21 July 2004 @ 09:06 am
The Story of Your Life, Starring Gwyneth Paltrow  
title: The Story of Your Life, Starring Gwyneth Paltrow
author: not jenny [circling at gmail dot com]
website: circlegirl dot com
fandom: spider-man 2 (filmverse)
codes: mary jane(/peter parker), [pg]
disclaimer: there is no spoon, spidey-wan.
archive: let me know, k?
summary: You wonder who will play you, in the movie version.
a/n: all i know of the spidey i know from the movies, so. & uber-thanks to lj user=zazuomgwtf for spidey-beta.


The dress itches, but the way he looked at you in it means you'll stand there, artistically framed in the window, until he returns. Like a movie heroine or a painting, you'll stand and wait and look beautiful doing so.

Peter Parker is Spider-man whispers in your head, an endlessly looping song, Spider-man, Spider-man, he does just what a spider can. You wonder who will play you in the movie version (you hope it's someone good, someone pretty).

Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Anna Paquin. That girl from My So-Called Life.

Someone pretty, someone good, and you can even see her Oscar dress, this phantom star of your life, and it's white like your wedding gown and perfect like this moment. Like that moment, running through the park, your dress fluttering behind you like wings.

He's the boy you're going to marry, Peter Parker, and you swallow his name as your own.

*

Hours pass, days, or maybe it's only minutes. The sirens stop, the sun sets, and you step out from behind the window. Peter's room is a mess. Small and messy and it reminds you of the boy next door, all awkward angles and hidden behind his glasses.

You let him do your chemistry homework some nights, and only felt guilty the morning after. Now you're both older, and you're still the same girl, and you're tempted to ruffle through his backpack for clues. You're the same, and he's not, and you want to read his belongings like Braille.

He is everything you are not. Your father was not. You want to know him, but you know you never will, not really, just as you know that you'll always be that girl with the jaded eyes.

*

Night falls.

The lights in Peter's room flicker, yellowing and surreal, and your fingers twitch. You pick at imaginary lint on the skirt of your gown. The room shrinks, grows, shrinks again, and you're about to poke your head out the window when a knock on the door startles you.

"Peter?" Another knock, and a soft voice asking, "Are you in there?"

And you don't answer, you hold your breath and count to five (to ten), and there's a scuffling outside the door and footsteps. So you exhale, and shift on the bed, and try not to ask yourself why there's a girl who knocks on Peter's door.

You have no right to be jealous. You, who until a few hours ago were marrying another man. (You are. You wonder if she's prettier than you.)

It's late, you're tired, and you try to sleep in his lumpy bed.

*


When you wake, the sun's peeking above the skyscrapers, and Peter's still not home.

(Home? Is this, though, your home?) You think it is.

And you hate yourself for asking, hate yourself for worrying, "will this be my life, forever waiting for the hero to return from battle?", but it doesn't stop the doubt from settling in your stomach. It tastes like last night's pizza, like morning-after beer.

You hate yourself for thinking that this was all much more romantic in your fantasies.

But the taste of cold pizza and stale beer doesn't go away. So you curl up in his bed, sniffing his unwashed sheets, and you close your eyes against the morning.

(In your dreams, he would already be home. And he always tastes like licorice and green tea. In your dreams, he'd be home, and home would be white and airy and clean, and he'd kiss your neck as you lay snuggled in bed.)

This is not a dream, though. This is not a movie.

*

In real life, the room smells slightly of cheese, and the bed creaks. Peter stays out all night, saving the world, and you watch the walls close in. You contemplate contacting John, to try to apologize, but what would you say?

"I'm sorry, but-"

Peter Parker is Spider-man, and you're only an astronaut.
Peter Parker is the boy next door, and you're the boy on the moon.
Peter Parker looks at me like I'm the only woman in the world, and you never have.


"-better now than later, right?" (An awkward laugh, a gesture, you can see it on screen; it will be played for laughs, maybe, but the kind that hurt. You hope Scarlett- or Gwyneth or Anna or whoever- plays the moment better than you would.)

You won't. Your note said everything you had to say; it stripped you to the bones.

You straighten your hair and walk to the window. Peter will be home soon.


*fin.
 
 
Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
 
 
 
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
Clydesuzvoy on July 21st, 2004 02:48 pm (UTC)
Wonderful. Truly.
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 21st, 2004 03:02 pm (UTC)
oh, thank you.
Clydesuzvoy on July 21st, 2004 03:29 pm (UTC)
:D
anranr on July 21st, 2004 03:22 pm (UTC)
Wow. That was awesome. *claps*
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 21st, 2004 03:40 pm (UTC)
hee, thanks. so glad you liked.
polysyllabic adultresskonstantine03 on July 21st, 2004 04:07 pm (UTC)
Wow. That was amazing.
*sighes happily*
You gave MJ so much more depth - and character - than we got to see in the movie. And I love the theme of "her life as a movie." It threads really well thoughout the fic and really ties in well at the ending ("You hope Scarlett- or Gwyneth or Anna or whoever- plays the moment better than you would.") And I love how you make the ending bitter-sweet, just like it would be in reality.
Congrats. *claps*
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 22nd, 2004 12:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much. Glad you liked.
the girl with the cow-eyesleksa on July 21st, 2004 04:35 pm (UTC)
Like a movie heroine or a painting, you'll stand and wait and look beautiful doing so.

yes and

You hate yourself for thinking that this was all much more romantic in your fantasies.

