Daze In The Valley by Jay Cantrell – Chapter 165

Daze in the Valley
by Jay Cantrell

Chapter 165

Rebecca took Katya’s place beside Adam when the Russian wandered off to talk to someone else.

“Relieved or disappointed?” she asked. It was obvious that Adam was the last to know something again.

“Confused,” he admitted. “I, uh… , well… , I didn’t actually realize that was under consideration.”

“I’m not sure it was but it’s best we got it out of the way,” Rebecca said with a laugh. “Now we can just drag them to the

bedrooms without worrying about someone getting the wrong impression.”

Adam lowered his head and shook it. In the past couple of days, he’d had sex with only three of his girlfriends – but with

three women who weren’t.

“I think Sean is going to announce the other surprise in a minute or so,” Rebecca continued.

Sure enough, Sean stood and managed to get everyone’s attention.

“It’s been a great couple of days,” he said. “But it’s time to put on our boots and get to work. Tomorrow, we’re setting up

Walt’s trolleys for the horses. Ben will be here in the morning to decide on camera placements and Karlie and her crew will

be doing the last fittings for the costumes. I think Sarah wants to run lines with everyone in the afternoon and have a dress

rehearsal in the evening.”

“And by dress rehearsal, I mean, dress rehearsal, Adam,” Sarah said. “So keep your log in your pants. It’s just for getting

our spots down and letting you and Cameron work on your footwork. It will also give us a chance to test run the camera that

will be zipping beside the horses. Do we have any issues that have cropped up in the past couple of days?”

No one could think of anything that hadn’t been addressed ad nauseum.

“Now, while the guys do the hard labor in the morning, the women will be helping out where they can – in our swimwear,” she

added with a smile. “I don’t think we’ll have time for any actual group sunbathing this time but I’m sure it will spur the

men into working to get things together quickly.”

She nodded for Sean to continue.

“Saturday and Sunday, we’re shooting,” he said. “We’re going to do our best to use natural lighting for almost everything, so

the scenes won’t be shot in order. I understand from Shelly that they are rarely shot in order anywhere but the adult

industry. We are on a very ambitious schedule and we really need to wrap up on Sunday afternoon.”

The group nodded and Sean waited for the expected question.

Seeing no one else was going to step forward, Rebecca did it.

“Why?” she asked. “I thought we planned on Monday for overruns.”

“We did,” Sean said, smiling at Rebecca. “But given how well ‘Cotton Panty Chronicles’ came off, we changed our minds.

Instead, we decided to have another surprise for the Fourth of July celebration. We’ve invited the families of those who are

still close to theirs.”

A slight murmur broke out as people exchanged glances.

“Sarah, your Mom and Dad will arrive Sunday at 5:00 p.m.,” Sean continued. “My Mom and Rachelle’s Dad are picking them up at

McCarron on their way in. Don’t worry, they’ll call ahead to make sure we’re in good shape. Trinity’s family will be here a

little after 7:00 p.m. Katey’s Mom and Dad will arrive at 7:30 p.m. Walt’s parents and Mary’s family are providing a shuttle

service from the airport to the hotels we’ve arranged for them. Fittingly, they will all be in the Excalibur for the time

they’re here.”

He consulted his list.

“Jason, your folks and sisters are actually going to be on the same flight with some members of Leslie’s family. Leslie, your

Mom and Dad both had prior commitments, but your older brother and your sister will be here Sunday night.”

Leslie felt tears in her eyes.

“My brother is coming out?” she asked. “Thanks, Sean.”

“Thank Adam,” he said. “My only contribution was filching your cell phone long enough to get your parents’ number. Elena’s

parents are coming over from Wyoming. Lucy, I’m sorry but there wasn’t enough time to get in touch with your Mom. I promise,

the next time we do this, she’ll be invited. Sadly, some of the people we contacted couldn’t take time from work or weren’t

interested. As plans have come together or fallen through, we’ve spoken to people and they understand. Please don’t let the

fact that some people’s families are not here lessen your enjoyment at having yours here.”

Adam had found himself singularly pissed off at the attitudes of some of the people he’d phoned. Meredith’s mother absolutely

refused, as did Tyanna’s father. Timm’s mother hung up on Adam when he had contacted her.

