Crystal Clear Ch. 03byRomantic1©
This story is part of a continuation of my Road Trip series (see the end of 'Road Trip – California' for a list of the chapters of that series, in order to be read). You need not read that series to enjoy this one. Although real places and celebrity names are used for realism, this story is fiction. Please 'read, enjoy, vote, and comment.'
Synopsis of This Story So Far: After a cross-country road trip laced with grief, love, incest, and sex, Jim now lives with Crystal Lee and her sister in Tennessee. Jim and Crystal are both top stars in country music, a major change in life for Jim. Crystal has been asked to pose for Playboy; the trio and Crystal's manager Terry Ross traveled to Minnesota for a photo session with world-renowned photographer Brite Reber that ended in a weekend orgy.
A new album, a centerfold, an island, and career changes
I slept between Crystal and Ellen the night we got back from Minnesota. I think we were sexed out because uncharacteristically no one made any overt gestures to any of the others. We were cuddly and happy. I remember wondering what each of the women was thinking or dreaming as I drifted off. Were these moments a calm before a major storm?
I woke before dawn and slipped out of bed from between my two nude bedmates. In the dim light we had left on in the bathroom I stood and studied Crystal and Ellen – two of the most beautiful women in the world. They each had a large place in my heart.
I put on my running togs and headed out the door. I ran the streets until the light was bright enough to maneuver safely on some of the woodland trails near our home. After an hour, I found my favorite clearing and stopped to meditate. I sat and studied a knot on a log until I disappeared from the face of the planet, entering some other dimensions billions of light years away. I knew that to return to the real world all I needed to do was unfocus my concentration on that knot, yet I hesitated since the place I'd gone to was so calm, peaceful, and showed me so much about my inner being.
Eventually, I blinked a few times and looked around me – I'd come back to the real world. A few weeks earlier a fawn and doe had visited with me about this time of day in this clearing. As I trotted back to the house, my mind turned so easily to Crystal and Ellen. Each of them had gone out of their way to pledge their deep love to me during our trip. For Crystal, this was not unusual; we deeply loved each other. For Ellen, her sister, she'd never confessed her love to me in the deep, committed, and the personal way she had.
Ellen hadn't made a secret of how she felt; I think Crystal knew before she did. Crystal accepted the situation, but there were under currents that seemed to have been swept under the rug. Could we exist as a triad? Crystal had urged the three of us not to do anything rash for at least six months. We knew that was a long time and that there would be major changes in all our lives in that interval. Maybe Crystal was the wisest of the three of us.
Monday morning, Ellen had to connect with Terry and do some concert planning for Crystal, me, and another lesser-known band that Terry had recently signed on. There had been talk of movie deals for Crystal and me too, so the pair had a lot to work on. As it turned out from that day forward and for months afterwards, we each started to put in long work hours every day.
Terry gave Crystal and me a list of fifty-two songs he wanted us to perfect. For about half of them, he had rough music accompaniment tracks on a couple of CDs. He promised he'd mail us the background music for the rest in the next day or so. He said his new band would lay down the tracks for us.
Crystal and I spent a long day in her studio, working on various renditions of only three of the songs, practicing both duets and singles. I thought back to what I knew of the music industry before Crystal pulled me into the side of it because she fancied me. I used to think a good singer could knock off an entire album in an afternoon without rehearsals. How wrong I'd been.
The fifty-two songs Terry had given us were new and unreleased. Some were from our new friend and composer, Jake Randall. After a month, when we had passable versions of each song, Terry, Jake, and a team of others from Sony Records, sat and listened to the songs in one of the large Nashville studios such as they were up to that point. Over three weeks, we did a critique, even playing back and listening to each song again and again. After that, we whittled the number we liked down to less than twenty over three days.
Over the next couple of weeks, we worked with our regular live band on each of the twenty songs until we had better versions ready to deliver. We then had another studio show with our review team, critiquing each song again, and picking the ones we'd use on the album. Another three weeks got spent rehearsing each song until we had it nailed every time we sang it.
We then lay down each track in the studio, spending about a day per song. The audio engineers took over adjusting the fifty to one hundred variables they had to play with throughout each song. A couple of weeks later, we heard the pre-release versions of each song. Amazingly, everyone on the album team liked the songs and deemed them ready for release.
With the songs locked down, Crystal and I started to shoot music videos on each of the songs. The rationale for doing all of them was that no one knew which songs would become hits, so we did videos for them.
Everyone we had talked to liked the song The Naked Truth that Jake had written, so that became the title song for the album. We had fun doing the title song video, specifically because it required much nudity, particularly on Crystal's part. This time, the pictures had to be either G-rated or PG-13 rated, yet they had to be suggestive of really adult themes that the song carried.
It took another two weeks to shoot just the video for the lead song, although much of the footage could be edited and used for some of the other songs on The Naked Truth album. We spent another month finishing the other videos. Concurrently, the dubbing and audio geniuses synchronized the music with our singing in the videos (which usually got tossed because of background noise or our panting in the action scenes).
By now, over a five hundred people had been involved in the production of the album and the videos. This was a big deal.
Sony created a pre-release sampler and sent it to 'friends' at selected media outlets in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. Their opinions of the music and videos counted for a lot and strongly influenced how Sony would promote the album. Although it was rare for a complete album to be scrapped, it had happened. More frequently, a song or two in the mix got nixed and a substitute added.
We were lucky. Our entire album and all the videos emerged from the external reviews with rave reviews and a plea from nearly every DJ for complete copies they could start to 'leak' our music to their listeners. The DJs even got to see the several photos that would be used for the album cover and some of the interior shots on the album insert – pictures that Brite had taken on our sex-filled visit to her Minnesota studio. They wanted those too to use on their websites.
Given the reception, some of our 'leaked' music started to appear shortly before Halloween; the full release of the album came in mid-November. Ours would be the album to buy as a Christmas gift.
As the album progressed to market, the spread for Playboy also developed. Playboy loved Brite's work and selected thirty photographs to use in the spread. One unusually seductive one of Crystal on a tall stool with her beautiful legs outstretched achieved such appreciation from Hugh and his daughter Christie that Playboy decided to use it as the December issue centerfold.
About two months after our photo shoot with Brite, a Playboy photographer and interview team arrived in Nashville to do an in depth interview with Crystal, take candid photos during the interview at the recording studio, and do peripheral interviews with Ellen and me. They were around for three intensive days, and left happy.
About four weeks later, we got a mock-up of a sixteen-page spread that Playboy intended to use as the center section of the December edition of the magazine. They'd done a superb job in portraying Crystal, and the rest of us where we appeared. The shots were tasteful yet daring, and would surely be provocative to the ultra-conservatives. Crystal's wish for no beaver shots wasn't fully satisfied, but she gave in when she saw how sexy the photographs made her look. Playboy also told us they'd never devoted so many pages in an issue to one star, so we were breaking new ground.
Terry scurried behind the scenes orchestrating both the album and the Playmate of the Month spread for Crystal. He got both synchronized to 'officially' release on the same day in November; thus, the day the December issue of Playboy hit the streets, Sony released The Naked Truth.
Album sales rapidly spiked in the first week. The Naked Truth soared into the number one position on the country charts and on the album sales charts. The title song became the number one hit in the country, and European and Australasian sales started to shoot to record highs as the releases were made overseas. The videos Sony posted on YouTube and Vimeo went viral, and had over ten million views within the first week.
Every radio station playing pop or country music I could find on the FM or Internet played The Naked Truth once or twice an hour. This just spurred sales even further, plus we got royalties from the plays.
We were hot.
Crystal, Terry, Ellen, and I danced around the studio and the Nashville house every day as the statistics came in about the number of plays and sales. But, of course, we weren't home much, we were on the road promoting the new album and doing concerts.
