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Authors: Gail Bridges

AmericasDarlings

BOOK: AmericasDarlings
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America’s Darlings

Gail Bridges

 

Leah Collins is a sexual gymnast, a brilliant athlete poised to compete in the Mexico City Olympic Games of 2112. She takes pride in her advanced skills in the sexual arts, but performing
Courtesan’s Treat
and
Raging Volcano
in front of thousands of cheering fans is no easy task, especially when sexual malfunctions threaten.

At her side, a pillar of strength and compassion, is her best friend, Benson White. He is the one who scrapes her from the ground when her self-destructive tendencies surface. Benson is a talented sexual gymnast in his own right, the other half of America’s Darlings.

They hope for a gold medal. What neither of them expects is to fall in love.

 

 Inside Scoop:
  This book contains a mixed-gender ménage, girl-on-girl, references to male/male sex, group sex, voyeurism, exhibitionism and everything else you’d expect from a society where sex is a game.

 

An Exotika®
futuristic erotica
story from Ellora’s Cave

America’s Darlings
Gail Bridges

 

Chapter One

 

“Whore! Whore of Babylon!”

I turned.

A red-faced woman stood behind the barrier rope, screaming.

I recognized her. She had been lurking at the airport late the night before when I had arrived in Mexico City with the sexual gymnastics team. Despite furious coaches and horrified airport personnel, she had flung her sign reading “Save our Olympics!” back and forth, pointing and jeering and calling us dreadful names as we passed by her on our way to catch the subway to the Olympic Village. Her worst insults were directed at me. I am, you see, the female half of America’s Darlings.

Surely you’ve heard of America’s Darlings?

Benson and I earned the moniker last year when we won the Internationals in Moscow. The media went crazy for us, couldn’t get enough of us, wouldn’t leave us alone. The sportscaster covering the event, a guy named Ryan Markham, had coined the name America’s Darlings

and it had stuck. No one had asked Benson and me whether we liked it or even wanted it. Luckily we do like it. At least
I
do. The extra attention earned us the adoration of a nation enchanted with our brand-new sport, millions of fans intent on following our every move.

I’m still not used to it.

It throws me when people recognize me. Complete strangers call me by name, act as if they know me, comment on my performances, give advice or offer to help me to practice, and it gets me every time.

But I like it. I do.

As America’s Darlings
,
the nation’s highest-ranking sexual gymnast duo, Benson and I were the team’s best hope, probably the onlyhope, for a gold medal in the Olympics—and the public never let us forget it. My face—and Benson’s—had been plastered everywhere for months.

Of course the woman knew who I was. How could she not?

Now here she was again.

“Jezebel! Porn-Monger! Sex fiend!”

Sex fiend? Really?

The team and I were making our way through the Olympic Village to the Olympic on-site training facility, the “Oostif” as everyone called it, for an early workout. We were nervous and excited, all of us. The Olympics! Finally! Everything we’d worked so hard for was coming to fruition! We were the vanguard of a new sport, the first wave of sexual athletes to be included in the games. The Olympic Guidance Committee had at long last seen the beauty and athleticism of sex.

This was history in the making.

I couldn’t afford to let the woman distract me, not after all I’d been through to get here.

She was right about one thing though. I did have sex. A lot of it.

How much?

Let me give an example. During our upcoming practice session I would have sexual relations—I would “couple”, as we called it—with Benson, my duo partner. Time permitting, I would also perform simple exercise routines with various men on the team and perhaps with one or two of the women. Maybe I’d even practice difficult moves with a coach.

Real sex. Even during practice.

Because I know you are curious, yes, I have orgasms. And yes, I do enjoy them. Very much.

Sex in the Olympics.

It’s not a big deal. Really.

But some people just can’t get their heads around it, such as this obnoxious, horrible woman. She was a throwback to an earlier time when people had been prudish about sex, especially about publicsex. What had shebeen doing during the Second Sexual Revolution? Hiding under a haystack? Obviously she’d missed the train. She and people like her—we call them Fringe Dwellers—reject our current sexual culture. They abhor the fact that humanity proudly and publicly reclaimed its sexuality in the wake of smart anti-STD drugs. Fringe Dwellers, poor things, do not understand anything about sex. They are ignorant. They have no idea that sex is a natural function of
being alive
, no more deserving of shame and ridicule than, say, a handshake.

It’s hard to believe that they willingly deny themselves something so beautiful.

