“Mother knows best”
Wednesday slips the cold fabric over her head and shimmies the garment down. It’s tightness restricting her breathing just so. The silver mirror offers her a blurred view of her reflection, the paleness of her chest and upper stomach glowing from between the deep V of her new dress.
She reaches up to stroke one of her braids, hesitation makes her pause. Wednesday’s mouth ticks downwards then she swiftly turns to walk back to her desk. Her hips sway, the tight silk only allowing for a specific gait. The movements come naturally; she’d learned to walk this way from the time she’d worn her first funeral dress at the age of five.
The parchment crinkles between her fingers, Mother’s perfume still clinging to the letter that had come with the dress. Wednesday reads it again carefully, trying to find a loophole. She huffs, let your hair down , such a simple phrase but it sits heavy in her belly. It had taken her most of the afternoon to decipher her mother’s many riddles but that one had been suspiciously straight forward.
“Very well,” She was an Addams, she can handle omens and prophecies. It’s one of her specialties after all, though the part where she’s told to open herself to the mellifluous void is also odd.
Wednesday pulls on the ribbons simultaneously, the strands of her braids remain entwined until she runs her fingers through each one. She ties a black silken ribbon to each wrist. A comforting shiver of dread runs down her spine when she faces her hazy reflection again. Dark waves spread over her shoulders and down her back.
A commotion from outside her office turns her focus away from the mirror. Harmony’s shrill soprano tone is unexpected, “I said, miss Addams isn’t seeing clients right now!”
There’s a brief moment of silence followed by what’s clearly a scuffle outside her door. Wednesday tilts her head in curiosity as she shimmies across her office. A loud growl resonates when her hand covers the handle, she opens the door just as the crash of a body reaches her ears.
Blonde curls block Wednesday’s sight of the situation, her secretary standing even taller than usual. She glances down to take notice of dangerously high, blood red stilettos that match the shade of Harmony’s dress perfectly. The vampire turns, yellow eyes widening in surprise. “I- wow. Um.” The woman fumbles with her words as Wednesday waits patiently for an explanation.
“Wednesday, luv!” The british voice is instantly familiar, Wednesday turns her head down the hallway.
“I told him you weren't seeing anyone today and we’re closed for the New Years party.” Harmony scowls, vampire features still firmly in place. The gleam of her fangs catching in the light. “I know we aren’t supposed to get physical with clients but-”
“It’s alright Miss Kendal.” Wednesday answers coolly then turns towards the fashionably dressed demon. “Crowley is an old family acquaintance, Father has thrown him much further.”
The crossroads demon stops a foot away, still adjusting his charcoal suit with a mildly displeased look. “You know, if you wanted a guard dog, I’ve a few hounds you’re always welcome to.”
Wednesday shakes her head no politely, ignoring the high pitch squawk from the vampire at her side. “Hellhounds are not appropriate office staff and Miss Kendal is well suited for all aspects of her duties here. Though I’m sure Pubert would appreciate the offer.”
Crowley looks up at the vampire with an odd expression then snorts before turning back to her. “Right, I get it luv. I’m sure dead and sultry here is great at answering phones .”
“Crowley, I don't believe we have any business this quarter and we are after office hours.” Wednesday redirects the conversation, if she doesn’t keep the demon focused he’ll keep talking of pointless matters until armageddon.
The demon rolls his eyes. “You Addams’, so odd about those formalities. I’m here because I’ve got a deal in town and those senior partners of yours require all deals in LA to be formalized by one of their lawyers.” Crowley reaches into his jacket and brings out a thick roll of parchment. “It’s a complicated one, I know how much you love a challenge.”
“But the party…” Harmony’s disappointed tone catches Wednesday off guard; the vampire is nauseatingly cheerful by nature, or despite it. It was always a wonder how the lack of soul hadn’t affected the woman as it normally did for others.
Wednesday draws in a small breath, words and meanings falling into place. She turns and stares at the parchment waiting in Crowley’s hand. “Business hours are from seven am to seven thirty pm,” she casually gestures to Harmony. “Miss Kendal will schedule an appointment for you.”
