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Why do my nipples hurt? was Star's first thought as she woke from a strangely deep sleep, her hands gliding along her naked body to the tender nipples that had awakened her. She winced as she made contact, realizing only belatedly that she was naked. Star tried to open her eyes but couldn't; the room was too bright. She raised her hand to shield her view, only to be blinded by a huge diamond ring that hadn't been on her finger when she went to sleep.
When had she gone to sleep? And where?
Stretching, Star reached up to push back her hair as she tried to get her bearings and she struck herself on the forehead with the chrome handle of the Colt .45 she was holding in her right hand. She screamed and fell off the dresser on which she'd been perched. The gun went off, taking out a glass table top that shattered into four-carat chunks of safety glass.
Star stared at the revolver in her hand. She'd never even touched a gun before, but here she was, naked except for a pair of Gucci boots, a strange diamond ring, and a gun welded to her hand.
What the hell was going on?
Why did everything feel so strange? So blurry?
She was hungry but didn't have an appetite. Her skin felt alive, vibrating gently against her every nerve ending. The sun was so bright she could hardly see and the carpet was so soft it tickled her bare ass where she sat, puzzled, on the floor.
Looking around, Star was relieved to see that she was still in her hotel room in Cabo. Well, what was left of her hotel room. Pictures had been torn off the wall and defaced; cushions from the chairs and sofa had been built into a fort in the middle of the room; tables were stacked to the ceiling; and dozens of empty Cristal bottles, scattered everywhere, prompted her to wonder if the damages would be covered under the "incidentals" clause in her modeling contract.
As she further surveyed the damage, Star noticed the unmade bed that was a confusion of sheets, pillows, and strangely chosen items from around the room -- a candlestick, an ice bucket, and a selection of well-placed objets d'art. Condoms, some used, some blown up like balloons, also littered the space. "Well, I'm glad we played safe," she said with a little laugh, swatting one of the oddly shaped balloons out of her way. That's when she saw the tiny video camera and a few dozen tapes strewn across the coffee table, along with the remnants of several lines of cocaine. How odd, Star reflected. I don't do drugs. I wonder who's been here? Her musings turned to panic as she saw a pair of bare feet sticking out from beneath the tangle of Frette sheets, next to a blender that must have been taken from the room's wet bar. Actually, the blender was working double duty because its cord had been used to bind the mysterious pair of ankles to the bedposts.
A modern-day Goldilocks, Star crept closer. Who are these feet attached to? And what are they doing in my bed? Tentatively, she reached out and touched a big toe with the barrel of the gun. A small, strangled cry escaped her throat as the toe responded, wiggling as if to get away from the cold steel barrel. Star put her hand over her mouth, felt the strange diamond against her cheek, and pulled it away.
She felt so naked.
Well, aside from the boots and the ring, she was naked. But it wasn't just that she didn't have any clothes on. She felt vulnerable -- raw and exposed. Try as she might, she could not remember what had happened last night, could not remember how she'd wound up asleep on the dresser, and could not guess who this might be in her bed. She stood frozen for a minute, listening to the muffled cries coming from under the sheets.
Star made her way around the bed looking for clues to identify the stranger. She found nothing. It was a man; that much was clear from the rather sizable tent pole raised under the sheets. But who? Surely, she would remember an erection like that, she thought with a playful giggle, reaching out and giving the massive morning wood a tap. The moans changed, a different tone now, at least an octave lower.
Finally, she could stand it no longer. She reached for the hem of the crumpled sheet, ready to expose the identity of the well-endowed stranger...but then her phone rang, startling her as it played its version of "You Shook Me All Night Long."
Star pulled back, oddly frightened by the old AC/DC song that had shattered the silence.
Should she answer it?
The phone rang again. It echoed in the room and in her head.
Would it seem suspicious not to answer it?
What time was it anyway?
Taking a deep breath, Star answered it.
"Hello?" she said softly, moving away from the body in the bed.
"Star? Honey, is that you?"
"Who is this?"
"It's Rufus," the caller said with a startled laugh.
She considered the information for a moment. Everything seemed so strange. She felt dizzy and medicated.
"Your boyfriend?" he said, when she didn't answer, an edge in his voice.
"Hi, baby, I'm sorry," she said, scratching her nose with the gun. "I just woke up and I'm not feeling right."
"Not feeling right?" he said, curious at her strange choice of words. "What do you mean, 'not feeling right'? And why are you whispering?"
"Are you working for the CIA?" she asked sharply, closing the bathroom door behind her.
"Well, I just thought, what with the third degree you were interrogating me," she snapped.
"I'm sorry," he said gently. "You just seem so strange."
"Well, I feel strange," she continued. "Isn't that what I've been trying to tell you?"
"Is everything all right?" he asked, genuinely confused.
"I'll have to get back to you when I know, but thanks for your concern." Star clicked off the phone, regarding it irritably for a moment before dropping it into the toilet.
Her captive was waiting patiently for her when she returned to the bed.
"What did I do last night?" she asked herself.
And then, with a child's impatience on Christmas morning, she tore off the sheet and found herself staring into the face of the rock-and-roll musician Jimi Deed, bound, gagged, and tied to her bed. Star hadn't seen Jimi since she threw him out of her trailer back on the California set of her TV show, Lifeguards, Inc. The only way she'd been able to convince him to leave had been to agree to go out with him when she got back from Cabo, though he'd called persistently and threatened to follow her. She was still in Cabo, and yet here he was.
"What are you doing here?" she demanded, unconsciously waving the gun at him.
Jimi winced, crying out in fear as the barrel of the shiny pistol passed near his nose.
"Oh, sorry about that," she said, embarrassed and apologetic, although continuing to wave the gun around. "It's not mine," she explained. "I'm not sure how it got here. For that matter, I'm not sure how you got here. I'm not really a gun person; I don't even know how it works, really. I mean, I guess you just pull on..."
And with that, the room was suddenly and violently filled with feathers raining down like the first snow of the season. Jimi screamed through his gag and writhed wildly on the bed, his head next to the blackened remains of the pillow she'd shot out from under him. She looked like an angel with a .45.
"Oh...I'm so very sorry," she said, putting the gun on the bedside table. "You don't look too dangerous. Well not most of you, anyway," she said, lifting the sheet for a peek under the big tent he was pitching. She gave a low appreciative whistle. "Looks like you've got a bigger pistol than me."
Jimi struggled vainly against his bonds, startling Star. She dropped the sheet, frightened, but soon realized that he was no threat to her in his present condition.
"So how did you wind up here?" she said, sitting down beside him.
Jimi made some rather defiant noises through his gag.
"Oh, right, the gag," she said, knocking herself in the forehead with the heel of her hand. "My bad. Now, no screaming. I doubt anyone would hear you or, judging from this room, care. But I've got a really bad hangover from all this champagne, so, shhh."
Star unbuckled the very professional ballgag that was in his mouth, allowing him to spit out the orange ball.
"What the fuck?" he demanded.
"What do you mean?" Star said, rising. "And what the hell are you doing in my hotel room?"
"I'm tied to the bed and you've got a gun," he said. "Two plus two."
"When did you get here?" she asked, still puzzled. "What happened last night?"
"I've been here for three days," he said. "Last night just made it clear I should have left after two. Or killed you. Now will you let me go? I was supposed to be somewhere last night."
"You've been here with me for three days?" Star asked, not really paying much attention to what he'd said after that. "How is that possible?"
"Are you going to let me go?"
"I don't know. Do you promise not to tell anyone about all this?"
"I promise I'll visit you in Mexican jail," Jimi snarled, straining at his bonds.
"Now you have to promise me that you won't get me in trouble," Star said, rising, alarmed by his belligerent attitude even in his present circumstances.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" he said with a snort of laughter. "You kidnapped me and tied me up at gunpoint."
"Oh that's ridiculous," Star said, laughing. "I've never had to tie a man up, unless he wanted me to."
"Well, it seemed hot at first," Jimi admitted, doing what he could to shrug. "But then you wouldn't let me go, and that's kidnapping."
"You seem pretty glad to see me this morning," she said, reaching out and playfully tweaking the persistent erection, tenting the sheets in front of him. "Maybe we could work something out."
"Work something out?"
"Well, used to be you wanted to date me pretty bad, as I remember."
"That was before I married you and you tied me up and kidnapped me!" he roared. "Now all I want to do is see you behind bars."
"M-m-m-married?" Star stuttered. "I'm married?"
"My mom is definitely not going to approve of this."
"She was pretty pissed," Jimi laughed.
"She was here?"
"No, you called her to tell her," Jimi nodded smugly.
"Oh my God."
"What else happened? How did you get here?"
"You really don't remember, do you?"
Star only shook her head in answer.
"I'll make you a deal," Jimi said. "You untie me and let me go to the bathroom, and I'll tell you what happened."
"No, I don't think I can trust you yet."
"We're married," Jimi said with a touch of self-righteousness.
She looked at him.
"Okay, so that doesn't count for much," he agreed. "But I really do have to pee."
She looked around the room and found the solution -- an ice bucket, filled with slush and an upended bottle of Cristal. She arose from the bed where she'd been sitting, grabbed the bucket, and, marching out onto the balcony of her top-floor rooms, dumped the contents down the combined heights of the high-rise hotel and the steep cliffs on which it sat, into the Pacific, hundreds of feet below.
Leaving the French windows open, she walked back to the bed where he lay and pulled back the sheets.
"I can't believe I don't remember this," she said, taking his cock in her hand and guiding it into the ice bucket.
"You can't be serious!" he snarled.
"Roll over as much as you can," Star said playfully. "It's time for a little game of fireman and hose."
"Suit yourself," she shrugged, taking the bucket away.
"I'll piss right here," he said defiantly.
"And you'll lie in it," she said, folding her arms under her naked breasts.
"Mother fuck," he said, turning his hips as much toward her as he could, bound to the bed as he was.
"Oh, you want the bucket back now?"
"Just put it over here."
"Please," he said through gritted teeth.
Once again she took his cock in her hand and guided it into the bucket.
"Wow," she observed, looking at the almost-full bucket.
"Well, I've been tied up since last night."
"Okay then..." Returning from the bathroom where she'd emptied the bucket, Star took a seat on the bed, legs folded Indian style beside Jimi's naked body. "So, tell me what happened."
"You didn't untie me," he said, turning his head away.
"Tell me," she said, reaching out and toying with his now deflated cock.
"No," he said. "Cut it out."
"Tell me," she coaxed, stroking him back to erection.
He shook his head violently from side to side.
"Come on," she said, stroking harder.
"Get the fuck off of me," he protested.
"If you tell."
