(1938-11-24) Positively Trousers
Details for Positively Trousers
Summary: Another unprofessional evening with Fabia Fairfax and her intrepid valet, Frid. (Warning: Tiny Bit Mature Again, Oh You Can't Honestly Be Surprised.)
Date: November 24th, 1938
Location: Upstairs at the Three Broomsticks
Related: Takes place later the day of Women Are Complicated and Swinging And Swaying.

Fabia's Rooms

Whenever possible Fabia arranges to be out and about herself, on Frid's night off; the flat, whichever flat, is altogether too quiet without him, and she gets so tired of having to make all her own drinks. She was in tonight, though, Plans A and B both having fallen through. She's still in now. Sprawled on the sofa, dead to the world, in her blue velvet frock and a single remaining shoe.

The other shoe is on the floor next to an empty bottle of champagne. The Bruichladdich is open. Four drained martini glasses (well, one still has the olives in it…) are arranged in an almost perfect pattern on the coffee table. Two boxes have been emptied of gramophone records, which are piled everywhere in untidy stacks, there's a half-eaten supper for one on the dining table, seven or eight photographs have been taken down from the walls and not hung up again, and what's that sweet scent hanging in the air? Saccharine powder…

Hardly in the best state himself, Frid stumbles through the door with the sort of noise that only the truly drunk ever manage, while trying to be extremely quiet. Every thump and thud rattles throughout the room as he tiptoes his way into the drinks trolley, softly whispers an apology to it, and moves to pull the curtains to. He may be off duty, but somebody has to look after Fabia. Taking a deep breath, he pauses to loosen his tie and collar before wafting over towards his employer to at least try to get her into her pyjamas. There's a fumbling for the zip on her dress and a slight bump as he leans on the sofa for support, but this is a job he's done many a time and the muscle memory is there, even if the wits are somewhat out to lunch.

Fabia doesn't react in the least to his hands, despite their inebriated ineptitude, or to being rolled over a few inches so he can get at the zip; she really does seem to have knocked herself into the next world tonight. The gin is wafting off her almost as strongly as the exotic French scent, and the whisky and champagne are scarcely behind in the race.

Frid inhales, and under normal circumstances could probably tell exactly how much she has had to drink, although this evening his judgement may be a little clouded. Still, he carefully eases the dress away, sliding his arm beneath her and crouching to hoist her as gently as he can away from her frock and petticoat and onto his shoulder. It's a good thing she's a light thing, or the staggering might have done for them both, but he manages to weave his way over towards the bed, without depositing his drunken, almost naked employer anywhere along the way.

Light — and small. So much smaller when she's like this, bereft of all the laughter and vivacity which make her, when she's awake, a woman who can fill any room and constitute a party all by herself. It's only really Frid who sees the empty shell of her. Frid who is trusted to put that shell away in bed where it belongs, until she's ready to attack another day. When, having pulled back the covers, he sets her down, she simply falls away from his grasp, uttering a small sound from within her dream, but not stirring.

Frid briefly touches a hand to her hair, smoothing it back out of her face before turning away to dig out a set of pyjamas, only pausing for a moment to catch his breath and steady himself against the chest of drawers. When he returns to her, he lays out the top beside her and loops an arm around her shoulders to lift her enough, just enough to unhook the bewildering contraption of women's underwear and replace it with the pyjama top.

The hooks are undone and his hand has just drawn away the frivolous little lace-edged garment to which they belong; his other arm is still under her back. And that's when, with a drawn-out sigh betokening anticipatory pleasure, Frid's almost perfectly nude employer shifts on the bed and twines sudden arms about his neck, as though to pull him down to her. "Darling…" she murmurs sleepily.

"Shh, Mrs. Fairfax," Frid soothes, "It's only me. Sleep now." He rolls up the sleeve of the pyjamas to try to ease her arm into it, awkwardly tugging it from around his neck to slide her hand into the soft silks.

Fabia is not sufficiently wakeful to deal with this new information — at least not in a hurry. But a woman with her warm, open, friendly temperament needn't be awake to pull a drunken man closer and nuzzle her face into his throat, kissing him there, until the scent of him rather than his words nudges her toward the realisation that she's in fact being put into a pyjama top, rather than having one taken off her, and this is… Her eyes open. "Frid?"

