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by hippo
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest · #708357
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Aster Linosyris came to Hollywood to find fame and fortune in the movie business.

Although she was a young lady with numerous attributes...attractive, outgoing personality, able to play a diversity of roles...she had what she felt was a flaw in her interview technique, a flaw that had kept her from employment as an actress for the past 6 months.
She would not, under any circumstances whatsoever, accept or comply with the casting couch advancement role!

Aster attended many auditions and had been shortlisted for most of them, but then came the one-to-one test.
If it wasn't the Casting Director, it was the Producer or the Writer or the Backer or the………the list was endless. One way or another finding a part was all down to sexual favours in the end.

Wanting to make her way in the business without being labelled Hollywood's Best Performance Cyclist was, to her, a vital step.
Her integrity and talent were to be her way ahead, even if it took years to accomplish.

She had managed to find occasional work in eating places and even ended up as a 'washerupper' in a flashy hotel, where furs and diamonds encased the female guests ( and one or two of the non-females as well) and monkey suits and lusting eyes enveloped the men.

Her lodgings were the pits ! One bed, one chair, one table and a broken lamp, became home.
There was nowhere to hang clothes or prevent the insect population inhabiting them, so they remained folded neatly in her suitcase.

Grandma Jefferies had given Aster the suitcase for her travels.
This all-knowing octogenerian had made sure it was sturdy, uncrushable, with several compartments to keep all that a young lady would need to make her way in the world.

Aster and Grandma Jefferies were all the family each other had.
Aster's parents and two brothers had died fourteen years ago, the victims of an horrendous accident which left the six year old girl with massive head injuries in a coma.
Day after week after month she hung onto life's silken thread.
Gradually the coma lessened. Gradually she became aware of Grandma Jefferies running her fingers through Aster's blonde curls. Gradually she regained conciousness.

For as long as she could remember she had wanted to be an actress.

There had been no work for some days and Aster's purse contained only $1. There was no food left and she was very hungry.
She could not afford to pay for another night in the hovel, so, she took her worldly possessions in her suitcase and left.

Slowly she dragged her portmanteau to the bus station.
Wisely,when in work, she had purchased an open ticket back to New York and Grandma.

Forlornly she sat on a bench to await her bus.
Aster had always been a ' people watcher '. It was due to this fact that she had a talent for mimickery and accents.

As she sat with eyes closed, she focused on two female voices coming from behind her.

A British accent, thought Aster, interesting I must remember it.

The two women, middle aged I would think Aster mused, were discussing the reasons behind their soon to be departure from the movie capital of the West Coast.

" Well, I flatly refused to do it " said one, " no way am I doing it ! I don't give a stuff if he's Bill Clinton's brother, his father or his friend, I am NOT going to serve dinner with only a pinny on and nothing else !! And…….at a table full of gawping ol' letches as well !.
I told him to go take a cold shower "

"Don't you want to see what you're missing says he. "

"OK says I , but wait a sec while I go and get my magnifying glass ! Well, believe me he didn't like that.
It's OK for him being a perve but Heaven help me for bringing his dilly dangler into disrepute.
Lecherous ol' bugger !! "

The two women broke into peals of laughter.
Aster too was smiling. A much needed smile that helped her to forget her own bad day.

Why should I give up now ? Aster thought, There must be some way I can stay here.

The dollar in her purse was used to purchase a locker for her case and after removing just a few items she would need, she locked the case up and placed the key on a chain around her neck.
She would go and look for work at the homes of some of Hollywood's finest.

It took quite a while to walk through town and being extremely hungry she found that she was beginning to feel somewhat faint.
She sat on a bench on the corner of Trenchard Boulevard and Jefferies Street. Suddenly it struck her…..Jefferies Street. The family name, surely that must mean something ? What, she didn't know, but was certain she would sometime soon.

As luck would have it, a woman who was also sitting on the bench got up and boarded the bus which had just stopped.
As the bus drew away Aster noticed the woman had left a plastic bag on the seat. She opened it and found to her delight, a can of soda and a bar of chocolate.

They did not last long.

Feeling refreshed she set off to walk along Jefferies'.
There were some enormous properties with gigantic wrought iron gates and fencing ten feet high.

Wow thought Aster, they sure don't want anyone getting in their grounds. I'd love to take a sneak peek at one of them.

