Full of IT
By Missy


RATING: PG-13
DISTRIBUTION: To Squeaky, LW, Kai and FG so far; any other archives are welcome to ask, but disclaimers must be included, my email left intact. send a URL, and provide full disclaimers as well as credit me fully. Please inform me if you are going to submit my work to any sort of search engine. Please do not submit my work to a search engine that picks out random sets of words and uses them as key words, such as "Google"
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CATEGORY: L&L romance, humor, drama
FEEDBACK: PLEASE?!
SPOILLER/SUMMARY: Lenny introduces Laverne to the art of silent films, and they both learn a bit about the art and lives of Clara Bow and Mary Pickford while falling a bit more for one another.

NOTES: Inspired by the Ep "Born Too Late" and my adoration of Clara Bow and Mary Pickford; you can read more about each lady on the net at: http://www.clarabow.net and http://www.marypickford.com and through the biographies "Runnin' Wild" By David Stenn (For Clara) and "Mary Pickford: America's Sweetheart" By Scott Eyda.

The fic is set roughly during the second season of the California years; late '60's, making Mary Pickford still alive and Clara Bow dead as of the time period I'm setting it in. Both women have passed at this time.

****

Laverne squirmed in her seat, feeling the back of it digging into her back, "Fourteen houas, Len?"

"Fourteen," He echoed, helping her step over some partially-set gum, "I told ya we were goin' to the movies, Vernie; ya shouldn't've worn heels."

"Festival! Ya said festival," She pointed out; only then did she take in her opulant surroundings; they sat in the balcony of a small and highly-decorated theatre; carvings of angels and period paintings graced the framework of the theatre. "Boy, thisz a fancy joint; ya sure yer allowed ta have food in 're?"

"They was sellin' it in the lobby, Laverne," He pointed out, putting down the mound of provisions he'd bought. Selecting a bag of popcorn, he allowed her to dip her hand into the opening first, "Ahhh...real ol' fashioned popcorn for a real ol' fashioned movie!"

"How old're these movies supposedta be, Len?" She asked.

"So old that nobody talks 'n um," He grinned, "They're silent!"

Laverne pouted, "Len, ya know I don't like havin' ta read my way through a movie! Shirl tried ta drag me ta one of those foreign films an' the only thing I liked about it was the makeout scene!"

He bit his palm in reaction to her words, and she slapped him lightly for it, "Yer gonna like 'em, Vernie, I promise, honest injun!" At Lenny's words the house lights went down, and the screen flickered to life.

Laverne sighed; at least the popcorn was tasty; very tasty. By the time the first picture finished, however, she couldn't even find the bag; her eyes were fixed on the screen.

The variety of the movies was stunning; they showed a series of Keystone Cops shorts to begin; that was followed by a Buster Keton comedy. Then there was an action picture; Don Q, Son of Zorro, with Douglas Fairbanks (a man that Laverne found amazingly dashing). Then there was a Joan Crawford silent, and a Theda Barra feature, and Lilian Gish's Broken Blossoms.

Laverne had never felt so emotionally provoked by a movie before in her life; several times during the Fairbanks picture she found herself clutching Lenny's fingers for support.

The theatre ran an intermission at that point; Lenny had time to slip out and return with an armful of goodies before Laverne could stop mopping up her tears from Lilian's death scenes.

"That was so sad," She sniffled, and for about the millionth time that night Lenny had to stifle the desire to lean over and kiss her.

They ran a beautifully restored Marion Davies picture next, which was followed by Birth of A Nation. Rounding out the evening were Charlie Chapin's "The Kid", and two pictures that struck deep cords in Laverne's spirit: Mary Pickford's "Sparrows" and Clara Bow's "It".

Sparrows was the sort of picture that left people open-mouthed with passion and sorrow; Lenny began to cry after "Mamma Mollie"'s orphan charge died, and this time Laverne comforted him. The emotional impact of the film rocked her hard; she was almost breathless at the happy ending.

It was a welcome and complete change; laughing by the end, both of them were admittedly enchanted by Clara's pixieish ways; her expressive face completely captivated them.

Laverne wasn't willing to admit that she felt sorrow when the house lights went back up, marking the end of the festival; she didn't really care that they'd entered the theatre at seven that morning and were leaving at twelve midnight.

"'Sweet Santa Clause, gimmie him!'" Laverne laughed, "I gotta remember ta use that one!"

Lenny laughed, "Yeah, 'specially if they ain't payin' attention to ya."

Laverne laughed, grabbing him by the wrist, "Com'mon! I wanna grab that poster they had out in fronta the theatre an' take it home!"

By the time they made it to the lobby, however, the posters had been stripped away from the front of the house. Laverne registered her immediate disappointment with a pout.

"Aww! Now I ain't gonna have nothin' ta remember it by!" She looked ready to cry, and nothing killed Lenny more than watching Laverne cry. He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her against his side.

An elderly lady entered their line of sight; upon looking at them, she smiled fondly, "Ah, another young couple in love!" she exulted, "Takes me back to my courting days!"

Lenny and Laverne shared a brief, intimate look before wrenching themselves away from one another, "We ain't datin'," Laverne offered lamely.

The older woman gave her a shrewd look, "Now, I don't know whether I should believe you. The two of you look as smitten as a young Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks."

Lenny's jaw dropped, "Don Q married Mamma Mollie?"

"In real life, yes," The older woman smiled, "And did they ever cause a stir! During their honeymoon they caused riots!"

"Wow!" Lenny gasped, "D'ya know anythin' more about 'em?"

