How are you doing today?
I just started writing the first script of the new story. I thought we could also use some extra moments with Lex and Mary, though!
Ready to get dress up and join them at a party? 😉
“Damn, I really hate wearing dresses,” Mary muttered, pulling up her gown so she could climb the stairs without stumbling.
“Then why are you wearing one?” Lex asked, hands tucked carelessly in the pockets of her suit pants.
“It’s a very fancy event!” Mary squeaked.
She glanced up and saw that the couple walking in front of them was dressed to the nines. Her pulse picked up.
“Fancy doesn’t mean you have to wear a dress,” Lex drawled, offering her arm.
Mary grabbed it and held onto it, grateful for the support. Her shoes were brand new and she wasn’t feeling very confident on these high heels yet. She had practiced and it had gone fine, but these steps were a bit more challenging.
“I’m not complaining, by the way,” Lex said conspiratorially, “You look absolutely breathtaking.”
Mary met her eyes, smiling. “So do you, miss Emsworth.”
Lex grinned. “I do look good in a suit, don’t I?”
“Yes, you do,” Mary agreed.
They reached the top of the stairs and were greeted by a young woman who was dressed in black slacks and a blouse . She was clearly in charge of guarding the entrance.
“Good evening,” she beamed at Lex and Mary. “Names, please?”
Lex nodded at Mary.
Mary looked up and smiled. “Lex Emsworth and Mary Alexander.”
The girl squinted at the tablet in her hand, swiping up and down for a second.
“I see,” she said, tapping. Her next smile was even more radiant. “As part of the family, you’re invited to join Miss Emsworth and Miss North in the backstage bar.”
“Oh, thank you,” Mary said, blushing a little.
She felt her cheeks heat up. She still wasn’t used to this. Mary and Milly had become good friends over the last year. That friend was ‘normal’ Milly, not ‘opera star’ Milly hosting a big party at the Met complex.
Mary had also gotten used to seeing Hannah in a casual setting. Hannah was still the same boss at work. Friendly, but demanding. Off the clock, Hannah was a wonderful and generous friend to both Lex and Mary.
But tonight, everything felt different. Hannah and Milly were celebrating their engagement with a lot of pomp and circumstance in one of the Met’s smaller theaters. The guest list was filled with people Mary never thought she’d see in real life.
Neither Hannah nor Milly had been particularly excited about this event, though. They had much preferred the intimate dinner party with friends and family last week, Milly had confided to Mary.
Knowing that helped Mary manage her nerves. At least a little. She had never been to parties like this one before. No matter how many times Lex had told her it really wasn’t that big of a deal, it was to Mary.
“Can you help us with some directions to this backstage bar?” Lex asked the attendant smoothly.
“Of course,” the woman nodded. “The entrance to the backstage bar is on the right, at the end of the reception hall. Someone will be waiting for you there.”
“Perfect,” Lex replied, reaching for Mary’s hand. Their fingers interlaced. “Hope we can make it there without running into too many people. Or my mother.”
Both Mary and the woman let out a surprised laugh.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” the employee chuckled.
Mary shook her head in amused disbelief. Lex turned into a comedian whenever they were in a formal setting. Mary assumed it was her way to rebel against her own past.
“Let’s go find Hannah and Milly,” Mary said slowly, raising her eyebrows.
“Here we go,” Lex said dramatically and winked at the staffer.
Mary rolled her eyes. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were flirting,” she commented as soon as the other woman was out of earshot.
“Oh, you’re so cute when you’re jealous,” Lex whispered, guiding Mary to the side of the busy reception hall. Chatter and jazzy music filled the room.
“I’m not jealous,” Mary mumbled under her breath.
“It’s still cute,” Lex replied, waving stiffly at someone who apparently was greeting her from afar. She tugged at Mary’s hand and increased her pace.
“Hey, *very* high heels!” Mary complained as she tried to keep up.
“Sorry,” Lex said, “But that’s an ex-coworker and I do not want to talk to him.”
Mary looked over her shoulder and saw a middle-aged man staring back at them with a curious expression. His black hair shone from the wax he had put in it. Mary quickly averted her gaze.
“Were you out at work?” Mary inquired, suddenly curious. She spotted a beautiful looking entrance with red curtains and another staffer standing next to it at the back of the hall.
“Yeah, I was,” Lex said, “But not in a way I was proud of.”
“What do you mean?” Mary asked, looking around, hoping they wouldn’t run into Lex’s mother before making it to the backstage bar.
“It was more like I was part of the boys club, I guess,” Lex said softly. “They felt comfortable making inappropriate remarks about women around me.”
“Oh,” Mary frowned. “Right.”
“Good evening,” the young man standing next to the entrance of the backstage bar said. “Mrs. Emsworth and Mrs. Alexander?”
Mary and Lex both nodded in surprise.
“Sarah told me you were coming,” he said with a grin, tapping his earpiece. He unclipped the rope from the barrier and waved them through.
