Kigurumi

Author’s Note: This work of fiction is the sole property of Necromancer Publications. Any reproduction without the express written consent of the author is prohibited by law. If consent is given, all rights, both primary and proprietary, remain the sole property of the author and the author reserves the right to request that all reprinting of this work be removed or discontinued at any time. All reprinting or use of this work must contain this entire note, under penalty of law.

by Dark Angel

I

Ki lounged in the wooden chair, relaxing as always before a performance. Looking in the mirror, Ki saw that most of the transformation was complete. No longer the underpaid actor, now the character worshipped and adored by millions, her features twitched into a smirk. She ran her hands over her body, the fabric of the bodysuit humming as her pink fingers caressed her pink fabric thighs. A casual observer might peek in the door and see a naked woman sitting in the chair, the bodysuit so form-fitting as to appear seamless. The soft curve of her rear would peek slightly past the wooden back of the chair, the darker pink of her aureole moving slightly as her breasts sway gently against her arms. The only discrepancy in this figure would be hidden by the angle of the chair, and the placement of the counter. The nexus of her legs would appear both hairless and featureless, a smooth, curved plane of flesh between her two slender, muscular thighs.

But there was no voyeur, no observer, casual or otherwise, to see these things. Security backstage had been tight this tour, more so than on previous tours or when the company was portraying other characters. Ki had portrayed Cutey Honey, several characters in the Bubblegum Crisis, and countless other popular female figures in Japanese anime and manga, but none had been as popular as Kumiko, the protagonist of Underground Massage Parlor Wars, or at least that was how the Americans translated it, from what she understood. It made her smile again, Japanese was far superior to English, sounding like the winging of birds, or the splash of exotic fish in secret pools. The English language always reminded Ki of the people who spoke it, loud, brash, inexact, with too many vowels that made their mouths gape humorously.

But while the Americans butchered the words and the songs of the series, it was Japanese who were the real danger….and it was to Japanese they would be playing tonight. Ki supposed that the series popularity could be blamed largely on the more adult themes and provocative dialogue, elements that had not been present in most previous series, or at least series popular enough to warrant a live stage tour. As a consequence, though, the audience was filled with far more adult men than before. And that was the danger. These men came to see their fantasies made flesh, never mind that the cartoon was targeted toward girls half their age, showing women in positions of power and men as little more than occasional fixtures and means to an end. Often Ki had looked out into the audience and seen hundreds of eyes, glistening with feverish intensity, leering back at her. Most unsettling.

A knock at her door startled Ki out of her musings. A raspy voice informed her that it was 10 minutes to show time. Masamuri …… that sick old bastard. Ki often wondered if their stage manager didn’t belong in the audience with the rest of the leering eyes, with his strange silences and chance touches as the cast rushed past him on or offstage. Ki shuddered slightly and stood, picking her dress off of the racks of identical dresses. Luminescent red satin slipped through her hands like cool milk, whispering slightly against her fabric palms. Pulling it over her head and down over her body, she wriggled and twisted into the dress, tight as it was. Finally, she succeeded in pulling it to mid-thigh and breathed a short sigh of relief; somewhere under the bodysuit, her corset pushed her torso into the proper shape, restricting her breathing somewhat. Realizing she was forgetting something, she cast around for what it might be, mentally checking off the parts of her costume in her mind ….. corset …. stockings …. bra …. panties …. bodysuit …. dress

Ki grabbed a pair of red lace panties from the dressing table, time growing short. She hiked her dress up over her hips and stepped into the garments, momentarily thrilling at the sensation of the fabric sliding up the inside of her legs and snuggling up against her crotch. Replacing her dress in its original, if still very short, position, Ki walked to the other side of the table.

Sitting there, on a wig dummy, was her livelihood. Costing several times her monthly earnings, the company prized them above all “props” and costumes. It was the difference between their elite troupe and just another group of “cosplayers”. Kumiko’s head stared blankly into space from its perch on the dressing table, the red curls of hair individually embedded in its scalp framing the doll-like face perfectly. The eyes themselves were the real magic, seeming to be opaque glass, with piercing green irises and black pupils, but transparent from the inside to give the wearer a greater field of vision than was normally allowed by masks.

It was the only exclusive accouterment of kigurumi – or “masked theater” players…and these were some of the most finely crafted available. This tour was lucky enough to be sponsored by the production company responsible for the original series, so their budget for such things was of several orders of magnitude greater than most troupes, or even their own budget on past tours. Ki remembered wearing masks with pinhole eyes, having to know the blocking of the show by heart because she would be almost completely blind onstage. She remembered wearing masks with wire-mesh eyes that fooled no one in the audience, that would make them groan in disappointment because of the crude features of the mask. Kigurumi audiences come to see their favorite series brought to life, to live in the same space as their heroes and heroines….and they are very unforgiving of shoddy recreations and disappointment.

Placing her thumbs inside the mask, she turned it upside down and brought it to her chest. Then, bending down, she slipped the tight-fitting neck down over her head and into place. Looking in the mirror, she adjusted the mask and styled the hair with her fingers, making sure all was in its proper place. Inside the mask, she was already breaking out into a sweat, but she was long-accustomed to that, and knew that the sweat would cool her as she performed.

A soft knock, or so it seemed from inside the mask, and Masamuri’s voice saying it was time to get to the wings of the stage. Domo arigato, fuckhead, she thought.

II

The air was electric with excitement, the crowd awaited the arrival of the characters of “Underground Massage Parlor Wars” with barely contained hysteria. Watching from a booth behind the seats, the producers smiled. The series had been Number One in its time slot since its first three weeks on the air, a feat of some astonishment. Wanting to capitalize on the popularity, they had envisioned a kigurumi tour to keep the public hooked on the series, and to further expose the public to the large volume of merchandise associated with the show. People would come to see the show, certainly….but they would also buy T-shirts, posters, C or MDs, and a host of other products.

The first two shows had gone off perfectly, the crowd being frenzied and nearly riotous in their enthusiasm. This had not concerned the producers in the slightest, they saw it as a positive response, and that was always good. But security guards lined the stage and no one was allowed backstage without several proofs of proper identification and affiliation. No reason to take foolish chances, after all.

Suddenly, lights beamed onstage, and the opening music began to pulse out of the speakers. The distorted guitars and bass line further excited the crowd, and the air itself was heavy with their breath and their anticipation. The music was loud enough to have startled quite a few of the young children in the audience, and they began to cry together, as if on que…only to be shushed by mothers, fathers, and older siblings. But no one would risk missing the show to take their child out of the theater.

Over the crowd, over the loudspeakers, over the already-deafening music, a voice announced the beginning of the performance. On stage, the first character bounced across. Honey blonde hair and large blue eyes greeted the enraptured audience, her red bra and cutoff denim shorts delineated her generous curves fantastically. This was Yukie Smile, the vivacious new girl at the massage parlor and the character expected to be most popular with the Americans when the series debuted there next month. Yukie stopped center stage and waved con brio to the audience before bouncing the rest of the way to her marks and freezing in position, legs turned slightly inward to suggest innocent bewilderment, hand covering her mouth as if stifling surprise or merriment.

Next, the clipped Japanese voice announced, was Ari Fugue. Walking sinuously as a cat, she entered. Her black hair spiked up from her skull in odd directions, the style well-known to anime fans the world over, as she also stopped center stage, delivering a small bow to the audience, her black bodysuit covering her slim, athletic frame and making her small breasts seem to stand out against her tiny ribcage. Running a delicate hand through her hair, she also took her mark, walking nearly to the back of the stage and kneeling in three-quarter stance, just barely visible to the audience. Several of the audience members in the front row were delighted to note the delicate curve of each small cheek of her rear, standing in black relief against the glaring stage light.

Almost before her introduction had begun, Uriko Crystal stalked out onto the stage. Her platinum blonde hair and ice blue eyes both gleamed in the light, her white dress and pale skin making it difficult to look at her too long. Not stopping center stage, she strode directly to her mark, folding her arms across her generous breasts and glaring at the empty space stage left with an accusatory air.

The announcer’s voice took on a bit of color, as if to suggest a private joke between himself and the audience, as he introduced The Madam. An extremely large woman waddled onstage, her face almost obscured in rolls of fat, her huge arms and legs jiggling so pronouncedly that it was visible at least ten rows back. Her orange kimono glared annoyingly in the bright lights, and an orange cell was focused on her, making her skin appear even more sallow and unhealthy, her dress even more sickeningly hued. Nodding to the audience, she stood upstage left, hands on her hips, looking at the three women.

As the music swelled to a crescendo, the announcer’s polite voice boomed, introducing the star attraction: Kumiko Flame. She walked onstage, taking her place directly opposite Uriko, her red dress causing every male in the audience to salivate over her curves. She turned her dazzling smile on the crowd for a moment, and then froze in position, hands wide apart, arms slightly outstretched as if in a shrugging motion. The music and lights faded, leaving the stage more conventionally lit. The announcer admonished the audience to be quiet during the performance, refrain from flash photography, and be courteous of other audience members. Finally, exhorted them to enjoy the show and the theater was momentarily silent.

“I am tired of your constant irresponsibility, Kumiko. One day, we will all regret your antics.”

Uriko’s voice invaded the silence, her brash alto vibrating in the chests of audience members seated near the speakers. Though her face remained frozen in its icy calm, the audience didn’t seem to notice. In their eyes, Uriko had spoken, though her lips had not moved.

Kumiko moved toward Uriko, her arms spread in a gesture of surrender. Her tone, however, was anything but conciliatory. “Uriko, lighten up. The jewel was returned to the National Museum, what more do you want? Sure, the oyabun’s thugs almost captured us in the warehouse, but all’s well that ends well, right?”

Uriko tossed her head angrily. “What more do I want? I want….”

But The Madam interrupted, her husky voice buzzing in the speakers.

“Uriko is right, girl. Yes, the jewel was returned, but you can not always trust your luck to sustain you. If you enter the trap to get the cheese, you may well find the steel jaws closing around you.”

Kumiko crossed the stage to stand between Ari and Yukie. “And I still say you are both worrying far too much. Besides, Ari had my back the entire time, didn’t you?”

Ari didn’t move from her prayer position, kneeling with head bowed, her soft soprano sounded to the audience like music. Her lines were most often practiced in front of bathroom mirrors all over Japan. “Even I feared for your safety at times, Kumiko-san.”

Uriko turned her gaze on the smiling girl, her voice cross. “Of course you would say that, Yukie. You never disagree with anyone, always believing the best of everyone. I really have my doubts about your fitness for this job.”

Yukie spread her legs into a wide, argumentative stance, the muscles in her legs clearly visible as they flexed. “Now just wait a minute……”

Again, The Madam intervened.

“Enough of this bickering, girls. We have work to do, though it seems you have forgotten it. Tonight, an important politician is coming to the parlor. He has ties to the oyabun and several other high-level criminal elements. The police can do nothing to him, so it is up to us. We must find out what he knows, perhaps it will give us another piece in the puzzle to topple the oyabun and give us our long-awaited revenge. Kumiko, you are the most skilled of your friends, and so it must be you to serve this man. Remember, do whatever must be done to keep him talking. We are counting on you.”

Immediately, Uriko voiced her displeasure. “It is my turn to interrogate a suspect. You always choose Kumiko and I am tired of it. I want a chance.”

But The Madam would have none of it. “I have made my choice, Uriko. Besides, your chilly manner is more likely to freeze this man’s lips than loosen them.”

Yuriko uttered a wordless exclamation of anger and stormed offstage. From the opposite side of the stage, a knock was heard. The girls flew into action.

Yukie gasped, “Is it him? Already?”

The Madam shook her head. “No, he is not expected for several more hours.”

“Then who?”

Ari laughed gently. “There is one sure way to solve this mystery.”

She walked off stage left in the same sinuous manner. From offstage, her melodious voice sounded. “Relax, its only Hiro.”

This announcement had very different effects on the three characters that remained onstage. Kumiko seemed to sigh and hang her head slightly, her shoulders slumping in despair. The Madam nodded at Kumiko, saying, “We’ll leave you alone here to receive him.”

Then, she shooed Yukie out of the room. Yukie allowed herself to be herded away, peeking once around The Madam’s ponderous bulk to whisper “Good Luck” to Kumiko.

The stage lights dimmed to a small space around Kumiko, as a larger figure appeared next to her. Kumiko quickly wiped her eyes as he entered and looked up at him. “Hello, Hiro.”

Hiro entered quickly, sweeping Kumiko up into his arms for a long kiss. His broad shoulders were covered by insignia and medals, his large frame filling the black uniform well. His short blonde hair was spiky and waved slightly in the breeze from the theater air conditioners. His face seemed drawn in some grim smile, as if he had just heard his own death sentence. His deep voice boomed from the speakers like thunder.