Laughing, she grabbed some hand cream from the bedside table and slathered it onto her hands and his erection. Mercilessly she began again, stroking and stroking until his balls tightened and he neared the brink. Abruptly she stopped and let him subside. As his orgasm faded she resumed her tease, stroking, sucking, and riding him near to orgasm. Again and again she played, always stopping just before he finished, until he was screaming and begging for release.
"Please, please, now," he pleaded as she rode him once more to the edge.
"Will you tell?" she asked, slowing down and letting him subside again.
"No, fuck you!" he spat.
"Okay, then," she said, climbing off. She spotted the video camera on the coffee table and brought it back with her. "Smile for the camera," she said, straddling him once more. She taped the two of them as best she could from her position astride him. She was driving him slowly mad, and enjoying every minute of it.
"I'll do it, I'll do it, I'll do anything, just don't fucking stop!" he screamed as she brought him to the brink once more.
"How can I believe you?" she asked, turning to film his answer.
"I don't know," he said. "I give you my word."
"I must have tied you up for a reason," she said. "I'm not sure about your word. Tell me something that I can use against you if you go back on your promise. Something nobody else knows."
"I was involved in a hit-and-run accident a couple of years back."
"You're a rock star," she scoffed. "That's like a rite of passage. What else?"
"I used to pay for studio time by screwing the woman who ran the recording studio."
"You've probably been bragging about that one for years," she said dismissively, picking up the pace and riding him harder. "Tell me real secrets."
"I used to take tap and ballet classes in high school," he blurted out, desperate. "And I was really good. My mom has recital pictures in her living room."
"That's the stuff," she said, bearing down. She had managed to get herself off a few times in the process, but managed to score one more off of her captive before he lost it and erupted, screaming and writhing in his relief.
She fell to one side and they lay panting next to each other for a bit.
"You raped me," he said.
"Raped you? Me?" she said, rewinding the tape and playing it back for him in the viewfinder.
"Please, please, now," his voice rang out. "Oh fuck yeah."
"Yeah, you sound like a rape victim," she said, giving him a swat. "Now, tell me the story.
The trip to Cabo had seemed like the perfect escape. Between her simultaneous shooting schedules for Hammer Time and Lifeguards, Inc., her public appearances to promote both shows, and keeping the investors happy at her nightclub, Ka Mano, while juggling a personal life that included dating both Rufus and Mando, Star was, as she liked to say, "blowing the candle at both ends." In her spare time, she was also building a reputation as a photographer's model. Star's gatefold debut in Mann magazine had provided the bare essentials to start her modeling career. While she had added clothes to her modeling with some success, "less is more" best described her career, much to her mom's chagrin.
The trip to Cabo had come to Star through her friend and mentor, Jayne. A designer-label suntan-lotion company had come to Mann for models. And once again, Jayne's position as the magazine's executive editor and Star's dear friend had been a godsend to Star. As usual, Star's manager had arranged things and taken the credit along with his percentage, but it was her old friend who'd not only hooked her up but pushed her to take the assignment.
And so Star headed south of the border, as much for the promise of a vacation as the work.
It was a promise kept. Each day she spent a few hours shooting with a group of other models. She was the centerpiece of the promotion, but the whole shoot didn't rest on her. After hours -- aka early afternoon -- she was free to while away her time at the fashionable seaside resort, where she had been put up in the top-floor El Presidente suite.
The water was brisk, refreshing, and as blue as she'd ever seen.
The hotel, perched atop steep cliffs above the Pacific, looked as if it had been bleached white in the sun, in sharp contrast to the lush tropical plants and flowers that grew like weeds.
Star's rooms at the Cabo Ritz were party headquarters for the crew and models. It was off-season and the town had turned back into a sleepy fishing village where there was little to do, so they made their own fun.
There was some nightlife, though it was pitched primarily to the spring-break crowd and the sort of lowlifes who'd want to spend the evening at such dissolute debaucheries, and Star couldn't figure out why no one in the cast or crew seemed interested.
So, when the phone rang during yet another afternoon nap, more than anything she'd actually thought it was going to be the production manager, the only person who'd actually called the room since her arrival.
"I was hoping it would be you."
"Who were you expecting?"
"You got no idea how many Estrellitas I've talked to in the last twelve hours."
"It means 'little star.' "
"Who is this?"
"Let me give you a hint," he said, clearing his throat and singing. "Oh, my penis has a first name, it's L-A-R-G-E -- "
She hung up.
The phone rang again.
"Goddamn it!" she screamed into the phone. "How did you get this number? I told you I'd see you when I got back from the shoot -- "
"Miss Leigh?" the production manager asked tentatively, interrupting her tirade. "Is everything all right?"
"Oh, Herb, I'm sorry, I..." Star trailed off, embarrassed. "I thought you were someone else."
"Jeez, who's been calling your room?"
"Doesn't matter," Star said, laughing it off. "I think he got the message. What's up?"
They had a brief conversation about the schedule for her last day of shooting.
"Okay, I'll see you in the morning," Star said. "Adidas."
"Adios." Herb laughed as he hung up.
The phone rang again almost immediately, and she naturally assumed it was Herb.
"What did you forget?" she answered.
"Are you having a bad day?"
"Am I?" Star said, a warning in her voice. "Maybe I'm just confused, but I was sure we'd agreed that I would go out with you when I got back to L.A. and that you wouldn't bug me before I got back."
"Well, that was before this bad mood," Jimi explained reasonably. "Me and some of the boys just happened to be in Cabo -- and not a minute too soon, it sounds like. So, if you'd just tell me your room number, we'll come right on up and get started on cheering you up."
