Legacy – The Diaries (Part 5)
An alternate Earth’s story line…
Diary - Part Five
I woke up smiling the next morning, my body still glowing, feeling so cozy. I stared up at the poster on my wall, and my hand idly fiddled in a place it didn’t need to be.
The poster was a picture of Michael Lyon. He was a top male model and without a doubt the sexiest man I’d ever seen.
I forced myself out of bed and jumped into the shower, turning on just the hot water as usual. Then I got dressed in a pair of silk running shorts and a sports bra. Strangely, those clothes felt all scratchy and hot, making me want to just walk around naked.
I pushed that feeling away and went down to have breakfast with mom.
“So, now that you know what’s its like to be appreciated as a lovely young woman,” she winked, “how about you use some of that glow to help my favorite charity?”
“Wha…?” I started to say as my orange juice went down the wrong way.
She just gave me that famous Lois Lane smile that she reserves for gangsters. The one she uses to disarm them just before she exposes them.
“I can use a big draw at our fashion show for the battered women and children shelters, Kara.”
“A fashion show, mom? Correct me if I’m wrong, but the last time I brought that up, you said there was no way on Earth you’d ever allow it.”
This was Lois Lane, the hard-bitten investigative reporter who disdained anything that smacked of mere girlishness. She ate up gangsters and spat them out on the front pages of newspapers.
“I was merely objecting to you modeling for Sports Illustrated last year. You were barely fifteen then.”
“Yeah, but they’d arranged for a portion of the profits to go to the Fireman’s Fund. You know, as in the widows of 9/11? The firemen were so disappointed, especially given I work with them all the time.”
“That magazine’s swimsuit issue is completely inappropriate for Supergirl. You’re not some bikini bimbo. You’re your father’s daughter.”
I just stared at her, the words ‘bikini bimbo’ racing around my head. Of course I wasn’t. Never. Did mom think I looked like one?
"Also my mom's daughter. The investigative report of the year, or whatever that last award plaque said."
She just smiled.
“So, ah, what makes this show OK now?” I asked cautiously. “Are you modeling Amish fashions or something?”
Mom started ticking things off on her fingers like she always does when she’s on a roll.
“One, you’re older. Two, as your dad keeps telling me, sixteen is the age of majority on Krypton. Three, our show is featuring evening wear, not swimsuits. Four, the funds go to these shelters for women and children who are victims of abuse. There is far too much spousal abuse going on and we have to give the victims a safe haven.”
“Yeah… I understand all that,” I said slowly. “But what about all those models you had last year? Some big names. And evening wear? You mean lingerie.”
She shrugged. “All true, and we made some great money and most of them will be back. But nobody would be a bigger draw than Supergirl. You can’t walk down the street without seeing your picture on the cover of magazines, from tabloids to Maxim to Time to Scientific American. Everyone has fantasies about you. We’d make so much that we’d be able to set up shelters in dozens smaller cities and communities with the money you could bring in.”
I was really dumfounded now. Fantasies about me?
“So, what happened to that thing about dad and I not profiting from our powers? Or me walking around in public being blonde and without my costume.” I didn’t like where this was going.
“Personal profit is bad. But charities are very good.”
“Let me see if I have this right,” I said. “It’s OK for me to model as long as it’s your charity I’m supporting? Even to feed all that weirdness that’s out there by wearing skimpy lingerie in public?”
Her eyes flashed angrily. “It’s not that simple and you know it, Kara. Do you realize how much money you could raise? You could help people with problems that Supergirl never could. You could save the lives of hundreds of women and children.”
I looked at her warily. “And I save all those lives by just wearing some fancy clothing?” I asked facetiously.
“You’re a natural model, Kara. Perfect body. Those high cheekbones. Bright eyes. Flawless complexion. All that blonde hair. Almost six feet tall. All you have to do is show up to make this all a resounding success.”
“Well, I’m glad I have some talent,” I said sourly. “Showing up.”
“You know what I mean, honey. You’re a great student and you’re saving the world as Supergirl, but why not add another dimension to your work. And besides, it’s not like you’d have to work at it.”
The glow was starting to fade from last night. Mom was up to something. “So who’s the gangster you’re going to bring down with this gig?”
She started to shake her head, and then stopped.
“I can’t fool you, can I, honey.”
“Not for long. Give me the famous Lois Lane angle here.” Now it was all starting to make sense. This was just a honey trap to take down some big cheese.
