|A Horse of a Different Color
Author: Ronnie Rocket PM
"It's strange, and Audrey doesn't know how or why she knows this, but on the same day, separated by seven states, she and Dale saw identical wrens digging for worms." An Audrey Horne character study.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Audrey H. & D. Cooper - Words: 3,289 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 14 - Follows: 2 - Published: 01-09-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7727141
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: A Horse of a Different Color
Rating: T (for suggestive content)
Summary: "It's strange, and Audrey doesn't know how or why she knows this, but on the same day, separated by seven states, she and Dale saw identical wrens digging for worms." An Audrey Horne character study.
Authors' note: As mentioned above, this is an Audrey Horne character study. Consequently, it contains a healthy dose of Cooper. After all, they go together like Simon and Garfunkel, and their relationship is pretty much as epic, if not tragically flawed, as it gets. Therefore, our goal in writing this fic was to explore what makes the Cooper/Audrey pairing so special, and a lot of research went into it. Listed below, under our secondary A/N, you will find a detailed catalogue of quotes, symbols, and images that directly influenced this fic. They include, but are not limited to: literary references, Old Hollywood legends, and Twin Peaks lore (most of which comes directly from David Lynch, Mark Frost, and/or Robert Engels).
Hope you enjoy!
Audrey's first love is her father, Benjamin Horne, hotel magnate and businessman extraordinaire. She is four years old, and he is a radiant void, a jigsaw puzzle of sterile and selfish vice just waiting to be solved. His eyes are her eyes, and his smile is her smile, but his heart, black and acrid, is not her heart. Still, he loves her, and she loves him, gently and madly and, perhaps, ill-advisedly.
When Audrey turns five, she asks her father to marry her, and, to her delight, he doesn't laugh. Instead, he stoops low, kisses her on the cheek, and says, "Girls are not sheep, my dear, and not every man tempts them." Although Audrey hasn't the vaguest idea what he means by this, she doesn't forget his words. In fact, they stay with her, always, like a reoccurring dream, and, for a while, that's enough. Then, in the fall, Audrey starts school, and Laura – dearly disturbed Laura – comes waltzing into Ben's life. The perfect foil for his rebellious daughter, she steals him away like a thief in the night, and that's that.
By the time Audrey celebrates her sixth birthday, Ben has all but forgotten her. Sure, he buys her a miniature mansion, complete with Persian rugs, embroidered draperies, and Lacewood furniture, but what does that matter? He no longer dances with her, or quotes Shakespeare over breakfast, or tucks her in at night. Instead, he rocks Laura back and forth on his knee and sings "Run, Rabbit, Run," his voice echoing out into emptiness, his smile almost woeful.
If I've got to be true, what chance do you stand?
Take flight, turn tale, get out while you can.
Run, rabbit, run, as fast as you can. Don't look back.
Run, rabbit, run, as fast as you can. Don't look back.
Audrey doesn't look back. Instead, she breaks apart, nerve-by-nerve, and becomes everything Laura's not. She plays with her food, and throws temper tantrums, and pesters the hotel guests. She even hides in empty rooms until someone, usually Julie, notices she's missing. But it doesn't matter, none of it does, because Ben still prefers Laura, condoning the absurdity of his daughter's behavior by shaking his head and murmuring, "You're just an iceberg in paradise, my dear. An iceberg in paradise."
Maybe he's right. Maybe all Audrey's good for is stirring up trouble, poisoning the well, etcetera, etcetera. After all, she's a horse of a different color, and nobody wants a purple horse, not when they can have a blonde one. Not when they can have Laura.
Audrey's second love is Robert Taylor, the movie star. She is ten years old, and he is action, adventure, and intrigue in a three-piece suit. His eyes are diamonds, and his teeth are pearls, and she loves him with a premature ferocity that often destroys adult lives. You see, he's her ideal, her Adonis, and when she sees him for the first time, twenty feet high at Uptown Theatre, a silent explosion of love takes place in the pit of her stomach. He's the most beautiful man she's ever seen, and he says the most beautiful things.
