It looked like the party was a huge success. There were people there representing all facets of the entertainment
industry, as well as media moguls, sports stars and just plain rich folk. Serina eyed the room with satisfaction. Her
parties were nearly always well attended, but this as a coup, even she hadn’t dared to imagine.
The party was to announce the release of the new album, Life After Love, being released
by her newest talented protege. Serina nodded to Merilee, who was talking up some radio executive she had met. That
was her job at these events. She chatted and worked the room, making sure the marks had lots to drink, before Serina
moved in for the kill. They had worked this way for so long that the two women had an unspoken language between them. With
a glance Merilee told Serina that this one was ready for her.
The kill as the girls liked to call it varied with each mark. It was, of course,
not a literal kill, rather a setup, a way of procuring whatever it was they wanted from a particular person, or organization. It
could vary from a political donation, to air time for a new single, to free advertizing, depending on their needs at the time. They
had two rules, when they were working on someone, the first one being that Merilee never, never talked business with them.
The second was that neither woman ever mentioned the other. Over the years they had honed their skills to an art.
They had found that it was better if no one knew they were associated with each other,
past a casual acquaintance. They were both exceptionally beautiful women and they had found over the ages, that men,
always suckers for a pretty face, responded better when they didn’t feel they were being ganged up on. From Alexander
the Great to John Kennedy, men liked to look at, and be seen with, attractive women.
The blonde, Merilee always looked innocent and that was why she did the setup. The
mark never saw it coming. Serina, on the other hand, was a noticeably powerful personality, the type of person who makes
it hard to say,"No."
Serina’s parties always followed a certain pattern. They were well organized
and catered to the desires of the attendees. Whether it was sex, drugs, or any of a dozen other recreational activities. There
was always a certain area set fo reach activity, those that required privacy, being in separate rooms. Neither Serina
nor Merilee ever entered one of those rooms during a party. They didn’t drink, nor did they partake of any recreational
drugs during a party. Their skills and duties depended on clear minds.
If Serina was the brains of the operation, Merilee was the banker. The pair were
equal partners in every area save one. That was the area of finances. They divided all profits evenly, but Merilee
had a huge cash reserve, working for her which Serina did not own a share in. It had come from the growth of Merilee’s
Lottery winnings. While both women were rich, Merilee was a multi millionaire, several times over. She had invested
the bulk of her winnings in low risk stocks and bonds. The return wasn’t as high as on some of the more dicey investments
she was offered, but with the amount she had to invest, she didn’t need a high rate of return in order to grow
her fortune faster than she could spend it.
This party was no exception. The cash outlay required to host it had come entirely
from Merilee’s fortune. It would be paid back when the returns came in, leaving the joint resources of the women
in tack, just in case they were ever needed.
The party was in full swing when Tom Thompson breezed through the door, accompanied
as always, by Norman and Greatchen. Tom was every bit a star, in a snow white suit, and tie. He stood out from the
crowd as if he was lit up. Greatchen wore her usual skin tight leather jump suit. Skin tight as it was, she still
managed to conceal several weapons besides the pistol, strapped to her hip. She looked like a body guard. Norman,
however, looked like anything but a body guard. He wore a torn pair of jeans and a tee shirt, proclaiming ," Garcia might
be dead, but The Dead will live forever." Only his eyes gave him away. He was constantly surveying the gathering,
watching for anything out of the ordinary. There was no pistol strapped to his hip. In fact he carried no weapons
of any kind. He was a trained assassin who only needed his bare hands to do his job.
Serina met the trio in the foyer. "Tom," she purred, hugging him close. "I’m
so glad you could come."
"So am I," he answered, "You know Greatchen, and this is my band leader Norm."
"Yes, hello Greatchen, good to see you, and Norm, I once knew a young fellow named
Norm, but he changed his name."