Frid pauses in trying to wrestle her other arm into the other sleeve, deliberately looking up and away when it's clear she's awake, the smear of lipstick on his throat a glaring admission of her case of mistaken identity. "Shh, madam, now. Sleep and you'll feel better in the morning." Lies. She'll have a bitch of a headache, but what's a little white lie between friends?

"Christ, I'm sorry," Fabia murmurs muzzily. She doesn't sound it. She wiggles her bare arm to dislodge his hand from it, and she manages to sit up, half in and half out of her pyjama top. Of course her head is going round and round in circles; reaching for her missing sleeve, to try to put it on herself, unsteadies her. She reaches out to Frid for support — probably not the very cleverest thing she could do, given that he's only barely hanging on…

Frid squeezes her to him as his balance is so rudely disrupted, one foot going away from him and the other hand, a moment too late, going to steady himself on the bed. All this is in vain, however, as he promptly uses her as the cushion between him and the bed, immediately tensing up and apologising. "I'm so sorry, madam."

Not quite how she'd always hoped one day to be pinned to her bed by Frid! She's woken up often enough in pyjamas she can't recall putting on to know that he does this, such is his commitment to making her comfortable (and getting a head start on the laundry), but it's quite another thing to wake up and find him in the act and then… Oh, it's all so absurd, in such a lovely way. Fabia starts to giggle, petting him with a fond, sleepy hand. "Nevermind, sweetie, you're drunk too, aren't you. It doesn't really count if you're drunk."

Frid pulls himself away, a blush hitting his cheeks as he carefully pulls her top closed on her behalf. "Perhaps a little," he admits, presenting her with the bottom half of her pyjamas. "Are you… I mean will you need help, or can you manage your trousers, madam?"

Lying there in her nylons and frilly knickers and a pyjama top held absently shut in tightly-clutched fingers, Fabia giggles. She'd laugh outright, only she's certain laughter would be too loud… For the moment between them, as well as for her incipient headache. She meets his embarrassed hush with a confidential whisper: "At the moment, sweetie, I'm more worried about you."

"I have my trousers on," Frid tells her, in the very solemn way of the fairly inebriated, then grins awkwardly at the giggle, lips curving up at the corner. He presses the silk pyjama bottoms towards her, announcing, "Your trousers, madam. I…" he pauses grandiosely "…shall look away!"

Fabia's fading already; but his pride in his trousered state touches her heart. "Of course you do, sweetie," she reassures him, adding a wry, "Oh, well, if you really think it matters," as she accepts the garment he's so keen to foist upon her. Which double-handed manoeuvre promptly results in the top half of her pyjamas sighing open again. She can't win; or is it Frid who can't win? She drops the flimsy blue silk pyjama bottoms upon herself and unfastens one of her stockings before just surrendering and tugging the covers up over herself and nestling deep down into their warmth. "Frid?" she asks softly.

"Madam?" comes the valet's response, his gaze firmly wobbling all over the wall, one hand on the bed to steady himself. "Do you need something?"

Her hand drifts out into the air, to pat his interrogatively. "May I have… a glass of water?"

Now that? That doesn't compute, and it's enough to filter into Frid's otherwise somewhat spongy brain at present that something isn't quite right. He looks at her with worry for a long moment. "Water, madam?" he queries, in case he's misheard. "Just… water?"

Fabia's fingers have curled about her valet's; her eyelids are halfway down and falling fast. "Water," she confirms, drowsily, nestling into her pillow.

Frid gives her hand a slight squeeze before releasing it and meandering off, not entirely taking the shortest route possible, but trying his best, bless him, and returning to her not long later with half a glass of water. Any more and he'd be at the risk of spilling it, after all. He doesn't announce it, merely sets it down on the bedside where the ubiquitous morning tea would usually go, giving her a sort of bleary eyed nod.

It was all for naught. She has retreated so far down into her bed that only a muddle of henna'd hair can be seen sticking out. Assuredly close of play.

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