Star Seed


The phone was ringing at nine in the morning, which was way too early as far as Andi Selene was concerned.

She groaned and rolled over in her small apartment, fumbling for her cell. Slitting her eyes against the cold February sunshine coming in through the curtainless window, she answered it.

"Hello?" she mumbled blearily.

"Andi, darling," came the deep, rich voice of Josephine Devereaux. "Are you awake?"

"I am now," she grumbled. She pushed herself upright until she was leaning against the wall, sitting on the frameless mattress and box-spring which served as her bed. She squinted at her watch. "Nine o'clock? Are you kidding me, Jo? Why are you calling me so early?"

"I've got a client for you. His e-mail was in my in-box when I got into the office this morning. He wants to see you this afternoon."

"And you couldn't let me sleep another hour or two? Christ, Jo, last night was the Super Bowl. I was up until two in the morning serving drunk-ass football fans beer and nachos." She sighed and ran a hand through her pale blond hair. "All right. Who's the client? How long does he want me? An hour? Ninety minutes?"

"Oh, no," purred the most exclusive madam in Des Moines (a list that was, admittedly, fairly short). "He wants to contract Estelle DeLight for a week.

"Andi? Are you there?"

"One second, Jo." Her voice sounded slightly strangled in her own ears..

She walked into the closet which her landlord laughingly called a kitchen and pulled a bottle of water out of the fridge. She took a long drink, then turned to the sink and splashed cold water on her face to help her wake up. Wiping it dry with a sleeve of the t-shirt which she had worn to bed, she picked up her phone again.

"Okay, I'm back. I must have zoned out for a minute. I thought you told me this john wants me for a week."

"I did," Josephine laughed. The sound was deep and throaty. If rumor held any piece of the truth, the woman on the other end of the line had been one of the most famous escorts in the Midwest in her youth. She had been born and raised in Iowa, but found her true vocation in Chicago, where wealthy businessmen, athletes, and politicians, including one horny hound-dog of a president, had all sampled her wares. When her glamorous good looks had finally started to fade, she had come back home, where she nurtured the next generation of call-girls at Starlight Escorts. But she had not entirely retired from the skin trade, and clients with good connections and deep pockets could still arrange for an exclusive meeting with one of the legends of the sex industry.

"Christ," Andi swore. She looked at the pile of bills stacked on top of her second-hand microwave. "How much is that? I know I charge-"

A delicately cleared throat interrupted her.

"Fine. You charge two-fifty an hour for me to go and fuck strangers." If Jo was going to be a pain about who was in charge, Andi thought, she could as well. "If you multiply that by seven days, it would be..."

"Forty-two thousand dollars," Jo said serenely. "But it won't be. There's a daily rate advertised on our website. You should know. You approved it before I put your profile up."

"Jo," Andi said tiredly, "when I approved the profile I was so desperate for cash I would have given it the thumbs-up if it meant I had to do a three-way with a man and a Labrador Retriever. If I ever noticed it, I've forgotten. What's the daily rate?"

"Five thousand per day," she said. "Normally my cut would be half that. But I know how little you enjoy this line of work, darling." Her voice was uncharacteristically sympathetic. "You'll take home twenty grand. And once the week is over, I would strongly recommend getting out of escorting, Andi. I never had a problem with selling my body. I know you do. Here's a lesson not enough girls learn: Once you get ahead, get out.

"I'll e-mail you the details. Make sure you pack well. Seven days with a someone you've never met would be a stretch for anyone. Even me.

"And Andi?"


"Good luck."


In a matter of minutes, Josephine had sent her the particulars. Andi stood in the bathroom and scrolled through the e-mail as she brushed her teeth.

The Hyatt, huh? Must be a high roller. She snorted to herself as she spit into the sink. Of course he's rich, you dope. He's dropping over thirty thousand dollars for a week with you.

Twenty thousand as her cut! She still couldn't believe it. That was more money than she had made all of last year.

God, what will I do with it all? The possibilities were endless. I can pay off the credit card. Get some real furniture in here. Or maybe move out of this dump. Get the car fixed. Buy a laptop. Get caught up on the student loans. Decent clothes, so when I interview at a real job I won't look like someone who just wandered in off the street.

