A Kind of Alchemy

by London Lampy

Chapter 17

Over the past few months Sam had heard many different singers, men, women, comic, serious, tuneful and unfortunately less so, but he'd never heard anyone quite like Ava. She couldn't just hold a tune like most of the singers that came and went from The Empress on a weekly basis, her voice was an exquisite instrument in itself. At times soft and seductive, at others powerful and rich but always filled with emotion, she didn't simply sing a song, she lived it. When Ava sang about loosing her one true love it was as if every word was her life story, and she was telling each person listening in confidence about her broken heart. Sam stood leaning on the rail at the back of the stalls watching her rehearse, with Fran on one side of him and Fudge and Earnest on the other. Fudge was grinning from ear to ear, her elbows resting on the rail and her chin cupped in her hands while Fran looked more reflective as he watched his sister perform.

They had more of less cleared the bill for her, only a comic and tap dancing twin ten year boys were left as warm up acts, all the others had been paid off for the week. Ava had flatly refused to share the stage with any other female performers, saying that the audience had come to see her alone and it would be unfair on any other women as they would be compared and come off worse. Sam suspected it had more to do with Ava not wanting to have anyone younger or more attractive than her around, but whatever the reason was she was right about people wanting to see her, once word had got around that Ava Aviva was playing a week at The Empress things had gone crazy. Despite Fran putting the prices up by a hefty twenty percent there were lines out of the foyer doors and down the street of people wanting to buy tickets, and Sam had been accosted several times on his way in and out of the place by people desperate to get in to see her, one man had even offered him twenty pounds to be allowed to stand in the wings while she performed, Sam had of course said no. They had even added two extra matinees to accommodate the demand, but as soon as they had gone on sale all the tickets had been snapped up and the rumour was that they were going for far more than their face value on the black market.

"This is her signature song." Fudge whispered to him as the band stuck up the opening notes of something sweet and melancholy. It was a song concerning a young woman who leaves everything behind to follow her heart, but when her romance ends she finds that her family won't take her back, and when she sang the final verse about how she could "never go home again" Sam unexpectedly found that he had a lump in his throat. He didn't much like Ava, at least not the noisy, attention demanding Ava who subtly put her daughter down and expected everyone to run about after her. However on stage was a different Ava, this one was a torch singer who could touch your soul with a single note and hold everyone watching her in the palm of her hand, and Sam realised that this was yet another example of Fran's alchemy. Quite simply the stage transformed Ava into different person entirely.

Once the rehearsal was over and Ava had spent a few minutes berating the band for a number of what she saw as mistakes she exited the stage and came to join the four of them at the back if the stalls.

"Mama, this is Earnest." Fudge said, introducing her mother to the young lampy.

"Well hello Earnest." Sam watched as Ava fixed him with her soul searing eyes. "You're a nice tall young man aren't you?"

"Um...I guess." Sam was filled with sympathy for Earnest as a pink blush spread across his cheeks.

"Trust my daughter to find a boy who's twice her hight, of course if she'd get herself out of those damn ugly boots and into a pair of heels once in a while it wouldn't matter quite so much, and we're all the same hight lying down, aren't we?" She said this in a low seductive voice, taking a small step closer to him and looking up at him from under half closed eyes lids. "Am I right in thinking you're one of those useful little men who light me?"

"Yes." Earnest nodded, on safer ground here, or so he thought.

"I'm not sure that the lighting in my dressing room is quite right, the bulbs around my mirror keep flickering, perhaps you could come up and look at them for me?" She all but purred.

"Erm...Wally knows more about how the dressing rooms are wired than...than me, I'll ask him...to do it." Earnest stuttered.

"Oh." Ava actually pouted, sticking her bottom lip out and drawing down her eyebrows. "Are you sure you can't come?" Sam could swear that she had subtly emphasised "come".

"Don't worry Ava, we'll get it sorted out." Fran said evenly from behind his sister. "Earnest, I think you'd better get along now, you know how Wally gets when he thinks you've been slacking off."

"Yes...thanks." An expression of relief crossed the young man's face and he all but ran out of the auditorium.

"You were right Fudge sweetie, he is terribly handsome." Ava said as he left.

"Isn't he?" Fudge smiled at her mother, either unwilling or unable to see what Ava had just done.

"If that's what his parents want to do there's nothing I can do to change things." Fran rested his elbows on his desk and rubbed his temples in small circular motions. He had a blinding headache coming on and right now didn't much care about Edmund Anglemol's housing problems. "There are plenty of places to rent in the city and they've got a point, it is a large house for just one person to live in."

"But he's lived there his whole life."

"Sam, I said there was nothing I could do." He snapped, then instantly regretted it, neither his mood nor his headache were the boy's fault, and since Mrs Anglemol's death Sam and Edmund seemed to have mended their differences, which was something he had wanted to happen. "Sorry." He sighed. "Lot on my plate at the moment."