This was a free trip to Las Vegas to see your child, Adam thought. No one in their right minds would pass up that chance. He

had been wrong but it still irked him.

“Anya, Allie, Shelly and Karlie, we did not contact your families,” Sean said. “I don’t want you to worry about them showing

up here.”

“I’d sort of like to see my uncle or my dad show their faces,” Karlie said bitterly.

“They would end up like my dad did,” Shelly promised. “Flat on their asses. Don’t worry about it Sean. I have my family with

me already.”

Allie nodded. She could tell that Sarah and Trinity were excited to see their families again and that was good enough for

her.

“Veronica, we have a surprise for you,” Sean continued. “Mary has located your Dad in Kuwait. He can’t come home right now

but we have his e-mail address and a phone number. It was only last night that we got confirmation from his company and were

able to contact him. He said he will give you a call later tonight.”

Veronica felt tears spring to her eyes. She had hoped that Mary would be able to track down her dad in the Middle East but

she hadn’t harbored much hope. There were thousands of U.S. companies doing business over there and the identities of

Americans in that area were closely guarded – not only by the companies but by the State Department.

Mary probably could have found out by hacking the State Department servers but Veronica wasn’t willing to ask that of her (or

of anyone). Instead, Subarctic Enterprises hired a private detective to scour the small Kansas town where Veronica had been

raised for any word about her father. Once they had the company’s name, it was only a matter of finding the right person to

give them his phone number.

“Oh, and Timm, your mother refused to discuss the prospect,” Sean said.

“No surprise there,” Timm answered. “I live in a den of iniquity, don’t you know. She probably sterilized the phone after

hearing the words ‘Las Vegas.’”

“Well, your aunt and uncle were only too happy to come up for a couple of days,” Sean said. “They might arrive early to catch

the last scene but they are the only ones invited out here. Most are arriving Sunday night but their visits don’t officially

start until we wrap up ‘Dragon Lore.’ Is that OK with everyone?”

The ones looking forward to seeing their loved ones nodded eagerly. For Leslie, it had been almost two years since her

brother had spoken to her. She hoped he wasn’t just coming out for the free trip.

“So, after we’re done Sunday, everyone is free and clear,” Sean said. “We’re having a get-together Monday afternoon and a

picnic Tuesday. Attendance at either is purely optional. If you would prefer just to hang out with your families, no problem.

Most of your folks have to be back at work by Wednesday, so it will be a brief visit but one that I hope everyone will

enjoy.”

Veronica gave Mary a heartfelt hug as Leslie broke away and raced to hug Adam.

“Thank you,” Leslie said.

“You’re welcome,” Adam replied. “I spoke to him for a long time. He’s looking forward to seeing you as much as you’re looking

forward to seeing him. Your sister is also coming. I hope that isn’t a problem.”

“No, it will be good to see her too,” Leslie said. “I talk to her a lot. She’s a lot of fun and she’s almost an adult now.

She’ll graduate high school next year.”

Adam glanced at Rebecca. He knew she had gone to her parent’s house the night before and he expected her to chime in with

what role they would play.

“Not so sadly, I will not be participating,” she said to him. “Last night was a disaster.”

“Sorry,” Adam replied.

“Dad decided it was the perfect time to try to get me to invest in one of his businesses,” she continued. “Mom kept hinting I

should make sure when the dust settled that you and I were the only ones together. I left before dinner was through.”

Adam put his arm her.

“Don’t worry about it,” Rebecca said. “I’m actually looking forward to introducing you and Allie to them the next time we’re

up here.”

“Just us?” Adam asked. “Why just me and Allie?”

“Well, all of you but particularly you and Allie,” Rebecca clarified. “And I am going to spend the entire day before pissing

you off just so you tell those idiots what you really think of them and do it quickly enough that we can all go somewhere

enjoyable afterward. Maybe I should take Walt and Mary, too.”

“Or, of course, you could just do it yourself,” Adam pointed out. “I’ve seen you lose your tact from time to time – mostly at

me, of course.”

“I have told them off so often they don’t even notice anymore,” Rebecca said bitterly. “I told them off last night before I

walked out on dinner. I can see Allie punching my mother in the mouth. No, I can’t let that happen. Mom will claim whiplash

and sue us all.”

