For Always Jugenea: Together

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
The next installment of For Always, a fictional love story between Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. Knowing they can't be apart, Judy and Gene make plans for their future.

Submitted: June 09, 2013

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Submitted: June 09, 2013

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It didn’t take Betsy long to figure out that Judy was back in the picture. Gene was traveling less, but was still rarely home during the week. He was, however home every weekend that he wasn’t in New York. They entertained almost every Saturday. The Game, the high-octane game of charades that they played became more and more competitive and Gene played volleyball every Sunday like a man possessed.  As always, he was solicitous and affectionate, but their lovemaking had become very sporadic. Gene rarely demurred when she initiated, but the only time he reached out for her was after a hard partying Saturday night.  One night, she overheard Gene talking to Frank, referring to their relationship as the arrangement.  That made her angry, but also sad, because it was true. She was busy with a new play, and was attracted to one of the actors in the cast; he was attractive and she felt very little guilt about it.  They protected each other, cared for each other and looked happy, but their romantic notions about each other had fizzled out long ago.  It HAD become an arrangement.

The only thing that didn’t change was their mutual devotion to Kerry.  They enjoyed family time whenever possible, and when he came home, Kerry was the center of his world. Gene and Kerry still went for their Saturday afternoon hikes and beach volleyball games.  A few times Judy came out to watch them, and Kerry played with Liza in the sand while Judy sunned and Gene played.He loved those outings – it gave him a glimpse of what could be his and it was beautiful.  He would take both girls in the water after the game and laugh as they squealed over the waves.One afternoon, after the game and the beach, he walked Judy and Liza back to their car with Kerry in tow.He and Kerry chased each other while Judy settled Liza in her seat. She got in and leaned out the window. She bade Kerry good-bye; Kerry waved back before turning to climb into Gene’s car. The day was so lovely Gene couldn’t help but feel wonderful.  He affectionately chucked Judy under the chin and, when he thought Kerry wasn’t looking, leaned in to give her a quick kiss.

As father and daughter were driving home, Kerry sang her usual nonsensical collection of songs.  In the middle of one, she stopped. Turning to her father, she asked him, “Why did you kiss Aunt Judy good-bye the same way you kiss Mommy good-bye?”
 

Gene felt the blood drain from his face.  He knew this would come up eventually, but the out of the blue question still shocked him.  He rubbed his chin and thought carefully. 

“Kerry, Aunt Judy is a good friend of mine, you know that I work with her.  I just gave her a kiss because she’s a very good friend of mine.  You’ve seen me kiss other friends.”
“Yeah, but you looked different, all goofy and stuff.”

Gene fought back a laugh, he didn’t want to make Kerry uncomfortable.

“Well, Aunt Judy is sorta goofy, don’t you think?”
“Kinda.  Daddy, can we get ice cream?”

Gene sighed with relief that she veered off to another topic but her knew that this situation couldn’t last much longer.  It wasn’t fair to anyone.  Betsy crossed his mind. He knew that she wasn’t faithful to him either, but did it make it better?  No. He couldn’t say that getting back together was a mistake because Betsy put him back together and for that he’d be forever grateful, but for the long run? He knew that wasn’t in the cards.  He worried for his daughter and he worried for Betsy, but sometimes he felt like he no longer was the captain of his own ship.

 

A couple of weeks later, Vincente had decided to go to New York for the weekend. As soon as she told Gene, he told her he was spending the weekend with her, no excuses.  Judy agreed and got her sister Jimmie to take Liza. They had a whole weekend in front of them and they were giddy with the prospect.  When she entered their little cottage on the cliffs, he swept her up in his arms and covered her face in tender kisses. He wanted to take her right there, but he asked her if she wanted to take a swim first.  She nodded. It was a beautiful day and she wanted to take advantage of every moment of it.  They dug out their swimsuits and he stripped down, Judy saw his naked body and wavered.

“ Or you could just walk around naked all weekend,” she teased.

“ I plan on doing that anyway,” he grinned, dropping his swimsuit and strolling up to her. Hugging her, he pressed his hips against her grinned and thrust a little.  She batted him away and told him to get dressed.  He laughed and pulled on his trunks.  Judy slipped on her suit and they walked to the beach hand in hand. Gene waved to his volleyball pals, but they didn’t linger, instead they walked down to a secluded part of the beach that was tucked between the rocks. Gene spread out a blanket and Judy put down the bag with their towels.  He took her hand and before he led her down to the water, he wrapped her in his arms and kissed her tenderly. 

“I’m so glad you’re here,“ he whispered against her lips.  Her lips curved under his into a smile.
“I’ve been waiting for this for so long, darling. Let’s swim.” 
 

They waded through the waves until they were past the first row of breakers.  Standing in water almost chest high, Gene dunked and rose, shaking the water from his hair.  He pulled her to him and wrapped her legs around his waist as they bobbed in the water. Riding the swells, they enjoyed the sun and the feel of the cool water.  Occasionally, he would nuzzle her neck or she would kiss him.  The sun and the water soothed away the stresses of the last few weeks. Gene could see the freckles clear on her nose and he fell a little more in love with her. Cupping her bottom, he kissed her neck, tasting combination of the warm softness of her skin and the tang of the salt water.. Judy slid her arms around his shoulders and tightened her legs around his waist. They continued to kiss, tongues entwined. Suddenly, a swell lifted them; Gene couldn’t catch his footing and they went under water. Gene held Judy closer as he regained his footing. He jumped, propelling them up. They broke through the surface, coughing, laughing, and shaking the water from their hair.  He released her and they swam to the shore. He took her hand they ran to their blanket.  Tucked away from view in a small grotto, they stretched out in the sun to dry out.  Stretched out on their backs, they baked in the sun with only their fingers touching. After a while, he rolled over and covered her with his body, and kissed her slowly and sensuously. Holding her hands over her head, he moved down and kissed the length of her neck.

 

“I want to take your suit off,” he growled.

“And get us arrested on a morals charge,” she teased.

