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Corrupted Chapter 7, Page 1

Omar Tyree


  A Serial E-book


  Chapter 7

  Everything Goes

  Vincent had been invited to a new show on Broadway that Friday night, where he sat next to Lauren Brandeis on the front row of the balcony section. He was the only one she bothered to invite that evening with her complimentary tickets, mainly so they could catch up on business. So she requested balcony seats where they could talk.

  “More of your authors should think about writing for Broadway,” Lauren whispered into Vincent’s left ear as they watched the second act of the show.

  He was more preoccupied with watching the stageplay. “This is pretty good.”

  Lauren frowned and said, “Of course it is. Why else would I want to promote it?”

  Obviously, her ego was very secure. Vincent thought about that and smiled. Maybe she was up for more ego-stroking that night.

  “Are you feeling rather feisty this evening?” he whispered back to her.

  Instead of answering, Lauren reached down and squeezed his left thigh. That meant she probably would be feisty. If not, she would have responded with a naughty pat, in a calm-down-doggy gesture. But a squeeze . . . that meant that she was at least open to suggestions for later.

  After hanging out with Lauren over the past couple of years at stageplays, movie premieres, concerts, fashions shows and so on, Vincent came to understand her nonverbal language and demeanor. Lauren was like an East Indian princess, who was used to having her way, and she planned to keep it that way. She had no interest in being subservient to anyone. So she had turned down several wealthy suitors who had asked for her hand in marriage. But since Vincent had allowed her to be the undisputed boss, she had no problems with him. In fact, he had no problem being subservient to her. He respected her beauty and professionalism that much. And over time, they were able to form their own understanding for a private relationship.

  “So, what do you think about your authors trying stageplays?” she pressed him.

  Vincent had previously avoided the question, but now she had asked him twice in a row. “I think it’s a form of writing, like screenplays, that takes more time out of my authors than I’m willing to chance,” he leveled with her. “I tell them to concentrate on writing things that they’re going to be paid for.”

  Lauren frowned at him again and said, “Writers are paid on Broadway.”

  “Please, ten out of ten thousand. Who likes those odds. So unless you’re commissioned to write for Broadway, I tell my writers to stick to what pays their bills. Period.”

  Lauren mumbled, “Ten out of ten thousand is a gross exaggeration. But how many people want to write a book, a hundred thousand?”

  “Yeah, but you can self-publish and still make a living out of it.”

  “You can do the same with a stageplay.”

  “Writting, starring, producing, directing,” Vincent joked with a soft chuckle. “You’d have to do the whole Tyler Perry thing.”

  Lauren grinned and said, “You do what you have to do.”

  “And you’ll never get anywhere near Broadway.”

  Lauren continued to smile and remained silent for a minute. “How many authors make the New York Times bestseller’s list?” she asked him. They were disrespecting the stageplay, but she had already seen it twice.

  “More than new writers make it on Broadway,” Vincent answered. “They’ll put on the same shows down here for years. How long has Cats and The Phantom of the Opera been on?”

  “They’re classics,” she argued.

  “So are Carrie, The Shining and tons of other books. But they don’t remain on the list, taking up space every year.”

  “Yeah, but they have movies to watch. And stageplays are different, they’re meant to be acted out.”

  “That’s why they’re best for actors, composers and writer/directors who are all in, not for novel writers trying to do something extra. It’s not a good fit.”

  Vincent would have more tickets to see the play again himself, so he didn’t mind talking through it the first time, especially since they were discussing the publishing world.

  Lauren asked him, “What about when their novel writing careers are over? They could write one good stageplay and keep getting paid from it.”

  “You mean like the royalties they get from their books? They already have that,” Vincent reminded her.

  “A hit stageplay is gonna make them much more than just book sales.”

  “And what about the extra book sales that come from a hit movie?” Vincent argued. “Push from Sapphire sold an extra half-a-million copies and landed her an anticipated sequel.”

  “Yeah, but it took twelve years for that to happen.”

  They could go on like that for a few hours on various subjects, solidifying their artistic and intellectual respect for one another. But authors writing stageplays was not really what Lauren wanted to talk to him about that evening.

  “So, anyway . . . what are your real intentions with Darlene Krause?” she whispered.

  Vincent paused before he shrugged. “I don’t really know yet.”

  “What do you mean, you don’t know?”