“OK. His name is George Kostnos. He’s the Russian who is corrupting so many charitable organizations, siphoning off money for his own use. Administrative fees, whatever. I plan to give him the money so I can trace where it goes.”
“What about battered women?”
“I’ll make sure they get every dollar. And bring down Kostnos at the same time.”
Now I knew I couldn’t say no. This was crime fighting, the Lois Lane way.
“So, if I were to agree to this craziness, mom, how’s it all going to work?”
“Simple,” mom said as she bit off the end of a carrot, talking as she chewed. “We put the word out that you’ll make a surprise showing. That’ll bring in the big spenders. The kind of people Kostnos cultivates. Then you arrive just after the show starts; wearing your red and blues of course. Make yourself seen and then go backstage. Pierre Etrand, he’s one of the top fashion gurus from Paris, he’ll be waiting for you with some original fashions of his.”
“You’ve already got this all worked out, don’t you?”
“Please, honey. It’s for a really great cause. And given how tall you are now, you’ll fit right in with those models.”
“Not with these." I reached down to cup myself. “No anorexia nervosa here.”
“You look healthy and shapely. It’ll be a nice switch compared to those skinny catwalk models.”
“Which also means I won’t fit into any of the outfits. I’m not a size 0.”
“Which is why we’ll have outfits tailored just for you.”
I sighed. She had every angle covered. She’d probably started working on this months ago.
But what the heck, maybe she was right. Kostnos was an asshole. And the glow from last night wasn’t going completely away. As interesting as the usual awe/intimidation/gratitude look is when I wear my red and blues, punching out bad guys or saving people from some disaster, it was fun to be appreciated as a woman sometimes.
“OK. I’ll do it,” I blurted out, hardly believing my own words. “But just this one time.”
“Thanks, honey. This means a lot to me. And to all the other people who are trying to do charitable work and are getting ripped off.”
“So… when do I show up for this gig?”
Mom looked at her watch. “Oh… in about four and a half hours,” she said casually.
“The word is already out to the big spenders and Pierre is ready with the outfits. He’s been designing and sewing for the last two months. Everything’s prepared.”
Damn. Mom knew how to work me way too well. Lois Lane was a force of nature when she wanted to be.
The fashion show was underway when I showed up at half past two. Mom had said to make a dramatic appearance, so instead of walking through the door, I floated through an open skylight and then dropped down to eye level, crossing my legs to hover in midair just past the end of the runway to watch the show. Which gave the people under me a bit of a show.
On the other hand, based on the outfits I saw the models wearing, I was overdressed anyway. Some of that lingerie didn’t belong outside the bedroom.
A six-foot tall model started walking down the catwalk toward me. She seemed to be all legs, and was wearing a dress made of nothing but ribbons that covered just about nothing. She stared directly into my eyes, giving me that arrogant and insolent look that all runway models do.
Her name was Ayla -- a top supermodel. She went by first name only, the ultimate in arrogance. I stared back at her, sensing this was some kind of challenge. Supermodel meets Supergirl. She gave me a look that would have made an Amazon proud.
I studied her exaggerated walk and haughty attitude, knowing I was going to have to try to emulate that in a few minutes, but by this time, every eye in the auditorium had focused on me. People were whispering and pointing.
Ayla obviously didn’t appreciate losing the audience’s attention, so she spun around before reaching the end of the runway and stalked off as the announcer started to mention my name.
I floated down to land lightly on the catwalk, then gave the crowd a little curtsy before following Ayla into the backstage dressing room.
It was total chaos back there. Dozens of people were scurrying around doing hair and makeup for a half dozen women who looked anatomically deformed. Too skinny, legs too long, huge eyes spaced too widely apart, their skin spray-painted to perfection. They were all beautiful, but in a very contrived kind of way. I’m sure they look amazing in front of a camera or on a raised catwalk, but in person, they just looked weird.
I guess I wasn’t too surprised. I’d seen the movie The Devil Wears Prada so I’d been prepared for everyone running around and stressed, but I wasn’t prepared for the fact that the models changed clothes out in the open. No screens, no dressing rooms. They didn’t have time. They just stripped down and changed and ran back over toward the runway entrance.
Ayla gave me another evil stare as she slumped in her chair, refusing the change. People started yelling at her, but she ignored them.
I gave her a smile, and she just turned away to ignore me.
I got some more challenging glances from the other models, their eyes tracing me from head to toe. They all frowned as they studied me. I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or bad.
