Getting Brighter All the Time - Sally Jupiter (Silk Spectre I)/Edward Blake (The Comedian), circa 1946
Disclaimer: All characters, etc. from the novel WATCHMEN belong to Alan Moore and DC.
Sally smiled generically as a gentleman with blond hair swept her across the ballroom floor. Another benefit dinner. Another chance to be seen.
Being busy and tired was good. Left so little time to think.
The room was brilliantly lit, the crystal chandeliers overhead cast the light of hundreds of bulbs down upon her, and the drone of the crowd, so many voices at once, was beginning to make her head ache. It was hot and stuffy, and the open windows and balcony doors promised a cool rainy evening waiting to award all who escaped the pomp and circumstance of tonight's gala with an abundance of fresh air.
She'd never been much for masks, so going out was just like going out in costume; she was recognized wherever she went. Normally, she loved the attention, but tonight the stares and pickup lines were beginning to wear thin.
"Excuse me," she murmured politely to her dance partner, breaking away. She couldn't remember his name.
She was ready to leave. Glancing widely around the room, she looked for her agent, Larry, expecting to see him huddled in conversation with businessmen and bankers, negotiating her next gig, or just trying to make friends to pave the way for future deals. She didn't see him, and irritated enough to contemplate leaving without him, she started to push her way to the door.
She'd only made it a few feet through the throng when the sound of a familiar voice stopped her in her tracks.
"Well, hello there, doll. Imagine running into you here."
She'd know that voice anywhere. A deep, sexy voice, with the power to excite and scare her all at once.
Looking to her right, she saw him, surrounded by powerful looking friends and beautiful women.
"Hello, Eddie." She kept her voice calm and cool.
Shrugging a pretty blond off his arm, he left the group, approaching her with purposeful steps.
It had been about two years since the Comedian had been forced to leave the Minutemen, and Sally hadn't seen him since. She'd heard recently that he was stateside again. His government work took him all over the place, and seeing him here, now, was a strange coincidence.
He seemed even bigger than she remembered. Probably his new armor. She'd heard about the stabbing a while back, and how it had prompted him to discard his old yellow boiler suit for something stronger. It suited him, somehow, the black leather. It seemed less silly, more grown up, and serious.
Aside from the color, his eye mask was the same as it'd always been; small, and stringless. Masks with strings were dangerous, they could slip down and impede your vision during a fight, so he, along with Nite Owl, had learned to use an adhesive to attach their masks directly to their faces. His mask ringed his dark eyes with black, making him appear more of a villain than a hero.
Stopping before her, he said loud enough for anyone around them to hear, "Dance with me."
Before she could even respond, she was in his arms, and he was leading her deeper into the crowd in a slow dance. His warm breath fanned her ear as he whipered against it, "Careful how loud you go saying my name. I'm in disguise, remember?"
Too shocked to speak for a moment, Sally allowed him to pull her along. One of his gloved hands held hers, the bare fingers sticking out to brush bare skin, while the other pressed into the small of her back, holding her against him.
He smiled down at her, "Where's Schexnayder? In the can?" He laughed, just like he always did. Everything was such a big joke to him.
Snapping out of her stupor, Sally tried to jerk back, out of his arms. "I don't know, but I'm leaving."
He held her fast. There was no escape unless she wanted to make a scene in front of all these people.
"Oh? What's wrong?" he asked her with a grin, his white teeth so straight and perfect. It really was a crime, how handsome he was. Because deep down, despite any of the good he'd accomplished in his line of work, he was really a cold hearted bastard.
"Like you don't know," she answered angrily.
He pulled back at the tremble in her voice and she saw the confusion in his eyes, the smile falling from his lips as he saw her distress. "Sal, you're still mad at me?"
"Of course I am, you idiot!" she whispered angrily. She resented his surprise, resented his ability to just forget that he'd bloodied her face and bruised her ribs, and most of all, she resented his hands on her.
