Hello! This excerpt from my novel in progress is for my friend in Seattle, Scott Parker-Anderson. I’m in a helluva good mood, because after months of being forbidden from typing (separated my shoulder joint, long story, tell ya later) I am back at the keyboard. For those of you who have read It’s in His Kiss by Vickie Lester you will recognize Anne, that book’s fish-out-of-water Hollywood heroine in a much younger incarnation…
And thus, Anne Brown and her roommate, Tatiana Schneider were dispatched to a TV star’s mountain top domicile. They felt charged with responsibility and a certain kind of contempt for their elders’ unmanageable peccadilloes, “God, how gross,” was a phrase they bandied about between them. The star’s property was gated. Anne drove her tiny blue Civic up winding, endless, Mulholland to the gate and keyed the intercom as Billie had instructed her. It was two in the afternoon. The hot sun was dappled and filtered through a canopy of trees. A dozy male voice responded to the call, “Yep, give me a minute.” It was more like ten. The girls were out of the car and staring through the gate, down a ravine, at a one-story house surrounded by huge dusty California oaks when a tall lean handsome man sauntered out of the house barefoot and wearing a not too well secured white terry cloth robe. Anne and Tatiana unconsciously drew together.
The star beamed at them via a wide white smile and sparkling eyes and drew his hand through his pillow sculpted hair and drawled, “Hi-there, girls.” He strode up to the gate and said, “Come on in.” As he stepped back and the gate rolled open his robe gapped even more revealing his well-muscled chest and as Anne’s eyes dropped she noticed the star wasn’t wearing any underwear. He was in that elevated state some men achieve on waking. He was nearly naked and didn’t seem to care; actually he seemed to be enjoying, really enjoying, the sun on his bare skin. Tatiana was leaning precipitously forward when Anne thrust out her car keys to block her and said, “Tatiana’s taking my car and we can’t come in. I have to take Mrs. Taylor’s car now.”
“Well sure you do,” the star’s voice vibrated through their skin and straight to their cores like the purr of a very self-satisfied cat. “But I gotta go get the keys so you might as well come in. What’s your hurry?” He tightened the sash around his waist and then he turned his back on them and walked toward the house. Tatiana was looking at his shoulders and his tight ass retreat when he turned in afterthought and inquired, “You girls wanna party?” It was a line that had worked for him before.
Tatiana appeared mesmerized. Anne was in a panic. Her sister had told her about people like this. Hedonists. She squeaked loudly enough to hear clear across the canyon, “Thank you, no!” A flock of birds took off into the sky. “We’ll wait for you to bring the keys here.” He shrugged and disappeared into the house.
“But, Anne!” Tatiana shrilled. “He’s gorgeous!”
“He’s gross.” Anne dug in her heels. “We are not going inside. Didn’t you see his penis?”
“I was looking at his eyes. Wow. He has those dreamy eyes.”
“What he has is a woody. He’s some weird kind of exhibitionist.”
“He’s got his own show!”
“That’s what I said. He’s gross.” So, even though she was the smaller, by far, of the two coeds, Anne and her outsized will prevailed. She drove away from the Mulholland address as quickly as she could, scooted forward on the driver’s seat so her feet could reach the pedals and as she came around a hairpin turn she pulled over and adjusted the seat up and forward, and then she sped to Billie’s. The car felt tainted. She wanted to get rid of it and go back to her father’s and jump in the pool. She was sweating. She cranked up the air conditioner.
Billie Taylor gave her Sunday car couriers pecks on the cheek on arrival and big glasses of iced tea and quizzed them about the pick up. “Did he seem depressed to you?”
“He seemed okay,” Tatiana said.
“I think we woke him up.” Added Anne.
“Sleeping in the middle of the day is a sign of depression,” Billie commented.
“Oh. He seemed pretty good,” Anne said.
“He was nice.” Tatiana crunched on an ice cube and savored the cool melting lozenges sliding down her throat.
“I’m glad. Thank you girls.” To Billie, Anne still looked like a skinny adolescent, which officially she was, but Tatiana was a fully blossomed woman, at least physically. Further, while it was the first time Billie had seen Tatiana, she definitely seemed off somewhere in her own world. Anne, on the other hand, seemed to be holding Billie under close scrutiny. She was an intense thing, not the happy go lucky gravity defying child from the park. It’s funny how people change, Billie thought to herself. Mr. Booker had told her Anne was a studious girl and now Billie was being studied.
When Anne and Tatiana arrived back at Bob Brown’s on Crescent Drive they were all a-cackle. Discussing who said what and what they were wearing, or not wearing. Tatiana was no longer spellbound. Men and women, especially men, were so interesting – especially at a safe distance. Maybe men didn’t tend to their networks, but they certainly knew that when something itched the immediate thing to do was scratch. They talked about the TV star’s member, was it supposed to impress them (?) entice them (?), and dissolved into laughter. It was early evening and Anne assumed her father would still be at work, but he was home and at the desk in his library with his ears ringing with girlish chitchat — so much for not saying anything to her father about her afternoon errand. Bob Brown made his presence known with a broad cough. Anne envisioned Natalie and her WHAT DID I TELL YOU glare.
Under normal circumstances Bob Brown didn’t get involved, or particularly pay any attention to the personal lives of any of his workers. To him it seemed way beside the point. Gossip eluded him. It just didn’t register. However, he always held people accountable for their actions and this jackass had exposed himself to his teenage daughter. Exposed himself. It was a good thing Anne was her own little person, he liked that she didn’t seem gullible or easily distracted or even very interested in boys, yet. He really was amazingly lucky. Anne wasn’t nearly the hassle Natalie was to raise. She really didn’t sass, she never hollered that she hated him. But then, most of her growing up had taken place three thousand miles away. Billie he held blameless, though he filed away the name of the TV star in the most reptilian part of his brain, and let it rest — for the time being.