  “I mean, I plan on signing her, but we’ll see. She doesn’t seem to take direction well.”

  “Why, because she won’t do everything that you say? She has her own opinions.”

  Lauren liked the aspiring author more and more each time she heard about her.

  Vincent smiled, knowing better. He said, “Would you let an intern walk into your marketing firm and tell you how to run your business?”

  Lauren paused. “I would be obligated to at least listen to her.” she commented.

  “Sure you would, right before you showed her the door.”

  Lauren studied his face with concern. She asked him, “Well, why would you want to even sign her if she’s that bad?”

  He grinned and said, “She’s not. I’m just making a point.”

  Lauren shook it off and grumbled, “Whatever.” Then she asked him, “And what do you plan to do with Antonio?”

  Vincent looked at her and frowned himself. “Martinez? Why are you asking about him?”

  “Because he has the look. Is his writing any good?”

  “I don’t really know. But he’s writing about Puerto Rican werewolves,” he told her.

  She nodded thoughtfully. “That’s different.”

  “Yeah, but who’s gonna read it? Are we gonna market it during the Puerto Rican Day parade?” he cracked.

  Lauren grinned and thought it over. “Is his love interest a white girl?” Even she understood the racial implications of art and economics in America. She had to know it. Eighty percent of her clients were white.

  “I have no idea. But he seems agreeable to do it.”

  “Sure. And what you do is create a cover design with a white girl dressed in suggestive clothing while running for her life through the woods. And make sure that she’s barefoot.”

  Vincent listened to her and chuckled some more. “That might just work,” he responded. “So, we play off the idea that white girls love the thrill of danger and seduction.”

  “Definitely. That’s what the American horror genre is all about, an assault on white virginity.” She said, “The young, fertile white woman is placed at the center of their world. You get to her and it’s checkmate, game over. So that becomes the most horrifying thing for them. That’s why they’re so fascinated with it; Beauty and The Beast, Snow White, Alice and Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood, you name it.”

  Vincent thought about his author, DeWayne McDonald, a dark brown black man, fresh out of prison, chasing after Susan Randolph, his white editorial assistant, and he laughed uncontrollably. He imagined it as an upd
ated Birth of a Nation film without color or sound.

  Lauren quickly looked behind them to make sure they didn’t disturb the other viewers in their section. Fortunately, they didn’t. “It wasn’t that funny,” she complained.

  He whispered back to her, “You have no idea what I’m laughing about. But you do have a good point about the white girl Jones. I think we may be able to work with that.”

  “Oh, I know you can. It’s another Phantom of the Opera,” she suggested.

  “Another West Side Story,” he countered.

  A light bulb went off in Lauren’s head as she snapped her fingers. “How ’bout that?”

  “I’ll get a copy of Antonio’s book and see what we can do with it,” Vincent told her.

  “And we can began to work on a stageplay at the same time as the book,” she hinted.

  A light bulb went off in Vincent’s head. “With a stageplay, we can sell a couple hundred thousand copies right here in New York.”

  “Now you’re thinking,” Lauren teased him.

  Vincent smiled and squeezed her thigh this time, catching her off guard with it. It tickled her, sending a jolt of sensation through her belly and up to the sensual part of her brain.

  Oh, that felt good! she thought, as she grabbed his hand and squeezed it in hers. She wanted to make certain he didn’t do it again. She got the message already. He wanted to bless her for giving him such a great idea.

  Lauren came to know Vincent in their years of association and partnership as well. He loved everything about the human story and the publishing world. He was also an incredibly private man, as private and as sensual as she was. And he had been willing to walk into her private world on her terms, where she became addicted to his unselfishness and oral sensations.

  So as they returned to watching the performance in silence, an intimate dance scene, Lauren began to imagine taking Vincent back home with her again, where she would take a shower before allowing him to massage her workalholic body down with warm oil in his soft editor hands. He would massage her neck, her shoulders, her arms, ribs, lower back, ass, hips, legs, ankles and feet all so diligently, and for hours if she asked him to. Then he would turn her over and toy with her excited nipples in his oily soft fingers, as he licked down into her naked pelvis, inching lower, and lower, and lower until he disappeared in between her legs and blessed her like a goddess, all without him asking her for anything in return.

  She was already moist with anticipation just thinking about it. It had been awhile, and she was not willing to wait any longer.

