Rastor (Lawton Rastor Book 2) (7 page)

Chapter 15

I thought of Brandy, wondering how I'd been so stupid to fall for her act. But I
knew
how. She'd been a damn good actress, even if Hollywood didn't see it that way. Who knows? Maybe she was a lot more convincing in person.

"A crock?" Chloe was saying. "I don't get it. Why?"

"That's the best part," I said. "This guy – someone I thought was a friend – he gets this idea that I should make a sex tape." I gave a bitter laugh. "Everyone was doing 'em. Quick fame, right? That could be me. Famous for being famous. All I needed was a willing partner."

But Chloe was shaking her head.

I knew why. The girl I'd been describing sounded nothing like Brandy. Brandy had never gone to college. Brandy hated animals. Brandy cared about one thing, and one thing only – getting famous, no matter what it took.

Well, she got her wish, didn't she? After that sex tape, she'd moved on to horror flicks. She played the same role in all of them – the nearly naked co-ed who gets slashed, stabbed, or in the case of the last movie, possessed by a sex-starved demon who literally screws her to death. Then there was that doctor drama, where she played a nympho brain surgeon of all things. .

Chloe was looking at me, like I'd lived down to her lowest expectations. "So you did it?" she said.

"That's what you think?" I couldn't keep the edge out of my voice. "That I filmed that thing on purpose? That I wanted the world to see me fucking some chick for five minutes of fame?"

Chloe looked down, refusing to meet my eyes. So she
had
believed it? I was used to people thinking the worst of me, but for some reason, this stung.

It was time to set her straight. "You want the truth?"

She looked up and gave a small nod.

"That kind of fame?" I said. "Don't want it, don't need it. But Brandy, she wants it
and
needs it, because she's gonna be a fuckin' star someday."

"So what happened?" Chloe asked.

"So she hooks up with this friend of mine. And this so-called friend tells her everything she needs to know – where I hang out, things I like, things that piss me off. And they agree to this split."

"Of the money?"

"No. He gets the money. She gets the exposure."

Yeah, she'd been exposed alright. For a few crazy months, the only thing more famous than her pussy was my cock.

"Exposed?" Chloe said. "Literally or figuratively?"

"You saw the footage. What do
you
think?"

Chloe shook her head. "I don't know. I never watched it."

If she was trying to spare my feelings, it was too late for that.

"I saw the disk," I said. "Remember?"

I didn't bother spelling out which disk. I'd seen it sitting right there on her kitchen table. The label on the case, written in big, black letters, was a dead giveaway. Rastor Sex Tape.

When I'd first spotted the thing, I'd assumed it was something worse – footage of me and Chloe. Now that I knew it wasn't, I should've been relieved. Hell, I
was
relieved. But I still wasn't loving the idea of Chloe and her best friend watching me screw another girl.

The way it looked, they'd even had popcorn. It was nice to know I was so entertaining.

But Chloe was shaking her head. Her voice grew quiet. "Erika brought it over. You know, for my birthday. She didn't know that you and I were together. She thought it would be funny. You know, because we're neighbors."

She blew out a shaky breath. "But you and I
were
together." She glanced away and whispered, "At least I thought we were."

She was so close, and something in her voice warmed my heart. I could hear it, the same longing for me that I felt for her. I said her name. "Chloe."

She looked up, hitting me with those eyes of hers, and I felt myself swallow as everything else faded to nothing. I leaned closer. "We were. I still wanna be."

Her eyes grew warmer, and she said, "Anyway, it just seemed wrong to watch it." Her lips formed the barest hint of a smile. "Plus, well, I guess I didn't really
want
to watch you doing that with anyone else."

I had to smile. "Yeah?"

She stood, still and silent on the darkened street. The air was frigid, and the wind had picked up. I should've been freezing, but the warmth in her eyes was warming me to the bone.

I hadn't lost her. Not completely.

She gave a small shiver, and I almost smiled, because this one, I knew, wasn't from the cold.

"So with Brandy," she said, "you two ended up having sex anyway, and she taped it?"

Oh yeah. Brandy. My smile faded. "Not exactly. This one night, outside the club, I was supposed to meet her there at closing time. Get a coffee or something. So I pull up to the back entrance, and she's already there." At the memory, I felt my muscles tense. "And she's crying."

"Why?" Chloe asked.

"Well at first, it was hard to get the story out of her. But from what I
did
get, a couple of guys jumped her in the parking lot. Tore at her uniform, and tried to–" I paused. "Well, you know."

"Oh my God," Chloe said. "Did they ever find them?"

At this, I had to laugh. It was a bitter sound in the quiet night. "No. And you wanna know why?"

"Why?"

"Because they didn't exist."

Chapter 16

Chloe was shaking her head. "What do you mean they didn't exist?" 

"It was all a big show," I explained. "The torn clothes, the fake tears. By then, she knows me pretty good. Especially with this friend of mine feeding her information. And she knows I can get a little intense when people I love are hurt…"

I couldn't finish the sentence. There was only one girl I loved, and she
had
been hurt tonight. By me. I had some serious making up to do.

Chloe's voice was quiet. "So you loved her?"

"I dunno. Not like that." An image of Brandy flashed in my brain. "It's not that she was unattractive–"

"You already said that."

And there it was again. The spark of something. She still had feelings for me, whether she'd admit it or not.

"Alright," I said, "you want the truth? I didn't see her like that."

"Why not?" Chloe asked.

I didn't answer, not right away. The reason was complicated, and it involved Chloe. When all this went down, I didn't even know Chloe's name. But she'd been there – in my head and in my heart.