That’s when I saw a short man waving at me from the other side of the room. He had a couple of outfits draped over his arm and a pincushion in each hand. Obviously, Pierre had found me.
I held my cape in my hand as I turned to squeeze through the crowd.
“You have to hurry,” Pierre said breathlessly without even introducing himself. “I’ve designed several new outfits for you to wear and we have only minutes before you are due on the runway. Michael over there will help you. He’s my assistant.”
I turned to look where he’d pointed, and my heart froze in mid-beat. I was staring into the face that had graced more fashion magazine ads than any other.
The face on the poster in my bedroom.
Five time Olympic medalist in swimming and an unbelievably gorgeous man who dated princesses and supermodels. By many accounts, he was the most eligible bachelor on Earth. He was certainly the heartthrob of most red-blooded women.
And I had the reddest blood of all.
“Him?!” I gasped.
“Yes, him! Michael has graciously agreed to help me when my regular assistant fell ill. Now hurry.” He pushed me toward Michael.
My heart started to race wildly, and my knees were shaking as I walked closer to Michael, unable to take my eyes off him. He was so handsome… no, he was way beyond that. Beautiful. Gorgeous. God-like. He was even sexier in person than in any of his pictures.
I knew I should say something, but when I opened my mouth, nothing came out but air.
He held out his hand. “When I heard you were coming, Supergirl, I could not resist meeting you in person. I’ve admired you for some time.”
Oh God, that French accent of his… he could make love to a woman with just his voice. And admiring me? Be still my heart!
"Hurry, hurry,” Pierre chimed from behind me.
“The costume, ”Michael said, holding out his hand. “Give it to me quickly. We are almost out of time.”
“Costume?” I asked dumbly, barely comprehending that he was expecting me to strip down in public. Not only in public, but in front of the ultimate McDreamy! The man who lived in my dreams. A man I often fantasized was something more -- substantial than merely human -- if you know what I mean.
“Your uniform. Your leotard. Costume. Whatever you call it.” He waved his hand impatiently at me. “Hurry now.”
“I can’t… not here… isn’t there a place to…?”
“Everyone changes out here. Nobody will stare. It’s how it’s done.”
“But you… you’re…here.”
He blinked, and then he started to smile. Oh, God, it was like the sun coming out from behind a golden cloud. White teeth, so perfect, and those green eyes, those shoulders, that swimmer’s body… I felt my legs growing weak.
“You really haven’t modeled before, have you?”
I shook my head so fast my hair flew everywhere.
“Then turn your back to me as you change. I won’t look.”
I turned around to find myself facing a corner of the room. Better… but my butt was still going to be fully on display. “This isn’t going to…”
“What is taking you so long,” Pierre screamed as he rushed over. He started folding up my cape, and then tugged on it, searching around my neckline for the way to detach it. “We don’t have time for girlish silliness here. Either change now or I will have to cancel you.”
I couldn’t leave now. I’d promised mom. She said that Pierre had created some new fashions just for me. Plus there was Kostnos.
And then there was Michael. Standing so close behind me I could feel his breath in my hair. I didn’t want to act like a little girl in front of him.
I took a deep breath, which only made matters worse, given my nipples were already tingling -- a dangerous sign. I paused for only a second before daringly unbuttoning my belt. That was safe – I had panties on today. The waistband slid down over my hips and Aunt Kara’s skirt pooled at my ankles. I was suddenly reminded that my panties were closer to a thong than anything else.
My hands were trembling as I crossed them and started to pull my top up. I shivered as I felt my breasts starting to come free… dad would kill me if he saw me doing this. Did mom realize this was part of the deal?
I looked over my shoulder to see Michael looking at my ass, his eyebrow raised. Behind him, Pierre was fuming as he paced back and forth, glancing at his watch.
Oh, what the hell…either I fly out of here or go with the flow.
Never one to turndown a challenge, I went for it, and jerked my top up, only to have the tight fabric catch on my nipples. I struggled for a moment, and then Michael walked up, his warm breath flowing over my bare shoulder from behind as he reached around to try and help me. His warm hands briefly cupped my breasts to send a thrilling burst of tingles racing through my body. He pulled on my top, but he couldn’t stretch the leotard a millimeter further -- it was made of Kryptonian fabric. I felt myself blushing hot as I tugged harder, and I suddenly popped free.
