“Oh, Tracy,” she breathed silently, when he came strutting into the hotel room in his performance clothes. All black leather and bridal lace; undoubtably, this was the Tracy Bell of all her fantasies– and so weak they seemed, compared to the reality of him. Tony loomed behind him, his skin nearly as dark as his leather, making a somber setting against which Tracy’s light skin gleamed, like a delicate, golden jewel. A massive black dogcollar framed his jawline, kohl rimmed his eyes. –Oh, Tracy– Alegra’s hand squeezed hers, and she realized that she was pressing hard in return. Her heart hammered, all the silly, trite things that people are supposed to feel when they fall in love. He grinned widely;
“Hey, baby; Tracy Bell, the one and only! At your service, I do mean!”
What she wanted to do was fall at his feet, kiss them, bury her face in his thighs. Instead, she extended a hand as regal as she could make it, and stood up to display her white silk legs. The dress suddenly felt like a performance costume. Outside, footsteps and talk sounded as Tracy’s crew gathered itself in the corridor, and Tony pulled them all out into the stream. The four of them were keening wolf-howls, as they left the lobby.
Toffer Woolcutt and Marco Vanola joined them in the limo to the Colosseum. Stella got her first taste of the kind of rough talk Tracy’s group indulged in, as Marco and Toffer regaled them with vivid and unexpurgated descriptions of their night with two girls from Thailand.
“Man, free-eekeee… there wasn’t nothing they wouldn’t do,” Toffer said with relish. “We was switching them back and forth… And we got them going down on each other, man, you should of seen it.”
Tracy watched Stella roll her eyes. She wasn’t even pretending to be shocked. He caught Tony’s eye in time to stop his outburst; Tony didn’t like dirty talk around women. They were gonna have to get used to it, though, these two.
Marco took up the narrative; “That one, she could do deep throat- but she was kinda loose in the pussy…”
“You just ain’t big enough to fill her!” Toffer cackled. “Woulda called you,” He addressed Tony; “But I heard you was busy someplace else, huh. With some private property… Ooh-whee, just pounding on it… Hope the bitch survived–”
“The bitch had him beggin’ for mercy,” Stella said suddenly. Tracy uttered a bark of laughter as Tony yelped;
“What! When did I beg for mercy–”
“Please, baby, please, baby, please,” Her mimicry was accurate enough. Tony looked dumfounded. The strident alto voice struck a new note in the cacophony… Fine, just fine.
“Whoa,” Marco surveyed her. “Well, how do you do? Seems to me, I saw you ‘round last night, huh. Who’s this? Your sister?” Alegra giggled, snuggled closer to Tony.
“Yo, man, got any more of these ones?” Toffer said ungrammatically. “These sisters?”
“How do I know you rate one of my sisters?” Stella said equably.
“Care to check it out, anytime,” Toffer invited her.
“Mmnn. If I can find the time, baby…”
“Well, write me in on your calender, baby, you won’t regret it!” Toffer cackled again.
There was a wait at the gate, while someone named Jerry arrived with passes for the women. Noticing Tracy’s jittering, Alegra suggested;“Why don’t you go on? We’ll catch up.”
“Uh-uh!” all four men said in unison.
“Ain’t letting you out of my sight, girl” Tony said emphatically. “People get lost forever down in these places.”
“Man, if Jerry had a chance to lose you, he would,” Tracy said.
“No,” Marco said, and Stella said; “What! Have I got a reputation already!” and laughed; Tracy’s buzzing energy was beginning to affect her.
“Yeah, he sees trouble ahead,” Tracy grinned. “And I ain’t about to let go of your kind of trouble, uh-uh.”
Jerry turned out to be the blond, soft-spoken Englishman who had tendered her and her escort the dinner invitation the night before. The girls each signed their passes, in solemn ritual, and Jerry ran them through a little hand-held laminator.
Jerry smiled briefly. “Merely doing my job, dear boy.”
They traveled the underground corridors. Ugly, industrial, smelling of sweaty athletes and nervous musicians, coldly lit by bare fluorescent rods, the purgatory of backstage everywhere. Somewhere above them, the thump of Visage’s performance made nerves sing, set teeth on edge.
“You know, the band room is full of press,” Jerry said.
Tracy stopped dead. “Damn!” He turned to Stella; “Would you mind… Could I send you to my room? Jerry can show you– I don’t want us written about in Teen Dreams, shit like that– I want you private.”
“I’ll come and get you when the bullshit is over– five minutes? Okay?”
Jerry glanced at her curiously, as they walked. “Thank you for that”
“What? Hiding my face?”