As she thought that, she walked the frontage of a property that could have belonged to Scarlet O'Hara & Rhett Butler. It had white wooden panels across the width of the house, an enormous balcony on the first floor where four tables and at least ten chairs were standing.
The curtains at the windows shimmered white as they blew gently in the breeze. The manicured grounds at the front of the house were immaculate. The only flowers were along the balcony and over the front door.
She had seen them before. They looked like bunches of grapes as they hung down from the vine.
That's it! she thought, that's Wisteria.

Strangely, the main gates were open and as she stood there staring in awe at the house, she had the sudden urge to walk up the driveway.
This she did with a purposeful step. As though she was supposed to be there.
There were no dogs barking. No-one came out of the house to shoo her away.
Closer still she got to the house. Still no-one came.
Arriving at the side entrance she could now see the back yard. What looked like an Olympic sized swimming pool sprawled across the acres of land. A poolside house, a small hut, presumably for housing the filter units and a very inviting hot tub adorned the vista. Chaise-longues littered the pool surround, with freshly laundered snow-white towels for bathers to lay on. But there were no bathers. There was no-one around.

Is this the dry land equivilent of the Marie Celeste mused Aster?

Her mind was racing, thinking up excuses of why she was there just in case she was spotted.

She nervously entered through the back door which led into a kitchen, the like of which she had never seen before.
It was an odd kitchen in as much as it was divided into 3 sections. Each section was a different colour scheme. There was a sunshine yellow area, a green area and a pink area.
In each area were all the items of kitchen equipment one could ever need. Each area had it's own colour co-ordinated fridge-freezer and cupboard space. Each area was the size of the apartment she and Grandma Jefferies shared in Manhattan.

Aster called out to try to attract some attention. No reply came.
She was again feeling rather peckish so she went to the sunshine yellow fridge.
She opened the door and removed an item, placing it on the unit.
So this is Caviar she thought.
Using a teaspoon she sampled some of the poor sturgeon's eggs.
YUK !!!!!! That is so salty. It's awful she thought as she spat out the remains into a paper towel.

Well surely the cheese must be edible she muttered under her breath.
Gorgonzola…………………….Yikes !! that is dreadful.

It was so strong it almost brought tears to her eyes.
Needing a drink to take the taste away, she poured herself a glass of the red wine that was uncorked and breathing.
It was so dry she was reminded of a mouthful of sand. A glass of tap water assuaged her thirst for the moment.

Next she went to the green area fridge and proceeded to sample the Pate de foie gras which looked very appetising, but she shuddered as she tried eating it. It was bland, there was very little salt in it and it was very fatty. This did not go down at all well.
Next to try was Profiteroles but they were so sweet they made her feel sick.
A good glug on the bottle of white wine should help she thought.
Alas, it was also very sweet so she ended up with another glass of water.

The pink area beckoned. Her stomach was rumbling and she was exceedingly tired.
As the fridge relinquished its store of goodies, Aster was not too sure what to expect them to taste like.

First it was smoked salmon……………WOW ! this is sooo good she thought as she ate every scrap.
Next came cold roast Beef. It melted in her mouth. It had a superb flavour embellished by the gentle horseradish sauce.
To follow there were strawberries and cream which she devoured with great gusto and followed these with Roquefort cheese. The King of cheeses. Accompanying this wonderful repast was a bottle of Mateus Rose.
No complaints here thought Aster, that was fantastic !

Feeling extremely tired after her traumatic day and delicious meal, she wandered into the hallway and ascended the stairs.

The upstairs doors all had plaques on them with the following inscriptions:
THE GYM.....

The first door was The Producer's Den. She opened it and was confronted by what looked like a movie theatre, except that the only seating was a massive round bed, draped in fur and spotlighted by a dozen or more coloured lights. She sat on the edge of the bed.
It was hard and it smelt of a mixture of perfumes.

Good Heavens she thought I'd never get to sleep in here, but there again maybe that's the whole idea !
She turned and left the room as she had found it.

She passed the Make-up Studio and made for the
Director's Suite.
In here the bed was quite low to the ground. Again it was enormous. It could have slept a whole line of chorus girls at one time.
'Maybe that's what it does' she whispered to herself.
She lowered herself onto the surface only to find that she lost her balance and fell into the bed. Into was the word, for it was a water bed. She floundered around for a few moments then got up, straightened her clothing, muttered to herself that she'd be sea-sick if she was there any longer and quickly left the room.

