Archive for July 2013

I shifted from one leg to the other impatiently, weighing my chances of escape. What would happen if I worked my way over to a window and forced my way out? No good, because not only were we stuck between stations but we were underground as well. The thought of emerging into the tiny dark space of the tunnel only to be hemmed in by a cold metal train was even worse than the claustrophobia I was starting to suffer where I was.

Thinking like this was the only way I could distract myself from the tension that grew inside of me with every passing minute. Since I was still in my probation period in a very strict corporate environment, I knew everything I did was being quietly watched and carefully noted. I was doing everything I could to stay in their favor because I desperately needed to keep the job. Being late was not an option.

Up until very recently I’ve been scraping by, faking my way through every irregular temp job that I could get and waiting tables as often as I could at night. Up until a few months ago, my hope for a stable future was fading rapidly.

My best friend and I were collapsed on his sofa after a night of pub crawling. In other words, a Saturday night just like any other. He was a waiter too but Saturday nights always went to the staff that had been around the longest, and neither one of us was even close to qualifying for that.

We always ended the night on his sofa, talking for a little while before passing out. But for some reason Rick wouldn’t settle down. He kept pacing around his apartment, talking half to me and half to himself. He was hyper enough that he was disrupting my mellow, sleepy state and I didn’t like it.

“What the hell is with you?” I grumbled at him.

“I hate this town. We need to get out of here. Do you know we do the same thing every damn day of every week, over and over and over? Aren’t you sick of it?”

I managed a half-hearted shrug. “Yeah. So? Why would it be different anywhere else?”

“Why wouldn’t it? I can’t stand being here anymore, neither of us can find any kind of steady work, so what’s the point in staying? At least we could do something new and have a better chance than we do now. Nothing ever changes here. It’ll be the same place when we’re 80 years old as it is now.”

I figured he was just drunk and raving and he’d get over it when he sobered up. So I half-listened to him and tried to watch TV at the same time. Eventually he sat down with me and we both fell asleep.

But the next night Rick hadn’t changed his mind. To my surprise, he had started making real plans.

“I’m gone. End of the month. Are you coming with me?” He sounded so determined I started to believe we could pull it off. I’d dreamt about getting out of this town for years but leaving had always seemed like something I could imagine but never actually do.

Since Rick had been talking this way I had started thinking. It didn’t take me long to see I had no good reason to stay, especially without him around.

So we did it. Moved to the city. We got a tiny apartment together and we both got work as waiters. Just to keep the money coming in for awhile, we told each other. I spent my days looking for programming work and my nights in the restaurant. We started to meet new people and we were having a lot of fun. Things were going great, except on the job front. It was just like it had been for me since I finished high school. I was making just enough for what I needed but never getting ahead. I tried to stay hopeful but as the weeks passed it got harder and harder.

Then one morning I got a call from a company I was hoping to work for. They wanted to see me as soon as possible and so I went in that afternoon. I wasn’t very hopeful since I had only applied there the day before, and usually when that happens they just want to check you out for no good reason. I made a bet with myself about how long it would take for the interviewer to tell me I’d be kept on file.

To my absolute shock, I got hired on the spot. Turns out they had just fired someone, and the boss told me he didn’t want to fuck around with Human Resources and wait while they took their time finding a suitable replacement.

“Don’t disappoint me,” he said, scrutinizing me as though I was keeping a secret from him and he wanted to know what it was.

My department was very busy and I always felt like the manager was keeping an eye on me a lot more so than anyone else. At first I didn’t think much of it because I was the newest hire. But normally that kind of thing wears off after your first day and they forget you even exist. I was well into my second month and still feeling like I was under the microscope when the boss called me into his office on a Friday afternoon.

“So, Roberts, catch me up. How’s it going with you? Everything okay?”

“Absolutely, sir, everything’s great. I’m happy that you gave me the opportunity to—”

He cut me off with a wave of his hand. “What I want to know is, can you see yourself sticking around for the long haul? Or are you looking at your position here as a stopover on your way somewhere else?”

I told the truth. “I definitely see myself here long-term. I really—”

He cut me off again impatiently. “Great. And it’s not me you need to impress. I’m moving you over to Michael Carson’s department. And I expect that if all goes well there, you will work out as a permanent fixture around here.”

His phone rang and he answered it, gesturing for me to leave.

As I reached the door he stopped his conversation. “Go report to him now. He’s expecting you.”

I stifled a sigh as I entered the elevator to head up to the 19th floor. I had hoped to be able to duck out early, but now I’d be here late as usual. Oh well. I couldn’t pass up any opportunity for what I hoped would be a step up, even though I wasn’t exactly sure where I’d been transferred.

The floor was deserted. Guess I wasn’t the only one who wanted to get an early start on the weekend. I walked through the rows of cubicles before I found the small office door practically hidden at the back of the floor.

The door was closed and I hoped my new manager had left too, but my knock was answered by a deep voice.

After I opened the door I stopped in my tracks, caught off-guard by the sight of a tall man bending down to retrieve something from a box on the floor. I got an unexpected eyeful of a terrific ass. Firm and perfectly rounded, it pressed nicely against the dark fabric of his pants and I stared at it until he straightened, turning towards me.

I blinked when I looked up into his face. Not many people were taller than me, so he had to be at least 6’2″. His black hair was just a little bit longer than it should be for a corporate environment. A few strands fell in front of his bright blue eyes and I fought the urge to reach out and brush them away.

“Alex? I’m Michael. How are you?” I shook his warm hand and tried not to stare at him.

“Have a seat. I’m sure you’re anxious to get out of here, but there are a couple of things you need to know right away.”

He called up a few files on his monitor and showed me the current project, summarizing it briefly. Then he sat back and regarded me.

“We have virtually no time to test this system before we go live, so we’ll be doing nearly everything onsite. The team will be heading down to Dallas on Tuesday. As of now, the team includes you.”

I blinked as he continued. “We’ll be there for six days. My assistant will give you the details on Monday. I know you’re being thrown into the deep end pretty quickly. I hope you can handle it.”

“Of course.”

“That’s all I need to tell you for now. Have a good weekend.”

I left the office slightly dazed and thought about what had happened all the way home. Suddenly I had a far more challenging position in my job, a drop-dead gorgeous new supervisor, and an upcoming trip down south.

The only problem I could see was being able to keep my hands to myself, especially on this trip. Back in his office it was all I could do to keep from dropping to my knees in front of him and begging him to come all over my face.

For the first time ever I was at work early on a Monday morning. The thought of seeing Michael the Sex God again had made me very enthusiastic. I couldn’t help calling him that in my head now, a holdover from the way I had thought about him all weekend every time I jacked off.

I headed directly to his office but his assistant stopped me before I got to the door. I introduced myself and then told him I needed to speak to the boss.

“Ah, right, Alex Roberts. Michael’s not in today. He flew down to Dallas last night. I have all the info you need for your trip tomorrow.”

Trying to hide my disappointment, I listened as he gave me the flight info. I worked intensely for the rest of the day to get myself up to speed on the convention project. I didn’t want Michael to think I wasn’t up for the challenge.

I got home late and went to bed just as soon as I had a quick meal. Before I fell asleep, I imagined being on my knees in front of Michael, taking his cock deep into my mouth. I stroked my own erection rapidly at this thought and it didn’t take long until I came hard.

Tuesday finally rolled around. My flight was delayed and I was late as I checked into the hotel that was hosting the convention we were running.

As soon as I dropped my bag off in my room, I hurried back out to find the main boardroom. We were scheduled to have a team briefing at five and it was already a few minutes past. Michael was at the front addressing the assembled group when I slipped in the back as quietly as I could. He noticed me anyway and nodded in my direction as he continued speaking. Turns out there were some issues that needed fixing immediately, so we had to hit the ground running.

Several hours later I collapsed into bed. We had worked until nearly 11:30 and I was exhausted, but I couldn’t get Michael out of my mind. My attraction to him was starting to interfere with my focus on work, and I needed to get it out of my system somehow. I decided this would be the last time I’d jack off thinking about him, and so I had better come up with a really good final fantasy.

My cock was already responding as a very hot scene popped into my mind. I pictured everything so clearly it was as if it was actually happening.

I imagine him knocking on the door to my room. I answer without hesitating, and realize right when I open it that I’m nearly naked except for the very tight black briefs I have on. Michael runs his eyes all over my body before saying, “I need to talk to you.”

I let him in and hastily grab the hotel robe to cover myself up, turning back to find him smiling at my embarrassment. If he only knew. If I don’t cover up quickly he’ll be seeing a lot more of me than he expects, since my cock is already trying to tear through my underwear in an effort to get closer to him.

I sit down on the edge of the bed, expecting him to take the nearby chair. Instead he comes over and sits on the bed right next to me, a lot closer than is appropriate for a boss and his employee. His clothed leg brushes against my bare one and I shift around, my cock growing even larger from the light touch.

I waited expectantly, hoping my robe is keeping my obvious excitement concealed. He looks directly into my eyes.

“Alex, I’ve wanted to fuck you from the moment you walked into my office. And I know you want me. There’s no reason to wait any longer.”

Before I can reply he moves close and his lips meet mine. His kiss is slow and firm. Possessive. He moves his hand to my lap and touches my steel-hard erection. I can’t help moaning as he fondles me through the cotton of my briefs, a sensation which I can never get enough of. I shiver and my cock throbs.

He keeps kissing me and I wrap my arms around him, pulling his strong body firmly into mine. I feel pretty slutty with him being still fully clothed and me nearly naked, and I love it.

He breaks our kiss and stands up right in front of me, quickly removing his shirt. I gape at his well-developed chest with growing lust but I have to lower my eyes when his hands move down to his pants. Very, very slowly he slides the zipper down. I can see the outline of his cock right in front of my face and I reach for it, feeling its impressive length.

I slide his underwear off without breaking my gaze. His cock is monstrous, at least nine inches long and very thick. I fit as much of it into my very willing mouth as I can and suck on him intensely. He can’t get enough and he pushes deeper and deeper into me. I wonder what it would feel like if he was filling my ass up instead.

I stop sucking and pull back. He groans as I tongue his length up and down, exploring every inch of him. He moves his hips, wanting to be back inside, and after a moment I open wide to take him in again. I nearly gag as his cock fills my mouth up and even though I want his cock in my ass, this is too good to stop.

His breathing gets heavier and I can tell he’s trying to hold back. But he’s so turned on by what I’m doing to him that he can’t stop himself and with a loud moan he comes hard in my mouth. I swallow it all.

When he’s done we lie down on the bed together. He pushes my robe aside, not bothering to take it off, and rubs my cock through my pre-come soaked underwear. I’m in ecstasy. It’s not long before he pulls them off me and I feel his warm hand wrapping around my throbbing erection. It feels so good I can’t help but thrust my hips, needing more contact with him.

The sexy sight of the gorgeous, wonderful man stroking me expertly is making me writhe around in ecstacy. When he leans in close to me and says my name it’s so hot I can’t stand it. He speeds up his pace and I come so hard my hips lift off the bed. It feels like I won’t ever stop, my hot juice splashing wildly all over his hand.

As the scenario played out in my mind I stroked my aching erection faster and faster. At the same moment that I came in my fantasy, my cock pulsed and I shot all over my own stomach.

My real orgasm was nearly as good as the one I had imagined. I fell asleep still imagining Michael lying beside me.

I hate my life.

The last thing I wanted to be doing was stalking a tramp like Jinx McClure down Rodeo Drive on a pretty afternoon. Somewhere, somebody must be laughing their ass off at the joke they’d played on me.

It’s not as though it was hard to follow her. She’d donned huge sunglasses and wrapped her trademark bottle-blond hair in an ugly orange scarf. To top it all off, she was wearing some kind of belted jacket, even though the Beverly Hills afternoon was quite pleasant. “Maybe she’s channeling Liz Taylor trying to go incognito,” I thought derisively.

Whatever her influences, the result wasn’t working : she stood out like a pimple on a teenager’s nose.

I was sweating under my sports coat, and the digital camera concealed under my armpit wasn’t helping. So I was heartened when she suddenly ducked into some boutique with an Italian name I didn’t recognize. Maybe the air conditioning would help me cool off.

I really couldn’t see the attraction. Jinx was sexy enough in a fleshy, vulgar sort of way, but L.A. is filled with beautiful, sexy women. Of course most of them didn’t have their own reality TV show. And, hopefully, most of them didn’t waste their lives eating, drinking, dancing, cursing and screwing in front of TV cameras to the horrified fascination of millions of weekly viewers.

But it’s not up to me to judge other people’s taste, though I do all the time. No, my curse was to document photographically the off-screen lives of people like Jinx for the titillation of fans and foes alike. What a shallow, wretched way to make a living!

I casually stepped behind an androgynous mannequin so I could keep an eye on my prey. She was loitering around the jewelry counter in a manner that seemed to me either drunken or suspicious. Come to think about it, in her case it could be both. I pulled my camera out and began shooting.

Sure enough, the little bitch suddenly leaned over the counter, snatched up an expensive looking watch and stuffed it into her jacket pocket. “Gotcha!” I smirked.

She must have caught a glimpse of me out of the corner of her eye because she jerked upright and turned to face me full on. I figured she’d beat a hasty retreat, but I’d misread women before and would probably do so again in the future.

A look of rage came over her face, and she suddenly charged at me screaming “Stalker!” at the top of her lungs. I couldn’t believe it, but I kept filming as she got closer and closer. Then, just as I started to dodge to one side, a man grabbed my arms with surprising strength and held me immobile. Shit, I hadn’t even noticed the uniformed security guard!

A moment later the store manager magically appeared on the scene. “Has something disturbed you, Ms. McClure?” he asked unctuously.

“This creep was following me,” she yelled. “I think he’s some kind of pervert!”

The manager turned toward me and asked for my I.D. After examining it, he said, “Very well, Mr. Cowan, what do you have to say for yourself?”

I stared at him coolly. “Look in her jacket pocket,” I told him.

When he stared at me in confusion, I held up my camera and switched it to display. The small screen clearly showed Jinx snatching the watch.

The manager deftly dipped his hand into her pocket and retrieved the watch; the price tag was still attached. He motioned to the store security man, who released my arms. Then he looked at Jinx shrewdly. “Ms. McClure, we would prefer that you do your shopping somewhere else today.”

I raised my camera again and resumed shooting, thinking she was going to slink off in shame, but she surprised me a second time by reaching up and shoving my camera back into my face. “Fucking paparazzi!” she screamed, and dashed for the exit while I stood there holding my bruised and bleeding eye. Sunovabitch, that hurt!

The store manager wasn’t fazed. He turned to me and said unsympathetically, “Mr. Cowan, we’d like you to leave as well before you bleed on the carpet.”

“That was cold,” I thought to myself as I walked out the door, but I couldn’t find the anger within me. It’s about what I’d come to expect. In Hollywood, a guy in my profession doesn’t get much respect. Hell, I wasn’t all that impressed with me either.

But despite the throbbing from my eye I’d had a successful outing so I headed back to the agency to show my boss what I’d gotten.

These days most paparazzi don’t work for magazines or tabloids, we contract with an agency that sells our work to the highest bidder. The bad thing about the arrangement for a guy like me is that if I ever do hit the big time — like catching a British royal in flagrante delicto, for example — the agency would get the lion’s share of the money. On the other hand, the chances of lucking into a shot-of-a-lifetime like that are about as good as my chance of winning at Powerball. At least the agency checks keep coming during those long droughts between saleable shots, and if you do get a hot seller the bonuses are pretty nice.

Anyway, I felt certain the agency would be pleased with what I had captured on my memory card, so I made a beeline for Starla’s desk. Starla was the assignments editor, which made her my titular boss, but she was also my best friend at the agency. Actually, she was my best friend in L.A. She was also drop-dead gorgeous, which gave me an added incentive to see her every chance I got.

Now before I give anyone the wrong idea, let me hasten to add that I’m a faithfully married man. I’m not going to say that Starla never figured in any of my fantasies, but I never, ever acted on them.

Truth to tell, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Have you ever had a girl who was a friend but nothing more? That was Starla. Right from the start it was clear that we were simpatico; in no time we were cracking jokes and sharing stories about the agency, our clients and the celebrities we cover. But there was never a hint — no veiled glances, no lingering touches, no subtle invitations — that we were anything more than buddies.

When my wife met her, Kelly wasn’t the least bit jealous. Actually, that surprised me a little because there’d been times in the past when Kelly got her claws out any time she thought some woman was coming on to me. But she didn’t even blink when I introduced her to Starla. I’ve already demonstrated that I can’t predict what a woman will do, and my disability was proven again when the two of them seemed to get along famously.

Anyway, I breezed into Starla’s office with a hearty, “Hey, Starla, you’re going to love what I’ve got for you today!” She looked up with a warm smile when she heard my voice, but when she saw my face she gasped, “Oh my God, David, what happened to your eye? It’s bleeding!”

She made me lie down on the sofa in her office and rushed out, only to return moments later with a bag of ice which she carefully applied to the wounded area. As I recounted my adventure with Jinx, Starla became more and more upset. “That little tramp!” she exclaimed. “She could have blinded you! You should have her arrested!”

“Yeah,” I thought, “in Hollywood? Sure, that’ll happen.” So I just lay there nursing my throbbing eye and wondering not for the first time how I had managed to wind up like this.

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I was born about as far from Hollywood as you can get, on a mountaintop in Tennessee — Monteagle Mountain, to be specific. Actually, Monteagle isn’t really a mountain, it’s just part of the rim of the Cumberland Plateau. Anyway, we lived in the little town of Sewanee, notable primarily for being the home of the University of the South, where my Dad taught philosophy.

Growing up, I was a hopeful, optimistic little boy, and my mother did everything in her power to grind that optimism out of me. I don’t know if she was born a pessimist or just became that way over time. Whatever the case, she had a negative outlook on almost everything in life, starting with her only offspring.

When I wanted to try out for Little League she told me flatly that I’d never make the team. She was similarly dismissive of any attempt on my part at any other activity. When I told her I was going to work as a photographer for the school newspaper, she warned me it would be a waste of my time. As I look back on my childhood years, I can’t remember a single time when she had a positive word to say.

Over time she became so disgusted with my dreams and aspirations that she began calling me Don Quixote because she said I was always pursuing hopeless causes. She even called me that once in front of my schoolmates, and, as kids are wont to do, they picked up on it and used it to tease me.

Of course it wasn’t just me who bore the brunt of her attitude. She was equally ready to belittle my Dad, and she didn’t hesitate to do so in front of me.

When you’re little, you don’t stop to question why people are the way they are, you simply accept them. Looking back, I can’t understand why Dad tolerated her. Yet he never spoke a harsh word to her, and they seldom argued. Maybe he was cowed by the force of her personality, or maybe he loved her so much that it didn’t matter.

I do remember one time after she had reduced me to tears that he took me walking with him. We wandered down Green’s View Road past the Sewanee golf course until we came to the edge of the plateau. From that viewpoint we could look out over the valley below us. He put his arm around my shoulders. “Don’t let your Mom get to you, David. She doesn’t mean it, that’s just the way she is. You keep going after your dreams and they’ll come true some day.”

I did go on, but for all the success I’ve had I’d have to admit that my Mom’s forecast has been a lot more accurate than my Dad’s.

Growing up, one of my favorite Christmas presents was a cheap camera my Dad gave me one year. I was fascinated with how the little box could capture and preserve an instant in time, yet also invest it with artistic and emotional values that exceeded the actual subject. I spent many hours wandering through the forests and along the clifftops snapping photos of everything that caught my eye.

So it was no great surprise that when I went off to attend the University of Tennessee at Knoxville I wanted to major in fine arts with a concentration in photography. My mother, of course, thought I was wasting my time and their money, but my Dad bought me a book about Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Eisenstaedt and other great photographers to inspire me.

I also soon became inspired by a student who was majoring in the Visual and Performing Arts named Kelly Mathes. Kelly too had a dream: she wanted to become a singer-songwriter. We met our sophomore year and I quickly fell under the spell of her beauty and her personality.

I remember taking Kelly back to Sewanee to meet my parents. My Dad was quite impressed by my new girlfriend. My mother was cordial enough, but when she got me alone she warned me bleakly, “That girl is going to break your heart.”

By now I was mature enough to understand that pessimism and negativity were simply a part of my mother’s personality, and they no longer exerted the suffocating effect on me they had in my younger days. Accordingly, Kelly and I got married shortly after graduation, and the world seemed full of promise for both of us.

You can be a photographer almost anywhere, so I was flexible about where to start looking for my dream. But for a singer-songwriter there’s only one Mecca: Nashville. So Kelly and I moved to Music City. While she made the rounds on Music Row looking for someone to listen to her audition, I went looking for any kind of work in photography. Eventually, I found a job as a photographer’s assistant, not in a studio but at a retail chain that offered cut-rate portraits to those who couldn’t afford something better.

For the next two years, our lives were a frustrating mix of dreams and disappointments. When the head photographer at my store came to work drunk one day, I got promoted to fill his job. But I was still stuck trying to persuade unphotogenic people that they really needed a set of eight by ten glossies to give to their relatives. It was photography and it was a paycheck, but it was a long way from my dream.

As for Kelly, she made lots of contacts, met tons of people in the music industry and received plenty of encouragement, but the closest she came to the stage of the Ryman Auditorium was a job serving drinks at a bar on Lower Broadway. There’s a joke in Nashville that all you have to do to find a musician is to shout, “Hey, waiter.” It wasn’t funny to Kelly, so I wasn’t really surprised when she announced one night that she wanted to move to Los Angeles. Nashville didn’t understand her, she complained, and she was sure that the West Coast vibe of L.A. was just what she needed.

My own assessment was that the odds of scoring a recording contract in L.A. were no better than in Nashville, and the cost of living in Nashville was a heck of a lot lower. But logic and common sense carry little weight in an argument with a young woman who’s made up her mind, especially if her partner is crazy in love with her. So we packed our meager possessions into my Toyota and, with a loan from her parents, made the interminable drive to L.A.

At first it appeared that the pattern of my life would repeat itself, but a casual friend out there turned me on to the opportunities for freelance photographers. “This town is filled with celebrities,” he told me, “and people are obsessed with what those celebrities do and how they look. If you can catch a few of them in candid poses, you can make decent money selling their photos.” On the strength of such modest conversations is history made — hah!

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I should tell you a little about Starla. Technically, she’s my boss because she’s the assignments editor for the photography agency. As I indicated before, paparazzi don’t sell their stuff on their own any more, or at least most of them don’t. Instead, they work for an agency that takes their best shots and shops them around to the highest bidder, giving us a small cut on any deal they make. It’s easier on the media because they don’t have to deal with dozens of photogs, and it’s easier on us because we don’t starve in between sales.

When I’d been hired by the agency (it’s best if I don’t use its name), they sent me to see Starla Wilson. When I heard her name, I was half expecting some over-the-hill actress. What I found was a young woman about my age who was exceptionally bright and talented. On the basis of her looks I thought she could have been an actress or model in her own right, but she had absolutely no interest in that side of the industry. Truth be told, she had little interest in the publicity side either (that’s what we call ourselves to try to sound more reputable) but she was very good at what she did, even if she hated how phony it all was.

I think that’s what brought us together really: neither of us could believe we were stuck in the self-involved little cesspool that constitutes the entertainment industry. We used to talk about it for hours, regaling each other with tales of wretched behavior, negotiations in bad faith and bloated egos that had long since lost all touch with reality.

Of course it was no chore to hang around someone as gorgeous as Starla, but I never hit on her because of Kelly, and Starla made it easy for me to stay in line. It was clear that she liked me, but she never flirted with me, never seemed to notice me when I noticed her. We were pals, buddies on a quest that neither of us could define but one made easier by having a like-minded spirit along for the ride.

Once when we were eating lunch together I asked her what she was looking for and she actually blushed. “I’ll tell you, but please don’t laugh at me.” After I swore a solemn oath, she said, “I guess I’m looking for that proverbial knight on a white horse who’ll take me away from all this.”

I wasn’t even tempted to laugh. “The truth is I’m looking for something similar: not a white knight, but a way out, a path to a better life than this,” I told her.

“Well ain’t we a pair, raggedy man?” she asked, and I laughed as I recognized the line from the third Mad Max. It was another bond of friendship between us: we even liked the same old movies.

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It was late when I got in from work that evening, but I beat Kelly home. She still hadn’t had any luck as a performer but she’d gotten a job that made her feel a little closer to her goal. Kelly now worked as an assistant at a major talent agency, and she loved being around Grammy winners and movie stars every day. The money was almost as much as I was earning, which helped, but I didn’t like the fact that she often had to work late. Sal Manucci, the agent who was her boss, always seemed to have some last-minute task for her, and lately I felt like I was spending more time with the people in my office than I was with Kelly.

Anyway, she got home not too long after I’d popped a cold one and she’d at least had the decency to pick up Thai take-out for us, so we settled down to what passed as a family dinner in our little apartment. Kelly was full of the latest gossip about this star and that celebrity, and she was so caught up in talking about her day that she didn’t even notice my black eye.

Her neglect pissed me off a little, so when she paused over a mouthful of particularly hot curry, I seized the opportunity to begin talking about my little run-in with Jinx. Kelly actually began to pay attention after I mentioned Jinx’s name, and when I pointed out my eye as the punch line to my story, she suddenly became very sympathetic. “Omigod, David, your eye looks terrible. Does it hurt?”

I guess the combination of my injury and my close encounter with a reality star must have had a real effect on Kelly because she came to bed nude that night, something she hadn’t done in quite a while. I made a grab for her because I was pretty horny, but she fended me off. “No, David, you’re the one who got wounded today. Tonight’s all about you. Now lie back and let me be good to you.”

She then proceeded to give me what had to be one of the all-time great blow-jobs I’d ever received. Her fingertips ran up my thighs, urging my cock to expand to full height. Then she began to shower it with little butterfly kisses that were maddeningly arousing. Her tongue licked and moistened its entire length, and her lips sucked on the head before sliding down to encircle its girth. Then, kneeling on either side of my legs, she began moving her slippery mouth up and down, varying the pace as I began to moan. Every time I’d reach my hands out to try to grab her head and encourage her to speed up, she’d take my wrists and lower them back to the mattress. At one point, she even deep-throated me, and I tried to think if she’d ever succeeded in doing that before. But before I could remember, she began to accelerate her bobbing while applying increasing pressure with her tongue on the underside of my cock, and I quickly lost the capability for rational thought. My hips arched into the air involuntarily and then I was cumming so hard I thought the top of my head would blow off.

When I recovered my wits, I tried to reciprocate for Kelly, but she kept repeating that tonight was just for me. Then she scurried away to the bathroom to brush her teeth. When she returned, she had her pajamas on, so I pulled on my boxers, did my own preparations and crawled into bed beside her. As I pulled her warm body tight to me, spoon style, the last cogent thought I had before sleep claimed me was, “I hope somebody socks me in the other eye tomorrow.”

When I woke up the next morning, Kelly had already left for work. That wasn’t unusual; she often got an early start. But I was disappointed because I had wanted to let her know again how much last night had meant to me, and maybe even sneak in a repeat. Since that was no longer an option, I decided I’d pick up a bunch of flowers to bring home. Kelly always loved fresh flowers around the place.

When I got into the agency, Starla took one look at me and got a big grin on her face. “It looks to me like somebody got a lot of sympathy for his bruised face last night,” she said with a smirk. I blushed in spite of myself. “Damn, how could she know?” I wondered. But I didn’t try to deny it, and I think Starla was genuinely happy for me. I’d shared some of my frustrations with her about how things had been going with Kelly, and she was glad to see any signs of improvement.

We spent the morning reviewing the shots I’d taken of Jinx the other day. There were some we couldn’t use for various reasons, but I’d managed to capture one that showed both Jinx’s face and her hand shoplifting the watch, and another where she was charging at me with her hand upraised. “These are going to be dynamite,” Starla said. “Frankly, I’m surprised we haven’t heard from her agent trying to buy up the lot.”

