(1938-12-07) Well, What Now
Details for Well, What Now
Summary: The morning after Fabia was told the truth about saccharine powder. She's bouncing back, she always does. Frid helps. So, it would appear, did another overnight guest.
Date: December 7th, 1938
Location: Upstairs at the Three Broomsticks
Related: The morning after Pulling The Wings Off Fabia.
Characters
FabiaFrid

Fabia's Rooms


Noon breaks upon Fabia Fairfax's boudoir in a delicately excruciating fashion — soothed, as it is always soothed, by the placement of tea and aspirin within her reach by Frid's solicitous hands.

She swallows the one and sips the other without thought; and then, as these familiar comforts begin to act upon her, it all comes back. A very peculiar little noise, a cross between a kitten's mew and a parrot's squawk, escapes her barely-pinkened lips.

She stretches under the covers. "Oh," she murmurs. "Good morning, Frid. I do believe…" Her other arm sweeps up through the empty half of the bed, which shows certain signs of having also been occupied during the night, and curls it sleepily around her head. "I do believe my gentleman friend fled while I was asleep. Did he get away all right, do you know?"

"I believe he had to leave early for work, madam," Frid insists solemnly, one hand going to his tie to straighten it as he waits for her to wake enough to order breakfast. "But he did ask to kindly be remembered and sent his fondest regards." He considers her for a moment, judging just how awake she is and whether it's worth listing off her itinerary for the day, then shakes his head, folding his hands behind his back.

"I was going to ask," Fabia sighs, her fingers twisting through her hair, her eyes not quite open yet, "whether he'd left any word… Heavens. I do remember him rather fondly, as it happens." Another rapturous sigh; and she draws herself further up in the bed, fumbling for the tea-cup she put down a moment ago, when she felt she needed to rest from the tremendous exertion of her first few sips. "I have such a wonderful feeling about this one, Frid. I do so hope he'll come back."

"I am certain, madam, that having met you, he will be unable to resist returning," Frid responds drily, moving over to the curtains as she appears to be awake enough to take it. He positions himself carefully to shade her from the sunlight as he cracks them open, the hazy light of December in Scotland filtering into the room. "Still, I must admit that I am pleased to see you in good spirits this morning. I've taken the liberty of arranging an appointment at four with one of the healers from St. Mungo's," he adds more quietly, almost apologetic in tone. "I hope that will be convenient for you. I didn't want to encroach on your evening."

"Oh," she breathes, all the anticipatory sunshine leeched from her tone. "Today." She sighs. "Sweetie, I— I promise I'm not simply avoiding it, I know I must go, but I— I had much rather do it on Monday. A new week. Do you see? I had much rather let…" She swallows three mouthfuls of tea, very hard, almost emptying her cup. "My nerves," she apologises. "I felt so… Oh, Christ, the elephant's foot. I'm sorry." She looks up at him appealingly, with no notion of how the sheet is slipping away from her.

The bloody elephant's foot. Of course. "I've taken the liberty of disposing of it, madam," Frid informs her solemnly, deliberately fixing his gaze on the wall. "Shall I send word to St. Mungo's, then, to ask if the healer might attend on Monday morning instead?" Yes. Morning. If she's going to ruin Frid's perfectly good plans and intentions to check her out as soon as possible, he's going to force her to get up in the morning. "I do feel that the sooner we might be seen the better. I have also compiled a list of customers and guests I know to have partaken of the substance, should that be of assistance to you."

And that really is the last of her tea. For now. Unless he'll be so kind as to… Eyelashes flickering, as she tries again and again to let sunlight into her life, and on the fourth attempt succeeds, she holds out her cup, knowing he'll have a pot somewhere. "Yes, please," she says meekly. "Monday. Monday will surely be more convenient."

"I shall see to it, madam," Frid assures her, giving a brief, sympathetic smile. He moves to collect the teapot from her dresser, the second cup lying empty and unused on the tray - it would appear that Fabia's elusive gentleman friend either left too early for tea, or wasn't inclined to take a cup this morning before fleeing the scene - and moves over to pour. "Have you a preference for breakfast today, madam? The cook was making kedgeree, if you would like me to acquire some?"

"Anything that's convenient," Fabia murmurs; this being a concept she has apparently, after however many years on this earth, discovered. "I'm not very hungry. Well, no, I'm hungry," she considers, "but perhaps… toast first? And then I'll see?" She lets out a tiny sigh as her tea is poured, then sips it gratefully, watching Frid over the rim of the cup as he steps away and stands almost to attention, waiting for whatever she'll ask of him next. "I don't feel — sweetie, somehow I only want to stay home today," she sighs, "and rest…" The cup stays at her lips for a good long time. "How," she asks at last, "drunk was I last night? Do you have any idea?"

"Just a little gin and a little whisky, madam," Frid lies smoothly, shaking his head. "And you were in bed just a little before I was, so not terribly late." By Fabia standards, at least. "I'm sure it was just the shock, madam."

Well, if Frid says it, it must be true. She accepts it as veracious, nodding along with his words, though somehow she feels… That perhaps that might have been… Well, there was a gentleman, wasn't there. Gentlemen can account for a lot. She smiles vaguely up at him, feeling a sudden chill which prompts her to make sure she's properly covered, which perhaps she wasn't quite before; and swallows the rest of her second cup of tea. The aspirin has almost done its work. She almost feels… "The shock," she says softly, for it was one. "Oh, Frid," she sighs, "what do you suppose I've done? … We can't tell everyone yet. Everyone on your list. Miss Rowle and her friend the inspector wouldn't like word to get out. But we'll tell them soon, we must."

"We might inform them that there is a potential issue with one of the suppliers, and suggest quietly that they might, for your peace of mind, speak with a healer at their convenience?" Frid suggests, lowering himself into the armchair he often claims for himself as he considers. "That way it's hardly alerting anyone directly, but it ensures that no more harm comes to them. I would suggest also, madam, that we allow the rumour that you have sold out to percolate the town, so that your supplier might be obliged to join us and offer more. I'm sure the MLE would be most interested to speak with him."

"Oh," Fabia sighs again, gazing at Frid as though he's the font of all knowledge and usefulness. Which, from her point of view, he always has been… "I think that might be rather the thing." She tilts her tea-cup and holds it high against her lips, to capture one or two drops she missed, and then puts it back in the saucer with a clatter. She looks — encouraged. As though when Frid sets his mind to one of her problems, there's nothing he can't accomplish and let her take the credit for. "Let's — sweetie, let's talk about it after breakfast. I think I might try a little of the kedgeree after all."

Frid rises immediately to his feet, topping up her tea once more with the last from the pot then gives her a fond smile. "Of course, madam." And then he drifts away silently, disappearing in his own, unique, Friddish way, presumably to go and wangle breakfast for one from the chef.

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