At Maggie Sexton’s apartment in a brownstone in Brooklyn Heights, New York, Friday night, New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1999
Mikaela Camille Sexton, a sophomore at Wellesley College, was excited and having fun. The women’s college, located on a beautiful, old campus in Wellesley, Massachusetts, provided a first-class education, but was a bit lacking in male companionship and fun. Her parents, whom she thought were monumentally overprotective, had insisted that if she wanted to go away to school, she would have to attend a primarily women’s college and live on campus. Mikaela was visiting her cousin, Maggie Sexton, who was having a New Year’s Eve party at the apartment she shared with her boyfriend, Jim Mariano, in a brownstone in Brooklyn Heights. Maggie was a senior at Columbia University, and Mikaela was frankly in awe of her. Maggie had been the older, more mature teenager she had followed around. She knew that Maggie had always thought of her as the pest.
The apartment, decorated in college-student chic, was packed with partygoers. Mikaela felt so grown up and sexy with a martini in her hand. Mikaela was nineteen. She had started college a year ahead of schedule, and she thought her superior intelligence equated to maturity. She knew she looked sexy in the short, tight, red knit dress with the low-scooped neckline that Maggie had encouraged her to buy for the party. Her long, brown hair was cascading over her shoulders in wild waves, and she had worn her contact lenses instead of her usual wire-rimmed glasses. The contacts made her blue eyes water a little, so she saved them for social occasions. She had to admit that the martini was strong. She thought it tasted weird, but she was not a big drinker and wasn’t sure about that. She knew she really shouldn’t be drinking since she was only nineteen, but she was in her cousin’s apartment after all and not out in a club so she thought it would be okay.
Suddenly, she found herself a little woozy and slightly nauseous. She was headed for a sofa to sit down when someone took her arm and whispered, “Let’s get you to the bedroom where you can lie down for a few minutes.” She wasn’t sure, but she thought it was Maggie and went along docilely. The coats had been swept off the bed, and she found herself lying next to someone else who had apparently also had a bit too much to drink.
When she woke up the next morning, she felt unaccountably sore in all her muscles and between her legs, but she put it down to having had too much to drink. She didn’t remember the rest of the evening after lying down next to the stranger. She didn’t remember the countdown to midnight or the ball coming down in Times Square on the television. It was really a very strange feeling. She rolled over and went back to sleep. When she finally got up, showered, and had some brunch, she felt better. Maggie and Jim were sitting in the living room that appeared to have been totally trashed the night before.
“Hi, sleepyhead. How are you feeling? You pooped out early last night.” Maggie had a worried look on her face.
“I’m okay—a little sore. I think I must be coming down with something.”
“Well, take it easy today then. What time is your flight back to Boston?”
“Then you have plenty of time to just relax.”
* * * *
Maggie Sexton had always thought that Mikaela, also an only child, was a spoiled pain in the ass. She’d had to suck it up and put up with the little pain in the ass because her aunt and uncle helped to subsidize her education. Maggie’s dad was not a ball of fire. In fact, he was the black sheep of the stellar Sexton family. Uncle Mike and Aunt Betty had stepped in more than once to take up the slack.
Well, it had been hysterical when Mikaela had gotten a little tipsy last night. They’d thought it would be funny to drop a little something something in her drink, but they hadn’t expected the reaction they had gotten from the roofie. They’d stripped her out of her clothes and posed her on top of some guy who was asleep on the bed. Jim had gotten his video camera, and they’d made two little movies—one with a frontal view, showing her face, and one from the back, showing the little heart-and-roses tattoo on her butt Mikaela had been so proud of. The funniest part was that Mikaela didn’t remember a thing that had happened. They had encouraged her to ride the guy like a pony, and the poor bastard probably didn’t remember it either. They had laughed themselves sick. Oh well. Mikaela had had a more exciting New Year’s Eve than she knew.
On the dining terrace at The Black Dahlia Hotel, Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida, Wednesday morning, December 23, 2015
Michaela Camille Sexton looked up from the enormous breakfast of Eggs Benedict, fresh fruit and excellent coffee and smiled. Her boyfriend, Dillon Cavanaugh, was devouring his ham and cheese omelet. Dillon could eat his way through two continents and never gain an ounce. He’d played a couple sets of doubles with his college friends, Jack Dalton Brown, Jamison Devereau and Miguel Gatto, who were part owners of the hotel early that morning. His ripped physique was apparent in the tennis whites he wore, his dark hair was falling over his forehead, and his blue eyes sparkled. He was just yummy. He said, “So, are you glad I talked you into taking some vacation and coming down for Jack’s wedding?”
“Yes, Dillon, I’m glad. This really is a great little hotel. Who would ever guess what was upstairs on the top floor. There’s no indication that this is a BDSM facility. I can’t wait for the New Year’s Eve cruise on the Golden Dolphin. That is going to be outstanding.”
Mikaela picked up her iPhone when it gave the text signal and hit the button. Check out your film debut on You Tube. It gave a You Tube link. If you don’t want to see the version showing your face, I’ll be back in touch to let you know how much it will cost you. What the hell? Who was this from? What film debut? “Dillon, look at this. I have no idea what this is about.” Mikaela felt a frisson of fear race up her spine. What the hell was going on?