“Yes. Perhaps it wasn’t what you had in mind.”
“Teen Dreams is no ambition of mine,” Stella said dryly.
“No offense… I only meant that it must seem a little hurtful.”
“Well,” Stella considered. “I really honestly don’t mind. If he was like– ego and all that– but he’s so– honest…”
“Tracy? Honest?” Jerry laughed. “Well, perhaps you know better.”
“Oh.” Stella’s mind did an abrupt double-take; “Oh… well. Tell me– am I going on to San Francisco with the tour? I mean, for example.”
“Hmmn, yes, he did say that last night,” Jerry said. “He asked you?”
Jerry flashed his brief smile, and opened a room for her. “I’m locking it behind you, if you don’t mind. His wardrobe girl will be along shortly, make yourself at home.”
“Jerry,” she said as he turned to go; “Is he always this good to girls he picks up?”
“No,” Jerry said eagerly. As if he were relieved to be able to give her his warning. “No, on this tour, he’s been… a bit brutal? It seems to me. Please try to understand, tour life is very wearing–”
“Oh, I know,” Stella said quickly. “Look, Jerry, I’m not out to make your job any harder, okay? Um, I really didn’t expect to be here tonight, and that’s the truth…”
“He wouldn’t ask for a laminated tour pass for anyone he didn’t care about. And he seems… rested. Perhaps you’re a good influence on him. He seems to think so… I believe it was good for him to leave the hotel today, there haven’t been many days off.” Jerry blushed painfully as he spoke, and his English accent grew stronger. “I must warn you, however, that the –habits of speech– of these young men are not quite– pleasant to hear…”
“Sticks and stones,” Stella laughed. “You’ve never heard fashion models talking by themselves, I bet. It can get pretty rough.”
“Yes. Well… Should anything occur while you’re with us, please don’t hesitate to come to me. The tour becomes such a microcosm, we sometimes lose track of normal standards of behaviour– Do you understand what I mean?”
“Like, don’t go to the police?” and her stomach lurched at the expression on his face. He was dead serious. “Yes, I do understand. Thanks, Jerry.”
As the door clicked shut, she followed Tracy’s lead in exploring every inch of the bare room that would give her a clue about him. On the portable dressing table his makeup was professional quality, and from Paris. A pair of gold candlesticks turned out to be antique Vermeil. His guitars were lined up against one wall; Stella hunkered down and laid a red imprint of her lips on each one. Tracy had a freestanding surround leaning against the mirror, that folded for travel. It was covered with a collage of photos, postcards, magazine pages, poems; Stella looked carefully, finding family, girls, heroes– and one she was sure was Nicollette, her rival, her sister. It was well posed, she noted, but badly taken. Semi profile, her finger to her long Cupid’s bow lips. Thick dark hair brushed back from her forehead framed her rather heart-shaped face. Had the light been better, it would have edged the round cheekbones, the wide forehead. Oh, yes, she was pretty. Of course. There was a piece of sky-blue linen thrown over the little sofa. Stella sat down, feeling, suddenly, that she hadn’t had nearly enough sleep.
The opening door startled her. The girl who came in was also startled. She reminded Stella of the hippie waifs of her teens; blond surfer curls, rosy cheeks, bright blue eyes. Her clothes were retro; a Madras tie top, denim skirt, Birkenstocks.
“Are you wardrobe?” Stella asked. “I’m sorry I’m in your way, Jerry stuck me in here.”
“Hello,” she said. “Yes, I’m Tracy Bell’s dresser. My name is Britta.” She had an unidentifiable European accent. “Is this you? Your picture?” She held up the photo Tracy and Tony had purloined the night before.
“Yeah.” Stella felt uncomfortable. The girl was studying her and the photo, comparing the two.
“It is a beautiful picture,” she said, and taped it into the collection.
“My name is Karen.”
Tracy said it is Stella?” Britta smiled at her grin. “He gives you a new name, then?” she added, and Tracy came in.
“Reporters are out, wanna meet the rest of the band? Bambi, have you met my baby?”
“Yes.” She clasped Stella’s hand and let it fall away. “Tracy, please, come sit for me.” Tracy let his face fall still while she patted his hair into place, deftly sprayed it, and retouched his makeup.
“Where did you find the hippie?” Stella said as they left.
“She’s German, she’s a dyke,” Tracy explained. “She’s the best dresser I ever had, she’s been with us two tours now.”
The band room was far too small for the activity it contained. Tracy made the introductions amid a cacophony of instruments tuning, arguments and laughter. Toffer gave her a friendly grin, Marco a knowing leer. Karl, the burly drummer, greeted her with barely concealed irritation, before turning his back on her. Tracy raised his eyebrows, grinning.
