Romantic Novelist: Los AngelesbyAudreyHepburn©
* In the previous episode, Audrey's first novel is published through an agent in Beverly Hills. She runs into an old enemy from high school, Michaela Stanford, who humiliates her in public. Audrey runs into her again, and Michaela apologizes and reveals her dilemma: she is engaged to be married to a man who is rich but unfaithful and cannot bring herself to leave him out of obligation to her family. Audrey comes up with a plan to free Michaela from her situation and proposes that her boyfriend, Stephen, and she will spy and photograph Michaela's cheating fiance and expose him to the family.
Audrey and Stephen didn't waste time in preparing for their espionage.
And that was exactly what it was - espionage -- as if Michaela had hired them to spy on her fiance and his shameless mistress. Michaela provided them with the names of streets where she had seen them, cafes, restaurants, bars, and even a home she was certain belonged to the mistress. Afterward, Michaela retired to her home in Beverly Hills, hoping that her newfound friends would help her out of her precarious situation and not get into any dire straits themselves.
Audrey had never done anything like this. Stephen told her of his former college days in Boston, that he had once spied on fellow students as part of a fraternity thing. His fraternity had asked his help with investigating rumors of radical professors teaching radical communism and even racism. He had to secretly enter classrooms, use both audio and video tape, as well as pretend to be a student of the particularly suspicious professor. Audrey was impressed by his story. Surely, his spy-like past would help them out now.
They decided they'd wear black tight-fitting body suits, the stereotypical spy outfit, and even the small beanie cap on their heads. When they preened in the mirror, they could not resist the urge to laugh. They were in their apartment bedroom. The small window, porthole-like as if they were inside a ship, provided them with a tiny glimpse of the beach, the strand, and the ocean. They smiled and giggled as they stared into the mirror.
"We look like the Avengers," Stephen said, with a chuckle.
"Now, remember, we have to be as inconspicuous as humanly possible. This outfit is to be worn only at night. During the day, we'll wear casual clothes and blend in with the crowds. Michaela's fiancé has never met us, so that's a blessing. But, still, we must proceed with lots of caution."
"Not a problem," said Stephen. "But when you mean casual, just what do you mean? You gotta remember this is not exactly an average little town we're going to. It's Beverly Hills. Even casual folk look good there. We ought to buy ourselves some semi-formal wear to blend in a lot better. You know, polo shirts for me, slacks, dress shirts, business suits, and you can wear some pretty outfits a la Paris Hilton."
"I don't have the money for it! And neither do you, Steve. I make a living with a simple job as a legal assistant and you're bartending in Hollywood. Both of us can't afford to wear really stylish clothes."
"Then we'll just ask Miss Michaela Moneybags for money to be used for buying clothes for the purpose of espionage."
"Ha! Wouldn't that be something?" She was pensively quiet for a brief minute or two. Her eyes glistened with a sudden joy. "You know that isn't such a bad idea. I'll be sure to ask her."
Under cover of darkness, Beverly Hills did not shine glamorously. When Stephen and Audrey had been in Vegas, the city did not even take real shape until after dark, lighting up with neon lights of myriad colors and hues, glistening like tiny sequins on a gown. It was as if Las Vegas experienced a second dawn and day that just happened to be at night. But Beverly Hills was for the most part dimly lit and only a few people were actually up and about. Many houses, beautiful and grand as they were, seemed to be shrouded in darkness and only a few lights, if any, were on inside. The various trees and shrubs surrounding some of the homes made it harder to see. The gated houses were the worst. All the homes that they were able to see were also certainly activated with security systems.
"This is going to be harder than I thought," Audrey said. "But Michaela said if we absolutely have to enter a house, that we should find some discreet way to get in, like enter through the rear, leap into a pool or something."
"Any sign of the scumbag?" Stephen said, with a chuckle.
"I don't see a thing," Audrey replied. "Wait a minute."
Her eyes fell on to a vehicle that was slowly but surely making its way up the street. Audrey strained her eyes to get a better look. It was a black limousine. Stephen and Audrey impulsively concealed themselves behind some bushes which grew by a rather long wall at the entrance to a mansion. The limo stopped before the main gate, the gates opened, activated as if by some device, and the limo sped up the long driveway. The gates began to close slowly.
