Celebs Meet CSSA #16 – Jennifer Garner

Celebs Meet CSSA – Jennifer Garner

by Rich Wilson

(Here is my long overdue entry into the popular, award-winning series. When reading, be aware that some details in this story are fact, and some are pure fiction. However, in some far off, alternative Universe, everything that follows happened exactly how I’ve told it…)

22nd May, 2002:

I stood in the ever expanding line that snaked away from customs and stretched back and forth on my heels in a vain attempt to get some life back into my legs. I was thirsty, badly in need of a shower and starting to feel rapidly pissed off. The
flight from London to Los Angeles had seemed as long and drawn out as always, the food had been poor, the movie had been worse. A woman roughly the size of Alaska had shoehorned her way into the seat next to mine and had insisted on making small talk until the meal arrived to take her mind off conversation. While she was shovelling mashed potatoes into her mouth I’d escaped to the bathroom for as long as possible, then returned with my Walkman firmly in place. I feigned sleep and listened to music and fantasised about a parachute or an escape pod. Just as sleep was starting to look favourable the dulcet tones of the Captain rang out, announcing our imminent arrival at LAX, and I groaned as the lady next to me became excited again. I’d imagine that as soon as she had cleared arrivals she’d be heading for the nearest all-you-can-eat buffet.

Finally, I reached the X-ray and scanning equipment and offered my worn passport to a young guy who wore both his uniform and experimental beard with unease. I watched my small bag and laptop getting probed and searched while the officer stamped the relevant pages and looked questioningly at the photo and then at my pale, stubble-scattered face. I replied with a smile and tried to look the same as I did nine years ago, a physical impossibility. Just as I was starting to have visions of being led into a side room containing rubber gloves and vaseline he handed the passport back.

‘Are you here on business or pleasure Sir?’

I pocketed my details and sighed. ‘Business.’

‘Well, have a good trip.’

‘I’ll do my best,’ I replied, and walked on past his booth to where my bag and laptop where waiting for me. As soon as I collected my things I searched out the exit signs and pushed my way past the throngs of people waiting for their suitcases to come spinning around on the travelators. I’d long ago given up that game. You start to travel often and you soon pick up a few tricks. Number one is learning to pack everything you need into hand luggage. It saves your time and your temper.

Cabs lined the exterior of the arrivals building like a swarm of flies, and I fell heavily onto the backseat of one and told the Spanish driver to head for downtown. I checked with the driver for the right time and adjusted my watch accordingly. 5.37pm. My eyes were heavy and felt like I’d been awake for a week. The late afternoon sky was mustard yellow and hazy with pollution, and the sun hung like dirty ball of silver and gave off a heat that was sticky and uncomfortable. I cracked the window as soon as we hit the freeway and breathed in a neat combination of exhaust fumes and smog. Three seconds later I closed the greasy glass and leant back and shut my eyes. The driver kept his foot to the board and sang along with a Jennifer Lopez tape that was roughly the volume of a nuclear blast and possibly just as hazardous to my health. I tried to keep my mind filled with happy thoughts and failed.

After the combination of speed, traffic, blown red lights and J-Lo had virtually driven me insane we arrived at the Marriott, situated just off the former party avenue of LA, Sunset Strip. The hotel was my base for the next couple of days and I could think of worse places to be staying. In the seventies it had been infamous for debauchery and rock and roll excess; Bowie was a regular and Zeppelin often booked the entire top floor. Countless television’s had made their way into the pool from various balconies and Keith Richards was once found in an elevator near death with a spike in his arm. Scenes like that were now a world away. The Marriott was as cleaned up as the current stable of pop acts troubling the charts, and was now a haven for tourists and businessmen. Not to mention scruffy journalists.

I walked through a lobby that was bright, cool and piping Beethoven through unseen speakers and side-stepped a large man dressed in a Haiiwanain shirt juggling multiple bags. The girl at the reception desk was young and beautiful. The smile that she greeted me with was the first good thing that I’d seen since leaving London. Of course, it was as fake as the rest of the city, but right now I was beyond caring. I gave my name and watched as she scanned through bookings on the computer.

‘Room on the seventh floor, Mr. Wilson. Shall I have someone collect your bags?’

I raised my meagre possessions to indicate that there was no need, thanked her, collected my key and headed towards the elevators. I shared the ride with the man wearing the bright shirt; he exited on the fourth floor, heaving his luggage out with much difficulty and cursing. Presently I was at the seventh, and I was almost staggering with fatigue by the time I found room 714. I was just sliding my card into the lock when the door on the opposite side of the corridor was flung open to the sound of raised voices. A woman with ink-black hair and large breasts barely concealed by her sprayed on dress strutted out, followed by a guy wearing just a towel, his skin shining with some kind of oil. He had a fist full of bills in his hand, which he waved at her impatiently. In return, she span on one heeled foot, called him a fucking asshole and strode off towards the elevators. Towel boy’s expression changed from anger to disappointment and finally settled on embarrassment as he noticed me. I gave him a bemused look for a moment and he shot back inside his room and slammed the door. I grinned as I opened my own door. The Marriott might well have spruced it’s act up, but there were something’s that would never change.

My room was bright, cool and clean. There was a large TV, desk and the usual fixtures, but I ignored all of them. At that moment the entire focus of my life was for the large double bed that dominated the floor. I regarded it for a second with as much pleasure as an alcoholic would lavish on a fresh bottle, dumped my stuff on the rug, kicked off my shoes and fell into it. I rolled over and wrapped the covers around me and the earth just seemed to fall away.

**********

I was in the kitchen fixing an omelette when the phone rang. I cradled it on my shoulder and continued slicing a tomato. ‘Hallo.’

‘How would you fancy a trip to Los Angeles?’ My editor Barney Hammond was always keen to get to the point. He was a man low on pleasant greetings.

‘Morning Barney.’

‘That’s right. So, how about this trip.’

I put my knife down. ‘How about some details?’

‘New movie. Twentieth Century Fox. Just your kind of thing.’

He was right. It was just the kind of job I liked getting involved with. Fox had given the greenlight to Daredevil, based on the comic book hero of the same name. Superheroes were big business at the moment, and every major studio was looking for the next blockbuster. I knew that the movie was in production, and I’d picked up a few details from around the internet, but nothing major. Ben Affleck was starring in the title role; he was an actor I liked and thought could do good things with the part. I knew nothing of the script, the director or the budget. The only other cast member I knew for definite was Jennifer Garner, who was slated to play a character called Elektra. She was starring in a hit TV show in the States called ‘Alias’, which I was yet to properly see. Word was that the show was sensational. She certainly was. I’d seen clips of the show and a couple of movies she’d featured in previously. Tall, dark hair and eyes and a set of legs that went on forever. Stunningly beautiful. Barney had arranged a set visit for my magazine and we’d been allotted good access. He wanted a set-report and interviews with the major cast and crew, and that was where I came in.

‘The usual expenses and what have you,’ said Barney. ‘I’ll have all the details e-mailed to you.’

‘Sounds good. When am I due to leave?’

‘Tonight.’

Good job I’d put the knife down, or I’d have been missing a thumb. ‘Tonight? Jesus, Barney, thanks for giving me plenty of time to prepare.’

His laugh was flat and cynical. ‘Listen, I can send someone else. Plenty of guys waiting to fill your shoes if you can’t handle it.’

And again he was right. There were dozens of people who’d have taken my place at the drop of a hat. Ten years ago when I was a nineteen year old rookie thrashing out obituaries for the local paper my first editor told me that a good writer drops everything in favour of the story, and that was a piece of advice I’d always remembered. Of course, George Hales had slumped dead across his desk one afternoon at only forty-three, but that was something I tried to forget.

‘No, No. I’m in.’ I replied. ‘Send me what I need…’

**********

When I finally forced my eyes open the world seemed very pale and a cool sensation brushed my cheek. There was a soft, musical noise and the smell of spring flowers somewhere in the distance. I lay there for a few seconds and let my senses adjust before I finally realised I was lying in bed, my vision washed out from the sheet that was covering my face. With a groan I pulled the covers down and propped myself up on one elbow.

The drapes were still drawn, but enough sunlight filtered through the material to let me see the girl that was chasing a large yellow cloth across the surface of the table. Her blonde hair was fixed up high on her head and the black skirt she wore was short enough to afford me a great view of her thighs. I blinked a couple of times and watched her before I realised that the noise I was hearing was her humming to herself. I groaned again and she looked over her shoulder with a flash of blue eyes and a coy smile, and returned her attention to the furniture, giving the wooden surface a small squirt of polish. That explained the flowers.

‘Excuse me?’

She looked again. ‘Good morning sir.’

‘Who are you?’ I asked. For a brief second I had visions of a porn mag situation running through my mind. You know the kind of thing; I-never-thought-these-letters-were-true. That kinda bullshit.

‘Housekeeping,’ she replied, this time not looking around at me. That was okay though, I was more than happy to converse with her ass, which was almost fighting for escape it looked so lively.

‘You always start work when people are in bed?’

She stopped the cleaning and turned towards me. ‘Not unless they say I can,’ she said, and when I didn’t answer she continued. ‘Which you did.’

‘Did I?’

She nodded. ‘Absolutely, about ten minutes ago. You don’t remember?’

I shook my head and ran a hand through my hair. ‘No. I must have been really out of it.’

‘Tough night?’

‘Story of my life,’ I yawned. ‘You always start the rooms so early?’

She smiled, and I guessed she wasn’t long out of her teens. Suddenly I was happy to be in LA. ‘Depends what you class as early,’ she said. ‘It’s after Ten.’

For a brief moment I just lay there, propped up on one elbow and hoping that my inevitably dark circled eyes and messy hair would be enough to convince this sexy looking maid that I was worth risking her job for by jumping under the sheet with. And then my brain started to work, and I realised what she’d just said.

‘What time did you say it was?’

She glanced at her watch. ‘It’s almost Ten fif-‘

‘Fuck it!’ I flung myself to the edge of the bed and threw back the sheet in once quick motion. Unfortunately sometime during the night I must have stripped myself, because at around the same time my feet hit the floor I realised that I was completely naked. I watched the maid’s eyes flick down my body for a moment before she quickly turned her attention to a blank piece of wall. I cursed again and snatched the sheet up and around myself, already sensing the rush of blood that was heading for my face.