Tom was the only human who knew the true nature of Serina and Merilee’s relationship. He
only knew, because he had been involved with Merilee, when she won the lottery. He had tried to suggest what she should
do with the money and a terrible fight had ensued, during which the truth had come out, but he truly loved both women and
would take all of their secrets to his grave.
Greatchen was another story altogether. While she was certainly not an enemy to
Serina, she could hardly be called a friend either. She didn’t completely trust this woman who so obviously shared
secrets with Tom, and who Tom was so protective of.
Every time she tried to broach the subject of Serina, Tom would shut her out with, "Let’s not go there. You’ll
just have to trust me, Serina’s fine."
"I’m going to steal this one for awhile Tom," said Serina, taking Gretchen by
the arm. "I’ll bring her right back."
"What’s up with Norm?" asked Serina, once they were out of earshot.
Gretchen looked surprised at the question."What do you mean?" she asked, "Tom’s
the new band leader."
"No he’s not. There’s more to Norm than meets the eye."
"Why do you say that?"
"Well, for one thing, Tom doesn’t take members of the band with him to posh parties.
For another look at the way Norm takes in everything in the room at a glance. He knew where every exit and entrance was
before he got tow steps into the room. He’s another body guard. C’mon G, I can tell."
Alright," admitted Gretchen, "he’s an ex-Army Ranger. Tom knew him from
"Why all the security? Tom never had any body guards until a few months ago, now he
"You knew about the threats?"
"I knew there were a couple. That’s why I recommended you."
"Well, there’s a lot more now. New ones come in every day. They’re
not just threatening Toms life now. They’re also threatening Matty and Libby."
"Does Libby know?"
"No, we didn’t want to upset her, but we have someone on them twenty-four seven,"
explained Greatchen. "Tom was afraid she’d refuse the protection, if she knew."
"Well, if I can be of any help, just call me. I have connections too, you know,"
"I know and thanks, but we can handle this on our own. Now, I’d better get
back to Tom, before Norm snaps somebody’s neck for getting too close."
"And I have guests to tend to." agreed Serina, "Remember what I said."
Gretchen returned to Tom’s side. "What was that all about?" he asked.
"Girl talk. Don’t bother your pretty little head about it."
They had a good laugh, then proceeded to enjoy the party. Greatchen and Norm worked
well as a team. Norm floated around the room, constantly watching the crowd, looking for any perceived threat. He
always stayed within Greatchen’s line of sight, so he could quickly signal if trouble arose.
Gretchen stayed by Tom’s side at all times. If, for some reason, she needed
to leave him for a moment, Norm would take her place. Tom was never alone. Norm even went with him to the bathroom,
Norm was right beside him and Greatchen was standing outside the door.
The other party goers were largely oblivious to the scenario. They were all too
engrossed in their own revelries to notice What Tom was doing. There was a brief murmur of recognition when He entered,
but it quickly subsided as minds turned to other pursuits.
Serina stood on the, second floor balcony, overlooking the great room and studied the
situation below. Nothing seemed out of place, yet she credo help feeling that something was wrong. She could see
Tom Thompson, seated on one of the comfortable leather couches, flanked by Greatchen and Norm. Senator Green was at the
bar ordering his twelfth martini, which Serina thought, was probably about eight too many. Several budding rock stars
were out on the patio, making way too much noise with their amplified instruments as they jammed. She was glad this house
was a mile from the nearest neighbor, or there would have been a visit from the local constabulary by now.
Upstairs, behind her, many of the bedrooms were occupied, at the moment by couples
in the throws of passion. What happens at Serina’s stays at Serina’s, was the unspoken law at these parties.
Through a set of french doors, Serina could just see the pool area. Several topless
beauties were frolicking in and around the water, providing a good show for the more voyeuristic attendees. That was
the only place, where Serina tolerated public nudity. In point of fact, she encouraged it. Some of those girls were paid
to attend her parties and getting half naked, around the pool was part of their job. The were not, however expected to
hand out sexual favors. Their instructions were very clear on that matter. They were paid to put on a show and paid
very well. If they decided to go to bed with a pastier, it was up to them, but under no circumstances were they to ever
charge for sex. If Greatchen caught one of them, it would be the last party that girl ever worked. "What consenting
adults do is their own business," she would say, "but we aren’t running a brothel here."
