The Rolls Royce Silver Shadow coasted up the driveway towards Castle Stuart Country House Hotel. At 8:00pm exactly, the driver drew up at the impressive double pillared entrance. This was it then. Our chance to shine. The doorman who had been guarding the entrance approached and opened the car door.
The company had paired everyone off for the evening, and I’d only just met Andy Sinclair less than half an hour before. I turned to him and smiled, before stepping demurely onto the gravelled surface beneath my feet.
I gazed around nervously as I waited on my tuxedo clad chaperone to disembark the vehicle. Drawing in a breath, we set off for the main hall.
“Don’t look so serious,” said Andy, with a confident grin.
I gazed up at him. “That’s easy for you to say, there’s a knot in my stomach the size of Gibraltar.”
Keeping the grin, he lent into me. “Just be sweet, hun, and don’t forget to smile.”
When we arrived at the elegant marbled foyer, a staff member took our names, and guided us through the vast main hall to our table. There was about half a dozen people seated already. I glanced from face to face, giving a polite smile. A waitress greeted us with a glass of Champagne. I eyed it like a recovering alcoholic, and took a long swallow. God I was nervous.
“Easy, hun, I don’t plan on heading back early, relax, enjoy,” said Andy, clinking glasses with mine.
I laughed, at least he had a sense of humour.
About ten minutes later more guests arrived at our table, dressed to the nines in designer labels, and air kissing their acquaintances already seated.
“That’s Deborah Parkinson and Leon Huntley,” said Andy.
I wondered if I should have known who they were. But from the flurry of attention they’d just created, I gathered they were VIP’s of some description. A rumble of chat, and a few side-ways glances ensued til they were settled comfortably at the table.
“Decker Associate Film,” said Andy, noting my blank expression.
It suddenly dawned. “Ah, of course, it’s funny how the jigsaw eventually fits into place.”
We were small compared to them. Our independent status meant low budget, but we were certainly not inferior in any way. Star Productions employed the best raw young talent in the business, and we had a pretty big year coming up. Tonight might just see us pick up a Golden Torch Award. Nerves fluttered in my stomach again. I was beyond excited.
Another brimming glass of cool Champagne was placed in front of me. I took a long slow sip, how delicious.
Random flashlights went off around us, the press kept up a vigil as new guests continued to pour in. I fumbled with my diamond solitaire necklace, part of a set borrowed from Langley’s the jeweller that very afternoon.
“You’re looking sharp tonight, hun,” offered Andy.
“Thanks,” I said, feeling flattered.
The entire outfit had either been borrowed, begged or stolen. Apart from my gorgeous Jimmy Choos, at least I could claim them to be my own. Even my ball gown had been salvaged from the vintage shop on the high street. It was stunning though; hugging the geometry of my body perfectly.
I glanced around at the star studded ensemble, Jenna Mooney and Hector De La Roach were sitting only a few feet away from us. I adored their last movie together - The Masked Crusader. The tragic beauty and the wicked henchman never failed to stir my emotions into frenzy of vivacity.
The hall seemed almost to be at bursting point now. The two seats beside me, remained empty however.
“I think someone’s running a little late,” Andy commented.
It could be a tad embarrassing if they arrived after the event got started. The cameras never missed a trick, and the said latecomers would no doubt find themselves at the butt of a lengthy joke.
Just as the lights were starting to dim in preparation for the first movie clip of the night, the maître d’ appeared at the table with Helena Onfroi and Jon Ogilvie. I was astounded. They were my heroes. I gave a polite nod to both Helena and Jon. I then turned to Andy who was open mouthed, and barely able to keep his eyes off the lustrous French beauty.
“I think I’ve just spotted the future Mrs Sinclair,” said Andy, completely spellbound.
“Er, she’s married, to Christian Sylvester, remember,” I replied.
He flashed a smile. “That’s a minor detail, hun… these continental types collect husbands like shoes.”
I gave a muffled laugh. “Just try and get within ten feet of her, and see what happens.”
I knew Andy had meant trouble the very minute I had clapped eyes on him. He had a mischievous glint in his eye. I’d seen it many times before.
“Fancy swapping seats?” he enquired.
“NO!” I said taking a sip of the beautifully chilled Champagne, and disregarding his remark as insane.
“I’ll lend you my Porsche for a whole month,” he said temptingly.
“Sorry, no can do…. I’ve got an oyster card, plus I don’t drive anyway.”
All of a sudden the hall went quite as the host for the evening emerged under the spotlight. Broadcaster, Patrick Aitken, gave a warm welcome to the 25th Golden Flame Awards. And without further adieu, the huge screen came to life. First up was – Field of Dreams.
The organizers were really out to put on a show, the imagery was outstanding. Even the audio system was blasting at us from all angles. I really felt as if I was there. I sat back entranced, and watched the three minute clip.
At least they’d shown a part of the film I could piece together pretty easily. It meant my brain didn’t need to work over-time in order to phantom it out. The Champagne was already dulling my senses, and we were less than an hour in. Up til now the maître d’ and staff had furnished us with endless refills, without having to lift a finger.
After the first film clip there was a short applause, followed by a few words from the ever charming, Patrick Aitken. The atmosphere in the hall was so electric, I barely took in a word.
“You don’t give much away, hun,” said Andy.
“Excuse me… am I being too quiet tonight?” I asked.
He smiled. “A little interaction might help, I know nothing about you really.”
“Sorry, I just thought you’d want to keep it professional.”
Small talk was my thing at work, but somehow this was different. The high viz events always gave the papers ammunition for mis-quotes. I’d learnt to stay silent, til the cameras were out the way at any rate.
“Professional, is okay for a bit before it starts to get tedious,” he stated.
I gave a wry smile. I got the distinct impression Andy had been expecting a diva to turn up that evening, but he’d got me instead.
“Sure,” I said coyly. “But I want to represent the company, in the best light possible.”
“I hope you’re still in the same frame of mind after another few of those,” he said nodding at the flotilla of Champagne placed in the centre of the table.
“Don’t worry, I can hold my liquor,” I said.
Helena Onfroi glanced across at us, her date had vacated his seat, and was chin wagging at the table opposite. How rude, I thought.
“Enjoying the event?” I asked, out of politeness.
“Goodness yes, I’d be hard pushed to pick a winner tonight from the line up,” she said with the merest hint of an accent.
“True, the standard of film is quite amazing now.”
I tried not to study her, but she was completely beguiling. She wore a wine coloured evening dress, and dark red lipstick, she seemed to stand out from the crowd. I now understood why so many fell under her spell.
“Yes, I’m so glad I only act in the films,” she said in a soothing lullaby tone.
I had to say, I was glad when Patrick Aitken interrupted, I thought Andy was just about to faint beside me.
Our very own, Star Productions was up next with - The Good Samaritan. I looked on as the heroine, Estelle Philippe, manned a helpline in a depressed inner city. The story told of social depravation, leading to addiction, despair and abuse. It was originally a hard hitting drama before being made into film.
Afterwards I was glassy eyed. We’d given a top performance, and it looked as though many months of hard work had just paid off.
Helena radiated a mystical aura as she sat about a foot away. Andy had turned mute, as he sat doe eyed, his body language translated as - eager and willing, at the merest sign of a que from Helena that was. I further guessed he’d be kept waiting.
The evening progressed with a series of short tributes after each film clip from Patrick Aitken; followed by more Champagne, delicious canapés and friendly chit chat.
But In the end, the prestigious award had gone to – Field of Dreams. Almost predictably, if I had to say it, but a completely deserved performance.
I glanced discreetly at my borrowed Rolex wrist watch, it was just approaching 12 midnight.
“Right then Cinders, your carriage awaits,” said Andy rising from the chair.
I could hardly believe the night had passed so quickly. Even with the Champagne flowing like Niagra Falls, I still felt reasonably sober. Still, I had a pleasant car journey home to look forward to. It wasn’t that often the company splashed out on a Rolls Royce. I had been treated like a Princess for one evening at least.
