that,” Kyle replied. “He’d be a good guy to put on a fast-track promotion ladder.”



“That we can do. I guess it depends on what he wants. Do you think he’d keep the secret if you asked him to?”



Kyle thought about it and nodded. “Yeah, I think he’d do that. In fact, I don’t think I’d even have to ask him.”



“Well, we’ll look at that. Now, Katie’s friends.”



“Okay.”



“Margarita is her best friend, financially pretty normal. Bit of debt but working to pay it off. Setbacks for shoes and handbags. Just the usual, really. We haven’t found anything in her transcripts from college or school, and her family is clean too. We’re still working on her though.”



“Maybe Katie can ask her to keep quiet and that’ll be that?” Kyle suggested.



“Maybe.” Patricia said, not looking convinced. “Moving on, Shawna, who you knew as Shanice. We’ve got a ton of stuff about her.”



“Like what?”



“Affair with a professor at college and knowledge that he was married with kids. A homemade sex tape of her with another girl at a party. History of drugs and wild parties too.”



“Wow. I would never have guessed any of that,” Kyle admitted. “I thought she was the quiet one of the four of them too.”



“Different strokes for different folks, Kyle.”



“So is she still doing all that now?”



“No, she’s got a job in a law firm and she’s doing quite well for herself. She won’t want any of this to come out though, and like Casey, we can help her with her career, so we made an approach to her.”



Kyle’s eyes widened. “You what?”



“We don’t know when this is going to break, so we made an approach to her,” Patricia repeated. “We asked her to attend a meeting with one of our agents posing as a head-hunter out of LA, looking to recruit the brightest talent going.”



“You should have spoken to me first,” Kyle said immediately.



“There wasn’t time, because we don’t know when this is going to break,” Patricia said flatly. “Anyway, we made her an offer of a post in LA with guaranteed career progression, a fantastic salary, house, company car, expense account. The job is working for our talent agency in New York, and the offer keeps her there for three years, then she can transfer to Los Angeles if she wants.”



Kyle looked at her, feeling nervous and a little pissed that she’d just steamed ahead without consulting him. “And?”



“And she said she’d have to think about it, so we dangled the stick too,” Patricia admitted. “We told her we’d managed to secure all copies of the video of her at the party and they would stay hidden. We also told her we could ensure the affair with her professor or her history with drugs wouldn’t ever come out. Then we repeated the offer, added a signing bonus to sweeten the pot, and then told her the condition attached to it.”



“What was the condition?” Kyle asked, immediately concerned that someone else was now in the know about his history with Katie.



“That she doesn’t ever mention her friendship with Katie or anything that may or may not have happened in the past. Basically a gag-agreement,” Patricia said simply. “Anyway, she went for the offer and starts work tomorrow in her new job.”



Kyle nodded, unhappy that the proverbial stick had been used, but glad to hear there was a positive outcome in there somewhere. “How about Rosie? The girl I knew as Jessica.”



“Well, her little boy has cystic fibrosis, so we can get him the best of care and her the best of support.”



“How bad is it?”



“The illness? I don’t know,” She admitted. “I’ll get some briefing material put together for you if you want, but to be frank, you don’t really need to know. You’ve got other things to be filling your brain with.”



Kyle nodded. “So have we done anything to help her?”



“She’s been notified that Katie has come into an inheritance, and wants to help her out, cover all her costs, etc, using a charity foundation that she’s going to set up. Apparently the news was very gratefully received and she wept.” Patricia shrugged. “Anyway, she’s keen to speak with Katie and signed the conditional agreement without complaint. Heidi is going to set up a call with her sometime tomorrow.”



“So, we can help out Ed, we’ve got Shawna and Rosie covered. That just leaves Casey and Margarita as the problems?”



“Pretty much,” Patricia nodded.



“That’s fast work, Patricia.”



She shrugged. “We got information and acted on it before it became a problem.”



“True, but it’s helping me.” While he still felt uncomfortable prying into peoples private lives and bribing people, he did feel a little safer, a little less exposed.



“Anyway, you’ve got to get changed for dinner,” She said.



“Again?”



“You got a problem with looking nice, Kyle?” Patricia chuckled.



“Nope. I think you’ve got a problem with me wearing the same clothes for more than two hours though.”



“If it’s any consolation, Margaret picked out these ones. Same jeans you had on at pier, different shirt and shoes though.”



“The soaking wet jeans?”



Patricia rolled her eyes as she stood up. “They’ve been washed, pressed and back in your wardrobe for hours, Kyle.”



Kyle shook his head, remembering again how weird it was to have staff who looked after him. “Okay, I’m going to get changed.”



“Don’t forget to fix your hair.”



“Yes, mother,” He chuckled.



Dinner wasn’t as fantastic as Kyle expected when it came to the food. Due to Julian’s interference Kyle had his own menu with his options dramatically reduced. He’d been looking forward to some more of the lobster or those delicious prawns from lunch, but ended up with a grilled tuna steak and poached egg on a bed of quinoa, a substance a lot like couscous, but delicately spiced. It was delicious, but when he saw everyone else tucking into steak, lobster, mussels, spicy noodles, and a dazzling array of vegetables he definitely felt restricted.



Eight of them sat around a table in the dining area next to the bar. Kyle was joined by his sisters, Patricia, Heidi and Garius, and Edwin and Mister Crowler completed the party. What started off as a fairly subdued group quickly opened up as each of them told funny stories about themselves, knowing that Kyle, Kara and Katie didn’t really know any of them.



Kyle told them of how he’d been so hungover in a lecture at college once that he’d fallen asleep and when he woke up it took him three hours to discover he had drawings on his face. Katie told them of a photoshoot she’d done where she fainted in front of a client but still got the job, and of how she once did the infamous ‘skirt-tucked-into-her-underwear’ thing and no-one told her.



Mister Crowler talked for a few mnutes of former clients who wanted to sue the government for situating the movie industry in Hollywood instead of Nebraska, or one who wanted to sue twitter for allowing him to tweet a picture of his own penis while drunk. Another who wanted to sue Blackberry because their phones didn’t contain any actual berries.



Patricia, Garius and Heidi told funny stories involving Mister Tripps, crazy meetings with crazy people, and then told of dozens of letters they’d dealt with from people claiming bizarre things, like a proclamation they received that Danny Tripps was the new messiah, along with a completely updated bible about him from an obsessed housewife in Texas. Patricia insisted it was on the Island somewhere.



Edwin contributed a couple of stories too, delivered in a quiet voice, telling of the time Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie were visiting the Island and she’d got in a fury during an argument and threw a vase at a reinforced window. The vase had bounced off and knocked her out cold, and they’d ended up staying an extra week until the bump on her head disappeared. Another story told of Salma Hayek jogging on the Island and how her breasts were bouncing so much that one of the staff broke his nose by walking right into a tree.



Kara was the only one who didn’t contribute anything and on a couple of occasions, Kyle tried to draw her into the conversations but he could see what Katie meant when he said she was withdrawn.

After dinner she excused herself for a visit to the bathroom and Kyle took the opportunity to slip outside for a smoke. It was only a couple of minutes later when she reappeared.



“Kara. Have you got a second?”



“Sure.”



Kyle stood up and began to walk slowly around the pool and his sister joined him.



“What’s up?”



“We haven’t really had a chance to talk,” He said gently. “How you doing with all this?”



Her eyes narrowed as she looked around at the main house, then back to Kyle. “Haven’t decided.”



“Yeah, it’s a lot to take in.”



“No, I haven’t decided if I’m going to stay or not.”



“Oh.” Kyle was about to tell her he was the same, but he paused, realising that he’d already decided. The responsibility of the people relying on him was too great. Despite feeling boxed in and manipulated he knew he would do as he always did. Take his responsibilities seriously and try his best.



He took a deep breath and got back on with the reason he wanted to speak with her. “Kara, you know we’ve met before, right?”



“I don’t think so,” She said, shaking her head, her long dark hair bobbing around her face.



“I was on a vacation with my friends a few years ago in Myrtle Beach,” He explained softly, letting that hang in the air.



She didn’t say anything, but stopped at the railing and looked out over the water.



“I was in with some friends, and I thought you were someone else,” He continued, but she raised a hand.



“Kyle, do you have any idea how many people I’ve danced for over the years? If you’re telling me you saw me dance, then that’s pretty fucked up, but don’t expect me to remember you.”



“I just thought I should let you know,” He said quietly.



“Maybe you shouldn’t have,” She said, turning to face him. “Now I know that my newly-discovered brother visits strip clubs like all the other perverts, weirdos and losers I’ve ever met. Do you think that I’ll think better of you because you were honest about it?”



Kara shook her head and looked back out over the water. “Now you’re just one of them.”



“I wanted to talk to you to see if you remembered me,” Kyle said, taken aback. “And I was only there because I promised my friend we’d go in.”



She turned her head, catching his eye again. “So it was your first time in a lapdancing bar, was it?”



Kyle frowned, trying to think how to answer the question but she cut him off before he could say anything else.



“I didn’t think so. And no, I don’t remember you.”



“Kara….”



“Was there anything else you wanted to tell me, or can I go back in now?”



Kyle sighed. “Nothing else. Sorry to bother you.”



“It’s fine,” She said, walking off.



Kyle watched her walk around the pool, her movements confident and sure.



“Well, that fucking sucked,” He whispered, feeling as if he’d been punched in the stomach.



Kyle was back in his suite half an hour later, having returned to the table for a short time, then excused himself, telling them he had a six o’clock workout to get up for. Patricia had got up to leave with him, but he waved her back into her seat, wanting a little time to himself.



He felt like he’d totally blown things with Kara. Their first conversation was a disaster, and he knew first impressions counted. She’d all but named him a pervert, and her tone left it pretty clear that she thought the customers at the clubs she’d worked were all low-life scumbags.



“Fuck my life,” He muttered, not for the firs time in the last twenty four hours.



He turned off the lights in the suite and the balcony and sat in the near darkness, enjoying the solitude. On his third cigarette, he was thinking over the the events of the day when his eyes fell to the shape of the blue binder on the table, barely visible in the dark..



“Private accommodation in Manhattan, LA, Aspen, Hawaii, Toronto, London, Italy and here,” He recited aloud from memory. “Computer Manufacturing in the US, Mexico, UK, Germany, India and China. Software Development in the US, Canada, India and the UK. Telephone factories in seven countries across the globe including France, the UK, the US and China. Pharmaceutical Research and Production in the US, Canada, India, China and Holland. Games developers in Scotland and the US. Commercial Properties in New York, Chicago, London, Paris and Berlin.”



Kyle paused and rubbed at his temples as he concentrated, seeing a mental picture of the pages of the binder.



“A movie and TV production company with offices in LA, New York and Toronto. A Talent agency with offices in LA, New York and London. A record label in the US and UK, with studios in each country as well as Brazil, Barcelona and Sydney. Magazine publishers with offices in Chicago, New York and LA. Then the oddball stuff. The copper mine in Zambia. The Private Security firm in Zambia and now Afghanistan. The Alternative Energy Research in Scotland. The accountancy firm that specialises in small businesses in Las Vegas.”



Kyle paused for a breath. “And last but not least, that fucking strip club in Myrtle Beach.”



He stubbed out his cigarette.



“That was pretty impressive, you know,” He heard from behind him, recognising Patricia’s voice.



Kyle shrugged as he lit another cigarette. “I deal with a lot of information at work, so I’m pretty good at taking stuff in. Plus, we spent hours on this today.”



“You missed one,” She said gently, taking a seat beside him. To his surprise she leaned over and picked up his cigarettes and lit one for herself, then grinned. “I’ve had a couple of drinks.”



“What did I miss?” Kyle asked, not really caring if she smoked or not. Who was he to say anything, given he was chain-smoking like an addict on death row.



“The Business Consultants you work for?” She said, making it a question.



“Of course. With offices in the US, UK, Canada and Australia,” He finished.



“Seriously, that’s really impressive, remembering all that.”



Kyle exhaled a long, smooth breath. “I spoke to Kara. Told her I was at the club in Myrtle Beach. Now she thinks I’m a low-life pervert and that I shouldn’t have brought it up. And she didn’t remember me anyway, so it was all for nothing.”



“Everything’s been a huge shock to her recently, Kyle. To all of you.”



“Why don’t we have any property for commercial letting in Tokyo?” He asked. “I mean, Tokyo is one of the most expensive places to rent in the world, right?”



Patricia chuckled.



“Plus we have no presence in Japan at all. Tell me again, what did he do to set up this fake persona for Kara?”



“The cover story if anyone looks her up?” Patricia asked.



“Yeah.”



“Okay. For four years someone named Kara Kowalski has been writing trashy romance novels and scraping a living from it. The novels are all ghost-written, and the photo on the jacket could be her, deliberately shot to be ambiguous.”



“Right. What else?”



“Several blogs that were started for a month or two but fell by the wayside. The usual twitter, facebook, myspace, all that stuff.”



Kyle nodded for her to continue as he sat there in the dark.



“Basically, if anyone who went to school with her looks her up, they’ll have her down as someone who moved to an undisclosed town in Illinois, took up writing and didn’t really socialise much.”



“And if they recognsie her as a dancer?”



“Mister Tripps found out she was there a few years ago, and I don’t know how he did it, but he bought the club purely so he could make sure any CCTV tapes were in his control. He even paid to have the previous owners house turned over and any tapes or photos that were there were stolen.”



“Were there tapes of her?”



“Her and every other dancer who had ever worked there,” Patricia said quietly. “We got this from Mister Tripps only a few weeks ago. He had evidence of some of the girls offering extras, snorting lines of coke, doing meth, all sorts of stuff like that. The owner was just as bad, apparently. Nearly half the girls who ever worked there used to do…. favours for him, or he’d fire them. The rest refused but made too much money dancing for him to fire them.”



Kyle moved the ashtray onto the table in front of them both. It was a little weird seeing Patricia smoking, but much weirder things had happened in the last thirty six hours.



“The security staff who worked there were checked out too,” She added.



“And she left nine months ago, right?” Kyle asked.



“Yeah. Lived off her savings for a bit.”



“So what did Tripps do to get all her colleagues to keep quiet?”



“The dancers she worked with who took cash for extras or took drugs were shown tapes of themselves, then offered clean-up programmes and jobs. The previous owner was found by the police with half a kilo of cocaine and is doing a stretch in prison. Five of the security guys who worked there are now working as freelance security contractors in Zambia. One of them is in Afghanistan. The other guy who worked there but didn’t want to go abroad got a nice big business grant to start a building business with his brother, and they’re about to get a lucrative maintenance contract to keep them going for a few years.”



“What about the dancers who weren’t into anything dodgy?”



“A few scholarships and expenses packages, helping out with a few medical bills for relatives, a few jobs here and there. One of them demanded a Porsche to keep quiet, so she was shown the stick instead of the carrot.”



“What the hell does that mean?”



“You go for the carrot, you get a nice reward for positive behaviour. You go for the stick, you get thumped for negative behaviour. The carrot and the stick.”



“I know what the carrot and stick shit means,” Kyle muttered, rolling his eyes. “I mean what metaphorical stick was she shown?”



“I believe she was woken up one night surrounded by half a ton of flour in clear bags, in her own bedroom. The bags looked like drugs, you know?”



Kyle nodded for her to continue.



“On her bed were photos of her showing she’d been slipped a roofie, had been taken out her own apartment, photographed at a local landmark, then put back into bed, all without her knowing anything about it. Next to the photos on the bed was a list of every address she’d ever had, the addresses of all her family, her passwords for her email accounts, bank account numbers, a frightening amount of personal information.”



“So she was threatened and her family were threatened?” Kyle asked, scowling. “Is this what I’m inheriting?”



Patricia sighed, but pressed on. “When she woke up, a disguised man pointed out to her that this could have been the police raiding her and finding all these drugs. It could have been a rapist or serial killer who slipped her a roofie. It could be someone trying to find her in any of the places on those lists, who can find out anything about her at any time. Then the guy pointed out to her that if she wanted a disproportional carrot, she would see a disproportional stick. I believe she settled for twelve grand.”



“That’s a nasty way of doing business. I don’t like it,” He said firmly.



“Oh, grow up, Kyle,” Patricia said bluntly, startling him. “You’re playing with the big boys now, and information is power. Do you think every single one of your competitors isn’t going to investigate each of you and leak whatever they want to the press? Or try to use it to discredit you and cause a drop in share price? Do you think if they have something they can blackmail you with, then they’ll decide that he’s a good guy and we’ll just leave him alone? That’s not how it works and deep down you know it.”



Kyle shook his head in frustration. “So what if I decide I’m above all these power games and I’m not going to play?”



“Then you’ll get killed with a thousand paper cuts,” Patricia replied. “Fortunately for you we’ve got people who are really good at this stuff, so it’s not something that’s going to cross your desk very often.”



“What a fucking day,” He muttered.



“You get them like that sometimes. Then other days are awesome.” She paused to put her cigarette out. “Mister Tripps used to say you need a few shit days so you can appreciate the good ones.”



“Bring on the good ones,” Kyle replied.



“You should get some sleep, Kyle,” Patricia reminded him, standing up and heading into the suite.



Kyle sat in the dark for a few more minutes and then stubbed out his cigarette and headed inside. He turned off the lights in his bedroom, plunging the place into near-total darkness, stripped off and got into bed.



Sleep eluded him though.



He fidgetted, rolled over, couldn’t get comfortable and couldn’t quite drift off, so he got up again, grabbed a pair of shorts and a hooded jersey from the dressing room and went outside again.



“Psst. Kyle.”



It took him a moment to trace the source of the loud whisper, but he saw Katie walking round the balcony from her suite to his. “How you doing?”



“Can’t sleep,” He told her, taking a seat.



“Me neither. I think that’s been forty hours now or something,” She replied.



“Jesus, Katie. You should be in your bed.”



“It’s not happening though. I just can’t drift off.”



“Yeah, I know what you mean. I just got back up myself.”



She looked at him for a minute, her head tilted to one side. “Come with me, Kyle.” She turned and began to walk around the balcony, her white trackpants and vest top making her easily visible in the dark. “Come on.”



Kyle got up and followed her round the balcony and into her suite, seeing it was similar to his own in layout, but different in its decor. Everything in here was much lighter in colour and tone from the furniture to the walls. The lounge area was larger and the bedrooms were to the side instead of the back.



As he followed he began to get a little nervous, his stomach tensing as Katie led him into her bedroom.



“This is my room.”



“Yeah. You know it’s not a great idea for me to be in here, right?”



“Oh, chill out, Kyle. I just want to try something,” She told him firmly. “Remember when we snuggled and fell asleep together?”



He shrugged. “Of course I do.”



“Well I’m shattered, Kyle,” She continued. “Like I’m exhausted. I haven’t slept in two days, I’m jetlagged and I feel ill. I’m desperate to sleep, so at this point I’m willing to try anything.”



Kyle frowned at her. This wasn’t a good way to start things off as brother and sister. Plus, he could feel that hint of nervous excitement at the thought of holding her again.



“We don’t have to get undressed, or get under the covers or anything like that. I just want to see if I can get as comfortable as I can, and hopefully get some rest.”



“You’re kidding, right?”



To his surprise her eyes immediately began to fill up with tears, and her hands flew up to cover them.



“Katie, I didn’t mean to upset you,” He said quickly. “I just think that the two us sleeping together is not the smartest thing to do.”



“I’m tired, Kyle. I’m tired, and I’m all alone here, and the only person I know is you. I don’t know who I can trust, I’m completely out my depth, and all I want is to get some sleep.”



Kyle took a couple of steps forward to where she sat on the edge of the bed and gave her a hug. He could feel her holding him, grateful for the comfort, and after a couple of minutes she let him go and wiped her eyes.



“I’ll stay for a little while, but as soon as you’re asleep, I’m going back to my room,” He said, feeling a huge pang of empathy for her, going through all the same crappy emotional rollercoaster he was.



“Kyle, if I can get to sleep, then that’s all I need,” She replied, giving him a little smile.



He nodded and walked round the side of the bed, lying on his side on top of the sheets, and Katie rolled herself in so he was snuggled in behind her.



The smell of her hair and the feel of her against him brought back memories of Myrtle Beach in her room and Kyle took a deep breath and let it out slowly.



Without conscious thought they both made small adjustments to accommodate the other. The positioning of a hand, the turn of an elbow. A foot sliding between his, the angle of his hips and her buttocks, and within moments his arms were wrapped tight around her, her arms holding him in place.



“Kyle,” She whispered in the darkness.



“Yeah?”



“I’ve missed this.”



“Me too,” He whispered back. “Now close your eyes and go to sleep.”



She was gone within a few minutes, and Kyle slowly slid his arm out from under her, taking a great deal of care to not wake her, but eventually he was able to extract himself from the bed. He lifted the sheet over her carefully, then left quietly.



He sat in what was fast becoming his ‘usual’ chair and lit up, enjoying being back in the darkness when he heard footsteps from his right, and spotted Kara on her balcony. He was in two minds if he should say anything to her or not when she spotted the cigarette flare as he inhaled.



“Kyle?”



“Hey,” He said softly. “I can’t sleep.”



“Neither can I.”



“Come and have a seat,” He suggested.



She hesitated for a moment but then walked round and sat down.



“Sorry again about earlier, Kara,” Kyle said, keeping his voice low. “I wasn’t trying to make you feel uncomfortable or anything.”



“Yeah, I kinda bit your head off,” She admitted. “I’m not great at dealing with guys.”



Kyle caught himself about to point out that she was exceptional at dealing with guys when it came to the lapdance he remembered so vividly, but he wisely kept his mouth shut.



“Plus, it’s a bit messed up, knowing that your brother has seen you stripping,” She added.



“In fairness, I didn’t know we were related, and neither did you,” He pointed out.



“I know, but still…..”



His thoughts turned to Katie and the things they’d unwittingly done together. “It could have been worse, Kara.”



“Yeah, I could have given you a private dance.”



Kyle was thinking that it would have been worse if they’d had sex, but now he realised she didn’t know she’d given him a lapdance that was so hot it had made him cum.



His silence cued her in. “Oh, fuck. I gave you a private dance?”



“Afraid so,” He said quietly a moment later. “If it’s any consolation to your professional pride, I thought you were excellent.”



“Really not the best time to point that out,” She murmured.



“Yeah, I know,” Kyle agreed. “The whole thing’s a bit…. awkward to navigate.”



“You think?”



He shrugged. “I guess.”



“When were you in?”



“Spring break, three years ago. You want some details of the conversation we had, see if you can remember?” He offered.



“I’m not sure if I want to remember or not.”



“Okay. Let me know if you do. If it helps. Whatever you need.”



“I’ll think about it.”



“So you grew up in North Carolina then?” He asked, trying to change the subject onto something that might be more comfortable for her.



“Yeah.”



“How was it?”



“North Carolina?”



Kyle chuckled. “No, growing up. What was your life like?”



“It was good until I turned ten and my mom died.”



“I’m sorry.”



She shrugged. “Just one of those things. Drunk driver hit her, killed her instantly. At least it was quick. After that Dad began to drink and things went to shit.”



Kyle didn’t know what to say. By the sounds of it, she had it rough growing up.



“I left home as soon as I could, and by that point he had lost his job and didn’t want to work anyway. I had two part-time jobs when I was at school, and I used to hide the money I made so we had food and the bills got paid. Otherwise he drank it, or sold stuff.”



Kyle wondered why Danny Tripps didn’t help her out at that point, or at least, help out her father and get him back on the right path again.



“That sounds like a tough way to grow up, Kara,” Kyle said quietly.



“Just another of life’s learning experiences,” She replied, rolling it out like an automatic response.



“So where did you go when you left home?”



“I went to stay with a guy I’d met online in Chicago, but that turned out to be bullshit, so then I travelled for a few months, doing odd jobs, crashing in my car.”

Kyle frowned. “And then you ended up in Myrtle Beach?”



“Yeah, eventually. I was working the bar there and some of the girls were encouraging me to dance. When I saw them doing it a few times and I saw the money they made I gave it a go. The rest you know.”



“Did you enjoy it?” Kyle asked, genuinely curious.



“Most of the time? No. Most of the time it sucked, having old men pawing at you, or guys treating you like shit. Sometimes it was hard to keep from showing your contempt.” She paused for a moment, then grabbed his cigarettes.



Kyle grinned, reminded of Patricia earlier.



“You don’t mind, do you?” She asked, lighting one up.



“Help yourself.”



She tilted her head back and Kyle was immediately reminded of the silhouette of her, lit from above as she danced for him.



“Sometimes, just once in a while, you’d get a hot guy, or you’d be having a good night and something would just click. That was rare though.”



“It sounds it,” Kyle nodded, secretly hoping that he was one of the rare ones.



“Plus, working in heels all night long gets a bit tiring.” She smiled a little and Kyle realised that despite the topics they’d been discussing, she was actually starting to relax.



“I’m glad we’re talking a bit, Kara,” He said. “This is a lot better than our conversation earlier.”



“Yeah, you’ve not been doing too good with the first impressions, Kyle,” She said, then chuckled. “Get all nervous, fall off the pier, then tell me you’ve seen me naked. Are you always this smooth with the girls?” She finished, openly grinning.



Kyle laughed. “Yeah, when it comes to girls I generally suck at chatting them up.”



“Yeah?”



“Totally. King of the crash and burn.”



Her expression turned serious again and she was obviously thinking about something, so Kyle kept quiet, waiting to see what she had to say.



“Kyle, I…. never mind.”



“Go ahead,” He told her.



“No, doesn’t matter.”



He looked her in the eye. “I know that right now you don’t know me from Adam, but you can trust me, okay? Ask me whatever you want, or if you want to talk to me about something, you can. Any time at all, alright?”



Kyle saw her nod faintly, then her expression became more determined.



“So I have trust issues with men.”



“That’s hardly surprising.”



“Shush,” She said, making him grin. “Anyway, I have problems trusting guys, and I’d be quite happy to not have to rely on one ever again. I know you’re this brother who’s appeared out of nowhere and I should try and trust you, get to know you, all that stuff that Garius is telling me to do, but it’s not going to be easy, okay?”



“Nothing worthwile ever is,” He pointed out.



“Do you always interrupt?”



He shrugged. “Sometimes.”



Kara rolled her eyes. “Anyway, what I’m saying is I’ll try, but I can’t promise I won’t…. behave like a bitch from time to time, okay?”



“Okay,” Kyle nodded. “I appreciate your honesty.”



“You might not in the future, okay? Consider yourself warned.”



Kyle grinned. “Duly noted.”



He paused for a second, considering something else. “Listen, all three of us, you, me and Katie. None of us know what it’s like to have brothers or sisters, so we’re going to make mistakes and any relationships we have or end up having will be something that’s going to grow out of trial and error.”



“That’s a cheerful picture,” Kara said, sarcastically.



“What I’m saying is that we’ll make mistakes. At some point you’ll do something that’ll upset me, I’ll do something that will upset you. Katie will do something that’ll upset both of us. We just have to remember that we’re all new at this.”



“Okay,” She nodded. “I’ll try, but no promises.”



“That’s all any of us can do,” Kyle agreed. “And on that note, I think I’m gonna head to bed.”



“Oh, that’s right. Your six o’clock workout.”



“Yeah,” Kyle replied, putting on his glum face. “Hence my unrestrained enthusiasm.”



Kara chuckled, and Kyle felt a lot happier that they’d been able to talk.



“Goodnight, Kara.”



“Night, Kyle.”



“Morning, Kyle.”



He felt the gentle hand rubbing his shoulder, and recognised Patricia’s voice. He opened his eyes, seeing a hint of brightness in the room from the bedside lamp.



Patricia was sat on the side of the bed, wearing an oversized football shirt, her hair hanging loose, grinning at him.



“It’s six o’clock already?” He mumbled.



“Quarter to,” She replied. “Time to get out of bed, Kyle. Rise and shine, although I think you’ve got the rise part taken care of.” Her eyes flicked down the bed at the same instant that Kyle realised he had an erection, and was lying on his back, tenting the sheet just as she had predicted twentyfour hours ago.



“Oh, shit. Sorry,” He muttered, sitting upright and making sure the sheet covered him.



Patricia chuckled, a wicked noise that made him grin a little sheepishly. “Told you.”



“Yeah, you did,” He replied and his eyes narrowed. “Is that my football shirt?”



“You don’t mind?”



He shook his head, his eyes running over how it hung loose around her figure. “Looks better on you anyway.”



“Hey!” She said sharply, slapping him on the hip, a broad grin on her face. “You’re not meant to be eyeing me up.”



Kyle shrugged. “I’ve just woken up. I’m blaming it on being sleepy.”



Patricia laughed and stood up, heading back towards her room. “Get dressed, Kyle. Oh, my shower’s not working. Can I….”



“Of course.”



“Thanks, Kyle.” She disappeared from the room.



Kyle sighed, knowing there was a lot worse ways to be woken up than by a hot blonde who teased you about your boner, but it certainly took a bit of getting used to.



He threw back the sheets and headed to the bathroom, urinated and had a quick wash, then dragged on some shorts and a top, tied on some sneakers and headed for Patricia’s room.



“Patricia,” He said, approaching her room, the lack of doors in the suite meaning he didn’t have one to knock on.



“Yeah?”



“Am I meeting Julian at the gym?”



“No, he’ll be downstairs,” She replied. “Have fun. See you when you get back.”



“Right,” He replied, and squaring his shoulders he went downstairs.



Julian worked him hard. He’d started Kyle doing some stretching exercises on the way to the gym for a few minutes, then put him onto the weights machines in the gym, working solely on his arms, shoulders, pecs and stomach.



The increasingly heavy weights burned his muscles and proved to be an agonizing experience, but Julian’s unflagging enthusiasm kept him trying to do one more. Then another, and another until he was trembling with exhaustion.



When he thought he couldn’t do any more, Julian made him do one more, and then when he was done with the machines, the trainer had him on the floor doing crunches, like sit-ups but without sitting up.



By the time Julian brought a bottle of water and told him they were done until lunchtime, Kyle felt like he’d been run over by a steam roller. Even walking back to his suite was a struggle even though they hadn’t worked his legs at all, and Kyle knew he’d have to stop smoking, or at least, cut back a lot.



He stumbled up the stairs and into his suite, heading straight for his bedroom where he considered face-planting on the bed and just staying there until dinner, but he knew he had too much to do, and he was decidedly hungry.



He kicked off his sneakers and pulled off his top, groaning as he was forced to lift his arms, and as he entered the bathroom to get in the shower, the opaque glass of the shower cubicle turned clear as Patricia opened the door from the inside.



He saw her before she hurriedly closed the door, saw her legs and that shaven place between them, saw her taught flat stomach and her round, full breasts with her nipples tight and hard, jutting out. Her blonde hair, wet and shining like the beads of water on her skin. She had the fingers of her right hand in her mouth.



“Fuck. Sorry, Patricia. I didn’t realise you were in here,” he said quickly, retreating out the door. Kyle frowned as he realised the water wasn’t running.



“I didn’t hear you come in,” She called back.



Kyle was standing outside the bathroom, a slight smile on his face as his mind replayed what he had just seen. “Holy fuck, she’s hot,” He muttered.



Patricia appeared moments later, wrapped in a towel this time with another round her head, holding her hair.



“Sorry about that,” She said quckly.



“No, no, my mistake,” Kyle argued. “I forgot you were using my shower.”



They both paused, looking at each other and feeling a bit awkward until Kyle started to laugh. Patricia joined in seconds later.



“Seems to be a day for seeing things,” He said finally.



“Yeah. And it looks like my friendly predictions are coming true faster than I thought,” She added. “It’s not gonna get weird or anything now, is it? After me waking you up and then… this.”



Kyle smiled. “No, although I have to admit, that’s an image that’s going to stay in my head for quite a while.”



“Glad I could be of service,” She laughed, giving him a mocking curtsy, her hand clasped tightly round her towel.



“So it’s safe for me to go for a shower now then?” Kyle asked, chuckling.



“Definitely,” She nodded. “How was the work out?”



“I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to shower without the use of my arms, and I’m firmly convinced Julian is a sadist, but it was good.”



“Sore?”



“Oh, yes.”



“Well, the injections you got yesterday are going to help, and I’ll get a massage sorted for you tonight.”



“With that girl you were telling me about?” Kyle asked, remembering how Patricia descibed her as being so enthusiastic about sex that she aspired to a career in porn.



“Sarah? She is a great masseuse,” She said. “Plus, you might even get laid. At least that’ll get me out your head.”



“Maybe,” Kyle grinned. “Right, I’m off to the shower.”



“See you in a bit,” Patricia said, stepping past him. “After your shower though,” She added, laughing as she exited the room.



“Holy fuck, she’s hot,” Kyle murmured once more before heading back into the bathroom.



Despite his aching arms and shoulders, the hot water invigorated him and the thought of Patricia being in here, naked and soapy only a few minutes before had him hard, so Kyle rubbed one out, his eyes closed as he remembered that glimpse of her body.



Despite having extensive practice when it came to jerking off, and lots of inspiration, it wasn’t the most spectacular orgasm Kyle had in his life, but it served to ease the tension in him so he finished washing himself, stepped out the shower, grabbed a towel and roughly dried himself off.



“I’m out here,” Patricia called from the bedroom, so Kyle made sure his towel was secure around his waist then walked out to join her. She was already dressed but had a towel still wrapped around her hair.



“Here’s your clothes for the morning,” She said, waving to a pair of jeans, a v-necked top and a jacket, “And here’s your workout clothes for lunchtime,” She added, indicating a pair of shorts and a vest-top at the other end of the bed.



“You know I can probably pick out my own clothes, right?”



She gave him a skeptical look. “I’ve seen your facebook photos. Do you really want to have this argument?”



Kyle chuckled and grabbed the jeans from the bed. Rather than go through all the hassle of disappearing into the dressing room he turned his back and sat on the edge of the bed, pulling the denims over his feet and halfway up his legs.



He could hear Patricia fussing around on the other side of the bed, and figured that she knew what he was doing, so he stood up and dropped the towel, then hauled the jeans up.



“Getting a bit more comfortable having me around then?”



“I guess so,” Kyle replied, chuckling. “Amazing what you get used to.”



“I did warn you of that.”



“You did.”



“I’m telling you, give it a few more months and you’ll be whipping clothes on and off, and you’ll barely notice me being there,” She laughed.



Kyle highly doubted that, but couldn’t help wonder if she’d be like that too. He wouldn’t have minded another glimpse at that body of hers.



“Right, if you finish getting dressed, breakfast is going to be downstairs. It’s a working morning, so you’ll be getting briefings from Garius, Heidi and I on the different branches of the organisation, and what Mister Tripps recommendations were for each of them.”



“Give me it in a nutshell,” Kyle said as he slipped on his top slowly, his arms protesting at every movement.



She tilted her head. “Mister Tripps put CEO’s in place for each company two months ago. Give them another ten months to show you what they can do, and use the time to get some first-hand knowledge of each organisation.”



“So travel the world for the next ten months?” A vision of hours and hours spent in aircraft made Kyle frown.



“It won’t take ten months,” She explained. “But it’ll give you plenty time to figure out what areas you want to work with, what the three of you want to get rid of, and decide who you want to keep or clear out. Plus, if you ratify Mister Tripps decisions, it’ll make you look smart and look like the Tripps Empire will be remaining firmly in the Tripps family.”



“Even though none of us are named Tripps,” Kyle pointed out.



“You can fix that easy enough.”



Kyle blinked. “And that’s not gonna be happening. My folks were good enough to raise me. The least I can do is honour them by keeping my name.”



“Just a suggestion.”



“Okay then,” Kyle said, not particularly pleased at the turn the conversation had taken. He sat down on the bed and pulled on his socks and shoes, then stood and grabbed the jacket from the bed. “See you downstairs?”



“Sure,” Patricia nodded. “And Kyle?”



“Yeah?”



“Didn’t mean to offend you there.”



He nodded. “I know. Just got a bit…. prickly about it.”



Patricia nodded. “See you downstairs.”



Kyle was early, so despite his promise to himself to cut down on the cigarettes, he lit up. Katie arrived bang on time, but they decided to wait for Kara who was ten minutes late and sat down with a muttered, “Morning,” her eyes hidden behind her big thick sunglasses.



Kyle and Katie joined her at the table, and while his sisters were offered all sorts of things to eat, Kyle got given scrambled eggs and toasted brown bread.



Kara opted for a glass of orange juice, and sat like she was nursing a hangover, while Katie tucked into a large bowl of muesli, fresh fruit and cold milk.



Their briefing began immediately, with Katie’s assistant, Heidi, giving them an overview of the organisation. Maps were brought out, with dozens of pins stuck in them, page after page of information was given to each of them, with organisational flowcharts and personnel profiles of the key players, pictures of what each company produced, a real bombardment of data.



Kyle kept up with it pretty well, he thought, mostly because that was similar to what he did at work all day. Collect data, process it and then put it to use. However, he could see Katie was struggling a little with the sheer amount of it, while Kara was absolutely drowning. By the time Garius came to take over the briefing, Kara was barely glancing at each handout.



Kyle did what he could to try and simplify the information coming at them, asking questions like, “So this organisational chart is like a family tree then, with the boss at the top, then the family heads and then the teams and individual offices are like the kids, right?” and, “This strategical, tactical and operations division of responsibilities is just different people deciding what we’re going to do, how we’re going to do it, and then the people who actually do it?”



As Garius continued, Kyle started to see Kara pick up a little more of the information, but every time she frowned, Kyle asked a ‘simplifier’ until she relaxed again. It was hard going, and he could see that Garius kept pressing on, having a timetable to keep to, but Kyle didn’t see the point in delivering a rapid briefing if not everyone could keep up. So he kept asking questions, controlling the speed and flow of the data that was coming at them.



Eventually Garius sat down, and Katie asked if they could have a break to stretch their legs. Kyle was surprised when he discovered they’d been there for two hours, so he got up himself and walked around the pool for a bit, stretching his sore muscles in the process.



When they returned, Patricia was waiting for them, and as Garius had covered the computer manufacturing operation, their software development companies and the mobile telecomms part of their organisation, Patricia started on the ‘Hollywood’ side of things.



She began laying out information for them on the Production company, the Talent agency and the music and magazine companies, a slightly more glamorous side of their business. She spoke about some of the stars they represented, household names in some cases, and briefly went into what shows and productions they had shares in that were run or managed by other companies, drawing both Katie and a reluctant Kara into the conversation by asking them if they’d seen this movie or show, or heard music by a particular artist.



Kyle was a little amused at how skillfully she’d drawn them into the briefing, making it more of a conversation than a straight delivery of information, and before he knew it she was wrapping up. He glanced at the clock on the wall, surprised again that it was eleven o’clock already.



“Oh, we’re late for our hair appointments,” Katie said, jumping up.



“Yeah,” Kara said, sounding unimpressed.



“Hey, cheer up,” Kyle said. “It’s not another briefing at least.”



“I suppose.”



Kara flashed him a brief smile and Katie gave him a wave as they were ushered off by Garius and Heidi, leaving him with Patricia.



“Nicely done, by the way,” He said, smiling.



“What?”



“The briefing, drawing them in.”



“Yeah, I could see they were flagging before,” She said, nodding. “And don’t think I didn’t spot you helping out either.”



Kyle laughed. “What? The simplified questions?”



She nodded. “Very sweet of you to look out for her like that.”



Kyle shrugged. “I was chatting with her last night after you went to bed. She’s had it tough, you know. Not much of an upbringing, and two jobs while she was at school too.”



“I know.”



“It’s hardly surprising it’s going to take her a while to get her head round all this stuff. You might want to mention that to Garius at some point.”



Patricia smiled, a wistful look appearing on her face. “You sound just like him sometimes, you know.”



“Who?”



“Danny Tripps. Especially when you’re in work mode.”



“Genetics, I guess,” Kyle replied, not really sure what to say to that. “So what’s next?”



“You’re meeting with Connor Grant about appointing Head Bodyguards for yourself and your sisters,” She told him, then smiled. “Then you’re off to see Julian again.”



“You sure?”



“Oh, yes. Legs and torso this time.”



Her smile had a definite hint of evil to it, Kyle thought as he got to his feet and lit a cigarette. “Come on then. Let’s go see crazy mister Connor.”



They walked down past the hair salon and round the edge of the hill until a large building came in sight.



“What’s this place?”



“It’s referred to as the Clubhouse, but basically it’s where the staff get their meals, or hang out at night or their days off.”



“It’s a night club?” Kyle asked.



“Yeah, and a bar, a restaurant and it’s got a few pool tables and stuff too,” She explained. “I want to stress though, it’s for the staff, so don’t go sneaking down here to party. You’ll just make them feel awkward if you’re there.”



Kyle nodded. “Everyone needs some downtime away from the boss, I guess. So why are we here now?”



“Because Connor’s here, and he’s still recovering from his leg wound, so we’re being nice and not making him walk all the way up to the main house.”

“Oh. Alright.”



“Don’t drink with him, Kyle,” She said suddenly, stopping him. “He’ll probably tease you, and he’ll probably be drinking himself, but stick with water.”



“Yes, mother,” He grinned.



“No, seriously. This guy’s a power drinker, and he’ll get you so wasted that you’ll be ill for days because he thinks it’s funny.” Her expression was serious, so Kyle nodded. “I’ll meet you out here when you’re done,” She added.



“You’re not coming in?”



She shook her head. “If I’m in there, he’ll spend all his time hitting on me and you won’t get any work done.”



“He’s that bad?”



“Morals of a horny dog, remember?” She quoted. “Now, here’s your profiles of who’s available or willing to quit their job to take this on. Try to get it done in half an hour or less, and then get back out here as soon as you can, okay?” She handed him a binder.



“See you in a bit,” Kyle said as he headed inside.



As he walked in, he saw the room open up away to the right, a dance floor dominating the room with a stage at one end and a bar lining the long wall to his right. He could see one guy in the room, standing behind the bar pouring himself a mug of coffee.



“Morning,” Kyle called.



“Kyle Watson, aye?” The man called back. He was dressed in jeans, a black t-shirt and his brown hair was short and spiky. He looked to be in amazing shape too, but as he moved, Kyle caught sight of the walking stick in his hand.



“Are you Connor Grant?”



“One and only. Welcome to my house,” The Scotsman replied, waving Kyle to a seat at the bar. “How you getting on?”



“With what?”



“Being a billionaire?”



Kyle chuckled as Connor put the coffee pot back then poured a shot of scotch into the coffee. “It’s taking a bit of getting used to.”



“You got Patricia working for you?”



“Yeah,” Kyle nodded. “She’s being a great help.”



“You want to tap that, man,” Connor said, giving him a pointed look. “A body that fine needs regular attention.”



Kyle smiled, the image of her naked in the shower immediately popping into his head, but he wasn’t really sure he wanted to talk about her to some random guy who takes whisky in his coffee at eleven in the morning.



“So what’s the hampden then?” Connor asked as he made his way around the bar to join Kyle.



“The what?”



“The hampden? Hampden roar? Score?”



“Sorry,” Kyle said. “What?”



Connor limped over and sat down on the bar stool next to Kyle. “What’s the score then? Where’s the profiles?”



“Oh. Here.” He opened the binder up and put it between them on the desk.



Connor looked at the first one, then ripped it straight out and put it face down on the bar to one side. “Wank.”



“No good?”



“Fuck, no. That guy’s a tube.”



Kyle was feeling startled at this guy, and couldn’t quite figure out if he was a madman or exceptionally competent.



“Wank,” Connor repeated, tearing out another page. “Wank. Wank. This one’s a good guy,” He said suddenly turning that profile over in the binder, leaving it attached.



“Wank. Wank. Wank. Good guy. Wank. Wank.”



“Why do you keep saying that?” Kyle asked.



“Chewin the fat thing,” Connor replied, leaving Kyle none the wiser. “So I hear you’ve got a couple of sisters. That a big surprise, was it?”



“Massive surprise,” Kyle agreed, while Connor continued muttering as he tore more pages out the binder. “I only found out a couple of days ago. Didn’t even know I was adopted.”



“Does it matter?”



“That I’m adopted?” Kyle was finding it hard to keep up with the rapid way this Scotsman talked and thought. “No, not really. My parents are my parents, you know?”



“Aye. No point in being a dick about it, is there?”



“Who’s being a dick?” Kyle asked, wondering if he’d just been insulted.



“I don’t know,” Connor shrugged. “You might have been a dick. I’ve no idea. Was just asking.”



“Oh. Sorry.”



“Nae worries,” He replied, sliding the nearly empty folder back to Kyle. “There’s your shortlist.”



Kyle flicked through the profiles. “There’s five names here. Is that right?”



“Aye. As for the rest, I wouldn’t let them look after my mothers compost bin.”



Kyle blinked. “So you’re a straight talker then, Connor.”



“Best way to be, Kyle,” Connor grinned. “Fancy a beer?”



“No, I can’t. I’m in training, but thanks anyway.”



“Suit yourself,” Connor shrugged, taking a sip at his coffee. Kyle could smell the scotch coming from it.



“So which ones are the top three then?” Kyle asked, looking at the binder again.



“Depends on what you want from them, what kind of threats they’re going to have to protect you against and where you’re going to be.” Connor sipped at his coffee again. “Do you know any of that yet?”



“Not got a clue.”



“Cool bananas. Come back and see me when you do.”



Kyle realised that just like that he was done. “Um… cheers for the help, Connor.”



“Nae bother. Had your security briefing from Brian yet?”



“Who?” Kyle asked, cocking an eyebrow.



“Or Edwin? Has be brought you up to speed yet?”



“I don’t think so,” Kyle said, somewhat hesitantly, not really sure what it was he should be brought up to speed on.



“Hang on a minute, before you go.”



Kyle paused as Connor grabbed a pen from the binder then began to tear up one of the discarded profiles into little strips of paper. As Kyle watched, he wrote a quick scribble on one piece, shielding it with his hand. He tilted his hand up so Kyle could read it.



Yes/No? Has Edwin shown you the safe room?



Kyle frowned and shook his head, drawing a thoughtful look from Connor. The Scotsman pulled out a lighter and set fire to the strip of paper then put it in a nearby ashtray. He scribbled on another then showed it to Kyle.



There’s no way Danny wouldn’t have built one. Edwin should have shown you it by now. Why not?



Kyle read it and shrugged. “It’s been pretty busy since we got here.”



Connor set fire to that piece and then wrote a third one.



No proof, just a hunch. There’s something dodgy about that guy. Keep your eyes open. Ask about safe room.



Kyle read it and nodded, repeating it as Connor gave him a serious look.



“Pop back down if you fancy a bevy some time.” The Scotsman said a moment later, as the third message burned away in the ashtray.



“A bevy?”



“Aye, a beverage,” Connor grinned. “A drink. And by a drink I mean let’s get plastered.”



“Will do, Connor,” Kyle said getting up and shaking his hand. “Pleasure meeting you.”



“Take it easy, man,” The Scotsman nodded.



Kyle walked back outside wondering about what Connor had asked. Thinking about it, it seemed entirely right that Danny Tripps would have built a safe room, or a whole series of them somewhere on the Island. If he had, surely it would be a priority that Edwin would take them aside and show them where it was and how to access it.



He was still frowning as he exited the building to find Patricia on the phone. She hung up as soon as she spotted him and walked over to join him.



“That was fast.”



“Yeah, he just ripped through the list, separating them into two piles,” Kyle explained. “Good guys and wanks.”



“Oh for Gods sake,” Patricia muttered.



“Told me to come back when we know what we’re doing, where we’re going and what type of protection we’ll need,” Kyle added.



“Okay, that’s not bad, I guess,” She said, flicking through the folder. “Five? There was twenty two profiles in there.”



Kyle shrugged. “He works fast.”



“And you didn’t drink with him?”



Kyle laughed. “I get the feeling if I did that, I’d be face down in a puddle of my own vomit after a couple of hours.”



“Oh, it probably wouldn’t take that long,” She grinned.



“So how come he’s in such great shape?” Kyle asked. He could see the attraction that women had for Connor. While guys worked with gels and waxes to try and get that ‘just out of bed’ hair look, Connor just got out of bed and it worked. His facial features looked like they’d been specially designed by a master sculptor, and his body was all tall, dark and handsome.



“There’s a lot of theories,” Patricia said, shaking her head. “Most of them are that he’s a freak of nature.”



“Lucky bastard. If that was me, at least I wouldn’t have to go to the gym now,” Kyle muttered, drawing a loud laugh from Patricia in reply.



Kyle finished his lunch, fish and salad this time. His entire body ached, despite the shower he’d had when he got back. At one point he nearly asked Patricia to help him lace up his shoes because he hurt so much when he bent over.



He was waiting for the return of Katie and Kara from the salon where they’d been for the last two hours, and to kill time he was flicking through the five profiles Connor had selected.



He looked up at Patricia and caught her eye. “Patricia, about that masseuse girl.”



“Sarah?”



“Yeah. Look, the idea of a massage is really appealing, so if you could organise one, then that would be great. The thing is I’m a bit uncomfortable with the idea of it being a booty call, know what I mean? Especially if she kinda works for me too.”



Patricia burst out laughing. “That’s so sweet,” She teased. “You’re worried about what others might think of you if you hook up with her, aren’t you?”



Kyle blushed a little but shook his head, chuckling at her reaction. “That’s not it. I’m not into hooking up with a girl I don’t know and haven’t had the chance to decide if I like or not. Plus, she does work for me, which is a bit of an added complication.”



Patricia looked at him. “Okay, I’ll organise it for a straight massage and nothing else. I’ll even stay in the room and brief you on something boring if you want a chaperone.”



Kyle chuckled at the idea of him being chaperoned. “I’m not five.”



“You’re the one being all worried about a horny girl touching you up, remember.”



“I’m not worried,” He protested. “Just…. “



“Worried,” Patricia declared. “I’ll sort it, don’t worry. Oh, your mom called to see how you were.”



“My mom? How did you…”



“I’ve got your mobile,” She explained. “Anyway, we had a quick chat and she said you can call her back tonight if you want.”



“How are they?” Kyle asked quickly, a bit startled that Patricia was answering his personal calls, and feeling a little guilty that he wasn’t.



“They’re fine. The hike is going to schedule, weather’s great and they’ve met a father and daughter who are walking the same route as them, so they’re travelling as a group now.”



Kyle’s eyes narrowed as a thought struck him. “A father and daughter who just happened to be walking the same route?”



“Well spotted. They’re our people, out there to make sure nothing bad happens, and they’re very subtle about it,” Patricia explained.



“Why the hell are security on my parents?” Kyle demanded. “And why hasn’t anyone told me they’re in danger?”



“Kyle. If someone wanted to lever you out of a big chunk of cash, right now, what would be the easiest way to do it?” Patricia asked pointedly.



“Right now? Offer me a lift off this fucking Island,” He blurted, heading for the railing at the side of the pool. He lit up and leaned on the rail, feeling manipulated and annoyed. The thought that his parents were now potential targets and were being manipulated with their, or his knowledge made him angry.



“Which bit pissed you off, Kyle?” Patricia said behind him.



He frowned and brought his cigarette up to his mouth, pausing before speaking. “I’m trying really hard to fit in, to do what’s expected of me, and to do the right thing. I get that I can’t know everything that’s going on, I understand that I’m on a learning curve and there’s only so much information I can get at a time.”



He turned to face Patricia, his expression intense. “Never keep anything from me if it involves my parents, or my friends, and particularly if it involves some kind of threat against them. If they’re going to have security on them, I want to know about it. If there’s a threat, or if something I’m doing is putting them at risk, then I want to know that too. Are we clear?” Kyle asked, realising he had just channelled Jack Nicholson from the movie ‘A Few Good Men’.



She met his gaze. “Of course.”



“Just give me things straight from now on, Patricia. You don’t need to…. handle me, okay? If I think I’m being manipulated, it’ll just make me angry.”



“Who’s manipulating you, Kyle?” She replied quickly. Kyle could see now that she looked angry.



“I don’t know, Patricia. That’s my point, but if I feel like I’m being manipulated and things are being kept from me, it’s gonna make me mad.”



She lowered her head, her expression tense and she took a few deep breaths before speaking again. “Okay. Fair enough. We need to learn each others buttons and triggers as we go, and this is all part of that. Anything involving your parents will be brought to your attention straight away.”



“Good.”



“When you next visit your parents, your mom says you’ve to bring me for dinner. She also told me to make sure you get some new clothes and spend less time gaming. And that you should eat more vegetables too.” Patricia had a slight challenge in her eyes as she delivered the additional information. “Because I had your phone I also checked your personal emails. Want an update on that?”



“When am I getting my phone back?” Kyle asked, resenting the loss of his privacy.



“You’re getting a new prototype phone this afternoon, purely for personal use. I’ll carry your business phone and if it’s a call you need to take then I’ll give it to you.”



“You’ll decide what calls I take and which ones I don’t?” He asked, an incredulous expression on his face.



Patricia looked confused. “Kyle, Mister Tripps would get thousands of calls in to his office every day. Very few made it to his desk. Plus, I already manage your schedule, so is it really a problem if I manage your business calls too? It is my job, after all.”



Kyle took a deep breath, realising he was angry and he was picking arguments with Patricia now for no other reason than she was there. He’d made his point about his folks, and that should have been the end of it, but for some reason he was keeping going at her. He shook his head at his own behaviour.



“Patricia, I think I’m being a bit of a grump right now, and I don’t know why. I’ve said what I said about my parents, and I mean it, but for being grumpy about everything else, I apologise.”



“Oh, my,” Patricia muttered, looking at him as if he’d changed into someone else.



“What?”



“This is going to be fun working for you,” She said, smiling. “I’m not used to apologies and so much reasonable behaviour. It’s really sweet.”



Kyle chuckled. “Sweet?”



“Yeah.You’re so conscientious. It’s… nice.”



“Just what every guy wants to be…. sweet and nice,” He muttered, rolling his eyes.



“By the time Julian and Margaret have got you sorted out, you’ll be fucking hot too,” She grinned, giving him a playful wink.



Kyle chuckled. “Yeah, I still don’t buy that.”



“You’ll just have to trust me,” She said firmly. “As for being a grump, as you put it. When Mister Tripps went off on one he wouldn’t stop for at least an hour. You were all of two minutes, so don’t worry about it.”



“Just tell me if I’m behaving like a dick, okay?”



Patricia chuckled. “Okay. But I probably won’t word it like that.”



“No, I don’t imagine you would.”



“Want to hear about your emails now?” Patricia asked.



Kyle chuckled. “Yeah, go for it. This is my personal account?”



“Yeah, through your phone. Anyway, you’ve got three from Ed, one from Casey and one from your folks with some scenery photographs. There’s a load of spam, an email from an employment agency asking you to get in touch about a position you sent your CV in for. I don’t imagine you’ll be following that up now though?”



“Yeah, I think that’s pretty redundant now. What did Casey say?”



“Hope you’re okay, there’s loads of rumours flying around the office, your old boss is being a bastard and has dumped your workload on Casey. He also said he’s having coffee tonight with someone called Tony.” Patricia frowned. “Yep, that’s all he said.”



“Good for Casey. Tony’s a girl in the office he’s been chasing for a date for months, so it looks like he’s finally got a date. As for Worthington, is there anything we can do about him?”



“Worthington? Is that your old boss?”



“Yeah. He’s a total asshole, takes anything that isn’t procedurally acceptable as a personal insult,” Kyle explained.



“Procedurally acceptable?”



“It’s one of his catchphrases.”



“Sounds a bit of a control freak,” Patricia said, frowning. “What’s your other problems with him?”



“Oh, he lets the women in the office away with murder, tries to flirt with them which is horrible to watch, and treats all the guys like shit. He’s not very smart, he’s fugly, and he looks like Danny DeVito playing the Penguin. In the Batman movie.”



Patricia was chuckling at the mental image Kyle was conjuring up. “Anything that could fall under the terms of sexual harassment?”



“Oh, fuck yes. And sexual discrimination. Bullying too,” Kyle added. “I really don’t like him.”



“So who’s the office favourite to replace him if he was to leave?”



Kyle thought for a second. “Me or Casey, I guess.”



“Okay, I’ll make some calls,” She nodded. “You okay with Casey getting a step up the ladder?”



Kyle frowned. “He’s not good with confrontation.”



“How bad is he?”



“He’s great at influencing people in a meeting. He’s great at talking to women. First sign of any potential confrontation with a bloke though, and Casey is gone. He’s a bit of a pussy sometimes. Aside from that though, he’d be great at the job. The way the office has been run though…. I don’t know.” Kyle felt crap talking about one of his best friends faults like that, but he didn’t want his buddy to end up in a job that would make him unhappy.



“One of my colleagues, Peter, he’s like that with confrontation,” Patricia said. “Usually we just give that part of his job to Heidi though. She’s a born ball-buster. As for Casey, you could put an assistant manager under him who deals with man-management of the staff, leaving Casey free to deal with the strategic stuff, or you can leave it up to them to appoint someone else.”



“I could really do with calling him to find out how things are,” Kyle said. “Plus, I need to talk him anyway, about….”



“Yeah. I’ll set some time aside tonight for some calls for you.”



“Not tonight,” Kyle said quickly. “He’s got a date with Tony, remember.”



“Okay. I’ll see what we can do today then. Want to hear about Ed’s emails now?”



Kyle chuckled. “Honestly, I’m not sure. They can be… colourful.”



“Yeah. Well, one contained a few pictures of midget porn with other peoples heads photoshopped on them. Badly, I might add. Another was about some girl you gave Ed’s number to?”



“Caroline,” Kyle said, grinning. “She was my limo driver that brought me to the airport.”



“Okay,” Patricia nodded. “Well, she’s been texting Ed intimate pictures of herself, but he’s complaining because she won’t show her face and he really wants to,” Patricia paused, an eyebrow cocked. “Make her do the Angry Dragon.”



Kyle burst out laughing. “He’s such a fucking tool.”



“What the hell is an angry dragon?”



Kyle explained between bouts of laughter. “It’s a sex thing. After you’ve cum in a girls mouth, you’re meant to smack the back of her head so hard the cum comes out her nose. When she gets up she looks..”



“Like an angry dragon?” Patricia guessed, chuckling.



“That’s it,” Kyle nodded. “What else did he say? He usually comes up with several of these. He’s got a ridiculous vocabulary for anything sexual.”



“Nothing else I didn’t already know, but colourful is a good description of his language. He keeps texting her to arrange a hookup, but I think she’s teasing him like crazy.”



“Yeah, that sounds about right. It’ll do good to be teased for a while anyway,” Kyle said, smirking. “And the third email?”

“Just asking how the business trips going, some suggestions on how you can fellate the directors you’re travelling with, and instructions to bring him back a gift.”



Kyle could tell she found reciting Ed’s messages to be quite amusing, which wasn’t really surprising because Ed could be outrageously funny, if amazingly crude. What did surprise him was her saying the word ‘fellate’ without a trace of embarassment.



“I’ll have to think up a response and email him back. I take it I can do that with this new phone I’m getting?”



“And then some,” She nodded.



Kyle’s eyes flickered over her shoulder as he spotted Katie, Kara, Heidi and Garius arriving.



“Oh wow,” He murmured, seeing Kara’s new hairstyle. Gone was the long, curls. In it’s place was something new and very eyecatching. Her hair was straight, without a single curl in sight, and it reminded Kyle of Jennifer Annistons hairstyle in the latter years of Friends, although it was more sharply angled at the ends. It shone in the sun, all black, straight and sleek.



Patricia echoed his sentiment a moment later. “That really suits her. I see they haven’t done much with Katie’s hair though.”



