"Darling, what is it?" she asks him as she lays next to him in his bed. She's caressing his cheek with the back of her hand as he stares at the ceiling, paying her no mind. "Joe?"
He doesn't even flinch in acknowledgement as she runs her hands across his bare chest, tracing light patterns as she brings her lips to his ear. Her breath is hot, teasing as she silently offers him everything she has. And, still, he isn't paying attention, his thoughts are elsewhere entirely.
"JOE!" she finally yells, leaning across his body so as to be in his eyesight. Her chocolate eyes are flashing, pain and irritation displayed prominently.
I can say anything I want with my eyes.
"Norma? What-?" Joe's looking at her now, finally looking. He sees her emotions so clearly betrayed in her eyes and a wave of guilt overwhelms him. He brings her hand to his lips, kissing it once as he covers her small hand with his much larger one.
With his attention focused solely on her, she is calmer now. She flashes him a smile, full of love, as she caresses his cheek again, "Joe, darling, what is it?" She presses her lips to his chest before looking at him again.
Her lips, eyes, and nails are all painted, as they always are. Not like… Her, Joe thinks. Red curls spill around her shoulders, a contrast to the blonde ones he'd been envisioning. Guilt rolls over him again and he pulls her body flush against his own, unable to look at her and all the differences.
"Nothing," he whispers, her curls collecting around his neck and smothering him in their vibrant shade. She lifts her head to look at him again, pressing her crimson lips to his neck, trailing soft kisses to his mouth. With a flash, he remembers what images he'd chosen to reflect on while ignoring her moments ago: Bright blue eyes, blonde curls, and virgin lips entirely devoid of painted color.
He rolls over so he is on top of her, indulging in his fantasies as he attacks her with fierce kisses along her jaw line and down her neck, making her writhe beneath him. In his mind, she isn't Norma; she's Betty. He pulls her nightdress-a silken, sultry negligee worth more money than he'd ever see in his life-over her head before covering her neck in kisses, sucking at her pulse point as her fingers curl in his light brown tresses.
"Joe!" she croaks, her nails-painted and manicured as she always kept them- digging into his back as she wriggles with anticipated pleasure, heat surging between her thighs. "My darling!" she is throwing her head back, absorbed in the feeling of his flesh hot against her own. Without much effort on his part, she is panting for air, her chest heaving for strangled breaths.
And now he's pushing her panties-matching, silken lingerie- down her legs and kneeling between her toned thighs as he covers her full lips with his own. He sits back on his knees as he pushes his pajama pants and boxers down his thighs. And then she's sitting up, helping him remove his bottoms as she covers his chest in kisses.
But Betty would never be this forward. She's ruining his fantasy by being aggressive, so he pushes her back into the pillows and she squeals in delight because he's never been aggressive with her.
He's worshipping her breasts, covering their fullness and the rosy buds with soft kisses as he runs his hands over her taut stomach. She arches into his touch, her back leaving the mattress as she moans quietly, begging him.
But Betty's breasts aren't this large, though, and she surely wouldn't make these noises. In a moment of anger, he bites her nipple roughly and she screams, pain mingling with pleasure.
"Joe! My-My darling!" she moans, her nails digging into his back again as he enters her slowly.
He's already regretting biting her and causing her pain, so he begins trailing hot kisses across her breasts and back to her neck as an apology. Both their faces are flashing in his mind. One moment, it's Betty. Then, Norma. Betty, Norma, Betty, Norma; until he doesn't know who he's making love to anymore. He doesn't know who's writhing beneath him, squeezing him between her thighs as she gasps and moans his name. All he knows is that he can't take it anymore and he's taking his anger out on this willing body beneath him, thrusting powerfully into her and grunting as her voice bounces off the walls of the room. Her hands are on his shoulders, caressing his neck lovingly as he forces himself deeper and he's pushing all of his pain and confusion into her.
She's eagerly taking everything he gives her, meeting each of his brutal thrusts in ecstasy as she tries to pull his lips to her own. She coats his lips in passionate kisses, moaning into his mouth when he lets her deepen the kiss. And then she's wrapping her legs around his waist, letting him pound harder into her yielding body as she accepts any possible way to draw him closer. At least while he was inside her, he couldn't leave, she reasons. And if she was in any pain now, it was nothing compared to what would fill her if he left her, she knows. And this excitement was more than she's ever gotten from him so she would take whatever he was doling out.
He grunts and groans as he drives himself deeper and deeper into her velvety heat, loosing himself in the soft, suppleness of her body and the faces of the two women that swam tantalizingly close. And now he's panting, his body dripping with sweat as swells inside her and nears his climax. Her muscles are contracting around him, completely unaccustomed to this cruel treatment, this bruising rhythm. And she cries out, trembling as her own climax catches her unaware; she pants and moans beneath him, whimpering in pleasure as he continues pounding into her and drawing out her orgasm. Her climax sends him into an orgasm of his own and he bites into her shoulder because he has no sure way of knowing which woman's name will escape his lips.
Then, just as suddenly as it started, he pulls out of her and rolls onto his back. He's staring at the ceiling again as she tries to remember how to breathe properly.
In his head, he sees both women. One moment, they are Norma and Betty respectively and the next, they've morphed together. Both women are glaring at him when they are in separate forms, Betty out of anger and Norma out of pain. When they morph, though, she smiles happily at him-dark blue eyes sparkling as the sun reflects in the light auburn curls. She is flawless: her lips are painted a pale red as they part, her eyes devoid of wrinkles as she clenches them tightly, and her chest is full and heaving as he makes love to her.
Her breathing having finally returned to a somewhat normal pace, she pillows her head on his strong chest. "I love you, Joe, my darling," she breathes, her fingers are splayed across his chest as she hugs herself closer to him.
He is thinking of the flawless combination of Norma and Betty when he responds, "I love you, too."
She knows he doesn't mean it, but she lets herself believe him anyway because it's less painful than the truth.
She traces a finger along the pale, white scar left on her wrist from New Years Eve. Yes, she knows, but she lets this, too, become part of the fantastic existence she's created for herself. She knows far more than people give her credit for, far more than she pretends. But this existence she's worked so hard to create is a far more hopeful place. In this place, Joe loves her, Max isn't the one writing all her fan-mail, and her return to the big screen is imminent. So this is what she chooses to believe.