Movies and Moonflower
A fic by Brother Grimace
My God – she just looks so much like Moonflower that it's just frightening...
"You're not feeling well at all - I can tell," Stacy Rowe piped, perched in the driver's seat of Helen's Range Rover. "Your color - it's so green - well, not green exactly, more like a sea foam, or a light-struck emerald, and it's not your color at all... have you ever considered getting a tan? A light tan would work wonders for you - just enough to put a touch of gold in your skin, and it wouldn't damage your skin if you did it right, and you have to watch out for those self-tanning lotions... In the next Fashion Club newsletter, we're doing a special report of tanning parlors, and how you have to watch out and make sure that they clean the tanning beds - OH! You know, a girl needs to take as much care of her hair as she does her skin when she tans, especially at the salons! People forget that they need to use extra moisturizers in addition to their regular hair care regimen when they're planning to tan; there's a world of things that you can do to keep your hair at it's best and looking as good as the rest of you - after all, they don't refer to our hair as 'our crowning glory' for nothing. Oh, there are lots of girls who say that we care most about our weight or the size or our boobs, but it's really our hair that defines us! You know, that's the first thing that they notice - 'look at the blonde with the rack,' or 'She's the redhead over by the window'; they always do that. Me, I've heard guys talk - I'm 'the one with the pigtails and the legs'... I've always had nice legs, I think, and they look great when I've got a nice tan..."
Okay, maybe not so much when she's talking, Helen amended herself, feeling the nauseated, quivering sensation in her stomach that was the deciding vote in letting Quinn's little friend drive her to the medical clinic. "Thank you for driving the car, Stacy," she said, looking flushed as she leaned back in the passenger-side seat. "I just haven't been feeling well, and so..." Her words trailed off as she turned to watch Stacy drive.
"I'm just glad that I was able to help, Mrs. Morgendorffer!" Stacy exclaimed, almost aglow at being able to drive. "I was coming over to go over some articles on the new spring skirt lengths with Quinn, and you just looked like you needed some help - I mean, you had your head down, and you looked so, so sick and such-!"
Helen glanced around the car absently, and noticed the title of the book sticking out of Stacy's bag. A Wrinkle In Time...
"Did you say something, Mrs. Morgendorffer?"
"Oh – I was just noticing the book in your bag," she replied, turning her attention back to Stacy. "Back when I was in college, I had a friend who was a big fan of that novel."
"Yes – I seem to remember how we spent an afternoon going through every bookstore in the Tri-Cities - then she looked on her own until she found a first edition copy, and she was just so happy..." Helen let her memories carry her backwards through time. "It took so long, and she just wouldn't give up searching..."
"'Tri-Cities' – That's right! Quinn said that you went to Middleton College!"
Stacy braked to let a minivan packed with squealing kids cut in front of her. "You had a friend who was into science fiction? Back when you were in college?"
"Well, she was a physics major, so I guess she passed it off as research, and she could get her parents to buy the books because 'she needed them for her studies'! Some of the best science fiction ever written was around... 'in my time'," Helen laughed, seeing the way Stacy blushed. "Asimov, Heinlein – L. Ron Hubbard was a name I saw a bit of, I actually met Harlan Ellison-"
I actually got stoned with Harlan Ellison, Helen mentally corrected herself.
"-I could tell you about the time I got dragged to a showing of 2001: A Space Odyssey'!"
"You saw it when it first came out-?"
The note of soft wonder, almost awe, in Stacy's voice made Helen feel as if she were sitting once again in the first row of the Cavilion Theatre, set in downtown Middleton and a good walk away from the campus, and her mind once again took flight...
I just plopped down in a seat, still sweaty from the walk with Mook, Ryvre, Paige (I'd almost forgotten that we used to call her 'Serenity'), Willow and Coyote... I took the top off my large cherry Coke with extra ice and dug out a couple of cubes, putting them on my forehead and letting my head fall back.
Forbes had tagged along, her hand permanently stuck in Paige's as they sat together at the end of the row, while Mook, Willow and Coyote were devastating that HUGE three-gallon tub of buttered popcorn that was a specialty of the theatre. I watched the movie – I had a bit of interest – after all, Apollo I had just happened the year before, the 'space race' was on, and Mook had badgered us all into writing letters to NBC for that silly space show about the 'Enterprise' something... that Leonard Nimoy was sexy as all get out, though... even Page and Forbes thought so. The movie started – that shot of the bone going up and the spaceship coming down called too much attention to itself, in my opinion, although the audience certainly appreciated it, what with all the 'oooohs' and 'aaahhhhs' that it brought out of them...
That's when I felt a good kind of warm go through me; I turned my head, and Moonflower was sliding into the seat next to me.
Not even the images of the folks sitting on the floor smoking their joints, or of Paige and Forbes feeding one another popcorn (Forbes called her 'Paige', so she was moving away from her 'Serenity' handle – and she'd calmed down considerably, too) while Willow and Coyote made 'kissy-faces' at them, could block out the sensations I was beginning to feel as Moonflower brushed slightly against me as she reached for my soda without asking.
