"Don, stop!" Kathy giggled. Her squeals of delight told Don she didn't really want him to stop. He kept nibbling her neck playfully and they laughed as they lay in bed together. It had been a lazy, rainy Saturday. They'd spent most of the day in bed. Don loved that Kathy lived with him now. When they lived apart from each other, it was hard to coordinate a time to meet. More like a time to rendezvous, since at that point, they hadn't told the press, Lina, or anyone that they were together. But now that they were under one roof, they spent every moment, it seemed, glued to each other's lips, making love, or in bed together.
"Don, I'm serious, stop," Kathy said sternly. Don stopped, but Kathy pulled his lips to hers for a kiss. She reached under his T-shirt to caress his body. Don smiled. Kathy loved his body. His plain white T-shirt only emphasized how handsome and well-built he was. It was a bit transparent, so Kathy could see the lines of his stomach muscles. She loved how warm he always was. Eventually, it was Don that broke the kissing, gazing into her eyes.
"Are you ready for Thursday?"
Next Thursday was Thanksgiving. They were traveling to Texas to visit Kathy's family and tell them the news. Don's family was flying in as well.
"My dad will love you, you're just like him," Kathy said confidently. "I don't know about my mom or my brother. What about your folks?"
"I think they'll like you. How could they not?" He smiled and pecked her on the lips and the kiss deepened until Kathy broke it. Although Don kept it cool, they both worried that Kathy's Jewish parents wouldn't be so accepting of Don and his family's Catholic faith, or vice versa.
"But now's not the time to be worrying about that," she got out of bed and went into the spacious closet that she and Don shared as Don's eyes followed her. She poked her head out of the doorway and announced excitedly, "because tonight's my bachelorette party!"
Don grinned. "Where are you guys going?"
"I don't know," Kathy came out of the closet in a scarlet dress with frills. A set of pearls that Don had given her for her birthday hung around her neck. "Lina won't tell me anything."
She sat down in her makeup chair. Don got out of bed as she was applying lipstick and started to kiss her shoulder. "You're wearing my pearls. Lina won't like that. She's not gonna do anything for you now," he teased.
Kathy giggled again. "Stop!" she pushed his face out of the way. She turned to face him.
"Be good, okay?" Don pleaded after a short kiss. "don't do anything I wouldn't do."
"Like bring home a girl?" she retorted, raising her eyebrows.
"Hey, if you bring home a girl, you need to call Cos so we can watch!"
They both laughed and Kathy smacked him playfully.
"Linaaaaa," Kathy complained. "where are we going?"
"Will you stop complaining? Jesus, girl, you're like a broken record. Stop being such a flat tire!"
Kathy, Lina, Zelda and some other girls were piled into Lina's Studebaker.
"Just close your eyes," Lina demanded.
Kathy rolled her eyes before she closed them. Eventually, she felt the car stop and Lina's hand lead her out. She was lead into a smoky, musty room whose scent she recognized immediately.
"Lina, are we--?"
"Open your eyes and find out," Lina smiled.
Kathy did so and her suspicion was confirmed.
"The Coconut Grove?" she turned to Lina. Lina was still smiling that thoughtful smile. Zelda stepped forward.
"We thought you'd like to come back to your old stomping grounds," Zelda smiled too.
Kathy looked out over the scene with wide eyes and baited breath. The Grove was just as she remembered; the dancers, most of them her old friends, were performing onstage. Phil, the owner and bartender, was still behind the bar. Kathy even recognized some of the regular patrons.
"Oh, girls, this is fabulous!" she hugged Lina and Zelda and the other girls. "Thank you."
"Stop being so sappy!" Lina teased. "let's get a table and get splifficated!"
The girls cheered and sat at a table in front of the stage. Phil saw them and brought them drinks. He recognized Kathy and gave her a hug.
"Oh, Phil, how are you?"
"Just fine, and you?"
"Copacetic. Phil, I'm getting married in April!"
Phil gave Kathy another hug and laughed jovially. "Congratulations! Who's the lucky fella?"
Kathy blushed. "Don Lockwood."
Phil's eyes widened. He jumped onstage with Kathy. "Ladies and gentlemen!" he began as the dancers stopped mid-dance and were angry at first until they recognized Kathy and gave her lots of hugs.
"I'm sure all of you remember Miss Kathy Selden. Well, she's about to become Mrs. Kathy Lockwood!"
The girls screamed and wrapped her in a giant group hug. Several of them admired Don and even knew him from when he and Kathy used to come to the Grove on dates.
"Phil!" a girl named Doris yelled. "Stop blabbering and go get us some giggle water!"
Phil happily obliged and the rest of the night followed in a happy haze. Kathy even performed a few numbers with the girls in her old costume for old time's sake. At the end of the night, Lina offered to take her home, but she demurred; feeling pleasantly buzzed, she wanted to spend more time at her old workplace with Phil, a man who was a father figure to her when she first came to Hollywood.
The Grove, which earlier had held so much life, was now dark and deserted. Remnants of the party remained. Kathy was still in her old pink costume as she sat at the bar nursing a bourbon and watching Phil clean the counter top. Kathy chuckled.
"Nothing has changed."
"You know I don't like change, Kathy," Phil replied, making Kathy laugh.
"That I remember!"
Phil stopped cleaning and looked at Kathy and shook his head.
"Look at you, Kat. You went from being a scared little girl to an actress and marrying one of the best actors in Hollywood. When the hell did that happen?"
Kathy looked into her glass and laughed and shook her head. "I'd like to know that too," she looked up. "it's all happened so fast."
Phil threw his rag down and took Kathy's hand in his. His brown hair was balding now.
"Kathy, I know I never used to treat you and the other girls with respect much..."
Kathy laughed. "Phil, what matters is that you do now."
Phil smiled wistfully. "Don's pictures are swell. He seems like a nice fella."
"He's amazing," Kathy reflected. "between him and you, you made life for a little girl in Hollywood easy."
Phil smiled again.
"Let me take you home to him."
"Gladly. I'm tired."
Phil came around the bar and the two embraced. Phil took her home.