"It must be them, right?" Steve said.
"Only one way to find out. We can climb up that tree and use our binoculars to take a closer look. Quiet now."
"Sure thing, Nancy Drew."
"Not funny. I don't even find any of this to be inspiring as a writer."
"That's because you write romance novels, not thrillers."
They stealthily climbed a tree, which they found easy to escalate, owing to its many branches and bumps. They did, in fact, resemble children; their young-adult bodies were agile like gymnasts and before long were on a limb on the tree observing the mansion. It was an impressive sight. The long driveway was lined with statuary on two sides, as well as exotic plants and animal sculptures made of hedges. The house was a creamy color and large windows, balconies and a Spanish-style colonnade marked the beautiful façade. The limo was out of sight. Audrey was retrieving her binoculars from her shoulder bag when they fell out of her hands suddenly, crashing over some rocks.
"Jesus Christ," she cried.
"O, man, Audrey. What if someone finds those? You gotta get down and put them away in your bag again. You go on ahead, I'll take a look and see who's entering the door."
Audrey complied and slowly climbed back down the tree. She was panting as if she had been running a few miles. She was surprised to hear herself pant and to feel her legs hurting, her muscles tensing and her heart hammering at her breast. It was not as if she was out of shape. She went to the gym as often as Stephen did. But she sensed that she was reacting this way out of fear and nervousness. She was doing something very risky and dangerous. Stephen was also risking his ass, so it was a huge wonder to her why he was so cool and calm, even a tad confident. He was enjoying this much more than she was. If they were caught, she cringed at the thought of facing jail time for trespassing on private property, for espionage which people would quickly assume to be terrorist work, for behaving like a pair of thieves in the night.
She saw that her binoculars had not broken after their fall and that was a relief. She bent down to pick them up and she quickly put them into her shoulder bag. Her beanie fell and her long hair fell over her face. She picked up her beanie and straightened her hair.
"Well? Who is it over there? Can you see anything?"
"It's him. Michaela sent us a photo of him and this guy is him. And the girl next to him is a hottie. She must be a D cup for sure. Probably silicone."
"Oh, sorry. I'm just describing her for you."
"You should get down before they see you. Let's get in through the rear by the pool. Maybe we can hide behind the pool house and take photos from there."
In the entrance of the manor, by the main steps leading to the huge double doors, Michaela's fiancé, whose name was Rich, put his arm around a buxom blonde, whose gorgeous legs were showcased beneath a short black skirt. They kissed, quite passionately, and they laughed, their laughter echoing in the night air. Suddenly, the girl looked away.
"What is it, Andrea?" Rich said to her.
"I - I thought I heard something," she said. "But it's nothing. Let's go in the house."
Stephen and Audrey, trying to be as quiet as phantoms, sneaked to the other side of the manor, carefully moving behind a maze of bushes, hedges, flowers and trees. The moonlight, oddly bright, was enough illumination for them. The lights outside of the manor were dim and only opaque candelabra lights were glowing inside the manor.
"Did you find your binoculars alright?" Steve inquired in a whisper.
"Yes. Less talk, OK? We don't want them to hear us."
Audrey's eyes and ears were open, both senses of sight and sound directed toward the house. As they went round a bend, they marveled at the size and opulence of the mansion. It was like an attractive Hollywood film star's palace, and everywhere there was the sense that this house was built especially to impress. Statues with cold but angelic eyes stared at them from afar, a few birds could be heard singing sweetly in their elaborate cages and the sound of water became stronger as they approached the rear.
And there it was. The pool. It was huge, stretching out from the back of the house toward the edge of what could only be described as a kind of yard, a grassy field that was bereft of trees. The pool glistened with pool lights and was very inviting. The waters were warm. Audrey and Stephen were in the yard, and from this stance they could see that Rich and Andrea had come to the back of the house. They were both shirtless. Shamelessly, she flaunted her big breasts in the night air and she wore a thong. Rich was wearing swimming trunks.
"They're coming to the pool," Stephen said. "God, they'll see us for sure."
"Not if we think fast."