In this twisted town, you don’t even have to publish pictures to make money off them. It’s not uncommon for publicists or agents to buy up all rights to a set of embarrassing photos so they don’t tarnish the reputations of the pampered personalities they represent. Of course there are some shots that are so hot that they’re worth more on the open market than any one source can afford; likewise there are some personalities that no one will pay to protect. You can tell a lot about any individual performer’s stock in this town by what actually gets into the media. It would be interesting to see if anybody stepped forward to protect Jinx.

It was another beautiful day in Los Angeles — the city averages over three hundred days of sunshine a year — so Starla and I decided to eat lunch in the park. We managed to find a bench that wasn’t overtaken by tourists or seagulls and unwrapped our food.

I was still feeling good about last night and I guess that was what prompted me to get so personal with Starla. “So why is it that someone as hot as you hasn’t found that white knight you’re always talking about to take you away from all this ugliness?” I asked, gesturing ironically at the beautiful lake, palm trees and green grass before us.

She snickered at my little joke, but then her face took on a serious expression. “I could give you a smart-ass answer, David, but the truth is I don’t really know what I’m looking for. I try not to show it, but I’m a pretty messed up girl.”

I was embarrassed about my clumsy prying and tried to apologize, but she waved me off. “No, it’s okay. I feel like I can trust you. To be honest, I feel more comfortable talking with you than just about anybody else I know.”

I didn’t know where that was coming from. I couldn’t think of anything I’d ever done that merited her confidences — except maybe not hit on her all the time.

“I don’t have any shortage of opportunities to go out with guys,” she went on, “but none of them has ever struck a chord with me. They’re all so into themselves, trying to impress me with their credentials or their money or the size of their dicks. It’s such a joke — I haven’t found a hero in the whole lot!”

She tried to smile at that, but I could tell that she was unhappy at the direction her life was going. Damn, who would think that someone as bright, talented and beautiful as Starla would be so unhappy with her life?

I didn’t know what to say to try to make her feel better so I tried to change the topic back to work. Soon we were swapping disparaging remarks about Jinx McClure (Starla called her Jinx Mc-Clueless), and that seemed to lighten her mood.

When we got back to the office, Starla went to check her email and I went back to reviewing the shots we wanted, when the front door opened and a man in a cheap suit entered. He spoke to one of the secretaries and then came up to me. “Are you David Cowan?” he asked, and when I acknowledged that I was, he simply handed me a sheaf of papers and said, “Then you’ve been served.”

Starla had come up behind me, and she put her hand on my shoulder.

I sat there stupidly. “Served? Served with what?”

The guy rolled his eyes. “It’s not really any of my business, pal, but off hand I’d say you’ve just been served with a divorce petition.”

I gaped at him. “There must be some mistake,” I sputtered. “My wife loves me. Last night . . .” My voice tailed off — that might be too much information.

The guy looked at me like I was a specimen pinned to a plate in a lab. “David Cowan, right?” All I could do was nod. “Sorry, pal, no mistake,” he said, and with that he turned and walked out the door.

As I sat there stunned, Starla grabbed my arm and half dragged me into her office, away from the prying eyes outside. I glanced at the document in front of me, and the words “dissolution of marriage” seemed to jump off the page. I looked up at Starla. “I don’t understand. Last night it was just like when we first got married. She was so loving and giving — and now this?”

Starla looked at me sympathetically. “It was a farewell fuck,” she said quietly. “It was her way of saying ‘Sorry for dumping you.’”

As I sat there uncomprehending, Starla leafed through the papers. “There’s a note from Kelly clipped on the back,” she told me. When I took it, she made a point of turning back to her computer so I could read the note in private, but I read it out loud anyway.

David –

I’m with Sal Manucci now. You’re a great guy but you don’t do it for me like he can. Please just sign the attached papers so we can both move on with our lives.

Sorry I’m too much of a coward to tell you in person. I’ll always have feelings for you. Hope you have a great life.



Now I was just angry. “That’s it? That’s all she has to say after five years of marriage: that she’s run off to live with her boss? What a fucking cliché! And you want to hear the best part? That last paragraph in her little note sounds exactly like something she was watching on some damned movie on the Lifetime channel last week. So much for ‘sorry,’ so much for our marriage!”

“She was acting, David,” Starla said gently. “You have to understand: in this town, everyone is acting,” Then she bent down and gave me a sisterly hug. “I’m sorry. You deserve better than this.” Then she straightened up. “Why don’t you get out of here? You don’t want to sit around and have everybody gossiping about you. Come back tomorrow morning and I’ll find a new assignment for you. Believe me, keeping busy is the best medicine.”

I left, keeping my head down as I walked through the office. I didn’t want to see any sympathetic stares, or, worse, hear any cynical snickers.

When I got home, things looked normal until I went into our bedroom. Everything in her closet, everything in her dresser, and everything of hers in the bathroom was gone. “Shit,” I thought, “she must have waited until I left for work and then come back to clean out the place.”

I wandered through the living room and kitchen but I couldn’t find anything missing there. In an odd sort of way that made me feel even worse — there was nothing we’d accumulated in our married life that she valued. I even found our wedding album. Clearly she didn’t want any reminders of me. If we’d had a fireplace, I would have burned it.

I thought about going out and getting drunk, but I’d never been much of a drinker and this didn’t seem like the best time to start. I hurt badly enough as it was; deliberately inviting a severe headache and an upset stomach didn’t make much sense. Instead I wound up in my car heading up to Mulholland Drive. When I finally got up there, I parked at the Groves Overlook and got out and stared at the lights of L.A. I did this sometimes when I had something on my mind, probably because it made me think of Green’s View overlook back in Sewanee. After a day like today, I needed the comfort of a little familiarity.

“Everybody in this town is acting,” Starla had said. Like a sap I’d believed that Kelly still loved me, still wanted to be my wife. “My marriage was like a set in a movie,” I thought bitterly. “Everything looks nice and normal until you peek around back and see it’s all fake.”

The view from the hills was beautiful, but this night the shimmering lights gave me no pleasure. “This whole damned town is a façade,” I decided, “a sparkly thing designed to lure you in, get your hopes up and then smash them into pieces when you least expect it,”

It was then that I remembered my mother’s prediction. She’d sure been right about Kelly; I was beginning to think she’d been right about everything. I drove back to the apartment more depressed than when I’d left.

When the alarm went off, I rolled over hastily to shut it off so it wouldn’t wake Kelly. Then I remembered that I didn’t have to be considerate of Kelly ever again, and my depression returned. But the buzzer was annoying so I shut it off anyway and then stumbled to the shower.

When I got to the office, I pulled out Kelly’s petition to look at it again. We had no common property of any value, so that wasn’t a consideration, and it appeared that Kelly wasn’t interested in alimony, not that she’d get much anyway given our respective incomes. All in all, it looked like we’d be making a quick, clean break. Nevertheless, I decided that I was in no particular hurry to sign. I wasn’t interested in reconciliation, especially not after yesterday’s humiliation, but I decided that I wanted to drag my feet. It appeared that Kelly was in a hurry to get this done quickly, and the idea that I could throw a little sand in her plans gave me a small measure of satisfaction.

Just then Starla came out of her office and beckoned to me, so I headed on in. After closing her door, she came around the desk to sit beside me. “How are you doing, David?” she asked sympathetically.

I told her I had survived my first night alone and went on to describe what I’d found when I got home. “She had everything all planned out, didn’t she?” Starla said caustically, and it made me feel better that someone besides me was angry about how I’d been treated.

“I bet you drove up on Mulholland last night,” she said in a softer voice. She knew all about my habit of driving up there when I needed to sort things out. I told her I had but it hadn’t helped. She nodded sympathetically, and then said, “The best thing for you right now is to stay busy. If you think you’re up for it, I just got a new assignment and they specifically asked for you.”

“I’ll take it,” I said quickly.

“Better wait till you hear the whole story,” Starla said ominously. Then she explained.

Micki Morningstar was America’s sweetheart, a pretty little girl who got her start in children’s television and had successfully made the transition to a twenty-one-year-old TV and movie actress. Her only problem now, Starla told me, was that she had too much of a goody-goody reputation. “Virtue doesn’t sell,” was her agent’s succinct assessment.

So Micki’s agent had dreamed up a little made-for-the-tabloids scheme to show another, naughtier side to his nubile client. Although she was regularly seen on the arm of her steady boyfriend at parties and events, her agent wanted to stage a fake affair with a known “bad boy.” It was a classic: paparazzo (me) snaps photos revealing Micki’s affair with the bad boy; Micki’s “good” boyfriend breaks up with her; the media goes into a frenzy; and when the furor is at its peak, Micki and her old boyfriend reunite to the happy tears of their adoring fans. It’s what they call a classic Hollywood ending. The whole thing was so cynical that I felt dirty even thinking about it.

“But why would they ask for me?” I asked Starla.

“It’s all about credibility,” she told me. “You have a reputation as the hunter, the guy who can find his prey and get a shot when no one else can. That makes the whole affair story look that much more believable,” she explained.

It was true that I’d had better luck than most at snapping hard-to-get photos. As a boy I’d spent many days prowling the Savage Gulf, shooting photos of birds and animals. I’d learned how to move silently through the forest, to climb trees and to keep motionless while a deer and her faun passed directly below the limb on which I perched. I’d been able to put that experience to good use on more than one occasion as a paparazzo.

But that didn’t make me feel any better about this assignment. “So nothing about this is real: not the affair, not the rendezvous, not even the photography? What a joke!”

Although I didn’t want to admit it, there was another reason I wasn’t keen to do this particular job. After what Kelly had done, the idea of shooting an affair, especially one that involved play-acting, hit a little too close to home. Listening to Starla describe the scenario, I couldn’t help thinking about Kelly’s little lovey-dovey act the night before she so unceremoniously dumped me.

Then Starla gave me the really bad news: the agent setting up this whole charade was none other than Sal Manucci, Kelly’s new bedmate!

“Manucci?” I howled, “Why the hell would he ask for me? Is he trying to humiliate me even more than he has already?”

“Calm down, David,” Starla said firmly. “He could have something like that in mind but maybe this is his way of trying to buy you off. He took something of yours, now he’s giving you something back. That’s the way this town works.”

I made an ugly sound in my throat.

“But what I really think” she went on, “is that Sal wants you because he needs to make his little drama as credible as possible. Selling the story to the public is the only thing he cares about.”

“Well, he may want me for the job, but I see no reason to help that bastard out,” I said.

Starla looked at me carefully. “You can refuse to do the job if you want, but it’s not going to change a thing. Besides, do you want to let him know you can’t face him, or do you want to show him you’re able to function in spite of everything?”

I thought about what Starla was saying. It was a lot to swallow, but I decided that I wasn’t about to cower in front of Manucci. I’d hold my tongue for now and get my payback later.

“Okay, Starla, I’m in,” I said reluctantly.

The next day found me headed out to the “love nest” where the “good girl” and the “bad boy” were supposed to be holding their rendezvous. I wore my hunting camos and some sneakers that were good for climbing trees. “Might as well look the part,” I muttered sarcastically.

I thought I’d been all over the greater L.A. area, but I was wrong. It’s a good thing they gave me a GPS location or I’d have never found the place. It was way out in a canyon in the foothills of the Sierra Madres.

When I finally arrived I found enough people there to shoot a full-length movie. In addition to Sal, who’d dreamed up this mock assignation, there were the two lovebirds plus a couple of assistants, two make-up artists and even a director for the shooting. On top of that, the “bad boy’s” real girlfriend and Micki’s steady boyfriend also showed up. I guess they wanted to keep an eye on things, just in case. What a production!

The love nest, I learned, actually belonged to the president of the talent agency Sal worked for. I’d have to shoot the scene in such a way that it wouldn’t be recognizable.

After a while, Manucci came up to me somewhat uneasily. “Listen, Cowan,” he said nervously, “no hard feelings about Kelly, right? Life goes on, you know.”

I had already told Starla that I wouldn’t get into it with Sal now, so I just nodded and said, “Sure, Sal, it is what it is and business is business.” He looked at me uncertainly, but a call from the director interrupted him and he went off to see what needed to be done. As far as I was concerned, the less I had to do with Manucci the better.

The scene was to take place in a pleasant little garden outside the house. The two illicit lovers were on one side of the canyon; I set up on the other. The director wanted me to shoot through the foliage to make it look as though I had caught them unawares.

The two “lovers” stood around chatting and drinking lattes until the director gave them their cue. Then, having handed off their coffee to an assistant, the two of them fell into a clinch that looked so real I started to get a hard on. I began shooting, using leaves and branches to frame my shots.

The director called for a break and the two stars instantly released each other and went back to drinking more coffee. Their respective make-up artists came rushing up to repair any damage their “passion” might have caused to their perfect looks.

The director came over to me. “Are you good or do you want to try something else that might make for a better shot?” he asked.

I looked around and got an idea. In less than a minute I managed to climb up into the limbs of a huge eucalyptus tree, using the knots and burls of broken limbs for footholds. Once I got up there I had a great view on the two young lovers through the limbs. We shot another set of poses from that angle before the director finally declared “That’s a wrap.”

Manucci went down to the house to check on his client, who had gone inside the house to refresh herself. The “bad boy” went over to reassure his real girlfriend, who didn’t look very happy. I did a quick review of the shots I’d taken just to be sure nothing had gone wrong. Before I put my camera away and shinnied down the tree, I decided to get a few shots of the house and garden in case they were needed for backdrop on our “exclusive.”

As I panned the camera across the house, my eye registered movement through one of the windows, and I used the zoom to see what it was. The angle of the sun was just right for me to look right into the back bedroom. There, out of sight of the rest of the crowd, were Sal and Micki locked in a clinch that put the acting of a few minutes earlier to shame. At first I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but then I began to fire off shot after shot as the two of them kissed and groped each other like long-time lovers. Then one of the assistants tapped on the door to check on them and the two hastily broke apart. Sal slipped into the bathroom, probably to adjust his hard on, I thought.

I sat there on the big eucalyptus limb, stunned by what I had just witnessed. Sal was having an affair with Micki? Oh boy, was Kelly going to be pissed when she found out! I knew I’d just been handed a chance for some major payback, but I needed to think everything out carefully.

When I got back to the office, Starla was eager to hear how the shoot went. When I showed her the “authorized” pictures I’d taken, she was impressed. “I was afraid these might look really phony and obviously staged, but they turned out great. If I didn’t know better, I’d think those two really were canoodling in some love nest.”

“Well, if you want to see some real passion, have a look at the other shots I took,” I told her with glee, and showed her the photos I’d taken through the bedroom window. She looked at me in confusion until I explained, “These were taken after the shoot was over, when Micki and Sal thought nobody could see them.” Then light dawned in Starla’s eyes and she gasped, “So there really is an affair and she and Sal are carrying it off right under everyone’s noses!”

She got a calculating expression on her face. “You really have to admire Sal’s chutzpah,” she said. “He has the audacity to set up a make-believe affair for his client while actually carrying on a real one with her. But that’s not the half of it, David. It’s considered a serious conflict of interest for an agent to have an affair with a client. Throw in the fact that Sal’s some twenty years older than Micki and the “ick” factor gets even higher. Like I said, he’s got a lot of balls to do this.”

“But why would he bother with Kelly if he’s got such a hot young piece of ass like Micki already?” I asked.

“He knows there’s no long-term future with Micki,” Starla answered, “but I’d guess the chance to tap both her and Kelly at the same time would be a huge rush for a lecher like Sal.”

“Well, he may have balls, but now I’ve got them right in my hands,” I crowed vengefully.

“Don’t be too sure,” she replied. “The photos you’ve got here would probably be enough to cause trouble between Kelly and Sal, but they might not be sufficient to convince other people that Sal is doing something this reckless. Sal could probably explain those pictures away as just an expression of appreciation from his grateful client.”

“I know what I saw,” I said hotly, “and there was a lot more than just appreciation being exchanged between those two.”

“I believe you, David,” Starla replied quickly, “but it’s not me you have to convince. If you could get something more — a second set like these — you’d have something we could really work with.”

“Great!” I said glumly, “how am I going to do that?”

“Don’t be discouraged,” she told me. “If Manucci is stupid enough to start an affair with a client and brazen enough to carry it on right under people’s noses, he’s likely he’ll make another mistake somewhere down the road. Now that you know, you can be watching. I’ll bet you’ll get what you need, and when you do, I know just how to help you make the most of it.”

It was disappointing to think that what I had wasn’t enough, but I appreciated Starla’s pep talk and vowed to keep after Manucci. At least now I knew he was vulnerable; I’d just have to keep looking for my chance. In the meantime, it felt good to have Starla as my co-conspirator.

When I lay down that night, I had a hard time getting to sleep because so many different emotions kept running through my mind. Kelly’s betrayal continued to eat away at me like acid, and being forced to work with the guy who had cuckolded me only added insult to injury. Yet the discovery that Kelly’s lover was cheating on her and the idea that I might get a chance for some payback on both of them was encouraging. The fact that Starla and I now shared a little secret also made me feel better.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

I was out shooting some routine shots when my cell phone went off. When I answered, I was surprised to hear Kelly’s voice, and she was not in a friendly mood. “Why haven’t you signed those papers?” she demanded. “Do you even have a lawyer yet?”

It gave me a little perverse pleasure to learn I had ticked her off, even in a small way, so I casually told her I hadn’t gotten around to addressing the matter. That really got her going. “What are you waiting for? There’s nothing to argue about, no alimony, no property settlement. Just sign the damned agreement and send it back,” she yelled.

“I’m sorry, Kelly, but what’s urgent to you is no longer a concern of mine,” I told her nastily and then broke the connection. I was going to take my own sweet time, and if Kelly didn’t like it, she could lump it.

Over lunch in her office, I told Starla about the call, and she got a nasty smile on her face. “Sounds like Kelly doesn’t want any more delay than necessary. I bet she’s afraid that if things drag on too long, Sal will lose interest in her. Of course she doesn’t know Sal’s already found another diversion,” she said with a smirk.

I just grinned back. It looked like Kelly’s best laid plans might be about to skitter off course.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

After the shock of Kelly’s betrayal, I’d pretty much kept to myself, socially speaking. The idea of looking for feminine companionship just wasn’t very appealing to me. But now that the pain had worn off a little, I found my attitude starting to change. It was time to get back in the game, I decided.

Once I made that decision, I knew that the person I’d most like to start a relationship with was Starla. Now that I was unattached, I hoped that she and I might begin to see each other on a personal rather than just professional basis.

But approaching her was easier said than done. Once you’ve settled into a friendship with a woman, it’s a scary thing to try to change the nature of that relationship. If she doesn’t have feelings for you, not only are you going to get rejected but you also run the risk of screwing up the friendship as well. It would almost be easier, I thought, if I had only just met Starla rather than working with her for so long.

The end result of all this approach/avoidance behavior was that I decided to try to ease into the situation. If I could get a read on how she felt about me, I figured I could move forward or back off without irreparably harming our friendship — I hoped.

We were having lunch in her office one day when I introduced the subject in what I hoped was a roundabout way. “So is there a man in your life these days, Starla?” I asked. “I never hear you talk about dating or anything.”

She sat there so long without speaking that I thought I’d made a terrible blunder. When she finally looked up at me, her eyes were red, and I mentally kicked myself for my clumsiness.

“I haven’t told you about this before,” she said in a quiet, tightly controlled voice, “but when I was in college, I was raped. I’d been at a campus party and someone must have slipped something into my drink. I don’t remember anything else until my roommate found me lying bruised and naked on the floor outside my room. She got me to the student clinic, and when they found evidence of rape, they called the police.”

“Oh, God, Starla, I’m so sorry!” I gasped.

She went on as though she hadn’t heard me. “They performed a D&C on me that morning, and I had to take medication for a while to protect against venereal disease. It was pretty horrible.” Tears began running down her cheeks.

“As best they were able to tell,” she went on, “there must have been four of them who took turns with me. In some ways, it was a blessing that I couldn’t remember anything about what happened. But afterwards, every time I ran into a guy on campus I would wonder if he was one of the men who assaulted me. Eventually I couldn’t take it any more and wound up dropping out of college.”

I felt lower than I’d ever felt in my life. I wanted to put my arm around Starla and comfort her, but after what she’d just told me, I was afraid that would be the worst thing I could do. Eventually, all I could think of was to bring her some tissues.

She gave me a grateful nod and blew her nose. “Anyway, ever since then I’ve had a hard time with men. I guess that’s why I’m waiting for that white knight. I’m looking for someone I can trust not to hurt me.”

She’d stopped crying now, but I could see she was still pretty emotional, and it was all my fault. I desperately cast about for some way to make things better — then inspiration struck. “Listen,” I said forcefully, “let’s blow off work this afternoon. I know you love art and I saw where a new exhibit just opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Let’s give it a look.”

She hesitated a moment, then got a look of resolution on her face. “Okay, David, let’s play hooky.”

We caught the Metro Purple Line to the Civic Center Station and then walked a couple of blocks to MOCA. As we strolled through the exhibition, I kept thinking about what I had learned today. It was no wonder Starla never talked about men in her life — there weren’t any. After going through the ordeal she’d experienced, I could understand if she never trusted a man again. Still, I thought, she hadn’t said she never wanted to have anything to do with the male sex, so maybe there was still a chance for me. But I knew for sure that I’d have to tread slowly and lightly not to scare her away.

After we finished the exhibition, I led her a couple of blocks to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It was one of my favorite places to photograph. Gehry’s metal walls created fantastic, complex shapes that made flowing surfaces and backdrops. The whole building seemed more like abstract art than a center for the performing arts.

After we’d had coffee at the Café, Starla took my hands. “Thank you, David,” she said, kissing me on my cheek, “I really needed to get away today. I’m glad you’re my friend.”

As she left, I thought about what she said. I was glad I’d done something right after reopening such a deep wound, and her words about my being her friend were encouraging. But I had to wonder if I could ever be anything more than that to her.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

For people in our profession, the calendar of the entertainment world is the biggest influence on our working lives. The next big event coming up was the announcement of nominations for the Emmy Awards. I didn’t have to worry about the nomination event itself — everyone and his brother would be there covering the show. My assignment was to cover the after-parties, when those who had been nominated would celebrate until they passed out, and those who were overlooked would drown their sorrows until they did the same thing. You could always count on some celebrities being caught in unflattering positions, all of which were fair game to the paparazzi.

There wasn’t a chance in hell of my getting invited to one of those parties, of course, but they couldn’t stop me from lurking outside and shooting candids whenever the opportunity presented itself. I’d also learned from experience that the real action didn’t start with the arrival of the guests. It was when the party was winding down that the best shots could often be had.

The big producer whose party I’d been assigned to cover had security out in force, so I had no choice but to hang around the periphery of his Beverly Hills mansion and make wisecracks with the other paparazzi about the valet parkers. It’s quite a sight to watch some of the most expensive vehicles ever made being driven by post-adolescents with dubious driving skills.

But I had an advantage that none of my competitors shared: I wasn’t afraid to climb. There was a royal palm across the street that looked sturdy enough to hold me, so I shinnied up using a telephone repairman’s belt I’d brought. The tree rocked perilously as I carefully ascended, but once I reached the foliage and quit climbing it stabilized, giving me a good platform for shooting. The leaves tended to hide me quite well, making me almost invisible from the ground, and best of all, the elevation enabled me to look over the high wall surrounding the producer’s estate.

In a short time I was able to identify and photograph a number of a-list stars, some of whom were acting in a most uninhibited manner as the night wore on. Then I noticed something strange. I’d been keeping my eye on the large heated swimming pool when I spotted a figure in a skimpy bikini climb out and walk around to the side of the house. “That’s Micki Morningstar,” I realized. “What is she doing? There’s nothing over there but the air conditioner unit.”

Only a minute later I got my answer. Another figure began sneaking furtively around the house from the other direction. My telephoto lens confirmed what I already suspected: it was Sal Manucci. No sooner had the two of them converged than the top of her bikini came off and Sal was eagerly fondling the young star’s perky breasts. After a few minutes she sank to her knees and proceeded to give him a very proficient blowjob while he leaned back against the side of the mansion in obvious ecstasy.

I snapped away with glee. “I’ve got you now, you bastard!” I chortled to myself. Then, after securing my camera, I carefully descended from the palm with my precious photos. Things were definitely looking up.

I had just stowed my camera bag in my car and was getting ready to head home when I noticed a familiar figure stagger out of the producer’s mansion and make her way unsteadily to the valet stand. “Get my fucking car, you pimple-faced punk,” screamed a belligerent Jinx McClure at the hapless kid. She was obviously drunk or stoned or both.

The valet’s lips curled in a sneer at Jinx’s words and drunken demeanor, but he nevertheless ran off to retrieve her car. While he was doing so, Jinx was staggering back and forth on the lawn outside the fence, barely able to stay on her feet.

When the valet brought her gleaming white Ferrari FF around, she tripped in her high heels and fell on her rump, revealing to everyone in sight that she wasn’t wearing panties. She paused to pull her shoes off and throw them toward the hapless youth, then barely managed to stand up.

I had no love for Jinx McClure, but my conscience just wouldn’t permit me to stand there and watch her kill herself or someone else. I stepped up to the kid and grabbed his arm. “Hey, you can’t give her the keys, man. She’s drunk out of her mind — there’s no way she can drive!”

He eyed me uncertainly. At that moment Jinx yelled, “Give me the keys, you fucking little half-wit! Don’t you know who I am?”

With that the valet turned to me and said coldly, “Ms. McClure does not appear to be impaired to me,” and he held out the keys to her.

“You’re signing her death warrant,” I yelled at him. When he left the keys extended, I snatched them out of his hand before Jinx could reach them. “Get in the car,” I yelled at her, and steered her toward the passenger door. She was so out of it that she docilely allowed me to buckle her into her seat.

I went around to the driver’s side of the car and got in. The valet looked on bemused. “What about my tip?” he asked. “Don’t drink and drive,” I yelled, and rolled up the window in his face. He flipped me the bird as I started the engine and the Ferrari lurched out onto the street. I’d never driven a car with that kind of power; I knew I’d have to be cautious.

Jinx slumped laxly in her seat, her head lolling around drunkenly. “Hey,” she said after a while, “I know you. You’re that photographer.”

“That’s right,” I said tightly, “David Cowan at your service.”

“You were at the store when they got me for shoplifting,” she mumbled.

“That’s right,” I told her, “that was me.”

“That’s OK,” she said, “that was good publicity. My agent told me so.”

I didn’t see any point in carrying on a conversation with a drunk so I concentrated on driving through the streets of Beverly Hills. I didn’t need a map to find Jinx’s home; any paparazzo worth his salt knows the location of the homes of the stars.

“You’re a pretty nice guy,” she said drunkenly. Then she flopped over in my direction and began fumbling with my zipper.

“Hey, cut it out, Jinx” I yelled, “I’m trying to drive.”

“I’m just gonna give you a little blow job,” she mumbled.

Great, that was all I needed, I thought. I pushed her away and concentrated on navigating the streets. We were almost to her place.

After pulling over to the curb in front of her ornate home, I ran around to help her out of the car. But when I opened the passenger door, I saw that she had passed out with her head slumped on her ample chest. As I unbuckled her seatbelt, I suddenly realized that she wasn’t breathing!

“Oh, shit!” I cursed, “Don’t do this to me, Jinx!”

Quickly I pulled her out of the car and sprawled her on her back on the lawn. I slapped her face, hoping the shock would wake her, but it had no effect.

I vaguely remembered my Boy Scout training in CPR. Of course that was years ago, but I figured that anything was better than doing nothing, so I began the chest compressions, pausing periodically to pinch her nose and blow air into her mouth.

As I continued the procedure, I began yelling at the top of my lungs for help. A light went on and an older woman I didn’t recognize came out on the porch in a robe. “What’s going on?” she called.

“Call 9-1-1,” I yelled. “She’s not breathing!”