The demon gapes like a fish out of water but claps his jaw shut when Wednesday raises an expectant eyebrow. “Fine. You’re even more of a hardass than Gomez.”
“Thank you. It was a pleasure to see you again, Crowley.” She inclines her head then spins smoothly to return to her office. A glimpse of Harmony’s vampiric face sees the pout turn into a victorious grin. It stirs a disconcerting feeling in Wednesday’s chest that thrums with each click of those stilettos marching behind her.
The door clicks shut as Wednesday glides quickly to her desk. From the second drawer she pulls out her old flask, the cork makes a satisfying pop while she gently leans on the edge of the desk. Smoke wafts out of the opening, it’s acrid sting soothing her racing pulse. She tips the flask to her lips, taking a deep gulp before placing the stopper back.
When she turns to place the flask back in its drawer, Wednesday catches a glimpse of the letter still on her desk. She almost frowns, reconsidering her conclusion and the path before her. A knock interrupts her moment of introspection, “Come in.”
The door groans, Harmony’s human smile greeting her. “All done,” the woman hesitates at the threshold.
“You don’t need an invitation in public buildings Miss Kendal.” Wednesday pushes herself off of her desk to circle back to her mirror. She feels uncertain, not a feeling she’s used to experiencing. It’s distressing and exhilarating.
“Your dress is gorgeous,” The vampire says with an almost discernible gulp. “The neckline is delicious,” Harmony claps a hand over her mouth, eyes wide. “I mean, flattering. Sorry.”
Wednesday turns around fully to study the vampire closely. “You have nothing to apologise for, you are a vampire. With the carotid and subclavian veins, along with ease of access, the neck is an understandably appealing location. Though I find it curious most vampires don’t favor the femoral aorta, where the pressure is much greater.”
Harmony blinks, “I’m sorry, the what?”
“The femoral aorta, one of the largest veins in the human body,” Wednesday answers helpfully, her hand follows the path on her inner thigh. “If done right, the effect is similar to a fountain.” She looks up to make sure the vampire understands and tilts her head at the glowing yellow eyes fixed firmly on her.
“I should go.” Harmony articulates slowly around her fangs as she takes a step back.
“When was the last time you fed?” Wednesday asks, concerned.
The vampire’s overbite becomes more pronounced when she bites her lip in embarrassment. “I might have missed lunch but don’t worry, I’ll go to the lunch room now.”
Wednesday shakes her head as she glides forward, “Unacceptable, on both counts. We are already late, and the contents of your thermos will likely have expired by now.” She looks up into questioning sun yellow eyes, realizing she’s never cared for the color until recently, and pushes her hair away from her shoulder, tilting her head to the right. “Two mouthfuls should suffice, Addams blood is partially demonic. I’ve been told it can be overwhelming for some.”
“Oh, that’s, that’s not.” Harmony clamps her mouth closed again while shaking her head. “You don’t have to do that for me.”
Wednesday stares upwards, unimpressed. “Self denial can have it’s benefits, now is not the correct time.” She rolls her eyes at the vampire’s hesitance. Part of her wonders if she’d misunderstood her mothers portents after all. Doubtful. Perhaps it was a simple matter of manners. “Now.”
The vampire startles, “Okay, okay!” She shakes her hands nervously, blowing a puff of air as she moves downwards. Just as Wednesday prepares to go lax, Harmony steps back looking embarrassed. “I’m sorry, could you like, move your head to the other side?”
Ah, now it makes sense. Wednesday angles her head to the left, exposing the right side of her clavicle. “I should have asked which side you prefer.”
Harmony lets out a nervous giggle. “Yeah, turns out I’m a right-biter.” The vampire pulls her own hair back, “never a scrunchy around when you need it.”
“Here,” Wednesday pulls one her braid ribbons from her wrist. “You can use this.”
Harmony smiles widely, her nose wrinkling a bit more. “Thank you.”