Under normal circumstances the palatial frontage of the Hotel de Crillon would have been intimidating enough but I now looked at it with added trepidation. I took a deeper breath and tried to relax my stride not helped by my new stilettos.
I smiled to myself as I imagined the reaction my expenses chit would elicit. The shoes were plain black with a four inch heel, boosting my height to nearly six feet, but they had come from Christian Louboutin. The dress, a simple navy cocktail affair, was a La Croix and I wondered if I would be allowed to keep it.
As I approached the glass frontage I caught sight of my reflection and barely recognized myself. The brief for the make-up girl and the hairdresser had been to make me look like a young Judith Godrèche and they had done a remarkable job. It helped that I already had a passing resemblance to the French actress but they had made me look a good five or six years younger than my actual twenty-eight years.
I entered the lobby and followed the directions to the bar. I would have liked the opportunity to check it out beforehand but there had simply not been time. Except for a pair of businessmen the bar was empty and I took a seat on an empty, plush, red sofa. I ordered a campari and soda and asked the waiter to bring me a copy of France Soir.
My instructions were to wait no longer than half an hour but, in the event, she turned up with her entourage within ten minutes. They sat and ordered drinks, as they had done for the past two nights, prior to eating in the hotel restaurant.
There were four of them; a bodyguard, not too bulked up and nicely dressed, another woman that we had yet to identify, the eighteen year old Corrine, the current muse, and Adrienne herself. She was well into her thirties now but was still as stunning to look at as she had been in her modelling days.
I continued to read the newspaper but looked up at them now and again as it would have been unnatural not to do so. I was poorly placed and not in Adrienne's line of sight but Corrine did notice me and she whispered to her patron. When I glanced up once more it was to find Adrienne looking over her shoulder at me.
I smiled politely and then looked away again unhurriedly but my heart was racing. The whole plan hinged on her openly acknowledged preference for women and her particular predilection for Godrèche which had been garnered from an old magazine article.
I had to discipline myself to keep my head down and quietly prayed that she would take the bait. After what seemed an interminable hiatus her bodyguard finally came over to me.
"Mademoiselle, if you are not expecting company my employer would like to offer you a drink."
He spoke quickly, in French, suggesting that I had been taken for a native. I looked at him and said nothing before slowly looking back across the room. I mutely signalled that I would rather not but, as I hoped, Adrienne, pouted and opened her arms in a gesture of welcome.
I made a pantomime of considering my options and then replied in fluent French to the bodyguard.
"Okay, just one drink, I'd be delighted."
He escorted me across and pulled out a seat for me. Up close Adrienne was, if anything even more beautiful. Her dark hair and bewitching brown eyes were a legacy of her mixed parentage, a French father and Lebanese mother, and her full lips had, for years, adorned billboards as the key image of the "Kiss" campaign.
"I am glad you could join us. I'm Adrienne."
"No need for introductions Mme. Deryan. I recognized you immediately… Emma Hargreaves, I'm a translator, here with the summit party."
"You're not French? You speak so well and you remind me of an actress we have here in France."
Initially I was going to pose as a French native but there was not enough time to assimilate the necessary background information. In the end, the decision was taken to use the translator story with the summit connection offering an added inducement.
The others were announced by their first names. Corrine's I already knew and the mystery woman was introduced as Veronique. The bodyguard was ignored.
Drinks were ordered and, falling into my role, I played the innocent abroad fascinated by the fashion world. Adrienne obliged and complemented me on my outfit which led to a brief discussion about my job and how surprisingly well paid it was. This also allowed me to intimate that I was privy to confidential information at the highest level. It was a high risk strategy but if she was to be drawn out it had to be done quickly.
Frustratingly, she seemed completely disinterested and my instructions were clear. If she did not bite I was to leave as quickly as was reasonable under the circumstances and some other method would be employed.
I was about to make my excuses when she asked the obvious question.
"So what are you doing here at the hotel?"
