"That must be his plane now. Now, remember what you've been told about what your role is." Floris Bourek leaned back in the cushy backseat of the Lincoln MKT Town Car and turned to look directly at the Lebanese beauty sitting beside him. Jamila Maloof, model thin, with long, silky auburn hair, and light-brown, flawless skin, flashed her fluorescent-blue nails in front of her face and effected an expression conveying both boredom and slight irritation. She was dressed in a scoop-necked beige shell and brown jacket over tight stressed blue jeans and fire-engine-red spike heels. She pretty much screamed of being in the profession Floris had hired her to be in.

"Yes, you've told me," she answered back, a bit pouty.

"You've been paid to do it all--either with the man coming in on that corporate jet from Miami or with me--but you are only a decoy so that we can be in public all of the time and it looks like just the two of you are having a good time. But you may not be asked to do anything but have a good time. And when you are told that you need to go powder your nose, you go, and you spend some time at it."

"Yes, I understand."

"Then get rid of the pout. This isn't going to be about paying attention to you."

But it was about people paying attention to her and they both knew it. As a decoy she was also to be a distraction. And to any red-blooded man, there was little doubt she'd be a distraction from anything else going on around her.

Bourek turned his eyes again toward the corporate jet that had come to a standstill by a hangar in the private aviation section of Reagan International Airport, the not-so-international-scale airport in Virginia directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The airport had originally been built in 1941 as a transportation hub for U.S. congressmen and senators who had to travel back and forth between the capital and their voting districts frequently. It was being used now in Bourek's business more for privacy and misdirection. The man they were waiting for had come from London, where he was based, but had flown to Miami to enter the States and on to here, rather than the larger and more alert Dulles International Airport, in the Virginia suburbs, or the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, in the Maryland suburbs.

And there he was, standing at the top of the stairs, framed in the opening into the jet's cabin. Ashur Khoury, the London-based international businessman of Syrian descent. The man who would be flying out again late tomorrow after business talks with Floris Bourek, talks that had to be concluded successfully no matter what it took.

Bourek checked the photograph in the file he held in his hand to make sure the man really was who he was expecting. In this business you always had to check and recheck. Then he climbed out of the car, leaving the backseat door open, and walked over to the bottom of the stairs up to the plane. Ashur Khoury, having checked the photograph in his own file to ensure that the man meeting the plane was the one who was supposed to be meeting the plane, came down the stairs, a smile on his face and his hand extended.

The two spoke briefly on the tarmac, each also scanning the environment to evidence of surveillance, and then Ashur Khoury climbed into the back of the town car, his eyebrows raising and his smile widening when he saw Jamila sitting there.

As the Lincoln drove off, Bourek entered the small private charters terminal. His own car was parked at the other side of that building.

* * * *

"I thought the capital was a large city," Khoury murmured as the Lincoln glided along. "Yet, we are in the country so quickly." He wasn't really saying this to Jamila. He hadn't said anything to her at all, yet. He certainly hadn't made any move to come closer to her. He'd said it in Arabic and to himself.

So he was surprised when she laughed and answered, in English. "This is called Rock Creek Park. It's a large park running through Washington. It's over three times larger than Central Park in New York City. Do you know that park?"

"Yes, of course," he answered in English, perhaps a little huffily. "You speak Arabic."

"But of course," she answered.

Khoury frowned. He wondered if it had been wise to use a decoy who could understand them if they spoke in Arabic. But then it occurred to him that Bourek perhaps couldn't speak Arabic. Still he was a bit unsettled that this woman could.

Jamila took the hint that she was showing herself to be smarter than many Arab men wanted their women to be. She went silent and turned her head toward the window and watched the water tumbling through the creek bed running parallel to the road.

But Khoury too felt that this wasn't going as he wanted. He would be with this woman until he got back on the plane. "I thought we were going to go watch tennis," he said in English, trying to use a controversial voice without an edge to it.

"We are. The tennis stadium is on the edge of the park," she answered, turning toward him and giving him a tentative smile. "Do you like to watch tennis?"

"Yes, of course. It was on my list of how I would like to spend the day."

"As I was on your list?"

