The weeks flew by and they saw each other almost every day. Gene stayed over as often as he could; it didn’t take long for them to establish a comfortable rhythm. Judy knew it was more than
an affair when they realized they liked the day-to-day even more than the clandestine meetings. Really enjoying each other’s company, they would spend the evenings reading, talking or studying
scripts before retiring upstairs to make love and sleep. Gene loved to watch Judy putter around the house when she got home. He could see the tensions of the day physically slip away from her
shoulders. Sometimes she would catch him watching her, and she’d make a funny face at him or stroll over for a kiss. He especially loved when they would settle on the couch together to
read. Gene often had two or three books going at the same time and after a long day at the studio, he loved to stretch out on the couch and read. Judy would often lay with him nestling
her back against his stomach with her own book; Gene would often look up from what he was reading to stroke her hair as they read. He was getting used to loving this young woman of many
contradictions; sometimes the depth of feeling would astound him. It wasn’t unusual for him to stop what he was doing and just watch her. This was different from any other love he had before. Her
foibles didn’t turn him away; nor did his disagree with her. She could manage his temper and he made her realize her insecurities were in her head. This was far deeper than either of them
It was a Friday night. Gene was due to come over, so she rushed home to prepare. They were going to go to a small party at a friend’s house and it was the first time they were going out as a couple. Judy wanted to go home and put on the perfect outfit; that morning, Gene teased her.
“You could wear dungarees and my oldest t-shirt and I’d think you were perfect.”
“And you’d be a party of one.” She replied, tugging his chin.
Gene grabbed her and rolled her to her back; he kissed her and said, “I’ll leave my shirt out just in case.”
She giggled as she pushed him away.
In the quiet of her dressing room, she sat in her robe and put on her make-up. As she was finishing, he entered the house, entered the bedroom and coming up behind her, bent to nuzzle her neck.
“You smell wonderful,” he whispered, caressing her shoulder with his fingertips.
“Thanks,” she smiled, “Do you want to shower?”
“In a while – come here, I haven’t seen you all day.”
He pulled her up and gathered her into his arms; he had one of “those” looks on his face, the one that told her he was thinking of doing naughty things with her. Running his thumb along her jaw, he leaned in and kissed her deeply. What Judy didn’t know was that while Gene was eating with Frank that afternoon in the canteen, he overheard Joe Mankiewicz discussing Judy with a friend. In the course of the conversation, he heard Joe say that he had met with Judy to discuss a potential story and that he was reminded of how special she was; he missed her more than he knew. Gene wanted to knock Mankiewicz out of the chair, but held his temper. For the rest of the day, he thought of her, realizing how much she had come to mean to him. He knew he loved her, he knew he desired her, but now he knew that it was complete. She was critical to his happiness.He had made up his mind that Judy was not going to have any reason to doubt his feeling for her. He wanted her to look at Mankiewicz and not remember any affection for him. He wanted Mankiewicz to see her and know that she loved someone else.
“I think you mean to make us late.” She whispered with a soft smile.
He nodded and guided her to the bed. Gene was like man possessed; his hands roamed over her, alternating between light as air caresses and strong kneading clasps. Slipping off her robe, he trailed hot kisses down her throat and to her shoulder. His hands slid down her back to cup her derriere as he pulled her into his hips, his ardor pressing hard against her soft belly.
“Gene,” she breathed, “What has gotten into you?”
“You,” he replied, his voice husky with desire.
He laid her down on the bed and quickly shed his clothes. Stretching out next to her, Gene ran his hands down her body, caressing her breasts, her belly and thighs. Her soft and silky skin responded to him and soon, her sighs grew into moans. His mouth followed, bringing her desire to a feverish pitch. He had never wanted her as much as he did at this moment. Sliding over her, he began to make love to her. Gene’s eyes were boring into Judy, watching her reactions. She gripped his shoulders and raised her hips to meet his. Her moans grew in intensity and she pressed her cheek to his shoulder.
“I love you, Judy,” his breath was ragged.
He rolled to his back and lifted Judy on to him. Their eyes locked as they clasped hands and rocked together. Judy was overwhelmed by the way he looked at her and the intensity of his lovemaking. He wanted to watch her climax, relishing the way the flush crept up her throat. His own passion took over and he began to thrust harder; they reached climax almost in unison. She collapsed against him and he hugged her tightly. They remained like that until their breathing returned to normal. Lying back, they were silent. She rose up on an elbow and looked down at him. Gene’s eyes were closed; a small smile turned up the corners of his mouth. His scar was the only thing out of place on his handsome face, but she loved it as she loved everything else about him. Eventually, he opened his eyes. He reached up to caress her shoulder.
“That was a lovely surprise,” she smiled.
“One of my better ones,” he chuckled.
“What brought that on?” she asked.
“Oh, you were in my thoughts and I acted on it,” he brought her back down to his shoulder, “Judy, you’ve become very important to me – I, I guess it dawned on me today.”
She laid her head on his shoulder and smiled. Her hand played with his chest hair. The room grew darker as the sun set. They dozed a little. It grew chilly and Judy curled against Gene to gather the warmth of his body. He stretched a little, looked at his watch and kissed her forehead.
“We’re very late.” He said.
“I don’t feel like going now. I’m too relaxed. We won’t be missed. How about we go get a hamburger? I am hungry.”
Gene rolled over her and grinned, “I like the way you think.”
“I’m coming around.” She giggled.
He nuzzled her neck as she toyed with his hair at the nape of his neck. He moved to kiss her and she placed her fingers over his mouth.
“You’ve become very important to me, too, darling.” She whispered, “I love you, Gene, very much.”
“We’re even,” he grinned, “Let’s get a burger.”
They dressed and drove to a small hole in the wall that had recently become popular with their set. On their way in, she saw photographers hanging around in the parking lot. Sitting at a table in the corner, they ordered. Judy leaned over the table and noted drily,
“This will be all over the columns tomorrow.”