“I didn’t realize it was that bad,” Adam said. Rebecca had, of course, spoken about her parents in the months she’d been with

them. But it was always in general terms. It painted an unflattering picture but not one as stark as what she had described.

“It is,” she said simply. There was no way she could tell any of the females what her mother suggested. They would have gone

over there and throttled the woman. But she thought she could tell Adam.

Still, she hesitated for a moment to gauge his mood.

“My mother suggested I get pregnant,” Rebecca said softly. “That would force you to marry me and push the others out of our

lives. Or it would force you to pay extraordinary amounts of support if you chose another route. She said it with such ease

that I wondered if that is why she married my father. But it’s her family that had most of the money when I was born.”

She glanced up from the floor long enough to notice a neutral look on Adam’s face. An instant earlier, she would have seen

something far different – a mixture of anger and terror.

“You don’t seem surprised,” she said.

“Oh, I’m surprised,” Adam replied. “But these are your parents and I’ve vowed that I’m going to stay out of those parts of

your lives. I enjoyed talking to Sarah’s family. They were super. So were Trinity’s. Leslie’s Mom and Dad were very friendly

and so were her brother and sister. Meredith’s family – I will not contact again. Nor will I call Timm’s family. Beth’s Dad

was a little brusque but I caught him at work. When he called me back, he explained he was an over-the-road truck driver and

he had been restricted to local jobs since her mother left. He was trying to make enough money by doing coast-to-coast jobs

[how, if he's restricted to local?] so he could help Beth out if she wanted to do something else with her life.”

“Did you explain we were doing the same thing?” Rebecca asked. Over the past few weeks, she had seen Adam walk off with his

phone a number of times and come back either a minute or an hour later. If he came back in a minute, it was with anger

written on his face. If it was longer, it was usually with a look of satisfaction.

“I did and Beth had told him about it,” Adam said. “But he still wanted to be sure. He can’t make it this week because he

will be in the East. But he’s going to swing by later in the month when he’s back this way and has a few days off. Honestly,

he sounds like a good guy who loves his little girl and would do anything for her.”

“Unlike mine,” Rebecca said flatly.

——-

The girls were dressed in their Wally Walrus suits from the moment they got up and showered. Karlie and Trinity had perused

the internet for different colors and models for the women who were new to the fold. Allie had insisted upon buying them.

For the first time in her memory, money wasn’t an issue for Allie Timmons. She was still seeing $500 a week in dividends from

Daystar from what she and Adam had shot three months earlier. To her surprise, but apparently not to anyone else’s, she was

the most popular member of ‘Sweet Things’ – although she, Rebecca, Sarah and Leslie were within a few hundred members of each

other. Allie was still clearing more than $15,000 a month after she set aside a large portion for taxes.

She was also able to pick and choose her jobs. Now that Veronica was in a position to negotiate, the women of Five Friends

had put together a sliding scale for their services. Using data compiled by Mary and her trusted assistants, the group’s

booking fees were based on a number of factors: The woman requested, the number of subscribers to the site (if it was an

online project) or the gross profits of the company (if it was a studio). The larger the studio and the larger the web site,

the more they were expected to pay. The larger the name requested, the higher the price.

Then there was the Daystar deal. She hoped it was working out to Ben and Tate’s liking – neither had said anything – because

she was loving her duties for them. Once or twice a week, she would pop up in the Daystar chat rooms and discuss not only her

upcoming projects but what the company was doing next. She had represented Daystar at a convention in Los Angeles and would

do voiceovers for scenes that required narrative introductions.

Ben and Tate both insisted they pay for any duty not expressly written in her contract, even though they knew Allie was

really enjoying most of the work. After three months, Daystar was reaping the benefits – along with Dazzle and Goldwall and

several smaller sites – of getting in on the ground floor of what Allie and her crew were doing.

Most of the benefits were financial, for which they were happy and didn’t mind sharing a portion of, but the other benefit

was in their reputation. The groups that had unofficially affiliated themselves with the new movement were getting calls from

starlets who repped themselves – people who they would have considered out of their league six months earlier. Some of the

women wanted their normal paychecks but most were willing to work for web standard just to get the chance to do a decent

scene that showcased their talents.

