The Stuff of DreamsbyCromagnonman©
This is one of those stories that started heading in one direction and then chucked a left and went off on a tangent. It fits into several different genres; there is some incest, some non-consent/reluctance, even a hint of group sex, but at the end of the day the over-riding story is a romance.
It is also an exploration of social mores (what's new?) and I have to insert a disclaimer here: The views expressed in this story are not necessarily those of the author, and any resemblance in both the story and characters to any incident or person(s) is purely coincidental. CM.
As she strode, no that's not the word for it, as she glided down the red carpet the eyes of the world were on her. She was tall, 1.7 metres (5'7"), made even taller by the heels, slim, probably around 55kg (120pounds), honey skinned, with her long black hair worn simply. But that's not what grabbed my attention, it was her simply elegant outfit. The long black chrome silk dress had a skirt that flowed to the carpet from a simple clasp at the waist. It was wrapped under so that the right leg, clad in black stockings, was revealed to a point about half way up her thigh and I, and everyone else, was immediately dreaming of the perfection that was hidden beyond. Her top was in two sections starting from her waist with a 75mm (3") gap separating each section at the front and by a gap of 150mm (6") at the back. The sections were crossed at her breasts and fastened behind her neck. She obviously wore no bra, none was necessary, and her breasts were large enough that they appeared to be in danger of a wardrobe malfunction at any moment. I, along with every other red-blooded male, held my breath in anticipation of that moment. Her slender neck was emphasized by a single strand of large black pearls with matching drop ear-rings. She carried a leather clutch bag, in the same black chrome colour, with matching shoes. Perfection was understating her appearance
But the thing that grabbed my attention most of all was that she was not escorted down the carpet.
"Stephanie." I called to her. She turned to me and smiled as I held my finger on the shutter release of my camera. She didn't pose, simply because she didn't need to, no matter how she stood, it was a natural pose. If I was using a film camera I would have run out of film long ago, but I simply could not get enough of this simply beautiful woman. "Thank you, your are simply gorgeous as usual."
Her smile was for me. "Thank you Bradley."
I was surprised that she knew my name, after all she was a star and I was just another parasite, eking out a precarious existence in the despised world of the paparazzi.
Stephanie's Morrow's story was the stuff of dreams. Born the first child into a large family, she was forced by circumstance to take over the running of the household from her terminally ill (breast cancer) mother. She left school as soon as she was able and took over the full time care of her mother and siblings. Her father was forced to work two jobs to pay the constantly mounting medical bills.
That was until the day that the seventeen year old Stephanie was pushing a heavily laden shopping trolley through the mall to the car park. Also in the mall was a film crew shooting a TV commercial. The Director was just about to admit defeat, and give it up, pack it in and go home after the 43rd attempt at getting the actress (blonde) to say her words without tripping over her tongue. She was not his choice, but the client insisted, probably because he was fucking her. It was at that point that he noticed that the crew were no longer focussed on the 'talent', but the young Stephanie almost hidden behind the massively overloaded shopping trolley. "Take ten!" He yelled as he headed in her direction.
The rest, as they say, is history. She was asked to take over the part in the commercial and she accepted. She nailed the words and actions on the first take and was given a card that led her to one of the most famous talent agents in this country. Several high profile commercials followed over the next year, each earning her more than the previous, which led to a casting call for a role in a feature film that was being shot in Sydney. Her original role was as a walk-on extra but she was soon elevated to a minor speaking role. This in turn attracted the attention of the Director who, on his return to Hollywood, arranged for her to fly over and audition for roles in a couple of films.
This move led, in her first feature film role, to a dramatic confrontation with the female lead who accused Stephanie of attempting to 'steal' her part. The ensuing publicity, particularly in the social media, ensured that she was on the minds of a wider range of Directors. Her star was well and truly in its ascendency. More important roles followed and there was even talk of an Oscar nomination for her part in the film that was premiering tonight.
Throughout all of this she distanced herself from the usual Hollywood scene, choosing instead to fly back to Sydney to be with her family between films. She maintained that this kept her grounded, she said that it was because her brothers and sisters did not think of her as the 'Hollywood star' who was their sister, but as their sister who just happened to be successful in Hollywood. The real reason was something completely different. She knew from the very beginning of her career in Tinseltown that it was expected of her that she should go through the almost mandatory affairs, brushes with the law and substance abuse, but she did something that few up and coming actresses did, tell the studio to get well and truly fucked (my words, not hers), and that if they wanted her to be in their movie, they would have to accede to her modest demands.
To achieve this she hired a very good agent and lawyer. When it became obvious that one of the studios had decided not to cast her, and had hired a lesser talent, but one who would sleep with whoever the production company required her to, that studio found themselves in court charged with discrimination and restraint of trade based on the fact that, to be cast, she had to submit to the humiliation of being forced to indulge in sexual acts against her wishes. In other words, she was asked to become a prostitute. It cost the studio a lot of money and the adverse publicity saw it decline rapidly in popularity. The other studios removed that unwritten clause from her terms of contract.
Then came her career mega shift. She turned her back on the big studios and concentrated her efforts on small budget independent films. Despite their limited release they gradually built up a cult following, to the extent that the production company was approached by a major studio waving a huge cheque, and offering them full artistic control.
Stephanie was against the move but her partners had dollars in their sights, so she sold them her share of the production company after the completion of the latest film, the one that was premiering here tonight. The company's status was high enough to attract some of Australia's top rising stars as well as government financial support. Even though it was a gritty drama, the government looked on it a suitable vehicle to raise the image of the country's film making industry, hence the publicity push and Stephanie. For this film she played a drug dealer who had incurred the wrath of the cartel importing the drugs. They set it up that she should be busted by a tame member of the drug squad. She was on the run from both the police and the cartel, moving from one sleazy location to the next in an attempt to crawl out of the primordial slime that she had lived in for so long. It was a role so far removed from her previous movie roles that her fans could not believe that it was really her playing it. One social media post claimed the use of a body double. Her performance had led to rumours of a potential Oscar nomination.
Stephanie Morrow was now a popular and very rich young woman and one that was the target of every man hoping for an invitation into her life. I was one such man. I was in love with her, hopelessly in love with her. Aware that I had no hope of getting close to her, but willing to try anything, I ran through the memory card from my camera and selected twelve of the very best shots and prepared a portfolio of her, including some close-ups that were cropped out of a larger picture. I even blew one up even more and printed it on canvas. I packaged the lot and sent it to her home address with a note that suggested that I was interested in her sitting for a studio portrait. I sent it and forgot all about it, reasoning that I had no hope of success.
A couple of days later I was printing a series that I'd done for a fashion magazine when my phone rang. "Hi Bradley, it's Stephanie, how would you like to have a cup of coffee with me so that we can discuss your suggestion?"
"I'd love it, when?"
"How about right now?"
There was a knock on my door. "Could you hold on a second there's someone at the door, I'll just get rid of whoever it is and be right back."
"Don't do that."
"Because silly, it's me." It was her, standing there looking so beautiful in trackie dacks (Track suit pants) a sweat shirt that wasn't sweaty and sneakers. In her hands were two large takeaway coffees and a paper bag that looked suspiciously like it contained disgustingly sweet cakes. "Well, aren't you going to invite me in?"
"Sure, come in." I stammered, moving aside to allow her to come in. She put her load of goodies down on the coffee table and came over and kissed me. Yes, you got it right, she actually kissed me, and it wasn't the industry standard air kiss either. Forever etched into my brain is the first taste of her lips, strawberry. I found myself speechless.
"Those pictures were absolutely perfect, thank you for them."
"That's okay, I would have had to have been a totally artless camera hack to have produced anything less, given the subject matter."
"What I'm trying to say is that of all the photos that have been taken, and that have appeared in the press, you have never taken an unflattering shot, not like some of the other paparazzi, they only print the sensationally bad shots."