Shit, I’m sorry,’ I said. ‘I’m just really late.’ I started to pace the room for my clothes and bag, and couldn’t see anything. In a daze I whirled around on the spot and already felt the first stages of some supreme jet-lag forming. ‘Where’s all my stuff gone?’

‘In the closet,’ she said, still focusing hard on the wall. ‘And don’t worry about it. You do this job for long enough and you see everything, believe me.’

‘I didn’t really mean you to see my everything,’ I muttered, dropping the towel into a white pool at my feet and stuffing my legs into the first pair of jeans that I’d grabbed out of my bag. Jesus Christ, how could I have slept so long? More to the point, how could I have been so stupid as to not ask for a wake-up call? I was scheduled to be at the Fox Studios for nine. With traffic it would be a miracle if I made it by eleven.

‘Would you like me to come back?’ she said.

I fell on the bed and pulled on my boots. ‘No, I’ll be gone in thirty seconds.’ I glanced over my shoulder at her. She was rearranging items near the fridge, her back bent which accentuated the curves of her butt even more. ‘Okay, it’s safe for you to turn around,’ I said, as I started to button my shirt.

As she turned their was large grin on her face. ‘Somewhere you should have already been?’

‘You wouldn’t believe it,’ I said, grabbing my laptop and a bunch of notes that I’d made on the flight.

‘You should get some breakfast.’

I laughed, searched frantically for my phone and spotted it under one of the pillows. ‘Breakfast? You’re joking. I haven’t even got time for a shower,’ I said jamming the phone into my pocket and snapping the last button closed on my shirt before glancing up at her. ‘What’s your name?’

‘Kirsty.’

Cute girl, cute name. ‘Kirsty, I’m Rich. How do I look? Professional?’

She looked me up and down and the answer was written all over her face. Of course, I looked like a sack of shit. Two minutes ago I’d been comatose. Finally she spoke.

‘Do you want me to lie?’

‘I’d appreciate that.’

She grinned. ‘You look great.’

Superb. I made a bolt for the door, already racking my mind for plausible excuses concerning my lateness. ‘Sorry about all that again,’ I said, pointing at the bed.

‘Don’t worry about it,’ said Kirsty. ‘Have a good day.’

I let the door slam on the sound of her sweet voice and jogged down the corridor towards the elevators. Have a good day? I’d need to put some effort in and work on that. Because let’s face it, the beginning hadn’t been that fucking spectacular…

**********

The morning light was glaring and the weather had already decided to crank the heat as high as it possibly could, and I fished my sunglasses out of my top pocket. There was a small coffee stand at the edge of the sidewalk infront of the Marriott and I grabbed a cup of something hot and dark before hailing a cab. The back-seat of the taxi was black vinyl, and in the heat penetrating through the back window had turned into a virtual hotplate. I shuffled around in an attempt to avoid blistering and as we lurched out into four lanes of traffic I prayed for as few hold-ups as possible.

The Gods must have been smiling on me, because we made the four mile journey in around fifteen minutes, and for Los Angeles on a Wednesday morning that was nothing short of a miracle. The closer that we got to the Hollywood district the more things changed. Cars got bigger, palms got greener, plastic surgery became more noticeable. The streets were wide and clean and filled with expensive boutiques and smart diners where the thousands of hopefuls worked their passage while they waited for the big break to arrive.

We cruised into the heart of the World’s film capital, the place where dreams are made and hearts are broken. All the major studios seem to be situated next to each other, like a set of powerful neighbours spying on what the other is doing, and in quick succession the cab passed Universal, Dreamworks and Antamount before the familiar searchlight logo of Twentieth Century Fox loomed before us. We pulled to a halt across the street from the imposing main gates and I pressed Dollars into the driver’s hand and peeled myself out of the stifling cab. I checked my reflection in the glass of a phone booth and tried to work my hair into some semblance of style as I trotted across the street. The back of my shirt was already damp and sticking to my skin, and I hadn’t even had time to run a brush across my teeth. Lack of dental hygiene was a sin in Hollywood that ranked just below murder. Yeah, I was in great shape to meet movie stars.

The guard who stood before me at the gates had a head the same size and shape as a bowling ball, but his tone was friendly enough. ‘Help you, sir?’

I gave my name and stated my business and he ducked back inside a small booth and proceeded to tap away on a keyboard. His partner, smaller and meaner looking, kept his eyes firmly on me. After a moment the guard returned and waved me through. ‘Straight down, Mr. Wilson. Stage 13, off to the right.’ He paused for a minute and then checked his watch. ‘You know you’re late?’

I thanked him and assured him that I was aware of my tardiness, and quickly made my way into the Fox Studio complex. A huge expanse of offices, all marble and reflective glass, rose ominously to my left, and a parking lot filled with the very best that European Motor companies had to offer was away to my right. Beyond and into the distance stood the large warehouses that made up the soundstages, the places where the real magic happens. The small roads that burrowed between the stages were a hive of activity. Small electric vehicles buzzed around carrying people and equipment, guys in overalls humped large sections of bare plywood back and forth and more clipboards were being checked than I could count. And above all the activity the sun still burned fiercely in a sky that looked as if it had never been introduced to a cloud. All in all, a typical Hollywood morning.

I dodged a blue pickup that sped into my path and reached the first of the buildings, grateful for the shadow that was thrown across me. I looked at the time, 10.46am, and kept moving in the direction of soundstage 13.

**********

There was more security at the building’s entrance, but it was nothing more than a formality, and I soon found myself inside the blessedly cool interior. There were a couple of simple looking offices that were stuffed full of desks, paper and no people, and away down a corridor I could hear the sounds of hammering and raised voices. I removed my sunglasses and headed for the noise.

The corridor emerged into a huge indoor area several stories in height and the length of a couple of tennis courts. The heat here was back with a vengeance as several enormous spotlights shone across a very impressive rooftop set that dominated the whole area. There were perfect recreations of the tops of buildings, adorned with all the usual stairwells, windows and neon signs that you might expect to have seen in New York City. I knew from my hurried research that that was where the picture was set, and the production crew had done a fine job in their imitation. Behind the set hung an enormous blue curtain that stretched upward from the floor and curved almost around the ceiling, stopping before it hit the gantries of lighting. This was the special effects bluescreen, and it was here that the digital wizards would paint the rest of the city during post-production. I spent a minute taking in the look of the set, already forming ideas for the opening of the article in my mind, and then looked around for someone to introduce myself to. Just then there was a nudge on my shoulder which saved me the trouble.

The guy that stood before me was weighed down with a huge script casing, several bungee cords wrapped around one arm and a tray of sodas balanced on the other. ‘This is a closed set, chief,’ he said, cocking his head to one side and wiping the perspiration from his forehead onto the sleeve of his T-shirt. I fumbled around in my back pocket until I found the laminate the security guard had given me and held it up. ‘Sorry,’ I replied. ‘I guess I should have been wearing this.’

He peered at the press pass and his face broke into a smile. ‘Ah, no problem. Who bothers with that crap anyway.’ He juggled the sodas onto the other arm and held out his hand. ‘Jamie Selkirk, production assistant.’ We shook hands and he thrust the tray of cans in my direction. ‘Give us a hand with these and I’ll sort you out.’

If you’ve never been on a movie set before you’d be surprised at the level of inactivity that seems to be occurring. Of course that’s not the case, but even so, it appears to the untrained eye that most people are standing or sitting around doing nothing waiting for someone else to bark instructions. That was the impression I got now as I followed Selkirk away from the set and into another corridor that was the start of a maze of offices that the production team of Daredevil had commandeered for their use. I passed glass windows separating rooms full of designs, storyboards and people hunched over drawing boards until we reached a tiny office that was quite obviously a dumping ground for all the other crap that no-one wanted in their own space. I placed the tray of sodas on the edge of a desk that was overflowing with paper while Selkirk sorted himself out. He cracked one of the cans and tossed one to me, which I accepted gratefully, breaking the seal and pouring half of it straight down. Selkirk upended his own can, crunched and then threw it across the room into an already full wastebin and belched loudly.

‘Listen, you can use this to work in,’ he said, already collecting new items to carry and heading for the door, ‘and as long as you wear that pass you shouldn’t have a problem around the crew. Holler if you need me.’ He threw me a small salute and was away up the corridor before I even had chance to thank him.

There was a bathroom to the rear of the office, and I used the handbasin to freshen up and pushed water through my hair to get it looking somewhere near acceptable. Although I was late on set I knew from experience that nothing major ever happened before lunch, and with the full access that I seemed to have been given my mood started to improve considerably. I returned to the office, drained the soda and stored my laptop and phone in a secure place. All I needed with me was a dictaphone, and I checked the battery and tape while standing infront of the rotating fan that was managing to reduce the heat in the office to somewhere around ninety degrees. I was ready.

**********

When I arrived back at the main stage there was still very little happening except for more people standing around doing nothing. I kept my distance and walked around the edge of the city mockup, marvelling at the detail involved and starting to feel the first twinges of excitement that I always do when I’m on a movie set. I might have been working, but I was still a major film fanatic – after all, that was why I got into this line of work – and the thrill of being back amongst the Hollywood machine was more than enough compensation for my shitty flight and the scorching weather.

Someone must have noticed the grin on my face because it didn’t take me long to become heavily involved in conversation with one of the crew. This was the way I liked to work. Nothing too intrusive, just chat and observe and grab chances with the major movers and shakers when possible. I spent a very pleasant next couple of hours being shown around the different sets and through the costume design until I finally managed to sit down for a conversation with director Mark Johnson, who gave me all the usual lines about retaining the spirit of the comic strip and how they were trying to come up with new visions and ideas. I’d heard it all before and no doubt it was Johnson’s practised line, but I’ve got to admit he had a real, almost fanboy enthusiasm for the material, and the structure of the article started to take place in my mind. I thanked him for his time and once more stood on the sidelines making verbal notes on the dictaphone. But as entertaining as Johnson was, to the standard movie going public he was a virtual unknown, and I needed something more substantial. Something along the lines of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. Trouble was, in the time I’d been there I hadn’t even seen anything being shot, yet alone any major stars plying their trade.

And then, as if my thoughts had been transmitted around the set, Affleck came ambling around the corner wearing the kind of outfit that would have been out of place anywhere but here. I knew enough about the comic book, and had seen the production sketches, to know that he’d nailed the look of Daredevil successfully. I primed my tape and made my way through the snakes of cables and lighting before presenting myself infront of him.

I’d heard rumours that he was rude and off-hand to journalists; luckily that proved not to be the case. He answered all my prepared questions with good humour and left me with some cracking anecdotes about the shoot and the difficulties he’d had getting used to wearing a suit that might have seemed more at home in a leather bar that had regular S&M nights. I was getting some good stuff. He was about to excuse himself for a lunchbreak when I noticed a large, ugly looking bruise wrapped around the bicep on his right arm. I indicated to it and asked him how it had happened. He looked down and stroked his thumb across the deep yellow skin.

‘That was from Jennifer,” Ben grinned, looking for all the world like the Hollywood star he was. “She hits pretty hard.”

I whistled softly. “I can see that. So the two of you square off in the movie then?”

He nodded. “Yep. I’m really proud of what we’ve done so far. Even though she’s continually kicked my ass.” He stood, the deep red of the superhero costume creaking around him as he did so. “Good to talk to you, but I’ve gotta get some lunch. Ask her how many times she beat the shit out of me.” He laughed out loud as we shook hands, and I watched him walk away towards the catering areas. Seemed like a decent guy.

Thoughts of lunch made my stomach rumble, and I realised that the last meal I’d had was the unrecognisable lumps of food on the plane, and that must have been… Well, the jet-lag was kicking in fully now, but I knew for sure it was a long time ago. It would have been easy to get a free feed from the on-set catering, but experience had taught me that the quality of the food they served was relative to your on-set status, and visiting journalists ranked further down the chain than even the lowliest grips. I decided to wait until I got back to the hotel; truthfully it wasn’t all that hard a decision.

If I could just get an audience with Jennifer Garner, especially now I knew that she’d given Affleck a regular beating; that was a story I wanted to hear. How it usually works on movie sets is that you have to wait for a publicist to introduce you to the star that you want to interview. That’s all well and good, but it generally means that you’re sitting around for hours to get a simple five minutes. It’s dull and depressing, and as I’ve already said, not how I like to operate. Just give me a bit of freedom, let me off the reins for a while, and I’ll keep out of the shot and still get the story. Daredevil was one of the most relaxed shoots I’d ever been on, and I decided to keep my low profile and see where it led me. With any luck, it would lead me straight to Jennifer.

I took a final quick scan around the set, saw no-one important, and made my way back towards the overflowing office that Jamie Selkirk had shown me to earlier. I’d noticed a set of double doors at the far end of one of the corridors, and I now made my way towards them after stopping in the office and grabbing my laptop and phone. If what I was planning was frowned upon by security I could very easily get kicked off the set, and the last thing I wanted was to have to fight to get my gear back.

I pushed the doors open and delighted in around four seconds of fresh air before my lungs realised it was actually as hot outside as it was in. Just as I’d suspected, the doors led to the back of the lot, and I was immediately rewarded with what I’d hoped to see; a long line of wide, fat trailers in a static procession against the side of the soundstage. These grand looking trailers were used for everything from extra wardrobe space to makeup facilities, but more often than not they were occupied by actors who transformed them into personalised refuges while they were waiting out the long hours before being called to set. At least, that was what I was banking on. I hadn’t seen Jennifer inside, and I knew from the pictures I’d called up from the web that there was no way I was likely to miss her. So chances were, see was sitting in air-conditioned luxury out here waiting for her cue.

I fanned my shirt against my skin, which gave absolutely no relief at all, and started to trot along the line of trailers, my eyes scanning the small plaques bolted to the doors. Some names I didn’t recognise, and some didn’t have names at all. But the further I went, the larger the temporary homes became, until I saw Ben Affleck’s name attached to one that was possibly larger than my apartment back in London. I moved on, the roadway now thrown into blessed shade, and passed Colin Farrell’s name. And then finally, right at the far end and totally engulfed in shadow, was a white trailer raised slightly on metal stilts with a silver door. And on the door were the two words I’d been looking for.

After taking a quick look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching me, I jumped up the couple of small steps and rapped gently at the door. There was no reply, and after a moment I heard music from inside. I knocked again, three hard beats this time, and this time a voice rose over the music and told me to come in and I never hesitated.

The first thing that struck me was the cool chill of filtered air, instantly causing the perspiration to shrink against my skin. Next was the music, The Clash blasting out ‘Janie Jones’ at a level loud enough to reverberate off the walls and right back in my face. Third and finally were the two women at the far end of the large room. The first was standing with a large powder brush in one hand and a fistful of hairclips in the other. The second was sitting infront of a mirrored makeup counter, a magazine in her hands and a pair of the longest legs I’d ever seen propped up before her. Both stopped what they were doing and looked up as I entered.

Under normal circumstances the makeup girl would have been enough to have turned my head if she’d passed me on the street; long blonde hair and big blue eyes will do that to a guy. But by placing herself next to Jennifer Garner she was relegated to nothing more than ordinary. I’d rarely, if ever, laid eyes on a more beautiful woman. A wave of dark auburn hair flowed across her shoulders, the pale skin of her face was flawless and a contrast to her full crimson lips, and her eyes, surrounded by carefully applied dark shades of colour, were deep enough to fall into. She was in costume, a leather outfit much like I’d seen Affleck in earlier, but on her body it was a true work of art. A bodice that held her waist tightly and pushed her breasts up into a gorgeous cleavage that almost made my head spin, and trousers that gripped every square inch of those impossibly long legs. Her bare feet were crowned with neatly painted toenails. I almost had to shake my head clear to stop myself from staring at her.

When she smiled it changed her whole expression from dark to brightness in a single moment. ‘Yes?’

I managed to push my eyes back into my skull and gave it my best grin. ‘Wondered if you could talk for a few minutes?’ I said. Unfortunately my question was in direct competition with Joe Strummer’s screaming vocals, and as such was lost in a wall of late seventies punk-rock. Jennifer looked at me blankly for a moment, smiled again and then twisted in her seat until she could reach the volume button on the stereo that was on a shelf to the left of her. As she did so the leather trousers stretched tightly, and I saw that her butt was a cute as the rest of her.

After the music had gone she looked back at me. ‘Sorry about that.’

‘Don’t apologise, that band has to be loud,’ I replied, taking a further step inside.

‘Totally agree,’ she nodded, and looked me up and down as I stood in her doorway. Just a wild shot in the dark, but I can guarantee she wasn’t giving me the same visual appreciation as I had to her. Her next question confirmed it. ‘You don’t appear to have a pizza on you?’

‘They’re not standard issue for journalists I’m afraid.’

Her smile faded. ‘I should have guessed.’ I didn’t know if she based that statement on my appearance or my wiseass attitude. Probably a combination of both. ‘How did you get down here?’

I jiggled my pass where it was pinned to my shirt. ‘I am actually supposed to be here. I was just hoping to ask you a few questions while you weren’t on set.’

‘I’m sorta getting this make-up done,’ she said, indicating to the girl standing behind the chair.

I resisted the obvious line about saying how she didn’t need it, and instead pulled out something I knew might work. In my experience actors love getting one up on each other, and I now recalled what I’d been told earlier. ‘Okay, but I was just interested in hearing how you gave Ben Affleck a major ass-whupping.’

Her expression softened and I saw a trace of the smile reappear. ‘Is that what he said?’

‘Actually, he said you kicked the shit out of him.’

Both she and the makeup girl cracked up at this, and as Jennifer laughed her breasts shook within the confines of the bodice and her hair fell across her face. She brushed it away and looked at me with those deep, dark eyes. Jesus, this girl was gorgeous. The pictures I’d seen and the small clips I’d viewed in anticipation of this meeting hadn’t done her justice at all.

‘He’s being kind,’ she giggled, swinging her legs down and reaching for a bottle of water on the shelf.

‘Is he?’ I said. ‘That’s not the impression the bruises on his arm gave me.’ There was a pause as she contemplated me over a swallow of water, and I saw a tiny dribble of liquid escape from her bottom lip and slide it’s way over her chin. Just watching that moisture made me feel hotter than ever, despite the air-con. She wiped her mouth delicately and smiled again. ‘So, how about a few minutes of your time?’ I continued.

Jennifer glanced up at the make-up girl. ‘Are you about done with me, Amy?’

Amy nodded as she packed various brushes and items back into a large case. ‘Not totally, but I need to go and get a few things anyway. I’ll be ten minutes easily.’ Her voice was soft and coloured with a southern accent. She snapped the case closed and stood. ‘Just try not to get messed up, is all.’

‘I won’t move a muscle until you get back, I promise,’ said Jennifer, watching Amy as she picked up her gear from the long couch along one side of the trailer and move towards me. I nodded at the pretty make-up assistant as she passed, and in return I got a coy smile that was all blue eyes hidden beneath long eyelashes. A second later the door snapped shut behind me, and myself and Jennifer were alone inside the cool room.

She eased herself out of the chair and when she stood I once again had to stop myself from staring. She was tall, almost as tall as me, and her body was lean and devoid of anything except all the right curves. Bare arms that had just the lightest definition of muscle, and I could instantly see that she was fit but without losing her femininity. And of course, all that leather just looked incredible on her.

‘Do you want something to drink?’ She asked, turning and crossing to a fridge that was set into the wall. ‘This heat is getting ridiculous.’

‘I know, even makes me wish for my own British weather,’ I said, and thanked her as she tossed a bottle of mineral water to me. ‘At least you’ve got the air-conditioning in here. It’s like the tropics over on the set.’

She gave me that eye-watering smile once again. ‘Tell me about it. Try running around wearing this costume.’

‘Must be torture,’ I said, taking a long swig of water, and watching her as she sat back down.

‘You bet. I just have to keep peeling all this stuff off between takes and taking a cold shower.’

Somehow, I managed not to choke on my drink and keep an even expression. A dozen thoughts ran through my mind, and it took me about half a second to construct an image of Jennifer ripping the leather trousers from her legs to reveal sweat soaked skin, before a cool stream of shimmering water slid over her body as she let the shower chase the heat from her body.

‘So, can we start on some questions?’ I said, somehow managing to remember that I was a professional.

‘Sure’, she replied, leaning back in her chair, ‘Just don’t be too hard on me, okay?’