First things first, girl. You're not buying anything until you have the money in your hands. And to do that you've got to spend seven days being the sex-toy of a man you've never seen before. So how about you learn what Jo told you about him?

She bent to the tiny screen of her cell phone again.

Name: Chara. Just Chara? What kind of name is that? Indian?

Race: Caucasian. Not Indian, I guess.

Height: Five foot eight

Weight: One hundred twenty-seven pounds

Age: 26

Andi grimaced. Young, short and skinny. Probably some computer nerd or dot-com millionaire, here for a conference and with money falling out of his ass. Wants to buy a woman he can show off to hide how small his pecker is.

The rest of the e-mail was unhelpfully uninformative. Chara described himself as having dark hair and green eyes, and apparently worked in life sciences. Maybe he made his money in pharmaceuticals. Andi flashed to a memory of a smug hedge-fund creep sitting in front of a congressional hearing, explaining why he was perfectly justified in jacking up the rates of medicine by about a thousand percent after he had bought the company that made it, and shuddered. Please, God, no. Please. No one like him.

The section where the client filled out any particular kinks or fantasies was mercifully blank. Andi sighed in relief, glad she wouldn't have to pack a bag with schoolgirl outfits, strap-ons, or handcuffs. When she had desperately approached Josephine about becoming an escort, she had generously provided her some of the essentials out of her own bountiful supply. Andi had her own lingerie, and had bought some outfits at one of the adult boutiques in town, blushing all the while, but the sheer volume and cost of material to set herself up as an escort had almost outweighed the increase in her income.

All right. Outfits for seven days. Both casual and dressy. You have no idea what this guy is like or where he might want to go. Lingerie for seven nights. Shoes. Jewelry. Sex supplies. Condoms. Lube. Massage oil. Wipes. Toys. Books for the times when we're not fucking. Toiletries. Makeup.

She hauled her luggage out of the closet and started packing.


An hour later, she had her bags packed and loaded into the car. Dreading the next step, she called her boss.

Please don't pick up. Please please please.

"Callahan's, Derrick speaking."


"Hi, Derrick, it's Andi."

A tired sigh came from the other end. "Andi, I told you last night. I don't have any extra shifts available for you. I know you're struggling, but I've got fourteen waitresses and six bartenders to think about. I can't screw one of them over to help you out. I'm sorry. But if someone gets sick, you'll be the first person I call."

"No! It's not like that at all, Derrick. I wasn't calling to beg for more hours. Actually...I've got a job opportunity. I'm leaving for an interview in a few minutes." Racked with guilt, Andi shut her eyes and crossed her fingers, hoping the lie would pass undetected. "It's out of state and I won't be back until next Monday. I'm sorry. I wanted to let you know. It's too big an opportunity to pass up. I hope I can come in next week if I don't get hired."

The second sigh was, if possible, even more weary than the first. "All right, kid. I know you don't want to spend the rest of your life serving up chicken wings in this dive. Go ahead and take the time off. I'll find someone to cover your shifts. Give me a call when you get back into town and we'll set your schedule for next week."

"Thanks, Derrick! Thanks a million!"

She could feel the old man's smile through the phone. "That's okay, kid. I know how tough it can be when you're just starting out. I was in your shoes once, too.

"And Andi?"

"Yes, sir?"

"Good luck."


Lots of people wishing me luck today, she thought, as she applied her makeup in the bathroom. The shower had filled the tiny room with steam. She eyed her reflection critically, pleased at what she saw.

Whoever this Chara person was, he would be getting his money worth, Andi thought. Blow-dried following her shower, her blond hair, nearly white, flowed like a river of moonlight over her alabaster shoulders. Pale blue eyes met her gaze in the mirror, framed in a face which was, quite simply, lovely. A girlfriend in college had told her she looked like one of Tolkien's elves in The Lord of the Rings. She smiled at the memory.

"I don't think Galadriel had boobs like these,though," she said softly, glancing down at her chest, still wrapped in a towel. Her c-cups strained at the cloth, full and ripe. For a moment she considered the possibility of flopping down on her mattress and fingering herself to orgasm.

I might as well have one honest climax before I start faking it for the next week.