“No romance, woman,” he said, kissing her.

 

He rolled to his side and they drifted off for a nap. Eventually Gene stretched and awoke. He rolled to his side and saw that Judy was getting pink. He kissed her to wake her up.

“I need to get you inside before you get burnt.” He grinned.

They gathered their things and he pushed her toward the little beach bar at the foot of the access road that led up to their cottage.  He loved the place, you could sit and have a beer and a hamburger and enjoy the breeze; no one bothered you. 

“I’m starved, I worked up quite an appetite”, he winked.

“No excuse. You’re always hungry,” she smiled.

They sat at one of the little tables on the patio and ordered French fries, hamburgers and beer.  They ate in companionable silence; he was happy to see her actually eat. Gene slung a brawny arm around her shoulder as he finished his beer.  Judy felt relaxed; it was almost like before the war. They brought out the best in each other. With her, Gene was always in the moment; when he was happy, he was completely happy, when he was aroused, it was an overwhelming force. When he was angry, it was like a tornado, over in a second and then the sun shone. He was able to chase away her demons and leave in its place a lovely simplicity.  They sat together like any other couple, enjoying the warm sun and cool breezes. 

They finished their lunch, paid the tab, and strolled up to the cottage, Gene carried some beer that he’d bought at the bar. They entered the cottage. Judy changed into a simple white cotton shift while Gene shed his suit and pulled on a pair of drawstring shorts. She hung their suits on the balcony while Gene put the some of the beer in the small icebox.  He carried one out and sank down into the Adirondack chair. She had pulled out the awning so that they were able to sit in the shade. Judy had piled her red hair on top of her head, soft tendrils hung down around her face.  She was naked under her shift and he could see the outline of her body through the fabric.  Taking the chair opposite him she sat and plopped her feet on his lap. He rubbed her feet gently as they talked. The salt water made his hair wavy and the time in the sun bronzed him.  He hadn’t shaved that day; sitting shirtless, he looked like a lazy pirate. Sipping his beer, he smiled an easy smile as she told him some tale about Liza’s progress.  He talked about Kerry and their weekend jaunts.Gene looked at her thoughtfully and Judy tilted her chin down and raised her eyebrows. She reached out her hand for his beer and he handed it to her.

“You’re thinking of something,” she said, taking a sip.
“I am,” he nodded, “I’m thinking about you.”
“I’m right here,” she laughed

He leaned forward and clasped her ankles bending over to kiss each one. Raising his head, he smiled and said,

 

“Yes you are. But I want you here for more than a weekend.  I mean to marry you, Judy, and I don’t want to wait forever.  I’m no good at sitting on fences. When it comes to you, I-I suspend all common sense.. I will do whatever it takes for us to be together. I will take us out of California and we’ll go to New York – we can work in the theater. Damn, we should probably be working in the theater. It’ll allow us to work and have a life.  They don’t own you like an indentured servant.  Think about it, Judy – think about what we could have. We could live in the city, have a place out on the beach or up in Connecticut to take the kids. It would be living, in the way we should be living.”

Judy closed her eyes. What Gene described sounded like heaven. But would they really be able to do that?  How would they get out of their contracts? How would they manage the press?  When Gene wanted something, he could have tunnel vision; Judy was impulsive, but she also looked at every angle. She wanted what he described; she could almost see the life they would have. It would be what she’d always wanted, to work the way she really wanted to, to live with the man she loved, raise their children and any more that they might have together. It seemed like heaven to her. Swallowing hard, she said,

“I know. I just need a little more time.  In the meantime, may we enjoy what time we do have together?”  She tilted her head as she replied.

“Your wish is my command, my dear, but I want my beer back.” He laughed and held out his hand.

They spent several hours out on the balcony, telling stories, sharing cigarettes, laughing and talking.  Gene leaned his head back on the tall chair and watched her through half closed eyes.  He loved his work, he loved his daughter and he loved her.  If he could bring all three together, he felt his life would be complete.  Eventually, Judy stood up and announced she wanted to take a shower. She entered the bath and ran the water. He followed her into the bathroom and dropped his shorts on the floor to climb in behind her.  They showered together and caressed each other with soapy desire. His hands caressed her breasts, shoulders and bottom while covering her mouth with intense kisses.  Rinsing the soap from their bodies, he carried her and laid her across the bed.  Their bodies, still glistening with water slipped across each other as they explored and fondled each other until they were trembling. He turned her over, kissing her the length of her back before getting to his knees and lifting her hips..  She grasped a pillow as he slid into her from behind, and holding her hips, he began to thrust slowly, pushing all the way in then pulling back just as slowly. His desire for her was so tremendous that he wanted to take her every way possible.  She loved when Gene took over and possessive in his lovemaking.  He kept a slow pace, feeling her react to every stroke. Caressing her legs and derriere, he would speed up until he felt her begin to push back against him then he’d slow down again.  Eventually, he pressed down until he lay on her back. He rolled them until they lay on their sides. He kept his slow and steady pace, but now caressed Judy’s breasts as he kissed the back of her neck.  She was so warm it thrilled him. His hand moved down to caress her clitoris.  She cried out and he felt the power of her climax as it gripped him.  Moving his hands back up to her breasts, he held her close and began to thrust harder.  She could hear his breathing become harder.

“I want to see you,” she whispered, “I want to kiss you.”

He pulled out, rolled her to her back, and entered her again.  They slowed for a bit, kissing and touching each other.  Judy kissed and nibbled his neck as he rocked in and out of her.  Folding her legs around his trim waist, she pushed him so that he rose up a little and she caressed his chest while she kissed his throat.  His eyes were closed and his face looked tender and passionate at the same time. 

“Gene, I love you,” she whispered.

“Oh honey, I love you,” he replied, lowering his face to kiss her soft lips over and over.

She ran her palms up his back, curled her fingers over his shoulders, and lifted her hips to meet his. 

“God you’re so warm,” he breathed, “so fucking warm.”

