tagExhibitionist & VoyeurShe's Gonna Be A Star Ch. 02

She's Gonna Be A Star Ch. 02


Before I'd "taken over" Ali's career, all I'd seen of her life were the days at the crappy diner where she worked, a few gigs, and her apartment. I had no clue what a shambles she was in. Typical young New Yorker, she had no finances to speak of. Everything was a handshake deal, waiting to fall through. She wouldn't have been eating if it hadn't been for men who offered her food.

She wasn't paying rent on her apartment. It wasn't her apartment. It belonged to an older guy, 49, who was the friend of a friend. Ali occupied the couch at night, and kept her clothes in 1/2 of the apartment's only closet. It was a temporary arrangement, they both made sure to point out, but still. She didn't even have keys -- she got into her apartment only when he was home.

I don't know what Harvey was getting out of it, but I could guess what he thought he would be getting out of it. Here was a young, pneumatically built young woman, dressing up his apartment. If I'd been him, I would have planned for Ali in a towel walking from the shower, in minscular nighties painting her toe-nails, in bra and panties stalking through the rooms. In reality, Ali was as modest as a nun, she slept in jeans.

She was two paychecks ahead on her waitressing job. The manager, barely civil to her, clearly did not consider her his favorite. She only worked during days, made next to nothing in tips, and so ate many of her meals at the restaurant. Ali mentioned once in passing how Subram didn't like her to eat left-overs off the patrons' plates. Most recently, he'd been leaning on her to work nights, something she couldn't do if she was performing.

The practice space for her band was also unpaid. As such, half the time they were pre-empted by paying clients. Morale was at an all-time low among her band members.

She had no bank account, no cash. Her life was waiting to implode, and when it finally did, she would have to leave New York, return to her parents, and get a job as an un-credentialed office drone. Life over.

As far as Ali was concerned, I was supposed to fix all this.

* * * * *

At Ali's apartment, Harvey let us in. He had a big smile for her, and her little cut-up muscle shirt and loose-hanging boxers. For me, he had blank suspicion. He clearly didn't like sharing her with some guy walking in off the street.

I knew then, seeing his expression, that if I was going to stay in Ali's life, he would be kicking her out. A visiting boyfriend would be the last straw.

He hovered in the background as we organized her new wardrobe. Her half of the closet was cleaned out and tossed on the couch. He was all eyes as she bent and stretched, and squeezed past him in the hall. She naively took his ogling as interest, and told him all about how I was her new manager, and we were rebuilding her career. She held up each outfit in turn, and pointed out its strengths and weaknesses. Harvey made noncommital sounds, rarely meeting her eyes as she talked, staring down her top and her shorts -- not that she noticed.

He finally went to the bathroom. I quickly dragged Ali to the far side of the apartment, where he wouldn't be able to overhear us.

"He's not going to let you stay here much longer," I whispered.

"How did you know? He's already talked to me about it. I'm trying to be extra nice."

"You can't get kicked out right now, honey. You can't afford it."

"I know," she shrugged. "But what can I do? It's his place."

"You have to change his mind," I told her.

"I've tried, but he says he wants his life back."

"It's worse because I'm here," I admitted. "He's actually feeling jealous."

She shook her head. "I'm not about to lose you for him."

"We'll make it go away. If he brings it up again, tell him you're getting a place, but it will take 2 months."

"Okay. He might bend. But after two months..."

"I'll tell you how to shut him up. Will you do it?"

"Fuck, yeah," she said.

"It's simple, Ali. He wants a normal twenty-something girl in his apartment. You have to give it to him."

"I'm already in his apartment."

"You have to be comfortable in his apartment." I held her eyes, to make sure she was listening. "Anytime after 9pm, and before 9am, you have to be in panties and a t-shirt. That's all you can wear."

"Oh," she said.

"Sleep on top of the covers on the couch. So when he walks out in the morning, you're all shiny and snuggly where he can see you. When you take a shower, wrap a towel around you and come out of the bathroom, to pick your clothes."

"Oh. I see what you're saying."

"These are rules you can't break, at least for the next two months."


"About 3 times a week, ask him what you should wear. Tell him you can't decide, have him pull hangers out of the closet and hold them against you. On the weekends, you'll be putting on your bikini and tanning on the roof. Hang out, before and after, in your bathing suit."


"Cook a meal once a week, and make some extra for him. You can both eat together on the couch. Can you do all this?"

