The speeches seemed to take an absolute age, to get through. It appeared that every man jack and his dog, had something to say about Jimmy and Cassandra. The main ball room was packed with tables ornately decorated with floral centrepieces. Every so often someone would shout out a toast and everyone would whack back a slug of alcohol. Boris spoke at length about when Cassandra was a small girl. And how much he valued Jimmy as an addition to the family. He went into great gusto and detail. Making it up as he went along. Only Rhys-Penfound knew that they weren’t really blood related. He finished his speech by yelling “Na zdravie !” Pat had swapped Jimmy’s mothers drink for blackcurrant. Aileen Collins, like her son wasn’t a drinker at all. Even a hardened drinker like Lemmy was struggling to keep up.
Lemmy made a wonderful speech welcoming, Cassy and Boris into the family. Although Aileen glared at Cassandra all the way through. Aileen didn’t like Cassandra she had yearned for Jimmy to get together with Jeanette. Typically Lemmy ended the speech with his own wit. Which brought disapproving looks from his sister, and a chuckle from the well-wishers. “And so my friends...let us be lazy in everything....except loving and drinking except in being lazy......Ladies and gentleman and here’s to the king....what king? I hear you say??....mmmm....mmmmm.... The fuc-king....The bride and groom!” He received a great roar from the travelling friends. Who wouldn’t miss a great party and Jimmy’s wedding for the world and Boris. Boris smiled like a proud father, for a moment he yearned for that life he never had. He had dedicated his life to his country, she was his wife and mistress. Mum hid her face in her hands and Cassy didn’t quite get the joke until a bit later on. Jimmy shrugged blushing he wished that the ground would open up.
Lemmy’s fatherly advice was “ Well son ye wouldn’t be a Collin’s if ya hadn’t grabbed a few girls leading up to this, so the best advice I ken give ya is if ya don’t or can’t give her what she needs...then ya ole uncle Lemmy will do the deed fer ya.” He winked at Jimmy as he gave him a playful dig in the ribs. He squeezed Cassy in a bear hug that lasted a little longer than it should have done. He hobbled away back to the party as if all of a sudden he had acquired a limp. The food was exquisite and there was a mountain of it. And there needed to be. The entertainment was a mixture of an R.E.M Cover band the ‘Project’ and a cheesy dj who only turned out to be Greedo.
He was wearing a white suit with the shirt open. So his medallion and hairy chest were on show. The first dance was “if you don’t know me by now” By simply Red. As Cassandra and Jimmy danced together, there were oohs and aahs from the onlookers. He saw his mum looking at him and he knew that she was thinking about his dad. He had mentioned him in his speech Jimmy almost couldn’t finish it. He had a wave of emotion wash over him. He hadn’t thought about him for a long time, he would have been proud. Cassandra was mind blowing gorgeous in her designer dress. Jimmy felt like the luckiest man in the world as she clung to him. The eyes of the world were truly on them, as the paparazzi snapped away. They left just before the end of proceedings. But not before Jimmy noticed Yuri and Lemmy getting a little too friendly in a corner.
He was glad mum had left, she would have had a stroke. Lemmy was never seen with a woman on his arm. In fact Lemmy and women just didn’t appear to mix at all. Until now Jimmy was led to believe, he was too busy drinking and fighting. For women to be a part of his world. Jo and Marcus were there too and seemed blissfully happy together. Which had surprised Jimmy. The no hard feelings handshake and greeting, still unnerved Jimmy. Carl was definitely the cat that got the cream. He was draped over Scott all night. Jimmy supped a cup of cocoa and watched late night television. He was disgusted at the mound of snoring beauty that was Cassy. He even wondered how many couples actually do consummate their marriage on their wedding night. Probably 99.99% with him being the anomaly. It was about six in the morning when tiredness finally overcame Jimmy.
At the same time on bench 234 in Ranelagh Gardens. Overlooking the Thames towards Battersea Park, Lord Rhys-Penfound still dressed in his bow tie was speaking to Boris. He was similarly dressed, neither having the time to change from the reception that had finally wound down an hour ago.
“Potsdam, Venice, Buenos Aires and Ladyburg.”
“Then.... if I agree?” Replied Boris. He took a slurp of his cappuccino, that they had bought from a vendor on Peabody rd. Rhys-Penfound lit his cigar and inhaled deeply. He took a moment to answer him. “First frost of the year Boris.....mmm a wonderful season autumn...things die out and make way for the new in the springtime.” He looked sternly at Boris. “You will be free.... your debts to us will have been paid!”
“If not?....remember old friend I have been in the game for a long time.”
“Then my friend your masters..... will discover your miraculous re incarnation your spetnaz team have already been placed in....shall we say protective custody.... How do you aim to deal with the drops and pickups?”
“Wedding celebrations....Miss Friend has a family she never knew existed. After all she is a good time girl. Throw money at her and she will become, whatever you want her to be.....it will be done.”