"Here?" Star demanded. "You're here?"
"Well, the call's not coming from inside the house, but -- "
She hung up.
Almost immediately, the phone began to ring again.
She stared at it.
She wondered how he could dial that fast.
It kept ringing.
She put it in the drawer of her bedside table.
It rang and rang and rang.
"What?" she said, snatching open the drawer and answering it at last.
"What's your room number. I can be there in -- "
"Oh, no," Star said, curious but wary. "How did you find me?"
"Well, you told me you were going to Cabo," Jimi snorted. "And the rest was easy. I just called every hotel until I found you."
"I think you're worth it."
"You do, hunh?" she said, at last intrigued.
"I'm here, aren't I?"
"Yeah, you are."
"Ninety-nine percent of success is showing up."
"What's the other one percent?" She giggled.
"Truly amazing talent," he said with a rumble of husky laughter.
"Are you talented?"
"You have no idea."
"No, I don't, actually." Star giggled.
And so it began.
It just wasn't possible to tell him no.
After talking with Jimi on the phone for three hours that first day, Star agreed that she and her friends from the shoot would meet him and his friends for drinks at the hotel bar. It seemed like innocent fun, and it was, at long last, something to do on her vacation that involved leaving her room besides work. Star had had just about all the rest and relaxation she could stand, and a little tequila and a lot of dancing sounded like just what her holiday needed.
Best of all, it was the first offer she'd made the others on the shoot that had drawn any interest at all. Missy, her makeup and hair girl, three of the other models -- Diane, Cindy, and Kat -- and Roberto, one of the boys on the crew who was also one of the girls, all jumped at the chance to come along to see what would happen that evening.
Just knowing that they were going out that night enlivened Star on the next day's shoot. She'd made quite the hit learning to windsurf for the cameras. Afterward, she'd snagged some of the summer line they were there to model and enlisted Missy, who'd been doing her makeup for the shoot, to help her get ready so she could make a real entrance at the bar that night. She made quite the project of it.
The truth of it was, Star hadn't been all that interested in Jimi. She didn't even intend to see him after she got back to L.A.
"Okay, Missy," Star said, making like she was cracking a whip as she emerged wearing a bikini top, Gucci short shorts, and stilettos. "Bring on the eyeliner."
"I'm sorry, but the señor will not be permitted in the hotel bar," the maître d' said with a little sniff. "You are not dressed properly for the Ritz. Perhaps the Hilton will be more to the señor's liking? They have no standards there that I can detect."
Star, Missy, and the others were enjoying the show from their table inside the Land's End, the bar to which the maître d' was attempting to refuse entry to Jimi and his scruffy lot. Clad more or less identically in saggy jeans, black Frankenstein shoes, and wife-beaters, they looked like someone's backup dancers.
"Which one is he?" Diane, one of the other models, whispered to Star.
"I honestly don't know," Star confided with a tiny shrug. "They all look alike. They're all hot."
"I noticed that. Is he in a rock-and-roll band or a marching band?" Missy teased, laughing at her own joke.
"I'm not so sure." Star shrugged. "But it looks as though he's not going to be in here anytime soon."
"Look, Jeeves," Jimi shouted loudly enough to be heard at Star's table. "We are supposed to be meeting guests at your foofy, uptight place. You should be happy we're here. Look around."
"That's him, the belligerent one." Star nodded disgustedly, recognizing the attitude from the fight he'd gotten into when he'd broken into her trailer only a week earlier and surprised yet another intruder who'd beaten him to it.
She smiled at herself.
She had broken up the fight in her trailer and gotten Jimi to leave by promising to go out on a date with him when she got back from Cabo if he stopped stalking her. She also agreed to read a movie script that the other intruder, Steph Golden, had broken in to leave for her. And there she was going out with Jimi in Cabo and she'd not read a word of the Hy Voltz script. Not my most successful negotiation, she thought ruefully.
"He seems very, um, persistent," Cindy fished for a compliment as she sipped at the straw in her fruity drink. "That's always a good sign, right?" Her head bobbed back and forth like a tennis spectator's as she watched Jimi trying to outflank the implacable maître d'.
"Yeah," Star said, bemused as security stepped in to prevent Jimi from coming to her table. "You've got to admire his determination."
"Sure, what the fuck?" Kat said, toasting with her coconut shell.
Star rose to rescue him before he wound up in some seedy Mexican jail.
"A man will follow his dick off a cliff." Diane shrugged, stirring her drink with the straw.
"Is there a cliff nearby?" Star called over her shoulder with a little laugh and a toss of her head that brought both Jimi and the security guards up short.
"Hi," Jimi said, twisting his goatee nervously, unable to manage much more than an adolescent croak. "You look fucking amazing."
"Is there a problem?" Star asked without addressing Jimi directly.
"Señorita e'Star," the maa;tre d' fawned. "I am so sorry I did not realize, is this man a guest of yours?"
"Yeah. What's wrong?"
"I'm afraid that the Ritz has a very strict dress code," the maître d' said with an obsequious bow. "I can offer you and your guests a table by the pool perhaps? Or in the cabana? But I cannot allow gentlemen without jackets in the Land's End Club after six. My sincerest apologies."
"No worries," Star said, waving the nervous man in for a landing with a gentle gesture. "Tell you what. I haven't gotten to see much of Cabo. Perhaps you could recommend a nightclub. Something local and not too touristy? Where we could go for a little drink in the company of gentlemen without jackets?"
