A Friend in Need
Eve floated on an air mattress in the indoor pool trying to tell herself that she was enjoying the enforced relaxation. Damn rules and regulations! Some number-happy asshole had informed her commander that she had logged excessive hours with no downtime and now she was forced to sit around at home on a perfectly good weekday when who knew what kind of murder and mayhem was happening in their fair city. It just made her sick!
When her link beeped to signal an incoming call, she answered immediately, "Block video, Dallas."
"Dallas? Is it really true? You're at home on a Tuesday?"
"Video on, yes Mavis, it's true and I'm not happy about it. How did you find out?"
"Peabody told me when I talked to her a bit ago. I called to see if you two were free to come over for lunch today. She said that you were, but she'd caught a case."
"A case? Did she say what it was about?"
"I didn't ask. So can you?"
"Can I what?"
"Can you come over for lunch?"
"Oh, why don't you come over here instead? We'll get Summerset to fix us up some... Shit! Are you crying? What's wrong? Who made you cry and who do I have to kill for you?"
Mavis sniffled, "Do you have any idea how hard it is to bring a baby anywhere? There's the car seat and the stroller, and the infant seat and the baby bag and the..."
"Stop! All right, I'm coming over! When should I get there?"
"Please come right away. Please," Mavis pleaded earnestly.
"I'll grab some clothes and be right over. Why don't I bring something with me so that you don't have to cook?"
"Okay," instantly Mavis seemed cheered, "Can you have sweetums pack us some of those crab thingies that I like?"
"If by 'sweetums' you mean the evil troll also known as Summerset, I'll see what I can do, but don't make me lose my appetite by referring to him as 'sweetums'," Eve admonished.
Forty minutes later, Eve arrived on Mavis' doorstep with a fully packed basket of food in hand. She knocked on her old apartment door, feeling as if she'd stepped into some alternate universe where there was no Roarke and she was heading back home. That image evaporated as the door was opened and the sprite-sized Mavis dragged her in and gave her a death grip of a hug. Eve wondered if it was the lack of oxygen, or if the colors on the walls were in fact brighter than her last foray into the world of Mavis and Leonardo. "Oxygen rapidly becoming an issue here," she told Mavis who promptly let her go.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm just so happy to see you. I can't tell you! It's been two weeks! Two complete weeks and I think I have completely lost my mind."
Eve wasn't about to argue with her. "Well, Mavis, if I lived in this..." words failed her, "I'd be checking myself in for a psych-eval myself." Eve looked at the psychedelic colors that swam on the walls in ever increasing brightness. She imagined that this was what a person who used hallucinogenic drugs might see while under the influence. On top of the mind boggling colors though, was now added a layer of clutter. Not just the usual clutter, but bottles and diapers and swings and toys and god, Eve wasn't even sure what it was all called.
"Oh, we're just, you know, getting settled."
"Uh huh," was all Eve could come up with. "Well, I brought all kinds of goodies to munch on, I'll just set it..." she looked around.
Mavis swept her arm across the coffee table dumping everything into the floor. "Here will do, let's see what you brought?" She dove in to the basket and made lots of 'yummy' noises and then sounds of crunching ensued.
Eve sat on a corner of the couch and watched in awe. She would have helped herself, but was afraid that she might get her fingers chewed off in the feeding frenzy. For such a tiny thing, Mavis could sure pack it away. She was actually beginning to relax a bit when there was a horrendous sound that emanated from the second room that had been made into a nursery. "Uh, sounds like the little alien wants something."
Mavis dropped everything and rushed into the nursery and now the only noises were cooing and shushing sounds. Eve wondered momentarily if Mavis had fully made the switch from starvation victim to mother, but wasn't about to go find out. A few minutes later, Mavis emerged with the tiny bundle carried close to her chest. "Hush now, Belle. Your auntie Eve is here to visit. You want to be on your best behavior for her don't you? You were named for her you know?"
"She can't like understand you, can she?" Eve asked warily.
Mavis chuckled, "No, but she knows my voice and the more I talk to her, the more it seems to soothe her. It's time for her to eat too."
Eve had reached forward to grab a tiny sandwich looking thing with some cucumber sticking out of it, but when Mavis sat on the couch and whipped out a breast, she decided against taking a bite of it. She wasn't sure Mavis knew how to perform the Heimlich if she should choke. Eve watched in fascination as the baby opened her mouth like a fish out of water and then sucked Mavis' nipple in so that there was no sign of the distended nipple or the surrounding areola. "Good god, Mavis, she's going to swallow the whole thing!"
