Chapter 46:  The Brightest Star

Forty minutes later, Alex and Olivia strolled into their suite for the night.  “Oh, thank god it’s all over!  I’ve been hugged so much tonight that I think my body is numb!”


Olivia grinned.  “It better not be too numb.”


“And I have girls’ lipstick all over my face from all the kisses!”  She grabbed a tissue and wiped her face. 


Olivia went over and helped her.  “Well, you were quite the popular chick tonight, so what did you expect?”


Alex laughed.  “Well, at least our job tonight is fairly easy.  Boy, am I glad we’re not part of the cleanup crew!”


“You said it,” Olivia muttered.  “Man, I wanna get outta this dress.”


Alex wrapped her arms around her waist.  “Don’t take it off yet.  I love the way you look in it.”


“Well, I didn’t intend to keep the dress on all night if you know what I mean,” she replied with a waggle of her eyebrows.


Alex placed her hands on Olivia’s cheeks.  “I like the way you think.”


“Well, at least let me get out of these heels,” Olivia replied.


“Be my guest,” Alex said, taking hers off too and throwing them across the room.  She went to the desk and opened up her laptop.  “I can’t wait until the photographer gets all the pics from the party up on his website.  He said he’d email me a batch tomorrow.”


Olivia walked over and sat beside her.  “I know, right?  Then I can have even more pics of you on my computer to get me through those cold, lonely nights,” she teased.


Alex smirked.  “What’s new?”  She turned the iSight to face them and said, “It’s video timeeeeee.”


“I bet it is.”  Olivia stuck her tongue out at the camera.


Alex slapped her arm.  “Liv!”


“Of course, I’d rather be sticking my tongue somewhere else…”


Alex grinned.  “I thought I was the horny one tonight?”


“You still are.”


“Let’s make a video of us making out in our evening gowns.”


“Ah, now you’re talking,” Olivia said, pulling Alex’s soft mouth to hers.


A few minutes later, Alex stopped the recording and played back the video.  “Nice!  Isn’t that hot?”


“Yep, and it’ll only get hotter,” Olivia promised.  “Speaking of hot, I brought a ton of things we can play with.”


A curious smile played across Alex’s lips.  “Like what?”


“They will all be revealed in time…but right now, we can play with one fun thing,” she said, getting up and pulling something out of one of her bags.


“Is that a hookah?” Alex asked.


Olivia nodded.  “Yep.  Traditional Egyptian hookah.  I bought one especially for us tonight.  It’s even pink,” she said with a wink.


“Have you ever smoked one before?” Alex asked, running her hand over the base.  The glass base of the hookah was pink with a gold and blue Egyptian lotus design.


“Yeah.  A few times, actually.  There’s really nothing to it.  I’ll set it up and show you how.”


Alex saw Olivia pull out some boxes of tobacco.  “Is that flavored?”


“I got apple and strawberry just for you,” Olivia said with a grin.  “It’s called shisha.  That’s special tobacco made for hookahs.”


“Sounds exotic.  How’d you buy it?”


Olivia gave her a look.  “My handy-dandy fake, of course.”


Alex grinned.  “Ooh, sneaky.”


Olivia got up and filled the base of the hookah with water and added some ice to it.  She then sat down on the floor beside Alex and started setting up the hookah.  She proceeded to attach the gasket to the bottom of the metal argile and then connected the argile to the base.  “Gotta make sure it’s airtight,” Olivia explained.  She then placed the tray over the top of the argile head.


“It’s all so pretty!” Alex exclaimed, running her hand over the argile.


Olivia smiled.  “It’s fun to teach you new tricks.”  She attached the hose gasket to the end of the hose and then placed the hose into the opening of the argile.


“The hose matches the colors of the base,” Alex observed.  “Very stylish.”


“Yep.  Do me the honors of opening up the shisha,” Olivia said.


Alex opened up the package of apple shisha and inhaled deeply.  “Mmm…it smells so good!”  She ran her fingers over it.  “And it’s really moist.  What’s it made of?”


“Tobacco leaves, molasses, and fruit.”


“It smells so yummy I could just eat it!”


Olivia smirked.  “Well, I wouldn’t go there.”  She broke up the shisha and packed it lightly into the clay bowl.  “Can you get me some scissors?”


“Sure,” Alex replied, getting up and opening the desk drawer.  She grabbed some scissors and gave them to her.


Olivia cut a piece of foil and placed it over the head of the bowl.  “Ok.  Are there any tacks or pins around here?”


Alex got up again and looked around.  “There’s a safety pin over here.”


“That’ll do,” Olivia said, taking the pin from her and poking holes into the foil.  She secured the bowl to the top of the argile using a gasket and continued, “Now I need to light the coal.”  She pulled a lighter and tongs out of her bag and they got up and went out on the terrace.


Alex rubbed her hands over her arms.  “It’s chilly out here.”


“Go inside and get your coat,” Olivia said, sitting on a chair. 


“You want me to get yours, too?” Alex asked.


“Nah, I’m fine.  I’m kinda hot anyway.”  Using the tongs, she held the charcoal over the lighter and waited for it to burn all the way around.  


Alex returned outside and sat down across from her.  “Did I miss anything?”


Olivia smiled.  “Only if lighting some charcoal is a breathtaking event.”


“Be careful you don’t burn yourself,” Alex warned as the charcoal smoked and sparked.


Olivia cocked her head.  “Baby, I won’t get burned.”  When she blew on it and it blazed red hot, she placed the charcoal onto the foil.


“Now what?” Alex asked.


“We smoke,” Olivia answered.  She picked up the hose.  “Ok, put your lips on the end of the hose and slowly suck through it until you see the water bubble up.  Then just blow the smoke out.”


“Is this safe, Liv?” Alex asked, becoming nervous.


“Smoking hookah every once in awhile isn’t gonna give you lung cancer.  Go on.  Give it a shot.  Don’t be scared.”


Alex took the hose from Olivia’s hand and put her lips on it.  She suddenly pulled it away and asked, “How much sucking does it take?”


“Come on, you’re thinking too hard about this.  Just watch me.”  While pressing down on the charcoal with the tongs, she took the hose and put her lips on the tip to draw up the smoke.  After inhaling, she blew it out.  Then inhaling a second time, she blew a few smoke rings into the air.


Alex giggled.  “That’s pretty cool.”


“You ready?” Olivia asked, holding the hose out to her again. 


Alex nodded.  “Yeah.”  She put the end cautiously to her lips and started to suck.


“Suck harder.  You don’t even have to inhale if you don’t want to.  But the water needs to bubble up to the top of the chamber.  That’s how you know you have enough smoke.”


Alex tried again with success.  After blowing out the smoke, she exclaimed, “This is so much fun, Liv!”


Olivia grinned.  “I knew you’d love it.  Tomorrow we’ll mix the apple and strawberry shisha so the smoke will taste even better.”


Alex did it a second time and this time inhaled.  “It feels cool inside my lungs.”


“Feels nice, huh?”


“Yeah.  I’m not gonna get addicted, right?”


Olivia laughed.  “No, sweetie.  This is just an occasional thing.”


“Ok.  Good.”


After blowing out some more smoke rings, Olivia said, “And we can invite the whole gang over one night and just smoke.”


“That would be fun, Liv.”  She looked down at Olivia’s chest.  “Are you sure you aren’t cold?”


Olivia smirked.  “How about you come over here and warm me up?”


Alex went over and sat in Olivia’s lap.  “My pleasure.”  She took the hose from Olivia’s hand and took another puff.


“You’re becoming a pro.”


“I learn from the best.”


After they finished smoking, they went back inside.  Olivia cleaned the hookah and asked, “What’s next on the agenda, birthday girl?”


“Let’s go back outside and look at the stars,” Alex proposed.


“I’d love to,” Olivia replied, taking her hand and leading her outside.  “I’ve always loved telescopes.  When I was 8, my mom got me one and every night, I’d look through it into the universe.  I was so sad when it got broken,” she said, looking down.


Alex gently put a hand on her shoulder.  “How did it get broken?”


“My mom was drunk one night and got mad at me because I hadn’t done the dishes.  She tried to hit me but knocked it over instead,” Olivia answered quietly.


Alex brushed a hand over her hair.  “Oh, sweetie…”


Olivia gave her a weak smile.  “It’s ok.”  Deciding to make a slight change of subject, she continued, “Hey, I know all the constellations by heart.  Want me to point some out to you?”


Alex smiled.  “Sure.”


Olivia wrapped an arm around her waist and pointed at the sky.  “Ok.  Right where my finger is pointing is Ursa Major.  It contains the Big Dipper.  Give me your finger and I’ll show you.”  Alex presented her index finger to Olivia and Olivia guided it in the air to trace the shape of the Big Dipper.  “Now you see the star where your finger is pointing now?” she asked, referring to a star at the end of the bowl of the dipper.  Alex nodded.  “Ok.  That’s Dubhe.  Now watch as I move your finger…” she said, guiding it in a straight line northwest of Dubhe.  “Now that’s Polaris, or the North Star.  It’s the tail of the Little Dipper, which is part of Ursa Minor.”


“That’s the brightest star in the sky, right?”


“Not exactly.  The North Star is really not that bright at all.  On the contrary, the real brightest star of all is right here beside me,” Olivia replied, leaning in and kissing Alex.


Alex brushed Olivia’s cheek and smiled.  “Aww, Liv.  You take my breath away.”


Olivia blushed lightly.  “And over here is Cygnus,” she continued, guiding Alex’s finger.  “It resembles a swan in flight.  And right here at the tail is Deneb.”  She swung the telescope to the left and aimed it up at the star.  “Look through here.  You can get a better view of Deneb.”


Alex looked through the telescope.  “It’s so pretty and bright.”


After a few more minutes of looking at constellations, they went back inside.  “Thanks so much, Liv.  I’ve never had anyone do that with me before.”


Olivia smiled.  “It was no problem.”


“So what do you wanna do now?” 


Olivia scooped Alex up in her arms and gently placed her on the bed.  “It’s time for me to give the birthday girl her 16 licks,” she said with a wide grin.  Alex started to turn over but Olivia stopped her motions.  “Oh, no.  I’m not talking about that type.”  She flicked her tongue out at her.


Alex laughed and shook her head.  “Why am I not surprised?”