“Are those for me?” he laughed, catching a glance of my nipples. They were standing out like bullets.
I blushed so red now that I must have looked like a cooked lobster. Was he teasing me? Or was he really so arrogant as to think he was turning me on just by standing there (which he was)? Or just making a joke to relax me, given that my obvious state of arousal. Now I know how guys feel when they can’t control things.
“I’m just cold,” I mumbled.
I grimaced at my own words; he’ll buy that for sure. If he’s read anything at all about me, he’ll know I could float in a vat of liquid helium and not get chilled, and here I was claiming to be cold in a room that had to be close to 60 degrees.
I decided not to think about it, and quickly raised my arms to pull my top over my head. I kept my back to Michael as I threw the warm fabric his way, hitting him in the face. While his eyes were covered, I pulled down my panties and grabbed the dress from Pierre’s hands and put it on before Michael could see again.
Turning around to face him, glancing at myself in the mirrors, I was amazed. Pierre’s elegant black gown was cut so deeply down the front that my bellybutton showed, and my shoulders and back were bare. There were two sections of slightly heavier fabric over my boobs, but otherwise, the dress fit me like a glove. The skirt fit even more snuggly around my slender hips as it hung down to my ankles, yet was slit open on the sides in Asian fashion -- all the way up to my hips. I spun around, only to realize that it showed more of my ass than I wanted anyone to see. Fortunately, a subdued red ‘S’ under the front of the skirt covered the all important front of me.
I continued to study myself in the mirror as Michael went into action, aiming a hairdryer at my hair to give it an even more windblown look than it already had. Pierre in turn fastened a wide diamond choker around my neck. I felt completely transformed by the dress and jewelry.
“She doesn’t need any,” Pierre said as he waved the disbelieving makeup artist away. He bent down to slip a really tall pair of heels on my feet.
When they were both done dressing me, I turned to look into Michael’s eyes, the four-inch heels making me taller than him. “So, do I pass inspection, kind sir?”
“Has anyone told you that you have the most amazing eyes?”
“Oh, it’s my eyes you like now, huh? I thought you liked staring at my ass.”
He laughed. “That was hard to get past, but I have never seen a woman with eyes as bright and clear as yours. You are without a doubt the most beautiful woman here today. Now get out there and dazzle the crowd. We need their donations.”
I truly felt beautiful as I turned to walk toward the runway; only to have Michael slap me hard on my butt like I was going into an NFL game. I glared over my shoulder at him, trying not to smile. Whatever insecurity I'd felt earlier was gone now. Michael Lyon had just said I was the most beautiful woman here, and the rest of the girls were supermodels. Flattery or not, I knew that he, of all men, would truly know. He’d probably slept with all of them.
“Knock ‘em dead, babe,” he called from behind me.
And I did. The crowd came to its feet and applauded as soon as I paraded down the catwalk.
Unfortunately, I nearly tripped in those high heels as I tried to emulate a model’s walk. I finally gave up and floated a few inches of the floor, walking on air the way only I could do, yet with a model’s exaggerated movements, throwing my hips. At the end of the runway, I spun around with a flourish, my hair and the long skirt flying, and went back the other way.
The applause was so encouraging that I did a retake, down and back again, finding it was really cool to be appearing in public without having to save the day, so to speak. No bad guys to punch out. No disasters to avert. And no forty-year-old red and blue costume clinging to me. Everyone was simply enjoying the way I looked and not focusing on the things I could do.
Strangely, instead of diminishing me, that feeling was amazingly liberating, especially the wild applause. It all made me feel so alive inside.
By the time I got back to the dressing area, I was positively glowing. Michael said, “goes to your head in a hurry, doesn’t it?”
I stuck my tongue out at him.
He laughed. “As I had expected, you’re a natural. Never seen that walk before though.”
I nodded, not sure what to say, only to have Pierre rush over with another gown to end the awkwardness.
“What, you’re still dressed?” he shrilled. “Quickly. Change. Change!”
Michael held out his hand again, and this time I didn’t hesitate to face my corner and undo the clasp. The dress slid smoothly to the floor. Stepping out of it, I left it lying there like I saw the other models do.
I was trembling slightly as Michael helped me get dressed in the second outfit. He was very business-like this time, but I was very aware of the touch of his hands, and once, when he turned me around to face him, our lips came close, almost touching. I was tingling from head to toe as his fingers traced across my golden gown, adjusting it, and then kneeling down to adjust my skirt. I had a brief fantasy of him doing something else down there, given the gown had this tiny micro-skirt that really showed off my long legs. Instead, he slid a pair of elegant Italian heels onto my feet and then rose to comb his fingers through my hair until he had just the look he wanted.