But a quick glance at her cheap watch told her she was running short on time. She ran a brush through her hair, grateful it didn't need any styling, then started to get dressed.

She had considered arriving in a dress, but the early hour and the winter weather both advised against it. Fancy as the Hyatt was, she didn't want to draw attention to herself. And walking through the lobby in a slinky dress at one o'clock on a Monday in February was sure to raise some eyebrows. Best to arrive dressed casually, she thought, as she pulled on jeans and a blue cotton blouse that matched her eyes. If Mr. Chara wanted her to put on something sexy before they started screwing, he could damn well wait while she changed in the bathroom in his suite.

She locked the door behind her and quickly clattered down the three flights of stairs to street level. Her old Honda groaned as she guided it through Des Moines' downtown, heading for the hotel and convention center.

More quickly than she might have liked, the hotel came into view. She parked and checked the time. Ten minutes to one. She swallowed, admitting the truth of Josephine's words. As much as she enjoyed sex (and she enjoyed it a lot) she wasn't cut out for a life of selling her body to anyone who could afford it.

How did it come to this, she thought drearily. Six years ago I started college, convinced I was going to change the world. I was part of the generation which was going to save the planet. Obama and Hillary Clinton were my heroes. Racism, sexism, global warming, homophobia, environmental catastrophe...I was going to fix all those before breakfast. And then I would go and look for a real challenge.

Enough whining. Seven days and you'll never have to do this again. One hundred sixty-eight hours. She did some quick arithmetic. Ten thousand and eighty minutes. She called Jo on her speed dial.

"I'm here, Josephine. What's the room number?"

"It's twenty-two oh one, darling. It's on the top floor. A penthouse suite." She paused, perhaps having heard the quaver in Andi's voice. "Honey? Are you okay?"

She swallowed hard. "Just fine, Jo. Just fine."

"Good. Now, you listen to me, girl. If this guy mistreats you, or you get a bad vibe, don't be afraid to cut and run. Get out quick. You've got the emergency numbers, don't you? And don't hesitate to call the cops. I still have some friends in the department here in town. They'll take care of you if you let them know you're my friend. If this guy fucks around with us, I'll make sure he can't get a blow job anywhere in the Midwest.

"As far as the money is concerned, he's paid in advance, and I already put your share in your online account. So by this time next week you'll twenty grand richer."

"All right." Andi pulled the luggage out of the trunk and began to trundle it across the parking lot, the wheels making snail-trails in the dirty snow. "Go ahead and call him and let him know I'm on the way up. Thanks for everything, Jo."


Keep calm and act like you belong here, she thought, as she walked slowly across the marble-floored foyer. Don't pay attention to the fact that the suits the men on the staff wear could pay your rent for three months. Don't let on you were raised in a double-wide in a trailer park in Harlan. She raised her chin as she made her way to the elevator bank. Her face was cool and expressionless, but she had to stifle a panicky urge to turn and run. She imagined a neon sign, blinking "white trash" over her head, alerting the authorities that someone who had no business there was defiling the sacred confines of the Des Moines Hyatt Place Hotel.

She stepped into the elevator, sagging with relief as the door slid shut behind her. She swallowed, her stomach queasy, and tried to muster her courage.

For fuck sake, she snarled at herself as the elevator rose upwards, get hold of yourself. You're acting like you never screwed a guy for money before!

Yeah, for an hour. Or two. Not for seven fucking days straight, she replied. The elevator halted and the doors opened. She stepped out and tried, one last time, to calm her nerves.

Deep breath in. Slow breath out. Gradually her knotted muscles loosened, and she relaxed. Another breath, and she put on her professional mask, becoming Estelle DeLight. Her lips curved in a slow, sweet smile. Despite herself, a tingle of anticipation began to manifest in her belly. She welcomed it gratefully. Her feet sinking into the lush pile of the carpet, she made her way down the hall.

The door had a "do not disturb" sign hanging from the handle, and was propped open by the deadbolt, allowing her to enter without having to knock. Not letting herself pause, Andi pushed the door open, pulling her luggage in behind her. As soon as she was inside, she undid the deadbolt, allowing the door to swing shut.

The suite was huge. As the door closed behind her with a soft snick, Andi took in a living room larger than her entire apartment. Floor-to-ceiling windows looked eastward, and she could almost imagine she could see across the Mississippi River and into Illinois. Dark leather furniture was arranged around an entertainment center which managed to look elegant and hideously expensive at the same time. To her left, she glimpsed what seemed to be a fully functional kitchen, complete with sink, stove and refrigerator. To her right, several doors led to rooms which were hidden from her view.

She cleared her throat nervously. "Hello?"

"Oh, you're here! Good!"

As the figure burst through one of the doors to her right, Andi had time for one clear thought before desire hit her like a sledgehammer.

A woman. Josephine Devereaux, I'm going to kill you.


When asked, much later in life, about her first impression of Chara, the word which sprang to Andi's mind was golden.

Smiling happily, the gorgeous young woman took her hands. Dressed in a gown of yellow silk, Chara seemed to light up the room like a bonfire. A few inches taller than Andi, she possessed a figure which made her feel thin and boyish by comparison. Her hips were full, and curved inwards to a delicate waist which Andi felt she could almost circle with her two hands. Her hair, a reddish-brown shade of chestnut, wreathed her face in gentle waves and fell past her shoulders to nearly her waist. Her gown was cut low over her chest, revealing golden skin and the upper slopes of breasts which she ached to see completely exposed.

Jesus Christ! How can they be so big and not sag at all? And I can tell she's not wearing a bra, as tight as that dress is. They have to be Ds at least. Maybe DDs!

"Hello! I am Chara! I am so happy to meet you!"

Andi smiled back, caught up in her infectious enthusiasm, so different from the sleazy lust which she had expected. "Hi. My name is Estelle. Estelle DeLight"

The young woman raised her brows, almost as if she knew Andi was lying, but was too polite to say so. "Is it? That means "star," does it not? And you come to me from Starlight Escorts! How appropriate!"

Andi blinked. "I suppose so," she admitted. She paused, confused, unsure of how to move forward. She felt completely wrong-footed, as if she had gone into a restaurant to beg for a meal, only to find she had reservations for a five-course dinner. She recovered her manners. "I'm happy to meet you, too."

"Good!" Chara leaned forward and caught her in a strong embrace. "Now, let me show you to your room."

"My room?"

"Of course." Chara smiled at her, showing an enchanting dimple in one cheek, as she caught up one of Andi's suitcases. "Did you think I would have you sleep on the floor? You are an escort, not a servant."

"I guess."

Something is very odd here. Chara's accent niggled at the back of Andi's mind. Whatever it was, it was certainly not American, but she could not place it. It sounded vaguely European, sweet and liquid, with rounded vowels and soft consonants. It was, Andi thought bemusedly, as if an Italian woman was speaking English with a French accent, and grinned at the idea.

She doesn't know what an escort is. The stunning thought raced through her mind in a flash like lightning. Or, at least, she doesn't know what girls from Starlight Escorts do.


"Yes?" A quick smile over one shoulder stopped her breath.

"I didn't get many details from my...employer. What would you like me to do for you while I am here?"

Well, that's a straight line if I've ever heard one. If Chara brought me here for a week of screwing, I should know soon.

Chara smiled sweetly at her, stepping close. Andi backed away, but Chara moved closer again. She forced herself to stand still. She had heard somewhere that Europeans had a much less restrictive sense of personal space, and found Americans' habit of constantly retreating baffling. A faint, flowery scent reached her nostrils, and she fought down a spasm of desire.

"I am new here. In this place. Des Moines." She pronounced the name with a lovely, lilting touch. "I expect to be here for some time, yes? I need An escort. I have never been in America before. I do not know the rules. How your people act. How fortunate I found you on the website. So beautiful! And I think to myself, Chara, this woman can show you the city." Andi found her hand gripped in strong fingers. "I hope we will be friends."

Andi cleared a throat gone tight with longing. She thinks I'm beautiful! "I hope so, too." She smiled at Chara, hoping the expression did not betray her urge to take her in her arms, fall to the bed, and not get up until they had both reached multiple sweaty climaxes.

Chara clapped happily, her expression so open and cheerful Andi found her mood lifting, even as she forced down her expectations. There was no way to be certain if Chara was lesbian, or even, like Andi, bisexual.

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