Kyle looked at her hair as they approached. He could see that it had softer lines to it, a lot more feminine in a subtle way, and that it really suited her softer features. “No, they have. They’ve made it suit her more than it did before.”



Kyle greeted his sisters, complimenting them both on their hair. Kara just shrugged it off, while Katie looked delighted and then they launched straight into their next briefing. It was a long two hours before they emerged back outside again, only to be whisked into an hour with Mister Crowler on the legalities of what they could and couldn’t say in public without leaving themselves liable to legal action, and what areas of conversation to avoid like the plague.



When it came to managing and controlling conversations, and how to keep in the right areas, Kara proved more adept at it than either Katie or Kyle, perhaps because of her experience handling drunk men in the club, and Kyle made a mental note to never underestimate Kara just because she’d been a stripper.



It was nearly half past five by the time they finished up and Kyle had to hustle to get down to meet Julian for his third workout of the day. He found himself quite surprised at how much energy he had and how good he felt, apart from his tortured muscles. When he mentioned it to Patricia she put it down to the injections, the diet and the endorphins. Either that, or the real pain hadn’t kicked in yet.



Julian worked his upper body again, merciless in his enthusiasm, and more than once Kyle felt like quitting. Eventually though, he made it to the warm down, and he trembled through the last of the exercises before stumbling back up to the suite, drenched in sweat.



This time when he got up to his room, Patricia had a hot bath waiting for him, filled with salts and other fragranced stuff that she assured him would ease his sore muscles. When she slipped out the room, Kyle disrobed and slid into the greenish blue water.



The hot water was like heaven and he lay there for a moment, only his fingers visible on either side of the bath above the coloured water.



“How’s that?” Patricia asked, re-entering the bathroom. She sat down on a drawer unit and opened up a binder, placing it on her lap.



Kyle rolled his eyes at yet another moment in the last couple of days where she’d been in the bathroom with him, with one of them naked. “We should get a workstation put in here.”



“Yeah. Not so much a hot desk… a wet desk,” She chuckled.



Kyle gave her a tired smile. “The bath’s good. Thanks for that, Patricia.”



“No problem. We’re going to try and fit Sarah in later for a massage before you go to bed too, but we’ll see how the evenings going.”



Kyle nodded, sliding himself a little further down into the hot water. “What’s in the binder.”



“Draft of the Press Release. Casey emailed you twenty minutes ago to say he’d had a call from a reporter at work. They’d asked to be put through to you, but your phone is transferring all your calls to his desk, so he got the call. Said they were asking general questions about you, nothing too specific, but they wanted details of your current business trip, and how to find you.”



“Fuck,” Kyle muttered, sitting a little more upright and wincing as his stomach muscles protested. “So that’s the press got my name already? What about Kara or Katie?”



“Haven’t heard anything yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Probably hours. If not, it’ll break tomorrow.”



“So what’s the plan then?”



“We issue a release, stating that Danny Tripps last will and testament was read yesterday to his benefactors, three children he had with his wife twenty three years ago, who were given up for adoption following his wifes death. The three children, Kyle, Kara and Katarina have since been informed and are currently on Mister Tripps private Island meeting with his legal and business teams. Tomorrow they will be attending the private funeral of Danny Tripps with a number of select guests. We expect a statement will be issued by them early next week.”



“Just like that?”



“Yep. Nothing too committed, as far as the business is concerned it’s a fairly sensible press release, with nothing dramatic, no big announcements and it shows you’re getting advice too. From a personal perspective it doesn’t really give much away about either of you, but we’ll put a few photographs of each of you up, and leak them a little info. Stamford Business graduate, successful writer, self-employed photographer, that kind of thing.”



“You seem pretty relaxed about it,” Kyle noted.



“We’ve got good people who know how to deal with the media. Want to hear the bad stuff now?”



“That wasn’t it?” Kyle asked, frowning unhappily.



“Nope. If we release this to the press in an hour, then later tonight there’ll be ex-girlfriends, colleagues, people you went to school with and people you’ve never heard of in your life getting interviewed on TV, online and in print. Some of it might hint at facts, but the rest of it will generally be bullshit made up by desperate journalists or twisted by their editors.”



“And I thought today couldn’t get any worse,” He murmured, wanting nothing more than to sink under the water.



“Kyle!” The shout came from the front door of the suite, but before Patricia could call a response, he recognised Katie’s voice shouting, “Are you back there?” It was followed moments later by her rushed footsteps.



“I’m in the bath,” He called, but wasn’t surprised when her head popped through the arched doorway a moment later.



“Oh,” She said, seeing his head floating in the coloured water. “You’re in the bath.”



“Well spotted. So I assume you’ve heard then?”



“About the press enquiry? Yeah.”



She shook her head. “Not that. This.” She flourished a piece of paper at him.



“Can you read it to me,” Kyle said, sighing. “I don’t think I can lift my arms up.”



“Oh, that’s right. You’ve been working out.” Katie sat down on the edge of the bath, and lifted the piece of paper up. Just at that her assistant, Heidi, stuck her head in the doorway.



“Hi, Heidi,” Kyle said flatly. “It seems this is the place to be. Come on in, have a seat.”



“How’s the water?”



“Nice and hot, and thankfully coloured enough to keep me hidden,” He murmured.



“Right,” Katie said, lifting the paper again. “Tomorrow at the funeral, one of us has to get up and give a speech.”



Kyle waited for more, but Katie just looked at him.



“Is there more?”



“One of us has to get up and give a speech, Kyle,” She repeated.



“Okay.”



“Well, you seem remarkably calm about it.”



Kyle shrugged and then immediately groaned as his muscles moved. “Speaking in public doesn’t bother me. It’s not gonna be televised or anything, is it Patricia?”



“No. It’s an invite only event, although the timing might be better. We may have an issue with press helicopters now, but we can put up canopies or ask for a favour and see if we can get a military exercise on in the area to keep the airspace vacated.”



“We can do that?” Kyle asked. “That’s impressive.”



“Mister Tripps has many contacts in many areas, and he’s owed a lot of favours.”



“I’ll make the call,” Heidi suggested. “The Special Forces guys in Eglin Air Force Base in Florida still owe us after we let them use this place for an exercise.”



“You let the US Special Forces use this place to train?” Katie asked. “How cool is that?”



“About seven or eight years ago. It was supposed to be a hostage-rescue thing, and they claimed it a success,” Patricia explained. “They caused around four hundred thousand dollars worth of damage though, so they haven’t asked to come back again, and they’ve been very helpful when we’ve needed it because we still haven’t told the media.”



“How the hell did they do that?” Kyle asked.



“They blasted through windows and doors with explosives all over the Island. Sunk two of the boats, blew up the pier and quite a bit of stuff went missing, most of it alcohol and steak,” Heidi added. “When Mister Tripps found out he laughed so hard he nearly choked.”



“Sorry, but can we get back on the topic here?” Katie asked, still distressed at the thought of speaking in public.



“I’ll do it, Katie,” Kyle told her.



“Hey, are you guys in there?” Kyle heard Kara. He rolled his eyes, spotting his other sister now entering the bathroom. “Did you speak to him?” She asked Katie.



“He says he’ll do it.”



Kara breathed a sigh of relief. “Thanks, Kyle.”



“You’re not comfortable speaking in public either then?”



“No. I’m really not. Never had to do it,” Kara added.



“How many people are going to be there?” Kyle asked, curious because he really didn’t know much about the funeral arrangements yet.



Patricia moved so that Kara could have her seat and sat on the end of the bath next to Kyle’s head. Heidi lounged against the wall.



“Let’s see,” Patricia began. “There’s going to be around fifty staff from the Island, as well as all of us, obviously. Then there’s the guests who are flying in tomorrow morning and staying overnight. There’s fifteen of them, and another twenty or so who are only here for the funeral and a few drinks afterwards, but they’re going back out again, so all in, about a hundred or so.”



“You’ve only listed around eighty, Trish,” Heidi pointed out.



“Yeah, but come on. Do you expect all the kitchen and housekeeping staff not to attend? They don’t all need to be on duty, so a lot of them will make it there and then nip straight back to work as soon as it’s done.”



“Yeah, I suppose,” Heidi nodded. “It’s what I’d do anyway.”



“Me too,” Patricia agreed. “Want a hand writing it, Kyle?”



“Please. First though. Can you all get out my bathroom please?”



Katie, Kara and Heidi were all chuckling as they left, but Patricia stayed where she was.



“You too, Patricia. I need to get out the bath.”



“Sit up first,” She said firmly.



“What for?”



“Just do as you’re told, Kyle.”



He chuckled and forced his tortured muscles to pull his torso up into a seated position. “Oh that hurt.”



“I bet.”



He heard her splash her hand in the water behind him and then he felt her hands on his back, and he could smell the soap in her hand as she worked her fingers into the muscles in his shoulders and upper back.



“Oh man, that’s good.” Kyle could feel the stiffness and tension of his muscles easing a little as her fingers probed and pushed, massaging soap into his skin and every so often, cupping a handful of water up and rinsing him clean.



He closed his eyes, drifting in a sea of pleasure as her fingers worked on him, and he didn’t notice he’d grown an erection until it began to tighten up to full stiffness. His muscles tensed as he suddenly became aware of it and he unconsciously sat up a little straighter.



“Is that a bit better now?” Patricia asked behind him. For a second he thought she was asking about his erection.



“Yeah, that feels a lot better already, Patricia. Thanks.”



“No problem. I know you’ve been working hard, so I just wanted to help,” She added, standing up. “Now, can you manage to get up on your own?”



“I’ll manage,” He replied quickly.



“Good. I’ll put the shower on for you so you can rinse off, and I’ll be out there getting your dinner clothes sorted out.”



Kyle nodded, waited until she turned the shower on and left before he finally moved. Getting out the bath was agony, but he was all too aware of his erection so he quickly hobbled into the shower and shut the door.



It only took him a few minutes to get rid of his erection this time, the dual memories of Patricia’s body in the shower earlier and her hands on his skin moments ago serving to provide more than enough inspiration for a pretty powerful orgasm.



He was still a little out of breath when he dried off and walked into the bedroom. Patricia had laid out some clothes for him, and was sitting in one of the armchairs at the side of the dressing room, a notepad on her lap.



“What you doing?”



“Getting started on notes for your speech tomorrow. I’m glad you’re doing it, by the way.”



“Why?”



“Because it means your sisters are beginning to look to you to lead. Take responsibility,” She explained. “It means you’re already the alpha.”



“Well, I am the only male out of the three of us,” He pointed out. “Besides, I’ve done a hundred presentations at work, so I’m used to talking from notes. They’re not.”



“That’s the other reason I’m glad,” She added. “You’ll do a better job of representing the three of you on this occasion.”



Her head turned back to her notepad, her pen darting across the page as she scribbled down bulletpoints. Kyle frowned and looked at the clothes laid out on the bed. The now customary jeans, a pair of retro sneakers and socks and a faded black t-shirt with a Ramones print on the front.



“Were the Ramones a seventies rock band or something?” He asked.



“Yeah, one of the founders of the punk scene too.”



“I can’t wear this,” Kyle said. “I can’t even name one of their records. Besides, where did this come from? I never bought it.”



“Margaret’s been getting clothes shipped in for the three of you. Just swap it for something else.”



Her head turned back to the notepad, so Kyle walked into the dressing area and his eyes widened. Where before it had two rails of items hung from it, now there was seven, as well as the full shelves and an additional drawer unit that he didn’t think was there before.



“She’s been busy,” He called through.



“Yeah. She does that.”



Kyle flipped through a few more of the t-shirts he could see that had designs on them, and opted for one with the classic Rolling Stones logo with the tongue on it. As he approached the bed he glanced over at Patricia and he wondered if she’d glance up at him as he got changed again.



“Just gonna get changed, Patricia,” He warned her as he stood facing the bed, Patricia off to the right facing him.



“Yeah,” She said casually.



Rather than watch her as he tried to dress, Kyle listened to the sound of her pen scratching on the paper as she worked. He slid on his t-shirt, wincing as his muscles stretched, and then pulled the jeans around in front of him. He listened carefully as he let slip his towel, feeling incredibly exposed and more than a little nervous, and as he lifted his left leg to pull his jeans on he could hear she’d stopped writing.



He kept his eyes fixed on what he was doing, and pulled the denim up around his left leg, knowing he was exposing himself to her simply by the way his hips were angled.



It took a few seconds, but his left leg was finally sorted and he paused to listen, but couldn’t hear her writing at all. He didn’t dare glance across, because she would just lower her head quickly, so he lifted his right leg and slipped it into his jeans.



As he pulled them up over his hips, he almost grinned, realising that he was going to force his semi-erect cock and balls up and out over his lowered fly, pushing them out on display. At the last second he paused and used his hand to slip them inside the jeans, manipulate them into a comfortable position and then fastened the waistbutton.



He heard the pen begin scratching on the notepad again before he got the zipper pulled up, and he realised he was breathing a little hard.



“That was fucking hot, and she was totally watching me,” He thought to himself, his heart racing as he sat on the bed to pull on his socks and shoes.



It took him a few minutes of grimaces and groans, but eventually he got his footwear done up and stood up, shaking his jeans into place over them.



“Dressed. Finally,” He added.



Patricia had a half-smile on her face as she looked up. “Oh. Excellent. Like the t-shirt.”



“Thanks.”



“There’s a jacket you should wear too,” She told him, setting her notepad aside and getting up. “It’ll give you something to carry your new phone in.”



“Okay,” He nodded.



Patricia slipped into the dressing room and returned a moment later with a black linen jacket, cut in the style of a suit jacket. It was nice and light and went well with his outfit, and Kyle was impressed at how comfortable it was.



“Don’t wear it when you’re sitting down or anything, but it suits you when you’re standing up,” She told him, eyeballing him.



“Make me look hot?”



“You’re doing fine on that front, Kyle,” She replied, then paused. “Right, I better go get changed myself. See you downstairs?”



“Sure.”



Kyle was on his way out the door, when he noticed she’d left her notepad lying on the chair. He went over and picked it up, curious to see what she’d written.



The first half of the page was a collection of words. “Come as a surprise to us… only knew of him what we’d heard in the media… Legacy…. Discovering who he was… staggering achievements…”



Then the words tailed off and picked up a couple of lines further down the page. “Yum”, was scratched out, and next to it were the words, “Get a fucking grip, girl!!!!” He smiled, figuring that must have been the first thing she wrote after he’d pulled his jeans on and she’d stopped to watch.



He continued reading, but it was all more concepts, bulletpoints and words. He flipped to the next page but it was empty.



Kyle considered taking it to her room, but then she’d assume he read it and things might get awkward, so he put it back down on the chair and headed outside.



He felt like he was bouncing on air. The incredibly hot Patricia was into him.



Dinner was a bit more fun than it was the night before. It didn’t take long before the girls were telling Garius and Mister Crowler about Kyle’s impromptu meeting in the bath earlier, and teasing him about his unorthodox management style. Kyle took it all in good stead, promising to hold his next impromptu meeting in the pool so they could all join him.



The conversation soon turned to the events of the next day though, specifically the funeral. Danny Tripps was to be buried in a small grove on the north side of the Island, as per his own wishes, and guests would begin arriving from mid morning until right up to the start of the ceremony at three in the afternoon.



It was Katie who asked who the incoming guests were first, and Heidi pulled out a binder from beside her chair, handing out copies of the guest list to each of them. Kyle glanced down at his, and his eyes widened as he recognised many of the names on it.



There was to be acoustic musical performances from Sting, Pink and Neil Finn, and the guest list was a mixture of models, actors and actresses and directors, some of which Kyle recognised as former dates of Danny Tripps. He just sat there with his mouth open.



“Oh my God,” Katie murmured. “This is like a who’s who on the red carpet.”



“These people can’t all be coming here tomorrow,” Kara said. “This is nuts.”

“They were all personal friends of Mister Tripps,” Garius assured her. “They’ll be nice and friendly to you, don’t worry.”



Kyle read the list again. Anna Friel, Ashley Judd, Charlize Theron, Christy Turlington, Elizabeth Shue, Helena Bonham-Carter. Lena Headey, Salma Hayek.



“Are all these women ex-girlfriends of Danny Tripps?” He asked.



“All except Salma Hayek and Elizabeth Shue. They were just friends, but he dated the rest of them at one point or another,” Patricia explained. “And not the guys. They were just friends too.”



Kyle finished the list. Johnny Depp, Kevin Smith, Mike Myers and Nicolas Cage.



“Holy shit.”



“Don’t get all star-struck,” Patricia warned. “They’re all just people, the same as you guys are.”



“Johnny Depp, though?” Katie murmured. “Nom Nom.”



Kyle chuckled. “Is this Kevin Smith as in Clerks Kevin Smith? Silent Bob?”



“The very same,” Heidi nodded.



“Man, I love his movies,” Kyle told them. “Well, all his View Askew stuff. Didn’t really get into his last one. Wasn’t like a Kevin Smith movie, know what I mean?”



“Red something?” Katie asked.



“Think so.”



“Probably best not to tell him that,” Heidi warned. “His put-downs can be legendary.”



“Yeah, I’ve heard.”



“Who are all the other names on the list?” Kara asked. “The ones I haven’t heard of.”



“They’re business associates, the appointed CEO’s of each company that Mister Tripps appointed. None of them are staying overnight, so they’ll only be here for half an hour after the ceremony.”



“Pink and Sting,” Kyle murmured. “I know it’s a funeral, but is it wrong I’m excited at hearing them sing live?”



That one drew a few chuckles around the table.



“Don’t forget Neil Finn,” Mister Crowler pointed out. “Great musician. Do you remember Crowded House?”



“Everywhere you go. Always take the weather with you?” Katie asked.



“Yeah. They had a huge album, didn’t they? Woodface? Is that right?”



“That’s Neil Finn,” Mister Crowler added.



“Cool.”



They’d finished dinner by that point and Kyle disappeared for a smoke. When he got back to the table, Patricia handed him a mobile phone, slightly larger and heavier than he was used to.



“New phone.”



“Cool. How does it work?” He asked, examining the black and charcoal device.



“Watch,” Patricia said, lifting her own silver one. She pushed a button on the side and the screen on top concertina’d open to treble in size, bringing it up to the size of an iPad or a little larger than his Kindle.



“This a folding touchscreen?” He asked, opening his own.



“Yep,” Patricia nodded. “You can use it folded or opened, but either way it works. Don’t ask me how though. I’ve no idea.”



Kyle folded his closed again and tapped the screen. He unlocked it following the zig-zag on the screen and navigated through the menu quickly, finding it instinctive and intuitive, a signature of a Danny Tripps product.



“Now, this is your personal phone, so only give out the number to people you don’t mind calling you at any time, day or night,” Patricia explained. “If it’s anything to do with business, you give them the office number and it comes through on this one,” She finished, holding up the silver handset. “I’ll be handling this one for you.”



“Okay.”



“If all of you tap on the bottom right icon, you’ll see its a secured messenger system. We’ve been trialing it in meetings for passing suggestions or comments between the people at the table and those supporting them,” Garius told them all. “It’s very helpful, and quite discrete if you sit it on your knee, or in a folder. Plus you don’t have to type, so you can use a pen or a pointer to handwrite messages, obviously without smearing ink all over it.”



“Yeah, I can see why we’d want to avoid that,” Kyle chuckled.



He tapped on the email icon and the screen split into two, the top half his personal email account, the bottom half his business address. He shook his head, realising he didn’t even know what it was.



Another email from Casey had come in, titled, “Dude. Get in touch asap!” Kyle clicked on it and it opened quickly. He read it and frowned.



“Casey’s had another call from a different journalist this time, asking about his relationship with me, how long they’ve been friends, stuff like that. He wants to know what it’s all about.”



“Might be time to give him a call,” Patricia suggested. “The press release is due to go out in about half an hour anyway. Same goes for the rest of you. If there’s anyone you want to give a heads-up to.”



The table seemed to break up without another word as Kyle, Katie, Kara, Garius, Heidi and Patricia all dispersed around the pool or inside the buildings to make calls.



Kyle called Casey first and told him what was going on. His reaction at first was disbelief, but then as Kyle talked some more it made sense to him, and the imminent announcement to the press gave it all credibility.



Kyle glanced around to make sure everyone was out of earshot and then told him about Katie and Kara. There was a startled silence on the other end of the line, and then eventually Casey began to laugh.



“That’s a brutal hand to get dealt, bro,” Casey told him.



“You know I couldn’t have known, right?”



“I know, man. Listen, your secret’s safe with me, okay?”



“Thanks, Case. I knew I could rely on you, buddy,” Kyle said, relief evident in his tone. “But here’s the thing. I need a favour.”



“Whatever you need.”



Kyle too a deep breath. “I need you to find Ed and keep him away from the press.”



“Oh, shit.”



“Exactly.”



“I’m on my way,” Casey said quickly. “Give him a call though.”



“Doing it now, Casey. Look, I should be back in a few days time, but I’ll give you a call sometime tomorrow, okay?”



“Take it easy, Kyle. Tell Katie to tell Margarita I said Hi.”



Kyle laughed. “Will do.”



Kyle looked at the impressive handset and pressed the ‘end’ button. He braced himself for his next call. Once Ed believed it wasn’t a joke he’d go hyper faster than a kid on a diet of straight sugar and E-numbers.



It took twenty minutes, two cigarettes and lots of persuasion to get Ed to believe it was real, and then another ten minutes of trying to calm him down. Kyle put up with Ed singing an impromptu song of ‘My buddy’s a billionaire’, dozens of ear-spitting whoops, and half of America’s daily quota of expletives before Casey showed up. Kyle left him to tell Ed the bit about Katie and Kara and hung up the phone.



He felt mentally drained by the call, so seeing everyone had dispersed, he headed back up to his suite. An impatient Margaret was waiting for him to check his measurements again for his suit fitting, although thankfully this time she didn’t cup his balls or poke at his cock. She departed after only a few minutes, and a very relieved Kyle sat down on the sofa.



“There you are,” Patricia said, emerging from her bedroom. “Did Margaret get you?”



“Yeah. She’s gone.”



“How did it go with Casey and Ed?”



Kyle frowned. “Went well with Casey. Ed got a bit… hyper, but Casey’s with him now and he’ll keep him from causing too much mayhem, I hope.”



“Did you tell him you’d clear his gambling debt?”



“Didn’t get the chance.”



“Well, the press release has gone out, and the office phones have gone bananas with requests for interviews and more information on the three of you. We took your facebook profiles and stuff like that offline, got photos of you taken down too, but the press will get stuff like that from other peoples pages. Now the frenzy begins,” She said, rolling her eyes.



“Frenzy?”



“Yeah, the media frenzy. The race to get the scoop, and don’t let the truth get in the way.”



Kyle frowned. “You know, I’ve never met the press yet, or seen the paparazzi, but I already hate them,” He told her.



“That’s not unusual. Mister Tripps used to refer to them as parasites sucking on the ass of the successful.”



Kyle chuckled.



“You need to call your folks, let them know,” She reminded him.



“Good point,” Kyle said, trying to rise out the sofa and groaning aloud as his body reminded him of the punishment he’d given it that day.



“You’ll be worse tomorrow,” Patricia warned.



“You’re full of good news,” Kyle muttered as he finally got himself to his feet and went out on the balcony to call his parents.



The call went well. His folks were obviously trying to be supportive to him, and he was trying to be supportive to them and warn them that the media may well be looking for them, so all three of them on the call were being really nice.



In an effort to change the subject, Kyle’s mom said about speaking to Patricia and that she seemed really nice, and how she said lots of nice things about Kyle, which distracted him in a big way. He explained that he’d be back in a few days and he promised to bring her round for dinner.



He glossed over the impending funeral, the A-list guests and described life on the Island as having all the best facilities, but a buttload of work to do all the time, so then he had to promise not to work too hard.



His Dad reminded him that they were there any time he needed to talk, and at that, they were done.



It was the first time he’s spoken to them in a few days, since before he’d left the office, let alone the country, and he knew they were trying to play things calmly and just let him steer his own course, the same as they always did.



“Was that your parents?” He heard from his right. Kyle turned to see Kara standing at the top of the stairs.



“Yeah, just checking they’re okay,” He replied. “Did you make all your calls?



She shrugged. “There was no-one I needed to call.”



Kyle’s heart reached out to her, remembering how lonely he felt during his first night here, and wondering what it must be like to have no-one in your phonebook that you could call a friend. “What about your father?”



“Him?” She snorted. “He can go fuck himself.”



Kyle didn’t know what to say to that, so he pulled out his cigarettes and lit up. Kara joined him, taking one from his packet.



“Hey, this could be our thing, you know,” He suggested. “The late night smoke on the balcony and a chat about how the day’s gone.”



Kara smirked. “Your day was sore, wet, some easy meetings and now you’ve got a speech to write.”



“Your day was confusing, overwhelming, boring and frightening,” Kyle guessed.



“How?” She asked, looking at him carefully.



“Confusing, overwhelming and frightening with all the information at the meetings, I’m guessing, and the boring at the salon was a hunch. But probably true for the meetings too,” He explained, smiling to show no offence was meant by his words.



“Oh, that’s not far from the truth,” She said, as if challenged. “Okay, a few more for yours. You’re confused too.”



“About what?” Kyle grinned.



Kara tilted her head back towards the interior of Kyle’s suite, then whispered, “Her.”



Kyle glanced around then nodded his head, knowing she was referring to Patricia.



“What are you confused about?” She asked quietly, sliding closer to Kyle and keeping her voice low.



“I don’t know if she’s into me or not for starters,” Kyle said, but Kara immediately rolled her eyes.



“It’s kinda obvious, Kyle,” She whispered. “She never takes her eyes off you. I think it bothers her that she’s like that too.”



“We set ground rules. She said that we couldn’t hook up. That was crossing the line.”



Kara chuckled. “So?”



“So I don’t know if the rules still stand or if she wants me to make a move? Plus, she works for me, and she’s really fucking good at her job.”



“So what if she’s good at her job. You think she’s hot. She thinks you’re hot. It’s as simple as that, as far as I’m concerned,” Kara replied softly.



“It’s not always that simple,” Kyle said, thinking of Katie. Then he thought of Kara, and his memories of her.



“Of course it is,” Kara chuckled.



“So say I met this really hot dancer once, right?” Kyle began slowly.



“Oh, no, Kyle,” Kara said quickly. “You’re not going there.”



He chuckled. “See? Not always that simple.”



She snorted, and they sat in silence for a few minutes.



“Right, I’ve got to work out at six o’clock in the frickin morning,” Kyle said, breaking the silence. “I better go crash out.”



“If I’m up I’ll come with you,” Kara said. “Although it’s unlikely.”



“Want me to wake you?”



“At six o’clock in the morning? Fuck, no.” She said, grinning.



“Listen, if you ever want to talk about anything, and I mean serious stuff too, you know you can speak to me any time, right?”



She looked intently at him. “I’ll keep that in mind.”



It was like touching some invisible barrier that instantly brought her defences up when asked too personal a question, Kyle realised. He frowned, knowing that he’d have to be careful not to disappoint her like every other man in the world had in her life.



“Okay, I’m going to bed.” He hoisted himself out the chair, gritting his teeth at the sharp pains in his arms and stomach. “Night, Kara.”



“Night, Kyle.”



He walked through to his bedroom, stripped off and slid into bed, and just as he was reaching for the light, he heard Patricia say, “Wait.”



Kyle got a fright. He didn’t even know she was in the room, sat in the chair she’d been in earlier when he got changed, the notepad still in her lap.



“Fuck. I didn’t even know you were there,” He said, when he’d settled back down under the sheet.



“I’ve just about got a first draft cobbled together for tomorrow,” She said, standing up and walking over to the bed.



“Let’s see it.”



She handed him the notepad, and as he lay there reading, she hopped up on the other side of the bed, stretching out beside him.



It was seriously messing with Kyle’s concentration, her being on the bed beside him, him being naked under the single sheet, but he kept dragging his mind back on the task at hand.



“This is pretty good,” He said finally.



“Only pretty good?” She said, gasping. “I think it’s pretty awesome.”



“Doesn’t flow right in a few places. Got a pen?”



Patricia looked around, then hopped off the bed and returned a moment later. “Here.”



Kyle grimaced and pulled his knees up so he had something to lean on, then rested the notepad on them.



“Okay, here, second paragraph. That’s not something I’d say,” He stated, going on to explain how it seemed awkward to him to talk that way, when normally he’d say it a different way.



While he began to scribble between the lines of her notes, she would point out a bit and they’d discuss it, and almost without noticing, she was right up alongside Kyle’s arm. His eyes kept straying to her vest top, particularly the slight gap between her breasts, and every time he looked his concentration went to pot. Remembering his earlier discussion with Kara, Kyle figured what the hell.



“You should just sleep in here,” He said, trying to sound off-hand. “That way you wouldn’t have to get up to wake me, there would be a shorter walk to the bathroom, and I apparently give good cuddles.”



Patricia laughed. “That’s against the rules, remember.”



“Yeah, but those rules were put in place before we got to know each other. I think we’d be okay, sleeping in the same bed,” Kyle continued, trying to appear half-joking, but presenting the option anyway. “Plus, it’s not like we haven’t seen each other naked.”



“What’s naked got to do with it?” She nudged his arm. “Someone’s jumping the gun a bit.”



“Hey, you’re the one who said you sleep naked, remember? And you already know I do, because I came in here, stripped off and got into bed, and only after that did you let me know you were in the room.” Kyle was grinning, the speech forgotten for the moment.



“I was concentrating on the speech,” She shrugged, drawing Kyle’s eyes once again.



“And you never peeked?”



“Nope,” She said, shaking her head, but Kyle could see her trying to hide a smile.



“And you never peeked earlier when I was putting my jeans on?”



“Nope.”



“Or in the dressing room yesterday?”



“Most definitely not,” She replied, trying hard not to laugh now.



“Patricia, I think you’re a bit of pervert,” He said firmly. “And that’s fine by me.”



“Hey, you’re making all these accusations, and you’re the one who walked in on me in the shower this morning, Mister,” She said, nudging him again.



“Which could just as easily have been you waiting for me to come in, for the sole purpose of flashing me,” Kyle argued, laughing when she nudged him again. “Hey, I’m not judging. Everyone needs a hobby.”



“You wish I was flashing you, Kyle Watson,” She told him.



“Actually, yes. I do. Go for it.”



Patricia laughed. “Never gonna happen.”



“Don’t believe you.”



“You don’t believe I’ll never flash you?”



Kyle nodded. “Yep. I think you want to do it again already.”



“I think exhaustion’s making your brain say crazy things.” She grinned at him.



“Yeah, but you’re enjoying the conversation, same as I am,” He pointed out, his tone turning a little more serious.



“Still doesn’t make it a good idea,” Patricia replied in the same tone. “And doesn’t mean this is gonna happen either.”



“You are into me though, aren’t you?” He said softly a moment later.



“I’ll get over it.”



“Same as I’m into you.”



“You’ll get over it too,” She said gently. “Seriously, it’s not a good idea.”



“I think you’re wrong,” Kyle said, rolling on his side, their faces now barely inches apart.



He could feel her breath on his skin, and he knew they were both breathing deeply, wondering if they should. Kyle lifted a hand to her chin, readying himself to move in for a kiss when Patricia suddenly rolled away from him.



Suddenly she was on her feet at the side of the bed.



“I’m not gonna pretend I’m not tempted,” She said softly. “But I really believe this isn’t a good idea. Not if we’re going to keep working together.”



Kyle felt the disappointment settle like a lead weight on his chest and he sighed. “I get where you’re coming from Patricia,” He said a moment later. “In fairness, you did predict this too.”



“I know. That’s what makes it all the more infuriating,” She said, a gentle smile on her face. “I’m fighting with myself about following my own advice.”



“You’re not upset?” Kyle asked as she rounded the bed and collected the notepad and pen.



She shook her head. “No. In fact I’m already preparing jokes so I can mock you about it tomorrow. Best way of dealing with this.”



Kyle smiled. “Sleep well, Patricia.”



“You too. See you for your wakeup call at six.”



Kyle watched her as she disappeared out the doorway, understanding why she said no and not blaming her at all, but still a little exhilerated at how close he’d come. He rolled onto his back and reached out to turn the light off, groaning from the pain in his arm.



“Fucking muscles.”



Edwin



He wriggled in the leather chair, facing the bank of screens.



“Go to bed, you jumped up whore,” He muttered, frowning. His fingers punched a few buttons, and the third large screen pulled up the feed from Patricia’s room, showing her fast asleep on her side, a sheet covering her to her shoulders.



His gaze flicked to the other two large screens, the interior of Kyle’s bedroom and the exterior of his balcony. He could see Kara sitting on Kyle’s balcony, as she had been for the last half hour, probably unable to sleep and she was irritating him.



“Shit,” He said quickly, leaning forward as Sarah appeared at the top of the stairs, dressed in a black silk kimono and stockings, just as he’d ordered her to. Couldn’t she smell the cigarette smoke, or even see Kara sitting on the balcony?



“She’s right there, you silly bitch,” He snarled.



He saw Kara say something as Sarah began to open the door to Kyle’s suite. The brunette masseuse turned quickly, looking shocked. Kara said something else, and Edwin glanced around quickly, trying to find the remote control to turn the volume up.

A couple of minutes of frantic fumbling produced the remote and he selected the screen and turned the sound up.



“…. So that’s what you tell your friends,” Kara was saying firmly. “You sneaked in, fucked him and won your bet, and if anyone asks I’ll confirm you were in there for ten minutes and left clutching your kimono in your hand. Either that or I’ll get Edwin to fire you first thing in the morning.” He saw Kara shrug her shoulders. “Your call.”



Sarah looked scared, pressured and Edwin snarled, realising his plan wasn’t going to happen.



“You’re going to pay for fucking this one up, Sarah,” He told her as he watched her leaving on the monitor. “Tomorrow you’re going to have to be my Patricia-slut, blonde wig, in the shower, fingering your holes like the whore you are while I empty my balls on you.”



The bitterness of his plan failing left Edwin shaking his head with disappointment. He’d watched Kyle and Patricia glow closer over the last couple of days, flirting with each other, and he’d seen her watching him. He still felt sick after watching her waiting in the shower cubicle for him to come back from the gym, masturbating her holes and then sucking on her fingers as she deliberately opened the door, exposing her body to him.



“That body’s for me, whore,” He snarled at her sleeping form, knowing she’d forced him to act, to drive a wedge between the two of them, and that was why he’d sent Sarah up to Kyle’s room in the middle of the night to fuck him. Patricia wouldn’t be so keen on him if he was fucking other people.



His attention was drawn back to the movement on the balcony as Kara stood beside the door to Kyle’s suite, looking around slowly, checking as if she wanted to make sure no-one was watching, and then to his surprise, she slipped inside, leaving the door ajar.



“And what are you up to, stripper-slut?” Edwin asked, tilting his head to the side. His fingers changed the balcony view to one of the lounge in Kyle’s suite and he saw her peer into Patricia’s room, then quietly peering into Kyle’s room a moment later.



His eyes were glued to the screens watching her as she paused in his doorway for a second, and then he grinned wickedly as Kara slipped off her dressing gown, dropping it to the floor and revealing her taught, naked form.



“You dirty fucking whore,” He said, a broad grin on his face. He licked his lips in anticipation as she quietly crossed the room, pausing beside her brothers bed.



Kyle



Kyle felt the soft brush of hair across his face at the same time as he felt the bed adjust as the other person slid on, a leg brushing across his own as her body settled against his.



He could feel her there, lying half on him in the pitch darkness, her right leg across his hips, her left alongside his own, her body half on his chest. He brought his arm up behind her, an unconscious movement, seeking to press her forward for a kiss, and he felt her hold back, just out of reach. Just a little too far for his lips to reach.



His fingers traced the taught skin of her back, feeling the firmness of her physique as her own hand slid down his lower stomach. He could feel her breathing deepen in anticipation of her fingertips sliding down to their target, each exhale caressing his skin like fine silk, draping over him.



The hand paused, only for a second, then slid down and grasped him, his rapidly hardening cock filling her fingers, and as he rose to full strength he heard her moan gently, like the purr of a contented kitten.



Her fingers brushed over the skin of his cock, teasing and tickling, sending tiny jolts of stimulation into him and Kyle sighed in pleasure as the fingers tightened their grip, barely holding him but enough to pull his skin down, then back up his length.



Kyle reached for her with his free hand, wanting to taste her lips, feel her breath inside him, but she moved, rising in one smooth lithe movement, pressing up with both hands as her hips slid above his own, rocking instantly to position him.



He could feel her readiness, her need matching his own as she stretched a hand back, holding him in position as she readied herself and then her sigh was a thing of beauty as she took him inside her.



Kyle’s hand slid forward, feeling the soft skin of her thigh on his hip, her flat, taught stomach, and as he ignored the protest from his shoulder, his fingers slid up the outside of her breast.



He felt a hand clasping his, moulding his grip, manipulating his thumb to manipulate her nipple, and he heard her gasp softly into the darkness.



He couldn’t see anything, and his senses were overmagnifying every sound, every motion, every touch of skin on skin. He loved the moistness of being inside her, of the way that she ground against him before she slid back up, only to repeat it over and over.



“Is this Patricia? Is it her?”



His hand caressed her breast once more, feeling her pushing back against him. A slight moan escaped her, and Kyle’s imagination exploded. It sounded like a noise Patricia might make.



His hands slid up, seeking to touch her hair, seeking any sign of who this amazing woman was that was pleasuring him in the darkness.



Her hands grasped his wrists, forcing them down to the bed, and as she leaned over him, her bodyweight holding him in place, she began to buck her hips faster, really grinding him back and forth inside her.



Kyle was panting and so was his mystery woman, riding him as if she was running out of time, and a moan escaped his lips. His breathing began to deepen, and then suddenly he moaned, this time a noise of passion and protest as she lifted herself free of him.



“No,” He breathed, not wanting it to end, but he felt her move, felt the skin of her inner thighs brushing his knees, then lower. A breast caressed the skin of his stomach and then he sensed them pass by either side of his stiffness and hope sprang back into his mind as her lips descended on him.



Her hands held his wrists in place, but his fingers gripped on tight to the sheet as she took him deep in her mouth, as far as he could go, and then her head was bobbing fast, riding him like she was moments before, but this time with her mouth.



Kyle groaned in sheer pleasure, tilting his pelvis in an effort to get more inside her at each motion. He could feel her sucking at him, her lips tight around his erection, and he felt his balls begin to tighten as his breath became deeper and deeper.



His muscles, stiff and sore added a layer of pain to the pleasure and that just intensified it further for Kyle, and then his entire body was rigid, hard in anticipation of the imminent explosion.



Her lips slowed as the first spurt shot out, drawing nearer the tip as each pulse shot intense waves of pleasure through his body.



He was panting, grunting, gasping for air as she sucked on him, prolonging and intesifying his orgasm and he knew that she was breathing hard through her nose, as if she was feeling his pleasure too.



“Fuck,” He finally gasped, as his body began to weaken and relax, gradually easing back into the bed. He flinched as he felt her tongue swabbing him inside her mouth, an electric jolt of sensitivity shooting through his body as her tongue swiped his slit.



He felt the air wrap his easing erection as she released him gently from her mouth, and he sensed more than saw her lift her head back and swallow him down.



“Fuck.”



He had to know for sure who she was, had to hold her in his arms for giving him such pleasure. Kyle moved his arms, seeking to bring her back up the bed, but as he did so, she released his wrists and hopped back off the bed.



Kyle tried to sit upright and follow her, but the rapid tightening of his stomach muscles felt like he’d just been punched, and he fell back.



He heard her feet dart over the floor, heading out the door and he rolled quickly on his side and flicked the light on.



She was gone.



Edwin



Edwin laughed as Kara darted out the room, pausing only to scoop up her robe before darting out the door. She closed it quietly, taking advantage of the freshly oiled locks and hinges he had ordered completed earlier that day just so he could enter and leave without making any noise.



He looked down at the semen covering his stomach and groin, feeling it cooling on his skin after he’d jerked off to some real live incest, an unanticipated pleasure that had turned him on immensely.



“Who would have thought that you’d be such a fucking slut, Kara,” He murmured, smiling. “Fucking your own brother in the dark, thinking no-one would know? But I do, and I’ve got it on video.”



As he fastened up his trousers he watched Kyle wandering around his suite, searching for his mystery visitor until eventually he stopped in Patricia’s doorway.



“Go on, dick. Wake her up and ask her, then see how she reacts,” He said quickly, leaning forward in anticipation of Patricia’s disgust. He sunk back in his chair a moment later as Kyle returned to his bed and flicked the light off.



“You fucking pussy.”



Edwin took a couple of minutes to burn off the footage onto a DVD and put it in the cabinet alongside all the other secret footage of celebrities, other guests and staff on the Island engaged in sexual antics, then headed for the exit.



“I must remember my sandwich,” He said aloud, feeling rather pleased with the evenings turn of events. Not only did he have the conversation between Kyle and Katie about them having sex a few years back, along with Kyle’s conversation with Kara about her lap-dancing for him, but now he had Kara fucking Kyle on video.



He smiled as he reached the door. “Blackmail is so easy when you have the right tools at hand.”



Kyle



“Kyle, it’s time to get up,” He heard Patricia telling him.



“Hey,” He mumbled, a sleepy smile on his face. The more he thought about his nocturnal visitor last night the more he was convinced that it was her, that she’d crept into his bed, and sneaked back out, rather than face him in the light. There had been no opening or closing of the door into the suite, and she only had to dart into her bed and pretend to be asleep.



“Get in here,” He muttered, sliding back across the bed a little.



She chuckled. “I thought we talked about this last night?”



“Yeah, but…”



“But nothing. We talked about it and we’re not going to go there, are we?”



“What?” He asked, confused.



“Are you alright, Kyle?” She asked, peering at him. As his eyes focussed he could see her sitting staring at him from the side of the bed, his football shirt covering her, a confused expression on her face.



“Did you….”



“Did I what?”



Kyle looked away and then back at her.



“I’m putting your shower on. You really need to wake up, Kyle. Busy day.” She disappeared into the bathroom.



“Did I just dream that last night? Or was it not her, but someone else?” He wondered. “Fuck my life.”



She returned from the bathroom and stood beside the bed. “Come on. You’ve got ten minutes before you meet Julian to get showered, dressed and get down to the gym,” She said, covering her eyes and hauling the sheet back in one swift movement.



Kyle sat up slowly, stretching his sore body, and got to his feet. He padded into the bathroom, going straight into the shower, noting immediately the water was a lot colder than normal.



“Did you make the water colder?” He called, having no idea how to change it himself.



“You need to wake up. What’s with you this morning?” She called back. He heard her enter the bathroom. “You seem… a bit out of it.”



“Did you come in my room last night?” He said after a moments hesitation.



“To do the speech?”



“No, after that. After our whole… conversation.”



“Not until just now.”



“So you didn’t come in then?”



“Did I not just say that?” She replied. “What’s with you?”



“Someone came in my room last night and….”



“And what?” She asked, then it all clicked. “Oh! Really?”



“Yeah,” Kyle said, running the luke-warm water over his hair and shaking his head from side to side. “Really.”



“And you two….”



“Yeah. It was pitch dark, someone joined me on the bed, teased me, had sex with me and then….”



“Yeah, that wasn’t me,” She said, sounding a little pissed. “What time was that at?”



“About two. I checked the time on my phone after she left.”



“Why didn’t you ask her who she was?” Kara said, feeling as confused as Kyle sounded when she’d woke him up.



Kyle paused for a second, formulating his thoughts before answering. “So I’m sound asleep and someone slips into bed with me. It’s pitch dark, and suddenly there’s things happening. She didn’t let me kiss her, and she held onto my wrists so I couldn’t feel her hair, or her face I guess, and she didn’t say anything at all. With me so far?”



“Think so.”



“So then she’s on top of me, I’m pinned on the bed, hands held down, we have sex for a bit and then she goes down on me and…. finishes me off.”



“I get the picture, Kyle,” Patricia told him, sounding pretty unamused.



“Sorry. Anyway, before I can say anything or do anything else, she just bolted out the room.”



“Just like that?”



“Just like that. I put the light on, but she was already gone. I went looking, but I didn’t hear the suite doors opening or closing, and then I figured it had to have been you and you were pretending to be asleep,” Kyle explained. “Plus her body was similar to yours in shape as far as I could tell, so I thought you’d come and paid me a visit.”



“Well, I really didn’t,” She said flatly. “And I’m really pretty pissed that someone else sneaked in here and fucked you. So much for the Island security team.”



“So it really wasn’t you?” Kyle asked, feeling a little shaken himself.



“No. It wasn’t. It absolutely wasn’t me.”



“Then who the fuck was it?” Kyle asked, turning the shower off.



“That’s what I want to know.”



Kyle was confused. More than confused. When he’d woke up he felt certain that it had been Patricia. He’d nearly slipped into her bed last night after reaching the conclusion it had to be her. Then this morning she was vehement in her denials and he believed her, so despite him thinking he’d fucked her, he’d fucked someone else. And he didn’t know who.



“So who would sneak into my room and fuck me?” He said, shrugging and feeling confused and a little angry too.



“Could it have been Katie?” Patricia suggested. “Like a ‘gotta have you one last time’ thing?”



Kyle opened the door, turning the glass clear and stepped out the shower, not really in the mood to give a shit that Patricia was still there as he grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist.



“I don’t think it was her. It wasn’t like that when we were together,” He said, trying to explain. “It was… intimate, beautiful. Last night was more…. I don’t know. Last night was fucking, not making love.”



He grabbed a second towel and began to dry himself off slowly.



“Hey, is it possible you were sleepwalking?” He asked a moment later.



“Nope,” Patricia said flatly. “I don’t sleepwalk, and if I did, that’s not how I would have had sex with you. Not my style.”



Kyle shot an eyebrow up. “What is your style?”



She folded her arms across her chest and gave him a stern look. “Really? You want details of my sexual tastes when you just fucked someone else?”



“I did think it was you,” He pointed out.



“You don’t get bonus points for that, Kyle.”



“You’re mad at me,” He realised.



She paused, then nodded. “Yeah. So?”



“You’re mad at me because I slept with someone else? Even though I thought it was you? Plus, you said again last night that we’re never gonna cross that line.”



“Yeah, that’s right,” She said firmly.



“This is fucked up,” He muttered, pushing past her and heading for the dressing room. Once inside he dropped his towels and sought out a pair of track pants and a vest top.



“So you don’t know who it was?” She asked, appearing in the dressing room archway.



Kyle stood there, naked and frustrated, looking at her. “No. I thought it was you, but you’re telling me it wasn’t and I believe you. So now I’ve fucked some woman and I’ve no idea who it was. And you’re pissed at me for it.”



“How could you think it was me?”



“Because we came so close last night. Because I wanted it to be you. Who else would I have thought it was?” He shook his head in frustration and pulled on the track pants.



She shrugged. “Katie? Or Kara maybe?”



Kyle frowned, remembering the feel of her taught stomach, and then he stood upright as he remembered that moment where he tried to kiss her and she held back just out of reach, teasing him. It was similar to how Kara had teased him during the dance at the strip club.



“You think it might have been Kara?” Patricia asked, her face showing her surprise.



Kyle frowned, then shook his head, although inside he was now wondering. “I don’t think it’s her. She’s too…. ”



“Yeah, she doesn’t exactly trust guys, and I can’t see her deciding to fuck her brother,” Patricia said, tapping her finger on her chin. “Does she know about you and Katie?”



Kyle shook his head.



“I’m going to ask security to list any of the serving staff who might have come in the main house through the night,” Patricia said. “Can you remember anything else?”



“About her?”



“Yeah.”



He thought for a second. “Nothing that would help with a physical description.”



“And you didn’t grab her hair or anything?”



“Why would I grab her hair?”



“You know. Heat of the moment stuff?”



Kyle shook his head. “She had my hands pinned. I never got higher than her breasts.”



“Pubic hair?”



“I don’t know.”



“So you just lay there and got fucked? You didn’t do anything?”



“Pretty much,” Kyle admitted. “I wasn’t the one calling the shots, and I certainly wasn’t the one in control. Besides, I thought you’d changed your mind and sneaked in to seduce me. Do you think I was going to risk fucking it up by not letting you, her, be in control if that’s what she wanted?”



He grabbed the vest top, slipped it on, ignoring the pain in his muscles, and grabbed a pair of sneakers and socks and walked to the archway, stopping right beside her.



“I get that you’re angry, Patricia. But I thought it was you, so can you imagine how fucking disappointed I am to find out it wasn’t?”



He left it at that and sat on the bed to get his footwear on. He could see she was thinking so he didn’t say anything else, just stood, gathered up his phone and headed for the door.



“One other thing,” He said on his way out. “If I’d known it wasn’t you, do you think I’d have still fucked her? Whoever it was?”



He turned his back and headed for the door out to the balcony, opening to admit the fresh air, and workout or no workout, he picked up his cigarettes from the table and lit up.



“That’s not healthy before a workout, Kyle,” He heard Kara say from her balcony.



“Bad start to the day,” He grunted. “You’re up early. Coming to the gym?”



Kara nodded and walked round to join him, wearing black leggings, a black lycra top and sneakers. “Yeah, I was up, so I thought I might as well.”



As she walked round, Kyle wondered if it could have been her. The tease was the thing that had him thinking about it, because none of the rest of it seemed to fit.



“So how did it go?” She asked, an eyebrow raised and a twinkle in her eye.



“Last night?” Kyle shook his head and sighed. “It didn’t and then I thought it did, but now I’m not so sure.”



Kara chuckled. “Was that supposed to make some sort of sense to anyone else, Kyle?”



“Never mind. I don’t want to talk about it.”



“You two had a domestic or something?”



Kyle sighed and put the cigarette out. “Let’s just go.”



As soon as they got to the bottom of the stairs they paused, seeing staff moving furniture around in a whirlwind of activity. The large dining table was on its way outside, carried by a dozen people, and the couches were being re-arranged too.

“What’s going on?”



“Must be for the funeral,” Kyle replied. “Come on.”



All the way to the gym they saw staff scrubbing paths or hustling by with boxes or trolleys laden with food. The place was a hive of activity.



Julian was pleased to see Kyle had brought Kara, but she begged off being included, explaining she had her own workout routine and she’d just sort herself out, so the trainer turned his apparently limitless energy on Kyle and spent the next forty minutes coming up with new and inventive ways to make his muscles discover new ways to feel pain.



Eventually Kyle stumbled back outside, Kara at his side and as he dragged himself back to the main house and into his suite.



When he entered his bedroom, Patricia was kneeling on his bed, still dressed in his football top, typing the speech up into a laptop. She paused and looked at him as he wearily walked in.



“How you feeling?”



“Had better days,” Kyle murmured, then walked straight into the bathroom. To his surprise she’d run another bath for him. “This for me?”



“Yep. Hop in.”



Kyle shrugged off his clothes and got in the bath, easing himself into the hot water. Patricia appeared and sat back on the unit opposite him, the laptop resting on her thighs.



Kyle just wanted to sink underwater. This morning had been a confusing nightmare, he didn’t like that Patricia was pissed at him, and he was angry that someone else had manipulated him, and he’d used that anger during his workout. By the time he was done his body was trembling with fatigue.



“So I think this is just about done,” Patricia said a moment later, breaking the silence.



“The speech? I’ll read it in a bit,” Kyle replied. “So do you want to talk about it?”



“Not really, but we should probably get the air cleared. I’m not mad at you any more.”



Kyle looked at her, surprised. “That’s good. I’m not mad at you either, if that helps?”



“It does,” She nodded. “I’m going to find out who it was, Kyle. That’s not a jealousy thing, although I was jealous earlier. I still am a bit, but if I’m saying we can’t sleep together, then I’ve no right to demand you don’t sleep with anyone else either.”



“I’ve no intention of sleeping with anyone else, Patricia,” Kyle explained. “Plus, it’s probably wrong to say it, but I’m kinda happy that you’re a bit jealous. Shows that you care, know what I mean?”



She chuckled and hung her head. “You’re hopeless.”



Kyle smirked and moved around in the bath, sliding carefully onto his side, trying to get his body into a more comfortable position.



“So where do ‘we’ stand?” He asked.



“We’re good,” She said immediately.



“Good as in?”



“Good as in I’m not pissed at you any more. As in we should kind of pretend it never happened and just act as if things are back to normal, hopefully.”



Kyle laughed. “Normal for me is going into the office, no Island paradise, no amazing and hot assistant, no talking to people in the shower, or bath.”



“Okay, situational normality,” She replied, smiling.



“Situational normality? I like that.”



“I liked amazing and hot assistant.”



Kyle shrugged and winced. “It’s true. I’d be lost if you weren’t here, Patricia.”



She smiled. “You keep doing that.”



“What?”



“Saying these incredibly sweet things from time to time. It makes it really difficult to not want to jump your bones.”



“So that’s what does it for you?” Kyle grinned. “I’ll have to remember that.”



Patricia laughed. “No, there was a moment the other night when I came up the stairs and you were reciting the portfolio of companies and their locations from memory.”



“That did it for you?” Kyle asked, laughing as she blushed a little.He moved again, trying to get comfortable and ended up sitting upright.



“Different strokes for different folks,” She said a moment later. “I like intellect. Hot guys look good, but sometimes it takes a little more to stimulate the senses, know what I mean?”



Kyle thought for a second. “So last night when I was editing the speech?”



She bit her lip, smiling. “That was tough, getting out that bed.”



Kyle chuckled, a broad grin on his face. “So if I started reciting the five year strategic objectives and office plan for my old work there’s a chance you might hop in the bath with me then?”



“Don’t try and get smart, Kyle. Besides it’s not a list of information that does it for me. If that was the case, the amount of data I see on a daily basis would reduce me to a quivering wreck, or more likely kill me from exhaustion.”



His eyes narrowed. “I’m gonna figure it out, Patricia. How to push your buttons.”



“You know the rules, Kyle,” She said, smiling.



“I’m not giving up. Now, in a completely unrelated note, is there any chance you can do that soapy massage thing you did yesterday on my back please?”



“Ha! And you’ve got no ulterior motives?”



“Of course I have, but right now I’m too sore to do anything. If I promise not to try anything, will you help me out?”



“You promise?”



“I do,” He replied, holding up his hand. “Scouts honour.”



She chuckled and set the laptop aside. “Slide up the bath a bit.”



Kyle did as he was asked, sitting upright halfway down the bath, his legs crossed and Patricia took a seat on the end of the bath behind him. Her hands slid into the water, lifting and pouring it down his back and neck and Kyle smiled, lowering his head.



She paused and then moved again, and Kyle felt her feet in the water at either side of his hips.



“That’s better,” She muttered. “It was a bit awkward.”



“If it’s easier for you, just get in,” He suggested, chuckling a little.



“Yeah, you’d love that,” She replied, and Kyle could hear the amusement in her tone.



“Of course I would. But you’re the one who said we’ll be all cool with seeing each other naked and all that, remember?”



“I never said we’d be sharing a bath, did I?”



Kyle felt the bar of soap in her hand as she began to work over his shoulders, gently probing at his sore muscles and he sighed in pleasure.



“Technically you’re already in it,” He muttered a moment later.



She never replied, and Kyle sat there, loving the feeling of his body relaxing and reacting to her fingers, kneading and softening the stiffness from his shoulders, neck and upper back.



“How does that feel?” She asked a few minutes later, pausing to rinse the soap off him.



“Great. Any chance you can do my lower back too?” His voice was sleepy and contented, and Patricia chuckled. “What?”



“I knew you were going to ask me that. Don’t move, okay?”



Kyle nodded, his eyes closed. He felt her shift her weight for a moment and then he saw his football top hit the floor. Then she was in the bath behind him, her feet sliding past his hips and resting on his thighs.



“No peeking,” She warned, her hands holding his shoulders in place.



“You’re in the bath with me,” He noted, smiling. “Naked?”



“Just behave, okay?”



He nodded. “I will.”



Patricia’s hands slid down his spine and pushed him forward a little, until his head was nearly in the water. He felt the bar of soap working into the muscles on either side of his spine, firm movements that sought out the knots and slowly smoothed them out. Her free hand came up and rested on the back of his head and he felt her fingers gradually begin to massage his scalp.



“Oh my,” He murmured as waves of pleasure flowed through him.



“Good?”



“Amazing.”



Patricia continued to massage him, and after a few minutes she moved her hands down his back, smoothing the skin and removing any residual soap. Kyle sighed, feeling incredibly relaxed and content.



“How’s your pecs?”



“Yeah, they’re sore,” He admitted.



He felt her hands slip around his ribs, and up until they were resting on his chest. He expected her to sit upright behind him, so he was a little surprised when she pulled against him.



“Lean back. Slowly.”



Kyle slowly leaned back and felt Patricia adjust her position behind him, until he was resting on her, his head on her shoulder. He could feel her breasts on his back, supporting him and her legs crossed over his waist.



“This is nice,” He murmured.



“Put your arms on the sides of the bath,” She said softly in his ear.



Kyle lifted them and then she began to pull water up and over his chest. It felt incredibly intimate and tender, as if two lovers who had been together for a long time were caring for each others needs. He closed his eyes.



Patricia began to run the bar of soap over his chest, coating him in circular swirls. She released the soap and it slid down between his legs. Her hands began to work the muscles of his chest, her thumbs pushing at the tension, her fingers probing.



Kyle could feel her breathing in his ear, could sense her concentration as she worked on helping him, easing his pain.



“This is bliss,” He murmured.



“Glad you like it,” She whispered. Her hands began to scoop up water and sluice it over his chest, rinsing him clean and then she draped her hands over his ribs. “That’s you done.”



“Thanks, Patricia,” He murmured, not moving.



Patricia didn’t move either, just lay there with hmi resting against her body, her arms wrapped around him.



“You know we have to move at some point, right?” She said a moment later.



“Nah, we don’t,” Kyle said. “We can just stay here all day.”



“What about the funeral?”



“Push it back to tomorrow.”



“Margaret will come in here and want you to try on your new suit,” She added.



“Margaret?” Kyle murmured. “I need a gun or something then.”



Patricia chuckled. “Yeah, shooting people is frowned upon here.”



“I could take out a restraining order?”



“No courts.”



“I could fire her.”



“She wouldn’t listen.”



“I meant fire her from a catapult.”



“That might work,” Patricia allowed. “But we still have to get out the bath. Catapults don’t build themselves.”



“Don’t we have people for that?”



“Kyle.”



“I know,” He muttered. “Honestly though, did you enjoy that?”



“Honestly?” Patricia replied softly. “It’s been the nicest thing I’ve experienced in…. months.”



Kyle sighed. His hands slid off the edge of the bath to rest on her legs and he turned his head to face her. He realised that he hadn’t really considered what she’d been through in the last few weeks and months, with Danny Tripps, her mentor and friend dying. Then she’d been thrown in to look after him, and that must have been so stressful for her.



“You worried about today?” He asked gently.



“A little,” She admitted, her gaze fixed on the wall. “It seems like saying goodbye to him, but I don’t really want to. Does that make sense?”



“Absolutely,” Kyle said gently. “You know I’m here for you, right?”



She nodded once, then sighed. “I miss him.”



“I bet you do.”



“This whole thing with you is confusing me too,” She admitted quietly. “I thought you and I could have the same sort of relationship that Danny and I had, but it’s different.”



“How different?”



“Well, we never did anything like this for starters,” She said, a slight smile twitching at her lips. “There wasn’t that type of attraction there.”



“But you were close?”



She nodded slowly, her eyes distant. “I suppose it was a bit like a father-daughter thing, or really close friends. We just got on well and spent a lot of time together.”



“And you wanted to recreate that with me?” He asked gently.



“I guess so.”



“You know we can be just as close, right?”



“I didn’t plan on us being this close though,” She admitted.



“It doesn’t make it a bad thing though.”



She shrugged a little. “Maybe.”



“Well, if it’s any consolation to you, the last few days have been the most stressful I’ve ever encountered in my life,” Kyle explained. “I know I’ve said it before, but I’d have been totally lost if you hadn’t been at my side, and as for this, right now. This is the best thing that’s happened to me since I got here.”



He saw the gentle smile on her face and her felt her arms squeezing him, hugging him, holding him to her. She sighed.



“And all good things must come to an end,” She said, a soft smile on her face. “We have to move, Kyle. Lots to do.” Her arms released him and slid back, gently pushing at his shoulders to move forward.



“One last question before we get out.”



“What?”



“Would you do this again?” Kyle asked intently, watching her.



She smiled. “Wait and see, Kyle.”



He chuckled, then slowly sat upright, feeling the water churning as it poured into the gap between their bodies.



Patricia’s legs slid back, behind him, and he felt her get up and out the bath. The shower cubicle door opened and closed and he heard the shower come on.



“You’re in the shower?”



Patricia laughed. “I have to wash all your sweaty water off me, remember.”



Kyle chuckled. “Good point.”



He dunked himself under the water, then sat up and dragged himself out the bath, rubbing briskly at his skin with a towel, then wrapped it around his waist and went out to the bedroom.



Kyle tried to remember what was on his schedule this morning, and drawing a blank, he picked up his phone and checked his diary to see what Patricia had listed on it. Workout at six, Margaret at half seven, breakfast at eight.



He glanced at the time, seeing it was only four minutes from half past seven, and dropped the phone on the bed. “Margaret will be here in four minutes,” He called to Patricia.



“You better put on some clothes then. Boxers and a dressing gown will do,” She called back.



Kyle grabbed a pair of boxers, realising idly that it was the first time he’d had underwear on since he arrived on the Island. He slipped them on, and being unable to find a dressing gown, he pulled on an oversized football top and returned to the bedroom.



Patricia had a towel wrapped around her body and was wrapping another around her head. She smiled as she saw him.



“Thanks for the chat, Kyle.”



“Thanks for the massage, Patricia.”



They stood looking at each other for a minute and Kyle felt really close with her.



“You better head outside, meet her ladyship,” Patricia suggested.



“You take all the fun out of things sometimes,” He replied, grinning. “See you in a bit.”



Kyle got outside, lit a cigarette and barely managed to sit down before Margaret arrived looking harassed.



She had someone with her, a short woman with blonde hair who she introduced as Agatha, and between them they were carrying several items of clothing in clear plastic hangars.



Kyle ditched his cigarette and followed them into the lounge area of his suite, where he was ordered to take off his top and put on a black collarless shirt, then handed trousers, so he slipped them on too. While he got dressed, Margaret disappeared into his bedroom, emerging a few minutes later with a shoebox.



He could immediately feel the quality of the clothing he was wearing, and the trousers seemed to fit him perfectly. Margaret pulled a pair of black shoes out the box, a sock sitting ready in each shoe, so Kyle slipped them on too, then stood up.



“The fit looks good,” Agatha said quietly, almost timidly.



“Of course it does,” Margaret snapped. “I measured it myself. Walk around.”



“Me?” Kyle asked.



She looked at him like he was dumber than rocks, so he shook his head, but did as he was asked, walking back and forth, from side to side until they were satisfied that the trousers were a good fit.



Margaret handed him a waistcoat, a rich black colour that matched the trousers, then fiddled with the strap at the back until it was fitting him right. He received a frown and a lecture on how he should never fasten the bottom button, but at that point they were interrupted by Katie and Heidi appearing in the doorway.



“Oh, my,” Katie said, looking at him.



“Very nice work, Margaret,” Heidi said nodding as she examined Kyle. “Kyle, you really suit that colour. And keep doing what you’re doing at the gym, because it’s really working.”



Um, thanks,” He replied, a little amused. He met Katie’s eye and she nodded at him, then winked.



“Jacket.” Margaret ordered, and Agatha hurried over with it. Margaret stood behind him and slipped it on over his shoulders, patting the sleeves, and tugging at the back of it. “Turn around. Walk about.”



Kyle did, glancing down at the jacket as he did so. He felt smart, much smarter than he ever did in a new suit at work. This was something else entirely.



“That’ll do,” Margaret said, nodding.



“What about a tie?” Kyle asked.



“No tie. No collar. That’s what you wear today to the funeral,” She ordered, then turned to Agatha. “Now go and get Miss Katie’s outfit and bring it here.”



She whipped back to Kyle. “Go and see Shiro right now and tell him to trim your facial hair.”



“After breakfast,” Kyle said.



“Did I say after breakfast?” Margaret snapped.



Kyle’s expression turned hard. “Are we going to have another one of these conversations where I tell you I don’t like your tone, because amazing suit or not, I’m not putting up with you speaking to me like that.”



She opened her mouth to say something, but seeing Kyle’s expression darken, she thought better of it and swept out the door, leaving Agatha to clear the bags.



“Thanks for the suit,” Kyle said before she left.



The smile she gave him as she turned made Kyle grin.



“I didn’t think anyone could shut her up like that,” Agatha said quickly. “Made my day.”



“No problem,” Kyle smiled.



He turned to go and get changed and saw Patricia standing in the doorway to her room watching him.



“Enjoy that?”



“Shutting her up? Hell, yes.”



“Nice suit,” She said, eyeing him up. “Really nice suit.”



He shrugged. “I like it.”



“Well, you better go hang it up, and don’t wrinkle it. Margaret will come back in and check. Breakfast’s in the bar this morning.”



“Okay.”



Kyle walked through to the bedroom, spotted an outfit that Margaret had picked out for him for the day and shook his head at the madness of what his life was becoming.



It took him a few minutes to get changed, this time into a pair of black jeans, a faded t-shirt with a loose black shirt over the top, and a pair of sneakers. Smart, but informal and casual.



“Strange combination if there’s guests arriving,” He muttered, but shrugged and gathered up his phone and headed for the door.



For the third time that day he lit a cigarette, although this time he was able to smoke it in relative peace and quiet. Kyle felt good. Considering how badly the day had started with the argument with Patricia, it had improved significantly when she’d slid in the bath with him and they’d… bonded, for want of a better word.



He knew he was really smitten with her, knew his heart rate jumped a little every time she walked in the room, something he really wasn’t expecting with both Katie and Kara around. They’d been the object of his fantasies for years and he’d felt his body react to their presence too, although with new memories overlaying the old ones he knew he wasn’t thinking of them as fantasies any more. Real people, with real emotions, concerns and both going through what he was. The fact that they were also his sisters changed things too.



Still, he would catch Kara making some movement that would remind him of her lapdance, or he would see Katie smile and be drawn back to the nighclub, or the pool, or her room.



“Why is nothing ever simple?” He muttered.



Breakfast was different that day, with a buffet being provided for them as all the staff were running about getting the place prepared for the funeral and the guests arriving. Heidi was off doing something, Garius was helping out Edwin and it fell to Patricia to bring them up to speed.



“Okay, today’s going to be busy, different from the last few days though,” She said, putting her coffee down. “The guests are going to start arriving from about ten o’clock, so there has to be one of you there to meet each of them, preferably all three. Because you’re who you are, they’re your guests, so you have to welcome them.”

Three nods greeted that, with differing degrees of nerves on each face at the thought of meeting all these A-list celebrities and business associates of Danny Tripps.



“Now, Garius will keep you right as to who you should escort to their suite and who can be taken by one of us, or Edwin. Keep your phones handy though, so we can keep letting you know where you need to be and when.”



“Sounds like a lot of running around,” Kara replied.



“It is,” Patricia nodded. “It’s going to be like that from ten right through until about three. There’ll be spells where nothings happening and spells where you need to be in three places at once. We’ll manage it as we go.”



“Okay,” Kyle said. “What’s after that?”



“Back up to your suites, get changed into the outfits Margaret has tailored for you, and then downstairs for a few drinks before the ceremony. Mingle, shake hands, etc. Garius, Heidi and I will be with you to keep you right, let you know who’s who, and by that time Peter and Lakshmi will be helping out too.”



“Who are they?” Katie asked.



“Colleagues of ours. Mister Tripps had five assistants. Heidi, Lakshmi, Garius, Peter and myself,” Patricia explained. “Peter’s been running the office and Lakshmi has been dealing with the funeral which is why you haven’t met them yet.”



“Oh, okay.”



“At four the funeral starts, should be wrapped up by five. Kyle, you’ll be speaking about four thirty.”



“Right.”



“How’s the speech?” Katie asked.



“Nearly there,” Kyle nodded. “I just need some time to go over it this morning, and I’ll be good.”



“You can do that after breakfast,” Patricia said, nodding.



“Margaret said I’ve to go see Shiro too, get my stubble trimmed.” Kyle chuckled, and Katie laughed.



“I think it suits you as it is,” Kara said, shrugging.



“Go see Shiro,” Patricia suggested. “Margaret can be a pain in the ass, but she’s usually right about this stuff. Plus, he can sort your hair out.”



“Oh. Heidi said that Betty or Alex would be coming up to do my hair. Kara’s too.” Katie added.



“Yeah, I’ve got that,” Patricia nodded. “At nine, and then a touch up before the ceremony.”



“So what happens after the ceremony?” Kyle asked.



“Reception, back here. It’s to be informal, relaxed. There’ll probably be some music, drinks, canapes. Then dinner for anyone who wants it later.”



“Sounds quite chilled,” Kara said.



“That’s the plan,” Patricia replied. “Mister Tripps wanted something casual and informal, just friends sitting talking, telling stories, singing songs, relaxing.”



“What about you guys?” Kyle asked cautiously. “Today’s going to be much harder on the five of you than it is on us. You’re grieving, or you should be.”



“We’re busy,” Patricia shrugged.



“Not after the ceremony though,” Katie pointed out, agreeing with Kyle.



“I’ll talk to you about it later, Kyle,” Patricia said quickly.



Kyle shook his head. “No, I get that you’re busy up to the ceremony, but after that you’re off duty, okay?”



Patricia smiled. “There’s no such thing as off duty in this job, Kyle.”



“There is now.”



“That’s a good idea, Kyle,” Katie said. “I’m telling Heidi the same thing.”



“Yeah, Garius too,” Kara added. “He’s been working really hard and could do with some time off.”



“You’ve got a lot of guests,” Patricia began, but Kyle cut her off.



“No. You need to grieve, you need to relax and if you want to get drunk you go right ahead. I’m sure that we can handle talking to a few strangers after coming out here all alone a few days ago, and if there’s anything we need to ask, I’m sure we can find one of you.”



Patricia didn’t look happy but she was smart enough to know when to pick her fights.



“There’s nothing else on the schedule for today after that,” Patricia said finally. “On the media side of things, our press office is getting hammered with requests, and there’s been a list of people who have come forward to be interviewed by the media.”



“Anything about my past?” Kara asked cautiously.



“Not yet,” Patricia replied. “It’s worthwhile mentioning that Diablo Cody used to be a dancer until she wrote Juno. If it breaks that you used to be a dancer, then with the cover story of being a writer you can probably expect calls from the studios asking you to write something for them. They’re always looking for the next someone or other, in this case Diably Cody..”



“That’ll be no comfort when the press are painting me as a slut,” Kara said flatly.



“We’ve already got strategies prepared if that happens,” Patricia replied.



Kara didn’t look relieved, so Patricia turned to Katie.



“There’s a lot of focus on your photography, and they keep running the headshots you did of Missy Peregrym as examples of your work,” Patricia said. “The phrase Celebrity Photographer is getting used quite a lot.”



“The shots with the green wall? Window behind her?” Katie asked and Patricia nodded.



“Wait,” Kyle said, frowning. “You’ve photographed Missy Peregrym? The chick from Rookie Blue?”



Katie nodded. “Couple of years ago.”



“Wow. She’s hot.”



Kara chuckled, and Katie grinned.



“Now that we’ve established that, we should move on maybe?” Patricia said, grinning at him.



He shrugged. “Just saying.”



“She’s really nice,” Katie added.



“I’m sure you’ll meet her at some point,” Patricia added. “Now then, Katie. Your friends are declining media requests but a couple of girls at college with you have said you were a bit of a party girl but couldn’t produce any photos to support it, so that story is going nowhere. A couple of the models you’ve photographed have been asked questions and have been very positive about you, great photographer, professional, talented, that kind of thing.”



“Who said I was a party girl?” Katie asked, frowning.



“I don’t have the quotes to hand, but I’ll get them for you this morning. Being honest, it’s not worth worrying about, and in the next few months you’ll get a lot of this happening. People you’ve never heard of will talk like they’re your best friend.”



“Sounds like something to look forward to,” Katie murmured, looking unhappy.



“Well, the consensus so far is that you’re a talented photographer who’s making her own way in the world before you found out about your inheritance.”



“What about my parents?”



“One of our media people is sat on their front door step, declining interview requests from anyone who asks. They’re fine.”



“And me?” Kyle asked.



“Well, there’s a business profile which looks to have been based on your CV, so someone at the recruitment agency leaked that. One of the directors at the consultancy firm gave a strong statement about how you were a candidate for fast-track promotion and would have been in a very senior position within a few years, that sort of stuff.” She paused and looked at him.



“What else?”



“There’s a girl called Katrina taking offers from the press for stories about you and a threesome with her and another girl.”



Kyle burst out laughing. “You’re joking, right?”



“So there’s no truth to it then?” Patricia asked.



“I wish,” Kyle replied, chuckling. “Never had a threesome, and I’ve no idea who Katrina is.”



“I’ll get you a photo of her, see if you can identify her,” Patricia added. “This does happen though, so it won’t be the last time someone will try and sell a kiss-and-tell on one of you.”



“Great. Should I warn my parents or anything?” Kyle asked.



“I’ll take care of it,” She replied. “Aside from that, there’s requests for going on all the usual chat shows and newspaper interviews, stuff like that. We’ll get started on that next week.”



“Do we have to?” Katie asked, looking unhappy.



“We’ll work that out another time. Right now we need to get a move on. Busy day,” She added. “And Katie. Today might be a good day to take some candid photographs of some of our guests if they don’t mind. They’d be good to release to the press in a day or two, show that you’re not just a pretty face and you’re passionate about your photography.”



“Ooh, that would be so cool,” She smiled, her eyes lighting up. “I was wondering about that, but didn’t want to ask.”



“Heidi will talk to you at some point about starting a photo-blog of your work from here forward.”



“I’ll speak to her about it,” Katie nodded. “Right, I need to go check my cameras, make sure they’re charged.” She got up and darted out the room.



“That’s cheered her right up,” Kara noted. “I’ve got Margaret now.”



“Think of it as ripping off a bandaid,” Kyle suggested. “Painful but over quickly.”



“Plus, whatever she’s made for you is going to be gorgeous,” Patricia added.



“We’ll see,” Kara said as she left.



“You!” Patricia said sharply, as soon as they had the room to themselves.



“What?”



“Take the day off?”



“What’s wrong with that?” Kyle asked, taken aback.



“What the hell are you thinking?” She demanded, her hands on her hips as she glared at him.



“I’m thinking that todays the day you should be grieving and dealing with your loss, not running about after me.”



“You’re going to be under the spotlight from the second the first guest arrives here and until the last one leaves. They’re going to try and get stories out of you that they can leak, pictures of you that they can take with their phones, anything exclusive they can get because everyone likes to be in the know, and everyone owes journalists favours. You need me to protect you, keep you from making mistakes.”



“I’m not a kid, Patricia,” Kyle said. “Jesus. Are we arguing again already?”



She narrowed her eyes, glaring at him. “I know you’re no kid, Kyle. Think about Katie though. She’s naive, open. Do you think she won’t reciprocate if someone shares a few secrets with her? Or Kara, with her lack of trust in men and no real time to perfect her cover story? How do you think she’ll react if someone asks her about some section in the seventh chapter of her third novel?”



Kyle frowned. “Take a breath, Patricia. Why didn’t you say that to them?”



“Because Heidi and Garius are already taking care of them, and they’re going to steer them through the conversations.”



“And you’re meant to be doing the same with me?”



“No, apparently I’ve got to get drunk,” She stated, her hands on her hips. “I can see you’re just trying to do good, Kyle, but you need to talk things over with me first. For now, anyway.”



“This place is insane,” He muttered, knowing she was right in what she was saying, but feeling frustrated all the same. “You need to have some downtime though.”



“I get downtime, Kyle. Do you think I was working this morning when I was in the bath with you? Do you think that wasn’t relaxing for me too?”



“Okay,” He allowed, nodding. “I just worry that you work too hard, Patricia.”



“I’m fine, Kyle. Honestly, I’m okay.”



He grinned suddenly. “If this morning was relaxing for you, can I at least order you to give me more of them?”



“Try it and I’ll kick your ass,” She said, smiling. “That’s a volunteer only job.”



“Fair enough.”



“Right, get your ass off down to see Shiro. We’ll finish the speech when you get back.”



He nodded and wandered out into the mayhem of the preparations.



The hours raced by, a constant hustle from job to job, place to place. Shiro was tidying his facial hair when Kyle had a ‘Eureka moment’ about his speech and it took him forty minutes to re-write it when he got back, then scribble the bullets onto cards.



Patricia wanted to see what he was going to say, but Kyle felt confident that he’d struck the right note with it and told her she had to trust in him to stand on his own for this one. As he’d caved on the insistence of her having the day off, he knew she had to give him that one, unhappy as she was.



Margaret appeared with a pocket watch that Kyle was to wear in his waistcoat that belonged to Danny Tripps, frowned at him and ordered him into a new shirt, so he got changed and then he was off to greet the first of their guests.



The clatter of a helicopter announced the arrival of the first of their guests, and Kyle, Kara and Katie were waiting as the twin-rotored Chinook landed on the large helipad. They shook hands with Sting, a couple of musicians he’d brought with him, and several of the CEO’s. Katie walked Sting off to one of the guest apartments in the main house that overlooked the pool, and then Kara and Kyle were off down to the pier to meet the boat.



The following hours turned into a series of surreal experiences as Kyle and his sisters met people they’d only ever seen on screen or in print. They were treated courteously in some cases, like long-time friends in others. He was overawed at the presence of Charlize Theron, the natural beauty of Salma Hayek and how tiny Pink actually was, with her partner and baby in tow.



Kevin Smith sent his apologies which disappointed Kyle, but he’d apparently been spotted by a journalist at the airport earlier and there was a thing about him and planes, so he’d gone home again.



They had a few minutes to snatch something to eat at two o’clock and by that time, Kyle was famished and twitchy. Patricia put it down to the demands of the day cancelling his workout and his body was reacting to that, so when it was time to get into his suit, he did a quick set of pressups and crunches, then dived in the shower.



When Kyle had donned his suit, added the pocketwatch and emerged onto his balcony, he felt slick, smart and confident. He patted the inner pocket of his jacket to make sure his speech cards were there, and then he turned and saw Patricia.



She was wearing a black dress that came down past her knees, tapering in from her hips, with black heels on her feet. It was simple and elegant, and her blonde hair was rolled up high behind her head, reminding him of a glamorous bombshell from a black and white movie. A simple gold chain hung around her neck.



“The suit looks good,” She said, spotting him. “Very nice.”



“You look beautiful,” He said simply and was pleased to see her blush.



Katie appeared a few moments later wearing a black dress that stopped just above her knee, and a matching short jacket, giving her a mysterious appearance. It fit the contours of her body perfectly.



Kara’s outfit was black too, a skirt and top split by a wide belt, with a long jacket over it. A large pair of sunglasses covered her eyes. She looked elegant and had a presence about her.



Kyle lit a cigarette up, and a few minutes later they were downstairs, mingling and making small talk with their guests. Kyle was steered around most of the CEO’s, having brief conversations about their plans and what was happening in the future while dodging questions about his own feelings about Danny Tripps and his own plans for the future.



Patricia seemed to be keeping him away from the celebrities in the room, focussing him more on the business guests, perhaps because he was better able to hold those particular conversations, while Heidi and Garius steered Katie and Kara from actor to musician to model.



Kyle finally got to meet Peter and Lakshmi, only for a moment, and he promised to catch up with them later.



All too soon though, Edwin appeared and got everyone’s attention, asking them to join him for the ceremony. They all walked slowly along the path to the spot that Danny Tripps had selected for his resting place, and as they emerged into the clearing, Kyle felt Patricia slip her hand into his and squeeze it.



“You okay?” He asked quietly.



“No, but I’ll be fine,” She replied, giving him a sad little smile.



There was no assigned seating, the chairs set in a half circle around the body of Danny Tripps. It was encased in a cocoon of palm fronds and flowers on a wooden stand before them. A small platform sat to either side, both with musical instruments on them. Patricia left his side and slipped into the second row of chairs with her colleagues and Kyle sat between his sisters in the front row.



He felt a little awkward that he was in the front row at a funeral for someone he didn’t know, but he knew it was expected of him, of the three of them, and while they waited for everyone to settle in their seats, dozens of staff filed in behind them all.



Edwin was the first to speak, talking to them about Danny Tripps wishes to be buried here, surrounded by friends and those he loved the most, and thanking them for coming to honour him. Sting then got up and talked about the first time he met Danny Tripps, then he and two musicians did an acoustic version of Danny’s favourite song, An Englishman in New York.



Mister Crowler then stood and described his friendship, read a letter that Danny Tripps had written for the occasion that proved to be both witty and emotional and then Neil Finn spoke of a conversation he’d had with Danny Tripps one night about the song Don’t Dream It’s Over, and how subsequently Crowded House had covered it to great success. He followed that up by playing it, a slow, haunting rendition that seemed to hang in the air.



Kyle felt Patricia touch his shoulder and she whispered in his ear, “You’re up. Take your time.”



He stood, aware that everyone was watching him, this first real test of any of Danny Tripps triplets that had appeared out of nowhere to inherit the empire, and he walked up to the small podium.



Kyle inhaled deeply, feeling that now-familiar churning feeling in his stomach of nerves, stress, anxiety and he breathed out slowly, removed his cards and began to speak.



He’d re-written the speech in the form of a letter to Danny Tripps, giving it a much more personal feel, and he’d worded it so that what he would say sounded as if it came from the heart.



He spoke of how he and his sisters never got the chance to know the man, but how they were learning who he was from the people he’d surrounded himself with, in their attitiudes and the influence he’d had on them, and their memories of him they’d shared.



He spoke of the regret he had started to feel for never having met the man in person, and how he was only just beginning to understand how hard his decision must have been to give them up.



He went on to talk of the staggering achievements he had made in his life and then explained that the mans achievements weren’t what he felt he should be remembered for, but who he was, the memories he left in the minds of the living of the things he’d done, and how it was important he was spoken of in honesty, the good and the bad, and that way he wouldn’t be remembered as a list of businesses, but as a person.



Kyle finished off with a promise to continue to get to know who the man was, not just what he left behind, and reminded those present of their duty, as friends and family of Danny Tripps, to keep him alive in the tales they told, the memories they shared. That those memories should be his true legacy.



Kyle turned back to his chair and was surprised to see Katie with tears running down her face, Patricia and Heidi the same seated behind him. Even Kara looked a little pale, and as he scanned around, he could see several of the guests were the same.



“Did I do that?” He wondered as he sat back down. He knew that what he said wasn’t how he felt, because he was honestly confused about he felt about Danny Tripps. In some ways he wanted to know who he was, but in others he was angry at the man who had abandoned him, and denied him the opportunity of growing up with his sisters.



Katie immediately took his hand, squeezed it and let it go again, while behind him, Patricia leaned forward over his shoulder and gave him a soft kiss on the cheek.



“You did good, Kyle,” She whispered, and kissed him softly once more.



Kyle just nodded stiffly, not sure what to say and genuinely surprised at the reaction he’d caused. That was soon forgotten about as Pink then got up to the stage with one of her band and sung a beautiful rendition of Glitter In The Air, accompanied on the piano. Once she’d sung the song, she told them a story about how she’d visited the island once and sung the song with Danny Tripps, sitting with their feet in the pool as the sun set, and it was how she’d always remember him.

Edwin then got up to close the ceremony. Several members of staff moved forward and lifted the covered table that Danny Tripps body lay on, revealing a grave, wide and deep and lined with stones and flowers behind it. A ramp had been dug out leading down to it from the north side.



Moving carefully, they wrapped his body in the white cloth that draped the table, and then lifted his body on their shoulders to the head of the ramp, and as everyone gathered around, they laid him to rest on the flowers, then began to gently place stones and more flowers over the corpse until he was completely covered.



Edwin thanked them for coming and bade them return to the main house for refreshments, then added that he would invite them to do as Kyle suggested and share their memories, good and bad, of the man Danny Tripps had been.



The staff were the first to drift away, with nearly all of them working, and many of the guests followed. Katie and Kara got up, but Kyle remained in his seat, wanting to stay and witness the burial, but his sisters reminded him they had lots of guests and that he couldn’t stay there all day.



On the walk back up to the house Kyle got many compliments on his speech, of the courage it took to get up there, and of how it reminded them of Danny Tripps himself in the way it was delivered. The last part came as a surprise to Kyle.



The next half hour of mingling back at the house was a repeat of the same conversation. Really great speech, emotional, reminded me of him, but it passed quickly and it was time to walk many of the guests back to the boat or the helicopters that were waiting to take them back to the world.



By the time they bade them farewell and got back to the house, Kyle was feeling pretty drained and excused himself for a few minutes. He got into his suite, hung up his jacket and sat quietly on the balcony for a minute having a cigarette.



Patricia appeared a few minutes later, looking for him.



“You okay?” He asked. He hadn’t had a chance to talk to her since before the ceremony as they’d been moving from guest to guest, shaking hands, making small talk and then dealing with those who were leaving.



“You did good, Kyle,” She said, leaning over the chair from behind him and giving him a hug and another peck on the cheek.



“Just clicked what I wanted to say this morning. The core of it’s what you wrote though.”



She swatted his head. “You changed everything, so don’t go trying to credit me for your own work.”



Kyle chuckled. “So who’s still here?”



“Not many people actually,” She said, frowning. “Sting and Neil Finn are still here. They’re already talking about doing a few tunes later. Johnny Depp is staying overnight, as are Charlize Theron and Christy Turlington, but everyone else has left or will be in the next couple of hours. There’s a ton of phone calls to return too.”



“I never got the chance to talk to Mike Myers. I was going to ask him for tips on being cool too,” He said, getting a laugh from Patricia.



“You’re doing fine, Kyle.”



“Who’s the phone calls from?”



“Oh, there’s a list. Lots of friends and acquaintances of Mister Tripps, the usual politicians taking the opportunity to secure campaign donations, media fishing for interviews, stuff like that. Lakshmi’s culling the list of calls you can return in the next couple of days.”



“Do you guys ever stop working?” Kyle asked.



Patricia rolled her eyes. “Are we going to have that conversation again already?”



“No, I guess not,” He replied, stubbing out his cigarette. He stood up and turned to face her. “How do I look then?”



“Tall, dark, handsome.” She smirked a little and tilted her head. “You should get Katie to photograph you today. You look good.”



He frowned. “Don’t know if I like the idea of being photographed. Even if it’s Katie doing it.”



“Get a few drinks in you. You’ll be fine.”



“I thought I wasn’t supposed to be drinking, what with all the training.”



Patricia shrugged. “It’s a special occasion.”



Kyle nodded towards the stairs, indicating that they should return to the party but she stopped him and wiped at the lipstick on his cheek. The close proximity of her as she stood before him, her head tilted up and her lips parted, her hand on his face. It was one of those moments where things happen or they don’t, but before Kyle could kiss her she stepped back.



“Yeah, that was a moment,” Kyle muttered, getting a grin from Patricia as she led him back down to the party.



By midnight, Kyle was yawning and apologising for it. It had been a fantastic evening.



Neil Finn and Sting played together with their musicians for nearly two hours, putting on an impromptu concert that Kyle felt priviliged to hear. Katie had pressed Johnny Depp to teach her the Captain Jack swagger, and had fallen over twice attempting it, but Kara nailed it first time. Connor Grant had drunk Mister Crowler under the table, then disappeared with Christy Turlington a couple of hours ago and hadn’t come back. Katie had been bobbing around with her camera for hours, and was desperate to leave to get the shots on the computer and edit them, but there was always something else to photograph.



Kyle had enjoyed long conversations with everyone, not just stories of Danny Tripps, but lots of general conversation too. He’d had a long chat with Lakshmi and Peter, getting to know them a little. Lakshmi was slow in opening up, but had a very sharp sense of humour, and Peter was the typical geek, right down to the glasses, with the exception that he looked like a male model, something which he seemed blissfully unaware of. He also told Kyle about the gaming network they had on the Island and challenged him to a game of Call of Duty tomorrow night. Lakshmi assured Kyle, who considered himself to be pretty good that he’d get thrashed and that Peter was a freak when it came to gaming.



In a conversation with Charlize Theron about LA, she’d put her hand on Kyle’s leg and told him she’d be happy to show him the sights when he came to town. He didn’t know if she was just being friendly or if he was being propositioned, but when Patricia nearly choked on her drink he figured it out.



Kara was a concern though. She’d remained a little withdrawn throughout the whole evening. Kyle and Katie had both tried to draw her into engaging a little more with people, but failed, until Johnny Depp slumped down on a seat next to her and talked to her for three hours straight about anything and everything.



Seeing everyone had relaxed, Kyle had ordered up a round of cocktails for Patricia, Heidi, Garius, Peter and Lakshmi, and they’d all sat themself down at a table. He’d kept an eye on them as the evening had gone on and kept sending drinks over for them, making sure they had a good time as they deserved a night off.



However, as midnight came and went, the guests started to drift off to bed. Eventually Kyle saw his opportunity and bid them all a goodnight too and headed upstairs, dropping into his seat on the balcony for a smoke.



He smiled as Kara appeared.



“I thought I was never gonna get rid of him,” She said wearily as she sat down and reached for his cigarettes.



“Captain Jack?” Kyle asked, surprised.



“Yeah.” She lit up.



“You mean to say you were trying to escape from the guy who’s a figure of fantasy to millions of women around the world?” He grinned. “How fucking mad is this?”



Kara smiled. “I know. Who knew sexy actors could be boring? How awesome was the music tonight?”



“I wish I’d recorded it,” Kyle said immediately. Between Sting, Neil Finn and their musicians, they had done impromptu covers of everything from Frank Sinatra to Nirvana, their own music, and Sting’s version of Rihanna’s S&M blended seamlessly into Roxanne was something he would never forget, mostly because the singer could barely stop laughing while he sung it.



“Hey, have you see Katie’s pictures?” Kara asked quickly, kicking her black heels off and putting her feet up on the table.



Kyle shook his head. “I haven’t, but she’s barely had that camera out of her hands for six hours now. Any good?”



“She showed me a few on the back of her camera. That girls talented. I bet she’s up all night editing them.”



Kyle smiled. “Good to see someone with passion for what they do, isn’t it?”



Kara nodded. “Definitely. She even took a picture of me that I liked. The ones of you are superb. So, what’s the story with you and Patricia then?”



“What story?”



“This morning you were all angst and angry. Today she’s hanging all over you again.”



“We’re just…. close.” He shrugged. “I don’t know.”



“Have you two….” She winked with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, drawing a laugh from Kyle.



“No, haven’t even kissed,” He admitted.



“You bicker like an old married couple,” She said a moment later. “It’s kind of freaky to watch, considering you’ve only known her what? Three or four days?”



“Yeah, something like that. How are you getting along with Garius?”



“Well, he’s a lot of fun, lots of sharp one-liners and he’s helping me with the briefings, translating what it all means into words I can understand. He really does think he’s Gods gift to men though.” She smiled. “I still don’t know if I can trust him, but I like him as a person.”



“He seems like a nice guy,” Kyle agreed.



He paused as he heard a whistle and Kara frowned, looking over the balcony. “I think someone’s trying to get your attention, Kyle.”



He stood up and looked down at the pool area, where Heidi was trying to stop a drunken Patricia from going for a swim.



“She’s totally wasted,” Kara muttered, shaking her head.



“Fucking hell,” Kyle said, laughing as his assistant nearly fell over.



Heidi waved again for Kyle to come and give her a hand, and he nodded.



“Better go help her,” He said, stubbing out his cigarette.



“Have fun.”



Kyle nipped down the stairs then out to the pool where Heidi now had a hold of one of Patricia’s arms and was trying to hold her back, telling her, “It’s not a good idea to go swimming when you’re drunk, and never when you’re wearing Prada, Patricia.”



“Hey, Patricia,” Kyle said, stepping in front of her to divert her attention.



“Wooo!” She said, rolling her head as she tried to stand up straight. “There he is.”



“You’re hammered,” He said, grinning.



She lifted one arm as if to salute him, but smacked herself in the head and staggered to the side. “Bosseses orders.”



Her voice was slurred and Kyle looked at Heidi, trying not to laugh as she rolled her eyes at him.



“She needs to go to bed,” Heidi said. “Can you help me take her upstairs?”



“Sure,” Kyle nodded. He looked at Patricia wobbling on her feet and opted for the simple expedient of just scooping her up in his arms and carrying her.



She let loose a ‘Wooo’ when he scooped her up, but then leaned her head on his shoulder as he carried her over to the stairs.



“You okay carrying her like that?” Heidi asked, seeming no worse for wear after an evenings drinking.



“I’m fine,” Kyle nodded. “Go on.”



He followed her up the wide wooden staircase, past a grinning Kara and then into his suite, where he took her straight into her room and sat her on her bed.



Heidi bent down to take her shoes off, and Kyle stood back, laughing as Patricia kept moving her legs out of Heidi’s reach.



“Maybe I should stay in here tonight, keep an eye on her,” The redhead suggested.



“It’s fine,” Kyle said. “I’ll keep an eye on her. Be nice to look after her for a change.”



“I’m gonna put her to bed then,” Heidi said.



“I assume you don’t want a hand getting her out her dress,” Kyle said, moving to the door.



“No, probably not, no,” Heidi grinned. “But thanks anyway.”



“I’ll be out on the balcony,” Kyle told her.



“Kyle!” Patricia blurted, her eyes struggling to focus on him. Her hand patted the bed beside her. “You shleep here, right.” Her words were all slurred but Heidi began to laugh quietly.



“Patricia,” Kyle said, stepping forward and peering at her. “You go to sleep.”



She thumped the bed again. “Here.”



Kyle looked at Heidi, who was trying not to laugh and he winked at her. “Patricia. You go to sleep and I’ll sneak in and wake you up, okay? It’ll be our little secret. How’s that sound?”



She grinned and gave him a thumbs up. “Shecret.”



“Yeah.”



“Coool,” She said, then rolled onto her side as if to go straight to sleep.



“Fucking hell,” Kyle muttered, looking at Heidi. “She’s totally hammered.”



“Yes, she certainly is,” Heidi grinned. “And what was that about?”



Kyle shrugged. “Maybe she just wants someone to cuddle into.”



Heidi chuckled. “And if you really thought that you’d be a lot dumber than I think you are.”



“Much as the idea of Patricia and me hooking up is appealing, it’ll never happen like this,” He told her. “I’m not that guy. Never have been.”



Heidi looked at him. “I know. If I had any doubts I’d be sleeping in here with her. Besides, I don’t think it’s you we’ll have the trouble with tonight, is it?”



Kyle smiled. “Good point. Right, can I leave you to it? You’ll get her into bed?”



Heidi nodded. “I’ll be out in a few minutes.”



Kara had gone by the time he went back outside, so he nipped back in and got his phone then sat back on the balcony and checked his emails.



“Holy fuck.” He whispered, seeing he had three hundred and ninety one new emails in his personal account. People he hadn’t heard from in years, guys and girls he went to school or college with and lots of people he didn’t know at all had emailed his personal account. He scanned down, seeking emails from his folks, Casey or Ed, and discovered one from Ed.



Richie McRichfuck!



That Caroline chick keeps sexting me and sending hot fucking pics, but no face shots. If she’s a fucking butterface I’ll tell the press you’re a scat-loving him-she hermaphrodite bitch and you fist yourself every morning at work.



Ed, clunge-magnet extraordinaire!




Kyle chuckled and closed the message, glad to see that Ed was still a dick, but the same dick he was before.



The rest of the emails were from more people he knew but didn’t want to talk to, or people he didn’t know at all, and Kyle couldn’t be bothered wading through them all, so shut it down and folded the screen back.



“Hey, that’s her in bed,” Heidi said as he got up. “She’s out for the count.”



“Thanks for that,” Kyle said, nodding. “I’m going for a shower and I’ll check on her after that.”



“She’s gonna have a monster hangover in the morning,” Heidi warned, unable to hide the slight grin on her face.



“I bet she will, but I’ll go easy on her,” Kyle promised.



“Anything you need, just let me know, okay?” She said and Kyle nodded, then headed inside and shut the doors.



He hung his trousers and waistcoat up, had a quick shower and when he got back in the bedroom, Patricia was curled up under his sheets. There was no sign of the black Football top she usually appeared in, and he wondered if she was naked under there.



“That’s all I need. Me trying to get Patricia back into her own bed while she’s butt naked and you can bet that’s the point someone will walk in here,” He muttered to no-one in particular.



“Patricia, wake up.” He rubbed at her shoulder, shaking her until her eyes opened and she smiled at him. “You need to go back to bed.”



She shook her head slowly, as if the alcohol had made it too heavy for her neck to support. “Nope. Protectorin’ you.” Then she stuck her tongue out.



Kyle chuckled, seeing how drunk she was. At least she was a fun drunk though, which was a serious bonus.



“What you protecting me from, Patricia? The boogeyman?” Kyle asked, trying hard not to laugh at her, but finding the way she eyed him pretty funny.



“No, shilly.” She paused for a second and swallowed, then frowned. “Boogeygirl!”



“Boogeygirl?” Kyle chuckled, then stopped, realising what she meant. Even though she was hammered she had come through to make sure no-one slipped into his room in the middle of the night again.



“Patricia. Was that you in my room last night?” Kyle asked, figuring if she was drunk he might as well ask her.



“Nope.” She frowned. “Told you ear-earlier, Kyle.”



Kyle nodded and then Patricia grinned at him, and held her arms out to be hugged.



“Hug.”



“Sleep,” He said firmly.



She pouted and Kyle burst out laughing. It had been a while since he’d put a drunk person to bed and he’d almost forgotten how many of them behaved like a tired five year old who didn’t want to go to bed.



“S’not funny. Kiss me,” She ordered, lifting her arms up again. The sheet slipped down exposing one of her breasts and Kyle’s eyes were drawn to it, seeing the tight pink nub atop the soft, inviting flesh.



He silently reminded himself that he was sober and she wasn’t, and taking advantage of a drunk chick wasn’t cool, particularly if you were friends, colleagues or whatever. He walked round the bed and sat down beside her, casually pulling the sheet up to cover her.



“You know you’re drunk, right?”



She grinned at him and winked. “Lil bit.”



“And only douchebags and criminals take advantage of drunk girls, right?”



She snorted and giggled. “Lotsa people.”



“Not me though,” Kyle said gently. “Not tonight, Patricia. Not while you’re drunk. If you still want to get together tomorrow, then that’s fine. But not tonight, okay?”



“Huh?” She gave him a confused look, which came out halfway between a sneer and a pout.



Kyle shook his head, trying to remain serious. “Me and you. You’re drunk, so we’re not going to do anything while you’re drunk. If you still want to tomorrow, then we’ll talk about it then, but right now we both need to sleep, okay?”



Kyle smiled as Patricia looked disappointed. He found it really cute.



“Sleep?”



“Yeah. Sleep,” He nodded.



Patricia squinted at him. “No… coitus?”



Kyle burst out laughing. He was a big fan of the Big Bang Theory, but he really didn’t expect Patricia to spring the word ‘coitus’ into the conversation, let alone actually say it when she was hammered.



“S’not funny.”



“You can sleep here if you want, but no funny business, okay?” Kyle figured if she was as wasted as she was it might be just as easy to let her sleep in his bed, so if she started vomiting he’d be able to get her into the bathroom. He was also pretty convinced that if he put her in her own bed, she’d just come back through again.



She blew a raspberry at him.



“Okay then.” Kyle said, smiling as he got to his feet. Figuring he better not sleep naked too, he went into the dressing room, pulled out a pair of track pants and a vest top and put them on, then returned to the bedroom.



Patricia scrunched her face up into something approximating a frown seeing him wearing clothes, but didn’t say anything.



He walked round the bed, set an alarm on his phone and slipped under the sheet, smiling as Patricia rolled over and nudged at him until he put his arm around her. She snuggled into him, her head resting on his chest and Kyle pulled the sheet up to cover them both.



“Shex?” Patricia murmured.



“Go to sleep, Patricia.”



Her hand slid down towards his waistband and he rolled his eyes as he pulled it back up and held it against his chest.



“You’re no fun,” She muttered.



“Goodnight, Patricia.”



He turned his alarm off quickly and flicked on the bedside light. Patricia had rolled over at some point in the night and was sprawled across the bed, the sheet twisted down around her hips.



He looked at her lying there for a second, then reminded himself he wasn’t a fucking creep and got out of bed. A quick wash in the bathroom woke him up and he entered the dressing room quietly, removing his top, stained with saliva where Patricia had drooled on it as she slept. He slipped another one on, then gathered up his phone, pulled the sheet up over her and headed for the gym.

Kyle was feeling pretty pleased with himself for not giving in to temptation last night. At one point he’d woken up, spooned in behind her and as he moved he felt her pushing her ass back into him. It would have been all too easy for instinct to take over, and it had tempted him at the time, but he’d remembered the state she was in, and he didn’t want that. If he was going to fuck Patricia, and he really wanted to, he wanted her awake and alert, not drunk and half unconscious.



He frowned and shifted his mind to his coming workout. Kyle was surprised to discover he was really looking forward to it, and had actually missed it last night. He broke into a gentle jog on his way down the path, chuckling as he realised what he was doing.



“You’re turning yourself into a gym-junkie, Kyle? Really?”



Julian was waitng, as always, and Kyle threw himself into the mornings programme, working with an intensity he welcomed and Julian encouraged. His arms, shoulders, pecs and stomach all got blasted hard, and he was pleased to note the weights he had been lifting for the last couple of days had increased.



The burning pain in his muscles was actually pleasing him, and Julian nodded approvingly as Kyle completed his warm down.



When he arrived back at the house, Lakshmi was sitting downstairs with a laptop, working away and Kyle slowed to talk to her.



“Morning, Lakshmi. Sleep well?”



“Hi, Kyle. Very good, thank you. You?”



“Yeah, not bad,” He nodded.



“How’s Patricia?” Lakshmi asked. “I haven’t seen her that drunk in a while.”



“She’s still asleep, although I can see her having the mother of all hangovers.”



“I can cover her duties this morning, if you need some help?” She offered, smiling. “Probably best you don’t expect too much from her straight away.”



“That’ll be cool, thanks,” Kyle nodded. “I figured she’d need the morning off anyway. Do you happen to know what’s in my schedule for today? It’s not in my phone yet.”



The indian girl looked down at her laptop, her fingers flickering across the keyboard. “Here we are. Breakfast at eight with guests, until around half nine and then you need to be available to escort them to either the helipad or the pier.”



“Okay,” Kyle nodded, thinking that sounded easy enough.



“Mister Crowler has a ten minute slot with you around ten o’clock, just whenever you can fit him in, and you’ve got an appointment with Connor Grant at twelve.”



“What’s that about?”



She tapped at the keyboard again, then looked up, smiling. “Introduction to firearms.”



Kyle’s eyes widened. “Really?”



“Yes, sir.”



“It’s Kyle,” He said quickly, then grinned. “Do you think Connor will be sober by then?”



“Despite all appearances to the contrary, he takes his work very seriously,” Lakshmi explained. “He’s got quite a reputation.”



“I think he scored with Christy Turlington last night,” Kyle grinned.



“She was stunning yesterday. You know she was one of the supermodels? Late eighties, early nineties, along with Cindy Crawford, Elle McPherson, Claudia Schiffer.”



“Yeah,” Kyle nodded. “She’s still got the looks.”



“Mister Tripps dated her for a few weeks, years ago,” Lakshmi told him. “Since then he’d speak with her on the phone at least once a month, and if they were ever in the same area at the same time they’d meet up for lunch. She was a good friend to him.”



“I’ll make sure I speak to her before she goes.”



Lakshmi nodded. “Anything else I can help you with just now, Kyle?”



“No, I’m good. I better get myself cleaned up and wake up Patricia. Good morning, hangover,” He said, grinning.



“Good luck.”



Kyle headed upstairs and into his suite, finding Patricia exactly as she was when he left, so he went into the lounge, grabbed a couple of bottles of cold water and returned to the bedroom.



As he looked down at her Kyle had another moment of temptation, a sudden desire to slide the sheet back and admire her naked form, then slide in behind her, but he took a deep breath and shook his head.



“Patricia.” He shook her shoulder gently. “Patricia, time to get up.”



Her eyes opened and she blinked a few times, then shot bolt upright, looking around.



Kyle chuckled as she figured out where she was.



She thumped back down on the bed and pulled the sheet up over her head. Kyle heard a groan, and then the sheet slowly slid down, revealing her face. She had one eye open a little, the other closed against the light, and she was licking her lips at the dryness in her mouth.



“What time is it?”



“Nearly seven.”



“You’re late for your workout,” She replied immediately, closing her eyes as the enormity of her hangover struck. “Oh dear God.”



Kyle chuckled. “I’ve already been for my workout, sorted out my schedule, and you’ve got an hour until breakfast, so take it easy. How you feeling?”



“Dire.”



“Want some water?” Kyle asked, pressing the bottle into her hand.



Patricia sighed and pulled the nozzle to her lips, squeezing and swallowing half the contents in one go. She lowered the bottle and smiled weakly. “Thank you.”



“No problem,” Kyle replied. “Do you remember much?”



Patricia frowned as she thought, then grimaced and then flushed a little with embarassment. “Well, I made an ass of myself. Did we….?”



“No,” Kyle assured her quickly. “Absolutely no, okay?”



She seemed a little relieved. “Thanks for not… doing anything,” She murmured, looking at him through one eye. “I get the feeling I wouldn’t have said no.”



“No, you wouldn’t have said no,” Kyle said, then smiled. “In fact at one point you even suggested we have… coitus,” He explained, breaking into a broad grin.



“I didn’t,” She said quickly, then slumped back. “I did. What a tool.”



“I thought it was kinda cute. Now, you want me to run you a bath or put the shower on or something?”



“Bath. Please,” She muttered, closing her eyes. “Really hot.”



“No problem. Just drink the rest of that water, okay. You need to rehydrate.”



Kyle put the bath on, surprised at how fast the water level rose, and he opened the cabinet that had jars after jar of different salts, powders and other things that he wasn’t sure of. Rather than put in something that might make her feel sick, he just checked the water level and when it was deep enough, he shut off the tap and walked back into the bedroom.



Patricia was sitting up in bed now, her knees drawn up and the sheet tucked under her arms as she drunk from the second water bottle.



“Bath’s ready.”



“Oh good,” She muttered.



Kyle’s eyes widened as she threw the sheet to one side and slid naked across the bed, then walked past him and got slowly into the bath.



“Bit casual with the nudity this morning, are we?” He joked.



“I don’t care,” She stated. “I’m sure you saw me naked last night, and I’m too rough to give a shit today.”



She dunked her head under the water, then swept her hair clear of her face as she leaned back against the head of the bath. “Unless it bothers you?”



“I have absolutely no problem seeing you naked when you’re sober enough to know what you’re doing,” Kyle said, smiling. “In fact, you can walk around like that all the time, if you want.”



“Only in here,” She replied, closing her eyes. “Kyle?”



“Yeah.”



“Any chance of some more water? Or a can of Pepsi or something?”



“Sure,” He nodded, and fetched one from the small refrigerator in the lounge. He handed the cold can to her.



“Thanks. You’ll make someone a wonderful assistant one day.”



“Funny.”



“I try,” She muttered, holding the cold can against her forehead, her eyes closed. “Don’t let me drink again please.”



“You’ll get over it,” He replied, grinning at turning one of her phrases back on her.



Her middle finger emerged from the water for a moment, then disappeared again. Kyle looked at her, mostly submerged in the hot, clear water. He could see the smooth skin of her legs, and for the firs time he could see in detail what lay between them. Her pussy was completely shaved, not a hair to be seen, and he could make out her clit protruding just a fraction. Her lips looked firm and tight, no flappy labia hanging out to destroy the symmetry of her groin.



His gaze travelled up, seeing how the water slid back and forth between her breasts like waves on a beach, and he licked his lips, glad her eyes were closed.



“You sure you don’t want some bath salts or anything in there?”



“Nope. I need the heat to sweat out the alcohol.”



“And you don’t care that the water’s transparent?”



She shrugged. “Too rough to care, and it’s not like you haven’t seen me naked, is it?”



“Hey, I’m not complaining.”



“Isn’t it time you had your shower?” She muttered.



“Yeah, although right now I’m giving serious consideration to joining you in the bath,” He admitted.



“Shower. Go.”



“Ah, but…”



“Shower.”



Kyle chuckled, seeing how she was back to her forceful self despite the chronic hangover. He opened the cubicle, turned the shower on and then stripped off his clothes and stepped inside.



“You’re starting to tone up, Kyle,” Patricia told him a moment later.



“Yeah?” Cool.” He opened the door a fraction, turning the opaque glass transparent again, so he could see her while they chatted.



“Changing, and not just physically,” She added, the Pepsi can still held to her forehead.



“How do you mean?”



“You’re becoming a lot more confident, more take charge, know what I mean?”



Kyle shrugged. “Not really.”



“A few days ago you weren’t confident talking to women, you were shit-scared about meeting your sisters and you were reluctant to accept what was happening. Now you’re the guy who stood up in front of a load of strangers and nailed his own speech, mingled with A-listers without exhibiting any nerves and you’re a lot more confident.”



Kyle frowned. “Just getting used to things, I guess. I’m still the same guy though.”



“Just don’t turn into an asshole, okay? No monster-ego or anything,” She said, finally opening the can.



Kyle chuckled. “Yeah, that’s not likely.”



“Hello? Are you guys back there?”



Kyle recognised Lakshmi’s voice and quickly shut the cubicle door, turning the shower opaque again.



“I’m in the shower,” Kyle called back.



“Just come in, Shmi,” Patricia told her. A moment later he heard the Indian girl start to laugh.



“Some things never change, Trish,” She said a moment later. “So how bad?”



“Remember the last time we were at Aspen?” Patricia said quietly.



“Really? That bad? You were pretty hammered last night.”



“Oh, don’t I know it. What’s up?”



“Kyle’s being asked for downstairs. Charlize.” Lakshmi explained.



“Really?” Kyle called from the shower.



“Probably wants to hit on you again,” Patricia added.



“Jealous much?” Lakshmi said, laughing.



“Not at all,” Patricia replied, getting another laugh from Lakshmi. “Okay, maybe a little. I like to think of it as overly protective.”



Kyle was a little startled at how open the conversation was between the two of them, until he remembered that they usually shared one of the houses on the Island. They obviously knew each other really well and were good friends.



“Any idea what she actually wants?” Kyle asked.



“I’m guessing she wants to set up a booty call for when you’re in LA,” Patricia suggested.



“Maybe,” Lakshmi said tentatively. “More likely it’s to do some groundwork for getting you to invest in a movie she’s producing and acting in at some point later this year.”



“Could be,” Patricia allowed.



“Is it a good investment?” Kyle asked, wondering what he should do or say.



“Who knows,” Patricia replied. “If it’s anything to do with that, she’ll just be wanting to set up a meeting, probably invite you to visit her when she’s working or something.”



“Ah, the attraction of a behind-the-scenes private tour,” Lakshmi said. “That sounds likely.”



“Then again, she might just want your cock before breakfast,” Patricia added.



“Trish!” Lakshmi said sharply.



“What? Kyle’s a grown-up. Besides, we chat about this stuff,” Patricia replied, then Kyle heard her sigh. “I feel like shit.”



“You should get up, have some fruit and get down to the gym,” Her friend told her. “Kyle, you should get out the shower and get dressed. She’s sitting downstairs at the pool.”



“Okay,” Kyle said. He reached for the door and paused. “Lakshmi?”



“She’s gone,” Patricia replied. “You can come out now.”



Kyle opened the door, grabbed a towel and sat on the edge of the bath. “You okay?”



“I’ll get over it.”



“Any suggestions on what I should do downstairs?”



“Take a meeting, take her number, tell her you’re a fan, and compliment her. Tell her you’d be delighted to meet with her when you’re in town but you don’t know when that’ll be.” Patricia took a deep breath. “And don’t fuck her please.”



Kyle cocked an eyebrow. “I wasn’t planning on it, but okay.”



“I’ve no right to even say that,” She said, looking at him. “I don’t know what this is, what’s going on between us, if anything, but I feel shit enough today without getting uber jealous too.”



“You’d get all jealous?” Kyle asked, a smile twitching at his lips. “That’s so cute.”



“Shut up,” She muttered, blushing a little. “And go get dressed.”



Kyle got up to leave, but her hand grabbed his, stopping him.



“Kyle, just wanted to say thanks again for… not doing anything last night.”



He looked down at her, this incredible, gorgeous woman lying in the bath and he smiled. “Patricia, if we’re going to hook up, me and you, I want you sober, I want you conscious and I want you being you. Not drunk and half asleep.”



“I’m not promising anything,” She said a moment later.



“I know,” He nodded. “But I know you’re into me, and you know I’m into you. We’ll get it together or we won’t. I just hope we do.”



She nodded and let his hand go.



Kyle left and got dressed, opting for light blue jeans, an old faded t-shirt and timberland boots, Margaret be damned. He roughly towel-dried his hair and swept into place with his fingers, grabbed a pair of shades, his phone and cigarettes and headed outside.



He found the actress sitting at a table overlooking the pool, looking elegant as she sipped at a coffee. Kyle said hello and took a seat.



“Sleep well?”



“Yes,” She smiled. “It’s so peaceful here.”



“Feel free to visit any time you like,” Kyle told her. “I’ve no idea if my sisters or I will be here, but there’s plenty room if you need to get away for a few days.”



“I might take you up on that,” She replied. Her eyes flicked down to the phone and cigarettes on the table. “Smoke if you want to, I don’t mind.”



Kyle lit up. “So you wanted to see me?”



“Yeah. When you coming to LA?”



He laughed, reminded of the conversation upstairs. “Honestly, no idea. I get the feeling they’re going to keep me travelling for the next few months, but I haven’t seen the itinery yet.”



“Well, I know you’ve got a lot of business in town, so give me a call when you do,” She said. “And my friends call me Charlie, not Charlize.”



“Okay,” He nodded, picking up his phone. He opened the address book, typed in a new contact called ‘Charlie T’ and then handed her the handset. “Punch your number in.”



She handed it back a few moments later, her number entered. “That’s my personal phone, okay?”



Kyle nodded, then smiled. “So is this ‘give me a call’ thing… is it personal or business?”



The actress laughed. “That’s direct. Let’s just say it’s a bit of both. I assume you’re okay with that?”



“I think so,” Kyle said, smiling.



“You should take a picture to go with that number on your cell, just so you don’t forget who I am,” She told him, a smile twitching at her lips.



“Yeah, because my phone’s full of Oscar-winning hotties,” Kyle joked. He picked up his phone and it took a couple of minutes fiddling before he had the camera working. Eventually though, he had a shot of her smiling at him added to the contact.



“Ring me,” She said a moment later.



“Now?”



“Well, I don’t have your number, do I?” She pointed out.



“Good point.” He gave her a quick call, and then she insisted on taking his picture too.



“So no idea when you’re coming into town?”



“Honestly, not a clue,” He admitted. “I don’t think they’ve figured that part of it out yet.”



“Well, feel free to message me in the meantime.”



“Sorry to interrupt,” Lakshmi said, appearing at the table. “There’s a call for you, Kyle.”



“Okay,” He nodded, wondering who it was. “Got to go for now. See you at breakfast?”



“Sure,” Charlie replied, giving his hand a squeeze as he grabbed his phone.



Kyle nodded and followed Lakshmi back to the stairs and up to his suite. “Who’s the call from?”



“No-one,” Lakshmi admitted. “I was just talking to Heidi and…”



“There’s no call?” Kyle said. He’d been enjoying the conversation with Charlie, and it had been innocent enough, but he was a little pissed that it had been interrupted.



“Kyle,” Lakshmi said sharply, her voice low. “Listen to me. I’ve just been talking to Heidi. She just let me know that Katie’s having a few problems.”



“What kind of problems?”



“I’m not sure. Heidi’s a bit of a cold fish sometimes, and she’s not great with the emotional stuff, but she let slip that Katie’s been crying in her bed for the last couple of nights. I think she’s lonely.”



Kyle frowned. “You think she’s lonely?”



Lakshmi nodded. “I was watching her yesterday and she’s quite withdrawn. She would chat with people for a while, but then she’d make some excuse and slip away. Has she mentioned anything to you?”



Kyle straightened up as he realised he hadn’t really had much of a chance to talk with her over the last couple of days. He’d had his late night chats with Kara, but the only time he’d spent around Katie had been meals and meetings.



“I haven’t really had much of a chance to talk with her,” He admitted. Now that she’d brought the subject up, Kyle realised he hadn’t really seen Kara and Katie hanging out much either.



“I’ll go see her,” He said firmly.



Lakshmi held out a hand, stopping him. “What about bringing some of her friends out?”



Kyle shrugged. “I don’t have a problem with that. Want me to talk to her about it?”



“Yes, please,” She replied. “If I’m wrong, then no harm done. If I’m right then she’ll have people she can talk to, and it wouldn’t do any harm if you spent a little more time together, the three of you.”



“When we do it’s all work.”



“I’ll change the schedules today, get a bit more fun stuff in there if you like?”



Kyle nodded firmly. “That would be really good. The last few days have been pretty heavy, know what I mean?”



Lakshmi nodded. “Thanks, Kyle.”



“Is she in her room?”



“Yeah.”



“Okay.”



Kyle walked around the balcony and knocked on the open door frame. “Katie? You in there?”



“Back here,” She called. Kyle followed her voice to the large bedroom at the rear where she was sat on the bed with a large laptop, a pen and tablet device plugged in the side.



“How you doing?” He asked.



“Good. Come and see,” She said, nodding to the bed.



Kyle walked round and sat down beside her, seeing she was working on the images she’d shot last night at the party. She flicked open a gallery full of dark thumbnails, then opened the first one full screen.



“Wow,” Kyle murmured, seeing a shot of Sting and Neil Finn, the sunset behind them as they played.



“Cool, huh?” She replied, clicking to turn the slideshow on.



Kyle sat there, amazed at the photos she’d captured and edited. Some of the changes were subtle and some undetectable to his eye, but as the evening wore on, there was more shadow in the shots, and then he was looking at black and white pictures, everything shadowed out but the closeup of the person in the picture.



“Katie, these are fucking amazing,” He told her. “You must have been up all night.”



“I had a couple of hours sleep, but editing photos is like an addiction.” She shrugged. “I’ve been like that for years.”

“Listen, I know we haven’t had much of a chance to talk over the last few days, so I wanted to see how you’re doing.”



Her expression changed, becoming a little flat, unimpressed. “You’re coming to check up on me now, Kyle?”