“Thanks,” Lex said and let Mary go in first.
Mary’s pulse picked up again as she heard Milly’s familiar laugh coming from behind the thick, red curtains. She pushed the heavy fabric aside and walked into a much smaller, and much cozier, room.
“Mary!” Milly beamed and hurried over. She looked absolutely stunning in a dark blue gown that showed off her bare shoulders and delicate neck. In her ears, diamonds sparkled. She looked like royalty.
“Mary, you look amazing!” Milly gushed, stretching her hands out in front of her.
Mary took Milly’s hands in hers, squeezing. “Have *you* looked in a mirror?” she said. “*You* look breathtaking.”
“Hey,” Lex commented, her shoulder bumping into Mary’s. “Who’s flirting now?”
Milly slipped her arm around Mary’s side and pulled her closer. “Stating the facts is not flirting,” she said teasingly.
Mary giggled, enjoying the banter.
“I better have a chat with my cousin,” Lex replied, arching an eyebrow. “I’m not sure you two being friends was such a good idea.”
Mary huffed and pointed a finger at her girlfriend. “Like you and Hannah have anything to say about it.”
Milly laughed and pulled Lex into a hug. “You know we bonded over falling in love with an Emsworth, right?”
“I think I can join that club then,” someone commented in a heavy French accent.
Mary turned around to see her old boss, Lucile Leroy, smiling at them. She had aged quite a bit over the last year, but her watery eyes were sparkling and she looked classy in a green gown that was probably designed just for her.
“Mrs. Leroy,” Mary beamed. “It’s so nice to see you again.”
Lucile wagged her finger. “I told you to call me Lucile.”
“You know it’s too daunting to call you that,” Milly joked, slipping her arm around her future mother-in-law’s waist now. Lucile seemed a bit uncomfortable at first, but then leaned into the embrace and smiled at her soon-to-be daughter in law.
“Nonsense,” Lucile muttered. “We’re all family here.”
“Well said, auntie Lucile,” Lex piped in playfully.
The old woman arched a thin eyebrow at her niece. “Hello to you too, Electra.”
Lex frowned, her expression one of a scolded teenager.
Both Mary and Milly laughed.
“I think Lex needs some back-up here,” Hannah grinned as she patted Lex’s shoulder.
“Yeah, what took you so long?” Lex asked.
Hannah wiggled her eyebrows. “I was finishing drink.” She turned to Milly. “You ready to go greet the rest of our guests?”
“Oh no,” Milly said, wrinkling her nose. “That time already?”
“Yes, time to go dazzle everyone, my dear,” Hannah responded.
“You both look fantastic,” Lucile said warmly. “Just remember to smile and mention the foundation whenever you can.”
Chuckling, Milly responded, “Yes, ma’am.”
She let go of Lucile and held out her hand for Hannah. “Come, darling, time to go fundraising!”
Hannah shrugged. “And here I thought we were celebrating our love!”
Lex snorted. “Nope, never out there.” She smiled at Mary. “We’ll hold a toast to it here, though.”
Mary’s heart skipped a beat while her eyes locked with Lex’s.
“Awwwwe,” Milly said teasingly. “Who would have thought? Our Lexie is a *romantic.*.”
Hannah snorted, unimpressed. “Smooth talker.”
Milly pulled Hannah toward the exit of the small room. “How about *you* get *your* smooth-talking game on with all these donors, hmm?”
Mary, Lex and Lucile all smiled as they watched them go. They could hear applause in the reception hall a few seconds later.
“Right,” Lex sighed, “Should I get everyone another drink before we join them out there?”
Mary bumped her elbow into her side, reminding them they were not alone.
But Lucile surprised her. “Yes, excellent idea,” she said and turned to walk to the bar, joining a couple Mary recognized as Milly’s parents.
Lex’s eyes were soft when she studied Mary’s face. “You okay, baby?”
Mary nodded emphatically. “Yeah, I am.”
“Alright,” Lex said, “Because this is the best part of my family, I’m afraid.”
“I love this part of your family,” Mary said softly and meant it.
Lex’s smile lit up her whole face. “Good,” she said. “Because you’re a part of it now, you know.”
Mary tried to swallow away the lump in her throat. She didn’t want to ruin her make-up by getting all teary-eyed.
Lex smiled, squeezed Mary’s hand and joked, “Let’s go tease auntie Lucile some more.”
Mary laughed, shaking her head. “Fine. But no more Belgium jokes this time, okay?”
“Okay, okay,” Lex chuckled. “Not even the one… ”
“No!” Mary interrupted her, as they walked to the bar, holding hands.
Mary’s heart filled with quiet, contented joy as they talked to Lucile and Milly’s parents for the next 15 minutes. She couldn’t even remember why she had even been nervous about this evening.
She wasn’t out of place here. No, she was exactly where she wanted to be.
💜 Dear fellow romantic,
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