yes and

Peter Parker is Spider-man, and you're only an astronaut.

oh, yes.

see, yes, and i'm not sure i should say anything, because i'm breaking the rules of polite feedback behaviour (OMG), and if Mary Jane is your favouritest character in the world, can we pretend that i didn't say anything at all? but i (also knowing nothing of canon outside the two movies) find MJ so, so annoying (and it's not entirely her own fault), and wearing those glasses, i love the wanting-to-live-the-fantasy and being-the-quintessential-movie-heroine and not-pretending-that-the-self-centeredness-and-the-poses-aren't-there etc. aspects of this like mad. well-written (as usual), also there should be more spidey fic out there, so yay.
zazuomgwtf on July 21st, 2004 06:32 pm (UTC)
This is what I loved so much about this fic (other than nj's usual wonderful writing). She took from the films the obnoxious, selfish, phony side of MJ that is really only hinted to in the films, and brings it out by revealing to us her inner world. I think that even a hard-core MJ fan (if there is such a thing) would see the truth to this portrayal of the character, this seems canon to me.
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 22nd, 2004 12:42 pm (UTC)
well, considering the fact that i hate MJ with the heat of a gazillion suns really just don't get the whole MJ as quintessential feminine prototype (only i, you know, do); or, rather, i don't understand why anyone would obsess over her, in particular. (also, i like oddly long fragmenty things, it would seem.)

but, yeah, i started writing her to try to understand. which worked, in an odd way, though i still can't say i particularly like her. but at least now i have a personality i can assign to her, thus making her less faux-persony in my head.

or something. which is to say: thank you, glad you liked, etc. yes.
peeps wanna see peeps boink: wistfulmusesfool on July 21st, 2004 04:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's fabulous. Brilliant. Cuts right to the heart of her narcissism, and yet still makes me kind of like her. Lovely.
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 22nd, 2004 12:43 pm (UTC)
oh, thank you.

-not jenny
JSA: bunnies from sparklingjadexlisan on July 21st, 2004 04:49 pm (UTC)
That was lovely. Thanks for sharing!
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 22nd, 2004 12:43 pm (UTC)
thanks- glad you liked.

-not jenny
The sanest lunatic you've ever met: by sdwolfpup: inara writersdwolfpup on July 21st, 2004 05:03 pm (UTC)
I got linked here from...oh shucks, somewhere, I can't recall now I'm sorry...regardless, I thought this was beautiful. You've taken a fairly two-dimensional movie character and made her real and sympathetic. Lovely!
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 22nd, 2004 12:44 pm (UTC)
oh, thank you. glad you enjoyed.

-not jenny
this was no chicken. this was evil manifest.: :x :xdarkeyedwolf on July 21st, 2004 05:55 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen the movie (and don't plan to), but I could see that this was wonderful anyway. :))
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 22nd, 2004 12:45 pm (UTC)
oh, wow, thanks.
Lassitertwoskeletons on July 21st, 2004 06:32 pm (UTC)
DUDE.

That just, like. Hit so many things on the nose. A very witty and perceptive fic. I thoroughly enjoyed that. I like.
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 22nd, 2004 12:47 pm (UTC)
oh, thank you so much. glad you liked.

-not jenny
I Wanna Dress You Up In My Snark: natatree sexual tensionadjectivegirl on July 21st, 2004 10:27 pm (UTC)
Oooh, great stuff only hinted at in the last shot of Spidey 2. MJ having to confront the reality over the romance of her sacrifice for Peter is great, juicy stuff and you make it ache.
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 22nd, 2004 12:47 pm (UTC)
oh, thank you.

-not jenny
stephen@charleneforever.com: l/l (danamulder)michellek on July 22nd, 2004 06:17 am (UTC)
Fabulous. I can't believe you made MJ interesting. Kudos, yo.
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 22nd, 2004 12:46 pm (UTC)
why, danke darling.
curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!: screen dream (winter_baby)zarahemla on July 22nd, 2004 05:03 pm (UTC)
Very very nice. "Peter Parker is the boy next door, and you're the boy on the moon." I love it!
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 22nd, 2004 08:39 pm (UTC)
oh, thank you. so glad you liked.

-nj
Meli: Battousaidreamiflame on July 23rd, 2004 04:48 am (UTC)
Oh, yes. Poor MJ.
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 25th, 2004 09:11 pm (UTC)
oh, glad you liked. thank you.

-nj
formerly a fearless tempfearlesstemp on July 29th, 2004 03:24 am (UTC)
I loved this. Thanks for sharing it!
& you don't deke Margaret.: just what a spider can (sabine101)mazily on July 29th, 2004 12:47 pm (UTC)
oh, wow, thank you. so glad you liked.

-nj
Elke Tanzer: TMWFTE Elke has another fandomelke_tanzer on October 1st, 2005 04:04 am (UTC)
Oh, this is lovely!
& you don't deke Margaret.: black and white judymazily on October 11th, 2005 02:26 am (UTC)
Thank you! So glad you enjoyed.
the bitter queen: foreman excellentbiases on November 11th, 2006 06:04 am (UTC)
A beautiful moment. You captured MJ's indecisiveness perfectly, but at the same time you cut to that stubborn streak she has as well. The second-person POV can be misused but you nailed it and it works so well with this story you've woven.

Well done on an excellent ficlet - going in the mems!
bewizewizefics on June 3rd, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
This was really gorgeous writing. I feel like you were writing from MJ's brain...
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )