(1938-10-16) Naked Curiosity
Details for Naked Curiosity
Summary: The morning after their night out at the Natrix, Fabia returns to Corina's suite to collect a few forgotten items, and the ladies share some stories. (WARNING: Some Mature Content)
Date: 16 October, 1938
Location: House Lorelei, London
Related: Getting Dolled Up, Dancing Queen

House Lorelei, London

The first floor of this two story building is simply a well appointed sitting room. Victorian style couches and love-seats are scattered over attractive rugs and a fire place sitting between the two curving arms of the grand staircase houses a roaring fire that provide both heat and illumination. The illumination is supplemented by lamps, most pairs of which have large yet tastefully painted nudes hung between them. Over the sitting room hangs an old-fashioned crystal chandelier that uses actual candles, supplementing the lamps in a way that lights the whole room in a soft orange glow. Young ladies and even some young men varied enough in body type and attitude to suit most tastes come in and out from behind a heavy red velvet curtain, frequently carrying trays of finger food or drinks to offer their guests. These same welcoming young people will frequently be seen walking up the deeply red runner covering both arms of the staircase with a guest or two in tow and disappearing into one of the doors partially visible through the gilded railing lining the second floor atrium. Standing still enough to seem like statues some very large men in impeccable black suits occupy most of the corners of the sitting room as well as opening the front doors for those lucky enough to get in or for those ready to leave. Heavy red velvet curtains cover all outside windows and are kept intentionally closed to better disguise the real time in the outside world.

It's at about ten o'clock in the morning when a knock comes to Corina's door, informing her that there's some old broad in a taxi downstairs asking if she can come up. Corina groan in protest. Who the hell is awake at ten in the morning? Reluctantly, she mumbles her approval, and promptly falls back to sleep, buried in her thick bedcover and plush pillows.

A couple of minutes later her door clicks open and shut again; and the soft footsteps of a woman in golden dancing slippers glide across her carpet. A very fragrant woman. A woman who, having apprehended the situation vis a vis her dubiously-willing hostess's sleepiness, is trying to find the things she left here last night, which aren't all where she'd remember them being if she remembered them being anywhere at all, which she doesn't…

An inspection of the room reveals that a number of things aren't where they probably ought to be. Not the least of which is Corina's evening gown and undergarments, strewn along the floor. The bedsheets are in terrible disarray, tangled and bunched up around Corina's form. A soft moan escapes her lips when Fabia's perfume wafts her way. "Mmmmrmm…you're inhuman…" she complains.

Quite a few of Fabia's things were stuffed into her hatbox last night after she took them off; once she's found the hatbox, nudged under a chair, and her blouse, on the floor in an intimate association with some infinitesimal garment of Corina's, from which she separates it with due delicacy, she pads across and sits down on the floor next to the bed. She's still in her green and gold, accessorised now with a luminous little smile. But her eyes look tired.

"I'm so sorry to wake you, sweetie," and she truly does sound apologetic, "but I can't go back still wearing this; and if I wait any longer I shan't be able to use the excuse of having lost my latchkey… Don't have children, it's worse than being fifteen again."

Corina grumps and pries her eyes open. She's awake now, may as well be semi-social. As she disentangles her legs and rolls over, the way she hugs the blanket to her bosom, and the sight of her bare back and shoulders make it fairly evident that she's quite naked. Brushing stray locks of ivory hair from her face as she props up on one elbow, she sighs melodramatically. "Fabia, darling. If I ever think about having children, please just lock me up, because clearly I'll have lost my mind."

Fabia tips the contents of her hatbox out onto the floor next to her, and sighs, "I still can't quite believe I did." She reaches easily behind herself to unfasten what there is of her dress — and her smile may be small but it's apparently permanent; it's still there after she's lifted the fabric over her head and bunched it up unscientifically and dropped it into the empty hatbox. In her golden harem pants and very expensive brassiere, she sighs again, leaning back upon one hand. "My daughter has *four* babies, can you imagine? I suppose one always wants the life one has never had, but there ought to be *some* sort of limit. How are you so beautiful when you've just woken up? I looked like a raccoon till I'd had a good go at my face in the taxi."

Corina giggles softly, eyes still half-lidded. "Magic." It's probably not a joke. "Sooo? Did you and Mister Ballet-lover have a fun night?" If she's going to be awoken before noon, she's demanded her pound of gossip.

Fabia looks at Corina, giggles, then looks up and away; she extracts her almost-transparent green silk camisole from the pile of fabric at her side, and slips it over her head. "There was some small misunderstanding about that, you might be amused to hear," she teases, "though I don't know why I should tell you anything at all, when *you* never tell…"

Corina sighs loudly. "I'm full of stories. I should tell you about Claude, a lover of mine in Paris. By god, you would think the man shaved his entire body. But I swear, he had barely a hair on him from the neck down, and it was completely natural. At first, I thought it would be strange, but there is something extraordinary about the sensation."

