(1938-11-04) The Devil You Know
Details for The Devil You Know
Summary: Wolfgang introduces his former mistress to his possible future wife.
Date: 4 November, 1938
Location: Flat Above The Natrix

It's at the end of the 'night'. 3 AM to be precise. After a full night of serenading, dancing and drinking, Wolfgang invited his betrothed up to finally see the masterpiece of Art Deco that is his penthouse above the club. He flips the secret switch and the wall in the office opens up to reveal stairs up. Hand in hand he leads her up the stairs. "She's still pretty banged up in the heart department. So please don't let this influence your opinion of her too much." He then calls, "Star, baby, got company for you to meet. Come join us for a drink." Unspoken was the hint that she should probably take some effort and doll herself up some before joining them.

To say that Oriana is curious would be an understatement, especially after having met Wolfgang's cousin the night before. While he holds onto one gloved hand the other has lifted the hem of her dress enough to make it that little bit easier to walk upstairs. "I shall be kind to your friend," she says in her accented English. When they reach the landing her attention is immediately drawn to the decor and a slow smile dawns on her face.

"Wolfy! You brought me a friend!" The bright, chiming voice calls out from the kitchen. Audrey Taylor, rising star of the stage, the wireless, and soon the screen, emerges dressed in a slender, form-hugging black gown, slit to the knee. Matching gloves cover her hands and arms. Her hair is dolled up in a golden curls atop her head, and diamonds sparkled from her ears and around her neck. She looks ready to join the party that just ended downstairs. She lifts the tumbler in her hand, half full of something amber. "Get you two anything while I'm up?"

Wolfgang lifts up Oriana's hand in his to place a suave kiss to her knuckles. "I did Audrey. You look amazing. Did you have a premiere?" He smiles to her and brings Oriana closer. "Oriana Marcone, this is Audrey Taylor. Audrey, I would like for you to meet Oriana Marcone." To the drink he gives a bob of his head, "If you would Doll." His level of affection for them both is present, but not overrought and kept very amicable and proper for company. Confidence high that they will get along, they have quite a lot in common after all, he's just one of those things is all.

When Oriana turns to look at the gushing sounds of Audrey she smiles in that cool way she has, "What a lovely dress. Wolfgang made me think you were up here in a dressing gown eating gelato and watering plants with tears. I arrive and see a stunning confident woman." Her gaze flits to the glass and then back to the woman, "Yes, I should like a drink and then for you to tell me what exciting things you have been doing. I expect all stars to do exciting things like in the pictures or the magazines." She grins broadly and immediately finds somewhere to sit.

Audrey gives a little shake of her head to the question about a premiere. But since when has Audrey Taylor needed an excuse to look fabulous? Surely it had nothing to do with getting wind that Wolfgang's possible future bride was in the building. She strides over, her free hand extended in greeting to the new face. "Oriaaana," she draws out the name affectionately, as if greeting an old friend. "I am so glad to meet you at last…thank goodness I dispensed with the dressing gown tonight." She lets out a silvery laugh. "Let me get you something, and we'll talk. Gin and tonic? Or a single-malt?" She wiggles her own glass indicatively.

Wolfgang chuckles and shakes his head, "Trying to get me into trouble?" He teases Oriana and gives her cheek a kiss, then he leans over to thank Audrey for his Disarono, neat, "Oriana has a particular affection for the Cinema, Audrey. We hope that we'll get front row seats at the London Premiere."

"Lemoncello if there is some upstairs," says Oriana. "I always want something refreshing this late in the day." She tugs on each finger of her glove, pulls it off and drapes it across her lap before repeating the process with its mate. "This is true, I love the cinema. I have seen hundreds of muggle films. They are so charming. Do you know Clark Gable? I would sing for him all night long."

Audrey has soon returned with the drinks of choice, thanks to Wolfgang's well-stocked cabinet. "Clark Gable?" She laughs lightly, as she finds a seat near the both of them. "Oh, wouldn't that be a dream? No, I fear I've only just begun to dip my toe into American cinema…or any cinema, really. My film will be released soon, though I expect it may take longer to reach England. No, I've been acting on stage for years, though. Do you go to the theatre, Oriana?"

Wolfgang gives his betrothed a wolfish grin and he slides an arm around her and gives her a little tug to his side, "That 'singing' better not be the behind closed door kind. That would make a man jealous." He grins over to Audrey, "Do you know Clark Gable? Awww, such a shame." It's a bit of a tease aimed at both of the women he keeps company with. "If she doesn't she'll be going soon enough. I have tickets for our trip. Teatro La Fenice. 'The Phoenix Theater'." He translates the name of the Opera House for Audrey, who he's slowly but steadily 'teaching' her Italian.

Nodding her thanks for the drink Oriana just laughs ato Wolfgang and pats his cheek with her free hand before turning towards Audrey, "To sing for Clark Gable behind closed doors..magari!" She takes a little sip of the lemon liqueur and nods, "I do like the theatre, yes. I prefer cinema because of the faster pace and the scenery but theatre is fantastic although I have not been to see a play in English." Ori tilts her head back so she can better see Wolfgang's face, "You are full of surprises."

Audrey chuckles, giving a roll of her eyes. "Wolfy, I may not speak Italian, but for goodness sake, I know La Fenice." Her lips tighten for a moment as she goes silent, taking a long sip of her drink for pause.

Wolfgang just smiles at Oriana for a while when she decrees him full of surprises, then he grimaces playfully at Audrey. "Course you do Doll, I'm sorry. How about we all have a seat and relax?" He gestures towards his living room and takes a drink of his liquor. "Oriana is from Palermo." He won't 'insult' his mistress again by telling her where exactly Palermo is.

With a very Italian dismissive wave of her hand Oriana defends the starlet. "Of course you know, you are an artist, a performer. Everyone knows La Fenice and that it is the best place to see La Traviata performed." Oriana sips her drink and lean over towards Audrey. "I must know, will you be going off to do another film or is there something at Pinewood, here in London that you may take up?"

Audrey nibbles lightly at her lip before answering. "Oh, nothing just now. My time in Los Angeles was exhausting. I suppose Sharkey will drum something up soon. Sharkey is my manager," she explains. "He's a greedy little imp, but he knows show business like nobody else. Speaking of show business, Wolfy tells me that you are considering a singing career."

Wolfgang adds poignantly to Audrey, "And speaking of Sharkey. I've fired him eight more times." She'll know what he means by that, also in his tone is a bit of agreeing that Sharkey does have something on the line now. It's why he's been an insufferable stalker. "If you want, I can link Sharkey with the boys in Hoxton, I'm sure Jimmy Shore would love to give you a chance on his silver screen. You'll be perfectly safe of course." The American gangster that came to London isn't so foolish as to mess with the Clerkenwell folk.

"Hopefully he lives up to his name," Oriana says of Sharkey. She wathces the interplay between Audrey and Wolfgang, listening but not commenting until they are finished at which point she smiles at Audrey, "I do not know that it would be a career like what you have. There are other things which should they come to pass will require the main focus of my attention, but I do love music."

Audrey lounges back in her seat, legs crossed daintily, her toe tapping in the air to some unheard rhythm. "Sharkey and Jimmy Shore? I don't know that I could handle the both of them." She smirks, shaking her head. "Well, Oriana, you've certainly got the look. You're stunning. I'm guessing you've got the voice. The rest is mostly stage presence, promotion, and opportunity. Both of the latter, Wolfgang can provide." Hope he was intending to, because he just got volunteered. "The presence, though, is something you've got to find in yourself. I can give you tips, but it's really about confidence, and connecting with your audience."

Wolfgang can't help but smile into his drink as he takes a sip when Oriana talks about things that might come to pass. He gives her a 'what ever might that be?' impish little expression before he takes another drink of his favorite beverage. "I think the most helpful thing would be if you can give her tips in what not to do in finding an agent or venue. I don't want her ending up with a Sharkey or a Jimmy Shore."

"Dai!" Oriana follows her exclamation with a soft laugh, "You are too kind, Audrey, to compliment me so. I hope to see your film soon so that I can return the favour." She sets her limoncello aside and turns her head towards Wolfgang, "Do you have a cigarette? I have left mine downstairs." And judging by the snug fit of her dress she hasn't smuggled up a lighter either. Blue gaze fliting back to Audrey, "Do you have a place to live, there is a beautiful new building of flats opening up near the park."

Audrey drops her eyes to her drink as she takes a heavier sip. "I do, but it's being used by someone else right now, which is why I'm here." She flashes a bright smile at Wolfgang. "Wolfy has been such a gracious host. I always feel so at home here."

Wolfgang nods his head and pulls his cigarette case out of his jacket, three cigarettes are lit in his mouth before he passes them out. "Audrey's staying here until she's on her feet again, then she'll be moving into a place called 'The Watershed', if she wants, or one of my other properties." He is giving Oriana a smirk, well aware that was her little way of getting the Mistress out of his actual home. "It also allows me to get her to come downstairs and sing at a moments notice."

Taking the cigarette with one hand Oriana's slim fingered hand with its short red nails brings it to her red painted lips. "If you tire of his company or prefer that of a woman you must come see me. I will leave word with my maid to let you in if I am out." A single honeyed brow is raised, "If you do not think me too presumptous to invite you. Sometimes I am…too foreign." Oriana smiles at Audrey and then takes another delicate pull of the lit cigarette causing the end to flare briefly.

Audrey gives Wolfgang the briefest flash of incredulity at the mention of the Watershed. Thankfully, Oriana's offer saves the moment, and she resumes her warm glow. "How kind of you. Thank you. No, I don't it presumptuous at all." With an uncharacteristic touch of cautiousness, she adds, "In fact…I quite hope you and I will be good friends."

Wolfgang flashes a bit of an apologetic look back at Audrey, the realtor in him was just thinking of the place as being one of the finest and unique homes in London. He didn't take into account the bad history of the house. "Well you both know, that you'll have the best places in the world. I hope you two will be good friends." There is an emphasis on 'friends' that for at least Audrey would ring of, 'not going to support this girl on girl romance.' He learned his lesson!

