Jeff Woodbridge waited a moment for his eyes to become accustomed to the gloom of the bar. There were two couples sitting at tables and another in a booth along the wall. Two men were at one end of the counter and an attractive blonde was sitting at the other.
He didn’t see Peter Foley anywhere.
He glanced at his watch. It was one minute after 8 p.m. He was supposed to meet Peter at 8 o’clock sharp about the part in Jeff’s new dramatic production.
“Well, at least one of us was on time,’’ he muttered to himself as he moved to the bar.
He sat between the two men and the blonde. The blonde was smoking a cigarette and she looked up at him as he took his seat, frowned slightly, then turned on a radiant smile.
“Jim!” she said cheerfully in a deep, throaty purr. “No – not Jim. Jeff! Jeff Woodbridge!’’
Jeff smiled back, dumbstruck, showing more than a little trace of embarrassment. Then he peered at her closely, a glimmer of recognition crossing his face and transforming the embarrassment into a smile.
“Yes – and you are Linda, right?” he said finally after a moment of hesitation. “Yes – Linda Miller. You used to share an apartment with Peter Foley when he was finishing up his Masters in theatrical arts at the State University. That was three years ago! How time flies.’’
Jeff glanced at his watch pointedly. “Speaking of Peter, I was supposed to be meeting him here right now,” he said. “You wouldn’t happen to have seen him here, would you?”
Linda showed even white teeth in a gleaming smile. “What an incredible coincidence,” she said. “Or maybe not a coincidence at all. He called me earlier today and asked me to meet him here, too. But he didn’t say anything about you being here.” She looked at her own watch and frowned slightly. “I wonder what happened to him. He is usually so prompt.”
Jeff’s brow furrowed. “I wonder what he was up to?” he said. “Peter and I were going to talk about a part in the new play I am directing. He wanted to pitch me on a particular role and I was very dubious. Maybe he realized he couldn’t bring it off himself, and thought better of talking to me about it.”
Linda took a deep puff off her cigarette and tapped ash into the tray in front of her. Jeff watched her movements carefully. As she breathed out a thin stream of blue-gray smoke, he noticed the throb of the small vein in her throat.
“It sounds as if the two of you would have had plenty to discuss without me being around,” she said with an expression that was a mixture of curiosity and irritation.. “I can’t imagine why he wanted me here.”
Jeff shrugged. “I suspect our conversation would have been a fairly short one,” he said. “I simply can’t imagine Peter in this particular part, as fine an actor as he is.”
Linda took another puff and let the smoke drift out of her nose. “What makes you say that?” she asked. “I have seen in parts in several productions, including one of yours. As you say, he is very good. Why couldn’t he do this particular role?”
Jeff spread his hands. “Let me just say the part was totally wrong for him,” he said, choosing his words carefully. “In fact, it couldn’t have been more wrong. There is just no way he could have been convincing in it. There is no way he could have brought it off.”
Linda sipped her cocktail. “Now you are being almost as mysterious as he was,” she said with a smile. “I wonder why he didn’t mention you were meeting him here. When he asked me to be here, he certainly didn’t say anything about bringing an attractive man along with him.”
Jeff grinned back. He always had thought of himself as a fairly good-looking guy, but it was very nice to have a beautiful woman volunteer that she shared his opinion — particularly in such an openly flirtatious way.
He had met Linda once or twice when Peter had still been at State, and had really been interested in getting to know her much better personally – even in dating her. But he had never pursued the idea because he had been under the impression that she and Peter were more than just roomies.
As a consequence, a couple of brief meetings had never really amounted to anything, and it wasn’t until much later, after Peter finished his post-grad work, that Jeff had mentioned to him how attractive he thought Linda was.
Peter hooted when Jeff said he hadn’t asked her out because he was sure she and Peter were romantically involved.
“That’s really rich,” Peter spluttered. “You thought a gay man was dating her? What a laugh! With all due respect, she has the wrong plumbing for me, Jeff!”