“Hasn’t time flown,” said Helena.
“Yes, there’s always next year though, perhaps we’ll meet again.” I said.
She nodded, and watched as Andy and myself got ready to leave. Jon Ogilvie was slumped in the chair beside her, trying to make sense of his cell phone. He did look the worst for wear, I noted.
“Off to some glamorous showbiz party now then?” enquired Helena.
“Homeward bound, that’s the extent of our shenanigan I’m afraid,” I said.
She hesitated before replying. “You’re both most welcome to drop in at my hotel, I’m throwing a small party…. Le Residence, Penthouse - 15251.”
Andy and I spoke almost at once. “We’d be delighted….”
The Rolls Royce Silver Shadow drew up outside Le Residence at 12:35am. We had given Helena a head start of about ten minutes on us. She’d departed the film event alone, and was whisked off in a Daimler V8 driven by her tough-nut body guard.
A minute later Andy and I found ourselves in the opulent reception area of the upmarket hotel, Le Residence. No one gave us a second glance, we must have fitted right in. Soon we were heading up to Penthouse 15251. The luminous digits flicked quickly by; the doors of the elevator opened onto floor number 15.
We gave one another a smug look, before heading along a lavishly decorated corridor in search of Helena’s party. An invite was probably the last thing we’d been expecting. Seconds later we were right in front of door 15251. Andy gave two firm knocks. Then we waited.
I could hear voices coming from inside, and music playing. Suddenly the door sprang open, it was Helena herself, she beamed a smile and ushered us both inside.
She led us into a room with a huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Magnificent paintings laced the walls, one enormous picture window looked onto the city skyline outside. Drew Casey, Antoinette Montague and Octavia Friedrich stood chatting, drinking and laughing. Chopin’s – Polonaise, in A flat minor filled the room.
Andy and I casually glanced across at the group of actors, all of them with run-away box office hits under their belts. Helena handed us both a glass of Champagne. I stole a look at the label, Piper Hiedseik, it was a seriously good one. A tray of canapés hovered past us, platters of sea food, continental cheeses, stuffed olives, and Parma hams littered the table before us.
“Delighted you could make it,” said Helena pleasantly.
“Thanks for inviting us,” said Andy.
“Yes, thank you Helena.”
“So, are you over in the U.K for business or pleasure,” enquired Andy.
“Business, I have some promotional interviews, guest appearances, meetings to attend, etc,”
She definitely seemed to be happy in her work, and appeared to fully embrace the party lifestyle. I knew for a fact some celebrities shirked the limelight, opting instead for a more low key approach to the entire scene.
“Do you have a place in the U.K?” asked Andy.
“Sadly no, I normally just reserve a penthouse for the time I’m over here.”
“You live in Paris, yes?” I asked.
Her face lit up. She obviously loved her country. “I live in the Bastille area, I have a residence just off the Rue De Mignon, which over-looks the River Seine.”
I listened intrigued and sipped the cool Champagne, it tasted divine. More people arrived as we stood chatting to Helena. Madison Elvey and Freddie Holt, from the rock band - Toxic. A small entourage flanked them; most likely roadies and P.A’s I reckoned.
“Please, enjoy the party,” said Helena. “I must dash and say hello to a few people.”
With that she turned on her heels. Andy and I could barely stop grinning. They’d never believe us back at work on Monday. There was no sign of her husband, Christian Sylvester, I observed. I supposed he was back in Paris, waiting forlornly on his beautiful wife’s return.
“Helena’s not as I imagined her to be,” I said to Andy.
“No, she’s far more down to earth than I would have expected, and much more beautiful in the flesh.”
“I’d say she’s not your typical screen actress,” I concluded.
Andy nodded in agreement. “Something tells me she’s pretty straight laced though.”
She hadn’t been anything more than civil, and of course welcoming. Whatever preconceptions we’d had before, they now seemed to have tailed away. Andy looked pissed, he’d been hoping for a super-charged nymphomaniac. I gave him a knowing grin and helped myself to a few petite langoustines in whisky cream, and brie crostini’s topped with caramelized pears. Quite delicious.