"Buy your own!"
Coyote started making kissy-faces at us when Moonflower said, "I'll spring for the brew and eats later," and she threw a piece of ice at him. "Oh, stop it."
I curled up in my seat, and glanced over at her. "What were you up to this afternoon?"
"Had to do some work – I don't have much time in town."
"That trip through the bookstores slowed me down – but it was worth it. I'd have done anything to get my hands on a first edition! This is so cool – I've got a first edition of A Wrinkle In Time-! Oh, is that a real cherry cola?"
The sipping sound Moonflower made caused even Paige and Forbes to look over, annoyed, and a kernel of popcorn flashed past her head. "Just like school on Saturday – no class," she said lightly, making sure the sound of her next sip could be heard in the last row. "Nice friends, Lavender. I guess we'll be eating Chinese alone... oh, man, I always wanted to see this movie in a theatre..."
"What – you're going to be stuck in a classroom for that long?"
"You talk like you'd never get to come out and see it!"
"Oh – well, yeah, I never really get much chance to go to the movies much anymore. I spend all my time in classes, or the lab, or studying, or writing up reports. Boy, I'm not going to see daylight for a year after I write this one up..."
"Write what up?"
"Write what up?"
"You said that you won't see daylight for a year after 'you write this up'. What are you talking about?"
That's when the guy in the seat just behind us spoke up and tapped Moonflower on the shoulder. "Excuse me - some of us actually came to see the show up on the screen. Would you please just kiss her and let us watch the movie in peace?"
I remember the look on that guy's face as Moonflower turned around, looked that jerk right in the eye and said: "Excuse me. You should pay attention to something else." He looked back into her eyes and then shut right up; I looked at her as she shifted back into her seat, and said, "Now, that was impressive."
"Haven't looked in a mirror lately, have you?"
I don't know why I said that.
She looked over at me and said, in that tone of wonder and awe, "You think that I'm impressive...?"
"Yes... Yes. I do."
I turned back around and started to watch the movie. I could feel those eyes burrowing into me, and something inside me begged me to not turn back... I've always wondered what would have happened if I had listened, and done what I was supposed to when something like that happened... or if, for the one time in my life, what I did – it was because it was exactly what I wanted, instead of doing what was expected of me by everybody else watching...
I didn't want an audience... not with her...
Suddenly – none of that mattered to me anymore.
The images on-screen began to take on all sorts of weird colors, lights, shapes and movement; Keir Dullea's eyes blinked on for a moment, and I don't know why I remember that... The lights began to make the audience cheer and go wild; Mook was sitting and watching the film quietly, but started to come alive in his seat as the lights and colors on the screen began to get wilder (funny, he's the same way when it comes to sex), and I felt Moonflower's hand on my cheek. I let her turn my head back to her, slowly; I was looking into those large eyes, the way her eyelashes were so long, and that little bead of sweat that just hung from one eyelash like a tiny, shining Christmas bulb - yes, please, if you really want to, with me...
... It was our own tiny moment of forever, and we were there for ourselves, and they were all so into their fantasy that they never noticed ...
...And that - that was the first time I kissed Moonflower.
"Mrs. Morgendorffer- Mrs. Morgendorffer! Are you all right?"
Helen realized that the car had stopped; she looked over to see a sign that read 'Entrance– Middleton College of Medicine at Lawndale/Family Medical Center'. "Are you all right?"
"Yes... Yes, I'll be fine," she replied, stepping out of the car. "I'll be fine."
"I'll park the car, and I'll come with you!"
"Considering the alternative – my letting a seventeen-year-old drive around in my car unsupervised – yes. You can tag along until I'm finished, and I'll give you a ride home."
"My birthday's on the fifth of November – I started school late, so I turned eighteen back in November, a few weeks before-" She turned so red that she seemed to have a bad sunburn. "I'm eighteen."
As Helen stepped from the vehicle, Stacy muttered to herself, 'A first edition...'
"Stacy – did you say something?"
"Oh. OH! No, I was just thinking about what you said," Stacy said. "Your friend found a first edition – that would be so cool to have. I'd do anything to get my hands on a first edition."
Something about the way she said that made a cold chill flow around Helen's spine; she took a step back as Stacy glanced over at her, and as their eyes met, Helen had the most profound sensation of déjà vu that she would ever experience... she noticed the size and shape of Stacy's eyes, their exact color; the length of her eyelashes, and how they moved as Stacy's eyes blinked...
"Mrs. Morgendorffer – are you okay?" Stacy asked, leaning closer – too close, Helen thought, and immediately dismissed the ludicrous thought nibbling at the edge of reason. "You looked – weird – just then."
Helen straightened herself, and brushed at her hair. "Yes, Stacy. Yes. I – I'm fine."
4 March 2008