“Good,” Gene said, sipping his cocktail, “Let the world know, you’re my girl.”
He reached his hand over the table. Judy shook her head and slid her hand into his. The press could be awful. She wasn’t sure Gene got the full extent of it, but he seemed set and sure. She fell a little more in love and hoped that it would all work out.As the hamburgers came, Gene leaned over his plate and dug in. He knew that Judy was savvier about the press than he, and he knew that when it hit the papers, he’d have to deal with the other parts of his personal life. But he also knew that he wanted the world to know that Judy Garland was his girl. He was ready for that. He’d loved her since they met and now, that they were both free; it was time to let everyone else in on the news. Despite Judy’s reticence, they relaxed over their dinner and enjoyed it. Afterward, as they went to leave, a photographer snapped a picture of Gene helping Judy into her jacket. She looked at him in horror, but he just shrugged and led her out of the restaurant.
“We’ve crossed over, no hiding now.” He said.
“Yes, that is true.”
“Hey, why don’t we go to that party?” Gene asked, “Our friends will be there. They’ll read about this tomorrow. Perhaps we should give them a preview?”
It was to be their debut so to speak. Judy shrugged. It would be fun, and being able to sit with Gene instead of gazing at him from across the room was a long time in coming. Why not? She nodded her assent and they got into the car and headed over to join their friends. The party was in full swing when they arrived. They walked in and saw most of the people they worked with every day. The creative fervor at the Freed Unit didn’t dissipate at the end of the workday. Everyone worked together and liked to party together as well. Gene and Judy headed into the crowd, greeting their friends. For the most part, everyone had had an idea that there was a romance brewing, and this was just the confirmation. They melted in with their friends and the music played, the drinks were poured and laughter held reign over the party. At times, Judy glanced over and saw Gene animatedly talking with Frank, who was laughing uproariously. He loved his friends and they loved him.Soon, everyone was singing along as someone played the piano. The atmosphere was festive. They were many drinks ahead of Gene and Judy, but the high they felt fit right in. The evening eventually wound down to a close, and the pair left for Judy’s house. He pulled in and entered the front door; Gene, feeling the effects of the drink and the release of his emotions, started to make love to Judy as soon as they closed the door.
“You’re crazy,” she laughed – she was feeling no pain, too. The alcohol made them very uninhibited.
“I am,” he grinned, pulling her to him.
In the morning, Gene went to collect Kerry. As usual, they went to the beach and then stopped by Frank’s house. As per their usual routine, Gene and Frank settled into the chairs on the patio with their heels parked on the table, having beer as the kids played.There was a larger group of kids today than before. Gene recognized the children of some of his friends.
“What are you doing, selling tickets?” He grinned.
“Nancy’s taking in the entire neighborhood, what can I tell you?” Frank lit a cigarette, “And I can’t sleep with all that racket, so I volunteered to herd."
The two men sat in companionable silence, occasionally yelling out to the kids and going for refills. Eventually, Frank leaned over the table.
“So, I thought you two were sleeping together. How long has this been going on?” Frank asked.
Gene took a long pull of his beer and watched Kerry run, “It started a while ago. We’re having some fun.”
“What does Betsy think, you’re still married, though, right?” Frank asked over his beer bottle.
“Betsy and I are through. She’s a great girl, but it ran its course. I want more kids and she doesn’t. We just don’t see eye to eye anymore. She knows I’m seeing someone, not who though. I suspect she is seeing someone too, you know how Betsy is. “ He tipped his bottle and took a sip.
“Have you thought how this would play out? Does Judy know that you’re going into the Navy?”
“We haven’t really talked about it. I don’t have a solid entry date yet.”
“Don’t you think you ought to let her know?”
Gene nodded, taking a long pull on his beer. He knew he should say it soon, but the last few weeks had been so wonderful, he avoided bringing it up to keep anything negative out of the picture, just as he avoided telling Frank the real level of their relationship. He felt protective of it, and right now, it was too new; Gene stood up. The anxiety that the conversation produced made him want to move, to shake it away. He jogged into the middle of the kids’ play, scooped up two kids like footballs and ran off around the yard, with he other kids chasing him, whooping and hollering as they went. Frank watched his friend frolic with the kids. He loved both Judy and Gene, hell, Gene was rapidly becoming his best friend, but something about this relationship didn’t set right. He hoped it would work out, but he worried for his friend if it didn’t.
A few hours later, Gene gathered a sleepy Kerry and drove her home. Only the housekeeper was present as they entered the house. Gene carried Kerry upstairs, and despite her protests, washed her face and hands and put the little girl to bed. Only a few tears later, exhaustion won out and Kerry was sound asleep. Gene kissed his daughter’s forehead and rose from her bedside. As he turned for the door, he heard Betsy come in. He closed his eyes. While they were quite amicable, he wasn’t in the mood to see her today. Slowly, and quietly, he came down the stairs. Betsy left a stack of mail for him on the sideboard in the dining room; he picked it up and rifled through it quickly. Hearing Betsy say something to Beulah, he walked into the kitchen and found Betsy sitting at the kitchen table, the newspapers spread out in front of her.Their eyes met. Gene leaned against the door jam and tapped the mail against his palm.
“Hey Bets,” He said softly.
“Hello Gene,” she said, “Did Kerry have a good day?”
“Oh yeah, she’s all tuckered out. She’s asleep.”
The silence between them was huge. Gene felt uneasy. He began to turn to go, when Betsy’s voice stopped him.
He turned back, a look of surprise on his face. Betsy lit a cigarette and looked at him coolly. He came into the kitchen, pulled out the chair next to Betsy and sat down. He leaned over, fished a cigarette out of her pack and used her matches to light it. Exhaling, he turned to Betsy and said,
“I’m sorry I waited to tell you. I didn’t want to add any ……complications.” He winced slightly at the word, because it brought up the memory of him telling Judy the same thing
“Is it serious?”