He began grind his hips into her, moving from side to side, making her gasp again.  She tightened her hold on his and thrust back.  Gene was completely sensual.  Every interlude, no matter how brief, was carnally charged. He sought to consume her with every touch, every thrust.  Her pleasure was more important to him than his own orgasm.  He loved her reactions; it gave him greater pleasure. Judy was, with the right partner, a sexual dynamo and Gene brought that out in her.  Grasping his hips, she pushed up until he was moaning loudly, plunging deeper and deeper, grabbing the headboard for leverage.  Gene, usually full of tender and romantic murmurs, groaned through clenched teeth,

“Judy, oh baby I’m going to fuck you into this bed…”

He’d never felt so erotically charged. Judy grasped his wrists and brought her body up to meet his wild thrusts. They’d been very physical before, but not like this. When Gene finally felt his orgasm start, he began moaning loudly. He brought his hands down arched his back as he climaxed, crying out.  He collapsed on her and she wrapped her arms around him.  As his breathing slowed, he rolled to his side and pulled her close.

“Oh, honey…”was all he could get out.

They lay like that for a long time.  Gene knew that he was in for the fight of his life, but the woman he held in his arms had become that for him.  He didn’t know if he was going to win, but he’d give it his all. The rest of the weekend flew by in a blur. They slept, ate, made love and swam in the ocean.  Judy dared to let herself feel happy.  She felt her joy ebb away as she drove to Jimmie’s to get Liza. She smiled when her baby girl was in her arms, but without him standing beside her, it was only a partial joy.  Jimmie asked how she was, and Judy burst into tears.  She told Jimmie everything, her love for Gene, the empty life she lead with Vincente, everything.  Jimmie held her sister and worried for her.  Judy had held everything together for the family for so long. She deserved happiness and her sister hoped that she’d get it. 


Gene finally wrapped Words and Music. He was proud of it. It was the first real ballet he’d been able to craft end to end and the results were everything he hoped for; it was dramatic, sexy and exciting. One night after filming, Gene and Frank went for drinks at a small watering hole near the studio.  They ordered whiskeys and took their drinks to the quiet patio in the back where they wouldn’t be bothered.  Frank lit a cigarette and took a pull of his drink.  Gene dug a cigarette out of Frank’s cigarette case and lit up as well.  They talked a bit about filming and relaxed in the early evening dusk.

“You’re looking happy, buddy,” Frank said, “Things going well?”
Gene smiled at his friend, “ Yep.”
“You’re getting laid?”
Gene laughed, “Better than that.”
“Judy?”
“Uh-huh.  More than just getting laid, we’re going to make it work, “ Gene took a drag on his cigarette.
“Why now?” Frank asked.
“Things are different. Vincente is not exactly an attentive husband.”
“I hope it works, buddy.”

Gene lifted his glass and drained it.  He hoped it would work out, too.
 


Arthur called Judy and asked her to come into the studio.  She was worried, but went.  He greeted her with a hearty hug and they settled into the seating area of his office.  Arthur took Judy’s hands into his and told her,

“We found a wonderful vehicle for you.”
“Oh Arthur, I’m not ready to come back to work. Not yet.”
“Judy, it’s time and this movie will be perfect. Vincente found it and we will make a fabulous movie.”

Judy’s stomach sank. Vincente would find something to keep her busy and away from Gene. 

“What is it?”
“The Pirate – and it will be a picture for you and Gene. We’ve wanted you both together for some time now…..”
 

 

 

Judy closed her eyes feeling a bitter taste at the back of her throat. She knew the studio had been looking for another pairing for them, but with Vincente behind it, she knew it was more of a punishment than a gift.  She opened her eyes and looked at Arthur and saw there was no way out of it.  Judy felt as though she’d opened the gates to hell and Vincente was the guard at the gate.
 

Gene hadn’t yet heard the news. He was writing and blocking Take Me Out To The Ballgame and was in talks about starting On the Town.  He and Stanley were going to co-direct and they were in early planning stages. One day, as he was heading to the rehearsal hall, he received a message from Arthur to meet him in his office.  Gene immediately went over; Arthur and Vincente were both there, going over some paperwork.  He hesitated for only a second, and walked to where they were sitting.


“You asked to see me?”

The other two men looked up.  Arthur smiled and Vincente nodded.


“Have a seat Gene.”

Gene took one of the other empty chairs.  He was a little wary, but kept quiet. Arthur took a paper and handed it to Gene.  He accepted it and scanned it.. It was a treatment for the Pirate; he arched a brow when he saw that Judy was his leading lady. Glancing over at Vincente, whose face was unreadable, Gene leaned back in the chair and gestured to the paper.

“What are you planning?”

Arthur proceeded to tell Gene that they had approved the Pirate, with Gene and Judy as the leads and Vincente was to direct.  Gene swallowed, but showed no other emotion.  He wanted to work with Judy again; they were great together, but with Vincente directing? It would be tough, especially on Judy.  Gene had mixed feelings. Selfishly, he wanted to work with Vincente, his directing would take a musical to a new level and that excited him, but at the expense of the woman he loved? ; He knew unless he or Judy got himself or herself fired from the picture, there wasn’t another option. 

“When do you want to start?” Gene kept his voice neutral. 
“Vincente is wrapping up his current picture, and then we’ll start”, Arthur said.

Gene nodded and rose from his chair. He needed to get back to rehearsing.  He paused and asked,

“How will this effect Take Me Out To The Ballgame?”
“We can’t get everyone together for a while, this will come first.”