Sometime after midnight, a few of the younger guests, started to get a little rowdy.
A group of rapers, from California took exception to some comment made by one of their peers, from New York, and the fight
was on. Greatchen and Norm erected their invisible barrier around Tom, immediately ushering him to a safe area. Serina,
on the other hand, headed right into the melee. Grabbing the ring leader by the back of his collar, she spun him around
with amazing force, for a woman her size.
"How dare you act like this in my home?" she demanded.
The fellow, turned his gaze on Serina, "Back off, Bitch," sneered the rapper they called
Big Dog, "or we gonna hafta fuck you up too."
"I’ll do no such thing," declared Serina, "but you will be leaving this party,
if you don’t behave right now! What’s this all about anyway."
"Then keep it personal. Don’t involve the rest of my guests in your petty
quarrels. What you do , after you leave my property is your own business and frankly, I don’t care, but if you
continue with this nonsense, I will have no choice but to , as you so eloquently put it, fuck you up."
Selina was about half Big Dog’s size, but no one listening to the exchange doubted
fo a heartbeat that she could back up her promise. Neither did he.
"It’s all good," he purred, slipping something back into the pocket of his baggy
pants. "We can do this some other time." He motioned to his gang of thugs, "C’mon blood, we gonna party. The
pretty lady’s right. This ain’t the place," then to Selina, "We down wit dat."
"That goes for you too," said Selina, pointing at the other rapper.
He simply raised his hands, palms forward and flashing a mouthful of gold caps, said,
"We cool," before heading in the opposite direction of his adversary."
Selina breathed a silent sigh of relief as she walked back up the stairs to her usual
station on the balcony. Meeting Merilee on the staircase they stopped for a moment, "That could have been nasty," said Merilee.
"I had it under control," Selina assured her, "but we’d better be a little more
careful about who we invite in the future."
Merilee frowned, "I know," she said, "in the old days, they’d just meet at sunrise
and duel it out. Now everything’s about instant gratification. I miss those days Sel."
Selina looked mortified at the thought. "Well, I don’t!" she barked, "I like
our life much better since you won those lotteries."
Suddenly they were interrupted by a scream. It was a male voice, coming from the
back patio area. Merilee and Selina rushed to the doors, as did every guest, within earshot. They pushed their way
through the crowd to find a man, with his back to them, sitting on the flagstone patio, cradling a woman’s body in his
arms. Her head was smashed and bleeding, her limbs pointed in all directions like the legs of crushed insect. She was
dead beyond a doubt. She was pretty, with bleached blonde hair, and huge, obviously enhanced breasts. Tanned and
lean she looked like she belonged on a television or movie set, carrying a surfboard. She wore a low cut designer gown,
cut to the hip, that in life would have nicely accented her assets.
Selina made her way around the crowd to get a look at the man. She didn’t
recognize the lifeless form of the woman, he was so gently cradling, but she did recognize him.
"Norm?" she gasped, "What happened here?"
Norm looked up at her with tears streaming down his cheeks. He was sobbing so
hard he couldn’t speak. He just shook his head and cried even harder.
After several minutes he managed to gain his composure somewhat. "She fell," he said,
between sobs. "I almost caught her."
"But how did you happen to be here when she fell?"
"I came out for a quick smoke. G’s with Tom. I heard her calling to
me from the window up there," he explained, still sobbing and pointing to an upstairs window. "I recognized her voice, but
when I turned around to look, she was falling. She never even screamed."
"We all heard a scream, Norm."
"That was me. When I saw her falling, I was the one who screamed. She looked like
rag doll falling."
"Who is this, Norm?" Selina finally asked. "I don’t think I know her."
"You don’t," he sobbed. "She’s my fiancÚ."