I could tell Chloe that now. And then what? Would she think I'd been stalking her? Would she wonder what else I was hiding?

She was still waiting for an answer. And stupid or not, I wanted to tell her everything. "The truth?" I said. "There was this
other
girl, someone I'd met maybe a few months earlier, before everything started to hit. And I couldn’t get this girl out of my head."

Chloe was frowning again. From jealousy? It would be nice to think so. But what if it was something else? Like disgust that I'd been wanting one girl while screwing another?

Tonight, I'd messed up in every way. I'd misjudged everything. I'd done things that I shouldn't. I'd said things that would haunt me forever. Now, more than anything, I didn't want to mess this up.

Chloe made a sound of frustration. "You're changing the subject. What about Brandy?"

I didn't want to talk about Brandy. I wanted to talk about Chloe. I wanted to tell her that she'd been haunting my thoughts for years. I wanted to explain that even while I'd been screwing Brandy senseless for the whole world to see, another girl had been on my mind. And that girl had been Chloe.

I felt myself frown. Right, because nothing says "I love you," like fucking one girl while thinking of another.

It was too messed up, and the risk was too high. I pushed away the distractions and focused on Chloe's real question. The night of that sex tape, what really happened?

I let out an long breath. "So that night, after this so-called attack, she wouldn't let me do a damn thing about it."

"Like what?" Chloe asked. "What'd you want to do?"

"Find those guys, take care of it."

"How?"

I shrugged. "I had a few ideas."

I thought of the two guys who'd attacked Chloe. I had some good ideas for them, too. Someday, I might thank my brother for talking some sense into me. But right now, I wasn't feeling particularly thankful.

Chloe's voice broke into my thoughts. "So what happened?"

It was a sore subject. But I'd brought it up – because Chloe deserved an explanation for what I'd done. "So we go back to her place," I said, "and I should've known something was up. The place looked like–"

How the hell did I explain it? There were flowers next to her bed, roses and carnations in a tall white vase. The lighting was soft, and her bedroom was warm. The comforter on her king-size bed was pink satin. She had matching pillows with lots of lace.

It was like Valentine's Day on steroids. I recalled being surprised, thinking, "Man, she really likes the girly stuff." Looking back, it wasn't so much a bedroom as a porn set. God, I'd been such a dumb-ass.

I made a sound of disgust. "Well, let's just say it looked like she was expecting company."

"Romantic company?" Chloe asked.

"Yeah. And she asks me to hold her, and starts kissing on me, and one thing leads to another."

Chloe snorted. "Yeah. I bet."

My jaw tightened. "Go ahead, joke about it. You and everyone else." I tried to laugh. "I should be used to it, right?"

Yeah, I was pissed. Chloe deserved an explanation. I got that. But I was sick to death of the whole fucking thing. That night with Brandy had changed everything.

Okay, some of it was for the better. I mean, it made me famous, right? But a lot of it, it wasn't so good, because in the end, Brandy became the first in a long line of girls who meant nothing to me when all was said and done. I didn't trust them, and I didn't love them. They were a blur of bodies without any faces that I cared enough to remember.

They'd used me. I'd used them. But somehow, it didn't feel like a win-win.

And then there were the punch lines, starring me, Brandy, and, in the words of one Web site, my giant cock. It was every guy's dream, right? To get rich, famous,
and
known for being well hung?

Hey, at least I knew how to use it. That had to count for something, right?

Chloe's voice drifted over my dark thoughts. "I'm sorry." She paused. "Really."

I shook my head. "It's alright."

But it wasn't. All this time, Chloe had been different, untouched by all of that ugliness. She'd been kind to me when I was a nobody. There I'd been, lying on the sidewalk, half-dead and headed for a crash. She'd picked me up, maybe not physically, but close enough. And then, she'd pulled me from the darkness.

And for years afterward, she'd been the thing that kept me going when a different kind of darkness crept around the edges. It was a funny thing. Thanks to Chloe, I knew there was sweetness to offset the sour, goodness to offset the bad, and somewhere in the world, a girl who liked me for all the right reasons.

Or so I thought.

"No," she said, her voice softer now. "It's not alright. I don't want to be like everyone else. At least, not about this."

At the regret in her voice, my anger evaporated. "That's the thing," I told her. "You're
not
like anyone else." I reached for her hand. "Not about anything."

Her hand was small and soft, and this time, she didn't pull away. Instead, she leaned closer and asked, "So what happened then?"

She knew. Everyone knew. But I said it anyway. "So we had sex. Obviously."

And not just once. The tape was what, three hours long? Longer than most Hollywood productions.

When Chloe said nothing, I kept on talking. "So a few days later, the footage of it hits all these Web sites, and Brandy's gone." I made a scoffing sound. "To Hollywood, L.A., whatever. Big surprise, huh?"

"What about your friend?" Chloe asked.

Oh yeah. Glenn. My so-called friend. Turns out, he orchestrated the whole thing, right down to the bed itself, which he'd bought on credit. But hey, he got his investment back, didn't he? And then some.

"The next time I see him," I said, "he's driving a Jag."

"Did you confront him about it?" she asked.

I'd done more than confront him. But that was a different story. So all I said was, "You might say that."

"So what about Brandy?" she asked.

"What about her?"

"You ever see her again? I mean, I read about that thing in Beverly Hills."

Oh yeah. That. I'd seen how it played in the media. It wasn't good, especially because the real story played out a whole lot differently.

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