“I’ve missed you, Kumiko. How long has it been since last I held you? Three months? I don’t want to wait any longer. Not ever.”

Kumiko shook her head slowly. “Hiro, don’t ask me this. You know I can’t. You knew when we met. I am fated to be what I am, and not even love will turn me from my destiny.”

Hiro set her down and turned away, staring at the floor.

“So you have always said. Your words are always about fate and destiny, but your body speaks a different language. You can not deny that you want to be with me, as I want to be with you. I want you to be mine, always …. will you ….”

“Please….don’t ask this of me…..don’t make me answer such a question. It would destroy at least one of us.”

Hiro seemed to nod bitterly. “So be it, Kumiko. But I will keep waiting for you. If it takes an eternity.”

Before Kumiko could answer, he disappeared into the darkness.

From the darkness, Kumiko produced a microphone. The first chords issued from the speakers, soft keyboard and violin. As she sang the first chords of her first song, all of the young girls in the audience smiled. They knew this song as well as they knew their own names, they owned the CD and played it endlessly. Kumiko’s voice was joined by hundreds of timid soprano voices, even if only in their minds.

Your question haunts my dreams

It makes me long for you

Though I know what it means

What I would give up for you

And my heart bleeds…

Soft tears on my whore’s pillow

Soft words under the stars

Promises slender as the willow

In voices sad as ours

I am your Dulcinea

You would be my Don Juan

But this is not an opera

Cervantes dead and gone

A man smiles in the darkness

His bloodstained soul smiles too

Two graves in my remembrance

And I have work to do.

If there’s life after vengeance

I will give mine to you

But he who took my parents

Has taken me from you.

And the lights faded to black.

Slowly, they came back up on a room, a small set in the left corner of the stage. A man lay on his back on a bed, seemingly asleep. His face was covered in black cloth, his features unimportant. The sound of a door opening from stage right as Kumiko entered the room. Her dress had been removed and she stood in her red, lace panties. Her breasts were accentuated in the soft light, the nipples standing visibly out for the first few rows of audience. In the last few calm seconds, she would later tell police, she crossed the room and sat on the bed. Then, pandemonium.

III

Kumiko’s fans who, until this time, had only seen her unclothed on their television and movie screens, were suddenly confronted with a living, breathing woman undressed on stage. It proved too much for many of them, especially those who were already rabid with desire. The security guards proved ineffective as the wave of people stormed the stage, wanting to touch their idol and the object of so many fantasies and sessions of masturbation. Kumiko turned to see this roiling tide of bodies hurtling toward her and her wide-frozen eyes seemed to register the shock.

The speakers began the scripted dialogue for the scene, with Kumiko seducing the politician into revealing the secret plot of the oyabun. Stagehands and security personnel swarmed the stage, surrounding Kumiko and the faceless actor. The faceless actor, realizing he was in danger, quickly exited stage left, seconds before the stage was engulfed in clutching, slavering fans.

The ring of men surrounding Kumiko tried to move backstage, but the press of bodies prevented them from moving at all. Inside the ring, Kumiko was somewhat protected from the throng, she would likely have been torn to pieces. But her appearance continued to inflame the audience-turned-mob. Her red curls bounced against her shoulders, as she turned her head back and forth in barely controlled terror. Now that the mob could see her more closely, they were more aware of the strange features of their idol. Her green eyes stared perpetually, but she continually turned her head, so none could be sure if she blinked or not. Her rounded, doll’s face and pale complexion seemed at odds with her pale skin, which was a bit blurred, as if it were fabric instead of skin. Many of them wondered if they were not being presented with an elaborately crafted robot instead of a living, breathing actress, so flawless were her features and movement.

In the end, Kumiko was saved by the most likely candidate for heroism. Hiro charged from backstage, his powerful frame more menacing viewed in such close proximity, instead of the safety of the audience seats. So shocked were they at his appearance, the mob parted for him, at least in the beginning. But as he neared Kumiko, a few impertinent audience members blocked his path and were rewarded with a vicious kick or simply being thrown out of the way by the hulking Hiro. Hiro’s grim smile remained throughout the melee, as though he obtained some black amusement from the whole affair.

Hiro reached inside the ring around Kumiko and, rather than try to force his way in and possibly endanger her, he simply reached over them and picked her up, cradling her in his arms. The audience noticed how small and frail she looked in his muscular arms, when standing alone, she seemed a tall and powerful, if slim figure.

