On Wednesday morning, as we readied the kids for school amidst a few of the usual complaints, I saw a headline on the cover of the New York Times: Taliban Guns Down a Girl ... –Angelina Jolie, writing for the Daily Beast
“It’s not a journey, every journey ends and we go on,” Pitt recites in the ad. “Wherever I go, there you are,” he adds quietly, looking directly into the camera in a sensual slow burn. –People Magazine, Brad Pitt Smolders in Debut Chanel No. 5 Ad
The weight of the world's problems lay heavily on Angelina's narrow shoulders. There was too much death and destruction; she stemmed what tide she could, but it was never enough. She needed a distraction, to escape the pall of widespread global injustice and the gilded cage of her fame — but the old standbys, like Brad's beloved marijuana, were never enough now that she was mother to half a soccer team.
The children had been put to bed by their squadron of nannies, and for once the Pitt-Jolie Chateau was quiet, creaking only with the weight of its stately years. She had exhausted France's comforts, drinking down a bottle of wine and taking in the aroma of gourmet food from their private kitchens. But it did not remove her sorrowful edge.
“Brad!” The imperious call rang throughout the Chateau's 50-room sprawl.
“Yeah, babe?” He was in their bedroom, tucked into a corner desk of ancient oak. His golden hair fell into his eyes as he bent over a large sketchpad, painstakingly retracing Frank Gehry's designs for the hundredth time. He was naked to the waist, the cut lines of his chest and abdomen shifting as he turned to look at her, his bright gaze matching the glow of the rainbow-swirled glass pipe in his hand. Smoke curled in wisps around his chiseled face.
“I want for distraction,” Angelina told him. “I feel the ache of all that goes unfixed internationally despite our efforts.” She pursed her lips, an effect like the plumping of two perfect velvet pillows.
Brad rose to his feet, extending the bowl. Angelina let one dark sculpted eyebrow flick upwards to show she was considering the indulgence, then accepted. She took an expert pull and exhaled the smoke in tight circles. It was nothing like the "really good smack" of her youth, this quaint little herb, but it was better than nothing.
Her head buzzed, but a fierce wave of hunger gripped her that none of the tantalizing food smells would arrest. She felt a possessive paranoia clamp down as she gazed at Brad — he was hers, all hers, she had the ring now, despite their old vow to wait for nationwide marriage equality; he was meant for her. No other partner in fame or fortune or physical standard that was her match. She needed to devour him. Immediately.
“No,” she said, decisive, casting the bowl aside. “You know what I desire.”
The light in Brad's eyes went megawatt. “My darling, it's been so long — "
For as their responsibilities and children had grown — old enough, now, to talk back to their multilingual nannies in seventeen fluent world languages — Angelina hadn't had time for Brad. Not like the days when the brute force of passion was their only god.
By way of answer, Angelina tipped her perfect face toward the Louis Vuitton trunk in the corner. Brad leapt to attention, scrambling to drag it across the room. She kicked it open with a booted foot, and its contents caught the candelabra light.
Leather. Everything of the finest Italian-made leather, bespoke to their measurements: collars and masks; cuffs and whips; elaborate slings with buckles of gold that could be rigged to swing from the eighteenth-century ceilings. Hands trembling with anticipation, Brad selected her favorite couture dog collar from the trunk, its leather wine-dark as the blood she used to wear in a vial around her neck.
He dropped to his knees beside her, baring the long arc of his neck. Even stoned out of his wits, Brad retained the endearing likability that made him one of the highest-paid actors in the world despite little notice of his actual acting. Angelina slipped the collar around his throat and fastened it with expertise. Men, women, creatively sexed individuals; she was Angelina Jolie, she had bound and gagged them all.
She snapped on a matching leash and lead him across the marble floor on his hands and knees toward the bed, where a firm tug of her wrist directed him to lie down and strip. His body was as exquisite as the best trainers could carve and buff, and as she set about binding him to the bed, she let herself relish her prize in a way she had not since her fourth child — or was it sixth? she lost track — had distracted her.
He was made of whipcord muscle, long and proud everywhere, smoothly hairless as Hollywood demanded, the fine specimen of masculinity necessary to match herself. He was coming into his prime even as she aged into playing Disney villains; but she would forgive the industry its superficial concerns while she healed the planet's ills. But for now, her only concern was the sculpted man before her, wrought with silken ropes and groaning as she teased him.
The sounds he made were like music — a hobby he had, thankfully, never tried to pursue — drowning out the chaos of famine, war, and injustice that raged far beyond the walls of the secluded Chateau. When she lowered herself down at last in increments onto him, his powerful body twisted and shook, and the ropes strained, but her expert knots held.
After being married to Billy Bob Thornton, she could hogtie a wild boar and have it soon licking acorns from her hand. Brad pulled at his ropes, pleading for her to go faster, but Angelina's silk had sealed in place. At last, she rode him masterfully, with the expertise and highly trained inner muscles of Lara Croft, tomb raider. She gave her body to the spirits of ecstasy, so relentless in her motion that when they cried out together in the first release of four that night, a nearby crystal goblet shattered.
Angelina slid free and rested a moment against Brad's chest before she let herself reach for the whip. “Perhaps some good will come of all this sadness,” she said, feeling more indulgently philosophical with some of the edge worked off.
Brad watched her with wide eyes criss-crossed by faint lines of red. “You mean — ?”
Lustrous lips relenting into a tiny smile, Angelina nodded. She pressed a hand to the concave curve of her belly. “I can feel them already,” she said. “Triplets. A boy and a girl, to keep our numbers balanced; and another who will cast off the outdated definitions of gender, as our Shiloh has already begun to do.”
“Why should we be so blessed, when the world suffers so badly?” Brad asked, though he looked thrilled at the news. They would never have enough children, never, they would staff opposing football teams if they could.
Angelina sighed. “Tomorrow we must establish a charitable trust or three in thanks,” she said sagely. “But tonight, Mr. Pitt, we will celebrate the foundations of our love,” and she went to drag the leather trunk closer.
Flogs and chains and blindfolds, two heavenly bodies moving together on the feather bed, the high from contact better even than that of really fucking great heroin: Brad was Angelina's, body, mind, soul, and blood that she kept in a vial in her handbag if not around her neck: By the time the sun rose over the French Riviera, he could not have produced the name of that tacky sitcom actress he had once known, not even if he tried.
Amelia Casey is a romance novelist. Her most recent book, Taken by the Highwayman, makes Lady Anabel Mayward quiver.