I sat looking onto the bright lights of the city when Helena came over and sat down next to me. The usual heavy street traffic had disappeared. The city was still for once.
“It’s a glorious morning out there, I love the view from here,” she said.
I glanced up. “Yes, it is rather exquisite.”
“I often sit here alone, when I have a spare moment,” she said dreamily.
“Isn’t your husband with you Helena?” I enquired, hoping I wasn’t being too intrusive.
“No, Christian and I have parted, temporarily,” she said pensively.
I was a little shocked, they had one of the strongest marriages in the industry of film.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I said.
She held onto a fluted Champagne glass, and stared out the window. I stayed quiet, and tried hard to divert my gaze from her. Her silken hair was pulled into a chignon, a few strands had escaped and curled up, but she seemed not to care.
“Our schedules were such that we spent little time together, he has his career, and I have mine,” she said giving a shrug.
“Of course, I understand.”
She then turned and smiled. “Please forgive me, I don’t mean to burden you with my life’s woes.”
She then lifted her glass and toasted to future happiness.
I sneaked a look at my watch, it was 5:45am. Helena’s other guests had long since departed. Leaving only myself and Andy, who was snoring softly on the chaise longue but a few feet away.
Daylight was breaking outside, the first signs glimmered in the distance. I figured it was time to be heading home, our executive car and driver had been dismissed the minute we’d arrived at Le Residence. A ten minute walk should help waken us up.
Helena must have read my thoughts. “Can I phone you a mini cab? …. it’s no trouble.”
“We both live only a few streets away, but thank you.”
“The two of you would make such a nice couple, he is a handsome man,” said Helena.
I laughed. “I’m afraid to say it, but I don’t think I’m cut out for monogamy.”
She smiled. “You and me both, my dear.”
In my opinion Helena had done well to keep her personal life out the tabloids. Whispers were always rife, but she and Christian had remained free of the rumour mill, whatever their marital differences.
“You’re not in a relationship then?” she asked.
“No,” I said. “Not at the moment anyway.”
She sat watching me with some amusement. I supposed she was wondering if I had a train wreck for a life.
“Pardon me, but you are very attractive…. aren’t they queuing up,” she said with a wink.
“Ha, not quite, I think I scare them off.”
“Please don’t take this the wrong way, but have you ever been with a woman?” she asked.
“Yes I have, but it’s not something I go out looking for,” I replied in earnest.
I had drunk enough Champagne to sink a battle ship that night, but my body shook with nerves at what I assumed she meant. She was my screen hero, the wonderfully talented, Helena Onfroi.
She then ran the tips of her fingers along my thigh, her gaze lingered on mine. The aromatic scent of her perfume seemed to ignite my senses. It was powerful.
Holding my eye, she awaited my response; I was going nowhere. As far as I was concerned, no one ever had to find out.
“You know, Leah, I’ve been drawn to you all evening,” she whispered.
“I’m sorry if I seemed not to notice, I just thought you were being friendly.”
“And so I was, but I felt some kind of connection with you,” she said.
My heart rate had started to increase, and she’d barely touched me. This extraordinary woman was quickly reducing me to mush.
“It’s okay, I won’t do anything you don’t want me to,” she said softly.
Suddenly I ached for her touch. She then put her arms around me, and kissed me gently. It felt so good, so natural.
Helena’s lithe body pressed against mine, as we sat there on the sofa. I felt her warm breath on my neck, she then kissed along my collar bone, a tremor rippled through me.
Reaching behind me, she pulled down the zipper on my dress, and eased it down my body. I gave a half smile, I could hardly believe this was happening.
The rest of Helena’s penthouse was in darkness now, apart from some subtle mood lighting. All of a sudden Andy sneezed, lurching almost into the air. Our eyes widened, we waited with baited breath, it could be all over.
I rested my back against the sofa, and kept one eye on Andy, the other on Helena. If we jumped the gun, there would surely be hell to pay. After-all Helena was his future Mrs Sinclair. And here was I, trespassing. A crime against the code of lawful conduct, in anyone’s book.