"I'm sure Miss e'Star could get in anywhere in the world she cared to call," the man said with another bow. "But, perhaps Madre de la Perla?"
"What?" Star asked. The name brought her up short. "What's the name of the place?"
"Madre de la Perla," the man repeated. "In ingle;s, Mother of Pearl. It's an open-air cantina de la ostra -- oyster bar."
"I'm home," Star said, flinging her arms around Jimi's neck and hopping up and down as she spun him around. "Shuck me, suck me, eat me raw!" she shouted.
"I thought you'd never ask," Jimi said, grinning as he took her in his arms.
"They're actually supposed to be a 'hypochondriac,'" Star explained to her mystified party as she drained the oyster shell of its contents and chased it with a shot of tequila. "That means they'll put lead in your pencil," she added with a confidential giggle. "Who wants an oyster shot?" she asked as she dropped the hollow shell into the gold, spray-painted coffee can that had been placed on their table to collect the empties.
The whole place had the same sort of makeshift feel to it. Formerly a dockside gas station and general store catering to local fishermen, with a little imagination and a lot of spray paint, the place had been converted into a dockside gas station, general store, and a bar. There were a few rough wooden tables, benches, and an odd assortment of old webbed lawn chairs, where local fish and seafood were served fresh off the fishing boats that bought gas and shopped for supplies there.
The fiberglass had been stripped from the old red-and-white promotional gas station awning, and the rusty, bare frame had been wound with old, loudly colored Christmas tree lights. Brightly hued scraps of cloth hung from the rafters to separate the cantina de la ostra from the Texaco. Local musicians serenaded Star and her party with their brassy music from the deck of a small pontoon boat, lashed alongside the dock.
It was quite perfect. Exactly what Star had been looking for. But it was the name of the establishment that got to her like a message from the universe and her late grandfather Papa Jens that tonight was the right thing to do. As she watched the waitresses, she remembered her life in Miami at Mother Pearl's Steak and Oyster Emporium, where she'd lugged beer and shucked oysters wearing a tiny T-shirt emblazoned with those immortal words: SHUCK ME, SUCK ME, EAT ME RAW. The memory made her smile.
Jimi had entertained by playing all the glasses at the table like drums, smashing most of them. His reckless abandon was appealing somehow, and Star couldn't resist the growing attraction as he tugged her out onto the dance floor. Water misted on them from pinholes in water pipes in the rafters to help keep the dancers cool, and soon the small dance floor was filled with wet, tanned half-naked bodies.
"It's time for instant margaritas," Jimi announced.
"Instant?" Star said, crinkling her nose. "In this place? I think scratch margaritas all you're likely to get."
"No, not instant like that," Jimi said, hopping up on the table and waving the waitress over. "Un bottle...how do you say bottle in español?"
"Botella." She smiled.
"Cool. Una botella of tequila and una botella of triple sec and una de lime juice...how do you say lime juice?"
"Jugo de cal," the waitress, who clearly spoke perfect English, answered.
"Gracias." Jimi nodded, making quite the show of it. "Una botella of jugo de cal, por favor."
"Are you going to make margaritas at the table?" Star asked, sure of the recipe for margaritas from her tenure hawking cocktails.
"Sort of," Jimi said. "It's even more instant than that," he explained, opening the bottles and lining them up. "Okay, I'll go first. Star, you're in charge of tequila. Missy, you take the jugo de cal. And it's Diane, right?"
"Right." Diane smiled despite herself.
"Diane, you have the easy job," he said, handing her the remaining bottle. "You're on triple sec."
"Jimi," Star said, laughing at the production he was making of the whole thing. "What are we supposed to mix the drinks in?"
"Ah," he said, lying back on the table and letting his head hang off the end as he faced the canopy of garish Christmas lights and stars. "That's what makes them instant margaritas. They don't become margaritas until the instant they touch my tongue."
"Got it." Star laughed.
As Jimi lay back on the table, the girls poured the contents into his mouth. What his Mix-Mistresses lacked in technique, they made up for in enthusiasm and quantity. Most of their first batch wound up on the front of Jimi's shirt. But Jimi was both a willing and eager coach. Before long, the whole cantina was in on it.
Star gave it a try. "Isn't it funny how tequila goes straight to your nipples," she announced as she sat up. Despite the fact that it was a warm night and she was still overheated from the dance floor, they were obviously rock hard.
The night just kept getting stranger. One of Jimi's friend's dimples started to freak her out, and Star had to beg him not to smile. She began analyzing everyone, taking an interest in the strangest things. When she went to the ladies' to freshen up, she was taken by how hot it felt to pee. "I could pee for an hour," she told one of the girls who'd come with her. "That tequila must be really fresh or something."
At one point, Jimi borrowed a skull ring from "Dimples" and made quite the show of proposing, telling everyone who'd listen that Star was every young boy's fantasy, that it was love at first sight. She tried to say no, but he was having none of it, and so she just smiled and enjoyed the feel of the cool silver on her finger.
She didn't know what it was, but the night just kept getting better and better. The colored lights looked more vibrant against that sky. The stars kept getting brighter. The moon was blinding. The drinks couldn't have been tangier. Even the feel of the lawn chair was a treat against her skin.
"Oh, my God," she cried out, rubbing against the webbing. "This chair feels amazing."
Jimi exchanged a look and a laugh with his buds.
"X-cellent," he said, giving Star and his friends the thumbs-up. "Totally x-cellent. Maybe we should go for a walk on the beach, Star." He offered her his hand and she took it, only to marvel at the feel of his skin against hers.
