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AntiqueSusannof the Dolls of ContentsPagePagePage - 26


“I suppose so. Are those your teeth?”
“What?”
“Yours? Or caps?”smiled. His directness was disarming. “They’re my own. Why?”
“And your hair?”felt the color come to her face. “It’s natural,” she said quietly.
“I know that. I know enough about coloring to realize that. But is it all yours?” He tugged gently at her long hair. “I mean, are you wearing a fall?”
“A what?”
“A fall. A false piece under to give it that thickness.”
“Why should I?”smiled suddenly. It was a smile completely out of context with his bold questions. A humble smile. “Because most girls need one to get that kind of look.” He shook his head sadly. “That’s the big trouble in finding the right girl—either they have good hair and lousy teeth or good hair and teeth and a bad nose. I suppose you’re pretty well booked. I mean, you wouldn’t consider working for us on an exclusive basis?”
“As what?” Anne looked toward Jennifer for assistance, but she was busy whispering some French endearment to Claude.
“Well, you see, with television coming in, I figure radio will be finished in another year—as far as the big shows are concerned. I want a ‘Gillian Girl.’ I want to feature that girl in all my ads—hair, nail polish, lipstick, the works. I’ve seen several girls I like—” He reeled off the names of five of the top models. “But they make too much money to work for me exclusively. I don’t want the Gillian Girl posing for Ted Casablanca’s clothes in Vogue or for Chanel’s perfume in Harper’s. I want her to be identified with Gillian products only. And all I can pay to start with is three hundred a week.”sipped at her champagne. She didn’t know what to say.took her silence for refusal. “I’d give you a year’s contract, with an option for five hundred the second six months. And extra money if we use you when we go on television.”suddenly came to life. “Did I hear mon-ee?” she asked.
“I’m telling your friend I’d like to make her the Gillian Girl.”’s eyes widened. “But of course! Anne would be perfect.”
“She sure would. She’s beautiful, but not too sexy. The All-American Girl,” Kevin said.threw up his hands. “There is that word again! You Americans! You don’t know what to do with a beautiful girl. You keep trying to make everyone look like the girl next door. If that is what the public want, no one would go to the movies. Take Jennifer—she will be the big hit because she is not the girl next door—she is the girl every man dreams of having.”
“I agree. But it doesn’t work that way in advertising,” Kevin insisted. “Oh, we use sex—but in a subtle kind of way. Anne is beautiful. But she has the type of beauty women can identify with. A college girl or young matron will think she can look like Anne if she uses our product, but she would never think she could look like Jennifer. You’re selling escapism in pictures—I’m selling a product. Anne is right for my product. People won’t stop to think that it’s her fine bone structure that does it, or the way her eyes are spaced, or the thickness of her own lashes. They’ll think if they use the same product it will happen to them. Her kind of beauty doesn’t frighten them. Jennifer’s would.”
“Well, I’m taking my frightening beauty to Paris,” Jennifer said. “But Anne, I think you should take Kevin’s offer. You need a change. We all need one.”frowned. “I’m not a model, and I’m very happy working for—”nudged her and stood up. “I think it’s time to powder our noses. Come on, Anne.” As she followed Anne out of the room, she turned and tossed Kevin a reassuring wink. He nodded and held up crossed fingers.sat in front of the large mirror while the attendant stood by, carefully acting bored and disinterested.
“All right.” Jennifer began her attack instantly. “Why not?”
“I know nothing about modeling—”
“I know nothing about movies, but that’s not stopping me. And in Paris, yet!”
“You’ll be wonderful—”
“Don’t change the subject. What are you making with Henry?”
“A hundred and fifty a week now. But that’s not important. I just sold the house and got a wonderful price, and Henry invested that and my stock’s gone way up. Money is the last thing I need.”
“But this will be exciting.”
“I can’t leave Henry—”
“Henry?” Jennifer’s eyes were accusing. “Anne, you’re talking to me, Jen. You mean you can’t leave that office because it’s still a link to Lyon Burke. But he won’t come back to you. Stop dreaming that some day he’ll stride in, and whisk you off. That’s over! Finished!”
