A/N: Oh, I know Auntie Mame is the vaguest thing to write fanfic for ever, but leave it to me to write about my school play. Since I play Gloria Upson myself, I am heavily biased in favor of PatrickxGloria, though PatrickxPegeen is really too cute to pass up, too. Oneshot told from Gloria's POV (at this point, I'm pretty sure she's all I can do), set during late 1946, about the same time as scene 11 in act 2 with Auntie Mame bringing Michael to India.
At Upper-Richmond they told us we were all treasures. Each and every one of us, we were something our parents loved very much, and we were something a man would love very much, someday very soon.
And we believed them, we all did, even Bunny Bixler with her compulsive spending, even Muriel Puce with her slow mind, even me, with my almost-but-not-quite British accent.
We all believed, so very much, because whenever they didn't tell us what to think, we didn't think at all.
The night I met Patrick Dennis is something I won't ever forget. Not really, not ever. Uncle Dwight found me at a party Bunny was throwing and led me away from her and Muriel, said he had someone I needed to meet. I waved my goodbyes to them and then I saw the handsomest boy I'd seen on the entire Eastern seaboard.
"Patrick," Uncle Dwight was saying, "this is Gloria, Gloria Upson. She's a close friend of my family and lives in Mountebank, right above Darien in Connecticut. She attends Upper-Richmond Girls School…"
I can't remember the rest of my own introduction.
I can't even remember his.
Patrick was handsome, really handsome. I drunk him in: hair cut short, an almost sandy blond on the verge of brown; light green eyes that reminded me of celery stalks; fair skin and strong arms and broad shoulders, looking like a gentleman in his perfect suit.
And he drank me in, my average height and tan skin, my pulled-tight smile and wide lips, my brown eyes and bleached-blonde hair, the pearls at my neck laced with a pink ribbon.
He was everything I ever hoped for, but at the same time he was even more than that, because he was so nice to me and called me pretty, danced and danced with me even when he was tired. We spun around like pretty figures, pretty pretty porcelain figures in a music-box, forever spinning and dreaming and tumbling, while the world watches us look so happy before shutting us up and away, safe and sound in an unbreakable, locked-away deposit box.
We went everywhere together from then on out; staring at each other and so wrapped up in our own little world. Our names were laced tightly like shoestrings: Patrick-and-Gloria, Gloria-and-Patrick. Our friends on both sides approved of the match; we double-dated more than once at the bowling alley in between our schools. I was hopeless, utterly hopeless at it; Patrick was the witness to my one and only strike. He saw a lot of me at my worst, but he saw a lot of me at my best too—my very best, and I can't remember anything better than his compliments.
He was a Rumson University boy and he was very smart, so he helped me with my liberal arts thing I had at Upper-Richmond. He read books along with me and told me what the words really meant, made me see the other side of things. He believed in the idea of two sides to every story, that whatever people said to me had hidden meanings.
I never did so well in school as I did when he was helping me.
He called me his little Glory. His. I never got tired of that; I asked him to call me that forever. I'd never belonged to a boy before, not longer than a game of rescue-the-princess. I adored it, I really did. It was my addiction; he was my addiction, my world started spinning around him and I was just a fool for him, I really, really was.
And he paraded me around like I was a diamond once we went steady, asked me things in hushed voices, and when he finally proposed and slipped a silver ring on my finger I thought we were happy and together and very much in love.
We were, anyway.
I figured from the start that his aunt wouldn't like me very much. Uncle Dwight had told me that much.
I tried very hard to please everyone before I realized it was a lost cause, and I went in on my best behavior to charm Patrick's dear auntie Mame. I suppose I didn't do too well to mention right off that I believed in restrictions, in exclusions, in cutting Patrick and myself away from the ugly world and all the shadows that reared in it. I'm still amazed she didn't slit my throat right then and there. She may have been horrible, but I suppose she had class.
She had every right to slit my throat, if she wanted to do that sort of thing for what she believed in.
At the time, I could think of so many things wrong with her, with Mame: she's simply addicted to alcohol. A widow who forays into sin, who lives in an opium den. A spider preying helplessly over Patrick, calling him her little love, as if I wasn't really there. And at the time, I made mental notes not to see her when we could help it, to only stop by for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, mandatory events where she could fawn over our children and leave Patrick, leave me alone.
But looking back, I can't hold much against her. She may have insulted me and she may have hated me, but she saw what I didn't, she saw what I didn't want to believe.
Patrick and I were a pretty picture. A very pretty picture. We were the kind of people you'd see in magazine ads, spread out and pinned up. We were admired by people beneath us; it's what they told Patrick at his schools, what they told me at mine.
But Patrick and the other girl, Pegeen Ryan, the interior decorator who came from nowhere special and did things on her own, they were prettier.
She has a mind to match his; I could hardly keep up with whatever Patrick said. They laugh with the same jokes and have identical record collections; they're carved from the same piece of sky and they fit like puzzle pieces from the clay.
They have advanced vocabularies and master's degrees and a child together, I've heard; a little boy named Michael, who they say looks just like his father. Pegeen has Auntie Mame's approval and Patrick's love and a career and a child: who could ever stand up to that?
Some days I wish we kept in touch, Patrick and me. Some days I really wish I had just married him anyway, that I didn't rush off with my family when they commanded me to.
I don't know what would have happened if I stayed, if I said to hell with your open lifestyle, I'm marrying your nephew and there's nothing anyone could do about it.
But that's the trouble. Patrick was only in love with me because it's what he was told to do when he was with a girl, so he would only be happy with me because it's what he was expected to do.
And that's not enough, not when people deserve happily ever afters, happily ever afters like Muriel Puce's eight-flower girl wedding at the Church of the Heavenly Rest, where it was so lovely and she was so lovely on the lawn while the leaves fell all around her, a princess in white and I knew I wanted nothing more than that.
But Patrick couldn't give me that happily ever after, not when he saw a treasure that was prettier than me, a girl he could love without being told to love her. He gave Pegeen that happily ever after, and left me hanging by a thread, hanging by a moment that I couldn't ever go back to. He was halfway to India and there I was, all alone, wondering where my Prince Charming had run off on me.
But happily ever after isn't a lie. Or that's what I keep telling myself when I meet new boys and when I have to laugh when they ask why I'm not married yet, how did someone like me not get snatched up early?
I'm trying to think on my own now.
I really am.
Because Patrick taught me that if I don't know what I should think, I don't think at all.