Blood at the Premiere: A Day One Undead Adventure

BOOK: Blood at the Premiere: A Day One Undead Adventure
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Blood at the Premiere
Table of Contents
Blood at the Premiere
RR Haywood
Chapter One
Be nice for they are wolves at the door. Feed them what they want or they will take what they can

‘Ten minutes,’ the driver says masterfully, projecting his voice to deliver the message without appearing to shout.

Henrietta nods with a gesture more to herself than to the driver. The ten-minute warning is absolutely essential and just as the driver has mastered his delivery of voice so she has mastered the preparation ritual.

First she glances round the interior of the car and the perfectly clean black leather seats. A dim light gives enough illumination without rendering the blacked-out privacy windows inert and useless. Too much light inside the vehicle meant they could see you before the right time and took away the air of mystery and showmanship.

The level of illumination is right. The sound of the wheels running on the road fills the interior of the car with a gentle vibration that carries through the chassis and into the seats, acting as a rhythmic pull for the ritual to begin. She closes her eyes. The heavy lashes rest on her cheeks but she knows they won’t smudge or smear.

She assumes the position. Sitting in the middle of the big back seat so she can rest her hands either side. She stretches her legs out so the heels rest on the thick carpet of the floor.

It was essential that the car be big enough to allow her to do this. It had to have leather seats, blacked-out windows and lights that could be dimmed. She knows who supplied the car and offers a quick prayer that he won’t be there tonight.

She bows her head to begin the ritual with a deep inhalation of air that she forces down to inflate her toned stomach instead of her enormous chest. The first intake of air is the most important. Get this right and the groove comes quickly. The air is taken in through the nose deep and steady until she can feel her stomach extending as far as it will go. Slowly the air is expelled through her mouth with a low hiss, as though a gentle snore is coming from her shining lips and at the same time she deflates her stomach and gently pulls the muscles inwards until a shallow depression is formed. A pause and the second breath starts. In through the nose and down into the stomach that inflates with a size close to pregnancy before the limit reached.

Over and again Henrietta repeats the ritual. Her hands feel heavier and she can sense the weight of her legs pressing through the heels of her feet. Awareness increases with a sensitivity to location, time and space, and the gentle rumble through the chassis helps bring her down through the planes of consciousness.

The fear eases. The tension abates and with each inflation of her stomach so the knot that had been forming for the past few days is undone. Oxygen floods her system and her head starts to tingle in a pleasing, gentle way.

Arms splayed out. Legs stretched. Head bowed and snoring gently. The driver flicks his gaze to the rear-view mirror with the tiniest visible reaction then looks ahead to the road.

She breathes in and breathes out. It will be okay. Breathe in. Breathe out. It will be okay. The anxiety lessens. The fear weakens. Control is asserted. This is what she does. She needs this validation, and besides, it pays the bills.

The thought of money sends an irritation that threatens to disturb the equilibrium gained, but she is a veteran now. This is not new to her and she focuses on the breathing and her stomach that inflates and sinks to the shallow depression.

Her shoulders are tense but then today was presses. She shouldn’t have trained, but the anxiety was building and that nervous energy needed to be released. Besides, an addict must feed the addiction, and today was overhead presses, lateral raises, round the worlds and good old-fashioned bog standard military presses. It had to be done and so it
was
done. Her body craved the buzz and that draining of energy. She needed the burn and the pain, but she went too far. She pushed and strained with sets that burned until she could barely lift her arms, but it was worth it to show the striations of muscles in her shoulders that stand out clear under the perfectly applied tanning lotion. It was worth it. It’s always worth it.

‘One minute,’ the driver executes his last delivery with an award-winning gravitas that surely should have been filmed and used as a training video for new drivers hoping to reach the giddying heights of celebrity transportation.

Last breath out and as she exhales so her head rises and those thick lashes flutter open and the dazzling blue eyes stare out to a new world made crisp and clear by the resetting of the oxygen levels within her body.