Ava couldn't have turned up at a worse time, Mother's auction was going to fall on the day of her final performance and his sister had of course almost instantly worked out that something unusual was going on. She had managed to worm some of the details out of him, although he'd told her that it was a party for Mother and his associates and he'd kept back everything about Mother's majority in the place and Sam's part in it. He could only pray that she never did discover that particular piece of information, in essence The Empress was their family business and he knew that she would be fumingly angry at him for giving so much of it away. Ava's temper was a fearsome thing, she couldn't simply vent her fury and move on, she held grudges and had been known to take severe retribution for things that most other people would be able to brush off. As children Fran had suffered many deliberately broken toys and defaced books at her hands when he had done something to provoke her ire, and he'd learned at an early age it was best to never upset her. For this reason he wasn't going to tackle her about her seductress routine with Earnest, he'd simply have to keep her away from Fudge's boyfriend for the next few days until she left. He could have kicked himself for not seeing that one coming, Fran knew that Ava had absolutely no real interest in Earnest, but she wanted to prove that she could have him if she wanted to, she'd always been like that around other women's boyfriends and husbands so why would she wouldn't act any differently with her own daughter? In truth with everything that was going on he would be glad when she was gone, even if she was doing wonders for the box office takings.

"Could he stay with us?" Sam asked. "If the place gets sold and he doesn't have anywhere else to live."

"Sam, it takes months to sell a house, he's not going to suddenly find himself out on the streets with no warning, but if it comes to it I suppose he can if he needs to. So long as there are no more fights."

"There won't be, I don't think." Sam opened his mouth as if he was about to say something more but whatever it was he never got to speak as the door flew open and Ava burst into the room in a cloud of cigarette smoke and perfume.

"Fran! Your musicians are impossible, they're threatening to walk out unless I stop telling them what to do, haven't they ever heard of professionalism? You need to come and talk to them at once."

It was the next morning and Sam yawned as he swept the stage, he was now used to late nights from working in the theatre, but last night had been later than normal. It had been the night of Ava's first performance at The Empress and the show had been a lot longer than he was used to as the audience had kept calling her back for more and more encores. Then afterwards she had spent nearly an hour signing autographs at the stage door, then had spent even longer holding court in her dressing room over several bottles of champagne. Sam had wanted to go home, but as Fudge wasn't going anywhere while her mother was around and it was Fran's job to lock the place up at night he had ended up staying too. In the morning Fran, Fudge and himself had to get up to go to work but Fran had told him Ava rarely got out of bed before noon, and he felt rather resentful that he had managed only a few hours sleep while she was most likely still snoring.

Victor was back in the theatre touching up the other cloths because Fran now felt that they looked shabby in comparison with the new flower meadow one, and Sam was glad. He liked having Victor around the place, and even more so today because he wanted to talk to someone about something that was bothering him. He waited until Victor took a break then went to join him in the alleyway outside the stage door where the painter was standing smoking a cigarette.

"Hey." Victor greeted him with a smile that almost made Sam forget his reason for being there.

"Hello." Sam replied, leaning on the wall beside him, noting that it felt slightly warmer out today, the winter was finally making way for spring.

"How are you finding sharing a house with the great Ava Aviva?" Victor asked, exhaling a plume of smoke.

"It's...different." Sam replied diplomatically.

"She's a piece of work isn't she?"

"Yeah." Sam nodded, checking that no one was around to overhear them. "But Fran and Fudge like her."

"They have to, they're family." Victor laughed. "It's only them and her thousands of fans, who most likely wouldn't be quite so keen if they knew what she was really like."

"She's a very good singer though."

"One of the best in the business." Victor agreed. "And because of that she knows she can get away with almost anything."

Sam watched Victor take another long drag on his cigarette. "Can I ask you something?" He said.

"Yep, can't promise I'll answer though."

"If someone kisses you then kind of runs off, what does it mean?"

He'd come to the conclusion that strange as it seemed the best person to ask about this was Victor. He'd nearly asked Fran the day before but Ava had burst into the office and since then he'd thought better of it. Fran seemed to currently have a whole lot of his own problems, and added to that he always took everything very seriously and Sam didn't want to be worried about, he just wanted some advice. Asking Fudge was out of the question, any advice she gave would come straight from the pages of the large number of cheap paperback romances that littered her bedroom and he doubted that they bore much relation to any real life situation.

"I think I need a bit of context to this." Victor looked like he was trying hard not to smile. "Was it someone you know, because if it wasn't it's most likely a police matter. You weren't by any chance playing kiss chase were you? As far as I remember that's what you're meant to do."

Sam explained what had happened as best he could, and when he was done Victor nodded thoughtfully. "It means he likes you but is having problems accepting that he feels like that about another boy."

"That's what I thought it might be." Sam agreed. "What should I do?"

"Search me." Victor shrugged unhelpfully, dropping his cigarette end onto the concrete surface of the alleyway and grinding it out with his shoe. "Depends on how much effort you want to put in. Personally I wouldn't bother, there are plenty of other boys out there and this Ed sounds like he'd be a lot of effort. But then I've never cared much about the chase, I don't give a damn what people say, the journey is never better than the destination."