"Your hands are so soft and yet so strong," Star said, rubbing his hand between both of hers. "It feels wonderful."
"And your hands feel awesome on mine," he moaned as she ran her hands up his arms.
The two could barely walk for grasping one another, and Jimi's posse laughed at their awkward progress across the restaurant toward the beach.
"Ecstasy?" Diane asked elliptically.
Jimi's clones only laughed in reply.
"You fucker," Star said, striking the still-bound Jimi with the flat of her hand on his taut stomach. Like a belly flop it made a bigger noise than anything else. "You slipped me Ecstasy? Is that why I feel so weird?" she demanded, running her hand up and down the smooth naked skin of his stomach. It felt warm and velvety under her palm and she quickly became mesmerized by the sensation.
"Dude, I totally thought you'd have done X before," he said, pleading his case, her touch heating him up but his bonds keeping him from doing anything about the sweet torture of it. "Honest, I would never have slipped you anything if I'd known."
"Is that why I can't remember what happened," she said, tearing her hand away from the irresistible feeling of his skin.
"Well," he admitted, sorry but relieved that she'd stopped her stroking. "There were a number of substances involved. After the instant margaritas you just couldn't get enough."
"So you tricked me?"
"Well, you weren't exactly unconscious."
"But it's the same thing as forcing me," she said, strangely torn between the desire to feel his skin against her hand and her confused outrage at his revelation.
"You're not the one tied to the bed," he pointed out. "Wait and hear the rest of the story before you decide."
"So, you're saying that I wanted to do all these drugs?" Star said, recoiling, her hand clutched to her chest. The feel of her own skin was awesome, not to mention the sensation of her hand touching her naked breasts.
"You wanted a lot more than that," Jimi said with a dirty little laugh.
Their first kiss, though chemically enhanced, was electric and lasted, more or less, for two days. Star thought that there was a magical bond between them, above and beyond the attraction that she already felt.
There was something funny and sweet and, despite his outward ultrahip affectation, kind of nerdy about him. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but Jimi Deed was charming in a way that made you want to take care of him.
And he knew how to kiss.
The Ecstasy just made her unable to resist more of a good thing.
"Oh, Jimi," she gasped, coming up for air but not really breaking contact with him. "You feel so...perfect against me." She groaned as she ground her hips into his.
"God, baby, that feels sooo good!" he howled, throwing his head back.
"Your T-shirt feels like velvet." She shivered, allowing the straps at her shoulders to fall away so that she could brush her bare nipples against the ribbed fabric. "Oh, feel the wind on your skin," Star said, turning and letting the warm sea breeze caress her naked flesh in the privacy of the night-darkened beach.
"You're so warm," he said, wrapping his arms around her from behind and grinding his denim-encased erection into the silky fabric of the tiny black shorts sliding from her waist.
"I can't explain how I feel," Star said, reaching behind to grasp his thighs and urging him more tightly against her.
"Your body feels great," Jimi said, boldly running his hand up to fondle her breasts with such delicate finesse that there was only enough contact to create an arc of sensation.
Star shivered from the intensity.
Sensations fired through her body. The moist sand under her feet like walking on cooked oatmeal. The froth of the waves lapping at her ankles like lace cuffs. And Jimi's urgent and growing sexual need, like static electric shocks with each touch.
"You know what?" she said, turning back so abruptly that it startled him. "I think getting in the water naked would be so awesome right now. And I have a Jacuzzi in my room." She was so excited she was shouting.
"That is so cool," he said, embracing her, thrilled almost to the point of orgasm by just the idea of being naked in a tub with Star. He could feel himself begin to leak as little spasms rocked his body.
"Race you," she said, breaking away and running up the beach in the direction of the hotel.
Star was tearing off what was left of her clothes even before the door to her room closed. Jimi followed her as she filled the tub and climbed in.
The water felt like warm Jell-O against her skin, thicker somehow. More viscous. And then, Jimi was on her, rubbing against her, and they were naked together for the first time, in the warm, silky water.
His mouth sought hers out and the feeling of his tongue entwined with hers was almost too much. It was as if they were kissing in slow motion as each tried to seek out every bump and serration and indentation in the mouth of the other.
"What does this feel like?" he asked, trailing his fingers down her body and sliding them inside.
Star shrieked. The orgasm was instantaneous, swift, and fierce. Jimi merely brushed against that most sensitive spot and she went off like a gunshot. The effect was so intense she had to hang on to Jimi for support. But unlike a gunshot, it went on and on. As his fingers explored, it just kept happening, rolling over her like waves in a storm, too numerous to count and too frequent to regain her footing.
"Oh, God," she said, when at last she found words. "You've got about two days to stop doing that."
So he did it again.
The effect was exactly the same, or maybe even better, she couldn't decide because he didn't stop the second time until she forced his hand away, unable to endure the pleasure any longer. It was a delicious pain, like drinking something really cold when you're thirsty on a hot day. It burns so good going down. Sex with Jimi was like orgasms came by the gallon and she was drinking too fast.
She pushed him backward until he stumbled and ended up sitting on the enormous tub's silky marble steps. And, like the neck of the Loch Ness monster, his erection broke the surface even though the steps were submerged.
Wow, she thought.
"What?" he asked.
"You know what I'm really good at?" Star asked mischievously.
"What?" He grinned in reply.
"Holding my breath."
She took him into her mouth, her head underwater as she plumbed the depths.