Jeff had colored at the remark. Peter noticed his discomfort and hastened to add,” No –seriously, I always have liked Linda, but she always seemed more like a slightly older sister than a potential girlfriend of any sort. And I have never even dreamed of going to bed with her. Scout’s honor. Boy scout, mind you!”
The remark had been a revelation to Jeff. For one thing, it was the first time he had ever heard Peter say he was gay. For another, it meant that Linda might be available.
Unfortunately, Peter already had moved into a new apartment – this time with a male roommate who turned out to be his lover – and Jeff had never seen Linda again. In fact, he had forgotten about her completely. Until tonight. He was definitely remembering her now!
He moved to the seat next to her and signaled to the bartender. “Chivas and soda over for me,” he said. “And a refill on whatever the lady is drinking, please.”
Linda stubbed out her cigarette and drained what was left in her glass. “Another vodka and tonic, please,” she said with a smile, pushing the empty toward him.
The bartender nodded and began mixing the drinks.
“What about Peter?” Linda asked, turning back to Jeff with a flirtatious smile.
Jeff shrugged. “If he shows up, all well and good,” he answered. “In the meantime, I welcome an opportunity to get to know a very attractive woman a lot better.”
“That suits me just fine,” she said, lifting the glass the bartender set before her in a toast. “Here’s to old friendships renewed. May they ever grow stronger.”
Jeff raised his own drink. “I’ll drink to that,” he said. “And may they become even closer! Cheers!”
As they drank, Jeff sized Linda up. She was slim and extremely good looking, although unusually tall for a woman. Her black sleeveless knit sheath cocktail dress showed off her well-proportioned figure to great advantage, and ended about six inches above her knees, giving Jeff a nice view of shapely legs clad in sheer black nylons. Her small feet were shod in black patent leather pumps with four-inch heels. She noticed him looking at her legs and crossed them deliberately, allowing one to push up against his thigh in what appeared to be an open invitation.
Jeff responded by placing his hand gently on one of her thighs and stroking it gently while he watched her reaction. She responded by placing her own hand, slender and elegant, with long, dark red nails, on top of his. And she smiled what could only be described as a “Fuck Me!” smile.
Linda had striking high cheekbones that set off startlingly blue, deep set eyes. Her lashes were full and thick, and she had used liner, mascara and earth-toned shadow effectively to make them dramatic and glamorous but not overdone. Her lips were full and sensual, painted provocatively with a dark brownish red gloss and liner that matched her elegantly long fingernails. And she used them like a pair of lethal weapons.
She wore a scent that reminded him of the sweetish sour smell of Chaparral along the Northern California coast. It was a smell that reminded him of good sex. She leaned slightly toward him and smiled again.
“It’s nice to have you all to myself,” she purred in her throaty contralto. “If and when Peter shows up, you guys take care of your business. But afterwards, let’s go somewhere else together. Just you and me.”
She underscored the invitation by taking her hand off his and placing it in his lap, only inches from his crotch, licking her lips gently and smiling again, showing even white teeth.
Jeff smiled back, his mouth suddenly very dry. His pants suddenly didn’t seem to fit nearly as comfortably as they had only a few moments before.
“I don’t live too far from here,” he said. “My car is parked outside. I will drive you over there.” He couldn’t believe his incredible luck. He had been prepared for an unpleasant discussion with his friend about the new play. Now it looked like the evening was going to end on a high note after all.
He glanced at the clock above the call liquors displayed on the back of the bar. “It’s already half past,” he said quickly. “If he doesn’t show up pretty soon, let’s go. Maybe Peter began to realize that this part was way too much of a challenge, even for a really great character actor. He may have decided not to show up, figuring it was a lost cause. Anyway, we can discuss it at a later time. There isn’t anything he was going to tell me tonight that was going to convince me anyway.”