Gene nodded and left Arthur’s office; standing on the sidewalk outside he sighed heavily and lit a cigarette.  Judy, he wondered, what will this do to you?  He returned to the rehearsal hall and worked like a mad man. Driving everyone hard, the air crackled with tension. His assistant tried to ask him what was wrong and Gene snapped to stop talking and get back to work. He needed to bury himself, cleanse himself through work in order to prepare for what was ahead. He needed it. He needed to be strong for Judy. When Gene finished the rehearsal, he headed to his cottage and stripped off his sweaty rehearsal clothes. He jumped into the shower and let the hot water beat against him.  Physically, he felt great, but his emotions remained in a jumble. He wanted a drink and sit quietly for a while.  Exiting the shower, he wrapped a towel around his waist.  When he entered the living room, he saw Judy was sitting on the couch, her face in her hands. Sitting beside her, he pulled her to him. Judy curled into his arms and let him hold her. Ever since she heard the news, she’d been craving his touch, just to feel safe again. 

“You talked to Arthur and Vincente today?” she whispered.
“I did,” he replied, kissing her forehead.
“What are we going to do?  Gene, I’m so afraid. How can I be on a set with both of you?”
“Judy, I will do whatever you need me to do to help you through this. I love you, honey.”

She grasped him and pressed her face against his shoulder.  They remained there, with Gene stroking her hair, trying to calm her.  He lifted her face and smiled tenderly before kissing her and whispering repeatedly that he loved her and that he’d do whatever she needed. She returned the kiss and hugged him tightly.  After she released him, he sat her back against the cushion. 

“Let’s have a drink, okay?”  He rose and walked to the liquor cabinet.

Judy watched him and began to chuckle. He turned around and looked quizzically.  Judy pointed to his towel and he looked down. Chuckling himself, he put his hands on the towel.

“I could be naked whilst I serve you, milady, if that would please you,” he said winking.
“That would be nice, but why don’t you put your pants on. It’s a little early to play naked houseboy. Unwanted visitors.” 
Gene nodded, “True, sometimes this place is like Grand Central.”

He went into the bedroom and pulled on a pair of khakis. Judy was secretly glad he didn’t put on a shirt. She loved to look at him and admired his back while he poured them drinks.. Carrying them over, he placed them down on the coffee table. Bending down, he kissed her tenderly, not caring if Vincente himself came into the room.  Judy needed him and came to him; that was what mattered. They sat together, fingers entwined as she told him her reaction to Arthur’s news.  It worried him; the studio drove her crazy and he hated it. The dream of New York was starting to become a quest for him. He knew he had to get her out of there or lose her.  Gene kept his face placid and his attitude supportive. She didn’t need his anger on top of everything else.  Judy was trembling by the time she finished the story. She nervously gulped her drink.  He took her hands.

“Come here.”
 

He pulled her into his arms as they lay back on the couch with her head on his chest. Gene stroked her back until she began to relax.  Burying his face in her hair, they took comfort from each other’s arms.Gene felt so warm and so solid Judy started to feel better. She knew he’d take care of her, no matter the situation.  I need to get away from Vincente, he can’t give me what I need, she thought: I need to be with this wonderful man. She kissed his chest and sighed.  He hugged her and they relaxed, not speaking, just taking strength from each other.
About 10 PM, Judy picked up Gene’s watch that was lying on the coffee table.  She sat up and smoothed her hair.  Gene reached out and held her arm, running his thumb along her bicep.  He didn’t want her to go.  He sat up, slid behind her and gently rubbed her shoulders.

“Are you sure you want to go?” he asked, gently kissing her shoulder.
“I don’t want to go, but I have to go. I need to be there for Liza.” She replied.
“I understand, just be careful, okay? Don’t get into it with him.”

Judy stood up and he followed.  He walked her to the car and opened it.  Gene kissed her forehead before she got into the car.  She smiled sadly, and sat down on the front seat and started the car. He stood there, hands in his pockets, watched her pull out, and drove off the lot.  Shaking his head, he walked back to the cottage, donned a shirt, and drove to his house to get some sleep, but he slept poorly. Gene dreamt about walking through a series of alleys with Judy only to keep losing her and not being able to find her.  He woke up sweating and Betsy stirred.  He touched her arm to settle her back to sleep and then slipped downstairs to sit in his kitchen smoking until he saw the sun peeking into the windows.

Rehearsals for The Pirate started. In early days, Gene concentrated on working with Robert Alton and Judy didn’t see much of him. Vincente even timed their costume fittings to be at separate times, so that they didn’t see much of each other, but everyday Judy found a yellow rose in her dressing room and knew that it was from Gene. That rose became a lifeline because from the first days on the set, things were full of tension and anger. To combat it, Judy asked for a prescription for a mild barbiturate to help her relax and Benzedrine to help her to be ready to work.  She began to take the barbiturates more frequently than prescribed to keep calm and it affected her on set.  She didn’t have a lot of stamina and often, there were delays while she rested in her dressing room. For the first few days, Gene’s rehearsals kept him from seeing what was happening, but he heard about it and came to the set to see that Judy wasn’t happy and she wasn’t acting like herself.  Vincente was also on set, so Gene strolled up casually and sat next to Judy and slid his hand over hers. He could feel her visibly relax. 

“What’s happening, kid?” he asked softly

Judy shook her head, and looked at him, her eyes full of tears. Not only was doing the picture wrong, she’d caught Vincente in flagrante with the pool boy.  That was the least of her issues, given the situation, but that added another layer of tension on top of everything that was happening. Now they each had something on each other.She told him of what was happening in a halting, shivering voice.  He wanted to hold her so badly, but all he could do was just squeeze her fingers and sit with her. Gene tried to talk with her, but she wasn’t in the mood to listen.  Finally, she stood up and announced she wasn’t feeling well and went home.  Gene watched her go, stunned.  She had shut him out completely. Feeling Vincente’s eyes on him, he turned toward him. The look on Vincente’s face said, “Now you know what I have to deal with”.

Shooting started, but it was plagued with troubles. Judy couldn’t maker herself be in the same space with her lover and her husband. Her mixed feelings about the script and other unseen demons made her incapable of working. Vincente played to Gene’s ego and changed course, focusing more of the picture on Gene. It worked. They were locked in a bad decision and torn by the woman they both cared for, Vincente’s shift illuminated that, when Judy wasn’t around, they worked very well together., He filmed Gene’s scenes first, planning on trying to fit Judy’s in later, when Gene was off working on costume fittings for Easter Parade and The Three Musketeers.  Hearing that the two men had established a close working relationship, she became incensed and let both men know it.