"This is good," agrees Oriana with a nod. "You are not too English. Too…unable to see that it is benificial for us to have a relationship between us." She reaches for her limoncello. "We do marry there will be duties, roles to fulfill but there is no reason we cannot at the very least be courteous to one another." Sometimes her foreigness is just a bit more obvious than others. Jokingly she says, "What is the saying, better the devil you know?"

Audrey's smiles widens, perhaps finding some comfort as the talk turns more forthright. "I am definitely not too English. Do you know that I've been accused of being American?" She laughs, her smoky eyes sparkling with amusement. "I take it as a compliment. I like Americans. Much less pretense, there. But yes, better the Devil you know. Do hope I can be a pleasant sort of Devil."

Wolfgang smiles and reaches out his free hand towards Oriana, "See, I told you both everything is on the up and up. Think this can turn out real well, no one's hurt by secrets, I know we all can get along. THat is if we do end up getting hitched." He says the if more as a reminder to himself than them that things are still pretty up in the air.

Reaching over to tap the ash gently from her cigarette Oriana states, "This is true, it is a big if because I may find him far too English and boring to my liking. I have met some rather odd men since coming here. A nice man in the park who had many sisters. Lorenzo the broommaker who does the strangest things in public." She tilts her head as she sips the last of her drink. Switching readily from teasing to business she tells Audrey, "Should it come to it, we will discuss things, boundaries. Ensure we both feel comfortable with our positions. And if it does not," she brings both shoulders forward in a very Italian shrug.

Audrey nods, sobering for a moment as she considers their words. "I suppose…though it does make the whole thing sound rather like a business arrangement. Maybe that would be better. Wolfy can tell you that I don't tend to plan things very well. My heart gets the better of my brain all too often."

"Thinking with your heart sometimes means you can end up lost if things change or do not work out, if you feel someone has overstepped. We must also consider that if there is a marriage there will be children." Oriana takes a final pull off her cigarette and puts it out. "I would protect them but also you. I should not like to see you in the same position my father's companions were put in."

Wolfgang looks a bit like he's just enjoying listening to the Ladies find their footing and boundaries. He also looks like he's maybe going to have Sweeney join Oriana on her journeys around London, so there are (smashed in) faces put the names of these 'interesting men' of her. He does give a little grunt and swallows more of his liquour as if he choked a bit on the smoke he was inhaling when Oriana broached talk about children. "Audrey is a very career minded woman. Which is one reason why I adore her so." Subtext, she doesn't want to ruin her rise in stardom by getting pregnant, in other words they're careful as can be!

Audrey sighs softly, giving Oriana a grateful smile. "You're not wrong. My heart has led through just as many wrong turns as right ones. I must be honest, I don't know where life is leading me right now. Wolfy and I…I shall be blunt. We do have something special. I love him dearly. But I'm not naive. I'm a Squib, if you didn't know, and I know very well that the Montagues would never accept me as a suitable wife. I'm not even sure I'd want that life. As Wolfy says, I'm married to my career. But…he's also my rock. I hope you won't take it as too possessive of me to say I need him. I need him to be at least that for me." Her gaze drifts to Wolfgang, blue eyes full of warmth and gratitude.

Oriana pulls on her gloves, a clear indication that she intends to leave. "I did not know, but it makes no difference to me. Wolfgang is a romantic, I can see that you are too. I am a touch more practical, but then I was raised to know my value would be as a wife, a partner, to a powerful man. Not many such men are romantic or kind to their wives." There is a brief moment when her lips form a thin line but then her reflections are chased away with a smile, "I must be off. I have plans for the morning and it will be morning soon." She moves over to lean down and kiss Audrey on each cheek then says to Wolfgang, "Show me out, yes?"

Audrey kisses Oriana back, giving the woman a hopeful smile. "We should do lunch soon. Just the two of us." She'll rise to see Wolfgang and Oriana to the door.

Wolfgang gives Audrey a warm smile right back and was starting to stand when the gloves were being slid on. His cigarette is stubbed out and he offers his hand to Oriana to walk her, "Of course. You'll have to do lunch tomorrow, we have plans on Wednesday and we won't be back til Friday Morning." He's not so tacky as to ask out loud, but he does give Oriana a look that opens up the option for her to invite the Starlet along with to Venice without making her feel put on the spot of course. "I'll be home again soon." He tells Audrey, sounding like he's going to fully take Oriana to her flat.

Oriana is giving but not that giving especially as this is supposed to be her opportunity to decide if he's worth all this bother. "Lunch would good idea. I will come round once my engagement is finished. Buonanotte Audrey." She follows Wolfgang out then.

When the couple has gone, Audrey stands at the top of the stairs for a time, staring blankly at the wall. Only after several minutes have passed, and she is certain she's alone, does she let her mask crack, her face tightening as tears fall. Taking up her drink, she starts peeling out of her clothing as she heads into the bathroom to soak away her troubles.

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