Possibly for show, though this was not the time for it, Kumiko reached up and pulled Hiro’s head down to hers for a kiss. A few of the more astute audience members noted that neither of their lips moved in the slightest as they kissed, but there was a slight clicking sound, as of plastic on plastic. Then, Hiro turned and carried Kumiko offstage.

That was when the police arrived and the tear gas canisters hissed in the half-lit stage.

….Hiro carried Kumiko to the door of her dressing room and set her down gently on the concrete floor, departing for his own dressing room to doff his costume.

Kumiko entered her darkened dressing room, chest heaving from fright. She had feared for her life inside that ring, nearly fainting each time a hand reached through the wall of bodies to feel her breast, her rear, to tear at her panties or her hair. She feared discovery as much as she did dismemberment, but, luckily, had avoided both. She could hardly wait to relax; she had never in her life needed a drink so badly as in this moment.

As she reached for the switch, a voice echoed in the darkness.

“Hello, Kumi…..”

IV

After the riot erupted, Gerold had seen his chance.

He had been in Japan for three months now, and had been waiting for this chance since his discovery of kigurumi theater. He remembered his first kigurumi show, watching the girls onstage, dancing and pantomiming their way through song after song, line after line. He remembered looking at their masked faces, at their covered bodies, and wanting to feel them, wanting them to act for him alone. He remembered trying to sneak backstage then and being rewarded with the back of an unmasked head, covered still in the bodysuit that every kigurumi actor wears, before he had been ejected from the theater rather forcefully by two of the hired security guards. Since that time, he had been to over eighty kigurumi performances and comic conventions.

Sneaking backstage in the chaos, Gerold had been frantic. There were several doors to choose from, most with a thin band of light issuing from behind them. He heard laughter from one of the doors and supposed that it would lead to one of the dressing rooms. But he had no wish to get another few peeks and be thrown out. This was the sort of chance that would not come often, if ever again. He was determined not to waste it.

Picking one of the doors with only darkness behind it and hoping it did not lead to a broom closet, Gerold ghosted inside and closed the door behind him.

Flicking the light on and off, Gerold congratulated himself on his intelligent choice. An empty dressing room, and (luck heaped upon luck!) a silk screen at the back of the room that he might hide behind. He wondered briefly what use the rightful occupant of the room might have for the screen, but at that moment he heard footsteps on the other side of the door. With no time for further rumination, Gerold secreted himself behind the screen and waited.

He would not wait long.

From behind the screen, he watched as Kumiko entered the room and collapsed into the hard wooden chair, her limbs askew like a marionette that has been left for another day. He could feel his heart pounding and his mouth filling with saliva. Such luck was beyond imagination!

He has watched Kumiko from the audience, knowing from the series that this show promised more flesh than at any previous performance he had attended. When Kumiko had appeared onstage in only her panties, his breath had stopped. There are moments, when fantasy is fulfilled, that it seems the world stops and time stands on end. Gerold had watched for an endless moment, devouring her lush figure with his eyes.

And now, he realized the prospect of seeing her unclothed, but much, much closer, was a distinct possibility. After all, what did an actress do in a dressing room after a performance, if not take off her costume?

But in the same instant as he realized this, he decided that it would not be enough. He had watched these gorgeous masked creatures for long enough. This time, he would touch one, he would pleasure himself with her, he would use her like a toy and would revel in her protests and her pleading.

And so, in that instant, he stepped from behind the screen and spoke.

“Hello, Kumi……..”

The masked figure seated in the chair whirled around, staring at him with expressionless eyes, mouth frozen in a dazzling smile that, coupled with her body so taut with fear, looked like a frozen scream of terror.

He repeated the question in Japanese.

“No matter. Pity I haven’t learned Japanese yet. Beastly language anyway, makes no sense at all. But I don’t suppose you will be saying much anyway, will you? Please, relax, my dear. I don’t mean you any harm.”

Kumiko shook her head, slowly. Her body was still tensed, like a cat waiting for the right moment to run….or to pounce.

But she remained perched on the edge of the chair, waiting, watching…..