Now that does amuse Fabia; she closes her eyes for a moment, and you must just know she's imagining what it might be like… Her smile broadens, she shakes her head a little, she undulates up onto her knees and commences to slither out of her golden pants, sitting down again with a little thump in order to complete the procedure. Her stockings and suspender-belt seem to have vanished since last night, which absence tells a tale all its own. Her legs are astonishing for a woman her age — though less so now, perhaps, that she has mentioned idly to Corina, whilst explaining her gentleman acquaintance of the night before, that she used to be a ballet dancer, and he a stage-door admirer of hers… "I knew a woman who hadn't a hair on her," she mentions, "but never a man… Yes, you *should* tell me. What other curiosities have you come across?" she asks, interestedly.

Corina smirks, more alert and awake now. "Now you know two. Claude inspired me." She giggles, sitting up and adjusting her blankets to keep her relatively modest. "Now, now. I gave you a tidbit. Now you give me one. What happened after we parted last night? Did he woo you?" She adopts a girlish grin, like a teenager on the hunt for something to go 'oooooh' over.

The drawing-in of Fabia's breath at this naughty revelation is surely all that Corina could have hoped for; she forgets the blouse in her hand and stares, with (as it were) naked curiosity at what she can see of Corina… "Magic again?" she asks. "If I'm going to be a witch in the future, and mark you I haven't absolutely decided I am, but *if* I am… I rather think there might be a few spells you'd be the perfect girl to teach me. But, very well, yes. Last night. The tulip man." She having already confided, during a slow dance last night at the Natrix, that she didn't recollect his name, having always and only thought of him as the tulip man. "The years have made him a tulip *gentleman*… We went on to his suite at the Dorchester for supper; and he said the most charming things about me, never even repeating himself; but then we finished supper and I kept thinking — well — is it possible he really *does* just want to talk over old times with someone who was there, who remembers his youth?" Her shoulder lifts; and falls. A gesture of hapless feminine submission to fate. Or… is it?

Corina's smug grin of satisfaction at Fabia's reaction makes it clear that's exactly what she'd hoped for. She listens intently to the story of the tulip man, leaning in closer and closer, waiting for the big revelation…which doesn't come. "Oh, come along, Fabia. You're not leaving it there. Did you, or didn't you? Surely, in the state you're in, you must have fulfilled his every fantasy."

And Fabia sits further upright, leaning her unbuttoned forearm on the edge of the bed, till she's almost nose-to-nose with Corina. "State?" she murmurs, clearly enjoying either teasing her young friend about something which didn't happen, or the memory of something which *did*… "I don't know *what* you mean." But she can only keep up her ingenuous gazing into Corina's eyes for another instant before she breaks; "That's a frightful lie, I know exactly what you mean."

Corina breaks into an impish giggle. "Of course you do. So bloody well tell me, already. You woke me up. You still owe me." She's going to squeeze every last bit of value she can out of that.

"Oh, all right, all right. Now, I did say there was a misunderstanding; were you awake when I said that?" She waits for some sign from Corina, then, hands folded over her bare knees, continues. "You've no idea the trouble I had divining his intentions… Every signal you could *imagine*, and none of it made sense until I realised he was being such a gentleman because he shared the concern you expressed in this very room — that I might be too old," her voice drips with irony, "to wish what he evidently still wished… Which is absurd, you know, I don't believe one *ever* stops wishing to be close to someone.

"And once I'd dealt with that, I had still to contend with his idea that I wasn't the sort of woman one could pick up at a dance-hall and — which I suppose I might not be, not necessarily, but he's hardly a stranger, we had a weekend in Le Touquet when I was twenty-three which isn't at all the sort of thing one would be inclined to forget — but after *that*…" Her sooty eyelashes lower, till they're almost caressing her cheeks. At last, she's approaching the point. She is in fact dying to relate her evening in the minutest detail; but she's as determined to extract the greatest possible fun from telling, as Corina is to get all she can out of having been woken up so horribly early.

"Almost," she purrs. "Very, very almost." (That must have been when she lost her stockings.) "But not quite." She pauses. "He's taking me to the theatre this evening; and then…" She lifts one hand in half a Gallic shrug. A man, a woman, a night on the town; these things may very well take their natural course.

Corina's large eyes grow ever bigger with each stage of the tale. By the end of it, Corina flops back onto her pillow like a giddy schoolgirl. "Oh, marvelous! My, and such a gentleman, too. Let us hope his prowess is as keen as his manners." She grins lasciviously, wiggling her eyebrows. "I shall have to hear every detail, of course. A late lunch, tomorrow? If you're not too exhausted, that is."

