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"The Grace X Files"     
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Part 2

A Grace X File

by Othello

(with consultation
by Grace X)
                              Chapter Two
                                                         The Suite of Mirrors

Grace hadn’t been the least bit surprised that Gephart was staying in the ritziest five-star hotel
Melbourne had to offer—she had been mildly impressed to discover that he owned it. She started to
catch on when she and the Korean were ushered into the establishment through an unobtrusive
back door, by a concierge with a distinct German accent, who looked like he might have been a
prison-camp guard around the same time Grace had been a hooker/assassin back in 1942. Gephart
did seem to enjoy culling his employees from a labor pool of war losers.

Though annoyed that she had to put up with the company of the Korean, it was obvious the man knew
his way around the place. He brushed off guidance from the concierge, made a beeline for a back-
hallway private elevator, and up they went to the top-floor penthouse.

After the hit of the Romanian Grace had rejoined Gephart and the Korean, and they’d cruised around
in the Rolls for a while before finally dropping Gephart at the St. Kitna Town Hall, the venue for the
Women’s Foil event. Grace would have enjoyed taking in the fencing bout herself—if only to see in
person how Ariel Frost moved, how good her reflexes were—but of course that was out of the
question. Invisible, after all. But though television sets were still scarce in Australia, Gephart
naturally had one right in his car. The Korean ran up an aerial, got the set into operation, then
returned to the front seat to sit mum while Grace watched the Women’s Foil contest from the back.

Grace had to concede the Romanian woman who was Frost’s opponent had some guts. Either that, or
too much ego to default the bout after the death of her trainer. But even to Grace’s untrained
fencing eye, the Romanian was clearly off stride as she faced off against the British champion.
Gephart had given his “sweetheart” just the edge she needed. Grace watched the jerky black-and-
white picture on the small screen of the TV intently. The Romanian put on a spirited fight, but Frost
was quick and strong—magnificent really, as Gephart had described her. Under normal
circumstances perhaps the Romanian woman might have been better; Grace saw flashes of real
brilliance in the woman’s style. But her nerves had to have been unstrung by her trainer’s death.
Frost scored point after point, and walked away exultant at the bout’s end, pumping a fist as the
scoreboard showed the Brit’s clearly unbeatable score. Gold medal.

Afterward they hadn’t gone back to St. Kitna to pick up Gephart. He’d apparently made other
arrangements to get to the hotel. Smart enough. There was no way they should be seen in one
another’s company in advance of tonight’s real Olympic Main Event. Grace smiled in anticipation. If
they gave out gold medals for sex and murder, she had no doubt who’d be mounting the top podium.

The private elevator went straight from the ground floor to the penthouse suite. When she and the
Korean alighted, she saw it wasn’t to the penthouse door, but to a vestibule that fronted a
clandestine entrance. The Korean produced a key, and they were in.

At first Grace couldn’t quite figure out the setup. It was clear they weren’t in any of the suite’s proper
rooms. Instead, they entered a series of narrow spaces, each backed by a mirror-wall, and each
additionally crammed with recording and monitor-equipment.

Light dawned, and she grinned. A surveillance suite. Gephart probably had a steady stream of rich
and influential guests to the place, their stay no doubt enhanced by hookers, drugs, and whatever
else their warped and privileged little hearts might desire. Here in Gephart’s golden spider web,
every word and move would be surreptitiously recorded.

Nothing like playing straight when you could cheat. The information and incriminating video he
collected probably went a long way toward boosting Gephart’s already-untold riches.

The Korean, not taking off his stupid bowler hat and black gloves even indoors, bustled around
hitting sound switches and lights. Grace made the circuit of each linked surveillance space, looking
through the one-way mirrors into the actual suite. Luxury sitting room, bedroom, bathroom, all with
the richest furnishings and appointments Grace had ever laid eyes on. She did notice one distinctly
unusual feature: the stylish claw-foot tub in the bathroom had been filled in advance. Not with water,
but with what appeared to be liquid gold.

Interesting. She shook her head a bit at that, but figured she’d be illuminated about its purpose as
the evening developed.

She settled in to wait. The Korean made a point of ignoring her. Irritating bastard. Grace figured him
for another war-loser castoff, probably picked up from some Pyongyang drug house after the Korean
Police Action had ground down to its miserable end. An intelligence-challenged toady to handle
Gephart’s odd jobs. To her surprise she heard him actually start to make noises: a kind of garbled
chuckling discourse that she couldn’t make out a word of. Talking to himself in some sort of pidgin
dialect, and enjoying the conversation, apparently. Lunatic as well as idiot.

Grace did her best to ignore him in return, positioning herself in an observation chair that allowed
her a good view of the suite’s door. Whether Gephart or Miss Frost appeared first, she figured they’d
use the proper entrance.

She didn’t have to wait long. The sound system in the surveillance space actually picked up a key
going into the lock of the suite door. The Korean glued himself to one of the monitors, and Grace just
kept watching through the one-way mirror as the doorknob turned.

In came Ariel Frost.

Grace smiled as the woman entered and closed the door behind her. Ariel sent her gaze around what
to her perception was an empty room. For an instant she looked right at the one-way mirror before
turning away, unaware of being observed.