Ben’s running joke was that he was asked for by name as often as Adam, Jason, Cameron or Timm. But none of the males were

asked about as often as Ashley Malibu, who despite the way she chose jobs and the restrictions on who she worked with, was

the odds-on favorite to be the most downloaded starlet of the year.

Adam figured it was a foregone conclusion. After all, the scene shot the last time they were in Vegas would be posted in a

week – and ‘Dragon Lore’ would be out in mid-August.

——-

Ben arrived earlier than expected – because he was champing at the bit to get started on the movie. He was also excited for

another reason. He was going to introduce his girlfriend to the group.

They already knew her but he didn’t think they were aware of the relationship that had developed. At least he knew some of

them weren’t.

Still, only a few heads turned in shock when Melody Schott walked into the backyard hand in hand with Ben. It was Ben who

stopped in surprise. He didn’t notice the work being done. He only noticed the young women scurrying about in the tiniest

swimsuits he had ever seen.

“Jesus Christ,” he muttered.

Melody chucked him with her hip before Allie swooped in and hugged them both. Sean was not far behind.

Of course, Allie knew about Ben and Melody. She had been talking with Ben when Melody called a couple of times. Shelly knew,

too, because she had spent more time with Ben in the past few weeks than she had with her father in the past few years.

Veronica also knew since a good portion of her job was interacting with both Ben and Melody.

“I should have warned you,” Sean said. “Hey, Melody. I didn’t know you were coming up.”

He noticed she was holding Ben’s hand and smiled.

“Well, I take that back,” Sean said. “Ben said he was bringing a guest that wouldn’t be upset by what was going on but I

didn’t know it was you. I think that’s great.”

Allie tugged Melody away from Ben long enough to drag her into the house and show her the suit they had found for her. The

Wally Walrus suits were designed for late teens and early 20s, not for 34-year-olds. Karlie and Trinity had scoured the

Internet and found nothing. So they went to extreme measures.

Allie had begun to draw designs for a line of swimwear that was less risqué than Wally Walrus but was still sexy and

functional. She wanted something that could be sold relatively inexpensively and still make a woman look as though she spent

$300 on her suit.

Karlie, with the help of almost everyone else, had decided she would use one of Allie’s designs – unknown to Allie herself –

and make a one-of-a-kind suit for Melody.

She used PornLife, which listed a starlet’s measurements, to produce a speeding-ticket red bikini with a fuller back and bra

that she thought would look great on Melody’s frame.

Melody had been expecting to be treated as one of the adults, not one of the girls, and that bothered her somewhat. Allie put

a stop to that misconception pretty quickly.

“It’s a rule,” she said in mock sadness. “Hot females have to dress in swimwear. I’m sorry. You’ll just have to bite the

bullet and accept it.”

Melody chuckled and changed into her bikini with a smile. Allie was still outside, flanked by Sarah, Shelly, Karlie, Trinity,

Rebecca and Erin, when Melody emerged from the bathroom.

“You look fantastic,” Karlie said. “That is the perfect suit for you.”

She reached behind to pat herself on the back. Then she hugged a stunned Allie.

“Recognize it?” she asked.

Melody looked as puzzled as Allie.

“You are the owner of ‘The Hot Cinnamon, ‘” Karlie said. “I named it myself. It is the first suit produced from Malibu by

Design – which I also named myself. Allie designed the suit and the rest of us made it.” Both Allie and Melody were stunned.

Karlie pointed out a small logo embroidered on the hip of the bikini.

“This is a beautiful suit and it fits me perfectly,” Melody said in wonder. “I, I can’t tell you how much this means to me.

You are so sweet.”

After Melody hugged everyone, Allie got down to why she had asked for everyone to join her when Melody came back out.

“You know this means Adam won’t work with you, right?” Allie asked. “It’s not that he likes you any less. He just doesn’t

work with anyone who is romantically attached to any of his close friends.”

Melody smiled slightly but nodded. She had suspected this would be the case and she wasn’t really disappointed. She was far

less interested in resuming that part of her professional life now that her personal life seemed to be taking shape.