“Not at all. Just wanted to see how you’re doing.”



“I’m fine.”



“You sure?”



“Why are you asking?” She said, a hint of anger in her tone as she faced him. “You’ve barely spoken to me since you were in here a few nights ago. You held me in your arms until I drifted off to sleep, and then you’ve barely spoken to me since.”



He frowned. “I know. We’ve been really busy, and I haven’t had much time to chat.”



“You seem to find plenty of time with your PA. And Kara too,” She added.



“Hey, you could have come and seen me any time,” He told her. “This isn’t all on me.”



“It’s not easy to just walk in to see you with Patricia hanging around all the time like some possessive jealous frickin wife,” Katie said, shaking her head. “And how come you’ve never included me in your late night balcony talks with Kara either?”



He shrugged. “I don’t know. Because they’re not planned. I sit out there at night and have a smoke and Kara has one too. I don’t issue invites or anything.”



“Why have you never come to see me again, Kyle?” She said bluntly. “Why?”



He spread his hands helplessly. “What do you want me to say here, Katie? You said we shouldn’t speak of what happened. You said it couldn’t ever happen again.”



“And you agreed,” She said quickly.



“I did. So what was supposed to happen? Was I meant to come and cuddle you to sleep every night, because that’s not fucked up at all, is it?”



“Don’t be sarcastic,” She snapped. “That’s the last thing I need.”



“So what do you need, Katie? What do you want?”



“I don’t know,” She said a moment later. “Kara doesn’t really talk to me at all. You’ve barely said two words outside the meetings, and I’m bored of it. You were this guy, this figure of fantasy in my head, and now the reality isn’t matching up to the memory. Now I feel completely alone, and I just want to go home.”



He frowned, thinking, trying to consider what she was saying. He knew he should have made more of an effort over the last few days, but he’d been so caught up in everything that was happening, and his attraction with Patricia was definitely a part of that too.



“Okay, I had this idea earlier and wanted to talk to you about it,” He said, choosing his words with care. “How would you feel about us bringing some friends out here?”



“I thought it was meant to be just the three of us for the week?”



“And I’m thinking we could do with some people we know to keep us grounded, or remind us who we are, know what I mean?”



“I know who I am,” Katie said bluntly. “I don’t know who you are though. You’re not the same guy you were three years ago though.”



“Everybody changes in three years, Katie. Even you. Anyway, that’s besides the point. What do you think? You could bring Margarita out for a few days if you want.”



“What about Kara?”



“She can bring people out too,” Kyle shrugged.



“Kyle, she doesn’t have anybody.”



“No friends at all?”



“Have you ever heard her mention anyone?” Katie asked. “There’s no numbers in her phone book apart from ours and the work stuff.”



“Then maybe she can make friends with our friends,” Kyle said. “I don’t know. I think it’s a good idea. Would you like to see Margarita here?”



She thought for a second and nodded.



“I’ll ask Lakshmi to arrange it,” Kyle said, nodding.



“Not Patricia?” Katie said quickly.



“No, she’s a bit…. indisposed this morning.”



“Good.”



“Katie,” Kyle protested, chuckling at her tone.



“What? I don’t have to like her, do I?”



“Just give her a chance. She’s okay,” Kyle said.



“I’ll think about it.”



“And in the meantime, how about we start again?”



“As long as you’re not going to be a dick any more,” She said, a hint of a smile on her face.



“I can do that. You have to be less argumentative though.”



“I’m not argu…”



“Gotcha,” He said, cutting her off.



“Sneaky fucker,” She said, laughing.



“I have my moments,” He grinned. “Now, it’s breakfast time and we’ve got some guests. You coming down?”



“Five minutes.”



“Bring the laptop. Those pictures are impressive and you should show them off.”



“I might.”



“You must have a great camera,” He added.



“Oh, Kyle,” Katie said, sighing. “Complimenting a photographers images and then saying they must have a great camera is like eating a top-class meal in a fantastic restaurant, then meeting the head chef and complimenting him on his pots and pans.”



Kyle burst out laughing. “Yeah, I guess so. Sorry.”



“It’s okay. It happens to every photographer.”



“You’re coming down?” He said again.



“Few minutes,” She nodded. “I need to smarten up. You sick of all the wardrobe changes yet?”



“Beyond sick.” Kyle grinned. “Today I got to choose my own clothes. That was a change of pace.”



“Maybe I should get Heidi drunk tonight then,” Katie smiled.



“Good luck with that,” Kyle replied, remembering how sober she seemed the night before when she put Patricia to bed. “See you in a few.”



Kyle tracked down Lakshmi and told her about Margarita, and suggested she catch Katie and find out if she wanted to bring anyone else out, then asked her to organise for Ed and Casey to come out too.



He sat down on his balcony, lit a cigarette, called them both and felt immensely relieved when they jumped at the chance to come and see the Island. Ed called him an asshole for not getting a picture of Caroline for him, and Casey point blank refused to believe him when he said he had been hit on by Charlize Theron.



Kara drifted by towards the end of the call with Casey, so he cut it short and carefully asked her about bringing out anyone she wanted to the Island for a few days. She shrugged and said she was fine, then drifted off to breakfast as if she didn’t really care. Kyle frowned and made a mental note to try and draw her into spending more time with Katie, then headed into his suite to see how Patricia was.



He found her sitting on his bed with a laptop, wearing only a black bra and matching panties.



“Wow. You look hot,” He said immediately.



“Don’t go getting any ideas,” She replied, winking anyway.



“What you up to?” He asked, getting up on the bed beside her.



“Checking out the kiss and tell story,” She said, handing him the laptop. “You recognise her now?”



“Nope,” He said, seeing the photo of a brunette in a blue bikini, posing next to the article. He quickly read it and started to laugh. “I know who she is now.”



“Who?”



“Some girl that Ed fucked at a college party,” He explained. “He was playing some drinking game and got locked in a wardrobe with these two girls. They couldn’t have impressed him because he gave them my name.”



“Your name?”



“Yeah, he used to think it was funny to give girls he deemed as fugly my name and number. Sometimes Ed can be… unusual.”



“You mean an asshole?”



He shrugged. “Pretty much.”



“Okay, I’ll let the media people know the chick was so drunk she got the wrong guy and actually banged his friend. That should make that story go away,” She murmured, taking the laptop back.



“You sure you’re up to working?”



“Shut up, Kyle,” She said, rolling her eyes.



“You coming down for breakfast?”



“I’ll be down in a bit,” She nodded. As Kyle got off the bed to leave, she called him. “Kyle.”



“Yeah?”



“You think I look hot in black lingerie?” He could see she was enjoying asking him that, teasing him a little.



“Want me to come over there and show you how much?”



“Nope,” She said, sticking her tongue out at him.



“One of these days…” He said, grinning.



Kyle arrived at breakfast to see Kara seated between Johnny Depp and Sting who were having an animated conversation about the song he sung for the movie Leaving Las Vegas. Kara seemed to be holding her own in the discussion, which was surprising, so he took a seat a few places down, opposite Charlie and next to Neil Finn.



They talked about the impromptu concert last night, and Kyle told them how he was totally blown away by it, and how he wished he’d recorded it. After Neil promising him concert tickets any time he wanted, Katie arrived, laptop in hand.



She took a seat next to Charlie and began to show her a few of the shots, and then suddenly she was the centre of attention, with Heidi quickly hooking the laptop up to one of the big screens on the walls and Katie giving an unexpected photo presentation.



By the time Kyle finished breakfast, Johnny was making a call to a friend at GQ telling him he had to hire Katie for an upcoming shoot they’d booked with him, and Charlize was emailing copies of the shots to her agents to go on her website. Neil was sitting chatting with her about shooting an album cover for him, and Katie had a massive smile on her face.



Just as he was heading outside for a smoke, Patricia appeared. “Your schedule’s changed.”



“Yeah, Lakshmi mentioned that.”



“You’ve got half an hour now before the guests start to leave. Want to meet with Mister Crowler now?”



“Sure,” Kyle nodded, then remembered something. “Can you get a hold of Edwin and ask him if he’s got a minute to chat too please?”



“He’s in the bar just now,” She replied, so Kyle nodded and walked over.



“Hi, Edwin.”



“Good morning, Master Kyle,” The old man nodded. “Everything to your satisfaction?”



“Yeah, everything’s excellent,” He nodded. “Listen, I had a question for you.”



“Go ahead, Master Kyle.”



Kyle closed the outside door, making sure there was no-one else in the room.



“A discrete matter, I assume?”



“Yeah,” Kyle nodded. “I wanted to ask. Where’s Mister Tripps safe room?”



“You mean where he keeps his valuables?” The old Englishman asked, one eyebrow raised.



“No, I mean like a panic room. I assume he has one here?”



“Actually, no,” Edwin said, looking down. “It was something I brought up regularly with Mister Tripps, however he didn’t like the idea of locking himself in a box. A bone of contention, I’m afraid.”



“I thought he would have had one,” Kyle said, surprised. “Was he claustrophobic or something?”



“I don’t know,” Edwin said, shrugging. “But I can assure you no such room exists, Master Kyle.”



“Oh, okay.”



“Was there anything else I could assist you with, Master Kyle?”



“No, I don’t think so… wait, Patricia said you’re waiting for a part for her shower.”



“I’m afraid you must be mistaken, Master Kyle,” Edwin replied, looking puzzled. “As far as I’m aware there are no faults with any of the facilities in your suite.”



“Really?” Kyle replied, frowning. Had Patricia just made that up so she could have an excuse to use his bathroom?



“I’m sure, Master Kyle, however I will have maintenance check immediately.”



“Don’t worry about it,” Kyle said, shaking his head. “I probably just picked her up wrong.”



“If you insist, Master Kyle,” Edwin replied, nodding his head.



“Thanks, Edwin. That’s all it was.”



“Have a good day, sir,” The Englishman replied.



“You too,” Kyle murmured as he headed outside. He was chuckling a little at the idea that Patricia had faked a broken shower so she could use his bathroom, and made a mental note to check it out himself, but then his mind drifted back to Edwin’s claim that there was no safe room on the Island. Connor’s note claimed there must be, and that seemed more likely.



“That doesn’t make sense that Danny Tripps wouldn’t have one,” He whispered as he walked, and decided to bring it up again with Connor that afternoon.



When he got back to the lounge, Mister Crowler was waiting for him, so Kyle suggested they have a walk while they talked.



“You asked me a few days ago when we first met if I was your lawyer, Kyle,” The old man reminded him.



“Yeah. That seems like weeks ago,” Kyle replied. “It’s fine now though.”



“Well, the purpose of this meeting was to let you know I’m now your lawyer, and you can discuss anything with me in complete confidentiality,” Mister Crowler explained. “Now, I believe my number is in your cellphone?”



Kyle nodded.



“Good. In the event of any kind of emergency or situation, you call me, day or night. Particularly if there is any potential legal impact.”



“I’ve to call you first?”



“No, obviously if you need to call an Ambulance then you do that first. Then, you call me.”



“Okay,” Kyle nodded. “Hey, I’ve got a question for you.”



“Of course,” Mister Crowler nodded.



“Do you happen to know if Danny Tripps was claustrophobic?”



“No, he wasn’t at all,” The lawyer replied. “Why do you ask?”



“I was just asking Edwin if the Island had a panic room, like a safe room, in the event of an attack or something, but he said that it didn’t,” Kyle explained.



“That’s rather unusual,” Mister Crowler said, frowning.



“Why’s that?”



“Well, I know his residences in New York, LA and Hawaii all have them. As does the villa in Italy, now that I think on it,” The old man replied. “This island had extensive work done on it prior to the builders coming in, and that would fit with the installation of a safe area.”



“You think there is one?” Kyle asked, his eyes widening.



“Allow me to check out a few things, Kyle,” Mister Crowler said softly. “This is a discrete enquiry, I assume.”



“Yes. I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, but if there is a safehouse, then my sisters and I should know about it, and if it’s there, why is Edwin keeping it from us?” Kyle frowned. “Likewise, I don’t want to call him a liar if there’s nothing there either, know what I mean?”



“I do,” The old man nodded. “I shall find out what I can.”



“Thanks, Mister Crowler,” Kyle nodded.



“Kyle,” The old man said, stopping him. “I think it’s acceptable for you to call me George if you wish.”



“George it is,” Kyle nodded. “And thanks for the chat.”



The next couple of hours flew by as Kyle, Katie and Kara escorted their guests back to either the helipad or the pier, bidding them all farewell, and thanking them for coming along.



It was almost surreal how they’d arrived as these famous people with reputations and impressions, yet when they left twentyfour hours later they seemed different people entirely. Johnny Depp was Johnny, a goofy guy and a bit of an oddball with a sensitive side and Charlize Theron was just Charlie, a chatty and flirty woman who cared deeply about her projects.



Kyle, Kara and Katie were then walked down to a small shooting range at the far West side of the Island to meet Connor Grant and the Islands Head of Security, Brian Kane. The ‘introduction to firearms’ proved to be a real eye-opener, as they saw Connor Grant in work-mode. Gone was the charismatic rogue with the scotch in hand, and in his place was a neat and tidy professional, calm and confident who demonstrated using a pistol with ridiculous accuracy.



Connor spoke to them for a few minutes about how if they were under threat they may need to know how to use a firearm, and without going into any specifics, he explained that he was speaking from experience and they should listen closely as what he was about to teach could one day save their lives.



They were taken through how various different models of pistols worked, how the safety worked, how to use the sights and then shooting stances. Katie had ever fired a gun before, but Kara had in the past, explaining she used to be friends with a biker who was a bit of a gun nut. Kyle had grown up with guns in the house as his father was a policeman, so he’d been to the range half a dozen times and had a basic grasp on firearm safety.



While Katie hit the target sometimes, and Kyle hit it most of the time, Kara proved to be the best shot of the three of them, hitting the targets centre-mass with most of her shots. Brian Kane hit the centre mass with every shot which was impressive, until Connor stepped up and hit bullseyes and eyeballs for fun.



Kyle didn’t get the chance to mention to Connor about the conversations with Edwin and George Crowler as they were whisked off again as Kare and Katie were to attend appointments with the team of beautificans on the Island. Kyle was led straight into the gym for his second workout of the day, emerging exhausted and shaking as usual.



He stumbled into his suite, a weary smile on his face as Patricia steered him straight into the bath, the now familiar smell of bath salts permeating the air.



It had been a long day already, after a late night and Kyle rested his head against the end of the bath and closed his eyes, breathing slowly and deeply as he rested his sore muscles in the hot water. He mentally drifted and wondered if he’d snoozed as Patricia placed a gentle hand on top of his head. He hadn’t even heard her come in.



“Sit forward,” She said softly, and he groaned as he sat upright, leaning forward in the bath. He watched silently as she slipped off the white dressing gown, exposing her naked form, and with no pretence at discomfort or awkward positions for massaging him, Patricia entered the water behind him, slipping her legs round either side of his hips. Her hands rested on top of his shoulders and she slowly eased him back until he was resting on her body, his head on her chest.



“That’s nice,” He murmured, feeling the tension in the air.



Kyle felt her hands begin to soap up his shoulders and chest, massaging his pectoral muscles down to the side of his ribs and across his stomach and he closed his eyes again.



“You work too hard,” Patricia said quietly in his ear. “I worry about how sore you are when you come back from the gym. I worry you’re going to tear something, or hurt yourself.”



Kyle took a deep slow breath, and felt her head resting against his. It felt comforting, intimate and he could feel her breath on his neck. Her hands slowly began to drag handfuls of water up his body, rinsing the soap off him with each gentle movement.



“Lean forward,” She said quietly a moment later, but Kyle stayed where he was, feeling each rise and fall of her breathing, revelling in the contact between them.



“Kyle,” She said gently, checking to see if he was asleep. As she moved her head to the side to try and check, he rolled his head around until his lips were inches from her neck and he kissed her soft skin.



“Kyle,” She said gently. “Come on, sit forward.”



He kissed her neck again, then dragged his lips down over her collarbone.



“Don’t do this,” She whispered, but he could hear the desire in her voice, could feel it in the way her arms held him in place against her.



His lips sought her neck again, and he felt her head roll back in pleasure at his touch.



“Kyle, you shouldn’t….”



“Shush,” He whispered, kissing her once more, hearing her sigh. He brought his left hand up, carefully running his fingers along the line of her jaw, and he felt her kiss his thumb as it moved past her lips and then her lips were on his.



They kissed, a sudden explosion of passion that had been kept at bay for too long.



Patricia’s arms wrapped him in tight, her legs locked themselves around him as she slid her tongue into his mouth, kissing him with an audible moan.



Kyle pressed her lips against hers, feeling her desire explode as he felt his own, ripping through his body like an electrical recharge. His hand wrapped itself in her hair, holding her to him as he kissed her, hard and hungry.



He realised he was growling with desire, his cock erect and wanting and he could feel it pressing at her legs. Kyle knew she could too, and he felt them move, releasing him to turn.



They broke in a mad scramble, panting as their wide eyes stared at each other. Patricia’s hand came up and held his head as he flipped onto his front, both of them ignoring the wave of water that sloshed onto the floor and buffeted them, caught in their own passion.

Kyle placed one elbow on the side of the bath, his other hand sliding beneath her, pulling her into him, seeing her eyes narrow as she anticipated him.



“Go on,” She moaned, inches from his face and then she smiled hungrily as she felt that first inch probe inside her.



“Give me it.”



Kyle pulled with his hand as he pushed with his hips, thrusting into her.



“Fuck!” She moaned, then could say no more as his lips pressed onto hers once more. His hips began to move back and forth, lost in the exquisiteness of her pussy, moving slowly at first, as she rocked her hips to match his movements, then faster as their passion lifted them to new heights.



Water began to rock around them, deep peaks and troughs sloshing over the end and sides, splashing over their bodies, yet neither cared as they rode each others desires.



Kyle thrust, withdrew and thrust again, repeating and repeating the motion that brought such pleasure from his erection, pleasure that radiated through him as he knew it radiated through her.



He heard her moan as her tongue withdrew into her own mouth, louder as she broke their kiss to gasp for more air, and he leaned his forehead against hers.



A hand slid free from his head to his hips, beckoning him onward, calling him for more and he gave it, powering into her with everything he had, every ounce of desire, every ounce of hunger he’d felt for her over the last few days.



“Kyle,” She cried, a sharp gasp that spurred him on.



“Yes,” She cried, her lips probing forward for a second before they broke to accommodate her fast, hard breathing.



He knew he was close, but he knew she was too.



It would never be a case of trying to hold on, but to bring her there faster and Kyle reacted to that instinctive knowledge, pushing deeper with every thrust, as fast as he could with every thrust, as hard as he could give it to her.



“Oh.”



He knew she was close and then she was there, stiffening, gasping, moaning beneath him and it was more than he could cope with.



Kyle groaned, a loud, drawn out primal noise of pure pleasure as he thrust deep, deep inside her, still pressing even though her skin was tight against his own and he came.



His entire pelvis rocked with each surge, mirrored by the water sloshing around in the bath, splashing up the walls, and slamming into their bodies like the waves that coursed through them both.



“Kyle,” Patricia panted, kissing him for a long, drawn out second, breaking as he did as their bodies screamed for more air.



Their eyes remained locked on each others long after their orgasms had begun to fade, until eventually Kyle eased out of her.



“Oh my,” She murmured, kissing him once more, a quick brief peck on the lips. “That was…..”



“Long overdue?” He guessed.



“Very pleasurable I was going to say,” Patricia replied, smiling. “But either way works for me.”



“Me too,” He nodded, then as he moved his elbow from the side of the bath that had been taking his weight he grimaced. “Oh, ouch.”



“Muscles stiff?” She asked, tilting her head.



Kyle nodded.



“Told you should have leaned forward earlier.”



“This way was much better. No pain, no gain,” He chuckled, earning a slap on the shoulder and a laugh from the beautiful woman beneath him.



“I think we made a bit of a mess,” She said a moment later, drawing his gaze over the side of the bath at the water all over the floor.



“I’ll lick it up if I have to,” Kyle told her. “I wouldn’t have stopped there if the walls had fallen down.”



“Neither would I,” She smiled, kissing him once more. “Now get up.”



“Why?”



She slapped him on the shoulder again. “We’ve got lunch about… ten minutes ago, and then a full afternoon.”



“I better have time for…. rest and relaxation with my wonderful assistant at some point,” He said pointedly. “Assuming you’re interested?”



“Right now, I’d happily clear your schedule for the rest of the damned week.”



“Good.”



“You know, you really opened Pandora’s box here, Kyle,” She said, smirking. “You’ve no idea what you’ve let yourself in for.”



“Meaning what?”



“You’ll see,” She said, kissing the end of his nose. “Later.”



Kyle arrived twenty minutes late to lunch and sat down to a very different meal a few minutes later. A platter of steak and lobster, and a glass of low fat milk were brought out and Kyle grinned as he looked around the table.



“You’re looking very cheerful,” Kara said, giving him a shrewd look. “Like the cat that got the cream.”



Kyle glanced down at the plate, seeing an excuse right there in front of him. “I’ve been craving steak for days and I’ve been getting nothing but tuna and eggs, so this is a real change. And lobster too. Lucky me.”



Katie chuckled at his enthusiasm, while Kara raised an eyebrow.



He ignored her and got stuck into his meal.



Heidi asked if Patricia was joining them for lunch, but Kyle shook his head, saying she was working upstairs but would order something from the kitchen, and then before he was finished eating they moved smoothly into an hour long briefing from Peter on the basics of business management, with a focus on international marketing strategy and modern advertising.



Kyle found the whole topic a little boring, having covered it already at college and in practice at work, but he simplified a few of the questions when Kara struggled, and it was soon over.



Lakshmi reappeared, explaining that their schedule had changed for the afternoon now, and would they like to accompany her.



Exchanging puzzled glances back and forth, Kyle, Katie and Kara followed Lakshmi up to the helipad where a man in a flight suit waited for them.



“Good afternoon. My name’s Captain Jonas Scott and I’ll be flying you this afternoon aboard this here Sikorsky S-76,” He said, jerking his thumb at the big helicopter on the landing pad behind him.



“We’ll be up in the air for about thirty minutes, doing a quick tour of the Island from above then a fly over of a few of the neighbours, and if we can manage it we’ll go looking for some dolphins too. Come on board,” He finished, a broad smile on his face as he turned and boarded the helicopter..



“Fucking awesome,” Kyle murmured.



“You’re not serious,” Katie replied. “I’m not going up in a helicopter.”



“Come on,” Kara said. “It’ll be fun.”



“No. It won’t,” Katie said, looking scared. “I don’t want to.”



“Katie,” Lakshmi said gently. “Think of this as a drill, a training exercise.”



“For what?”



“Say, for a security threat on the Island, or a foul-weather warning. In the event we have to evacuate you by helicopter, do you really want the added pressure of never having flown before.”



“The terrorists will just have to put up with me,” She said, drawing a chuckle from Kyle. She rounded on him. “This isn’t funny.”



“I know,” He said, holding up his hands. “I just found it funny someone else was as scared as I was,” He lied.



“You just said you tought this was fucking awesome,” She said, shaking her head.



“I was being sarcastic,” He improvised. “I don’t want to go up in a steel box held up in the air by four rotating bits of metal and a couple of jet engines, no matter what it’s safety record is, or how good the crew are,” He finished, giving Lakshmi a pointed look.



She caught it and added. “I have to say, the S-76 is used all over the world and has one of the best safety records going. The government even use them for ferrying diplomats and dignitaries around, it’s that good. And did I mention our crew are all ex-special forces?”



“That’s kinda cool,” Kara said.



“Yes. I think Captain Scott used to be a Night Stalker,” Lakshmi added.



“What? One of those guys who fly the Delta Force guys around?”



“Yes, although if you ask him, he’ll deny it.”



Kyle pretended to consider the matter, tapping his fingers against his chin. “Katie, I’m scared, but if I’m going to fly in a helicopter for the first time, I don’t suppose I can ask for a better pilot or safer aircraft.”



“You’re thinking about it?” Katie asked, wheeling to face him.



“You know, my dad used to tell me ‘Never be ruled by that which you fear’ and if I don’t try it, then I’m letting the fear win, right?” He asked, then cautiously, feeling dramatic and transparent, he took a step forward, then held out his hand to Katie. “You coming?”



“No.”



“Come on, please,” He said, licking his lips. “We might even enjoy it, or at least that’s what I’m trying to convince myself.” Kyle knew it was a sneaky thing to do, but he knew how important it was that they could just jump on one of these things if anything happened.



“I don’t know,” Katie said, and Kyle looked at Kara.



“I’ll hold your hand too, Katie,” Kara said. “I’m not frightened at all. I’ve been dying to fly in a helicopter for years.”



“Come on,” Kyle said firmly, taking her hand. He moved slowly, as if he was fighting his own battle against his fears as he reached the steps and he hesitated, then went up, pulling a terrified Katie behind him.



“Oh, wow. Look at this,” He said, looking around the luxury interior. Six leather armchairs on pivots sat on a carpeted floor within a white painted interior. “It’s like the inside of the jet I flew in on.”



He felt Katie gripping his hand as she entered the cabin and looked around. “I don’t know if I want to do this,” She said.



“How about we sit over here, in these three seats?” Kyle suggested, selecting the three armchairs on the right, all within close reach of each other. Rather than wait for her to reply, he led her up, Kara trailing and they sat down.



Captain Scott re-appeared through the cockpit door. “Nervous?” He asked, seeing their faces.



“A little, Captain,” Kyle said. “None of us have ever been in a helicopter before, so this is new territory for us.”



“Hey, that’s no problem,” He smiled. “Most of our flyers are nervous the first time. When it comes to the second time, they’re usually the first ones on board.”



“That’s good,” Kyle said, nodding his head, feeling like a fraud, but Katie seemed to be following his lead, thinking if he could do it then so could she. He winked subtley at the Captain then casually tilted his head towards his sister.



A brief smile crossed his lips and a barely pereceptible nod let Kyle know the message had been received.



“Let me just make sure your seatbelts are fastened for when we take off,” He told them.



While he showed them how the seatbelts worked, he told them about his co-pilot, Captain Johnson, and what he was doing to start the aircraft. As soon as the door was shut, the rotor began to spin, and within a few seconds, Kyle could feel the power in the big engines.



“You know, this is kinda exciting,” He told his sisters. Katie looked at him like he was mad. Kara just rolled her eyes at his theatrics, then nodded when Katie looked at her.



Captain Scott disappeared forward and then his voice crackled on a loudspeaker in the roof. “That’s us about to take off, folks.”



Kyle felt it at the same time he saw the scenery begin to move out the window, and then they were out over the cliff, the ocean beneath them.



“Hey, you guys did it,” Kara said a moment later. “Well done.”



Kyle spun his chair so it was facing Katie and looked out the window to his side. “Oh, man. This view is amazing.”



“Totally,” Kara agreed.



The helicopter had continued to rise as it took off and they were circling the Island a couple of hundred feet up within no time at all. It swept slowly round the west side of the Island, giving them a good view of the exterior of the main house, and drawing waves from Peter, Heidi and Garius.



Katie began to cautiously relax and was able to turn her chair to look out the window. Kyle watched her reaction to the amazing view of the Island, and grinned when she muttered, “I wish I had my camera.”



They circled the Island a couple of times at different heights, then swung out to sea, flying over a couple of small islands, barely piles of sand and a few trees, and then a larger one with a small community living on it. They swung further round to the west and the water turned a much deeper blue, obviously a lot deeper beneath them now.



Kyle figured now would be as good at time as any to tell his sisters about Connor’s questioning notes, Edwins response and George Crowlers thoughts on it.



“What’s the big deal?” Katie asked. “There’s probably no safe room.”



“Maybe,” Kyle allowed. “But if there is, why is he hiding it from us? What’s in there? Has Edwin stashed away loads of jewels or cash or is it full of dodgy stuff?”



“It doesn’t matter whats in there,” Kara argued. “If it’s there, it’s there for a reason, right? So if we need to use it in an emergency, he’s not letting us.”



“Anyway,” Kyle said firmly. “I’m following it up and I’m gonna get to the bottom of this, so I’m just keeping you guys in the loop, okay? Now, I suggest we don’t talk about this back on the Island unless we know we’re absolutely alone. We don’t know who’s listening, do we?”



“I don’t like this,” Katie muttered.



“Just don’t keep us in the dark, okay?” Kara told him.



“I won’t,” He promised.



A few minutes later the scenery changed again as they flew around a small cluster of Islands and sand banks, and Kyle could see several fishing boats pulled up on the beach. It looked like life was simple down there, peaceful and lazy and he felt a moment of envy. Life was anything but simple.



The big helicopter swung round and began to fly gradually lower until it was only a hundred feet or so above the water. It was difficult to judge their exact height, Kyle realised. His musings were interrupted by Captain Scott’s voice in the loudspeaker.



“If you look to our left in the water, you’ll see some friends.”



Kara darted out her seat and crossed the cabin, looking out the windows. “Oh my God, you’ve got to see this.”



Katie grabbed Kyle’s hand as he got up, and he slowed, helping her out her seat as she moved tentatively over the small cabin, and then her reaction was the same as Kara’s.



The first thing Kyle saw was the Betsy, racing across the ocean at their side and then his eyes caught sight of the shapes flickering in and out the water before it.



“Dolphins.”



“Ten out of ten, Kyle,” Kara said, flashing him a grin.



They were beautiful. The three of them sat mesmorised, their faces glued to the small windows watching the creatures dart in and out of the water in front of the sleek catamaran as it raced towards the Island.



At some invisible signal though, the small school of dolphins turned away, disappearing beneath the water and surfacing off to the east of the Betsy.



“How amazing was that?” Katie asked, her fear of flying forgotten for the moment.



“Breath-taking,” Kyle agreed.



“I am totally coming back up here to take some photos,” She muttered, and Kyle and Kara exchanged a grin.



They landed a few minutes later, touching down with a barely noticeable bump and then they were off the helicopter. Kyle thanked Captain Scott and then turned to join the rest of them.



Katie had bounced over the helipad and was chatting excitedly with Heidi, while Kara was making motions with her arms, describing the dolphins jumping in and out the water in front of the Betsy.



Kyle spotted Patricia waiting for him, a slight smile on her face.



“Hey,” He said as he walked up to her, feeling excited and more than a little horny. She looked great, dressed in a pair of grey loose trousers, heels and a black top that hugged her figure very nicely.



“Enjoy that?” She asked, smiling at him.



“Amazing experience,” He admitted. “It’s been a day for it.”



She smirked. “It certainly has. I hear you had a nice treat earlier.”



Kyle smiled. “I did. It was very tasty. I’d been craving it for a while.” If she could talk in code, then so could he, he figured.



“Maybe you’ll get more of the same later.”



Kyle grinned as she turned to walk towards the house, falling in behind Katie, Heidi, Garius and Kara. He moved too, glancing over his shoulder to make sure no-one was behind him. As he got alongside Patricia, she glanced at him.



He reached out and gently ran his hand down the small of her back, then further, feeling the softness of her buttocks beneath his fingers.



She chuckled silently then took a step to his right, putting herself out of reach.



Kyle, knowing he couldn’t exactly protest in words made a pouty face, but she stuck her tongue out at him, then winked.



The six of them arrived back in the main house, Katie still chattering on about how she wanted to go back up there with her cameras and take loads of pictures. Heidi was explaining to her about how the Chinook would be a better idea, as they could harness her up and lower the tailgate so she wouldn’t be shooting out a window. Kara was laughing at that, given Katie’s recent terror and now sudden enthusiasm and lack of fear.



“What’s happening now?” Kyle asked, hoping he’d be whisked upstairs for some quiet time, but Patricia nodded to where Peter and Lakshmi waited, a presentation ready to go in the business suite off to their left. He sighed, but followed his sisters anyway.



To his surprise, Patricia, Heidi and Garius joined them, scooping up laptops and binders from a nearby table.



The meeting didn’t turn out to be another briefing as Kyle expected, but a planning session to try and sort out their schedules for next week when they left the Island, and to put a few plans in place for the next few months when they’d be visiting the businesses they’d inherited.



The first decision they had to make was if they would be travelling as a trio, or if they would be going as individuals.



“If you don’t mind me making a few observations,” Peter said, kicking things off, “I’ve noticed a few things since I arrived yesterday. Kyle, you seem to be taking to the business side of things with ease, like the proverbial duck to water. Katie, you seem to be doing okay with the information, yet struggle with some concepts, and Kara. Well, frankly you seem quite lost at times.”



As Kara glowered at him, Katie looked a little disappointed and Kyle shrugged, Peter continued. “I don’t say this to criticise or cause offence, but to point out that the three of you are at different levels in your experiences, and we should take steps to balance that out in the coming weeks and months.”



“What are you suggesting?” Kyle asked.



“Please, bear with me for a moment. Kyle, you seemed a little… awkward chatting with some of the musicians and actors yesterday, while Katie and Kara seemed a lot more comfortable.”



Kyle frowned, wanting Peter to get to the point.



“My suggestion for next week and the following one is that we should split into two parties,” Peter explained. “Katie and Kara should go to New York, where we can focus on several of the businesses there. This will allows to give you more of a grounded education and by the end of the fortnight you should be roughly level in terms of understanding with where Kyle is now.”



Kyle didn’t like the thought of being separated from Katie and Kara. He was only just getting to know them, but he realised it might not be a bad thing, as it would force his two sisters to spend more time together.



“As for you, Kyle, I’m suggesting we send you out to look at our businesses in LA. You’ll be going into an environment with its own rules, truly a different world, and you’ll be starting from the ground up.”



“You’re splitting us up?” Katie asked, frowning a little.



“I’m suggesting it for a couple of weeks,” Peter nodded. “You’ll still be able to talk on the phone, video-conference, etc, and if you want to meet up for dinner then I’m sure we can arrange it, however I think it’s the best way to go.”



“Personnel?” Heidi asked, looking up from her notes.



“Heidi with Katie. Garius with Kara. Either Lakshmi or I to come along with you both. Patricia would go to LA with Kyle, and whichever one of us doesn’t go to New York will go to LA,” Peter replied. “Do you have a preference, Lakshmi?”

The Indian girl shrugged. “The shopping’s good for me in either city.”



“LA? If I go to New York I can visit my family,” Peter suggested.



Lakshmi nodded. “Sure.”



“Can I just ask,” Kyle said, holding up his hand. “How many of you guys think this is the best approach to take?”



His eyes looked at each of them, getting nods from Heidi and Lakshmi, a smirk from Patricia and a shrug from Garius.



“Garius?”



“I’ll go wherever Kara wants me to,” He said simply. “I think the decision should be made by you three, not us.”



“I’m trying to get your thoughts on it though.”



“I think it’s as good an idea as any,” He explained. “I think if the three of you are together you can help each other out, but there is an imbalance there right now. If we can address that, then it’ll help going forward.”



“So you’re all basically agreed then?” Katie asked, getting a chorus of nods in reply. “Kara?”



“I don’t know. Whatever. I’ve never been to New York.”



“I’ll show you around,” Katie smiled. “We can go shopping too. Oh, and clubbing.”



“That sounds fun,” Kara replied, a hint of a smile on her face.



Kyle nodded. “Then it’s settled. You guys are going to the Big Apple, Patricia, Lakshmi and I are going to Tinsel Town.”



“Okay,” Peter nodded. “Now, let’s talk about schedules while we’re there. If we split into two focus groups and…”



Kyle chuckled as Heidi, Patricia, Garius and Lakshmi all groaned theatrically.



Peter rolled his eyes. “Running joke. Apparently I say focus groups too much,” He explained. “Anyway, Lakshmi, Patricia. If you would take Kyle and start knocking a schedule out of this,” He said, tapping a large pile of printouts on the table at his side. “Then we can start sorting out this,” He continued, tapping a larger pile right next to it.



“What’s in those piles?” Kara asked, a hint of trepidation in her voice.



“Memo’s, emails, invitations, social events, appearances, meetings,” Peter explained. “Basically, everything we think you should do, or other people think you should do if you’re in New York in the next few weeks.”



“Jesus,” She muttered.



“Don’t worry,” Peter added. “We’ve already culled the crazy stuff.”



Kyle chuckled as he got to his feet and gathered up the pile of notes.



“Let me,” Lakshmi said, moving to take it off him, but Kyle chuckled.



“I’m pretty sure I can manage a pile of notes. Now, where are we going with them?”



Patricia and Lakshmi exchanged a few looks and shrugs.



“Upstairs?” Kyle suggested, and the two women nodded. “Let’s go.”



Kyle set the pile of notes down on the coffee table in his suite and the three of them sat on the sofas. The initial plan was to make a first pass to split everything into three stacks. The discarded, the ‘must do’ and the ‘needs discussion’.



They set to work, and for the next hour Kyle laughed, shook his head or muttered. There was invitations to do all the chat shows, lots of press requests, invites to meetings to discuss investment in productions, many of them disguised as lunches or dinner invites. There was visits to be made to the Production company they now owned, as well as the Talent Agency and Music producers offices, and an invite to attend the recording studio to hear one of their up and coming artists record their new album. There was also the offices of the magazine group they owned, as well as a branch of the Consultancy firm Kyle worked for to visit too.



Patricia ripped through her part of the pile, while Lakshmi pulled up data to answer Kyle’s many questions, everything from who was inviting him where and why to what does this charity do.



It was almost a surprise when Patricia ordered him off to get changed for his workout. Kyle stretched as he stood up, realising they’d been sat there for two hours straight, and suggested that they both take a break.



Lakshmi chuckled and Patricia rolled her eyes. “This is like a hint of getting a normal workload,” Patricia explained. “We’ll just keep with it for now, Kyle. It won’t take long.”



“Okay,” He said, leaving them to it. He got changed and jogged down to the gym, where Julian was waiting for him. This time he gave him a thorough examination to check the development of his musces and any signs of injury, weighed him and took a few measurements.



Then, with an enthusiasm that Kyle was sure was part hysteria, Julian got him working out again. His legs bore the brunt of it in this particular session, although he was aching all over when he left.



“No jogging back this time,” Kyle muttered to himself as he tottered back to the main house.



Patricia had drawn him a bath but was still hard at work in the lounge with Lakshmi, arranging the paper into dozens of piles on the desks across the room, so he stripped off and sank into the water, groaning as he lay back. Patricia appeared a moment later, a cheeky smile on her face.



“You’re on your own in there for this bath, Kyle,” She said softly. “Lakshmi’s right next door.”



Her hand drifted down to touch his chest and she leaned forward and gave him a quick kiss. Kyle could feel his heart rate accelerating as her tongue darted into his mouth, a quick swipe, before she sat back up.



“Just wanted to do that,” She whispered. Her hand drifted down over his stomach, and her smile broadened as she wrapped her fingers around his cock and gave it a gentle squeeze, then let it go.



“Any time you like.”



“I’ll remember that later,” She told him, standing up. Patricia reached for a towel and dried her hand off. “In a few minutes, Sarah, the masseuse, will be arriving. She’s going to do her thing, but Shmi and I will be right next door.”



“Sarah?” Kyle asked, remembering her reputation. “Wait. What do you mean by do her thing?”



Patricia chuckled. “Relax. She’s just gonna give you a massage. We’re right next door, remember. Might even pop in and ask you a few question,” She winked. “Just to make sure no-one poaching on my territory.”



Kyle smiled, liking the possessive side of her. “So I take it you’re cool with us breaking the rules now?”



She shrugged. “We’ve crossed the line, so we might as well see what’s on the other side. Unless you’d rather step back again?”



“Fuck, no,” He replied with feeling.



She smiled, eyeing him in the water, then her shoulders slumped and she groaned. “I better get back to work now, or I’m gonna end up wetter than I am already.”



Kyle smiled as he slid under the water. Today was turning out to be the best day he could remember in a very long time.



Sarah turned out to be an excellent masseuse, not that Kyle had a lot of experience to compare her skills against. She had arrived, laid towels out on his bed, heated oils, dimmed the lights, and told him to lie down.



He was quite surprised at his first impression of her. Shoulder-length dark hair framed a pretty face with a fit but voluptous body, reminding him more of Katie than Kara. Sarah was dressed in a black vest-top and black track-pants, and he could see at least a dozen tattooes around her upper body. Her entire right arm from her shoulder to her wrist was a mixture of aquatic creatures intermingled with waves and stars, a strange yet beautiful and colourful combination, and she had a large tribal dragon on her left arm.



She seemed a little uneasy to Kyle at first, maybe nervous, but she settled quickly as they chatted about her tattoos for a few minutes while she got sorted out, Kyle sitting wrapped in a towel, Sarah busy getting set up, until she told him to lie down on the bed.



Kyle lay there on his back, a towel across his lap, feeling more than a little uncomfortable, yet her hands put him at ease. There was no haste in her movements, but a lot of strength and control, as she worked each muscle of his upper body.



Eventually she told him to turn over and he did, becoming so relaxed as she worked his back that he barely noticed she was astride his hips. He could barely keep his eyes open, and slid into a half-snooze.



Sarah worked his upper body and then his legs while he lay face down on the bed, and Kyle’s muscles felt tired but the pain was gone from them. She asked him to flip over, and he felt that momentary discomfort as he held the towel over his lap and turned onto his back.



“I’m just going to work your thighs now, and that’s us done,” She explained.



Kyle lay back, closing his eyes as her hands rubbed the large muscles, one at a time, easing the pressure and tension from them, her hands warm and firm on his skin. She was sat astride his feet, kneeding his thighs, and as he lay there with his eyes closed something nagged at him, like he’d forgotten he was meant to be somewhere.



“You’re done,” She announced a few moments later, and before he could open his eyes, he felt her press her hands down on either side of his hips and she sprung back off the end of the bed.



The recognition was instant, as Kyle remembered someone making that exact same movement a few nights ago, in the darkness, just before she fled.



He tensed and looked at her, frowning.



“Something wrong?” She asked casually as she bent to retrieve her bag from the floor.



Kyle wanted to ask her straight away if it was her that was in here the other night, fucking him and sucking his cock, and why she’d done it, but something made him hold his question back. He needed time to think.



“No, everythings fine,” He replied a moment later.



“I’ll just tidy up and then I’ll be off,” Sarah said, giving him a smile. “Let me know if you want me to come back again tomorrow. Or whenever.”



“Yeah. Will do.”



She bustled about for another few seconds and then slipped out. Kyle heard Patricia and Lakshmi say goodbye and then Patricia appeared in the bedroom doorway. She caught his expression.



“What’s wrong?”



Kyle sat up, propping himself on his elbows. “I think I’ve figured out who the boogeygirl was.”



Patricia’s eyes widened and she mouthed, “Sarah” at him, her face framing the question.



Kyle nodded. “I didn’t say anything or ask her, but I’m sure it was her.”



“How do you know? Did she…”



Kyle shook his head. “Nothing like that. It was the way she got off the bed.”



“You know just from that?” Patricia asked, sounding unconvinced.



“It’s an unusual way of doing it.” A thought struck him. “I take it she used to give Danny massages up here, in this bed too?”



Patricia’s eyes narrowed. “How did you know that?”



“I’ll tell you later.”



Patricia frowned and came over and sat on the side of the bed. “She’s so getting fired.”



“Not yet,” Kyle said immediately, although he realised he had no idea why. “I need to think about what I want to do.”



“What does that mean? You better not be thinking about a repeat performance!”



Kyle chuckled. “No, nothing like that. I mean why did she do it? Just randomly sneak into someones room and take advantage of them? It doesn’t really make sense.”



“I told you. She’s a self-confessed slut,” Patricia said, a hint of anger in her tone. “Can I be there when you fire her?”



“You’re angry, aren’t you?”



“I don’t see why you’re not,” She pointed out. “If I was you, I’d be pissed.”



“I’m more confused than angry right now,” Kyle said, trying to puzzle his way through it. He felt like there was a game going on that he didn’t know how to play, with rules he didn’t know and no idea how to win. Gut instinct, his dad would have called it.



“So what do you want to do?”



“Think first, act second,” Kyle told her. “Can we put this to one side just now?”



She sighed. “I suppose.”



“So how’s it going through there?”



“We’re getting there. Couple more hours and we’ll have a first draft itinery.”



“Sounds complicated.”



“It is,” She told him. “Dinner’s in ten minutes. You should get dressed. There’s an outfit in the dressing room for you.”



“Thanks, Patricia.”



She left the room and Kyle got up and got dressed. He slipped on a tight black v-neck top, dark blue jeans and a pair of black boots and then wandered out to the balcony where Patricia and Lakshmi were having a break.



“Feel better after that?” Lakshmi asked.



“Yeah. Certainly eased the pain,” He replied, lighting up. “How’s it going with the schedule?”



“Well, we’re trying to cut it down from insane to manic, but we’ll have a better grip on it later,” She replied, sounding pleased with herself.



Kyle took a seat. “If you can get it from manic to chilled, that would be awesome.”



“On another note, your friends Casey and Ed will be here late tomorrow morning.”



“Really?” Kyle smiled, then chuckled as he thought of how Ed would react to this place. “This could be fun. Hey, what about Margarita? When’s she arriving?”



“Katie’s friend? Late tonight, along with her sister.”



“So two of them?”



“Yes,” Lakshmi replied. “We’re giving them the guest suites next to Katie’s. Your friends are going in the one next to Kara’s, above the bar.”



“Okay. Did Kara invite anyone out?”



Lakshmi shook her head. “No, but I think that’s one of the reasons why Katie’s friends sister is coming out, although she didn’t say so.”



“Katie didn’t?”



“No. I mean, no, she didn’t say.”



Kyle chuckled. “Anything else going on?”



“Oh, there’s always something else going on, Kyle,” Patricia said, smirking. “You should know that by now. How much do you want?”



He shrugged. “Give me anything you’ve got.”



“Okay,” She said, leaning forward. “Someone made an audio recording of your speech at the funeral and gave it to the press. The Wall Street Journal described it as hesitant and stuttery.”



“It wasn’t hesitant or stuttery at all,” Kyle said quickly.



“And it wasn’t naive or panicked at times either. The journalist who wrote it used to work for one of our magazines and got fired a few years ago. Since then he snipes at every opportunity he gets on anything regarding Mister Tripps,” Patricia explained.



“Even his funeral? What an ass-hat.”



“Yep. I spoke to your folks earlier and we’re going to bring them down to LA for a couple of days when they’re finished their hiking trip. They’re having a great time, lots of photos, meeting nice people and apparently the air is really fresh.”



Kyle chuckled. “No problems with them?”



“Nope, they’re having a great time.”



“Good to hear. I need to phone them more often,” He said, feeling a pang of guilt that all this stuff was happening to him and he was barely giving them a moments thought.



“I’ve been keeping in regular contact with them, so don’t worry too much. They know you’re busy.”



“Okay. What else?”



“Shmi?”



“Oh, that was mean,” She protested as Patricia leaned her head back and laughed.



“What was?” Kyle asked, not getting the joke.



“She just gave me a… sensitive one to deal with,” Lakshmi said, looking unhappy. “Okay, if you’re going to be in LA for a couple of weeks, you’re going to be attending a couple of film premieres, social events, parties. That kind of thing, right?”



“Yeah,” Kyle nodded.



“So you need a date for them.”



“I could always take you guys,” Kyle suggested, meaning he would take Patricia.



“You can’t,” Lakshmi told him. “You can’t sit us at a table with people and introduce one of us as your date, because they first thing they’ll do is ask what we do, and then you’re the guy who dates his assistants.”



“Oh.”



“Plus,” Patricia added. “We can’t get taken seriously if people think we’re employed as girlfriends first, assistants second. Playboy bunnies with blackberry’s, know what I mean?”



Kyle made an unhappy face. “So I can’t socialise with you guys?”



“Yes, you can,” Lakshmi replied. “But there are occasions when you’ll need a date and so we’ve started a shortlist of suitable single women.”



“You’re picking out dates for me?” He raised an eyebrow as he looked at Patricia.



“Well, it’s not set in stone that they’ll agree, but we’re looking for you to trim the list a bit and then we’ll investigate our options from there,” Lakshmi continued.



Kyle frowned. “Have you got it handy?” He asked, finding it absurd, especially considering Patricia had a hand in picking out the names.



“Later. We’re still working on it.”



“Oh. Okay.”



“Anyway, it’s time for dinner,” Patricia announced. “Shall we?”



Dinner was fantastic.



The food was really good, as always, and Katie was really excited about the imminent arrival of her friends, chatting constantly to Kara about Margarita and her sister. Kyle told them a few stories about Ed and his crazy antics in the past, and everyone seemed quite relaxed in each others company. Most people had a few glasses of wine with the exception of Kyle who was in training and Patricia who everyone agreed should steer clear of alcohol for at least forty eight hours.



Peter brought up his challenge to a game of Call of Duty, and then everyone got involved, dispersing quickly to their various suites and rooms to get on the Islands network. Kyle picked up the X-box controller, finding it strange in his hands as he was used to a PS3 at home, but he could see the benefits on their choice of console on the Island. Peter had told him how they recorded the matches on a server, playing back particularly awesome kills or streaks in the bar afterwards, and Kyle was hoping to have some of his included.



He got his ass handed to him.



Kyle put it down to the controller being different and not being able to adapt quick enough, but he just couldn’t seem to get the instinctive reactions to put the sight where he wanted it and have the trigger pressed before he got killed. Either that or Patricia and Lakshmi chatting while they worked behind him produced some strange gaming effect that made him a bullet-magnet.



After a particularly humiliating defeat where the match finished with him having two kills and twenty deaths he logged off and went outside. Kara was already sitting there, smoking his cigarettes and to his surprise, Katie was sitting next to her. He shut the door, not wanting to hear Patricia and Lashmi arguing over who he should lunch with next Thursday.



Kyle took his seat and lit up.



“How did it go?”



“Not my night,” He grunted. “And Peter really is a freak. First game we played he was on my team. Thirty seven kills, one death.”



“Is that good?” Katie asked.



“Freakish,” Kyle replied.



“So, busy day,” Kara noted.



“I know,” Katie agreed. “Saying goodbye to the guests, meetings, shooting a gun, flying in a helicopter and we saw dolphins. And I’ve got a shoot with Johnny Depp! Way cool.”



“I liked the dolphins,” Kara agreed. “And I want to learn to fly a helicopter. And a plane. That looks like fun.”



“Make sure you tell Garius. I’m sure they’ll arrange it,” Kyle said.



“Already have,” She replied, then grinned at Kyle. “Big day for you, too.”



“How do you mean?” He said, looking out to sea as he tried to hide his grin.



“Oh, come on, Kyle,” Katie replied. “You’re not exactly Mister Pokerface, and Patricia’s been smiling all afternoon.”



“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” He muttered, getting a loud laugh from Kara.



“Plus, he got hit on this morning too,” Katie added, grinning.



“Really? Who by?” Kara asked.



“The gorgeous Miss Theron.”



“Really?”



“You keep saying that,” Kyle protested. The two of them were enjoying his discomfort a little too much for his liking.



“Oh, come on, Kyle,” Kara replied. “It’s not like you’re fugly or anything, but she’s totally stunning.”



“Have you got a bi side we don’t know about?” He teased.



“Hey, if I had to choose a woman to get it on with, she’d be in the top ten,” Kara replied, laughing. “And besides, how do you know I’m not a lesbian?”



“That’s a good point,” Kyle grinned. “Are you a lesbian?”



“Kyle!” Katie said. “You can’t ask her that.”



“Why not?”



“It’s not polite.”



“She is my sister,” Kyle pointed out. “Kara?”



“Don’t answer that, Kara,” Katie said quickly. “In fact, tell him you’re a lesbian. Then his friends won’t hit on you every two minutes.”

“You sound like you know them,” Kara said, looking at Katie, who turned her head away and took a sudden interest in her drink.



“Well?” Kyle asked, trying to divert her back to the lesbian question.



Kara rolled her eyes. “No. I’m not a lesbian, although I have a few dirty secrets from my stripping days. Truth is, I like guys too much.”



Katie looked at her in surprise, but Kara continued.



“Anyway, you should know that, Kyle.” She said, catching his eye. “After all, I did make you cum in your pants.”



Her words hung in the air between the three of them. Kyle stared at her, while Katie’s head turned like an owl, staring open-mouthed at her sister. Kara just shrugged and grinned.



“Yes, I remembered you,” She told him. Kara turned her head to look at Katie. “And I know you were Julietta, because I was the girl Kyle thought was you.”



“Um… what?” Katie said, stammering her words.



“Oh, come on,” Kara said. “It’s about time we got all this out in the open anyway. I did a lapdance for Kyle in Myrtle Beach when I was a stripper, and he got me all hot, so I made him cum. Then he went off to meet a girl who looked exactly like me, going under a fake name of Julietta? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out, especially after seeing both your reactions down on the pier.”



“Oh my fucking God,” Katie muttered, covering her face with her hands.



Kyle shook his head. “I fucking knew you remembered me,” He said softly, trying not laugh. “And you’ve known all this time?”



“As soon as I saw your photo I remembered you. Then I put two and two together and wondered if Katie was the girl you were going to hook up with. And you two did hook up, right?”



“We didn’t know, same as me and you didn’t know,” Kyle pointed out.



“Kyle, I’m not retarded, and I’m not angry or anything. I just… I guess I just wanted you guys to know that I know. That I’ve known.” Kara explained. “Sorry, Katie. I’m not trying to embarass you or anything.”



“This is so dysfunctional,” Katie said a moment later, causing Kyle to start laughing. Kara couldn’t stop herself and Katie was grinning, despite her efforts to stop.



“Stop it,” She said for the third time before Kyle and Kara got a grip of themselves. “This isn’t funny, guys.”



“No, it really isn’t,” Kyle agreed. “But it is kinda ridiculous.”



“Yeah, the odds are kind of… miraculous, but that’s not the right word either,” Kara added.



“I think they’d need to invent a new word to describe this situation.” Katie said quietly. “I could curl up in a ball right now.”



“Poor Katie,” Kara said, slipping her arm round her sister and giving her a squeeze.



Kyle smiled. It was the first time he’d seen her display any affection at all, and he was glad it was Katie who was the recipient after her words that morning.



“Well, the cat’s well and truly out the bag now,” Kara grinned. “Anything else I should know?”



“Not that I can think of,” Kyle said a moment later.



Katie tilted her head and looked at him. “Kyle gives really good cuddles, Kara. You should try it some time.”



“I’m not a cuddle type of girl.”



“No, you don’t understand,” Katie said, but Kyle cut her off.



“I don’t think it’s so much me that gives good cuddles, Katie. I think it’s you.”



“Well if it’s me, I’ve never had a cuddle as good off of anyone else, so that makes no sense,” She argued.



“You sure?” He asked, frowning. “I’m not a guy for cuddles, but with you it was different. Like you kind of fit, know what I mean?”



“Jesus, will you two get a room?” Kara said, chuckling. “Oh, wait. You already did that.”



Katie narrowed her eyes as Kyle tried not to laugh.



“Tomorrow, we’re going to experiment with this, the three of us,” Katie said firmly.



“No.”



“Not me either,” Kara said, holding up her free hand. “No cuddles, thanks.”



“I don’t care. I need to find out.”



“Find out what?” Kyle said.



“If it’s a womb thing,” Katie replied. Kara looked confused while Kyle shook his head and grinned.



“Really, Katie? A womb thing?”



“Tomorrow,” She repeated firmly. “It’s happening. And if I’m right, you’ll both really like it. If not, you’ve wasted two minutes by lying down and you’ll have something to mock me about.”



“Alright,” Kara replied slowly. “But be warned, I will mock you mercilessly.”



“Kyle, you’re doing it too,” Katie said.



“Why do all the women in my life boss me around?” He asked.



“Because we can,” Kara laughed.



“And on that note,” Kyle said, stubbing out his long-dead cigarette. “I’m going to bed.”



“Try to get some sleep, Kyle,” Kara teased.



“And don’t make too much noise,” Katie added. “You don’t want to wake the neighbours.”



“Hark at my witty sisters,” He said as he got up. Feeling quite affectionate, he walked behind the two seater chair they were sharing and bent down, giving them both a kiss on the top of the head. “Night, girls.”



“Night, Kyle,” They said in unison, then burst out laughing.



It took another hour before Lakshmi quit on the schedule for the night, and Kyle had lain in bed, thinking about everything that was going on.



What would Mister Crowler discover, and if anything, why was Edwin lying to him? What was Sarah thinking by sneaking in here the other night? Why did Kara keep it a secret that she did remember him, and then just blurt it out in front of Katie too? All these questions and more spun around in his head, but one kept coming to the fore, above all else.



How much longer would it be before Patricia walked into the room?



She appeared in the doorway, a wicked smile on her face. “She’s gone.”



“Get in here,” Kyle said, throwing back the sheet on the left side of the bed. He was naked under the right side and he could already feel himself growing in anticipation.



Patricia took a step forward and paused, then kicked off her heels, unfastened her grey trousers and let them fall to the floor, and as Kyle watched, she peeled her tight black top over her head.



Kyle let out a slow breath, seeing her standing there in a black bra and panties, and then his erection solidified as she unclasped the bra and dropped it to the floor. Her fingers slid over her breasts, rubbing the skin under them, casually tweaking her own nipples, and then she slipped her panties off.



“Get in here,” He repeated, his voice thicker, huskier with arousal.



Her eyes held his as she walked around the bed and he could see the intensity there, the intention that matched his own. She slid into the bed, whipping the sheet off his own form and her eyes drifted down, seeing his cock standing proud and ready.



She licked her lips. “Very nice, Kyle.”



He didn’t reply, just grabbed her and kissed her. He heard Patricia’s muffled moan as her arm snaked around his head, holding him in place as her tongue shot in his mouth.



Kyle rolled onto his side, half above her and he felt her legs widen, welcoming him, so he rolled further, his legs sliding over hers until he was between them. He broke for air, panting as she was, and he could see her eyes boring into his. He felt her hand grasp his cock, positioning it, readying it to go inside her.



“Please,” She whispered, and he complied.



“Oh, fuck,” He moaned as he slid inside her. He could feel how wet she was, how ready and he smiled. “You’re soaking wet.”



“For hours now,” She admitted and Kyle smiled. He rocked his hips, moving his cock inside her, loving how her mouth opened and her eyes rolled back in her head.



“You’ve been thinking about me?” He rocked his hips again.



“Thinking about this,” She replied. “About you inside me again.”



“And?”



“And I want you to fuck me,” She whispered.



Kyle rocked his hips once more, grinning as he watched her reaction. He waited until she was just about to say something else then rocked again, teasing her.



As she was about to try and repeat her words he kissed her and began to pump his erection inside her, drawing back with his hips and pushing inside her once more. He was amazed at how she felt inside, as if he could feel her gripping him, squeezing him, and almost caressing his cock as it moved back and forth, coating him with her natural moisture.



Kyle kept it up, firm and steady, and his head slipped down to her breast. His mouth sought out and found first one nipple, then the other, sucking each one into his mouth, catching the stiff little nub between his lips or teeth, teasing and tasting each one as his hips rolled back and forth between her spread legs.



“Oh, fuck,” Patricia moaned in his ear. “Please. Harder.”



He pumped his hips as she asked, fucking her with more energy, more intensity, and she shook her head.



“Nipples. Harder,” She whispered.



Kyle’s eyes widened a little at that, but he sucked one of them back in his mouth, really sucking hard at it now and he felt her chest rise in response. Her hand clasped the back of his head, lacing her fingers through his hair, holding him against her.



He released her from his mouth and then sought out her hard little nipple and caught it between his teeth.



