Ally has everything a girl could want: money, beauty and a fabulous modeling career. But something is missing.
Her life as a model leaves her unfulfilled and desperate until one day she makes a reckless, fateful decision that will threaten her freedom and put her at the mercy of a beautiful Greek customs official called Adriana.
Excerpt from Full Body Search:
My name is Ally, and I’m a model. It really isn’t as glamorous as you might think. Sure there are the ten to twelve foreign trips a year, the fabulous clothes, and the occasional thrill of seeing yourself on the front cover of a magazine or in a perfume advert or on a bill board posing in a pair of sunglasses. I mean, that can be fun, if you like that sort of thing.
But it has its downside. For a start, you have to meet some of the world’s most awful people. I mean, seriously unpleasant individuals, from the leering, groping photographer who always wants you to show more flesh, to the utterly amoral publicists, bookers and promoters who treat you like a princess one moment, and then trash you the next.
To be honest, very few people I’ve met in the modeling business are the sort of people you would want to introduce to your family.
Speaking of my family, they think I’m living the high life. They’re happy for me, of course, but they’re jealous too, particularly my sister-in-law, who is always making snarky remarks about my privileged life. Yes, sure, I’m always tanned, toned and immaculately dressed, but that’s my job. They don’t see the nights when I can’t sleep for hunger, the times I throw up from having done too many crunches, and they don’t understand the anxiety of constantly worrying about your appearance, knowing that any decline, any sign of aging or weakness could be the beginning of the end of your livelihood.
My mother is thrilled that I’m a model. It’s the culmination of her life’s work. She always told me I was pretty, which was great for my self-esteem. In fact, all through school I suffered with what you could politely call an excess of self-esteem. I was a brat, if you will, or a bitch, if you like. The most beautiful girl in school? Maybe. The most hated girl in school? Definitely. My mother would tell me that the other kids were just jealous. Maybe they were, but that didn’t make me feel better, and it didn’t make up for not having real friends. I hung around with a lot of beautiful people, went to a lot of parties, but none of them were friends.
What I really wanted to do was paint. I loved painting. I loved the way the oil paint felt as I eased it onto the canvas. When I was painting, no matter what I was painting, I would feel truly free. Hours would go by with just me and my paints and a canvas. Nothing fulfilled me more than painting. I would spend my summers and all my holidays painting, that was at least when I wasn’t being packed off to pageant practice or cheerleader camp. My first holiday back after leaving home, I found that not only had my mother redecorated my room, she’d thrown out all of my paintings. She seemed genuinely puzzled when I complained.
“But sweetie, you’re a model now,” she said. Yes, I was a model. I was also miserable and lonely. I’d started smoking. I was rude to most people I met. And I was bored. Bored, bored, bored. Modeling is boring. It’s hard, repetitive and boring. That’s why I suppose I was open to suggestion, to distraction, to being tempted into doing something really, really stupid.
We’ve all done stupid things. Come on, I’m sure you have. My stupid thing, my really, really stupid thing, happened in Greece. I had flown out there for a modeling shoot, which was cancelled when the magazine that was paying for it went bust. So there I was, sitting in my hotel, working out whether I had enough money to get back home. My agent had made himself unavailable, as he always did when I needed real help. I was sitting in the hotel bar, planning on getting blind drunk as an alternative to coming up with a proper plan, when one of the staff at the hotel took the seat next to me.
I was pretty sure at the time that she was a lesbian. She was pretty, no doubt, with long dark straight air, a gorgeous complexion and a tight, slender, almost frail physique. She had been flirting with me a little, at breakfast, and whenever I went to the reception desk. She was wasting her time. I thought I had a very firm idea about that kind of thing. In fact, a girl once tried to kiss me at a party, and I spent the next week telling everyone in school that she was a lesbian. I was sure that lesbians were disgusting. I mean, who would want to be touched by another girl. Touched there. It was just, well, wrong.
But on this particular night, the girl in the hotel didn’t want to flirt with me. She had a proposition. She was willing to offer me ten thousand dollars to take a package through customs. Of course, that was never the sort of thing you should do. Obviously you say no, right? Sensible Ally, painter Ally would not have said yes. But bitchy, unhappy, lonely Ally, assisted by two and a half shots of vodka, said yes. That same night, the package, and half the money was waiting for me on my hotel bed when I crawled back to my room.
