Read Chapter One, by clicking here
...Only two years after I posted Chapter One, the story continues... :)
The doorbell sounded like the Addams Family dinner-gong, and that was how celebrity told you it had landed in this neighbourhood. The louder the bell, the more famous and popular the neighbours knew you were.
“Good afternoon, Baby!” the almond-eyed, ebony-skinned goddess purred as she opened the door, wearing one of her own signature velour track-suits and gold trainers. Her poker-straight blonde weave extensions shone like bronze in the Malibu afternoon.
The visitor, who had frozen at the over-familiarised endearment, switched on a smile and offered a hand. Audrey Hepworth couldn’t have been more different to her hostess. Wearing her brunette hair high in a French pleat, with a belted lilac shift dress, matching swing coat and Mary Jane courts, her skimmed-milk complexion hidden behind huge Jackie O sunglasses, she looked as though she had just stepped off the cover plate of a vintage Vogue.
“Audrey,” Audrey greeted the style icon, as they shook hands more formally. “May I say this is fabulous? Is it true your chandelier was from the famous Coronado hotel featured in Some Like It Hot?”
“Well, it was from some swanky hotel somewhere,” the singer laughed. “Come in, come in. The boys are out at some guy thing in Vegas for the weekend. But I don’t care because I have a new toy to keep me going. While the cat’s away, the girls will play. Come and check it out.”
With a barely concealed gulp, Audrey propped her sunglasses on top of her head, took out her personal recorder and followed the more languid lady into the seventy-one room mansion. The studded and reinforced front door closed behind her with an equally Gothic boom.
“Wonderful stained glass,” Audrey mused, admiring the rainbow light flooding the staircase in the main entrance hall. “Contemporary?”
“It’s all from some old church in England. My ex-husband bought it as a renovation project, took the windows out pretending they needed restoration, and shipped them over here. He got some guy to make Perspex replicas for the church. Neat, huh?”
“Hmmm.” Audrey’s thoughts on the matter were inscrutable.
“Never mind the old windows. Come to where the magic happens and I’ll show you my new toy.”
Audrey was not entirely sure what to expect or where they were going, but followed her hostess as she padded cat-like through the ground floor of the house. There was no mistaking that this was a big boy’s playpen. They crossed a pool hall, and a through a den set up for poker and roulette. The glass-and-stainless-steel designer kitchen had more knives on display than a travelling stunt circus. Finally they cut across the ‘back porch’ as the singer described it modestly, with its fully al-fresco marble bathroom and shower complete with tub, lavatory, bidet and urinals, and around the pool in the shape of a Beretta semi-automatic.
Fanning herself with her clutch-purse, Audrey followed the owner through a door and found herself in a large garage.
“Oh,” she said, rather relieved, and the air-conditioning took the edge off her blush. Her eyes adjusted, and the singer switched on the spotlighting. “Well, this is all very clean. Good clean fun.”
“This is the magic, Baby.” The goddess ran a loving hand over the brick-like shape of a new black Hummer. “Gold-plated grill, illuminated spinning rims, tinted bullet-proof glass, 360 degree shielding, stinger-proof tyres, security GPS - engine tuned by Bugatti - it don’t get hotter than this.”
She slid open a side door.
“Sound system straight from the Masters of Mix,” she said. “Next time you hear about a quake on this side of the coast, you’ll know what caused it.”
“Gosh,” Audrey nodded. The singer went on in some detail as to the specifications, leaving Audrey in no doubt as to who expected recognition as the alpha-female in the room. The one with her balls out, as it were.
“…But you know what?” the singer continued, and her tone dropped slightly. “My new fella, Billy-Bo - he hates it. I just don’t understand. He’s got everything right here he could ever want. And yet he pulls out and jets off to Vegas to do it all with the guys. I don’t get it. He turned to me when I was buying this car, and said to me ‘Honey, this car is all of your problems rolled into one.’ What do you suppose he means by that?”
Audrey found herself on the receiving end of a genuine pause, and sighed.
“Well,” she said at last, and slipped off her lilac coat. “Let me demonstrate.”
She approached the front of the Hummer, and ran her hand up the golden grill.
“It’s all too vertical,” she said. “Whereas this - is this your partner’s?”
She gestured to the yellow Lamborghini parked opposite.
“Uh, yeah, he bought it as a birthday present for me, but it’s not my style. But he keeps it anyway, I don’t know why…”
Audrey walked over to the sports car, turned around, hiked her skirt a little, and flung herself back on the bonnet. Her hostess gave a shocked gasp.
“Now, this is more like it,” Audrey said, gazing at the garage ceiling. She raised one knee delicately and wriggled, showing half an inch of stocking-top. “See? That’s what the advantage is. It says, Take me now, you sexy beast.”
She slid off the Lamborghini, straightened her skirt and walked back over to the Hummer.
“While this just says, I’m going to ram-raid you and leave you for dead, making off with all your cash,” she said. “Which I’m sure isn’t in any way a fair portrayal of your relationship with Mr. Billy-Bo.”
“Well, I certainly hope not,” muttered the singer. “He’s a guy - I just expected him to dig chicks who were into cars and guy shit.”
“Never mind. It’s all just speculation, about what goes on in men’s minds,” Audrey reassured her, picking up her coat and recorder again. “Let’s start the interview. So, the magazine is interested in your plans for a white wedding…?”