  I may have to leave early now, she told herself as she continued to think about it. It’s already been an extra long day for me, and I don’t feel like waiting around socializing tonight. I’ll be better suited for that tomorrow.

  She squeezed Vincent’s hand again and leaned toward him to whisper. “You wanna get us a taxi?”

  Vincent smiled. “Yes.”

  Lauren sat up straight and tapped him on his knee. “I’ll meet you down there.”

  Vincent nodded and waited a minute before making his move. When he finally climbed to his feet to head to the exit staircase, he told himself, I love this girl, and I know she loves me for it.

  He had a special relationship with her that no other man would have. They all wanted too much. But he learned to want nothing . . . in order to get everything.

  Susan was smitten for a second night in a row, waiting around while trying to decide if she would hang out with Nikola at the hotel later. They ended up having a pretty good follow-up phone call after nixing his ill-advised tryst with the two young hotties up in his room the night before. He revealed his deep-seated insecurities with Susan and talked all about the many girls and dates that he had missed out on in his teen years when he wasn’t hip enough to make the in-crowds.

  “Both of my parents were straight from Italy and old school. They didn’t know anything about the cool shoes or clothes or anything like that. And I was never as rough and tumble as my older brother. He got in by playing sports and things. But I was never any good at sports. And you know my sister got more attention than me as the youngest and the only girl. So, I was sort of like, your stereotypically ignored middle child.

  “And if you understand that, then you can see why this is all a ball for me now,” he told her over their late night phone call. “You have to stop and view all of this from my perspective.”

  His story was so honest and cute that Susan gave him most of his cool points back. Nevertheless, she was hesitant to jump back into the sack with him. She even turned down his dinner date to meet up with his parents that evening.

  “What am I gonna say, that I work with you?” she asked him earlier.

  “Yeah, you do. It’s not as if it’s a lie.”

  “And you suppose that they won’t suspect anything more than that; not even your sister and her husband?”

  “Or my nephews,” he added with a grin.

  “Oh, so this is really a family get-together. And I’m supposed to feel comfortable in the middle of all that? No way.”

  “Come on, it’ll be fun,” he insisted.

  But Susan’s mind was made up already. “No, I don’t think so, but you can tell me all about it later, if you’re not out all night with them.”

  “Okay, so are you still gonna be around? I’ll probably leave them after dinner. I should be out of there by eleven. I figure they’ll want to walk around in Times Square for a few minutes and then head on back home to Connecticut.”

  So there she was, watching the movie Thor by herself at the downtown New York theaters. The nine o’clock show let out right after eleven, which was perfect to catch back up with Nikola. If she still planned to do so.

  What is wrong with me? she asked herself in confliction. I should be involved with anyone but him. But yet, she could relate to Nikola even more now. She was the middle child of four children herself, number two out of three girls and a younger brother. And she happened to be the tallest, who was forced to play sports from all of the peer pressure.

  “Susan, you could really help the volleyball team. Susan, you should play goalie on the soccer team. Susan, you’re a no-brainer for basketball. And what about trying the high jump on the track and field team?”

  So she tried them all and did well in a few of them. But her heart was never really in it. Susan liked to read, which only brought her ridicule and embarrassment when the other athletes accused of her being a book-loving heel.

  Surely, they all had their share of reading and school work to do, but Susan was the only one who seemed to like reading more than she liked performing. And she was constantly the last player off the bus. Even the coaches noticed it.

  “Could someone hide those books from Randolph so she can focus on the game plan for a change,” the basketball coach once joked.

  But Susan didn’t find it funny. In fact, she became so adamant at not playing sports at the college level, that she accepted a partial academic scholarship to Tufts University near their hometown in Massachusetts, instead of a full athletic scholarship to Syracuse, which irritated every family member but her mother.

  “Susan, wants to do what she wants to do, and you all need to learn to respect her wishes,” he mother scolded her ken and father. “She’ll do good at something other than sports.”

  Susan smiled every time she thought about her mother’s statement and how it mirrored the reality for the majority of college athletes, many of who would never become professional in sports. The pickings were even slimmer for women, and their professional sports leagues didn’t pay as well, unless you were Mia Hamm with Nike endorsement in soccer or a young phenom in tennis. But most of the tennis stars didn’t even attend college.