Since Melbourne was too hot for bundling up in a heavy disguising coat or other bulky clothing, Ariel
had taken a unique approach to anonymity. She’d  let her hair down, tricked herself up in a slinky
evening dress, and strapped on black heels. She looked nothing like the all-business athlete Grace
had seen on the TV—in fact she gave the perfect appearance of a high-class call girl.

Pretty smart. And an impressive feat to get out of the Olympic Village looking like that. Though on
second thought, athletic complexes were usually sieves for security. They hadn’t even locked the
village down after the Romanian fencing coach had bought it. Everyone else would either be
rigorously training behind closed doors so no one could observe their technique, or partying their
brains out after winning or losing.

Ariel had shoulder-length brown hair that had been done up in a bun when she had fenced. A good-
looking woman, with a lithe compact body. Arms and legs all hard muscle, though that hardly made
her look masculine—she had curves enough to look the hooker role convincingly.

She came further into the suite.

“Auric?” she called an inquiry that all but echoed off the walls of the surveillance space. The Korean
reached over and fiddled with the sound controls to adjust the room mike down. “Auric, are you
here?” the second time Ariel spoke, her voice came through the sound system at a normal level.

Auric. So much for “Albert”, eh golden boy?

Getting no answer, Ariel shrugged, set her handbag down on the arm of a plush chair, and bent one
leg upward to undo the strap of her shoe. The other followed, and she nudged the discarded shoes
aside. Without a moment’s hesitation she skimmed her dress up and over her head, tossing it
casually to the floor after the shoes.

Damn, now there was a woman built for strength and speed. She’d probably been in training nonstop
since she’d been in diapers. According to Gephart, Ariel’s mother had been an Olympian too: an
equestrian back in the 1936 Berlin Games. A family obsession. Well, maybe Ariel had a kid of her own
in some boarding school back in England, already preparing for 1976. And the next generation up
would aim for 1996. Mindsets like that were beyond Grace’s comprehension. You lived, you died, and
who the hell cared if goddamn grandma was in some dusty record book?

Out in the suite Ariel continued to strip, unhooking her bra, peeling off her stockings, and finally
slipping out of her panties, leaving all the underclothes in a heap on the floor. Grace gave the
Korean a glance to see if this might be getting him hot and bothered, but he watched with what
seemed total impassivity. Never messed with the boss’ things, apparently.

Nude, Ariel squared her shoulders in an almost arrogant movement. Some women were like that—
hell, Grace was like that herself—possessing bodies that they knew with absolute confidence would
either inflame or intimidate. Grace had to smirk. Her own body might not present such a trim athlete’s
silhouette. Her lush rounded bust and hips more resembled those of the women in that American
“gentleman’s magazine” that was causing such a stir in the States. But when things came to a head
very soon now, she expected to prove herself stronger than the fencing Miss Frost.

Ariel reached for her handbag, cradled it in the crook of one arm, and took out two objects. The first,
still dangling on the ribbon that had earlier in the day been placed in triumph over Ariel’s head, was
the ill-gotten prize itself: the gold medal. She fingered it a little with a self-satisfied look on her face.
Smug bitch. The truth of the matter was that it had been won in a narrow Melbourne alley, with a
switchblade, not a fencing foil.

But then, out from the handbag came object number two. Ariel hefted it with practiced ease, curling
her palm around the butt and giving the trigger almost a caress. Grace’s experienced eye knew it
exactly for what it was. A Walther PPK, weapon of choice for British MI6 operatives.

Well, well, well. Gephart really did have the Limey slut pegged after all. An inside agent, out to collar
the richest man in the world.

Ariel waltzed into the bedroom carrying the medal and the pistol. The Korean continued to follow her
movements on the monitors, but Grace got up and went to the next direct-observation space—
another big mirror that looked out on the bedroom. Ariel tossed the medal on the bed and looked
around, clearly trying to decide on a place to stash the gun. She settled for a drawer in the antique
night table by the bed, a fairly easy reach from the spot she clearly soon intended to occupy, and less
obvious than Grace’s personal favorite spot for such things, under the pillow. But after that, Ariel
didn’t linger in the bedroom. She went right to the bath.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall. One more quick shift and Grace was watching through the bathroom
mirror. Ariel zeroed right in on the claw-foot tub, smiling when she saw its contents of wet gold. No
surprise to her, obviously. While Grace observed, fascinated, the woman took a moment at the sink
to wash off all the tart-makeup, then returned and levered herself over the rim of the tub, stepping
right in.

“Well, I’ll be goddamned,” Grace muttered to herself. “I guess golden boy takes his lust for precious
metal literally.”

The liquid gold—paint, Grace could see now—seemed to swallow up the nude woman as she lowered
herself. Ariel closed her eyes and mouth, and for a moment sank completely beneath the golden
surface. Eyes and mouth still closed, she rose up a moment later, stood, and felt her way out of the
tub, coated from her heels to the crown of her hair.