“Good man......oh I have a man I want on the inside.....Insurance Boris.” Boris knew he was being chivalrous and that Rhys-Penfound already had his men installed in the businesses. Boris nodded “Marcus?” Rhys-Penfound smiled and shook his head. “Macclesfield.” Boris inhaled the last of his cigar and thought carefully. He thrust out his hand, the city was waking and the singletons were busy doing their walks of shame. They shook hands briefly. “Lord Penfound.....Remember I have never betrayed my country. It is they who have betrayed me and my comrades. This....this is an uneasy alliance.” The two men smiled at each other then went their separate ways. Boris slipped the package into his jacket pocket. He called Yuri from the phone box by the off licence. At Marly Park in Pottsdam the blessing took place at the Friedenskirche. Another lavish affair only this time Boris wasn’t there, he was in the shadows. Cassy’s fame in the modelling world made her less of a target, and the evidence against her was inconclusive. Boris was a different matter entirely.
However the people that could harm him. Were more concerned about safeguarding themselves. Some of their number had met their maker. He could keep for a time anyway. The man that gave her away, was Gustaf Immelander. A large rotund man, with a Prussian walrus moustache. He was bursting out of his army uniform. Medals all gleaming. He was one of Cassandra’s regulars at the brothel. He walked proudly down the aisle with Cassandra in her fairytale white dress. She looked absolutely stunning, beaming from ear to ear. Jimmy was waiting for her at the altar with Mitch. Both cut a fine figure in their grey morning suits. They too were grinning from ear to ear, however Mitch’s grin wasn’t of happiness.
The reception was held at the Berliner-Ruder club on Bismarck Strasse Wannsee. A tasteful affair, without all the pomp and ceremony of the wedding in London. Jimmy’s mother and Lemmy had decided not to go. Lemmy was busy with Yuri on some shady business. They were not too far away at a warehouse in nearby Rotdornweg. They were keeping a close eye on things, unbeknown to the couple. Cassandra was terrified when it was suggested by Boris that she had Gustaf to give her away. It was his bed that she snuck out of. As she left him tied up to the headboard to escape across the Berlin Wall. She wasn’t too sure of the reception he would give her. She needn’t have fretted, Gustaf was the image of fatherly perfection. He was meeting his destiny after the reception.
He thought his destiny, was a Senegalese beauty from the modelling circuit. In actual fact it was the canal. After the back of his head was stoved in by a cosh by unseen hands. Boris was not taking any risks and tying up loose ends. Lemmy felt sick he wasn’t a stranger to hurting people. But the people he hurt usually threw a few punches beforehand. Sometimes people died after fighting him. But he had never killed anyone in cold blood. Yuri comforted him and they soon drowned his sorrows in the local bars. Before heading off on the next leg of their journey. His body turned up a few days later. He was a well known drunk. And a person more feared and hated, than respected. As a police chief he held considerable power over the residents nearby. Nobody shed a tear for Gustaf Immelander.
Back at the reception the first dance was a waltz, after a few moments nods, cheers, smiles and looks of approval. The rest of the party joined in. During the dance they changed partners. An elegant and statuesque lady twirled Jimmy around like a pro. She nimbly avoided the heavy tramp of his two left feet. She even managed to slip an envelope into his jacket pocket. The couple retired to the Hotel am Luisenplatz. They were transported by horse and carriage, a gift from Gustaf. “Bloody cheek.” Jimmy showed Cassandra the envelope. Addressed to somewhere in England without a stamp. “Post it in the morning dear.....it could have been worse.” Exhausted they snuggled up together, Jimmy tenderly kissed her on the forehead. “Night wife...”
Cassandra smiled and returned a kiss. “Night husband.”
As Jimmy slept Cassandra snuck out of the room. The sleeping draft she had slipped into his champagne glass. Would keep him out of action for at least the next twelve hours. Cassandra got into the black Mercedes on Karl Marx Strasse, in front of the G&O hotel. Boris handed her an envelope. “Now Stanovich, that should see you to wherever you want to go in the world....leave him he is too good a man for you.” Cassy had never seen so much money. She looked at him with a stoic look. How dare he tell her what to do. She was free now to be and do what she wanted.
“I will stay with him at least for now Boris.... thank you.” Boris pushed her attempts at handing the money back to him away.
“You have expensive tastes my dear.....You will need it for the rest of your honeymoon....I shall always be near moya zavetnaya odnogo.” He kissed her on the check then got out of the car.
“Boris? Where are you going?” Boris knew he should have made her disappear along with Jimmy. But he had a fondness for her that he couldn’t explain. “Retirement... don’t worry Stanovich I shall be contactable.....da blagoslovit vas moyemu rebenku.”
“Idi s mirom moyego ottsa...” He waved as the car pulled away. Yuri picked him up a few minutes later in the truck that contained microwave ovens and Lemmy.