"Huh?" Sam frowned, sometimes it seemed that the painter spoke in riddles.

"I mean that I'm not interested in all that slow seduction stuff. I like a sure thing."

Sam thought about this. "You think I'm easy?"

"Gods Sam." Victor laughed. "I think you know what you want, and there's nothing wrong with that. And speaking of what you want, the majority of the dressing rooms are empty at the moment aren't they?"

"Yeah." Sam nodded. "Ava kicked most of the acts out, why?"

"Fancy giving me a tour of them?"

"They're not very interesting...oh." He suddenly realised what Victor was suggesting. "But there are people about." He said, feeling his face grow hot.

"Just adds to the fun." Victor grinned, capturing Sam with his very blue eyes.

"You'd better lock the door." Victor said. "Don't want little Fudge walking in on us again."

Sam quickly did just that, she was likely to be coming around the dressing room block at some point to check the mousetraps. Last time when she'd caught them kissing she'd wanted to know all about what they were up to, if she blundered in this time she was likely to see a whole lot more and Sam didn't think that he could stand either the interrogation or the embarrassment.

Once the door was secured Victor wrapped his arms around Sam and kissed him deeply, placing both his hands on Sam's ass and giving it a good squeeze, letting Sam know what he wanted.

Kissing Victor was very different from kissing Ed he decided. With Victor, Victor was very much in control, Sam liked that but he'd liked the way Ed was more tentative with neither of them clearly taking the lead too. Neither one was better than the other, they were just different experiences.

Sam soon realised what the painted had meant about doing this in the dressing room being fun, there was something deliciously wrong about getting naked with Victor in the middle of the day in a busy building. The occasional tread of footsteps coming from the corridor outside gave him a thrill knowing that people were innocently passing by having no idea of what was happening just a few feet away.

Once they both had their clothes off Victor arranged them with him sitting one of the dressing tables and Sam sitting across him straddling his lap. Victor carefully guided himself into Sam, with Sam slowly lowering himself down onto his stiff cock, feeling himself stretch as he went. Sam had been slightly surprised to find that Victor had a tin of Dr Lumen's lube in his pocket, but the painter had laughed and said that it always paid to be ready for any eventuality.

Last time they had had sex Sam remembered Victor saying that it was a shame that he couldn't see himself being penetrated, but that wasn't the case this time, there were rows of mirror all around the room and he found watching Victor's member gradually disappearing inside him to be an extremely arousing sight.

"Nice view isn't it?" Victor asked, noticing what Sam was looking at.

"Yeah." Victor was fully encased in Sam now, his arms wrapped around Sam's back to hold him in place. Sam flexed his hips and wriggled to get the maximum pleasure from their position, all the while looking over his shoulder into the mirror. "You should paint this." He suggested.

Victor bit the side of his neck, making Sam gasp and wriggle even more, and when Victor took Sam's erection in his hand and began to stroke him Sam realised that he wasn't going to last. He managed to point this out to Victor, although he was fast losing the ability to make sense.

"Don't worry, if you want to come do it, we can't stay in here very long." The painter replied. His voice was husky and Sam guessed that Victor wasn't far off coming either.

It wasn't that easy to keep his balance and move on top of Victor at the same time so he couldn't ride him hard but instead moved his hips in an even rhythm, keeping up with Victor's stroking hand. Sam moved one of his own hands to his chest to play with his nipples, pinching first one and then the other until they were hard then rolling them between his fingertips. Victor made a low approving noise at what he was seeing and speeded up his hand on Sam's cock.

His orgasm hit him hard and fast, and as he came he could feel both his passage clenching around Victor's shaft and his own spunk spilling over the man's hand.

"Fuck...Sam." Victor exclaimed as he pushed deep inside Sam's body. "Oh gods...yes."

Sam watched Victor's reflection through half closed eyes as the painter's body tensed in climax, every muscle in his long lean body was tightened as he rode out his climax, then when he was eventuality done he slumped into Sam and kissed his shoulder.

A sudden rattling of the door handle made them both look around. "Hello, is there someone in there?" A voice that was unmistakably Fudge's called out.

"Yeah...me." Sam replied quickly. "Don't come in." Fudge possessed a large bunch of keys that could open every door in the building.

"What are you doing?" She sounded puzzled. "Is it something rude?"

"Not any more, we've just finished." Victor said loudly, making Sam instantly blush.

"Oh." Fudge said. "Sorry, I'll leave you to it." He could hear her giggling from the other side of the door.

"Why did you tell her that?" Sam asked once she was gone and he had climbed off Victor.

"She's an over imaginative girl at the best of times, telling her the truth has got to be better than her coming up with some wild theory as to why you'd locked yourself in here."

"I guess." Sam could see Victor's logic, but he knew that next time he saw Fudge he was going to be subjected to endless questions as to exactly what the two of them had been doing.

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