One day, following a matinee screening of Waterloo Bridge, Audrey decides she'll never love anyone like she loves Robert Taylor, which is a crying shame, considering he's been dead for nearly fifteen years. Still, he's everything a girl could ever want – handsome, debonair, charming, a wonderful dancer, a fine flyer. There's nothing he can't do, no beauty he can't romance, and that's why he hangs above Audrey's bed, forever smiling, a dead-leaf echo of his former self.
On Christmas Day, 1982, Audrey spends the night at Donna Hayward's house. It's her first sleepover, and she feels like a stranger in a strange land, so she does what the natives do; she plays two truths and a lie, drinks cherry Kool-Aid, and watches I Love Lucy reruns. Then, when all the other girls zip into their sleeping bags, Audrey does the same. Only, instead of sleeping, she lies there, motionless, chasing after a dream that refuses to slow down.
Finally, at half past eleven, Audrey turns on the TV and, to her surprise, comes face-to-face with Robert Taylor. This time, he's wooing Margaret Sullavan, with her cropped hair and big, bright mouth. Something about it makes Audrey's insides scream, the pain red and loud. So, without thinking, without calculating the risks, she unzips her sleeping bag and applies clumsy fingers to her young matrix, the pain receding into something new, something foreign. It's only when she hears Mrs. Hayward whisper, "Audrey, what on earth are you doing?" that she squeaks her release, hand trembling violently against her limp thigh.
That night, after her mother and father are finished scolding her, Audrey sneaks into the kitchen and steals a pair of paper scissors, which she uses to crop her hair short, like one of those leading ladies. Perhaps, in the coming years, she'll find her own Robert Taylor, and he'll take her away from this prison.
Audrey's third love is John Kroupa, the older brother of her classmate, Klara. She is fifteen, and he is a senior, the football team's star running back, bigger than a bull and twice as strong. All at once, Audrey is clumsily, shamelessly, agonizingly in love with him, and he says he's in love with her, too. For several days, all Audrey can do is eat, sleep, and breathe John Kroupa, her whole system vibrating with the frenzy of mutual possession, the desire to absorb another human being whole.
The first time Audrey kisses John, the first time she kisses anybody, she doesn't know what to do. Her lips are quivering, and a bubble of hot poison is slowly unfurling in her stomach, like a cancerous flower, so she bends her head with a sleepy, drooping movement and presses her mouth to the lobe of John's ear, her bare knees caught between his body and the dashboard. For a moment, he seems surprised, his skin heating beneath Audrey's lips. However, before she can pull away, he turns his head, emits a dreamy sigh, and rubs his dry mouth roughly against hers. The kiss doesn't last very long, and when it's over, John turns on the radio and says, "What do you think of Roy Orbison?"
That night, when Audrey comes home with lipstick on her teeth, nobody says anything. Instead, they turn away from her and pretend she's invisible, their forks scraping a familiar melody against Grandma Lillian's South Hampton china. By now, they know better than to acknowledge the little ghost in saddle shoes, and Audrey's too used to their negligence to care. Tossing her hair nervously, she runs upstairs and locks the bathroom door behind her. She won't brush her teeth tonight, not while the taste of John's mouth is still so fresh on hers.
Two days later, at the Double R Diner, John gives Audrey his varsity sweater, and she goes mad with tenderness, promising to make it up to him somehow. Unfortunately, somehow turns out to be too much necking and too little talking beneath the football bleachers later that evening. As Audrey squirms like a fish out of water, John applies voracious lips to her neck and shoulder, his gorilla mitts palming the twists and turns of her soft, pubescent body. "Dammit, baby, if you don't gum up the whole works, then I'm a monkey's uncle," he says, pressing something hard into Audrey's leg, and she slaps him, her soot-black lashes matted.
They don't go out again, and, for a while, Audrey is lovelorn, wandering from room to room like a dog-eyed replica of her former self. Thankfully, children recover from heartbreak quickly, and, despite what she may think, Audrey is still a child, too naïve to understand the ramifications of a simple goodnight kiss.
Audrey's fourth love is Delbert Green, her algebra teacher. She is sixteen, and he is a square mind with a square jaw, the kind of man whose polished vocabulary reflects something highbrow, like a bridge club or book club. On the first day of school, Audrey finds him unbearably dull, like those milk and water cocktails Johnny drinks at fundraisers and weddings. However, as time ticks by, his voice, so soft and unassuming, begins to percolate her subconscious, planting seeds of admiration, curiosity, and lust.