“Ben is OK with me working but I’ve decided not to,” Melody replied. “Believe it or not, the scene Adam scheduled is what

prompted Ben to ask me out. He called to check my availability and we started talking. I’ve known him for years but we

haven’t really had much opportunity to get to know each other. We went for coffee the next afternoon and we’ve been together

since, I suppose. He did say Tate will make us pay a cancellation fee since he booked the studio already. It was hilarious.

Tate was there, of course, and he looked scandalized by the very thought.”

“I am really happy for you,” Shelly said earnestly. “Ben is like a big brother to me and you’re like the sister I’ve always

wished I had instead of the one I got. Come on out, we’ve got a couple of people you should meet.”

——-

Lucy and Celina were the only members of the group that neither Ben nor Melody had met. They both remembered Kristi Clear

from her days onscreen but were pleased to be introduced to Veronica Davies, the woman behind the alias.

The backyard was a buzz of activity. Bluescreen was being hung and wooden rails run across the ground. Walt’s props had a

limited range of movement – about six feet in either direction so they could appear to be grazing in the background – but

there was no way to steer them.

So the rails were down to ensure they didn’t leave the concrete patio section. It would be a bitch to get them back up there.

The rollback had paid for itself when it came time to unload the unwieldy items. There were three of the mechanized horses

and Adam had simply driven the rollback around back, tipped the bed backward and let the winches do the rest.

To the naked eye, the machines didn’t look like much. They were about the size of a horse but were covered in Bluescreen. The

saddle was a thick cushion that resembled what Sarah had decided saddles from that time period would look like. Adam was

gratified that they didn’t hurt his ass. He figured he would be on the thing for several hours that afternoon while Mary,

Walt, Timm and Elena took measurements from every angle.

Rebecca and Ben gathered the cast for a final costume check. Karlie and Allie had done yeomen’s work with the designs. The

women and men of Subarctic Enterprises and its subsidiaries had spent a lot of their free minutes for the past month sewing

something or cutting fabric or painting a prop. Allie had sketched a scene diagram as Sarah described it from the picture in

her head. Then Ben and Shelly had gone over every inch of the diagram to make sure they had every item they needed and that

all the camera angles were covered.

It had been a painstaking process and had led to a couple of harsh words when someone had returned from a class and plopped

into a chair only to find Karlie or Sarah or Shelly or Walt standing in front of them with something that needed help. But

the harsh words evaporated quickly and there could be no doubt that this was a project the whole group could be proud of – if

it worked.

——-

Adam was exhausted when he finally got to bed at 2 o’clock Saturday morning. He had to be up in five hours for makeup so they

could shoot the transition from Scene one to Scene two.

The dress rehearsal went extremely well – so well, in fact, that it was decided to start shooting the non-sex sequences that

evening. Walt’s creations worked to perfection – or at least Adam thought so. Walt saw a couple of things he thought could

look better and promised to have them ironed out by the morning. When Adam wandered upstairs to sleep, Walt, Timm and

Meredith were still tinkering around with the gear settings.

By the time they closed up for the night, almost all the segues had been shot. Even one of the non-sex scenes was in the can

– pending Rebecca and Ben’s approval.

Rebecca was the associate director for the picture. She had expected to just shadow Ben – to carry things and run to get him

things. That wasn’t the case. He had immediately put her in charge of the scenes while he spent the majority of his time with

Shelly, Allie, Sarah and their designated proxies. Jason, Erin and Sean were the hand-held camera operators. Each scene would

be shot panorama and Shelly was confident each of them would do a fine job.

Trinity and Leslie were helping Sarah make sure the script was followed and that the characterizations were true to form.

Both had been involved since the beginning and knew the script forward and backward.

Wardrobe was Karlie and Elena’s department. Karlie or Allie had designed each and every piece of clothing to be worn and

Elena had helped Karlie with much of the intricate stitching.

Rachelle, Katey and Veronica were in charge of making sure each item in the room was back in exactly the same spot if

shooting was stopped. They took their jobs seriously. There would be no gaffes of having a candle move 12 inches from one

frame to the next. Stationery items were marked with tape. Moving objects, such as people, were a little more complicated.

Lucy had been drafted to help Mary and Beth with the computer effects.

