(1938-11-24) Women Are Complicated
Details for Women Are Complicated
Summary: Has Fabia been out on another binge in London? Well, what do you think? (Warning: No Mature Content. Try not to fall over from the shock of it all.)
Date: November 24th, 1938
Location: Upstairs at the Three Broomsticks

Fabia's Rooms

When Frid made his (these days) quite excessively discreet entrance into his employer's chambers this morning, with two cups of tea on his tray, he found a fireplace gone cold and Madam's peacock dressing-gown discarded upon the sitting-room floor. What an eye-opener, then, to proceed into the boudoir and find the bed hadn't been slept in, hadn't been touched; and that Madam had been pulling clothes out of cupboards again. Difficult to tell, at first glance, even for him, what had been taken and what remained; but a slightly more detailed assessment of the situation revealed that her backless green satin evening frock wasn't in its usual place, and nor were the shoes dyed to match it…

No note, of course, not even the lipstick-scrawl she left him once on a looking-glass when she couldn't find a pen. She might be anywhere.

And so to London, to ring round the usual hotels — the usual hotel bars. Not a hint of her. It's becoming quite a tedious habit. It's probably too soon to ring the police and tell them there's a gin-soaked madwoman on the loose, and so back to the Broomsticks to see whether… Ah. Green shoes on the stairs.

Frid collects the shoes on his way in, closing the door quietly behind him as he enters Fabia's rooms. The fact that they're still in the state in which she left them says something for the hurry in which Frid left to try to seek her out, of course, but he can start by putting that set of shoes away where they live.

Fabia is not immediately apparent; but the bathroom door is shut, and as Frid proceeds to the shoe cupboard he hears water running. Then the door opens, and she wanders out, drying her hands on a towel, which she drops on the floor wherever she is when she's finished with it. Then she drops herself onto the bed, face-down, with a tremendous drawn-out sigh. Yes, it's the backless frock.

"Frid," she murmurs tiredly, "will you light me a cigarette?"

"Of course, madam," Frid responds immediately, picking his way through the discarded clothing to find her cigarette case, holder and matches. "I was terribly sad to hear about your nasty accident, madam, rendering you completely unable to write."

"Oh, for Christ's sake," Fabia mutters into her bedspread. She stretches out a hand over the edge of the bed, fingers open, ready to receive her cigarette holder once there's a lit Sobranie in it. Smoking in the afternoon, another new habit she's picked up lately. (Of course, as she explained to him once, to his not inconsiderable horror, the other new habit isn't quite new.) "Don't start, Frid, please don't start."

Frid pauses, then relents, giving the cigarette over and dipping his head. "Martini, madam?" he suggests delicately instead, turning to begin clearing up the wreckage of a wild Fabia let loose with her own wardrobes. "Or would you rather an aspirin and tea?"

A deep drag upon the cigarette; and Fabia sighs smokily. Apart from the arm holding the cigarette she hasn't shifted an inch since she collapsed. "I had a very nice breakfast, thank you, sweetie. I'd like… Something. I don't know what. What else is there?"

Frid raises a brow, pausing as he collects a discarded petticoat. "Well, we have any number of different spirits, madam," he informs her, bemused. "Or wine? Beer? Kir Royale?"

"None of those." Fabia wriggles onto her back; if Frid happens to be glancing at her, rather than at scattered articles of her lingerie, he might discern a wince of discomfort (perhaps even pain) at the movement. "I don't know, sweetie," she sighs. "Just get two glasses of whatever you want, and sit down for a minute."

There's never going to be any argument over what Frid wants, and he gives her a nod, moving over to the drinks trolley only to return moments later with two whiskies, one of which he offers over to her. "Are you sure I can't get you an aspirin as well, madam?" he fusses, hesitating before taking a seat (and having to remove a laddered stocking from it).

"No, sweetie, I'm all right," she sighs, and with her cigarette holder between two fingers and the rest clasped about her glass, reaches up with the other hand to hook a pillow down and push it under her head. There, now she can drink. She does so. The whisky may not be what she wanted, whatever that was, but there's a pleasant warmth in it. Or is that the warmth of having Frid present, no more than a yard away, ready to answer virtually any request she might manage to frame. She sighs again. "Women, Frid." And down goes the rest of the whisky…

"They're complicated, madam," Frid agrees solemnly, taking a small sip from his own glass and leaning back. "Miss Potter..?"

"Wh…" It's almost the commencement of a sentence. But it goes no farther. Fabia lifts her cigarette holder to her lips again, and draws upon it twice, before changing direction. "I don't think there is a Miss Potter now, sweetie. Let's — let's leave it at that. Of course be very charming if we do see her but I don't think… I don't think we shall." She sounds worn out, and a trifle sad.

"I'm sorry to hear that, Mrs. Fairfax," Frid admits, pausing to sip at his whisky once more. "If there's anything you need, I hope you'll just ask me. A bath?" he offers, raising a brow hopefully as he runs down the list of things she enjoys. "Perhaps a cocktail, madam, and we might watch you dance again?"

"You are sweet," Fabia sighs. She's tempted — the back and forth can be seen in her face, which isn't as pristinely made-up as it was last night. Wherever she's been, she was up to something which required repairs in the field with inadequate equipment. "I — I don't really feel like it, though. And I can't begin to think of moving at all. Will you — can we just sit, for a while?"

Frid dips his head, folding his hands in his lap and just settling in to watch over her. "Of course, madam." He doesn't press any further than that, only moving to provide her with an ashtray within reach.

Lovely, lovely Frid. She taps the ash from her cigarette, looks up at him, and sighs.

When she's finished her cigarette she does deign to move just enough to wriggle out of her frock and into her pyjamas, whilst Frid resumes his inspection of the wall for cracks, or woodworm, or whatever it is he looks for over there.

Then she gets into bed with a book and another whisky and spends the whole afternoon sending him back and forth to put different records on the gramophone for her amusement. There is also tea and cake.

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