By the time Christmas rolls around, Audrey is hopelessly smitten, her notebook covered in girlish doodles and half-finished equations. Something about loving an older man makes her feel superior, like she knows the answer to a question her peers haven't even asked yet. Two days before winter break, Audrey trades in her saddle shoes for a pair of velvet pumps from Mommy Dearest's closet, and, as far as she can tell, they have the desired effect. Following a lecture on polynomials, Delbert pulls her aside, his hand leaving a ring of white around her wrist. "Has anyone ever told you that you're a very pretty girl, Ms. Horne?" he asks, and Audrey ducks behind the natural side-wave of her hair, a blush creeping up her neck.
That winter, all she can do to keep from going crazy is scribble algebraic equations on napkins and pray that her scholastic aptitude has increased. After all, Delbert Green is a man of categories, one who, by nature, is prone to undergo the fascination of numbers and their many children. He doesn't have time for fools, and, although Audrey doesn't consider herself one, she's never been good with numbers. Still, she's plucky and determined, and that's got to count for something, right?
Three weeks into the new semester, Audrey receives a 'B' on her quartic equations test, and, for the first time in months, she feels mile after mile of accomplishment rolled up in her calves. "You know," she tells Delbert, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth, "I feel like I could run for days." Instead of smiling back, Delbert goes to the door, closes it with his foot, and motions for Audrey to sit down, which she does. "Would you like to make an 'A' in my class, Ms. Horne?" he asks, and, quite suddenly, Audrey is plunged into a nightmare of her own creation. Hot puffs of air assault her ear as deft fingers beat a rhythm against her nylon-clad knee, and the words "on your back" keep replaying in her head, like the chorus to a sad, sad song.
Later that night, Audrey lies in bed, hot, thick, opalescent tears burning tracks down her cheeks. She's still a virgin, yes, but she doesn't feel innocent anymore, and, who knows, maybe she's not. For the umpteenth time in her too-short life, Audrey mourns the loss of something she never really had to begin with.
Audrey's fifth love, her forever and always love, is Special Agent Dale Cooper, FBI. She is eighteen, and he is a rigid moralist, kicking sin, cuffing crime, and assigning absolute sovereignty to tenderness, decency, and order. When they first meet, Audrey is possessed by the notion that they've had the same dreams, compared notes, even found strange affinities in a universe known only to them, a universe where time ceases to exist, and the birds sing forever and ever. It's strange, and Audrey doesn't know how or why she knows this, but on the same day, separated by seven states, she and Dale saw identical wrens digging for worms. That was four years prior to their first meeting, and, when it happened, Audrey could have sworn she felt his thoughts floating through hers.
During the three-week stretch of time that Dale is investigating Laura Palmer's murder, what was once a quiet, humdrum town quickly becomes an Otto Preminger movie, and Audrey is swept away by the sheer romance of it all. So much so, in fact, that she plays the role of adolescent vamp to a T, batting her eyes and swishing her hips and, on a particularly bleak night, slipping between Dale's sheets. It's hard to explain, but something about him sets Audrey's spine aglow, and, without hesitation, she offers him her heart, her brain, her entrails, but he refuses to take them, opting instead for an evening of friendly conversation and artery-clogging junk food. Between longing glances and sips of chocolate malteds, Dale says, "You're a neat girl, Audrey," and she knows, as clearly as she knows that she will die, that she loves him more than anything she's ever seen or imagined on earth.
Following Leland Palmer's death, Dale packs his bags for Philadelphia, and Audrey has to pinch herself to see if she's really awake. After all, its woefully unfair that she be separated from a man much vaster, much more enduring and powerful than the accumulation of matter or energy in Twin Peaks. As Audrey bids Dale a tearful goodbye, the sound of children's laughter floods her ears, and she can feel warm lips pressed against the back of her neck.
