tagRomanceLove for the Azure Rose

Love for the Azure Rose

byMSTarot©

It was in my second year in college, I'm studying to be a history teacher, when my professor gave us the assignment. We were to do a full report on any one period in history. He gave us complete freedom to choose the time or event and plenty of time to complete it. He did however tell us to be as thorough as possible. Then he dropped the bomb.

It was going to be half of our grade for the semester!

He left the room, leaving behind him a sea of open mouths. Then chaos erupted. Some of my classmates immediately began firing out ideas for essays. Some were going to go far back into history, Egypt, the rise of Alexander the Great, King Leonidas and the battle of Thermopylae, a collective history of the Emperors of Rome.

Others began to call out that they were doing the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the rise of the Industrial Revolution. One fellow called out the Sexual Revolution to a general scattering of laughter.

I heard the fall of the Berlin wall, 911, the cold war with Russia. The Apollo Space Program.

Me?

I had no idea what I was going to write about. I was scanning through my history book and talking to the others but nothing appealed. I knew if I didn't have a lot of passion for what and when I was writing about I would get a poor grade, and I needed this credit. Grabbing my things I left the storm of history being tossed about and headed for Greek row and the frat house. We have a few history people in house that could give me a few...maybe unique ideas. Unfortunately as luck would have it they were not there when I got there, though I did leave a post-it on their doors telling them to get with me when they got in.

Going to my room I hooked up my laptop and went surfing down the data waves trying to find inspiration. I spent hours following time lines. The Vikings sounded interesting but I knew some of the others would be doing them as a side story for their medieval essays. I wanted something that the professor had never seen before. Some lost fragment of history, a time remembered enough for me to find material on, but forgotten by the most of history.

Nothing just jumped out at me.

Finally like most men on a computer I ended up on a porn site. When inspiration fails meditate to tits and ass. I was going site to site just trying to get a virus when I somehow I ended up on a vintage site. That's when I saw her.

The clip must have been filmed in the 1930s. She had skin like pale marble, but how lovely she moved. Her face looked angelic. I watched her slowly strip out of a frilly looking dress. When her breast were bare her nipples were covered with pastes, silvery tassels dangling from the tips.

I must have spent the rest of the night searching through similar sites. I had my time period.

Vaudeville. Burlesque. A history of the dancers of the Vaudeville age.

It was perfect.

I found huge amounts of historical pictures, film clips, interviews. Even a documentary. There was also a massive historic database of names.

Gypsy Rose Lee, Tempest Storm, Blaze Star, Evangeline the Oyster queen of Mardi Gras. And hundreds of others not as well known.

The next day I tore into the library's old new paper section looking for Variety pages. I spent the whole day copying and scanning images into my computer. I swear it felt like my laptop gained five pounds before the day was out.

I downloaded the two-hour documentary from off line and watched it sitting in Starbucks drinking way too many cups of espresso. One espresso good. Twelve espresso bad.

I was wired for sound and taking it all in like I was plugged into the lap top myself. I never knew anything about the history I was learning then. Most of the dancers were poor, came from hard backgrounds. Taking their clothes off for money was, for many, the best option just to survive. Some of them were the daughters of old comedians. They had grown up in the theaters going town to town with their parents.

Many of the actors I grew up watching were in fact the sons and daughters of Vaudeville people. Hawkeye... Alan Alda from M.A.S.H. was one such.

At some point my endless pages of notes began to overwhelm me though. I needed a focus to my essay. It was with coffee shakes shooting through me at four in the morning that I found her. My focus.

Her name was Rose Kipner. She had dance under the name the Azure Rose. I don't know why she stood out to me from all the others but from the moment I saw her I knew she was what I was looking for.

Maybe it was because she didn't come from some far off place but from right around here. Towns who's names I knew. She went to high school in a town nearby. Hell my Mom and Dad went to the same school. Come to think of it my Grandmother did too. I wonder if she had known Rose. When she was still Rose Kipner.

Before she became the Azure Rose.

I spent the next few days in a haze of her images. I went through every piece of data I had found and went looking for more. I learned everything I could about her but it wasn't enough. I needed...wanted to know more.