“Yes,” She moaned, her own hips beginning to rise, matching each thrust into her.



Kyle pulled on her nipple with his teeth, not biting but using them to pull on it and she moaned.



“Harder.”



His eyes slid up to watch her, seeing her eyes closed, her lip between her own teeth as her body rocked against the pillow. He set his teeth against her nipple, increasing the pressure a little and her mouth opened in a silent cry, but her hand in his hair increased it’s pressure, holding him to her breast.



He squeezed a little tighter on her nipple and she gasped, moaned and nodded. Kyle hadn’t been asked to bite a womans nipples during sex before, but he could see the sheer pleasure she got from it, so he began to pull on her tightly clamped little nub.



“Oh fuck, yes!”



Kyle held her nipple between his teeth, keeping the pressure on it as he pulled, lifting her breast. He worked his hips harder now, seeing the pleasure on her face and wanting to take her to orgasm, and she responded to his harder thrusts, her own hips tilting to welcome him as her free hand began to pinch at her other nipple.



It only took moments before she came, and it was a joy to behold for him. Her back arched, her head rolled back in the pillow and as her rapid breathing peaked, he let go of her nipple and slammed inside her, grinding his pelvis against her to get friction on her clit.



She exploded, panting and trembling as her orgasm thundered through her. Her wet pussy clenched and squeezed on his cock, her legs held tight to him, keeping him in place. Kyle lifted himself up on his hands so he could watch her. The rosy glow on her cheeks, the flushed colour that appeared on her chest and the way it rose and fell, the way her stomach tensed and relaxed with each breath, all were captivating sights to him.



Eventually her eyes popped open and she saw him watching her. She pulled him down into an embrace, his cock still deep inside her and kissed his cheek.



“Oh, that was fun,” She said softly, wrapping her arms around him.



“So you like getting your nipples bit, huh?” He said a moment later, grinning.



“I like a lot of things,” She told him, catching his eye. “Tip of the iceberg, Kyle. Did you cum?”



“Not yet.”



“I’ll fix that.” She replied, smirking. Kyle felt her twisting under him, and he moved with her, rolling onto his back. She slid off his cock and kissed him, and then she was on her knees beside him, turning her body and she took him in her mouth.



Kyle groaned.



She worked fast, her head bobbing up and down on his cock like a piston, her lips locked around him like a perfect fit.



Kyle’s hands moved, one knotting itself in her hair, the other lifting to her ass, running over the smooth skin and probing for her pussy. As his fingertips found her wetness he gasped, feeling his cock pressing against the back of her mouth.



Patricia paused for a second, taking in a couple of deep breaths as she moved her hips a little closer to him and then Kyle gasped again as he felt his cock slide deeper inside her than it had before.



“Oh fuck,” He grunted, revelling in the sensation of being deep throated for the first time in his life. He knew it was a special moment, knew that despite what you see in porn, very few girls liked the thought of gagging on a cock, and even fewer were able to supress their gag reflex, yet Patricia had taken him down with ease, something no girlfriend of his had ever done.



She slid back up, then pumped her head up and down a couple of times, taking him deep inside her each time.



“You like that?” She asked a moment later as she paused for breath.



“Oh yes,” Kyle grunted. “Fuck, yes.”



She was back on him again immediately, her head bobbing up and down, fucking him with her mouth and throat. Kyle pumped his hips, an unconscious movement drawn from the pleasure she was giving him and she moaned.



Her hands slid under his buttocks, pulling at him to do it again and he did, pushing his cock into her mouth as her head slid down, and she moaned again.



Kyle’s groping hand found her pussy and he rammed two fingers inside her, curving them to try and reach that little rough spot he’d found women enjoyed.



Patricia pushed her head a little further forward as she plunged her mouth down on him, welcoming the thrust of his hips, and as he began to rapidly pump his fingers in and out of her pussy, she thrust her ass up in the air, welcoming it.



She began to moan as he thrust into her pussy, into her mouth, and Kyle was bucking his hips. He barely noticed that she had given up bobbing her head up and down, happy to accept his cock as it fucked her, just as she accepted his fingers.



His balls began to tingle, and he groaned, breathing deeper.



Patricia’s hands on his ass tightened, helping him thrust into her as her moans became one long, drawn-out moan.



Kyle could feel his own orgasm rushing forward, ruining his concentration, making his plunging fingers erratic, and Patricia must have sensed it as she suddenly began to bob her head again, sucking hard at him too.



“I’m gonna cum,” He gasped, knowing it was imminent, feeling how his cock stood rigid in anticipation.



Patricia rammed her face down on his cock.



Kyle’s back arched as he came. His fingers jammed inside her. His hips thrust upwards and he could feel her chin pressing into his pelvis.



Patricia moaned and Kyle knew she could feel his cum pumping out his cock, first one spurt, then a second.



“Fuck,” Kyle moaned, panting like crazy.



Patricia’s head slid back up his cock, keeping him in her mouth as he pulsed out cum inside her, and she moaned as she tasted it, the feeling so erotic and exquisite that Kyle closed his eyes and groaned in pleasure.



After what felt like an eternity, his cock finally stopped pumping, and his body began to relax and Kyle, floored by the intensity of his orgasm, lay on the bed, breathing heavily.



Patricia sucked on his sensitive tip, making him flinch, and then she released him and sat upright at his side.



His fingers slid free of her pussy, and Kyle opened his eyes as she turned to look at him, wanting him to watch as she swallowed his cum into her tummy.



Patricia smiled, looking very pleased with herself. “You came,” She said, grinning. “Hard.”



“You’re awesome,” He panted. “Best blowjob. Ever.”



“Oh, I think we’ll be able to top that soon enough,” She chuckled.



Kyle patted the bed beside him, but before she lay down, Patricia grabbed the sheet and dragged it over them both as she snuggled in beside him.



“You’re quite the kink,” Kyle murmured a few minutes later, his breathing now relatively normal.



“This girl has got skills,” Patricia grinned, looking at him.



“I believe you.” Kyle smiled as he wondered what else was in store for him.



“And just so you know, for future reference,” Patricia said, pausing to lick his nipple. “If you feel the need to play with my ass a bit, you go right ahead.”



“You like your ass played with?” Kyle asked, raising his head.



“Love it,” She admitted. “Or do you think that’s too dirty?”



“Fuck, no,” Kyle smiled. “That’s kinky as fuck. I’ll be remembering that.”



“Yay.” She replied in her best girlie voice. “We nearly had the butt-sex tonight you know.”



“What?” Kyle asked, startled.



She kissed his chest. “I really wanted to taste you though. Besides, I’m a patient girl. I can wait until tomorrow.”



Kyle laughed and kissed her forehead. “Tomorrow’s only a few hours away.”



“Then you better get some sleep, Mister.”



She rolled over onto her side, facing away from him, then bumped him repeatedly with her ass until he got the hint and spooned in behind her. His arm slid over her stomach and she pulled it up until it rested under her breasts.



“That’s better,” She murmured. “Oh, Kyle?”



“Yeah?”



“Turn off the light, please.”



Edwin



“You… Why are you DOING THIS TO ME!” He bellowed, staring at the recording from Kyle’s bedroom.



He stood upright and kicked hard at the waste paper bin, smashing it hard against the wall and turned back to stare at Patricia on the screen, coupling with.. him.



“You’re meant to be mine!”



Edwin shook his head, wanting nothing more than to go upstairs and throw that upstart man off the Island and take his Patricia for himself, as he should have done long ago. As he stared at the screen, his chest heaving, he knew that it wouldn’t work.



“You have to think, Edwin,” He told himself. “You’re smart, you’ve got the resources you need and you have the material to ensure when those incest-freaks leave, your Patricia stays here. Now think, work the problem. How to split them up?”



He paced back and forth in the small room, discarding idea after idea until he knew what he had to do.



“Provide evidence of him cheating on her, without exposing the system here. Temptation is what he needs. That and a sneaky video recording that can just happen to fall into my Patricia’s hands, and I can be there to console her when he leaves her behind.”



He smiled, a wicked and cunning expression that would have shocked many of the people who knew him. Their impression of the bumbly, snobby English gentleman who quietly got on with his work was exactly what he wanted them to think.



His gaze turned back to the screen.



“You will be mine.”



Kyle



Kyle woke hard, knowing it was Patricia’s hand around his erection, feeling her ass pressing back into his hips.



He could feel the tip of his cock pressing against her and then she opened up and he slid in.



“That’s her ass,” He realised as his tip moved in.



She gasped in the darkness, breathing fast and then he felt her press once more, taking him in a little more, slowly inching him inside.



“Holy fuck, she’s tight,” He thought.



Kyle could feel the slipperyness of a lubricant coating her, coating him as he crept inside her and he felt a thrill inside him, knowing that she’d readied herself while he slept.



“Kink,” He whispered and felt her stiffen.



“Good morning, Kyle,” She whispered back. “How’s this for a new wake-up technique?”



He pushed forward a little, feeling how unbelievably tight she was and he heard her gasp again.



“I like it.”



He felt her push back again, increasing the pressure as she pushed back against his cock, and he felt her ass give as she took the rest of him inside her.



She moaned and Kyle could hear the mixture of pain and pleasure in her voice, a beautiful sound that made him hornier than he was already.



He pulled slowly, sliding his cock back half an inch and then slowly rocked it forward again. He knew from the little experience he had with anal sex that going fast at the start was not a good thing.



“Easy,” She whispered. “For now.”

Kyle grinned. “And later?”



“Hard as you like,” She replied, and Kyle felt his cock twitch in anticipation.



He felt her hand reach behind him, holding him inside her and then he felt her move, pulling at him to go with her. It was clumsy, a little awkward, but then he was on top of her, Patricia face down on the bed, Kyle face down on top of her, his cock still inside her tight ass.



“Slowly,” She whispered. “Please.”



Kyle nodded in the darkness, then grinned as he realised she wouldn’t have seen it. He lay down on top of her, brushed the hair from her face and neck and then began to slide his hips up, drawing his cock back an inch or two inside her.



He could feel her gripping him, that extraordinary sensation that made anal sex so unique and then he pushed. She moaned, and as he drew back he felt her slip a hand under her body, reaching for her pussy.



Kyle repeated the maneuver again, and then a third time, loving how she panted and moaned beneath him and then he felt her ass relax just a fraction, as if her body was announcing she was ready to be fucked now.



He slid back and forth in one smooth movement, feeling the difference, knowing he didn’t need to be as careful or cautious now.



“Do me,” She told him, her voice thick with desire and lust.



Kyle placed his head on hers and kissed her cheek. “Kink.”



He drew back his hips, sliding his cock nearly all the way out, and then she stiffened as he pushed it firmly back inside her.



Her grunt sounded like music in his ears, and Kyle grinned. “You like that?”



“Yes.”



He did it again, withdrawing and thrusting deep. He could feel her tense with each thrust.



“More.”



Kyle grinned, feeling horny beyond belief, and he did, thrusting into her repeatedly, loving how tight she was, how smooth it felt inside her, and how he could feel her body tensing and stiffening as he fucked her ass.



“Hard, Kyle,” She grunted a few seconds later. “Hard as you like, please.”



He loved how she said please when it was something she really wanted, and he loved how the more time they spent together, the more he discovered about her dirty, kinky side. The knowledge spurred him on and he gritted his teeth.



Kyle fucked her ass. There was no holding back, no careful or cautious control. He gave in to the animal side that everyone has, rutting like a beast on top of the beautiful blonde woman beneath him.



She responded, loved it. Patricia began to grunt noises, some of them unintelligible, some positive words to express her pleasure. Her hand clawed at the bed, grabbed his hand in a vicelike grip and she sucked his fingers in her mouth.



Kyle growled above her, experiencing this primal, carnal lust for the first time, revelling in the complete abandon of everything except the need to fuck her as hard as he could.



Patricia came beneath him, gasping and moaning loudly, her hips bucking as her body writhed, yet he never relented.



His hips pistoned up and down, drilling her ass, and he adjusted position, wrapping his arms around her, pinning her own to her sides, immobilising her beneath him as he sought to fuck her into oblivion.



“Fuck,” She panted, over and over, like a prayer of desperate pleasure as he pummelled her ass, fucking her as fast as he could, deep and hard.



He felt his balls begin to tighten, felt his cock thicken and he knew he was going to cum.



He lowered his mouth to her ear, and growled, “I’m gonna cum in your ass.”



“Please,” Patricia replied quickly, her voice sounding full of desperate desire. “Yes. Please.”



It only took half a dozen more thrusts and then he was buried inside her, pinning her down, his body taught as his cock twitched and jerked inside her, holding himself still so she could feel it shooting cum into her ass.



“Oh, fuck, Kyle,” She panted, gasping for air as she pushed back with her ass, trying to take that extra millimetre inside her. “Yes. I can feel you.”



He was breathing hard, his head inches from her face, each breath coming out as a growl or pleasure, even after his cock stopped shooting inside her.



“Oh my,” Patricia panted. “Kyle, that was…”



Her words slowly brought him back to where he was, as if saying his name had somehow pulled back the man he was and put the animal back in it’s cage where it belonged.



“Are you alright, Patricia?” He asked gently. “Did I hurt you or anything?” Kyle braced himself to slide his cock out of her, but he felt her feet slip up, holding him in place.



“Kyle Watson,” She said into the darkness, her tone full of wonder. “That was incredible.”



He panted, relieved that he hadn’t hurt her. He’d never fucked anyone like that in his entire life. He lay there on top of her and his lips slid to the back of her neck, kissing her gently as his cock softened.



“Oh, that’s nice,” She murmured.



Kyle felt a touch of sadness as his cock gradually shrunk and slid out of her, easing out of her ass as it resumed its natural position.



“Best wake up call ever,” He whispered. “Thank you, Patricia. That was.. amazing.”



“Thank you,” She replied, rolling her shoulder so she could half-turn and kiss him.



Kyle felt his cock slide away from her ass and he grinned, knowing she was too at the sticky mess he’d left behind. He felt her hand slip behind her and knew that she was checking it out.



He heard her giggle and then she kissed him. “Showers for both of us, I think.”



“Good idea.”



“And then you’re off to meet Julian,” She reminded him, giggling as he suddenly collapsed on top of her.



“I’m too tired,” He muttered. “You’ve kept me up all night, abusing me.”



She laughed. “You’ll get over it.”



Julian worked him hard, relentlessly torturing his muscles systematically one at a time until he was ready to quit, but Kyle made it through his workout, emerging on the other side of it as a sweaty, quivering mess. He took a few minutes to recover and then slowly walked back up to the house.



He entered the suite as Patricia emerged from the shower, gave her a kiss and laughed weakly as she shooed him away, calling him ‘sweaty and sticky and not in a good way’.



Kyle slid into the blue-green hot water in the bath, groaning in pleasure. The coloured water and the mixture of salts that Patricia sorted out always seemed to ease him after each workout, even if it was only for a short time.



“You getting in?” He asked, hearing her re-enter the bathroom. He opened his eyes and saw she was dressed in a charcoal business suit, a matching skirt and jacket with a white top underneath.



“Nope. Not this morning,” She replied as she moved to the mirror to fix her makeup. “Besides, I don’t want to tire you out.”



“How’s your…” He began and glanced down, earning a chuckle from her.



“Well, I know I’ve been fucked, if that’s what you’re asking,” She replied, flashing him a grin. “That was fun.”



“It was,” He nodded. “I know I keep saying it, but you’re quite the kink.”



“I’m not going to burst into tears if you call me other names in the heat of the moment, you know,” She added, doing her mascara.



Kyle laughed and put his head back. “You like being called names?”



“Sometimes,” She admitted calmly. “Like this morning. If you’d called me your little slut that would have been hot.”



“Yeah?”



“Or last night, if you’d called me your cock-sucking whore.” She shrugged, her concentration on her makeup. “If you want to, of course?”



“If you like it, then I’m fine with it,” Kyle said, grinning. “Anything else I should know?”



“I think you’re getting the general idea of what I’m into,” Patricia said. “Feel free to be a bit more masculine, dominant with me.”



“Like grab you, pin you down, shit like that?”



“Sure,” She nodded, and Kyle had the funny feeling he wasn’t quite getting the point. “Spanking?” He guessed.



She winked at him in the mirror.



“Maybe I should get some rope or something,” He grinned.



“Now you’re talking,” She replied, a wicked smile on her face. “I’ve got some toys, if you want to play around with them too?”



Kyle shrugged. “Fuck it, why not. I’ll try anything once.”



“Anything?” She asked, grinning in amusement.



“Okay, not anything,” He admitted. “But I get the feeling you would.”



She shrugged and turned back to the mirror. Before she could reply they were interrupted by Lakshmi calling. “Morning, Kyle, Trish.”



“Morning, Shmi,” Patricia called. “We’re back here.”



“What is it with me being in the bath?” Kyle muttered. He made sure the water covered him before Lakshmi arrived and then sighed. She walked in, dressed in a pair of black trousers with a matching blouse and jacket. Her hair was pinned up on top and hung straight down her back.



“Morning,” She said, grinning as she saw Kyle was in the bath and Patricia was finishing her makeup in the same bathroom.



“Hey, Lakshmi,” Kyle said. He lifted a hand from under the water and gave her a wave. “I’m in the bath.”



“Yeah, I can see that,” She said. “So is this going to be an ongoing thing? Meetings in the bath?”



“I hope not. Have we got a meeting now?” He asked.



“No, just wanted to drop off the dating shortlist and let you know Katie’s guests have arrived.” She pulled a piece of paper out the folder in her hand and waved it at him.



“That the list?”



“Do you want to wait until you get out the water?”



“Em, yeah. Probably a better idea,” He nodded. “Margarita and her sister are here?”



“Katie’s showing them their rooms now.”



Patricia put her makeup down beside the sink and took the list out of Lakshmi’s hand. Kyle watched her, frowning as she traced her finger down over it.



“These last three?” She asked.



“Late additions,” Lakshmi replied. “I did some research last night. I’ve taken a few off the list too, online rumours they’re dating someone.”



“Who are we talking about here?” Kyle asked. While the idea of going on fake dates seemed pretty stupid to him what with his situation with Patricia, he was getting curious to see what names were on the list.



“After breakfast,” Patricia told him. “We’ll go pick you out some clothes.”



The two women left the bathroom and Kyle sighed, wondering how much more weird his life could get.



Breakfast was a lot of fun. Margarita shook hands with him as if she’d never laid eyes on him, and her sister, Louisa, seemed really nice too, a slightly shorter version but with the same killer body. Kyle knew Casey would be drowning in his own saliva when he set his eyes on Margarita again, and it was all he could do not to laugh at the thought.



Katie did a good job of including Kara in the conversations as she told her friends of life on the Island, and Margarita and Louisa told them of what it was like in New York with the press calling them, emailing them, and how they’d been in a cafe yesterday when Katie’s face had popped up on TV with the photos of Charlize Theron, and how some random woman at the table next to them claimed to know her quite well.



“So what did you say?” Kara had asked.



Margarita turned in her chair, acting it out. “Really, because I’m her best friend and I’ve never seen you before in my life.” Her ponytail wagged as she delivered the words. Then she lifted her phone and flipped it open, showing a wallpaper picture of her and Katie. “There’s my proof. Where’s yours?”



Katie burst out laughing, while Louisa told them how the woman had shut up instantly and then whispered to her friend that it was a secret thing.



“People are lame,” Margarita had concluded.



They didn’t get much time to talk after that as there was a lot to do. Kara was continuing the scheduling meeting with Peter and Garius while Katie and Heidi were giving a tour of the Island to Margarita and Louisa, and Kyle went upstairs with Patricia and Lakshmi to get their own work done.



“Right, first off, I want to see this list,” Kyle said bluntly as he sat on the balcony. Patricia raised her eyebrow and handed him the sheet of paper.



“It’s just a first pass, remember.”



Kyle’s eyes widened as read the names on the page. It was like an FHM top twenty women list, every guys fantasy.



“You’re serious?” He asked, looking up.



“Why not?” Patricia replied. “We’re looking for someone high profile, someone that will give you credibility and instant recognition, as well as get you in the papers.”



“And how the hell am I supposed to do this? Just send a fan email to their website asking them on a date?” Kyle asked, shaking his head. It wasn’t that he objected to the thought of a date with anyone on the list. They were all stunning and he’d love to meet any of them, but they were so far out his league it was unbelievable.



Patricia rolled her eyes, but Lakshmi sat down opposite him. “We arrange things so you guys meet and you get a chance to talk to whoever it is. Like asking them in for a meeting with your production company, or the magazine offices. You just happen to be there, bump into them, chat for a bit and then ask them to accompany you to an event.”



“So I’ve got to try and get one of these women to go on a date with me?” Kyle laughed. “Yeah, you might as well tear this list up right now.”



“We can always go through their publicist if need be,” Lakshmi added. “Mister Tripps dated a lot of different women, so we’ve got a lot of practice arranging little introductions over the years.”



“Can we go through the names on the list now, Kyle?” Patricia asked. “If you’re quite done with your mini-diva moment.”



“Diva moment?” Kyle said, staring at her. She shrugged as her cellphone rung and she glanced down at the screen.



“I’ve got to take this,” She announced then disappeared inside.



“Was I having a diva moment?” Kyle asked Lakshmi, who just smiled at him.



“I’m sure she was joking. Now, first name on the list if you please?”



Kyle glanced down. Eva Green.



“Well respected actress, a little bit.. bohemian. She’s also French, so she’s an option for the reserve list, if you like?” Lakshmi informed him.



“I know who she is,” Kyle nodded. He’d seen her in plenty films as well as the recent series of Camelot. “Wasn’t she a bond girl?”



“Yeah. Yes or no?”



“What? Just like that?”



“Think of it as trimming the list down a bit,” She suggested, spreading her hands.



“Okay, sure,” Kyle said. “Although it’s never gonna happen, with any of these names.”



“We’ll see,” The Indian girl grinned. “Next, Mila Kunis.”



“I’d be a moron to say no, but again, way out my league.”



“Okay, and for your information, no-one has you in any league yet. That’s why the board is wide open. So that’s a yes then?”



“Yes.”



“Good. Next, Jessica Biel?”



“Smoking hot, loved her in Blade Trinity, but isn’t she dating Justin Timberlake?” Kyle asked.



“It’s a bit dubious, and no-one’s really sure,” Lakshmi explained. “Want me to investigate?”



“No. I’m thinking if it’s dubious it’s because they’re trying to keep it quiet.”



“In LA? She could be doing him a favour,” Lakshmi suggested. “Like a beard.”



“A what?”



“A beard. When a gay man dates a woman to give the impression he’s straight,” She explained.



Kyle chuckled. “After the last few days nothing would surprise me.”



“Want me to shortlist her?”



“If she’s dating him, she’ll say no,” Kyle thought aloud. “And if she’s doing him a favour then she’d still say no, right?”



“I guess,” Lakshmi admitted.



“Then that’s a damn shame, but there’s no point, so no.”



“Okay. Emma Watson?”



“Hermione Granger?”



“That’s her,” Lakshmi nodded.



Kyle frowned. “No. Whenever I see her on TV or in the press I just see the little girl. Too weird.”



Lakshmi chuckled. “Okay, What about Rihanna?”



“Nutjob. No.”



“You sure? She’s single, really huge at the minute and hot too.”



“No. I like her music, but there’s something scary about her.”



“Okay, Hayden Panetierre?” Lakshmi suggested. “She likes to date sports guys, and there’s nothing definite about her dating anyone just now. What do you think?”



Kyle shook his head. “Schoolgirl thing again, from Heroes. Bit weird.”



“Alright. What about a hot mom? Kate Winslet?”



“Isn’t she like Connors best friend or something?” Kyle asked.



“Yeah, they’re close. She’s apparently really nice.”



“No, I like the guy but I don’t want to piss him off.”



“Oh, I don’t think he’ll mind.”



“Yeah, but I don’t know. I just don’t see it.”



“Okay, we’ll move on,” Lakshmi nodded. “Leighton Meester?”



Kyle frowned. “Wasn’t there a whole load of shit about her taking legal action against her own mother or something?”



“Yeah. She’s dated a few people this year too, but no-one at present.”



“Sounds like a bit of a budding Lindsay Lohan. Let’s give that one a miss too,” Kyle replied. “You know this sounds completely insane in my head, right?”



Lakshmi smiled. “I bet it does. Kaley Cuoco? Wait, she’s engaged, so no. What about Evan Rachel Wood?”



“Who’s that again?” Kyle asked.



“She played the Vampire Queen in True Blood, and she was in Mildred Pierce with Kate Winslet.”



“Oh, yeah. She’s quite hot.”



“She could be dating Jamie Bell, so I’ll check that out.”



Kyle shook his head. “Leave it for now. We can always come back to her if we need to.”



“Okay,” She nodded. “Next up, Ellen Page?”



“The little girl from X-Men? No.”



“She’s twenty four, Kyle.”



Kyle made a face. “Still, you see her picture, you see that little kid. Or Juno.”



“So no?”



“No.”



“Okay. Patricia says you’ll like the next one,” Lakshmi smiled. “Missy Peregrym?”



He grinned. “She’s right. That’s a yes.”



“And the last one, Charlotte Sullivan. Plays Peck on Rookie Blue.”



“Hell, yes. She’s hot too,” Kyle replied. “Any more names on that list for now?”



“That’s it,” Lakshmi said, running through her notes. “So we’ve got Eva Green, Mila Kunis, Missy Peregrym and Charlotte Sullivan.”



“Only four?” Kyle asked, surprised. “At least four knockbacks won’t kill my ego too much, I guess.”



“We’ll do some digging and make a few calls, see what we can find out.”



“Cool,” He nodded. “It would be cool to just meet them.”



“I’m going to get prepped for the schedule stuff. Do you want a coffee or a drink or something?”



Kyle shook his head and Lakshmi disappeared inside. He took the opportunity for a quick smoke, waving to Katie, Margarita and Louisa as they headed out.



“Hey, how did it go?” Patricia asked, reappearing from her phone call.



“Got it down to four names.”



“That’s a start,” She grinned.



“So I threw a… what was it?”



“Mini-diva moment,” She told him. “And you know you did.”



“You don’t think it’s a bit weird that you of all people are picking out a list of people for me to date?” He asked.



“Why?” I know you’re going to have to go out on dates. It’s no big deal.”



“Even though we’re….” He wasn’t sure how to finish the sentence. He didn’t know if they were dating, seeing each other, just friends or if it was something more serious.



“We’re…” She grinned. “What?”



“I don’t know,” Kyle said, shaking his head. “We should probably talk about it.”



“So we can put a label on it and use it to define us?” She asked. “Let’s not worry about it just now, okay?”



“So right now we’re just friends and colleagues who fuck each others brains out?” He asked, chuckling.



“You’re putting labels on it,” She pointed out.



He chuckled and shook his head. “As long as you’re happy, I’m fine.”



She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “Did you know every time I walk I can feel my ass reminding me what you did to it.” Patricia winked at him. “I’m perfectly happy.”



Kyle grinned. “Glad I could be of service.”



“I’ll take you up on that later,” She smirked, then got up to join Lakshmi in the suite.



Kyle finished his cigarette, sighed and got back to work.



The scheduling proved to be a pain in the ass, as they had each day down to different options of meetings or visits or events, often conflicting and sometimes with four or five different options for either morning, afternoon or evening. It took until nearly eleven o’clock before Patricia sent Kyle downstairs for a meeting with Katie, Kara and Connor Grant to identify Heads of Detail for their bodyguard teams.

Katie and Kara were already waiting for him, chatting with Connor when he got there, and he’d already been briefed on the plans for the next couple of weeks and the tentative months ahead.



The Scotsman was all business as he gave them each a profile, his recommendation for who should run their detail. To Kyle’s disappointment, the name on his page wasn’t Connor Grant.



“How come you’re not doing it?” He asked.



“My team’s set up for a different role,” He explained. “We only take on clients who are under a specific threat. High-risk work, but we’re bloody good at it. None of you fit my criteria.”



“I’d be happier if you were running my detail,” Kyle said. “How about it?”



“Cheers, but no. Your schedule’s a bit too bread and butter for me.” The Scotsman shrugged. “I like the pressure of the imminent threat. You need a janitor.”



“A what?”



“A janitor. Caretaker. Someone to keep things running smooth. That would do my nut in.”



“You like the chaos?” Kara guessed.



“That and the imminent threat. I like the pressure, the competitiveness. Plus, the paparazzi and I don’t exactly get along, so they try and piss me off. Sometimes it works. You need someone else,” He finished. “Cheers anyway though.”



Kyle glanced down, reading the profile before him. Kevin Bannon, aged fifty one, former Marine and FBI, with fourteen years experience working close protection. He’d run his own team for the last nine years. Kyle looked up. “So this is the guy?”



Connor nodded. “I worked with him a few years back in New York. Very slick, very smart, good at reading people and he manages his team well. He’s a solid choice.”



“And mine?” Katie asked.



“All three of them,” Connor replied. “I know them all personally, and they all run good teams. They’ll look after you, no problems.”



Kyle frowned, a little disappointed that he wasn’t able to get Connor for himself, but if this Kevin guy was as good as the Scotsman said he was, then he figured he’d be fine.



“So what happens now? Do we call them, or are you doing it?” Kyle asked.



“If you guys all approve the choices then I’ll get things set up for you. Least I can do to thank you for your hospitality.”



“And if they don’t work out?” Kyle asked.



Connor smiled. “Then bin them. Get somebody else in. Give me a call and I’ll get you a few numbers.”



Katie and Kara nodded, so Kyle agreed and Connor got up to leave.



“Wait, I need a word,” Kyle said, walking out the door with him.



“Is it a written word?” Connor said quietly. Kyle patted his pockets for a pen, and found his phone. He quickly tapped out a message.



E said no. Crowler thinks yes. Waiting on word.



Connor deleted the message then tapped out his own.



Keep me posted. Going to check out E myself. Suspicious.



Kyle nodded, deleted the message and headed back inside. While Patricia and Lakshmi kept trying to get the schedule down from insane to manic, striving for snowed-under, Kyle got his gym stuff on. As he was on his way out the door, Patricia warned him that Casey and Ed would be a few more hours getting in.



“How come?”



“I meant to tell you earlier. Your friend, Ed, was three hours late for the flight. Apparently his limo broke down and it took a while to fix it.”



Kyle wondered if it was Caroline that was driving Ed’s limo. He knew she’d been teasing Ed mercilessly for days, sending him pictures and messages, and Ed was desperate to meet up with her. If there was a three hour delay, it didn’t seem likely that the limo was broken, unless it was the suspension.



He nodded and headed for the gym.



Julian’s workout with him was a little easier than the one that morning, and he was done within half an hour. As he emerged from the gym, a member of the fitness staff said there had been a call for him from Mister Crowler and could he go down to the pier to meet him immediately.



Kyle nodded, frowning, and walked the short distance, seeing George Crowler sitting waiting for him in one of the Islands speedboats. He hopped on board.



“You wanted to see me, George?”



“Glad you’re here, Kyle. Let’s get going for our boat ride round the Island, shall we?” The lawyer replied, giving Kyle an intense look. “If you could just unfasten those ropes, please?”



Kyle nodded, wondering what the old man had to say that he wanted to go out on a boat to do it, and he unfastened the two mooring ropes from the cleats on the pier. He took a seat as George revved the engine up and then the long sleek boat pulled away from the pier, heading out to sea.



“So what’s going on then, George? What did you find?”



“There’s something going on here, Kyle,” The old man said as he turned the boat a couple of hundred metres out from the Island. “I’ve been through Danny’s private banking and had my people pull out any one-off payments to construction companies between when the Island was bought and the main house was built, and they found one, an Indian company that specialises in home security.”



“So you think they were brought in to build a safehouse somewhere?” Kyle guessed.



“Exactly. Now by my reasoning, it must be underground, as otherwise the company who built the main house, or any of the other buildings would have it in their plans, correct?”



“Makes sense,” Kyle said, bracing himself as they bounced over a wave.



“So Edwin tells you there is no secure facility on the Island, yet Danny pays a company who specialises in building them from his own personal account at the time one would be built.”



“So there must be one there, so Edwin’s lying then?” Kyle said. “Why?”



“There’s only two reasons I can think of,” The lawyer replied. “He’s either hiding something in there, or he wants to keep the facility for himself. That brings me to the reason we have the boat for our discussion, Kyle.”



“What? Are you gonna tell me the rooms are bugged now?” He joked.



“I believe, knowing Danny as I did, that there was no way he would lock himself into a steel box without some way of knowing what was going on outside. He always thought several steps ahead and contingency planned constantly. He always, always had an exit strategy.”



“So what are you saying?”



“You understand I have little evidence to support this?” The old man said and took a deep breath. “I believe there may be hidden recording devices, either audio or video on the Island, and I believe Edwin is using this safe room to view you and your sisters in an effort to collate private information on you. My guess is he’ll use it in some form of extortion or blackmail.”



Kyle felt sick, like he’d just eaten a dozen burritos and been kicked in the stomach.



“And bearing in mind the questions you asked me about legal representation when we first met, am I right in saying that there are secrets you hold that you would prefer kept from the world?”



“Fuck,” Kyle muttered. “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.”



“I’ll take that as a yes,” The lawyer replied. “Now, I don’t need to know what they are, even though you’re my client and I couldn’t reveal anything, even if I daresay I could hazard a guess or two. The question is have you verbally or physically implicated yourself, or have your sisters”?



Kyle immediately remembered the conversation he’d had on his balcony last night with Katie and Kara, the individual conversations they’d had and the several conversations he’d had with Patricia about it too.



“Fuck.”



“Have you committed any criminal offences, Kyle?”



He shook his head. “I… don’t know, actually. I think… fuck it. I met Kara three years ago when she was a stripper and she gave me a lapdance. Then I met Katie at a club and we slept together. None of us knew we were related, and since then we’ve done nothing.”



The old man’s brow furrowed as he thought. “Has there been any… physical contact between you since then?”



“No.” Kyle replied quickly. “I did hug Katie in her bed the first night we got here, but I was on top of the covers and dressed.”



“Have you discussed your… history?”



“Individually with Katie, same with Kara, and then last night the three of us spoke about it.”



“Hmm,” The old man muttered.



“Oh, and I told Patricia about it. You said I could trust her,” He reminded him. “She got someone to do a little digging into the friends that were with us on Spring Break. My buddies are cool. In fact they’re arriving here any time, but two of Katie’s friends might be problematic, so we got some info on them.”



“And what happened to them?”



“One of them has a sick kid, so we’re helping her out with her medical bills and expenses. The other girl has some history of drugs and stuff. Videos too I think. She’s was working at a law firm but now she’s working for us with a massive pay rise. Both of them have signed agreements not to say anything.”



“So potentially you could be open to extortion or blackmail, bribery and investigated for incest too?” George asked bluntly.



“Fuck my life,” Kyle muttered. “Maybe.”



“Even if there are no criminal proceedings, simply leaking recordings of the conversations would be enough to force you to resign from any positions you may hold in the future, destroy your credibility, or instigate political hearings. It could also potentially destroy your companies.”



Kyle slumped into his seat, craving a cigarette, a bottle of tequila or anything that would numb his brain.



“Is there anything else you can tell me about what’s happened on the Island? Anything strange that’s occurred since you arrived?”



“Fuck, everything’s been strange, George. This whole place is bizarre.” He shook his head, then looked up sharply as a memory appeared. “A few nights ago one of the staff sneaked into my room and had sex with me. I thought it was someone else.”



“Did they drug you, anything like that?”



“No. Just.. well, they fucked me then gave me a…”



“Yes, yes, yes. I get the picture,” The lawyer said, holding up a hand. “Do you happen to know who? Or why?”



“Well, I’m pretty certain it was Sarah, the masseuse. The thing is, I’d never laid eyes on her before,” Kyle explained.



“And she just appeared in your suite and propositioned you?”



“No,” Kyle replied, shaking his head. “No, I’d been flirting with Patricia and she went to her bed. Then when it was dark this girl joined me in bed, held her finger to my lips to be quiet and then we had sex. I thought it was Patricia, but when we finished she ran off.”



“So what was her motivation?” George said. “She just randomly decided to seduce you?”



“Apparently it’s possible,” Kyle said, shrugging. “I don’t get it though.”



“Does she know you have suspicions?”



“Sarah? No.”



“Then you need to find out what motivated her to come up to your room,” George said. “It may be that she simply saw you and decided to seduce you, or thought she’d get on good terms with the new boss. Then again, if you’re being set up for leverage, a sex tape could be a helpful thing to have, yes?”



“Mother fucker,” Kyle blurted.



“On the plus side, you mentioned that it was Connor Grant who put you onto the Island having a safe room, yes?”



“Yeah. And I let Connor know this morning that Edwin had said no, that you were looking into it, and he asked to be kept posted. Oh, he also said that he was going to see what he could find out himself.”



George frowned as he steered the boat out a little further from the shore. “I would suggest the following. One. You figure out a way to discuss the matter with Sarah, somewhere off the Island such as on a boat like this or perhaps in a helicopter, if you can arrange it. Two. You need to get Connor on side with you, and given his personal skillset and employment record I imagine he’ll be happy to help out if he can.”



“He already is.”



“That man is a nuisance, but when he’s working he’s like a different person entirely,” George said. “Use him as much as possible, but above all you must be discrete.”



“We have been so far.”



“No, Kyle. I mean you can’t act differently, you can’t discuss this openly with Kara or Katie, don’t discuss the situation with these two girls with Patricia either. I’ll speak with her directly about that myself. If what you’re saying is true, I’m best placed to deal with these two ladies myself anyway.”



“Okay, don’t talk about it, act normal, don’t do anything differently,” Kyle repeated, wondering how the hell he was going to pull that off.



The pier came in sight as they completed their circuit of the Island and Kyle frowned, thinking about everything the old lawyer had briefed him on. It seemed certain that Edwin was setting him up for something. Either that or he was getting paranoid. Maybe the man who’d run Danny Tripps private Island had some unknown valuables stashed away, and didn’t want to let the new kids know about them.



Either way, he knew something was going on, and he felt a little comforted that George Crowler was helping him. He knew he had to get to Connor at some point today though, and somehow get him up to speed.



As the old man maneuvred the boat back to it’s mooring, Kyle moved to stand up and tie it off, but he wobbled and nearly fell over.



“Kyle?”



“Sorry, my legs have tightened up,” Kyle explained. “I came here straight from my work out, so my muscles are really stiff.” He rubbed at his thighs and slowly began to stretch his mucles until he was able to move and tie up the boat.



“Speak to you later?” Kyle asked, climbing painfully up onto the pier.



“Anytime,” George replied.



Kyle walked back along the pier, grimacing with each step until he began to loosen enough to walk relatively normally, following the path up from the beach and around to the main house.



“Where have you been?” Patricia asked as he re-entered his suite. “Julian said you left ages ago.”



“I was chatting to George Crowler,” Kyle said, trying to remember to act normally. “He took me for a lap of the Island on one of the speedboats. Very cool.”



“Well, you’re late for lunch.”



Kyle nodded and headed back to the bathroom, sighing as he saw the last of his bath water draining away.



“It got cold, so I emptied it,” Patricia explained from behind him. He felt her hand on his hip and her lips pressed softly against the back of his neck. With Lakshmi still in the office area of the suite, he knew she wouldn’t be joining him, but he smiled at the secret display of affection. “You’ll have to settle for a shower.”



Kyle glanced around the room, wondering if there were cameras in here, and then his eyes widened as he realised he could have been filmed or watched doing all sorts of stuff with Patricia. He gulped.



“Hey, you okay? You seem a bit out of sorts,” Patricia murmured, slipping around to face him.



He forced a smile on his face. “Just tired. That was a hard workout, and my muscles are all tight and sore. Feeling pretty exhausted.” Seeing her worried expression he added, “I’m fine though. I’ll be okay.”



“You sure?” She asked, then lowered her voice and smiled. “I hope I didn’t wear you out last night. And this morning.”



“Not at all. Just workout fatigue, I think.” He moved forward to give her a hug, but she squirmed away.



“After your shower. You’re a sweaty mess and you’ll ruin my suit.”



Kyle headed for the shower, and the hot water felt good on his skin. Not as relaxing as a bath, or one with Patricia’s assistance, but it helped a little. His mind whirled though, trying to remember every conversation he’d had since he got here that could potentially be used against him.



What he couldn’t get his head around was why? If Edwin was planning to blackmail him or extort money, why was he doing it? What was motivating him when by all accounts he lived in paradise, of his own free will, everything was paid for him and he got a salary that he didn’t really have to spend. So why blackmail someone when you have everything you want?



He shook his head, turned off the water and dried himself off, then headed for the dressing room. Someone had laid out a pair of sneakers, jeans and a sleeveless black top, a neat pile of accessories at their side. Kyle got dressed quickly, then joined Patricia and Lakshmi as they headed down for lunch.



Much of the conversation around the table was about an offer that Katie and Kara had received to appear on the Howard Stern show, asking them to be interviewed together and to ride his infamous sybian side by side. Katie found it disgusting, Kara found it hilarious and Margarita had them in stitches doing her impersonation of Katie trying not to orgasm. All too soon though it was time to go back to work for Kyle.



The dreaded scheduling meeting continued, and for the following hour Kyle listened to Patricia and Lakshmi debate if he should tour this office on that day, or do this press event, or take the time to rest up. Kyle had difficulty concentrating on it though, his own thoughts consumed with the situation with Edwin, how he was going to get a hold of Sarah without tipping his hand and the need to let Connor know what was happening.



“How long have I got until Ed and Casey arrive?” He asked.



“About twenty minutes,” Patricia replied, not looking up from the piles of paper on the desk.



“I’m going to go see Connor, and then I’ll head down to the pier for them coming in,” Kyle announced, gathering his phone and cigarettes.



“What for?”



“I haven’t given up on hiring him.”



“You can see him later. There’s still work to do, Kyle.”



“I know. Plus, I just need ten minutes on my own,” He explained, then tapped the side of his head. “Lots going on, and it’s giving me a headache.”



“You okay?”



He nodded, trying to appear relaxed, but he wasn’t convinced of his success. Patricia cocked an eyebrow at him, but he winked back at her when Lakshmi’s eyes drifted back to her work.



“See you guys back here,” He said, stepping outside.



As he walked, he thought about which problem to try and tackle first. He knew he’d be seeing Connor later this afternoon, so that could be set aside for the moment. The Edwin thing was too complicated right now, so he turned his thoughts to Sarah, trying to figure out a way to get her into a boat or helicopter alone.



“What reason could I have to want some alone time with her?” He mused aloud, then grinned at the obvious answer. Everything suddenly clicked into place.



He knocked on Edwin’s office door a few minutes later.



“Edwin?”



“Ah, Master Kyle. Do come in,” The Englishman said.



Kyle entered, keeping his face as neutral as possible, wondering what this guy was up to, but trying not to let it interfere with his little charade.



“What can I do for you today?”



Kyle took a deep breath, then launched into the lie he’d developed in his head on the way there. “Well, Edwin. I wonder if you could help me with something…. discrete?”



“If I can, Sir.” Edwin’s eyes narrowed as he spoke. “Can I ask what, exactly?”



“Well, yesterday I got a massage from this girl, Sarah,” Kyle began, trying to appear hesitant, embarassed.



“Ah, yes. Sarah’s a wonderful masseuse, isn’t she?”



“Yes, she is,” He nodded. “She’s also very.. hot.”



Edwin smiled, a brief tight-lipped grin.



“Now, a couple of nights ago, I had a late night visitor who was very…”



“I’m familiar with Sarah’s reputed apetities, Master Kyle,” Edwin replied. “I take it you two…”



“Oh yes,” Kyle said, feigning enthusiasm. “And if you don’t mind me saying, I thought she was fucking amazing. If it was her, of course.”



“And what makes you think it was her, Master Kyle?”



“Oh, just the way she moved, her perfume when she was giving me the massage yesterday,” Kyle shrugged. “I’m pretty sure it was her, and since then I haven’t been able to get her out my head, if you know what I mean.” He gave Edwin a pointed look.



“Aha, I do, Master Kyle,” Edwin replied, nodding quickly.



“Which brings me to why I’m here,” Kyle said, moving on, feeling a little more comfortable in his acted role. He bit his lip, as if hesistant to say something, then launched into it quickly. “Do you think you could arrange for Sarah to be waiting for me in the helicopter after my workout, Edwin? I’m thinking we could go for a little fly around, I could ask her if it was her and… express my admiration for her skills, see if I can convince her to try it again?”

“You wish to.. hook up with her, Master Kyle,” Edwin said, a broad smile on his face now.



“Well, yeah. But somewhere that Patricia or my sisters aren’t going to know about,” He added. “They’re kinda.. control freaks. It feels like I can’t take a shit without one of them walking in on me, or micro-managing my every move, and I’m pretty sick of it.”



Edwin nodded. “I understand entirely, Master Kyle.”



“I mean, take Patricia, right,” He continued, warming to his role. “She’s there when I wake up, she’s there all day, and she’s there when I go to bed. And don’t get me wrong, she’s really fucking hot, and if she’s giving it away, I’m not gonna say no, but… “



“You would like to pursue your own desires,” Edwin said carefully.



“Something like that, yeah,” Kyle replied. “Sorry for all the moaning, Edwin. It’s just getting to me, know what I mean?”



“I most certainly do, Master Kyle,” The Englishman said. “And be assured, I can arrange with Sarah to be where and when you need her, and if she’s already attempted to seduce you, as you suspect, I expect your flight to be an interesting one.”



Kyle forced a grin. “That’s exactly what I’m hoping for, Edwin. So you can help me out?”



Edwin winked, the smile still fixed on his face like the cat that got the cream. “Most assuredly, Master Kyle. Your secret shall be safe with me.”



“You’re a frickin star, Edwin,” Kyle said, slapping him on the shoulder. “Right, I gotta run. I’m trying to recruit Connor to be my bodyguard, and I want to catch him before my friends arrive.”



“Best of luck, Master Kyle. I shall see you on the helipad at what? Five o’clock?”



“Five o’clock,” Kyle agreed. “And thanks,” He added as he left the office.



Kyle had to work hard to keep the grin off his face as he walked down towards the clubhouse. As George Crowler suspected, Kyle was now sure Sarah’s nocturnal visit was definitely linked to whatever Edwin was up to. He was sure of it just from Edwin’s reaction alone, and if he could get some information out of Sarah, then that would help figure out what he was up to.



He entered the clubhouse, looking around for Connor, but he wasn’t there, so Kyle approached the barman.



“Yes, Master Kyle, he was here a short time ago, sir, but he left with one of the maids.”



Kyle grinned. “Connor getting himself into mischief, is he?”



“It certainly appears to be a recurring habit of his, Master Kyle. Do you want me to call his room for you, sir?”



“No,” Kyle said shaking his head. “Although if you could tell me where it is, that would be great.”



“Turn right as you leave, then left up the hill and it’s the first villa on your right, sir.”



“Cheers.”



Kyle followed the directions and came across a beach-hut styled villa with a wide balcony that looked out over the ocean. He could hear the unmistakable cries of a woman in the throes of pleasure from a window at the far end, so moving as noisily as he could, he approached the window and knocked on it.



“Connor, it’s Kyle.”



The woman squealed and there was a muffled thud, followed by the Scotsmans laughter and a rushed thud of feet across the wooden floor.



“Come on in, Kyle,” Connor called.



Kyle pushed the door open and stuck his head in the doorway to the right, seeing Connor sat in a bed, a wrinkled sheet across his lap and a broad grin on his face. The room was strewn with clothes, pillows and looked like it had been the scene of an argument, not a hookup. The room smelled like sex.



“Sorry to interrupt,” Kyle began, but Connor rolled his eyes.



“Give me a wee second,” He replied, getting out of bed, wrapping the sheet around his waist as he crossed the room to a wardrobe door in the wall. He opened the door and Kyle’s eyes widened as he saw two women hiding in the closet, both completely naked, both trying to cover themselves. One of them shouted something at Connor in Spanish, presumably shut the door.



“Work beckons, ladies, but it’s been a blast,” Connor told them, waving a hand towards the door.



“I’ll just step out for a minute,” Kyle said quickly, trying not to laugh. He went out on the balcony for a cigarette. Barely a minute had passed before Connor emerged with a pair of jeans on, the two women back in their maids uniforms darting up the path.



“Sorry to interrupt, Connor,” Kyle said, unable to hide his grin.



“Ah, don’t worry about it, man. It’s all good in the hood, know what I mean.”



Kyle pulled out his phone and began to type a message. Crowler confirm saferoom somewhere. E denies it. Why? Need your help! Think E is going to blackmail me/sisters To cover what he was typing he spoke aloud. “So I was thinking about this Kevin Bannon guy and I think you should be my bodyguard, Connor.”



Kyle handed him the handset, screen tilted down to the floor. Connor flipped it, glanced at the message



“I’ll be happy to help you out in the short-term, Kyle, but long term you need someone like Kevin.”



“Any help you can give me in the short-term would be great, Connor,” Kyle nodded. He took the phone back and as Connor nodded to the handset, the Scotsman began to ramble about day-rates versus weekly rates, some of the personnel on his team and what it’s like working in LA. All the time he kept glancing at the handset of the cellphone, indicating Kyle should type up a new message.



Sarah. Masseuse. Seduced me in my sleep few nights ago. Arranging to meet her in heli for chat. E thinks for me 2 seduce her. Crowler thinks two things linked. Need to find bunker!



Connor read the message as Kyle began to talk about a monthly rate for his services and his teams services, but getting a prolonged discount if it was to be an ongoing contract. The Scotsman erased the message, added one of his own, then handed it back.



Maids know Edwin schedule. Late visits to kitchen, vanishing act. Will tail tonight. Be ready for call



“Fuck, man, I gotta go,” Kyle said, nodding. “My friends are arriving any second at the pier and I have to be there to meet them.”



“Go for it. I’ll catch you later, Kyle.”



Kyle got up, and patted the unperturbed man on the shoulder as he went by, then paused at the path. “Connor.”



“Yeah.”



“You know you smell like pussy, right?”



“Aye. Life’s grand sometimes, ain’t it?”



Kyle jogged the last few metres along the pier as the Betsy slid the gangplank onto the pier.



“Mother-fucking hero!” Ed called, grabbing him in a bear hug.



“Jesus, fuck, Ed,” Kyle laughed, as his friend eventually dropped him.



“Bitch, you’re not gonna fucking believe it,” Ed grinned. “Limo driver. Her. Caroline.”



Kyle chuckled and exchanged a handshake with Casey.



“He’s in love,” Casey told him, “And he won’t shut up about it.”



“I am,” Ed declared, throwing his hands up in the air. “Kyle, billionaire-dick, matchmaking superhero. When me and Caroline get married and she starts punching out babies, I’m gonna name my first-born male spawn after you. Or maybe a female. Haven’t decided.”



Kyle laughed and shook his head. Having an excited Ed jump off a boat at you was a bit overwhelming on the senses. He looked at Casey. “How long’s he been like this?”



“The whole fucking trip. That’s why the limo was late.” Casey rolled his eyes. “They stopped. For four hours.”



Ed grabbed Kyle again. “Best fucking four hours of my entire puny existance. I can truly call myself,” He paused to beat on his chest like a gorilla. “A… Man!”



“You finally lost your anal virginity?” Kyle joked. “With a strap-on?”



“What?” Ed said. “Fuck, no. I did that ages ago with that freaky chick, Cassidy, the one that was into all that pee-pee and shit. Well, not shit, but you know what I mean,” He hastily added. “Anyway, where’s all the booze at, cunt-nugget?”



“And the women?” Casey added. “Nice pad, by the way.”



“Oh, fuck yeah,” Ed blurted. “This place is fucking cool. So is this like Tracy Island then? Do we get little fucking Thunderbird hats or what?”



Kyle laughed. It was good to have his friends back around him again, even if it felt like getting hit by a tidal wave of expletives and enthusiasm.



“Follow me, and prepare to be amazed.”



Kyle led them along the pier and up off the beach, managing to keep Ed from bombing off the pier or stealing a speedboat by promising to take them out later. They hit him with question after question all the way up the hill until they turned on the path to face the main house.



“Whoa!” Casey muttered.



“Well fist my urethra,” Ed blurted. “Is that a fucking Ninja temple?”



It took Kyle a few minutes to stop laughing, and he explained to them that this was the main house, a series of five interconnecting buildings full of suites, guest accommodation, entertainment areas and business rooms, as well as a games room, a cinema, a pool, a bar and a restaurant area.



“And you fucking inherited this?” Ed muttered. “You must be the luckiest cunt on the face of this fucking planet.”



“Ed!” Casey protested, hating the way Ed liberally sprinkled the C word into his vocabulary.



“Oh, stop being such a fucking minge-flap, Case,” Ed muttered. “Anyway, talking of… ” He paused and amended his language. “Ladies, are they here? Your fine-ass sisters?”



Kyle frowned and took a deep breath, addressing them both, but mostly Ed. “Listen up, okay? I only want to have to say this once, and I’m absolutely fucking serious when I say this, alright? You can’t talk about what happened three years ago, you can’t mention it, refer to it, hint at it, fuck all, okay?”



Casey nodded immediately, but Ed screwed up his face.



“Ed? I’m serious.”



He sighed. “Alright man, I promise.”



“Now, you can’t speak to Kara like she’s a stripper, Ed. Neither of you can actually. No calling her Sahara, and no calling Katie Julietta. As far as you’re concerned you’ve never laid eyes on them before, and you’ll treat them like you would if they were your own sisters, okay?”



“Not like you would with your sisters, because we all know what happens there,” Ed grinned, but seeing Kyle’s serious face, he rolled his eyes. “Sorry, fucknut. I just had to get that out of my system. I’ll behave, I promise. No sliding down my fucking pole jokes or anything, alright?”



Kyle nodded. “Cool. Now we’ve got that out the way, we can head in. While you’re here you can eat whatever the hell you like, drink whatever you want, and use the facilities. Have a great time, but no fucking parties on your own at four in the morning, Ed.”



“Oh, for fuck’s sake. Stop being such a whiney bitch, Kyle,” Ed muttered. “Christ, if I’d known you were gonna read us a fucking rule book I’d have put my fucking iPod on.”



“What happened to me being your match-making mother-fucking hero?” Kyle asked.



“Just imagine this picture, right, of the worlds funkiest, sexiest wallpaper, right, and then put ten supermodels in it, buttnaked, holding up Megan Fox with her fucking legs wide open, ramming a monster fucking dildo up her ass and telling you ‘This is so I’m ready for your cock’, right?” Ed licked his lips and nodded. “Can you imagine that Kyle? Can you?”



“Yeah,” Kyle nodded. “What’s your point though?”



Ed paused. “I’ve forgotten, but it’s a fucking cool picture.”



Kyle and Casey both chuckled. “You’re such a fucking cock sometimes, Ed,” Kyle told him.



“Oh, I remembered!” Ed said quickly. “The point is, right. The fucking point is, I’m completely and utterly in love, so I won’t be hitting on no bitches, fine-ass or otherwise.”



Kyle chuckled, then turned to Casey. “Meant to tell you. Margarita’s here too, she looks stunning, and she’s brought her sister too.”



Casey blinked and then his face broke into a broad smile.



“She’s brought a sister?” Ed moaned. “Aw, man.”



“I thought you were in love?”



“I am, but… Fuck. We gonna stand here all fucking day or what?”



Kyle chuckled, and led them inside.



He showed them through the ground floor of the main house and then out to the pool area where Katie, Margarita, Louisa and Kara were all sunbathing, all in black bikini’s. Kyle stifled impure thoughts at seeing the four of them lying there, tanning themselves.



Casey calmly strolled up and started introducing himself with handshakes and more coolness than James Bond, while Ed introduced himself simply as,”I’m Ed, Kyle’s buddy. I’m spoken for so don’t be trying to tap this fine ass.”



Kyle simply shook his head and showed them to their rooms above the bar, then suggested they chill out at the pool for the afternoon, have a few drinks and he’d see them in a couple of hours at dinner as he work still to do.



He got back to his suite, flopped down on the balcony and lit up. The chaotic, noisy and overwhelming arrival of his friends had restored his good mood and temporarily set back his concerns over everything happening with Edwin, Sarah and Connor, but he was reminded as soon as Patricia appeared and sat beside him.



“How did it go with Connor?”



“Hey,” He said, smiling and genuinely happy to see her. “Yeah, I think I’ve got him, but I’m not really sure.” He chuckled. “I know. Not exactly definitive.”



She smiled. “No, not exactly. So I think by the way they said hello I’ve figured out which one’s Ed and which one’s Casey.”



Kyle smiled. “Yeah, they’re not exactly similar. Casey’s black, smooth and sensitive. Ed’s like a vulgar dictionary with a penis.”



“But he’s in love,” She chuckled.



“Yeah, with Caroline, the limo driver that brought me to meet you.”



“It’s a small world.”



“It sure is,” He nodded.



“Glad to see them?”



“I am,” Kyle said. “Despite the vulgarity, and the fact that I don’t trust either of them around my sisters, or you come to think of it, I’ve missed having them around.”



“You’re worried about them hitting on me?” She asked, nudging him with her shoulder. “That’s sweet.”



“I’m sure you can manage to fob them off. I haven’t been telling people about…”



“Thanks,” She said quietly. “Lakshmi knows, because… well, she’s not stupid and she knows me really well, and I know some of the others suspect, but the fewer people who know, the better.”



“Why’s that exactly?” He asked, tilting his head towards her.



She narrowed her eyes, seeing he was teasing her a little, threatening to kiss her out on the balcony. “Credibility, avoiding the cliche, because it’s fun to have a little secret.”



To his surprise she slowly looked around, then darted her head towards him and gave him a quick kiss.



Kyle grinned. “You rebel.”



“I know. Hardcore or what?” She winked. “When you’re finished that come inside. We think we’ve got your schedule done.”



“Good work. I’ll be right in.”



She kissed him again then slipped away.



Kyle heard the unmistakable sound of Ed downstairs and he peered over the balcony to see the most outrageous pair of shorts he’d ever laid eyes on. They were like a fabric designer had swept up off-cuts of tartan, high-visibility vests, denim, old t-shirts and anything else lying around and had the material pressed into a pair of shorts.



Kyle shook his head. “Peace well and truly shattered,” He muttered as Ed bombed into the pool.



The schedule for LA wasn’t insane or manic any more, but it was still going to be a busy two weeks. He was pleased to note that Patricia and Lakshmi had built in time they labelled as ‘Float’, a term he’d first heard in Project Management circles that was basically a bit of spare time built in to cope with delays and allow for the unexpected.



They spent a little over an hour going through it, amending any conflicts or decisions as they went, and by the time they were done, Kyle had a really clear picture of what his fortnight was shaping up to be.



Two days each in the Agency, the Music label, the Production company and the Magazine publishers offices, with six days of meetings and tours. Every evening had a social event or two, some business and some pleasure, and there was a number of slots marked up for media. Mid-way through the trip was a night labelled as ‘Party’, during which a surprised Kyle discovered he was to be hosting a huge party in the house, despite not knowing anyone in LA.



However, despite his doubts about how ambitious it was, Patricia and Lakshmi seemed confident it would be achievable, so he nodded and thanked them for a huge task, well done.



“So we need to speak about recruitment, Kyle,” Patricia told him as the three of them sat outside, supposedly taking a break.



“Sure,” He nodded, remembering her talk about how she would need to build her own team.



“Lakshmi’s out of contract in a couple of weeks,” Patricia explained. Kyle looked at the remarkably competent and efficient Indian girl, who nodded back at him.



“How come?”



“Mister Tripps figured that three weeks would give plenty time for you or your sisters to decide who to keep or who to lose,” Lakshmi explained.



“Kyle, can we keep her?” Patricia said simply.



Kyle shrugged. He’d seen so much of people being put in jobs and then having their bosses interfere or micro-manage them, robbing them of the opportunity to actually do the job their way that he considered himself a fan of giving people a job and then letting them sink or swim. As far as he was concerned, Patricia could hire whoever she wanted, as long as they didn’t all turn out with personalities like Margaret.



“Is that what you want, Lakshmi?”



She nodded immediately. “Trish and I have been talking about it, and we figure we can split the work, so I’d be doing pretty much what I am now. You seem like a nice guy and a smart one too, plus it’ll be fun to keep working with Patricia.”



“So you’d be doing the same job as Patricia?” Kyle asked.



“Yes, Kyle,” Patricia replied. “Two Assistants. That way you’re covered if one of us is sick, busy or tied up.”



“As long as you’re both happy with that, it’s fine by me,” He agreed.



“Told you,” Patricia said, giving Lakshmi an affectionate bump.



“Thanks, Kyle,” Lakshmi replied. “I really appreciate it.”



“Thanks nothing. I need the help, if you don’t come on board Patricia will get swamped sooner or later, and it’s better if you’re working for us than our competitors.”



Patricia smiled and nodded at him. “Go, Kyle.”



He chuckled, then moved on. “So what else about recruitment?”



“Well, I’ve got a ton of interviews set up for when we get you to San Antonio for a couple of days, before we head out to LA,” Patricia explained. “That’s for a support team for me and Shmi.”



“Are either of you guys going to have a heart attack if I call you Trish or Shmi?” Kyle asked suddenly. “I’ve heard you call each other that. Just wondering?”



“It’s probably better if you stick with our full names for the time being,” Patricia replied. “To encourage others to do the same, but I’m not going to collapse or faint if you call me Trish when it’s just us.”



Lakshmi nodded. “Yes, Lakshmi when there’s people around, then whatever when it’s just us.”



“Alright,” Kyle replied. “So what posts are you looking to fill?”



“Two correspondence secretaries, a finanial assistant, a press assistant, information assistant, publicist and media spokesperson,” Patricia explained. “For now anyway.”



“Plus we’ll need a personal shopper, a stylist, maybe even an agent too,” Lakshmi added.



“That’s like ten people,” Kyle protested, his eyes wide.



“They’re not all going to be around you, Kyle,” Patricia explained. “The correspondence secretaries and financial assistant can work out of head office, but for now it would be helpful to have the press person, the publicist and the information assistant around us. Plus, if we get a personal shopper and stylist on board it means that Margaret won’t announce she’s coming with us.”



“That’s a win right there,” Kyle said quickly. “So now I’m gonna have an entourage?”



Patricia shrugged. “You’ll get over it.”



“You keep telling me that.”



“It’s fun,” She smirked.

“So I wanted to ask about Casey,” Kyle said. “Is there a job we can give him?”



Lakshmi frowned and Patricia leaned forward. “Kyle, that’s not a good idea.”



“What? Why?”



“Because he’s one of your best friends,” Patricia explained. “Everyone will know he got given the job because he’s your buddy, and he’ll have no credibility.”



“But it would be a fantastic learning opportunity for him,” Kyle protested. “Plus, it would be good having him around.”



“Then ask Garius to hire him for Kara’s team,” Patricia said. “But he can’t work for you. It just won’t work. Plus, if he starts acting like a dick then I’ll have to fire him and I can’t see you letting me do that.”



“I can’t see him doing that,” Kyle said. “And if he goes to work for Kara I’ll never see him.”



“You, Katie and Kara are split for the next two weeks, but you’re probably going to be around each other for another month after that before you part again for a while,” Lakshmi added.



“Yeah, you’ll see tons of him,” Patricia nodded. “Besides, have you asked Casey what he wants to do?”



Kyle sighed, and looked over the balcony at his friend. Casey was chilling beside the pool, or more accurately, beside the ladies and was busy chatting with Margarita, obviously hoping for a repeat of three years ago.



“I’ll talk to him,” Kyle promised.



“And your friend, Ed?” Lakshmi asked.



Kyle grinned. “If I ask Ed what he wants to do he’ll tell me he wants to produce and direct his own porn videos, with a specialised role in casting for new talent.”



“I thought he was in love,” Patricia said, chuckling.



“Yeah, that’s new,” Kyle admitted. “I’ll talk to him too.”



“We had a look at his artwork online this morning. The comic book stuff and a few of the sites he posts on,” Patricia clarified. “You know, you could commission him to do artwork for some of the offices and use them as gifts. Patronage of artists is common among the wealthy.”



Kyle thought about it and it seemed like a great idea. Ed would get to do what he loved, and do it wherever he wanted. If this thing of his with Caroline was real then he could stay at home and continue to see her, or if he wanted to join Kyle and travel with him for a bit, he could do that too. At least having one of his friends around would make Kyle feel a lot better, he knew.



“I’ll have a chat with him about that when I talk to him about his gambling debt,” Kyle nodded.



“No time like the present,” Patricia suggested pointedly.



Kyle lit a cigarette up, wanting to avoid the inevitable explosion he’d get from Ed when he found out Kyle had investigated him, but he knew his friend needed help paying it off, so he squared his shoulders and nodded.



“We’ll leave you to it,” Lakshmi said as she got up. “I’ve got to go see Heidi.”



Patricia reached out and slipped her fingers into Kyle’s hand. “Just wanted to say, Shmi and I get on great, so I don’t think the two of us working for you will be a problem. If there is though, you’ll probably have to decide on whatever we disagree on. Just don’t let anything personal interfere in your decisions, okay?”



“Personal meaning me and you?”



“Yeah.”



Kyle nodded. “Okay. You know that I’ll decide against you sometimes then?”



“And sometimes you’ll make me angry too,” Patricia admitted. “That’s okay though. That’s working life. Plus, angry sex and makeup sex can be really hot.”



Kyle chuckled. “What you doing now?”



“Tidying up in the office, check on the accommodation booked for the couple of days you’re going to spend at home, then sending out notifications and meeting requests and confirmations.”



“Sounds like a lot of work.”



She shrugged. “It’ll only take an hour or so.”



“You should chill out at the pool after that for a bit. Get some relaxation time in,” He suggested.



She winked. “Someone has to run your bath.”



Kyle frowned, trying to figure out how to explain to her that he was jumping in a helicopter with Sarah as soon as his workout finished and could be a little late.



“What’s wrong?”



“Nothing. Julian said he might want to discuss an ongoing fitness programme with me after our session tonight, so I might be half an hour late getting back,” He improvised.



“He never told me,” She said, frowning.



“It’s cool,” Kyle said quickly, then squeezed her hand. “Trust me. I won’t be long, and I’ll be looking forward to that bath as soon as I get back.”



Patricia nodded. “Okay. I’ll be here.”



Kyle hated lying to her, but he couldn’t figure out another way of telling her discretely enough that any bugs or hidden cameras couldn’t pick up. He realised that maybe when they were in bed tonight, he could sneak his phone under the sheets with her and then type out a message and let her know what was going on.



“Thanks, Patricia,” He said as she headed inside.



Kyle squared his shoulders and called down to Casey, asking him to come up for a second. They chatted for a few minutes about how cool the Island was, how Casey thought Margarita had improved with age, all three years of it, and how nice Katie and Kara were.



Then Kyle broached the subject of a job or career for his buddy. Casey didn’t like the idea of a management role, probably due to his fear of confrontation, Kyle guessed, so he suggested a role working as an assistant to learn about all the various businesses, see the world, and get plenty time to hang out.



Casey seemed to like the idea, and promised to give it some thought, so Kyle made him promise an answer tomorrow and said he would speak to Garius in the meantime to see if they could find something for him.



After Casey returned to the pool, Kyle asked Ed to come up.



Rather than tell him the whole story of how he’d been investigated, Kyle just ploughed straight in, announced he was going to give Ed a loan of forty grand that Ed would have to pay back at a dollar a week, he had to attend gambling addiction treatment, and if he ever gambled again on anything, then the whole debt would be called back in.



Ed’s jaw dropped as he put it together, but before he could launch into a big tirade about it, Kyle then steamed into Patricia’s idea for artistic patronage, an offer of a six figure salary, with potential sales of his work too, and suddenly Ed’s worries about an invasion of his own privacy were set aside as his debts were cleared and he had a job that he could only ever dream about.



Kyle smiled as he saw his friend realise that his debt was gone, wiped out and to be paid back over the next eight hundred years. To his surprise, Ed had tears in his eyes, so the two friends reacted in the only way they knew how.



After the balcony had resounded with cries of ‘Crybaby’, ‘Dick’, ‘Fucker’ and other assorted expletives for ten minutes, Ed finally returned to the pool and Kyle went to get changed for the gym. Patricia was waiting for him inside.



“That was incredibly sweet,” She told him, hauling him onto his bed and planting kisses all over his face.



Kyle felt an explosion of desire as her legs wrapped around him, but the thought in his head of being spied upon killed any horny thoughts he had. He disengaged himself a moment later, leaving a pouting Patricia on the bed.



“Later,” He promised as he headed for the gym.



His workout with Julian proved to be a disaster. The impending confrontation with Sarah distracted him so much that he wasn’t able to focus properly on his workout, and despite Julian’s unending enthusiasm, he didn’t beat any of his own records from the previous days.



A few minutes before five o’clock Kyle emerged from the gym. Edwin was waiting for him on the path and joined him immediately as he took the path up to the helipad.



“Everything is arranged, Master Kyle, and if you don’t mind me saying so, I do believe that young Miss Sarah is rather enthusiastic to spend some time alone with you,” Edwin said, winking with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.



Kyle forced a grin. “Excellent, Edwin. You’re a true friend.”



Edwin seemed almost gleeful. “Anything I can do, Master Kyle. Now, Miss Sarah is already on board, the flight crew will take off and leave you undisturbed. Simply knock on the door to the cockpit when you wish to return to the Island, you understand?”



“Oh, I do,” Kyle said in his best creep voice, doing his best to act like he was dying to get his hands on her. All he really wanted to do though was scare the shit out of her and find out why the hell she’d come to his room that night.



They walked around a bend in the path and then Kyle could see the helipad before him, the steps leading into the big Sikorsky helicopter already in place and one of the flight crew waiting by the door. Behind it sat the twin-rotor Chinook that was used to transport guests, staff and supplies.



“Best of luck, Master Kyle,” Edwin said, winking again.



Kyle shook his hand, a gesture he had to force himself to make with a man he suspected was setting him up, and turned towards the helicopter.



“Is this what my life’s becoming? Handshakes with bastards?”



A thought struck him suddenly and he paused.



“Master Kyle?”



“Sorry, Edwin. I really should have been clearer earlier. I wanted to ride in the other helicopter, not the one I was in yesterday,” Kyle improvised.



“Sir? I can assure you the Sikorsky is much more comfortable and a lot less noisy,” Edwin said quickly. “Plus, it’s not ready to go as…”



“Edwin,” Kyle said, leaning in as if conspiring with him. “I want the helicopter to be noisy to cover any other noises that might… eminate from the passenger area, understand?”



“Oh,” The Englishman replied.



Kyle could see the old man was trying to figure his way through something, so he decided now was the time to try and knock it on the head.



“You can head off now, Edwin. I’ve got it from here,” Kyle said bluntly. “And thanks again.”



“But sir,” Edwin began, but Kyle cut him off.



“But nothing Edwin. I can handle it from here.” Kyle added a wink, trying not to smile at the worried expression on the old man’s face.



Kyle turned and walked towards the waiting crewman quickly, turning once to wave goodbye to Edwin. He was stainding at the edge of the path frowning.



“Fucker,” Kyle thought, then turned his attention to the waiting helicopter.



“Afternoon, Sir.”



“Hi. Listen, how long would it take to get the Chinook up in the air instead of this one?” Kyle asked, then lowered his voice. “Edwin screwed up and booked me the wrong chopper.”



“Oh, em, three or four minutes, sir?”



Kyle nodded. “Let’s make that happen right now then, yeah?”



“Of course, sir.” The crewman darted into the Sikorsky to let the flight crew know, and Kyle stuck his head in too.



Sarah was sitting in one of the leather armchairs, her makeup dark around her eyes and red on her lips. Her dark hair framed her face and matched the shade of her black dress.



“Hi.”



She gave him a smouldering look, licked her lips slightly then replied. “Hello, Kyle.”



“Listen, there’s been a bit of a mix-up,” Kyle said quickly. “We’re going up in the other helicopter. Come on, let’s go.” He beckoned with his hand.



“What?”



“Wrong helicopter. We’re going up in the Chinook.” Kyle knew he was moving fast with this, but he wanted her into the other helicopter before Edwin could interfere. He winked at her. “Lots more room,” He added.



She got his point and smiled, and as she got up her eyes flickered to her bag in the corner of the cabin, a black canvas shoulderbag that sat on the floor.



“Just leave that. You can get it when we get back,” Kyle said, and in an effort at character acting, he added, “You look just… wow… good enough to eat. And I’m particularly hungry.”



She smiled at him, but she seemed nervous and her eyes flicked to the bag again. Sarah moved to grab it, but Kyle stepped forward and took her hand in his. “Come on.”



“But, my bag. I’ve got… things in there.” She looked panicked and Kyle tried to remain calm. At that the flight crew emerged from the cockpit she looked around helplessly.



“Captain Scott,” Kyle said, smiling. “Sarah’s bag will be safe in here until we return, won’t it?”



The pilot quickly nodded. “Of course, sir. We’ll lock the door as soon as you’re outside.”



“Excellent,” Kyle grinned. He turned and steered Sarah straight out the door of the Sikorsky, seeing her glance back at her bag as the flightcrew emerged behind her.



Kyle knew he had to keep the charade going, so while he waited for the Captain to lock the door on the Sikorsky, he pulled Sarah a little closer, and bluntly eyed her up and down, assuming Edwin would still be watching them.



“You look really hot, Sarah,” He whispered, trying to sound husky or aroused, despite feeling nothing of the sort.



She smiled, seeming a little more relaxed, but as her eyes caught sight of Edwin she stiffened again and bit her lip. “Kyle, can I just get my bag.”



“Are you expecting a call or something?” He asked, turning to follow the crew towards the Chinook.



“What? No, nothing like that,” She replied, shaking her head.



“Having second thoughts?”



She shook her head quickly. “No, not at all.”



Kyle nodded and rambled on before she could continue. “So you’re fine to go ahead? That’s awesome. And if it’s just normal makeup and stuff like that in your bag then don’t worry about it. You look beautfiul already. Stunning, sexy,” He added, despite his own particular dislike for the word.



As they got to the tailgate of the aircraft he leaned in and whispered in her ear. “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you since yesterday. The massage and then the realisation that you were my late-night visitor too.”



“You… you knew about that?” She stammered.



“The second you hopped off the bed,” Kyle winked. “I wanted to grab you there and then but I couldn’t. Other people in the suite, you know.”



Before she had the chance to reply, Kyle helped her up the ramp and into the long straight cabin of the Chinook. Rather than the luxury of the Sikorsky, the inside of the Chinook was spartan, with long rows of fold-down bench seats up either side and a metal floor.



“Captain Scott,” Kyle called. “Is there any way we can look out the back while we’re flying, so we can see the water?”



“Um, sure,” He nodded. “We’ll lift the bottom part of the tailgate but leave the top part up. Just don’t go too close to the edge, okay?”



“Thanks, Captain,” Kyle replied and then he steered Sarah to a seat. Kyle sat down next to her, casually slipping an arm around her, suspecting Edwin would be looking in.



Inside he felt incredibly uncomfortable, feeling like he was betraying Patricia even though he didn’t know what they had going on, but he knew he had to find out, and keep Edwin out the loop at the same time.



“So you’ve been thinking about me then?” Sarah said gently in his ear.



Kyle swallowed and nodded, wishing the tailgate would just come up and block the view into the Chinook. He nearly sighed with relief when he heard the big rotors begin to turn.



“Yeah. I’ve been doing my head in trying to figure out who it was in my room the other night, and then yesterday I realised it was you,” He explained. “That was very very naughty of you, you know?”



She stared at him for a moment, then spoke quickly. “I’m a bit of a bad girl sometimes, Kyle. In fact, sometimes I’m a very bad girl.”



“How are you bad, Sarah?” Kyle asked, trying to keep her talking. “Tell me some of the things a bad girl does.”



“I can show you right now.” Her hand slid over his thigh, and Kyle grabbed her hand, trying to make it appear casual.



“Once we’re up in the air. So, tell me,” He repeated. “I like hearing hot women telling me about their bad behaviour.”



“That’s kinky.”



“I know.” He winked.



“Let me see,” She said, tilting her head to the side. “Well, I do remember one night when I was out partying with friends.”



“Drinking?”



“Oh, yes,” She smiled. “And you know how girls are when they’ve had a few cocktails. Little bit horny, little bit chatty, a lot less inhibited.”



“So what happened?” Kyle asked, having to raise his voice a little as the rotors picked up speed and the noise increased.



“Ah, well there was these guys, college guys. Three of them, and they were buying us a few drinks, putting the moves on us.”



“Nice,” Kyle nodded.



“So there I was, trying to decide which one I was going to seduce and I couldn’t decide.” She paused, her grin hinting at how much she was enjoying recalling the memory. “So I got the first guy as he was heading to the mens room downstairs. Dragged him into a cleaning closet and sucked his cock and made him cum.”



“And you swallowed it down like a really bad girl, right?” Kyle guessed, remembering how he’d came in her mouth only a few nights ago.



“Oh, you better believe it,” She winked. “I like my regular medicine.”



“So did you just go back to your friends after that?” Kyle asked, wondering how long it would take to get this big helicopter in the air so he could start the real conversation.



“Oh, no,” She shook her head slowly. “No, I followed one of the other guys downstairs and dragged him into the same closet, but by that point I was really horny, right?”



“What did you do?”



“Well, I dropped his pants, hauled up my dress and slipped my underwear off and then we fucked against the wall.”



“You are a bad girl, Sarah,” Kyle nodded. “Did you suck him off too?”



She grinned and shook her head. “Oh, no. Much dirtier than that. I let him cum in my pussy, a full load of creamy goodness.”



“Wow, that’s really dirty.”



“Oh, there’s more,” She told him, licking her lips. Her hand was firmly massaging his thigh, and despite his unease and acting, his cock had begun to thicken a little as she told of her slutty behaviour.



“The third guy?” Kyle guessed.



She nodded once. “He banged on the door of the closet, so I kicked out the guy I had just fucked and pulled his buddy in, shut the door and started to jerk him off.”



“Wow.”



“Now, as you can imagine, Kyle, I’m in full slut-mode by that point, right, and I’m thinking to myself that I’ve just blown one of them, fucked another and there’s three guys, I’ve got three holes and one of them hasn’t been touched yet.”



“You took him in your ass?”



She gave him a smouldering look again, obviously horny as she related her tale. “Oh yes. And I used his friends cum as lubricant too.”



“Fucking hell.”



“He had no idea. He just thought my pussy was wet, but I got him hard, took him in my ass and he fucked me hard against the wall.”



“Now that’s one hell of a story,” Kyle said. His head turned as the tailgate began to rise, but he turned back to Sarah.



“I’m not finished,” She said and Kyle chuckled. “So this third guy is fucking my ass, and he tells me he’s going to cum, so I tell him to go for it, cum inside me, but he pulled out at the last minute and pumped his load all over my ass. Just as he’s finishing up, one of the bartenders starts banging on the door, so I haul my dress back down over my ass and the two of us head back upstairs to join our friends.”



“All the time with cum dripping off you?” Kyle asked.



“Oh yes,” She nodded. “I felt like such a slut, feeling it running down my legs as I stood wobbling at the bar. I even dripped a little bit on the first guys shoes. Now, do you believe me when I tell you I’m a bad girl, a naughty girl, and actually I’m a bit of a slut?”



Kyle nodded. Before he could reply he felt the aircraft shift and then it was slowly lifting in the air, the rear up much higher than the front.



It was a bit of an unsettling experience, and different from the Sikorsky the day before. Sarah’s hand clamped to his inner thigh wasn’t helping either, and the nerves of knowing the conversation was imminent added more pressure.



Kyle took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then nodded.

Sarahs hand slipped to his cock at the same time as her lips hit his neck.



Kyle scrambled a couple of feet down the fold-out bench seat, leaving a startled and confused Sarah looking at him. He squared his shoulders and his face turned serious.



“Right, Sarah. I apologise for the deception, but I needed you up here, away from the Island so I could speak to you,” He began, frowning as her mouth dropped open in astonishment.



“I want to know why you came to my room the other night,” He said bluntly.



She blinked a couple of times then replied. “To… to seduce you.”



Kyle shook his head. “I know you came into my room to have sex with me, and you did. We did. What I want to know is why?”



She looked out the window to her left, then her eyes flickered back to his. “I saw you walking back from the pier, all soaked, and I thought you looked hot, so I figured I’d sneak into your room.”



“No, you didn’t,” Kyle said immediately.



“Yes, I did,” She protested.



“Sarah, have you ever heard of visual accessing cues?” Kyle asked.



“What?”



“See, a couple of years ago I got sick of people lying to me in meetings, so I started reading up on body language and how people’s eyes react in certain ways when they’re making something up or remembering something that actually happened. Did you know people’s eyes betray them when they lie? Or their body language does too?”



She looked at him in shock.



“I mean, ninety percent of all communication is in body language. You just have to know where to look,” He stated calmly, despite it being mostly bluff. Kyle could barely remember anything about the two page pdf he had skimmed but Sarah didn’t know that. He knew it was a gamble, but he knew he had her uncertain, confused and he tried to press his advantage.



“So let’s have no more bullshit, because I’ll know,” He said bluntly. “I know you didn’t come in to my room to have sex with me because you thought I was hot. I want you tell me why.”



Sarah tried to speak, but no words could come out. He could see she was panicking, but couldn’t get her thoughts together enough to come out with anything.



“See I can have you put off this Island any time I like, Sarah. In fact, I could have you put off this Island on a rowing boat. Good luck if I decide to do that. I think the airport is seven or eight hours to the south. Well, southish,” He added. “However, I don’t want to be a dick, and I suspect the idea wasn’t yours in the first place, so here’s what we’re going to do.”



She looked on the verge of tears as Kyle stared at her, and he felt a momentary pang of pity for her, but he knew he had to be firm, so he pressed on.



“You tell me the truth and the whole truth, and I’ll see no harm comes to you. That’s a one time offer, and that time is right now.”



Kyle licked his lips, knowing he was taking a huge gamble here to try and find out if Edwin had sent her to get more blackmail information on him, but he had to find out what was going on.



“I.. “



“Out with it,” He said firmly.



“I.. I can’t.”



“Why not?”



“Please. I can’t.” Sarah’s eyes were beginning to fill with tears and rather than look panicked, she actually looked frightened. With a flash of insight, Kyle wondered if it was him she was afraid of or someone else.



“Because someone has something on you, and you’re being pressured to do as you’re told?” He guessed.



Sarah started crying, sobbing. Her hands came up to cover her face.



“Sarah!” He snapped, drawing her eyes back up to meet his. “Tell me.”



“I.. can’t. He’ll…”



“Edwin?”



She looked at him and then nodded, crying all the harder now.



Kyle’s mind raced. If Edwin was blackmailing Sarah, then he’d sent her to seduce him. The question was why? What was he trying to achieve? Was it a video-recording so he could threaten release of a sex tape? Was it something else? Either way, Edwin was trying to create leverage for something.



“So Edwin sent you to my room the other night,” Kyle stated calmly. “And he threatened you with something if you didn’t do it, correct?”



“Please, I can’t talk about it.”



“Sarah, I need you to listen to me,” Kyle said, moving a little closer to her. He placed his hand on her shoulder, trying to be reassuring rather than menacing.



“Sarah, I know Edwin is up to something. You’ve just said he’s blackmailing you or threatening you somehow, and I suspect he’s trying to blackmail me and my sisters too.” He took a deep breath, then continued. “It seems to me that we’re in this together, so the more I know, the more I can help. But if you don’t help me, your situation and mine are only going to get worse.”



“Please, you can’t kick me off the Island,” She sobbed, grabbing his top. “Please!”



“I told you, it’s a one time offer, but I have to know everything. I can help you, Sarah, and I can get rid of Edwin, but I have to know what he’s up to.” Kyle heart was thudding in his chest like the noisy rotor blades above his head.



She rubbed at her eyes, stressed and unsure as she tried to make a decision.



“Trust in me,” He said, trying to nudge her choice.



At last she slumped, nodding as she pulled her legs up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them.



“He sent me,” She said a moment later.



“What did he say?”



“That I was to go and visit you quietly during the night, that I was to seduce you, and try and do it so you would think it was someone else,” She said, unable to meet his eye. “If you tried to make me stay I was to run away.”



“Did he tell you why?”



She shook her head. “No, but it’s not hard to figure out.”



“He’s got a recording device in my room so he can blackmail me.” Kyle said, nodding.



She shook her head again. “No, although he might be doing that too.”



Kyle frowned. “Then what?”



“I need you to promise you won’t kick me off the Island. I can’t go home.”



“Why? Is someone bothering you?”



She bit her lip, then her head came down to rest on her knees.



“Sarah, what the fuck is Edwin trying to do, and why can’t you go home? Is this something to do with him blackmailing you?”



“Can you promise me?”



“Sarah, what’s the problem? Is someone threatening to kill you or something? Is it family? The police, what?” She flinched at the last one. “The police?”



“I was in an accident,” She said suddenly. “I had a few drinks and was driving home, and this guy drove into me, his car went off the road and crashed into a tree.”



“And you ran?” Kyle guessed.



Sarah nodded. “I did. I didn’t have a license, I’d been drinking and I thought the guy looked hurt, so I called an ambulance on my cell and got out of there. The next morning I flew out here to start work.”



“So what happened?”



“I… I told Edwin when I got here. I felt so guilty and I wanted to know if the guy was okay. Edwin looked into it.” Her eyes welled up with tears.



“The guy died?” Kyle asked, shocked.



She nodded, her face pale, her eyes emotional. “And the police want me for murder, DUI, leaving the scene of an accident. If I ever go back I’ll be in prison for the rest of my life, all because I drove away from an accident.”



“Fucking hell,” Kyle said, shaking his head, unable to avoid feeling pity for her and the burden she’d been carrying. “And he’s been threatening to send you back to the US?”



“If I don’t do everyting he says.”



Kyle felt sick, but had to ask. “Sarah, what else does he make you do?”



She frowned and hung her head before looking back up. “Once a week, I have to go and do… things.”



“Sex?”



“Sort of. It feels just as gross,” She explained. “He makes me dress up, strip and touch myself while he jerks off on me.”



“Fucking hell.”



“I tell myself it could be worse, and it could. At least I don’t have to touch him and I get to do it under the shower.” She shuddered, reliving the memory.



It was almost a question to fill the time before he asked something else. “What does he make you dress up as?”



Sarah made a sad face and caught Kyle’s eye. “He makes me wear a business suit and a blonde wig.”



“Why would… Mother-fucker,” Kyle said as he realised exactly why she’d been sent to his room. The same night when he and Patricia had nearly got it together, and then he’d fucked someone else, thought it was her and she’d got upset about it the next morning. Edwin must have wanted to drive a wedge in between them.



“He did it to stop me and Patricia hooking up?”



Sarah nodded, a barely perceptable movement and gave him a sympathetic look. “I think he’s obsessed with her. Stalkerville, know what I mean?”



Kyle nodded, his mind whirring.



“He wanted me to record you and me up here,” She said carefully. “I’m sorry. That’s why I wanted my bag.”



Kyle shook his head. “Don’t worry. I suspected that. That’s why we changed helicopters at the last minute.”



She looked a little relieved. “That’s good, that you changed helicopters I mean.”



“Sarah, how long has he been making you do this?” Kyle asked.



“About a year. It started a few weeks after I got here. At first he promised me the Police weren’t looking for me, it was all good, and then he said they’d put a warrant out for my arrest after the guy died in hospital.”



“What a bastard.”



“That’s putting it mildly,” She nodded. “After that he started pressuring me to help him with odd jobs because he was protecting me. Then he just started to demand more and more.”



“Sarah, can I just ask, and it might seem really stupid, but have you checked for yourself to see if the police are actually after you?” Kyle asked. “I mean, Edwin’s not exactly proving himself to be a trustworthy guy.”



“He showed me copies of the arrest warrant, the police photofit thing and a cutout of a newspaper showing details of the guys funeral,” She replied.



“But you haven’t checked for yourself?” Kyle asked, pulling his phone out his pocket.



“I couldn’t face looking,” She admitted.



“What was the guy’s name?” He flipped the phone screen open and selected the browser.



“Lance Sherman. From Memphis, Tennessee. Poor guy. Are you searching the FBI Most Wanted or something?”



“Two seconds,” Kyle said. “Do you remember what he looked like?”



While Sarah described him, Kyle did an internet search on the guys name and location, figuring if there was a warrant out for Sarah, there would be at least a few news articles about the guys death and the police investigation, appeals for witnesses, stuff like that.



Instead as Sarah desribed him as overweight, thirties, balding with a beard, Kyle clicked on the first link that came up. It had a photo and he selected it, dragging it to full screen.



“Is this him?” He asked, showing it to her. One look at her face confirmed it for him before she nodded.



“I thought so,” Kyle replied, clicking back to the previous screen. He scrolled down, nodding. “Sarah?”



“Yeah?” He could hear the fear in her voice, dreading her worst fears being confirmed.



“Want to know what Lance was up to yesterday? When he was at the mall with his kids? In fact, why don’t you look at his facebook page yourself,” He said, handing her the phone.



She nearly dropped it. Her hands were shaking and she looked terrified. She couldn’t even look down at the screen, her eyes fixed on Kyle, her eyes full of fear.



“Sarah, he’s alive. He’s not dead,” Kyle said firmly. “You didn’t kill anybody.”



“What? But?” Her eyes flicked down to the screen and she stared at it, as if taking her eyes off it would make it some evil practical joke. “He’s….”



“He’s fine, Sarah,” Kyle repeated. “Listen to me. You didn’t kill anyone. Unless he’s clicking that like button from inside his coffin.”



“Are you sure? Maybe it’s someone else posting on his account? Maybe its some kind of trick?” She asked.



“Well, it’s a trick, then I’d love to know how he was photographed at the mall yesterday with his kids,” Kyle said, shrugging. “Looks like you’re off the hook.”



“I.. “



“Look, when we land I’ll get Mister Crowler to look into it discretely and he’ll confirm things for us one way or another, okay?”



“What if it’s a mistake?”



“I think it’s more likely that Edwin’s been manipulating you, Sarah,” Kyle said. “Manipulating both of us.”



“I know I should be angry, but all I can feel right now is relief, and fear that it’s not real.”



“Well, listen. We need to take this guy down, okay, so I still need your help, Sarah.”



“With Edwin?”



“Yeah,” Kyle nodded, speaking slowly. With a simple internet search he’d just got Sarah on side, and he knew that he had to capitalise on it. “Now, you said he sent you up to bust up me and Patricia before we got it together, right?”



“Pretty much,” She nodded.



“Wait, that’s confirmation he’s been bugging my suite or has got hidden cameras or something in it,” He said, thinking aloud. “Now, does he have any CCTV systems or anything like that in his suite? A private office that no-one else goes into? Anything like that?”



She shook her head. “No, I’d think if it was anything like that he’d keep it in his secret bunker.”



Kyle’s eyes widened. “What did you just say?”



“That he’d keep it in his secret bunker?” She asked. “Yeah, he’s got some kind of cave or something that he disappears into a night. I think it’s underneath the kitchens.” She shrugged. “Is that important?”



Kyle coud have kissed her. Not only had she confirmed it’s existance, but she’d told him where it was. “Tell me everything you know about it. This secret bunker of his.”



“Oh, okay. He thinks it’s a big secret, but he sneaks in there every night when he goes to the kitchen for his sandwich. Loads of the staff know about it, but no-one’s ever been in it.”



“Do you know exactly where the door is?”



She laughed. “That’s easy. He prowls into the courtyard, where all the trash is kept, and then he punches a code into the kitchen door and a trapdoor opens in the floor. That’s how he gets in and out. It’s kinda funny how he thinks it’s all secret.”



“How do you know?”



“I’ve followed him before when he’s had a few drinks, just to see what he’s up to. When he’s had a drink in him he thinks he’s some kinda James Bond super-spy. Some of the other staff call him Danger Mouse.”



“What the fuck is Danger Mouse?” Kyle asked.



“Some kids cartoon from England with a superhero mouse who lives in a secret underground lair.”



“So people know where it is?”



“I take it this is where he’s keeping the recordings then? You should totally get in there,” She told him. “Sorry.”



“What are you sorry for?”



“I keep thinking about Lance Sherman. Are you sure he’s alive?”



“Those posts we saw were made yesterday, Sarah. Fuck, I can’t believe it’s that simple. That’s where the saferoom is accessed? In the courtyard at the kitchens? He punches in an access code, some trapdoor opens up and he goes underground?”



“Yeah. I just assumed you knew it was there.”



“I asked him if the Island had a safe room or a secure room, but he said no. It didn’t make sense to me, so that’s when I started to do some digging. Listen, we can’t let on that we’re onto him, okay?”



“Why not? You can just fire him, as soon as we land, can’t you?”



“No, not yet. I have to have access to that bunker first.”



She shrugged. “Fire him and then drill through the locks.”



“No, I want in there, because I think he’s trying to blackmail me and my sisters, so I want to remove anything he’s got on me, or anyone else too,” Kyle explained. “Plus, you need to be patient until it’s confirmed that this Lance Sherman guy is the right guy.”



“How long’s that going to take?” She said quickly. “I don’t want to have to put up with Edwin any more. I can’t handle it.”



“At most, a day. As for Edwin, every time he comes near you tell him you’ve to get ready to come and see me and you’ll see him later.”



“But what if…”



“Sarah, if need be, just come up to my suite and wait for me, and we’ll improvise something. You need to remember though that if he’s got my suite bugged, then he could have your room bugged too, so you can’t talk about this unless we’re on the helicopter, or maybe a boat. Somewhere safe.”



“So I should just come and see you, and suggest we go for a trip if I need to talk to you?” Sarah asked, frowning.



“Yeah. And don’t say anything to anyone about what happened here.”



She shook her head. “That won’t work, Kyle. Edwin is going to ask me for details and I need to give them to him.”



“Okay, let’s sort out a cover story.”



“Um… so we took off and you started kissing me, fast and horny, right?” She suggested. Kyle grinned and nodded.



“Go on.”



“Then you pulled off your shorts and made me suck your cock?”



“Sounds good,” Kyle laughed. This whole conversation had gone from surreal to frightening, followed by exciting and back to surreal again.



“Let’s see,” She said, moving onto her knees in front of Kyle.



“What you doing?”



“Working out the mechanics of it,” She explained. “That way I know I’ve got it right in my head, and so do you.”



“Oh.”



“So I give you a blowjob like this, and then you pull my dress up off me and throw it… over there,” She said, pointing to under the bench seat. “Which reminds me.”



Kyle sat bolt upright as Sarah pulled her dress up over her hips, immediately showing him her lack of underwear, but more importantly the tattoo she had right above her pussy. Taken on it’s own it would be horrific, but given the sheer volume of tattooes Sarah had it became part of the whole, and fit.



It was a piece of scroll work that read ‘Give it to me, baby’.



“Nice ink,” He chuckled.



“Make sure you comment on it if Edwin asks you about us,” She suggested. “That way he knows you’ve seen me naked.”



“Good idea,” He said shaking his head. “You can cover yourself up now, if you want.”



“Oh, okay.”



“Do you always go commando?” Kyle asked, out of curiosity.



“Only when I think I’m going to get lucky.” She shrugged. “I take it you don’t want to…”



“No. And it’s not because I don’t think you’re attractive. Just that I’m kinda seeing someone.”



“Just thought I’d ask. You are kinda hot, and I’m feeling a bit hyper, now that I’m not a murderer, know what I mean?” She shrugged and lowered her dress. “Anyway, dress off. Over there. You grab me and…” She looked around. “Missionary? Right here on the floor?”



She lay down on the floor of the Chinook, showing Kyle exactly what she meant.



“That’ll do,” He nodded, not knowing what else to say.



“Oh, then you should roll me over and do me doggie, while we’re looking out the back door,” Sarah suggested, smiling. “Kinda sorry this isn’t happening. Sounds like an epic fuck.”



Kyle laughed and lowered his face in his hands. “Okay. So missionary, doggie facing that way, then what?”



“You cum in my mouth,” She said firmly.



“Alright then. Do you turn or do I?”



“I turn, you’re standing up, I’m on my knees, giving it all this,” She said, miming the motions of giving him a blowjob.



“You should choreograph porn,” Kyle said. “So what then? You get dressed?”



“Hell, no. By that point I’m just getting warmed up and so are you, right?”



“Okay.”



“So after you’ve cum you go down on me, make me cum. Here on the floor?” She suggested assuming a different position.



“Fuck it, sounds good.”



“Then when you’re hard again, I roll you on your back here, suck you, ride you with lots of enthusiasm and bouncyness. Don’t forget the bouncy.”



He chuckled. “I won’t.”



“Then I orgasm and then you do too. Where though? Inside me, or in my mouth again?” She smiled up at him from the floor of the Chinook. “What would you prefer?”



“You’re the one putting this together,” He replied. “Go for it.”



“Okay, in my mouth again, so there’s no need for spillage from my pussy,” She nodded.



“Great. And then you get dressed because we’re on our way back in to land?”



“Yes. With just enough time to recover our breath and for you to warn me to keep this to myself and standby for another phone call or visit or whatever,” She added. “Sounds good to me.”

“Okay,” Kyle said, frowning. “Take off, I kiss you, you get on your knees and blow me. Then I take off your dress, throw it down there, mish on the floor right there, then doggie with you looking out the back. Then you turn and I stand up, cumshot, swallow. End of part one.”



Sarah giggled, but nodded. “And then?”



“We lie down, I go down on you, admire your tattoo and then you suck me, ride me like a trampoline and then I cum in your mouth again.”



“Excellent. I like the trampoline bit.”



“Yeah?”



“Yeah. Nice touch,” She said, resuming her seat.



“Oh, yeah. You swallow again,” He grinned. “This is so fucking bizarre.”



“Hey, we could have just done it, if that would have been easier for you,” She shrugged. “As it is I’m getting off this helicopter and going straight to my room for some private time.”



Ordinarily Kyle would have burst out laughing at that, but he shook his head, his face serious.



“Sarah, I think when we land, Edwin will want to find out what happened,” Kyle pointed out.



“Oh, fuck. And I have to lie to him and not get caught,” She said, sighing.



“You can do it though, because you know that within two days at the most, this will be resolved one way or the other,” Kyle pointed out.



“How’s it going to end, Kyle?” Sarah asked. “Can you have him arrested?”



“I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”



“And what if you can’t?” She asked, her tone serious as she looked at him. “What if you can’t?”



Kyle felt sick at the thought of what he might have to do to protect himself. It wasn’t just himself though. It was his sisters, Patricia and Sarah too.



“So much for an easy week in paradise,” He muttered.



Kyle walked back to the house, trying to appear physically tired but inside he was elated. The conversation on the Chinook with Sarah had yielded more, much more than he had hoped. He knew that Edwin was guilty of manipulating the poor girl, lying to her, sexual harassment, hell, probably sexual assault, blackmail and a load of other stuff thrown in too.



Now Kyle had an ally, had confirmation that Edwin was a manipulative fucker, and had the location of the entry point into the safe house. He just had to figure out a way to let Connor know where and ask him if he could stake it out somehow.



First though, he had to get to his suite, get into a bath or a shower or something and hopefully avoid an argument with Patricia too.



“I could just tell her everything that’s going on,” He thought to himself, but for some reason it didn’t feel right. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust her, but that he knew the fewer people who knew a secret the more likely it was to be kept quiet.



Plus, he was concerned about the possibility of there being cameras in the suite and her acting differently, or saying something and letting the cat out of the bag.



“Hi Shmi,” Kyle said as he entered the suite. “How’s it going?”



“Fine,” She said neutrally. “I’ll see you after dinner.” At that she grabbed a laptop and left the room, closing the door behind her.



Kyle frowned, then realise she could be pissed that he was up in the Chinook with Sarah, taking it as a betrayal of her friend.



“Patricia?”



“Back here, Kyle.”



Kyle wandered into his bathroom. “How’s it going?”



“Fine. Sit down, because we need to talk, Kyle,” She said simply. “I know you weren’t talking to Julian, I know you were up in the helicopter, and I know who with.”



“I was up in the helicopter with Sarah,” Kyle nodded, then tried to remember the cover story for his cover story, shaking his head as he realised how complicated this was getting. “Right, yeah, Sarah. After I told you last night that I figured she was the one who sneaked in here the other night, I wanted to talk her somewhere she couldn’t run away.”



“So why not a meeting room?”



Kyle shrugged. “You can run out the door of a meeting room, so I thought a helicopter would make her a captive audience. Anyway, we spoke for a bit, she denied it, denied it some more and then eventually admitted it.”



“And then?” Patricia asked pointedly.



“And then she tried to seduce me. Can you believe it?”



“Well, yeah. She’s a slut, remember.” Patricia looked at him. “So did it work? Her seducing you?”



“What? No.” Kyle replied quickly, shaking his head as if she’d suggested he launch fireworks from his rectum. Kyle took the opportunity to place his hands on her hips. “No, she didn’t seduce me. I’m not interested in Sarah. I am interested in you though.”



“You realise that you’re saying that right after you’ve been alone with a woman who fucked you only a few nights ago,” She pointed out, then added, “And you were alone with her where no-one could possibly wak in on you.”



Kyle sat on the edge of the bath and stirred his finger through the blue-green water for a second. “Do you remember yesterday when I figured out who the boogeylady was?”



“Of course.”



“Did you trust me then?” Kyle asked.



“Yes,” She replied, frowning.



“Then trust me now, Patricia,” He told her. “Nothing’s changed, nothing’s different. I’ve been on my best behaviour.”



“But you did lie to me,” She pointed out. “You should have just told me where you were going instead of lying to me about Julian’s extended workout planning.”



“And I apologise for that, but you would have wanted to come along, and I didn’t want to have to say no to you,” Kyle improvised. “Now, I really need to get in the bath, and if you fancy doing that soapy-massage thing you do, then that would be like a little piece of heaven.”



She frowned, and sat back on the unit opposite the bath while Kyle pulled off his top, kicked off his sneakers and socks and then dropped his shorts.



He tried not to smile as he saw her eyes flicker down to that spot between his legs, only for a second, but enough that he saw her lick her lips a few seconds later.



Kyle slid into the hot water, sighing in pleasure. He hated lying in general, and more specifically to Patricia after she’d spent the week looking after him, keeping him sane and especially after they became physical. It was one of those things that he knew people justified as ‘doing it for the best’, usually when they were trying to explain it after it blew up in their faces.



“Patricia,” He said softly a moment later, rolling his head to make eye contact with her.



“Yes?”



“At some point tonight can you let Connor know I’d like to see him? Maybe go out on a speedboat for a bit?”



“You’ve got a busy day, Kyle, and your friends are here too, remember?”



“Yeah, I know. Even just ten minutes,” He said.



“You’re not going to be able to recruit him, you know?” She said, tilting her head.



“I’m trying though, plus I thought I’d invite him to come visit us in LA. Familiar face and all that.” Kyle knew it sounded flimsy, but he couldn’t just come right out and say that he needed to tell Connor the location of the entrance to the safehouse.



She frowned. “I’ll call him now and set it up for after dinner.”



“Can you do it later?” Kyle asked, watching her.



“I can do it now. It’ll only take a minute.”



“Yeah,” Kyle smiled. “But that’s a minute longer you’re not in here with me.”



She gave him a look, kind of ‘I want to be angry with you but I can’t get rid of this smile’, and Kyle raised a hand free of the bathwater and crooked a finger.



“Come on.”



She raised a finger in warning. “Okay, but only to massage your muscles. Don’t think you’re getting any fun-time. You’re still in my bad books for lying to me.”



Kyle knew from her expression that she didn’t really mean a word of it, but he was happy to take her at her word, rather than have to worry about the thought of having sex while Edwin watched or listened.



He sat forward in the bath, making room behind him for her and he watched as she stepped out her heels, removed her charcoal business suit, jacket first and then skirt. She unbuttoned her white blouse and Kyle smiled at the sight of her in white lace underwear.



“You look hot,” He murmured.



She winked. “I know.”



Kyle chuckled, falling silent as she slipped off her bra and panties and then stepped behind him into the water. He leaned back slowly as her legs slid alongside his hips, and he felt her arms wrap around him as he rested his head against her shoulder.



“I should really make you shower before I get in here with you,” She whispered in his ear. “Now my shoulder’s all covered in sweat from your hair while I’m sitting in your dirty bath water.”



“And I thought you liked my bodily fluids too,” He grinned, earning a slap on his chest for his trouble.



“Have you got the soap?” She asked a moment later.



“Nope.” Kyle was lying there with his eyes shut, loving the feeling of resting on her body in the hot water.



“No soap, no massage,” She whispered in his ear.



“I don’t want to move anyway,” He replied. “Can we just stay here and order room service? Occasionally top up the water?”



He felt her wrap herself around him a little tighter. “Yeah, that would be nice for now, but in a couple of hours we’d be wrinkled like prunes, and no-one wants to see that.”



“We’ll turn the lights off. Then no-one has to see it.”



“Sounds like you’ve got it all figured out.”



“Nearly. Still working on a few of the technicalities though.”



They lay there in silence for another few minutes and Kyle realised he was nearly asleep. The days events had been mentally draining and physically tiring too, so lying in the bath with Patricia cradling him against her proved to be more relaxing than he thought possible.



He sighed. “We better make a move, I suppose.”



“Good call. Plus, if we have dinner, a few drinks and some fun with your friends, then we can get up to bed all the quicker.” He felt her lips press against his cheek.



“You have all the best ideas.”



It took a few minutes before Kyle finally gave in and got out the bath, stepping into the shower for a quick rinse off and to wash his hair. Patricia disappeared into his dressing room, sorted out an outfit and then went to her own room to get dressed.



By the time she returned Kyle had his jeans, sneakers and a sleeveless black v-necked top on, and was sitting looking at the hooded jersey on the bed.



Patricia was wearing a pair of washed out jeans, tight figure hugging numbers that showed her off very nicely, with a pair of retro sneakers. On top she wore a simple white t-shirt, her blonde hair up in a ponytail, and only a hint of makeup on.



“How do I look?” She asked, a worried expression on her face.



“You look great. Are you alright?” Kyle asked.



“I’m.. a bit nervous about meeting your friends,” She admitted. “I’ve been up here all day and haven’t had the chance yet, and I want them to like me.”



Kyle laughed. “Wear a bikini. They’ll be your best friends in ten seconds flat.”



“It’s not funny, Kyle,” She said quickly. “I’m worried about this.”



“Why?”



She rolled her eyes. “Because if they think I’m a bitch, or an airhead, or if they get it in their heads that I’m manipulating you, they’ll tell you that and turn you against me.”



Kyle shook his head. “They’re not like that, Patricia.”



“I don’t mean they’re bad people, but if your friends think someone is bad for you, they’d tell you, right?”



Kyle smiled. “You’re totally reading too much into this. Just chill. Have dinner, have a chat with them. If Ed’s being an asshole, make a joke and tell him he’s being an asshole. Case will think you’re awesome for doing it, and Ed will probably spend the rest of the night hitting on you and saying innapropriate shit.”



“They know about me though, right?” She asked.



Kyle thought for a second then shook his head. “Haven’t told them about you. Apart from you looking after me and stuff, but nothing about me and you.”



She bit her lip. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”



“Stop worrying about it,” Kyle chuckled. “Anyway, why did you leave a hoody out for me?”



She winked. “Cunning plan. You wear the hoody down, take it off at the table when you sit down and then your friends can admire your new physique.”



Kyle laughed. “It’s not a gay porn movie.”



“Hey, they’ll notice. Trust me.”



“Besides, I haven’t exactly sprouted muscles,” Kyle added.



“I love that you can’t see the difference,” Patricia said, moving forward. “You’re leaner now, Kyle, but you’re also stronger. Basically you’ve got definition where you didn’t have it before, and that makes you look…..”



“Makes me look what?”



She grinned. “Very fuckable.”



He chuckled. “You know how to compliment a guy.”



“I try,” She smirked. “Now, do I look okay, or should I go change again?”



“You look great,” Kyle said, getting to his feet. He kissed her once on the lips, then steered her out the door with him. “And stop with the stressing.”



“I’m just worried.”



“You don’t need to. Just be you.”



“Oh, you forgot the jersey,” She said, but Kyle grabbed her hand and pulled her out onto the balcony. “Don’t you want it?”



“I like the idea, Patricia, but it’s too theatrical and the guys would see through it in two seconds flat,” He smiled. Kyle paused to grab his cigarettes and smiled as he followed a reluctant Patricia down the stairs. It was kinda fun seeing her without her usual one hundred percent confidence.



Dinner was fantastic, with excellent food and good company. Ed and Casey had sat down either side of Kara, with Margarita sliding into the seat next to Casey, much to Kyle and Katie’s amusement. Garius sat on the other side of Ed, and throughout the evening the two of them kept bantering back and forth, Ed claiming Garius was hitting on him, and Garius denying it as Ed wasn’t hot enough for him.



The put-downs between the two were really funny, and between that, Margarita and Casey’s obvious interest in each other, and Patricia’s nerves, Kyle was having a blast.



At a little after eight he disappeared to see Connor, who met him at the end of the pier. They opted for a quick chat, where Kyle brought him rapidly up to speed with the location of the entrance and what Edwin had been up to with Sarah.



Connor gave him a firm look and pointed out to him that he had to consider how to deal with this once they’d figured out how to access the saferoom and hopefully got rid of anything that Edwin was using to set up Kyle and his sisters. The final problem with Edwin would have to be handled carefully, whatever Kyle chose to do.



He had nodded, feeling subdued, and Connor had left after saying he would do what he could to figure out how to get into the saferoom, and that he’d be back in touch in the morning.



Kyle returned to the house, still feeling deflated, unable to get his mind off the situation.



When he got there, Ed was sketching a portrait of Louisa, and despite her pleas to see it, he refused until he was finished. Kyle knew what was coming next and whispered to Patricia that she should watch Louisa’s reaction. As expected, the table burst out laughing as Ed revealed his sketch, a drawing of Louisa’s face on Garfields body, stuffing her face with Lasagna and wearing a bikini. Louisa thought it was brilliant and wanted to keep it, so Katie promised to have it framed for her.



A short while later, Kyle had pushed his chair back a few feet from the table to have a cigarette, and he was surprised as Patricia pushed hers back to join him. Her hand slipped into his, her fingers lacing between his, and she pulled his hand onto her lap. It was very casual, very comfortable and intimate, and Kyle looked at her, aware they were drawing several glances from those around the table.



“You feeling okay?” He asked, a questionning look on his face.



“I’m thinking if all of us already know, then what’s the point of keeping it a secret?” She admitted quietly. “Besides, I’m feeling affectionate.”



Kyle shrugged. “It’s fine by me.”



“Hey, monkeyboy,” Ed said, looking sharply at Kyle. “You been slamming the fun parts with this fine piece of hotness and keeping it fucking quiet? From me?”



Garius leaned over a little towards Ed and said loud enough for everyone at the table to hear, “Shhh. It’s like watching deer drinking from a stream, or two teenage homosexuals coming out the closet together. You have to be careful not to spook them or they’ll run away.”



“Fucks sake,” Kyle laughed, used to Ed’s unusual turn of phrase.



“As if you all didn’t know,” Patricia said, a shy smile on her face.



“She’s so fucking far out your league it’s like watching acne-boy humping the leg of Wonder Woman,” Ed said, shaking his head. His gaze flicked to Patricia. “You’re Wonder Woman, just in case you were wondering.”



Kyle grinned. “Fuck off, Ed.”



“Just for that, knobsock, I’m gonna have to fucking draw acne-boy humping the leg of Wonder Woman, with Patricia’s gorgeous face and your fugly fucking features on it,” Ed grinned.



“Don’t,” Kyle said, appearing unconcerned as he shook his head. “You’ll only get them mixed up again, and end up drawing you getting boned by one of the X-Men.”



“Get it right, ball-sucker!” Ed said, his finger in the air. “It was me getting anally fisted by Wolverine, in a dress.”



“Wolverine had the dress on,” Casey added, laughing.



“Wait,” Garius said sharply, turning and smiling at Ed. “You drew yourself? Getting fisted by Hugh Jackman? Someone needs to come out of the closet of denial.”



Kyle was sitting chuckling as Ed and Garius immediately launched into a lengthy discussion of Ed’s heterosexual history and at end of every single story, Garius gave him a psychological translation proving that Ed ‘loves the cock’, as he put it. Everyone around the table was laughing and having a great time, and Kyle was sore from laughing as he saw Ed get tied in verbal knots, time and again.



“He can do this for hours,” Patricia whispered. “It’s really funny.”



“It’s fucking hysterical.” Kyle could see Ed almost beginning to believe Garius that he actually was homosexual and hadn’t come to terms with it. Eventually it came down to one point, and Patricia nudged Kyle to pay attention.



“So after all that, there’s only one question remaining, Ed,” Garius told him calmly. “Are you always so easy to mess with?” As Ed saw he’d been duped, Garius stuck his tongue out.



To his credit, Ed took it in his stride, going back to his original point that Garius just wanted him, despite his denials that Ed wasn’t hot enough.



At around eleven Casey excused himself and a few minutes later Margarita did the same, provoking a lot of knowing looks around the table and more than a few chuckles.



Kyle took the opportunity to call it a night a few minutes later. Between his late night exercise with Patricia the night before and the draining day he was shattered. To his surprise, Katie and Kara got up and walked with him, following him upstairs until they were sat on the balcony. Kyle lit up and smiled as Kara stole her daily cigarette out his packet.



“This is my favourite part of the day,” Kara admitted. “But today’s been a lot of fun.”



Kyle smiled. “Glad you’re enjoying yourself.”



“Margarita and Louisa think you’re really cool,” Katie said to Kara. “They really like you.”



Kara made a surprised face, and smiled a little. “That’s good, I guess.”



“You guys should hang out when you’re in New York,” Kyle suggested.



Kara nodded. “Sounds good. Hey, how’s your LA trip looking?”



“Exhausting,” Kyle replied. “I’ve got a manic schedule from six or seven every morning until midnight for most of the trip. I get the feeling I’ll come back from California whiter than I was when I got there.”



“But you’ve got Patricia to keep you company,” Katie grinned, adding a wink for good measure.



“Yeah, what was with her tonight, all touchy-feely?” Kara asked. “It was like seeing a whole new side to her.”



“How do you mean?”



“Well, she usually comes across as a bit cold, all professional and efficient,” Katie explained.

“Tonight she was all affectionate. Like a kitten,” Kara smiled. “She seemed a lot more… human.”



“Kara!” Kyle protested. “She’s a nice girl.”



“I can see that,” His sister replied. “All I’m saying is that most of the time she’s a bit intimidating and tonight she was really nice. I’m trying to say something nice,” She added.



“I guess I don’t see her how you guys do,” Kyle said. “Although she did say when I first met her that women generally don’t get on with her at first.”



Katie and Kara exchanged glances.



“She told you that?” Katie asked.



Kyle nodded. “Yeah, we chat a lot.”



“Anyway, how are you doing?” Kara asked. “You’ve been looking like you’ve got a lot on your mind today.”



Kyle remembered the explanations he’d prepared. “Yeah, I’ve been getting George Crowler to make sure Katie’s two friends from Myrtle Beach are not running their mouths off.”



“I thought it was taken care of,” Katie said, frowning.



“It is,” He assured her. “I’ll get him to give you the details tomorrow if you want, but if you don’t know then you’re better off.”



“Kyle, it’s nothing…. dodgy, is it?”



“Oh, fuck no,” He assured them both. “No, it’s all charitable foundations and career ladders and flash cars. Nothing bad.”



“That’s good,” Katie replied. “I don’t want any threats or blackmail or anything.”



“Yeah, no-one likes a blackmailer,” He muttered.



“So when we get to New York,” Kara said. “I think every night we have to get on the phone with each other and have a chat, just like we do here.”



“Conference call?” Kyle asked. “I like the idea. It seems weird considering we’ve only been here for six days, but I’m gonna miss you guys.”



“We were saying the same thing earlier,” Katie replied. “Kara didn’t expect to bond with us at all.”



“And now?”



Kara smiled. “Cautiously optimistic. Despite our… history, I’m not unhappy that you guys are my siblings. At least you’re not arrogant assholes.”



“Not yet anyway,” Kyle said, stubbing out his cigarette. “Cautiously optimistic? I like that.”



He bent and gave them both a kiss on the head as he had the previous night. “Night, girls.”



“Night, Kyle,” They replied in unison before bursting into a round of giggles.



Patricia was already in bed when he entered the bedroom, so he stripped off his top, had a wash and brushed his teeth in the bathroom and then finished disrobing before he slipped into bed.



“You took your time,” She murmured, sliding on top of him, and to his surprise, reaching for his phone on the bedside table.



“Interesting time to make a call,” He said, grinning at her.



“Shush,” She murmured, flicking the screen open.



Patricia slid back off his lap and settled down beside him, his arm around her shoulders. As Kyle watched, she opened the browser, directed it to a porn site and then clicked on a video.



“We’re watching porn?” He asked, one eyebrow raised.



“Slide down the bed a bit, Kyle,” She ordered, and to his surprise, she pulled the sheet over their heads, placing the tablet-sized screen between them. Then she turned and looked at him and raised a finger to her lips.



Her hands went to the tablet and she minimised the browser, the sound of a couple engaged in horny chat still audible in the background, and she opened a word processing document and began to type rapidly.



What happened with Sarah? There’s something going on you’re not talking about. Can you talk here?”



Kyle looked at her, smiling as he was reminded how smart he was. She knew there was something going on, but had not asked him so she’d engineered this type of communication to find out.



He leaned over and kissed her. Patricia smiled, but pushed him back and said aloud, “Watch the movie first. I want to see what turns you on.”



Kyle took the tablet and began to type his own message.



Long story. Don’t react. This place could be bugged!!!! Hunch though. Edwin denied island has a safehouse. Crowler said there is. Sarah sent by Edwin. He’s been blackmailing her for a year for sexual favours. Fucking creep. Also think he’s setting me/Kara/Katie up for blackmail too. Don’t freak out.



She gave him a very concerned look, but turned her attention back to the tablet a moment later.



WTF? Also, guy gives me the creeps, so not that surprised. What are you doing about it?”



He knew he couldn’t tell her that Edwin was stalking her, not now. Before he could reply though, Patricia opened the porn window again, and typed ‘BDSM’, ‘Anal’ and ‘Slut’ into the search box.



“Really?” He asked aloud.



“A girl likes what a girl likes,” She replied, sounding flirtly but looking unhappy. She clicked on the first video of a girl strapped to a frame with a butt plug in her ass, turned the sound up and minimised the window again.



Kyle took the tablet and typed.