The next day, I couldn’t find the girl anywhere in the hotel. I thought about just leaving the package and the money there, but then I needed the money. I had to buy a ticket home. So, hungover, wilting in the heat, and just desperate to get back to New York, I put the package in my suitcase, stuffed the money into my purse and headed for the airport.
Soon I was standing in the long, winding queue for the check-in desk. I’d bought myself a new sun hat with some of the money and a lovely beaded bangle, but the thrill of shopping had quickly burnt away in the Greek sun and now I was tired, hot and having serious second thoughts about the decision I’d made.
The queue in front of me was moving slowly. There were bored looking couples lining up to return to normality, harassed single parents struggling to cope with their screaming children, and a smattering of locals and businessmen. It was warm, really warm, and the air conditioners were losing the battler to keep the hall temperature at a tolerable level.
I was grateful that I had decided not to wear the little jacket I’d bought at the boutique that morning. I wore a peach-toned crop top and a floral, wrap-around skirt in a cool, light material, and my decision not to wear a bra was also a good one. I was slightly concerned that the outline of my nipples was visible through the thin material of the top, but I had bigger things to worry about: specifically, the package in my suitcase. Several times I had considered ducking out of the line, going back to the hotel or outside and throwing it into the nearest bin. But there were several things wrong with this plan. The people who gave me the package would presumably not be happy if I ditched it. I’d also spent some of their money and wouldn’t immediately be able to pay it back, which I assumed would also not go down well.
The line inched forward and I was torn between impatience to get onto the flight and away, and a desire for the line never to reach the check-in desk. That moment came, soon enough, by which point my panic was clearly visible in my face and my wavering voice.
The man at the check-in looked me over slowly. I was used to that. Men had been doing that to me for as long as I could remember. Usually I would scowl or make a sharp remark. This time I tried to assemble my face into a smile. He took my passport, studied it, showed it to his co-worker, shrugged and then handed it back to me, indicating with a nod of his head and a kind of grunt, that I should put my luggage on the check-in ramp. My hand shaking, I lifted up the designer handbag with the regal pattern and the polished handles. The conveyor belt began to trundle and the bag slid into the dark interior.
Well, it was too late now. I wandered away from the check-in, clutching my boarding pass and passport, feeling sick. I sat a little way off, looking at the flight arrivals and departures board, wondering if it was too late to make a run for it. But where would I run to? What would I do next? I ran through several increasingly elaborate scenarios in which I could get rid of the package, give back the money and safely return to New York, and was in the middle of one involving the American embassy and the United Nations when I was interrupted.
“Excuse me, Miss Johnson?”
I looked up. A customs officer in a crisp white uniform was standing over me.
“There has been a problem. Come with me, please.”
Panic struck me. I looked wildly around. There were the exits. Maybe I could run for it. Then I remembered the four inch designer sandals I was wearing. Neither I nor the sandals were built for running. I could sashay to the exits, I could walk elegantly to the exits, but run to the exits? I would probably fall flat on my face, like I did that one time on the catwalk in Budapest.
So I followed him meekly, through the departure lounge, through a cordoned off area, through a white door and along a white corridor. He stopped to knock on a door, and hearing a muffled reply, opened it, and beckoned me to enter.
Inside the room was a table, at which sat a man and a woman, both in the white uniform of the airport. Off to one side, I noticed my suitcase. I could feel my heart racing. How could I have been so stupid? Just one moment’s drunken weakness, a stupid decision, and now I was about to be arrested in Greece. What would happen to me? What would my agent say? What would my mother say?
The woman officer beckoned to the man beside her to leave the room, which he did. She beckoned me forwards and then spoke in perfect English, but with a strong accent:
“I need to inspect your hand luggage.”
With shaking hands I placed my Christian Dior travel bag onto the table. I watched as she unzipped it and began to search. Her name, according to her airport badge, was Adriana. Despite my rising terror, I couldn’t help noticing that she was extremely attractive. It was instinctive. Most of my life I’d been comparing myself to other girls, other women, scrutinizing the opposition. I couldn’t help it. Adriana was stunning. She had a sporty physique, and her deep blue eyes were framed by high cheek bones and shoulder-length cascades of dark, wavy hair. Her lips were impossibly full, but entirely natural, as was her deep, rich tan.
