Paparazzi Ch. 02 of 02byFrancisMacomber©
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.