So Gerold, wanting to put this skittish creature at ease, knelt at her feet. Placing a hand delicately on her ankle, he brought it up to his lap. He noted that she was wearing some sort of flesh-colored dancer’s slipper, to not damage her bodysuit on the dusty floor of the stage. Slipping it off, he felt her toes, which were rigidly pointed, as if she was incapable of relaxing any muscle in her body. With soft, skilled hands, he massaged her foot, delighting in the feeling of the fabric of her suit which encased her foot and leg in cream-colored mystery.

Instantly, her fear melted. She relaxed against the chair, throwing her head back, her loose red curls resting against her shoulder. Gerold removed her other slipper and ministered to the other foot in the same manner, even daring to raise it to his lips and planting the barest hint of a kiss on her dainty toes.

Rising, he cupped her fabric breast in one hand and found it soft and pliant, warming under his hand. Kumiko raised her doll’s face and looked at him, cocking her head slightly, as if unsure of what he might want. Gerold looked into her eyes, the whites reflecting his own flushed face back at him, but the black pupils seeming to be of infinite depth, windows to endless nothing.

Before he could consciously choose to do so, he felt his lips against hers. Her lips were cold, unmoving, plastic, just as he had wanted. He stroked her plastic cheeks with his hands, reaching behind her and lifting her up against him. Her body was trembling slightly as his hands whispered slow trails down her back and against her rear, cupping her cheeks in his hands. Gerold ground his shaft against her panties, lust consuming everything in its dark fire.

Kneeling before her again, he pulled her panties down to her ankles, planting a kiss on her swollen mound. And here, he was delighted to see….nothing. The bodysuit covered her crotch, allowing no entry, giving away no hint or secret to what lie beneath. He stroked the featureless fabric flesh, running his hand between her legs and feeling a throbbing heat between them. He realized she wanted him, and that almost ruined it. But as long as she kept the mask on, it would still be pleasurable.

She put a finger to his lips and pointed to the silk screen. Gerold nodded, realizing she would not damage the bodysuit simply to have sex. She disappeared behind the screen, peeking out mischievously once, green eyes flat and unblinking, and putting a hand over her mouth as if to suppress a giggle.

Gerold waited impatiently. He slipped his loose pants off, removing his shirt as well. So he stood, in his boxer shorts, waiting for Kumiko to emerge from behind the screen. As he waited, he tried to peer through the screen, but found it completely opaque. Finally, she reemerged.

Gerold experienced another moment of fantasy-fulfilled vertigo. Before him stood a creature both flesh and fantasy. She had removed the bodysuit, but had replaced the mask and panties. So she remained Kumiko, wide-eyed and doll-faced, but with pale, hairless flesh instead of fabric for skin. Only the thin membrane of lacy red panties remained, the soft curve of her sex outlined in crimson. And she remained shy, to his delight, standing with her arms covering her breasts, but with the nipples peeking out from between her crossed arms. Gerold knelt for a third time, this time in worship.

Planting a kiss on the smooth fabric of her panties, stroking her pubic region, imagining the short black hairs, or no hair at all, beneath the red sheath. With a flourish, he removed her panties …. and felt something soft and fleshy strike his face. He looked up and saw her take her arms away from her chest, holding a silicon breast-form in each hand. He heard muffled laughter from inside the mask and realized that Kumiko’s penis had struck him, and was now resting, semi-limp against his cheek.

Recoiling in shock and horror, Gerold backed away from the figure, shaking his head repeatedly. Kumiko held her delicate, hairless arms out to him, graceful fingers beckoning him back into her embrace. This was too much for Gerold. Not stopping for his clothing, he bolted from the room. The other actors, sitting just outside the dressing rooms, were treated to the sight of Gerold, face blank with fear and confusion, streaking past them and out onto the now empty stage, clad only in his underwear.

The actors laughed, one of them exclaiming. “There goes another one!! Too bad, poor Ki never can keep a steady boyfriend.”

V

Ki removed Kumiko’s head and replaced it on it’s wig dummy’s stand. Laughing softly to himself, he sat back in his chair, lounging and enjoying the way the sharp angles complemented his own. He smiled, wondering how the Englishman was coping with the discovery that was common knowledge in Japan: that men made the best women.

Ki ran a soft hand down his smooth, hairless leg. Lighting a cigarette, he let the smoke curl around his fingers, making them appear even more delicate, more feminine. Glancing in the mirror, his dark eyes sparkling with wicked mirth, he intended to keep that secret for many years to come.

But some people want a look behind the scenes. And some even deserve one.