Have located bunker/safehouse entrance. Connor checking it out. Will let me know tomorrow. Also, Sarah on our side now. Told her if E being a creep she should just come up here. Cover story is that I’m screwing her on the side and you don’t know. Not actually touching her though, okay!!!! Too into you! x



Patricia read the message, and Kyle could see she was taking a minute to process it. “Nasty video, but hot,” He said aloud, just to pass the time.



Patricia picked up the tablet and began to type once more.



You’ve been busy! Connor onside is good. Crowler helping is good too. What do you need me to do?



Kyle typed quickly on the screen. It was getting really hot under the sheet and the sooner they could lift it and admit some fresh air, the better.



Act normal. Act a bit pissed if you suspect there’s something going on with me/Sarah if you want? Don’t say anything. Also, be flexible if I need to meet with Connor/Crowler/Sarah. Can’t think of anything else. Normal behaviour is good!!!



The video ended, so Patricia clicked on one of the suggested ones, this time of a woman tied up, getting spanked by another woman while a guy stuck his dick in her face. Then she typed out a response.



Okay. Normal I can do. What about the bugs? Audio? Video? What?



Kyle typed back quickly.



Don’t know. Only a hunch. Can’t confirm.



Patricia replied quicker.



Might not be any at all? Lot to think about. Will be awake for a while. What about sex?



Kyle gave her a quizzical look, drawing a shrug from her in reply, and another rapidly typed message.



Do you want to? We can keep the sheets over us. Plus it’s normal and I’ve been horny all fucking night long. Understand if you’re not in the mood. Btw, really like these videos!!!



Kyle grinned. If she was up for it, then he was too, and if keeping a sheet over them gave them enough of an illusion of privacy while knowing they might be recorded, then alll was good.



Couldn’t keep my hands off you if I tried x



She fixed him with a wicked smile, then shut the word processing software, maximising the porn screen.



“Hey, it’s really stuffy and hot under here, Patricia,” Kyle said a moment later. “Can’t we just lift the sheet up a bit?”



“I suppose,” She replied, smiling.



While they sorted themselves out, Patricia moved Kyle’s arm back around her shoulders and she snuggled into him, one hand holding the porn movie on the screen so they could both see it.



“You want to keep watching?” Kyle asked, flicking the bedroom light off.



“Is that okay?” Patricia replied. “I have to admit, I’m a bit of a porn junkie.”



“Quite extreme in your tastes too.” He chuckled.



“This isn’t extreme,” She said, flashing him a grin. “This is almost vanilla in comparison to some of the stuff I like.”



“Sounds like you and Ed should share your collections. I bet you’d have a lot of doubles.”



“You want to talk about your friends porn collection when you’re in bed with me, butt naked?” She asked, teasing him.



“Point taken. So show me some of the stuff you’re into,” Kyle suggested. “I’m not easily shocked.”



Patricia turned her head and looked at him, as if trying to decide if she should or not. “You might end up more shocked than you think.”



“Try it and find out.”



For the next hour, Patricia flicked through all manner of videos. Most of them involved some form of submissive behaviour on the womans part, and featured things like bondage, spanking, rough sex, choking, spitting, forced orgasms, throat fucking, double penetration, butt plugs, public humiliation, all performed on the woman by a Dominant figure, sometimes males, sometimes females and on a few occasions, both. All of them featured anal.



It was a bit of an eye opener for Kyle and not really something he was into himself, but the thought that it turned her on turned him on, and when Patricia couldn’t stand waitng any more, she lay down on top of him, put her legs either side of his and took him inside her.



Kyle knew without a doubt that if she’d thrown the sheet back, she’d have been trying to take his cock up her ass, but she was as aware as he was that there might have been some kind of recording device, so she managed to restrain herself enough to stay lying down on him.



Patricia came just before he did. She took the time to lick him clean afterwards, and then drifted off to sleep within minutes.



Kyle lay there in the dark, trying to figure out what tomorrow was going to bring.



Kyle woke up and checked the time.



“Ten minutes until I’m due to get up,” He murmured, clicking the light onto it’s lowest setting. He turned and looked at the beautiful woman by his side, spread like a starfish across the bed, her hair half covering her face.



He smiled and adjusted the sheet, pulling it up a little. The temptation was there to just slide a hand in, touch her in certain places and be balls deep inside her within a minute, but he knew she’d had a restless night.



“No point in both of us getting up,” He muttered and slid out of bed. A couple of minutes in the bathroom and then a quick trip into the dressing room, and Kyle was ready to go workout.



He jogged down slowly, warming his muscles up for what was to come, saying good morning to the members of staff that he saw out and about. As he turned the corner heading for the gym, he heard a low whistle and saw Connor sitting under a palm tree. He looked like he’d been drinking all night.



“Morning,” Kyle said, his good mood evaporating. His nostrils flared at the scent of scotch at the same time as he saw the half-bottle in the Scotsmans hand.



Connor winked, then beckoned him over with a nod of his head.



“Alrighty, ya wee dobber,” Connor slurred happily, yet Kyle could see in his eyes that he didn’t look drunk. He held out a hand to Kyle as if asking for help to get up, and when Kyle reached out, Connor palmed him a small piece of paper. He tried not to grin.



“You’re right sober, man. Ye need tae party harder.”



Kyle crouched down facing Connor and glanced down at the note. Code 4162, Pastry Kitchen door. Leads to ladder down. At bottom another combination, plus scanner. Need to catch E tonight when he’s on his way down. Will call you. Up for it?



Kyle looked up and nodded. “Yeah, but I can’t party like you, Connor,” He added.



Connor reached out and grabbed his hand, taking the paper back off him and stood up, swaying slightly.



“You’re hammered,” Kyle said, on the off-chance anyone was listening or watching. If Connor thought it important enough to act like he was drunk, then he should probably play along.



Connor pulled a cigarette from behind his ear and made a big deal of trying to light it, neatly setting fire to the paper in the process as he lit up.



“Aye, you and me should party one night when we’re in LA,” Connor slurred, leaning back against the tree as if he was falling over. The burnt piece of paper drifted to the ground, consumed.



“From what I hear I’ll need a weekend to party and the rest of the week to recover,” Kyle said, smiling. The fact that Connor had got the first part of the combination, and then got inside was great news. Real progress.



“Why fucking recover? Just keep partying,” Connor smiled, clapping him on the shoulder as he stood on the consumed paper and casually twisted his foot. “And, and cut out this six in the morning workout shit. It’s depressingly healthy.”



“You could join me in the gym right now, Connor?” Kyle suggested, laughing as the Scotsman wandered off, the tap of his cane loud on the pavement.



“Aye, but I’d make you look like a wee bitch. Nae chick wants to blow you after seeing that, Kyle.”



Kyle grinned and jogged off to see Julian.



His workout was far superior to yesterdays last one, and he broke seven of his personal records, worked his ass off, and wasn’t in absolute agony when he was done. Julian put it down to the injections helping heal his injured muscles and his body reacting well to the diet and exercise.



Kyle promised to see him later and then took a brisk walk back to the house. Patricia had drawn him a bath, but had already showered and dressed herself and was hard at work with Lakshmi sorting through resumes.



“You two know it’s only quarter to seven, right?” Kyle said as he headed for the bathroom.



“We know,” Lakshmi nodded. “The early bird catches the early worm.”



“I like to think of us as partially insane myself,” Patricia chuckled.



He bathed, ran the clippers over his face to get the stubble back to the right length, and did all the other bits and pieces guys do to try and look good, and then got dressed.



He was sat on the balcony enjoying a cigarette and a cup of coffee before breakfast when Patricia and Lakshmi came out to join him.



“Right, let’s hear todays schedule then,” He said.



“Someone’s firing on all cylinders today.”



“He is, isn’t he,” Patricia replied, giving him a quizzical look.



“Good work out,” Kyle explained. “So I’m treating myself to coffee and a cigarette, and no, the irony is not lost on me. So what’s happening?”



“Easy day,” Lakshmi said, pulling out a sheet of paper. “Breakfast at seven thirty with a briefing on dealing with the media until half nine.”



“Easy day? You’re gonna kill my good mood,” Kyle grinned.



“After that,” Lakshmi said, pressing on,” You’re seeing Doctor Kerr, then Shiro at the salon for a trim.”



“Sounds good.” His eyes caught Patricia and he could see her trying not to laugh.



“After that you’ve got half an hour with Margaret,” Lakshmi said cautiously.



Kyle facepalmed himself. “I knew the gods were out to get me today.”



“She’s going to run through your wardrobe choices with you and has a shortlist of stylists for you to interview when you get to LA.”



“I’ve to interview them?” Kyle asked.



“She doesn’t trust us with it,” Patricia said, grinning. “You’ll just have to get on with it.”



“Then you’re doing it,” Kyle said, nodding at her. “If I have to put up with her for half an hour, then you’re doing the interviews, Patricia.”



“I knew I shouldn’t have laughed,” She muttered but made a note.



“Next? And please tell me it’s something fun.”



Lakshmi made a reluctant face. “You’ve got me and Patricia going through the list of dates, with updates on your shortlist and a few new ones to add on too.”



Kyle sighed. “And then I’m back at the gym, then lunch, right?”



She nodded. “Yes. But you do have the entire afternoon free.”



“Really?” Kyle asked. That sounded weird. “You’re sure?”



“It’s right here.” She held up the piece of paper. “All afternoon. Free time with friends.”



“So a few hours of hell, then play time?”



“Jesus, Kyle,” Patricia muttered. “You’ve got a half day. If you were at home you’d be working until five or six. Stop being a grump.”



He grinned. “Yes, dear.”



“Now then, recruitment,” Patricia said, moving swiftly on while Lakshmi tried not to laugh. “We’re canning the idea of seperate media relations for each of you right now. It’s going to make more sense for one spokesperson for all three of you, and then there’s no mixed messages or contradictory statements.”



Kyle shrugged. “Okay.”



“The shortlists are done for the rest of what we need right now, so we’re getting them to meet us the day after tomorrow. Shmi and I will get the interviews done and that’s going to tie us up a bit, but you’re going to be busy with other things. We will need you to pop in during each interview though.”



“Why?”



“To see how each of them react to you,” She explained. “You come in and hit them with a couple of rapid questions then walk back out again. It allows us to see how they react under pressure, what they’re like if they’ve screwed up.”



“That’s sneaky,” Kyle said. “I like it.”



“One of Mister Tripps habits,” Lakshmi explained. “He turned me into a nervous wreck during my interview.”



“Patricia?”



“Me?” She shook her head. “I nailed the answers, then turned the tables on him and quizzed him about a statement he’d made in an interview. He hired me on the spot.”



“Fantastic,” Kyle smiled. “Okay, I trust you guys with the recruitment, and I don’t know shit about what I’m heading into at LA, so do what you have to do, hire or fire as you see fit, and just try to keep me from making too many fuckups, okay?”



Lakshmi nodded, and Patricia said, “Sure.”



“Anything else, or should we go get breakfast?”



Breakfast was eaten and over depressingly quick, the high point of which was Casey and Margarita showing up a little late and getting a bit of a ribbing about making too much noise. Kyle knew the rooms were all nearly soundproof, but they didn’t know that and he found it funny watching them squirm a bit.



All too soon though, their briefing on the media started and Casey, Margarita and Louisa excused themself to go for a walk round the Island. Kyle sat through the importance of controlling the flow of information to the media, be it the paparazzi and gossip columnists or the tech magazines and business press. Feeding the beast, they called it.



His visit to Doctor Kerr perked him up a little though as she gave him a full physical, complimenting him on how rapidly he’d got into shape, and then kicked him out with a clean bill of health. Shiro gave him a trim, showed him a couple of different ways to style his hair and then got Kyle to do it and gave him some pointers, and then he was being reluctantly dragged off to meet Margaret.



As he expected, she didn’t react well to the news that Patricia would be selecting his stylist, so after huffing and grumbling for a few minutes, she eventually handed over two resumes with an announcement of, “I guess even you’ll find it hard to screw this one up, but I won’t hold my breath.”



Margaret then began to go through colour charts for casual and formal wear, showing him what worked for him in what scenario, casually arranging his wardrobe as she explained it all. Kyle didn’t react well to the way she spoke to him, as if she thought he was still in kindergarten and eventually he had enough.



He resorted to asking her to explain every point she made at least six times before he let her move on, and by the time he had done that on three different points, Patricia appeared and told him it was time for his next meeting.



Margaret bustled away, looking a little more pissed than normal, although Kyle had to admit to himself it was hard to tell.



“Nice tactic,” Patricia muttered when Margaret was out of earshot.



“What? I don’t understand, Margaret. Can you explain that bit again?” Kyle grinned.



“I had to go to the bathroom so you wouldn’t hear me laughing. I thought she was going to have a stroke at one point.”



“I’ll try harder next time,” Kyle said, laughing. “Right, what’s next in this morning of hell?”



“Me and Lakshmi.”



Kyle sighed. “Ordinarily that would fill me with joy, but it’s the dates list, isn’t it?”



“Sure is.”



“Fuck.”



“Which reminds me,” Patricia said. “I need to talk to you after we’re done with this.”

“Sure. What about?” Kyle asked.



“Nothing major. We can do it after your workout.”



“In the bath?” Kyle suggested.



“If you want,” She nodded.



“Cool. Right, let’s get this over with, shall we?”



Kyle opted for the balcony, so he could have a smoke while they chatted.



“Alright, Kyle,” Lakshmi began. “This won’t take too long. We’ve got a few new files for you to look over as possible additions to the list.”



He rolled his eyes. “Shoot.”



“First one is Charlize Theron,” Lakshmi explained. “She should have been on the list anyway, because she’s shown an interest.”



Patricia rolled her eyes. “I still say she’s too old for him.”



“Whatever. Charlie’s nice and at least I’ve met her, so she’d have a reason for knowing me,” Kyle said. “Put her on the list.”



“Next is an actress called Addison Timlin,” Lakshmi said, handing him a photo.



“The girl from Californication who played the actress playing Mia?” Kyle said, then frowned. “Did I say that right? Was her character called Sasha?”



“That’s her,” Patricia nodded. “We think she’s single, so what do you think? Could you see her out on a date with you?”



“No, I can’t see it, but she’d look good,” Kyle replied.



“So that’s another yes,” Lakshmi noted. “Right, next up is Ari Graynor, another actress.”



“I recognise her,” Kyle nodded, then shrugged. “Sure.”



“Right,” Lakshmi said, giving him a funny look.



“What is it?”



“Nothing. Just.. you seem to be quite chilled about this in comparison to the last time we talked about it,” She said carefully.



“That’s easy,” He said, smiling. “This is never gonna happen, so I’m not worried about it now.”



Patricia raised an eyebrow. “Wait and see, Kyle.”



“Sure. Who else?”



“Elizabeth Olsen.”



“Is she one of those annoying twins?” Kyle asked, looking unhappy.



“No, their younger sister. She’s an up-and-comer this year, and she’s different from her sisters. Made a huge splash at Sundance too.”



“Don’t know. Reserve list maybe? Some more information.”



“Sure,” Lakshmi said, nodding. “Hey, did you ever watch True Blood?”



“Love that show,” Kyle nodded.



“Deborah Ann Woll?” Lakshmi asked. “Plays Jessica, the vampire.”



“If she’s single put her on the list,” Kyle replied. “I’ve seen a couple of interviews she’s done and she seems like she’d be a good laugh.”



“Excellent.”



“Is there more?”



“Last one, another actress. Jessica Stroup,” Lakshmi said, flicking through the pages in her binder.



“Never heard of her,” Kyle said. “In fairness, I’m not exactly a celebrity gossip fiend.”



“Here.” Lakshmi handed over a photo of a girl with dark hair and really piercing eyes.



Kyle frowned. “That’s Jennifer Connelly. No, wait.” He looked up. “That resemblance is freaky. Are they related?”



Lakshmi shrugged. “I don’t think so, but that’s Jessica Stroup. She’s been in a lot of TV shows, but most recently the remake of 90210.”



“Never seen it, but she’s hot. That could be my Jennifer Connelly obsession thing kicking in though,” He grinned.



“Obsession thing?” Patricia asked.



“Yeah, a few years back I got a huge man-crush on her and bought all her movies, put posters up in my dorm room, stuff like that.



“I think she’s beautiful,” Lakshmi nodded. “Those eyes. And she’s really nice too.”



“Oh, yes,” Kyle nodded. “Pity she’s not on the list.”



“Want us to check her out?”



He shook his head. “She’s married.”



“She’s too old for you anyway,” Patricia added.



“I’d happily make an exception if she was single, and the universe turned on it’s head enough that I’d stand a chance,” Kyle said, smiling.



“Stop doing that,” Patricia said sharply. “You keep putting yourself down, Kyle, and it’s dumb. Sooner or later you’re going to realise that you’re a hot guy with a shitload of money, and a lot of women are going to throw themselves at you. You need to switch on to that fact.”



“Well I just don’t see it.”



“Well you should, and you will,” Patricia told him. “Can we press on with the meeting now please?”



“I thought that was it.”



“No, there’s a few updates on the four names you selected on the first pass. Shmi?”



“Okay, Eva Green is at home in France having a few months off, so there’s nothing happening there.”



“That’s one down,” Kyle said, looking pointedly at Patricia.



“Missy Peregrym is in Vancouver, but her sisters band have just been dropped by their record label and I asked our music guys to check them out,” Lakshmi explained. “They think the lead singer has some potential so are checking out a few songwriters to work with her in the studio as a possibility.”



“Her sisters band?” Kyle asked.



“Yes,” Lakshmi nodded. “Her sister Amanda, is the lead singer of a band called Corrosive Productions, I think, although we’re looking at a solo deal here with session musicians and our own songwriters.”



“There’s also another thing to consider, and that’s our production company making a documentary about her recording her album. If we do that, then there’s strong indications that Missy Peregrym will come down to LA for a day or two to support her sister and help promote the documentary.”



“So that’s the plan for me meeting her? Spend a fortune signing her sister to a record label, spend another fortune making a documentary, and all so I can walk into the studio to say hello?”



Lakshmi nodded. “Pretty much. Then you invite them both to your party, get her sister to play at it, then see where it goes from there.”



“That’s a ridiculous amount of money to spend just to set something like this up,” Kyle stated.



“The record label wouldn’t recommend her if they didn’t think they could do something, and the documentary thing is a good idea anyway,” Patricia added. “This will probably happen anyway regardless of your involvement.”



“Wow, this is weird,” Kyle said, realising that he might actually meet the girl he considered to be really frickin hot. Missy Peregrym. Weird.



“Weird or not, are you happy for us to take this forward?” Patricia asked.



“If the record label and production company think they can help her make good music then go for it,” Kyle nodded.



“Cool,” Lakshi said. “Next up, we’re changing your schedule for an afternoon at the end of the first week. You’ve now got a photoshoot in the house. We checked out Charlotte Sullivan and she’s quite an accomplished photographer, so our style magazine wants to run an editorial on you, and we’ve asked her to do the shots for it.”



“Wait, what?”



“She hasn’t accepted yet,” Lakshmi continued, “But we expect to hear later today.”



“Holy shit. So I’ve got a photoshoot with her now? It’s only been a day or two and you’ve hooked up meetings with Missy Peregrym and Charlotte Sullivan already?”



“Told you we’re good,” Patricia winked.



“Although we haven’t got anything sorted with Mila Kunis yet, but our production company is working on getting a meeting with her when you’re in the building,” Lakshmi added.



“Jesus,” Kyle muttered.



“He only worked miracles,” Patricia chuckled. “We’re way better than that.”



“I’m starting to see that,” He replied.



“And we’re done. Now go workout, and I’ll see you when you get back,” Patricia said.



“Lakshmi?”



“I’ve got a lot of calls to make to firm up travel arrangements so I’ll be in the business suite downstairs.”



“Okay.”



Kyle popped inside and got some gym kit on, then walked down to meet Julian. While they worked out, this time hammering his arms and upper body, Julian explained how his workout schedule should change now. Half an hour of daily cardio, with alternating days on his arms, torso and legs. No more three workouts per day, only one in the morning, and that would keep him in great shape and continue to develop him for the time being.



Kyle thanked him and walked back to the main house, his arms hanging at his sides after what felt like a monster session, and he got into his suite to find Patricia already in the bath, waiting for him.



“Shower first,” She said firmly, grinning at his disappointed expression.



Kyle washed the sweat off his body, rinsed and then slid into the bath, relaxing in Patricias arms.



“You really like this, don’t you?” She whispered in his ear as he lay back on her.



“It’s nice. Really relaxing and intimate,” He admitted, his eyes closed.



“So I wanted to talk to you.”



“You said that.”.



“Last night I showed you all those videos,” She began and Kyle smiled.



“That was a real eye opener. I had no idea you were into all that stuff.”



“I know,” She continued. “One of the reasons I showed you it was to see how you reacted, see what you would do when we had sex after that. It gave me a lot to think about.”



“What?” Kyle asked. “You showed me then to see what I’d do?”



“Sort of,” She said, stroking his chest with her fingertips. “Did they turn you on?”



“You turned me on,” Kyle said immediately. “Knowing that you were into that was a bit of a turn on for me, but I found some of the videos a bit… rough.”



“That’s my point,” She said gently.



“Hey, I think I could get into some of that stuff. Just takes a bit of getting used to the idea.”



He felt her shake her head slowly. “It’s okay that you’re not into the same things I am, Kyle. That being said, I want that kind of sex life, and I can’t see you choking me, or spitting on me. Likewise I know you can’t put a collar on me and lead me into a fetish club like a dog on a chain.”



“You’re joking, right?” Kyle said, sitting up and half turning to face her. “You’re dumping me?”



She smiled and shook her head. “No, that’s not what I’m saying at all, Kyle.”



“Then what are you getting at?”



“That you’re into what you’re into, and I’m into what I’m into, and that’s okay. But there a lot of differences there.”



“Okay. So what does that mean?”



“It means that us fucking is a lot of fun, but if your ultimate sexual fantasy is to make love and spiritually connect with someone, then mine is to get used and abused like a dirty slut.” She paused and then frowned. “My point is, we’re not going to be able to have a long-term relationship as a couple because our sexual tastes are too different.”



“You don’t know that,” Kyle said, shaking his head. “Where the hell is all this coming from?”



“Lakshmi and I had a chat. Well, several chats,” She admitted. “She was concerned what would happen if we kept seeing each other like we were dating, and then you dumped me, or if I wanted to dump you. She also pointed out that if you do date public figures then you have to be able to follow through.”



“What?”



“We can’t date. Not in public, and you know that. You’ll never be able to have a threesome with me and another guy in case it gets out, or any of the other fantasies that I’d like to fulfill one day, and I don’t want to fall in love.”



“Jesus, Patricia,” Kyle muttered. “So basically you’re saying we can’t see each other any more? Do you think being naked in the fucking bath with me was the best place to tell me that?”



He stood up to leave, but Patricia grabbed his hand.



“Wait. I’m not finished yet.”



“There’s more?” Kyle said, shaking his head. “And I thought I’d already had a shit morning.” He sat down at the other end of the bath, facing her. “Go on then.”



“As I was saying, we have a lot of differences, but there’s also a lot of common ground too,” She told him slowly. “I like fucking you, Kyle. I like sleeping with you, I like fooling around, I like the baths together and I don’t want that to stop.”



“What the fuck?” Kyle stared at her, confused and feeling hurt. “One second you’re saying we can’t date, we’re too different sexually and I have to be able to fuck other people and you want to too. Is that right?”



She nodded.



“And now you’re saying you want to keep doing what we’ve been doing, right after you said you want to stop?”



“That wasn’t what I said,” She protested.



“Then spell it out for me, because this is making no fucking sense at all.”



“Alright, here’s the bullet points,” She said, taking a deep breath. “We can’t date. We shouldn’t become a couple. We can have fun though. We can hookup, say if neither of us is dating anyone and we fancy some fun. Like friends with benefits.”



“Fuck buddies?”



“Yeah, basically,” She nodded. “Continue doing what we’ve been doing, but with no expectations of a relationship and knowing that we’re both open to date other people. When we’re not, then we can… amuse each other.”



Kyle sat there looking at her, feeling like his feet had been whisked out from under him and gravity hadn’t decided if he should fall yet.



“I don’t get it,” He said a moment later. “You got all that from my reaction to your porn choices?”



“No, that just confirmed what I’d been considering, and Lakshmi was right to speak to me too. I needed to figure this out, so I did. This is a solution though, and it lets us continue to fool around. Plus, it makes things easier in the long run.”



“How’s that exactly?”



“Alright, let me give you a hypothetical. Say you go out on a date with… I don’t know. Missy Peregrym, right? You two hit it off and she’s into you, you’re into her, and you can’t stop yourself. It’s magical and you want to keep seeing her. What happens then?”



“This is if me and you are still seeing each other?”



“Yeah. She turns out to be your soul-mate, so what happens then?”



“I guess we’d have to have a chat, work something out,” Kyle shrugged. “I don’t believe in soul mates though.”



“So we have a chat, I get upset and my work goes to shit because I’ve been dumped. Do I quit? Should you fire me? Every time you look at me you’re going to feel guilty and hate yourself.” She paused and looked at him. “My point is, do you really want to go down that road? I don’t.”



“That’s a ridiculous scenario, Patricia.”



“What if you don’t meet this person then, and a year goes by? We’ve been seeing each other all that time, I’m still working for you and you go off me? How do you dump me and still expect me to work for you? This way we avoid any of that happening.” She paused and looked at him. “Don’t you see, Kyle. This way we both get the best of both worlds.”



“It doesn’t feel like the best of anything,” He replied.



“Granted, I could have explained it better, and maybe I should have just said let’s be fuck buddies, but I wanted you to understand why.” Patricia leaned forward. “I’m sorry if I’ve upset you, Kyle. I didn’t mean to.”



Kyle took a deep breath but couldn’t quite figure out what he wanted to say. He tried to start several times, and Patricia waited for him to speak, but he couldn’t put it together.



“You need some time to process?” She asked gently.



“I guess so. I feel angry or disappointed or something, but I can’t explain why. Stupid, huh?”



“Not at all,” Patricia replied. She stretched her arms out to him. “Want to come back and let me cuddle you while you mull it over?”



Kyle frowned. Normally he wouldn’t have hesitated, but it just didn’t feel right. “I’m gonna get out, go and have some lunch and hang out with the guys for a while. Just need a bit of time to think, I guess.”



“Can I make a request?” Patricia asked gently as he stood up and got out the bath.



“Okay.”



“Can you try to think of it in simple terms? The only thing I’ve told you I can’t do is be your girlfriend. But I can be your assistant, your friend and your lover, and you get to date anyone you want, any time you want. Can you try and think of it like that, Kyle, please?”



He looked down at her, seeing her looking up, her eyes wide. She looked unhappy, much as he supposed he did. “I can’t promise anything, but I’ll try, okay?”



“I’ll be around if you want to talk. Just call me or come get me.” She gave his hand a squeeze and let him go.



Kyle got dried and slipped on a pair of jeans, boots and a t-shirt then wandered out to the balcony and lit up. He slumped down in his favourite seat and put his feet up on the railings.



“Why are you so upset, Kyle?” He muttered to himself, and the answer came back to him. Because you wanted her to be your girlfriend.



“So becoming a billionaire with a hot secretary that’ll blow you while you bone your way through the FHM Top 100 transforms you into a crybaby man-bitch, does it?” Ed shouted over the noise of the speedboat as the three friends raced the girls around the Island. “Man, you need a punch in the balls to remind you they’re there.”



“Ignore him,” Casey said, shaking his head. “I just think you’re too close, buddy. You need a little distance from the problem is all.”



“How do you mean?”



“Step back and think about what you want. Look at the big picture,” Casey said, mentally reminding Kyle of the hundreds of discussions they’d had in the office. “Over the next year you’re gonna be all over the world, bro. You’re going to meet hundreds of hot babes, probably princesses. If you get the come-on from some of them, would you like to be able to indulge yourself?”



“Fucking right, bitches!” Ed bellowed loud enough to heard over half the Island.



“So she’s telling you that you’ll be able to play the field and have some fun, and if there’s no action happening, it’s cool with her to get some Patricia time?”



“It’s not going to work like that though,” Kyle frowned. He was really worried that emotions would start coming into play if he was bringing chicks back, or how he would react if he knew she was out on a date.



“Not if you’re more emo than a sparkly fucking vampire-loving teenage girlie-boy,” Ed told him.



“As rare as it happens, dude, the Ed does has a point,” Casey said. “Take what she’s offering bro, because if it was me, I’d be tapping that fine body every chance I got.”



Kyle’s mind conjured an image of Patricia, sprawled on the bed, half wrapped in sheets and naked. He felt like he could hear the sounds she made during sex, or feel her arms and legs wrapped around him in the bathtub.



“I want to keep seeing her,” He admitted. “I just don’t know about the other stuff.”



“Then keep seeing her,” Casey said firmly. “Just take the other stuff a day at a time, bro.”



“And get me some Patricia fap material, or I swear, frozen turdage shall magically appear.”



Kyle exchanged a look with Casey, both remembering Ed’s phase of wrapping turds in plastic bags and freezing them. Then he would put them in the jacket pockets of people who had pissed him off, in the glovebox’s of cars in dealerships, in the hoods of assholes on the bus. As far as Ed was concerned, anyone being a dick was fair game, and he always took the bag away. By the time the deposit defrosted he was long gone and it sometimes took a while for people to notice the smell.



“Ed, if you start that shit, I swear to you, I’ll have you thrown off a helicopter out at sea,” Kyle said, grinning. “And no, you can’t have any naked Patricia pics either.”



“Yeah, man. Don’t start all that again,” Casey added, a distasteful look on his face.



“Anyway, I thought you were all in love with Caroline?”



“I am, but can’t a man roll the fleshy blunt without some spank material any more?” Ed moaned. “Fucking pair of frigid bitches.”



“Fuck off, Ed,” Kyle grinned. Despite the obscenties, disgusting topics and constant insults, Kyle actually felt a bit better about the situation having talked it over with his friends.



“Hey, the girls are overtaking us, Ed,” Casey said sharply. “I thought you knew how to drive this thing.”



“Shut up, bitch, and go back to being ballast,” Ed said, leaning in to the controls. “No fucking way they’re beating us.”



“He’s a fucking imbecile,” Casey laughed.



“Yeah, but he’s our imbecile,” Kyle added, laughing too. “Hey, wait. Is that a good thing, or did we get screwed in that deal?”



Kyle entered his suite an hour later. The girls had beat the guys and Ed had insisted on another race, and then another before he finally beat them. As soon as they docked Kyle had gone ahead to the main house.

“Patricia?” You in here?” He called.



“Back here,” She replied. Kyle found her in his dressing room, packing most of his clothes up into cases and trunks. “How was the race?”



“Hopeless. Ed sucks at driving speedboats, but he blamed it on the ballast.”



“The ballast?”



“Me and Casey.”



Patricia smiled as she snapped a suitcase closed and then stood up straight. “So…”



“So I chatted it over with Casey and Ed and they called me a bunch of names, mostly Ed did actually, but Casey asked me to consider what I’d want in an ideal world, so I did. I want to keep seeing you, Patricia. I like this… us. If it’s going to be a casual arrangement then that’s how it’s going to have to be, because I’d rather have you in my life than not.”



Patricia stepped around the cases and into his arms, holding him tight. Kyle knew he was smiling, and he ran his fingers down her back.



“Damn packing,” Patricia murmured.



“Leave it for now,” He replied, feeling her pressing against him. He kissed her softly on the forehead.



“Can’t. The staff are coming to take most of it away any time now,” She said, sighing. “Otherwise you’d be getting thrown on that bed, Mister.”



“Later then?”



“Repeatedly,” She promised, a wicked glint in her eye.



“And just so you know,” Kyle added. “Some of that stuff you showed me was kinda hot.”



“Now’s a good time for specifics,” She grinned.



“Well, I quite like the idea of you with a butt plug in while we’re chatting with people or in a meeting or something, and using a toy and my cock to DP yourself. That’s kinda hot too.”



“It’s a start,” Patricia said, a thoughtful look in her eye. “I get the feeling you’re not into being rough with me, and that’s okay.”



“It’s the thought of hurting you, or lifting my hands to a woman,” Kyle said quickly. “Just doesn’t feel right to me, even though I know you’re into it.” He shrugged.



“I get it. I do. It’s all good, Kyle, okay? Just do whatever you’re comfortable with and I’ll do the same and we’ll have a lot of excellent orgasms together. Doesn’t that sound good?”



“Sounds awesome,” He told her, grinning as he impulsively tugged on her ponytail and kissed her. He could tell immediately that she’d enjoyed that. “You’re awesome.”



“You can do that again any time you like, Kyle.” She fixed him with a smouldering look, and he could see the desire on her face.



“What? Pull your hair?”



“Oh, yes,” She nodded. “Taking a grip of me so I have to do as I’m told? That’s hot.”



“Turned on a little are you?”



She grabbed Kyle’s hand and pushed it inside the waistbelt of her trousers, pushing it down towards her pussy. “You tell me.”



He probed with his fingers, searching for her pussy, and he found it waiting for him, ready and hungry.



“You’re really fucking wet,” He muttered, slipping a finger inside her.



“Oh, that’s nice.” She rolled her pelvis, grinding her clit against his hand.



Kyle watched her, seeing how her eyes seemed far away, her breathing was deeper and her hand clutched onto his arm. “You know, if there wasn’t people coming in here any second, you could be doing that on my cock.”



“Don’t tempt me.”



She seemed to shake herself a few moments later, and then swiftly removed his hand from inside her pants.



“So, yeah. I’m a little turned on, you could say,” She added, winking at him. To his surprise, she pulled his hand up between them and began to suck his fingers clean. “Can’t have you stinking of pussy, can we?”



“I’m happy if I’m stinking of your pussy.”



“I bet you are. Later though, okay?”



“Sure,” He nodded, releasing her. She began to pack another case and Kyle moved to help her, but she swatted him on the arm.



“What was that for?”



“For trying to do my job for me,” She said, rolling her eyes. “Go have a coffee or a cocktail, sit on the balcony or something. You’re distracting me.”



“Distracting because you keep having wicked and impure thoughts?” He asked, grinning at her.



“Out!”



Perhaps because he’d sorted things out with Patricia he felt a lot better and was able to relax and chill out by the pool with his friends and the girls. The afternoon sun was hot and he had slipped into the pool, relaxing on the steps in the water water while his brain drifted.



The situation with Edwin still hung over him, but he felt comforted by having Connor on his side and Sarah secretly working with him too. He had been able for most of the day to put it to the side, distracted with other things, but now the situation kept intruding on him..



He was aware that Edwin was playing things carefully. He had to be. Kyle knew that he’d had conversations with his sisters and with Patricia that could have been recorded. He knew he’d had sex with Sarah, and done plenty with Patricia too, so if there was video recordings then Edwin had a huge amount of data that he could use.



Edwin’s obsession with Patricia was a worry though. Would he just let Kyle whisk her off the Island tomrrow for a few months, effectively letting her go. Not really something a nutcase stalker would do, he thought, but the truth was he didn’t know what the hell Edwin would do.



He knew that getting information on someone was only one part of blackmail or extortion or whatever. He remembered a historical fiction book he’d read about ancient Rome, and how some politician or other had said that there are three parts to any blackmail. Getting the leverage, deciding when to use it, and making sure you got what you wanted. So far, Kyle knew Edwin had the leverage. The when and what he wanted were the two things he didn’t know.



“You’ve gone all quiet,” Patricia said as she slid into the pool beside him.



“I didn’t hear you come down,” Kyle said, giving her a brief smile. She looked good, in a bikini the colour of brushed steel, a pair of shades covering her eyes. “Just thinking.”



“About what?”



He shrugged and gave her a pointed look. “Just stuff.”



“I’m sure whatever it is, it’ll sort itself out,” She murmured as she lifted his arm around her and draped her legs between his.



“Nice to see you relaxing,” He said softly, and smiled as she gave him a soft kiss.



“Yeah, the workaholic in me is protesting bitterly.” Her head rested on his shoulder. “This is nice.”



“It is.”



They lay there in silence, basking in the sunlight, enjoying the warm water and the touch of each other, surrounded by friends and making the most of their last full day on the Island.



“What’s happening later?”



“Dinner at eight, all of us, Mister Crowler and Edwin too. We invited Connor but he begged off,” Patricia explained. “I suspect he’s got a few dates lined up.”



Kyle’s expression soured at the thought of dinner with Edwin. Having to make pleasant small-talk while the old man plotted against him and his sisters. The same man who had blackmailed Sarah and jerked off on her for a year while she dressed as Patricia.



“The food should be really good. The chef’s setting up a grill and will cook whatever meat or fish you order right there in front of you. Every time he’s done it in the past it smells amazing,” She continued. “So there’s no need to look so miserable,” She added in a whisper.



Kyle forced a smile. “It does sound good. You know what I’ve been craving all week?”



“Apart from me and steak? And lobster?”



“Funny,” He muttered, tickling her behind the knee and making her squirm.



“Stop that!”



Kyle grinned and rested his hand on her leg. “Okay, yes, I’ve been craving you, but what I’d really love is a really great burger, with cheese and crispy bacon. Maybe a few mushrooms too.”



“I’ll let the chef know,” She said, smiling. “I like to keep you satisfied.”



“You do more than that,” He replied, tilting his head to look at her. She gave him a soft kiss and a smile.



“There you go being all sweet again, Kyle Watson. Maybe I should sneak you upstairs for a while.”



“Now there’s a thought,” Kyle replied, but her hand kept him in the pool.



“You’ve had hardly any time to hang out with your friends, Kyle. Take the time, make the most of it. You’ve got a busy couple of weeks coming up and that’s only the start of it.”



Kyle looked at her, seeing her smiling at him.



“Later, I promise,” She whispered.



Kyle nodded. “Come on then, let’s get everyone and go do something fun.”



“Lead on.”



At Heidi’s suggestion they all trooped down to the beach for a few hours of instructed water activities. Qualified instructors were summoned from the Islands staff and while Ed, Kara, Patricia and Margarita went parasailing out on a speedboat, Kyle, Katie, Louisa, Heidi and Casey learned how to scuba dive with oxygen tanks.



Kyle loved being under the water, not having to worry about resurfacing to breathe and as they worked their way around the Island, flapping their flippers, it opened up a whole new world for him. Seeing the local fish darting around ahead of them, or beneath them was like ghosting through someone elses house, a momentary intrusion that drew a few odd looks but then they were gone and everything returned to normal.



After that they lay on the beach for a while sharing their experiences and sipping on cocktails, then trooped back up to the main house. Casey, Ed, Margarita and Louisa stopped off at the tennis court for a game of mixed doubles, which really made Kyle laugh. Ed was all power, but Casey was going to lose some serious dude points playing tennis. It didn’t matter what kind of bat, stick or racquet he held, Casey just couldn’t hit his targets. It was like his hand-eye co-ordination was fine apart from when he was swinging at something. Then he turned into a clumsy two year old.



He followed the others back to the main house where everyone agreed to get changed and meet up before dinner for a few drinks. Kyle followed Patricia into his suite, shut the doors and found her in his bathroom, naked and in the shower, the door open waiting for him.



His lips met hers with a hunger that exploded through him, a hunger that was reciprocated. He felt himself growing rapidly as her hands snaked around his neck, and he slid his hands down over her breasts, down her sides, slipping under her ass.



Kyle lifted, feeling her pulling on his shoulders as she spread her legs and wrapped them around him, getting herself ready to accept him inside her.



“Oh, fucking good idea, Kyle,” She said, panting for breath as they broke their kiss. He didn’t say anything, knowing the intensity on his face said everything that was needed to say.



Kyle pinned her to the wall then slipped first one arm, then the other under her legs, her arms still around his neck, and then he lifted her again, jerking her upwards once and again, testing his hold to make sure he could fuck her like this, something he’d only ever seen in a porno but never attempted in person.



He saw her expression change, a broad smile on her face. Patricia adjusted her grip and slid her hand down betwen them, her fingers grasping his hard cock and positioning it just right, and as Kyle lowered her, impaled her in mid-air, she groaned.



“Oh fuck, yes.”



He growled, feeling powerful and aroused, longing to fuck this beautfiul blonde woman who turned him on, and he acted on that desire.



Kyle’s hips began to pump, swift, sure and smooth in their movements, plunging into her pussy time and again.



Patricia moaned, tried to kiss him but couldn’t reach and moaned again as she was penetrated deep, over and over. Her eyes widened a little as she saw Kyle’s eyes narrow.



He lifted her free from the wall and began to jerk her up and down with his arms, lifting her up and letting her fall on his shaft.



“Oh my fucking God,” Patricia blurted as gravity dropped her onto his erection hard and fast.



For some reason the tune ‘Born Slippy’ by Underworld popped into Kyle’s head in that instance, a hard, pounding, strong and intensive tune he’d first heard years ago on a movie, but it matched his mood. Hard, fast, aggressive, and unconsciously he matched the tempo of the music only he could hear, fucking her. Hard.



Patricia’s mouth was wide open as she gasped, hammered intensely by this man holding her in mid-air, relentless in his movements.



“Kyle,” She gasped, and he stared at her, every muscle in his body taught. He knew this was something new for her, as it was for him, and the knowledge spurred him on. He could feel the muscles in his legs, his stomach and back, in his arms. He could feel them reacting to the weight and responding, flooding him with adrenalin and strength, the result of a week of intensive workouts culminating in this moment, being inside this woman.



He knew there was nothing she could do but hang on for the ride.



He pounded her with the beat only he could hear, relentless and rythmic, not stopping when she quivered and shook in orgasm, not stopping or even tiring minutes later when her arms began to tremble, nor when her second orgasm struck and she nearly turned to jelly in his arms.



It was as if he was in a trance, he knew, and it was almost annoying as he felt his own balls tighten, heralding the end of the experience. He remembered that part of the tune where the drums and bass suddenly stopped and all that continued was the echoing notes of the keyboard and he echoed that moment.



He became more aware of Patricia’s panting, of her moans and gasps of breath and he thrust into her and stopped as he came, holding it there for a few beats as her eyes widened, his erection twitching inside her. He eased out a few beats later then thrust back in again, holding it there as he flooded her inside, then once more, and one final time.



The music was gone, and he was there in that shower, this beautiful, exhausted and trembling woman held up in his arms.



“Kyle,” She panted, staring at him in wonder. “Fuck. Wow.”



He was breathing hard, still in a semi-orgasmic daze, still buried inside her, but he managed a smile.



Patricia wrapped her arms around him, kissing his neck as she took her own body weight on his shoulders, allowing him to lift her one last time. He slid out of her with regret, then lowered her legs down.



“Whoa,” She muttered as her legs wobbled, and it took her a moment to be able to support her own weight again. “Holy shit, Kyle.”



“You okay?” He muttered a moment later, her arms still around his neck.



“That was…. just, wow. Intense.”



“Just caught in the moment.” He eased himself back from her, putting a hand out to the wall to steady himself.



Patricia kissed him, a long deep kiss that felt like a thankyou for something special and he smiled gently.



“I’m gonna have to come up with something spectacular to thank you for that,” She said a moment later, a wicked smile on her face.



“Just be you.”



“You always say the sweetest things.”



Kyle and Patricia joined the rest of the group downstairs around seven thirty and they chatted away, having a laugh and passing the time until dinner.



Shortly before eight the chef appeared along with several of the waiting and kitchen staff and they began to lay out a buffet while the chef worked the grill. Kyle had ordered a burger with some prawns on the side, while the rest of them ordered a mixture of steaks, chicken or fish.



Patricia was correct when she said how fantastic the aroma was of all the marinaded meat and fish cooking, as well as the various salads and side dishes the staff laid out next to the grill.



When each of their dishes was ready they were walked up, given their plates by the chef then helped themselves to the hot and cold buffet. Kyle ended up with a fantastic bacon cheeseburger made from bison on a bun, with fries, salad and some grilled prawns in a garlic and chilli sauce.



Sitting eating and drinking with Edwin was an unnatural feeling for Kyle. He had to force himself to smile as whenever he looked at the old man, he felt sick to his stomach. Acting on impulse though, he decided to try and get everyone at the table pretty hammered, thinking that if Edwin was drunk later then Connor would be able to surprise him that much easier. Hopefully with Kyle there too.



As soon as he finished his food he got up from the table for a smoke. One of the waiting staff asked him if he’d like a coffee but Kyle shook his head and asked that for the rest of the night, could he just be served Pepsi, even if he ordered Rum and Cola because he wanted to have a clear head in the morning.



The waiter nodded discretely and winked. “No problem, sir.”



After that, Kyle did everything he could to create a real party atmosphere, suggesting drinking games, continuously ordering up drinks and making sure everyones glasses were topped up, including his own Rum and Cola, minus the rum.



At one point, Edwin got up from the table and Kyle, thinking quickly, did so too, following him to the bathroom. They stood side by side at the urinals, when Kyle spoke, taking care to act a little drunk.



“So I was thinking, right,” He began, adding a slight wobble for effect. “When we’re away you should do some more designing stuff. Architecting.” He thought that was a nice touch.



“For what, Master Kyle?” Edwin said, turning to look at him. Kyle noted how dilated the old mans pupils were, and he stifled a smile.



“To make one of them saferoom thingy’s that we don’t have,” He added. “It’d be right handy if I want somewhere discrete. For…. you know. With Sarah or something.” Kyle added an exaggerated wink, wondering if he’d overdone it.



“Ahh, Sarah,” Edwin nodded. “I’ll look right into it right now, Mister Kyle.”



“Pffft. No.” Kyle blurted. “Do it tomorrow or next week or something.”



“I shurely sall,” Edwin replied, then frowned. “Shurely sall. No. Surely shall. Yes.”



“Fucking cool,” Kyle said, grinning. “And put a bed in it.”



“Of course. No problem, Mister Kyle. Master Kyle. Yes.”



Kyle washed his hands and followed Edwin, who didn’t, back to the table. Once there he was quite shocked at how drunk everyone seemed to be. Patricia had stolen his seat when he got up, and insisted on him sitting back down so she could sit on his knee, her arm around his neck. Kyle kept a close eye on Edwin and caught him glancing at Patricia every so often, his eyes narrowing each time, then quickly darting away again.



At around midnight, everyone began to drift off to bed, with Casey once again charming Margarita to spend the night in his room, while Ed tried to get bets that he could jump from Kyle’s balcony into the pool. Thankfully no-one was stupid enough to take the bet, or Ed would have tried it, and probably broken his legs.



Kyle carried Patricia up to bed after everyone had left. She wasn’t as drunk as a few nights ago, but she’d insisted that he carry her, just because he could, and Kyle smiled and obliged her. Despite her extensive playful kisses on his neck, unfortunately all he could think about was Connor’s call.



From the second Edwin had staggered out the door, Kyle had been glancing at his phone, anxiously awaiting the call, and then as the minutes dragged by he’d began to worry that he’d got Edwin that drunk that he would go home and fall asleep and they wouldn’t get into the safehouse at all.



He shook his head, knowing there was nothing he could do about it anyway. It would just have to play out and he would have to wait.



Kyle closed the doors to their suite and placed Patricia gently on the bed. When he tried to get up, she kept a hold of him and pouted, causing him to laugh.



“I’m just going to the bathroom to brush my teeth.”



“Oh, Okay.”



He stood in front of the sink, brushing away and looked at himself in the mirror, seeing the changes a week of hard exercise and some intensive diet control had done for him. It wasn’t the physical changes that were the most apparent though, but the mental.



He knew if someone told him he would be standing where he was now a week ago, he’d have laughed in their face. Now here he was, in a suite on the Island he co-owned with sisters he never knew he had. His gorgeous assistant was waiting for him in bed, and all he could think about was an old Englishman who was trying to blackmail him and abusing one of the staff, as well as being obsessed with Patricia. Now Kyle was relying on an injured Scottish bodyguard who was drunk half the time and nailing chicks the rest of it.

“Fuck my crazy-ass life,” Kyle told his reflection.



He turned to the bedroom, seeing Patricia still lying on top of the sheet, this time with Kyle’s phone opened in front of her.



“What you doing?” He asked, smiling at her.



“Checking your emails. They’re fairly stacking up.”



“What’s the count now?”



“Six thousand or so.” She gave him a grin. “Me and Shmi will start blasting through them tomorrow if you want?”



“Six thousand?” Kyle asked. “I don’t know six thousand people.”



“Yeah, well there’s a lot more than that know you. Not like I do, of course, unless you’ve been keeping some really big secrets from me,” She said, winking.



“Hardly.”



“So are you…” Patricia’s sentence was cut off by the sound of a knock on the glass doors, then a second later Katie called.



“Hello, Kyle? You still up?”



“Yeah, I’m back here.”



“You coming to join me and Kara on the balcony? Last night on the Island.”



Kyle glanced at Patricia and shrugged. She just rolled her eyes.



“I’ll be here when you’re done.”



Kyle gave her a kiss then went outside to join his sisters.



“Thought you were gonna ditch us tonight, Kyle,” Kara said, grinning at him. “Here. Have a cigarette.”



“You’re offering me my own cigarettes now?” He laughed, but took one anyway.



“I like to be helpful,” She smirked.



Kyle sat down, lit up and looked at Kara and Katie. “Had a good day?”



“It’s been great,” Katie smiled. “A really good way to finish off our stay.”



“I’m not looking forward to returning to reality,” Kara said, exhaling a long plume of smoke. “That’s gonna suck.”



“You know it’s not going to be reality, right?” Kyle pointed out. “I mean, you’re going to New York, Katie’s going to see her folks, but for both of you it’s going to be very different.”



“You too,” Katie agreed.



“Fuck, I know,” He said, rolling his eyes. “I’ve got a day and a half at home in San Antonio then I’m in Los Angeles for two weeks. I’ve got a schedule from hell and Patricia and Lakshmi are trying to jam dating opportunities in there, left, right and centre.”



“Yeah, I was hearing you’ve to date other people,” Kara said, a grin appearing slowly on her face.



“How the hell did you hear about it?” Kyle asked.



“Casey told Margarita. Margarita told Katie. I heard it from her.” She shrugged.



“What a pair of gossips.”



“We’re just looking out for you, like good sisters would,” Katie said, sticking her tongue out when he laughed.



“Kyle. Phone call.” He heard Patricia call from inside the suite.



“Gotta take this,” He said, quickly darting inside. Patricia handed him his phone with a quizzical look on her face.



“It’s Kyle.” He said quickly, the cellphone pressed to his ear.



“Know where the main kitchens are?” Connor said quickly.



“Yeah.”



“There’s a courtyard for storing the trash. Meet me there. Fast as you can. I’ve got our friend.”



Kyle ended the call and looked at Patricia. “I’ve got to go. I’ll be back in a bit.”



“What’s happening? You’re white as a sheet.” He could see the concern clearly on her face, but he didn’t have time to chat about it.



“Can’t talk now, but everything’s fine. Wait here.” He darted outside.



“Kyle?” He heard Kara call, but he was already on his way down the stairs two at a time, and running out the front door of the main house moments later.



He knew the kitchens were located off to the right on the other side of the trees, and there had to be a path, so he checked at the side of the house and found it, tucked behind a bush. He ran down it, turning left, then right, left again, following the edge of the building, and then he spotted the courtyard.



He ran round the corner seconds later and froze.



Edwin was sitting cross-legged on the floor with his hands behind his head, while Connor had a pistol trained on him. They were surrounded by big trash cans on wheels, and in the corner it looked like a flagstone had been prised up.



“That was quick,” Connor said, winking. “I should put you on my team if you react that fast.”



“You’ve got him.” Kyle said, his eyes darting from Connor with his pistol held in an unshaking hand to Edwin, sat on the floor looking surprisingly calm. The old man met his gaze.



“Master Kyle, this lunatic is pointing a gun at me for no reason.”



Kyle didn’t have to be nice to him anymore, he realised in that instant. Now was the time for confrontation, not play-acted innocence.



“Shut the fuck up,” He snapped, then turned back to Connor. “What happened?”



The Scotsman kept his eyes on Edwin. “He opened the hatch, and I stepped out on him, detained him until you arrived.”



“What’s down there?”



“A ladder, leading to another door. We need him to open it for us.”



“It’s a storage area,” Edwin protested. “Really, this is quite ridiculous.”



Kyle ignored the old man for the moment. “So we go down there with him?”



“Aye. You first, then him, then me,” Connor said firmly. His hand slid behind his back and he pulled out another pistol, this time a snub-nosed revolver. “Careful with this one. When it’s cocked it’s like a hair-trigger.”



Kyle stared at it and frowned. Time to shit or get off the pot, Kyle. “Yeah, I remember how to use this.” He reached out and took the pistol, opened it to make sure it had ammo in it and then closed it again. His eyes swung up to meet Edwin’s, and he felt this surge of anger at the old man. He raised the revolver.



“You’re going to open that door for us, Edwin, because I know exactly what you’ve been up to,” Kyle stated, the anger in his tone evident.



Edwin cast a look at him which was half disbelief, half amusement and then to Kyle’s surprise, he snorted. His expression changed to reveal an arrogance, a contempt for the two men holding him at gunpoint.. “Kyle Watson, I daresay there are many things in this world you think you know, but don’t.”



“I know you’re trying to blackmail me. I know you’ve been sexually abusing Sarah for the past year. I know you’re obsessed with Patricia. I know you’re a fucking deviant, and a pervert and a fucking scumbag piece of shit, so let’s get all the cards on the table, shall we?”



Edwin’s gaze flicked back and forth between Kyle and Connor, then back again. “I don’t think so. Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to put those guns away, you’re going to let me go, or the world will be hearing a new tale of the billionaire triplets and their incestuous history. They’ll hear of a cover-up, of bribery and blackmail, of extortion. And the best bit?”



The old man paused for breath, smirking. “They’ll be able to watch it themselves on video, out of your own mouths, admitting to it and discussing how to cover it up.” He lowered his arms and placed his hands in his lap.



“You’ve got me on video?” Kyle said, doubting him.



“Every structure on the Island has cameras hidden in it,” The old man said, his voice thick with contempt and amusement at Kyle’s naivety. “I’ve got everything.”



“Want me to just shoot him now?” Connor asked. “It’s no bother.”



Kyle couldn’t answer, his gaze fixed on Edwin. He felt more fury in that moment than he had in his entire life.



“If you do, then copies of the video files will be emailed to all the major news outlets,” Edwin added. He shrugged. “Your choice.”



Kyle wondered if the old man was bluffing or if he truly had a covert CCTV system with complete coverage of the Island. He knew it technologically possible, and Danny Tripps definitely had the funds, but to have something of that scale and keep it secret would be an extraordinary achievement. On top of that, even if Edwin did have an insurance policy in the event something happened to him, who could he possibly trust with the knowledge? He frowned, watching the Englishman to try and figure out if he was lying or not.



“So what do you want?” Kyle said eventually. “I mean you haven’t done this for no reason, so what are you hoping to get out of it?”



“I’ll discuss that when I’m good and ready, I think,” The old man sniffed. “For the time being, you can leave my Patricia alone. No more taking her in your bed, or in the shower. No more bathing together either.” His face turned grim. “You leave her here when you leave tomorrow.”



“I don’t think so,” Kyle said firmly, trying to stifle the shock that Edwin knew about them showering together. The certainty that there was a camera in his own bathroom made him feel violated.



“I don’t think so,” He repeated, “Because there’s no way I’m leaving anyone with a piece of shit like you.”



“Really, Kyle?” Edwin said, shaking his head slowly, as if disappointed. “You’re calling me names? I had given you a little more credit than that.”



Connor stepped forward. “Kyle, I reckon we could probably drill those locks downstairs, or get someone in to cut through the door. That Captain that’s in charge of the Betsy? He’s an ex-SEAL, right? He’ll know how to use explosives so I’m sure he’d open it up for us.”



Kyle was grateful to the Bodyguard, taking over the conversation and putting a little more pressure on Edwin while giving Kyle the time to think, to ease his doubts about what to do.



“As for him, I can shoot him in the head, we’ll put your gun in his hand and fire it into the wall, and it’ll look like he was trying to kill you,” Connor continued. “From what you’re saying too, we could wheel this Sarah out and get her to tell her story and everyone would know what a sad perverted wanker he is. No fucker mourns a rapist.”



“What about the videos he’s got ready to send?” Kyle asked, frowning.



Connor tilted his head and looked at Edwin. “I reckon he’s talking shite about that. Besides, if he’s got them they’ll be down in the bunker. We’ll have that door off in a few hours at most, and then we’ll have his evidence in hand too. Piece of piss.”



“If you think you can get through that door in a few hours you’re sadly mistaken,” Edwin said quickly. Kyle noted he wasn’t smirking any more though.



“Oh, we don’t need to get the door off,” Connor grinned. “All we need is to get through the keypad to access the scanner inside. It is a scanner for your handprint, right? Located at just the right height up the wall, inside a box large enough to house it. Not a box deep enough or high enough to be a retinal scanner, too wide to house a keypad, not wide enough to hold a keyboard. Just perfect for a handprint scanner though, and if you’re dead…. Well, you won’t be worried about us cutting your hand off and taking it down there, will you?”



Kyle could see the old man pale as Connor’s guess struck true.



“How could you…”



Connor took a step forward again, towering over the seated Edwin with menace. “I got the combination for the kitchen keypad last night. I was watching you go in. I watched you come out. I’ve been down that ladder twice since then. Still think you’re the smartest kid in the class?” Connor looked down on the seated Englishman. “You’re going down that hole if I have to throw you down.”



Kyle could see Edwin was at a loss for words.



“Me, then him, then you?” Kyle asked.



“Any time you’re ready,” Connor nodded.



“Okay. Let’s do it.”



Kyle put the revolver in his back pocket and headed over to the hole in the ground. He peered down, seeing the ladder going down to a concrete floor some distance below. There were low lights from the other side of the shaft, illuminating the inside enough that barely any light spilled out.



He sat down and put his feet on the rungs, then went down the first couple. “See you down there.”



“If he gives you any trouble when he gets down there,” Connor said, giving Kyle a firm look. “Shoot him. You can kill him if you need to, but a shot in the gut fucks you right up, and it’s really fucking painful too. Trust me, I know.”



Kyle took a deep breath and nodded. As he lowered himself down the ladder he felt sick at the thought that he might actually have to shoot someone. He knew he hated Edwin, but did he have the commitment there to shoot an unarmed man in cold blood? He sighed as he neared the bottom of the shaft, hoping that Edwin wouldn’t realise the fears he held and seek to use them against him.



The bottom of the ladder opened into a small chamber and directly opposite the ladder was a shiny steel door. There were no locks or handles visible on it at all, just a big steel plate fitting snugly into a smaller steel frame. To its right, a metal box sat on the wall about the same size as a shoebox, with a small keypad on top of it.



“You down?” Connor’s voice sounded strange, kindy of eerie and echoey at the bottom of the shaft.



“Yeah,” Kyle called back up, looking up. He saw Connor manhandle Edwin roughly into the shaft, gesturing with his pistol as the old man hesitated.



Edwin began to descend, moving smoothly, one foot descending at the same time as the opposite hand, then reversing, bringing him down to Kyle rapidly. At the last second, Kyle remembered he should have his gun pointed on him, and grabbed it out his pocket.



“Slow down,” He said, trying to sound firm as Edwin reached the last few rungs.



The old man got to the bottom and turned around, sneering as he saw Kyle had the gun pointed at him. “Out my way, boy.”



“Just…. wait there.”



“Do you want the door open or not?” Edwin asked. “I can’t open it if you’re in the way, can I?”



Kyle heard a muffled clang from up the shaft and guessed it must be Connor closing the hatch. Figuring the Scotsman would be down the ladder any second, he moved to the corner to allow Edwin access to the door.