Their meetings in Gene’s dressing room dwindled; the few that occurred were argumentative, with Judy accusing Gene of choosing Vincente over her. The rare occasions when they tried to be intimate were fueled by unease and anger. The studio started coming down hard on Judy and it made her more anxious.  Gene would try to talk to her, to get her to calm down, but she was almost continuously hysterical. He even feigned a week’s illness where they had to shut down filming, just to cover for her. All of this weighed hard on him; Gene did what he usually did when he was feeling frustrated, he played more sports and caroused more frequently with his friends.  His volleyball games became war zones, and his weekend parties became notorious for lasting well into Sunday. It was amazing that none of his excesses showed on the screen. If anything, he looked better than ever and that made Judy angry, too.  From a distance, it looked as though nothing bothered him, for he allowed no one to see the conflict that raged under the surface.Gene went home more often, and found solace in his daughter.  He and Betsy rarely saw each other; she was working on another play and often was on her way out as he was on his way in.  Probably a good thing, he thought as he sat on the floor and let his daughter climb all over him.  This situation was wearing on him and behind closed doors; he had difficulty hiding his concern for Judy.

One Saturday night, Arthur held a party to celebrate Cole Porter being in town. It was a command performance and both Judy and Gene had to be there.  Everyone was milling about talking business; they were polite, but being under prying eyes cautious. They stayed in opposite corners.  It made Judy nervous, having Gene and Vincente in the same room and she stuck to Vincente’s side, grabbing a glass of champagne from every butlered tray that went past.  Eventually, Arthur started to nudge Judy to get up and sing.  She demurred at first, wanting just to try and enjoy herself, but as the alcohol started to kick in, she warmed to the idea. Eventually, Cole stepped up to the piano and began to play. He began to noodle on the keyboard and asked Judy what she wanted to sing. She glanced over at Gene and whispered to Cole,

 

“Play Night and Day.”

 

She crossed the room to where Gene and Betsy were sitting and held out her hands.  Gene glanced at Betsy, and then looked up to Judy with a questioning look on his face.

“We know this one, darling, don’t we?”
 

Judy sang the first two verses.

 

Gene knew he’d have to go along or it would look bad. He turned to her and took her hands in his. He began to sing softly:

Night and day, under the hide of me 
There's an oh, such a hungry yearnin' burnin' inside of me 
And its torment won't be through 
Till you let me spend my life makin' love to you 
Day and night, night and day 

 

As the words left his lips, he looked into her eyes and saw what she was doing. It was a declaration and a message, to him, to Vincente, to Arthur and to Betsy. Judy moved in closer and slid her hand up his chest. He played along and placed his cheek against her forehead.  She joined him and they finished singing together, Judy gazing deeply into his eyes while Betsy’s were boring into the back of his head. After the song ended, Judy placed her head on his chest. He hugged her and laughed as though it were part of the act.  They mock bowed and returned to opposite corners of the room. Betsy was livid, and Gene didn’t blame her. She rarely lost her temper, but this would have been a good time to do so.  He glanced across the room and saw that Vincente was equally as livid, and Arthur was just confused.  Gene quickly made excuses; he and Betsy drove home in frosty silence. She went up to bed and Gene went into his study.  He sank into a chair and covered his eyes with his hand.

Over the next couple of weeks, Judy’s absences allowed them to focus on Gene’s musical number, Nina. They had great fun rehearsing it and without Judy there, Gene flirted mercilessly with the chorus dancers, some he’d known more intimately than others.  It was harmless, it took his mind off things, and built the atmosphere he wanted for the dance. Alton staged part of the number, and Gene focused on his dances. His costume was sexy, but he hated having to wear the wig and groaned every time he saw himself in it.  Filming went well and by the time they wrapped it, Judy was ready to film.

The first number they were to film together was Voodoo.  Gene and Robert had choreographed it to be sensuous; they wanted to push the envelope as far as they could. Judy came into rehearse it with him.  There was only a piano player there, Alton and Vincente were supposed to be there, but something detained them. Gene wondered if Vincente was so tired of Judy’s shenanigans, he just wanted a good performance out of her; if he kept away and Judy and Gene wound up in bed, so be it. The piano player started the number and Gene took her the steps. It started with beating drums and ended with the two of them locked in a sexy pas de deux.After a few stumbles, they began to get it together. Judy was wearing a leotard and a skirt that was similar to the one she’d be wearing in the film in order to determine how the fullness of the skirt would affect the dancing.  Gene was wearing his usual get up of clothes that should have been sent to the dump and a pair of soft men’s ballet shoes. They worked their way through the number again and again. Judy was growing tired and begged for a break. He acquiesced; she went to the other side of the room and sat without saying a word. He rubbed a tired hand across his jaw. The tension between them was so thick he wanted to break something.

 

After a while, he asked if she was ready to start again.  Judy nodded and rose. Gene told the piano player to play. She began her part of the dance and then Gene joined her. The dance was supposed to move from the theater tent to the street and back, with each phase demonstrating the escalating passion between their characters.  It was easily the sexiest dance either of them had done.  Gene’s hands were traveling down Judy’s arms and sides and she wrapped herself around him with great abandon.  At one point, he slid up behind her and pulled her into his hips as though he were making love. Judy loved it; it was different than anything she’d ever done. It was almost as if he’d taken their lovemaking and put it to music, lifting and bending her in erotic ways. Gene had mentioned to a newspaper that the dance was going to be brutal, and in a way it was. 

