okay, first of all, apologies for the longness of recent posts which are no doubt clogging up everybody's friends pages. for that reason, i smalled this one. also makes it a lot easier for you all to skim over should you feel the need to ignore it.
anyway, this frelling thing kept me up til 4.30 this morning, and i didn't get to sleep til about 5.00 as it was and got about 5 hours sleep because of it. which, actually, is normal for me... anyway...
i started the fanfic!! and it's here. even if you have no idea about "sunset boulevard", i pray you, please read it and offer pointers. comments and hints from movie buffs are gratefully received just so i know if my references make sense. it took me most of the night trying to sort out the years in my head. or, if you like, just congratulate me for writing the world's first SBfic... i could be famous for this ;)
on we go.
TANGO UP ON SUNSET
SUMMARY: A dreamfic, sorta AU, sorta "what-if". Joe Gillis has a dream about that fateful New Year's Eve, but it seems different. When he's about to leave Norma, after the incident with Betty, he suddenly remembers it… can it possibly change his outlook?
RATING: PG. Just because the movie is. And the show probably is as well.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Norma Desmond, Joe Gillis, or Max Von Mayerling. The fic idea is essentially mine, but I stole the tango scene from the show/movie. It was inspirational.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I succumbed! The world's first, apparently, SB fanfic is being born. Just for the record, I'm absolutely certain that we never get told how old Joe is, so in this I'm having him thirty. He's older than Betty, that much I do know, and she's twenty-two. And really, the twenty year gap between him and Norma, in that case, isn't that large. Therefore, it makes him born, more or less, in 1920 or 1919, since SB is set 1949-1950. And with my limited knowledge of early movies, I think my history works. I know, for example, that the original 'Nosferatu' was made in 1918, and the first, silent, movie of "The Phantom of the Opera" (starring Lon Chaney) was made in 1928. So if Joe was five years old in 1925, it's probably feasible he'd be forced into seeing a silent movie with his parents… which might, perchance, star a twenty-year-old Norma Desmond…
Anyway, without further ado (mainly because my brain hurts now), I present my first, somewhat pathetic, and hideously clichéd, attempt at SB-fic…
Tango Up On Sunset
© T'eyla Minh 2002
"Once - you won't remember - if you said 'Hollywood', hers was the face you'd think of," Max had said; Max, in all his wisdom and his respect for his mistress, who believed Joe Gillis was probably too young to even remember her in her glory days.
But Joe remembered, just barely. Heck, he was nearly thirty himself, and he'd seen his fair share of movies as a kid. That's why he was a writer, after all. He'd grown up in the golden era of cinema, and all he'd ever wanted to do was write something that might, one day, star one of the 'greats' in the title role. Along with his name in the opening credits. "Screenplay - by Joseph Gillis…"
Most of those movies, admittedly, had been 'Talkies'. In amongst them, though, there'd been a couple of the old silent epics. At the tender age of five, seated between his parents, and bored out of his skull, Joe remembered seeing one of them. The movie didn't interest him in the slightest, back then, but he remembered, vividly, his mother crying above him for no apparently feasible reason. When he asked her what was wrong, she said nothing, merely dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief, and sighed, staring at the silent face on the screen. Joe watched with her, unable to read the white-on-black words that soared above him, yet miraculously able to understand what was going on through the soulful eyes of the woman who replaced them.
At five, Joe Gillis was already under the mysterious spell of Norma Desmond.
His mother was a huge fan, with a collection of clippings and photographs that almost put Norma's own to shame. Joe grew up surrounded by her image… but as her memory faded amongst her public, and as his mother's tastes changed to Judy Garland, Vivien Lea, and countless other stars, the pictures diminished. By the time he was seven, in fact, family photos and albums crammed with other idols had replaced Norma.
At thirteen, although he didn't remember it, he loved her. They were cleaning out the old boxes of junk for stuff to sell, and, in the bottom of the final box, in a cracked frame, was a picture, the only one left in the house - Norma, pale, monochromatic, and beautiful, staring longingly at some invisible horizon. By then, Norma Desmond was all but forgotten. Even Joe's mother was unable to recall her name, and Joe was left with a picture of a mysterious woman with whom, for a year, he became completely obsessed. Until his father finally threw the thing out. Two months later, she was forgotten again.
Joe, until that moment when Max inadvertently jogged his memory, had cast the entire situation to some deep, dark recess of his brain. "Once - you won't remember…" But God. He remembered…
The months passed. New Year came and went. Joe was trapped - in Norma's mansion, in her life, in the walls she put up around herself, and, for reasons he couldn't begin to fathom, in her heart. As each day came to a close, as the weeks drew them close to her unarranged meeting with De Mille, the possibility of escape seemed further from his grasp.
One night, Norma, calmly, yet with her usual proud delivery, announced, "Tomorrow, we shall pay Mr. De Mille a little visit. I've waited quite long enough."
Max merely smiled. Joe suppressed a sigh, knowing this would happen eventually. "Norma, don't you think you ought to make an appointment-?"
"No." She silenced him with a wave of her hand. "Cecil B. always has time for me. Max! Make sure the car looks presentable. We must impress him."
"Yes, Madame". There was his familiar nod, an automatic movement after so many years. Joe often wondered if Max even realised he was doing it.
"Oh, Joe, darling; I'm so happy. You'll come with me, won't you?"
"Of course," he said, because there was no other answer Norma would accept. "After all, that script of yours has my mark on it, too. I'd hate to have it fall into the wrong hands."
"In Cecil B's hands, it'll be treated like gold dust; don't you worry about that." She smiled. It was a smile of such utter joy that Joe found himself smiling with her. She wrapped him in an embrace that smelt musty underneath her perfume, and he had no choice but to return it. Then, she said, "Thank you, Joe. None of this would have been possible without you."
"I know, Norma. I know."
and that's all i have so far. comments? suggestions? lovely reviews? you know what to do.
oh, and i just found this, which i'd scribbled down in my haste to get to sleep. i want to put this line/s in the fic somewhere. my Muse threw it at me, here's the tweaked version since last night.
"Why he continued the charade, he'd never know. Wasn't it just as cruel to deceive her than to break her heart or let her know the truth? When it boiled down to it, he didn't like any of the options laid out before him. She was too fragile to be broken again, and he was too weak to stop the deception. He liked her, yes, was even fond of her... and she adored him. She needed him, so she said. And so he'd be there. He'd offer kind words, and a shoulder for her to cry on, and gentle kisses that she'd all-too-gratefully return, believing that he loved her.
If deceit was all it took to keep Norma happy, then he could provide it. Even if he hated himself every minute for doing it."
*considers killing inner shipper. decides not to. shippiness gooooood...* :D