Hey! So like any Audrey Hepburn fan, I am absolutely in love with Breakfast at Tiffany's. I love Holly Golightly and Paul and just every single thing about this movie so I decided to write a one-shot about it. It's a character introspective on what Holly told Doc Golightly at the train station, how he should love a wild thing. It's really about Holly and her men and how none of them should have really loved her.
Prompt: "I love you Lula Mae." "I know you do, and that's just the trouble. It's the mistake you always made, Doc, trying to love a wild thing. You were always lugging home wild things. Once it was a hawk with a broken wing... and another time it was a full-grown wildcat with a broken leg. Remember?"
"Lula Mae there's something..." "You musn't give your heart to a wild thing. The more you do, the stronger they get, until they're strong enough to run into the woods or fly into a tree. And then to a higher tree and then to the sky."
Disclaimer: I don't own Breakfast at Tiffany's. It would be kind of hard considering I wasn't even born yet.
Holly Golightly, formally Luna Mae didn't remember much about her father. She and Fred were orphaned young, but sometimes when she was drunk and reminiscing she remembered rough hands and whiskey-covered breath on her cheek. She remembered scratchy records being played and a steady guitar rhyme playing along. Sometimes Holly strained her ears and heard a low voice whispering in her ears, "I love you, baby girl." she supposed that she had loved her father back, but she just couldn't remember. She couldn't remember her mother that much either. There were snippets of memories, of dark hair and wide smiles and the smell of fresh-baked bread. Of course, everything came to an end. Her father had been wild, people said, the wildest thing in Tulip, Texas. He drank and swore and eventually got himself shot by the sheriff. Holly supposed this is where she got her wildness from. Her mother, a meek woman, had died of pneumonia a few months later.
Holly had one picture of her family together. They were standing in front of their little ramshackle house. She was on her father's shoulders, his arms around her mother's waist and a hand on Fred's shoulder. The people in the picture were happy. Not terribly happy, but content. Holly just didn't know what that word meant anymore.
After their parents' deaths, she and Fred were bounced around from one house to another, to whoever was willing to take them in. Fred was the first person Holly can ever remember loving. He was tall and strong, always taller than her. She still swears it was all that peanut butter. Holly never liked the stuff, but Fred wolfed it down like there was more tomorrow. Fred was a little wild, just like her, but he knew when to stop. They'd always escape wherever they were staying and go on little adventures. Fred was always in charge because he was the oldest. When they got tired, they would lay on the grass. "I'm going to go on real adventures one day!" Fred would proclaim.
"I'll come with you," Holly would say eagerly.
Fred would just shake his head at her. "Luna Mae, adventures aren't for girls. You'll get married and stay here while I go on my adventures." Seeing his little sister frown, Fred would add, "Don't worry though. I'll always come back for you." That would comfort Holly for a little while, but then she'd think of what she'd do while Fred went on his adventures. It wasn't fair! Holly wanted adventure and excitement just like Fred, but she was a girl so she couldn't go. Holly wanted to see things, places, far beyond Tulip, Texas.
After that, Holly always told her brother she would never marry and so she would have to go on his adventures with him. Finally, Fred promised that he'd come back, and they'd buy a little ranch with lots of horses and ride whenever they wanted. It appealed to Holly mainly because she loved horses. You couldn't tame a horse, couldn't cage it. Of course, Fred loved horses more. He had a certain touch with them, a way of calming them. Holly supposed it was the same way that always seemed to calm her.
When Holly was fourteen, she married Doc Golightly. She really hadn't had much choice. Fred had enlisted in the army to earn money, promising Holly he would make enough money for them to have their own little ranch when he was out. Holly had had nowhere to go and no one else to really on. Doc Golightly was many years older than Holly, but he was tall and strong and reliable, exactly the type of person to take care of her according to Fred. Most of all, he loved her, and Fred trusted him. So Luna Mae become Mrs. Golightly.
Life with Doc wasn't bad at all. He was a good man who had raised good children, and Holly hadn't had much trouble around the house. The girls helped keep up the house, and all Holly had to do was be happy. That was probably the hardest thing of all, being happy. Holly was caged, and she didn't want to be caged. She still wanted to see things outside of Tulip, Texas, but Doc was Tulip, Texas. She wished her husband was a horrible awful man, but he wasn't. She was.
Sometimes, when Holly went into town, she would flirt with some of the young men her age. No one ever said anything. Holly didn't know why. Maybe they understood, or maybe they just didn't care. The men in town came to call her Holly. She didn't know why, and she didn't ask. Holly was so much better than Luna Mae anyway.
It was on one of these outings that she met O.J. She didn't know what he had been in town with. Everyone said he was an agent for stars, actresses and models, important people. She was buying some coffee beans at the general store when she met him. The first thing he asked her was, "What are you doing in this town, sweetheart?"
Holly had just shrugged effortlessly. "I don't know," she answered.
O.J. smiled. "What's your name."
"Luna Mae Golightly," she said.
O.J. frowned. "We'll have to change that," he said. "It's too... Southern."
"The men call me Holly," she suggested.
"Holly Golightly," O.J. repeated. "Now that's a name. Nice to meet you, Holly. My name is O.J. Berman. I'm going to make you famous."
After that, Holly was always off with O.J. trying to get acting jobs and ads. She knew Doc didn't like O.J., but it didn't bother her much. O.J. made her different. He taught her French, changed her accent, changed her look. Maybe, if she got lucky, he could even change her.
The night before her audition, Holly got a letter from Fred. He couldn't tell her where he was, only that he was safe and missed her. He wrote that he'll be home soon. He also wrote that he knew her life with Doc wasn't what she wanted, but that it would change. She'd change. The letter scared Holly because she didn't want to change, to become a tame animal. She wanted freedom. And so, that night, she boarded a train and headed to New York City. When she got there, the first thing she did was call O.J. Boy was he mad! He couldn't understand why she would just go to New York. Nevertheless, he promised to help her out in the city.
New York City was everything and nothing like Holly expected. She had expected the roughness, the grit, that so many people had talked about. She hadn't, however, expected the soaring freedom, the bustle of a city that really did never sleep. And yet it still wasn't home to Holly. She didn't think she'd ever have a home.
A few years came and went, completely unremarkable. It was in these years that Holly developed her signature charm. She learned how to walk, how to attract men to her like honey, how to evade them the next morning. She learned how to do many other things she knew her brother wouldn't like. She learned how to drink at all hours of the day and how to sweet-talk her landlord into another extension.
There were always men during that time, men she liked and men she didn't. None of them really mattered. They were an end to a means, so to speak. Holly didn't want a man to ever mean too much to her.
Her visit with Sal Tomato was probably her favorite part of the week. Mostly because of the money, but also because Sal was a dear old man. He had stories, oh did he have stories! Sal had known the old New York, the New York of the Roaring Twenties and Great Depression. Holly would just sit there and listen, enraptured by the tales of flappers and speakeasies, of huge soup kitchen lines and furniture on the sidewalks. Holly would've liked to be a flapper. They weren't caged but free, freer than almost anyone else in the city.
Sal also helped out with her finances. No matter how hard Holly tried, she just couldn't manage to save much. She desperately wanted to have enough money for when Fred came home, but it didn't seem like it would happen. Sal gave her advice on ways to save money. Holly liked to think her dad would've been like Sal had he still been alive.
The first time Holly met Paul, all she saw was Fred. He looked just like Fred, tall and handsome and strong. It didn't take long for Paul to become a part of Holly's world, her routine. They were a good pair. Paul understood what Holly had to do, or at least she thought he did judging by the "decorator" that frequented his apartment. When Holly got too lonely, she went to Paul and pretended he was Fred. Paul never seemed to mind. Paul was the first person in New York to ever really care about her. She didn't know if she liked that.
As time went on, however, Holly stopped seeing Paul as Fred and just started to see Paul as Paul. She read his short stories, and though Holly wasn't much of a reader, she loved them. They were dirty and heartfelt and all things wonderful. Reading Paul's stories were like being at Tiffany's. Being with Paul, Holly realized with a start, was like being at Tiffany's.
Still, Holly pursued her billionaires. She pursued Rusty Trawler, using all of her tricks to charm him. It didn't work in the end, but she wasn't disappointed. Holly loved the possibility of more, more each time she chased. José was much more than Rusty Trawler. José was rich and handsome, a combination Holly couldn't dislike. She knew Paul understood, in his own way, because Miss 2E still came to his apartment every night.
Holly was coming home with José when she got the telegraph about Fred. Something inside of Holly snapped, completely and forever broke. She would never be the same girl again. She was no longer Luna Mae. She would now forever be Holly Golightly, a girl with absolutely no one in the world. She was mad in her grief, shouting and throwing things. It wasn't fair! Fred was supposed to come back, and they'd have a ranch with horses. Fred was always so good with horses. It wasn't fair! Fred was supposed to come home from his adventures. He was supposed to come back for her.
Holly knew José didn't understand her sudden rage, and how could he? He didn't know about Fred, about Tulip, Texas, about Tiffany's. But Paul did. He was the one to come and comfort her, to tell her it would be alright. Holly didn't believe him, but the words sounded so good coming out of his mouth.
Holly really did love José in her own way. He was a fresh start, another way to keep running away. He would make a good husband, she decided. One that would keep her safe and happy like Fred always wanted. Holly had decided she'd marry José no matter what it took. (A nagging voice inside her head whispered that it was a mistake, but she ignored it because it sounded too much like Paul's.) And then there was trouble about her visits to Sal.
Holly really didn't mind that Sal had deceived her. She had been paid, after all, steadily each week. More so, Holly had developed a fondness for the old man, for their visits. And even once the story broke, Holly knew Sal had cared about her. He had just done what he needed to do, and if anyone could understand that it was Holly.
Of course, this wasn't going to stop her from going to Argentina. Even if José didn't want to marry her, Holly was sure someone there would. She would a rich man, a better man. It was Paul that tried to stop her. He gave rational reasons she didn't listen. Finally, Paul said the dreaded phrase: I love you.
It scared her more than she'd ever been able to express. It scared her to the core, to her soul. She was scared of being loved and being caged. She didn't want attachments to people. People left, people died, people hurt you. Holly wouldn't even name her cats for God's sake! How was she supposed to love someone.
She told Paul that people didn't belong to people. He said that they did, that she was just too scared to admit it. He was right. She was scared, absolutely terrified. But Holly couldn't admit. She wanted to run, run somewhere far far away, but Paul left her before she could. Something that Holly didn't even think she had anymore shouted no. Her heart led her out of the cab and looking for the cat she had so viciously kicked out of the cab. She needed Cat, Holly realized. She need Paul. Holly Golightly was not completely independent. She needed people whether she liked it or not.
Holly found Cat, and there was Paul. She walked towards him, and they kissed in the rain. Holly Golightly was a wild thing, to be sure, but she wasn't afraid of Paul caging her, not ever. Paul just wanted to love her, and Holly was more than happy to let him do that.