“Didn’t get laid last night, right?” Stella whispered.
“You know he didn’t baby, and he knows you did… Hey, Geens, got someone for you to meet!” He pushed Stella towards the voluptuous keyboard wizard. The wary expression on Gina’s face mirrored Stella’s. Gina was utterly intimidating, by her size, dark color, the cool appraisal she was giving. Tracy was not at her side, but across the room, conferring with Tony. Damn.
“Nice to meet you,” she offered.
“Look here,” Gina spoke in a low voice that created a wall of privacy around the two of them; “You coming along with us, ain’t you?”
“Yeah, I think so,” Stella said after a pause.
“You a starfucker? Groupie?”
Stella had to pause again, while she decided whether or not to get offended. Gina waited impassively. “Yeah, pretty much,” she said finally, and waited to see what the reaction would be. What was going on? Stella had never really encountered the kind of hazing a newcomer can get, before being allowed into a tight group of people. At any rate, her statement seemed to have little effect on Gina.
“Look here,” she said again. “I think you’re a good girl. ‘M I right?”
“That boy, don’t he mean a lot to you?” Gina clarified. “So, you ain’t out to slut around. Don’t let they give you no shit, ‘n them boys from Visage, they buncha dogs… You gotta step on ‘em, they try on you. Hard, y’unnerstand?”
“Boy say you a freak. Maybe you can give him what he need, keep him happy…”
Stella stared at her. “Well, that’s my idea, anyway…”
“Yeah?” Gina said. “That’s good then. You got a hard time coming up, the boy gets sicklike… Think you can handle it?”
“I think so.” Stella had the feeling of swimming in a dream. She had no idea of what the woman was talking about. Tracy came and rescued her.
“Marcus Mooney’s over in Visage’s dressing room, wanna meet him?” Tracy pranced in circles around her as they walked, jumped at the light fixtures overhead. Tumult began above them as Visage ended their set. –Never get used to that– His stomach twisted. Tony was balling that girl Alegra, right now, in Tracy’s room. Holding on to her like a security blanket. –Angel’s wings, lord, where did he come up with that?– He felt the need rise up, felt the heat of the woman at his side. –Take it from her– he thought. –Just like that little story, that rape. Let’s see what kind of freak you are, baby–
Sweaty, rowdy men surrounded them suddenly, and carried them along like a river; Visage were on their way back to their dressing room. The door swung open on their noisy arrival.
“Gentlemen!” A bullet-headed, smiling man greeted them. “Oh, and a lady, too. Enter, all!”
Desmond stood aside and ushered all in.
Inside, a little dandy reclined on the room’s only sofa. He clasped the head of a walking stick in his gloved hand, an island of calm amid the locker-room bedlam. “Who’s this?” he sat up.
Tracy put his arm around the girl. “Hey, Marcus. Meet my baby, Stella. Oh, yeah…”
Marcus favored her with a searching, purse-mouthed gaze. “You should have come to me first,” he said. “Do you realize you’ll be making do with second best?”
“It’s nice to meet you, too, Mister Mooney,” Stella said, and laughed. He patted the sofa.
“Sit down, my dear.”
Abandoned by Tracy, who had disappeared into the crush, she did so. Marcus surveyed her once again. “Yess… You’ll do.” He leaned forward, taking her hand. “You be good to that fool, you hear?” he said over the din; “Because I understand he’s sold on you. If you hurt him, I’ll find out about it.” He leaned closer; “And if he just can’t make you happy, baby? I know you know who’s the best.” Stella smiled sweetly into his soulful stare.
“Oh, I’ll remember, Marcus.”
Tracy dropped down on Marcus’ other side. He pitched his voice low, so she wouldn’t hear. “Ain’t she just the freak of your dreams ? I gotta do her, man– Where’s your cousin? I need a lookout–”
Marcus tsk-tsk’d. “Cold, Trace, cold. She be mine before the night is out.”
“Uh-uh,” Tracy grinned. “Not this bitch. She’ll take anything from me, man, the rougher I do her the better she likes it– let me have Desmond. I’m taking her out in the hall, Tony got a dame in my room.”
Marcus uttered his crowing laugh. “Desmond!” he called; the valet came smiling over.
“Now, Desmond,” Marcus said importantly; “Please escort the man here, and this young lady, as they require.” He looked at Stella and crowed once more.
“Allow me, miss.” Desmond handed her up from the sofa and ushered his charges out the door. Charmed by his hand at her elbow, and his dimpled smile, Stella walked out with him.
“Right here, Des,” Tracy said suddenly. They had come to a sort of cul-de-sac, half filled with stacked chairs and other flotsam. Desmond needed no explanation; “This way, miss.” His hand guided the girl into its meagre shelter, with Tracy right on her heels.
It happened so fast. Stella spun, at bay. Lulled by Tracy’s presence, Desmond’s smiling demeanor, she rapidly went into a battle state. Her senses were confused, by the tumult above them, by the look on her lover’s face. She was hemmed in next to a rickety pile of chairs, Tracy before her, Desmond to the side. Pull over the chairs, her instincts told her. Throw them into the men’s feet, make your escape. Tracy crowded into her, herding her back against the wall.
“Not here,” she said, but she had no resistance in her. He could do what he wanted. White around the mouth, he yanked at her skirt till it slid up to her waist. Her panties were emerald green silk; meant to be seen, but not in this way, pulled aside to let one ass-cheek hang out, while Tracy plunged his hand straight into her crotch. The knowing fingers found her hole already wet, drove in and started working. His breath hissed, he stared into her face intently. His own face wore the demonic mask of lust. Her mouth drooped open, eyes halflidded, he watched her sob with orgasm. She panted, struggled against him. His shoulder drove against her chest, holding her up against the chilly wall, his legs nudged hers open, her hands hung uselessly at her sides.
“No. No more…” He was wringing her dry. She whimpered. –We’re vampires– he said in her mind. –Keep me fed– Her head dropped onto his shoulder. He lifted it with his free hand entwined in her hair, his face against hers, sucking her breath into his own lungs. “No more, Trace.”
“Spread ‘em a little bit,” he commanded. “Look at me.” A puff of air from his jacket gave her his hot reek, the smell of the leather he wore. His fingers were pulling energy out of her. She moaned ecstatically. A quick glance sideways showed her Desmond, his face tight and expressionless. He had moved towards the main hall, acting as a lookout. Tracy dropped his hand lower, forcing her to squat a little in order to follow it. Cruel. “Come on,” he whispered urgently. “Give.”
“You’re taking it all–”
“I want it all,” Tracy said, through the roaring in his ears. By her words, she knew what he was doing; “Give it to me, all of it.” Her eyes closed. “Look at me,” he said again. “Don’t hold back on me, bitch.”
She had nothing left, and he was still taking from her. Stella grabbed his hand with both of hers, and ground her clit against the heel of his hand. She squeezed down on his fingers, the muscles twanging like rubber bands, the convulsive force jerking through her body. He groaned from deep in his chest, a shuddering sigh, holding her cunt tenderly in his hand. He kissed her neck. The electricity was gone, her skin flat as a dead battery. He could feel the stolen energy singing through his veins. –Got you, baby– Disengaging his hand, he held it up to show her the crystalline moisture in his palm before he passed it across his face, licking it clean. He put his fingers to her mouth, she lapped at her own cream.
“That’s for the show,” he said through his slow smile. “I need your energy to see me through, dig? Sorry, that’s the way it goes…”
“Sure,” she whispered. He stepped away from her, let her sink to the floor, his hand guiding her fall. She sat on her heels and felt him caress her head.
“Do one more thing for me, baby…” His hand went to his fly, and she could see how hard he was, pushing against the leather; “Blow me.”
–Plan on rebelling anytime soon?– Stella rubbed her face against the buttery soft leather. Desmond shifted his weight, making his presence known.
“Oh, yeah,” Tracy sighed, and hauled his cock out, swollen and purple headed. She took it into her mouth eagerly, sliding up the shaft. “Uh,” he said and pushed his pants down. “Go down, baby–” he thrust at her; “Ooh… Smear your lipstick all over my balls, go on, paint ‘em red.”
His hands were driving her crazy as they rested on her head, right through the swimming fatigue she felt. She wanted him to come, wanted some of her energy back. –We’re vampires… I’ll keep you fed– she was as hungry as ever she’d been. She pulled his balls into her mouth, her face pushed hard against his groin. Lapped up his cock’s shaft, pulling the foreskin back before she attacked the head. She sucked strongly, hearing the note come into his voice; “Ooh,” he purred. “Mmnn…” he pushed at her face suddenly and pulled out, stepping away from her. “Shit baby, you almost got me, oh lord!” he said, and Desmond snickered. Tracy packed himself, gingerly, back into the leather, wincing as he buttoned up. “I work best with blue balls.” He grinned at her weary glare, but he was shaken. His chest heaved, nostrils flared, eyes still hot. Stella looked up from the floor.
“Dammit,” she panted. “I can’t stand up, Trace.”