“You have without a doubt the most beautiful legs on the planet,” he said as he stood back up. “So sexy.”
A wave of warmth raced up between my legs to nearly undo me. I was gasping for air from his outrageous comment, not to mention that fantasy that I couldn’t shake.
Meanwhile, Pierre was busy fastening a broad ruby choker around my neck that must have cost a king’s ransom. Turning, to face the mirror, I hardly recognized myself again. The gown was so beautiful… white silk and ruffles with threads of blue and gold running through it, the hem the same shade of red as my uniform. A tiny ‘S’ symbol rested on my left breast with a long ribbon of blue silk draping behind me to suggest a cape. Pierre had also obviously made this one just for me.
Before I knew it, I was on the runway again, or rather a few inches above it, and the applause started up again. Everyone stood up as I floated up and down that runway like an angel, my delicate silk gown flowing in my wake. Just before going back inside, I did several somersaults in mid-air I was so happy.
The next three gowns were a blur, two of them variations on the first themes, the last one was something that belonged on Daisy Duke, my shirt tied off below my bust and cowboy boots and all. Instead of denim, the shorts were made of a chiffon fabric.
I tensed my legs a bit as I flew to do my best Daisy Duke imitation, knowing those muscles would make my legs look even more amazing.
And then, as suddenly as it had started, the show was over. All the models came back on the catwalk for a final pose; me in the center, and this time Pierre had dressed me in an evening gown that was a caricature of my usual blue costume. The cape was red silk and the ‘S’ symbol was sewn with gold thread and the skirt was nearly transparent. My boots had been replaced with delicate four-inch stilettos that were laced around my calves with golden ribbons.
Mom was smiling at me, giving me a thumbs up as she glanced at Kostvos, clearly pleased with how the show had gone. Kostvos was smiling broadly. The poor bastard had no idea he was about to go down.
As soon as I returned backstage, Michael handed me a pair of jeans and a t-shirt that were exactly my size. “I smuggled them past Pierre. He hates anything in cotton.”
I faced the corner a final time as I started undressing, kicking the boots off and undoing the big knot below my boobs. I let the top hang open as I daringly turned around to face Michael, one breast clearly on display. I was trembling a little, yet it felt so liberating to just let him just look at me.
He laughed: “So, where did that shy young woman suddenly go, anyway?”
“I… I’m…” I started to stutter as I saw him looking down at me, my heart pounding so hard I'm sure he could hear it. I quickly removed my top and pulled his t-shirt on, moving so fast I must have looked like a blur.
“So, how about we get a drink to put an end to this insanity,” he said.
“Drink… “ I replied dumbly. “I’m only sixt…”
I caught myself just in time. He definitely wasn’t looking at me like I was girl. And today, I hadn’t been one. Besides, I was an adult in the eyes of Krypton.
“Yeah, whatever…sure,” I said as I pulled on the jeans, ignoring the fact that I wasn’t wearing anything under them. I was desperate to keep this bubble of warmth from bursting.
“Good. Thank you. These shows drive me crazy. I must unwind afterward or I’ll simply go insane.”
He stuffed my uniform into the messenger’s bag he carried and gave me another of his dazzling smiles as he saw me glancing down at the bag. “Don’t worry… I won’t loose it. But imagine what this would go for on eBay?”
I couldn’t help but laugh as I felt the tension and the excitement starting to drain out of me. “Yes, and think how disappointed the buyer would be when I repossessed it? Maybe after breaking and arm or two in the process. Yours first.”
“Ooh… I forget. You are very strong. Remind me not to piss you off.”
“Oh, like you haven’t already?”
“But, obviously I was the first?”
“First to piss me off?” I laughed. “Hardly.”
“No. I mean, first man to see you naked?”
I blushed brightly again. “No… of… of course not.”
“OK,” he winked. “Have it your way. Now, how about that drink, mademoiselle?”
Michael knew a back way out of the building that avoided the paparazzi and the audience, and before I knew it, we were sitting across a small table in the darkened back corner of a neighborhood watering hole a few blocks away. Except for a couple of older men at the bar, the place was empty in the middle of the afternoon.
“It was all madness back there, wasn’t it?” he asked as he sipped his Manhattan. “Insanity to the tenth degree.”
I sipped my Diet Coke and nodded. “Way different than I expected. I’d figured on having changing rooms and whatever. And not being so rushed.”
“Yes, I noticed. But it was cute to see you blush. You made me remember my first time in a show.”
“You guys change in the open too?”
“Of course. But we wear a little something.”
“Oh, but it was OK for me to be nude? As in, completely?”
“It is different with men and women. We have more to hide.” Then he winked at me. “But you weren’t, as they say, undressing me with your eyes? You can see through anything. No?”
I shook my head and smiled back at him. “I resisted. I like surprises.”
What was I saying? Surprises? Like I was going to really see him naked later or something?
He nodded vigorously. “Yes, that is the nature of good fashion. Show a little, but give the imagination something to work on. But if I had your eyes, I’m not sure I’d be so… disciplined.”
I wasn’t going to comment on that. I sometimes took peeks. But not at Michael. Never.
“So, did the terrible looks from the other girls bother you?” he asked.
“Looks…?” I stared to ask, only to realize that I didn’t remember anything about the other models in the changing area. Other than Ayla when I first entered. “I didn’t… I was distracted.”
He shrugged, understanding. “As are many women when they are first with me, but I’m just flesh and bones. It’s what is inside us that truly matters.”
No false modesty here. He was beautiful and he knew it. But even with that, I could sense that he really wasn’t hung up on looks, even if he made his living off them.
“But as far as the other girls went, their looks would have been lethal if you weren’t from Krypton. No? You didn’t wear a trace of makeup, or even had your hair done, and you looked better than any of them.”
“Maybe that’s why there’s a Super in front of my name,” I shrugged, not sure what to say to that.
“Good. Just throw it back at them. Me too. That’s what I always do. They’re all ego and insecurity combined.”
“And you aren’t?”
He laughed again. He seemed to laugh a lot and I loved it.
“It’s easier for men. But then, I’m content with being merely human. Most of those girls wish they were an alien like you.”
I laughed nervously. “Does it bother you that I really am, Michael? You know, not human and all that?”
Other than Jeremy and Robert, who had been friends since kindergarten, I’d never really talked like this with a guy who knew who I was.
He leaned back in his seat as he thought about his answer.
“Actually, it’s intriguing as hell, I have to say. Something I’m struggling with… to get my head around it, as they say. You are the perfect woman. Beyond perfect. Flawless. Unhurtable. Able to fly like an angel. To see and hear things no one else can.”
Then he paused to shake his head. “But no, I refuse to compare you to other women. You are not like any other.” He sighed and slid further down in his chair. “I’m sorry. I’m rambling. I’m not sure what any of this means. Except… maybe I’m describing a goddess?”
Oh, Rao, why did he have to say that! I hated guys who got into the alien goddess thing. Fawning over me like I was sent from heaven. But Michael saw the look on my face and winked at me.
“On the other hand, I don’t date virgins very often either. In fact, never.”
“What makes you think I’m…?” He had no right to say that. “And this isn’t a date. And I’m definitely not goddess material.”
“So you say. So tell me, how strong are you, anyway?”
I lifted my arm and put my elbow on the table. “Why? You want to arm wrestle me for the tab?”
“No. It was a serious question.”
Damn it. This kind of discussion always intimidated guys. But I was determined to play it cool.
“My dad is Superman, and he’s stronger than ten thousand men. But he doesn’t always win when we train together. I’m more flexible, faster. Does that tell you enough?”
He nodded. “About what I expected. What with all those muscles.”
Now I was feeling self-conscious. I’m very slender, but also very lean, and when I move, you can really see my muscles working.
He sensed my discomfort. “When you stand still, you look like a really fit woman. A serious runner, maybe. Your legs, abs, everything wickedly tight. But unlike a runner, you have the most marvelous curves.”
OK, I could handle that.
“But then when you move… well, you look like a dancer or gymnast. No, it is more than that, it is your muscles that truly dance when you move.”
I slumped in my chair now. “Shit. So everyone was just staring at my muscles. Is that what you’re saying?” This was not good.
“Not at all… just at a phenomenally healthy woman.” He shrugged and lifted his hands, palms up. “But you could never make a living merely modeling. The look that sells clothing is more or less an anorexic one, as you know. A softer look. But of course, we’d expected your difference, your curves, and Pierre had designed for it, as you saw. You are your father’s daughter. The most powerful woman in the universe. The most beautiful as well.”