Finally I ended up just looking at a picture of her for hours on end. I would stop what I was doing and just stare at her image.

"Damn, she's hot."

I looked over my shoulder at Todd. He's one of my Frat brothers.

I nodded.

"Yep she was that," I said looking back at the frozen image.

Todd reached past me and grabbed the mouse. He clicked the little arrow in the middle of the picture starting the video. Rose started to dance and strip to soft music. She moved in a column of blue and white lights letting item by item drop away.

"Whoo ho! My god would you look at her," he wolf whistled. The sound attracted several other brothers who came over to see what all the noise was about. I soon had a small group of guys leaning over my shoulder watching the clip.

"Damn I wish she didn't have those stupid things on her nipples."

"Wow what an ass!"

"Holy shit, shake it darlin."

Their comments at first annoyed me. Then as she gets down to nearly nothing they really bothered me. Finally I closed my laptop and got up.

"Hey Martin, where you going? I want to see more of her. Man come on," Todd pleaded as I walked away.

"You've got a computer look up vaudeville strippers," I told him as I pushed open the door. I heard his voice follow me outside.

"Ah come on Martin."

I walked faster. I walked across the campus to the green. I stopped next to the school bell clock and plopped down on the steps.

I... was mad.

I realized this about myself in a confused bit of self-examination. I was mad at them... No I was pissed! Pissed about the way they had talked about Rose.

Taking a deep breath to calm my nerves I opened my laptop. I pulled back up her picture. It must have been taken fifty years before I was born. She's only eighteen, but had already been stripping for years. The daughter of a Ventriloquist she had spent her childhood dressed as his dummy. Then when she got too big for that she helped get him ready for the next show. From what I had read that mostly meant hiding the bottles from him till he was safely on the train.

He died when she was fourteen. She had no family other than him and at that time she could have easily ended up on the streets. The ladies took her in and taught her the trade. She was dancing for men on stage before she could have legally drove a car.

Damn them!

My frat brothers.

How dare they talk about her like she was some modern porn star whore? They didn't know what she had been through, what she had done just to survive! The pain she had endured in her life.

As I sat there storming I came to realize something impossible.

Somewhere in the middle of all this researching I have fallen in love with her. This woman in blue light from the past.

I've had the odd girl friend over the years. All of them seemed like vapid self-interested little girls to me now. Rose was a women. Even in this young photo she was more self-reliant than any of the cell phone tweeting girls I see walking past. They're like chattering magpies. I know if I watched long enough I would see one walk into a tree. Tweet, tweet, tweet POW!

I look back down to Rose's picture. My god how beautiful she was. Todd was right about that. She had a body like the screen legends of her day. Jane Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe. Betty Page had nothing on Rose. She was all curves and soft flawless skin.

For the tenth time I start to reread her bio. It's then that I notice something.

They have a date of her birth.

But there is no date of her death.

I start a hunt then that dwarfs my other searches. For days I track down every piece of paper with her name on it that has survived the decades. There weren't many. She had not been as famous as some of the others. Not Blaze Star the Queen of Vaudeville, not Tempest Storm who stripped into her seventies. But to me she had outshone them all.

And I couldn't find anything about her now! Not when she had died, not where she was buried.

Could she be alive? She would have to be in her nineties.

I don't sleep that night. I toss and turn no matter how mind numb I have become. I'm out the bed with the sun. Several of my frat brothers are threatening crucifixion till I leave the house as quietly as I can.

I have a credit card Dad gave me my first year in collage. Said it was for emergencies. I've never used it.

I do now.

The detective I hire is a local man like myself, but he comes with a good reputation. He knows how to find people. People time has misplaced. It takes him two day to find what I never would have found.

Rose Kipner 'aka' Azure Rose married four times in her life. Something of a scandal in her day so it was kept from the papers. The first, third and fourth had ended in divorce.

But the second was to a man named Daniel Smith. He had been the love of her life. They had a few years together in what must have been the best time of her life. She gave up the stage, settled down into a nice house with a loving husband. The big war was over we had won. Everyone was excited and life seemed perfect.

Then Korea and the draft notice. Daniel Smith would kiss his young wife goodbye and never return.