 

It was meant to demonstrate an unquenchable passion and no one knew that better than he did. He lived it every day. Judy quickly fell in with what Gene wanted and delivered it to him. He was entranced by how she danced and how she looked while dancing. At one point, Gene was to bring her into his arms and kiss her.  As he did, her tongue playfully caressed his lower lip. It was a small gesture, but in that second, she was fully present. He had missed her so desperately for the last few weeks; the kiss pushed him beyond creating the dance to what he wanted to do with Judy. He pulled her to him and kissed her hard upon the lips, his tongue finding hers with great passion. If the piano player hadn’t been in the room, Gene would have taken her right there.  Realizing that they weren’t alone, he broke away and spun her around. Her eyes were open wide and trained on him, and he could tell she was startled by all of this.  Spinning her back in, he said,

“I’m sorry, I got carried away.” He whispered.

She shook her head and laughed.  They worked hard for the rest of the day, putting the final touches on the dance leaving them both sweaty and exhausted. As they left the hall, Gene leaned over, kissed the side of her face, and squeezed her arm, wanting so badly to hold her it physically hurt.
 

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” was all she said as she pulled away.

 

In taking the pills, she’d found an equilibrium that allowed her work, but kept her untouchable. Gene knew she didn’t want to be this way, and he, too hated it. For the last few weeks, he just tried to be there, playing neutral when she brought Liza to the set and played happy couple for the photographers, to be tender and affectionate when she was high strung and Vincente was driving her through yet another take. Frankly, it was exhausting.  t was the most polarizing experience he’d had. On the one hand, when Judy wasn’t around, working with Vincente was exhilarating and creative. On the other, walking on eggs with Judy was horrible. Gene wasn’t used to being diplomatic and it grated on him. The kiss capped it. He couldn’t stand it anymore.  Without a word, he turned and went to his cottage. Pulling off his clothes, he decided to take a quick shower before going home. He walked back into the bedroom, pulled on a pair of dungarees, a pullover and a pair of socks. Putting on his loafers, he went into the living room to gather his script and notes to take home. He stopped short when he saw Judy sitting there, as she sipped some water. 

“You coming in while I’m in the shower is becoming a habit,” he commented. 
“It seems so.” She said, looking up at him.
“You okay?” he sat on the arm of the couch. He leaned on his legs to watch her. 
“Today,” she began, then got up and began to pace, wringing her hands, worry across her forehead.

Gene sighed. He hated seeing her like this.  He rubbed his eyes wearily.

“I’m sorry; it just got the better of me.” His voice sounded weary, too.

Judy turned and faced him, her face softening. She knew what this was doing to him and it made her feel horrible.  He was the most wonderful thing that happened to her and she was destroying it with her hysterics and her tears.  Try as she might, she couldn’t convey the panic and the apathy that the pills produced, and if she couldn’t show it him, she couldn’t show it to anyone.  He raised his eyes and saw a flash of the Judy he loved.  He pressed his lips together and looked sad. Gene wasn’t fond of weakness in people, his own disciplines were too strong, but he could and would forgive her almost anything. She approached him and took his face in her hands.

“Am I losing you?” she whispered.

“I love you,” he said closing his eyes for a moment, then opening them to return her gaze, “But I can’t watch you do this to yourself, shutting everyone out, especially me.”

She wrapped her arms around him and felt his strong arms go around her, his damp hair tickling her cheek. They held each other as she kissed his forehead, then moved to sit on the far side of the couch.  Gene slid slowly off the arm, lying across its length and putting his head on her lap. Judy softly stroked his hair; there weren’t any words to say, and while they hadn’t made love in some time, for right now, this was more than enough. Judy knew that Gene needed to feel her without any of the barriers she’d erected around herself, and sex was not the right way to do it. They relaxed in the silence; Judy leaned her head to one side and looked down at Gene, who was lying there with his eyes closed. Reaching down, she stroked the soft mustache he’d grown for the film. She had been hiding from everyone but Liza. She didn’t stop to think how it would affect him; in her own way, she thought that she would be protecting him from everything, but now she saw how wrong she was.  Gene opened his eyes and smiled up at her tenderly. She whispered,

“I’m so sorry, darling, can you forgive me? I thought I was doing the right thing and it’s just been a mess.”

He lifted himself up and pulled her to him.  They kissed gently; he brushed her long hair back and swept his fingertips along her jawline.

“Always, honey.  You hold my heart in your hands.”

Judy melted against him and they lay back again, stretched out on the couch. They didn’t make love that night, but they stayed together, holding each other.  When she left him in the morning, she felt much better about things after sleeping soundly in his arms and waking to his head on the pillow next to hers. It gave her a strength that had been missing since shooting started.  She went to her dressing room and got ready.  They were going to shoot Voodoo today.  She met Vincente on the set and they nodded to each other. Gene followed soon after. She beamed when she saw him: he went to her.  Taking her hands, he squeezed them gently. They stood close and talked quietly, Gene reminding Judy of the steps of the dance, and when he would lift her.

“You’ll be great, “he whispered and kissed her cheek softly.  Judy went for a last minute wardrobe check and Gene walked to the set watching how they laid out the drums on the marks he’d provided.  Vincente’s voice was behind him.

“I hope you did whatever you had to get a good take today.”

Gene spun around.  His face was serious, and his eyes were sparkling with anger but he didn’t raise his voice, “I did whatever I had to do for Judy’s sake and nothing else.” 

Judy came onto the set and they rolled for the first take. This Judy was far more animated and closer to her old self and she threw herself into the dance with Gene. Vincente had seen the blocking for the dance, but this was much sexier than he imagined it would be.  It was savage and beautiful, Gene and Judy moved kinetically. At times, they broke apart as if torn, and then when they came back together, they moved like one.  Gene’s hands were all over Judy, and for a brief moment, Vincente could see why they couldn’t stay away from each other. Their intimacy was displayed for everyone to see. At one point, Gene pulled Judy in for a passionate kiss, and Vincente heard someone whisper, ‘That won’t get past the sensors.’ 

Vincent called cut.  Judy and Gene broke apart and looked up at Vincent. They were panting heavily. 