“I don’t know what it is, Betsy, I enjoy being with her, yes. But I don’t know what lies ahead – with any of this.” Frank’s words about his enlistment gave Gene an uneasy feeling that he didn’t have before, or at least now it forced Gene to acknowledge it.
“I can’t say I’m surprised, at least not completely. Whenever you two got within three feet of each other, everyone else disappeared. I figured it was only a matter of time before she snared you,” Betsy leaned back in the chair and smoked, watching watching the conflict in her husband’s face.
She didn’t like seeing him hurt, she still loved him, but wasn’t sure that she wanted to stay in the marriage. Gene’s way of relating and taking care of things often made her feel stifled, like a dove in a gilded cage and yet now he was involved with a woman who was less willing to sit in that cage (so she thought) than Betsy was? Her own emotions were conflicted. She didn’t want him with Judy, but she didn’t want him remain in an unhappy marriage; most of all, she didn’t want him hurt.Gene’s voice startled her out of her reverie.
“How did you find out?”
Betsy slid the paper across the table to him. There, in Hedda Hopper’s column was a description of Gene and Judy’s date the night before and the photo of them leaving the restaurant, looking very happy together.Gene was sure his agent had been trying to reach him all day.He sat and stared at the pictures; he was sad that he might have hurt Betsy, he was embarrassed at his own naiveté, and he was relieved that it was finally out in the open. He looked at Betsy, shook his head and shrugged. He had no words. Getting up, he placed his hand on Betsy’s shoulder, then leaned down and kissed her cheek, whispering that he was sorry. She nodded in return. Gene picked up his mail and left. Getting into his car, he slapped the steering wheel and cursed as he pulled out of the drive way and drove the short distance to his house.
The late afternoon sun was already receding when he reached the driveway. It was a tiny place, little more than an artist’s shack. He could stand in the living room and almost touch the
kitchen and the bedroom, but it suited his purposes. Gene dropped his mail on the coffee table, went into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of whiskey and a glass. He returned to the living
room and dropped onto the sofa. Pouring a healthy slug, he began to leaf through the mail. An envelope with the Department of the US Navy on the return address rose to the top of the
pile. Gene took a deep breath. Ok, he thought, here it is. Dropping the other letters on the table, he opened it and pulled out the piece of official stationary.It was his
induction notice. He was to report in one month’s time to the Naval base in San Diego. Gene drank the whiskey as he read the particulars. Dropping the letter on the table, he
rubbed his hands across his face. He could feel his whiskers pricking his palm and he idly wondered if he should just grow a beard before having to shave it off for induction.He
heard the phone ring and ignored it. It was either his agent, or Judy, and right now, he didn’t want to talk to either of them. When the ringing stopped, he picked up the phone and dialed his
“This was the capper. I hadn’t had a care in the world; then came your concerns, then the uncomfortable conversation with Betsy and now this – shit, what a way to end the day. He poured another drink and downed it.
“Gene, how long were you going to ignore everything? Your being with Judy wasn’t the first time you’ve fucked around. It’s not like it’s the first time a gorgeous woman made you want to go home a little later,” Frank smiled over his drink, “Remember the blonde on Anchor? You were very hot for her.”
“Yeah, for a night. Getting laid is one thing, you don’t even think while that’s happening; you just want the release.” Gene sighed, shredding his cigarette in the ashtray, “This is different. What’s going between Judy and me? It’s huge. The first time I saw her, my heart just went thunk. Judy and I have had something for a long time. I’ve felt this for years, I fought this for years. I tried to put it away, but I’ve always carried a torch – a helluva torch.
Gene paused, taking a deep drag on a new cigarette, “I was so surprised by it. For Christ’s sake, I was in love with Betsy, she wanted to marry me, I had the world at my feet. Judy snuck in and, Frank, I love her; I’m a goner, only it’s the worst possible time. There’s Kerry to worry about, I have to finish things with Betsy, and now I’m going into the Navy…..Ah shit"
The two men sat in the semi darkness of a richly appointed den. The walnut paneling was warm and the soft glow from the brass lamps cast a cozy light around the room. The two friends were sharing a bottle of Jack Daniels and many cigarettes. Cole Porter played in the background. There were a number of silent stretches between snatches of conversation. While both were actors and great talkers, personal discussion was neither man’s forte. It was a testament to their friendship that they sat down together. Frank looked at the dark shadows across his friend’s face. If there ever was a stand up guy, Gene was it. He was no prude, but Gene placed a lot value on doing the right thing. His principles were strong. For Gene to come to him, of all people, meant that this situation was eating him alive. How to handle it? Frank was less principled. He fucked around all the time. What could he tell his friend to ease his pain?
“Shanty, I think you’ve got to do what will let you sleep at night. Judy’s a great girl. I saw what she does to you and I saw what you do to her, too. You two, are…. good together. But Judy’s a needy girl. How will she stand up to you being gone for a year, maybe two? I’m not so sure she’s game. Betsy’s the mother of your kid, you will do right by that, of that I have no doubt. But now, you gotta take care of Gene and do what lets Gene sleep at night. “
Gene nodded over his glass. The two men listened to the music, and drank a good amount of whisky. They were both were night owls, sitting long into the wee hours talking about music, movies, women, and sports. Frank gave Gene the greatest gifts: his time and his unwavering support of whatever Gene decided to do. Their lifelong friendship was sealed that night.
The next day, he left his house as soon as he awoke and went to the beach. He played volleyball for several hours, needing the physical activity to calm his jumbled thoughts. He stayed down at the beach that night. He went and rented “their” cottage, bringing sandwiches, beer and whiskey. He just sat on the balcony and watched the moon rise up over the water. Still not arriving at a decision, he stayed another day. He didn’t shave for the entire weekend, and by Monday morning, he had good start on a beard. He wasn’t needed on set, so he stayed away from the studio. He went over and played with Kerry, who didn’t like his beard.