Linda stroked the top of his thigh. “Well, let’s not wait too long, honey,” she said huskily. “You and I have lots of lost time to make up.”
They finished their drinks and had another. Jeff filled Linda in on what he had been doing since the last time they met and she reciprocated. It was just quiet bar chat, but she kept her hand on his leg and her own thigh pressed against his the entire time they sat there, making him keenly aware of her sexual interest in him.
Her manner was subtly seductive in an incredibly feminine way. Just little things, really: for example, she would touch him gently to emphasize a point when she spoke in that easy way that women have, and arch her slender neck when she laughed in a way that made her blond hair swing back from the side of her face alluringly. Afterward, she would adjust one strand with a red-tipped fingernail gently, looking up at him from under those long, dark lashes.
Most of all, she locked her eyes on his, following his face avidly as they chatted. It seemed she couldn’t get enough of looking at him.
Her attention turned him on completely.
Jeff had split up with his last girlfriend about a month earlier and hadn’t had a date with a woman since then. He was really enjoying Linda’s companionship. And he was growing increasingly aroused by her flirtatious manner. He hadn’t remembered her being so sexually aggressive when they had met before. He knew that if she had showed him this much attention then, he would have asked her out, regardless of whether she and Peter were romantically involved.
She was very exciting to be with.
A few minutes after 9 p.m., she nudged Jeff and stood up. “I am going to the ladies’ room,” she said with a grin. “Let’s go when I get back, okay?”
Jeff nodded and fished out his wallet to settle their tab.
She joined him a few moments later at the door and together they walked out to the parking lot. As they made their way to Jeff’s red Miata convertible, she leaned close to him and whispered: “I am having a little bit of a women’s problem tonight. I am pretty messy down below, but I think I can find ways to make you happy anyway, okay?”
“Whatever, honey,” he said in a husky murmur. “We are just getting started. I want to see you again and again. We will eventually get around to the other thing.”
Jeff lived about a mile from the bar. The entire way to his apartment, Linda kept her hand in his lap, stroking him seductively. It made it very hard for Jeff to keep his eyes – and mind – on the road. Fortunately, there wasn’t much traffic. Even more fortunately, there weren’t any police on patrol in the area. Otherwise, Jeff would almost certainly have been pulled over for speeding. And God help him if a cop asked him to walk a straight line, heel-to-toe: he could never have managed it with the lump he had in the front of his trousers!
His apartment was a cozy little studio with Danish modern furniture and theatrical posters matted and framed on the walls. As he closed and latched the door behind them, Linda put her cool right hand behind his neck and kissed him invitingly, her other hand lingering on his crotch. Jeff’s member, already at attention, grew even more rigid.
“My,” she said in a deep, breathless whisper. “I think you have something down there I want to see – up very close!”
She gracefully stooped and pulled his trouser fly open deliberately while looking up at him with smoldering eyes and slightly parted lips. It took only a moment for her to free his engorged cock from his briefs inside. It was rock hard and fully extended. She brushed her thick, sensuous lips against its huge red tip and licked it tenderly with the tip of her tongue. Then she leaned into it, slipping her full lips gently over its head and beginning a slow, sensual movement back and forth on its shaft.
Jeff grunted with pleasure at the friction. He was already so turned on he knew he would not be able to take much of her beautiful mouth with climaxing. In fact, in less than a minute he shot off inside her beautiful lips, groaning with ecstasy as she continued to suck and lick him. By the time his member began to go flaccid, he was completely cleaned off. And almost unable to stand up!
She led him to the couch by his hand and pushed him down, straddling him and pressing her mouth to his passionately. Her tongue darted between his lips and he sucked at it, then pushed his own inside her mouth.
“My God,” he said finally. “That was incredible! I have never had anything like that happen to me before!”
She slipped off her coat and snuggled next to him on the couch. After a few moments of silently patting his chest, her brow crinkled slightly.