Why did this awful woman hate modern-day life so? Why did she condemn people who have joyous sex with multiple partners, who engage in homosexual relationships, who love each other in public places or who perform beautiful choreographed performances for others to enjoy? Why, when she didn’t understand any of it?

I didn’t—I couldn’t—understand.

I knew she was Fringe. I understood her vitriol was nothing but the spewing of a misguided soul. I tried to ignore her, but it was hard.

You see, I am easily upset.

Benson says I’m delicate. My head coach—Coach Bob—uses the word “fragile”. My mother calls me highly strung. My sister, when we were younger, accused me of being high maintenance. Lord! Who wants to be high maintenance? I try not to be those things. I don’t want to be delicate. I hate being fragile. I strive to be the strong, confident woman my adoring public thinks I am.

I’m not oblivious.

I
do
see those things in myself, when I try. But more often than not my self-destructive behavior has to be pointed out to me. I know my teammates and coaches have learned to protect me, to gather around me, to manage me and do their best to keep me functioning. I’m not supposed to know, but they’ve invented a list of “Leah rules”, things to help them to help
me
. I know I take up more than my share of the team’s energy and because of that I drive myself to distraction trying to prove to them and to myself that
I am worth it
.

I try so
hard
to be like them!

I would give anything to do what they do, to laugh off an ugly remark, to let a bad rehearsal go, to ignore a petty jealousy, to better care for my mind and body—but there’s always something sending me into a tailspin, something throwing me off balance, something illicit to tempt me, something to make me doubt myself.

My only solace is sex.

It doesn’t take much for me to become desperate with need. An ache fills me, body and soul, and I won’t be
right
again, I won’t feel like myself again, until I can lose myself in lovemaking and be cleansed in the magnificent joining of bodies.

I have come to understand that I find healing in sex. Others may call it an addiction.

I must have sex.

This Fringe Dweller threatened my well-being. Her insults cut me to the core.

She had three friends with her. They screamed and shouted, waved banners, chanted. Supposedly these protesters were “vetted and bonded” by the Olympic security detail—it was all explained in our orientation packet. Each protester wore a bright-red limited access pass hanging around his or her neck, complete with photo and identifying information.

My
pass was green.

This ridiculous protest was legal—I knew that from the sixty-eight page Olympic rule book I’d read cover-to-cover then read again—but I wished security would keep them away from us. Other athletes—the swimmers, the runners, the chess players—didn’t have hecklers following them around. Why should
we
?

It wasn’t fair.

My favorite coach, Coach Debbie, thought the sole purpose of the protesters was to drum up interest and controversy in a public wearying of the Olympics.

Maybe she was right.

But it was
me
this woman was calling names.

“Game polluter! Moral deviant!
Whore!

Her sign—“No smut in our Olympics!”—looked like it could do double duty as a club.

Let me be clear.
I am not a whore.

I am an athlete.

I have spent most of my life training for this. I’ve spent
years
preparing for my chance to win gold. Hard years. Years spent carefully following monitored diets, following rigid weight protocols. Since I was twelve years old I’ve been in gymnastics training—younger, even, if you count the tumbling class I took with three of my girlfriends when I was still chubby and wore my hair in two ponytails. I began my career in traditional gymnastics and I showed promise from the beginning. According to my coaches, I was the most enthusiastic child they’d ever seen—lithe and athletic and easy to teach. They said I was destined for greatness.

Unfortunately they were wrong. I was very good, but I wasn’t great. I wasn’t Olympic material. Not even close.

At least not in traditional gymnastics.

When I reached the age of eighteen, I had to make a choice. I could leave the world of gymnastic competition. I could call it quits. I could treasure my trophies and memories and the friends I’d made and move on with my life.

Or not.

There was a burgeoning new sport out there and I was old enough to begin training. I wanted in! For a while it seemed like all the best athletes, as soon as they turned eighteen, were switching over. The public loved sexual gymnastics. There were rumors that it would soon become an Olympic sport.

Besides, it looked like fun.

And it
was
fun! What’s not to like about coupling? I made the switch and fell in love. Finally I’d found my passion, the thing I could truly excel in. I didn’t mind the hard work, not even waking every morning to go over routines ten times, fifteen times before breakfast. I coupled with coaches, with friends, with strangers, with Benson. I learned—oh, how I learned! I began to win competitions. I traveled around the country, solidifying my ranking in the Nationals; then to Europe with Benson and on to Russia at the Internationals, earning and protecting our spot on the brand-new Olympic team.

