I was nominated by Yinglan (https://thisisanotherstory.com/2023/02/04/pass-the-baton-challenge-the-midnight-hour/) to continue this story started by Marla. Hope you enjoy my part of the story.
“Darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand*”
She finished lacing up her thigh high leather heeled boots. Standing up, she did a once over in the floor length mirror, checking to make sure that her short skirt was short enough that despite the height of her boots, there was plenty of skin between the hem of the skirt and the top of the boots. She did a quick wiggle to make sure the skirt didn’t ride up too high, and that the rest of her stayed where it was supposed to within the confines of her dress. Satisfied, she grabbed her jacket and headed out.
As she walked down the street, she could feel the goosebumps break out all over her body, although she didn’t know why. It was just a normal night, just like any other, and there was nothing out of the ordinary. She pushed the uneasy feeling aside, and took her spot on the side of the street, waiting for her shift to begin.
Her unease increased as time passed. She had just one passerby ask her for the merchandise which she provided but the payment was still pending.
Suddenly the air was full of loud screams. Someone was in severe agony or frightened out of their wits. She grabbed her bag which had all the merchandise in it and made for the taxi stand. Before she could hail the taxi coming from the other side, she was blinded by the halogen lights of a fast-approaching car towards her.
She opened her moth to scream when……
… she recognized her favorite customer pulling up in his Rolls Royce limousine. The driver slowed down and stopped right next to Vivian Ward and Edward Lewis rolled down the rear window and said, “Honey, I need an escort for this social event, do you want to have fun tonight?” Vivian’s eyes lit up and she said, “Open the door and I will go anywhere with you, as I know you won’t try to stiff me.” Edward replied, “Did one of your clients try to take advantage of you? You should think about getting a manager to handle your transactions.” Vivian said, “I had a pimp once and I don’t want any man owning me again, so I work for myself.” Edward told her that tonight was not going to be like work, as they were going to a costume party, and he would pay her $500 an hour as long as she didn’t embarrass him. Edward was dressed in a Batman costume, and he handed Vivian $1,500 and asked her if she had someplace to store that. Vivian replied, “I have my hiding spots, but you will need to pay me more to see them.” The driver parked in front of this large mansion and said, “Sir, we have reached our destination.”
Vivian tried hard not to show her surprise. She knew this property and was surprised that Edward moved in these circles.
‘Coming?’ he asked having got out of the vehicle and was holding the door for her.
She adjusted her attire, wishing she’d chosen her long leather coat rather than her skimpy jacket.
‘Don’t worry. It’s not a themed party for superheroes or anything. Just a bit of fun to convince everyone I’m not the stuffed shirt they think I am. Just relax!’
They walked straight into the house without knocking and a drink was thrust into their hands by a butler whose costume had no back side. Vivian felt more at ease knowing she wasn’t the only one showing more than a pound of flesh.
‘Cute buns,’ she said softly, and Edward gave her an enquiring look.
Knowing he had specifically asked her not to embarrass him, she followed in his wake, sipping her drink.
‘EDWARD!’ came a booming voice from across the room. ‘So glad you could make it Dahling. And who is this?’
‘I’m Vivian,’ she said offering her hand.
‘How delightful! Come, come! You must meet everyone!’
Edward smiled encouragingly as Vivian whispered ‘How did he know it was you?’ before being led away to be introduced to some of the other guests.
How he hated these parties but it was important for the next takeover he had in mind.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to face an old enemy………………..
Vivian had been in a lot of sketchy situations and prided herself on keeping her cool, but this house was downright freaky and giving her the shivers. She was definitely not going to take a sip of the weird green, glowing drink and discreetly put it down on an end table as Edward continued chatting with a blond man dressed as a Viking, from the waist up anyway. From the waist down, the Viking was dressed in… nothing. Wait! She recognized that guy! OMG, it was Mr. Jensen, her math teacher from high school. What was mild-mannered, nerdy Mr. J doing at this bizarre party? And who knew he had such a big–
“Scuse me!” Vivian was shoved into the wall by a rude woman dressed as Cruella Deville, complete with a little stuffed Dalmatian clutched in her arms. “Some of us need to use the restroom.”
Rubbing her aching shoulder, Vivian followed Cruella to the restroom in an attempt to get away from Mr. J. He’d surely recognize her because of that prank she and her friends pulled at the end of senior year. She only hoped Edward wouldn’t get angry that she’d left the main room. She stood at the sink running cold water on her wrists in an attempt to calm herself.
“Are you spying on me?” Cruella yelled. She shook her stuffed dog at Vivian and made a growling sound.