"I want to bring my boyfriend to Paris, somewhere special, I was just checking it out."
It was hoped that the story had a fetching naiveté and she seemed taken by it.
"My dear! In that case I must insist that you dine here with us."
I tried to put her off but she was having none of it. A hurried conference took place with the Maitre D' and within quarter of an hour everything was arranged.
She ushered us all to the elevator but I failed to notice when the bodyguard pressed for the fourth floor. Almost before I knew it I was being led into an opulent suite.
"Are we not eating in the dining room?"
"I think you will enjoy it here even more."
I was shown onto a balcony the size of a small room. It was appointed with a dining table and expensively upholstered dining chairs bearing the Carillon crest. It was a mild summers evening and the views across to the Tour Eiffel were spectacular.
I was not given the option of choosing from the menu but the meal was superb, perhaps the best I had ever eaten, and the wines equally so. Having hinted at the confidentiality of my job Adrienne kept away from that particular subject but it meant that I had to discuss my personal life instead.
I drew on my real life, as it was less likely to ring false, the only embellishment being the creation of a fictitious boyfriend. For her part, she was happy to talk about the fashion world but would not be drawn on her past life.
At the end of the meal the bodyguard came out onto the balcony and whispered something to Veronique. She and Corrine had remained almost silent throughout but she now stood.
"Will you excuse us? There is something that requires my attention".
To my surprise Corrine rose from her chair as well and they walked out of the suite together with the bodyguard leaving Adrienne and I alone.
I was no fool, I was certain that the situation had been engineered, and I felt ill at ease. Adrienne was a predatory lesbian and it was unlikely that my implied declaration of heterosexuality was going to prevent her from making a pass at me.
I decided to bring things quickly to a close. I had tried my best but to no avail.
"I have to thank you for being such a gracious host, and for the wonderful meal, but I really should be going."
"I won't hear of it. You must take a liqueur with me. She casually placed one hand the top of my knee, effectively preventing me from rising, and with the other she reached to pour two glasses of Calvados.
She handed one to me but her hand did not leave my knee as she leant in closer to make a toast.
"To beautiful women…"
Given the topic of our earlier conversation it was not an inappropriate toast but I did not miss the nuance.
As our glasses chinked her hand moved a tiny bit higher up my leg, and I prepared to be polite but firm, but at that moment her mobile phone rang. She picked it up from the table, checked the caller ID, and answered immediately. She spoke quickly in Spanish and moved her hand absent-mindedly underneath my skirt but I did not forestall her. My Spanish was not good enough to keep up with the whole conversation but one word was sufficient.
The word was "Edinburgh" and her actual words were "Edinburgh must be brought forward". It sounded innocuous enough but, under the circumstances, it was imperative that I found out more. Whatever it took I had to try and find out to whom she was speaking.
She finished abruptly and put the phone back down.
"Now where were we?"
Her hand was resting at the top of my thigh, her fingertips just touching the silk-fringed edge of my panties. It could no longer be dismissed as any sort of friendly gesture; unless I stopped it now I was as good as condoning her advance.
I shifted a little. I wanted to show some reluctance and buy some time.
"An important call?"
"It needn't concern us."
Her fingers moved, brushing my inner thigh, and I gave a shudder of revulsion but she read it differently.
"Your first time?"
I said nothing but simply dropped my eyes in acknowledgement.
"Don't worry, I'll be gentle with you."
She stood and took me by the hand and as I rose I tried to get a look at her phone but she picked it up and drew me indoors. I knew that, in extremis, I could overpower her and take the phone by force but I had no idea where the bodyguard might be and I would not be thanked for closing out our only tenable lead.
Still holding her hand I followed her into a sumptuously appointed bedroom complete with a carved oak bed. She put the phone down on the bedside cabinet and then turned her back to me.
I was starting to panic. I could not go through with this but, equally, one glance at the phones' call register might be the key to everything. I reached out with trembling hands and, taking hold of the zip, I slowly slid it all the way down to the small of her back.
