Whose Baby Is That? Parts 5/5. Drabbles.
1. Arrival. 274 words.
As the fifth model stalked down the Runway, the music struck up a jaunty tone that reflected the audience’s general joy. The collection so far might even cause Miranda to break her ban on smiles in effect since Tom Ford got the last one in 2001. It was hard to tell if the music fed into the energy of the room or just seemed better because people were already buzzing with excitement. Miranda sat front and center as usual, her head even moving occasionally with the beat. Two seats behind her on the aisle, Andrea perched at the ready—watching for Miranda’s reactions, listening to the crowd, and trying to force her body to morph into some kind of mutant who could sense a wide variety of dangers or tell the future.
A baby’s piercing cry had Andrea on high alert though it had not broken the jocund bubble of the show’s mystery.
“Oh, nonsense, Alonzo. I will not leave her.” Cruella’s hiss from the entryway had Andrea on her feet.
Her brown eyes going doe-like in a second, Andrea scurried up the aisle to confirm the input to her brain—their lover Cruella DeVil had just arrived to the fashion show of the year with a bundle in her arms that looked and sounded suspiciously like a baby.
“Oh god.” Andrea closed her eyes and squeezed her nails into her palms. Shaking her head, Andrea stepped into her lover’s personal space and instantly fell into her diplomat, socialite, not-annoyed-at-all façade that she had perfected trailing behind Miranda and then at her side. “Darling, whatever are you doing here? And whose baby is that?”
2. Distraction. 423 words.
Having sensed the arrival of new scandal in the entryway, Miranda tried to remain focused on the clothing and models coming down the runway. It was difficult enough to know that there was some kind of problem threatening to interfere with the best fashion experience she had had in over a decade, but when Andrea had to get and attend to it, Miranda found herself pursing her lips and then actually turning away from the runway to see for herself. Narrowing her eyes, Miranda felt anger surging up within her—she had specifically told Andrea that she could only accompany her in the capacity of an assistant and Cruella absolutely had better not set one foot on the property. ‘Too much of a distraction, the both of you.’ She had purred when they each had turned their unique versions of pleading eyes on her. Andrea’s brown gaze had truly pulled on her heartstrings, however Cruella’s almost maniacal murderous gleam in her hazel eyes had quite nearly made her double over with laughter. She had remained firm—they should not be at the fashion show at all, but she did need a capable assistant. Cruella had taken extra consoling and canoodling after Andrea’s apparent favoritism.
Letting out as close to a puff of smoke as she could muster without really being a dragon, Miranda returned her attention to the runway show. Catching the backside of a remarkable outfit, Miranda wished she had requested armed guards at the doors and that she had brought one of the Emily’s. It wasn’t really Andrea’s place to trail along anymore—they had just found the role-play too tempting to give up. Her sharp eyes devouring the next beautiful outfit coming down the walk, Miranda vowed to only play ‘office’ in her actual office. The field trips were really too distracting.
Standing when the designer stepped out, Miranda clapped her hands together and smiled. She’d be going back stage just as soon as she dealt with those distractions in the back. Shivering at the thought of punishing the pair of them, Miranda ignored the renewed sense of wonder in the room as everyone commented on her reaction.
“I thought I told you—” Miranda had taken the fifteen steps to the entryway to allow her ire to properly ferment into what would be a fantastic display of her most draconian talents. She stopped short as Andrea turned with panicked eyes to face her, because in that moment she caught full sight of Cruella’s unlikely package. “Whose baby is that?”
3. Soothing. 295 words.
Stepping backwards, Cruella’s eyes shone with an unholy glee that Miranda had never seen before. “It’s mine.” She panted out and then repeated for good measure as she covered the baby’s head as if to protect it from predators. “It’s my baby.” Her fevered eyes darted from Andrea to Miranda and back again.
