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White Nailpolish

Chapter Text

It seemed that she always broke his heart when she wore white nail polish . . .

Megan takes Anna’s ring out of her pocket and sets it on the wooden desk in front of Don. It makes a soft click as she releases it from her white fingertips. “I’m sorry,” he says to her as she walks out the door.

Chapter Text

It seemed that she always broke his heart when she wore white nail polish . . .

 

The first time he saw the white bottle was before his 40th birthday party.  She had twirled it around in her fingers the night before, exclaiming excitedly over this latest trend.

“How cool is this?  I think I’ll wear it to the office tomorrow.”

He sat back with a drink and watched the news while she sat on the couch painting her nails that cold, empty color.

 


 

She had embarrassed him, but even more so herself prancing around at his 40th birthday party earlier that evening.  He throws himself onto the bed just wincing at the thought of it - of what everyone back at the office would think and say about her dancing around like a strumpet in that short black dress, behaving like a good time girl as she beckoned to him during her song.  He had smiled out of sheer discomfort when she sat on his lap.  No one seemed to notice – he was sure they just thought he was having a good time, proud to see his sexy wife’s shameful display.  He wasn’t.

Megan comes into the bedroom and he gives her a reason why he was upset about the party – but it isn’t the whole truth.  He doesn’t want to tell her how much she had embarrassed him.  So instead he tells her that he never had a birthday growing up and didn’t want one.

“Awww . . .  Nobody loves Dick Whitman.” she says condescendingly. But then follows with, “I love you. That’s why threw you a party.” 

She leans in to kiss him but he does not respond.  She has no idea how much she just hurt him with her flippant remark.  He makes sure that she feels rejected so she will just leave him alone to fall asleep.

Chapter Text

It seemed that she always broke his heart when she wore white nail polish . . .

Megan had donned white nail polish for a couple of client dinners that had gone well before changing course in life. But those times were fleeting. The memory of them was bittersweet.

He sits back and watches her reel – her white nails standing out against the dark chalkboard that she holds up for her screen test. With every smile or frown, every flicker of emotion he realizes that he is losing her. She is leaving him for another world – one without him in it.

Chapter Text

It seemed that she always broke his heart when she wore white nail polish . . .

Don’s first trip to see his wife in Los Angeles after they became “bi-coastal” had been filled with such promise.  He had spruced himself up in the airplane’s lavatory before landing – making sure to remove the stubble that grew back so easily on his face after less than a day.  He wanted to be smooth for her - because that was the way she preferred it.

And smooth he was.  Striding out of the airport to greet his wife he was every inch the man – dapper in his old-fashioned fedora and beige suit.  Megan glided out of her convertible, hot as hell in her pale blue dress as she strode towards him.  Their kiss could have ignited the Malibu hills all by itself.

That day her nails matched the soft whiteness of her pearlescent earrings.

But that night ended in disappointment.  They came home and Megan was too drunk to do anything but stumble around.  Don helped her into bed and slept on the couch himself hoping for a more satisfactory reunion the next day.

It was not to come.

That morning she had tossed him a Playboy magazine as she got ready to leave and told him not to rip out all of the ads.  Was she trying to tell him something?

By the time evening rolled around and they had been lazing on the couch for what seemed like hours Don wanted to get down to business.  Megan had been putting him off all day.

As they head to bed he stops her in front of the bathroom and they kiss awkwardly.  She pulls away and tells him she needs to brush her teeth, so he gets into bed without her – still expectant.  When she finally joins him he moves right in to start kissing her, and she pulls away from him once again – and now turning off the light is her excuse.  He kisses her in earnest but senses that something is wrong. 

“Are you okay?” Don asks.

She tells him that she’s nervous.

“About this?”

“About everything.”

“Don’t be,” he kisses her passionately and then nuzzles her neck softly.  They make love that night, and awake together in bed the following morning to a light breeze and diffused light flowing through thin paisley curtains. The soft light illuminates her hand – she had not changed her polish that weekend – it is still white.

Everything seems to be okay again.  Megan seems to regret that they only have one more day together and tells him that she wants to make the most of it.  But as Don catches the red eye back to New York that night he ponders how so much of the weekend had been wasted.  Wasted to the distance growing between them.

Chapter Text

It seemed that she always broke his heart when she wore white nail polish . . .

But was not like he had never broken her heart. 

In preparation for their cozy get together with their neighbors back in 1968 to ring in the New Year, Megan had once again rummaged around and found that bottle.  She said the polish would accent the silver pantsuit she was planning to wear.

Later that night, and after their neighbor, Sylvia’s husband had been called away, Don just couldn’t help himself . . . and found himself knocking at her back door.  Sylvia led him in and he did what he had always done – found pleasure in another woman while his wife waited up for him. 

After their coupling, Sylvia asked him, “What do you want for this year?”

He hadn’t wanted to do this to Megan – he had been hoping to change.  The guilt ate away at him.  He answered honestly, “I want to stop doing this.”

“I know,” Sylvia said softly as she stroked his cheek.

 


 

Disheveled, he made his way back to Megan.  She had fallen asleep, script in hand, but woke up as she felt him getting into bed.  They wished each other ”Happy New Year” and her hand with the white-tipped nails snaked their way up to rest on his chest as she nuzzled into his shoulder to fall asleep.

Don stared out into the darkness. He had broken Megan’s heart and she didn’t even know it. He was a terrible man – and a worse husband.  Her nails shone like pearls in the night.

Chapter Text

It seemed that she always broke his heart when she wore white nail polish . . .

Many months later Don is surprised when he walks past Peggy’s office and sees Megan.  She is stunning in a lavender knit dress, white nail polish on her fingertips once again.  He knew that she had been planning to come back from LA to get some of her things, but he thought he wouldn’t see her until that evening, so her presence in his office is a delightful surprise. 

Don takes his lovely wife to bed that evening yet wakes up alone in the morning.  Then he sees her out on the balcony setting the table for breakfast.

He comes out and embraces her gently from behind, encircling her in his arms.  After burying his head in her neck and breathing in her scent he murmurs, “Tell me this was all a dream. Tell me you didn’t miss this.”

“I missed you,” she replies softly, sinking into his embrace.

 


 

The next day, after his morning shower he sees her in the hallway.  She is in a good mood - going through boxes, packing up stuff.  But he notices that she is packing up quite a lot of stuff.

“I thought you just needed summer things.”

“I miss my stuff,” Megan answers a little nervously.

There’s so much to pack and she tells him that she worries she can’t get it all on the plane.  He offers to bring some of her things the next time he visits . . . but she artfully dodges the subject and returns to packing.

Don stands in the hallway and watches her.  He knows now that she is leaving him.

The stark white tips of her nails pick through the items on the floor, selecting the things she cannot bear to leave behind.  They do not choose him.

FIN