Aftershock & Others

Aftershock & Others by F. Paul Wilson Read Free Book Online

Book: Aftershock & Others by F. Paul Wilson Read Free Book Online
Authors: F. Paul Wilson
heard it. Franny Lebowitz said he could be the next Tom Wolfe. And LuAnn agreed.
    He stopped at LuAnn’s table.
    “Hiya, Marky,” she said, reaching for his hand.
    Her touch sent a wave of heat through him. He and LuAnn were an item these days. They had a thing going. He spent three or four nights a week at her place. Always at her place. Never at his. No one saw his place. Ever.
    That, he knew, was part of his attraction for these people. They’d taken the measure of his quality and found it acceptable, even desirable. But he was an unknown quantity. Where he came from, who he came from, where he lived, what he did in the day were all carefully guarded secrets. Marc Chevignon, the cagey, canny mystery man, the acid-tongued enigma.
    He suspected that LuAnn genuinely cared for him, but it was hard to tell. She tended to let down her pan ties a lot quicker than her guard. She’d been around the scene so much longer than he, seemed to have had so many lovers—Christ, when he walked her into some of the private after-hours parties he could be pretty sure she’d screwed half the guys there, maybe some of the women too—but she seemed truly interested in him. At least now. At least for the moment.
    She was the one who’d been pressing him to write down his more incisive observations so she could show them to a few editors she knew—and she knew all the important ones. She was sure she could land him a regular spot in the Voice, and maybe Esquire, if not both.
    Thus the tape recorder in his pocket. During the day he never could remember a thing he’d said the night before. So he’d decided to record himself in action and transcribe the best stuff the next morning.
    Nothing so far tonight worth writing down. Hadn’t really come up with anything last night either. No inspiration, he guessed.
    But it would come. Because it was happening. He was happening. Everything coming his way. Esquire, the Voice, maybe an occasional freelance piece for GQ later on. He wasn’t going to be a mere hanger-on anymore, someone who merely knew Somebodies. He was going to be one of those Somebodies.
    But the best part of it all was having LuAnn. LuAnn…twenty-eight with the moon-white skin of a teenager who’d never been to the beach, night-dark hair, pale blue, aventurine eyes, and the trademark ruby lipstick. All day long he ached for the sight of her. He couldn’t tell her that, of course. Had to play it cool because Marc C was cool. But, man, sometimes it was hard to hide. Most times it was hard to hide. Most times he wanted to fall at her feet professing his undying love and begging her never to leave him.
    Sure, it scanned like a third-rate Tin Pan Alley ditty, but that was how he felt.
    “Ms. Lu,” he said, bending and kissing her. God, he loved the soft, glossy touch of her lips.
    She jerked back.
    “What’s wrong, Lu?”
    “Your lips. They feel…different.”
    “Same ones I wore last night.” He tugged at them. “I don’t remember changing them.”
    LuAnn gave him a patient smile and pulled him down next to her. He waved and nodded hellos in the dimness to the LuAnn-table regulars, then turned his attention to the lady herself. Her eyes sparkled with excitement as she leaned toward him and whispered close in his ear; the caress of her warm breath raised gooseflesh down his left side.
    “I hear you gave Liz’s guy the slip last night.”
    “Liz’s guy?”
    “Don’t be coy, Marc. I heard it earlier this afternoon. Liz had one of her people tail you home from my place last night—or at least try to tail you.”
    Any warmth he’d been drawing from her vanished in a chilly draft of unease. She could only mean Liz Smith, the columnist who’d been trying to get the scoop on him for months now. He guessed she was tired of tagging him with the “mystery man” line when she did a piece on the club scene. Other people had tried to tail him before but he’d spotted them easily. Whoever this guy was must have been good.

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