The woman scurried inside while I continued to alternate a series of compressions with artificial respiration. I had just forced another lungful of air into Jinx’s open mouth when I felt her convulse. Suddenly she vomited straight into my mouth, and I twisted away and began to puke violently. Fortunately, I still had enough presence of mind to roll her over so that her own vomit could clear her airway.

As we both lay there heaving on the grass, I heard a siren behind me. The EMTs got to us quickly, and once they’d ascertained that I was not the one in trouble, they concentrated on Jinx. In no time they had her bundled into the ambulance and were wailing away to a hospital. I lay there on my hands and knees, my stomach sore from retching and my mouth tasting of stomach acid and Thai cuisine. As the adrenaline washed out of my system, I began to shiver.

The woman came back out and stood over me. “Who are you?” she demanded.

“I’m nobody,” I said, “just a guy who drove her home.”

She bent down and picked up the keys to the Ferrari, then started to walk back to the house. “Wait,” I yelled after her, “I need those to get back to my car.”

She stared at me like I was an insect. “Get a cab,” she said as she climbed back up on the porch.

That pissed me off. “Are you her mother?” I yelled, and she nodded at me curtly. “Well, you’ve obviously done well with your daughter,” I said sarcastically. “I know you must be very proud.”

She just sniffed and slammed the door behind her.

I reached for my cell phone to call a cab, only to find my phone was missing. I looked all around Jinx’s yard as well as the sidewalk and curb, but couldn’t find it anywhere. So much for a cab, I thought resignedly. With a sigh I started walking back toward the party. At least I still had my car keys.

Dawn was breaking when I finally reached my apartment and let myself inside. I was exhausted, my feet were sore and my clothes smelled like vomit. I stripped them off and threw them in the trashcan, then fell into bed.

The next thing I heard was the phone ringing and Starla’s voice saying, “David, where are you? Everyone is looking for your Emmy pictures!”

Groggily I sat up. “Sorry I’m late. You wouldn’t believe the night I’ve had,” I said. “But I did get some good shots. Just give me a few minutes and I’ll be right there.”

I showered as quickly as I could, got dressed and headed to the office. As I drove, I thought about everything that had happened at the post-party. My adventure with Jinx had been pretty unpleasant and had cost me a cell phone and a night’s sleep, but at least I felt like I’d done the right thing. Besides, I reminded myself, the shots I’d gotten of Micki and Sal made everything else worth it.

Starla was really pleased when she saw the photos I’d managed to take at the party. When the beautiful people think they’re safe behind walls, they let down their guard and act just as stupidly as the rest of us, as many of my shots demonstrated. “The shots of guests arriving at the party are fine, but these high-angle pix will be the real money-makers,” Starla felt.

She pulled up a shot of Jinx McClure arriving in her white Ferrari. “I see your old girlfriend showed up,” she said with a wink. “Did you hear the news about her?” When I shook my head, she went on, “Her agent announced this morning that she’s checked into a rehab center. They’ve suspended shooting on her show indefinitely.”

I felt a sense of relief: at least she’d survived. I looked at Starla blandly. “I’m glad to hear it. That girl has been out of control for a long time. Maybe this will be just what she needs.”

“Yeah, maybe,” Starla replied cynically, “unless it’s just another publicity stunt.”

I shook my head. She was right: in this town it was hard to know what was real and what was just acting.

Then I showed Starla the piece de resistance: my shots of Micki giving Sal head. She looked at me with a mixture of admiration and excitement. “I knew you could do it! You’ve got him where you want him now, David. We’re going to make him squeal like a pig!”

When I left work after learning about Starla’s engagement, I decided to drive up to Mulholland Drive again. If ever I needed to do some thinking, now was the time.

As I watched dusk fall over the city, I tried to get my emotions back under control. “I know we never went out or anything, but I felt like we had something more than just friendship,” I thought mournfully. Then I remembered what Starla had said when Kelly left: “Everybody in this town is acting.” I guess she was including herself when she said that.

“I can’t believe she’s gay!” I burst out angrily, but then I thought about what had happened to Starla back in college and felt guilty. I couldn’t blame her for not wanting a man, not after something like that. It was little wonder that she’d gravitated to women.

“All men aren’t like those animals,” I objected, but I knew I was rationalizing. “If Starla is a lesbian, that’s just the way it is and I have to accept it,” I told myself. But I still was upset by the situation and, to be honest, jealous of Hannah.

Later, as I drove home in the darkness, my only consolation was that I hadn’t tried to ask Starla to go out on a date. “That would have been truly humiliating,” I thought.

I felt really awkward the next day when I went into work, but I forced myself to stick my head into Starla’s office. I still wanted to remain friends with her, even though that friendship had now become a source of pain. “Listen,” I said, “I’m sorry I was so spaced out yesterday when you told me about you and Hannah. I’m really happy for you. You just caught me by surprise.”

“I understand,” she said apologetically. “I should have said something sooner. It’s just that it all happened so quickly that I never got the chance.”

“That’s OK,” I reassured her. “I’m just glad you’ve finally found your white knight. So is she going to take you away from all the California craziness?”

Starla’s face lost its smile momentarily. “Oh, that was me just being romantic or immature or something. No, Hannah is an attorney who’s really making a name for herself on women’s issues. In fact, people are starting to mention her name for political office here in California, and I know she has ambitions in that direction. Given all that, I think I’m here for the duration.”

I felt badly that my off-hand remark had made her uncomfortable. “Hey, that’s great,” I said hastily. “As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters.”

She smiled in gratitude. “Thank you, David. That means a lot to me.” Then she looked down at some papers on her desk. “Hey, a new assignment has come in. Want to take it on? This one should be a piece of cake for you.”

“What have you got?” I asked with interest. Once again, the idea of having something to take my mind off my love life — or lack thereof — sounded good.

“One of the big weeklies wants to do a ‘Where Are They Now’ feature,” Starla explained. “They’ve got a good size list of names, but all it should take will be a little research.”

It’s an old standby. From time to time publications like to run features on actors and other personalities who were famous once but have since faded from the scene. Fans love to find out where their old favorites are now and what they’re doing. This assignment wouldn’t be as challenging as some, but it would take a little time to track everyone down and get their pictures. That would get me out of the office and away from Starla, so I decided to take it on.

For many of the ex-celebrities on the list, my task turned out to be no more difficult than contacting their former agents. Many of the agents had kept up a relationship with their old clients, and most of the clients were delighted to get a taste of the spotlight again, even if only a fleeting one. But a few seemed glad to have left the past behind, and those it took me a little work to track down. I found one former soap opera star who had moved to Encino and now owned a small organic farm. She wasn’t particularly interested in rehashing her past, but I managed to get some good shots of her in her fields.

But there was one guy, a former rock star named Billy Badly, who seemed to have dropped off the radar screen altogether. He’d had a couple of big hits in the early 90′s, along with a couple of run-ins with the law. But unlike so many other flashes in the musical pan, Billy hadn’t tried to milk his fame through endless oldies concerts and reunion tours. He’d simply dropped out of the scene, cut all ties with his label and his agent, and disappeared.

I guessed that “Billy Badly” wasn’t his real name, and an old article in Rolling Stone revealed he was born William Atkinson. I used that name to check the tax rolls and found seven William Atkinsons who owned property in L.A. or the surrounding area. “Just my luck,” I thought resignedly, as I set out to check each one.

The next day I was able to rule out five of the Atkinsons on my list, but the last two were way on the other side of the city. So the following day I reluctantly set out for the next address, which was all the way out in Topanga Canyon. I steered my old Toyota west onto US 10, took the exit for the Pacific Coast Highway, and then headed north on Highway 27. That’s when things started to get interesting.

Once I got to Topanga, I thought I’d found the correct turn-off, but I was soon maneuvering through a series of sharp switchbacks along a steep slope. I was just about to turn back and retrace my route when I rounded yet another blind curve and saw a frightening sight. A small pick-up truck had apparently lost control on the loose gravel and spun out. Its rear wheels were now dangling over the side of the canyon. The driver had panicked and was frantically gunning the engine, spinning the wheels in a vain attempt to get back on the road.

I pulled over to the side and rushed to the pick-up. The woman driving had the steering wheel in a death grip, her eyes wide as saucers. “Get out of the truck,” I yelled, but she didn’t budge. “You’ve got to get out,” I yelled again, “it’s going to go over the edge.” Still she sat there pumping the gas pedal.

In desperation I yanked open the door and grabbed her arm. “Come on, now!” I yelled, and this time she looked at me with a startled expression as though she couldn’t understand how I could be standing there. I gave a harder tug on her arm and she let go suddenly so that I yanked her out of the car and down on the ground on top of me. I scrambled to my feet and helped her up, trying to get us both away from the precariously perched vehicle. But instead of retreating to safety, she started back to the truck, which was teetering ominously now that the weight was gone from the front seat.

“No, get away from the truck,” I said, trying to pull her to safety, but she screamed, “My baby!” and I gasped in dismay. I grabbed her by the shoulders and held her still. “Wait here,” I ordered and then ran to the truck cab, desperately looking for her infant. I couldn’t see a carseat, bassinet or any other evidence of a baby on board, but then a flash of white in the footwell of the passenger side caught my eye. It was a small dog!

“You’re going to die,” I thought as I flung myself across the bench seat and grabbed for the terrified canine. It nipped at me but I managed to grab its collar and jerk it toward me. Then I scrambled backwards out of the cab and fell to the pavement just as the truck began its inexorable slide off the road and down the canyon. The open door must have passed only inches from my face as I lay on my back.

I lay there for a minute, shaking from the close call. The woman seemed to have recovered her senses; she came over and plucked the dog out of my arms. “Oh, Baby, are you okay? You had me so scared!” she crooned to the little dog, which licked her face eagerly.

Finally I sat up and the woman seemed to notice me for the first time. “Gosh, mister, are you all right?”

I nodded as I got to my feet, and she came over to me, threw her arms around my neck and began to rain kisses on me. “You saved Baby,” she said breathlessly. “He could have been killed.”

I gently pushed her away so I could dust off my pants. “So could you,” I thought, “and so could I, for that matter.” But I kept those thoughts to myself because I didn’t want her to freak out again.

“Listen,” I said, looking down into the ravine, “there’s no way we’re going to get your truck out of there without a wrecker, assuming it’s even salvageable. Do you live around here? Can I take you home?”

Her face fell immediately, and I thought she was going to break into tears. “Oh, gosh, Billy is going to be so mad at me.”

“It’s alright,” I tried to reassure her. “It was an accident; there wasn’t anything you could do.”

“No, there wasn’t,” she sniffled. “It wasn’t my fault.” This thought seemed to brighten her mood considerably, and when I pointed toward my Toyota and again offered to drive her home, she accepted.

As she directed me along the steep, winding roads, I took the opportunity to look her over out of the corner of my eye. Now that the emergency had passed, I could see that she was maybe 30 years old and very attractive. She was wearing a t-shirt that made no pretense of hiding the size of her bosom. A pair of abbreviated shorts and flip-flops were her only other apparel. I decided my luck was even better than I’d thought when I avoided going over the cliff.

She introduced herself as Bitsy Baker, and when I told her I was David Cowan she smiled and stuck her hand out: “Pleased to meet you, David.” I asked what she did for a living and she replied, “Oh, I’m the housekeeper for Billy Badly.” No sooner had she said that than she clapped her hands over her mouth and looked at me guiltily. “Oh, no, I’m not supposed to tell anybody. Billy made me swear never to tell a stranger about him or where he lives.”

Then she looked over at me and her shoulders relaxed a little. “But you saved Baby’s life, and now you’re driving me home, so I guess that means you’re not a stranger, right?”

I smiled and reassured her that we were old friends. “Besides, I used to be a big fan of Billy’s,” I told her truthfully. “So how did you come to be his housekeeper?”

“I was his groupie,” she said blithely. “I used to go to all his concerts and sleep with him and everything, and after a while he just took me with him wherever he went. When he quit the band and bought this place in Topanga, he brought me with him.”

As she said “this place” she pointed to a gravel road that veered off through a copse of scrub bushes. I turned where she directed, and once we were past the copse we had to stop at a gate. Bitsy hopped out, punched in a combination and the gate swung slowly open to admit us. I hadn’t seen a mailbox or any other sign that there was anything back there, but when I rounded a low hill I spotted a large house with several smaller buildings spread out around it. She directed me to a small cottage at the far side of the cluster. “That’s where I live,” she said brightly.

I looked back at the big house and she caught my glance. “That’s Billy’s house,” she explained. “I go up there and clean it every time he goes out of town, or when he’s home and horny,” she went on matter-of-factly.

“Okay,” I said cautiously, “so should we go let Billy know what happened to the truck and that you’re alright?”

“We can’t do that,” she said. “He and his friends are down in Mexico again and won’t get back until after dark. They’re always going down there — I think Billy has friends in Tijuana or something. I’m here all alone, but I’m used to it.” She smiled at me. “Would you like to come in and have a cup of coffee?”

“Sure,” I said, hoping to learn more about Billy’s post-rock lifestyle.

Bitsy’s cabin was cozy but pleasant enough. While she set about brewing some coffee, I took the opportunity to look out the window at the rest of the compound. In addition to the main house there was a large detached garage as well as what appeared to be a storage building. Now that I looked more closely, I realized that the entire compound was surrounded by a tall chain-link fence topped by concertina wire, and there were several poles with security cameras mounted on top.

“Very interesting,” I thought to myself. “It looks like Billy really likes his privacy.”

Before I could continue that train of thought, I heard Bitsy clear her throat behind me, and when I turned around I caught my breath. While I had been looking out the window, she’d managed to strip off her clothing and was standing there in all her glorious nudity. I’d been right about her breasts — they were a work of art: high, firm and full. A slow scan down her body revealed that housekeeping apparently gave her all the exercise she needed. She was toned and fit, with a surprisingly slim waist above womanly hips and long legs, the junction of which displayed that she was completely shaved.

“I really haven’t thanked you properly for saving Baby’s life,” she said with a purr and that subtle smile that women have when they know they have a man where they want him.

“Bitsy, you don’t have to . . .” I tried to protest, but she stepped forward and put her fingers over my lips.

“But I want to,” she said, “I really want to. It’s been a long time.” Then her fingers were working on my shirt, and once she had successfully removed it she quickly dispensed with my pants, shoes and boxers. Then she pushed me backwards until my knees hit the sofa and I plopped down where she wanted me.

She sank to her knees and quickly leaned forward to take my rapidly growing cock into her mouth. In seconds I was at full length, and then I gasped as she slid it all the way down her throat without even a pause. I let my head fall back and my eyes close because her lips, tongue and throat muscles were doing things I’d never experienced before. I’d thought that Kelly gave a good blow job; Bitsy made her seem like a nervous virgin.

Just as the sexual tension began building within my body, Bitsy pulled off of me. I started to try to return the favor, but she’d have none of it. Quickly she crawled up onto my lap, grabbed my cock in her hand and began aiming it at her now-gaping pussy. I saw that she was literally dripping with anticipation, and the instant that she found the right angle she thrust her hips forward, impaling herself on me all the way.

I pride myself on being able to go slow and delay my own orgasm so that I can be sure to bring my partner off. But it was clear from the start that Bitsy was in charge of this fuck and that she had no need for foreplay. Once she was fully seated with me buried to the hilt, her hips took on a rapid, almost frantic motion, and she began to gasp and moan. “Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes!” she cried, and I couldn’t help but think I knew why Billy had kept her around for so long.

She put her arms around my neck to steady herself, and that put those magnificent breasts right in front of my face. I reached up with my hands to steady them, and then held them each in turn to my mouth, first to kiss and suck on them, then gently to bite the nipples. She squealed as though an electric current was flowing from her nipples to her pussy and managed to accelerate the motion of her hips as she ground against me.

The fact that I hadn’t gotten laid since Kelly left plus Bitsy’s obvious excitement drove me to a higher level of need than I could ever remember. In an instant I spun her around so that her back was on the couch. I grabbed her legs and raised them over my shoulders so that she was bent almost double. Then with a roar I began to pound into her as hard and as fast as I had ever fucked a woman.

Her need and mine had us on the brink in no time. She suddenly arched her back and gave a loud scream just as I came inside her. Her pussy continued to quiver with mini-contractions even after I let her legs fall and slumped against her in exhaustion.

We rested like that for several minutes before I rolled off of her. She pulled my mouth to hers and gave me a sweet little kiss. “Oh, wow, David,” she said, “that was wonderful! I don’t think anyone has ever fucked me so hard. I really needed that.”

Then, to my amusement, she went over, picked up her dog, brought it over and held it to my face while it gave me several licks. “Baby wants to thank the nice man too,” she said in a childlike voice. I’m not really a dog person, but I told myself I’d gladly endure a few dog kisses for the chance to have Bitsy express her gratitude again.

After assuring myself that Bitsy would be alright and urging her to contact her insurance company about her truck, I started the drive back home. As I left, I carefully noted the surrounding landscape and the route to Billy’s canyon retreat because I planned to return the next day when Billy should be home.

The next morning I dropped by the office to give Starla the other “Where Are They Now?” shots I’d gotten. When she asked about Billy, I decided not to give her a full account of my day’s adventures with Bitsy but I did tell her I’d managed to find where Billy lived and hoped to get shots of him that afternoon.

She nodded and then pulled out a copy of a popular celebrity weekly magazine. “I thought you might like to see an advance copy of this, since it has your work in it,” she said with a wink. Sure enough, there on the cover was one of my photographs of Micki Morningstar embracing the bad boy with whom she was supposedly cheating. I turned to the text and there in breathless prose was the story Sal had concocted about her affair.

I thought about what was really going on and chuckled derisively. Starla had been watching my face, and when I laughed she said, “I thought you might get a kick out of this.”

“So when do we release the shots I took of Micki and Sal together?” I asked her.

“We’ll want to wait until part two of Sal’s little fiction comes out,” she advised. “The true story will have the greatest impact then.” I smiled — this was going to be good.

Over lunch we continued to discuss the surprise she had planned for Sal and Kelly. As I’d hoped, Starla knew just how to work it for maximum impact. At first I was amped up, but as we continued to talk, my enthusiasm began to wane. The problem was Starla: watching and listening to her I couldn’t help wishing things could be different. I knew now she preferred women over men, so I had to accept that nothing would ever happen between us. But the truth didn’t make her any less attractive to me. I felt like the mythical Tantalus, forever craving the sumptuous fruit hanging above him but never able to grasp them. Being around Starla was torture, and like Tantalus I couldn’t seem to escape it.

“So,” I asked casually, “is everything going OK with you and Hannah?”

“Of course,” she snapped at me. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

“No reason,” I said hastily. “I was just trying to make conversation.”

Her shoulders relaxed a little. “Sorry I bit your head off,” she apologized. “It’s just that Hannah seems to want me to attend every meeting and rally she goes to, and I’m a little stressed about it all, what with work and everything else going on.”

“Sure, sure, I understand,” I reassured her. Once again I mentally kicked myself for upsetting her. I guess brides-to-be have a lot on their minds that guys don’t understand. I vowed to myself not to bring up the subject again and got out of her office as soon as I could.

I waited until after lunch to set out again for Topanga Canyon. Most celebrities aren’t morning people and I didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot by waking Billy. As I drove I kept thinking about his compound. It’s not all that unusual for celebrities to protect their privacy, but Billy’s set-up seemed excessive to me. Something wasn’t right.

Consequently, when I finally arrived at the canyon I pulled off the road a hundred yards away from the entrance to Billy’s place. From there I made my way across an open field, keeping a hill between me and the compound. When I reached the crest of the hill I lay down among the tall grass and scrub bushes and used my long lens to try to get a read on what was going on down there.

First I trained my lens on Bitsy’s little bungalow, but there was no activity there. Then I turned to the main building. Parked outside the house today was a large SUV. When I shifted my focus I spotted two panel vans now parked in front of the garage. As I watched, several men appeared to be unloading bundles out of the vans and moving them into the storage facility I’d spotted earlier. Then, another man walked into view. He appeared to be supervising the others, but what really startled me was that he was carrying what looked like an assault rifle. I kept shooting pictures, wondering what in the hell Billy had gotten into.

Suddenly I felt a knee come down hard between my shoulder blades, pinning me to the ground and knocking the wind out of me. As I lay there gasping, I felt the barrel of a pistol press against my ear.

“Alright, asshole, keep your mouth shut and crawl backwards,” came a harsh voice, and I hastened to comply as soon as I regained my breath. Once I was below the crest of the hill, a hand grabbed my shoulder and roughly turned me over. I saw a large man standing over me with an automatic pistol pointed at my chest.

“Who the fuck are you and what are you doing here with that camera?” he demanded.

I started to reach for my wallet, but a waggle of the gun in my face stopped me cold. “I’m just reaching for my I.D.,” I assured him, and slowly pulled my wallet out of my back pocket. All the while his eyes watched me carefully for any wrong moves. He took my wallet gingerly, then stepped back and scanned the photo I.D. the photo agency had provided me. After a minute he grabbed a phone from his belt and pressed a button. “Hey, Jim, I’ve got a snoop up here.”

“Roger that,” came a voice from the speaker, and in a few minutes a second figure came jogging up the hill. This fellow was wearing a navy blue windbreaker with the letters DEA stenciled over the heart. The first man used one of those plastic slip bands to handcuff me; then the two of them marched me down the hill toward a ravine where a car I hadn’t noticed before was parked. They shoved me into the back seat, took my wallet and walked away to make a few phone calls.

As I sat there uncomfortably, it didn’t take much imagination for me to make a reasonable guess about what was going on. It looked like Billy Badly had switched from playing rock and roll to running drugs as the way to finance his lifestyle. That would explain why he had so much security around his compound and why he made so many trips to Mexico, I thought. I couldn’t help but give an ironic laugh. Unless I missed my guess, the answer to “Where Are They Now” for Billy was likely to be federal prison.

Just then one of the agents came back to the car, opened the door and pulled me out. Taking a folding knife from his pocket he cut the plastic ties around my wrists. Then he turned me to face him.

“Alright, Mr. Cowan, your story checks out and you’re free to go. But I advise you to leave the area immediately. This is not a place where you want to be.”

“Yeah,” the other guy chimed in, “especially tonight.”

The first agent whipped around to glare at his partner, who looked appropriately chagrined. I wanted no part of their little spat and quickly assured them I would leave as soon as I got to my car. They watched me carefully as I clambered down the hill and walked along the road to where I’d parked. In my rear view mirror I could see them still watching as I drove away.

I realized I was heading into the town of Topanga, and when I spotted a coffee shop I pulled in to let the adrenaline subside. I didn’t like having a gun shoved in my face — that wasn’t part of the job description as far as I was concerned — and I sure didn’t want to be anywhere near Billy’s place tonight. From the sound of it, the Drug Enforcement Agency was planning to stage a raid on the compound, and I wanted to be far away, especially given that the people inside appeared to be heavily armed. “Damn,” I thought, “one minute you’re trying to take a photo for a soft feature and the next you’re in the middle of a major drug bust!”

I thought back to how this whole mess had started, and suddenly I sat bolt upright. “Oh, shit, I forgot all about Bitsy!” A part of me argued that she’d made her choices and I should stay out of it. But another part of me knew that poor, airheaded Bitsy likely had no idea what she’d gotten herself into. “She could get killed if I don’t warn her,” I thought.

It’s a bitch having a conscience. I really didn’t owe Bitsy anything, but all the same I felt responsible for her. If it was worth pulling her out of her truck, I said to myself, it’s worth trying to get her out before a firefight starts around her. Shit, shit, shit!

Finally I made up my mind. It was already late in the day, and the canyons and ravines made the darkness come on quicker. When I felt the light had faded enough to afford me some cover, I headed back down the highway toward Billy’s place, cursing myself for a fool every mile that I drove.

This time I parked even farther away to begin my hike. I knew I had to stay low and out of sight, but at the same time if I didn’t hurry I might arrive too late. Finally I spotted the dry creek bed that I’d remembered from my earlier visit. I hoped it would provide me enough cover to let me approach the compound without being spotted, either by the DEA or by Billy’s men. Equally important, I’d noticed that at some time — maybe in the rainy season — the creek had washed under the chain link fence, leaving a gap. Now I thought I could wriggle under it to get into the compound.

By the time I got under the fence the temperature had dropped significantly and I felt myself shaking. Or maybe that’s just fear, I thought. Regardless, I continued to creep toward Bitsy’s little cabin, hoping that the DEA was focused on the main house and that there were no guards around.

I crawled the last twenty yards to Bitsy’s place and quietly knocked on the door from a kneeling position. When she opened up, I scrambled inside and quickly pushed the door shut behind me. “Bitsy,” I said urgently, “you’ve got to get out of here right now!”

She just stared at me. “What are you doing here?” she asked. “Billy was so mad when he found out you’d been here yesterday. I don’t what he’d do if he caught you here now.”

I looked at her and suddenly realized that her left eye was black. “That bastard,” I began to curse, but before I could say anything else the door behind me burst open and the biggest Latino I had ever seen came bursting in carrying an assault rifle. “Who the fuck are you, gringo?” he yelled, and Bitsy gave a little scream of fear.

I slowly lifted my hands to show him I was unarmed and said, “Hey, I’m just a friend of Bitsy’s who came to pay her a visit.”

“How the fuck did you get through the gate?” he demanded. But before I could reply, we heard voices shouting outside. Suddenly an intense spotlight swept over the camp and we could hear an eerie amplified voice on a loudspeaker: “This is the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. We have you surrounded; come out with your hands on your head and you will not be harmed.”

There was absolute silence for a second, then a hail of bullets rang out and muzzle flashes could be seen in the darkness where the spotlight didn’t reach. The big Latino strode over to the window and used the butt of his rifle to smash out several panes. “Fucking Feds!” he shouted at the top of his lungs and began to fire his weapon, apparently trying to knock out the spotlight.

I turned to Bitsy. “Get down!” I yelled, trying to pull her to the floor, but she struggled with me. “Where’s Baby?” she yelled, “I’ve got to find Baby!” I grabbed her by the shoulders and thrust her behind me just as a fusillade of shots hit the bungalow. I turned back around to see what happened and something that felt like a baseball bat hit me in the head. I was knocked back onto Bitsy and lapsed into unconsciousness.

When I regained my senses, I couldn’t move my arms or legs. “Where am I?” I asked in a voice that sounded more like a croak than the yell I’d intended. A hand gripped my shoulder. “You’re strapped to a gurney in an ambulance,” a voice said reassuringly. “You’re on your way to Woodland Hills Hospital.”

“I guess that means I’m not dead yet,” I thought, and drifted back into unconsciousness.

The next time I woke up, the lights were so bright that they hurt my eyes. But I couldn’t do much about it because a doctor in a hospital coat had peeled my eyelids back and was peering intently at my pupils. Finally he let me be and began to make notes on a clipboard.

“Where am I?” I asked groggily. “What happened?”

He glanced at his clipboard again and then gave me an odd look. “I hope you bought a lottery ticket today,” he said, “because you are definitely the luckiest man I ever met!”

I looked at him as though he was crazy. “I don’t understand,” I said. “What happened?”

He got a little more serious now. “What happened, Mr. Cowan, is that you were shot in the head by what we think was a 9×19 parabellum round. Fortunately for you, before the bullet struck you it apparently was slowed substantially by the sternum of the man who was holding you hostage. Then that same bullet shattered the fourth rib in his back, thereby losing almost all the rest of its velocity before it ricocheted into your forehead.”

He shook his head. “I don’t know many people who have survived a headshot like that, Mr. Cowan, so I’d advise you to buy that lottery ticket now.”

I guess he thought he was being clever, but I wasn’t in a humorous mood. “My head hurts like hell,” I told him.

“That’s to be expected,” he said matter-of-factly. “You have a mild concussion. We’re going to keep you here overnight for observation, but my guess is you’ll be able to go home tomorrow. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go check on the status of some other patients who weren’t nearly as lucky as you.”