Not all went smoothly; however. The Playboy spread created a huge controversy, most of it centered in Branson, Nashville, and other Bible-belt cities. Two vocal camps emerged: one loved the photo spread and said it was about time a 'name brand' country star appeared in Playboy, and who better than the pretty and shapely Crystal Lee; the other camp condemned the spread and was convinced the pornographic images ensured Crystal's place in hell. Hate mail started to arrive at the studio, but fortunately Crystal, Ellen, and I got insulated from almost all of it.
The December issue of Playboy actually went into a second printing to keep up with pre-Christmas demand, and sales were unusually high in the Bible belt. I guess many evangelicals wanted to be sure they were making the right decision in damning Crystal to hell.
The opinion of all of us connected with the photo shoot was that the Playboy spread – sixteen pages of interview and photos, plus the centerfold – was tastefully done, especially considering the 'girl next door' image Crystal had before publication. Sony marketing did a survey and found that her home-girl image not only persisted, but also improved. I joked that everyone knew the 'girl next door' put out, so what's new. Crystal punched me in the arm but had a smile.
In the months leading up to Christmas, I periodically examined the relationship between the four of us: Crystal and me, Ellen and me, Ellen and Terry, and the sisters. I could tell Ellen had checked her emotions – she was holding back. Sure, she told me she loved me, but it was in the way she'd done before she confessed her deeper love for me in Minnesota. I could feel her pain at not wanting to cross over the line in her adoration for me. Often, I'd fine her just staring at me; she'd give me a loving smile and change activities.
Crystal seemed the same at first; however, as the weeks went by and we were wrapped up in the album, she became more demonstrative and vocal in her affection and love for me. Every day, she made sure I knew she loved me deeply, and that she felt she'd found her soul mate in me. "Our meeting wasn't an accident," she said one day. "You were led down that road by fate – and right into my arms. You needed me, and I needed you. We are destined to be together."
I saw nothing but normal behavior between the sisters too. Ellen stayed at the big house about half the time, and at her condo near the Nashville offices the rest of the time she was in town. She had started to travel on Terry's behalf, doing arrangements and setup in prep for the album release, and a string of concerts we did including the Dallas arena and Denver's stadium – all sell out crowds. Occasionally, she worked on the movie deals along with Terry – he wanted us on the big screen, a move that if it were successful would catapult us further into stardom. The movies were far fetched since neither Crystal, nor I had ever acted and were lukewarm to the idea; so it seemed a long shot unless we were doing a cameo and singing some of our usual stuff.
The most noticeable change involved Terry and Ellen. She subtly distanced herself from Terry, but only slightly. He had begun working sixteen to eighteen-hour days and had little time for Ellen, or any of us, unless it directly involved one of our projects. Where he used to be with us hours each week, we now only saw him a few minutes. He also made several trips to the west coast, ostensibly to work on our movie deals. Ellen called to our attention that he was not entirely involved in work. Terry also had developed a cozy relationship with the lead female singer in the Hobo Palace band – the new band he'd taken under his wing.
Cindy Wonder, the cute singer for Hobo Palace, sounded a bit like Stevie Nicks, and would catch anyone's eye because she was so cute. She was a dynamo blond bombshell with a cute figure and a chest that rivaled Dolly Parton – whenever I saw her at the studio; I found it hard not to stare. She was more than just attractive; she was alluring in the same way as Crystal. Cindy sang more pop than country, loved ballads, and with Terry's help and hype the band had their first single recording in the top fifty. Terry asked what Crystal and I would think about her band opening some of our concerts; neither of us had an objection – they were good.
Despite the mixed feelings of the population about the Playboy spread, Crystal became an even hotter commodity. Suddenly, she was on the road every day of the week from dawn to midnight doing PR work to promote the album and the Playboy issue. Two more concerts got slipped into the busy schedule right before Christmas. I appeared at all the events, but she was the sexy star. Once, she was in Cincinnati and I heard her being interviewed on a country station: she was engaging, funny, witty, and even brilliant. So natural; I thought how much I loved this woman.