She soon go back to the stage. Just to survive.

Years latter, when her last marriage ended, she took back the name from when she had been happiest.

Rose Kipner was Rose Smith. She was a resident of the Twin Oaks Retirement center. It was only ten miles away.

I paused then. I wanted so badly to go at that very moment, but what would I say to her. That I was a fan who just happened to be born decades after she had stopped dancing. That I was a college student doing an essay on vaudeville seemed a lame reason to disturb someone. Then the fact that at her age she might not even remember who she was let alone what she had done years ago came to me.

I knew the truth wouldn't work. That I had some how fallen in love with the image of her when she was young.

It took me a week to find my reason to go see her. In the end it was simple.

I just had to see her.

The credit card got the cab fair there. At the front desk they made me show my ID. I told them I was Rose's grand nephew. In one of those little ironies my last name is also Smith.

The attendant led me down a hall into the retirement home. Looking around I saw old people walking with canes, walkers or in wheel chairs. Some watched TVs in large groups. Some by themselves. A few looked up at me with almost hungry eyes. Envious of who ever I was here to see. Wishing it was them. Those looks tore my heart.

The attendant knocked on the open doorway.

"Ms Rose? Your grand nephew, Martin, is here to see you."

There was a pause, then I heard her voice.

"Is he? Well let him in then." Her voice rang like a string off my heart.

As I stepped into the door I saw her sitting by the window. Her once long brown hair was now short and white. Her once porcelain face was now lined and creased with deep wrinkles. They lift in a smile when she sees me.

"Hello Martin. Come on in. I haven't seen you in ages. Thank you Teresa."

"Your welcome Ms Rose." The attendant left after giving me a smile. I turned back to see Rose looking at me with a lifted eyebrow.

"Well Martin I may be old but I still know at least two things. You're a handsome young man, and I don't have a grand nephew. Martin or other wise. So who are you then?" she asks me softly, She's still smiling a little.

I chose the easy one.

"My name is Martin. I'm a collage student who was given an essay to write. My choice was the dancers of Vaudeville. You to be specific."

She gives a giggling chuckle.

"How much work did it take you to find me?" she asks smiling, shaking her head.

"Quite a bit," I confess. "I had to hire a private detective in the end."

She shakes her head and rests her wrinkled hands on her blanket-covered legs.

"Why would you go to so much effort? I was never that famous." She looks down at her hands for a second then rubs them together as if to rub away the age spots. "There must have been others that would have been easier to find. Far more famous even to this day."

I take a deep breath.

"Because of them all 'You' where the most beautiful woman I had ever seen," I tell her softly.

She looks up from her hands and slowly a smile lightens her face.

"I was that. Well, come on in and have a seat. I'm guessing you have a lot of questions you want to ask me for your essay."

I take the empty seat near her. I see her dark eyes look me over, then she gives a soft sigh and a sad smile crosses her face.

"Well, ask away."

I take a deep breath.

"I understand you had quite a feud with Blaze Star."

She laughs.

"Blaze? My god! If she had breasts, could dance and demanded her name on the marquee Blaze had a feud with her. My god that woman. I don't know of a single dancer that got along with her. She..."

I stayed there with Rose all day. The more we talked about her past the younger she seemed to get before my eyes. When she laughed, which she did often, I could see a shadow of the woman she had once been.

As evening came she used a cane and my arm to get to a wheel chair. I pushed her down to the dining room. I had dinner with her. She introduced me to her friends as her grand nephew. More than a few of them told me softly how much my coming had lifted Rose's spirits. I saw the attendants watching her. They gave me smiles when our eyes met.

She drank tea and ate only some fruit. She told me she had to keep up her girlish figure. She mimed lifting her breast from her lap back up to her chest, which caused a riot of laughter from the others nearby.

After dinner She asked me to wheel her out to the porch. We sat there till long after dark watching the fireflies twinkling in the dark backyard. An attendant finally came to tell me that visiting hours were coming to an end.

I thanked Rose as I got up and asked if I could come again sometime.

She smiled and stood up out her chair slowly. She gives me a hug with her frail arms then sets back down.

"My grand nephew Martin will always be welcome," she tells me grinning.

I return three days later, but this time I bring all my information with me. We laugh as we sort through the huge folder of old pictures. She gives me tons of stories about the people in the photos and about the time she lived in.

She autographs a near nude picture of herself with a blush that floods her face with life.

We talk about me as well. My life, hopes, dreams, and plans. She loves that I want to teach and gives me some of the best advice I've ever heard.

A couple of times I ask questions about her life after vaudeville came to an end but she doesn't seem interested in that part of her life. She says she only felt alive when she had been under the blue light.

When I have to leave she gets up and gives me a hug. Then with papery lips a kiss on the cheek. I feel her trying to hold me tight in her arms. I gently hug her back. She feels so frail in my arms.

I help her sit back down. She looks up at me and gives me a smile.

"Than you for today Martin," she says as she reaches out and takes my hand.

"You're welcome Rose." I hold her fingers like they are glass. They feel like they could shatter just as easily.

The next day I threw myself into my essay. All day I typed, copied, pasted, and transplanted images. Then when I was sure I had everything I wanted in it I started to edit.

Double-checking everything twenty times. Checking photo size. Finally I burn the whole thing to CD, then make a back up copy on my flash drive. Siting back I stretch and glance at the clock. It's well past midnight.

Rubbing tired fingers through my greasy hair I promise myself a shower. Getting up my legs have fallen asleep and my butt is numb, as I wincing make my way to bed. I strip down and crawl in between the sheets. As I reach for the light I see the framed photo on the nightstand. I leave the light on and fall asleep looking at Azure Rose.

I'm smelling popcorn as I wake. One of my frat brothers micro-waving a midnight snack no doubt. I sit up slowly my hands on the armrests.

Armrest?

My eyes pop open. I look around with growing confusion. Did one of my frat brothers drug me? What the fuck?

I'm sitting in the front row of a small theater. It's intricately decorated. Carved wood, velvet curtains and the stage floor gleams under many coats of polish. As I look around the house light dim and a blue spotlight hits the stage.

"Ladies and gentlemen." A voice echoes off the walls. "Let's put your hands together for Ms Azure Rose!"

I looked to the stage in shock as she walked out into the light. She turns and spins on her heel just as the music began.

My god she looked so beautiful! Her long dark hair fanning out around her as she turns catching the blue lights. Then she spun to a halt looking over her shoulder towards me. She sashays over to the edge of the stage slowly, her feet gliding across the stage floor. She lifts a leg and places one of her silver and rhinestone shoes onto one of the stage lights. The light illuminates up her calf towards her thigh. I look up to see her looking at me. She shakes a finger slowly at me, while grinning.

She catches the edge of her skirt and slides it up her leg to her thigh and then even more slowly past the top of her stockings to the lace edging at the top. I see her hand run across her thigh to where her garter is hooked. Just as her fingers go past the blue and lace garter belt one of the straps holding up her stockings pops lose.

With a mock look of shock on her face she drops her skirt down and walks to the side of the stage. Rose glances back at me, then shrugs. I see a wicked grin hovering just beneath her beautiful smile.

Rose catches a stool from off stage and drags it back into the blue light. Sitting down she lifts her long leg up and looks over the unhooked garter. Her lips purse then she undoes the other strap and rolls the stocking down her leg.

As I watch this I can see just a hint of blue lace underwear. I notice then that I have become hard as a rock. I watch mesmerized as she unhooks the other stocking and slips it off. She bends down and picks up her shoes. She places them on the stool she just got up off of. On bare feet she walks to the edge of the stage.

Kneeling down she summons me with a finger.

Getting to my feet I walk over to her. She holds out her hand and when I lift mine she let's her stocking drop across my hand.

"Hang on to these for me, and I'll let you put them back on me later." When I nod she smiles. Rose gives me a wink then looks down to the bulge in my pants. She gasps. "Oh you are a naughty boy."

She rests her hands on her knees and gives them a quick part as she stands back up. I catch a quick look at blue silk and lace. I glance up quickly when she clears her throat. She's twitching a finger at me with a grin. With the back of her fingers she shoos me back to my seat.

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byMSTarot© 9 comments/ 14552 views/ 16 favorites

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