Over the course of the next few weeks, the whole world changes, and so does Audrey. Following the explosion at the Savings and Loan, she discovers that Dale's isn't really Dale, but some sort of shadow-self, a dreg of delirium who lives and breathes inside a human host. Terrified and heartbroken, Audrey becomes a permanent fixture at his bedside, her whispers of "never stopped loving you" and "please forgive me" keeping him company day and night. Following Dale's release from the hospital, Audrey becomes something of a space traveler, accompanying Major Briggs and Sherriff Truman into the unknown, where, amongst the ghosts and goblins of infinite melancholy, she discovers the secret to human goodness, and Dale is Dale again.
Once the rescue mission is complete, once Audrey has Dale safely in her arms, she bursts into tears. After everything they've been through – One Eyed Jack's, her father's arrest, Annie Blackburn, John Justice Wheeler, the Black Lodge – they're finally together, and nothing will ever keep them apart again. Standing on tiptoes, Audrey kisses the corner of Dale's parted lips, and, to her surprise, he doesn't pull away. Instead, he gathers her in his arms and compresses her against the wall, his knee rising to steady her as she goes limp, her head drooping sleepily against his. "I'd know you any time, any place, anywhere," Audrey whispers, and, suddenly, she and Dale are on the bed, kissing and caressing and, more importantly, imbibing and assimilating every particle of one another's souls.
Later that night, Dale strokes Audrey's hair and asks, "Have I ever told you about that dream I had a few years back? The one with the wren?" Smiling, Audrey shakes her head and kisses the sharp line of his jaw. Loving Dale Cooper is a bit like having a cancerous tumor, she's decided; the minute you're done exercising your feelings for him, they grow back worse than before.
A/N: Well, there you have it, our very first Cooper/Audrey story. Listed below, for your viewing pleasure, we have included a detailed catalogue of quotes, images, and symbols that directly influenced this fic. Hopefully, the inclusion of said catalogue will help clear up any confusion.
1.) According to Robert Engels, Cooper and Audrey share a dream space. This is alluded to twice, the first time being when Audrey prays to Cooper at One-Eyed Jack's, the second, when Major Briggs shows Cooper the transmission reading, "Cooper/Cooper/Cooper." Apparently, Cooper and Audrey's somnolent correlation was going to figure heavily into Twin Peaks' third season. Consequently, while writing this fic, we included several lines, the most prominent being, "It's strange, and Audrey doesn't know how or why she knows this, but on the same day, separated by seven states, she and Dale saw identical wrens digging for worms," to illustrate just how close Cooper and Audrey have always been.
2.) According to David Lynch and Mark Frost, The Wizard of Oz was one of many films that influenced Twin Peaks. Consequently, we included the 'horse of a different color' line to pay homage to it. Additionally, in a cut scene from Season One, Cooper tells Audrey, "Audrey, you're a horse of a different color."
3.) In addition to being influenced by film and television, Twin Peaks was, by David Lynch's own admission, heavily influenced by Old Hollywood. Therefore, we decided to include the line, "Has anyone ever told you that you're a very pretty girl, Ms. Horne?" to allude to one of cinema's most glamorous starlets, Elizabeth Taylor. Apparently, upon first meeting the Cleopatra actress, future husband Richard Burton said, "Has anyone ever told you that you're a very pretty girl, Ms. Taylor?"
4.) During Twin Peaks' opening credits, a wren is shown perched on a branch. In our fic, we allude to such a bird on two occasions, the first being when Audrey recalls seeing one digging for worms, the second, when Cooper asks, "Have I ever told you about that dream I had a few years back? The one with the wren?"
5.) According to Robert Engels, Major Briggs was to have figured heavily into the third season's primary storyline. As the only character in possession of a perfect courage, he would have been instrumental in helping Harry and Audrey rescue Cooper from The Black Lodge.
6.) As mentioned above, Old Hollywood had a huge influence on Twin Peaks. Consequently, we chose to make Audrey's second love a Golden Era movie star. Now, is it just us, or does Robert Taylor bear a striking resemblance to Dale Cooper?
Well, that pretty much wraps things up. We hope you enjoyed reading this story half as much as we enjoyed writing it. If you'd like to let us know what you thought, please drop us a line. We'd love to hear from you. Until next time...