(1939-09-27) The Roles We Play
Details for The Roles We Play
Summary: Audrey begins in earnest her mission to mold Signe into a diva.
Date: 27 September, 1939
Location: Flat Above The Natrix, London

Behind a hidden panel and up a flight of stairs from the Natrix's office, this swanky penthouse apartment is decorated with the same art deco sensibility as the room below, but far more lavishly. The stairs top out in the center of a wide circular room. The inner half of the circle covered in plush green carpet, the outer half in black and white marble tiles. A variety of eclectic modern statues on pedestals ring the room, along with silver-framed mirrors and modern paintings. In nearly every room there is a piano of some sort. A standing piano is the smaller rooms and a beautiful black grand piano with sexy curves and art deco designs on the legs and on the lid. On the carpet opposite the stairs is a seating area with several low-slung white Italian leather couches and armless chairs surrounding a circular mahogany table.

The curving walls are translucent glass, and through its milky-white surface the outline of the rooms beyond can be seen: a kitchen and bar with another small seating area, a smoking parlor with a billiards table, a large bathroom with a jacuzzi, and a bedroom dominated by a tall king-sized four-poster with a silver and rosewood frame. One five-meter segment of the glass wall is one-way transparent glass, offering a view of the night club's surroundings that opens on to a discreet balcony.

Signe can be rather casual when she's working on something - and this is one of those times. The woman is currently lying on her stomach on Wolfgang's floor - sheet music spread about her, and a pencil in her hand. She hums to herself as the eraser of her pencil traces over some notes - pausing as she erases and then re-writes. She goes back a few bars and picks up the tune again, continuing to hum it to herself. It's early afternoon still - she still has some time to herself before she needs to get to the opera for the evening.

The clicking of Audrey's heels on the stairs announces her presence. But that hardly stops her from doing so herself as she ascends into the flat. "Woooolfie! Syyydney! Your Audrey is here!" She is clad is a smart red jacket and skirt, wearing dark stockings and a wide-brimmed hat with rather far too many feathers pluming on one side. "Oh, Sydney! Are we composing?" She clicks her way over to the dining area to deposit a number of shopping bags. "Shall I fetch you some wine? It helps the creative process, you know."

"I wouldn't argue with that," Signe agrees, as she makes another alteration. She glances up at Audrey after she's done, tilting her head to look at the hat. "That's very dramatic, isn't it?" she remarks. "Wolfgang's handling some sort of problem with the business - I didn't really ask what," she remarks. "I'm sure he'll be back up later."

Audrey doesn't hesitate to raid Wolfgang's wine stores, fetching two glasses to fill. She sets one on the floor by Signe's hand. "It's generally best not to ask for details with Wolfgang's business," Audrey comments. "So you like my hat? You'd look divine in it. Care to try it on?" She doffs the headwear, showing off her tightly curled golden hair.

Signe pushes herself up, sitting with both legs folded beside her. She takes a sip of the wine, then nods in agreement with the offer. "I'd love to, Audrey." Taking in the hat when offered - she'd pad off to find herself a mirror, and admire herself in it, subtly adjusting the way the hat sits on her head as she does so. "I'm not sure it goes with this dress, though."

"Well, no. We'd have to fine one in another colour. But the style, darling. The style. You wear it well." Audrey glides to the couch, opting to prop herself on the back of it. "What are you composing? I never had much talent for songwriting. Just singing."

"It's something I wrote for Wolfgang's birthday - a sonata on violin and piano, so we could play it together. I had a few notions, though, so I'm… sprucing it up. I wasn't quite happy with it," Signe agrees, still admiring the hat in the mirror. After a few more moments, though, she goes to fetch her cup of wine of the floor, and takes a seat next to Audrey. "I don't think I've anywhere near the talent for songwriting that Wolfgang has. But I think this one is coming out quite well."

Audrey holds a finger up, wagging it at Signe while she swallows a mouthful of wine. "Mmm mm. No, none of that. You are a star. You do not sell yourself short, darling. Adore Wolfgang all you want, but do not accept the notion that you have lesser talent. You are Sydney Cole. The world will beg to merely brush up against your talent."

Signe looks honestly embarrassed by this praise, glancing down slightly, and shaking her head. "I don't think there's anything wrong with admitting Wolfgang's better at songwriting. Certainly I've no talent as a lyricist." Glancing aside at Audrey she adds, "And you're welcome to call me Signe in private. It's my real name."

"Seen-yay?" Audrey tries to wrap her lips around the pronunciation. "Goodness, no, dear. Be Sydney. I'm sure there is nothing wrong with you name, but you are who you choose to be. You've chosen to be Sydney Cole, and you should embrace her. If you want to be a star, you mustn't do things in half-measures."

Audrey's words seem to both surprise and puzzle Signe as she studies the woman beside her, a slight frown tugging at her lips. "But they're both the same person. They're both me. It's only - well. No one ever seems to know how to say Signe when they see it."

Audrey smirks wryly at Signe, sizing the woman up. "Are you telling me that's the only reason you took a stage name? I've known a lot of performers, Syd. A lot. I don't think I've known a single one that changed their name that wasn't also trying to leave something else behind."

"No," Signe says hastily. "Not… leave it behind, exactly. More… to protect it," she tries to explain, her cheeks coloring. "I'm a Crabbe. A pure-blood. I'm lucky enough that my family still cares to keep in touch, but the bigger my name becomes… I didn't want to become an embarrassment to them. A pure-blood Squib, drawing so much attention to herself… You can imagine how poorly that could go." Just talking about the possibility, it's clear how anxious the thought makes her in the way she holds her glass, and lowers her gaze.

Audrey sighs softly. "Noble of you, but truly? You're concerned about protecting the people who would be embarrassed by you? Embarrassed to have a woman of such talent spreading their name? Sweetheart, you're not burying their shame. You're burying your own. But you have nothing to be ashamed of. You are positively divine, and I shall convince you of it."

"I just don't want to lose them," Signe insists quietly. "I mean- not Beryl. She's always insisted I should do what I wish, with no concern for what father would say. Nothing I could do would phase her one whit, but…" Her father is obviously another matter entirely. "Of course I'm proud of my music, though."

Audrey lifts her glass to clink with Signe's. "Good. Then be proud of being Sydney Cole. Sweetie, this is your moment to forge your destiny. You decide who Sydney Cole is, then become her. It is empowering in ways you cannot imagine."

Signe returns the gesture, and takes a sip of the wine, still watching Audrey with some puzzlement. "But she's me," she insists softly. "Not just some… role to play, or…" She's studying Audrey now. Is all that vivacious energy just an act? A role she's chosen to play?

"Is she really? Let me tell you something, Syd." Audrey puts a gentle hand on Signe's shoulder. "I see two Syndeys…Signes…whatever. The woman I sang with on Wolfgang's birthday shone. She owned that stage…with me, of course. But my point is that you transformed up there, and the audience could feel it. Of course, you're marvelous off-stage as well. But down here you become…demure, submissive. As long as that's true, then she is a role you play."

"I…" Signe starts, her gaze locked onto Audrey's. But she isn't sure how to finish the thought. After a moment she looks down at the glass she holds in both hands now, looking rather confused. "But is that such a bad thing?" she asks uncertainly. "I could never be like that all the time. That wouldn't be me anymore."

"It would be if you chose it, sweetie." Audrey gives Signe a smirk, leaning into her for a moment. "It all depends on what you want out of life. How high do you want to rise? How large do you want your name in lights?"

"I… don't know," Signe admits. "I just want to make music. I want to spend my time, make my living, making art. The fame isn't as important."

"Are you sure, dear? You have such a gift. You could be beloved by millions." Audrey gives the younger woman a devilish grin. "Picture it. You on a stage before thousands of desperate fans, all begging for just a glance, just a hint that you know they are there. Men falling all over themselves in the hope of a kiss. Women wishing they were you. Tell me it doesn't tempt you."

Signe continues to look down at her wine, seeming quite flustered by the question, and unsure what to say. "I enjoy being on the stage," she admits. "It's a thrill. I love every moment of a performance. That's what I really enjoy."

Audrey chuckles as she sips her own wine. "You didn't answer the question. That's alright. I know it will be on your mind…Sydney."

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