“How do you know? I mean, next week his book comes out . . . well . . . he’ll have to be here for it. Most authors do, don’t they?”studied her bag. She played idly with the handle. “Anne . . . I wasn’t going to tell you, but now I think, you should know. He’s—gone back to England.”
“Back?” Her mouth felt dry. She was afraid she was going to be sick. “You mean he was here?”’s nod was solemn. “For a week. To see his publisher. He did a complete rewrite—threw out practically everything he had written here, then went back there and wrote from scratch. That’s why it’s taken so long. But it’s a good book. Henry told me. He saw Lyon.”
“Henry saw him?”
“They met for lunch. Lyon has already started his second book. He got a fairly good advance from his publisher. And he went back to London. He’s taking a flat there.”
“He saw Henry . . . he was here . . .” She stopped. The tears ran down her face.threw her arms around her. “Anne, don’t take it that way. Henry said Lyon thinks about nothing but his writing. It’s the only thing that matters to him now.”
“But Henry knows how I feel. Why didn’t he tell me Lyon was here?”
“Because he’s a man, and men stick together. Anne, you owe Henry nothing. And you need a change. This is fate. Claude didn’t invite Kevin Gillmore today. He just wandered in alone and joined us. I think it’s meant to be.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Anne said slowly. “I’ve got to get out of the office. It’s like a living shrine.”
“Now you’re making sense. And unload that apartment, too! Now . . . fix your face. Don’t lose the job before you get it!”first Henry was upset. But he grudgingly admitted the Gillian offer was excellent. “This is your doing,” he said to Jennifer, who had come with Anne to break the news.
“You know it’s best for her,” Jennifer said merrily. “Now come on, Henry. How long did you expect to keep Anne chained here? She isn’t Miss Steinberg, you know.”
“Okay, but bring the contract to me before you sign it,” he grumbled. “Let’s see if we can’t get some extras in the deal. Television is coming in strong. I don’t want anything left for later negotiation. If he wants you for his ads now, he has to guarantee to use you on the commercials.”
“But Henry,” Anne protested, “I’d faint in front of a television camera.”
“It’ll be no different from a photographer’s camera, and you’ll have had about a year’s experience by then. Incidentally”—he scribbled a name on a pad—”start seeing Lil Cole. Take at least two private lessons a week. It’s expensive, but you can afford it.”
“Who’s Lil Cole?” Anne asked.
“The best speech and diction coach there is.”
“What do I need her for?”
“Because I have a hunch the commercials will wind up being more than just posing. You’ve got to get rid of that Boston accent.”
“Henry, I’m just going to model, not be an actress.”
“Listen, Anne.” His voice was stern. “If you’re going to do something, do it a hundred per cent. There’s no halfway business about any job. You were a great secretary—now, if you’re going to be the Gillian Girl, be the best there is. Besides, what else have you got to do? Maybe keeping busy is the best thing for you right now.”suddenly looked very tired, as if all the strength had drained out of him. Impulsively, Anne threw her arms around him. “Henry, I love you.”scowled to cover his emotions. “How do you like that?” he said to Jennifer. “I’ve had a giant crush on this girl for two years, and now that she’s walking out on me she tells me she loves me.”
“I do, Henry. And I always shall. And please . . . always be my friend.”
“Just try and lose me. You’re one in a million, Anne. They don’t come like you. Now scram. I got to call the agencies. Who knows, maybe another Anne Welles might walk in.”
“Don’t you want me to stay until you find someone? I could help break her in.”
“Nope, beat it. Jennifer’s only gonna be here a short time. You two girls live it up. Incidentally, Jennifer, your alimony comes to seven hundred after taxes. Knowing you, I’ll take the taxes out right away. This picture deal will complicate things. Do you want your checks sent on to you?”
“No, keep my money here. Invest it. Make me rich like Anne.”laughed. “Two Rockefellers I got here. Whoever said it was a man’s world?”
“I’m getting mine the hard way,” Jennifer said grimly.
“Sure. You had to sweat out five months at a swimming pool. Real rough.”flashed her brightest smile. “Yes, it was all just fun and games.”
