A/N: Okay, this one is Kumadapuma's fault, because she mentioned Erik in connection with Angelina Jolie, and got me thinking. It's dedicated to Angelofsnow, because she got me feeling bad about my Mystique bashing in Stork. This will be a much shorter story than Stork, and should not interfere with it. The title is taken from the lyrics of a Squirrel Nut Zippers song.
Disclaimer: Don't own a thing, don't make a dime.
Date: 1955 Place: Eastern Europe
The alarm went off. 'Roberta Rowan' reached over to silence it, blearily. It wouldn't do for someone to catch her before she put her face on, so to speak, and she didn't trust the locks on the door. She never trusted the locks on any door.
I am so tired of being a heaving bosom for the cameras. Seven years in 'The Business', and what roles do I get? Secondary parts, and almost always the villainess. Why can't I be the angel for once?
She rolled over and sat up. Hal Wheaton was filming a new version of Dracula, and the gimmick here was that the location was a castle the historic Dracula had lived in for a while. It was supposed to add authenticity to the movie.
Ha. Authenticity, she thought, as she slid into the chair in front of the vanity table. The mirror needed re-silvering. What a dump this place is. The finest hotel in Latveria, and it's no better than a two-dollar a week flophouse in L.A.
She pulled out a publicity photo of herself for reference, although she hardly needed it anymore, and began to put her face on…
First, the skin. Glowing cobalt just wouldn't do, not for 'Roberta Rowan', and certainly not for 'Lucy Holmwood', the victim turned vampire she played. As she concentrated, it faded and paled into Elizabeth Taylor's pink and white porcelain complexion, only more perfect in texture. Then the eyes—from vivid yellow they turned as blue as her skin was before, and their shape changed, too, the orbital ridges morphing into those of the young Marlene Dietrich. Joan Crawford's arching, expressive eyebrows, Garbo's forehead and cheekbones…
When she had first decided how she would look for Hollywood, 'Roberta' (Robin to her friends) had taken old movie magazines, and gone through them, looking for the best features of the most beautiful women in the world. Then she had carefully cut and pasted them together into a new face, the ultimate face, with Lauren Bacall's mouth, Katherine Hepburn's chin and jawline., Clara Bow's dimples, and Barbara Stanwyck's nose, until she was satisfied.
Then she copied it.
At first, she could only hold it for a few hours, and anything could break her concentration at the onset—one sneeze, and she was bright blue again, but she got better at it. Now… It was only when she slept that she reverted.
The studios noticed her immediately. She was phenomenally beautiful, after all, a walking dream. When she walked down the street, she caused traffic accidents. And she could wear clothes wonderfully—partly owing to the fact that instead of altering her clothes to fit her shape better, she could alter her body to fit her clothes perfectly.
However, while the roles came, the plum roles didn't. I know why, of course. The casting couch. It isn't that I'm not ambitious, because I am, or because I like girls instead of men, like Lizbeth Scott. Or that I'm too pure. It's that any intimacy beyond a kiss or two shatters my control, and wham, there I am, blue lizardskin and all. Even if I'm not enjoying it very much.
So I have an off-screen image of a beautiful icicle, and an on-screen image of a sexual volcano about to erupt. And the two times I tried…She pushed the memories of those disasters out of her head. While technically she was no longer a virgin, she effectively might as well have been.
"Miss Rowan?" It was her maid, Madelaina, with her breakfast. "Good morning, miss. Here's your coffee. Mister Wheaton sent these chocolates."
"Very nice, but not at this hour. Put them there." She indicated the corner of the vanity, and picked up a powder puff. "Another day in the salt mines…"
"Good evening, Miss Rowan. Your car is waiting." One advantage to being what she was: indefatigability. She had boundless energy.
On reentering her hotel room, the first thing she and Madelaina noticed was the mess—the brand new, still sealed box of chocolates had been torn into, and the frilly brown paper cups were strewn everywhere. The other foodstuffs she kept on hand—the tinned meat, the crackers, the peanut butter—had been similarly raided.
"Rats." stated Madelaina.
"This can't have been done by rats." she said, looking at it.
"Oh, yeah." said Madelaina. "Just ones that go on two legs, not four. I'm going to get the manager. Don't go in, Miss Rowan. They might still be there."
While she waited, she heard a sound—someone was crying, somewhere in her rooms. It sounded like a child. "Hello?" she asked in German, which was close enough to the local language. "Who's there?"
Another voice joined the chorus of wailing.