His smooth words, that French accent, I couldn’t believe he was talking about me this way. I felt myself blushing again.
“Now you’re embarrassing me, Michael.”
“Sorry. That was not my intent. I like very fit women, and you are off that scale. I guess my real point is that you’re incredibly hot. I mean, for a virgin anyway.”
I felt another wild tingle run through my body. Oh Lordy. Michael Lyon thought I was hot! But he was also focusing in on my virginity, as if it was any of his business.
I wasn’t sure what to say, so I blurted out: “My sexual experience is none of your damn business!” I grimaced. That sounded so harsh.
He just laughed. “I am used to women falling at my feet. To do anything to gain my favor. Pretending they are smart, experienced, worldly, sexy, slutty, available, whatever they think I want them to be. But you’re just being you. I like that.”
“How old do you think I am, Michael?”
“Young enough to get me in much trouble?”
“Yeah. And there are all these muscles to deal with.” I clenched my fist for a brief moment, making my arm tight.
He glanced at my arm, eyes opening wider, and then he smiled: “Which is a problem why? Remember, I was a professional swimmer before I became a model. I was always around athletes. And are you not the fittest woman in the universe? The most athletic?”
My head swelled from the way he kept calling me a woman. “Fit, huh? Has it occurred to you that everything about me is like thousands of times stronger the women you’ve known?”
He looked at me blankly, not getting it.
“Everything?” I repeated slowly.
He blinked and finally got it, glancing down at my lap and then back up as his eyes narrowed. “Oh… you mean…”
I almost broke up laughing at the disappointed look on his face as it hit him. Screw you, buddy.
“But I read that you and your dad have nearly perfect muscle control. You can shake someone’s hand with precise control.”
I nodded. “To the ounce. But it all depends on expectation. If you tell me something weights fifty pounds and if it really weighs a hundred, I won’t get it off the ground on the first try. But if you say it weighs a hundred tons and it does, then I can lift that easily.”
“So… your life is all one of expectations.”
I nodded. “Exactly. If I punch a normal guy, I knock him out, not take his head off, yet I can send an Amazon flying a quarter mile with my punch if I don’t hold back.”
“So… is this a conscious or unconscious thing?”
“More of a learned thing.”
“So why is sex a problem then? I can tell you what to expect. And you can learn. No?”
“Because I could really hurt a guy. In a lot of ways you’d probably rather not think about.”
He nodded, understanding. Then he winked at me: “I am a great teacher, you know. And I am strong too. Especially that way.”
Another wave of tingling heat came over me, and I couldn’t help but blush again. This conversation was crazy. I couldn’t possibly…
“You don’t understand, Michael. You are a man who I’m sure has always been stronger than your partners. But I’ve read that sex is like an epileptic seizure; at least that’s how it looks on an EEG. Totally out of control.”
I grimaced as I heard the words come out of my mouth. He was trying to be charming, even romantic, and I was geeking off about EEG’s and epileptic sex.
He just winked again. “Sex is only that good with experienced partners. Especially men and women who have had practice together. But I haven’t even invited you to my bed. I might not know how to make love to a virgin, you know.”
My neck was burning and I felt like an idiot, throwing my worries out there, signaling where my head was already going. But obviously I couldn’t bullshit him, so I just said it like it was.
“Well, would it surprise you to know that I’ve never even been on a real date before?”
“Ah… no, it wouldn’t.”
I slumped further in my seat, the last of my bravado deserting me. He could see right through me. I felt like a child. He’d probably been dating experienced women since he was fourteen, given his looks.
He reached across the table to place his hand over mine. “It must be hard, living in two worlds. Always worrying about what people know or think of you. Scared of getting too close. Even being afraid of the wonder of sex.”
“Wonder? Two worlds? I’m not afraid of…?”
“Of course you are. And just as certainly, you don’t fly around as Supergirl all the time. So I conclude you have to have another identity. One where nobody would suspect you. A look that does not interest men.”
“How could you…?”
He touched his finger to his head. “I’m not as stupid as everyone thinks I am.” He gripped my hand tighter as he leaned closer, lowering his voice to whisper. “And I play that game too. Hiding myself. It is the only way for people like us to have a normal life. Yes?”
Oh, Jesus, he actually knew what it was like to be beautiful, to be different, yet always having to hide it.