“The dance was great!  But, we’ll have to shoot the end again. And this time Gene,” Vincent pointed to his mouth and brought his thumb and finger together.Judy looked at Gene and began to howl with laughter.  Gene flushed and bowed to Vincente.  They stepped off the set for makeup and wardrobe adjustment.  Every time Judy looked at Gene, she began to giggle uncontrollably. He made a face at her and leaned back in his chair, chuckling to himself. He said of the side of his mouth,

“It’s not all my fault, you know. I felt that little grab you tried you to slip in there.”
“Me?  I didn’t do a thing.”
“Liar,” he laughed.

Vincente approached them and explained where they would pick up the shot. He repeated his close your mouth gesture and walked away, before they could respond.

“I don’t think he was very happy, do you?” Gene mused.
“I don’t care,” she replied thoughtfully, “That was too much fun.”

He chuckled again, reached out and squeezed her hand. They reshot the scene and this time Gene managed to keep his mouth somewhat closed during the final kiss. Their tongues still touched, but he was able to keep it subtle.The rest of the day was spent in filming supporting shots and shots between Gene and the rest of the troupe.  At shooting’s close, he was worn out; he decided get something to eat and stay at the cottage. The day had been draining and the way he reacted to Judy and the way she reacted to him made him not want to deal with anything.  He called home, talked to Betsy briefly, and then with Kerry before calling the canteen to have food sent over.  Making himself a whiskey, he pulled on a pair of pajama pants and a t shirt, leaving his costume for the studio laundry.Settling into the chair at his dressing room table, he took off his wig and his make-up, happy to feel cool air on his scalp. He scratched his head and groaned with pleasure. Crossing to the couch, he enjoyed his drink while he waited for his dinner to come. The door opened and Judy popped her head in the door. She was in casual clothes and her hair was pulled back from her face.

“What are you doing here? I’m not in the shower.” He grinned.

She smiled and entered. He rose to meet her; sliding into his arms, they kissed softly. Judy stepped back and said, “I take it you’re in for the night.”
“Yeah, I didn’t feel like going to the house.”  He replied.
“What do you know about that? Me, too.  Want some company?”
He smiled, “Sure, I’ve got some dinner coming, there’ll be plenty to share.”
“I’m sure you ordered enough for three.” She laughed and sat on the couch, tucking her legs under her.

He made her a drink and sat next to her, and they entwined fingers. 

“I saw the rushes for the pirate ballet, it was, and you were, wonderful.”
He ducked his head and smiled, “I’m glad you liked it.So…why are you not going home?”
“Vincente thought it would be better if I didn’t tonight. He wanted some time alone with Liza. I didn’t put up a fight.”
“Ohhh…” Gene screwed up his lips and nodded. 

 

Vincente must be hitting his boiling point.  He didn’t blame him, but was secretly glad that it was happening. Gene leaned over to nuzzle her neck and then leaned his head back on the cushions of the couch. Judy did the same and he looked at her, his eyes drowsy and soft.

“I know it must be hard, but I’m very glad you’re here.” He whispered as he slung his arm around her shoulder.

 

She slid closer and they exchanged soft kisses. The walls were down and she was with him again. It so delicious kissing her, it had been so long since they were intimate on any level. They continued to kiss until they heard the knock at the door signaling that food had arrived.  Gene allowed the steward to bring it in and then he took it to the table to set it up. He’d only ordered sandwiches, the major staple of his diet. Judy laughed. He really did eat like ploughman.  Gene grinned and gestured, “what?”
 

“Madame, if I knew you were coming, I would have ordered pheasant under glass, but this is the best that I can offer.”
She giggled deliciously and held out her arms, “Come here silly, I love you.”

His smile grew wider and he went to her.  They stretched out on the couch and began to neck. It wasn’t too long until Gene’s hands were wandering over Judy’s body. He unbuttoned her blouse and kissed the soft swell between her breasts. He could feel her nipples harden with desire under his hands. Sliding his hands along her slender waist, he slid down her pants to her hips he kissed his way to her stomach. Raising up, he looked in her eyes and whispered,

“I want you so badly, baby..” 

Judy nodded her assent. It had been too long for her, too.  Gene rose and pulled her up to him. Pulling her close to his side they went to the sleeping alcove and facing each other, they disrobed. Gene enveloped her in his arms and they kissed with all the hunger that he had pushed down for such a long time. Judy placed her hands on his chest, shaved smooth for the role.  He looked great, but she loved his hair.  She moved her lips down and kissed the smoothness, which made him shake with pleasure.  With one swift move, Gene lifted her and placed her on the bed; she caressed his chest as they kissed. He stroked her warm, soft skin; she felt curvaceous and beautifully ripe. Lowering his mouth to kiss and lick her nipples as his fingers slid down her body to caress her until she was slick. He brought them up to his mouth and licked them, grinning wickedly at her. Judy pushed gently on Gene’s shoulders and pressed him flat on the bed. He thought she would straddle him, but instead, she kissed the now smooth skin of his chest and belly, lightly running her tongue over the definition of his stomach muscles. Gene sighed, placed his hands behind his head, and watched her move down his body. He was already hard and when she stroked him, he let go a small, guttural groan.  Smiling, she kissed the tip of his erection and Gene felt as though an electric shock when through him.  She began to make love to him with her mouth and tongue. Seeing and feeling her full lips on him were so erotic that he moaned out loud.

“Oh my god, Judy,” he breathed, “you’re going to make me explode.”
“You always take care of me, it’s my turn to take care of you.”

She continued loving and stroking him until he felt a tell-tale tightness.  Reaching down, he pulled her up to his chest and they kissed hungrily as he regained some composure. 

“I want to be inside you, honey,” he whispered, “I need you so much.”
“Make love to me,” she replied, caressing his face. 

 

He positioned himself over her and slid inside her, marveling how warm and wonderful she always felt. They made love voraciously, changing positions and kissing every inch of skin they could reach. Finally, Gene rose to his knees and lifted her legs to his shoulders and then fell forward on his hands.  He entered her deeper than he ever had before; Judy cried out with the sensations it caused.