“You not my daddy!” She yelled. Betsy reminded him that he still had a spare razor in the bathroom, so Gene took his daughter and perched her on the back of the toilet tank while he lathered
up and shaved it off.
“Daddy!” Kerry crowed as Gene toweled off the remainder of his shave cream.
He gathered Kerry up and the little girl kissed his cheeks a dozen times, his heart melting with every one. They went downstairs and found that the housekeeper had put out lunch for them.
Betsy had left for the theater to rehearse. He shared lunch with his daughter and tucked her in for a nap. Finally, he met with his agent who was livid about Gene not informing him
about Judy. Gene lost his temper and yelled back at the man that HE lived his life, not the studio.Driving home, he flipped on the radio and eventually Judy’s voice came out
singing a velvety love song; her voice curled around him in the same way her body did a few days before. It cut him to the core.What was he going to do?
He pulled up into the drive and went into the house. He grabbed the bottle of Jack Daniels that was sitting on the kitchen counter along with the glass Beulah (she cleaned both houses) smartly always had sitting just along side. Sinking into the couch, he reached over to the side table to flip on the radio and went through his mail, grouching out loud to himself about bills, even though there was enough money to pay them. He realized he hadn’t eaten, but didn’t feel like getting up. As he finished the whiskey, he lowered the light and stretched out to listen to the music. The combination of stress, sun, alcohol and no food made him sleepy so he closed his eyes.He had been asleep for about 30 minutes when the phone rang. It was Judy.Her voice sounded concerned.
“Are you alright?” she asked.
“Oh damn, I fell asleep. What time is it?” his voice was husky with sleep.
“After 9, honey; I was worried when I didn’t see you or hear from you.”
“I’m sorry, babe. It’s been a hell of a weekend.” His voice sounded worn out, and lacking his normal energy.
“What happened?” she was really worried now.
“Oh, just very busy with Kerry, and I ran into Betsy and, other things. I can’t believe I’m so tired.” He yawned.
“Oh darling, go back to sleep I’ll talk to you in the morning.”
Gene hung up the phone and fell back on the couch. He stared at the ceiling, feeling like an ass. In the last few months, his entire life had turned upside down, for good and for bad,
and in typical Gene fashion he didn’t allow himself much introspection. He was a person who acted, who built up his confidence and experience through doing. Comfortable with who he was, he
followed his instincts. It had worked well up to this point, but right now, he felt a little off balance. He hadn’t allowed himself to feel the pain of breaking up with Betsy, and that
hit him this weekend. He just packed it down and moved on the next thing. While he exerted a miracle of self-restraint in not running to Judy, he fell hard as soon as he did. Not that
it was hard; he had been in love with her for most of his marriage, but it was something that he kept separate, in a different compartment. The Navy was another compartment. Now it was like someone
had torn down all of the walls in his heart and it flooded together in a big gooey mess. He wasn’t sure how to feel. Sleep felt like the right, and the easiest thing to do.
He was sound asleep when Judy pulled her car into the drive. She was unable to wait until morning, she had to find out now. Walking up to the house, she could see why he called it the chicken coop; it wasn’t far off. Knowing that Gene never locked his door, she slipped inside carrying sandwiches and wine. Entering the semi- darkened living room she saw that Gene was fast asleep, sprawled on the sofa in a t shirt and dungarees, looking strong, even in repose. He’d wrapped his sweater around his chest for warmth. Judy settled into the chair next to the couch and watched him sleep. Seeing the whiskey bottle on the table, she shook her head. Whatever was said with Betsy must have upset him.Then, she noticed the official seal on top of the opened letter on the table. Picking it up she leaned back in the chair and held the letter under the dim glow of the lamp. Her eyes widened, and as she read, the tears welled up; she quickly wiped them away with the back of her hand.Dropping the letter back onto the table, she got up and went into the kitchen, trying to quietly rummage for a bottle opener. She finally found one and opened the bottle of wine, pouring herself a glass before she went back into the living room. Upon entering, she saw Gene watching her; she was so startled she almost dropped her glass. He had refilled his glass and was holding the notice in his hand. She returned to the chair and sat down, sipping her wine.
“You saw?” he held up the notice.
“I did.” She wanted to say so much, but let Gene lead, “You okay?”
“I don’t know,” he drained the whiskey, “It’s the government, what are you going to do? Before you, I wanted to go in. Now, it’s more of a struggle. I want to do the right thing, but leaving something so new is harder than I thought.”
He knew her eyes were on him, but he kept his focused on the glass. Her eyes made him melt, and he needed to get out what he had to say.
“My last deferment was rejected before we started seeing each other again. I know I should have told you, but things were going so well, I just put it out of my mind; I wanted some time. The
end with Betsy was anemic, and it felt sour; you and me, it felt so good, I just went with it. I didn’t think. I didn’t even think about how Betsy would deal with this when she found out, or
how you would feel when she did. This weekend, it all spilled out into the open and it hit me harder than what I thought it would.”
He finally looked up at her and saw the tears in her eyes. He dropped his eyes again, murmuring quietly,
“I just wanted you to know that I do love you.”
The tone in his voice frightened her. Was he telling her to go?
“Gene, what are you trying to tell me? Do you need time alone? Do you want me to go?”
He got up and walked across the room where an ancient piano stood pressed against the wall. He flipped up the lid and gently pressed down a key.
He absently played a chord and she inhaled holding her breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Her hands curled into fists and she ground them against her thighs; it felt like her heart
would stop at any minute. Gene closed the lid before turning around and leaning against the piano. He could see how upset she was and it tore him up. She laid herself open to him and he took
it, greedily. He knew he loved her, but what would happen once he went into the service? How would they manage that? Suddenly all he could do was think.