Vivian met the other woman’s gaze in the mirror. “No. I’m just–“
“You’re just the type of sexy idiot my husband would hire to spy on me,” Cruella said. “But we’re going to turn the tables on him. This is how things are going to go down tonight…”
Vivian pulled paper towels to dry her hands, turning to face this Cruella woman.
“First of all, I may be sexy, but I’m no idiot,” she said. “Now, who’s your husband?”
Cruella sighed. “He’s the man you came in with … your favorite customer. I know he’s paying you to keep a spy eye on me tonight. I’ve had enough of his conniving ways and I’m filing for divorce. I plan on taking him to the cleaners for as much as I can get out of him.”
Surprised by this revelation, Vivian took a few seconds to think.
“Yes, I understand,” she said. “You’re right, he’s been a good customer of mine … sorry, but he’s lied to me too, about being married. What do you want me to do?”
Cruella smiled, and bent closer. In a low voice she said, “Here’s my plan.” Reaching into her spotted coat pocket, she took out a tiny clip on camera. “Wear this, hide it somewhere on you, and go with him everywhere he’ll let you. I want to find out about his business dealings, how much he’s worth, any and all transactions he makes with anyone. Can you do that?”
Vivian smiled and held out her hand. “I’ll start right now,” she said as she pinned the camera to her dress top where it couldn’t be seen.
Cruella nodded. “Let’s do this and meet in a week at the coffee shop on your corner.”
One at a time they exited the restroom.
When they returned, Vivian found Edward on the couch, an arm wrapped around a brunette while whispering in her ears. The brunette looked even less dressed than Mr. Jensen and Vivian. She had on nothing but a bikini, cat ears, and a sparkly mask, shielding her identity.
As Edward whispered, she giggled.
“That dirty lying cheating weasel,” Cruella muttered through clenched teeth as she elbowed Vivian like she’s trying to send her a signal – go, do your job – before striding forward. “Edward, darling, I honestly didn’t know you were going to show up tonight. Otherwise, I would’ve put more thought into this decoration.”
“What are you talking about? I think this looks great.”
“Mmm, I don’t know, this feels tossed together.”
As Cruella was talking, Vivian took her seat next to Edward and tried to get into character of Edward’s party date while tried not to stare at Mr. Jensen sitting in the adjacent armchair with his legs spread wide open. “Edward, would you like to dance?”
Edward turned abruptly, not knowing who it was that was interrupting his delightful conversation with the little brunette. Startled when he realized it was Vivian, he tried to cover his shock and stammered, trying to introduce Vivian to the other girl seated next to him.
“Um, yeah, Vivian, this is…um, I don’t think I got your name”
“Edward silly, it’s me, Veronica! Don’t tell me my costume is so good that you couldn’t recognize me!”
Edward blushed and again started to stammer when he quickly leaned over to Veronica, “I’ll be back later. If you’re still here we can continue from this point!” Veronica winked at Edward as he stood and took Vivian’s hand and led her to the dance floor.
“I thought I was your date tonight,” Vivian whined into his ear as Edward held her close.
“You are darling, but you know I have multiple business deals going at one time and sometimes I need to be in those uncomfortable situations even when I don’t want to.”
“A-ha, so I met this woman in the bathroom. She had on a marvelous costume. She told me to find her later so we could exchange phone numbers, maybe actually start a real friendship!”
“So, sweet, dear! What was this amazing costume?” Edward asked, while still swaying Vivian slowly in his arms to the rhythm of the music.
“Oh, I can’t recall the name but it’s that evil woman from the movie with all the spotted puppies! She even died her hair two colors just for this party! Now that is my kind of fun!” Vivian didn’t know how much she wanted to push with this “new friend” thing but she thought it could be fun.
“Well, darling,” Edward whispered, “I will look for this dog-lady later. For now it is just you and me.”
At that moment a young waiter carrying a tray of champagne flutes approached them and said it was almost time for the toast. Vivian reluctantly took a glass. This champagne, as the young man had called it, had that bright green hue as the drink when they first got here. What was in this drink anyhow? Well, she had told Edward that she wouldn’t embarrass him so she wouldn’t ask the waiter what was in the glasses. If everyone was drinking it, it must be okay. At this point Vivian was willing to take the chance on an upset tummy or head spins, if only to speed this night along. Now that she knew that Edward wasn’t only cheating with her she was ready to go. She’d find a new one. Vivian tilted her glass toward Edward slightly, “Cheers Babe!” she said as she took a long sip of her drink.
This was started by Marla and to be continued, I hope Val at https://murisopsis.wordpress.com/ decides to do this, but if she wants to restrain from responding to this tag, I am issuing her a Get Out Of A Tag Free Card and then I will look for someone else to continue the story.