“You know, you have me totally mystified,” she said quietly. “What on earth is this part that Peter wanted that you are so sure he couldn’t handle?”
Jeff sighed. The problem had resurfaced. He knew he would have to talk to Peter about it eventually. Maybe if he tried to explain it to Linda, it would help him think of a gentle way to break the news.
“My new play is a work by a Southern playwright in the mold of Tennessee Williams: The decadent South. Repressed passion. All the usual stuff. Only it is really, really good,” he said. “Most of the author’s work has been produced regionally, but this particular play, although kind of rough, has got Broadway all over it.”
“Our company is going to do an off Broadway tryout,” he continued. “One of the characters in the play is a woman named Catherine Montgomery. She is little like the character Maggie in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’.’ She is really the central character the play is organized around. The star if you will. She is sensual, self-destructive. She has most of the really clever lines in the play. The part is a total heartbreaker. She commits suicide offstage during the last act.”
Jeff spread his hands. “That is the part Peter wants – a female part,” he said with resignation. “Not only that, but a starring female part as a beautiful and extremely sexy woman. Not a nanny, not a middle aged actress – a sensual and beautiful woman who has to convincingly radiate her sexuality for an extended period on stage.
“There is simply no way Peter could convincingly play Catherine Montgomery,” he said with exasperation. “He would have to pass as a woman onstage for nearly three hours. This character is in every scene in the play but the last one. Even a very good drag performance – like Dustin Hoffman in ‘Tootsie’ – wouldn’t be good enough.
“With the emotional content of this play, I wouldn’t want anybody in the audience to be thinking – not even fleetingly – that the leading lady was a man in a dress. It would simply destroy the credibility of the character, and with it, the play.”
Linda traced his lower lip with a red fingernail, a sympathetic expression on her gorgeous face. “I see the problem,” she said. “It would be a pretty tall order, ever for somebody like Peter.”
She was silent for a moment, then smiled. “Oops! Female trouble,” she said with embarrassment. “I have to go potty again to change my pad. Do you mind?”
Jeff smiled and shook his head. “First door on the right – just in front of the bedroom,” he said. “You can’t miss it. I’ll mix us a couple of drinks while you are taking care of your business.”
She rose from the sofa, kissed him gently on the lips, then headed back into the back of the apartment, the click of her high heels echoing on the bare wood floor.
Jeff sighed and stretched. He couldn’t remember the last time he had enjoyed such incredible oral sex. Linda had known exactly how to get him off with her mouth. She had an extraordinary talent for oral gratification. One could say she had a head for head.
He rose and went to his small kitchen to mix two drinks. As he finished putting the cocktails together he heard the click of her heels returning. He raised the two glasses up and looked up at her as she came into sight.
Both glasses crashed back onto the tile counter top as his grip on them failed completely.
Standing on the other side of the counter was Linda. At least, from the neck down.
From the neck up it was Peter Foley!
“What in the hell . . .” said Jeff, his voice trailing off in bafflement.
“Do I get the part?” Peter asked, his voice the same sexy purr that had captured Jeff’s imagination – and libido – earlier in the evening.
He raised his hands. In one of them was Linda’s face – or rather, her entire head: an incredibly lifelike rubber mask, quivering slightly as he held it up for Jeff to examine.
Everything about the mask was a perfect replica of Linda Miller’s face – except there were two large blank places where her startlingly blue eyes had been before. Jeff looked at Peter’s face. The areas around his eyes were those of Linda – the same earth-tone eye shadow, thick mascara and full lashes. Peter’s eyes were those of the woman Jeff had taken to his apartment. The mask was designed so the wearer’s eyes were completely exposed, and Peter has skillfully made his up to look like the sexy eyes of a beautiful female.
In his other hand, Peter held a blond wig he had worn over the bald crown of the mask. It was shoulder length and had completely covered the back of the mask, concealing the tiny invisible zipper that had fastened it around his head.