"Oh, shit," his voice rang out in the marble room.
She almost drowned, but what a way to go.
They spent the next two days naked in the water. They rubbed, licked, sucked, fondled, and tasted each other to orgasm so repeatedly that their entire bodies were chapped and raw. After the first couple of hours they had discovered Star's video camera, and they began relentlessly filming each other, not only when they were rubbing each other raw, but in the bathroom or showering or eating breakfast.
They simply could not seem to get enough of each other. It was as though the camera allowed them to see more than just when they were looking at each other.
He was filming her when he said those words that reshaped their destinies.
She looked up at him with a nervous giggle and smiled. It was as though she was checking to see if he was kidding.
"Okay," she said.
"And the ring?" she asked, wiggling her upturned fingers.
"We stole it," Jimi admitted.
"Oh my God," Star gasped. It was quite the rock and she knew they'd be looking for it. She tried to pull it from her hand, moving toward the door to throw the ring into the ocean below, but his laughter stopped her. "What's so funny?"
"You," he said. "We didn't steal it. I bought it for you."
"That's not all that funny," she giggled, unable to resist his full and easy laugh.
"No," he admitted, still laughing. "It's not. But you wanted to."
"I did?" she asked in disbelief, crossing back over to him.
"That's why you bought that gun," he said. "I shouldn't have let you, but really, you buying that gun was the best thing ever."
"Excuse me," Star said to the clerk at Salvatore's. "Do you speak English?"
"Si, Señora," he replied, beaming at her. "What do you need today?"
"A gun," she said, looking through the glass case at the revolvers the store had on offer, while Jimi videotaped the scene.
"A gun?" the clerk asked, only a little surprised after years of American tourists. "What sort of gun?"
"I don't know," she shrugged. "The silver one is nice."
"Lo siento, Señora," the clerk corrected himself. "What will you be using the gun for?"
"I need to rob a jewelry store," Star said, looking up from the glass case and smiling into the man's startled face. She had counted on surprising him -- and she succeeded.
"The, uh, silver one should be fine," he said, recovering as Jimi's laughter shook the camera. "Perhaps this is a little joke?"
"Oh no, I'm serious," Star assured the man. "Could I hold it?"
"Por supuesto." The clerk gave her a bow, took a key from his pocket, and opened the case. "Here you go," he said, handing her the gun.
"Heavy," she said, assuming her best Charlie's Angels' stance, tossing her hair back and posing both for the camera and for Jimi. "How many thingies does it hold?" she asked, looking down the barrel.
"Siete...seven thingies," the clerk said, glad that the gun was not loaded.
"Does it come with thingies?" she asked, sighting the clerk down the barrel.
"No, but we sell thingies as well." He ducked to get a box of bullets from below the counter. "May I?" he asked, extending his hand.
Star handed the clerk the gun, and he demonstrated how to insert the bullets into the magazine.
"Cool," she said. "I'll take it and a dozen of the thingies."
"A dozen?" the clerk asked. "We sell them by the box."
"Yeah, er, right," Star shrugged. "I mean a dozen boxes."
"This must be quite a jewelry store," the clerk said, playing along with the joke as he assembled the purchase.
"It's an amazing ring," Star said, leaning against Jimi. "We're going to be married."
"Congratulations," the clerk said. "Will there be anything else?"
"Does it need batteries?"
"But we didn't rob the store?"
"No, I'd already bought you the ring before you bought the gun." Jimi smiled, remembering the exhilaration he'd felt in that moment, and pretty much every moment since he'd left with Star for Madre de la Perla.
"And the wedding?"
"At some club." He rolled his eyes. "We got the license and had a Mexican Elvis impersonator marry us after the bikini contest. The winner was your maid of honor. You both wore white."
"So, how did you get tied up?" she said, zooming in to film his answer.
"You convinced me to let you," he replied with as much
of a shrug as he could manage under the circumstances.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time. Kind of hot, actually.
"Why didn't I let you go?"
"To keep me from going back to work and leaving you here," he said, looking away.
"You're lying," she said, leaning in, the camera just inches away from the tip of his nose.
"No, I had a big concert I was supposed to do yesterday," he said. "They're pretty pissed. Turn on the news. They're looking all over the world for me."
"But that isn't why I wouldn't let you go, is it?" she said, reaching down and stroking his cock again.
"Don't start that again," he winced. "I'm sore all over after the last few days. Aren't you?"
"I wondered why my nipples hurt," she nodded, the camera bobbing. "So tell. Why wouldn't I untie you?"
"So I wouldn't go back to my girlfriend."
"Your girlfriend?" she said, jumping to her feet and dropping the camera, but not turning it off. "You have a girlfriend? But we're married."
"Maybe," he said. "I'm not sure about ceremonies conducted by Elvis impersonators. He did do a good 'Volare.' "
" 'Volare' isn't an Elvis song," she said petulantly.
"I'm just saying."
"So are we married or aren't we?"
"I think we get to decide that."
"And how do we do that?"
"Watch the tapes," he suggested. "You'll see what I got to see the past few days."
"Why did you ask me to marry you?" she asked, sitting again and placing the camera on the bedside table to film them both.
"We're good together."
"Hell yeah, but that's not it."
"Like even now, I'm tied to the bed, you're holding me hostage at gunpoint and sitting there naked and, well, I don't know about you, but this just fits."
"I remember," she shrieked, leaping up and jumping on the bed. "I remember, I remember, I remember!"