Hospitals are still as unpleasant as they used to be, and I was delighted when they checked me out the next morning. I took a cab back to my car and was pleasantly surprised to find it where I’d left it the night before. As I began the drive back to L.A., my head still hurt, but the analgesics they’d given me took care of the worst of the pain.

On the freeway I thought about what had happened. “That has to be the stupidest thing you’ve ever done,” I scolded myself sternly. “Whatever possessed you to go back for . . .” The minute that thought came to me I realized that I didn’t know what had happened to Bitsy.

As soon as I reached the office I went to my desk and called the hospital, but they had not admitted anyone by that name. Then I tried to call the local DEA office, but all I got was a series of automated prompts, none of which was helpful. I sat on hold for fifteen minutes waiting for “one of our representatives” to come on the line. Finally I gave up; all I could do was hope that Bitsy was O.K.

I grabbed my camera bag and went in to see Starla. “Oh my god, David, I’m so glad you’re OK!” she cried when I walked in her office. “I’ve been trying to call you all morning.” She came around the desk and hugged me. I felt a little faint — I guess it was the after-effects of the concussion.

“Thank God you didn’t get to Billy Badly,” she said breathlessly. “I heard on the news that the DEA raided his home last night and there was a huge shoot-out. Billy was killed and so were several other people. David, they found a huge stash of marijuana!”

Fear gripped my heart. “Did they say who else was killed?” I asked. “Was one of them a woman? Did they mention the name ‘Bitsy Baker’?”

“No,” she said, looking at me oddly. “Who is Bitsy Baker and how do you know her?” Before she could go on, she noticed the bandage on my forehead. “What happened to you, David? Have you hurt yourself? Are you OK?”

“Actually, I did find Billy,” I told her, and sat down to explain that Bitsy was Billy’s housekeeper and that she’d showed me the way to Billy’s compound. I’d gone back yesterday to try to get my photos because Billy was out of town –on a drug run as we now knew. I deliberately omitted the details of the raid and how I’d hurt my head because I didn’t want to her to hear how foolish I’d been. Before she could ask more questions, I tried to divert her.

“Hey, do you think there’d be any market for some photos of Billy’s compound?” I asked innocently. With that I pulled out my camera and showed Starla the photos I’d taken from the top of the hill. “These are amazing!” she said in wonder. “You can see people unloading the marijuana from those vans, and that looks like an armed guard. Let me start making some calls right away.”

With that she grabbed her phone and I slipped out the door. Even though my head was still hurting, I felt that pleasing Starla pretty much made up for all the hassle of getting shot and everything.

When I got off from work that afternoon, I planned to turn in early because I was exhausted from my previous night’s adventure. But somehow I found myself on Mulholland Drive again. As I sat watching the twinkling lights of the city, I felt myself beginning to shake. I knew what was happening — a delayed reaction to my brush with death — and it started me thinking.

“Why are you still in this town?” I asked myself. “You hate this job and you hate this crazy make-believe world out here. The only reason you came to L.A. in the first place was because of Kelly, and look what that got you. Now you’ve gone and almost gotten yourself killed trying to help some ditz too dumb to know she was living with a drug lord. You’re an idiot!”

But I knew I didn’t mean it, at least that part about Bitsy. She might be an airhead but she didn’t deserve to die in a drug shoot-out. Hell, there weren’t many things in my life I felt good about these days, but trying to save Bitsy was one of them — assuming she’d lived.

Nevertheless, as I drove back to my apartment I was still pretty down. I felt trapped in a world that I detested, one where I didn’t fit in and where there was nothing and no one to keep me. Well, there was . . . “No,” I told myself, “don’t go there.”

The next day when I got into work, Starla was beaming. “You must have had good luck with those photos of Billy’s place,” I said when I saw how pumped she was. Instead of replying, she spun around to her computer and called up a website. “You’re golden, David,” she exclaimed, “look at this.” When she rolled her chair out of the way, I saw one of my photographs of Billy’s compound on the front page of a newspaper. I checked the masthead: it was The New York Times!

“You scooped everyone!” she said triumphantly. “We sold your photos to the AP; now every newspaper and television network in the country is running them.” She gave me a wry smile. “If we’re not careful, this agency is running the risk of turning legit.”

After we’d looked at some other news sites carrying my photos, she took on a more thoughtful expression. “I’ve got some other good news for you. Some people I know tell me that stage two of Sal Manucci’s publicity plan for Micki Morningstar is scheduled to go live this week. Once it’s been launched, that will be the perfect time to set off your little bombshell.”

She looked at me carefully. “I know you want payback on Sal, but unless I miss my guess, the backlash is going to take down Kelly as well. Are you sure that’s what you want? There’s another way to work this. You don’t have to pull a Sodom and Gomorrah — all you’d have to do is show the pictures you’ve got to Kelly. That should put an end to her relationship with Sal, and she might be willing to give it another try with you — if you’re interested.”

“No,” I said without hesitation, “she made her choice and choices have consequences.”

Starla was still watching me, so I tried to elaborate on how I felt. “Marriage means a lot of things, but for me one of the most important is caring about your partner as much as yourself. Once you stop caring about the needs of your partner, you no longer have a marriage. Kelly made it very clear that she was going to go after what she wanted, and she didn’t care what happened to me. Why would I ever want to get back together with someone who felt that way?”

Starla nodded thoughtfully. “I agree, David, I just felt I should check. Leave everything with me.”

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
Two days later, Starla had a copy of a weekly celebrity magazine on her desk. The two-page photograph above the cover story showed Micki Morningstar cuddling with her old boyfriend under a banner headline that read, “Reunited: All is Forgiven”.

The story went on to detail how contrite Micki was about her fling, how she felt she had let down her fans — not to mention her boyfriend — and how she had learned from her mistake. “I’ve grown so much from this whole experience,” she was quoted as saying, “and I’m going to devote myself to making our love stronger than ever.”

The online version of the magazine even featured a live poll that Micki’s fans could take. The running count showed the vast majority had forgiven her for her sins and hailed her return to her boyfriend’s side.

Starla was keyed up. “I know the head of programming at the network that carries Micki’s TV series. I think he’ll be very interested in the pictures you took of MIcki and Sal.” She gave me a smile that was positively evil. “We’ve got them now,” she said with such relish that I winced involuntarily.

From what I learned later that day, wincing was the least of what happened after Starla sent the network some of my better shots, both from the cottage and the Emmy party. Starla explained to them sweetly that she planned to offer the pix to the highest bidder, and when the network executive saw them he nearly had a heart attack. After a hurried consultation with the president of the network and their legal staff, the head of programming called Starla back to offer her a small fortune in exchange for exclusive rights to the photos.

“Of course they’ll destroy them immediately,” she told me with a smirk, “because they know that if those shots get published that would be the kiss of death for Micki’s career. Fans don’t like to be lied to, and once they turn on you, there’s little chance of getting them back. If people found out that Micki’s reconciliation with her boyfriend was a sham, the network would have to cancel her show in mid-season. It would be a financial disaster,” she explained gleefully.

“But what about Sal and Kelly?” I protested.

“Oh, I’m just getting started,” she said with that evil grin again. “Once the network took care of the incriminating photos, their next step was to call the head of Sal’s agency on the carpet. I’m told the network president threatened never to use another one of the agency’s clients again. The agency president literally got down on his hands and knees to beg for forgiveness, promising to make it right if they’d just give them another chance.”

“My source told me that as soon as the president got back to the agency, he called Sal into his office, showed him the incriminating photos and accused him of almost destroying the agency. With the evidence in front of him, there was no way Sal could deny that he’d acted recklessly and inappropriately. As a result, Sal was fired on the spot and told that he might as well leave town because he’d never get a job in Hollywood again.”

Starla rocked back in her chair. “After Sal was dismissed, the agency president called Kelly in and accused her of conspiring with you,” she said, pointing at me, “to get those photos. He figured that someone must have tipped you off, and Kelly was the most likely suspect. Kelly swore it wasn’t true, but when she had to admit that the two of you are still legally married, her fate was sealed. She was fired too, and good luck to her on finding work in this town with that on her record,” Starla said with a grin.

“Oh,” she added, “and in case you’re wondering, Sal apparently is also convinced that Kelly ratted him out to you because she was jealous about Micki, so the two of them are splitsville as well.”

I grinned back at her in a mixture of admiration and appreciation. “Wow, now that’s a Sodom and Gomorrah payback! You’re the best, Starla,” I told her. “Now I guess I can go ahead and drop the signed divorce papers in the mail.”

I went back to my cubicle feeling satisfied about the way things had turned out. They’d both gotten what they deserved, and they did it to themselves. All I did was expose the truth. They made their choices, and choices have consequences.

As I sat there thinking, my cellphone rang, and when I answered it a voice came on the line I didn’t recognize. “David, this is John Kirby calling. I’m the dean of Arts and Sciences at Sewanee. I hate to be the one to tell you, but your father has suffered a stroke and he’s not expected to last long. You need to get back here as soon as possible if you want to see him.”

Starla smiled when I walked back into her office, but a look of alarm came over her when she saw my face, and she rushed to my side. “David, what’s happened? What’s wrong?”

“It’s my Dad,” I told her forlornly, “he’s dying.”
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
Nashville is the closest major airport to Sewanee, and it’s a long flight from L.A., especially with having to make a connection in Dallas. On top of the flying time I lost an additional two hours since I was heading east. So it was pretty late when I touched down; nevertheless, I immediately grabbed a rental car and started the ninety-five mile drive to Sewanee.

The dean had told me my Dad had collapsed at the end of his lecture. That was good, I thought as I drove, he’d have wanted to finish the class. They’d taken him straight to Emerald Hodgson Hospital.

It was after visiting hours when I got there, but under the circumstances they made an exception for me. The doctor warned me, but it was still a shock to see the slack expression on Dad’s face as he lay there. Even though he appeared to be asleep, I took his hand in mine and held it. “I’m here, Dad,” I whispered in his ear, and I thought I felt his grip tighten momentarily.

I sat there by his bedside holding his hand, and after a while I laid my head down on the blanket beside his leg. I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I felt was a nurse gently peeling my fingers away. “I’m sorry, Mr. Cowan,” she said, “he’s gone.”

The memorial service was held at All Saints’ Chapel, of course, and I was touched to see the sanctuary filled to overflowing with students, faculty and family friends. My dad had taught philosophy at the University of the South over thirty years, and there were many people who wanted to say a few words about how he’d touched their lives.

There was no burial because he’d told me long ago that he wanted to be cremated. “From dust we come and to dust we return,” he’d said, “and I see no reason for worms and maggots to be involved in that process.”

After the service was over and all the well-wishers had finally left, I took the urn with his ashes and drove past Monteagle through Tracy City and on to Foster Falls. Standing at the top of the falls I tipped the urn over and let the ashes spill out into the swiftly flowing water of Gizzard Creek down into the foaming pool below. He’d wanted to be reunited with the lands and waters he’d hiked and explored all those years, and it comforted me to carry out that request for him.

Afterwards, I drove back to Sewanee to the home where he’d lived for so many years. It was nestled on an acre of land at the end of a road that penetrated deep into the woods. Even after Mom passed away, Dad had managed to keep it surprisingly neat and clean, and I was glad that he’d been able to spend his last days there rather than in some impersonal assisted living facility.

I spent the next few days cleaning up the place, throwing out old papers that no longer had any significance, packing up clothing for Goodwill, mowing the yard and trimming the bushes. I didn’t plan to sell the house, but I didn’t think I’d have any trouble renting it to a faculty member or married graduate students. Having learned all about “Sewanee weekends” from my Dad, however, I wanted to avoid renting to undergraduates if at all possible.

Returning to Sewanee was an interesting experience. I thought it would feel odd being back in my childhood home, but instead I found myself relaxed and at ease. Maybe it was the mountain air, but whatever the case I slept better than I had in months.

A few days later, Dean Kirby called to ask me to drop by his office. I assumed that he had some personal belongings of my Dad’s that he wanted to convey to me, but I was wrong.

“David,” he told me when I was seated in a comfortable chair, “there’s been a Cowan at this institution longer than I’ve been here, and it just doesn’t feel right to have that end. I wonder if you’d consider coming to work at the University?”

I started to protest that I had no qualifications, but he waved me off. “I’ve seen your credits in a lot of publications,” he told me, gesturing to a copy of The New York Times on his desk. “We offer several courses in photography as part of our major in art and art history, and we could use a guest lecturer with your experience to make the program more real-world for our students. Also, our campus photographer is retiring at the end of this semester, and we’re going to need someone to take on her responsibilities as well. What we’d be able to offer you in the way of a salary certainly wouldn’t match what you’re earning in Los Angeles, but the cost of living in Sewanee is a little bit more reasonable, I’d guess,” he said with a smile.

“Wow!” I said. “I wasn’t expecting that. Give me a little time to think it over.”

“That’s no problem,” he said. “We don’t need to know for another month, and you wouldn’t actually start working until the first of August. But I really hope you’ll consider it seriously.”

I promised him I would, and after I left his office I took a walk around the campus. The gothic architecture seemed somehow appropriate, making the school feel like a medieval enclave high above the neon and plastic world where I’d been living. Growing up I’d wanted nothing more than to head off to the bright lights of the big city; now the serenity of the campus and this lovely little town seemed very attractive.

That afternoon I drove over to Green’s View to watch the sun set. Below me I could see fields intersected by rows of trees, streams, ponds, and the occasional farm house, all stretching off to the northwest. I couldn’t help noticing how clear the view was; there was no brown haze clouding the air like you see so often in L.A.

“Why not do it?” I asked myself. The house was now mine and it was paid for; if I lived there rather than renting it out, my cost of living would be very low indeed. More importantly, I’d be far away from all the phoniness, the inflated egos and the pretense that I hated so much. And if I went to work for the University, I’d no longer be a parasite feeding off the illusions and dreams of other people, and I wouldn’t be ashamed to say what I did for a living.

When I thought about it, there wasn’t a lot I’d be giving up if I left. True, I’d miss the ocean and the beaches, and I wondered if I could find any good Thai food. And of course there was Starla, but I’d lost her already. “Maybe we can still be friends, just ones who live in different cities,” I thought. And perhaps that was for the best; being around her was still tough on me.

I forced myself to drop that train of thought to think about my opportunity. “Only a few weeks ago you were complaining about your life and being trapped in a world you hate. Now you’ve been given a chance to escape all that and start in a whole new direction. Don’t be an idiot — grab the brass ring!”

As I walked back to my car, I noticed how quiet it was. It seemed to match the quiet and peace I felt within myself. “I must be making the right decision,” I thought.

The next morning I called the dean. “I don’t need to think about this any longer,” I told him. “I’d like to accept your generous offer.”

Now that I’d committed myself, I felt a growing excitement. There was a lot of work to do to get ready for the big change, but it was all good, all building toward a new life. There was, however, one task that I was dreading, and now that I’d made my decision it couldn’t be postponed. So that afternoon, sitting on the screened porch of my home, I stiffened my resolve and called Starla.

“David!” she said when she heard my voice, “I’ve been thinking about you so much. How are you doing? How did the service for your father go?”

I told her about the memorial service and sprinkling my father’s ashes over the waterfall. She thought that was a beautiful way to send him off.

Then her voice changed tone and she asked, “When are you coming back, David? So much has happened while you’ve been gone and I’ve got so much to tell you.”

“I’m not coming back, Starla,” I said.

“Not coming back?” she gasped. “Not ever? I don’t understand.”

“Well, I’ll be back to pick up some of my stuff, but I’ve decided to stay in Sewanee.” I went on to tell her about the dean’s offer and my plan to change careers and live in my parents’ home. She was very quiet as I described how excited I was to be getting out of the L.A. lifestyle and shedding the pop culture scene. In fact, she was so quiet that I found myself growing uncomfortable, and my monologue ground to a halt.

After a long silence, Starla finally spoke up. “David, I don’t know what to say. I’m really happy that you’ve found a new life for yourself. It sounds like the kind of thing you’ve often talked about so often. But the idea that you won’t be here is just . . .”

“I feel the same way,” I told her. “You’re one of the things about L.A. — the only thing, really — that I’m going to miss, Starla.” Then to my horror I heard myself adding, “You know I’ve been in love with you for a long time.”

“Oh!” she gasped in shock, and I panicked. What had possessed me to blurt that out to her? What I’d said was the truth, but I never meant to say it out loud.

Before I said something else to embarrass myself further or completely ruin any chance to remain friends, I rushed on quickly. “Listen, I’ve got to go. I’ll send you an email to let you know when I’ll be back out there to get my stuff.” Then I quickly hung up.

“Damn, damn, damn,” I berated myself, “now you’ve done it. You’ll never be able to talk with Starla again without her feeling awkward and uncomfortable.” My euphoria about my new life had evaporated, replaced by chagrin at my impulsive blunder. All I could do was try to put the conversation out of my mind and get on with my preparations.

Now that I’d decided to make the move, there were a lot of details to consider before returning to L.A. After giving it some thought, I decided that I’d have what little stuff I wanted to keep shipped back East. That would allow me to book a one-way ticket out to the coast, then make the cross-country trip back in my Toyota. I wasn’t sure the old heap would make it, but I wasn’t concerned. I’d been planning to buy a new car anyway; if the Toyota died I’d just buy a replacement en route.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
The flight to L.A. was tedious. The headwinds were strong and caused us to arrive late. Even though I gained two hours thanks to the time zone difference, I was still beat when I landed at LAX. After picking up my Toyota from long-term parking, I headed to my apartment. That place, I thought, was one thing I definitely wasn’t going to miss. I picked up some Thai take-out for dinner, and an hour later flopped into bed and slept straight through till morning.

When I awoke I surveyed my meager possessions and came to the conclusion that I really didn’t need any of them. As a result I went to see my landlord and worked out a deal: I’d leave all my furniture and kitchen stuff and he’d forego charging me a penalty for breaking the lease. He was happy to do it, since he’d be able to charge the next tenant higher rent for a furnished apartment, so it all worked out.

After lunch, I knew that I couldn’t put it off any longer so I headed over to the photo agency. I needed to pick up my last check, sign some other paperwork, and of course say goodbye to Starla. After my moment of insanity on the telephone earlier, I wasn’t looking forward to that conversation.

The people in the office were really nice. They all knew about my Dad, of course, and word that I was leaving had also gotten around. I got a lot of good wishes and even a few hugs from some of the women.

Starla was in but she had someone in her office with the door closed, and the conversation sounded pretty animated. I waited around a little while but finally gave up and left. I was disappointed not to see her, but also, frankly, a little relieved that I didn’t have to talk with her. After having babbled out my feelings on that phone call, I had no idea what to say to her now. Maybe it was better this way.

I ran a few more errands, and then, as the light was fading, I decided to make the drive up to Mulholland Drive again. One last visit to my favorite vantage point seemed like an appropriate way to say goodbye to the city before I left for good.

I parked in my usual spot at The Grove Overlook and got out of the car to sit on the retaining wall. The darker it got, the more L.A. looked like a set of jewels sparkling in the distance. But now I knew they were rhinestones, not diamonds. They might look beautiful but they only served to attract and deceive. I really wasn’t going to miss it.

Another car pulled up to park. This was a popular overlook so I didn’t pay any attention until a voice behind me said, “I thought I might find you up here. So you weren’t even going to say goodbye?” I turned around to see Starla standing there with her arms crossed and an angry look on her face.

I started to stammer out an excuse but then stopped myself. “The truth is I left because I didn’t know what to say to you,” I admitted. “After my stupid phone call the other day . . .”

Her face softened and she came over to sit beside me. “It’s alright,” she said quietly, “I understand. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to say to you either.”

We sat there in silence for a little while, looking at the shimmering lights.

“It’s been really crazy at work while you were gone,” she said after a while. “People kept coming in looking for you.”

“For me?” I said in surprise. “Who would be looking for me?”

She gave me a little smile. “Kelly, for one. She was really mad at you, blaming you for what had happened to her and Sal. I took it upon myself to point out that the two of them were the ones responsible for everything that happened. I don’t think she appreciated that, so our conversation wasn’t very long. But I did learn she’s planning to move back to Nashville and try again.”

“Maybe that’s best,” I said. “I don’t think Hollywood was a good place for her.”

“A day or two after Kelly showed up, someone else came looking for you,” Starla went on. A mischievous smile crossed her face. “Do you remember Bitsy?”

“Bitsy Baker came in? I wasn’t even sure she survived the DEA raid,” I said.

“Well, she did,” Starla said, “and from what she told me it was thanks to you that she wasn’t killed.” She reached up and ran her fingers over the scar on my forehead. “You didn’t tell me you were in that firefight and got shot,” she said accusingly.

I felt embarrassed. “I didn’t want to alarm you over nothing,” I said. “It was just that Bitsy had helped me find Billy, and I felt I owed it to her not to leave her in the middle of a shootout.”

“She told me it was the other way around, that you were the one who helped her,” Starla said firmly. “She said she met you when you pulled her out of her truck just before it fell down a ravine. She told me you also saved her baby.”

“Her ‘baby’ was her dog,” I said with a laugh. “I just happened to be there when she needed help. Anybody would have done the same thing.”

“Un hunh,” Starla said skeptically. “Well, that wasn’t what Bitsy thought. Anyway, she said she’d already thanked you for saving her life the first time, but that she still owed you for saving her during the drug raid.”

I rolled my eyes. “Bitsy’s definitely a little on the ditsy side, and she certainly doesn’t owe me anything. I’m just glad she made it through alive.”

Starla didn’t say anything, but the way she looked at me made me wonder if Bitsy might have told Starla the details on how she had thanked me. Starla seemed amused but she didn’t press the issue, to my relief. Instead, she changed the subject.

“The last person looking for you,” Starla went on, “was one person I would never have expected.” She paused and I looked at her expectantly. “It was Jinx McClure,” she said.

“Jinx McClure?” I exclaimed. “Why in the world would she want to see me?”

“Well, one reason was to return your cell phone,” Starla said, pulling my phone out of her pocket and handing it to me. “She told me she found it under the seat of her car.” She looked at me carefully. “You didn’t tell me you were driving Jinx’s car.”

“Well, it wasn’t that big a thing,” I said. “That night at the Emmy party she’d had too much to drink or snort or both, and I didn’t think she should be trying to drive home. That’s all.”

“She told me about that,” Starla said quietly. “She also told me that she would have died on her own front lawn if you hadn’t given her CPR.”

“I don’t know about that,” I said. “Besides, she was passed out, she didn’t know anything about what happened.”

“Maybe not,” Starla said, “but Jinx said the people in the hospital told her she owed somebody her life, and she came looking for you to thank for it.”

“Well, all I can say is I’m glad to hear she’s okay. That’s one really messed up girl.”

“She wanted you to know how grateful she is that you gave her a second chance at life. She said she’s started a twelve-step program and is really trying to change.”

“That’s great,” I said sincerely. “I hope she makes it.”

Starla stared quietly at the lights for a while, then turned to look at me. “You know how I told you that I was looking for a hero, a knight on a white horse? It looks like I had a real hero right under my nose all this time and never realized it.”

I blushed. “Come on, Starla, I’m the farthest thing from a hero. Maybe I helped a couple of people in a jam, but I was just in the right place at the right time. I only did what had to be done, that’s all.”

Starla went on as though she hadn’t heard me. “And then I learned that my hero had feelings for me, even though he’d never said anything before.”

Now I was really flustered. “But I couldn’t say anything, Starla! In the first place, I was with Kelly when I met you. And later after she split, I found out about what happened to you in college and I couldn’t, didn’t . . .” I stopped helplessly, then tried again. “And when I found out about you and Hannah . . .”

Starla held up her left hand, and for the first time I noticed that her engagement ring was gone. “What happened?” I blurted out in surprise.

“I broke off the engagement,” she said quietly. “Remember what you said about consideration for your partner’s needs? The longer we were together, the more it felt like Hannah just wanted me as a prop for her political ambitions, not as an equal partner in a loving relationship. After a while I realized that our relationship was all about what I could do to promote Hannah’s career and very little about what she wanted to do for me.”

In the light from the city I could see Starla drop her eyes. “After those men hurt me so badly back in college, I thought the only way I could ever find love was from a woman. When Hannah came along, I thought she was the one who could give it to me. But after I accepted her proposal I began to have second thoughts. I began to realize that I still had feelings for men, or at least one particular man. I’d always liked him as a friend, but I began to realize that my feelings went well beyond ‘like.’ And now I’ve learned that he’s more than just my best friend, he’s my hero too.”

“God civilians,” Mike complained after twenty four years the retired Chief Petty Officer now ran the coast guard repair shop. He had purchased this three story shore front town house after a fire had gutted the third floor before his second sea tour. Then the neighborhood had been different mostly oystermen so they had a lot in common. That had been fourteen years before now the neighborhood consisted of African American doctors, lawyers and other well to do folks. Mike was the sole hold out from the past area, as such they were constantly getting him to give them sailing lessons on his forty three foot Hinckley centerboard sloop. He had purchased the boat a couple years ago for a song, abandon by some officer at one of military marina. Now they were screaming because Mike planned on taking a three month cruise and wanted to lease his house out. He had spent all night arguing with neighbors.

“It will lower property value,” the Doctor had argued at heart I knew he wished he could tag along. Mike had relented with regrets, which was why sleep was reluctant to come tonight. What the hell now he wondered hearing noise from down stairs. Being the sole white man living in the community his was the first home toilet papered on Halloween but it never went beyond a good prank as he knew most of the kids from sailing on his boat.

“God damn it Jessie,” Mike growled snapping on the lights feeling foolish holding the three fifty seven revolver in his hand. The sound of tires squealing away told him this was not her idea, “You trying to get yourself killed.” The tall black girl had been a friend and neighbor since he’d been forced to retire from the Navy.

“I am sorry Mr. Bandon,” Jessie smiled nervously staring at the canon in my hand, “Tony figured, to get some money so we could take a trip.”

“So you planned to rob me,” Mike asked the gun still in his hand “Tony told me you got insurance. You really would not lose anything.”

“You Just wait until your father gets here,” Mike had already dialed his neighbors “They were so worried about property values.”

“Please, I’ll have to hear about this from mom for the rest of the summer,” Mike felt sorry for the girl. She had been on the state track team, unable to go on her spring break because of a track meet was bad. But to make it worse the girls had been banded from competing because their coach could not keep it in his pants. “She’ll ground me until I graduate from college.”

“Why would I do that?” her mother demanded as the two came storming through my front door “Why the gun.”

“Tony convinced me to steal Mr. Bandon’s flat screen and see if he had any cash lying around.” Jessie melted she never been really able to hide things from her parents.

“Do you realize how close that fucking no good boyfriend of yours came to getting you killed?” Jessie mother almost turned white with the realization the gun had been meant to deal with a home intruder. “God if it had been our home I would have shot you.”

“Mom he has insurance.” Jessie said as if it made everything alright.

“Are you going to press charges?” her father asked “I hope not she will never get into Georgetown with a record.”

“Heaven’s no,” Mike replied “she’s your daughter.”

“Come on young lady and you can kiss your next three weeks good bye,” Jessie mom told her.

“Hi Mr. Bandon,” Jessie called walking past the boat, “You were right, you know Tony when a shacked up with another girl just so I take the fall all by myself. How stupid could I have been.”

“Not stupid,” Mike replied, “desperate for love. I have known a lot of girl who did stupid things for a man that should be allowed to hold their underwear.”

“Thanks, I think” Jessie smiled, Mike had always been rather blunt, probably the reason at fifty he still unmarried, “I mean, well hell, you going out for a sail?”

“I don’t know if I should share this with the neighborhood burglar,” Mike laughed “But I am getting her ready for a three month trip down to the island of Curaçao I got a job down there.”

“Sound dreamily wish I could go.” Jessie smiled, “but mom is so mad right now. She already tried to get me on that program scared straight.”

“You just need to find a better guy,” Mike smiled up at the girl standing on the dock, “Or better yet just do without one until you get done college.”