"Um," she sounded uncertain. "Cooking? I guess."

"You have to. Or else we'll start hearing about how you have to leave again."


"Leave the bathroom door open when you're doing your hair and putting on make-up. If he's in the shower, ask to come in every now and then, to get something. And here's the hardest thing..."

"What's that?" she asked.

"If you need to change and he's in the living room, just turn your back while you change. Change quickly, don't talk about it. Just do it. You know why you're doing all this?"

"To shut him up?"

"Well, yeah," I said. "But mostly, what Harvey wants is a roommate. He wants to be one of the guys. Recapture his college days, before everybody turned shy and modest. He secretly wants you to feel comfortable around him."

"I understand," she said.

"Tell him about your life, even if he doesn't seem interested. Just babble. Ask him for advice on sex. Get him into your world. Men like it when women talk, and they don't have to answer."

Harvey exited the bathroom, and started puttering in the kitchen. I dug through the pile of clothes on the couch, and separated out a few old, thready t-shirts. I put them with a package of new thong underwear. "These are your pajamas from now on, okay?"

"Sure," she said.

The rest of the clothes we stuffed into a big plastic garbage bag. Ali watched, half wistful, as I carried it into the hall and threw it down the chute. She was committed now.

When I returned, Harvey was on the couch, silently chewing on a bowl of cereal. Ali was standing in front of him, on the other side of the coffee table, holding up two dresses. She was, with a chirpy open voice, trying to drag an opinion out of him as to which looked nicer.

* * * * *

I was on one end of the couch, relaxing. Ali was lying with her head in my lap, her knees bent and pointed at the ceiling. She looked up at me with wide, trusting eyes. The more I talked, the more she listened. It was exhausting. I had to always make sense. I always had to rationalize what I asked her to do, and weigh it against what it made sense for her to do.

It had been a tiring morning -- and it was now only one in the afternoon! I'd stripped her naked in front of the window of my apartment. I'd had her work my cock like a microphone. I'd dressed her in something scandalous and walked her on the street. I'd spent a month's paycheck on clothes. I'd told her to preen and prance in front of a dirty old man (Harvey) so she could keep sleeping on his couch.

"What do you think?" I asked finally. I wanted to hear if she could say anything but 'okay.' "How do you think it's going so far?"

She thought for a while. "I've never been more strung out," she said. She laughed suddenly. "The clothes. The whole new 'look at me' attitude. The thing at the window -- shit! And that thing in the subway with no personal space, and those dudes breathing down my chest. Did you know I was pressed right up against the pole? Against their hands?"

I shrugged. "But this manager thing. Do you think it'll work?"

"I do, I really do," she said earnestly. "I mean... I want you to know that I'll do what you say. I won't question anything. I can do it. Just watch. I'll make you proud."

"I know," I said. The weight of her head in my lap was making me a little stiff. My eyes were coasting up and down her body. Ali was nearly perfect, her shape at least. Even as she lay there, relaxed, bonelessly molded to the couch, her neck over my thigh, her breasts pointed at the ceiling without any apparent obeisance to gravity. The suspenders hung from her shoulders, casting complicated shadows on her skin.

"So I guess I feel strung out," she continued. "Nervous, but learning. I guess I always thought -- if I put on an act on stage? -- I guess I thought it would be like, fake. You know? It wouldn't be me, I'd get lost somehow. But, so far, it's all me. I don't feel like I'm lost. I feel like I'm magnified. I still have my little voice in my head, and it doesn't change if I'm naked in front of a window, or strutting down the street counting all the guys who look at me. I'm still me, but more so. I shouldn't have worried."

Harvey kept entering the living room, on one pretext or another. I guess he was cleaning the apartment or something. I know he was there to check Ali out, to listen to our conversation. I'd do the same, if a tight, young twenty-something was splayed on my couch. So I didn't mind, and besides, it was fun teasing him.

I whispered, "Don't mind him. He's coming under your spell."

"Jeez," she giggled softly. She crossed her arms under her chest and hugged herself. "I'm just me. I'm not putting anyone under a spell."

I felt myself falling into the teaching role again. "Well, you have to try. Everybody you meet should come under your spell. Start being spellbinding. That thing on the subway? You said you had no personal space? Work on that. I want you to have zero personal space around you, okay? You can't be distant."

"Okay," she said again. The word came easily to her, it seemed. Harvey was in the room again, and he heard it. It was simple, unchallenging. Her tone of voice was so tractable it nearly froze him in his tracks.

Then the phone rang. Harvey picked it up off the coffee table and answered.

"Oh. Ali, it's for you," he said. He came around the table to her.

She lifted her legs to clear a spot on the couch. She was so nonchalant about it that he unthinkingly sat before passing the phone to her. When she settled her legs back down, he was stuck there. Her calves rested on his thighs, and her little bare feet pressed against his left arm.

"That's what I'm talking about," I said proudly.

"What?" She glanced around. She had to lift her head to see her legs. "Oh. I wasn't even thinking... Hello?"

Harvey and I paused, waiting. He looked slightly befuddled, like he wanted to be there, but he wanted something to justify him being there. He sort of shifted his weight, nestling into the couch, and took her in. Which was what I was doing.

The boxers had worked into a narrow little band, well below her belly button. They were loose around her legs, making for interesting uncovered zones well up her legs. The open hole of the boxer's fly disclosed even more skin. But the most captivating was her chest, rising in twin peaks to the tight-stretched fabric over her nipples.

"Right now?" Ali asked, sounding annoyed. "Well, no. I can come down. But for just an hour."

Harvey met my eyes. We were both thinking the same thing: Ali was leaving us.

"What the hell was that?" I asked when she dropped the phone.

"Work!" she said. She stomped her feet on the arm of the sofa, her calves bouncing on Harvey's thighs. "That was Subram. I have to go down and cover for Nancy. She got stuck at the doctor's office. Just for an hour or two."

"If you have to go, you have to go," I said.

"Damn right. I need the money. But the tips are so shitty in that... that..." She glanced at Harvey. "What's a bad word for that place?"

"Umm," he said. He wrenched his eyes upwards to her face. "Rat hole?"

"Yeah!" she said. "Tyler, I'm sorry. You took off work."

I patted her cheek comfortingly. I let my fingers drift down her neck and squeeze her shoulder. I watched Harvey watching from the corner of my eye. We were both so fixated on Ali, it was hilarious. Every little move sent shimmers to her chest. Every shift of weight pointed out that she was lying across us.

"I'll be there. With a notebook. We have lots of planning to do. Posters, flyers. Pictures for the posters. Money." I peered down at her. "How are you set for money?"

"I have ten dollars to my name," she groaned. Her hands flopped to her side, and started picking at the boxers. "I hate this. Sponging off friends. Taking advantage of Harvey. You buying me clothes."

I framed my response carefully. This was for Harvey's benefit as much as it was for her's. "I don't see the problem, Ali. Look at it like this. At this time in your life, guys exist to do things for you. I'm a guy. Harvey's a guy. Guys like providing for women. We want to see you succeed. We know you need help. You don't even have to be smart. Just be friendly and follow your dreams. That's all a guy needs."

"Quite!" added Harvey. "If you need any mo..." His burst of effusiveness ended in uncomfortable silence.

"Aw, that's sweet, you guys," Ali smiled. She kicked Harvey's arm until he smiled back at her. "But I won't take any money."

"No," I said. "You have to earn that. We have to make that waitressing thing into a money maker. I can't be spending like crazy. You have to make money for the stylist. For the photographer. For lipstick. It's expensive being a woman, isn't it?"

Harvey nodded. "It sure is."

"I'll tell you this, as your manager. You're going to make money, and spend that money the same day, until Harvey kicks you into the street and you have to pay rent somewhere."

"Oh, gosh--" he started.

"The time will come someday, Harv," I said. "You can't be generous forever."

"Tyler's right," Ali raised her head to see him over her chest. "You've been so good to me already."

"I've only just begun," he said gallantly.

"Harvey and I, we'll fix your money problem," I gave him a buddy-buddy grin. "We'll turn you into a tip magnet."

"Uh-oh," Ali said. She swivled on her ass and sat upright as I stood. She was now pressed close against Harvey, legs kicking in front of her, hand resting unthinkingly on his thigh. She was a natural. I didn't think she was even aware of her effect on him.

"I'm serious," I said. "You two stay there. If there's one thing men know, it's waitresses, and how they get the big tips. Am I right, Harvey?"

"Possibly," he said.

When I returned to the living room, some clothing in my hands, she was chatting away. Harvey's head was turned, he was watching her full-on as she gestured. Oh, yes. He wouldn't be kicking her out any time soon. She was, amazingly, telling him about her episode in front of the window that morning. Only she was calling it an "actor's exercise."