He didn't answer, and once more Jamila had the impression that she was speaking out of turn. She couldn't help it. She was an American, born and raised in Chicago. It was her parents who had come from Lebanon. And the man's accent told her he was Syrian. Even in the Middle East, a Lebanese woman would not be as diffident with her man as a Syrian woman would be. Bourek had told her just to keep her mouth shut and to play her part. She would do her best to do that, although there were things she naturally wanted to know. She certainly was being paid enough for two days of work to play the role Bourek was assigning her. She lowered her eyes and did what she could to look demure and subservient for the remainder of the drive.

"The stadium looks larger than I thought it would be," Khoury said at length, which was Jamila's signal to look up.

She knew nothing about tennis matches--certainly nothing about professional tournaments--and she realized as soon as the driver opened the door to let her out that she was dressed completely wrong--at least for attending a tennis tournament. Everyone else was dressed for the heat. Her flashy spike heels alone put her out of place. But then she saw the heads of all the men passing by snap around when they first saw her, and she realized that she, in fact, was dressed just right for attention.

Bourek had told her to dress for attention. She didn't ask him why, but she was pleased that, unwittingly, she had succeeded. She put on her oversized sunglasses while the driver handed Khoury their tickets for both the afternoon and evening sessions. They would be arriving near the end of the afternoon session rather than the beginning, but the price, even though high, was incidental to what was at stake in Khoury's visit and his sense of well-being.

Keep the attention on you, not on the visitor, Jamila remembered Bourek telling her, so she stood up straight, pushed her chest out, smiled broadly, and positioned herself a bit in front of Khoury as she walked beside him, his hand possessively gripping her elbow, into the stadium.

Their seats were in a box near one of the corners of the stadium, high up in the box section. There was a group of four chairs, two in front of two. Khoury went into the bottom row first, and Jamila slipped in beside him in the aisle seat. They had entered after the fifth game of an on-serve men's semifinal match. Jamila remained standing as long as possible before play started so that anyone looking over at them would more likely be looking at her rather than at Khoury.

Khoury was voicing his pleasure that the players were both ones he had seen play before when Floris Bourek slipped into one of the box seats in the row behind them.

There was no interaction between the two men during the next two games of play, but at the next sit-down and commercial break, the match being televised live, the two men stood and stretched. A third man, perhaps in his late twenties and gym-trained muscular, stopped and hailed Bourek as he came up the aisle to the top of the box section.

The two greeted each other as if they were friends, during which Bourek touched the sitting Jamila surreptitiously on the shoulder and murmured that she needed to visit the ladies room. He made a great to do about the young man who had just appeared sitting in the empty seat beside him, but when the young man agreed to, Bourek followed Jamila out, leaving Khoury conversing with the young man over his shoulder.

After two more games, having reached another commercial break, Bourek returned. Khoury and the young man no longer were talking, and when Bourek looked into Khoury's eyes he received a slight shake of the head and shrugged. Jamila returned just before play resumed, leaving three men who had been following her closely to scramble to be seated somewhere before the first serve of the next game. Before the first serve, the muscular young man who had been invited to sit beside Bourek had disappeared.

During the games, Khoury obviously wanted to talk to someone about play. But for some reason he didn't interact with Bourek at all. He was stuck with whispering this and that to Jamila, who did her best to respond in some acceptable way, but, truth be told, she didn't have the foggiest notion how tennis was played and was fighting boredom as much as she could. What she wanted was for the man to show some affection or interest in her or, better yet, tell her more about his business, but he seemed cold in that way. She wondered if Syrian men were all this distant with their women in public. He was a big, muscular man, and she assumed he would be forceful and possessive when they were alone later that night. But why couldn't he show some interest in her now? He made her feel like she was just an object. The fact that she'd been paid to be that--just an object--didn't assuage her slight irritation.

Besides, it was hot out here in the clothes she was wearing. She leaned forward and slipped her jacket off, leaving just the scoop-necked, sleeveless shell. She smiled in spite of herself. Men all around in the boxes were looking at her rather than the play on the tennis court. At least other men here weren't cold toward her.

The match went three sets and ran to where there was only a half hour before the first evening match was to start. Before the last game of the match, Bourek had gone out of the stadium. When he returned he had an order of Pad Thai in a Styrofoam box and a can of beer in his hands, which he left on his chair and whispered, without looking at her, that it was for Jamila--that he and Khoury had business to discuss. To Khoury, he whispered "At the end of the lane on the far side of the Grand Stand court, which is off to our left," and then he left. After a few minutes Khoury was gone too. With a sigh, Jamila reached back and took her meal. She'd be here alone until the next match started. But she'd never really be alone here. There were a hundred eyes watching her. But, by design, they watched her so attentively that they didn't seem to have noticed any interaction between Bourek and Khoury at all.