She held the dress in place with an arm across her chest looked at me over her shoulder.
"Would you mind…"
It took an effort of will but I flicked open the clips of her bra. It was not too late to bail out, she would understand, but I disciplined myself to give it another moment or two.
She turned back towards me and allowed her silk dress to hiss down her body as it fell to the floor to be followed by her bra. She was left standing in heels and panties and every instinct cried out to me to look away but I forced myself to stare admiringly.
Her official biography gave her age as thirty-nine but it was generally believed that she may have been older. Not that it mattered. The body that she revealed would have been the envy of women of any age. She carried a little more weight now than at the height of her career but, if anything, it only added to her beauty.
Her natural complexion gave the impression of a subtle tan and was suggestive of healthy living as was her toned musculature. This was a body regularly honed in the gym but still maintaining a feminine grace.
I had reviewed the many file photographs but none of them did justice to the woman in the flesh. Her breasts were still to die for. They were firm and well shaped, crowned with proudly pouting, tight, brown roundels.
Her hips were not pronounced but her waist was sufficiently pinched to lend them an inviting allure and then there was her legs. She was just nineteen when she was featured in the notorious pop video which reintroduced stockings and suspenders to a whole new generation. She had been masked, causing the press to speculate on her identity, and for a couple of weeks she was simply "the legs".
I had never entertained the prospect of a dalliance with another woman but, for just a second or two, I could see where the attraction might lie. She was sure of her conquest and stood arrogantly with the confidence of a woman used to having her body admired.
After a few seconds she slid her thumbs into the waistband of her panties and slid them slowly down to mid thigh before letting them fall to the floor. To my surprise, she maintained a lush growth of dark hair but it had been expensively sculpted into a design. It was vaguely familiar but it took me a moment to realize.
It was an inverted representation of a Lebanese Cedar, as seen on the national flag, but it would only be truly appreciated by someone engaged with her in a sixty-nine position. For some reason that image made me shiver and I thought of my own sex which I kept professionally depilated.
I dragged my eyes away but only to find her smiling at me, my curiosity having been misinterpreted. She held out a beckoning hand as she flowed onto the bed but I remained rooted to the spot. I wanted to run but, by accepting her invitation, I would be tantalizingly close to my goal.
I girded myself and approached the bed from the right so that the phone would be within reach. Thinking fast I thought that I might be able to palm it and then excuse myself to go to the bathroom. I leaned over a little but, almost immediately, she reached up and put her hand behind my neck. Before I knew it she had pulled me off balance and her mouth was closed with mine.
The urge to pull away was overwhelming but this was my chance. I reached out surreptitiously, finding nothing but empty air, but quickly had to give my attention to other matters.
I kept my jaw clamped but she ran her tongue gently over my lips. This was no crude masculine attempt to work a way inside; instead, it was a tender exploration of the contours of my mouth. Everything to this point had suggested that she was voracious but I was taken completely unawares by this sudden degree of intimacy.
I remained frozen, my heart measuring out the passing seconds, then she withdrew her tongue and pressed her lips to mine. She sucked gently, almost unnoticeably, sealing us together and I could taste the sweetness of her mouth.
I waited, knowing that she must break off, and then I would make my retreat but she was unhurried. Her lips parted with almost glacial slowness, drawing mine with them, and then I felt her tongue once more.
It was just the very tip barely entering my mouth but, such was her control, it almost felt as if she were writing a message on my lips. For some perverse reason I found myself thinking that, if I could only find a man half as skilled, I would have him living between my legs.
With that thought came an inappropriate tingling in my groin and for the merest second I conjured an image of Adrienne down on her knees. It was then that I realized what she was doing. She was describing, with her tongue, exactly what she would do, or would have done, and, in spite of myself, I gave a soft moan.
The greater part of me was still fearful and slightly appalled but it was almost hypnotic. I could feel her tongue fluttering lightly but purposefully on my mouth but now there was a spectral echo in my sex. I was almost overcome by the desire to check with my hand to make sure that I was not being touched.