"Well," Fabia admits, "I don't recall having anything to complain of when I was twenty-three… Presumably he's got in a little practice since then, if the brunette he had with him yesterday evening is anything to judge by." She's smirking, of course she's smirking. Who wouldn't be smirking, with everything still to look forward to? She stretches her arms gorgeously; and begins to button her blouse, which has been hanging open upon her slender frame all this time. "I'd meant to go back to Hogsmeade today, if I could manage it, but somehow I don't think I shall manage it tomorrow either. I didn't bring enough *clothes*," she moans slightly, with the air of one who sees her present dearth of sartorial options less as a problem than as an opportunity. "Perhaps if I explained this to the tulip gentleman… Though I might then be called upon to explain other things to the tulip gentleman. That's the trouble with explanations. If you give one once, people begin to expect them, and then you hardly know where you are."

"The tulip gentleman," Corina echoes. "Please tell me that you've deciphered his name by now. For goodness sake, Fabia. The man wants to worship you. The least you could do is learn what to call him." She teases a smirk, then shifts to the other side of the bed, sliding out from under the covers. Ah yes, it's quite evident as she saunters lazily to the closet that there isn't a stitch on her. "Or have you lied your way through that predicament as well? What was all of that business about lies in your telegram, anyhow?"

"Why do you think I just call everyone sweetie, sweetie?" inquires Fabia rhetorically. Her shoulder shift in a silent laugh; her eyes are on Corina, as she does up the last of her cuff-buttons and rises smoothly to her feet to step into her petticoat. "Which — oh, yes, that telegram. I was a little distracted when I sent it. You see I had to come to London because I was supposed to be in Herefordshire."

Corina nods very seriously with a sage look over her shoulder. "Oh yes. That explains it completely. Except not at all." Catching a glimpse of Fabia's eyes on her, her mouth twitches with a bit of mischief. She lingers at the closet indecisively, leaning up against the door frame in such a way as to thrust her hip out to one side, accentuating her womanly curves.

"Oh, you did that on purpose!" Fabia exclaims. Fairly, under the circumstances. Shaking her head, she relents in her surveillance, and busies herself turning her skirt the right way round. "Frid said I had to shut the flat in London for reasons of Economy," she gives this arcane word a capital E, "and so I put it about that I was going on a longish round of visits… I was supposed to be putting in a week with some people I know in Herefordshire, and that was all very well, they agreed to say I'd been there if anyone asked, but then on Sunday afternoon in St James's Park Cilla Cholmondeley-ffinch, my purported hostess in Herefordshire, came face to face with my daughter Emma!" She pauses in the midst of tucking her blouse into her skirt, to throw up her hands. "Like the bird-witted creature she is, Cilla stammered out a hopeless line about my having come back to London early. She wired straight away to the address I'd given her, to tell me what she'd said and apologise for saying it, but then of course," she concludes, smoothing hips narrow even beneath tweed, "I had to be in London."

Corina grins wickedly at Fabia, caught in the act, so to speak. "Well, if you don't want me to show off, don't stare. Or stare. I don't mind either way." It should be fairly evident that she rather enjoys the attention, anyhow. "My word, Fabia. Knowing you is exhausting. So, who is Frid?"

"I'll stare, then," says Fabia, and suits the action to the word, resting her chin upon the back of her hand and peering with extravagant intensity at Corina until she can't keep *that* up either, and laughs instead. "We ballet girls would look and talk endlessly, always comparing, always trying to learn one another's secrets and see what we might manage to improve in ourselves… Frid is my valet, he looks after everything for me. He says I'm exhausting too." She swoops down to pick up her two purses, day and evening, and finds a chair to sit in whilst she moves her assorted feminine accoutrements (lipstick, powder compact, cocaine) from one to the other. Somewhere she can, of course, still keep an eye on Corina.

Corina turns to give Fabia a complete show. When she's about-faced, her earlier claim proves true. Apparently deciding that nudity is not going to be the slightest issue, she sits down at her vanity and starts brushing out the tangles in her long, snowy hair. "It sounds as if he would know. A valet, hm? A male tending to your personal needs? I hope he's handsome."

The show is rewarded with a lift of Fabia's eyebrows and a very considering glance; and this is succeeded, when Corina has spoken, by a rolling of green eyes towards Heaven and a downright complacent sigh. "He is," Fabia confirms. She has found amongst her belongs a silver wrist-watch; she glances at it, turns it the other way up, glances again, and pales. "Is THAT the time?"

…aaaaand, scene.

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