What a sight. If she’d had the contours of a sculpted woman athlete before, she now took on the
aspect of a golden goddess. For a long moment Ariel bent at the waist, her breasts pointing straight
down, her dangling fingers near her knees. She remained frozen in that posture, allowing the excess
gilt to drip off her. Grace stared, enthralled, as droplets slid down Ariel’s breasts and hung poised at
the tips of her nipples, before falling to the floor. The nipples looked hard; clearly this was turning
Ariel on.

Then the woman flicked her eyes open, straightened, and reached for a washcloth near the sink. She
ran tap water over it, then used the damp cloth to wipe away a patch of the gold paint near the base
of her spine.

Don’t want to suffocate in your golden shell, is that it, mi amore? Grace smiled, appreciating the
irony. Breathing was going to become an issue for quite another reason, and ever so soon.

To be continued…
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Questions, comments, or feedback:

Comment  from: Grace X
Date: February 16, 2011

Well Othello hon, there is little doubt in my mind that you are a master of literary
foreplay lol. This is all developing with the most delicious anticipation...if the plot
we brainstormed stays true, I cannot WAIT for the next installment, when I get to
do some incredibly sexy murder...

Really hon, you amaze me. You bring the scenes, the characters the place and
time all alive. Ariel's transformation into a golden sex goddess really took my
breath away. And that little tease at the end about "breath becoming an issue
ever so soon" whatever could be in store for that golden sex goddess at the
hands of yours truly???

XOX Grace

Comment from: Nighthawk
Date: February 16, 2012


This story is very impressive, I am enjoying this very much.

I feel now like I'm dangling from a cliff, please sit back down,and start typing, my
friend, I need to read the next chapter.

Thank you for this.......NH

Comment from: Othello
Date: February 16, 2012

Thank you, Grace and Nighthawk.

Grace my dear, of course I will be staying faithfully with the plot we brainstormed
together. Ariel the golden goddess is going to run into (or back into, literally) a
very different type of goddess in the next chapter: one with dark, deadly eyes and
a very unique garrote. (That and some pretty intense sex, just as you requested).

Nighthawk, I appreciate the good words. It is so gratifying to be among my fellow
writers here, and you are a special talent, my friend.

A few tidbits of history and Bond sidelights:

The Women's Foil Gold Medal bout did indeed take place in St. Kitna's Town Hall
in Melbourne, Australia in November 1956, with the combatants the British and
Romanian national champions. The winner? The Brit. Gold Medal.

The reference to the "gentleman's magazine causing such a stir in the States" is
of course to Playboy, which debuted in 1953, three years prior to the setting of
this story.

Though Goldfinger is going by the fake name "Albert Gephart" while interacting
with Grace, Ariel calls for him using his real name, Auric (another sideways
reference to gold).

The Olympian descendant of Ariel alluded to for the 1996 Olympics is none other
than Miranda Frost, from the Bond film "Die Another Day".

Goldfinger's penchant for making hidden recordings of people he wished to later
manipulate is right out of the 1959 Ian Fleming novel, in which he tries it on Bond
(and fails).

Grace's line about "The Korean"...
An intelligence-challenged toady to handle
Gephart’s odd jobs
...well, I just couldn't resist.

Comment from: Moon Shiner
Date: February 20, 2012

I caught the one on Playboy, but the others were a nice treat of knowledge.
Thanks for the history.

This lead in, really whetted my  interest,
The beautiful Ariel dipping herself into the gold and making a point of wiping
clean a space at the bottom of her spine, the same as it was in the movie.

I'm guessing, but I'll bet my paycheck, our own, dark eyed mysterious killer, may
help her along with an erotic demise, gold metal and gold skin.

I'm hanging over the same cliff as NightHawk.

Goldfinger, loved that movie.


Comment from: Othello
Date: February 20, 2012

Thank you, Moon Shiner! I always look forward to your comments, as I value your
writing opinions very much indeed.

I always loved Goldfinger too (so much so that I wrote a script featuring a gold-
painted woman assassin that was produced by PKF a few years back, starring
Jamie Story and none other than Chris B. as her killer). It's exciting to go that tale
one better, by having Grace as the star of this story.

I'm glad you are enjoying all the "history" references, both real and from the
Fleming novel, as well. It is fun to slide them all in there.

And your paycheck is safe, my friend! Own own dark-eyed deadly Grace will
indeed be helping the glorious Ariel to an erotic demise in the very next

Comment from: Moon Shiner
Date: February 20, 2012

I truly love the mixing of reality with fantasy.  Satomi Hitomi uses that tool as well.

That is a great way to give a story, a time line, relating events to fact, in a way to
give the story  authentication.

The set up for the next chapter, subtly luring the reader, with the promise of an
erotic demise. I've read too many of your stories, not to expect the obvious.
You have too much Hitchcock in you, not to have a surprise reversal, an
unexpected twist of the plot.

Possibly the man in the bowler.  I so love a left turn Clyde.

Again your professional style and experience shows through.  The descriptions of
movement and the detail of characters, make your scenes play like a movie in my
Pointing out the cold, its my job, attitude of all three assassins, Ariel, the bowler,
and dark eyed Grace X.

I'll have to take a look for that movie, I think I may have it.

Nice work Othello, Chapter 3 please.