Harvey was amazed. "And you just stood there? That is not to be believed!"

"Believe it!" she giggled. "Just some glass and some air, between those poor guys and big fat naked me!"

"Not fat," admonished Harvey.

I tossed Ali some panties and a pair of button-up shorts.

She said, "No peeking!" She stood and went behind the couch, a little behind Harvey's head. "Anyway, I'm supposed to do this every morning. Can you believe? It's supposed to help with my stage fright."

"Have you, uh--" Harvey struggled to keep his eyes forward, even as she kicked the boxers and suspenders across the carpet towards me. "Have you picked out a window here?"

"Here?" Ali stared at me with sudden shock, panties halfway up her legs. "Well..."

I gave her a nonchalant shrug.

"I guess..." she trailed off. "I guess that one. Over there."

She pulled the shorts on and came back around the couch, pointing to the window beside the kitchen. "It faces into the street."

"Every morning, you say?" Harvey confirmed. Clearly the gears were whirring in his mind.

"Yeah. Every morning." She said it slowly, and then rolled her eyes. Her knees were trembling. "For half an hour." She turned back to him swiftly. "If that's okay with you."

"Fine, fine," said Harvey expansively. He didn't bother to drag his eyes off the shorts. "I just hope you don't mind me. That's when I wake up."

I stifled a snicker. Ali hadn't mentioned when in the morning she would be at the window.

They were short shorts, red canvasy things. They were low off the hips, and tight around the stomach. The only thing saving them from being hotpants was that they hung away from her ass, and had loops for tools sewn into the waistline. They looked like normal, if exceedingly short, shorts -- they were vintage, from the 1970's.

"So. Shorts? Easy to move in," said Ali. "But I won't get more tips just because of shorts."

Harvey looked like he wasn't so sure. And neither was I. She would be quite a vision striding between tables, sweatily delivering plates of food.

"There's more," I said. "The secret to every waitress is the bosom. Am I right, Harvey?"

"I suppose you are," he said, leaning forward. He was warming to this.

"Harvey and I have a choice," I said, acting like a maitre'd. "Silk camisole, low on the chest. Tight black t-shirt, to highlight the curves. Threadbare white t-shirt with a low scoop neck."

I held each item up in turn. Ali glanced between Harvey and me, looking for a favorite. "Can I choose?"

"You most certainly can not," I intoned. "Your clothing is a weighty matter, suitable for only men to discuss."

Ali gave an amused moue, crossing her arms and stomping. Her breasts rocked against her forearms.

"What's wrong with her current top?" Harvey asked.

"She'll be leaning over a lot," I explained.

"Oh, yes."

"What does that mean?" she asked.

Harvey looked slightly uncomfortable. "You'll -- erm -- fall out of your top if you lean over."

Ali raised an eyebrow. "Well, I've been leaning over all day, and no one has complained--"

"Anyway," I interrupted, before she could make a connection. "The black top here won't work."

"No," said Harvey.

I tossed it over my shoulder. Ali giggled.

I said, "It's between the camisole and the t-shirt."

"The camisole is too fancy for the shorts," Harvey said. "The t-shirt is casual, and leaves some mystery. But it has those holes, and the scoop neck."

"Good choice," I said.

I gave Ali the shirt. She turned her back on us and pulled the tank-top over her shoulders. We watched the broad, flawless expanse of her back. As she pulled on the new t-shirt, the muscles around her spine flexed. Harvey was rendered voiceless by the quick change, so when she turned back around, I said, "Oh, that's perfect."

The stitching up the sides was full of stretched, dime-sized holes. The collar was ragged and half-separated from the fabric. The cloth was thin, and her color showed through where it was tight. When she held her arms out, it shifted becomingly over her curves, like cloth drawn over a greek statue. It was wonderful on her -- grungy, casual, mesmerizing.

"I have the feeling it's too showy," said Ali. "Plus, I always sweat."

"Remember the tips," I said. "And women perspire, they don't sweat."

"Oh, that's right. The tips."

"There's something lacking," I added.

Harvey had finally found his voice. "I can't imagine what."

"Oh!" I snapped my fingers. "The stomach. Harvey, will you find some scissors and cut that shirt off? Like, at the midriff?" I traced a line over my stomach, just above the ribcage. Ali would know where to cut it. "I have to hit the bathroom before we go."

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