should do next. He seemed both amused and pleased. “Contrary to what you may have read, my dear, I am not a ravisher of young women.”

“I didn’t think you were, Mr. Flynn…Baron.”

“Are you absolutely certain you know what you’re doing here?”

“Oh yes.”

“Good.” He took a last drag on the cigarette, then set the holder in the ashtray. “Perhaps you’d like to undress for me.”

She swallowed hard. She’d never been completely naked with a man. She’d had her panties off or her dress unbuttoned, like tonight with Billy, but the boys had always done that. She’d never personally gotten undressed for anybody. Of course, Errol Flynn wasn’t just anybody.

Reaching behind her, she fumbled with the buttons. When she finally had them unfastened, she slipped the dress over her hips. She didn’t dare look at him, so she thought of his wonderful movies: The Dawn Patrol, Objective, Burma!, The Charge of the Light Brigade. She’d seen that one on television. She looked nervously for someplace to put her dress and spotted a closet on the far side of the room. After she’d hung it up, she stepped out of her shoes, then tried to think what she should take off next.

Darting a quick glance at him, she felt a little shiver of pleasure. Her eyes lovingly erased his wrinkles and jowls until he looked the same as he did on-screen. She remembered how handsome he’d been in Against All Flags. He’d played a British naval officer, and Maureen O’Hara had been a pirate named Spitfire. Reaching beneath the lace hem of her slip, Belinda unfastened her garters, drew off her stockings, and folded them neatly. After that, she took off her garter belt. Santa Fe Trail had been on television not long ago. He and Olivia de Havilland were wonderful together. He was so masculine, and Olivia was always such a lady.

Belinda wore only a slip, her bra and panties, and her charm bracelet. She unfastened the small gold clasp. Her hands shook, but she finally got it off and set it next to her stockings. She wished he’d get up and do the rest, but he showed no signs of moving. Slowly she pulled her slip over her head.

She remembered he was married. He’d met Patrice Wymore, his current wife, when they were filming Rocky Mountain. Patrice was so lucky to be married to a man like Errol Flynn, but the rumors of their breakup must be true, or he’d be with Patrice instead of her. It was hard to make a marriage work in Hollywood.

When she was finally naked, she saw by the direction of Flynn’s gaze that he liked what she’d revealed. “Come here, my dear.”

Embarrassed but excited, she walked toward him. He stood and touched her chin. She nearly fainted from excitement. She waited for him to kiss her. His hands slipped to her shoulders. She wanted the same kiss he’d given Olivia de Havilland, and Maureen O’Hara, and all the other beautiful women he’d loved on the screen, but he opened his robe instead. He was naked underneath. Her eyes denied the looseness of his suntanned skin.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to give me a bit of help, my dear,” he said. “Vodka and lovemaking aren’t always the best of companions.”

She looked up into his eyes. It would be her privilege to help him, except she wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted her to do.

Not being a stranger to the minds of young girls, he understood her hesitation and offered a specific suggestion. She was shocked, but at the same time fascinated. So this was the way famous men made love. It was strange, but somehow it seemed appropriate.

She lowered herself to her knees.

It took a long time, and she got tired, but eventually he pulled her up and laid her on the bed. The mattress sagged as he rolled on top of her. Surely he’d kiss her now, but to her disappointment, he didn’t.

He nudged her legs, and she quickly parted them for him. His eyes were closed, but she kept hers open so she could treasure every moment. Errol Flynn was going to do it to her. Errol Flynn. A chorus sang in her heart. She felt a probe. A push. It was really Errol Flynn!

Her body exploded.

Later that night he asked her what her name was and offered her a cigarette. She didn’t really smoke, so she took short drags. Leaning next to him against the headboard with a cigarette thrilled her. For the first time in hours she remembered about Jimmy. Poor Jimmy, to have died so young. Life could be cruel. How lucky she was to be here alive and happy.

Flynn told her about his yacht, the Zaca, and about his recent travels. Belinda didn’t want to pry, but she was curious about his wife. “Patrice is very beautiful.”

“A wonderful woman. I’ve treated her badly.” He drained his glass, then reached across her for a refill from the bottle on the nightstand. As he poured, his shoulder dug into her breast. “It’s a habit I have with women. I don’t mean to hurt them, but I wasn’t made for marriage.”

“Will you get a divorce?” She self-consciously tapped the ash from her cigarette.

“Probably. Although, God knows, I can’t afford it. The IRS wants me for almost a million, and I’m so far behind on alimony I’ve lost track.”

Belinda’s eyes filled with sympathetic tears. “It doesn’t seem fair that a man like you should have to worry about such things. Not with all the pleasure you’ve given so many people.”

Flynn patted her knee. “You’re a sweet girl, Belinda. And a beautiful one. There’s something in your eyes that makes me forget how old I’m getting to be.”

She took the liberty of resting her cheek against his shoulder. “You mustn’t talk that way. You’re not old.”

He smiled and kissed the top of her head. “Sweet girl.”

By the end of the week Belinda had moved into Flynn’s bungalow at the Garden of Allah. A month flew by. At the end of October, he gave her a gold charm, a small disk suspended from a wishbone frame with “LUV” engraved in the center of one side and the letters “I” and “U” on the other. When she flicked the charm with the tip of her finger, it spun and the message “I LUV U” came together. She knew he didn’t mean it, but she treasured the charm and wore it with pride as a symbol to the world that she belonged to Errol Flynn.

In the reflected glow of his fame, her old feelings of invisibility vanished. Never had she felt so pretty, so smart, so important. They slept late and spent their days either on the Zaca or alongside the pool. They marked their nights in clubs and restaurants. She learned to smoke and drink, she learned not to stare when she met famous people, no matter how excited she felt inside, and she learned that famous people seemed to like her. An actor who was a friend of Flynn’s told her it was because she offered no judgment, only adoration. The remark puzzled her. How could she judge? It wasn’t up to ordinary people to pass judgment on the stars.

Sometimes at night she and Flynn made love, but more often they talked. It hurt her to see how sad and troubled he was beneath his devil-may-care facade. She devoted herself to making him happy.

She saw Rebel Without a Cause and thought that maybe her dream hadn’t died after all. She was meeting studio executives now instead of lowly assistant casting directors. She needed to take advantage of those contacts and prepare for the inevitable time when Flynn moved on to another woman. She had no delusions about that. She wasn’t important enough to hold him for long.

Flynn bought her a daring lipstick-red French bikini and sat by the side of the pool sipping his vodka while he watched her play. No one else at the Garden was adventurous enough to wear one of the new bikinis, but Belinda didn’t feel embarrassed. She loved watching Flynn watch her. She loved emerging from the water to be wrapped in the towel he held for her. She felt sheltered, protected, and adored.

Late one morning while Flynn was still sleeping, Belinda donned the red bikini and dived into the deserted pool. She swam several easy laps, opening her eyes under water to look at the initials of Alla Nazimova carved into the concrete just below the water line. When she came to the surface, she found herself staring at a pair of highly polished leather shoes.

Tiens! A mermaid has taken over the pool at the Garden of Allah. A mermaid with eyes bluer than the sky.”

Treading water, Belinda squinted against the morning sun to see the man standing over her. He was distinctly European. His oyster-white suit had the sheen of silk and the immaculate press of a man who kept a valet. He was of medium height, slim and aristocratic, with dark hair that had been skillfully cut to disguise its thinning. Small, slanted eyes sat above a broad nose with a slight hook at the end. He wasn’t handsome, but he was imposing. The smell of money and power clung to him as tenaciously as his expensive cologne. She judged him to be in his mid-

Вы читаете Glitter Baby
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату