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Judith Krantz

BOOK: Judith Krantz
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He utterly forgot that he was being photographed while Jazz worked away in a hypnotic silence broken only by the languid melodies of the classical guitar. After minutes had passed, his memories suddenly faded and abruptly he noticed the intent, mesmerizing photographer, her skeins of hair rippling down on both sides of the camera, her tanned legs brazen and bare under the short skirt. Sam Butler moved restlessly on the velvet of the sofa, and Jazz got an entire roll of the most stunningly sensual and dangerously lustful pictures anyone was ever to take of him.

This sitting’s over, she thought in alarm, as he began to unbuckle the belt of the raincoat.

“Time to change film,” Jazz declared briskly, straightening up. But the tall Australian had moved quickly and caught her.

“Ever tried this sofa?” he asked, pulling her down beside him.

“You’re being unprofessional,” Jazz spoke haughtily, even as she tried to kick away his legs with her bare feet. He laughed, adroitly changed the position of his arms, slipped out of both sides of the raincoat and threw it down on the floor.

“I said to take off your clothes,” Jazz cried in outrage, “not your underwear.”

“You didn’t ask if I wore any.” Now both of his hands were busily taking off her clothes while the full weight of his muscular, naked body made her struggles futile. She should have taken that self-defense course, Jazz thought in panic, as she felt him quickly undo the one button of her smock and take one breast in his hand.…

DAZZLE

This edition contains the complete text
of the original hardcover edition
NOT ONE WORD HAS BEEN OMITTED

DAZZLE

A Bantam Book / published in association wth Crown Publishers, Inc
.

PUBLISHING HISTORY
Crown edition published 1990
Bantam edition / February 1992
Bantam reissue edition November / 1994

Grateful acknowledgment is made to PolyGram International Publishing, Inc for permission to reprint an excerpt from “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” Music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Otto Harbach Copyright © 1933 by PolyGram International Publishing, Inc (3500 West Olive Avenue, Suite 200
,
Burbank, CA 91505) Copyright Renewed International Copyright Secured
All Rights Reserved Used by Permission

All rights reserved
Copyright © 1990 by Judith Krantz
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher
.
For information address: Crown Publishers, Inc, 201 East 50th Street,
New York, NY 10022

eISBN: 978-0-307-80353-5

Bantam Book are published by Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words “Bantam Books” and the portrayal of a rooster, is Registered in U S Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries Marca Registrada Random House, Inc., New York New York
.

v3.1

Contents
1

I
n California an earthquake isn’t considered to have happened until people are able to get to a phone and discuss it. If friends aren’t at home, any stranger who answers the phone will provide a satisfactory ear, so long as that person has also experienced the quake and can validate its existence. A dentist’s answering service, a temporary file clerk, a children’s nurse are all satisfactory repositories of post-earthquake exchanges. Only after such a conversation can a Californian be satisfied with the earthquake and put it into its right place in the scheme of things.

Today was such a day. There had been a distinct but insignificant temblor as Jazz Kilkullen drove to work and traffic had been tied up for an hour, but, alone in her car, with its long-unrepaired radio, she had only the irritated faces of strangers in other cars for verification. Finally Jazz pulled her classic 1956 turquoise and cream Thunderbird into her usual lot, vaulted out of the driver’s seat and ran full tilt up the street from the lot to Dazzle, her photography studio.

Of all days to be late, she thought furiously, as she barnstormed past the occasional strolling couple who stepped back out of her way and stopped to stare at her. These tourists in Venice, California, already pleasantly alarmed by the minor but definite movement of the earth, were in a mood to be gratified by anything they encountered in this curious sideshow of a neighborhood The sight of Jazz only confirmed Venice’s reputation for eccentricity and authenticity.

On this slightly ominous but otherwise ordinary Friday morning in September of 1990, this girl in full stride, who ran as if the street belonged to her, wore the kind of improbable hat they’d seen in photographs of women at Royal Ascot, a big black straw cartwheel, its brim laden with giant, floppy red poppies. Her red wool skirt flared five inches above her knees, revealing long, glorious legs in black hose and high-heeled black shoes. She must be
someone
special, they decided as they looked after her. Who but someone special would sport such feature-concealing, outrageously big sunglasses, who but someone special would run with such a single-minded lack of awareness that anyone was in her path?

Jazz arrived at the street entrance to Dazzle, flung open the double glass doors and confronted Sandy, the receptionist.

“Did you feel the quake, Sandy? How long has he been here?” she demanded breathlessly. “Damn! I hate to keep people waiting!”

“It’s O.K. One of his people just called from the limo. He’ll be late, at least another hour, probably more.”

“He’ll be late?
He’ll
be late? After I almost went starkers in that traffic jam? Didn’t you feel that quake? He’s got one hell of a nerve. I hope you told them that.”

“Sure I felt the quake. It was just your ordinary shiver. I called my sister in the Valley and she didn’t know there had been one. Jazz, if you had a car phone, I could have let you know that he wasn’t here,” Sandy complained. She lived basically by the
grace and favor of the telephone, and the fact that Jazz refused to profane the interior of that old heap she drove so proudly with such an indispensable instrument was a constant irritation to her.

“You’re right, as usual,” Jazz replied, grinning like a cocky urchin who had just committed some un-discoverable mischief. She took a deep breath and recovered her habitual insouciance, holding herself with the invisible discipline and confidence of a bareback rider in the circus who makes the most difficult balancing act look easy.

She took the stairs two at a time to her second-floor studio where the walls of the outer office were covered with large framed photographs. Each frame contained two shots of the same subject, one taken during the first minutes of a session, when the subject was still suspicious, stiff and balky, determined to project a cherished persona, the other taken at the end of the session, when the subject had been transformed into a spontaneously reacting, openly human creature whose inner truth had been revealed by Jazz’s camera.

François Mitterrand, Isabelle Adjani, Princess Anne, Jesse Jackson, Marlon Brando, Muammar Khaddafy, Woody Allen: the more difficult it was to establish a relationship, the more pleased Jazz was with the results. Pictures of subjects who had already established a deep complicity with the camera, from Madonna to the Pope, were never displayed on the walls of this studio in which she had become one of the most successful celebrity portrait and advertising photographers in the United States.

“Anybody home?” Jazz called as she entered the studio proper, kicking off her shoes, throwing her hat on the floor, and sinking down on a Victorian sofa, an incongruous prop in the enormous white-walled space whose huge windows looked out onto the Pacific Ocean, which was flat and soothingly blue.

Five years ago Jazz and two other photographers, Mel Botvinick, a top food photographer, and Pete di Constanza, who specialized in car photography, with
their representative, Phoebe Milbank, had bought an empty building built in the style of the Piazza San Marco, on Windward Boulevard in Venice, right on the boardwalk, only steps from the beach. It had been a bank before it had been abandoned and allowed to run down for forty years. They were able to get a good buy on the noble hulk, which had been rechristened Dazzle and converted into a complex consisting of three large studios, an office for Phoebe and plenty of working room for their assistants and studio managers.

Toby Roe, Jazz’s chief assistant, a slim young man wearing black from head to toe, emerged from behind the door that led from the studio into the offices, dressing rooms and filing space.

“Hey, are you O.K.? Was it the quake that made you late or is today’s job that much of a bore?” Toby asked.

“We didn’t blame you when you didn’t show,” Melissa Kraft added. Jazz’s second assistant was dressed exactly like Toby, and like him carried three cameras. “When you think about it, what is he but just another lowlife macho creep with a good agent?”

“Scum,” Jazz agreed. “Your basic theatrical slime. Let’s never forget, this guy’s an actor.
Just
an actor. You guys feel the quake?”

“Yep,” Toby said. “Nothing to get alarmed about. I called my mom but I got her service so I left a message and phoned my brother and told him all about it—he’d slept right through it.”

They smiled at each other, the earthquake disposed of and already forgotten. In spite of the wry objectivity that photographers traditionally prefer to maintain toward their subjects, as if they were puppet-masters to the world, all three of them knew the others were excited about the shoot scheduled for today.

In a series of startling performances, Sam Butler, an Australian, had suddenly eclipsed Tom Cruise as the most seductive and talented young actor to emerge from any country in years. Unlike most American stars, he had not yet consented to promote his movies
with portrait sittings for magazine covers, so today’s cover shoot for
Vanity Fair
was a coup.

“Sandy says he won’t be here for an hour,” Jazz told her assistants.

“She let us know when his people called,” Toby answered. “That’s why young Melissa here isn’t foaming at the mouth. She’s saving it.”

“Toby’s planning to ask him where he gets his hair cut,” Melissa said, busy with a lens. Toby didn’t bother to respond. He was looking at Jazz, relaxed momentarily on the sofa, as he repeated to himself the mantra with which he started each day of work:

“Thank God I’m never going to fall in love with Jazz. She’s rich and famous and she’s my boss. I’m never going to fall in love with Jazz.” Armed with this mantra, which he sometimes had to repeat many times if a shoot was held up and his concentration on the job slackened, Toby had managed to stick out two years of hopeless lovesickness.

At least she’d never suspected, he thought as he glanced at her, trying, as he always did, to understand the riddle of her face. He’d been a photographer since his early teens and Toby still couldn’t quite capture in his mind’s eye, once and for all, what it was about Jazz that fascinated him so. The nature of his work had accustomed him to looking at women whose central fact in life was their beauty, many of them more beautiful than Jazz, and younger than she was at twenty-nine, but hers was the one face that he’d never been able to look away from with a sense of visual finality, of repletion, of aesthetic surfeit, as if he had seen as much as he needed to see.

BOOK: Judith Krantz
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