"Len, we're bothering the lady," Laverne pointed out, "I'm sorry, he tends to get too excited when he finds somethin' he likes."

Lenny laughed, "Me? Wasn't it you who was gonna cry if she didn't getta posta?"

Laverne smiled grimly and kicked Lenny swiftly in the shins.

"Oh, I don't mind! It's nice to see a young couple take such an active interest in something that was quite popular in my lifetime!"

Lenny opened his mouth to exclaim that the woman must be old, very old, but Laverne's glare shut it for him.

"Let's see...Mary Pickford; she made some other very interesting movies, like Suds and Stella Maeris...Mostly, she played little girls; rebellious little girls, but little girls nonetheless...her mother was the ORIGINAL stage mother...She wrote, directed and produced MANY of her movies, and even co-created United Artist Pictures. Ohh, she was a shrewd business woman, very shrewd."

Lenny's jaw dropped, "Squig and I was kicked offa their lot once!"

"Poor thing," She smiled to Lenny affectionately, "her two siblings became actors, as well...she owns that huge mansion...Pickfair?"

Both of them knew what Pickfair was; far away from Laurel Vista in the enclaves of Beverly Hills, but close enough that they knew of its rich history as a local landmark.

"Mary Pickford and Doug Fairbanks lived there together for many years; it was the social toast of the town." The woman smiled, "There were parties, beautiful ones, elegant ones."

"What happened?" Laverne asked, knowing that there had to have been a dark ending to the fable.

The elderly woman sighed at the drama of it all, "Doug Fairbank's mid-life crises, for one; I'd like to think that that's what caused Doug and Mary to be divorced. Then the talkies came; Mary made a few of those, even won an Oscar, but she felt that the world wouldn't accept her as a grownup lady. She tried Radio and television, but neither were her medium," The woman sighed, shaking her head, "Now she lives in that big mansion, all alone except for her husband; Buddy Rogers, the pilot from Wings."

"Poor Li'l Mary," Lenny sighed;then the wheels in his brain began to turn, "Mary Pick'fd married Clara Bow's boyfriend?!" He cried out, confused.

"No, no," The woman patiently continued, "Clara Bow, that poor girl; she was an entirely different set of problems..."

Laverne perked up instantly, "Tell meabout her!"

"Clara...well, she was raised in the slums of Brooklyn..."

"BROOKLYN!" Laverne exclaimed, "I'm from New York!"

"That's amazing! I'll bet you weren't treated as cruly as poor Clara was." The woman was almost swooning with the drama of her life, "Clara's mother was mentally ill; when poor Clara won a contest that would take her to Hollywood for a screen test, her mother went bonkers and tried to kill her. She didn't succeed, of course, but little Clara became a lifelong insomniac. Things got a bit better for her in Hollywood; a semi-famous woman's novelist, Elinor Glyn, created the nickname for her, 'It', which was supposed to capture the youth, vigor and enthusiasm of the flapper generation....and a flapper is a young, pretty, and carefree young girl, before you ask," she winked. "Everyone thought, though, that 'It' meant sex..." Lenny bit his palm once more; Laverne didn't even bother to slap him this time. The woman continued, "...But it really stood for a state-of-mind. Then came the scandals; Clara was the victim of so many dirty rumors; all of them are pretty untrue. Ohh, she loved men; I don't have a doubt about that. But football teams? I don't think so!" She shook her head, "She was just too open with people, I think; too vulnerable. One day she got into a gambling scandal, had to prosecute her personal secretary for embezzlement. Somehow, that Daisy DeVoe managed to drag poor Clara through the mud, making HER seem like the criminal. Well, after that Clara took a leave of Hollywood, got married to a cowboy star, Rex Bell, then returned and made some pretty successful talkies, like "Call Her Savage" and "The Wild Party". Then she retired from making movies and had two little boys."

"So she had a happy life afta all?" Laverne hopefully wondered.

The woman shook her head, "Rex divorced her and she ended up going to several sanitariums."

Laverne's lips trembled, obviously, she felt a connection to the actress, "That's horrible!" Lenny had moved closer to her on instinct, wrapping his arm around her.

The woman gave her a sympathetic look, "There, there dear. Both of them left such a beautiful legacy. We owe it to them to enjoy their pictures with happy thoughts." Her heavily-veined, age-spotted hands reached upward abruptly, pulling a rain hat down firmly onto her head, "Here; this was the very last poster they had tacked up to the wall. I hope it makes you feel better, child." She patted Laverne's hands and then gave the two of them a sharp look, "Oh, and you're going to marry that man. Mark my words."

With that, the woman walked outside, into the beginning of an early-morning rainstorm.

Laverne had stopped sniffling; her eyes were lost in deep study of the poster: Doug Fairbainks and Mary Pickford in a digitally-manipulated kiss. The woman's words now came back to her full-force as Lenny cuddled her against him. They shared a glance, then separated quickly.

****

Back home, in Laverne's apartment, They stood facing one another awkwardly at the door.

"I hadda good time, Vernie," He said, "Toldya that you'd have fun."

She smiled, "Yeah, Len; I'll admit I was wrong about th' movies. They were fun."

"I know," He giggled, then stopped himself, "Sorry." He made a move to leave the doorway, but she pulled him back.

"Len?"

"Yeah?"

She reached up, cupped his face in her hands, and gently kissed his lips. The kiss deepened without her having meant it to. When they came apart, he was panting and wide-eyed.

"Guess I'm full of 'It'." She chuckled, "I'll see ya, Len."

"Yeah," He managed as she closed to door on his face. Walking back to his apartment, he could only mutter under his breath.

"Sweet Santa Clause, gimmie HER."















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