She felt a tear begin to slide down her cheek, whether of pain or anger, then startled as Blake's thumb came up to brush against her, wiping it away. He'd dropped her hand to help before she'd had the chance to scrub it off herself.
"Christ," he said, pulling her head into the crook of his shoulder again. Urgently, against her ear, he said, "Let's get out of here. We can talk..."
"Sally," Larry's irritated voice cut in. This time, when she pulled against him, Blake released her, and backing away, she saw Larry impatiently tapping a foot as he waited, holding their coats. "I think it's time for us to leave."
Looking back up at Blake, she whispered "Goodbye, Eddie." She gave the hand he still held in his a tug and he dropped it, reluctantly.
He looked almost sad as they left him there, standing alone in a room full of people. Sally waited for the relief to come. Larry had put an end to a strange reunion, stopped the confrontation before it could start. But all she could feel was regret.
Hours later, Sally leaned up against the brass railing that surrounded a chipped, black-topped bar. She didn't really know what she was doing, or why she was there. The place was a dive, inhabited by men and women that were even more pathetic than she was.
She hadn't been able to stop thinking of Eddie, and the way he'd looked when she'd left the gala tonight. Instead of undressing when she'd returned to her apartment, she'd sat at her dressing table, still wearing her snazzy yellow dress, and stared back at her reflection for countless minutes, lost in her emotions and thoughts of the past.
Impulsively, she'd grabbed her coat and snuck quietly out of her apartment, shutting the door with an imperceptible click. Creeping past Larry's door, which was right across from her own, she took the elevator to the lobby, then had the doorman hail a cab. Without thinking too much about what she was doing, she'd stopped the driver when she saw the bar she'd been looking for outside the dark, rain-spattered window.
It was probably time for her to go back home, where she belonged. No doubt he was out with that blond, or on a plane halfway across the world by now. Just because rumor said he used to frequent this place, didn't mean that she was going to find him here now. Flicking the ash from her cigarette, she gripped the slim plastic holder in one had, and reached for her scotch with the other, her red painted nails shining in the dull light of the smokey room. Tossing it back, she slammed the empty glass down on the bar. She gave Harry, the bartender, a sweet smile as he looked up from the frothy glass he was filling up with whatever was on tap tonight. He was a large man, with a well trimmed beard and a gap in his front teeth, and he'd been keeping an eye out for her, knowing that she was here alone. Reaching for the slippery black fabric of her raincoat, she gave a sigh of defeat as she prepared to leave.
Before she left her stool, she felt compelled to look back, over her right shoulder. And as she did, she saw him step slowly out of the shadows, almost as if he'd been there for a while, watching her, just like he used to.
"Hello, doll. You looking for me?" She watched him approach with a mixture of excitement and nerves. He was here. He'd come.
He stopped just behind her, his warm breath brushing her bare shoulders as he leaned close. Facing forward again, she let her eyes slide closed, enjoying his nearness. Then, clutching her jacket to her chest, she stood up, forcing him to take a step back. She felt her shoulders tremble from the shudder that ran down her spine as she turned to face him directly. Feet on the ground, she realized that the stool had actually given her a few more inches in hight. Standing before him now, he seemed to tower over her.
"You look pretty as a picture." He smelled of cigars and the cologne that she'd never smelled anywhere else. Reaching out with his left hand, he trailed his fingers down the bare skin of her right arm, raising goose flesh in his wake.
"You look good, too, Eddie. I've seen you in the news reels. At Iwo Jima. That whole flag thing."
"Yeah," he said, his dark brown eyes meeting her blue ones. "So, you're still mad about that night." Sally wanted to slap his face for ruining everything by bringing that up. Thinking about what had taken place in the trophy room still made her feel angry and helpless. But then he continued, "Heh. I went there to make friends, and ended up screwing everything up. Just like I always do."
He'd been so cocky at the time, and she'd hated how easy women had been for him. So young, and he'd already been able to take his pick, new girls always coming and going, drifting through his life like dead leaves. She hadn't wanted to be just another statistic. Didn't want to be used and discarded.