“Gene, what do you want me to do? Her voice was barely above a whisper.
He curled his lip and inhaled deeply. He didn’t want to feel unsure of himself anymore.
“I – I don’t want you to go. I meant what I said. I’m in love with you. Beyond smitten. It’s deep inside of me. You astound me, physically, emotionally, every way. I think I’ve always loved you.”
Betsy’s words came back to him – it was all true. Everyone else did disappear when she was around. Judy was the one he always wanted to impress. It was Judy’s laughter and approval that he craved. She was always the one in the back of his mind, even when he made love to his wife. Glancing at her now, he could see that his words sent her reeling. Judy knew he loved her, but she was flabbergasted; how could this be happening? How could she have finally found a man who loved her so completely, only to have him disappear in a few short weeks? Briefly, she toyed with the idea of bolting in order to hurt more now than when he kissed her goodbye for what could be the last time. A chill went through her, but then she looked up and saw his face, and how clearly his love for her was displayed in his eyes – those eyes that gave away everything. Gene could be tough as hell, but his eyes gave away the tender heart that he kept inside. Judy stood on shaky legs as he crossed the room in two steps (it wasn’t hard) and put his hands on her arms. She looked up at him through her tears.
“Baby, why are you crying?” he asked.
“Gene, we’ve both been in love and have been married before, but what we have together is so different. This feeling exceeds everything I thought possible. I’ve always loved you, too. Hearing this and reading that date, it’s a lot to take in! But oh my darling, I want you to know that I will do whatever you need and that I will always love you…”
She reached up and kissed him. He kissed her back and then kissed her wet cheeks as he hugged her close to him. Pressing her cheek to his shoulder, whispering,
“And you’ll know it, every day.”
Gene pulled her down to sit. Sharing soft kisses, Judy laid her head on Gene’s shoulder as they reclined on the couch listening to the music coming from the radio. She felt so safe in his arms and wanted to imprint that feeling in her very core. Gene told her what was deep in his heart and it was like a balm to Judy’s soul. She had found a man who really loved her; he didn’t need her money or her fame, he only needed and wanted her. It was a new feeling for her and it made her feel more like a woman than she had ever felt before. She prayed for him to be safe and to return to her.
“I’m so sorry you had to go through what you did,” she whispered.
“I needed to. I needed to know how much you meant to me.” He answered, kissing her forehead.
Judy raised her head and took Gene’s face in her hands. She kissed him, gently at first, then with greater passion. He pulled her close and returned her kisses.
“Gene,” she whispered.
“Take me to bed.” She stroked the side of his face.
Gene smiled and bent his face to hers as they resumed kissing. Feeling the delicious heat of her body against him, he picked her up in his arms, carrying her into his tiny bedroom. Sitting her down on the edge of his double bed, he knelt in front of her. Gently lifting her sweater over her head, he kissed her throat, moving down to the hollow of her neck and over to her shoulder as his fingers caressed her. Pulling away for a moment, he peeled off his own shirt before returning to run his fingers over her neck, shoulders and down to her breasts; all the while, he kept his eyes fastened on hers. Judy loved when he looked at her with his eyes softened; he looked so handsome with that gentle look on his face. He leaned in and kissed her so softly his lips barely brushed hers, raising his fingers to stroke her along her jaw line and down to her throat. He whispered soft endearments as his lips moved downward to run the tip of his tongue along her collarbone making Judy shiver with pleasure. He returned to gazing into her eyes as he slowly slid her bra straps down. He smiled as her breasts were revealed.
“Baby….”he breathed, “You are so lush”
Removing her bra, he caressed her, watching her reaction before raising one hand and running his thumb over her lips.
Judy, you are the most sensual woman I have ever met.”
Pushing her back onto the bed in a lying position, he removed her pants and pulled them down. She raised her arms above her head and he gazed at her nude on the bed; smiling he said,
“I want you naked all the time; especially when you bring me coffee.”
She giggled, watching as his hands moved to his dungarees and unbuttoned them, pulling down the zipper. She loved that he was hard at a moment’s notice. He slid his pants down and kicked them off. Placing a knee on the bed, he began to climb over her.
“Judy, you’re incredible,” he whispered leaning down to kiss her deeply, “I want to please you. Tell me what you want.”
“I want us to make love to each other,” she replied, “I just want you, anyway and anyhow.”
Sinking next to her, they began to explore each other’s bodies with their hands and their mouths. Gene placed Judy’s hand on him.
“I love when you touch me,” he groaned.
She stroked his stiff shaft as he caressed her breasts, teasing her nipples with his fingers, making her moan softly. His fingers moved down her belly, moving lightly, barely touching her. It made her fairly purr with desire. He caressed her pubic hair, sliding a finger gently against her wetness. She was so aroused she almost cried out. He became bolder. Her fingers were quickly bringing him to the brink of a climax. She heard him exhale hard, and he rolled her to her back and slid down her body, spreading her thighs with his shoulders. For a moment, he gazed at her soft pink wetness, open before him, before lowering his mouth to her to slowly run his tongue over every curve and fold. Judy cried out as the sensations shot through her body. Holding her thighs, he unhurriedly explored her, nibbling and sucking until she pressed against him in a shuddering climax. Her breath came in tiny bursts as he climbed up and slid inside of her, gasping because was so warm and so wet it took everything he had not to come immediately. Holding her arms up over her head, he snaked his fingers into hers and began to thrust very slowly as he leaned in to kiss her. Tasting herself on his mouth, Judy sighed; he’d never kissed her so deeply and she loved it. Arching her back against him, she didn’t allow him to move any faster, but each thrust was deeper and more intense. She felt Gene rise up and look at her. He had a look of almost wonder on his face as he made love to her; it was the same look when he first told her he loved her. That look made her think anything was possible. Their lovemaking was so different tonight. Any barriers that held in their emotions were gone. Releasing her hands, Gene cradled her face, the way he did the first time he made love to her. He kissed her eyelids, her cheeks and buried his face in her neck. She clasped her arms around his shoulders and let herself go to respond to his every move. Gene moved gently, but with great passion. Every touch, every thrust was meant to touch her soul and it did. Every time she looked at him, his eyes were wide open and watching her.His kisses and his skin were so hot it felt like he was searing her with his body. Gene rolled and lifted Judy over him and grabbed her hips as he thrust into her. He loved to watch her breasts over him as he reached up to caress them; she whimpered when he dropped a hand to caress her at the point where their bodies met. Feeling her come, Gene grabbed her hips and began to thrust harder. Judy leaned over and kissed him, placing her hands on either side of his head. He brought her to another climax and held her tight as she shuddered once more. Rolling her to her back, he plunged into her, crooning
“Judy, oh God, baby, you’re wonderful.”