Jeff took the mask and examined it. The contours of Linda’s face had been molded into it skillfully, and regular cosmetics had given it the illusion of a living, breathing visage. The rubber was thin enough so the mask had moved naturally on Peter’s face when he smoked, spoke and drank. So thin that it had felt just like normal skin when Jeff kissed “Linda.”
Only a few parts of the mask were thicker than a sixteenth inch: the molded nose, the lips, the cheekbones and the brow ridge. False hair had been glued to the mask to give it Linda’s arched thin eyebrows. It was an amazing artificial face.
Jeff looked up at Peter’s wide grin, and he noticed his friend’s teeth were different – more even and whiter.
“Caps,” Peter said, anticipating the question. “An upper set that fit over my own.”
Jeff whistled. “But how? . . .” he asked helplessly.
“I did a lot of work in makeup in drama school,” Peter said with a shrug. “As for the face, I had a good friend who works with sculpture who help me do all the molding – somebody you actually know, in fact – Linda Miller.”
“Linda agreed to help me create a very convincing makeup to help me get this part,” Peter continued. “She has seen me do female roles before and she knew I could carry it off. We cast a life mask of my own head and one of her face, then put the two together to create a mask that would fit me exactly and give me all her features.”
Jeff handed the mask back. “Wow,” he said finally. “I was completely fooled. You carried it off perfectly. I couldn’t tell it wasn’t really her.”
Peter fished a cigarette out of his purse and lit it. He still had the bright red nails on and he used a feminine flourish to ignite the cigarette and blow out the match, exposing his neck as he blew out a thin stream of blue gray smoke.
“It’s not a perfect replica,” Peter said. “You could tell us apart if we were standing side by side. But if you couldn’t tell I wasn’t a desirable and sexy woman when you were sitting next to me all night long, how will an audience sitting thirty feet away be able to tell?”
Jeff smiled. Peter was still remaining totally in character – maintaining Linda’s voice perfectly and even tossing his head back when he laughed.
“Absolutely amazing,” Jeff said with a grin. “Not to mention the best blow job I have ever had.”
Peter smiled, exhaling more smoke. “Not everything I did tonight was acting,” he said with a throaty feminine laugh. “I have been attracted to you for years, but I knew this was the only way I could ever have a chance of getting into your pants, honey. You are such a total breeder!”
He stubbed out his cigarette and raised one hand delicately to a spot just above the mound of his artificial breasts. “So how about it,” he asked in his throaty female voice. “Do I get the part?”
Jeff laughed. “You are a single-minded bitch,” he said. “And you are perfect for the role. You are in. But you have to do a read-through with a couple of the other cast members. I want to make sure you can carry this off with other people interacting with you. And I am dying to see if anybody picks up on the fact that you are not really a woman. I plan to keep it a total secret. If this works, it will be a career maker for you. Meet the new Lon Chaney!”
Jeff paused thoughtfully. “We need to talk some more about the play,” he said slowly. “But I have one request, and it is very important.”
Peter’s jollity faded slightly. “And what would that be?” he asked with suspicion.
Jeff smiled broadly with a wicked gleam in his eye. “I always like to take my leading lady out to dinner to celebrate her landing the role,” he said.
“Go back into that bathroom and put yourself together exactly the way you were earlier – and when you come out again, in character, we are going to have to figure out the name you want on the theater marquee. Obviously, Peter Foley isn’t going to work – at least not until you have established the role, anyway. After a couple of weeks we can spring it on the audience – and the critics!
“So scat! Go put your face on — literally,” Jeff added with a laugh. “I am going to call and arrange for an intimate table for two at Spasso’s. I intend to spend the rest of my evening with my gorgeous new star!”
Peter smiled showing his white caps. “And what about afterward?” he asked in his feminine purr.
Jeff grinned. “Afterwards we are coming back here for another nightcap – and another demonstration of that technique you showed me over by the door earlier,” he said.
“A good director prides himself on knowing everything his leading lady can do!”