**********

Once we settled into talking things went well, and infact Jennifer turned out to be one of the best celebrities that I’d interviewed. She was funny and full of enthusiasm for the project she was involved in, and after she started talking it was difficult to get her to stop. That wasn’t a problem though, and I let my tape catch all her thoughts concerning the high level of training she’d had to take on for the role and working alongside more established stars such as Colin Farrell and Affleck. True to what he’d told me, she had kicked his ass on several occasions, but admitted that she was more used to physical action due to her time on ‘Alias’. I confessed that I was yet to see the show and she pulled a stern face, then broke into a laugh that affected me in several places other than my ears. I promised to see it as soon as the season run started back in England, and she followed this up with telling me that a second season was scheduled to air in the States in the fall.

‘So with the show and this movie, you’ve got your work cut out,’ I said, finishing my water and tossing the bottle into a wastebin across the room.

She nodded. ‘Yeah, but I can’t complain. I spent enough years wiping tables and waiting for my break. Now it’s here I’m gonna enjoy it.’

‘What about an the possibility of an Elektra spin-off project. Would you consider it?’

‘Well, I’ve heard rumours’, she replied, leaning back in her chair and stretching her arms above her head and yawning gently. This caused her chest to lift up against the strains of the leather bodice, and I let my eyes trace their way down her neck to where a good portion of her breasts were on display. If she’d have coughed I’d have almost certainly seen a nipple, and I had to shift in my chair slightly.

‘Regardless, after ‘Daredevil’ you’ll be the girl of choice for all the comic book boys.’ I said.

She lowered her arms and grinned. ‘I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.’

‘Well, if the work dries up you can spend your time doing the guest thing at conventions,’ I said, returning her grin. ‘Plus, they’ll be dozens of websites in your honour. Probably already are.’

‘Actually, there aren’t,’ she said, and levered herself out of the chair quickly, causing her hair to spill in streams around her neck and making the black leather bend and creak around her legs. I stayed seated and watched as she moved across to the mobile air-conditioning unit that was bolted solidly to the wall of the trailer. She placed both hands on either side of the unit and leant forward, and the jets of cold air circulated around her, making her shoulders shake as she shivered. She turned to look at me, and the combination of dark eyes, deep cleavage and windblown hair ensured that my dick was now rigidly hard.

‘Curiousity made me enter my name into a search engine,’ she said, smiling again.

I drew my knee up higher and placed the tape player in my lap. ‘Hey, we’ve all done it. Even those of us who aren’t famous.’

‘Find anything?’

‘Only that I share the same handle as dozens of doctors and a few serial killers. I’m sure you had much better results.’

She shook her head and still stood lapping up the icy air. ‘Bits and pieces on the show, some pictures of me and rest of the guys, but nothing juicy. I was hoping for loads of cut and paste fakes of me with big boobs and a skinny ass.’ She laughed at this and moved back from the wall. ‘I think you’ve probably made it when you find a bunch of fantasies about you. What do you think?’

What did I think? At that moment all I could really think about was getting back to my hotel room and jacking off to the mental image of Jennifer leaning over the air-con and the aural memory of her incredibly sexy voice. My dick was about to explode if I didn’t deal with it. What did I think? Truth was, I knew of a place on the web where fantasies were spun about many, many female celebrities. It was a place where I was a regular participant, and I’d checked in with the site just a few hours before I’d left London. It had surprised me that Jennifer’s name hadn’t cropped up there.

‘Well,’ I said, swallowing hard, ‘I’m sure when the movie is out you’ll be all over the place. Fakes and all.’ I paused and then let my tongue go for the first time since I’d met her. ‘Not that you need anything faking.’

As I’d said this Jennifer had been reaching into the refridgerator once more, her back to me. She stopped and turned quickly, and her face looked serious. I cursed myself silently for coming out with something so tacky and decidedly inappropriate, and I knew at that moment the interview must surely be over. She let the fridge slam shut behind her as she moved over to where I was sitting. I tried to keep my eyes on her face but it was almost impossible, and as she stood before me I couldn’t help but once again take in all the leather and soft skin filling my vision.

‘That almost sounded like a line,’ she said. Her expression was still stern but the tone of her voice didn’t match it. Instead her words were soft, almost quiet, and for the first time I noticed the sweet scent of her perfume and a tiny strip of skin peeking out between the bottom of her corset and the waistband of those incredible leather trousers. She was close enough so that I would have been able to lean my head forward and kiss her flat stomach. I looked up at her.

‘I didn’t mean it like that,’ I said. ‘Just being honest.’

‘That’s the trouble with you English boys,’ she said, and a moment later her she lifted her hand and I felt a finger caress my ear with the lightest of touches. I stared at her almost open mouthed, and when she looked away from my disbelieving eyes and downwards I realised she must have seen the unmistakable lump in my jeans. ‘You’re just too polite,’ she continued.

‘I guess so’ I said, stunned that my tongue and vocal chords were working correctly. Her finger stroked me again, and in my mind I could now see two things happening. One, I was mere moments away from a sexual encounter with this utterly gorgeous star, or two, I was mere moments away from being kicked out of this trailer, off the set, and possibly out of my career if she made the right calls to the right people. One thing was for certain though, I was definitely moments away from getting my shorts in a sticky mess.

Jennifer leaned down towards me, her hand on my shoulder and her lips close to my ear. A lock of her hair fell against my neck, soft and supremely erotic. She spoke, her breath hot against my skin.

‘You still haven’t told me what you think of this outfit,’ she whispered. ‘Do you approve?’

A part of me had been in strong approval ever since I’d first walked into the trailer. I could feel my heart pounding against my chest, beating out an overdriven rhythm as I turned my face to her and let my cheek graze against hers. I looked down, straight down the front of the leather corset that was held closed with black laces, and took in the entire view of her breasts, her cleavage now even more pronounced now she was leaning over me.

‘It feels really tight against my skin,’ she continued, her mouth now brushing my ear and making me shiver. Her words were nothing more than breath against me. ‘I think you should touch it.’

I pressed my face tighter against her cheek and almost let out a groan as her tongue flicked out and dabbed against the edge of my ear. There was no way I could resist, and I lifted my hand and ran it up the smooth expanse of black that was seemingly painted over her skin. The leather was soft and deliciously warm and my fingers slid easily around to the inside of her thigh, her legs slightly apart as she stood over me.

‘That’s it,’ she said, forming a tiny kiss on my neck as she did so. ‘Just slip your hand-‘

Whatever she was about to say stayed locked in her throat as the sound of the trailer door opening both pulled us back from where we just about to go. Jennifer straightened up quickly and pushed her hair back behind her ear, and I grabbed my laptop and slammed it across my lap, regretting my enthusiasm as I gave my nuts are decent slam. I could feel blood colouring my skin and I felt hotter than ever.

The make-up girl Amy came through the door, a Pepsi in one hand and a bunch of red material in the other. She closed the door behind her, smiled and commented how cool it was in the trailer. Jennifer said hi and sat back down in the chair, and I merely gave what I hoped was a genuine looking smile. I felt incapable of speech, not least from the fact that my balls had started to ache where I’d knocked them. However, the pain didn’t seem to have affected my hard-on, which was still standing proud and more in need of attention than ever.

‘If you guys have done, we really need to get you finished,’ said Amy, crossing the trailer and setting the red cloths on the makeup counter.

Jennifer looked at me with a smile that said everything yet gave away nothing. ‘I think we are,’ she said innocently. ‘Got everything you need, Rich?’

Sure, I’ve got everything I need, with the exception of a healthy bank account, a vintage Ford Mustang and a few spare minutes to fuck your brains out, I said. Actually, that’s a lie, I didn’t say that at all, but believe it when I say the thought was running through my mind. Especially the fucking part.

‘Seem to have,’ I said, surprised at how level my voice sounded. I gingerly rose to my feet and hoped for the best, grasping my laptop firmly and holding it infront of my crotch. I slipped my dictaphone into the front pocket of my jeans and took the time to rearrange myself while I was down there and look a little more respectable. Amy span on her heel and dropped to a crouch in one easy movement and started rooting around in one of her boxes. Jennifer glanced quickly over her shoulder and saw that the girl had her back turned on the two of us, and then silently mouthed at me to come over to her. My feet moved and I seemed to float across the floor towards her, and as I did so she proceeded to do one of the horniest things that I have ever seen in my life. With me standing infront of her, and with the makeup girl no more than three feet away, I watched as she pushed her slender fingers under the waistband of her trousers and eased them down between her legs. The black leather stretched and showed the clear outline of her hand as it pressed against herself, then moulded itself back against her flesh as she withdrew it.

She leaned forward and held her middle finger up towards me, and in the glare of the lights shining brightly around the mirror over the table I could see that the finger was wet and glistening. As if in a dream I opened my mouth and lowered my head to meet her hand and felt the damp skin slide across my tongue. The taste was sweet and hot, and I never took my eyes from Jennifer’s as I sucked the juices from her finger. It lasted a mere moment, and then she pulled it away from me at exactly the same time that Amy turned around to face me. Jennifer shot me that wicked smile once more and gave me her hand again, but this time to shake it.

‘It was good to meet you,’ she said.

‘Likewise,’ I replied in a voice that didn’t sound like my own. I wanted to say something more, felt that I had to say something more, but then Amy moved in and started to mess around with Jennifer’s hair once again, just as she had been doing when I’d entered the trailer no more than twenty minutes ago. I took her hand, felt the same finger that had just been in my mouth on my palm, and shook it gently. ‘Another time, maybe?’ I said, the suggestion and hope obvious in my voice.

‘You never know,’ said Jennifer, and immediately turned away from me to look at her reflection in the mirror, her face now showing the same innocent look that I had seen when I first entered and not the sex-hungry expression I’d had hovering above me minutes later. The mirror image glanced up at me. ‘Take care.’

I took that to be most definitely the end of our meeting and the end of anything that might have occurred between us. Feeling rejected and slightly confused I grasped the case of my laptop tightly and crossed towards the doorway. I allowed myself a final look back at the two women, Jennifer sitting patiently in the chair while the makeup girl stood behind her and ran a feathery brush laced with light colour across her cheek, before I stepped quickly back out onto the Fox backlot.

**********

I stood at the bottom of the trailer steps and immediately knew two things. One, it was hotter than ever, and I knuckled away a bead of sweat as it dripped stinging into my eye. Two, my erection was now agonisingly hard. I may not have gone that far with Jennifer, but I could still taste her body on my lips and feel her mouth on my ear, and that was causing so much blood to surge to my dick that I feared I might well pass out due to lack of oxygen in my brain. I started to limp back in the direction that I’d come, past the long line of trailers, and thought about what had just happened. In a few minutes I’d gone from a simple, lighthearted interview with a beautiful star to the very real possibility of sex, a possibility that would have almost certainly have been fulfilled if we hadn’t been disturbed. How? I was positive that I hadn’t come up with a with a winning line and it definitely wasn’t based on my looks. After several hours of bathroom attention I can scrub up fairly well, but today I looked as if I’d been run over by a truck and buggered by a posse of escaped convicts. The maid back at the hotel had told me as much. I couldn’t work it out.

My watch read 12.55pm. I’d spent a good deal of time observing the set, made plenty of verbal notes, and interviewed the people that I’d intended too. There was more than enough information to get a decent article together and justify the magazine flying me across the Atlantic, which was good, because after the incident in the trailer my mind was hardly on work anyway. All I wanted to do was get back to The Marriott, get some food, take a shower and jack off, not necessarily in that order.

I started back towards soundstage 13 with the intention of thanking the assistant Jamie Selkirk for his time and getting off the lot as soon as possible. I switched my laptop to the other hand and reached into my backpocket for my phone. Bernie would be waiting for a progress call back in London, and if I told him everything had gone well he would relax and I could take it easy for the rest of the day before catching an early flight tommorow morning.

My phone was gone. I checked both the front and back pockets of my jeans and found some cash, the room key and my dictaphone, but the Nokia was missing. I stopped and cursed out loud, causing a couple of guys cruising past on a modified golf cart to look my way, and suddenly realised that I must have left it back in Jennifer’s trailer. I’d placed it on the sofa next to where I’d sat, and with what had happened and with the speed with which I’d felt the need to get out I’d completely forgotten about it.

I swore again. I didn’t want to go back there. Not that I didn’t want to see Jennifer again, but it had felt awkward between us when Amy had returned and I wasn’t keen to repeat the experience. But I needed my cellphone. Not only was it virtually brand new, but it had all my numbers and contacts which were vital to me. There was no way I was prepared to leave it behind, and I turned and quickly retraced my steps. I’d be in and out in seconds, and I didn’t even really have to say anything aside from mere politeness. I’d got what I needed for the piece, and that was the main thing.

The door was still closed, and once again I could hear music, a band I didn’t recognise doing a slower tune than before. I knocked and waited, my heart beating and lodged somewhere in my throat, but there was no reply as before, so I quietly opened the door and slipped inside. The music got louder and the cool atmosphere hit me again, and then I turned my head to the left and looked inside at the main area of the trailer and stopped dead.

The makeup chair had now spun round and was facing in my direction. Jennifer was slouched down in the chair, her legs spread wide and her butt almost hanging off the edge of the seat. Her leather trousers lay in a crumpled heap on the floor, and although she still wore the bodice the laces were now loose and pulled wide too reveal the deep red nipple of her left breast. Her fingers of one hand pulled at the nipple while the other was twisted in the fine blonde hair of Amy, the makeup girl. Amy was down on her knees between Jennifer’s legs and was dotting a string of kisses slowly up the inside of her thigh, and the higher her mouth travelled the wider Jennifer’s legs went. Amy moved her head down and as she did so Jennifer’s pussy was revealed fully to me. A tuft of neat black pubic hair framed her slit, and even from my distance of a good six feet I could see her lips were shining and wet with the same juices that I had previously tasted. My view lasted for just a second, as Amy’s head moved upward and Jennifer threw her head back and gasped loudly as the sexy assistant touched her tongue into her dark hole.

I stayed silent and moved back into the doorway and tried to hide myself behind the couple of inches of doorframe while I watched this display before me. Jennifer now had both hands tugging at Amy’s hair as she pulled the girl’s face hard between her legs, her thighs gripping her tightly and her feet resting on her back. Jennifer’s moans were frequent and her toes curled as she continued to be licked, and her tiny toenails were splashed with little dots of red. My eyes went from her feet to Amy’s body; she was wearing a short grey skirt which was now pulled up over the smooth curves of her butt to reveal tanned cheeks and a pair of slim white panties which barely covered the almost-exposed mound of her vagina. The material was damp, and I could tell that Amy was getting as much pleasure from giving the tonguing as Jennifer was from recieving it. Amy’s hand suddenly appeared on her panties and she began rubbing two fingers hard against her body, pushing the cotton into her pussy for a moment before she tugged the gusset of the panties aside and slid a finger deeply inside herself .

The music was still going, but now I couldn’t even hear it. I knew I should get out of there before I was seen, but there was no way I could even move. I flattened myself against the door and tried to adjust my throbbing dick which was now a lump of solid steel in my jeans once again. Jennifer took her hands from Amy’s rocking head and stretched her arms above her head, her eyes closed, and the movement caused her other breast to appear fully over the top of the bodice. Her tits were proud and full and the nipples erect and pointing skywards, and I desperately wanted to move forward and suck them into my mouth and double the pleasure that her slender body was recieving. Jennifer’s mouth opened and she started to form words, at first barely more than gasps and nothing that I could make out over the music, and then as her delight increased she became louder. My pulse quickened as I heard her tell Amy to fuck her, to use her finger on her, and Amy complied, removing her fingers from her own masturbation and using both hands to spread Jennifer’s pussy apart, and just for a brief second I saw skin wet with juices and saliva and Jennifer’s engorged clit before Amy dived her face back down once more. This time Jennifer screamed, the muscles on her neck and arms tensing as Amy quite obviously hit the right spot again and again. I could see Amy’s arm moving back and forth as she pistoned her finger in and out and Jennifer’s whole body started to shake and her legs gripped Amy’s back and pulled her forward. She dropped her hands and gripped the girl’s hair as her breathing whistled out of her throat and a spread of red flushed across her heaving tits, moaning as Amy bought the orgasm to her body. For a moment the atmosphere was filled with cries and the sweet smell of sex, and I had to bite my tongue as I rubbed my hand across my crotch as I watched Jennifer Garner rock with a climax right in front of me, before her tense body slumped back in the chair with a sigh. She stroked a hand through Amy’s hair and she breathed hard.

‘God, that was incredible,’ she said, looking down at the girl still with her head between her legs. ‘I love it when you lick the come out of me,’ she continued, stroking her hand through Amy’s hair. As she did so Amy moved her head so it rested on Jennifer’s thigh and I saw how swollen her pussy was after the intense oral and orgasm she had just recieved. Her pubic hair was curled and matted to her skin and her lips and clit were dark crimson. Amy just lay there with her head on Jennifer’s thigh and gently flicked her tongue back and forth, softly cleaning the wet streaks from her skin.

I realized that I wasn’t breathing, and felt my lungs burn before I had to let out air. I gasped, barely audible over the music which I now recognised as The Cocteau Twins, but it was loud enough to make Jennifer’s eyes flick towards the door and land straight on me. I felt my guts turn to water as I was spotted, and I knew for sure that I was in deep shit. A big part of me just wanted to grab my phone and make a bolt for it, but I seemed unable to move.

I thought Jennifer would shout out but she stayed silent, just contemplated me with those deeply dark eyes as I stood a few feet away watching her makeup artist play with her almost naked body. We looked at each other for a few seconds, before a slight smile formed on her full lips. That was the last reaction I was expecting, and I don’t know if my face echoed my shock but Jennifer’s smile turned into a full grin before she rested both hands around Amy’s neck and started to pull her away from between her thighs. I was sure she would turn Amy around to show her my voyeuristic standpoint, but without breaking her gaze she lifted the girl up her face and locked their mouths together. They kissed with passion, and Jennifer ran her pink tongue over Amy’s lips before pulling her head down into the dark shadows of her neck. She hugged her tightly and I could see that in the position they were in Amy had no chance of seeing me.

‘I can taste me on you,’ Jennifer whispered into Amy’s ear, letting her left hand flow down over the white T-shirt covering the girl’s back and drift over the perfect curve of her ass. She pulled the cheek apart and Amy gave a muffled squeal as her panties were pulled even further into her crack. Jennifer smiled and licked Amy’s ear in much the same way as she had done to me earlier, and she looked back at me for a moment before pointing to where my phone lay on the couch. She raised her thumb and finger to her ear in the universal telephone handsignal, and then mouthed four silent words to me. My breath hitched again as I realised what they were: Give me your number.

I stood like a statue for a moment before the words sank in, and then I knew it was time to get the hell out of there. I silently shot my hand out and grabbed my phone and slipped it into my pocket, never taking my eyes from the movie star and the make-up artist making out with increasing fury before me. There was a scrap of paper scrunched into the bottom of my pocket and I pulled it out with a slightly shaking hand and saw a stub of pencil on the work counter to my right, and forced my eyes away from the kissing girls while I scribbled my cell number and also the name and number of my hotel. I’d had mobile communication problems before, and there was no way I wanted a poor signal or my battery to go dead if a beautiful and obviously horny actress was going to call me. I was about to drop the scrap on the counter when a thought popped into my head, a thought relating to a conversation we’d had earlier, and I can’t explain why but I also quickly scrawled something else beneath the two numbers. You can blame it on my dazed mind.

I left my message and gripped the door handle, allowing myself one final look before I left. Amy now had her mouth on Jennifer’s throat, her hands gripping the soft mounds of her breasts, and in return Jennifer had now pulled Amy’s panties to one side and was brushing the tip of her index finger down the groove of her butt, pushing slowly against the tight entrance of her ass. I gazed at the sight, for one agonizing moment imagining diving across the room and burying my cock deep into Amy’s wet tunnel while Jennifer held her open for me, and then I opened the door and stepped quickly outside. I’d chanced my luck enough for one day.

After I’d stumbled away from the line of trailers and narrowly avoided crashing through a pane of glass that was being carried in an almost comical fashion by two overall-wearing grips, I leant heavily against the wall of the soundstage and took several long deep breaths. I lowered my head to my chest and felt my hair fall into my eyes while I gave myself a moment to compute what I’d just witnessed. I’d heard it said on more that one occasion that a movie set was full of surprises, and after today that was certainly something I was in agreement with. And maybe my luck was changing, because apart from not getting busted for what I’d seen, it appeared as if the brief encounter that I’d had with Jennifer had a chance of continuing. The cynical part of my mind told me that there was no way she’d call, but life is all about taking chances. You just never knew.