A buzz ripples through her with a preparatory action of adrenaline being released. She draws her legs up and brings her hands to rest in her lap. Head lifting high to extend the neck that shows the slender shape, which only serves to accentuate those hard-earned striations that seem to ripple under the skin of her shoulders and arms.

The last few seconds now and the car begins to slow as the driver shows the true master he is with a perfectly aimed landing to the edge of the red carpet that is presented neatly to the rear passenger door. He knows not to stare at the flashing lights bursting from the paps behind the barrier.

She holds position but the smile forming shows a hint of hungry aggression that hardens her eyes. To do this is to show yourself to the world. Every imperfection will be noticed, dissected, discussed and torn apart. Every flaw will be picked up on but she rises to the challenge.
Bring it. Do it. Feed my narcissistic desires that shape every facet of my life.
There is courage here, though. Weird and strange but courage nonetheless. The nightmare experienced by so many of being seen naked in front of everyone you have ever known. To be trapped in a place from which you cannot escape but to wither under the glaring eyes that scrutinise every part of who you are. To do that willingly, to step into that nightmare and to smile, flaunt and laugh in the face of such scrutiny, shows a character made of layers that conflict and taunt the other in a twisted caricature of a human being.

The car glides to a stop perfectly aligned to the edge of the red carpet. Heightened awareness and she waits as the driver gets out and scans the crowd before stepping over to grip the door handle. A count of three and it opens to a night sky bursting with flashes of light and voices screaming out in excitement.

The smile is there now. Broad, cocky and humble all at the same time. She laughs with a show of self-depreciation as though amused at the fuss being presented. A leg extends, which locks out to show the powerful muscles of her thighs, and that first sight of flesh sends the paparazzi into a frenzy.

The actors have already arrived and taken their few minutes of glory hunting. The director, the producers and all the other faceless wonders have scuttled in while being politely ignored.

This arrival is different. This is fair game. This is Henrietta Swallow.

The second leg follows the first and she pauses with another chuckle and rises easily on those strong legs that drive her upright into a world of light and voices shouting her name.

‘Henri…over here…Henrietta…’

‘Stick yer leg out, Henrietta…’

‘This way, Henri…’

‘Give us a pose, Henrietta…’

‘Oi, Swallow…’

‘Does she then?’

‘Henrietta…Henrietta…Henrietta…Henrietta…’

Stepping away from the safety of the car, she holds that red carpet beneath her like a chariot ready to fly into a world of stars and special people so far removed from the lives of normal mortals.

TMT, bitches
. She grins wolfish and hungry for the need they show for her. Tanned, muscular and toned. The name of her latest workout DVD.
TMT by Henrietta Swallow.
She holds position for a few seconds, showing her long legs before turning to look cheekily over one shoulder at the press pack and the male voices shouting harsh and bitter from the coffee drank and the cigarettes smoked.

A plunging neckline sweeps down between her huge cleavage that shimmers in the light. The material of the dress strains and every man there knows it is but millimetres from the darkened skin of the areola. That alone feeds the frenzy of the men snapping the images to be stored on digital cameras waiting to be uploaded to servers that will farm them out to the highest bidders. The magazines and Internet sites will pay good money for revealing, daring shots and those magazines will be bought by the celebrity hungry masses and in turn it will feed the need to have Henrietta Swallow in their lives. These pictures being taken now will ultimately lead to more bookings, more events, more DVD sales and more television shows and, hopefully, to the end goal she so desperately craves.

Her bleached teeth gleam white against the tanned skin of her face and the plumped lips that stretch out to smile and laugh. Her eyes flutter, the lashes thick and heavy. Eyebrows arched and distinct. She is easy-going, super relaxed, flaunting herself for the sheer hell of it. This is a game and she shows it. One leg stepping back and a manicured finger pressing against her lips with a perfect rendition of an innocent stunned at the sight she sees.

‘Henri…turn this way…’

‘Swallow, look this way a bit more.’

She does as bid knowing every picture taken is an increase in profile. She recognises some of the voices of the paps and winks cheekily at the other veterans that have helped make her career. Be nice for they are wolves at the door. Feed them what they want or they will take what they can.