After about a minute, it was obvious Andy was out for the count. A gave a long sigh, my nerves were on tender-hooks.
Helena turned back to me. “Do you wish to continue?…. I don’t want to over step the line.”
I feared the moment had been killed. “Isn’t there anywhere a little more, private?”
“Of course, my own quarters,” she said agreeably. “Follow me.”
I gathered up my dress, my favourite Jimmy Choos, and my purse. A moment later I was standing in the middle of Helena’s enormous bedroom. She sat on the side of the bed, and beckoned me towards her.
She smiled. “I feel as if I’ve known you a lot longer than only a few hours.”
“Perhaps we are soul mates, who were destined to meet.”
“For sure, everything happens for a reason,” she remarked.
I gazed out at the city skyline as it came alive once more. Tempered sunlight spilled through the glass, lighting up Helena’s sumptuously decorated boudoir. I wondered if she ever closed the drapes. My thoughts then drifted, as I felt her warm breath on me once more. I closed my eyes, lost in a dream. She was so pretty, and I adored her.
My body began to throb with need, as we undressed one another; slinging our garments to the floor. She was wearing stockings and a garter belt, which I removed slowly. Her skin felt like velvet to my touch, as I swept my hands over her pert derriere, encasing and caressing.
Kneeling beside her, my hand came to rest on the small of her back. We French kissed, slowly and sensuously, savouring the moment; long and lingering. If Andy came in right now, he could fuck off. Helena was mine.
“I want you,” said Helena, as she placed kisses around my neck.
“I am yours, Helena, don’t stop,” I said breathlessly.
I lay there, completely on fire; the sheets beneath me ablaze. She smiled and kissed my lips briefly, but harder this time. Then travelled down my body, stopping to suck my nipples into her mouth. I groaned at her touch. She could take me anywhere, I was intoxicated.
“You know Leah,” she began, “I want to make you scream out in ecstasy.”
I laughed. “Oh, please…. I am your willing toy.”
I felt completely at ease with her, her manner was confident, but she appeared not to have an ego. I felt like her equal, even though she was a super star. And she, was here with me.
As Helena worked her talented mouth on my body, I was slowly inching further and further into paradise. Her tongue now danced around my inner thighs. Biting tenderly, and drawing soft groans. Then she’d gaze up, checking my reaction.
It seemed to go on for an age, it felt so good. All the time I was willing her to take the plunge. I ached for her. She was driving me crazy. Her slow taunting was nothing short of torture. She was making me burn in places I’d only ever imagined.
“Please Helena….” I eventually said. “I can’t stand this.”
She looked up at me, giving a low wicked laugh. “How much do you want it, my dear Leah?”
“You know the answer to that already,” I said, my chest heaving.
She held my eye for a moment, the look on her face said, she was feeling the same pain. Oddly, it was rather pleasurable, in a sadistic sort of way. I was floating in a kind of outer body experience, as her warm mouth closed over my clitoris. I breathed a sigh.
Her tongue ran the length of my inner folds, she used the tip to tease and tantalize. I was suspended in a tide of ecstasy, as she took my hardened clit into her mouth, sucking gently; then driving her tongue inside me. I groaned loudly.
After a minute she came up for air and giggled. “I want you to come so hard for me, my sweetest friend.”
The way she was carrying on it wasn’t far off, much more of her current assault and I’d be a jingle of sporadic screams.
I moaned her name as she pushed a finger inside me. A quite whimper escaped my throat; she took complete control. Her other hand was griped firmly in mine now, it was apparent my soul belonged to her, for that short time.
Helena’s huge boudoir lay silent, as I gasped at the delicious pleasure she was bestowing on my body. It was easy to believe life was always this perfect. As she continued to thrust her fingers into my gushing pussy, I writhed beneath her, moving ever closer to blissful rapture.
Every now and then she would slow it down, stopping almost all together, as she felt my orgasm rise. She’d move to the plateau of my stomach instead, and plant little butterfly kisses. I could feel the pleasing chill as her warm breath meandered back and forth across my bare skin.