The gym was the next door, so she bypassed that and went straight to the Choreographer's Bar.

As Aster opened the door and looked inside she was
amazed at the sight. In the centre of the large room was a beautiful four-poster bed complete with hanging drapes around it. It was many shades of pink and fashioned in a fabulous
shot silk fabric.
One wall was mirrored and had a bar along the length of it. Pictures adorned the opposite wall. Photos of Nureyev, Nijinsky, Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire.
There were scenes from the old Busby Berkley movies and in a glass case to the right of the four-poster, was, a now age-d, white tutu and ballet shoes that once belonged to the legendary
Margot Fonteyn. As she looked around in awe, she yawned, which reminded her how tired she was.
She sat on the bed, then lay down her head and before many seconds had passed, she was fast asleep.

Aster slept for a long time and awoke in darkness. She could hear raised voices down stairs.
Something about there being a break in and burglary and the perps had eaten food from the fridges and maybe they were still around.

She heard feet thundering up the stairs, doors banging and shouts of "They're not in here"
Suddenly the door to the bedroom flew open, the light switched on and she was confronted by three angry strangers.
She was able to distinguish easily which of the men corresponded to which title.

The Director was a fat little man with a cigar clenched between his teeth, a panama hat on his head and DIRECTOR written on his t-shirt.

The Producer was slightly less weighty, wore white shorts which did nothing more than show off his hairy, knobbly knees and he carried a clipboard from which dangled a label written in red ink.
All she could see was PRO…… so took a wild guess that he was the Producer !

The Choreographer was a bubbly being, who shifted nimbly from foot to foot. He wore a pair of fuschia pink trousers with a pale blue silk shirt. Around his neck was a whistle on a length of blue cord. Around his head was a bandana of multi colours.

The four of them were silent for a few moments, then the Director said " Did you sleep well , in HER bed, did you sleep well young lady. What are you doing here ? Call the cops someone.
Let's see what this creature has stolen. Turn out your pockets, girl ! "

"But Sir I have only stolen some food because I was so hungry and I have slept in your bed Sir " blurted out Aster pointing to the Choreographer.
"I really am so sorry Sirs, please don't call the police, I haven't done anything else, I promise Sirs. Please don't call the police "

The Choreographer moved and sat next to her on the
bed. He looked intently at her face and put his right hand gently under her chin, tilting her head slightly upward.

"Gor-ge-ous, gor-ge-ous. She is just sooooo beautiful. Look at her you two. Look at the face, look at the body, look at the features, she
is just so, so gor-ge-ous"

Aster would normally have felt threatened by such comments but the Choreographer was undoubtedly gay. His whole persona oozed gentleness, creativity and she felt at ease.
He touched her face again and the blonde curls that surrounded it.

"You don't DANCE at all do you darling? " he enquired

"Well, yes Sir I do. I'm an actress but have no work and no money and no food, which is why I am in your house, stealing your food and sleeping in your bed. I don't usually behave like this
but I was desperate, please Sirs, please accept my apologies"

"Show me how you dance. Dance here, with me, now ! " said the Choreographer.

He put a disc in the CD player and held out his hand to her.

The two other men silently sat down and as the music played, Aster became lost in a world of expression in dance. It was as though she had stepped into Ginger Roger's shoes. No words or instructions were necessary. They gelled. With every turn, every whirl, every jump, every look, they gave their all.
Her movements were perfect, her timing on cue and her body was so in tune with the Choreographer that they were like two halves dancing as one whole.

The music and dance finished in synchrony.

The Choreographer said " Dar-lings, we have our leading lady.... right here. Look no further dearies. She is all I could have dreamt for. She's just drea-my. Sooooo gor-geous dar-lings. Don't you agree ? "

To Aster he said " We need you more than you need us at the moment. Our lead, the careless cow, she's costing us a fortune dar-ling, has broken her ankle and we are way behind schedule. Want to join us in this movie, sweetie-pie ?
By the way precious, what's your name ?"

"Aster Linosyris Sir and I would love to work with you all. Thank you so much. I can't believe this is happening. Are you sure I'm not asleep ?"

"Aster Linosyris ……really ? "

"Indeed Sir it is"

"Ah, then I shall call you by another name" the Choreographer smiled, "Did you know that there is a beautiful flowering plant that is called Aster Linosyris ?……No ? …then starting today my dear, you shall be called by the English name for it. Goldilocks is its name and Goldilocks you are. "

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