“Listen, all I ask in the next life is to come back as a beautiful broad,” Henry insisted. “And now you got Paris ahead. You’ll wind up as the French Lana Turner. But do me a favor—don’t spend all your money. You owe me two thousand. I’m deducting it from your alimony. And for Christ’s sake, don’t send for it. Give me a chance to save some of it for you. Clients like the two of you I sure need!”
“Which reminds me,” Jennifer said sweetly. “Advance me another thousand, Henry—”
“Oh come on, Jennifer . . .”
“I need clothes. After all, I’ve got to make a big entrance in Paris.”, 1948rushed into “21” and joined Henry at his usual front table. “Sorry I’m late, but Lil Cole is a slave driver.” She sat down.noticed that every man in the room had turned to look at her. Three weeks of grooming with Kevin Gillmore’s makeup experts had created an indefinable yet eye-catching change. They hadn’t tampered with her natural beauty, yet somehow they had succeeded in heightening it. Before, it used to creep up on you. Now you noticed it immediately. She wore eye makeup and her hair was fuller, like a lion’s mane. She still looked every inch the lady, but she was exciting now.
“I got a long letter from Jennifer this morning,” she said, unaware of the stir she had created.
“I got a short one, asking for money. Anne, how fast can she spend it?”laughed and ordered a salad. “No matter how much she has, she’ll always be in debt. Jennifer is a compulsive spender. I don’t know why—it’s not as if she enjoys the things she buys. She gives most of them away.”shook his head. “I hope she finds a guy—a good guy—over there. I don’t think she’s much of an actress, but she has one hell of a face and body. I hope she makes it pay off. Because that’s all she’s got, and when that goes . . . that’ll be the end of Jennifer.”
“Henry! I gave you more credit. Are you like all the others, taking Jennifer at face value? She’s a wonderful girl, but no man ever takes the trouble to find out. I thought you were different. Jennifer is really a fine person . . . a real friend . . . and sweet. She’s one of the sweetest girls I’ve ever known.”
“Sweet? Okay, I’ll go along with that. Sweet on the surface. That smile is glued on. But tell me something, Anne. How deep do her feelings go?”
“That’s hard to say. Jennifer doesn’t open up too much. You know something? I’ve never really heard her pan anyone. She is sweet, about everyone. I know that’s a funny word to use about Jennifer, but it’s the right word for her. I’ve lived with her—I know. Now Neely is someone you’d think of as sweet, but she isn’t. Neely’s sharp and bright, but she isn’t sweet. Jennifer is. Do you know she never says anything against the Prince? Just that it didn’t work out. No vindictiveness against him, or Tony—or even Miriam. Just says she couldn’t take the boredom of California. No, she’s basically lonely underneath all that glamour, waiting for a man who’ll like her for herself. Because Jennifer really wants just one man, and a normal life and children—”
“So how come she got rid of her baby? That’s when she lost me. She called from the Coast hysterical because they wanted her to get rid of it—at least the sister did. And she wanted to keep it. Then, after I knock my brains out getting her a good alimony, she unloads it. You tell me a dame who wants a kid can’t live on a thousand a week?”
“She never talked about it, or gave any reasons,” Anne said slowly. “But somewhere along the line she must have lost her nerve about raising it alone. I’m sure if she ever found the right man she’d settle down.”looked at her closely. “And what about you?”
“Oh, things are going fine. We’ve finished all the test shots. I pose for Gillian’s first spring layout next week.”
“I don’t mean that, Anne. I mean your future. You know, being the Gillian Girl is going to change things. Once your face starts getting plastered in magazines and on billboards, a lot of excitement is going to come your way.”
“I’ve been through that,” she reminded him. “Remember me? Just two years ago I was on the front pages, in all the columns—Allen Cooper’s Cinderella girl. But it didn’t change me.”said quietly, “It did change you. You didn’t marry Lyon Burke, did you?”studied her plate. “I wanted to, Henry . . . more than anything in the world. I still want to.”
“Why didn’t you? When you had the chance?”