Celina, Katya and Anya were the catering crew and all-around gofers. They were all too new to the project to be fully versed

on what was happing so they made up for it in other ways. Whatever was going on, no one had to leave to do anything short of

visiting the restroom. If one of those girls had figured out a way to help there, they probably would have done that for

them.

——-

The last scene of the night was shot indoors. It was the fight sequence between the evil wizard, Stovane (Cameron), and the

Paladin, Sir Apsan (Adam) in the wizard’s lair – or the basement of the mansion.

Most had expected the set to look straight from a B-movie, with smoking cauldrons and jars of obscure potions. Instead it

held meager belongings – a dusty tome on a heavy wooden desk (actually a modern desk with a thin veneer atop it to look as

though it was made from oak and not pressed wood). The walls held only one thing – a large photograph of the wizard that had

been computer altered to look like a painting.

The sword work had been choreographed by an instructor at Allie’s martial arts school. He had spent hour after hour with

Cameron and Adam separately and together to build their endurance and help with their footwork and movements – but also to

ensure they could do this without actually harming the other. So if the group could keep from doing the scene twice, it was

worth the chance of wasted video.

The weapons were not real but they were a light metal alloy. The wizard’s staff was coated with a light veneer to make it

appear wooden but the paladin’s blade was uncoated. They held no edge and could not cut, but they could break an arm or a rib

easily. Both men who wielded the objects were strong and a false movement could leave the other in a lot of pain, even

through the padded clothing both wore.

Ben decided to go ahead and run cameras during the dress rehearsal of the fight scene. He understood that neither Adam nor

Cameron were comfortable with their proficiency – mostly because of the danger it posed to a friend.

Princess Erosyn (Tyanna) was chained to the bed and had to be physically removed by the assassin Wynel (Allie), the druid

Crasic (Shelly) and the warrior Mertim (Sarah). The struggle was choreographed as well, with the enchanted Princess doing her

best to keep the warrior, druid and the assassin at bay. It was much shorter than what followed but just as intense to watch.

Ben was amazed at how much work this group had to have put into these sequences, both the two-minute fight between the women

and the five-minute battle that followed between the men. What took two pages of script seemed like an eternity when filming.

The weapons flashed and parried. The men lunged and dodged. They jumped on furniture and over obstacles.

Only Sarah had seen the entire sequence from beginning to end. And the other observers – only Rebecca and the camera

operators were permitted inside once the shooting started because of space limits – had to struggle not to gasp when the

Wizard took a mighty swing at the Paladin’s head that was only diverted at the last possible second.

Even the end of the scene was well-crafted. After five minutes of life-and-death battle, the finale was decided by a simple

accident. For Adam, it was his favorite part of the script. To him, that was reality. Lives sometimes ended because someone

was in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

Such was the case for the Wizard, who tripped on his robe and fell to the floor, his staff sliding away from him. It was so

realistic that Rebecca almost yelled to stop the scene but Ben put a hand on her arm and shook his head.

Sure enough, the Wizard rolled to his back.

“I yield,” he said. “I invoke the paladin’s code of honor and bid you spare a fallen man.”

Cameron spoke the words in a tone of voice that was in stark contrast to the look of arrogance on his face. So long as the

wizard lived, the Princess would remain under his control. He could coerce her to come to him as often as he liked and he

could continue to do the unspeakable things he had already done to her.

The Paladin’s life in court would end if he killed the Wizard. He would have no choice but to return his ring to the Queen

and become an outcast. But he would have to do that either way. His task was to protect the Princess and he had failed. His

honor was forfeit.

“You die,” Adam said simply and plunged the sword downward with all of his might into the convenient opening left between

Cameron’s chest and his arm (a spot where Cameron carried a concealed bag filled with corn syrup and red food coloring). The

sword point punctured the bag and sent its contents across the men and the floor.

Adam looked grim as he pulled the sword free. Then he turned, slipped in the mess on the floor and dropped the sword with a

clatter as he landed on his ass beside Cameron, who couldn’t help but burst out into laughter.

“Son of a bitch,” Adam muttered. “I just ruined this whole fucking thing.”

Edited by BlackIrish; Proofread by ZoltanTheDuck and Lee.

——-

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