I realized I was grinning, and I levered myself away from the wall and headed towards the door of stage 13. Inside was now a hive of activity, with colonies of personel running back and forth with props and lighting, but my mind was now far away from the filming of the comic book spectacular. Jamie Selkirk appeared once more loaded down with armfuls of crap, and I stopped him and thanked him for his time and indulgence. He asked me if I’d got everything that I needed and I assured him that I had. That was very nearly the truth. We shook hands and I made my way off the stage and back past the security, flipping open my phone as I did so and placing a call to Bernie back in London. It would be mid-evening in the capital and when his voice-messaging kicked in I guessed that my editor would either be down on the workfloor checking copy or firmly seated at the table of his favourite bar. I left a couple of sentences informing that everything had gone well and I wasn’t knocking up too much on the magazine’s expense account, and by the time I’d snapped the Nokia closed I was at the main gate. Hailing a cab took no more than thirty seconds and soon I was back out in heavy traffic and being fried on the backseat again. The driver watched me through the rear mirror.

‘You okay pal? Looking a little pale back there.’

I nodded. ‘I’m just beginning to enjoy my jet-lag,’ I replied, ‘and this weather isn’t helping.’

‘You know, this goddamn city will kill you,’ he said with a grin that was more gums than teeth, before throwing the taxi into a microscopic gap in the traffic and leaning heavily on the horn. I rested my head back on the seat and blinked up at the dirty roof of the cab, but all I kept seeing were images of Jennifer. I wondered if she’d call, and just that thought was enough to get me hard again. I also wondered if she’d act on what I’d written below my number? She’d said she wanted to see a website where fantasies were traded and celebrity females were discussed, and as I said before I knew of a place where this happened. Had I been too bold in my thinking, would she be offended, or would seeing my name at the site maybe turn her on even more? The way she’d acted this afternoon, I had to tell myself that it was the latter. I also debated what my buddies would have thought if they knew I’d just directed Jennifer Garner to our cherished little corner of cyberspace, the CSSA. I’m pretty sure there might have been a drink in for me…

**********

The journey back to The Marriott was slow and torturous, and it was nearing two-thirty as I was walking through the revolving doors back into the hotel lobby. After the briefest of stops to check for messages I was into the elevator and by the time I’d reached the seventh I was virtually running down the corridor towards my room. Here we can keep the details sparse but all you need to know is that it took mere seconds for me to dump my stuff and drag my jeans down and not much longer for me jerk-off to a climax that had me flopping back down on the bed and panting like a guy who’s just run a marathon. I lay there for a few minutes watching the revolving fan on the ceiling before I had the horrible idea of the maid coming back into the room. It had been embarassing enough that she’d seen me this naked this morning, I didn’t want her to see me with my shorts round my ankles and my come drying in pools on my stomach. I pulled myself up, flung my clothes into the corner of the room and hit the shower.

The shower wasn’t a great relief, truth be told. Sure, it cleaned my body but it filled my mind with images of Jennifer, and I recalled the look in her eyes when she told me how she had to keep peeling off the leather and taking cold showers. I could imagine her doing that now and then stepping into the cubicle behind me, her hands working their way down my back as she held her body against mine, her daik hair dripping with water as we kissed, erect nipples stabbing against my chest before she raised a her leg and wrapped it around me before lowering her slippery pussy down over my dick, giving the same gasps and moans as I’d heard when Amy had been licking furiously away at her.

I stopped, span the temprature dial to cold and cried out with shock as the heat turned to ice and made every pore on my skin scream with mercy. My erection quickly sank away to nothing and my balls crawled up inside my body as I forced myself to endure the freezing water and take my thoughts away from fantasies that would inevitably lead to wanking. If Jennifer was going to call me, and if something was going to happen between us, I wanted something left in reserve, if you know what I’m saying. I spent a full minute chilling myself down until my teeth were chattering faster than a Mexican tapdancer and then threw myself into a towel.

I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to keep my mind off what had happened back at Fox. After I’d dressed in fresh clothes I left the hotel and took a walk down the infamous Sunset strip until I came to the Whiskey A Go-Go, once the place for bands to be seen in Los Angeles and a sleazepit that still kept it’s reputation for all things debauched. Inside was dark and depressing and stank of old alchohol, just as it had been the last time I was here eighteen months ago, but that was part of the Whiskey’s charm. I sat at the bar and drained the first beer in one shot and the second with less haste while I swopped small talk with the barman and looked at the greasy photographs of the famous names who had played here. There was Jim Morrison, looking down on me with long dead eyes, and it gave me a secret thrill to be sitting in the same bar where the Lizard King had carved out his mighty reputation. I was going to stay for a third until a guy sporting a Kiss T-shirt and a fine growth of acne approached and offered me speed, and I decided that was my cue to leave.

I found a good diner and read the paper while I devoured Chilli and too much coffee, then mooched around the shops and picked up a couple of old punk albums from a cool store called Finyl Vinyl, took a quick look at the ocean and then made my way back to the hotel. It was now late afternoon and the traffic was a solid block of metal and noise, but at least the heat had died down to something approaching bearable. A busker had set up outside The Marriott and I listened to him giving a very decent pass at an old Jeff Buckley tune before tossing a couple of dollars in his cap and leaving the street behind me.

Up in my room I flipped the TV onto the news channel and kept the volume low in the background while I tried to work on the notes for the article. But whenever my fingers hovered over the keyboard of the laptop and I tried to come up with the killer opening line all I could see was Jennifer. I listened back through my verbal notes on the tape and when my interview with her started all I heard was her sensual voice telling me over and over again to touch her. It was useless, and after a wasted half-an-hour I realised work was impossible. I stretched out on the bed and half watched an old episode of Cheers while I thumbed through a magazine, and when my yawns became more frequent I didn’t fight the onset of sleep.

**********

When I awoke the room had been overcome with darkness and my left arm had gone numb from where I’d lay awkwardly. My face was mashed into the pillow and my mouth was stale from the food and beers that I’d had earlier. And the phone was ringing.

Now I was awake. I rolled over and felt my back protest from the too-soft bed and looked at the phone on the sidetable, illuminated in a grey light from the TV set. I reached out my hand and suddenly stopped an inch above the reciever, let my fingers hover. Could it be Jennifer calling me? My friends or family would almost inevitably call me on my cellphone, and if it was night here then it would be very early morning back in England. It couldn’t be any of them. Who else would call the hotel telephone? I hadn’t left any instructions at reception to be contacted, and the only other person who knew I was at The Marriott was-

Barney Hammond. My heart sank. Of course, my editor was always up before the dawn, regularly crowing about how he’d done a days work by the time the staff had dragged themselves into the office. If anyone from London was calling it would be him. Probably heard the message I left and was eager for a progress report. I sighed and snatched up the reciever.

‘Hello.’

‘I was starting to think you weren’t going to pick up.’ The voice was soft and low, the same voice that had been swimming around my head for the last few hours. I opened my mouth to reply and found that nothing came out.

‘Are you there?’ said Jennifer.

I could feel the blood racing in my veins. She’d actually called me, I couldn’t believe it. Sure I’d imagined, fantasied that she would, but the truth was I wouldn’t have bet money on it happening. ‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘I’m here.’

‘You took a long time to answer.’

‘I was sleeping. Sorry.’

There was a pause, an awkward silence filled the line, and I thought that the conversation might be over before it had begun. Then she spoke again.

‘I looked at the website you wrote down for me.’ She stopped, as if to add something more, but nothing came, and I guessed she was waiting for my reaction.

‘Look, maybe I was out of line,’ I said quickly. ‘I didn’t mean to-‘

‘I liked it.’

I swallowed, felt the click in my throat. ‘You did?’

‘Well, I didn’t see my name there, but apart from that I thought it was very… Interesting.’

I shifted upwards on the bed, found the remote and snapped the tube off. ‘It just a bunch of guys writing about female celebrities, that’s all. We all have a good laugh about it.’

‘I wasn’t being negative about it, I thought it looked really good. Obviously I’ve not hit big enough yet,’ she said, and I recalled what she thought about not really making it as a star until you had fantasies and fakes of you plastered over the Internet. I contemplated for a second about what I was going to say next, and then went ahead with it.

‘Maybe I could change that?’

She laughed softly, and even though her voice was disconnected and sterile from the phone line she sounded as gorgeous as during our meeting, and I could feel the first twinges of yet-another erection from my suggestion and from her tone.

‘Maybe,’ she said, ‘you might have some good material as well, after this afternoon.’

I was glad that she’d bought up the afternoon, it was a subject that I didn’t have the first idea how to start talking about. But now she’d broken the ice. ‘I didn’t mean to spy on you,’ I muttered.

‘Yes you did,’ she said, and when I didn’t reply she continued. ‘That was something else that I liked. I knew you were watching all the time.’

‘Christ, are you serious?’

‘Totally. It was exciting to know that you were watching Amy lick me. It gave me the sweetest orgasm, as I’m sure you saw.’

I’d genuinely thought that Jennifer hadn’t known that I was taking in all of the little show that she and the cute makeup girl had put on. It had seemed as if I’d gatecrashed a very private incident and only been discovered at the last moment, and I told her this.

‘I hadn’t planned on you coming back,’ she said, ‘but it was just a bonus when you did. Anyway, I was so turned on that I don’t think I’d have cared if the whole crew had been standing in the doorway.’ I heard that incredible laugh once more. ‘It might have been the end of my career, though.’

‘Why were you so turned on?’ I asked, adjusting my own arousal in my jeans and praying for the answer that I hoped for.

‘You know why. If Amy hadn’t have come back you’d have been fucking me instead of her.’

When Jennifer said that line it wasn’t in some brash, porno-style way but with a voice that said the F-word in a tone that sounded like shyness. After what I witnessed the last thing I knew she wasn’t was shy, but that still didn’t change the fact that it was one of the most sexy sentences I’d ever heard. My dick was like a bar of iron, and Jennifer must have been able to read my mind.

‘Are you hard?’ she whispered.

‘Very. I’ve been hard all afternoon just thinking about you.’

‘Did you jerk-off while thinking about me?’

‘You better believe it.’

‘Do it again,’ she said, and almost before the words were spoken I’d unbuckled my jeans and let my dick spring free. ‘I wish I’d have been able to see you doing it this afternoon.’