“He wanted me to live in Lawrenceville.”
“That’s what I mean,” he said slowly. “The girl who walked into my office that first day would have gone to the ends of the earth for the man she loved. That’s why I took you. I figured you’d be pretty hard to please. You wouldn’t fall for just any guy. I hadn’t counted on Lyon’s coming back. The minute he walked in, I said ‘Good-by, Anne—this is it.’ Unfortunately Lyon was never capable of really caring for anyone deeply, man or woman. You and me, we’re alike—when we care for someone we make gods of them.”
“Lyon loved me . . . I know he did,” she said stubbornly.
“But not as much as he loved himself. A man who could cut every tie the way Lyon does is a man who could never care deeply. Lyon is like Jennifer in a way. They fall in love, the Lyons and the Jennifers, but they can walk away unscarred. Because Number One always comes first. Remember it, Anne, you’re young. Keep those eyes wide open. And when you meet another guy who’s for real, grab him and run for the hills. Don’t hang around the glamour belt too long.”
“I don’t think there will be anyone else who really matters,” she said. “Lyon was it.”
“Lyon’s gone,” he said roughly. “Over . . . done!”
“I understand, but it still doesn’t change me. I can’t just fall for the first passable man who comes along. I want to marry one day and have children. But I want a man I love.” She sighed. “And I’ll never love anyone like I did Lyon.”
“Listen,” he said. “Don’t be a schmuck like me. I loved, too. Only one dame my whole life. Helen Lawson! And I knew goddam well—right from the start—that she didn’t love me. She wasn’t capable of loving anyone. I taught her everything. And smart as I was, I never stopped loving her. Maybe I never gave myself a chance to find a real girl. So how do I wind up? Alone.”
“Maybe you and Helen could still—”
“Are you kidding!”
“But you said you loved her.”
“I did. I loved what I pretended she was—what I wanted her to be. But now I see her as she really is, and I’m too old to find someone else. It’s catching up with her, though. She’s beginning to look on the outside like she is inside—Old Ironsides! I’d kill anyone who called her that to my face, but I can say it to you. I’m not really in love with Helen any more, but I can’t break the habit. It sneaks up on you, Anne—the habit. And after all emotion is gone and logic takes over, the habit is still there. For the rest of your life. So don’t you, at twenty-two, start building any habit. Lyon isn’t wasting a moment thinking about you. Believe me. And you stop thinking about him.”smiled weakly. “I’ll try. I can only try. . . .”
        Neely
closed the script wearily. No use going over it again. She knew it cold. She stretched luxuriously in the large bed and sipped some Scotch. Eleven-thirty and she was still wide awake. Maybe she should take another doll. She had already taken two . . . maybe another red one. She had to be on the set at six. She wandered into the bathroom and popped a red pill into her mouth. “Come on, you little doll, do the job.”stumbled back into bed. She noticed her appointment book was open. Was she supposed to remember something? She stared. The words blurred, but she recognized Ted’s handwriting. Come home early today. Bud and Jud’s first birthday!, God! Geez, it had been today. She hadn’t even looked at the book in the morning. She had been so stoned by the pills she had just managed to make it out of bed. She had needed two Dexies to wake up. And now she’d missed the birthday party! Goddam those retakes! She leaped out of bed and tiptoed into the nursery. A wild thrill of pride surged through her as she looked at the two sleeping blond heads. “Bud and Jud,” she whispered into the darkness, “Mommy missed your birthday, but she loves you. Oh, God, how she loves you! Mommy didn’t see the book or she’da been there—honest.”tiptoed out and weaved back to her room. Ted was probably mad, off sulking somewhere. Well, Christ, it wasn’t her fault. She hadn’t seen the damn book. So he left it open on her night table. Who in hell can see anything at five in the morning? She lay back against the pillows. They must a had a cake. With a candle. And Miss Sherman and Ted probably sang Happy Birthday to them. A large tear forced its way through the cream on her face. But Geez, they were only babies. They didn’t know it was their birthday. They weren’t hurt. . . .now Ted was taking it out on her. Where in hell was he? Probably cruising, the double-gaited sonofabitch. She recalled the first time she had caught him. Christ! With his arms around that English actor and their tongues down each other’s throats. She had taken a whole bottle of pills