“Desmond?” Tracy said. He was there in a flash. “Stella here ain’t feeling so well… Help me get her to my room?”
“Certainly, Mister Bell.” Desmond stepped in front of her, and she felt his hands under her armpits lift her gently. She clung to him, swaying, while Tracy straightened out her clothes. Desmond’s leering smile swam in and out of focus. She could hardly care about what he’d seen and heard. At the first step she took, her knees buckled. Desmond swung her up into his arms with hardly a pause, carrying her like a child down the hallway, while Tracy swaggered ahead, proud as a tomcat. “Motherfucker!” Stella muttered, causing Desmond to tutt-tutt. She was dumped on the sofa as Tracy lit his candles. A lovely soft light flooded the room, grateful to the eye after the harsh fluorescence.
Tracy kissed her cheek. “Good-bye Stella, see you after the show, I’m so late– I’ll send Alegra along, okay?” She heard his shout of laughter outside the door as he left, and winced.
Desmond bent over her. “Can I do anything for you, darling?”
“Brandy?” she said. He pulled a little flask from his pocket.
“I should have known,” she said “I was joking.”
“Just a little,” he coaxed. Stella took a sip. It really did help. She pushed it away after the second taste. Sitting up was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do. Desmond perched on the dressing table and leered.
“Can’t take it?” he asked. “Cause if you want, you can get that sweet thing from a sweet man– you don’t have to be with that freak, you know.”
“Sorry baby,” Stella said weakly. “No one’s ever out-freaked me… I’ll bring him to his knees after the show, you watch.” He whistled, and looked away, to show his opinion. She shook her head at the proffered flask, and he swigged from it, leaned back to display his bulging fly.
“Aw, baby,” he said invitingly. “Maybe you just need a taste of the good stuff?”
Stella thought about it.
“You know… You got some fine legs, sugar. Those stockings, mmnn-hmnn.” Desmond shook his head admiringly. She was empty, empty, and Alegra came in at just that minute, to save her.
“Stella? Tracy said you fainted?”
Oh, Angel, I’m so cold,” She whispered. “I’m hungry– He stole it from me…”
Alegra sat next to her and hugged her tightly. “Omigod…” she crooned, rocking.
“This is Angel,” Stella said from the sanctuary of her arms; Desmond’s interest had leapt a hundredfold at the girl’s entrance. “You can call her Miss Alegra.”
“Oh, yes, ma’am!” he said, leering.
“Desmond,” Alegra said in her clear voice; “There’s food in the band room, can I bring something in here?”
“Yes ma’am,” he said in an entirely different tone of voice, and got to his feet. “I’ll be back in just one minute.”
“Karen, what happened?”
Stella tried to collect her thoughts. “Did you guys fuck or anything, just now?”
“Yeah, we came in here and balled.”
“Did Tony come?”
Alegra looked surprised. “Um, I guess not, he pulled out before.”
“Don’t you feel tired?”
“Oh, well,” Stella said. “I guess I’ve been through a lot lately.”
“What? What?” Alegra demanded. Stella told her about Tracy’s vampirism, and her eyes got huge.
“Ooh, and you fainted? Omigod, that’s scary!”
“Just like the stories, huh. Don’t be scared… I’ve given energy that way before– and taken it too–”
“Girls can do that?”
“Uh, yeah.” Stella groped through her fatigue. “You just make sure he comes and you don’t… You kind of suck it in… You’ll feel it. Anyways, it usually doesn’t hurt, like you didn’t notice it. I never had it pulled out of me, that way… Oh, Alegra… I should have known, huh?”
Overhead thunder erupted; the show had started.
“Listen,” Stella said; “They’re playing ‘The Beat.’” Alegra looked stricken. “Go on up,” Stella urged. “I’ll be okay with a little sleep, you don’t want to miss this– Listen, though, don’t let Desmond back in here, okay?”
“Why, don’t you trust him?”
“Oh, yeah– it’s me I don’t trust.” Stella laughed at Alegra’s expression. “I was joking– really.”
Desmond’s voice called at the door. Alegra returned with a plate of fruit and cheese. “Go on, now.” Stella took her hands and kissed them devotedly, for Desmond’s benefit; “Ask him to take you up, sweetheart.”
“Tracy Bell loves her,” Alegra was saying indignantly, in response to some comment he made as the door closed on them. Stella grinned, picturing Angel reading him the book all the way up to the stage; thus legends are made. She felt, however, horrible. Tired, restless and unfulfilled; as though he’d taken back everything they’d done together, knowing that wasn’t true. She cupped her cunt in her hand, but there was nothing to start from, not a spark; he’d robbed her thoroughly.