Crossing her arms over her chest, Miranda raised an eyebrow at the woman and then glanced at Andrea. The younger woman wringing her hands seemed torn between wanting to be there for her lovers and sprinting. Miranda wondered if any words had been shared between them at all since Cruella’s appearance and the end of the fashion show. Still frustrated, only now with the addition of a healthy amount of dread, Miranda decided that once again she would have to change tactics. This was not the board room, and there would never be a time when she was intimately involved with Irving Ravitz, however navigating the turbulent waters of not one, but two female lovers, required much of the same skills she used in her capacity of editor.
Waving her right hand in the air casually, Miranda assured Cruella, “Well, possession is nine-tenths of the law.” Stepping closer with a curious expression on her face, Miranda added, “No one doubted that the baby is yours, darling.” Catching sight of the bald-head and sucker in the infant’s mouth, Miranda used her best cooing voice, “But you weren’t pregnant this morning, dearest. I’m sure Andrea or I would have noticed.” Stretching out her arm, Miranda held a finger out to touch the infant’s hand noting that the skin color looked good and there had been no crying since the call of arrival. “So it begs the question, dear, where did the baby come from?”
4. Busted. 327 words.
Shifting her weight back and forth on her heels, Cruella looked anywhere that was not the calm blue gaze of her legendary lover. When the infant had been crying, the answer was simple—take it to Miranda, she had children of her own, she would know what to do.
Stepping into the semi-darkness of the showroom, Cruella had winced as the little bundle had continued crying.
Always ready, Andrea had approached and easily offered the infant the ‘binky’ on a string. The tiny body positively radiated with happiness as it sucked and slurped on the plastic toy and Andrea had started asking questions that Cruella did not like.
Miranda’s reaction had set off the tick of lying that Cruella had fought for years against.
Now without the crying of the baby, and the excuse of biology, Cruella found herself up against the hard wall of truth and uncomfortably squirming. “Well, you see, I was backstage…”
One of the outfits from the show ran towards them from the side and Miranda recognized the model from earlier in the show. “Oh, you have Daisy! Thank you so much for looking after her.” The young woman swept right past the Bermuda Triangle of Stormy Love and scooped the baby into her arms. Her thanks was just saccharine enough to be sarcastic and covering for something along the lines of ‘thank god I got my baby back,’ or perhaps genuine gratitude. “I hope she wasn’t crying too much.” The young mother gushed as she looked at the dual toned woman in front of her. “She always freaks out a little when it’s my turn on stage.”
Feeling the air flowing out of her balloon, Cruella looked at her with a faintly deranged tint in her expression, “Oh, no, no trouble at all.” She took a step or two closer to the entry as the young mother thanked her again and made her way back around the room to the dressing area.
5. Disappointed. 243 words.
Before the more eccentric of her lovers could escape, Miranda called out in a benevolent tone. “Cruella.”
The velvet in Miranda’s voice drew Cruella up sharp and she looked with rapt attention at the editor. “Yes, Miranda.” She couldn’t help the purr in her voice. She always responded when Miranda was soft before she was hard again.
“You will wait for me at home in a penitent position.” Miranda waited until Cruella’s eyes lit up with comprehension and she knew that her lover would be naked, waiting punishment, and on her knees. Then she turned to Andrea, who had still managed to say nothing, though she had stopped wringing her hands. “You’ll accompany her to supervise, but you will not lend a helping hand.” Stepping closer to the brunette, Miranda added, “Am I clear?”
Bobbing her head in submission, Andrea followed up with a quick and breathless, “Yes, Miranda.”
Stepping away a few steps, Miranda sensed that neither had moved an inch, which pleased her greatly. “I told you no distractions today.” Fixing Cruella with a scrutinizing look, Miranda purred, “I am very disappointed.” When each of her lovers visibly shivered in reaction to those words, Miranda waved them away, “Go now. I’ve got to go and resurrect the designer whom you’ve given a heart attack.”
With a little extra sway in her walk, Miranda almost hoped that Andrea took matters into her own hands, so that she could punish her as well.