“I want you to leave him,” Gene panted with each stroke, “I want to give you babies. I want us to live together for good.”

He wound her legs around his waist and quickened his pace.  His face was inches from hers and Judy had never seen him so determined. They clung to each other as Judy reached her climax.  She dug into her nails into his back so hard he winced.  He plunged into her again and again and soon he felt his release begin. He buried his face into her neck, kissing her repeatedly until he felt his orgasm rush through him and Judy could feel his warmth spread through her. His moans echoed in her ears; he pulled her to him and kissed her hard before rolling to her side. Judy slid into his arms and rested her head against his shoulder.  He murmured ‘baby’,  tightened his arm around her shoulders and kissed her forehead. She caressed his chest. 

“Give it a day or two and it’s pure sandpaper, it’s awful.  Mayer’s an asshole.”  He said lazily.
“Darling, did you mean what you said?”
“Yes. I’ve wanted it for a long time. I asked you to marry me a year ago.  After this film, you’ve got to leave him.  We can’t live in between anymore.”
“I love you; I know we can’t. I don’t want to. I want your babies and I do want to live with you, Gene, I do.” Her voice was plaintive.
He looked deep into her eyes, “Make me a promise.”
“What’s that?”
“When we’re through with this picture, we make a plan and we carry through with it. No more talk.” He took her wrist and kissed the pulse point. 
“I do, I promise.”

 

She caressed the side of his face and kissed his lips tenderly.  It reminded him of that night at the beach, the night he felt his heart fall for her for good.

“Good. I’m hungry,” he smiled.

Judy laughed.  She got up, pulled on his shirt, and got the sandwiches. Carrying them back to the bed, she found him sitting up, waiting for her. She smiled; he was always so gorgeous after they made love. His eyes were brighter, his hair was tousled, and he had a little Christmas present of a smile that made him look mischievous and boyish.  She held out the sandwiches and his eyes widened as he took the plate. Judy went back to the living room and got him a beer. She got a glass of water for herself.  He smiled and accepted the beer. He placed the plate between them and happily bit into a roast beef sandwich. 

“Best thing about Metro,” he said, chewing. 

Judy shook her head and laughed.She nibbled at a sandwich, while Gene polished off the other half of his.  He got up and walked to the living room to get another beer. As he walked back in, she admired the wave he moved.  He drank the beer as he walked around the alcove, arranging things for tomorrow. For a casual man, Gene was a neatnik, he liked things in order; it was an extension of his perfectionism.  His puttering gave her an opportunity to watch him. She loved his body; he was muscular, graceful and a wonderful lover.  She’d had other handsome lovers, but none were as comfortable in their skin as Gene. The only time she saw him ill at ease was in a tuxedo, because he hated them. He’d rather be in a pair of paper soft old khakis. He finished his puttering and sat down next to her on the bed. He held out the bottle.

“Want some?” he asked.

She shook her head and smiled. It took so little for him to banish the anxiety from her. When they were together, she was calm, she was happy. All he had to do was smile, hold and kiss her; when he made love to her, everything seemed possible. The love that Betsy found oppressive, Judy found to be salvation. Gene put the beer bottle down and picked up her hand to kiss her palm before holding it against his cheek.

“I love you,” he said softly.

“I love you, too,” she whispered, “When this is over, I will keep that promise, my love.”

He leaned in and kissed her, bringing his hands up to cradle her face. Lifting her onto his lap, she wrapped her legs around his waist; he held her with one arm, and caressed her face with the other. His beautiful eyes, so warm and loving, gazed at her. How could she have ever hurt him? He was true north for her, constant and accepting.  Judy pressed her forehead against his, feeling his warmth and his love flow into her.  She said a silent prayer to do right by him.

“I love when you wear my shirts,” he smiled, “it’s better than a sexy negligee.”
“….and more readily available,” she laughed, “You’re so easy”
“As pie,” he grinned leaning forward to push her back on the pillows. 

 

They kissed easily, murmuring to each other. Gene kept trying to sneak a hand under her shirt and she pushed him away, giggling. He began to nuzzle her ears, nibbling and tickling her until she reached up to grab his head. As soon as her hands moved, his hand slid up the shirt to cup her breast. 

“I was the best at copping a feel,” he chuckled, turning his head to plant a kiss on her neck. 
“You were a roué, I’m sure,” she said, nudging her face against his.
“Yep,” he was focused on her breast, his fingers caressing, chuckling when she gasped. 

He pressed his lips to the side of her face, his fingers caressing her. His index finger moved over the swell of her breast and slowly trailed down between her breasts to her belly.  He grinned at her as she reacted to his touch. He playfully poked his finger into her belly button and tickled her. She punched his shoulder and he grabbed her and pulled her back on the bed. He reached back up, cupped her breast again, and kissed her, chuckling as he did.  Two could play at this game.  As he kissed her, she spread her fingers on his stomach, stroking him and tickling him back. He laughed and tried to roll on her, but she held him off and ran her index finger down to his groin. He widened eyes and opened his mouth in mock surprise as she made a mischievous face and trailing her fingers down until her hand closed over him. He made a sweet face and kissed her, and she laughed, giving him a little tug. He groaned and rolled over on her and wiggled his way between her thighs. He stretched out over her and kissed her softly. Judy stroked his hair and he laid his head on her chest. She loved when they lay like this. He was like a warm shield that protected her. 

“How many babies?” she whispered.
“Two, maybe three?” his voice was sleepy. 
“I’d like a boy, one who looks like you.”  She said, still stroking his hair.
He pressed his face against her belly, kissing it, “That’d be nice.”
“It would, wouldn’t it? Maybe two boys, so each girl could keep them in line.”
He chuckled, “My sisters kept me in line.”

She drifted, dreaming of them living together with two beautiful little boys and their two girls.  Her dream was soft and perfect with Gene as a loving husband and Judy no longer a movie star. 

 

 

 


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