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Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31





Chapter Twenty - Eight

            'How was your meeting?' Rosarita asked, not particularly interested but vaguely aware that she had to keep up some kind of front.

            'My agent quit,' Dexter said, his handsome face glum.

            'Quit you?' Rosarita said, not surprised because his so-called career was going exactly nowhere.

            'No. quit the agency.'

            'What now?'

            'I have a new agent. A woman.'

            'Oh. Attractive?'

            'She seems nice.'

            'Dynamic?'

            'No idea. She talks a good game.'

            'That's what you need, Dex. Someone who talks a good game.'

            'You look rested,' he said, fully aware that she'd been in bed all day because Conchita had told him so on his way in. he considered it a good sign - maybe her body was trying to tell her something. 'Did you only just get up?' he asked.

            'As a matter of fact, I did,' she replied, yawning. 'I'm still recovering from that Chinese restaurant you insisted we eat at the other night.'

            He was not in the mood to remind her again that it was a restaurant she had chosen.

            'Annie wants me to study with an acting coach,' he said. 'What do you think?'

            'Who's Annie?'

            'My new agent.'

            'It's not a bad idea,' Rosarita said, thinking she couldn't care less what he did. Having spent the day in bed, she'd come up with a plan. And the plan was poison!

            She smiled to herself. It was all so simple, why hadn't she thought of it before? She didn't need a hit man, she didn't need her father. Why allow other people to have something on her? No, this was a project she could undertake all by herself.

            The idea had occurred to her while she was slipping TV channels and had come across an old Bette Davis movie. Poison. The ideal solution.

            She was planning to poison Dexter, and she was going to do it in Las Vegas!

***

            Carrie Hanlon was surrounded by a makeup artist, a body makeup person, two hairdressers, three stylists, an editor, an assistant from the magazine and a journalist who was writing a profile on her. Carrie Hanlon gave great entourage.

            Carrie, supermodel that she was, seemed unimpressed with Joel's roses. She glanced at him as if he was a creature from outer space, and threw them to one of her minions.

            For a moment Joel was intimidated. But then he thought, The hell with this bitch. I'm the son of one of the richest men in the world. Why shouldn't she sit up and take notice like all the rest?

            Testio a manic- looking Italian American the same ages as Joel, with long, greasy hair and several gold stud earring - was pleased to see him. 'This is like old times,' he said, flinging his arm around Joel's shoulders. 'Haven't seen you, haven't heard from you. Where you bin hiding, man?'

            'Whatever happened to Miss Denmark?' Joel asked, hoping there was no bad blood between them. It was stupid to fall out over a woman when there were certainly enough of them to go around.

            'Oh, her,' Testio said, obviously out of love. 'She turned out to be the same as all the rest. Went back to Denmark and married a farmer.'

            'who're you talking about?' Carrie asked, sitting in the midst of her entourage at the long trestle table.

            'Dagmar, remember her?' Testio said.

            'Not really,' Carrie replied, picking up a lettuce leaf and nibbling at it. 'she can't have been anybody.'

            Carrie Hanlon was a magnificent specimen of womanhood. She was five feet ten inches tall, with a mane of tawny hair, large eyes, full lips, a straight nose, and the kind of body every red-blooded American boy wished live next door.

            'It's been a while, Carrie,' Joel said, finding a place for himself at the table as close to her as possible.

            'Have we met before?' Carrie inquired, prompting a sly under-the -table giggle from her bisexual stylist.

            'Surely you remember?' Joel said. 'Or maybe your were too stoned that night.'

            'I don't do drugs,' Carrie said, causing her other stylist to break into insane laughter. 'Coke isn't drugs,' she muttered irritably. 'Coke clears the sinuses. I have very bad sinuses. Anyway, I don't do it.'

            The interviewer, a thin, bespectacled man, perked up considerably. 'You don't do what?' he asked, tape-recorder in hand.

            'Any kind of drugs,' Carrie said, widening her eyes. 'I take vitamins. They keep me full of energy and make me look good.'

            'No, I make her look so good,' muttered the Chinese makeup artist sitting at the other end of the table.

            'How come you're here today?' Testio asked Joel, passing him a bottle of red wine.

            'I was in the neighborhood,' Joel said, pouring himself a glass. 'Figured it had been too long. Had no idea you were working with Carrie.'

            'She's not easy,' Testio muttered in his ear. 'But she's worth it.'

            'I hope you're talking about the photos,' Carrie said, enjoying being the center of attention, although quite used to it at this stage of her career, she'd been a star model since she was fifteen.

            'No,' Testio teased. 'I was talking about sex.'

            'I don't have sex,' Carrie said, glancing at her interviewer. 'I'm saving myself for marriage.'

            Testio roared with laughter.

            The interviewer said, 'Is that true?'

            Carrie smiled her all-American -girl smile. 'That's what you're going to print,' she said sweetly. 'Isn't it?'

            The man nodded. He was in the presence of true beauty and it was making him a nervous wreck.

            'I have a business proposition I'd like to discuss with you, Carrie,' Joel said, pouring her some wine.

            'Talk to my agent,' Carrie answered, dismissing him with a wave of hr hand.

            'It's personal,' Joe persisted.

            'I have no secrets from my agent,' Carrie sid, licking her full, glossy lips with a wickedly pink tongue.

            'You might want to listen to me first. Why pay ten percent when you don't have to?'

            'Fifteen percent,' Carrie corrected, as if paying more was a badge of honour. 'and the reason I pay fifteen percent is because my agent gets me the best deals in town.'

            'And I thought you were smart,' Joel said, not endearing himself to her, but unable to stop.

            Carrie tossed her mane of hair, turned to one of her hairdressers and began talking about a recent Beck concert she'd attended.