“That is easy for you to said being as how your gay,” Jessie replied just about knock him off the boat. Looking up from the deck he had already been distracted by the girl’s thong staring him in the face.

“Who said I was a homosexual?” Mike blustered, still focused on the girl’s white thong.

“God,” Jessie replied suddenly embarrassed because she realized Mike was looking up her dress “it was Tony he said you had to be gay because you don’t have no Hoe serving you.”

“No just like I was telling you, I waited until I was done with the Navy relationships just suck the life out of you,” Mike laughed, “Shit girl no sense trying to hide that little piece of cloth now.”

“So what do you do about those urges,” Jessie asked pointing to Mike now exposed tent “Yes I can see you’re not gay.”

“Well, there are always people that are willing for a hook-up just for sex,” Mike smiled, “easier for a girl then a guy even. After you get your life together Mr. Right will come along.”

“You really think there is such a thing as a Mr. Right,” Jessie asked bitterly “I mean my mom and dad were perfect for each other yet mom cheats on dad with the white partner at her firm.”

“I am sure there is a soul mate for each of us,” Mike replied filing the tidbit about Jessie’s mom away for later. “Trouble is we settle for too soon so there is no room for growth.”

“Well if mom said yes,” Jessie asked, smiling “could you use a bikini clad deck hand it is the least I could do for being such a fool.”

“Sure,” Mike smiled his mind thinking of wonderful things they could do during the trip he knew she was sexual active her father had seen fit to talk to all the neighbors about that.

“Mr. Bandon what are you thinking inviting a nineteen year old on a three month cruise?” Nadia Chapman Jessie’s mother demanded accusingly shaking her finger at Mike like he was some sort of criminal on trial, “You must be three times her age.”

“First off, don’t you come off at me like I the one sleeping with their white boss,” Mike fumed “She asked me if she could go and I told her to ask you.”

“How did you know about that?” Nadia replied suddenly all the fury taken out of her sails

“Does not matter,” Mike replied, “I am the good neighbor keeps my eyes open and mouth shut remember.”

“I don’t care,” Nadia replied shaken but a good enough lawyer not to be on the ropes for long “My daughter will not be going with you.”

“That is fine,” Mike replied, “I really didn’t want to baby sit her anyway.”

“You don’t want to try and blackmail me threaten to tell my husband,” Nadia asked confused

“No!” Mike replied, he enjoyed letting her no that her dirty little secret was not any more. Blackmail had a way of turning on you. “Now you have worn out your welcome please leave.”

“She will be back,” Mike smiled watching wiggle as the woman made her way home, wonder if like daughter like mother.

“We’re ready,” Jessie announced as the four members of the girl track team stood on the dock with bags on their shoulders and smiles on their faces.

“What,” Mike stammered stunned at the four girls.

“Well Mom changed her mind at the last minute,” Jessie smiled “told me I could go as long as there was another girl along so I brought the whole team along.”

“What about their folks,” Mike asked not wanting to have the coast guard looking for him.

“They were just happy to have them out of their hair for the summer,” Jessie smiled innocently and Mike was saddled with the four.

“Why didn’t we go out on the open ocean,” Terry one of the girls asked as Mike anchored outside of the swanquarter wildlife area in North Carolina. “I thought we were going to the Caribbean?”

“The North Atlantic is really cold this time of year,” Mike explained, beside which with four girls he was constantly doing something, “this way is safer.”

“Mr. Bandon,” Jessie knocked on the door of his cabin “Can I come in.”

“Sure thing Jessie,” Mike replied even though under his breathe he was cursing the interruption.

“I never got a chance to thank you proper for not turning me into the police.” Jessie smiled at the shocked look on Mike’s face she was wearing a see thru top and panties and was pleased to see it had the proper effect. As the tent popped up under the sheet she had been wondering about white men. Now she planned to investigate while her friends slept.

“What about the other girls,” Mike asked as she crawled under the sheets next to him, he really wanted to say the hell with them at that point.

“They can get their own men,” she replied, her hand wrapping around Mike’s shaft “God it is so big can I see it?” Pulling the sheets back Mike’s finger now pulling her top off so he could get at those nipples playing peek a boo.

“God your beautiful” Mike breathed as Jessie bent down as if to get a closer look.

“Looks so good,” Jessie said taking and running her tongue down along its length “taste as good as it looks she said popping it into her mouth. Mike’s right hand was inside of her panties fingering her wetness. She moaned as Mike pulled her panties down then pulled her clit into his face.

“I never had a boy do that to me before,” Jessie moaned forgetting Mike’s manhood for the moment as she arched her back humping his face. Mike slipped her panties all the way off as he continued to slurp her clit juices. “Oh god, I think I am coming.” Jessie cried bucking against Mike’s magical tongue.

“Okay now it is my turn,” Mike said, continuing to work her with his fingers

“Oh yeah,” Jessie smiled swinging her lithe body around so she could lower herself onto Mike erect member she began plunging him into her grinding her hips for all she was worth. “God now I know why my mom likes white dick.” As she orgasm yet again feeling Mike explode deep inside of her. She collapsed next to Mike both exhausted they drifted off into sleep.

“I cannot believe you and Mr. Bandon,” Tareya asked in shock, her friend had woken early to discover the two of them snuggled in each other’s arms.

“I thought he was gay.” Terry smiled, “least that is what I was told.”

“Oh my god far from it” Jessie smiled sliding into her top.

“Was he any good,” Lexi asked, “I mean he so old could he even get it up.”

“I say this,” Jessie held up four fingers, “He the first guy to make me have multiple orgasms.”

“Really,” Terry looked at Mike with new curiosity, “I always considered him just an old man who knew.”

“Hey hands off, he is mine,” Jessie smiled “I need a shower I am all sticky.”

“Hey share and share alike,” Lexi smiled, “I mean now that you got us interested.”

“The girls want me to share you with them.” Jessie came over as Mike worked the sails heading into Seewee Bay just above Charleston SC. That morning had been so pretty that they had done some open water sailing but the afternoon had turned bitter. “Am I being selfish?”

“I do not believe I could handle all four of you at once,” Mike smiled he realized the other three were listening. “I am afraid there is no way to share me.” Inside he was lusting after all four girls. The image of such and orgy of young flesh just kept creeping into his head as he anchored the boat.

“I got it,” Lexi shouted in triumph, the girls had been sulking ever since Mike had made his statement.

“Whatever it is I hope it not catching,” Terry replied smartly gaining a group frown.

“We play strip poker,” Lexi smiled at her idea, “after everyone is naked high card goes first we keep going until the well runs dry,”

“Do you think he would go for it?” Tareya asked looking at Lexi.

“Sure it is every guy’s fantasy,” Terry smile, “to get four girls naked and have their way with them.”

“Yeah but can they keep up with four,” Jessie smiled getting into the idea of giving Mike a special treat. “There are cards in the main cabin.”

“Mike how you like to play some cards after dinner?” Jessie smiled entering the cabin where Mike had just finished cooking the fish they had caught.

“No problem you girls mind if I have a glass of wine with dinner.” Mike asked looking at the smiling group of females he figured they had worked out the problem.

“Only, if we can have one too.” Terry said “Who knows you get us all drunk maybe you’ll get lucky.”

“Sorry,” Mike put the bottle of wine back in the refrigerator, “I don’t want a bunch of drunk women on my boat just so I can get luckily.”

“Oh please she was just kidding,” Lexi smiled, “I love white wine with fish and just one glass will not hurt.”

“What are we playing,” Mike asked the girls as Terry shuffled the cards.

“Why strip poker of course,” Jessie smiled at the look on Mikes face

“It helps to have some clothes on,” Mike smiled at the four girls in Bikinis, “When you play strip poker,”

“Well we didn’t want to spend too much time playing cards,” Lexi smiled, “so you in or out.”

“At this point how could I lose,” Mike smiled, looking at Jessie who nodded that it was okay.

“Fine here are the rules.” Lexi replied even as Terry dealt out the hand Mike could not help but to wonder about the anxious minx.

“God you lose drop those pants,” Lexi demanded sitting there naked “so we can see what you got.” Mike stood and dropped his shorts the girl gasp at the size of his hard on. “God can I just touch it.”

“Remember high card goes first,” Terry smiled cutting a queen her large chocolate nipples standing out proudly she had the largest of the three, being track runner none were what you call overly endowed but god what great bodies.

“Not so fast,” Lexi purred smiling as she turned a king over “I’ll try to leave a little for the rest of you.”

“We plan on it,” Terry replied as the three other girls followed Mike and Lexi into Mike’s bedroom. Lexi was a petite oriental mix with glasses and long straight black hair, the kids used to tease her about being a mutt. She had earned her place as the anchor on the cross country track team despite her smaller frame she could pull steam out of thin air. Surrounded by four naked women Mike set right to making her squirm burying his face in her young snatch sucking her clit into his teeth to tantalize the girl.

“Oh god yes,” she was moaning in no time as the other girls watched mesmerized. Mikes fingers snaked into her moistness causing her to bounce on the bed “God am coming.” As the gush of her juices told mike she was ready He brought his tool up torpedoing the girl withering on the bed her legs wrapping around Mike’s waist pulling him deep inside her as she bucked until Mike unleashed his load into her.

“I feel like I just ran the four forty,” Lexi wobbled trying to stand only to settle back on the bed as Terry’s mouth began working on Mike tool.

“That must be what they call Sixty-nine,” Tareya breathed as Mike pulled Terry’s Firm young body over his face. Soon Terry was grinding her bush into Mike’s tongue as one hand massaged her ass while he fingered her with his other.

“Take the top it great,” Jessie advised as Terry shuttered screaming for ‘Mike to ram her.’ She did not need any additional encouragement reluctantly giving up the tongue to straddle Mike impaling herself on Mike’s ten inches of meat before pumping furiously.

“I don’t think I can do this.” Tareya realizing her turn was next, leaned over whispering to Jessie the two had been great friends “I never done it with a boy before. But I don’t want the others girls to know.”

“leave it to me,” Jessie smiled whispering back, “you just go through the motions, You ever suck a dick before.”

“No not even that,” Tareya shock her head sadly “You know how my mom and dad are. And a white cock at that they hit the ceiling.”

“Think of this as a learning experience,” Jessie whispered watching Terry shuttering as yet another orgasm swept thru her. “Just run your tongue up and down it simple, straddle his face so he gets a taste of you. I’ll whisper to him what up he’ll let you off easy.”

“I’ll try,” Tareya replied as Terry collapsed on Mike and Jessie leaned in whispering in Mike’s ear

“Hey it Tareya turn,” Lexi who had recovered and was now enjoying the show called thinking Jessie was going to cut into line. So Jessie backed off as Tareya bent to Mike’s cock at first she ran her tongue down the side then as Mike slipped his fingers into her while licking her clit She slipped the whole thing in her mouth to keep from crying out in pleasure, tasting Terry jucies mixed with Mikes she began to greedily slide it in and out the harder she worked it the more Mike worked her soon she was out of control.

“God that feels so good hammer my tight little cunt.” She moaned Mike continued to suck on her clit until her juices cover his face.

“I going to give her something special,” As he put her on her knees coming at her doggie style so that Tareya could bury her head in the blankets as he rammed her virgin hole. He began inching his way into her as she moaned unable to say stop because then her friends would know she felt herself pushing back wanting more of that cock to fill her his hands pulling her slowly until she could feel his balls slapping her virgin.

“Oh fuck me,” Tareya moaned lost in the pleasure as an orgasm bolted thru her, as Mike continued his slow rhythm “Come inside me.”

“Oh god that looks so hot,” Lexi shouted fingering herself “can you do me like that next.”

“I don’t know I still got one more to service before seconds,” Mike breathed, spending himself in a bucking Tareya’s moistness. He owe Jessie some special time for this trip.

“I think maybe tomorrow” Jessie smiled as she slipped Mike’s manhood in her mouth she have to give some serious consideration to sharing him during the rest of the trip.

Chapter Twenty-Two: Warsong

Jack was speechless. In school West had always been the strongest and the meanest. At fourteen he had been given a special award by the state for being more physically adept than others his age. In that same year he had been suspended from school for threats and acts of violence against faculty and peers.

It didn’t seem like much had changed over the years. He was still tall and muscular, and his eyes were still wild. West was the perfect bad boy in many ways. The only problem was that he was too bad.

West pointed and glared. “You are the vessel of Eros, that sewer of lust, are you not?”

Jack swallowed the lump of fear in his throat and choked out a response. “I’m not a vessel. I’m his master.”

“Slave to a human.” West sneered. “Eros is weak.”

“He’s not my only slave. Athena is mine as well.”

“I am unimpressed. They’re both whores.”

“You think you’re any better, because to me you just look like a bully with a big head.”

“I told you. I am violence. Nothing more, nothing less.” He scowled. “I will crush you and drag your corpse around to show all who would challenge me. I will make your family and followers watch as I hang you from the highest point and drain your blood.”

“Big talk,” Jack snapped, and he stuffed his hands in his pockets to hide their shaking. The look West had was a hunger of a different sorts. It was beyond lust. It was insatiable. “Let’s get down to business: a trial between champions. Winner takes all.”

West barked out a laugh. “You rely on formalities. I won’t. Athena and Eros love their games. I love only death.”


“No discussion! We do this as men!”

He moved so quickly that Jack hardly had time to react. His long legs seemed to throw him from point to point, granting him speed unnatural for any human. By the time he reached the other end of the court Jack had hardly managed to scuttle the short distance away to the swing set.

Jack had no plan of attack and was entirely outmatched. So he did the only things he could think of: run and hope something better came to him. He was barely able to clear the threshold of the swings when West arrived.

“Coward! Stand and fight!” West bent the steel frame of the swing set with his fist. “The chase only makes me hunger!”

Jack scurried up a plastic slide and ran down the other end of it. Rather than follow West simply grasped the slide itself and tore it away in a shower of ruptured bolts. Then he sauntered beneath the frame of it, following Jack in a menacing calm.

“Flight will get you nothing! Stand and face me. Your death will be swift!”

“Or I could run and live to see another day!”

West roared and gave a herculean leap. He flew through the air, sailing smoothly over Jack’s head and landing in the center of what was a merry-go-round. It shattered beneath his disproportionate weight and momentum. Dust shot up in a cloud around him.

Jack skidded to a stop and doubled over. He coughed while West turned a feral eye on him.

“You cannot escape!”

“I disagree.” Jack turned on heel and sprinted away. His time as a younger brother was serving him well, and gave him an endless reserve of energy and agility when running away from someone who was bigger and stronger than he was.

West was after him like a bullet and gained quickly. He was nearly in range of grabbing Jack when they made it to the jungle gym. Jack fell inside of the structure and quickly scratched a run on the bars. West made it there and reached forward, thinking only of murder, when he was repelled by an unstoppable force.

Jack sat inside of his new haven and wheezed. Outside, West stalked the area and glared. He struck at the bars with his bare fists but was unable to damage them. Looking between his fist and the jungle gym West snarled: “What trickery?”

“Athena,” Jack breathed as he straightened up. He smiled. “She gave me nine runes. I didn’t know if it would work, but I’m glad I tried it.”

“That witch!” West punched the bars again but left no mark. This time he brought blood to his knuckles but the wound was short lived. It sealed itself almost immediately. “What do you intend? Sit in there and wait to die of age? I will outlast. I always outlast.”

“Maybe you will,” Jack said while he planted himself stubbornly at the edge of the jungle gym’s interior. “But I don’t need to outlast you. All I need to do is stay here long enough to figure out a way to overcome you.”

“There isn’t enough time,” West said. He crossed his arms and took a rigid stance. The two then commenced staring at each other.

Jack was at a loss. While the wall rune bought him time, he still had no definitive way of defeating West and especially not at combat. Normal, human fighting was something unfamiliar to Jack. Having a god of war and bloodlust on the field left him entirely out of depth.

There were other runes though. Jack had two in particular that could serve him. First could make him invulnerable from what he understood. The second could make West his friend somehow. Jack didn’t want to rely on those though. He didn’t fully understand divine magic and misplaced faith in this situation could result in an early grave.

It turned out that waiting didn’t seem to suit West, who grew more agitated as time passed. His muscles strained and his scowled deepened. The set of his broad jaw was tighter and tighter, while his lips peeled back to reveal a fierce smile, like that of a baboon.

“What would your whores think of you hiding behind another’s strength? They call you god. The claim is false. You cannot fight. All you can do is lie back like a bitch. Let others have their way.”

“That sounds a whole lot better than stomping around like an angry child.”

“If you were a man I would tear you asunder. Offer your flesh to nature!”

“Yeah? I really doubt that, seeing as how you can’t figure out how jungle gyms work.” Jack stared him firmly in the eye.

To some animals making eye contact is a challenge. West was that sort of animal, though Jack didn’t realize it. He was busy trying to get a read on the man, trying to find his light somewhere in a blinding red star.

West snarled some expletive and renewed his attack. He struck the bars repeatedly with his mighty hands. Jack had expected that, like before, his attacks would be met by an unbendable wall of magic. He was wrong. The rune, like the bars it was bound to, bent beneath West’s supernatural strength.

Jack fell backward as his sanctuary gave. West reached in, between the bars, and grabbed the ethereal barrier that kept him out. With a great roar he tore it apart and ripped the steel straight from the ground in the process.

Jack shuffled back on his hands and feet. West stepped inside of this formerly hallowed ground. Deep gashes on his hands bleed profusely, leaving dark stains in the dirt. A hateful smile graced his cruel face.

“No clever words?”

Jack took a deep breath, maybe to clear his thoughts, maybe to steady himself. “Maybe…To be honest, I don’t even know what these words mean,” Jack muttered just before leaping up to meet West.

It was a short scuffle. West caught Jack by the ribs and threw him out onto a pile of gravel. Jack landed heavily, catching shallow scratches on his hands and forearms and some light bruising, but was otherwise unharmed. West, on the other hand, tried to turn to face him.

West stopped. He looked at his hands and legs and released a mighty howl.

“What did you do? Why have I stopped?”

Jack looked up in surprise which gave way to cautious optimism. “I used one of my runes on you, one which turns enemies into allies. From what I can tell it didn’t stop the god inside of you, but it did stop the body. For now, at least…”

“This will not hold!”

“It doesn’t have to,” Jack said before standing and sprinting over to West’s side. “I just need it to last long enough to sort this entire mess out.”

“I will…”

“Shut up already,” Jack said before slapping his hand over West’s mouth. He grabbed the back of West’s head with his free hand and angled it to where he could look into West’s eyes. Then, peering past them and into West’s light, he went to quick work.

West’s mind was a sea of bloody red, and Jack was sifting through it to find at thread of humanity. If memory served though, West was always cruel. Bullying and brawling came as naturally to him as breathing. Trying to take that away from him would be nearly impossible. Violence was his greatest vice and would appeal much more than any form of lustful servitude.

Still, Jack knew that success would not be found in battle. Not for him, anyway. If he had to fight, Jack preferred to do it in the mind and with emotions. That was his greatest strength and it also seemed to be his only option.

The world faded away around him. Jack delved deep into the pulsating ocean of red light. It was storming, with bright arcs of lightning leaping all through it. He felt the rune slipping, giving way beneath the god’s unparalleled might.

He went deeper, reaching out with his mental fingers and groping for any sign of humanity. West was somewhere in there. He had to be, but he was so lost to the battle haze that his light now seemed imperceptible.

Then Jack saw a shimmer. It was in his peripheral and seemed to disappear when he looked straight on. Jack closed his eyes and reached out with his mind. He found it, that last remaining thread, and he held it for dear life.

Jack’s head pounded while the rest of him simply throbbed. At first he could hardly move, but slowly and with effort he managed to sit up and open his eyes. His vision was momentarily blurred. When it cleared all he could see was an expanse of burning red flames pulsating like the sea.

He stood and dusted himself off. The earth beneath his feet was a reddish-brown, like how he would’ve imagined mars. Jutting from this bloody crust were large, stone pillars and angular buildings. They were submerged in flame and partly obscured from his vision. All of it was broken, shattered by some past battle.

Thunderous clapping filled the air. Jack turned and looked up to a viewing box where three thrones sat. Upon these thrones were the gods. Eros and Athena were bound to their thrones by golden chains. Between them sat a beastly man, with a long, red beard and wild hair. His eyes were sunken and feral, while his nose looked bent and broken. He was built much like the stone surrounding Jack: large and angular, and he wore chipped red armor and had an axe resting against his throne. Dried blood graced its blade.

“You had more fight than expected,” the god shouted while standing. He stopped clapping and looked down at Jack. “First I had thought you prey. Now I see a predator. You’re cunning, and I commend that. Still, it is pointless.” He gave a wretched smile which showed his jagged teeth. “Now you must fight, no glamour, no magic. Only ferocity. Only violence. Most brutal wins!”

With that the god turned and stalked over to his throne, where he scooped up his axe and held it in his lap. Athena leaned in toward him and whispered, “You could at least give the boy a weapon, make this competition equal.”

“No competition is equal. Weapons change nothing. Murder will.”

Eros, who was slouched in his chair indignantly, scoffed. “Ape can’t hold the sun, warsong.”

The god in the center laughed, and it sounded very much like a dirge. “We shall see.”

Jack looked around. On all sides he was surrounded by dust, ruins, and flames. What wasn’t lit up by the enormous bonfires was in the darkest of shadows. At first Jack considered staying in the light, fearing that West would be waiting in the darkness. Then he thought the opposite. In a fair fight he was nothing, but in the shadows he was a competitor.

Jack sprinted into the safety of what appeared to have once been a house. Enormous cracks ran along the frame and wall. The top of it was blazing, and the interior had no floor. Red dust kicked up when he stepped inside.

He kneeled by a fractured window and caught his breath. With a place to hide he started collecting his thoughts. His head was ringing. His body was sluggish. He was in competition with West. Those were his top three concerns, and the first two caused problems with the most vital last one.

Jack peeked out the door frame to his side but saw nothing. He rested against the wall and closed his eyes. Taking deep breathes, he tried to relax and clear his mind. Entering a person’s light in this manner was always disorienting, but West’s mind was different. It was violent and in pain.

As his breath steadied he tried to listen. All he could hear was the sound of his beating hard and the crackling of fire overhead. If West were nearby Jack would be none the wiser.

No sooner than he thought that did he hear a hateful chuckle. “Found you,” West said through the window. Jack didn’t have time to react before West reached in both arms, grabbed him by the shoulders, and yanked him through the fractured glass. He hurled Jack a good two feet and then stood there, staring as Jack rolled to a stop.

Jack coughed and struggled for move. His face was hot and stinging. Blood ran down from shallow cuts along his right shoulder and cheek. When he landed something crunched, and he was sure that his ribs had fractured if not worse.

He staggered upward and stumbled away from West.

“You’re not feeling so lucky now, are you?” West stalked toward.

“You…You know he’s crazy, right?”

West howled with laughter. “Yeah, but I’m a little crazy too, so it’s all good. I’m going to grab your head and slam it against the stones of his coliseum till it bursts like a water balloon.”

Jack lost balance and fell backward. He shuffled away with his hands. “You don’t want to kill me.”

“I always want to kill. I simply wasn’t brave enough before. I was too much of a coward, too weak, but with him inside of me I’m enough. I’m strong. I’m a man.” West’s nostrils flared. “Don’t worry, we’ll put the others to good use.”

West stomped over with his fists balled. He was clearly ready to end the entire thing, but Jack wasn’t. When he was in range Jack took a handful of red earth and chucked it into West’s face. Then he ran as fast and far as his legs allowed.

“Damn it! Quit acting like a god damn child!”

From their place above the gods watched in amusement. Even the god of bloodlust found himself chuckling at this turn of events.

“He has cunning, I admit. Could be a true killer,” he said in a sing-song manner.

“That’s still not his greatest asset,” Athena said. “He is strong willed and resolved.”

“You surprise me. Eros loved humans. Found beauty in them. You didn’t. You saw tools. Like us. What changed you?”


“Him?” The god regarded Jack with disbelief. “Seems ordinary.”

Athena grinned knowingly. “Just watch,” she said.

West wiped the dust from his eyes and spit some from his mouth. Then he looked around in a rage. “Come out, you little coward. Come out and face me! This isn’t a game of hide and seek, it’s a battle to the death!”

Coughing and wheezing, Jack came to a stop some thirty feet away. He was hiding behind an enormous pillar and using it to support his weight. His legs felt sedentary. His lungs burned. He still didn’t feel safe.

“I know you’re around here somewhere,” West shouted. He was drawing closer, as if knowing by instinct where his prey was.

Jack pressed up flat against the pillar. His heart was in his throat, and possibly because his stomach was twisting itself up into a pretzel. Everything seemed hopeless. Everything he built, everyone he met, all of it was going to be burned away.

“When I find you, I’m going to rip your fucking spine out and hang you with it.” West snorted a laugh.

Jack knelt down and sat in the dirt. He was heavy, too heavy to move. His hands rested at his sides and alighted on something. It was jagged and slender. Jack palmed it curiously.

“Then I’ll go to your home. Murder your family.” He paused, as if in consideration. “Maybe I’ll fuck your sister first. Choke her out while I stick it to her.”

Jack stepped out from behind the pillar. Half of his face was bloody red from the wounds the glass left. He looked furious and his hands balled up. “You’ve made the biggest mistake of your life.”

“No, actually, I believe that you just did.”

“Fine show,” the war god sang. “Now he is a man! Facing death with dignity. Damn pity.”

West approached more quickly this time, closing the distance in only a few strides. He angled his knee up and caught Jack firmly in the gut.

Jack fell backward and landed in the ground heavily. He kept his fists tight.

West mounted Jack and started pummeling his face. There was blood and cracking, and there was a lot of it. West released a delighted wail. “Yes! This is what it’s all about! Dominance! Power! Strength! Fucking blood!” His speech fell into incoherent shouts of victory.

Jack jerked upward with his whole body. It was a quick, precise movement that pinned his right hand into West’s throat. Everything stopped. West’s body was tense, frozen in place. The war god, who was convinced of Jack’s failure, suddenly faulted. Athena, on the other hand, adopted a radiant smile. Eros didn’t move at all.

“How doth it go again? That which comes to close to the sun shall burn and plummet back down to the earth?”

Jack pulled back and stabbed forward again. Red ribbons of blood shot from a small but deep puncture on West’s neck. Jack repeated this movement until everything was covered blood.

When West’s body went limp and fell backward his body was pale. He held his wounds and struggled for breath, for life. A slender stone shard was wedge in neck where Jack had left it.

Jack stood. His face was misshapen, beaten into an unfamiliar, broken form He watched West die, and then he looked to the gods.

“Unbelievable,” the war god said in disbelief.

“I told you not to count him out,” said Athena.

“You were right.” The war god stood and laughed. “That is killing spirit! I thought …that flesh sack had it. I was wrong. You! You. Boy. My new host!”

“No! That is not how this works! I defeated your champion, I overcame your trial. I am in charge here, not you!”

“You overcome a man. You entertained me. Nothing more.”

“But I thought…”

“You nothing. Defiance is no option. Disobedience is no choice. You are mine!”

The entire field went up in flame as red as an apple. Within it Jack burned. He felt rage overcome him and a lust for violence. Jack would have thought it would be unfamiliar, but it wasn’t. It reminded him of the hazy pink lust that would consume him from time to time. It obscured his senses, confused his thoughts.

He gritted his teeth and flexed his body. It was pointless to fight it. War, like love, was a natural reaction. It was human and the parallels between the two were endless. Jack was familiar with penetration and domination. He was familiar with the wanton violence of sex. Murder, he decided, was a simple shift in perspective.

Soft flesh was in his hands. He squeezed it tightly, with this thumbs pressed just right. Something scratched at his arms and shoulders. Something pushed at his chest. He held tighter, firm in his resolve to kill.

Mary coughed and swung at him. “M-Master…J-Ja…” She couldn’t breathe anymore. Her eyes were bulging and wet. His mouth ajar ever so slightly, and then she went limp in his hands. Jack wanted to laugh, to celebrate her sacrifice to the gods.

