The most awkward thing about it, is probably that it does not feel awkward to her.
Awkward situations have resulted in a beautiful and unexpected outcome before, after all. Jumping out of a prop cake to play the singing and dancing eye candy for a group of celebrity party guests, only to find Don Lockwood among them, was definitely not a moment of glory for her, with her belittling mockery of the film star still fresh and sharp in both his and her mind. Still, it was a moment that she now likes to think of as the actual beginning of her personal fairy tale, her love story with Don.
Hitting Lina Lamont square in the face with a cream pie, in good old slapstick style, surely was a close runner-up in the contest of embarrassing moments. Still, even if it cost her her job, it opened the doors to a new one. And it earned her Cosmo’s adoration and was the beginning of a heartfelt friendship with the man who’s always there for them, giving advice and comic relief whenever they need it.
Standing in for Lina’s voice behind the curtain and watching helplessly as the disguising fabric was raised and the whole charade revealed to a premiere audience roaring with laughter, could easily compete with these awkward situations. Still, it revealed so much more: Don’s sincere love and commitment to her. Not to forget, it was the starter for her very own Hollywood career.
Waking up in the arms of her sleeping husband, their wedding just a few days in the past, to hear him moan another person’s name, might therefore just be the logical continuation of cinematic comedy taking over her life. The heroine should be shocked, outraged, start throwing china, or at least weep silently into her pillow. And she might just do that, not necessarily in this particular order, were she ever to hear another woman’s name whispered in her ear. But for now, Kathy can’t stifle the amusement that’s bubbling up inside her. There’s no doubt, with the hard evidence poking her in the thigh, about the nature of Don’s dream. And as she turns around slowly in the warm embrace, careful not to wake him up, she hears it again: “Cosmo, oh, Cosmo.” She knows that tone and intonation too well, as it is usually directed at her.
This time, she has to bite her lips to hold back the giggle that’s threatening to make itself heard. Of course, it is irrational to laugh at the matter. Yes, there is an element of surprise, as much as there is unintentional humour in the setting. It is a surprise that does not cross the line to shock, however; if anything, it is a surprise that she finds her suspicions confirmed so easily. Gut instinct tells her that this is more than just a wishful dream - there’s a story behind that. But what will it mean for her marriage? Does she need to be afraid of what this revelation might entail? And what about Cosmo’s happiness? She cares for him too much to see their best friend unhappy.
It is still night, with only moonlight casting a faint glow into the room. Don looks much younger in his sleep. The long dark lashes which grace his eyelids add to his boyish charms; on screen they turn him into a heartbreaking cavalier, pirate, or sheik. Oh, he did deserve the rebuff, back in their beginnings, when he jumped into her convertible like a swashbuckler and tried to play his movie star card. But here in bed next to her, he seems so open and vulnerable. His delicately chiseled features are smooth and relaxed, with a tiny smile on his lips somewhere between innocent and impish. Irresistible indeed, even ridiculously attractive - not that she will ever tell him and feed his ego. Where do your dreams take you, Don Lockwood? Where will they take us? She takes a long good look at the intimate display of his sleeping face, before she falls asleep again to the sound of Don’s slow and regular breathing.
Her sleep is filled with lush images and fleeting scenes, one picture blending into the next. The dream fills in where speculation reigns. Shenanigans on Vaudeville stages, and shabby rooms in jerkwater towns. A flurry of colourful costumes, and rehearsals on threadbare linens. Music, always music, on stage, but even more so in the few hours of respite. Two young men’s dreams and ambitions, shared in a bed too narrow for even one person. Friendship and passion freely given to one another. Kisses rough with stubble, and Cosmo probably still joking even with a mouth full of Don. They are a sight to behold, the two of them together. Not that she has not noticed this before, but dreams are a safer territory to test one’s theories.
Memory’s blurry when Kathy finally wakes up to the first rays of the morning sun, but she finds her right hand firmly lodged between her thighs, warm and slightly sticky; a new hunger, however, makes itself felt. Don stirs beside her, stretching and yawning, and between his gloriously naked and dishevelled self and the images she saved from the kaleidoscope of her dreams, she can’t help it anymore and pounces. A girl can only stand that much tension before she needs to do something about it.
She has nothing to fear, nothing to doubt, this much she knows with certainty in the heady afterglow of morning sex, but only something to win. So it is not really a conscious decision or a special effort to bring up the topic.
“I miss Cosmo,” she says with as much nonchalance as possible. It might not be the most expected sentence, given the circumstances, and Kathy feels Don go rigid beside her before he snorts and resorts to humour.
“Should I be jealous, Mrs Lockwood?”
What a stageworthy cue. Kathy smiles and locks eyes with Don. “No. Should I?”
His eyes widen just a little, but she can glimpse something akin to panic underneath his calm expression. She doesn’t have the heart to let him stew.
“Don, don’t you think it’s unfair to just let him go into artistic seclusion while we merrily set up house? He’s always been a part of your life, and he’s been a part of mine since I met you. I’d love to have him around like he used to.”
“You know that he wanted to ‘give the young couple some room’, stop hanging around at our place constantly. And he needs some time away to focus on writing his symphony.”
“U-huh. And you believe him? I tell you, if he ever actually writes this symphony, we should be seriously concerned about his health.” She smooths the blanket in a wide and sweeping motion. “Besides, we’ve room enough here, don’t you think so, Don?”
It is an innocent question and offers him an easy way out, should he want to ignore the connotation. She swears she’s able to feel his gaze following the circle of her hands across the bed. When he looks up at her again, there’s a glint in his eyes, of an - albeit tentatively - mischievous sort.
“Are you sure what you’re suggesting?” There’s disbelief and wonder in Don’s voice.
“We are modern people. Do you think Cos will object?” she asks. It is a possibility, of course.
Don smiles and takes her hand. “You know he’s goofy about you, Kathy. The rest is a question of courage and persuasion. He’ll certainly question our sanity, but we actors are said to be crazy anyway. So,” he clears his throat, “Tea for three?”
“And three for tea,” she joins in.
“Just me for two.”
“And two for me alone!”
And it is only natural, Kathy thinks amidst laughter, that this, too, will have a beautiful outcome; a happily-ever-after to the tune of a music that is theirs to compose.