After what could only have been thirty seconds or so, she would return. Each time her touch felt more intense than before, taking me higher. She alternated between sucking and licking my clitoris then using some kind of corkscrew manoeuvre to delve her fingers into my pussy. It felt amazing. I didn’t know how much longer I could stave off a major eruption. I wanted to come so badly.
Just for today, I would let my mind believe the impossible. I wasn’t dreaming for once. This was real.
“Helena, please let me come,” I said between uneven breaths.
My hand gripped onto hers so tightly, I was grasping blindly at the bed sheets beneath me. My moans grew louder, as she thrust two fingers inside me, catching my g-spot. Perhaps it did exist, and wasn’t just myth.
“Come, my sweet,” she said, almost as a command.
All of a sudden it hit me, and washed through my every fibre like a tidal wave of pure euphoria. A gave one final gut clenching scream. My body seizing, all sense of control had been lost.
As I lay there exhausted, I could feel Helena’s warm body against mine. She leant across, kissing me tenderly on the lips. I smiled back at her. Oh, what an experience she’d just given to me.
“Thank you,” I said.
She gave a wistful grin. “I felt that, it was intense.”
After a few minutes of lying there beside Helena, on her enormous bed, the thought occurred to me that I may never see her again. I gazed at her somberly, taking in the colour of her eyes, the cute way she smiled, just as a personal memo. Just in case, this was it.
At that moment, I could hear movement in the lounge area next door. Andy was obviously up and about, and probably wondering where the hell we‘d got to.
“I think we had better go and face the music, my sweet lover,” she said with a grin.
I nodded, and rose from the bed. Our clothes were strewn everywhere. I groaned at the mess, and at the monstrous headache I seemed to have. Without question, Champagne in such quantities should be outlawed.
I slipped into Helena’s huge bathroom to freshen up. I checked my appearance in the mirror, considering I was wearing the previous night’s make-up, and hadn’t slept a wink, I looked okay. Surprisingly.
I tried to appear super casual, as I wondered into the lounge. Andy was sitting on the chaise longue, his head in his hands, staring absently at the floor.
“Good morning, Andy,” I said cheerily.
Drawn from his thoughts, he bolted upright, and gave a tortured sigh. “For you, maybe…. you, you, bitch that you are.”
I stood there motionless; I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole. He was taking this worse than I had anticipated.
After a long silence, I decided honesty was the best option. “I hadn’t realized you were listening.”
“Listening, I couldn’t help it, the entire hotel probably heard,” he fumed.
I felt sick, grim reality was kicking in. I sat down, and gazed out at the bustling Bartholomew Street below. A moment later I looked up as Helena made her appearance.
“Bonjour tout le monde,” she said, looking the model of composure.
But sensing an atmosphere, she made straight for the kitchenette, and set about making coffee.
He could say whatever he wanted, it would change nothing. I wondered if the best-kept-secret would remain between the three of us.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get over what you and Helena put me through last night,” he mused.
His voice seemed to be coming from miles away. I was just far too exhausted and over whelmed at this stage, to really take any more in. My mind was doing revolutions.
Just when I thought I’d blown it with Andy, as far as friendship goes anyway, he got up and came across to where I was sitting.
“You know, hun, I wish to hell it had been me in there,” he said quietly.
I blinked in acknowledgement, of course he did, what red blooded male wouldn’t.
Over coffee, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 played in the background. Once or twice I caught Helena’s eye, it was all I could do to stop myself from grinning.
A short time later we said au revoir, and made our way back along the lavishly decorated corridor. As we stood waiting on the elevator, I glanced down to find a red opal brooch pinned to my dress. I smiled, at least now I had a keepsake.
Later that same week:
Email message from Helena Enfroi
>I have enclosed two e-tickets for the premier of my film - ‘The Next Chapter’ - this coming Saturday, hope you can make it.
>Looking forward to seeing you again.
My face creased into a smile, this Saturday, I was free. Now, I wondered what I should wear.
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