He thought of all the bodies he could mutilate and all the things he could destroy. With three gods now in his control Jack could bring death to the world. He could start a holy war and kill his way across the country and then across continents.

The fire was inside of him now, inside of his veins. He had clear vision, a clear future, and it brought him rapture. Then he remembered something even more important. He remembered a soft smile, blue eyes, and a promise that he made

Author’s note: All, this is a work of FICTION. Any similarities to real people or places is entirely coincidental.

Do you want to know what the hardest profession is in the entire world? Name any that you want and I’ll trump you. Whatever your response is, I would simply shake my head with a knowing smile and say, “Nope, I have the hardest job in the world.”

No, you see, I am a 29 year old, attractive single man who teachers seniors at the local high school. It’s not the bratty and smart-ass behavior of the kids, the checked out demeanor of kids ready to leave and start college or even the entitlement that many of them throw around because they know their parents would never believe their little angels would ever do anything wrong. No, I can deal with that, even if our hands are severely tied in many occasions.

No, what I can’t deal with is the girls. Everyday, and every year since I started, I am constantly bombarded with a new wave of incredibly hot 18 year old girls that I get to see and interact with on a daily basis, but due to my job, I’m not allowed to pursue. What’s worse is that many of them realize this and try to use it to their advantage. There might possibly have been a few that truly wanted something, but most realized they could flirt or covertly tease without any worry of having to follow thru.

Now, have I fucked any of my students? Sure, but it was after they had graduated and I would run into them at a bar after they turned 21. This has only been in the last year or two due to the short time I’ve been teaching. That’s fun and all, but when you see them on a daily basis and really want to fuck them but know that they are forbidden fruit, it makes you want them all the more. Make no mistake out there, if you are a hot senior girl at your high school, 90% of your male teachers want to fuck you and have cum with the vision of you burned into the inside of their eyelids.

So technically, no, I haven’t fucked any of my students. Well, not until this year that is.

Before I tell you that, let me back up a bit. Brianna was her name and from the first day she stepped into my last period class, I was immediately hooked. She was a 5’7″ girl with model looks and long brown hair. Her blue, exotic eyes sparkled as she laughed with friends and that big, beautiful smile melted everyone around her. Her lips were full and soft and she always accentuated them with either clear or light pink lip gloss. She was obviously the queen bee of her click as she was always front and center in her group of girls. They were hot, she was hotter.

She had long, killer legs with great tone. Her hamstrings curved out slightly showcasing her athletic legs and her calves weakened my knees. They were tan and seemed to shine whenever I was lucky enough to see her in a dress or skirt. She had a flat belly, tiny hips, a perky, athletic ass to die for and topped it all off with a set of firm, perky C-Cup breasts. Her cleavage would always cause me to lose my train of thought. I know I wasn’t alone in that.

She was an extremely smart girl as I found out thru the year. Her work was exemplary and she had a shot at being the graduating class’s Valedictorian, or at bare minimum the Salutatorian.

She kept her strong school work up while also managing to be the school’s head cheerleader. This was one of those special girls. She did so much and was successful at it. Her father was a high powered Judge in the area and her mother was some sort of philanthropist.

She was an only child so her parents high expectations fell completely on her shoulders. It was my understanding that she had received full scholarship offers from big universities like Stanford, Harvard and others. She had a lot going for her.

She was a friendly girl, even to those that didn’t fit within her social group and even to me. There were plenty of times she would stay after class to ask about some of the material we had covered or about different research projects we were doing. She always found a way to touch my arms or even my chest when I would say something funny, but it was almost always followed up with a statement of how important it was for her to ace my class. I began to realize that she was just trying to ensure she got a good grade, even with her already stellar work, by flirting with me.

It was a Thursday after class and this wasn’t one of the days she stayed after. I began to tidy up the class so I could leave and head home to grade some tests. As I did, I noticed a small makeup case by the door to the room and realized that one of the girls must have accidentally dropped it on their way out.

I picked it up and opened it up to see whose it was. I was completely shocked at what I saw. Inside was some small make-up items, probably $200 in twenty’s, a drivers license and a debit card and around 10 small baggies filled with a white substance. Cocaine.

I dropped into my chair and stared at what was in my hands. I made sure to only touch the cloth sides because the last thing I wanted to do was get my fingerprints on the felony I was holding. I shifted everything around so that I could see the license. My eyes widened as I read the name.

Brianna Alexandra Hayes.

I again stared at what I had in my hands and realized that I held her future in my hands. This would kill her scholarships, her father’s reputation, hell even her mother’s too. If I took this to the principal or school officer, her life would be forever changed. I decided I needed to think about what I was going to do. She seemed like such a good girl and even though it would be her fault, I still felt horrible. Proof again that if you are a hot girl, you will find all sorts breaks in life.

I reached in my desk and pulled out a large zip lock baggie from the stash I had in my desk. If you are a teacher, you know how our desks can be a plethora of random supplies that we obtain thru the years. I placed the make-up bag inside, closed it and slipped it in my briefcase.

I have never driven as carefully as I did on my way home. If I was found with it, I too could suffer some serious consequences.

When I got home I made my way inside. I knew I was going to have to deal with this situation, but as I’ve told my students, it is important to get the stuff done first that you don’t want to do because you may not get around to it later if you don’t so I tried to put it out of my mind and started to tackle the tests.

Once those were done, I poured myself a large Makers’ on the rocks and pulled out the bag containing the make-up case and set it on my table. There was no way this could turn out good for Brianna. The possibilities ran thru my head.

I could report this, but then this otherwise promising young student’s life would be forever altered. I could dispose of the narcotics and return her case with a strong lecture, but honestly, she wouldn’t learn anything about consequences. I could destroy everything, but again, she would learn nothing and the only thing she would take from the experience is a sense of fear of not knowing what happened to her stash.

I finally realized a solution that would guarantee she leaned a lesson, yet would not ruin her life or the reputations of those in her family including hers. I have to say that this solution was personally beneficial as well. I went to work on my plan.

I laid my cell phone on the table and went and grabbed another large zip lock bag. I didn’t have any latex gloves so this would have to do. I picked up my cell phone and opened the video recording feature and began recording with the camera pointed towards the zip lock bag containing the case.

“My name is Jonathan Clements, I am a senior English teacher at Sheffield Hills High School. Today, upon my final class leaving for the day, I found this case laying next to the door, obviously there from a student accidentally dropping it on their way out. I opened the case to determine the ownership and this is what I found.”

I opened the zip lock bag and pulled out the case and opened it as well. I began to record the contents.

“As you can see, the case contains some make-up items, a large roll of money, roughly 10 small baggies containing narcotics and a debit card and drivers license, all belonging to Brianna Alexandra Hayes. This serves as a video documentation as I intend to turn these items over to the school and to law enforcement so that they can take necessary action.”

I ended the video, put the phone down, removed my hand from the other zip lock baggie and downed my drink. Tomorrow, I was going to fuck one of my students. And not just any one of my students, but the hottest one I’ve seen in a long while.

The next day came and I managed to make it thru all of my classes. I had butterflies all day, but made sure I didn’t reveal it to any of my students. Today was just another Friday. Finally my last period came and the students shuffled in. I saw Brianna enter but there was something different about her today. She wasn’t her normal self plastered with smiles. She was disheveled and had an air of worry about her. I made no indications towards her that were different than any other day.

My class went as usual and then the final bell rang. As the kids shuffled out I said, “Oh, Brianna, could you please stay a moment after class?” Fear spread quickly over her face.

Once the class was empty save for me and the young Miss Hayes, I sat down at my desk as she stood by. “We need yo have a talk,” I began. “I found something that you dropped in my class yesterday.” Her eyes watered up.

“I can tell from your expression and reaction that you know exactly what I am talking about, is that correct,” I said in a stern tone. She nodded ever so slightly as a tear ran down her cheek. “Just to be sure, I want you to see something.”

I pulled out my phone and opened up the recorded video and began to play it for her. She cried more and more, deep, silent sobs coming from her now. When the video got to the part about turning the video over to the school and law enforcement, she dropped her head into her hands and began to weep, her upper body jerking from the sobs.

“Now, this is a very serious offense Miss Hayes. This is a major felony violation. Its more than just possession, it’s possession with intent to distribute. Being at the age of 18, this comes with serious jail time even for first offenders. Your scholarships, your bright future, your PARENT’S (I emphasized and lingered on this word) reputations will all be severely tarnished from this.”

“Mr. Clements, please, no,” she said quickly between sobs, her gorgeous tear-filled eyes pleading with me. “”I’m so sorry, please, I promise, I’ll never do it again, please?!?!” She started sobbing again, looking into my eyes, trying to see if there was any sort of hope to be found.

“I’m sorry Miss Hayes, my hands are tied,” I said back. “I don’t believe I have another choice but to turn you over to authorities. I have to ensure that drugs are kept out of our schools even if that means allowing your actions to ruin your life and the lives of your family.”

“You can’t! You can’t do that!” she pleaded with a hint of anger on her voice. “How could you be so mean? Don’t you care how many lives you’ll ruin?”

“Ah, Miss Hayes, this is exactly why I have to do this,” I said. “You are so disconnected. It won’t be my actions that ruin your family and your future, the blame lies squarely on your shoulders. You’ve had everything handed to you on a silver platter and, I’ll be first to admit it, worked extremely hard at everything else, but it was also your decision to sell cocaine so the consequences and fallout from such actions are solely yours.”

Her head dropped again and she started crying. “So why are you telling me all this instead of just turning me in? Please, there must be something I can do.”

I told you she was intelligent. This meeting shouldn’t have been with me. This should have been a conversation she had last night when the authorities showed up at her house to take her into custody.

“I actually wrestled with my options Miss Hayes. I actually even contemplated destroying everything, burning it and pretending I never found it,” I explained. “You are an extremely talented young lady and I couldn’t believe you would do something so dumb. This is something I would expect from kids like Jeremy or Tasha (referencing two suspected stoners and obvious slackers in class), but not you.”

Her eyes widened sensing a glimmer of hope. “You still can, please Mr. Clements, I promise I’ll stop. I’ll never do it again, I promise, please.”

“But Brianna, you wouldn’t learn anything,” I started before she quickly interrupted me, “I have, I have, I’ve learned my lesson, I promise.”

“Learned what?!” I snapped back. “That you can commit a major felony and the only consequences are a stern talking-too? I don’t believe for one second that you’ve learned your lesson. An hour from now, you’d be fine and probably brag to all your friends about how you got away with it. Next week you’d be back to your old ways only this time you’d be smarter. More clever. So don’t give me that shit that you’ve learned your lesson. I’m not an idiot.”

The sharpness of my tone and the cursing from her teacher showed her the gravity of the situation. She sunk down, defeated and said, “So that’s it. There’s nothing I can do. I’m just screwed.”

I chuckled internally at that last statement and thought to myself, “not yet….”

“Brianna, you have to be the most talented young lady I’ve ever taught and it’s so unfortunate and disappointing that this very serious infraction, this completely idiotic set of choices on your part, are going to cause so many hardships in so many people’s lives. It is so disappointing because I’ve liked you since the moment I met you. Probably more than a teacher should like one of his students.”

I said nothing else and just stared at her. She slowly looked up and I saw in her eyes that she was processing this new information. A confused realization crept across her face and she said, “Mr. Clements, are you saying that you,” she swallowed hard, “you LIKE me?”

I said nothing but continued to stare her directly in the eyes. She readjusted her posture from that of someone who was defeated to someone who now realized that they had a new weapon to use in their battle. She wiped tears from her eyes, put on a desperate smile and said, “Mr. Clements, I’ve had a crush on you since the first day of class, even before. Most girls do. Every girl wants you as their English teacher. There must be some sort of mutually beneficial agreement that we could come too, privately, that could ensure this whole thing just disappears?” she stressed the word ‘privately’.

“I’m not sure what you are getting at,” I said, intent on this being her idea.

“Maybe there’s something I could do to make you forget this ever happened,” she said and bent over, placing her hand on mine that was resting on the desk. I had a wonderful view down her shirt.

“I don’t know what you could offer that would make me forget something as serious as this,” I said, but didn’t move my hand.

“What if I offered you…,” she paused and looked deeply in my eyes, “me?”

There it was. I was rock hard under my desk, but I was far from done. “Brianna, if you are suggesting what I think you are, it is highly inappropriate. Such actions, if revealed, could cost me my career.”

“But I wouldn’t say anything,” she said. “You’d be helping me get what I want and you’d be getting what you want, however you want it.” The last portion was dripping with sexual overtones.

“Here’s what we’ll do, pull out your phone and do a Google search for ‘Jonathan Clements address’ and see what it pulls up,” I said. I am publicly listed so I knew my address would come up. I wanted it to appear as of she searched me out, not that I gave her my address. It may be a little too cautious, but still.

When she found it, she showed me the phone and I confirmed it was my address. “I want you there tonight at 8pm on the dot. You are not to be tardy. We can then discuss this beneficial arrangement some more. You are by no means to tell anyone you are coming there. If we can work things out, I will destroy everything and your life and that of your families will go untarnished. Is that clear?”

“Yes Mr. Clements,” she said. “Is my stuff at your place?”

“Absolutely not,” I lied. “I’m not an idiot. There’s no way I would keep something like that at my place.” If I had said yes, she could have tried to set me up. Again, I may have been a little more cautious than I needed, buy this was still risky for me. It was definitely going to be worth it though.

I dismissed her and reminded her of the time. I told her I didn’t care how, but she should make her parents realize she wasn’t coming home tonight. She just smiled and said, “ok,” before walking out of class and leaving me there alone.

I quickly left school, headed home and went and retrieved her make-up case. I pulled the money from the case, put it back in the zip lock bag and hid them again. I left my house and went to the seedier part of town that had sex shops. I purchased a small black micro-bikini, a slutty school girl outfit, a vibrator, some handcuffs, a blindfold, some flavored lube, a collar and leash and a few other odds and ends. I spent almost all of her money, but paying by cash cut the money trail to me.

I headed back home and removed all tags and packaging from the purchases and laid them out. I placed the black micro-bikini and matching thong along with the short white schoolgirl top that could be tied up and the extremely short red and black plaid skirt on my bed along with some black, sheer knee-high stockings. This was going to be her outfit for the evening. It may be cliche, but if I was going to fuck a schoolgirl, I was going to fuck a schoolgirl.

I placed all of the other purchases like the blindfold, handcuffs and lube on my bedside table. This may be a one time thing so I was determined to sample everything, and I do mean everything, she had to offer.

7:45 rolled around and my doorbell rang. Early? I like that. I went and opened the door and there was Brianna in a nice pair of tight jeans, heels, and a black, low-cut v-neck sweater. Her breasts looked magnificent as they pushed the material out and her cleavage almost made my mouth water. She looked like a dream.

I stepped aside and told her to come in. She walked in and I got a good look at her tight ass encased in the dark denim. I wanted to reach out and grab every inch of her, but I sustained. I had plans.

“You’re early, I like that,” I said. She turned around and I made no attempt to hide my actions as my eyes ran over her young body.

“Well, it’s not everyday that a girl gets a private, one-on-one detention with the sexiest teacher in school,” she said and smiled.

“Make no mistake Miss Hayes, this is still going to be a punishment for you. For this to satisfy my requirements, you will have to completely submit to each and every one of my requests tonight, no matter what they be, is that understood,” I asked her while keeping an air of scholastic authority in my voice.

She tried to wipe the smile off her face and replace it with a serious look. She was failing, but she was at least attempting. “Yes Mr. Clements, I understand. I’ve been a naughty girl and I deserved to be punished.” She looked at me with big, puppy dog eyes and bit the corner of her bottom lip.

“Kiss me,” I commanded. She put her purse down on the ground and stepped up and pressed her lips against mine. We began to kiss and I forced my tongue into her mouth. She was kissing me tenderly, passionately and it was better than I had even imagined. Her soft, full lips enveloped mine. I had never kissed lips so soft on my entire life. I reached up with my left hand behind her head and grabbed a handful of her hair and yanked backwards. She let out a surprised gasp and looked at me with a bit of sexual panic in her eyes. She enjoyed it.

I looked deep into her eyes and said, “tonight, you are all mine. I’m going to do whatever I want to you, do you understand?”

“Ooooh, Mr. Clements, I understand. Me and my body are yours tonight,” she said. I brought my right hand up and squeezed her face and said, “that’s a good girl.” I then leaned back in and kissed her again, never removing my hands from her hair and her face.

I stopped kissing her and again, never let go of her face or hair and said, “Get on your knees.” She smiled and bit her lip and did as I instructed. With her down on her knees, I told her to put her hands behind her back. She did so and I grabbed her head and pulled it towards my crotch. I have a fairly big cock at almost 8 inches and tonight, in my slacks, I had the idea to go without underwear. My cock hung heavy down my right pant leg and was filling with blood and creating a good bulging tent in my pants. I pushed her head against my cock and rubbed her face around. My hardening cock was smashed into her entire face as I moved it around. This was strictly a power play on my part but also served to show her that she wasn’t dealing with some small dicked jack off.

I continued to push her face hard against my cock. I said nothing and dominated her. “Do you feel my cock Miss Hayes?” She gasped out a yes. “Do you feel its size and power?” Another breathless yes. “This cock is your world tonight. You will become very acquainted with it. I’m not a juvenile high school boy who nuts in 30 seconds and is done for the night. I am a man. This is a man’s cock. I can fuck for a long time and I can cum several times. Are you willing to be a slave to my cock tonight?”

“Yes Mr. Clements, I am willing,” she said with her eyes closed as I rolled her face around on my cock. This was so erotic. We were both fully clothed and I was using her face to massage my cock. I wanted everything to last so I continued forcing her face against my cock, letting the heat and hardness press against her.

I pulled her up by her hair and she squealed with a bit of sexual pleasure and surprise. I turned her around and pushed her over at the waist, her face and upper body resting against the foyer wall. My hands went to her denim covered ass and began to squeeze. My fingers were facing down, my palms out as I squeezed and caressed this perfect teen ass. I brought my right hand back and then smacked it down on her firm ass and she again squealed in delight. I pushed forward with my crotch and started dry humping her. Each thrust pushed her uncomfortably into the wall, but based off the sounds she was making, I don’t think she cared.

I dry jumped her for awhile, telling her I couldn’t wait to use her. She pushed back with her ass and met each of my thrusts. I grabbed her hair again and pulled her upright with my cock still pressed against her and reached around with my left hand and forcefully began to grab her tits thru the sweater.

I told her to get down on her hands and knees and commanded her to start crawling. I watched her ass flex with every movement she made as I directed her back to my bedroom. When we were there, I told her to stand again. I pointed at the outfit I had laid out for her and instructed her to go in the bathroom and change.

“Oh, Mr. Clements, how naughty,” she said. She had a twinkle in her eyes as she scooped up the tiny outfit. She disappeared into the bathroom and I waited.

About five minutes later, the door to the bathroom opened and there she was. The sheer white top was tied in the middle, just below her cleavage and I could see the tiny black bikini top was barely containing her large, firm breasts. The top had very short sleeves, almost triangles that covered just parts of her shoulders. Her tan, flat stomach had just then hint of a line going down the center, showcasing her abs, but was primarily flat. I could see the top of her hip bones as they were slightly visible over the waist of the plaid skirt. The skirt hung down just below where I imagined her pussy was, covered only in an obscenely small piece of fabric. From the back, I was sure that the bottom of her ass would be visible. She had the sheer knee high stockings on and she had put her high heels back on. With the added height, she was probably closer to 5’10″.

She stood in the doorway,leaned up next to the frame and with her right hand, she was playing with her hair, twirling it in her fingers. She oozed sexuality.

“I’ve been a bad, bad girl,” she said, “and I need to be punished.” She was not smiling. She had a pure, unadulterated sultry look on her face.

“Come here,” I said as I was sitting on the side of the bed. She slowly sauntered over and when she got close, I told her to turn around. As I had expected, only the top portion of her ass was covered. The bottom moons were clearly visible and they were firm, athletic and perky. Her ass was smooth and like her legs, seemed to shine. There was not a hint of cellulite on this 18 year old ass. Like a fine scotch, it had aged to perfection.

I reached out and began squeeze each cheek with my hands. I marveled at how the tight flesh compressed under my fingers. It was taught and firm. I squeezed her ass and pulled it apart, noticing the tiny black string running up her crack. It did nothing to conceal her tight, hairless pucker. “Have you ever been fucked in your ass,” I questioned as I continued to feel her ass, moving her from side to side to get every angle I could.

“No,” she said quietly as she enjoyed my hands on her ass, exploring her like a piece of meat.

“You will tonight,” I said and then spanked her softly on her right cheek. She just moaned, or maybe it was a whimper, I wasn’t entirely sure.

I pulled her to me and laid her out over my lap. Her pelvis was directly over mine and her ass was presented to me. In this position, I again began to squeeze and caress her ass. She moaned lightly under me and that’s when I began the punishment. With my right hand, I flipped up her skirt exposing her perfect ass to me fully. I then rubbed her right cheek with the palm of my hand, then brought my hand up and brought it down sharply on her ass. She yelped in pain. I did it again.

I smacked her ass about ten times on the right cheek, she was yelping and moaning and I could tell she was also crying a little. Her beautiful tan ass was now red on the right side and I leaned back a little and delivered another ten to her left ass cheek. Both were red and hot to the touch, yet even as she was crying a little, she was also rocking her pelvis against me. The pain excited her.

I caressed the hot flesh, rubbing my hands around and squeezing them. She winced a little with each squeeze, but continued her gyrations. I could already tell this was a highly sexual girl. She played the part well and got off on it.

I moved her off of me and had her get down on her knees. I stood up and walked over to my nightstand and retrieved the handcuffs and blindfold. I walked back to her and told her to put her arms behind her back and as she did, I clasped the metals cuffs on each of her wrists. With her arms immobilized and her in a submissive kneeling position a few feet away from the bed, I placed the blindfold on her and deprived her of sight. I walked around her and admired her body again. This amazingly hot 18 year old girl was bound and fully under my control.

I removed my shirt and threw it on the floor. I stepped up to her and again, grabbed her by the hair on the back of her head and shoved her face into my cock. I pumped my hips toward her head and shoved her face against my big, hard cock. As I roughly shoved her face against my cock, I said, “have you ever sucked a cock Miss Hayes?”

“Yes,” she mumbled, her mouth pressed against my slacks.

“Do you enjoy sucking cock,” I asked, grabbing her head with both of my hands and really grinding my hard cock against her face.

“Yes,” she said again, still muffled.

“Have you ever been face fucked,” I said. “Had your control taken away and just used? A cock fucking your mouth and throat like it was your pussy?”

“No,” she said, gasping. She fidgeted a little.

I let go of her head and stepped back. I undid my belt and my slacks and let them fall to the ground. My hard cock sprang free. I stepped out of my pants and kicked them aside. I gripped my cock by the base and stepped forward. I lifted it up and placed it on her beautiful face, its length running the full height of her face. I grabbed her head with my other hand and began to repeat what I had done to her with my cock still in my pants.

She gasped in sexual bliss as I rolled my hard cock across her face. She could feel its size, its heat, its length. Some pre-cum was appearing on the tip so I pulled back and wiped it on her cheek. I told her to keep her mouth closed and purse out her soft full lips. She did as instructed and I rubbed the head of my cock all over her luscious lips. I heard a soft whimper escape her.

I pulled back and told her to open her mouth and stick out her tongue. She complied and I sat there looking at her. She was so beautiful.

With my cock still in my hand, I pushed forward and guided my cock into her waiting mouth. As soon as the spongy head of my cock was in her mouth, she clamped down with her soft lips and her tongue went to exploring it. It felt heavenly. I’m sure this girl gives a great, tender blowjob and I might have to get one from her, but this one was about dominance, submission and punishment.

With my cock in her hot mouth, she began to bob up and down on my cock, but I had other plans. I grabbed her head and started thrusting into her mouth. I was using deep, slow strokes and feeding her about half of my cock. I pushed deeper and deeper and I got to her throat. When I made contact, she pulled back and coughed, but I grabbed her head harder and pushed in deeper. She did a better job of breathing and my my cock entered her throat. I pulled out a little, pushed back in and went deeper.

She was choking and gagging as I explored her throat, going a little deeper each time. Saliva was pouring freely and as I thrust into her mouth, I kept saying, “that’s it, take it all slut. That’s a good bitch. Choke on your teachers cock. This is what rule breakers get. Take it all bitch. Choke on it. That’s it. You look so good with my big cock in your mouth.”

I continued the thrust and push and finally got all of my cock into her mouth and throat. She was truly a talented girl. Was there anything she wasn’t good at? I held my cock in her mouth and throat and she began to struggle as I had cut off her ability to breathe. As she really started to squirm, I pulled out. She gasped loudly for air.

I slapped my cock a few times on her face and then shoved back in. Again, I held it there waiting for her to squirm. When she did, I held it there again and then pulled out. This time I pushed in and once I was fully in, I removed her blindfold and told her to look at me. She had a bit of fear in her eyes as she did. I told her to look down at my crotch and when she did, I slowly pulled my big cock from her mouth. Her first look at my cock was as it was being removed from her. I did it slowly and it must have seemed to her that it was never going to end. Inch by inch of rock-hard, saliva covered cock was pulled from her mouth till I was fully out.

She looked at it and her eyes widened. I held it in my hand and smacked it a few times on her face. “Oh my God, Mr. Clements, your dick is so big.”

I said nothing and then pushed back in again and sank my cock fully. I did this a few more times and she looked up at me, smiling with her eyes. I pulled out and guided her head to my balls. I pushed her forward and her tongue and mouth lathered my balls. She licked them, kissed them and took them into her mouth. I rubbed my cock on her face as she did this.

I repositioned and stuck my cock back in her mouth, grabbed her head with both of my hands and began to thrust semi-quickly into her mouth, feeding her about three-quarters of my cock with each thrust. I was fucking the mouth of my 18 year old student.

She would occasionally make choking and gagging sounds as I hit certain parts of her throat, but I never let up. She kept her mouth locked on my cock and I picked up the pace. I was roughly thrusting into her willing mouth and I felt that glorious feeling that I was close to cumming. I picked up the pace and really started fucking her throat.

Right before I came, I pulled out and with a few furious strokes, I unloaded a huge load of cum across her perfect face. She was drenched and I immediately put my cock back in her mouth. She hungrily cleaned my cock, eating the remaining cum. I let her suck me sweetly for a bit and then began scooping large globs of cum off her face with the head of my cock and fed it to her. She gladly accepted it.

When she was mostly cleaned of cum, I walked behind her and helped her up. She was saying how hot that was. I led her into the bathroom and over to the large walk in shower. I told her to get on her knees in the shower.

I’ve always wanted to do something, but it always seemed to degrading to do to a girl, but that’s what this whole session was about. I assume she thought I was going to turn on the shower and clean her off, but instead, I pointed my cock directly at her face and began to piss on her. She squirmed and moved her head from side to side, but I noticed it was not from her trying to get away. She started moaning as my stream was hitting her and she even surprised me when she opened her mouth and let my piss fill her mouth.

When her mouth was full, she pushed the urine out onto her body and opened up again. I sprayed her face, her open mouth, even her perfect tits. She got off on it, even more than I think I did.

“Holy fuck Mr. Clements, yes, use me however you want. I want to make you happy,” she said.

I turned the water on and even though I turned it to hot, the initial cascade was cold. She shrieked and tried to move away from the water. It eventually warmed up and I just stared at her magnificent drenched body.

Her outfit was soaked and clung to her body. She was still kneeling in the shower and I left the bathroom and headed into my bedroom. I came back and undid her handcuffs, but told her to stay kneeling. Her wet hair and clinging clothes made her look even more erotic than before. I was still standing outside of the shower, my cock, while not erect, hung heavy between my legs.