"I have on the odd occasion taken a bad shot that I could have sold for more money than the ones that I have released to the media, but I've destroyed those, I've wiped them from my computer memory so that no record exists of them."
"But why would you do that? You could make more money from the bad shots."
"Do you want the pat reason or the real reason?"
"The pat reason is that I don't release unflattering shots of anyone, it's against my principles. The real reason, and promise that you won't laugh, is that I'm in love with you."
I saw her smile and I thought that she would laugh at me but she didn't. She came to me and took my head in her hands. "I know you are, I can see it every time I look at you taking my photo. You care about me more than I deserve."
"That's where you're wrong, I don't deserve, or even expect that you would think of me, let alone have feelings for me. I am pond scum in this world in which we inhabit and you're the perfect star. Do you think that we can get on with this before you reach the conclusion that I'm a stalker and decide to escape from me?"
"Okay, what do you want me to do and where do you want me?"
The look in my eye told her what I was thinking; 'lie down on the sofa and open your legs'. She smiled.
I set about getting the lighting right and the right backdrop for the shots, and checking the focal length and the aperture against her face before the minute adjustments to her position to achieve the desired shot. She sat quietly and followed instruction throughout the entire process, as I expected that she would. "That's fine, now the first few shots I want you best smile. Great." I took a couple of dozen shots. "Now a just give me a little less smile. Hold it just like that, great." Another couple of dozen shots were saved onto the memory card. "Now a pensive look, thank you that's fine, could you just look down a little, think Princess Di, great."
I took the card from the camera and loaded it onto my computer. We sat side by side as I scrolled through them. Several I deleted straight away while Stephanie asked me to delete a couple of others that I was hesitating over. We finished up with fifteen really good shots and a couple that I considered to be outstanding. I sent them to my printer and we closely examined the prints as they came out and we decided that we couldn't separate them.
"How do you feel about taking some nude shots of me?"
"What? I don't think that would be a good idea, do you?"
"I have been thinking about this ever since I got your portfolio, and I decided that I would like you to take some nudes, because I know that you will be sensitive with them, and not take any that could be considered to be pornographic."
"That's not the reason that I'm against this, it's just that every time a girl has 'artistic' nude pictures taken they end up in social media for the world to see, and I don't want that to happen to you."
"But if you use a fresh memory card and keep it in a safe place who, other than the two of us will even know about it and I, for one, am not going to tell anyone."
"But why would you want to do this, it's completely against type?"
"Just what do you think my type is?"
"You are the sweetest, most beautiful and pure woman I know, that is your type and that is why I love you."
"Then my darling Bradley, but you are in for a shock and I fear that if I tell you my secret you'll no longer love me. I've decided that I can't go on living this lie just because of what other people think of me. I am not the pure innocent woman that you think I am."
"I find that hard to believe, I've seen so called actresses come and go and not one of them holds a candle to your looks and your talent and your purity."
"But not many of them carry the burden of a secret such as I have had to carry for the past six years."
"Surely it can't be a bad secret? I could never conceive that you could ever do anything so horrible that you can't at least tell me all about it. I promise that I won't tell anyone."
"You say that you could never conceive what it could be, but I can, in fact I did, three times."
"What do you mean?"
"I have been pregnant three times to the same man."
"Who is he and do you love him?"
"I can't tell you who he is, at least not right now, and no, I don't love him, in fact I hate him. Oh God how I hate him, I hate him for what he has done to me and what he is doing to someone I love. Bradley, I want you to release those photos that you've just taken to the media, but not yet. The nude pictures will be yours to keep and for you to remember me by. You have to promise never to show them to anyone else, ever."
"I promise, but I don't understand what is going through your mind right now, but I fear that I will not like it."
"After I leave here I am going to the police to make a statement, and then I'm going to end it all. I will never be able to hide from the shame."
"No! You can't do that, I won't let you do that!" I took her in my arms and held her to me. "I can't let you do that. Nothing is so horrific that you should kill yourself over it."
"Are you a Catholic by any chance?" She said, looking deep into my eyes with her suddenly sad eyes.
"No, why do you ask that?"
"Because if you were, I would be trebly damned in your eyes and the least of the damnations will be my suicide." She paused to gather the strength to tell me. "I have fallen pregnant three times to my own father, and each time I've had the pregnancy terminated. Does that shock you enough to hate and despise me?"
"No." I saw the puzzled look on her face. "I'm not shocked by it at all. You wouldn't be the first girl to get pregnant to her father. That doesn't shock, although I would be disappointed with you if you were a willing party to the conception. As for the abortions, I think that you did the right thing. I find it difficult to understand why you didn't use some form of birth control."
"Would you believe my father wouldn't allow it because it's against his religion?"
"You have got to be kidding me, surely? Here he is, forcing you, and he did force you didn't he? Forcing you to have sex with him which is against so many laws that I can't even contemplate how many, and yet he won't allow you to protect yourself against the consequences of his actions."
"Yes he did force me, oh he tried seduction and pleading and when neither of those worked he overpowered me and forced me to have sex with him. After we'd had sex he told me that if I went to the police I would end up in a gaol and my sisters would end up in foster care. I couldn't allow that to happen."
"I can understand your position, what I have difficulty in understanding is why he would want to force you to have sex with him in the first place, surely if he wanted to he could have found another form of release for his sexual tensions or frustrations. He didn't need to use you like this."
"You have to remember the family situation at the time, my mother was very ill and he was working at two jobs just to try to keep on top of the medical bills and feed me and my two brothers and three sisters. I was bringing in some money from the commercials that I did, but it wasn't anywhere near enough. He was tired and we were broke, he didn't consider that any woman would find him a suitable relationship prospect, so he gave up looking. I understood that, and felt sorry for him up to a point, but that didn't include having sex with him. He worked on me for a long time and I refused to give in to him and when he finally forced himself on me I felt so guilty that I couldn't tell anyone, other than the priest when I went to confession. He, of course, said nothing."
"I presume that your father went to confession and sought absolution for his sins?"
"Oh yes, he told me that he had confessed and been forgiven. That's a joke, a couple of 'Hail Marys' and he's forgiven and free to do it again. There's something wrong there, but who am I to question the church?"
"Who indeed?" Christ Almighty what a fucked up situation, (pardon the French) I can understand why people get confused when it comes to the difference between civil law and church law, what to one is a punishable crime, to another is a forgivable sin to be wiped clean by some simple penance. "What has changed that has brought on your decision to do what you've planned?"
"Because," She looked sadly into my eyes, "I've recently found out that he's been having sex with my youngest sister."
I came so close to losing the plot and racing out to find the bastard and beat the crap out of him, but held it in so that I could think rationally. "Before you do anything that I'll regret my failure to prevent, let's look at this calmly and rationally. There has to be a better solution, there just has to be, and believe me, suicide just isn't it."
"Because, while suicide might solve your problem, it will cause problems for other people, me for one. I know that I've only just met you, but I feel that I've known you for some time, and loved you for nearly as long. Then there's your family, what will they think, they'll probably think what I'm thinking right now, 'could I have prevented it?'. And then there's the people that find you after you've done it, how do you think they'd feel, seeing such bright person such as you brought to the point that you see no way out other than suicide."
"You feel strongly about this, don't you?"
"Yes, and for good reason. My father was a train driver and was involved in several fatalities, the majority of them were suicides. He didn't talk about it to anyone, but it affected him deeply, the memory of the person a split second before my father killed him was bad enough, but to sit through the Coronial Inquest with the victim's relatives blaming him for their loss was even worse. He suffered from PTSD before it had that name and before there was any treatment for it. He was a strong man to have held on for as long as he did, but in the end it fucked up his life. Not even the massive doses of sleep medication he took could get him through a night without that same nightmare. Now you know why I can't let you do this, why we have to find another solution."