Terry reappeared in our lives about two weeks before Christmas, asking all sorts of suspicious questions about what we planned for the holidays and making secret phone calls. Crystal and Ellen had invited both of us to visit their parents for Christmas. I'd accepted, but Terry begged off to be with his own parents outside of Chicago. He did make us promise not to accept anything for the New Year's holiday week; he finally admitted he had a surprise brewing for us. When the time came, we bid Terry a happy holiday, as we headed in different directions for Christmas.
I'd stayed with Lees before, shortly after Crystal and I first started going together. This, my second visit, went smoothly and they welcomed me with open arms and lots of hugs. Crystal's mother especially catered to my every need, plus she got extra touchy-feely as our visit progressed, sitting especially close to me on the sofa and such.
Crystal teased me later when we were alone, "Mom would love it if you threw her over the arm of the sofa and ploughed your big dick into her pussy. She doesn't know it, but she is horny for your attention." The words rang true after all the casual touches and strokes as we sat around their home.
I responded to Crystal, "I have my hands full with Ellen and you; I don't need another Lee complicating the picture – plus, this one seems happily married." Crystal smirked at me.
Somehow, despite living and loving both their daughters, I had been accepted. At first, things were awkward when they figured out that I also had a sexual relationship with Ellen, but the girls had worked their magic and made things acceptable. I suspected that Ellen and Crystal had a graphic discussion with their mother about some of our sexual romps; maybe that was why she'd come on to me sometimes.
I listened attentively to a discussion between Crystal and her parents about the Playboy spread. Her father wisely kept his mouth shut; what was he to say after seeing every square inch of his sexy daughters skin. He just smiled, yet I could see the seeds of lust in his eyes. Her mother expressed awe and fascination with this side of being a star. I heard her mother ponder whether she'd be a candidate. She did have most of the physical credentials needed and there was no doubt she'd mothered Ellen and Crystal – both beauties were a reflection of their mom.
We took the Learjet back to Nashville late in the day after Christmas. The weather was foggy, rainy, and cold.
Terry reached us, as expected the next morning. "OK. Here's the deal, you put your smallest bikinis and Speedos in your pocket and meet me at the general aviation terminal at Nashville Airport in ninety minutes. And trust me, that's all you'll need – oh, except your passports." Ellen and Crystal surged into action without the slightest idea of where we were going except they deduced it must be warm, so they over packed, complete with evening dresses and spike heels. I tossed a few things into a duffle bag, figuring that Terry knew what he was talking about.
Terry had rented the Learjet for the five of us and flown us to the British Virgin Islands. After landing we transited to a marina, and started an hour's boat ride to our own well-equipped and stocked, but totally private islet in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. In the distance, a few other islands dotted the horizon. The temperature was balmy; the sun brilliant; and the palm trees swayed in a gentle breeze.
Terry had a grin from ear to ear as we got out of the boat. "We're here for a week, ladies and gentlemen. This is a reward for all the hard work and long hours over the past months, plus for being the best Playmate ever and for being the best and sexiest cowgirls and cowboys in that spread, AND, of course, for The Naked Truth – one of the best selling albums in history if I'm not wrong. Everyone loves it. The music is timeless and will be played for years and centuries to come." He waved his arms around in exaggerated style.
I looked up the jetty from the open pilot boat that had brought us to the island. Through some trees, I could see a magnificent house. I started to study the house and landscaping when I saw some motion from inside the home. Two figures emerged, magnificently nude as they sashayed towards us with swaying hips. The captain of the boat did a double take and then tried not to stare further.
My sister Anna and my sister-in-law Lauren strolled down the path to the dock arm in arm.
After our welcoming hugs and dispatching the tender that brought us, Anna explained to me right away that she had brought a serious boyfriend to the island – Mark Hafford. She waved her hand in front of her face, "He knows all about you and us and us making love and he's cool with all of it. In fact, last night we had a nice threesome with Lauren, so you have some catching up to do." She gestured up at the house as she held onto my bare arm, her naked breasts pushing against my skin.