I loved it all.

Not to mention everything that came along with becoming America’s Darlings.

I’ll be twenty-five next month. For the past year, since the Olympic team was chosen, I have lived apart from my family, in the mountains above Denver, at the team headquarters. Our team—taking a cue from the Chinese teams of old—has chosen to sequester itself in pursuit of excellence. I have missed my sister’s wedding and the birth of my nephew, my Nana’s last illness, my mother’s first solo art show and so much more—all in pursuit of my dream.

“How much do they pay you, hussy?”

I jumped.

“I’m talking to you, Leah Collins! Whore!”

Someone—Benson—stepped between me and the protesters. “Leah. Ignore her.”

“But I’m not a whore!”

He put his arm around me, drew me close. Jim—Benson’s roommate and best friend—came up on my other side and did the same. They gently but firmly nudged me to the center of our little group. I felt someone’s hand on my ass, concerned and steadying. Someone else—who?—reached around Benson and rested a warm hand on my breast, holding me tight. I felt myself relax, just a little, in the bosom of my team.

“You are
fine
, Leah,” said Benson. “We’re here. You can handle it.”

I was being managed.

Jim kissed my cheek. “You’re talented. You’re brilliant. Ignore those idiots.”

“But the things she’s yelling!”

“Are ridiculous,” said Soraya from behind me, giving my breast a squeeze. “There’s no such thing as a whore. You know that.”

I bit my lip and looked away from the protester.

Benson drew me even closer, turned me so I was forced to look him in the eye. “Leah. They’re making a stink so the media pays attention. It’s not about you.”

Thank God for Benson. He’s so good to me.

I let my friends guide me. I let them manage me. We walked through the Central Plaza toward the Oostif, eyeing the enormous sculpture in the very center. We passed through manicured lanes bordered by low, flowering bushes. I relaxed a bit more, knowing I’d soon feel better because I’d be coupling with Benson. I looked around. The village was lovely, all of it. From the corner of my eye I saw the band of protesters sling their signs over their shoulders, roll up their banners, thump each other on the back and head off on another lane, chatting animatedly.

Probably they planned to meet us at the Oostif.

“Forget them,” said Soraya. “They don’t even know there’s more than one way to have sex.”

Benson laughed. “I bet they have VOs when we perform!”

VOs are
vicarious orgasms
.

Studies have shown that a full seventy-eight percent of any audience watching a sexual gymnastic routine, in any country, at any time of day, of any gender, will experience a VO. I am proud of this statistic. It makes me happy that I can make people
feel
. Sometimes when I’m tired or my back pops or my legs are stretched to the limit or I have blisters where no woman should ever have blisters, I remember
I make people feel good
.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

Soraya slid her arm around my back, taking Jim’s place, making my Olympic windbreaker crinkle and my name badge pull uncomfortably on my neck. I squeezed her, feeling her tight breast at my side. Soraya is a floor exercise specialist, like me. Yes, I practice with her sometimes, but mainly I treasure her as a sister. I’m almost as close to her as I am to my real sister, Constance.

I finally noticed that it was a beautiful day. I was at the Olympics, damn it, and I was too excited to stay upset for long. Those protesters could find a nice dark room somewhere and go screw each other.

I intended to win a gold medal, protesters or no protesters.

Inside the Oostif we stripped down.

It was noisy in the cavernous building, and crowded. It smelled of cleaning agents and freshly washed bodies and sex. A familiar, comforting smell. I put my hair up in a ponytail, using the approved ponytail holder. With the rest of the team, I shed my windbreaker, my tank top and shorts, my bra and underwear and folded them into a neat pile. Sitting naked on a bench along the wall, I looked around, frowning. Two other sexual gymnastic teams, the Russians and the Chinese, were sharing the practice facility with us, which would force our rehearsal to be somewhat curtailed. Then again, theirs would be too. I assumed the Bulgarians and the Brazilians, the Israelis and the Latvians and the other teams would use this same facility in staggered sessions throughout the day.

I eyed the Russians.

I recognized all of them. I even knew some of them. Alena had made their team. And Alexi. And Nina. And then one of them turned and I saw that it was Dmitri—handsome, irresistible Dmitri
.
A floor exercise specialist just like me.

BOOK: AmericasDarlings
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