“Strip. Slowly,” I told her. She stood up under the hot, steamy water and slowly untied her white top. She looked seductively at me the entire time. She removed the top leaving just the small triangles of her bikini to conceal her perfect breasts. They were round, perky and had a great curve under the bottom. The inside curves touched ever so slightly as they hung firm on her frame. I could see her nipples were hard under the material.

She reached down and unzipped the side of the skirt and then let it fall to the wet ground below. The string of her panties hugged her tiny waist. The small piece of fabric that covered her pussy was wet and had formed up to her yummy looking pussy lips. Even covered, I could tell she was bald and bare. Just the way a girl should be.

She reached behind her and untied the bikini top and let it go. The wet material clung to her nipples as the strings hung loose. She brought her tiny hands up and cupped her breasts, squeezing them together. Like her ass did when squeezed it, her fingers compressed the flesh and I could tell there was firm resistance underneath. She removed her hands and removed the bikini top at the same time. Her perfect nipples came into view. Perfectly round areolas and hard, tiny nipples that were a few shades darker than her tanned skin beckoned to me.

She smiled and turned around and slowly pulled the g-string down. Once past the bottom of her ass, she bent over to guide them the rest of the way down. I could see her tiny pucker and beautiful pussy lips as she did. I was going to fuck both.

When she was completely nude, I stepped into the shower and ran my hands over her wet body, feeling every inch. I reached her pussy and dipped a finger in, eliciting a moan from her. I pulled my finger out and placed it in her mouth. She sucked on my finger and lapped up her own juices.

I pulled some body wash off the counter in the shower, put it in my hands and began rubbing every inch of her body. I can’t even begin to describe how good her wet, soapy, young body felt in my hands.

I reached her ass and turned her around. I pressed a soapy finger against her pucker and pushed in. She tightened up, but I told her to relax. I did this some more and finally buried a finger in her tight ass. I slowly fucked her with my finger and I felt her body respond. She pushed back as I continued to violate this virgin territory.

I removed my finger and turned her around. “I want you to wash me now,” I said. She smiled a mischievous smile and simply said, “yes sir.”

She took some body wash in her hands and started at my shoulders. She washed them and ran down each arm to my hands where she would hold them up and slide her fingers between mine, washing me thoroughly. She returned to my shoulders then moved to my chest. She lathered up my chest and moved to my abs. Her tiny, soapy hands felt amazing. She turned me around and went to work on my back.

She washed and massaged her way down and reached my ass. She grabbed more wash and went back to cleaning my ass. She knelt down and rubbed and caressed my ass. I play a lot of racquetball and squash so I’m in really good condition and I do have a firm, athletic body, my ass included.

She rubbed all over my ass and massaged it. Her tiny hands explored by cheeks and even spread them several times. She then moved her hands down and rubbed my legs and then finally my feet. She pushed on my legs and motioned for me to turn around. I did as she wanted and she was level with my cock. She ran her hands up and down my legs and as she leaned forward to get my lower legs, her head brushed against my cock.

She ran her hands back up my legs and then removed her hands and took more body wash into her hands. She reached up and placed her left hand on my balls and her right hand on my cock. She lathered me up and slowly, sensually, stroked me and caressed me. I quickly became hard again as she manipulated my cock and balls.

I let her slowly and sensually massage my groin for a good five minutes. She never took her eyes off of my cock save a few times to look up at me. The hot water cascaded down on me and I let it rinse the soap from my body. Once removed, I presented my cock to her and told her to slowly suck my cock.

She took me in her mouth and slowly bobbed up and down on my cock. She massaged my balls as she pleasured me with her mouth. It was heavenly. I let her take charge this time. She savored my cock as she slid her mouth over it. I pulled out and turned around, looked back at her and told her to eat my ass. I, like any man, loves a good rim job.

She leaned forward and pulled my ass apart. I saw her face move between my cheeks and then I felt her tongue make contact with my pucker. She licked it and ran her tongue around it. I actually moaned at the feeling of her tongue exploring my ass. I reached back and pushed her face into my ass, encouraging her to go deeper. She continued to lick and started probing my asshole, pushing her tongue into my ass. She let go of one of my ass cheeks and reached thru my legs and began stroking my cock as she ate my ass. I moaned louder.

I let her eat my ass for a few minutes before turning around and offering my cock to her again. She took me in her mouth but reached down and grabbed the body wash. She squirted some on her fingers without ever letting my cock drop from her mouth and then reached up between my legs and ran her fingers across my pucker.

A Not-Typical Night Working at Burger King

Many years ago, I worked as an assistant manager at a Burger King while I was in college. It was a good job for me at that time. The job was made better once I realized it was just a college job for me.

It was also where I met Karen, my girlfriend through most of my college years. We hid our relationship from the store manager though many of our co-workers knew about our relationship. This meant that, on many occasions, Karen and I worked together.

Occasionally, we closed the restaurant together. Rarely, it was just the two of us closing; usually there was at least one other employee helping. Because I had a car, I tended to drive everybody home after we were done. Many times, if Karen was with me, we’d go back to the restaurant after dropping everyone else off so that we could make out and screw our brains out. Since we both lived with our parents, this was one of the few places we could be alone.

Over time, we started to push the envelope. My favorite game we played when it was just the two of us closing the restaurant. I remember the first time we played this game like it was yesterday.

It was a Friday night. At 11:00 PM, the only other person with us headed home. So it was just Karen and I left. It was also the time we closed the dining room and went drive-thru only. We stay open for another hour after this; and it’s usually really quiet this last hour. It gives us a change to get a lot of the closing work done so that we can get down to business earlier.

The first fifteen minutes went by like a normal, quiet Friday night. Karen was cleaning up in the back, I was cleaning up in the front and taking care of the few customers. Then things changed when Karen called me into the back of the restaurant.

When I got to her, she wraps me in a bear hug and plants a huge kiss on me. When she’s done kissing me, she tells me “I have an idea. You willing to switch places with me and stay back here to clean?”

“I guess,” I just can’t think of anything else to say. And, I’m puzzled because she has never asked me to stay in the back before. She usually does it because she is faster at it.

She smiles, “Good.” Next thing I know, she has my pants and underwear pulled down and is taking them off of me. When she’s done, I’m in the back of Burger King, while our drive-thru is still open, wearing socks, shoes, a dress shirt and a tie. Oh, and my cock is hard and poking out between the panels of my shirt.

The drive-thru buzzer picked that moment to go off. Karen goes up front to take care of the customer. I stand there like an idiot waiting for her to return because I don’t know what else to do.

She returns and fills me in on what is left to do. “The only thing left up front is cleaning the far side of the sandwich board and putting everything away. There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to do that like you are. And, you should be able to help me from there as well if I need it.” She gives my cock a quick stroke and goes back up front. Puzzled and now horny, I go to the sandwich board to start putting things away.

I end up in the walk-in cooler. I have never before been in there before undressed. The sensation is weird but enjoyable. I drop some pans off at the sink and return to the sandwich boards to grab more things to put away.

As I’m heading towards the walk-in, Karen gets in front of me and takes my cock in her mouth. I’m fully hard instantly and enjoying getting a blow job in the front of the restaurant. Before I cum, the drive thru buzzes and Karen stops what she is doing and goes to take care of the customer.

Pointing at the pans I’m carrying, she tells me “Don’t forget to put those away.”

I realize what just happened and I walk into walk-in with a major hard-on. I open the door and feel the cold on my wet cock. It feels amazing. After 30 seconds of it, I’m no longer close to orgasm and can focus on work again.

I keep grabbing and putting stuff away for the next few minutes. When I’m back at the sandwich board again, Karen is back and starts blowing me again. This time, we don’t get interupted by the drive thru. Instead, as I’m getting ready to cum, she stops and goes back to work leaving me hanging.

After I don’t move for a minute, I hear “Get back to work.”

Her comment makes me realize she isn’t going to let me cum. I get back to cleaning up but I’m distracted by how hard and horny I am. And this time, when I go into the walk-in, the blowing air feels like it could make me cum. But the cold makes that sensation go away pretty quickly.

When I leave the walk-in, Karen is calling me, she needs help. I look and see four cars in the drive-thru. So I go wash my hands, and head to the rear sandwich board to help.

It takes about five minutes to serve all the cars. My cock has softened a bit. I’m not soft, just not fully erect. Being up front, naked, with customers near, was definitely exciting. I’m enjoying this a ton.

Next, I go and grab the frozen burgers to put those away. As I walk into the back, Karen uses her hand until I’m hard. She is then kneeling in front of me and sucking my cock.

It feels like an instant and I’m ready to cum. She stops before I cum, which I expected this time. But, before she gets up, she licks my cock and balls getting them good and wet. She gets up and returns to the front.

I realize what she did as soon as I open the door to the walk-in freezer. The frozen air is blowing on my cock and it is about to make me cum. But it is so cold, especially on my balls, that I can’t cum. After enjoying the sensations for 20 seconds or so, I put the food away and close the freezer. I’m back to a semi-hard cock and nowhere close to cumming.

I move to the sink and start washing dishes. Pretty quickly, I get into a rhythm and my cock gets soft. I’m about half-way through when I feel Karen behind me pushing something into my asshole.

After getting over my surprise, I relax and Karen pushes a butt plug into me that we’ve used before. It slides right in, making me hard and making me moan. Karen reaches around and starts to massage my cock and balls with one hand while the other is fucking me with the butt plug.

She starts stroking my cock and fucking me with the butt plug. I’m quickly ready to cum. Before I do, she removes her hands but leaves the butt plug inserted. I moan and thrust my cock around looking for her hand.

“Sorry honey, no orgasm until we’re done closing.” And she disappears back to the front of the store.

It takes me a few minutes to calm down and get back to the dishes. Somehow, I manage to get through them. It’s difficult because the butt plug hits my prostate ever time I move and I feel it in my cock.

Five minutes later, I’m done with the dishes. It is finally midnight and time to close. After checking that we have no customers, I walk to the circuit box and turn off the exterior lights. The butt plug feels like it is massaging my cock with every step I take.

I yell to Karen that we are closed. She starts tearing everything down. Me, I’m standing still because my next step has me closing out the cash. Which means going up front and standing by the cash register. The cash register that is next to the window. While my cock is hard and being kept that way by a putt plug. And Karen.

After waiting another minute, I figure what the hell and head up front. Once there, I look around and do not believe any one could see below my waist from the outside. To my surprise, as I’m counting the money, I test that theory as somebody is knocking on the window.

My heart is pounding as I pop the window open and see a couple in a car.

“Are you closed?” they ask.

“Yes, we closed at midnight.”

They pull away. My heart goes back to normal but my cock is super hard. I’ve never considered myself an exhibitionist but apparently I like it. Karen heard the knocking and came running up front. She watched what happened, smiled at me and went back to work. And so did I.

Counting money while distracted is tough. Counting money with a hard, frustrated cock is tougher. Worse, the butt plug keeps hitting my prostate making sure my frustration level stays high. It’s to where I don’t want to walk because it feels so good.

I finally finish counting, taking about twice as long as normal. At this rate, it will take me forever to get through my closing work. I don’t want to wait that long to cum so I start moving quicker. But as I move faster, the sensations from the butt plug increase making me moan as I walk through the store. I can just imagine what I site I am.

I come across Karen, she sees my condition and smiles as she gives my cock a few strokes. She moves on quickly starts as I just stand there trying to remember where I was going.

The next 30 minutes or so pass uneventfully. I’m getting through things a bit slower than normal but Karen is a dynamo. At this rate, we should be done soon. Or rather, she will be; I’m now sitting at the desk (sitting is easier; the butt plug doesn’t move around and excite me constantly) trying to balance the cash for the day. I’m having a hard time of it and have to keep starting over.

As I’m getting close to wrapping up the cash, Karen comes in and tells me she’s done. I tell her I’m almost finished. She takes this as an invitation to take a seat on the desk next to me. That’s when I notice that she has removed her pants and panties.

That immediately makes me lose my focus on what I’m doing. I keep looking at her; she spreads her legs a bit so that I can see her pussy. She looks me in the face and tells me I need to finish before we can play.

That makes me look back at the balance sheet sitting on my desk and sigh. I pull the calculator over and start working on it again. All I can think about though is wanting to play with Karen’s delicious pussy and cum; I just can’t focus on this form.

After five minutes of not getting anywhere, Karen tells me to take a break and check that everything has been cleaned. I head to the front with Karen following. I head to the back sandwich board first and as I bend over to check underneath of it, I feel her hand on my cock. She gives it a few pumps and moves the butt plug around a bit. I enjoy her hands but she quickly stops. I take that as a signal and stand back up. Opening the microwave, I peek in and feel her fucking me with the butt plug. Again, I stop and enjoy the sensations but they quickly stop again.

This goes on for the next five minutes. She has me so frustrated, I can barely walk. That’s when she takes me into the walk-in. She kneels in front of me, takes my cock in her mouth as she starts stretching my balls out in the blowing, cold air.

Her mouth feels fantastic but the cold on my balls distracts me and keeps me from cumming. After a few minutes of this, she stops what she is doing and pulls me out of the walk-in. I get worried when she pulls me towards the freezer. Before we get there, she licks my cock like earlier but she also dunks my balls in some warm water.

Into the freezer we go. Between the blow job from a minute ago, the butt plug and Karen being half naked, I’m ready to cum. The freezer has other ideas.

The wetness of my cock and balls affects me immediately. For a split second, I felt ready to cum but then it went away. To my surprise, my cock starts to shrink within a minute. She notices and smiles at me, “Now you should be able to finish up your paperwork.” And she takes me back to the office.

She’s right. When we get to the office, I wrap up my work in 5 minutes. I go back to the front to finish checking everything when I notice that she forget to empty and clean the shake machine. I call to her and let her know.

When she comes up front by the machine, she gets on her tiptoes to start disassembling the machine. I take advantage of that, and run my hands around her with one going to her pussy, and the other reaching under her bra and grabbing a nipple. I start to finger her when I realize she is horny too. I keep fingering her pussy until she starts moaning and moving her hips. As she has done to me tonight, I remove my hands and tell her to finish cleaning the shake machine.

She moans but gets back to work. I let her work a few minutes before I trap her again. This time I reach up behind her, unhook her bra and remove it from under her shirt. I take the bra back to the office and leave her to finish up cleaning.

Pretty soon after, she tells me she is done and we clock out. I pull her into the office, remove her shirt and put her on the desk. I put my hands on her boobs and my mouth on her pussy and start licking.

She cums pretty quickly. As soon as she is done, I stand up and push my cock into her very wet pussy. Needless to say, I fuck her hard. The butt plug adds to the sensations I’m feeling. After a very short time, I cum in her pussy. My orgasm is intense and goes on for what feels like forever.

When I’m finally spent, I pull out. I turn around and Karen pulls the butt plug out with a rather indelicate plopping sound. We wash up, sit down and snuggle for a few minutes and head home.

Logan stumbled into the kitchen the next day as I was rinsing my lunch dishes. He didn’t look as bad as he had yesterday, and I hadn’t heard any ominous sounds coming from his bedroom or the bathroom. Hair mussed and sticking out in places, I stuck my hands back under the tap before I did something stupid and ran my fingers through it.

What the hell was wrong with me? He was a kid. One I didn’t know very well.

I shut off the water and reached for the towel, jerking when my wet hands connected with Logan’s dry ones. I plucked the towel from his fingers. “Thanks,” I mumbled.

He rubbed a hand over his face before he pulled open the fridge for a bottle of Gatorade. “Didn’t I bring Chelsea home with me last night?”

I wanted to squirm. “You passed out as soon as you got on the couch. She opted to go home rather than try and muscle you into the bedroom and reviving you.”

“Oh.” He gulped down more Gatorade. Then he turned and shuffled out of the kitchen.

I wasn’t sure if I was relieved he wasn’t going to bring up me putting him to bed last night or disappointed. Maybe he didn’t remember. Relieved. I opted for relieved, even though disappointed was closer to what I was feeling.

I spent a few hours checking out rental listings in the area without much luck. Damn Logan. Damn Massive Attack. Damn Zach, while I was at it. This whole situation had just deteriorated to the point where there was no hope for ever straightening it out.

And that’s where the disappointment belonged.

After years of living alone and preferring it, I liked coming home and knowing I could have company if I wanted it. Logan was a good distraction after tedious days at work, and not just for the sex we would certainly no longer be having.

Sighing, I reached for the phone I’d left on my bedside table and tapped out a quick text to Rick, letting him know I’d had a good time last night. It was the right thing to do, I told myself. I needed at least one or two more dates to find out if we had any sort of spark.

I shut the laptop off and climbed off the bed to set it back on my desk. Something felt weird. Off. Like there was a weight I couldn’t dislodge from my shoulders, and it had everything and nothing to do with Logan and his drunken behavior last night. I wandered out to the living room and turned on the TV, flipped through the channels, and shut it off again. I tried to read. I thought about going for a walk, or a drive, calling up a friend, indulging in a healthy session with my good friend Mr. Wiggles.

I ended up back in my room and lay on the bed, staring at the ceiling.

The knock on the front door was faint, and I glanced through my open bedroom door, expecting to see Logan walking by to answer it. My friends don’t drop by. They call or text first. They’re polite like that.

The knocking upped to a pound as the door went unanswered. I levered myself up and off the bed and went to answer the door.

Chelsea had her hand raised again. “Oh. Um. Hi. Is Logan home?” She peered around me, so I made it easier for her and stepped aside, allowing her to come in. She made a beeline for his bedroom, and I followed slowly, turning into my bedroom and shutting the door. A nap. A nap would be good.

I pulled the covers over my head as the sound of muffled voices, then sobs, filtered through the closed door. I waited. I didn’t know what I was waiting for, but something told me to wait.

I got my answer a few minutes later. Footsteps ran past and the front door slammed, and I held my breath, waiting for Logan’s move. Don’t come in here don’t come in here don’t come in here.

Logan obviously wasn’t telepathic. My bedroom door clicked open. “Jane?”


The mattress dipped behind me. I rolled over and brushed the hair out of my face, squinting at him. He reached out and caught a stray lock, brushing it into place himself. Buried under the lines of fatigue drawing his face down was longing, and I didn’t want to think what that might mean. “I was trying to take a nap, you know.”

“Sorry.” He didn’t sound the least bit sorry. “A nap sounds like a good idea. Can I join you?”

We watched each other for what felt like ages. Was he asking for a fuck? Any variety he could get? Or did he really only want to sleep? He looked worn out; two nights in a row getting shitfaced would do that to you at any age, and Logan, despite his youth, had rarely gotten as trashed as he’d been the last two nights the entire time I’d known him.

I didn’t want to figure out what he was after. That was his job.

“No.” I rolled away from him, tugged the blankets back up, and shut my eyes, hoping he’d get the hint and leave.

A few long minutes later, he did.


There was a tension in the apartment that hadn’t been there before, not even after the last time we’d had sex. We went out of our ways to avoid each other, being excruciatingly polite when we did cross paths. A couple weeks went by. I saw Rick three more times, and each of those times he’d kissed me the way he had the first time, and try as I might to reach the heat inside, it wasn’t there. But I was too damn stubborn to give up. He liked me. All of me. And after having gone without that for so long, I was pathetically desperate for it.

Almost two and a half weeks after I’d turned down Logan’s request, I walked through the door of our apartment after another date with Rick and was greeted by Logan scowling at me.

I sighed. “What?”

He pounced. That’s the only word, the best word, I can use to describe what he did. He yanked me against him and crushed his mouth to mine, tongue plunging between my lips without invitation. “I don’t like it,” he growled when he let me come up for air. “I don’t want you fucking some other guy.” His mouth connected with the sensitive skin under my ear, licking and nibbling his way along my jaw.

“I’m not sleeping with him,” I gasped. Yet. Not sleeping with him yet. I was planning on it.

Logan’s hands worked their way under the hem of my blouse and stroked over the curve of my waist. My panties were well on their way to being soaked. God, I’d missed this. Missed this rush, this intoxication of what his fingers and lips and tongue did to me, dragging me places I’d never thought I’d go to again. My hips canted forward, needing to feel him.

He groaned, picked me up, and strode down the hall toward the bedrooms. His strength surprised me. I’m no lightweight, and his build doesn’t make me think he can haul me around. But he can, and he did, and he tossed me onto my bed and jumped on top of me.

We wrestled on top of the covers for a few minutes, hands roaming everywhere, mouths fused together. Finally his hips settled against mine, and the feel of his hard cock pressing into me, even through our clothes, had us both groaning.

Time slowed. The kisses became deeper and less frantic, and my tongue explored every inch of his mouth, flicking over his lower lip, teeth nipping into his chin, down his throat, until I was stopped by the collar of his shirt.

I’d never really taken the time to learn my way around his body, and after the intriguing display of strength, I wanted to map every inch with my hands, then go back and do it with my mouth. I tugged at his shirt, and he sat back and whipped it over his head.

Just the invitation I needed.

I sat up and stroked my hands up his chest, curling my fingers around his shoulders. Then I pushed, and he fell over onto his back. He wasn’t going to get a chance to retaliate. I straddled his hips and bent down, his skin warm and smooth under my fingertips. Trailing kisses from his neck, my teeth closed around a nipple. His hips jerked in response, his dick grinding into me. My greedy pussy pushed back.

I gritted my teeth. I was going to make this last, dammit. My own needs could just sit tight for a minute. I had no doubt I’d be well pleasured myself.

The muscles of his chest and abs were definitely there, though not exactly defined. And from the way he was squirming under me, my tongue was driving him crazy. His cock constantly rubbed my clit, sending off sparks.

You know that line of muscle on a guy, the one that runs in a vee toward their groin? Sits up above the hip bones? I love that spot. I could have spent hours caressing Zach’s with my tongue if he’d let me. I found Logan’s, and I slid my fingers over it, following the path with my lips, flicking my tongue out.

His hips lifted right off the bed. Time to get the jeans off.

He made quick work of it, and his glorious cock bobbed in front of me. That odd combination of soft and hard was warm in my hands, and he tried thrusting into my grip. “Ah ah ah.” I gave the head a quick kiss. “Not so fast, hon.”

I sealed my lips under the ridge of the crown, my tongue lashing him as my hand worked the rest of his shaft. Slowly, slowly, oh so slowly my mouth slid farther and farther down, coming back up, going down a little more each time. I reached down to fondle his balls as he bottomed out, my nose pressed to his groin. I took my time coming up, stroking him with a firm tongue as I did so.

God, I loved this. Loved having him completely at my mercy. I could make him completely lose control. I wanted to see it.

Logan had other ideas. He pulled me off his cock and started fumbling with my blouse. “You’re wearing too many fucking clothes.”

He made quick work of them, his long fingers sliding between my legs and along my slit. “Giving head turns you on, huh?” I didn’t have to look at him to know there’d be a cocky grin on his face. The bastard.

He stroked me higher, higher, never letting me fall over the edge, and I reached down to grab his hand. He pulled it away at the last second and captured my protests with his mouth, the kiss thorough and just as deep as the others had been. He moved away from my lips, hands and mouth worshiping my skin, fire racing through my blood as he pressed us together.

Panic rose. Kisses like those led to close, close sex. The kind where every miniscule jerk and shift sent a shock of pleasure through you, with something far more intangible and a hell of a lot more dangerous nipping at its heels. It was my own fault, of course. We’d never gone in much for the foreplay before, just gotten right on with the fucking. What could I say? Logan wound me up quicker than any guy ever had. Foreplay wasn’t a necessity, but a fun oddity.

That oddity had unease roiling in my belly.

It ratcheted higher as Logan continued to kiss me, his hands caressing and stroking every part of me he could reach. When he went for my waist, hands sliding down to cup my ass, I broke away and got on my knees.

Nothing says mindless fuck like doggy-style.

I shot him a teasing look over my shoulder. “You gonna take me, or what?”

He growled and yanked me up. “Against the wall. Spread your knees.” Without waiting for me to respond, he maneuvered us over so my hands were against the wall and I was on my knees, my back to him. He rubbed the head of his dick through the sopping wetness between my legs.

When he thrust into me, I screamed.

I was wrong. I was so, so wrong about this position, and I was helpless against the onslaught of sensation as he wrapped one arm around my waist and his free hand dove for my clit. Then he found the sensitive spot on the back of my neck, the one that never failed to drench me and make me quiver, and bit softly.

“You feel so good around me. Tight. Wet. You’re fucking soaked. Do you know how hard that makes me, knowing I turn you on like that?” Stroke after long, sure stroke, he drove himself into me as my hands balled into fists against the wall. He held me close, our hips moving in such perfect sync that if I hadn’t already been scared, that right there would have scared the crap out of me.

As would the massive orgasm I could feel building.

The combination of his dick hitting that magical place inside my pussy plus his fingers working my clit had me bracing for impact before long. I abandoned myself to our fucking, pushing back against him, bending forward slightly to angle him deeper into me. The spasms started, and I screamed again as my entire body throbbed with release.

Logan cursed, grabbed my hips, and jammed himself into me as far as he could go. His teeth sinking into my nape set off a fresh orgasm, and the only thing keeping us upright was the wall.

His hand snuck up to cup my breast as his head dropped to my shoulder. Too weak to stay on my knees, I fell sideways, taking him with me. “Don’t do this to me anymore, Janey,” he murmured. “I don’t want you sleeping with anyone else.”

I was exhausted, physically and emotionally. Pointing out to him I hadn’t been sleeping with anyone else was beyond my capabilities at the moment. I needed to sleep. And he was so warm around me and it had been so long since I’d been held like that I didn’t think about pushing him out of my bed.

With his face buried my hair and his arms draped over me, I drifted off to sleep.

Twenty-six year old Michael had just gotten off work and walked through his front door when his mobile rang. He sighed and put his keys on the island in the center of his kitchen.

“Can’t they give me any bloody peace?” he said as he pulled his mobile from his pocket. To his surprise, however, it wasn’t work calling him like they usually did when he walked through the door. There was no contact information for the number, but he recognized it anyway. “Good afternoon, Nicole,” he said as he answered the phone. Nicole was his ex-girlfriend who worked in an office on the other side of town. They had broke up over a year previously, just before Christmas. Since then, his life had turned around completely and he was doing quite well for himself. Last he had heard, she was not. In fact, this is the first time he had heard from her in any form since they had broken up.

“Hey Michael, how are you?” Her tone was casual, but she couldn’t hide the nervousness in her voice. Michael could tell she wasn’t sure how he’d react to her calling him out of the blue.

“I’m fine. How about yourself?”

“I’m okay.” There was a long pause on the other end of the mobile. The kind of pause somehow does when they’re trying to think of the best way to say something. “Listen, I know this is sudden, and you probably will say no, but would you mind grabbing a coffee with me or something? I just… I really need to talk to someone and you’re the only person I could think of.” Michael was silent for a long time. What the hell could she possibly want to talk to him about after forgetting he even existed for nearly fifteen months?

“I actually just walked through the door after working all day. Was going to put on dinner and relax.”

“Oh,” Nicole said. The disappoint in her voice was clear. “Okay, well, I just thought…”

“But if you want to come over, I can make some extra and we can talk about whatever you’d like.” He wasn’t sure why he said it. He wanted to see her, regardless of what had happened in their past. His biggest flaw was that he was too nice, too forgiving. His friends had always told him that.

“Sure,” she said another long pause. “I’d like that.” Michael gave her his address, one of the only things that had changed since they had broken up. “You live there? Wow, that’s incredible.”

“Just give my name to the guard at the gate; I’ll let him know that you’re coming and he should let you in without any trouble.”

“Okay,” Nicole said, a hint of anticipation in her voice. “I’ll see you in about an hour, okay? I just need to finish up a few things at work.” Michael held his mobile to the side of his head for several minutes after she had hung up. Her voice had been the same as ever, sounding just like she had when she was a teenager. He had missed those days.

Nicole and Michael had met when they were fourteen years old. At the time, Nicole had been dating one of Michael’s friends, but they had never even kissed. They’d broken up shortly after and Michael’s friend had introduced them. They hit it off nearly instantly, but didn’t start “officially” dating until Michael’s homecoming his freshman year of high school. They spent the next ten years together, through high school, his college education, and most of hers. Then, two Christmases prior, she had suddenly decided she didn’t want to date him anymore and had simply told him that she was done and left. He hadn’t heard anything from her, even by proxy, since.

Michael put the mobile next to his keys on the island and walked towards the master bathroom on the eastern wing of his house, just off the master suite. He had wanted to get a smaller house, but since the president of the company he worked for had given it to him as a work perk, he didn’t complain too much. Sure, it was expensive to maintain and the taxes were higher than he would have liked, but he made more than enough to manage it. Thoughts of his time spent with Nicole flowed through his mind like an ocean in a storm as he stripped naked and stepped into his shower, hoping the hot water would soothe away the weariness and trepidation. As steam filled the shower and the hot droplets cascaded down his back, Michael lost himself into memory.

He was jarred out of his memories by the sound of the doorbell ringing. It was a deep, two-note sound that echoed throughout the empty house, reaching Michael in his solace. He turned the water off and held his breath, wondering if he actually heard it or if it was just his thoughts running wild. The bell sounded again, sounding louder now that the water wasn’t running.

“Damn it,” he said, grabbed a large, black towel from the towel rack and wrapping it around his waist. He slipped his feet into a matching pair of polyester bath slippers. He shivered slightly as he opened the door, his wet skin hitting the cooler air of the hallway. The doorbell rang a third time and he hurried down the hall and through the parlor to the foyer. He reached out towards the double doors and turned one of the handles, pulling it open towards him. There stood Nicole.

She was just as beautiful, if not more so, than Michael remembers. Her thick, curly brown hair hung around her shoulders, draping slightly over a powder blue button-on shirt with darker horizontal blue lines. Michael’s breath paused in his throat. It had been his favorite shirt that she owned. Her deep chocolate eyes stared at him from beneath her bangs. They had that same innocent twinkle he’d seen in them when they first met. As his eyes slid down her body, taking in the fullness of her large breasts, the slenderness of her hips and waist, to the black skirt with matching stockings that she wore, Michael felt a sudden deepness in his heart. Sorrow.

His eyes dropped to her black high heels and then shot instantly back to her eyes. He noticed that her eyes were just coming to meet his as well. Michael started breathing again when their eyes met and she flashed him a smile. It made his knees weak to look at.

“Hi,” he said, staring at her some more. “I was, um, in the shower. I guess I lost track of the, um, time.” Nicole smiled again, revealing her perfect white teeth once more. Michael opened his mouth to say more and closed it instantly.

“So are you going to invite me in or just stand there in a towel?” she asked. Michael looked down.

“What? Oh, right.” He backed away from the door. “Please, come in. I’m sorry. Let me just change quick.” He led her into the parlor before continuing on into his bed room. Closing the door behind him, he pressed his back to it and ran a hand through his wet hair. “Bloody hell,” he said out loud. “Pull yourself together.” He swallowed hard and moved over to his bureau, pulling out a plain black t-shirt and a pair of grey cargo pants. After putting on a pair of socks and leather work boots, he took a deep breath and stepped out into the hallway. “I’m sorry about that,” he said as he came into the parlor. “I was in the shower and thinking about…”

“Me?” Nicole interrupted. Michael stared at her with his mouth open. Nicole laughed slightly. “That’s what I would have been doing if this had been the other way around. My old flame calls me after a year and a half without so much as a word and he suddenly wants to see me? I’d be thinking about it in a long, hot shower, too.” She laid back into the couch, sinking slightly into the plush blue velvet. “You’ve done well for yourself,” she said, looking around the room.

“I guess,” was all he could say. He had never liked showing off. Nicole turned back to look at him.

“I saw the car in the driveway. Your dream car isn’t it?” Michael nodded. “I’m happy for you,” Nicole said, beaming. “Really, I am.” Nicole crossed her legs and the two fell into a long silence.

“What do you want for dinner?” Michael asked after five minutes. Nicole closed her eyes. Michael saw that she was wearing just a hint of purple eye shadow. That was unusual. He had never remembered her to wear makeup.

“I’m fine for anything,” she said. Michael smiled at her and walked into the kitchen, opening a few cabinets and taking out some pots.

“We’ll go with a simply spaghetti and meatball dinner then,” he called into the parlor. He filled the largest silver pot nearly halfway with water before placing it on the stovetop and turning it on. The much smaller pot he put the tomato sauce in, but didn’t turn the heat on. Lastly, he put a dozen meatballs into the oven.

While he was preparing dinner, Nicole got off the couch and slowly walked around the parlor, looking at everything. She could probably fit her entire apartment into this one room. There were two large couches, one a sectional sofa and the other a simple loveseat. They were a dark blue, contrasting the beige carpets but somehow looking good with it. Along the wall with the windows was a fireplace that stood at least as tall as Nicole. The opposite wall, the one with the kitchen on the other side, displayed a plasma television. The last wall, to Nicole’s right, was line with a dozen bookcases that were filled with books ranging from such things as “Lord of the Rings” to “War and Peace.” One thing that bothered her, however, was that there wasn’t a single picture in the room. While she hadn’t expected any of her, naturally, she thought he might at least have a picture of his friends or family.

“How do you like it?” Michael asked, coming back into the room. Nicole turned to look at him. His black hair was still wet and slicked back. He wasn’t wearing glasses like he used to, but his eyes were still that shade of silver she had adored for so many years.

“You’re not wearing glasses,” she said, blurting out her first thought. Michael smiled.

“I had laser surgery a few months ago, shortly after my mother had it. I still wake up freaking out that I lost or broken them or something, but then I realize I can see properly now.” He chuckled slightly and walked forward, handing her a glass of red wine. Nicole took the glass with a slight nod of thanks and took a sip. “So what did you want to talk to me about?” he asked. She stood facing the window and took another sip of wine.

“Do you remember that time,” she began, “when we had a huge fight at my parents’ house. After it was over, I ran down to my bedroom and sat on the floor under the window and cried while you sat on the couch and stared out the window.” She smiled slightly. “I thought you were going to leave. I didn’t expect you to come down to the bedroom and…” she let the sentence hang. Michael fully remembered that time, and what had happened next.

Nicole had just woken up not ten minutes before Michael had come over. She was wearing a plain cotton t-shirt and white pajama pants with hearts on them. No sooner had he walked in the day than had she started on him about spending time with another girl instead of spending time with her. His counter-argument had been that she had plenty of male friends. He should be allowed to have female friends. The argument had spiraled down from there with neither side wanting to give in for the sake of ending the argument.

Michael walked into Nicole’s bedroom and looked around. She still had the balloon he had given her for her eighteenth birthday; somehow it was still floating even though her birthday had been three months previously. He glanced down at her. She was curled up on the floor under the windows to the right of the door, hugging a teddy bear he had gotten her for her sixteenth birthday. She wasn’t crying; the fight wasn’t that bad. She looked up at him, brushing a few strands of her unruly hair away from her face. She opened her mouth to say something angry, but closed it.

Michael moved closer and dropped to her knees. Reaching for the waistband of her pajamas, he pulled them down to reveal her plain cotton panties. His eyes locked on to hers as he pulled these down as well. Both her panties and her pajamas were around her feet now. Michael still remember that her mother and brother could be home at any moment and wanted her to be able to dress quickly if she had to. Being angry at someone wasn’t a good enough reason to get them both into trouble.

He licked his lips as he stared at his girlfriend’s pink pussy. It was bare, as it had been since shortly after they had met, and was just as inviting as ever. Michael dropped to his stomach and pulled her legs up. Her legs were on either side of his head and her fingers tangled through her hair as he buried his tongue in her pussy. Her back arch as his tongue explored her, swirling around her insides. He rubbed her clit with his thumb as he continued to eat her out, eliciting various moans from her lips. Nicole squeezed her legs around his head, but he kept licking the inside of her delicious pussy. Pushed her thighs higher, Michael moved his tongue to her ass. He had only licked it twice when Nicole pulled him up to her, slipping her own tongue into his mouth.

The two let their tongues dance as Nicole fiddled with Michael’s pants, finally undoing his belt and zipper. As his hard, six-inch cock dropped out of his pants, Nicole took it into her hand and pumped a few times before positioning it in front of her eagerly awaiting pussy. With their tongues still intertwined, Michael moved forward, his cock spearing into Nicole’s pussy. Both of them gasped at the sensation into each other’s mouth. No matter how many times they had sex, the first penetration was always the best.

Nicole ran her hands under Michael’s shirt as he began to thrust in and out of her, his balls slapping loudly against her ass. The only sound they had to compete with was her moans of pleasure as his cock went deeper. She dug her nails against his skin, pulling him as deep into her as she could. She moved one of her hands from him and slid it down her front to tease her clit as his cock slid in and out of her rapidly. Michael looked down. Her large breasts, still covered by her shirt, were bouncing freely in time with his thrusts. Michael kissed her again before pulling away.

“Where do you want me to cum?” he asked. It had been a few weeks since they had sex last and he wasn’t able to go as long as he usually could. Plus, it was angry, make-up sex. Nicole pulled her shirt up, revealing her D-cup breasts. Her nipples were dark and large, but Michael loved them.

“Here,” she whispered softly, turning her head to the side. A look of pure ecstasy was on her face. She furrowed her brow, beaded with sweat, and moaned again. Michael pulled out of her and pointed his cock at her breasts. Three large spurts landed on them, one covering her right nipple entirely. He sat back on his heels, watching as Nicole pulled her right breast up to her mouth and sucked the cum off her nipple. She looked at his cock when she had finished and crawled closer, lowering her mouth over it.

Michael moaned as his cock hit the back of her throat. Nicole had never really been one for giving blow jobs, but on the rare occasions that she did, they were amazing. She rubbed his balls as her head bobbed up and down, her tongue running along the underside of his shaft as she pulled up and swirling around the head before she went back down. She pulled away, taking his balls into her mouth and sucking gently as her hand wrapped around his rigid shaft and pumped up and down. His balls tightened and she enveloped him with her mouth again as he came, a much smaller load than previously, but still enough to cause her to cough. They looked at each other as Nicole drew away from his softening cock. She ran her fingers over her breasts, scooping up every last drop of cum and licking her fingers clean.

“That was incredible,” Michael said breathlessly. Nicole smiled and nodded.

“But I’m not done with you yet,” she said, pulling him back down to her. He slipped his cock back into her eager pussy and began to thrust. It hurt at first because he had came so recently, but he was used to things like that. Their lack of their own living arrangements and parents who tended to be nosy and untrusting made sex a “whenever we can the chance” thing. Michael groped her breasts, biting lightly on one of her nipples. He could feel Nicole’s pussy quiver around him as she came. The slamming of a car door stopped not only the sex, but Michael’s memory of the event.

I have this fantasy. I revisit it a lot. It never fails to arouse me to the point where I am frantic for it.


In my fantasy I and a large group of horny, hard, lecherous men play a board game. And I’m the board. I imagine it a lot like the drinking game Kings Cup. The deck of cards is laid out face down on the table, scrambled about, and each has a task assigned to it. For example, if a man turns over a two, I jack off him and a friend of his choice simultaneously. If a man turns over a five, he gets to fuck my cleavage. If a man picks up an eight, he gets to lick me out. And if a man gets a King, he can fuck me.

The game teases me and it teases them. They’ll all be desperate for it, for me, the twenty-three year old girl who has never done anything beyond what I consider vanilla one-partner sex. Life has always gotten in the way of doing anything drastic like my acting out my fantasies. However, that’s going to change.

There’s this guy, I know, Kevin. He’s a friend of a friend’s guy friend. He’s always wanted me, hasn’t tried to hide it. He’s sent me pictures of his cock and text messages of all the things he wants to do to me. Kevin’s not attractive in the least, he acts really pervy around girls and they tend to steer clear of him.

I’ve gotten sick of fantasizing, of watching clips on the internet. I’ve finally pulled the courage out of god knows where to actually do something about this fantasy of mine. I power up my computer and without letting myself think about it quickly type a reply to one of Kevin’s texs. I explain my fantasy to him and tell him I wish to fulfil it.

Kevin replies with a text message. ‘That’s fucking hot I’m so fucking hard right now’ Kevin texts me.

My pussy grows wet as I type in my reply.

‘Would you be interested in helping my fantasy come true?’

‘Fuck yes!’

‘Do you know of any other guys who would be interested? I don’t care what they look like or how old they are, as long as they’re twenty-one or older.’

‘Hell yeah. How many guys were you thinking?’

‘Between six and eighteen?’

‘I don’t know that many personally. But there’s this website I know where guys talk about wanting to do this kind of stuff. Would you be okay with it if I sent them your email and ask if they were interested?’

The thought that I am actually going to go through with this is completely turning me on.

God I’m so wet now, my face is blushing.


‘God I can’t fucking wait to fuck you,’ he texts.

‘I have three conditions though.’ I add quickly, ‘It’s follow these rules, or get nothing at all. Okay?’


‘Number one is no anal. I know you guys are really into that. But it actually doesn’t feel good from our end.’

After a pause, he replies, ‘Okay.’

‘The second part is an ultimatum. Either there will be no filming and no photos, or, you can film and take photos and even post on the internet if you want. But I will need to wear a mask so I won’t be recognised by anyone I know. I don’t want to lose my job if the wrong person finds them.’

‘What kind of mask?’

‘I’ve got a lace masquerade mask from New Years, it only covers my eyes.’

‘And we can take photos and film everything? Film you?’

‘Yes’ God I’m so fucking turned on.

‘Shit, I’ll ask the guys, but I’m pretty sure we’ll go with option two.’

‘Okay and lastly I want every guy to go through an STD check, because this is a strictly no condom party.’

‘God fuck yes!’

I purposefully arrive twenty minutes late to Kevin’s place. There are cars everywhere, and it sends a thrill through me. I’m really doing this.

I lower down my mirror and put on my mask. As promised, it only covers my eyes with holes cut in so I can see. Just enough to give reasonable doubt in case anyone I knew should ever find online photos or videos of what I was about to do. I had put on eye liner and mascara so that my eyes looked dark and sensual behind my mask.

I get out of my car and check my reflection in the window. I looked sexy. The tight black dress I’m wearing fits my hour glass figure perfectly.

I walk to Kevin’s front door and knock. Kevin answers it and swears when he sees me.

‘You’re fucking hot,’ Kevin’s eyes scanned me up and down. I’m thrilled by his response.

‘I hope you have a deck of cards?’ I ask.

He smiles and leads me inside. The men are seated in the living room. I did a quick count – fourteen. A lot of them are a good five to ten years older than me, and some of them possibly older than that. The older ones are probably from the website. I get turned on at the thought of how most of these guys go online and talk about fantasies like this, and that they have dreamt of just this kind of situation with someone like me. I was going to fulfill their fantasies too.

There’s a small coffee table in front of the men, with cards already faced down and scattered about.

‘Fuck,’ one of them exclaims ‘I didn’t realise she would be this hot.’

‘I can’t believe this is happening,’ another says.

‘We came up with the rules, are these okay?’ Kevin asks, and hands me a piece of paper.

I read through them and feel myself blush. My pussy grows hot with my arousal.

‘Perfect,’ I smile.

‘Okay, one second and we’ll start,’ Kevin hurries over to a camera on a tripod I hadn’t noticed. It faces the group of them around the table. Kevin presses a button and sits down. I assume he has started recording.

I step in front of the camera and remove my dress, revealing my matching black lace bra and panties, and I sit down on the vacant chair that had been left for me.

Kevin picks the first card and reads the rule.

‘Touch whatever part of the Board you like for 10 minutes,’ he reads out loud.

He waves me over. Heart thundering, I walk over to him. He stands up, reaches around me, and unclasps my bra, tossing it aside. Immediately the other men bring out their phone cameras. Kevin cups my breasts and squeezes them. He rubs his finger tips over my nipples and they harden.

Then he stops and turns me around to face the men. He grasps my hips and slowly slides my panties down to the floor. There are an overwhelming amount of clicks from camera phones.

I feel my pussy begin to leak juices. My inner thighs are wet.

‘Sit in your chair,’ Kevin dictates and I obey. ‘Spread your legs wide and show us all what you’re offering up to us on a fucking plate. Show us your cunt.’

I spread my legs wide. The men are staring at my crotch and rubbing their dicks. I’m so turned on. This is really happening. I’m letting a group of men take photos of my exposed pussy. Not only that, but I’m spreading it open for them, exposing my stiff clitoris and my fattened labia and the hint of my vagina, waiting, expecting.. . One man scoots closer to my chair. He places his phone about an inch from my pussy and takes a photo.

‘Now come over here and sit in my lap,’ Kevin instructs ‘I’m going to touch you.’

I sit in his lap. He spreads my legs wide open like before, then slowly slides his fingers down my stomach to my pussy. He rubs the tip of his finger against my clitoris and I gasp. He begins to draw circles on it, over and over and over. I whimper. He slides his fingers down from my clitoris and circles the outside of my entrance. I moan.

‘She’s soaking wet,’ Kevin tells the men who are ferociously snapping photos or filming. A couple of them have moved closer like the first man, taking close up shots.

‘Yes! Blow job from the board.’

A man stands and walks over to me. He unzips his fly and takes out his cock. It stands straight and hard, and it points straight at my face.

I lean forward and lick the tip. I wrap my lips around the head and swirl my tongue around, tasting the salt and musk. Kevin rubs my clitoris with one hand and slowly pushes his finger inside my pussy with the other. I moan around the cock in my mouth.

‘Fucking hot slut sucking my cock,’ the man groans above me.

I run my hands up and down his beer gut. They’re so appreciative, so in awe of me. Yes they’re degrading me and treating me like shit but that is the turn on as well.

‘My turn,’ I hear someone else say.

I suck harder on the cock in my mouth. God I’m fucking loving this. I can see my juices all over Kevin’s fingers.

‘Fuck between the board’s thighs,’ someone reads out.

‘Shit!’ the guy above me growls.

I smile and laugh. I get up off of Kevin and walk around to the new player. He’s older, like mid thirties.

He turns me to face my audience. I pull my legs together and he pushes through my thighs from behind. The top of his cock skims my pussy lips as he thrusts back and forth. Now the men begin to argue about who is next.

‘Such a fucking slut, want to fuck your cunt so bad,’ the man behind me grunts.

The other men are too busy to notice that the man standing behind me and fucking my thighs has started to thrust higher. Instead of just skimming my pussy, now he’s rubbing hard against it. My pussy juices are coating his cock. Oh god I want him inside me so much. I close my eyes and whimper.

‘You fucking want it, don’t you,’ he says. He stops rubbing and takes hold of my shoulders. I can feel him lining his cockhead up against my hole. I gasp.

Suddenly someone is yanking him away.

‘Don’t fuck up the game for the rest of us,’ someone says.

‘Yeah, fucking wanker-,’ someone else interjects.

‘Dude, she’s so gone. Look at her, she was going to let him fuck her.’

‘Fuck she’s completely out of it.’

I smile at them and reach down between my legs to rub myself.

‘Fuck!,’ someone exclaims.

Another voice says, ‘My turn-,’

‘Lap dance from the board,’ says someone else.

I jump on that man’s lap and begin to gyrate. I dance as sensually and teasingly as possible. He extracts his cock from his trousers and begins to stroke it as he watches me. The temptation is too strong. I move my hips in slow circles and slowly descend lower and lower, closer to his erection. I feel the tip of his cock touch my pussy, and I teasingly arch my back up and away from it. I do this again and again. I want to make him frantic.

‘Lick out the board, fuck yes, come here you young fucking slut.’

It’s another of the older men, mid to late forties. He has a comb over. I sit back down in my chair. The man reaches out and spreads my legs wide open again. He leans forward and takes several long deep breaths, inhaling my scent.

‘You smell so fucking good,’ he leers and licks a long stripe up my pussy.

I gasp.

He runs his tongue over my clitoris again and again and again, lapping at it. I cry out and grab his partially bald head. He sticks his tongue inside me and I buck. He scrapes his teeth along my clitoris, and my entire body tenses, locking up in pleasure.

‘Receive a blow job from the Board.’

‘Fuck you man, fucking eights.’

‘Lie her down sideways across the chair,’ someone instructs.

In this position my arse is lifted up onto the armrest. The bald man spreads open my legs again and dives in.

I cry out once more.

The other man who had won the blow job approaches me. My head is dangling backward off the couch. He slides his cock inside and fucks my mouth.

Oh my god it feels so good.

‘Fuck the Board’s cleavage.’

A man straddles my chest on the couch, brings my tits together and fucks into the little compressed space between.

Oh god three men are taking their pleasure from me at the same time. The smell of sex is overwhelming. They are all around me, all wanting me. I come and come and come, my hips pushed up into the air. The men cheer.

Someone picks up a card and throws it aside. It looks like we aren’t carrying on with the smaller actions now. So much for lap dances and hand jobs. ‘Lick out the Board!’ someone yells.

The bald man sits back. His job is done anyway. When I see who is coming forward, I whimper.

It’s a man who is at least in his sixties. He has a coarse, full thick beard. Some of it stained with tobacco. He presses his face into my pussy and rubs. His tongue flicks over my clitoris again and again and again; His coarse hairs in his beard rubbing against my open vulva — my clitoris, my labia, my opening. His beard gets soaked with my juices.

The old man mumbles something, growling against my pussy and grunting. God that beard rubbing is such a turn on. The man who is fucking my mouth pulls out and spurts his fluid all over my neck and breasts. I love it, being marked and utterly used.

The man thrusting between my breasts takes the opportunity to lift my head up so on every thrust up toward my face his cock brushes my lips. I poke my tongue out and lick the tip of his cock on the up thrusts. He groans and thrusts harder. I feel the old man’s fat tongue push itself inside of me, and I arch my back to encourage his tongue to get even deeper inside me.

‘Come all over the Board’s pussy,’ someone reads.

Another man appears beside the older one between my legs and jacks himself off as he watches. I groan at the thought of cum coating my pussy. The old man is tongue fucking me as deep and fast as he can, and I cry out in absolute pleasure.

Suddenly the old man is yanked away and I feel a cock rest against my pussy and streams of cum hit my pussy lips. He rubs his cock all over my pussy, getting the cum all over my cunt. I want so much fucking more. The man between my breasts releases another load of cum on my breasts and stomach.

The pussy-coater backs away and sits down. I bask in the feeling of being bathed in cum. I’m tainted and this is the proof.

‘Fuck yes! I’ve got a fucking king!’

The men groan at the other’s good luck. The old man stands up and walks away as the king-holder approaches me.

He’s fat. I spread my legs.

‘Kevin, bring the camera over,’ the man urges.

Kevin brings the camera. The man above me takes it and rests it against his eye. He has it gazing at my spread, swollen pussy. The man is naked, his fat almost overwhelming. His cock is in proportion, with some fucking girth and it’s no small thing either. The sight of it both alarms me and excites me. Soon, very soon, this stiff flesh is going to be spreading me open.

‘I’m gonna fuck your pussy,’ he says to me, but yet he doesn’t.

He presses his cock against my pussy and rubs. He’s teasing me. He wants me to beg for it. He rubs his cock in my juices. He stands above me, filming the way my greedy pussy tries to swallow his cock.

‘So god damn hot, such a fine fucking cunt,’ he announces to our audience.

He places the tip of his cock against my entrance and rubs circles around it. I whimper.

‘Please,’ I beg. ‘Do it.’

He dips his finger in my juices and smirks.

He pushes in the head, and I gasp. He begins to fuck me with just the head, in and out, in and out, teasing the hell out of me.

‘Oh god,’ I gasp.

Then in one strong thrust he pushes all of his fucking huge girth inside of me. I moan at the sharp, stretching sensations. I am so wet that he buries his cock with that one stab. He begins to pound me into the couch. It is rough, and it is dirty. His fat slaps against my thighs and my stomach. He grunts and wheezes from his efforts. I wrap my legs around whatever of him I can.

He fucks me, one deep, driving thrust after another, and I grasp at the couch. My pussy stretched around his cock clings tightly to it. He grasps my hips and slams them against his. Forcing his cock as deep as he can on every thrust. I feel his balls against my asshole. I am so full of cock and I love it. Suddenly, quickly, I feel his cum filling me up with its liquid warmth. He stays inside me for a few seconds, then withdraws and slaps my pussy playfully with his cock before walking away.

Just like that the game is over. The cards are forgotten and the men are approaching me hastily.

The bald man is back. He picks me up, presses me against the coffee table, and fucks up into me. Oh god it feels so good. His cock is smaller than the fat man, and his strokes churn through the added liquid of the fat man’s cum. Another man straddles my face and fucks my mouth. I’m being filled from both ends, oh god I’m being filled from both ends. I am a whore. I am a complete and utter slut.

I climax long and hard. I black out, I thought only for a moment or two, but when I open my eyes, my mouth is full of cum and a different man is pounding my cunt with his cock. I think to myself, briefly, that I should make them stop. I was only supposed to actually have sex with four men, just the four kings. But it feels so good, my cunt greedily sucks at one cock after another, and it’s making slurping noises as if to prove it. Oh god the sounds of sex, I could just close my eyes and lose myself. The man climaxes with a growling moan and a pulsing shaft, and another takes his place.

This one is calling me a greedy cunt, calling me his slut, as he bites me, marking me as his possession, and I’m just lying here and meeting his thrusts with my own, using my hips to sink his cock even deeper. My cunt is on fire, oh my god. His cock moves in and out in frantic, hard jabs. It doesn’t matter if he cums quickly or not. There will always be another man with a ready erection to refill me.

‘More! More!’ I cry.

‘Such a dirty whore. Letting me fuck you bare. You love my cock don’t you, you love the way I’m pounding the shit out of you!’

He spits on me. He tells me to open my mouth and spits inside. I swallow. He grunts red faced graps my titties and bends down to suckle as he fucks me. I grasp under my knees and pull my legs as high and as wide as possible. The new angle allows him to slam his cock in much deeper forcing my cunt to spread wider around his fat cock. He groans and picks up the pace so that I am on the verge of coming again. He cums inside me and laughs as he walks away leaving me unsatisfied.

Another man approaches. He picks me up and lies back, positioning me so I’m straddling him.

‘Fuck yourself on my cock you greedy whore!’ he commands.

I line up his cock and slowly push myself onto it until he’s balls deep inside me. I undulate on him, scrubbing my inflamed pussy on his pubic bone as his hardness stretches me open, fills me, takes me. My tits bounce and spit and cum flies off them with the quick movements. I’m in heaven oh my god, I have never felt so full and yet I want more, so much fucking more. I roll my hips trying to push his cock in deeper and deeper.

The man comes inside me and he pushes me off. He has used me. He has left his semen inside me, mixed in the hot soup of all the previous men. He has taken his pleasure in my body.

Another man comes forward. He has a giant cock that makes me groan in anticipation. I want it so bad. He turns me onto my side, grabs my leg and rests it on his shoulder before he rests his cock against my hole and pushes in. I am all liquid inside, and he fucks incredibly fast. I’m wailing, begging for him to go deeper and harder. He nearly bends me over in half, and it feels so fantastic. He’s fucking so deep into me I’m losing it. I’m climaxing again. I’ve lost count.

The man pulls out, turns me around and fucks my cunt from behind. I thrust back eagerly. I love this man’s cock. When he comes, I nearly cry knowing that it’s over. He walks away laughing and high fiving some of the others.

Kevin reappears and pulls me back around so I’m lying on my back. He spreads my legs so impossibly wide that it hurts. He pushes his full hard cock inside me, hard and punishing. My cunt swallows it down with a squelch.

‘Fucking snubbed me for months, now you’re going to take my fucking cock, you’re going to take every cock here,’ Kevin exclaims as he thrusts frantically.

Kevin seems to love it rough. It hurts, and yet I love every second of it. I want so much more, I want him to mark me, leave hickies and bruises so everyone who sees them knows what a fucking dirty whore I am, that I let him use me like this.

July 2013
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