As he buried his face into her neck and pressed her hard into the bed, she wrapped her legs around his waist and pulled him in. All Gene could feel was warmth, soft wet warmth and it made him crazy for her. He pinned her hands down by her shoulders and began to thrust harder and harder. She looked up at him and could see his face contorted with desire. She felt another orgasm begin to build and she pressed her hips upward, allowing him to thrust deeper. Pressing his mouth against her neck, he sucked the soft flesh of the spot where her neck met her shoulder. His passion took over and he thrust wildly, moaning deeply as his orgasm rushed through his body,
“Oh my God I love you,”
He pressed his mouth down on hers almost savagely and kissed her hard before sliding down and burying her breasts to kiss her hot, moist skin. He loved the swell of them and held her close, breathing hard. They stayed like that for a while, until their bodies relaxed. Gene slid up next to Judy and pulled her next to him. Wrapping his arm around her shoulders, he held her against his side so that she could lay her head on his shoulder.
“I love you, too honey,” she whispered, splaying her hand across his chest.
Spent by their emotional lovemaking, they lay there as they drifted off to sleep until the morning sun crept over the windowsill. Gene could feel the sunlight and stretched. Judy’s head was
on the pillow next to his, sound asleep with her hand curled into a fist, Smiling he leaned over and kissed her cheek; Judy stirred for a moment and then settled back in. Gene slipped from
the bed and padded on bare feet to the kitchen. He saw the sandwiches and put his nose in the bag and sniffed. They had turned over night. Grimacing, he dumped the sack into the garbage, and
then set about making a pot of coffee. He stood and stretched, feeling wonderful as he waited for the coffee to perk; pulling two mugs he grabbed some milk and sugar and placed everything on a tray
he found in the pantry. When the coffee was ready, he carried it to the bedroom. Judy was wake and lay against the pillows. As he entered, she grinned.
“There is NOTHING like a naked man serving you coffee in bed.”
Gene laughed and placed the tray on the bed. He poured them coffee and handed Judy a cup.
Pouring himself a cup, he moved around the bedroom, drinking the coffee and pulling out his clothes. He returned to the bed and kissed the top of Judy’s head.
“What’s on tap for you today?”
“Rehearsals for Meet Me In St. Louis.” She said.
“I’m going to jump into the shower,” he winked, “Want to join me?”
Judy giggled and got out of the bed, following him into the bathroom. Gene turned on the water in the old fashioned claw footed tub. When it was ready, he turned and lifted Judy into the tub, stepping in behind her. They let the water run over them; she tipped her head back and wet her hair. Gene poured some shampoo in his palms and washed it, massaging her scalp. He turned her to him, and tilted her head back to rinse the soap; she grinned and slid her arms around his waist, pulling him in for a kiss, giggling as the water poured over them. Gene grabbed the soap and lathered her body before hugging her to “share the soap”. She melted into his arms, loving his playful manner. Slippery and slick from the soap and the water, they necked in the shower, cuddling. He covered her neck and shoulders with kisses as she tried to reach around him to scrub his back.
“Let’s call out sick,” he whispered, “I need to spend the day with you.”
“Are you sure? You never take a day off.”
“When was the last time we spent an entire day in bed?” he grinned.
“I don’t think we have….”
“I’m laying down a rule that we do it and often, “ he said.
The water had turned cold. She motioned him to turn it off.He stepped out of the tub and lifted her out. Grabbing a towel, he wrapped it around her, and then grabbed another towel
around his waist. Lending her a toothbrush, they both mugged in the mirror as they brushed their teeth; it quickly became a contest to see who would laugh first and spit toothpaste. He grinned at
her, realizing that he didn’t feel the need to be in charge every minute; she brought out the kid in him. With her, he could relax and just play. Quick phone calls to the studio released them for
the day. They went into the kitchen and Gene scrambled some eggs while Judy made toast. She marveled at how he was comfortable in any situation. Standing naked in the kitchen cooking was like
second nature to him. He divided the eggs and Judy placed the toast along side. They carried the plates back to the bed and sat side by side and ate. The coffee was lukewarm by
now, but they drank it anyway.
“So, what is your plan, Mr. Kelly?’ she asked taking a bite of her toast.
“I told you. We’re staying in bed and I’m going to make wild, mad passionate love to you all day.”
“You were serious???” she laughed.
“Yep,” he nodded, “We spend all week at the studio. If we’re lucky we spend the weekend together, and even then, we’re on the run. Today is hooky day and I plan on showing you how much I love you.”
He lifted an eyebrow, “All day.”
Judy rolled her eyes. She piled the plates on the tray with the coffee pot and cups and carried it into the kitchen. She returned to find Gene laying on his back, arms akimbo, cradling his head with his hands, staring at the ceiling. She climbed in next to him and, lying on her side, propped her head on one elbow.
“Whatcha thinking about?”
“The Navy – us. It’ll be hard, won’t it?”
“Yes, she said carefully, “I think so.”
“I don’t know what’s planned, but I want to make it work, Judy.” His voice was quiet, “It took a long time for us to get together, I don’t want to lose it.”
“Oh honey,” she leaned over and nestled onto his shoulder, “I don’t either”.
“Do you think we’ll get married one day?”
Judy gasped. She hadn’t dared to think that far ahead, “Do you want to?”
Gene put out his hand and pulled her to him. He kissed her forehead and then lay back. His voice was dreamy.
“I do. I want to marry you, Judy. God, I feel like a kid, but I love you that much. It’s deep down inside. I’m not going to hide it anymore.”
She felt the emotion well up inside of her. Damn, she thought, he could always make her cry. She hugged his side and kissed the side of his neck.
“Do you want to marry me, Judy?” he asked quietly.
“I do, darling, I do!” she hugged him hard.
They snuggled together on the bed; Gene pulled the sheet over them and Judy immersed herself in the feel of his skin, his warmth and aroma. She loved the swirls of hair on his chest, the tiny, beating pulse point on the spot where his neck and shoulder joined and the stretch of stubble along his jaw. She loved how safe she felt in his arms. He caressed her shoulder and kissed her forehead, murmuring endearments as he did. His lips grazed her closed eyelids as his fingertips trailed over her throat and down over her breasts. Lowering his mouth to hers, they kissed, tongues exploring in soft, lazy kisses. He stretched, fitting her body next to his as they lay together listening to how their breathing fell into a soft rhythm.She could tell he was dozing; his body felt heavier and relaxed. She allowed herself to drift off. He awoke her a little later by kissing her neck. Hoisting himself over her, Gene covered her body with his. Sinking down, he nuzzled the hollow of her throat.
“Hello,” his voice was muffled.
“Hello you, “she whispered, wrapping her arms around his neck.
True to his word, he made love to her again. The bed was their little world and in it, nothing could touch them. For the rest of the day, they were never more than a finger’s width
apart and no more than a few steps from the bed. They read, talked and even argued a little, when Judy said in the afternoon she should go get a few things. Gene knew if she left,
something would interrupt them and they’d be forced back into their regular day. They could go back to that tomorrow, but for today, he didn’t want the outside world intruding.He
kissed her until she relented, lying back against the pillows, laughing as he pinned her down. She tried to tickle him, but he held her and kissed her until she forgot about leaving.
For the next few days, Judy drifted through her rehearsals in happy daze. Memories of Gene’s declarations and his passion crossed her mind often and she would flush happily.One afternoon, she entered her dressing room and saw a yellow rose. She smiled, knowing Gene had left it for her. Propped against the vase was a note. She opened it and saw his distinctive handwriting.
For Always – GK
She held the note against her chest and smiled. She wasn’t going to see Gene tonight, he had to work and wanted to have dinner with Kerry, so the flower was his way of making sure that she knew he was thinking of her.A knock came at the door and she rose and opened it. Vincente was standing there. He smiled shyly and asked if he could come in. Judy let him in and they sat down to talk. Vincente explained that he had some changes to the script that the writers needed to review with her and asked if she were free for dinner.Judy said she was and they agreed to meet at a Hollywood restaurant to discuss the changes.
That evening, Judy’s driver dropped her off at the house in order to change. She smiled as she spied a pair of Gene’s sneakers that were placed neatly under the dresser he used when he stayed over.. She loved to see his presence in her house; it made everything feel more tangible to her. Sometimes, on nights when she was alone, she slept in one of his shirts. Quickly piling her hair on her head, she changed into a blue dress and exchanged her sneakers for hose and shoes. She got into her car and drove to meet Vincente at Musso and Frank’s. Vincente was in the lobby of the restaurant waiting for her. They greeted each other and were shown to their table. Over drinks and dinner, they discussed the script changes and then when they finished. Judy asked Vincente about his life in New York before coming to Metro. Vincente was a great storyteller and Judy thoroughly enjoyed herself. Before she noticed it was 11:00.
“If you want me to get in on time tomorrow, I’d better go!” she said.
Vincente agreed, and saw Judy to her car. As she drove home, she realized that she had never really talked on a personal level with Vincente and she found she enjoyed his company. She pulled into the driveway of the house and went into the house. Climbing the stairs, the phone began to ring. She entered the bedroom, removed her earring and answered it.
“Hi, baby,” Gene’s voice was smooth as honey in her ear. She smiled and curled her hands around the phone.
“Darling, hello,” she said.
“I just wanted to say good night. Did you have a good evening?”
“I did, I had dinner with Vincente, and we had to review some script changes. He’s so interesting – what a storyteller!”
“Yeah, he is,” Gene said, “I’m glad it went well.”
They bade each other goodnight. Judy undressed, throwing the dress over the chair. She went to his dresser and dug out one of his t-shirts; slipping it over her head, she went into the bath to remove her make-up.On the way back to the bedroom, she reached into her purse and pulled the small note from it. Getting in bed, she looked at it again, smiled and placed it on her nightstand as she turned out the night.
The days before his induction started flying by; Gene spent as much time with Judy as he could, practically moving into her house. Every day Judy started feeling a little more panicked. She was so afraid of what would happen when he wasn’t able to be there anymore and in the days approaching, he had to balance any free time between her and Kerry. She was sensitive to that, but didn’t like it. She wanted him all to herself, and berated herself for feeling selfish. Rationally, she knew that Gene was trying to make everyone happy but emotionally, she was frightened. She knew he could feel it, but he didn’t say anything. She just hoped she could keep her fear under wraps. One of their last weekends together, she waited for Gene to come by. He had spent the afternoon with Kerry, and due to come over for dinner after he took his daughter home. The clock ticked the hours by as Judy waited with dinner in the oven. She could smell it become overdone, and then burnt. Angrily, she dumped dinner, pan and all into the trash. By 9, Gene still hadn’t appeared, so Judy, who was not much of a drinker, made a pitcher of martinis and sat down to wait. Without any food in her stomach, the martinis went quickly to her head. By the time she heard Gene’s key in the door, she was angry, and drunk.
Gene came into the living room with a contrite look on his face. Kerry didn’t want him to leave, and refused to go to sleep. It had taken hours to get her to finally drop off, and at the end of it, Betsy was angry, he was frustrated, and they had an heated exchange in the kitchen that peaked with Betsy nearly beaning him with a teapot and ended with him slamming out of the house. He had hoped to come home to a stiff drink, a little food and Judy’s arms, but as soon as he entered the living room, he could quickly see that that scenario wasn’t in the cards. He sighed and continued in. Coming over, he bent down to kiss Judy, but she averted her face.
“You’re very late,” she said.
“It was an awful evening. Believe me, I would have loved to be here earlier, but things didn’t work out.”
He stood up and went to the liquor cabinet and poured a whiskey. He turned and looked at Judy.
“I don’t think you need a refill.”
“HOW would you know? Hope you’re not hungry, dinner is ruined,” she hissed.
“I’m guessing you didn’t eat,” he said. He clenched his jaw as he felt his irritation rise, “I think that was a mistake.”
“Pffff..,” she sputtered, “How was I to know you’d be so late??”
“Kerry was giving me a hard time, and then Betsy and I got into an argument. Look Judy, I am not in the mood –“
“YOU’RE not in the mood? Do you think I wanted to sit here and wait for you?” she was raising her voice.
“HEY now, I don’t need this – “ his voice was now booming.
The next thing he knew, the martini pitcher was flying toward him. He ducked and heard it shatter against the liquor cabinet. He stood and put his hands on his hips.
“What are you, crazy? What the hell are you doing?” he thundered.
“I don’t appreciate sitting here wondering what happened, if you got into an accident – “
“Jesus, Judy, come on.”
“NO! It’s bad enough that you’re going to go away –“
Gene stopped, now seeing what fueled her vitriol. It was Judy’s insecurity, but he was too angry to placate her. Storming over, he swooped her up and carried her up the stairs as Judy fists flailed at his back. He carried her into the bathroom, turned on the shower and dumped her in.
“Sober up, and we’ll talk.” Gene spat as he left the room.
Judy was shocked by the cold burst of water and the vehemence of his actions. She sputtered and quickly turned the shower off; his actions worked, it shocked her into the moment. She climbed out of the tub and grabbed a towel and wiped her face. She was still dripping wet as she reached the top of the steps just in time to see Gene slam out of the house. She rushed down the stairs, but his car had already roared out of the driveway.
For the next hour, she tried phoning him, but there was no answer at his house. Judy spent the following hour in tears, pacing and phoning, but to no avail, Gene was out of reach. Collapsing on the couch, she cried until she fell asleep. Meanwhile, Gene drove around smoking one cigarette after another, fuming at Judy’s behavior. Eventually, he found his way to a nightclub where he knew Frank and his cronies would be; entering, he saw Frank sitting at a table, holding court. Gene approached and was greeted by his friend.
“Shanty! Come here, have a drink with us!”
Gene sat down and ordered a double whiskey. Frank could tell he was upset. He leaned over and asked,
“You okay, pal?”
“No. I need to drink and to drink a lot. “
Frank called for another bottle of Jack Daniels to be brought to the table. The music blared and women of all shapes and hair colors approached. Gene was quiet at first, but as the music and alcohol hit, he began to relax and join in the fun. A leggy blonde targeted him, and he let her. It didn’t take long for the woman to be curled around him, practically sitting in his lap as he drank with his friends. Her long nails tickled the back of his neck and her neckline revealed an impressive cleavage. She was gorgeous in an available way; in short, she was a walking orgasm waiting to happen. Still angry, he let her flirt; a half bottle of whiskey later, he pulled her by the hand and left the table, the catcalls of his friends ringing in his ears. Once in his car, they began to kiss and grope each other. Gene ran his hands over her body, pressing her back against the seat. He kissed her roughly, not wanting to feel any tenderness. He wanted only release and if this woman would provide it, so be it.
“I live close by,” she whispered, running her hand down Gene’s waist and squeezing his penis through his pants. “Ooooh, you’re a tiger.”.
He let her stroke him while he fondled her breasts; he was thinking only of skin, his erection and how quickly could he come and get out of there.
“I live close by,” she repeated, “Don’t you want to go there and finish this, darling?”
The way she said darling stopped him cold. Gene pulled away and looked at her. Her lipstick was smeared – he figured the rest was smeared all over him. Her hair was mussed and in her face. She looked hard and vulnerable at the same time. He released her and slid back behind the steering wheel.
“What’s my name?”
“I know who you are; you’re Gene,” she began.
He raised a hand and stopped her. His passion died. She didn’t want him; she wanted a name. He didn’t want her, he wanted Judy and he almost made a huge mistake. The woman was confused, she reached out and he stopped her, saying.
“I’m sorry. I can’t. You’re very sexy and I know that we’d have a great time, but it’s not right. I’d be doing somebody wrong.Please, it’s not you, I need to go home.”
The woman smoothed her hair and dug a cigarette out of her bag. Gene flipped his lighter and lit it for her.
“You must really love her,” she said, exhaling a stream of smoke.
“I – I do. We had a fight and I was angry.”
She smiled a sad smile as she took a drag on the cigarette. She reached out and put her hand on Gene’s arm.
“You’re a good guy. I wish I had someone who felt like that. I did once, but…” she shrugged.
“You’re a pretty girl. You should have someone. You won’t find it here,” he gestured toward the building.
“I know, but, life’s tough, you know?”
He nodded, “Can I give you a lift home?”
“Yes, I’d like that.”
They got into the car and he drove her to a shabby apartment complex in West Hollywood. Before she exited the car, she leaned over and kissed Gene on the cheek.
“You’re a sweet guy. I hope your lady knows that.”
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