“That’s…interesting,” I said softly, sucking noisily on my straw, afraid to say more.
“So, let me guess.” He studied me for a moment. “I think you wear your hair dark, I’d guess black, the opposite of blonde, and you use contact lenses to cover your eyes, brown probably, that’s so common. You also wear the least fashionable clothing you can find. That and maybe acting weak and shy. Right?”
I nodded before I could catch myself. He’d nailed it.
“So,” he shrugged. “You show me yours and I’ll show you mine.”
I just stared at him as I started to stutter. “What? I… I can’t.”
“Well, then I’ll ask you to keep my secret first. I’ll be right back.”
He rose to head toward the bathroom with his bag in hand.
I wanted to fly away. I should never have come to this bar with Michael. I shouldn’t be here talking to a man who infatuated me like this. This was everything my mom had warned me about. Michael was twenty something. He’d been around. He was linked to supermodels and princesses… the most beautiful and desirable women in the world. Women of experience. Women who knew how to please him. Women he could please.
But I couldn’t leave. This was Michael. The guy on the posters in my bedroom. The guy who made my heart race so fast just from looking at him. The guy who made me feel like I was flying when I wasn’t.
But still, I couldn’t trust him. I hardly knew him.
My thoughts were still racing when a vaguely gay-looking guy walked toward my table. He had short brown hair, a bit of a goatee, shoulders slumped, bad complexion. The kind of guy I’d never even notice on the street. Invisible. Non-descript. I finally had to peak under his clothes to recognize that it was Michael.
He held out his hand. “I’m Jim Smith. From Berkley, California. Glad to meet you.”
There was no trace of his French accent. Instead, a vaguely Californian one.
“Wow. That is so great, Michael. You really look like shit,” I laughed. “A little gay too.”
He laughed, and the real Michael briefly peaked through. “Yes. That keeps the ladies away, but does not draw many men to me either.” He waved his hand at me. “OK… now show me yours.”
“I shouldn’t. Can’t.”
“You must. Now that you know my secret, it’s only fair.”
“I promised my…” I caught myself and shut up. Telling Michael about a promise to my mother would make me sound like a girl.
“Please? I mean, I’ve already seen you naked. I have your costume in my bag. Your disguise will hardly reveal more intimacies than that.”
He was wrong. Strangely, my secret identity was far more intimate. It had to do with my other self. Yet I couldn’t resist. “Well… maybe.”
His eyebrow lifted and he gave me a smile that just made my heart melt.
“Oh, OK, yes,” I said. “I’ll do it.”
My heart was really racing now. How could this be happening so fast?
I was nervous and cussing under my breath as I grabbed my bag and walked toward the bathroom. Mom would kill me if she found out. Dad too.
But another part of me didn’t care. I just wanted to be honest with Michael. To not have to put on airs or hide or pretend anything.
I started my transformation by turning my hair black with my comb, then my eyes brown with the contacts. That was followed by makeup to make my eyes look tired with bags under them. I finished with a few blotches on my face. And then the Salvation Army clothes. A black outfit that would have made an Amish woman happy, skirt to the floor with sturdy work shoes.
My only concession to Michael was a set of long clamp-on earrings, black and pearl. They gave me a bit of a Goth look, especially as I put a coat of black nail polish on. It took but a touch of heat vision and a few puffs of air and they were dry.
I walked back into the bar to find that Michael had turned on the light over our table. No more need for disguises. I sat down across from him and rested my head in my hand as I stared into his eyes.
“I believe we’ve met before,” I said, faking a British accent. “My name is Karen Smythe. From Kent, England.”
I’d made up that name only seconds before. That and the British thing. I obviously couldn’t call myself Kara Kent like I did in school.
His eyes grew large and then he leaned back and laughed. “My god, you’re brilliant. I never would have guessed. The perfect geek with a little Goth tossed in. Not attractive in the least.”
I wasn’t sure if that made me happy or sad. “So we seem to share at least one skill,” I finally shrugged. “Doing the ugly.”
“And you look so much older now.”
At sixteen, that was definitely a compliment.
I couldn’t help myself. I was falling for him. He was so cute even when he tried to look scruffy.
“Hmmm… maybe even old enough for Ms. Smith to go on a real date with Mr. Smith?”
“But of course,” he smiled so beautifully. “I would be so honored.”
And that’s how it started. Really. I just asked him out. Michael Lyon. The most eligible man on the face of the Earth.