that night. They’d had to pump her stomach. She grimaced at the memory. She’d never do that again.Ted had been doubly sweet after. The first night back he had held her close and explained that he had only done it with the guy because he had felt insecure. Her being up for an Oscar two years in a row—even if she didn’t get it—it had made him feel insecure, less of a man. That was the night she had conceived. And twins yet! Those two beautiful blond boys in the nursery were hers. They came out of her body! She felt all warm and weak inside. Only twenty-two . . . the biggest star on the Century lot . . . a house of her own in Beverly Hills . . . and twin boys!pills weren’t working. She wondered whether Jennifer ever took three. She just bet she did. A person would have to take something to make the kind of pictures Jennifer made! Wow! The last one had really caused a sensation. In La Jolla you’d had to stand in line for hours to get in. And there was Jennifer, with her bare tits, spouting French like a native. Maybe they didn’t think anything of it in Paris, but subtitles under a bare ass still didn’t make it art. And Geez, that big story in Look—or was it Life— showing Jen in that fancy Paris apartment. It practically said she was living with that French producer Claude Chardot.wondered what Anne thought about it all. Geez, she owed her a letter. She should thank her for Lyon’s new book, despite those lousy reviews. The trades all said he had gone commercial—or tried to and missed. But hell, maybe he needed money and thought this junk would sell. After all, his first book had gotten raves and didn’t make a dime. She wondered if Anne still cared about Lyon. She must feel something if she had to make sure her friends read his books. But then the columns all hinted she was Kevin Gillmore’s girl. Geez, imagine Anne being the Gillian Girl. You couldn’t open a magazine without seeing her picture. Oh, yes . . . Sunday night. She leaned over and scribbled it in her book. She must remember to watch. Anne was going to do the Gillian commercials on the Big Comedy Hour. Anne on television!. . . Geez, the way everyone in California was acting over that stinking little box. As if it could ever hurt the Industry. But they were all panicking. Contract players in most of the studios were being dropped right and left, and they weren’t signing people to long deals any more—just one-picture or two-picture deals. Lucky she was so big. Boy, they had jumped to sign her. Five nice, solid years . . . money coming in fifty-two weeks, for five more years. . . .wished Ted would come home. She needed him to go to bat for her tomorrow. The dancing sequences were too tough. She could dance, but this was ridiculous. She’d get Ted to say she couldn’t dance in the costumes, then they’d have to make the dances easier. She had hardly been able to catch her breath today. Those green pills were beautiful and kept you awake and skinny, but they also made your heart pound so you couldn’t practice a two-hour dance routine. Maybe Ted was at his office. Maybe he wasn’t mad, just working late. She reached for the phone. No, if he wasn’t at his office she didn’t want to know. And what the hell—what would it prove? He could be at his office doing it with a guy. Jesus, why did she love him this much? He wasn’t even a real man. But then Mel was kinda weakish, too. Why did she get attracted to men like this? They seemed so strong in the beginning—helping her, telling her what to do—real strong. Then they petered out.looked at the clock—midnight. The pills weren’t working. She needed some more Scotch to help them along. Damn—it was downstairs. It was lucky she had learned booze helped the pills work. She wondered if Jennifer had found out about that. The dolls without booze were nothing. Well, she’d just have to go downstairs and get some more.ran down the marble stairs barefoot. The servants were asleep. The lights were out in the living room. While she was groping for the light switch, she heard a splash in the swimming pool. She walked to the patio doors. Who in hell was in the pool? The cabana lights were on, and their reflection hit the pool. It was Ted! She laughed with relief. Geez, what a nut—swimming nude at this hour. She fumbled at the buttons of her pajamas. She’d jump in and surprise him. No, that would wake her completely, and she had an early call. She was just about to shout to him when she saw the girl coming out of the cabana, hesitating shyly, clutching the towel she had draped around her. 1 ... 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 ... 45 2010-07-19 18:44 Читать похожую статью
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