Mavis looked down and laughed, the picture of contented motherhood, "No she's not. Babies are amazingly adept at getting their needs met. She knows how to cry to let my milk down and just how to suckle to get the maximum flow. According to Leonardo, it isn't as easy as it looks."
Eve grabbed her eyes with the hand not holding the tiny sandwich. "Stop, what are you trying to do, blind me? The visions you've put in my head, dear god, have mercy!"
Mavis chuckled, "Hey if you're not going to eat that, can you pop it into my mouth? Breast feeding is a hungry business."
Eve put the smooshed bite-sized piece into her own mouth, but filled a small plate for Mavis and set it next to her on the arm of the couch. They sat munching and drinking fruit juice, which Summerset had told her was better for Mavis than the Pepsi or coffee she'd asked for. Belle completed her meal and Mavis put her on her shoulder and patted her back until a small belch erupted. She then sat back and held the sleeping infant in her arms as if it was the most natural thing in the world to her. "You're a really good mom," Eve told her.
For some reason, this started Mavis on another crying jag. "No, I'm not! I'm a horrible mother!"
"What? How can you say that? You've put your career, your life, everything on hold to stay at home and take care of Belle."
"But I don't want to!" she wailed.
"What? What do mean? Have you changed your mind? You don't want to be a mother anymore?" Eve asked panicked.
"No, that's not what I mean," Mavis sobbed as she tightened her grip on her sleeping daughter. "But I'm going completely crazy in this apartment. I haven't been out of here once except to run down and ask Peabody for a couple of eggs I didn't even need. I just had to reassure myself that the world outside these walls hadn't ceased to exist. I can't take it anymore, I'm going crazy!"
"Well, gosh Mavis. Why didn't you just come over to my place when I asked you?"
"I told you, it takes too much stuff to bring a baby over and anyway, Leonardo took the car and went to work. I can't bring this stuff over on the bus."
"I would have sent the limo to come get you. Has your brain short-circuited? I wouldn't expect you to grab public transpo with Belle."
"I know, but I just can't think straight. It's like the life has been sucked out of me. Don't get me wrong, I love Bella Eve and I love being a mom, but I miss my life," she ended on a wail.
"What can I do? Tell me! I can get Summerset over here. He could clean the place up and take care of the baby or something."
"No, I don't want anyone to know that I can't do this all by myself."
"Why would you want people to think you could? Isn't there an old saying about 'It takes a village?' I'm pretty sure that even with modern conveniences, it still takes a bunch of people to raise a baby."
"Please, Dallas, don't tell him or Roarke or Peabody or McNab or anybody," she cried.
"Okay, don't worry, my lips are sealed. But come on Mavis, this is serious. You've got to start taking care of yourself. I mean, look at you," Eve said.
It perhaps wasn't the wisest thing to say as Mavis burst into loud sobs. Her hair hung straight around her face in a dark blonde/light brown color that Eve thought she might have been born with. Her outfit, though the usual Mavis colors of neon green and blinding yellow, had spots of baby puke on it and milk that had leaked from her nipples. Eve thought that it could possibly have been on her frame for more than a day. She had on no makeup and her feet were in pink fluffy socks that had picked up all sorts of lint. "I know; I look horrible! I'm fat and sticky and I... I... I'm ugly!" she continued.
"Look, look, why don't you call Trina?" Eve couldn't believe these words had come from her mouth; it went toward showing just how desperate she was.
"I don't want her to come here and see this mess," Mavis hiccupped in a vain attempt to get herself under control.
"Then go there," Eve nearly shouted.
"Can I, really?" Mavis asked in wonder.
"Of course, just go there. I'm sure she'll be happy to fit you in around whatever other tortures she's devised."
"And you'll stay with Belle? You really don't mind?" Mavis asked in awe.
That's when it hit her. It slammed her directly between the eyes. She had inadvertently offered her services as babysitter. What had she been thinking? She'd momentarily forgotten about Belle. She rapidly tried to come up with an alternate solution, but how could she? Mavis had sworn her to secrecy and she'd never seen her friend more mentally unbalanced. If she called anyone, it would be Dr. Mira for some psychiatric treatment for her friend. But now, she'd gone and done it, and there was no way out. None. She was well and truly stuck. When she found out who it was that ratted her out to Commander Whitney, she was going to pinch their balls in a vice and jam hot coals up their ass. She was now immersed in her own personal nightmare.
"Sure, I'll stay with her. You just tell me what to do," she'd learned that bit of psychobabble to calm a perp on drugs. She figured Mavis in her current state was pretty much the equivalent. Agree, be supportive, use a calm friendly voice, be their friend.
"She sleeps for four hours after she eats. She won't wake up before four in the afternoon. I usually take a nap, but if I can grab a quick shower and go see Trina, I know that will help me so much more. Oh Eve, I can't tell you how much this means to me. And you and Belle can get to know each other. You're going to love her, I just know you are!"
As far as Eve could tell, the little mutant had already taken over her best friend's mind, there was no way she was going to get a chance to take over hers!
Twenty minutes later, Mavis was showered and wearing a form fitting micro dress in hot pink. She had on four-inch heels that matched her dress and earrings in the shape of circling planets that hung down to her shoulders. Her hair was up; wrapped in a hot pink turban and she had a pair of enormous sunshades in her hand to cover up her make-up free eyes and nearly half her face if Eve was any judge.
"All you have to do is check on her every half hour or so. She's such a good baby and she always sleeps through the afternoon. Her fussy time isn't until evening and I'll be home way before then. If by chance she should wake up, and she won't, but just in case, there's a bottle I expressed for her in the fridge unit. This is the bottle warmer and you just put it in here and when the green light comes on, it's the perfect temperature. There are extra diapers next to the crib, but she won't wake up before I'm home. Okay, I guess this is it. Dallas, you are the best friend a girl could ever have. Thank you so much for this. You may have just saved my sanity. I love you. I mean, I really love," she said as she flung herself in Dallas' arms and again tried to crack a rib.
"Okay Mavis, you better get going, Trina is waiting for you," she told her.
"Right, okay, you have my link number if you need to reach me. Oh wow, I'm going out!" Mavis seemed to have to tear herself away from the apartment, but Eve finally managed to close the door behind her.
"Oh shit, what have I done?" she asked herself.
It may have been nervous energy, but Eve decided that sitting down was not an option and so instead she began to clean the apartment. She didn't like cleaning, but it didn't mean she didn't know how. She'd been raised by the state and if there was one thing foster homes and group homes loved to instill, it was how to do chores. Hell, Trudy had even made her scrub the floor with a toothbrush. She knew how to make a house shine.
Eve knew where everything was from when she'd lived there and so she set about to pick up the clutter and give the whole apartment a deep cleaning. She washed dishes, scrubbed floors and counters, picked up, organized and put away. She called a laundry service to come haul away the mountain of clothes she had found that looked or smelled as if they needed to be washed. She added to that anything made of cloth that was on the floor or stuffed somewhere that didn't look like the place it belonged. The serviceman promised he would return with everything properly washed, folded, pressed, dry cleaned, mended or whatever it needed in two hours. She had offered him triple his normal fee as a bribe. There were still some things money could buy. She checked the AutoChef and was appalled at the menu choices and so called another company to come and stock it and the freshly scrubbed fridge unit. She doubled their fee as a bribe to get them over in the next twenty minutes.
Every thirty minutes, her wrist unit went off to remind her to check on Belle. She would walk into the nursery and stand as far away from the crib as she could and strain her neck to make sure that she was in fact sleeping peacefully and then she would tiptoe back out again and close the door with a mental swipe of her hand across her brow in relief.
She dusted and vacuumed and polished everything in sight. The apartment sparkled it was so clean and she'd found some air freshener that finally managed to get rid of the spoiled milk smell and replace it with spring flowers. The AutoChef and fridge unit were now stocked with a month's supply of ready-made meals, drinks and snacks foods. The clothes arrived and she put them all neatly into drawers and closets. She accidentally found Mavis and Leonardo's sex toys and there were a couple of things in there she was going to ask Mavis about the next time they had a girl talk. Other than that, she prided herself on an amazingly productive day with no major catastrophes. This being a 'stay at home mom' stuff wasn't as hard as it looked. She was surprised that Mavis was having so much trouble with it.
When Mavis called to check up on things, Eve assured her that all was going well and that it was fine if she stopped by Leonardo's work studio to show off her new hairstyle and body scent. Mavis' gratitude was heart felt and Eve' s heart warmed at being able to do this simple thing to help her friend.
Eve knew that pride cometh before a fall; she just forgot that particular adage until it came up to slap in the face. Three minutes after Mavis called, at exactly three oh six, Belle woke up with a cry that threatened to shatter glass.
A Friend in Need by IDFAN
The rating is simply for language, there is no violence or sex in this one. At least, not in the first chapter.