That was her major purpose here. To be a distraction and a decoy.

They didn't stay long during the evening session. At the break between the first and second set of the first match, a men's doubles semifinal, yet another young man came up the aisle from below, was greeted as a friend by Bourek, and invited to sit with him. And, as before, Jamila discovered she needed to powder her nose and Bourek departed behind her. The feature of starting a new set was that the stadium was closed to returning seat holders for three games rather than two, so Bourek and Jamila were gone for nearly twenty minutes.

The man who had appeared this time was younger than the first, and thinner, and his features were more feminine than masculine. He moved like a dancer. He also was a chocolate brown. He and Khoury exchanged words between the rows up until the break was over, and just before the match resumed, the young black man, named Jared, slipped down into the seat that Jamila had vacated.

When Bourek and Jamila returned, Jamila was left sitting on the upper row of the box with Bourek. The four of them left the stadium for good on the next changeover two games later.

* * * *

Twilight was marching along although it was barely 8:00 p.m. when the foursome was broken up into three separate, supposedly unrelated segments--the couple of Ashur Khoury and Jamila Maloof and then Floris Bourek and Jared separately--who left the tennis stadium by three separate routes. Bourek had called ahead, and the Lincoln Town Car was waiting in the shadows outside the outer gate to whisk them off. Bourek took the front passenger seat and Khoury sat in the center of the backseat, between Jamila and Jared. There was a bit of touching and whispering in the backseat as they moved north into downtown Bethesda, but everyone was still a bit stiff.

They were taken to the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club for a late meal and an early start on boozing. There was little talk at the tables as they ate. Only Jared seemed to be mesmerized by the sweet jazz sounds that accompanied the meal, and he did most of the talking, even though they had separate tables. Khoury and Jamila were sitting at one and then, at the table next to theirs, Bourek and Jared. Khoury and Jared were sitting beside each other even though at separate tables, and Bourek had to intercede from time to time when it became too obvious that Khoury was following what Jared had to say and not paying attention to Jamila. Still, Jamila and Khoury sat very close together, establishing to anyone around and not paying deep attention to them that they were a couple.

Bourek and the driver had left the others in the car and checked the supper club out before they'd entered. He had told them that, if something looked "amiss" in the club, only Jamila and Khoury would go in. But they hadn't found anything or anyone in the club to disturb their comfort level.

After a couple of cocktails each and two bottles of wine, they drove back toward downtown Washington to Night Club 9:30, where they loosened up considerably in a crowded room with a hard rock band and free-flowing booze. Bourek wasn't that worried about who might see or listen in on them in this club, because it was hard to tell in a smoky room with high-decibel sound going and strobe lights bouncing off the walls that anyone was with anyone else.

Khoury obviously wanted to dance, as Bourek observed him from the adjacent table, moving his body and feet with the beat of the music. Bourek rose and went behind the table and barked something in the ear of Jamila, who had been just a step or two above passive all night. She shrugged, pulled Khoury up on his feet, and pulled him out to join the morass of people swaying against each other on the dance floor.

After observing the dancing for several minutes, Bourek turned and said something in Jared's ear. Jared smiled and left the table for the dance floor. He too had been dancing in his chair, straining at the bit to be out on the dance floor. After a few minutes, Jamila came back to the adjacent table and sat and found, without too much trouble, where she had placed her vacant stare.

Bourek knew that Khoury and Jared would be dancing close together--and probably touching each other. He wasn't shocked. This was part of the plan. Jamila hadn't been a decoy just in terms of being flashy looking and being a distraction from Khoury and Bourek. It had been made clear to Bourek that Khoury wanted the company of a young man while he was in Washington. But to have gone straight to that in a date for the man for his two days here would have been to invite attention. Attention was the last thing Bourek wanted to invite during his talks to sell surplus arms to Syria through a London cut-out company. Everything about that transaction was illegal, but Khoury's company had demanded to settle the deal face to face.

Beyond knowing that Khoury wanted a young man, Bourek had had no idea what kind of young man. He had provided for two kinds. Khoury had rejected the athletic blond, but he seemed quite pleased with the willowy and somewhat effeminate young black musician.