Audrey seized Stephen's hand, and they ran behind a huge pair of statues of a nymph and satyr. Coincidentally, Stephen hid behind the satyr statue and Audrey behind the nymph figure. From this stance, they had front row seats to the coupling that was about to take place.
Rich planted a kiss on Andrea, firm, passionate, hard. Their kissing lingered as they moved and splashed a little in the pool. At times Andrea would giggle and swim away as if to tease him. The moonlight glistened over the pool like silver. The air was nice and cool and in the glare of the pool lights. Audrey and Steve could see everything clearly. And thanks for that, thought Audrey, as she readied her cell phone camera to take photos and video of these two. She tried to control her breathing; her hands were shaking, and she felt the rapid beating of her heart. She looked over at Stephen. He seemed so cool about the whole thing, as if he did this sort of spy work every day.
Somehow, Andrea and Rich had removed the little clothing they had on. Her thong was floating carelessly in he water along with Richard's trunks. Nude, they gave into carnal abandon. They had been making out and feeling each other's flesh - her breasts, his chest, tongue inside one another's mouth. Now, they had aroused one another and they were the both moaning and groaning.
Rich lifted Andrea by her butt and grabbing her tightly, he lifted her up and down in a slow rhythm. She arched her back and threw her head back, her moans filling the little yard. She rode his enlarged cock, straddling him, closing her eyes. Audrey was relieved to see this. If they kept their eyes open, they might still see them. Rich was closing his eyes and grunting in his pleasure. Up and down slowly, and because this was being taped, Audrey felt guilty and dirty as if she were a voyeur taking amateur video tapes or as if she were filming a porn film. Stephen was silent and transfixed.
"Are you getting turned on by this at all, Audrey?" he whispered to her.
"Are you kidding me? No! Now be quiet and please don't tell me you are turned on by this. The guy's a total pig. He is cheating on Michaela and will do so even after he marries her."
"It's not that I'm turned on," Steve replied. "It's just that it's something I've never done before - watch a couple doing it and tape them. The experience is overwhelming me is all."
"Me too, but just be quiet, OK? We can't mess up, for Michaela's sake."
Rich now positioned Andrea on his lap. Her back was turned to him but with one hand over her breast and the other on her hip , he lifted her up and down on him and the rocking motion stirred the waters. She gasped and moaned repeatedly as his cock slid inside her. Audrey was glad she had a lot of recording time on her cell phone. Stephen had not brought his cell phone but instead had equipped himself with a recording device and the sounds that these two lovers produced - their cries of sheer pleasure - were recorded. They went on like that for a while and Audrey was becoming impatient. Perhaps it was better to leave now before they turned to see them. They had enough footage already.
"I think we better go," Audrey told Steve. "We're done for tonight. We'll follow them again tomorrow. Michaela gave me some valuable information. She said that this girl may be a student at UCLA and that she lives in an apartment in L .A. Rich has frequently visited her there."
"But how do we know where to go?"
"Well, how about this? You're also attending UCLA, so you might by chance run into her. If Rich is with her on campus, take photos, just don't let them see you."
Stephen was attempting to get a better look at the girl in the pool, straining his eyes. Her features were vaguely familiar. She had a peaceful, girl-next-door type of face but by the way she dressed and behaved it was apparent she had money, or her folks did, and were spending this money on her education. Still, something about her face. Then it hit him.
"Hey, I think I know that girl," Steve said.
"Really? How? Does she like go to one of your classes?"
"Yeah. English. Oh, man, it would really be lousy if she found out what I'm doing."
"Just be cautious. OK. So it's settled. You see if you can find her at UCLA. I'll see if I can check out her apartment and maybe hide behind a car or tree or something."
With that, they quietly disappeared out of the estate grounds and felt relieved and fortunate that they had gotten away with it.
* * * *
Night had fallen on Los Angeles. In her home in Beverly Hills, Michaela Stanford was approaching the door when she heard a sudden noise. It was not loud but audible. It sounded like someone had fallen down and attempted to be quiet. Micaela's heart beat a little faster. She was aware that even though she lived in Beverly Hills, even tough the property was "private," it didn't mean thieves and criminals couldn't break in. Crime was not selective. She knew rich and poor were victims of robberies and murder. She wondered if she should just hurry inside the house, lock the door and set the alarm.