The old man lifted his left hand up to the side of the keypad and his right hovered over it, ready to type the code in.



“Wait!” Kyle said sharply. “Put your left hand in your pocket. I want to see what number you put in.”



Edwin sighed and shook his head, and as he touched each button Kyle said the number aloud, committing it to memory.



“Nine. Six. One. Two. One. Seven.”



The box under the keypad clicked and swung open, and Edwin pressed his right hand immediately against it. Kyle saw a red light illuminate the old man briefly and then there was a series of low thunks and the door began to swing out.



Kyle realised immediately that it was hinged in the corner he was leaning against and if he didn’t move fast, the door was going to swing out and crush him against the wall. He quickly darted towards the base of the ladder, losing Edwin from sight as the old man dived inside.



“Fuck!” He blurted as he rounded the door and got a momentary glimpse of a large room, with a concrete floor covered in rugs, white painted walls and a large white sofa. He just had time to raise the revolver to point through the doorway before everything suddenly turned into complete darkness.



He knew Edwin must have hit some master control, a kill-switch for the lighting, and had robbed them of any light at all.



“Kyle?” He heard Connor call from up the shaft as the small lights winked out, the light at the bottom of the shaft went off and the interior lights in the saferoom disappeared. He knew that Connor must be gripping tightly to the ladder, unable to even see the rungs before him.



“Down here,” Kyle said, stepping forward. “Edwin’s inside, but I’ve got the door blocked.”



He realised he shouldn’t have said that as soon as the words were out his mouth.



He didn’t even have time to curse before he heard the click or felt the pinpricks in his chest, and then every muscle in his body went tight. His stomach went taught, like he’d just done a thousand sit-ups, his legs stiffened, and his torso tightened up. The 50,000 volts from the tazer shot through his system, stiffening him and tightening every muscle.



The gunshot boomed in the close confines of the small chamber at the bottom of the shaft as Kyle’s finger involuntarily pressured the trigger of the revolver.



Kyle hadn’t felt anything like it in his life. The complete inability to make his body react to anything, the horrible helplessness as he heard the gun in his hand go off a split-second before he toppled to the ground.



He hit the concrete floor hard.



He could feel someone dragging him. Or maybe the floor was moving. Everything felt weird, and his head felt like it was going to explode. Someone was pulling on his arm, locking his wrist in a grip like a vice. He could tell there was light, but didn’t dare open his eyes for the starbursts exploding in front of him every time he moved.



The arm tugged at him again and he groaned. He raised his free hand to push it away.



“Kyle? You awake?” He heard a voice asking. He could sense urgency in the tone, concern. It sounded loud.



He tried to say something, but there was a horrible bitter smell in the air, and a foul taste in his mouth. He screwed his face up in disgust, then grimaced at the movement as more bursts of light went off and the pain in his head intensified.



The sudden recognition of nausea made him want to curl up, and as the hand released his arm, he did just that, lying on his side on the floor like a foetus.



“Come on, Kyle. It’s Connor,” The voice said softly. “Let’s get you up on the bed so you can lie down. Let me have a look at that head of yours.”



Kyle licked his lips. “What?” He tried to say, but it came out more like, “Wug?”



“Kyle, get up,” The voice said again. “Come on, one wee move and you can lie down kiddo.”



He felt a hand gripping his arm, pulling him into a sitting position and his head spun. Then an arm gripped his waistbelt and he felt himself being pulled up and twisted to the side. His stomach lurched, the lights went berserk and he felt like gravity was shifting all over the place.



Something soft and warm pressed against the side of his face, right down his body and he realised that he was lying on his side now. Hands lifted his legs up and he was able to curl up again. His back felt sticky.



“Kyle, you’ve been knocked out, so you’ll feel a bit groggy, probably have a cracker of a headache too, but just take it easy,” The voice told him. “You’re safe, everything’s under control here.”



“Wug?”



He lay there for a minute, his head spinning, his stomach churning and he felt really confused, but slowly his thoughts began to make sense. He was Kyle. The guy’s voice was Connor. He’s Scottish. He gets laid. A lot.



He felt something damp being pressed to his head and he groaned. It felt like he was being squashed with a hammer and he pushed a hand up to swat it away.



“Easy, Kyle. You’ve banged your head. This’ll make it feel better,” Connors voice told him. “Right, I want you to lie here the now, and nae moving, okay?”



Kyle had no intention of moving. Everything was spinning, his head was trying to explode and he didn’t want to open his eyes.



“I’ll be back in a minute, okay? You’re safe here. Just stay lying right there.”



Kyle held up a thumb, and he heard a few limping footsteps. A door closed. His hand groped for something to try and dim the light, and he found a pillow.



He pulled it over his head and groaned as the world spun.



Time drifted past, and he heard voices. Some of them sounded serious, concerned and some of them sounded high-pitched and scared. The door opened and closed a few times, and once he thought he felt someone stroking his leg, but it was all just a confused jumble of noises as he drifted in and out of sleep.



He became aware of a voice.



“Kyle.”



This was a different voice. Higher pitched than the coarse Scottish accent he heard before. Someone American. Someone familiar.



He licked his lips. “Patricia?”



“It’s me, Kyle,” She repeated, and he felt her fingers gently stroke his face. “Are you okay?”



“Head. Sore,” He managed. “Thirsty.”



“Okay, I’ll bring you some water. Just stay there.” Her hand left his face and he heard footsteps going away.



Kyle tried to open his eyes, but everything was incredibly bright. He screwed up his face as he squinted through his eyelids, feeling a little relieved that the explosions of stars had stopped at least.

Everything was blurry, but he could make out a white wall, covered in black picture frames. It looked like black and white photographs in them, but he couldn’t make out any of the details. A couple of dark brown leather armchairs sat beneath them, and he realised he was lying on a bed.



Patricia re-appeared in his field of view, and he jerked his head up to look at her. A sharp stab of pain shot through his brain and he closed his eyes for a moment until it eased.



“Can you sit up, Kyle?” She asked gently, her hand touching his face once more.



“Not… sure.” He managed to mumble.



“I brought a straw,” She said softly, and he felt it press between his lips a moment later. As he sucked he felt a tiny trickle of water in his mouth and then the straw withdrew.



He squinted at her and saw her dipping the straw into a bottle of water, press her thumb over the end then bring it back to him. Kyle opened his mouth and felt the straw on his tongue, followed by another trickle of water. Anothe couple of repititions had his mouth feeling a lot less dry.



“Do you know where you are, Kyle?”



“The Island,” He mumbled. His head hurt, but he tried to concentrate and figure it out. Nothing seemed right here. “I banged my head.”



“Do you remember how?” She asked slowly.



Kyle frowned as he tried to concentrate. A confusing flicker of memories came back to him. Chatting with Kara and Katie. He was running down the stairs from his suite. The trees flickered past him as he ran. A ladder going down underground. He jolted, stiffened and groaned all at the same time as the physical sensation of being tazered came back to him, mingled with the sound of the gunshot.



“Kyle?”



His hand moved up to touch his head and he saw it was red, covered in what had to be his blood. “I… I got shot?”



“No, Kyle, you didn’t get shot,” Patricia said quickly. “Do you know where you are?”



“Down the ladder.” He mumbled, replaying the images. Why was he running? What was he running from? Or to?



A new memory flickered, of Edwin on his knees, with Kyle pointing a gun at him. Kyle could remember how angry he was, but not the words he snarled at the old man.



Then it all came back.



Descending the shaft, Edwin opening the door, the darkness, the pain and the gun going off in his hand.



“Edwin!” He said sharply, trying to get up. The room swam, but he gritted his teeth and forced himself into a sitting position.



“Kyle. Kyle, stop. Kyle, listen to me,” Patricia kept repeating. Slowly her face swam back into focus and she looked scared.



“He’s bad, Patricia,” Kyle blurted, trying to get his legs off the bed. His eyes darted around the strange room, and he knew he was inside the bunker. “Edwin. No, you shouldn’t be here!”



He felt panic sieze him at the thought of Patricia being Edwin’s prisoner down here. “How did he?”



“Kyle, stop. Edwin’s not a problem any more, just stop,” She said firmly, holding onto his shoulders.



The door opened behind her and he saw a pale-faced Katie enter, followed by a grim looking Kara.



Dismay hit him as he realised his sisters must be prisoners too. “Fuck,” He muttered. “Not you two too?”



“Kyle,” Connor said, coming in behind him. “Hey, how you feeling, buddy?”



Kyle’s eyes darted from face to face. His sisters, Patricia, Connor. They were all down here. Where was Edwin? How were they here? What the fuck was going on?”



“I got your sisters and Patricia,” Connor said slowly. “Edwin turned the lights off and gave you fifty thousand volts with the tazer. Do you remember that?”



Kyle nodded and grimaced as the pain shot through his head again. He blinked a few times then replied. “Yes. I think so.”



“Do you remember your gun going off?” Connor asked, watching him.



“A big bang. Really loud,” Kyle replied, concentrating. He didn’t know if it was his gun or not.



“When he hit you with the tazer your finger must have depressed the trigger, and it fired off a round from your revolver. Edwin was standing right in the doorway when the gun went off.”



“I hit him?” Kyle said, frowning. That didn’t make any sense.



“Ricocheted off the door frame and into his neck,” Connor said, nodding. “By the time I got the lights on, checked you and then him, he was already dead.”



“He’s… dead?” Kyle mouthed, barely audible but he knew everyone in the room heard him. He saw Katie crouch down in front of him, and he felt her take his right hand. He barely noticed that she began to clean it with a damp cloth. “I killed him?”



“Kyle,” Katie said slowly, drawing his eyes to her. “Listen to me. You didn’t kill him. The actions that caused his death were all his, not yours. You didn’t even choose to pull the trigger.”



“Oh fuck.” Kyle slowly brought his free hand up to rub his forehead, a gesture that did nothing to ease the pain in his head. “You’re sure he’s….”



“Definitely,” Connor nodded. “If it’s any consolation, it would have been really quick for him.”



“Fuck,” Kyle murmured, not sure what to think. It was all so confusing, his head was throbbing, his eyesight wasn’t right. “We’re not prisoners?”



“No, Kyle,” Katie said gently. “You’re safe, Edwin’s gone. You’re in the bunker.”



“After I found the light switch, I checked Edwin and found him dead,” Connor said slowly. “So then I moved you in here and went and got your sisters. Patricia came along too.”



“So…” Kyle looked around at the faces, knowing he had to explain what he was doing, why he was pointing a gun at Edwin. “He was trying to blackmail us.”



“We know,” Kara said flatly, her expression full of disgust. “Connor told us, and Patricia told us too. Fucking perverted sneaky cunt.”



“Did he really… Was he really obsessed with me?” Patricia asked quietly.



Kyle nodded then grimaced at the shooting pain. “Got to stop doing that,” He muttered, then slowly looked at Patricia. “Yeah. He was crazy. Not right in the head. He made Sarah dress up as you sometimes. Told me I had to leave you here when we go.”



He saw her shudder, and he reached out with his left hand, taking hers. He gave it a squeeze.



“He’s really dead?” Kyle said a moment later, still not believing it. It hadn’t sunk in yet, and he was feeling a little numb. He knew he should be feeling guilty for having killed a man, or concerned about possible murder charges, or even anger, but he wasn’t feeling anything.



“Yep,” Connor replied.



“If he wasn’t, I’d have shot him myself,” Kara added, folding her arms.



Kyle looked up at Connor. “He said he had videos.”



“Aye, there’s a security room full of monitors next door. Every bloody structure on this island is riddled with cameras, and there must be some in the trees too,” The Scotsman explained. “Seems like there’s barely a foot of the place without a camera covering it.”



“They’re in our rooms, Kyle,” Katie said. “Bedrooms, bathrooms, everywhere.”



“Fucking awesome install job, hiding them like that,” Connor added, shrugging as he got several angry looks. “If this place ever gets attacked like Necker Island was, then you’ll be able to sit down here, call in the cavalry and tell them exactly where all the bad guys are. It’s a hell of an asset from a security point of view.”



“From a creepy perverts point of view too,” Kara added sourly.



“That was how Edwin used it,” Connor replied. “And yes, he abused it. But don’t consider for one minute getting rid of it. There may come a day when you’ll need it and it’ll save your lives and dozens of others on this island. Trust me,” He finished, tapping his walking stick against his leg, reminding them bluntly of the injury he carried from just such an event.



Kyle hadn’t even thought that far ahead, but he didn’t like the idea of anyone being able to spy on him.



“Besides,” Connor continued, “You three can keep each other honest, and Patricia knows about it too. Just agree to only use it in the event of an emergency, or a serious crime, and make sure the others don’t abuse it. There’s a more pressing concern anyway, and that’s what the hell we’re going to do about Edwin.”



“I told you,” Kara said quickly. “Get him in a speedboat, take him out for a couple of miles and tie an anchor around his legs. Heave him overboard and problem solved.”



“That won’t work,” Katie said quietly. “People will look for him tomorrow, and they’ll know he can’t have just vanished. We have to either be honest or come up with a cover story that includes his.. corpse.”



“Can we ask George Crowler?” Kyle said, thinking aloud. “He knows there’s a safehouse here. He did some financial digging for me, and he knows Edwin’s up to something.”



“That’s involving more people,” Kara protested immediately.



“Sometimes it’s important to involve the right people,” Connor said quickly. “If he’s already in the know, and he’s your lawyer, then there’s a good chance he’ll help you figure this out.”



“Katie?” Kyle asked.



She shrugged. “We could do with the help, I think.”



“I’m voting we get him. Patricia, can you go and wake him up and bring him down here please?” Kyle asked. “It’ll save Connor climbing that ladder again.”



“Sure.”



“We didn’t come down the ladder,” Kara said. “There’s a staircase that leads up to a hidden door in the floor of the bar, next to the pool. We came down there.”



“Really?” Kyle asked. “How did….?”



“I found it when I had a quick look around. It looks like there’s three entrances and exits from this place. The ladder up to the courtyard, the stairs leading to the bar, and a long tunnel that leads off towards either the clinic or the helipad. Not quite sure exactly, but you can check that another time.”



“Holy shit,” Kyle murmured. “So this place isn’t just a panic room then?”



“Feel up to a tour?” The Scotsman asked, smirking. “It’s very impressive.”



Kyle moved forward to stand up, but got a momentary surge of nausea.



“I might need a hand,” He said, blinking and taking a deep breath.



Katie immediately stood up and moved to his left, while Connor opened the door. Kyle’s eyes fell to Kara who frowned, but came over to his right.



“Come on then, Kyle,” Kara muttered, putting a hand under his arm and taking his hand in hers. Katie matched her on his left.



“Three, two, one. Up,” Kara said, and Kyle pushed up with his legs, noting that gravity was trying it’s best to confuse him, but he felt Kara and Katie slip under his arms and he was able to lean on their shoulders for some stability. He needed it.



“What a fucking invalid,” He murmured, drawing a chuckle from Kara.



“You’ve got a concussion, Kyle,” Katie reminded him. “We should really get the Doctor down here too.”



“No,” Kyle said, swallowing another surge of nausea as he wobbled on unsteady legs. “The less people down here, the better.”



“Says the guy who invited the lawyer,” Kara grumbled.



“Whatever,” Katie replied. “Want to try and walk forward to the door?”



Kyle nodded and took a tentative step. His knees felt weak, and he got this image in his head of him walking like a Thunderbirds puppet, but he managed a couple of steps, heavily supported by his sisters.



As Katie slid in front of him to go through the doorway first, Kara pulled the door wide and Kyle got a brief glimpse of the doorway opposite. A dark grey woolen blanket lay over Edwin to one side of the doorway, and a massive pool of blood covered the floor, with a big streak of it heading across the room towards him.



Kyle froze. “Fuck.”



Katie interposed herself between him and the room. “Look at me, Kyle.”



He tried to see around her, but she repeated herself another twice and he settled his gaze on her.



“Kyle, you have to remember, he’s the one that pulled the trigger. It’s not your fault, okay?”



He took a deep breath, knowing he’d have to see ‘it’ sooner or later. He was about to move forward when a realisation struck him. The long bloodstreak on the floor must have been from when Connor dragged him in. The sticky sensation on his back was Edwin’s blood.



“I have to get this top off,” He said urgently. “Now.”



Kyle released his hold on Katie and grabbed the bottom of his shirt, but he felt himself immediately begin to topple backwards.



Kara tried to hold onto him and Katie grabbed him, steadying him for a moment, and the two sisters exchanged a look, then lowered him to the bed.



“I’ve got his blood on me,” Kyle said, desperate to get his top off.



“Easy, Kyle,” Katie said. “We’ll help you, okay?”



Kara stood at his side and began to tug the top up, and with Katie helping hold up his arms, they pulled the top over his head. Kara threw it into the corner, and Kyle grimaced when he looked at it, all covered in blood.



Katie crouched down at his feet and began to work at the laces of his sneakers.



“What?” Kyle began, but Kara cut him off.



“Kyle, you’re plastered in the stuff. Right from the back of your neck to your heels. I’m gonna get a clean cloth and some water.”



Kyle knew he looked as disgusted as he felt. “Is there a shower?”



“You won’t manage it on your own, and besides, Mister Crowler’s coming back down,” Katie pointed out. She unlaced and removed his left shoe, then went to work on his right.



Kyle began to shiver, perhaps with the cool air on his sticky skin, and Katie noticed.



“We’ll get you a blanket or something once you’re clean, Kyle.”



He nodded and lifted his foot as Katie pulled his other shoe off, then both his socks. She gave him an apologetic look and began to unfasten his belt. “You’re gonna have to stand up again, Kyle.”



He nodded, and put his hands on her shoulders, felt her hands gripping his waist and he pushed up.



Katie managed to steady him, and working with one hand holding him up she began to unbutton his trousers. Kara appeared just as she was finishing, and Katie turned her head.



“Can you give me a hand? He’s covered in the stuff.”



Kara didn’t look too happy, but nodded, lowered the bucket she carried and came around to the side of him, then unceremoniously tugged hard, pulling his trousers right down to his ankles.



“Going commando, huh?” She muttered, getting a chuckle from Katie.



Kyle felt no embarassment at being naked in front of either of them. The only thing he could think about was getting Edwin’s blood off his skin. That and how cold he felt.



“Cloth?” He asked, reaching a hand towards the bucket.



Kara rolled her eyes. “Like you’ll be able to do it.” She wrung out a blue flannel and then knelt on the bed behind him.



Kyle felt her washing his neck, and to his surprise, she was very gentle and tender with him, moving the cloth in slow swipes, pausing every so often to rinse it and wring it out. It left him standing there facing Katie, who was trying not to laugh.



“It’s not funny, Katie,” He said, shivering.



“No, just thinking how different this is from the last time I saw you naked,” She said, trying not to smile. “Long time ago.”



“Seems like a lifetime,” He murmured.



“You two aren’t going to keep reminiscing, are you?” Kara asked. “Only, I sent Connor upstairs to get you some clean clothes and he’ll be back in a minute.”



“Thanks,” Kyle replied. “The sooner he gets here, the better. This is surreal enough, but I’m really fucking cold.”



“I’ll hurry up.”



Kara’s motions became a lot more forceful, working in broader strokes, and in moments she’d cleaned his back, his waist and buttocks and his legs. Kyle was shivering hard now, perhaps a mixture of reaction setting in or the after-effects of the concussion, and the dampness on his bare skin.



“Can I get a blanket or something?” He asked, trying not to let his teeth chitter.



“Jesus, Kyle. You’re freezing,” Kara said, placing a hand on his back. She got off the bed and opened one of the closets that lined the right hand wall. It was empty, so she opened the second one and found a large white duvet. Grabbing it in one hand, she pulled it out and with her free hand she yanked the blood-stained duvet off the bed.



It took her only a few seconds to shake the clean one out, and then she pulled it back and joined Katie to help him in.



Kyle lay down on his side in the middle of the bed, shaking and shivering as his sisters tucked the soft white quilt around him, hoping to help him heat up, but it didn’t seem to be helping. He knew if he just hung in there he would heat up eventually, but the shivering seemed to be getting worse.



“Oh for fucks sake,” Kara muttered and pulled the duvet back. She slid in behind him, then pulled the quilt over them both, and as she snuggled in behind Kyle she gave Katie a pointed look. “He’ll heat up really quickly this way, and we’re both dressed. Get in.”



Kyle could feel Kara behind him, her legs nudging into his, and then Katie was sliding in, her back to him and the white duvet was over the three of them. He was sandwiched between his sisters, and he slid his arm around Katie’s waist.



It seemed so familiar, the minute adjustments that seemed so natural, instinctive, yet made it so comfortable and intimate and perfect. He could feel Katie adjusting her hips slightly, her hand covering his and pulling it under her ribs, just like she had three years ago. His upper leg slid between hers, and he felt Kara’s leg resting on his inner thigh, right behind his, mirroring the bend of his knee. Her upper arm slid in between his stomach and Katie’s back, and he felt her fingers slide under him, just as his did under Katie.



Kyle still shivered, but he was held in the warm embrace of both his sisters, and their body heat was already making a difference.



“Kara?” Katie said quietly.



“Yeah?”



“How’s that feel?” Kyle could almost hear the note of self-satisfaction in her voice.



Kara sighed behind him. “Yeah, I’ll give you that one. I should have done this sooner.”



“It is amazing, right?” Katie continued. “It’s not just me thinking that?”



“No. Not just you.”



“It’s just so…”



“Katie?”



“Yes?”



“Sometimes it’s better not to talk,” Kara said quietly, and despite himself, Kyle smiled.



They lay there in silence for a few minutes, and to Kyle, it felt incredibly comforting. It was a comfort to know his sisters were there, it was comforting to feel their touch, and just to know they cared about him despite what had just happened.



“Hello?” They heard Connor call, and by some unspoken signal, both Katie and Kara rolled out the bed, leaving Kyle under the covers. Katie sat down on the bed and Kara walked towards the door.



“In here,” She said.



Connor appeared in the doorway with a bundle of clothes in his arms and handed them to Kara.



“Give us a minute. We’ve just cleaned him up, and we’ll get him dressed.”



The Scotsman nodded and turned away, closing the door behind him.



“Right, you,” Katie said firmly, hauling back the covers. Kara tossed a pair of dark blue jeans to Katie and dropped a hooded jersey and sneakers on the foot of the bed. She came around to the other side of it.



“Sorry about this,” Kyle said softly, now feeling a little embarassed at his nudity.



“Shut up, Kyle,” Kara said briskly as she helped Katie maneuvre the trousers round his feet. Kyle had to roll onto his back to get the jeans pulled up, and he felt more than a little self-conscious as he lifted his hips and his cock flopped to the side as his sisters pulled the trousers on.



“You can tuck yourself in, I think,” Kara said, grinning at his obvious discomfort.



“Kara,” Katie said, admonishing her.



“What? It’s not like either of us haven’t had close contact with his cock before, is it?”



“Long time ago,” Katie said quickly. “Different circumstances too. This is different.”



Kara rolled her eyes while Kyle said nothing, focussing on doing up the zipper and buttons.



“Probably easier if I sit up to get the top on, right?” He asked, hoping to move the conversation on.



“Sure,” Katie replied, reaching for his hands to help.

Kyle suffered another burst of nausea as he swung himself upright, but he was a little relieved to note that it seemed to be getting less intense, and didn’t seem to last as long. With luck he’d be able to get back on his feet soon.



Kara came round with the top and the two of them helped him pull it on, then took a foot each and laced up his sneakers.



“Better?” Katie asked.



“Much,” Kyle agreed. “Can’t wait to get a shower though. And thanks for this, you two. You didn’t have to and I really appreciate it.”



“I don’t know,” Kara said, sounding weary. “We get into bed with him when he’s naked and he thanks us for putting his shoes on? He’s definitely a weirdo.”



Katie chuckled, while Kyle managed a smile. “And thanks for everything else too,” Kyle added.



Connor knocked on the door and opened it. “That’s Patricia here with Mister Crowler.”



“Okay,” Kyle replied. “We’ll be right out.”



It took a few minutes, but with Katie and Kara’s help, Kyle managed to get on his feet and out the bedroom door. The living space was small but well furnished, with a couple of sofas and armchairs facing a large TV, a dining table and an open plan kitchen off to the right, and four doors leading to other rooms.



Kyle could see another heavy door, similar to the one where Edwin’s body lay. It was at the far right end of the room, and Patricia stood waiting there with a very serious George Crowler.



“Thanks for coming, George,” Kyle said as his sisters helped him to a seat at the table.



“I take it that’s Edwin under the blanket?” The lawyer asked, a stern expression on his face.



“Yeah. Connor wrapped him up,” Kyle said, not turning to look. He didn’t want to see it.



“I’ll ask everyone to go into a different room, and I’ll interview you each one at a time,” The old man said briskly. “Kyle, you’re first. Just stay where you are. The rest of you I’ll ask not to discuss this until I’ve spoken to each of you.”



Kyle turned to see his sisters, Patricia and Connor all standing there.



“Off you go please,” George said firmly.



As they drifted off, the lawyer sat down opposite Kyle and looked at him. “Start from the beginning, Kyle.”



It took nearly two hours before George Crowler finished his questionning of each of them, finally satisfied that there wasn’t already a cover-up in place. While Kyle sat drinking a bottle of water and silently thanking whatever chemist had invented paracetomol, the old man sat them down at the table and spoke to them.



“Firstly, I wish you all to understand that I needed to know there wasn’t already a cover-up in place, and that what you were telling me was the truth. I am satisfied for now that this is the case. Second, from a legal point of view, we’re in mixed territory, as it were.”



“How?” Kyle asked.



“The law states simply that if you’re being blackmailed you should contact the police, not take matters into your own hands. Nor should you hold someone at gunpoint. As for the killing, you fired the weapon due to the attack from your assailant, and you didn’t pull the trigger of your own volition. The fact that there was a ricochet would suggest the most you would be charged with would be something along the lines of manslaughter. The fact that you were investigating a potential blackmail and allegations of sexual assault stands in your stead, particularly as you were effectively the manager of the person in question. Further, the already proven deception of denying knowledge of the safehouse, the attempted manipulation and seduction, and his attempt to blackmail you into leaving Patricia here on the Island suggest that he admitted guilt and you were correct in your attempt to detain him.”



“Right,” Kyle said, frowning as he tried to figure out if he was legally guilty of something or not.



“Further complicating the legalities is the unique situation we find ourselves in concerning jurisdiction, specifically that the Island is technically a sovereignty in it’s own right and doesn’t fall under the laws of the United States or the local laws of Guadeloupe, which is technically part of France and is subject to EU law, despite us having requested the assistance of the local police or customs in the past.”



“This Island is it’s own country?” Katie asked.



“Technically yes, although we enjoy a partnership of sorts with Guadeloupe, yet we retain our own rights as and when it suited Mister Tripps to exercise them.”



“So we’re like the sovereigns of the Island then?” Katie said slowly.



“In effect, yes,” Mister Crowler stated. “In addition there are technically no laws written down for the Island, nor is there a police force, a court system, or a method of legal representation.”



“So what happened if someone was stealing or some shit like that?” Kara asked, looking very confused.



“Mister Tripps or Edwin fired them. Investigations were usually conducted with the Head of Security for the Island, and a decision was reached by the ranking person on the Island. There’s never been anything as serious as a death to deal with before.”



“So as one of the three ranking people on the Island, I could just decide that the matters been investigated and declare Kyle not guilty of any crimes?” Katie asked, watching the old man.



A slight smile twitched at his lips. “In essence, yes, Miss Katie, you could declare your brother exempt from prosecution, and issue a pardon to Mister Grant too, however it would be most irregular.”



“Nothing about this week has been regular,” Kyle muttered. “What do we do now, George.”



“Nothing,” Katie said quickly. “I’m declaring you not guilty. Kara?”



“Fuck it, yeah. I’m with Katie on this. Not fucking guilty.”



“That’s a majority, George,” Katie said simply.



The smile vanished from the lawyers face. “I beg you not to consider going down that route.”



“So what route are you suggesting?”



“That we brief Brian Kane as Head of Security, explain to him that Sarah approached Kyle and made allegations against Edwin of sexual assault and blackmail. During the course of your investigation you began to suspect that Edwin was also keeping back the location of a safehouse faciility from you and your sisters.”



“Okay,” Kyle said, nodding slowly.



“During the course of your investigation you asked me to find any evidence that such a facility might exist and you asked Connor Grant to assist you with protection, surveillance and investigation. Your investigation confirmed that Edwin visited a safehouse facility late each night, that the allegations of sexual assault were verified and you decided to detain Edwin with Connors assistance.”



“That’s pretty much what happened anyway,” Kyle said.



“The difference being is that Sarah initiated the whole thing, understand?” The lawyer said firmly. “You didn’t know who you could trust, or if you were under surveillance yourself, so you kept it close and didn’t involve anyone you didn’t know.”



“As in Brian Kane, the Head of Security for the Island who worked directly for Edwin?” Kyle said, catching on.



“Exactly,” The old man nodded. “So, you and Mister Grant detained Edwin as he was entering the safehouse, and he admitted the sexual assault, threatened to blackmail you and your sisters and you refused him. You then ordered him to open the safehouse, during which he manipulated you into splitting up, nearly trapping you behind the door. Then he turned all the lights off, at which point you pulled a pistol. Edwin hit you with the tazer forcing your finger to fire your weapon while you toppled to the ground and got concussed. The rest is simply as it happened. Mister Grant joined you, found the light switch, attempted medical treatment on Edwin but found him dead, provided you with medical treatment then sought assistance.”



“So pretty much as it happened except that Sarah initiated it, and I only pulled a gun when he tried to escape into the safehouse?” Kyle asked.



“Yes, and put that way, Brian Kane will be able to find no fault in your actions.”



“So what do we about him?” Connor asked softly. “We can’t leave him there.”



“I would suggest we speak to Brian and ask him for suggestions on how to explain the situation,” George said. “If it’s okay with each of you, I’ll go and see him now and explain the situation to him.”



“Fine by me,” Kyle said, yawning despite feeling wide awake. “What time is it?”



“Three thirty,” Patricia replied.



“Jesus,” Kyle muttered, surprised it was still the middle of the night. “So what do we do now?”



“Connor, have you had a look at the entry system?”



“Aye, I’ve had a look. I take it you want me to add these three as users?”



“Yes, please. We will require access again in the future, and I would suggest that no-one is permitted access unless either Katie, Kara or Kyle is present,” The lawyer replied. “Further, it would be wise to remove any other users from the system.”



“I can do that. Danny Tripps was smart enough to leave an instruction manual next to the computer controlling it,” Connor replied, smirking.



“After that I would suggest you all return to your rooms and await a visit from myself and Mister Kane. Connor, can I suggest you perhaps stay around the main house for the time being too?”



“Sure,” He nodded.



“So does that mean I can get a shower now?” Kyle asked, knowing Kara had washed him clean but still convinved he had the old mans blood on him.



“As soon as you’ve sorted out the access protocols,” George nodded.



“What about him?” Connor asked, jerking his thumb at the corpse on the far side of the room.



“We’ll deal with that after we’ve spoken to Mister Kane.” At that the old man nodded and stood up. “And no alcohol for the time being please.”



“Okay,” Kyle said. “Connor?”



The Scotsman nodded and led them to the Control room. Kyle was still a little unsteady on his feet, but with Patricia holding his hand, he was able to cross the room with little difficulty.



The control room was astonishing to each of them, as they saw the images on the array of monitors, with one of the large screens showing a picture of Kyle’s room from above his bed, another showing footage from a camera in the corner of his bathroom above the shower. The other screens showed a variety of areas around the Island, some of the garden areas, some of the main house, a couple of Edwin’s apartment and the courtyard outside the kitchens.



Connor directed their attention to a small desk at the side of the room, where he asked each of them to press their hands on a scanner, and then asked them to come up with a password. They settled on a six digit number, and Kara was sent out to test it. She got back in with no difficulty, and when Katie did the same, the five of them left the bunker.



Kyle hadn’t been up this way yet, and he followed the stairs that went up from the bunker’s kitchen area, then right, then left and into a small landing with a carpeted metal staircase topped by a flat door that he could see lifted on counterweights.



Connor pushed a button on the wall and there was a barely audible click. The ceilng swung upwards, revealing the interior of the bar area, next to the pool. The five of them climbed the stairs and Kyle looked around, surprised to see them behind the bar counter. Connor pushed a button recessed into the section of the floor that was currently up in the air, and it swung down and merged seamlessly with the bar floor, hiding the access point to the safehouse.



“How do we get it open again?” Kyle asked, seeing four blank faces looking back at him.



“I guess you go back down the ladder,” Connor said, shrugging. “There’ll be an instruction manual downstairs to open this one, I’m guessing.”



“i hope so,” Kyle muttered.



He followed his sisters and Patricia upstairs and Katie and Kara sat down on his balcony, taking their usual late-night spots. Connor took the fourth chair and Patricia sat on the arm of Kyle’s seat, draping her arm around his neck.



Kyle picked up his cigarettes from where he’d left them hours ago and lit up. Kara took one, as did Connor, and to his surprise, so did Patricia.



“I thought you only smoked when you’d been drinking.”



“I wish I was drinking right now,” Patricia muttered. “That’s good enough for me.”



“I take it we’re not leaving at lunchtime anymore?” Katie said a moment later.



“Can’t see it,” Kara replied.



“I’ll take care of it,” Patricia said without moving. “We can delay the departure until tonight, but we don’t want to put it off much further than that.”



They sat there in silence consumed by their own thoughts until Katie stood up and came over to give Kyle a hug. “I’m going for a shower. Glad you’re not dead, Kyle.”



“Me too,” He said immediately.



“Me three,” Kara added, clasping Katie’s hand and giving it a squeeze as she wandered off to her suite.



“I could do with a shower myself and some clean clothes, if that’s a possibility Kyle?” Connor asked.



Kyle nodded and Patricia got up. “You can use my room. I’ll get you some of Kyle’s clothes.”



“Help yourself to whatever you need, Connor. And thanks for getting my back, man.”



“Nae bother,” The Scotsman winked. “I know you haven’t dealt with anything like this before, but I have. Guys like that. They’re like dogshit and sooner or later someone has to deal with them. Better he’s dealt with and dead by his own actions, than he gets his hands on your sisters, or Patricia here. It’s never a pleasure, but sometimes it’s good to see karma in action, know what I mean?”



Kyle frowned but nodded.



“I’ll get showered and then I’ll be back out here, smoking your cigarettes.” Connor headed inside with Patricia, leaving Kyle and Kara out on the balcony.



“So how you doing, Kara?”



“I wish you’d told me everything that was going on,” She said bluntly. “I can see how you didn’t know if it was safe, but from now on, you don’t keep any secrets from me, right?”



“I only did what I thought safe to do, Kara,” Kyle said after a moment. “I’m sorry if you feel cut out the loop, but I didn’t want you in danger.”



“I can take care of myself, Kyle.”



“I don’t doubt it,” He said quickly. “But I thought I could take care of myself too, I had Connor protecting me and I had a gun, but as Katie pointed out, I nearly died. If that ricochet had gone another way, or if he’d pulled a gun instead of a tazer it might have been game over for me.”



“Well I don’t want that to happen to you,” She said quickly. “That’s why I want you to talk to me in future and don’t keep anything back. You might have noticed but I’m not good at trusting people. I’ve lived most of my life feeling alone and taking a step forward to try and trust you and Katie isn’t easy for me, Kyle. When you keep secrets it feels like you’re betraying me.”



Kyle rubbed at his head and took a last drag of his cigarette before stubbing it out.



“I get that it’s not easy for you, Kara. I understand that. You’ve had a life I can barely comprehend, but I’m here for you, anytime you want to talk. I didn’t involve you because I thought we were all being watched and if I told you, I was worried you’d become a target. That’s why I kept it secret. It won’t happen in the future though, okay? I’m sorry you feel betrayed, but I didn’t keep it from you as a betrayal, but to keep you from harm. Don’t ask me not to keep you from harm though, because that’s not gonna happen.”



“Just don’t ever lie to me, okay?” Kara stated.



“I won’t. That has to be quid pro quo though.”



“What?”



“Quid pro quo?”



“Yeah. What’s that mean?”



“Oh, it’s like…” Kyle shrugged. “If I do it, you do it. We both exchange the same, fair trade kinda thing.”



“Why didn’t you say that?”



“I did.” Kyle said, smiling slightly. “I won’t keep any secrets from you, so you don’t keep any secrets from me. Fair enough?”



Kara nodded. “Cool. Which reminds me, I’ll have something to tell you about, but not just now. It can wait for a day or two.”



Kyle nodded. “If it’s not life-threatening right now, then I’m happy remaining in the dark.”



She smiled briefly. “Yeah, it’s definitely not life-threatening. Go get showered, Kyle. I’m going downstairs to get some coffee.”



“See you in a bit.”



Kyle headed inside and through to his bedroom, spotting Patricia coming out his bathroom.



“Is Connor in your bathroom?” He asked.



“Yes. Come on in here,” She replied. “I’ve drawn you a bath. Thought it might help you relax a little.”



Kyle nodded slowly. “That sounds great. I hope you’re getting in too.”



She rolled her eyes as if he was dumb. “Of course I am.”



“I’m showering first though, just in case.” Kyle was all too aware that he’d been covered in Edwin’s blood and wanted to make sure it was cleaned off.



He followed her into the bathroom, and he could see the tub with it’s usual blue-green coloured water from the concoction of bath salts. Patricia stopped him and helped him off with his top, then efficiently removed her own clothes while Kyle kicked off his sneakers and trousers.



She headed into the shower first, getting the water running and when Kyle joined her, she washed his back from head to heels while he did his front. As soon as he rinsed off, she turned off the water and led him out to the bath.



“Want a hand getting in?” She asked carefully.



Kyle shook his head. “I can manage.”



He did wobble once, but soon he was sat in the blissfully hot water and moments later Patricia slid in behind him, her legs sliding around his hips, his body resting on hers.



“Close your eyes, Kyle,” She said softly in his ear, and he did.



Patricia began to slowly soap him up, working his muscles one at a time to try and ease some of the tension from his frame. Kyle had no idea how much time had passed, but he felt good in her arms and the familiarity of her touch soothed him.



She bade him to sit forward and her hands began their work on his back, working the kinks out his muscles and trying to ease the tension in his frame.



“How you feeling?” She asked eventually.



“Better. More relaxed,” He added, slowly opening his eyes. “My head’s still sore, but much better. Thankyou.”



“My pleasure,” She murmured, lowering him back down into her arms. “I’m glad he’s not watching us any more, Kyle. I’m glad he’s gone.”



“I didn’t want him dead,” Kyle admitted. “But it feels somehow… inevitable. Like I can’t think of how else it could have ended well for us without him being dead.”



“It was an impossible situation,” She said quietly. “Did he really want you to leave me here?”



Kyle sighed. “He did. I didn’t tell you before, Patricia, because I needed you to react normally, but I think Edwin’s been spying on you for some time. Like a stalker.”



“How did you know that?” He felt her arms wrapping a little tighter around him, seeking her own security and comfort, he guessed.



“Sarah told me,” He replied slowly, knowing he didn’t want to tell her the next bit, but knowing he really had to. “He used to make her dress in a business suit and a blonde wig, then make her strip and touch herself in the shower while he jerked off on her.”



There was silence for quite a while as Patricia processed it. He knew she must be feeling violated, disturbed, and probably a whole lot of other stuff too, but he resisted the urge to talk, wanting to let her deal with it in her own way.



“I take it back,” She said a few moments later, her tone low and grim. “I wish I’d shot that bastard myself, right in the balls. Urgh! What a….”



“Fucking creep?”



“And then some,” She replied. “Urgh. I guess my days of fingering myself in the shower are over.”



“If you ever feel the need and you’re not already in it, you can do it in my bed any time you like.”



“I know. It’s just…” She sighed. “He really did all that?”



“I’m afraid so.”



“Then I’m glad he’s gone. We just need to figure out what to do now. I don’t want you getting arrested or anything, Kyle.”

“That makes two of us,” He replied.



“Kyle?”



“Yeah?”



“Can we swap around? I kinda need a hug.”



Kyle didn’t bother replying. He simply stood up slowly, let her slide down the bath and sat down behind her. Patricia leaned back between his legs and half-turned so she was lying on her side, her face resting on his chest.



He gently brushed his fingers down her arm, an intimate touch, and she took his hand in hers.



“You okay?” He asked a moment later, wrapping his other arm around her.



“Might need a few more of these in the next few days,” She admitted.



“Any time you like, Patricia.”



They lay there for another ten minutes until Kara called through to let them know Mister Crowler had returned with Brian Kane in tow, along with a yawning Captain Wales. Kyle and Patricia quickly dried and dressed, then went out to meet them in the lounge of Kyle’s suite, with the doors securely closed. +6 To their surprise, Brian greeted them with warm handshakes, admitting a moment later that he suspected for a long time that there was something off about Edwin, and that when Mister Crowler told him what had happened, he wasn’t really that surprised.



Mister Crowler then briefed them on Brian’s suggestion on how to deal with the situation. It seemed very simple, so much so that Kyle kept looking for holes in it.



Over the next couple of hours, Edwin’s body was to be wrapped in the bloodstained rugs, taped up and secured in trash bags and brought to the top of the hidden staircase. At seven o’clock in the morning, Brian and his team would gather every person on the Island in the Clubhouse for a meeting. As soon as everyone was there, Kyle and Connor would carry the body through the deserted Island to the pier where Captain Wales would be waiting onboard the Betsy. Connor and Captain Wales would then take Edwin’s corpse out to sea, weight it and sink it, while Kyle joined his sisters in the Clubhouse. Brian and Mister Crowler would then tell the staff that Edwin had been dismissed with immediate effect for allegations of sexual assault on a member of staff, and assault on Kyle when confronted about it.



The story would be presented that while the staff were in the Clubhouse, Connor and Captain Wales were transporting Edwin to a waiting aircraft at Guadeloupe, where he would be flown back to England. His personal items would follow in due course. In the meantime, Mister Crowler would be taking over as interim Manager until someone else could be appointed.



“As simple as that?” Kyle asked. “You honestly think they’ll accept it?”



“You can’t tell the staff what actually happened,” Brian Kane stated. “You can’t keep a secret if a hundred people know about it. So it’s a lot simpler if you don’t have a corpse. You have a live person who’s been dismissed. If you dismissed him, then you would want to gather everyone together and let them know, and you would whisk him off the Island pronto. In effect, that’s what we’re telling them.”



“It has to be believable though.”



“He wasn’t liked, Kyle,” Brian replied, shrugging. “People will believe bad things about people they don’t like. It is absolutely important though, that when you move the body there are no drips of blood or evidence of anything untoward.”



Kyle and Connor both nodded.



“I’ll help you downstairs,” Katie said a moment later.



“No,” Kyle said immediately, shaking his head. “I have to do this, and if Connor wants to help, then that’s fine, but you or Kara aren’t helping me. I have to do this. My actions, my consequences, even if it was all his fault.”



“I don’t want to help,” Kara said immediately, frowning. She shrugged apologetically. “Sorry, but I don’t.”



“Well I don’t either, but I’ll do it,” Katie said, frowning at her sister.



“Well, I’ll do it myself,” Kyle said. “Besides we’ll need both of you down at the clubhouse to lend weight to the seriousness of the meeting.”



“Work it out among yourselves,” Mister Crowler said, cutting them off. “Are you content that this is how we’ll deal with the present situation?”



Katie and Kara nodded, Connor shrugged and Patricia didn’t say anything, but Kyle looked at Captain Wales. “What about you, Captain? You’re being asked to be a part of this, and it’s not a nice thing being asked of you.”



“Son, I was a US Navy SEAL for nearly twenty years,” The sailor replied. “I’ve served all over the world, done missions that will remain classified until long after I’m dead, and I’ve done things in service to my country that I can’t ever talk about. As for this?” He shrugged. “This is nothing. It’s disposing of the trash in a way that keeps it clean for everyone involved. Don’t be worrying about me, Kyle.”



Kyle thought for a second, aware that everyone was watching him closely. “Okay. Let’s do it. Brian, how will we know when it’s safe to bring Edwin outside?”



“I’ve got a radio for you. I’ll call you on it and just ask you to make your way to the Clubhouse. That’ll do for a code to say ‘move the body’. Just radio me back once the Betsy is on it’s way.”



“What will I say then?”



He shrugged. “Something simple. ‘Be there in a minute’ will do, I expect.”



Kyle looked to Connor. “Want to get started?”



“Aye, might as well,” The Scotsman replied. “Now that I’m all showered. Hey, what about the clothes with blood on them?”



“Give them to me,” Patricia said. “I’ll wash them in the bathtub.”



“Okay,” Kyle replied, looking at each person in the room. “And thanks, all of you. Your help and understanding won’t be forgotten.”



Captain Wales grinned as he stood up. “Just remember that when it comes to payrise negotiations, son.”



It took Kyle and Connor forty minutes to wrap Edwin’s body in the rugs, then tape it all tight. Another layer of trashbags was secured tight around that, then every joint was sealed with tape, with another layer over the top of it all.



They were both plastered in the sticky blood and the smell of it was in Kyle’s nostrils, making him feel nauseous on more than one occasion. Strangely the close proximity of the body didn’t make him feel uncomfortable, scared or upset, perhaps because it seemed to him that it was really just a body. It seemed uninhabited to him, perhaps disassociating it from Edwin, the personality, making his job of wrapping it a little easier.



They brought it up to the staircase under the bar, then returned and began to scrub the floor clean, sorting the place out in anothet twenty minutes. Kyle suggested they stop for a cigarette before heading back upstairs and they took the opportunity to have a look around the underground safehouse.



The main room was broken up into sections in an open-plan style, with a lounge area at one end, a small dining table half way up and a kitchen area at the other end. Two doors led from the kitchen, one to a food storeroom, the other up to the bar. Opposite the dining table was two doors, one leading to the kitchen courtyard above, the other to the room with all the CCTV cameras and security controls. Other doors led to a bedroom and a small bathroom with a shower cubicle.



Overall the place was spartan and simple, but it had several home comforts, ranging from a unit with several hundred DVD’s in it, a couple of laptop computers and a bookcase full of classics. In the security room there was a couple of cabinets, and Connor found the keys in a drawer. The first contained a selection of pistols, shotguns and rifles, along with ammo, body armour, torches, batteries and a pair of night-vision goggles. The other cabinet contained cases and cases of DVD’s, each marked with a serial number.



Kyle wanted to have a look and see if he could find an index of what was on each DVD, but Connor reminded him they had to get cleaned up again before the staff started appearing to begin their morning work. On the plus side though, he’d found the schematics for a hidden button in the bar that would allow the hatch to be opened.



They returned to Kyle’s suite, got cleaned up and changed, and then sat on the balcony waiting for the call from Brian, chain-smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. Time dragged on and on, but at quarter to seven some of the Islands security staff appeared and asked everyone to come immediately to the clubhouse. Ed grumbled like one of the grouches on the Muppet show at being ushered out his room, Casey looked a little sheepish as he and Margarita appeared in the same clothes as the night before, and while it took ten minutes, eventually Kara and Katie departed with them.



Patricia came over to Kyle and bent down next to him. “See you down there, Kyle. Be careful and make sure you compose yourself before you come in, okay?”



“I will,” He nodded.



She gave him a peck on the cheek then left.



Without a word, Connor and Kyle headed down to the bar and opened the hatch.



The wait was frustrating and Kyle tapped his foot impatiently on the steps. He also realised that the covert activity was a little frightening, but a little exciting too.



“Is it weird that is a bit… exciting?”



Connor laughed. “In my line of work when it gets exciting that usually means somethings gone wrong. What you’re experiencing is adrenalin and anxiety, probably frustration, impatience, fear and probably a whole load of other emotional shit too. It’s only natural given the circumstances, but just try and chill. Be patient. It’ll happen when it happens, and then it’ll be over and done with, and you’re on to the next part of the job.”



“Fucking weirdest night ever,” Kyle muttered.



“You’re doing okay, Kyle,” Connor said a moment later.



“What? With a concussion after I killed a man?”



The Scotsman shrugged. “It’s a lot to process. I’ve seen people lose the plot, panic, go numb. Some folk chunder.”



“Chunder?”



“Aye, vomit.”



Kyle chuckled. “Good word.”



“We Scots have invented a few here and there. Some of them are even understandable.”



“Aye,” Kyle tried to say in his best Scottish impersonation, drawing a grin from Connor. Just at that the radio crackled, and Brian gave them the all clear.



“Let’s do it,” Connor said. “I’ll take the feet, you take the upper body and I’ll go in front. Take your time, alright.”



Kyle nodded and moved to the corpse, wrapped into a neat cylinder with the rugs and trash bags. On Connors signal they lifted the body and Kyle grunted as they carried it up the steps and into the bar.



It felt really bizarre to be carrying a wrapped up body in broad daylight through a place he’d come to love, but with short steps, Connor and Kyle made their way through the main house, took the right onto the path past the kitchens, and then a few minutes later onto the beach.



Captain Wales was waiting for them with the gangplank ready and engines running, his crew sent to the clubhouse like everyone else.



They carried Edwins body along the pier, feeling exposed in the open, but Connor kept feeding Kyle advice to keep him calm and all too soon they were placing the body out of sight in the lounge of the catamaran.



“We’ll take it from here, Kyle,” Captain Wales said as Connor slumped into a seat. “And don’t worry, no-ones going to cross paths with this perverted fucker again. Not even Nemo the clown-fish.”



“Thanks, Captain,” Kyle said, shaking his hand. “Connor, see you when you get back. And thanks again.”



“Nae worries, Kyle.”



He helped them cast off and then radioed Brian to let him know he’d be there in a couple of minutes. A smoke on the way there did nothing to reduce his nerves, but he kept taking deep breaths and felt a little calmer by the time he got to the clubhouse doors.



The inside was packed out, with nearly a hundred people there. He made his way to where Kara, Katie, George Crowler and Brian Kane waited on the stage and as he joined his sisters, the Security Chief called the room to silence.



“Thankyou for gathering here, and our apologies about the lack of notice, but we’re dealing with some unusual circumstances here,” He began, speaking loudly to the room. Kyle noticed the amount of frowns that looked back at them and he set his face in a neutral expression.



“Now, approximately ninety minutes ago, Master Kyle went to see Edwin in his apartment. With him was Connor Grant, a guest on the Island, and as many of you know, a Security specialist. Master Kyle was approached by a member of staff who will remain anonymous with allegations of sexual assault committed by Edwin on her on a number of occasions. After investigating the matter with the assistance of Mister Grant, Master Kyle approached Edwin and notified him he was under investigation.”



A murmur ran around the room, and Kyle knew that every set of eyes on the room had looked at him.



“During the course of questionning him, and presenting evidence, Edwin attempted to assault Master Kyle, admitting his guilt during the attack. Thankfully Mister Grant was on hand and rendered assistance.”



Another ripple of whispered conversation rushed around the room, gradually ceasing when Brian held up a hand for silence.



“At this point, lacking evidence for a criminal case, but knowing him to be guilty, Master Kyle dismissed Edwin from his position of Island Manager with immediate effect. Arrangements were made to fly him back to his home country of England, and Master Kyle has just returned from escorting him personally to Captain Wales’ catamaran. Mister Grant is rendering his assistance to ensure that he is put on the aircraft waiting for him and they are on their way to do that right now.”



Kyle could see many of the expressions had turned to smiles, some hidden, but many of the staff seemed pleased by the news. The rest looked either uninterested or weren’t showing what they thought.



“Now obviously this leaves us with a post to be filled and Mister George Crowler has been asked to fill it on a temporary basis until the vacancy can be filled. In the meantime I’d like you all to render him every possible assistance in ensuring a smooth transition.”



Kyle took a deep breath, knowing there was a couple of things that needed said and took a step forward, bringing a rushed whisper from the staff that quietened as he waited to speak.



“I’d like to add a few words,” Kyle said loudly, looking around the room. “This situation with Edwin has come as a surprise to us all, but it’s been dealt with. If there are problems on the Island then we want to know about them. You can trust me, and the same goes for Kara or Katie, and we all have the utmost faith in Mister Crowler too, so again, if there’s problems, we want to know about them.”



He paused for a moment, formulated his next point in his head, then continued.



“Next, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how impressed we’ve been over the last week. This place is a paradise, a piece of tropical heaven with the highest levels of service and standards that take a lot of hard work to achieve. We want to let you know that we’re very grateful for all your work, and that we appreciate the commitment to excellence that you display in your professionalism and approach every single day.”



He forced a smile onto his face. “It’s important that we don’t let the shadow of events last night fall over us, and that we continue to achieve exactly what we strive for. We’re delaying our departure until tonight because we want to be here to deal with any unresolved issues, and because we’d like the opportunity for just a few more hours here. Let’s forget what happened this morning, and make it a great day, okay?”



Kyle nodded and stepped back between his sisters. To his surprise a small round of applause broke out, and for want of a better response, he nodded again.



“Where did that come from?” Katie muttered.



“Just thought they needed reminding that they’re the guys who actually make this place what it is,” Kyle said quietly. “A pep talk of sorts.”



“Commitment to excellence?” Kara murmured, leaning into him. “That was from one of the briefing papers, right?”



“Exactly,” He said, winking. “It’s a good line.”



“They seemed to like it.”



“Okay, people,” Brian Kane said, calling the room to order again. “I’m going to hand you over now to Mister Crowler. Thanks for your patience and thanks for listening.”



At that he stepped back and Mister Crowler stepped forward, Kyle could see all eyes in the room were on the old lawyer. “All team leaders. Please put your teams to work and come and see me in the next two hours. I’ll be in Edwin’s office in his apartment. Thankyou. Dismissed.”



As the staff were all wandering out the door, chatting over the revelations they’d just been hit with, Kyle looked at Mister Crowler. “You kept that brief.”



“I’m a big fan of letting people do the work they’re employed to do,” The old man smiled. “You nearly gave me a heart-attack when you stepped forward there. Nicely done.”



Kyle shrugged. “No biggie. So can we head back to the house now?”



“The boat got away?”



Kyle nodded. “No problems.”



“Good. I’ll see you at lunch,” George replied, turning to leave. “Brian, let’s go.”



“Work calls,” The Security chief said, nodding at Kyle on his way past.



“Brian,” Kyle said, grabbing his hand. “Thanks for this. All of it.”



“No problem, sir, and if you don’t mind me saying, Edwin was a bastard. I’m glad he’s… off the Island.”



It was two hours and forty minutes later when Connor finally appeared. A nervous Kyle greeted him and took him into the bar, glad to escape from the incessant mocking from Ed, who had decided that Kyle got beat up by an old man and was reeling out every relevant joke in his repertoire.



“How did it go?”



“Fine,” Connor said, nodding his head. “Captain Wales turned off his GPS and headed mostly West for an hour or so. Nothing but water for ages, and then eventually he stopped, we chained an anchor round the corpse, added a charge, put a hole in the trash bags to let the air out, and put him over the side.”



“Wait. What do you mean by a charge?” Kyle asked, frowning.



“Captain Wales idea,” Connor said firmly. “Last thing you want is a body washing up on the beach or being discovered by scuba divers or something, so you make sure there’s no body to find.”



“So you exploded it?”



Kyle could mentally picture it and the thought of disposing of a body at sea where no-one would ever find it made him feel sick. Worse was the knowledge that they were going to explode it into pieces on the bottom of the ocean. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, reminding himself that Edwin was a piece of shit and had killed himself by his own actions.



Connor fixed him with a steady gaze and continued his report.



“He sank like a stone after we put him over the side, and we hung around for a few minutes, but the corpse didn’t come back up, so we turned East again for a hundred metres or so and triggered the charge and waited. All clear, so we continued back to the East. About an hour later, Captain Wales turned the GPS back on and used it to navigate back here. He doesn’t know the precise spot, I don’t have a clue, and there’s no way he’s washing up on a beach,” Connor concluded. “It’s done, Kyle.”



Kyle nodded, feeling a little relieved that it was done, but sick and disgusted all the same. “Thanks, Connor. For everything.”



“Aye, you keep saying that, Kyle,” The Scotsman replied, smiling a little. “I think I told you before a few days back. I like the chase, the imminent threat, and as my experience goes, this wasn’t a big drama. There wasn’t a kidnapping, or a pitched battle, no car chases or anything crazy, but it was good to do some work again. It’s been a while.”



“You sure I can’t recruit you to head up my security detail?”



He shook his head. “I get bored with babysitting people when there’s no specific threat and me and bored don’t mix well. If you ever get one though, just give me a call and I’ll be right there.”

“Anything you need,” Kyle said, “If it’s in my power to help, you’ll get it. Any time you want to see me, my door’s open, and you know you’re welcome to come here any time, right? Same goes for the rest of our accommodation too.”



Connor nodded. “Aye. Cheers for that. It’s all good though, Kyle. Just doing my thing.”



“I thought there had to be chicks involved for that,” Kyle grinned.



“Talking of which, I’m off to pick up where I left off with those two chambermaids the other day,” He replied, “And then I’m gonna sleep.”



“Come up for dinner later if you want,” Kyle suggested. “It’ll be good to see you before we go.”



“Aye, I will.” Connor thrust out a hand and Kyle shook it.



“Thanks, Connor.”



“Nae worries, Kyle.”



Kyle wandered back to join his friends who were sitting around the pool, chilling out and chatting, and he took a seat at one of the tables and lit a cigarette. Patricia came over to join him and sat down next to him.



“How did it go?” She asked quietly.



“Fine. No problems.” He decided not to tell anyone about the explosives part of the story. He was having enough trouble with it himself and really wanted to think about something else.



“That’s a relief.”



“I know,” He nodded. “So what’s the plans for today then?”



She shrugged. “Kick back and relax. Finish packing. Dinner and then we’re off to the boat.”



“I need to go and have a look at some stuff downstairs at some point,” Kyle said, remembering the cabinet full of DVD’s. He wanted to have a look at the system too, to see what it could do and what it had been recording.



“Some sleep might not be a bad idea either,” Patricia said, reminding him they’d been up since early yesterday morning.



“Is that you hinting you want to get me in bed?”



“Normally yes, but I’m not really in the mood right now,” She replied, a sad little smile on her face. ” All I can think about is getting some sleep.”



“Some actual sleep would be good. Let’s go,” He said firmly. They got to the bedroom, undressed and slipped under the sheets, and despite the brightness of the room, Patricia was asleep in minutes.



Kyle lay there, yawning and trying to drift off, but he couldn’t seem to sleep, so after half an hour he slipped out of bed, threw on some clothes and headed downstairs. Seeing no-one about he stepped into the bar, flicked the trigger and slipped downstairs, closing the staircase behind him.



It was eerie walking down the stairs completely on his own, and he felt a little trepidation as he punched in the code and held his hand against the palm-scanner. He stepped back as the door opened and entered the silent bunker, his eyes automatically going to the spot where Edwin had lay.



He took a deep breath and headed for the control room, sliding into a seat before the console, seeing Patricia sleeping on one of the large screens in front of him. He smiled, seeing how natural and relaxed she seemed while asleep.



Kyle turned to look at the wall to his left, a large map of the Island about eight feet across with numbered pins stuck in it showing the location of each camera. It took him a minute, but he counted one hundred and thirty eight.



“Holy fuck that’s a lot of cameras.”



It took him another ten minutes to find the guide on how to use the system, and his eyes widened more than once at how it was set up. Each camera fed back to a server which sharpened the image and adjusted the distortion and brightness, cleaned up t