At last, she gently broke the kiss but, at the same time, she shifted slightly on the bed. The hand behind my head was now exerting a gentle but insistent downward pressure and I was brought back to my senses. I moved with her but reached out once more.
I actually touched the phone but could not get hold of it. I stretched a little more but was now in danger of making myself obvious and, almost without thinking, I kissed her neck to draw her attention.
She squirmed appreciatively and I was suddenly very aware of her perfume. She had recently produced her own eponymous scent which, by all accounts, was selling well. I had no idea if that was what she was wearing but it was totally suited to her. It had caught my attention earlier, reminding me of woodland flowers, but now that I could smell it on her skin I could appreciate the sultry musky undertone
I closed my eyes, instinctively flared my nostrils, and moved down her neck as I breathed it in only to hear her laugh softly.
Her body arched and moved a little.
"Is this what you want…?"
There was a firmness against my mouth and my eyes flew open again. She was beneath me, her nipple brushing against my lips.
I glanced up at her to find her eyes drooping and a satisfied smile on her face. I only needed her to close her eyes altogether for a few seconds…
I parted my lips and allowed the protuberant nipple to slip between them. It felt enormous and impossibly rigid and I was momentarily at a loss but I knew that when my own nipples were this excited I liked to be bitten.
I took the tender swelling between my teeth and nipped gently.
"Do it harder."
I bit down a little more firmly but worried about hurting her.
My concern was misplaced. Her eyes were bright with excitement and her hand at my head pressed encouragingly. I was loathe to be any more severe and I had achieved completely the opposite effect to that which I intended. I opened my teeth and began to lick at her heavily dimpled areola.
For a moment I almost forgot myself, finding fascination with the textured surface, and my free hand seemed to act of its own accord as it came to rest on her other breast. It was so perfectly fitted, the plump weight of it settled in my palm which closed slowly allowing me to seek out her nipple with the edge of my thumb.
Her obvious appreciation brought me back to my senses. Putting both hands onto the bed I levered myself up but, far from being put out, she seemed amused. I was still on one knee as she lithely turned herself.
"Are you sure you've never done this before?"
She had her legs spread wide on either side of me and I found myself staring at the dark pit of her sex. Other than my own I had never seen one so close to and I found it hard to look away.
Hers was everything that mine was not. My inner labia are discrete, pale pink, petals which need to be coaxed into view. Hers were heavy, dark, wings strutting proudly in plain sight. They formed a perfectly matched pair embracing for the greater part of their length but noticeably strained at the apex hinting at a clitoris larger than my own.
I thought my sex almost childish in comparison. An image reinforced by the framing of shaped black hair which, on her, seemed beautifully natural.
It spoke to all of my senses and I was drawing breath through my nose without conscious thought. Her scent was faint but very familiar and I wondered guiltily if it was actually my own arousal that I could smell.
I found myself wanting to reach out and touch and had to literally shake my head a little to fight off the madness.
Fortunately she did not see. Her eyes were almost closed and now her own hand was between her legs. For a second or two I focused on her immaculately manicured fingernails, varnished with a shade as deep as burgundy, but I was enraptured as she slowly flexed her fingers and teased herself open.
There was immediately no doubt that the scent had been hers. It now thickened the air around me suggesting that she had been anticipating this outcome since the beginning of the evening.
Again my eyes had a will of their own, drawn to the rich pink interior which stood in such marked contrast to the labia themselves. It was an inviting moistness that caught the light and there, at the centre, a single creamy quivering pearl.
I convinced myself that it was a necessary sacrifice, to buy the few seconds of her inattention, something that no one else need ever know about but it was in my own dreamlike state that I slowly sank between her thighs.
Her scent became heavier the closer I came acting as a heady soporific and with the first touch of my tongue my eyes were closed. My sense of taste was immediately heightened and my initial awareness was of a sharpness I had not been expecting.