In 1956, Marilyn Monroe and her new husband, Arthur Miller, arrived at Heathrow Airport in London to begin filming with The Prince and the Showgirl. Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh met them there and talked briefly with reporters before leaving.
This is part IV of my story. To start with part I, click here.
Marilyn took her time as she walked toward her waiting car. Arthur walked a few paces in front of her, carrying her purse. What a gentleman, he is. He opened the door and looked back at her. She smiled wide at her new husband, resisting the urge to wave at him like a giddy schoolgirl, completely comfortable in her skin and with this man waiting to start his life with her. Newlyweds in London. Pinch me, I must be dreaming.
After a moment standing at the car door, he folded inside. She paused for just a second at this gesture. He didn’t wait for her.
Marilyn looked back at the crowd still gathered watching her walk away. How was she taught to walk? Left foot, left hip, right foot, right hip? But it was a slight bump of her curve after her foot hit the ground. Sometimes she felt like a caterpillar with how her body moved one section at a time, and she never understood how a caterpillar was sexy, but she just did as she was told. The press conference may be over, but she still wanted to give them something to talk about, and she didn’t want it to be about Arthur not waiting for his new wife at the car door.
She reached the door and braced herself against it. A damp feeling settled in her stomach despite the cleared rain and blue skies. To her left was her honeymoon, but to her right stood her fans. She looked back at the press snapping photo after photo, and she flashed her smile. After weeks of studying the Queen, she waved her arm from the elbow instead of the wrist. Snap, snap, snap.
“Come, Marilyn, darling. Let’s go.” Arthur’s impatient tone couldn’t be missed.
Marilyn’s smile altered like she was pricked with a needle. “Of course.” She covered her mouth with her whole hand and blew a kiss to the men of the press. They ate it up with cheers and whistles.
Inside the car, Marilyn noticed her bag carelessly tossed aside. Will that be her in a few months time? “Arthur, dear, can you hand me my bag?”
Arthur tore his gaze away from the same newspaper he had been reading on the plane and reached for her bag. Without looking at her, he placed it on her lap.
“Thank you,” she said barely over a whisper.
The driver got inside the car and asked, “May I have your destination, sir?”
“Parkside House, Surrey.”
Arthur’s curt tone irked Marilyn. She felt as if he was sending her a message rather than conversing with the driver. “Yes, thank you, kind man.”
“Oh, it’s me pleasure, Miss. I’m a big fan.”
Marilyn smiled wide. She was about to say something when Arthur cut her off. “It’s Missus now.”
“Apologies, sir. Missus.” Not wanting to upset their driver and unduly cause them to be in traffic for hours on end, Marilyn winked at him to which he smiled in the rear view mirror.
After a moment of tension, Marilyn turned to Arthur and said, “That wasn’t so bad, was it? The press seemed perfectly nice. I think we will have a lovely time in jolly ol’ England, don’t you think? It’s such a funny little town. We can surely amuse ourselves for the time we will be here.”
Arthur turned to look at Marilyn. She felt like he was finally seeing her with her armor down and her genuine love pouring out of her. He smiled slightly and folded up his paper and placed it on the floor away from him. “No, it wasn’t bad.” He took her hand and kissed it gently. Heat rose to her cheeks.
“Vivien seems perfectly nice, and I cannot wait to work with Sir Laurence Olivier! He sounds so proper and regal, doesn’t he?”
“Yes, Laurence will be a great mentor, but something seemed a bit off with Vivien, don’t you think? She looked pale.”
“We all look pale, sir. It’s the Bri-ish wea-vah. Rarely see any bloomin’ sun!” The driver laughed at his own joke.
“We’re having a private conversation, if you don’t mind.”
“I meant nothin’ by it, Mr. Miller. Apologies. Missus.” The driver gave Marilyn a sheepish look through the rear view mirror to which she subtly nodded, ashamed that Arthur had berated him to harshly.
“He didn’t mean anything by it, Artie.”
Arthur let go of her hand and reached for the tucked away newspaper.
“Oh, Arthur, dear, don’t read. Let’s plan what we shall do when we get to the house.”
His fingers gripped the news in his lap, but it was a good sign he didn’t open it. “What would you like to do?”
Marilyn nuzzled close to his neck where the collar of his shirt met his skin. “I have a few ideas.” She kissed his warm skin, and she felt his skin prick with goosebumps. He tilted his head toward hers and breathed in deep. “It is our honeymoon, after all.”
“You’re right.” A smile crept across his face. “It’ll be nice to have you all to myself before you begin filming.”
“Also, it may not be long before you never have me just to yourself.” She had the signs, and they could only mean one thing.
To her astonishment, Arthur jerked away from her and snapped. “What do you mean?”
“Why are you so surprised? I mean, this is what you wanted, right? A baby?”
Arthur’s face instantly softened as her words sunk in. “A baby? Are you telling me you’re pregnant?”
Marilyn, suddenly shy, shrugged. “I can’t say for sure, but I think so. But wait, what did you think I meant before?”
“But you’re supposed to begin filming in a couple of weeks. Do you know how long?” Arthur’s voice was urgent, hurried, but his smile betrayed his true feelings to her.
“I love you, Arthur, dear.”
“Oh, Marilyn. I love you, too.” He grabbed her hard and brought her to his chest. She could feel his heartbeat through his skin. The rhythmic thumping echoed her own pulse as he kissed her hair and cheeks. “Now, we have even more reason to celebrate. Driver, please hurry to the house.”
“Of course, sir. And may I be the first to say congratulations.”
“Not a word to anyone, or I’ll take you to court.”
“Understood, sir. I won’t whisp-a a word.” The driver winked at Marilyn in the rear view mirror. She smiled at him and looked down at her knotted hands. She suddenly felt incredibly nervous.
“You know, maybe that’s why Vivien was so pale. Do you think she could be pregnant, too? Wouldn’t that be something?” Arthur didn’t take his eyes off her, and his stare became more intense. It only made Marilyn feel even more nervous. What was he looking for? She felt herself start to crack. “The company should would have a field day with it. I can see the publicity now.” She laughed nervously.
The asphalt of the road turned to gravel as the car veered into a long driveway far from the hustle and bustle of London. They seemed to be surrounded by trees and privacy. Marilyn could finally breathe a sigh of relief, but Arthur remained silent.
“We’re here, mister and missus. Parkside House.”
“Oh, Arthur, dear, it’s lovely! I can’t believe it.” She pressed herself against the window of the car as it came to a slow halt. “We’re finally here. Let’s go inside and lose ourselves, what do you say?”
Finally, Arthur broke his stare and smiled slightly. There seemed to be a sadness in his eyes. What did he see in her face? Was she going to disappoint him? Suddenly, Marilyn felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. She should have never said anything. Instinctively, she touched her stomach hoping to feel something…anything.
Arthur rested his hand over hers and kissed her cheek. “Let’s go inside.”
Marilyn smiled meekly as Arthur led her out of the car and to the house.
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When Stars Align, click on the links below.
Stay tuned to my blog for more short stories to come and my serial fiction novel: Dreadful Dantes