He didn't care if Khoury and Jared were lost in the tangle of the dancers on the Night Club 9:30 dance floor and were feeling each other out. He knew, though, that Khoury would not come back to the table satisfied with the night continuing just as it was. He left the club room and went back to a more quiet hallway, where he made a phone call.

Where Bourek had stopped to make his call was right outside the door to the men's room. What he didn't know was that in a men's room stall and backing onto the wall just on the other side of him, Khoury had Jared pinned to the wall, the young man's trousers and briefs on the floor of the stall, his legs hooked on Khoury's hips, and his mouth open wide and sucking in air, as Khoury thrust up inside him hard with his cock, again and again and again.

Khoury and Jared came back--hand in hand until they hit the edge of the dance crowd--to their tables and reached immediately for their liquor glasses. Khoury looked happier than he'd looked all day and showed every indication that he wanted to go right back out on the dance floor--and wanted Jared to go with him.

Bourek laid a hand on Khoury's arm, though, and leaned into his ear. "We are leaving--going to the next place."

"But we just got here. I'm having fun here," Khoury said, showing a pouting and obdurate expression.

"You'll like it better at the Green Lantern," Bourek said. "It's a gay nightclub. I've already booked a private room there for you and Jared. They have some interesting toys. After that we'll go directly to the hotel. You can have Jared for the night there."

Beaming, Khoury reached for his jacket that was draped on the back of a chair.

* * * *

Jared was lying in a black-leather sling suspended by gleaming silver chains from the ceiling of a small room with black walls, ceiling, and floor. His arms were stretched up, gripping the chains at the top corners of the sling, and his feet were in stirrups high on the chins at the bottom corners of the sling. His buttocks were raised off the surface of the sling by his own strength as he met and counterpunched the thrusts of Ashur Khoury's cock inside his ass channel. His eyes were big as saucers and his mouth was open and slack from the effort to belt out the yips and moans brought forth by the pounding his was taking.

Khoury, tall and beefy and a bit plump, was standing on the floor between Jared's raised and spread legs. His naked torso was crouched over Jared's and his fists locked on Jared's wrists. He was staring down into Jared's face, savoring the changing expressions from every thrust, withdrawal, and thrust of the not long, but slug-plump cock.

Both the young black man being balled and the Syrian arms buyer balling him were having a ball.

In the main club room, Bourek and Jamila sat at the same table, sipping their drinks, watching male strippers dancing on poles on the stage, and biding their time. It was obvious that Jamila was becoming increasingly discomforted. She had an exotic look about her that was being mistaken as that of a beautiful transvestite in this gay club, and interested men were floating around, coming ever closer to asking if she was here alone or really was with that bruiser of a sour-faced man who was sitting at a table with her but not interacting with her.

"They've been in there more than a half hour," she hissed. "The Arab is getting what he wants now. Can I go? I can find my own ride."

"Any number of men here would like to give you a lift, Jamila," Bourek said. And then he laughed. "Although they no doubt would be very disappointed to find that you aren't equipped as they wish. And, no, you may not go yet. You have been paid for two days. From your perspective, it doesn't matter whether it's Khoury or me."

"You? You aren't the same as the Arab?"

"Not in any way. It's been very difficult for me to keep my hands, let alone my eyes, off you. When we go back to the hotel, Khoury will no doubt fuck the black guy again--but you, you, Jamila, you'll be all mine."

"I don't think so."

The way Jamila had said that made Bourek look up. The first thing he saw, over her shoulder, were two hulking men in black suits approaching the table. And then he saw the sparkle of light, reflecting off the metal badge Jamila was holding up for him to see, and he moaned.

"You're a Fed?" he asked incredulously.

"Yes, FBI. I wasn't just your decoy," Jamila said, a note of satisfaction in her voice. "Floris Bourek, I'm arresting you on a charge of attempted illegal arms dealing."

Two burly men were hauling Bourek out of his chair. "The Syrian. Are you going to--?" Bourek blurted out.

"We'll just leave him to have his fun," Jamila said. "Unfortunately, it's not against our laws for a foreigner to buy arms, just for someone to sell them on American soil."

In the other room, oblivious to having lost their ride to the hotel, Khoury and Jared fucked on.



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