"Everything?" he said bouncing uncomfortably.
"No," she said, stopping and letting the bed recede. "But I remember why I tied you up."
There was a long silence. She stood over him on the bed, staring out the window.
"Why?" he asked, finally.
"Why did you tie me up?"
"I can't tell you."
"Why not?" he asked, puzzled.
"I don't know if I can trust you."
"Babe, in the last few days you've told me your whole life."
"Yeah, but I don't remember that. I just remember that you tried to leave me and so I tied you up."
"Because you love me?"
"I hardly know you."
"Because you were afraid to be alone?"
"Because I feel so at ease with you around," she said, trying to put words to it. "Being naked around you is like wearing a coat and gloves on a cold day."
"But you're Miss March," he said a little surprised. "And the world's favorite lifeguard."
"Being an exhibitionist is the best cover for being shy," Star said, reaching up to brush his long black hair away from his face. "No one suspects."
He turned his head to kiss her hand as she stroked his hair.
They regarded each other a moment.
"What's left to hide?" he asked her.
"Me," she said simply. "The part I save for myself."
He shook his head, not understanding.
"There's this website," she said, folding her hands in her lap and looking out the window of the room. "This guy spends his whole life following me around and taking pictures of me and posting them on this website. It's like his career or something. He has pictures of me going to work. Pictures of me going to the store. Pictures of me walking the dog, on the set, having lunch with friends, on dates, kissing, holding my mother's hand. He even has pictures of me sleeping. It's like he's stealing my life. Not the part that we all give the world, but the part I keep for me." The tears felt warm on her face.
They sat silent for a long time. Jimi looked at Star and she looked out the window at the late-afternoon light reflecting on the ocean below.
"Untie me," he said at last.
"So can you escape?"
"So I can hold you."
Star looked at Jimi a moment. Maybe he was telling the truth. Or maybe she just wanted to be held. Either way, she couldn't make much of a marriage out of it if she kept her husband tied to the bed. Eventually they'd have to change the sheets.
Looking around for something to cut the bonds with, Star spied some dagger-sized shards of glass from the table she'd shot earlier. She wrapped one of them in a towel so she wouldn't cut her hands, then sawed through the random bonds she couldn't untie or unbuckle.
"If you love something, let it go," she said, stepping back from the bed when he was free.
"I always thought that was such a stupid thing," he said, rubbing his wrists. "I mean, if you let it go, how will it know you love it?"
She laughed, still a little woozy from the afternoon and God knew what all else.
Jimi extended his arms and Star fell into them.
It was just them, naked in bed with a blender. No Ecstasy, no special effects, just the two of them joined perfectly together like interlocking pieces in a puzzle.
Jimi ran his hands down her body, drawing her so tightly into him it was as if he were trying to merge them into one. When they kissed, it was the same. It wasn't just sex, it was as if they were trying to become one person, two halves fused together. When she took him in her mouth, or he was inside her, the passion turned them into a single being, if only for a perfect instant.
When it was done, they lay sweating together, still united, unwilling to separate. Star writhed against her husband, moving to excite him, to extend their union and...and that's when she heard the noise, the excruciatingly familiar sound of a camera's auto rewind. She saw only a man's shoe under the curtains. That's all she needed before she was up, gun in hand, running for the balcony.
"You son of a bitch!" she screamed, running toward the sound. The shoe disappeared and she saw the man run for the rope ladder he must have used to climb down from the rooftop onto her balcony.
Jimi was too blissed out to realize what was going on, but when he heard Star's shouts and screams he followed her out onto the balcony, where he found her holding a gun on a man hanging from the railing -- dangling, really -- hundreds of feet above the jagged rocks of the coastline below.
"Get the camera," she directed.
"What's going on?" Jimi asked, unsure of what he was witnessing or what he should do.
"This is the guy," Star said by way of explanation, brushing away angry tears. "You know...this is the one with the website."
"Star?" Jimi said, unsure of what she wanted.
"It's time for a little confession," she said, prodding the photographer's ribs with the toe of her Gucci boot. "Get the camera."
A smile split Jimi's face. "You got it, babe."
He returned with the camera, and the two spent the next few minutes forcing the intruder to admit what he was doing and how he got into his present predicament. While the man pleaded for his life, Star got his name and ID as a souvenir.
Satisfied, they were at a loss for what to do next.
The idea seemed to occur to the two of them at once.
"On three?" Jimi said, taking her hand in his.
"One," they said together, each peeling a finger from the railing as Jimi continued to film. "Two..." Another finger. "Three!"
With a scream and a wail the man fell from view, past the twenty stories of the hotel, down the cliffs and into the rocks hundreds of feet below. The crashing waves swept him out to sea.
Jimi filmed for a while, unable to think of anything else.
Star scanned nearby balconies to determine whether anyone had witnessed the photographer's fall.
They looked at each other. Did anyone see? Did anyone hear? Dare they breathe?
And with that thought came a pounding on the door.
"Oh shit," Star said.
"Get the tapes," Jimi instructed as they dashed back into the room.
Star raked their videos into a pillowcase and knotted it.
She stepped awkwardly into a pair of bikini bottoms and barely grabbed the top while Jimi, clad only in a pair of jams and a tank, grabbed her hand and dragged her out onto the balcony.
As the knocking continued, they climbed the photographer's rope ladder up to the roof and pulled it up behind them, just as the door to their room opened.
"Room service," the maid called from the door. "Ay, dios mio."
Copyright © 2005 by Pamela, Inc.