They'd had a good thing going, all the flirting and innuendos whenever the group got together for meetings and parties. But then things had gone terribly wrong. After that night, he'd left the group and she'd never seen him again. Things had indeed been changed for ever between them, but not in the way she'd hoped to prevent by telling him "no". The time he spent away, all of the days spent without seeing him, it was all far worse with the absence of memories to tide her over, worse than any awkward interaction and a lack of interest that she'd hoped to never feel from him.
She could admit to herself that it was nice to hear that he cared. Eddie was... complicated. Her anger at him had allowed her to lose sight of that. The things he did sometimes did not necessarily reflect his feelings, or the man he was deep inside. And she'd always felt like she'd provoked him that night. She'd loved flirting back with him, enjoyed his attention, letting him think that the door was open for a bit more than the friendship she shared with all the other guys. And she'd scratched his face, knowing it was fighting dirty, but feeling safe in the knowledge that he wouldn't retaliate. Men couldn't hit women back, even when they deserved it. She was no shrinking violet. She'd trained, she knew how to fight, could have kicked or punched him. But instead, knowing the violent man he was, she'd inflamed his anger. Perhaps without even knowing that deep down, she'd just wanted to see what he'd do, how he'd react.
"Lady, is this guy bothering you?" Harry asked loudly from behind the bar. He set a baseball bat down in front of them as he spoke. As strong as Harry looked, Sally knew that Eddie could beat him to death inside of five minutes if he or his bat tried anything.
"No. Thank you," she answered quickly. Heart pounding, she looked back up at Blake and asked, "Do you want to go somewhere and talk? We could go get a cup of coffee..."
"I have a place here," he cut her off, still looking over her shoulder at Harry through narrowed eyes. Glancing down at her, he pulled the cigarette from her hand and flung it toward the ashtray on the bar, missing Harry's hand by inches. Pulling her raincoat from her other arm, he helped her put it on.
She knew what was going to happen if she went home with him. And she didn't care. It was unexplainable, really, her desire to go off alone with a man she should fear and hate. But even if she never had anything but tonight with him, she'd take what she could get, and use the memories to help get her through all the lonely days to come.
His "place" turned out to be a penthouse apartment at a nearby high-rise. It was the typical space of a bachelor. No plants, all browns, blacks, and greys, a leather sofa, a large television, and a stereo with stacks of gramophone records opposite a wall of windows overlooking the city.
Blake took her coat and dropped it, along with his keys, on the soft carpeted floor. He slowly pulled off his fingerless gloves as they walked, dropping them carelessly as well, followed by his metal shoulder armor, which hit the ground with a loud "clank".
Sally was shocked to see a large pinup poster of herself displayed prominently above a fully stocked liquor cabinet. She gazed up into her own teasing eyes, feeling touched and giddy to see it hung up here, in his home."Oh, Eddie," she said breathlessly as she stopped walking to look up at it, while he stepped up beside her. It was one of her more provocative pictures; in it she was sprawled out suggestively in her yellow costume with the short, short skirt, silk stockings, and knee high boots. She was pulling off her single black glove, slowly, like a strip tease.
It was flattering whenever anybody took notice of her modeling work, but for some reason, this meant so much more to her than it usually did. He cared, if only just a little. Perhaps he thought about her each time he saw this.
She turned to face him, needing to say something, anything, but he grabbed her before she got the chance and pulled her up against him. His mouth came down, roughly covering hers, and she groaned into him. She had one last fleeting thought, that perhaps her brightly colored lipstick was smearing across their faces, before all her thoughts were gone, swallowed up by him and his wonderful mouth.