I worked my hand up and down steadily. ‘Tell me what happened when I left,’ I said, my voice harsh from my dry throat and excitement. ‘Have you been with Amy before?’

‘A few times, she’s really nice,’ Jennifer replied. ‘After you went she made me come again just by kissing me and sucking on my nipples. She rode herself up and down on my hand as she did it.’

I lay back and let my head sink into the pillow while I listened to Jennifer tell me how she’d had sex with Amy, how it started after Amy had helped her wriggle into her skin-tight costume during the first days of filming and the feel of the girl’s hands smoothing the leather over her had got Jennifer wetter than she had been for a long time.

‘It’s like the other day,’ she breathed into my ear, ‘when she slid the trousers down you saw me in today and just bent me over the arm of the couch and fucked me with her mouth. Do you know how good that felt? For me to just lie there while she spread my legs and slid her tongue into my pussy, for me to feel her soft fingers pushing into me while she licked my butt. Would you like to do that to me?’

I was so turned on I could barely speak, took all my effort to say that I would.

‘If she hadn’t come back this afternoon I’d have let you. I’d have let you push my face down and take me from behind.’ Jennifer’s voice had changed, became more breathless and slightly deeper, and I wondered if she was masterbating the same as I, giving herself pleasure from her own dirty words. ‘Let you do what you wanted to me. Even let you fuck me in my ass.’ She paused, and I could only hear her breathing, then: ‘Are you still wanking?’

The moan from my throat and my almost tortured gasps were the only reply I could manage. I was having to concentrate from not coming there and then, and with Jennifer telling me all the things that I could do and that she wanted me to do to her that took a monumental effort.

‘I bet you’d like to have me right now?’ She said. ‘Would you?’

‘More than anything,’ I replied. ‘I’d love to fuck you.’

‘Then come and do it.’

‘I don’t know where you are.’

‘I’m outside your hotel.’

I froze, my eyes wide and my hand solid on my dick, and waited for her to say something else. She didn’t, and as I listened for the first time I could make out other faint sounds on the line. The odd car, a vague shout, some general street sounds. Now my blood pumped faster than ever. I’d just assumed that Jennifer was at her own apartment or hotel or still in the trailer at the Fox studio complex. That she’d checked out the website and then decided to call me from the comfort of her surroundings, wherever they might be. Not for a moment did I think she was in my vicinity.

‘You’re outside?’

She laughed again. ‘Don’t sound so shocked. If you don’t believe me take a look out of your window.’

I swung my legs around and stood up from the bed and edged over towards the expanse of glass that lined one side of the room. I still had my jeans around my ankles and I lodged the reciever of the telephone between my shoulder and ear while I pulled them up around my waist. The window went from floor to ceiling and although the room was dark and it was unlikely anyone could see in I still didn’t want to risk the chances of someone spotting me with my balls hanging out. I leant against the glass, cool against my forehead, and looked out into the Los Angeles night. Before me were rivers of lights and in the distance a slab of darkness that was the ocean. I looked down, and the streets took on more definition, neon and cars and lit apartment buildings, bars and people. I looked still further down, onto the street below me that The Marriott was built on.

‘I don’t see you,’ I said. ‘Where do I look?’

In my ear I heard a noise, a metallic click, and then the vague street sounds became a lot more defined. And from my vantage point I saw a car parked on the far side of the street, very slightly down from my building, a car which now had an open door. And then I saw a figure step out and look upwards, not in my exact direction but towards the upper floors of the hotel. Even from seven stories I could tell that it was Jennifer.

‘Do you see me now?’

‘Yes, I can see you. You look absoloutely beautiful.’

She giggled. ‘You’re too far away to tell.’

I shook my head. ‘I know you are. You’re incredible.’

‘If you want me, then I’m right here,’ she said, and I saw her lean casually back against the side of the car. ‘Let me give you something for your story.’ With that, the line went dead. I watched her for a couple of seconds more, and then slammed the reciever back into the cradle and dived across the bed and into the bathroom.

It would have been useful if an official from Guinness had been on hand to record the time it took me to scrub my teeth, splash my face and gargle with mouthwash; I may well have made it into the book of records for the world’s fastest clean-up. I danced around the bedroom while I slipped on some clean jeans, boots and a shirt that was less creased than all my others, grabbed my key and my wallet and was soon sprinting down the corridor towards the elevators like Maurice Green on medal day. The elevator door was standing open, and skidded to a halt inside it and jabbed the button for the lobby, checking my watch as I did so. 10.14pm.

As I decended I checked my teeth in the mirror wondered if I should have shaved, then realised that I’d had a chin full of stubble when I’d first seen Jennifer, and that hadn’t stopped her from climbing all over me. I checked my nails, and as I did so realised that my hands were very slightly shaking, from anticipation as well as excitement and nervousness. Was I really about to cross the street and meet Jennifer Garner, me a lowly English journalist and she a gorgeous actress? Did moments like this ever happen in real life, or had I fallen asleep on my bed and still as yet not woken up? I pinched the skin on my bare arm and decided that pain I felt meant that I wasn’t dreaming.

A ding, and the doors glided apart, and the expanse of the lobby was before me. I crossed the tiled floor quickly, walking evenly so as not to draw attention to myself, and even managed a nod and smile to the girl behind the reception desk. A desperately thin man wearing red trousers was being led through the revolving doors by a well-groomed terrier, and I let them pass before going out into the cool night air of the city of angels.

**********

Jennifer was across the street away to my left, still leaning against the car which I now saw was a deep blue Audi. Her arms were crossed over her chest and her hair was tied back in a ponytail, and if anything she looked even better than when I’d seen her in the Elektra costume. She was a wearing a plain white t-shirt that was cut short on the sleeves and showed an inch or two of midriff, faded blue jeans and a pair of black boots. I jogged steadily across the street on legs that still didn’t really feel like my own and as soon as she saw me she stood up from the Audi and her face broke into a big smile.

I stopped infront of her and for a moment did nothing more than stare, drank in the sight of her, and this time found that I knew what to say. ‘I was right.’

She frowned. ‘Right about what?’

‘You do you look beautiful,’ I said, and moved towards her, into the arms that she held open for me, and we embraced, pushed our bodies against each other. I threaded my hands up into her soft mass of hair and pulled her face to me, met her parted lips with my own and felt her tongue slide into my mouth as we kissed deeply. She pushed herself against me and my thigh went between her legs, and even through her jeans I could feel the heat that she had there. In turn I ground my erection up against her, and felt her hand move from my shirt down to cup me, pushing into the lump my dick had formed. In reply I forced my thigh up against her pussy and she gasped hotly into my mouth and kissed me harder, our tongues fighting against one and another. My hand found it’s way over the front of her t-shirt and grazed her nipple that was stiffly pushing against the cotton. I squeezed, and she gasped again before breaking out kiss and looking at me directly with those deep dark eyes.

‘You’ve got to fuck me,’ she said, ‘right now.’

‘Come up to my room then,’ I said, easing my hand under her shirt and onto her stomach. Only a few feet away cars were streaming past behind us, but I didn’t care. My only concern in the whole world right now was the woman before me.

‘No, I want to do it out on the street.’

I laughed. ‘Here? You’re crazy. We’ll get arrested.’

She grinned and kissed me quickly, still with her hand on my dick, and looked around over her shoulder. ‘Over there. We’ll do it over there, c’mon.’ I looked and saw the entrance to an alleyway that led down between two buildings, the small gap ominous and bathed in dark shadows.

‘I don’t know, Jen,’ I said, but she had already grabbed my belt and was pulling me away from the car to the sidewalk and in the direction of the alley. ‘It’ll be so horny,’ she whispered in my ear. ‘We’ll be able to see whoever goes past, but they won’t see us. Come on.’

At that moment I was so consumed with lust and only thinking with my cock that if she’d have suggested we strip in the middle of the street and screw in the traffic I’d have probably agreed to it. Although there were people about it wasn’t crowded, and I hoped that the gloom would be deep enough to conceal what we were about to do. Jennifer giggled again as we stepped past two elderly ladies and grabbed my hand as we both jumped into the shadows.

I didn’t need to worry if the alley was concealed enough; it was as dark as Indian ink, a solid blackness that was all consuming. Jennifer grabbed me and held me tight against her, and for maybe half-a-minute we stood still and both looked out towards the street. We had moved maybe ten feet into the alleyway and looking back at where we had come from appeared like a square of light in the darkness. She was right, we could see the cars and the people moving past the entrance, but no-one would be able to see us, not even if they stopped and peered into the alley.

My eyes had adjusted to the dark, and I could just about make out Jennifer before me. She kissed me again and then pushed me away from her, and I watched as she grabbed hold of the hem of the t-shirt and raised it up over her belly, revealing milky skin, and then over her breasts. She wasn’t wearing a bra and even in the shadows I could see how hard her nipples were. I started to unfasten my jeans.

There was a noise behind me, and I saw Jennifer’s eyes flick up and over my right shoulder. Before I could even turn my head something struck above my right ear, sending a cloud of pain through my temple and pitching me forward. I felt my feet slip on the slippery bricks of the alleyway and I lost my footing, stumbled and fell heavily, and my face crashed against the ground. Before I could turn or even cry out there was the sound of heavy footsteps behind me, and then I felt a fresh agony as a boot drove itself into my kidneys. I rolled over and tried to come up with the mementum but the boot caught me again, this time against the base of my spine. It was too dark to see anything, to get any bearings, and I called out Jennifer’s name, told her to run before the boot caught me again in the stomach and the air whooshed out of me and I went face down in the alley. I couldn’t hear anything save for the sounds of people moving close behind me and the sounds of traffic out on the street. I looked up and saw a yellow taxicab pass the alley entrance, but it may have well been a thousand miles away.

I took another blow, this time to my ribs, and I cried out as my hair was grasped by a large hand and my head was yanked backward, stretching my throat and causing the cry to turn to a gag. Tape was wrapped briskly around my mouth, cutting off any future plans that I might have had of noise, and a knee slammed me in the back as I was held down, and I wondered where Jennifer was or what was happening to her. She hadn’t made a sound since I’d been attacked. I closed my eyes, dirty stone caressing my cheek and a mixture of blood and mucus pouring out of my nose making breathing a near impossibility. I could sense two people, one kneeling, one standing. From the position that I was in there was no way that I could make out any details, and when I tried to twist my neck to see my head was once again pulled up by the hair and my nose was smashed into the ground, bringing more blood and making my eyes smart. And still I heard nothing save for the deep breathing of whoever was above me and the street traffic.