My bag was pulled wide open. I watched her search through my things, examining them. She fingered my purse, checked my driver’s ID, counted the notes and change. She lingered on the perfume, the deodorant and the compact. I started to blush as I remembered what else was in there. She lifted up a delicate, lacy black thong, twirling it a little on her gloved finger before replacing it. Then she smiled a little as she slid a slim, purple vibrator from the bag. I flushed. I had packed in a hurry, and had only found that when I had already zipped up the suitcase, so had stuffed it into my travel bag along with the…I flushed again as I remembered what else I’d stuffed in there. The anal beads I’d ordered online! She held them up and smiled at me again. I felt a little anger rising in me. What was this? So I wanted to experiment a little? It’s not a crime! But I didn’t say anything, and soon she had finished with the bag search.
“Now, Miss Johnson, I am afraid that this is really boring, but we need to do a full body search. It is necessary, and won’t take long.”
“A body search?” The idea terrified me.
“Yes, it is routine.”
Routine? Could it be that this was just a routine inspection? A practice? I glanced over at my suitcase. Surely they would have found the package? Maybe not though. I thought I’d chance my luck and try to bluff my way out of it.
“I really don’t see why I should have to submit to a body search. I haven’t done anything wrong.” This didn’t seem to have any effect on Adriana. “I’m an American citizen,” I said, as though that was important.
“It really will not take long,” she assured me. I sighed. Perhaps I would get some credit for co-operating.
”Fine,” I said, trying to sound confident. “Let’s get it over with.”
She twisted her lips into what seemed to me to be more of a smirk than a smile.
“Can you please just step into that room?”
She indicated a door at the back of the room. I click-clacked across the polished floor to the door and opened it. Inside was a high, padded leather bench. There were various notices and signs in Greek on the wall and a desk to the right. To the left there was what appeared to be a toilet cubicle and a shower. It looked like a cross between a doctor’s consulting room and a prison cell.
“Please wait here,” said Adriana, closing the door behind her. I sat on the bench, looking around me glumly. I could hear voices outside, then the voices stopped, a door closed and I could hear what sounded like a key turning in a lock.
Adriana came back into the room. She walked over to one side, unfastened her jacket and hung it on a peg on the wall. She turned to me and smiled and I couldn’t help noticing how the round of her breasts bulged against the turquoise material of her shirt. They must have been 38D at least. If they were her own, they were mightily impressive.
“Stand up please,” she said, coming close to me.
I slipped off the bench and stood there. In that instant, it reminded me of being in the nurse’s office at school, preparing for yet another examination.
She stood so close that I could smell her perfume, a fusion of lilac and lilies and something more exotic, something that was redolent of citrus fruits and berries. I closed my eyes as she patted me down. She was a lot gentler than I expected, certainly a lot gentler than that TSA guard who did the same thing at JFK six months earlier. In fact, as she bent down to pat my legs, it seemed to me that Adriana was almost lingering on my thighs.
“Turn around,” she said, and I did. I felt her feeling my calves, my knees, my thighs, and the round of my butt. I felt her hands on my back, and then, around my stomach and up, over my breasts. I closed my eyes as I realized she would find I was bra-less. Her latex-covered palm brushed lightly over my right nipple and I shivered a little, involuntarily.
“Thank you, Miss Johnson, you may turn around now.”
“Is that it?”
“Not quite. You will now please take off your clothes.” Her voice had a hard edge to it this time, and her smile had gone.
“No way,” I said, raising my voice instinctively. “No freaking way am I getting naked for you. What do you think this is? I want to speak to an attorney. I want to speak to the Embassy. You have no right to do this. I am an American.”
Yes, one thing that I was good at, aside from looking nonchalant in lingerie, was throwing a tantrum. I had been doing it since I was a toddler, and twenty years of practice meant I had gotten really good at it. My tantrums almost always led to me getting my way.
Unfortunately, it did not seem to have that effect on Adriana. She stepped forward, close to me and grabbed my face with her gloved hand, squeezing my cheeks. I was so shocked I couldn’t breath. Her face was close to mine and I could feel the warmth of her breath.
“Listen, American whore, there is no attorney for you. Do as you are told.”
“You can’t tell me what to do” I said, my voice all wavery and weak.
“Oh no? Really? And what about the kilo of cocaine we found in your luggage. Do you think that gives me the right to tell you what to do?”
Want More? Grab a Copy on Amazon