His kiss was hot and demanding, his taste addictive and strong. He didn't use his arms to hold her, instead, he pushed his big body into hers, the hard expanse of his armor-clad chest pinning her back, causing glasses to rattle as she bumped into the liquor cabinet. His hands where everywhere, sliding all over her, pulling at her carefully styled hair, feeling the softest parts of her body through the thin satin of her dress. They brushed up against her breasts, her ass, then down to her thighs before he stooped down before her, his lips still caressing hers. She realized that he was gathering up the long skirt of her dress, bringing it all up until he'd exposed her black silk panties above the edges of her stockings. She reached down, taking the yellow fabric from his hands, and held it for him with her right arm.
With a tug and a ripping sound, her underwear come off, and releasing her lips, he dropped down to his knees before her. Her mouth freed, Sally took a deep, gasping breath, then held it as his tongue came out, licking her in long firm strokes.
She squirmed against him, her left hand fisting inside his dark hair, feeling his hot breath, hearing the hungry noises he made as he slid one hand around and squeezed the bare skin of her ass with hard fingers. It took only seconds, only a few deep licks before she broke apart.
He pulled back, setting one booted foot on the floor and using it to help him stand back up. She vaguely registered that he still wore his mask as his hands found the zipper on the side of her dress. He yanked it down, pulling off the dress, along with her bustier. Her clothing dealt with, his eyes slid down her body hungrily as he pulled off his chest plate and a black sleeveless undershirt. Skin to skin now, he crushed her breasts flat with his muscled chest. Kissing her, he lifted her up until she was nearly sitting on the edge of the liquor cabinet. Fumbling with his belt, he freed himself, and pushed into her in one quick stroke. She cried out at the pleasure of his penetration, and he groaned, holding still for the briefest of moments.
He started to move, strongly, over her, inside her, surrounding her with himself. Grunting and groaning, he pulled nearly all the way out at the end of each thrust, taking her in hard, fast jabs. The glasses behind her rattled uncontrollably as he moved, biting at her neck, sucking the tender skin of her throat into his mouth. He was probably trying to leave marks, but Sally didn't care, she wanted him to mark her, to leave some trace of himself behind.
He felt wonderful, better than she'd dreamed he would. He was strong, violent, and selfish. She looked into his face and caught him gazing down at her from under heavy lids. As their eyes met and held, she felt her body begin to tense, muscles twitching, her body squeezing him as they found their release.
Taking deep breaths, he clutched her to him, rubbing his rough stubbled cheek against hers. "Jesus," he said between gasps.
"Yeah," she agreed, her voice coming out as a croak.
Gently, he used his palm to cup the side of her face, and gave her a soft kiss. She needed to go. But she didn't want to.
After he scooped her up and carried her to his room, the two spent the night between tangled bedsheets. The next morning, he helped her clean up and dress. He got her a cab, and as she headed home to her empty apartment, Sally couldn't stop thinking about the incredible night that had just past. She hadn't expected any sweet words. She only hoped that she'd get to see him again.
A/N: I suppose I'm changing the "one time" into an entire love affair. Because I want to. While part of me thinks that Hollis Mason and Sally pining away for each other is a sweeter idea, who the hell wants sweet? Like Jon says, she loved a man that she had every reason to hate. I just find the 2 of them to be a fascinating couple. Especially after reading chapter 9 of the novel: "First off, he was there, right? Plus he was gentle. You know what gentleness means in a guy like that? Even a glimmer of it?"
More to come.
Writing this was a challenge for me. It's a tremulous balance between having Eddie appear too callous, and having him too tender, and thus, too out of character. Here's hoping that I found a good middle ground.
I'll admit that I take pieces of what I like selectively, from both the book and the film. I imagine Sally and Eddie to look a lot like they do in the film. But the book says the Eddie is only 17, and Sally 19 when the attempted rape occurs, and I've tried to keep it some-what close to that here. And the dates conflict, the book says Sally quits the Minutemen to marry Laurence in 1947, then she gives birth to Laurie in 1949. I'm gonna stick with the film and say that pregnancy happens first, forcing her into retirement and a loveless marriage. And the title of this is straight out of the book.