Then a voice, deep and rough, close enough to my ear so I could smell sweat and dope on his breath. ‘You’ve got to understand.’

The knee moved from my back but I was still held by large hands, and even if I could get away I was in too much pain to do anything about it. The powerful grip twisted me around and threw me back against the wall of the alley, and I lay slumped in a heap against the gutter that ran the length of the building. I looked up and saw the shapes of three figures standing menacingly above me. Two were obviously big, heavily built guys. But the third? The third was…

A flashlight snapped on, the full brightness of the beam concealed by a palm covering the lens, and it was at that moment that I realised what a complete fucking idiot I’d been. It was also the moment that I seemed to lose a few more of my precious brain cells to insanity.

Jennifer stood above me, flanked by the two big men who’d just given me a decent beating. She was unharmed, her hair and clothes neatly in place, and the same smile that I’d seen throughout the day still on her face. But this time, I noticed, the smile never touched her eyes.

‘Look at you down there,’ she whispered, all measure of beauty now gone from her voice. ‘Look at the state of you.’ She paused and crouched down before me, contemplated me for a moment. ‘Did you really think you were going to get to fuck me?’

I didn’t know what to think, how to think. Fires of pain were coursing through my body and my mind was incapable of rationalities. I felt like I wanted to be sick, and as soon as the thought crossed my mind I felt the bile rising in my stomach, and one of the goons must have realised what was about to happen because he ripped the tape away a mere moment before I threw up, foul vomit and more than a little blood splattering the floor of the alley. I spat and looked up at where Jennifer had jumped away from me and was eyeing me with obvious disgust.

‘Why?’ I said, my voice shaky and sounding as if I was about to cry. ‘Just tell me why you did this?’

‘Because I can,’ she replied. ‘You like to watch me. I like to watch you.’

‘I don’t understand.’

She crouched down beside me once again. ‘It’s like this. You came breezing onto the set of my movie today full of yourself, and as soon as you saw me you wanted to have me. I know you did, I saw it in your eyes. And it was possible that you might well have, had it not for us being disturbed. I let you have a taste of what might have been but that wasn’t enough for you, was it? You had to come back for more.’ She stopped and brushed her fingers against my hair, making me flinch.

‘I knew you’d forgotten your phone, and I knew you’d be back,’ she continued. ‘That’s why I had Amy all over me as soon as I could. It wasn’t you that had got me horny, it was the thought of you seeing me, of watching me. Just knowing that you were there turned me on even more. And then you left me your number, which was fine, but also address of that website.

I frowned and ran my tongue over one of my front teeth. It felt loose and my whole gumline was throbbing. ‘Are you telling me that this is all because I told you about the CSSA?’

She shook her head. ‘No, I’ve got no problems with your cute little site. I said I liked it and I meant that. But you leaving that for me to discover that place was like a little message. Like a game. And I love playing games.’

I stayed silent but nodded my head in agreement. That was something I had begun to realise.

‘It’s a game to me to turn you on, like I did in my trailer, and like I did when I was talking to you on the phone. It makes me horny to know how far I can take things, how far I can lead people into doing what I want them to. Like getting you to come into this alleyway with me. That was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.’

I spat blood again. ‘Did you have to have the shit beaten out of me as well?’ I said, and looked up at her with an eye that was already beginning to swell shut.

She smiled. ‘Actually, yes. That’s all part of it too. As I said, I like to watch, no matter what it might be. I thought you might have put up more of a fight though. I’d like to have seen that.’

I struggled into a sitting position and felt my back scream in protest. ‘I’ll bet. What makes you think I won’t just call the cops?’ I said, already feeling stupid for even saying it.

Jennifer laughed, and this time the brick-shithouse twins laughed with her. ‘Because you’ve got nothing to tell them. Who’s going to believe you? And anyway, I know far too much about you. Where you work, your phone number, everything. What do you think your magazine would say if they knew that they’d flown you over to LA and you’d spent most of your time trying to fuck one of the stars of the film you’d come to report on? Or if I complained to the production manager of my movie that you’d been sneaking around and spying on the stars. What kind of phone call do you think he’d make?’

She looked down at me, and there was almost pity for me in her eyes. Shockingly, that was the most painful thing of all. ‘This is my game, Rich. Mine. And I always win. You were never even in it.’

She made a quick gesture to the twins and they stepped into line behind her as she turned and walked to the entrance of the alley, shutting the flashlight off as she went. I watched as they appeared in the light from the street, and Jennifer stopped and turned back towards me.

‘Have a good flight home,’ she said. ‘And maybe you could a write a story about me for the CSSA, if you get the chance. Just make sure you only tell the good parts though, or who knows what could happen.’ She blew me a quick kiss and left, and I watched her and one of the guys get into the backseats of the Audi while the other squeezed his way into the drivers position. The indicator flashed, and a second later the car pulled away into traffic, out of my line of sight and out of my life. I pulled my knees up to my chest and hugged myself as I sat there, grim relief against what had just happened but better than nothing. My whole body felt alive with pain and I groaned as I moved. I tried to look at my watch but the face was broken and twisted, so instead I just sat there with my head on my knees and though over and over again how stupid I’d been. Tears came and I let them, and the salt ran down my face and stung sharply against the grazed skin that I knew was there. I stayed that way for a long time, listening to the traffic, to the people moving past the alley entrance, and to the sound of my own heartbeat knocking against my chest…

**********

I finally got back to my room after skirting around the back of The Marriott and giving a porter the last ten dollars from my wallet if he’d let me into the building through the back kitchens. He did, and I fended away his questions by telling him that I’d been mugged in the street, which wasn’t far from the truth. To his credit he never even suggested calling the police, and I neither knew nor cared if he believed me or not. He gave me a shot of scotch and took one himself before showing me to the service stairs and telling me too take it easy.

Seven flights of stairs when you’re healthy is tiring. When your broken and bleeding it’s exhausting, and my joints were aching so badly and my ribs were giving me so much pain by the time I’d made it to my room that I was virtually weeping again. I was afraid to let myself look at my reflection, and instead found a trash bag and stuffed my ruined jeans and bloodstained shirt inside before I bought the shower to life and hobbled underneath it. The water stung wherever it touched my skin, but I endured it, leant with my hands on the tiled wall and looked at the water draining away beneath my feet turn from pink to clear. The spray massaged my aches and made me feel slightly better, but by the time I’d stepped out and gingerly toweled myself dry I started to throb in many places once again. My ribs were in a bad way and I suspected one or two might be cracked. I needed to check myself out.

It took me a moment to pluck up the courage to look at myself in the mirror, and when I did I wasn’t disappointed. My nose had taken it badly, there was a lot of crusted blood still in my nostrils and bruising was already starting to appear under my eyes. An ugly graze worked a haphazard route down my right cheek past the corner of my mouth, and when I painfully parted my lips I could see that one of my front teeth was chipped and that my gumline was raw. The left side of my face was relatively unscathed, but there was a mass of yellow and brown already forming around my ribs. When I turned around and looked over my shoulder I glimpsed more bruising to my lower back and between my shoulder blades. Even my fingers hurt. I couldn’t bear to look any longer, and instead I limped to the bed and eased myself between the cool sheets, placed a call to reception for a six a.m wakeup call. It took a good five minutes to get myself into a position that I could call comfortable, and after I settled I started to think of how I was going to explain my beating to everyone when I got home, and how I was going to be able to write the article on Daredevil without thinking constantly about what had happened to me. Most of all though, I thought about Jennifer, about the type of person that she was and the reasons why, and why there were some games played in this life that I wanted no part of. That night I lay awake for a very long time.

**********

I made it back to London late the next afternoon and walked through Heathrow looking like I’d just spent the weekend in Kuwait. Both the reception staff at The Marriott and the customs officials at JFK and Heathrow took an interest in my lumps and scrapes, but I stuck with the line about being mugged and they all bought it. Back in the office the guys expressed concern and bought me beers as a consolation, and my friends and family fussed around me and made all the right sympathetic noises. My editor Barney was naturally for concerned more for the story than my health, but seemed satisfied when I told him I’d got plenty of material while I was over there. That wasn’t a lie; I’d got plenty of material all right, some of it I was desperately trying to forget.

It took me a few days longer than normal to write the story, mainly because I kept grinding to a halt while dark thoughts entered my mind, but eventually it was done and Barney was satisfied. It was due to be published in January in preperation for the film’s release a month later, and I took my fee and used it to pay for a long weekend away in Prague with a couple of close friends. I felt I deserved to do something worthwhile with the cash.

I started to forget about what happened in Los Angeles and got on with my life, until February this year and the worldwide release of Daredevil bought all the memories flooding back. I saw the trailers and looked at production photos with Ben Affleck in his superb costume and Colin Farrell and Michael Clark Duncan hamming it up as villians, and I knew that the movie was going to be a hit. I’d known that the day I stepped on the set. And of course, I saw pictures of Jennifer Garner, looking beautiful and deadly in her leather outfits, and I knew that many guys were going to start going crazy about her. I also knew that the girl I saw on the trailers was very different from the one that I’d met. Very different.

So after a few sleepless nights and a couple of sweat-soaked nightmares, I decided to exercise the demons from my mind in the only way that I knew how; I’d write them out. I’d been toying around with the idea of an entry into the Celebs-meet-CSSA series for a long time, and now I had the perfect material to work with. Jennifer had even suggested it with the very last thing she’d said to me.

The result is the story you’ve just read, and against the advice Jennifer gave me, I’ve left everything in with nothing edited out. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, but most of all I wonder if she’s enjoyed it, if for the last few months since our encounter she’s been monitoring the site and waiting for something about her to appear. I wonder if it’s given her a secret thrill, or if my telling of the story will one night find me losing my bearings in an alleyway again? I’ve changed my phone number and put the Atlantic between us, but you never know what might happen.

I wait for the next move, and wonder if I really should be playing this dangerous game…

***************

Like it, Loathe it, Love or Hate it, if you want to mail me your

thoughts all will be appreciated and answered – richw32@whsmithnet.co.uk

Thanks for reading…

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END