            Joel realized he was being dismissed. He glanced at Testio, who pulled a face.

            'Come into my office,' Testio said, getting up. 'There's something I wanna show you.'

            The two men left the table and walked into Testio's private office. The photographer shut and locked the door.

            'Supercunt is some trip, hugh?' Testio remarked.

            'She certainly is,' Joel agreed. 'Thing is, I need her for something.'

            'Yeah? Lots of luck,' Testio said, absent-mindedly stroking his crotch.

            'No, I'm serious. My father is under the impression I'm brining her to Vegas for the upcoming championship fight. I'll look like a dumb ass if I don't show up with her. What am I gonna do?'

            Testio shrugged. 'Your problem, not mine. Wanna do some blow?'

            'Why not?' Joel said, although he wasn't in the mood.

            'I've got a thought,' Testio said, going for his stash, which he kept in a locked black-leather Gucci overnight bag. 'There is one thing that our Carrie likes better than anything.'

            'What's that?'

            'Boys.'

            'Yeah, her scene is fifteen-year-old boys.'

            'You gotta be shitting me.'

            'I know - it's crazy,' Testio said, putting down several lines. 'There you have this incredibly gorgeous twenty -three -year -old boys. I had this teenage intern working for me last summer - thought Carrie was gonna slice him up and eat him for dinner. So here's your answer. All you gotta do is find her a hot fifteen-year-old. And, oh, yeah, I forgot, she likes'em to be Puerto Rican and built like a brick shit-house.

            'I don't fucking believe this,' Joel said.

            'Believe it,' Testio said, snorting a line of coke. 'Carrie's been successful for so long she lives her life like a man. Knows what she wants and goes after it. So get her what she wants, an' I'm sure you can persuade her to do with you.'

            'You make it all sound easy,' Joel said, nonplussed. 'Where am I supposed to find a horny, good-looking fifteen-year-old Puerto Rican boy?'

            'Try Madam Sylvia's,' Testio said casually.

            'Who's Madam Sylvia?'

            'Where have you been?' Testio said, snorting a second line of coke. 'Madam Sylvia's is an escort service for rich women. If you've got the cash, they're got the kid.'

            'Then how come Carrie doesn't go straight to this Madam Sylvia?'

            'Cause she can't. too famous. Somebody has to do it for her,' Testio explained, snorting a third line. 'I'm telling you, Joel, this is what she wants. Find it for her and, believe me, she's all yours.'

***

            Now that Dexter was home, Rosarita decided to go out. She had no desire to sit around making conversation with the husband she was soon going to be rid of.

            'Where are you going?' Dexter asked.

            'Barney's,' she said, although her plan was to visit a few bookstores and start doing research on various poisons. She'd decided that a hotel in Vegas, where they'd be surrounded by people, was the perfect place for her to do the deed. She had in mind something simple like arsenic or strychnine, a poison that would work fast and not throw suspicion on her. In Vegas anything could happen.

            'I'll come with you,' Dexter offered.

            'No, you won't,' she answered quickly. 'I'm choosing outfits for Vegas, and you'll get in the way.'

            'I'd like to see what you're planning to wear.'

            'You will. When I've decided. Right now I'm only at the looking stage.'

            Rosarita was a big spender. Because of this Chas took care of her credit card bills. 'I don't make the kind of money you're used to,' Dexter had told her early on in their marriage.

            'I know that,' she'd snapped back at him. 'I'll get my father to pay.'

            So Chas still continued to settle her sometimes exorbitant credit card bills.

            Rosarita swept from the apartment, claiming she'd be back in an hour.

            Dexter was well aware that this meant at least three hours. Now that he did not have the studio to go to every day, he was at a loss. He missed the camaraderie of shooting a TV series. He missed being treated like a star on the set. And he especially missed the reassuring presence of Silver Anderson, who'd given him the sense that he was at least working with a true professional. Even though she'd behaved in such a vulgar way at the end, he still couldn't help missing her.

            He wandered around the spacious apartment, thinking about his future and what it held. Annie had assured him she would call him later with the address and number of the acting coach she had in mind. 'Go see him,' she'd said. 'Do what Johnny Depp did, study and study hard. Now Johnny Deep is considered a real actor, not just another pretty face. And that's because he studied his craft with a professional.'

            When the phone rang, he grabbed it before conchita could pick up.

            'May I speak to Mrs Falcon?' a female voice said.

            'She's not in right now,' Dexter replied. 'Can I take a message?'

            'This is Dr Shipp's secretary. The doctor asked me to call and make an appointment for Mrs Falcon next week.'

            'What does she need to see him about?' Dexter asked.

            'Excuse me?'

            'Uh.this is Mr Falcon. I was wondering what the appointment was about.'

            'Oh, Mr Falcon, what a treat!' the secretary gushed. 'congratulations. It's wonderful news.'

            'Thanks,' he said- and then a shot in the dark - 'You mean about the baby?'

            'We're so excited for both of you. I'm sure Mrs Falcon has been longing to get pregnant. And, may I say, I love you on Dark Days. I set my VCR so I can watch it when I get home. I'm such a fan.'

            'Thanks,' he said, always happy to hear from someone who thought he was great, because he sure as hell never heard it from Rosarita. 'I'll have Mrs Falcon call to make an appointment.'

            He put down the phone and was suddenly overcome with a wild desire to dance around the apartment, yelling triumphantly.

            He'd gotten Rosarita pregnant!

            His wife was knocked up!

            No wonder she'd stayed in bed all day.

            This news was the answer to all his prayers.

            Now he didn't have to worry about his marriage.

            All he had to worry about was his sinking career.

   


Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62