‘To me, Henrietta…’

A slight turn, another smile, a different pose. Hair so long and curled that it flows down her back like a mane. It used to be bleached blonde but now it’s darker, more natural, more mature and carefully chosen to complement the tone of her skin. The black dress that clings to her frame is understated, classic and very expensive for the strip of material it is. Not that they will ever discuss the dress. They never discuss the dress. Always the boobs, the muscles, the lips, the legs, the smile, the eyebrows, the men, the women, the drugs, the drinking, the parties and the hair but never the dress.

‘This way, love!’

A tilt of her head and the chin lifts as she laughs unashamedly. On the other side of the barrier the mortals scream and shout her name, too, and they must also be fed, but a subtle change is needed. One can show cheek, sass and attitude to the press but those same things to the mere mortals can make you look like your head is stuck up your own arse.

The smiles must be more natural now and done with the eyes as much as the mouth. She nods, grins and waves.

‘Hi,’ she calls out in that refined, educated voice known to millions.

‘Hello.’ She flicks her gaze to a young woman staring star-struck and in awe and offers a sickeningly warm smile.

Henrietta walks slowly down the carpet with perfect timing that shows the experience of years.

Fame-hungry Swallow hogs the red carpet!

Henri rude to fans shocker!

Taking too long can alienate you against those in the business and any such tiny breach will be seized on by the ever-watchful reporters within the pack. Too short a time spent on the carpet is seen as a rebuke to those that show the adoration they think she craves.

‘Still celibate, Henrietta?’ a man shouts out, brave from the jeers of his mates gathered round. She laughs and winks with a quick flash of eyebrows that rise up suggestively. His mates cheer and he flushes red from the attention so deftly given. She throws her head back, laughing deep and delighted while moving on down the crowd.

Hands stretch out to touch, spurred on by the hunger to feel the woman they have seen so many times on television, in magazines and on the Internet.

This is a passage fraught with peril and always teeters with the greatest sense of internal conflict. She hates touching the dirty, filthy masses but they need that contact and experience has shown disaster can be but a hand grip away. What if one of them grabs and doesn’t let go? Sure there are security ready to flatten anyone stepping out of line, but a picture like that is not good for business and god forbid the image shows the fear on the face of the celebrity being grabbed.

Henrietta scans them quickly, avoiding anyone with greasy hair or spotty skin. She recognises those that will allow the fleeting touch and quickly shakes hands while all the time moving on. Smiling. Nodding. A few words exchanged and any questions she misses in the cacophony of noise is answered with carefully prepared laughs. Show humour. Show sadness. Show attention. Show mischief. Flirt. Now draw back. Watch that man who’s pushing through the crowd with a hunger in his eyes. This woman is safe. A few words. Hand to chest to show sincerity and a quick squeeze of the woman’s hand before stepping on to the next.

She reaches the end of the carpet as another car pulls up behind her and as one the attention is shifted to the new arrival. She is done. One second she is scrutinised, needed, desired, hungered for and sought after and the next she is a woman walking down a carpet.

One man watches her. The one she saw pushing through the crowd. Middle-aged and broad-shouldered and in any other setting he could look entirely normal but here, with that longing in his eyes, it sends her on towards the door. She shows no reaction but looks ahead with the same happy smile and walks steadily towards the black-shirt-wearing bouncer waiting to usher her inside.

A shift in her eyes. A sudden show of fear and she forgets why she is here and what the event is. This happens often. The passage over the red carpet brings such a rush that everything else is blotted from her mind. Is it a film? An art gallery? A concert? She smiles at the man who steps out towards her.

‘Miss Swallow,’ he says politely, turning on the spot with an arm extended towards the door behind him. ‘Go straight through.’

To what? Go through to what? She looks round as though taking in the surroundings before clapping eyes on the poster for the British movie and suddenly it all comes back. The booking so artfully contrived to appear an invitation. The careful selection of the dress that no one will ever notice. The increased hours in the gym and the strict reduction of carbohydrates to flush those last few grams of fat from her body.

BOOK: Blood at the Premiere: A Day One Undead Adventure
9.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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