She disliked that the house, though beautiful, was small and had only one story. Her parents lived in the lap of luxury and owned a home in the Hampton well as one in the Hollywood Hills but this home - which they had selected for her - was not as opulent and eye-popping in its facade. Michaela felt as if they were trying to suggest she deserved a small home because she was unmarried. She had never really conformed to their bourgeois norms and disliked their hypocrisy, often telling them so. In high school, she had only used the "rich bitch" role to mask her vulnerabilities. Bravely, she stepped off the stairs and ventured into the direction where the sound came.
"Who's there?" she said. "I warn you. I'm protected by Bel Air Patrol and can call for the police with the press of a button on my alarm device."
A man, white, bald, and medium in size approached her. He was wearing black and the signature cap of her own chauffeur.
"Max, you gave me such a fright. What happened?"
"I'm terribly sorry," he said in a British accent. "I slipped and fell on the grass. I was coming over to help you with your bags, which you had forgotten in the car."
"Oh, that's right. I drove the car, not the limo, to the stores today. I completely forgot. You see I've been under a lot of stress lately."
She thought about Rich and his mistress. She thought about how it hurt her to be treated as a fool, not only by him but by her own parents, who did not seem to care whether or not Rich was the right man for her. They only wanted her to marry him for his money. She thought about Audrey and Stephen undertaking such a dangerous task in spying on them in order to expose Rich and his gal.
"Not to worry, miss," Max said. "You need not stress about anything. Here are the bags. I'll take them to your room."
"Thank you, Max."
Max Brynner had been the family chauffeur for years. She figured he was in his late forties or early fifties. He was very strong for a man who did not care to go the gym, and he was also very resourceful, dependable, loyal and good-hearted. He was really the type of man she wanted in a husband. He had served her parents as their chauffeur until they hired another one and gave her Max for her own. Since then, Max had been not just a chauffeur but a lot like a butler and bodyguard at the same time. Often, he had saved her in various ways. He had saved her from being scammed and cheated by sneaky con artists who preyed on the rich, he had saved her from being mugged by literally beating them and calling the police. He watched over her, cared for her, at times even cooked for her. Through the years, they formed a bond.
Their conversations were never superficial nor casual. She found that they had much in common. He enjoyed classical music and the opera, as she did. They loved to discuss great films and literature. They had the same taste in food and wine. They had a connection that went beyond that of boss and chauffeur. The years had seen them become good friends, and he would never leave her even if phony friends did. She often felt good and at the same time bad about the whole thing. She thought he was emotionally replacing her father, who didn't much care for her. She knew an official relationship was impossible and even unthinkable. Max Brynner was brought up with the same kind of society she had also known for life. The help was neither family nor love interest.
There had been times Max looked at her with passion and wanted to tell her about his feelings. But being British and reserved, or repressed, he could not utter a word. She wanted him to make the first move but he never did. She had believed there was no way they could be together, that was until Michaela read Audrey's book. Reading "Las Vegas Lover," Michaela became intensely aware of the power of real love. Love was not conditional, nor classified or contained. It was a huge thing that united people and ideas together. She was not "above him". Nor was he "beneath her". They were two loving souls who needed one another. But why wouldn't he do something about it? What joy it would give her if he proposed. Then she would say yes and tell her parents about it and run off with him, like the actress in Audrey's novel, who ruins her career and loses it over a man, a gambler, whose life she changes and with whom she found happiness. She only hoped and prayed that she could find such happiness.
Audrey's novel had made her bold. She was keenly conscious of her age - 30-something (she never admitted the real number) -- and that before long life would pass her by. She would not succumb to the will of her family, nor her fiance's. Rich was a bastard. He would never truly respect her or love her the way Max did. He'd only show her off to his circle of affluent friends, continue to cheat on her with more women, to impregnate her and have her hire a nanny to raise children who would not really know her as a hands-on mom. She didn't want it anymore, this life of luxury and leisure. She wanted to live a more meaningful life, the kind of life Audrey wrote about. Audrey had told her not to idolize her and told her she, too, was flawed, but as far as Michaela was concerned, Audrey was the closest thing she had to a real best friend, a good female role model.