1963-07-03 - Let's Bother The Staff
Summary: Clea visits the Hellfire Club proper for the first time and locates a personal server.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
clea wanda 

WHEN LAST WE LEFT OUR HEROINE, Clea had stumbled - probably not by coincidence - into the suave confidences of SEBASTIAN SHAW. Her mysterious powers of costumery were drawn upon to please EMMA FROST, whose investigation of the minds of this mysterious maid revealed that she was far more than met the eye. For the moment she was commissioned as that estimable lady's personal designer, because her vague forewarnings of the DREAD DORMAMMU have caused some degree of agitation and surprise.

Clea has found it a relief because now she has to make herself smile much less and was able to sleep in a bed much nearer to her personal standards. (The dingy place in Greenwich Village where she was flopping is being left for the elements to reclaim.)

"And yet," she says to herself in her luxurious single suite in the Grigorian, "I draw no nearer to my goal." Her head flops back, striking a telling blow against a pillow as she stares at the roof. "But perhaps I am in a place far better suited, now…" And it is of no secret to her hosts that she wants to find wizards. Maybe.


Clea wanders the Hellfire Club's hallways. In the interest of causing less of a fuss she has compromised with the local look, which means, in a word - or an image link - this: http://i.imgur.com/EaavVyx.jpg

At least it blends in.

"This place vexes me," Clea says finally, having wandered most of the interior that is not presently being set up for the evening's influx of the rich and decadent. She raises her voice, but gently, while overlooking the foyer. "Attend me!" she calls to the milling service staff.


This is actually Wanda Maximoff's first day without blushing at the thought of her pale but well-formed thighs being visible. Wanda is no stranger to the concept of work, mind. As a migrant in and around Transia, she was just as active as her brother in the stealing of pies from windowsills, the whitewashing of fences, the selling of magic beans, and so on. This, though? This is a 'real job,' so that she can pay her 'rent' to 'live in an apartment.' Those parts are vaguely foreign to the lifestyle of this woman.

Perhaps that's why Wanda looks a bit like stunned livestock for a moment when she's ordered to attend by the white-haired sorceress. "Mm— ah! Of course, madame." She steps over gingerly, which is really the only way she knows how to walk quickly in high heels.

"May I take your— coat— ah, I mean, I see you do not have one, my, ah, my mistake, madame. How may I— be of service?" Wanda is a pretty young woman, pale, red hair that's been straightened but left with just enough curl at the ends to keep things fun. She has a figure like an extra in a Frankie-and-Annette summer-beach-fun flick and the corset top pinches it in that much more to exaggerate. She speaks with a decidedly non-New-York accent, and in general seems like she may be freshly removed from her packaging, assembled and painted like an Aurora model kit.


Clea gives Wanda an intense look, though a lot of that intensity is because of the amount of eyeliner she has on. (Or is that natural? It's ambiguous.) When the redhead gets near enough to her to speak in close levels, she reaches up to put her hands, gently and without pressure, on either side of Wanda's face, staring into her eyes from close range.

Then her hands go downwards. They aren't touching in the Swimsuit Zone but that would have probably been less weird than having her upper arms and neck /pressed/ for a moment. "Yes," Clea says, still intense. "You will do wonderfully. I need service… I need a great deal of service. What is your name? Or do you not have one?"


It was covered in Wanda's training that members of the Club are generally privileged to put their hands on the staff in whatever nonviolent ways they choose. Wanda expected this to mean a smack on the ass to hustle her along or congratulate her on achieving the task of 'bringing drinks over.' Maybe even getting tugged into a lap. When Clea puts her hands on Wanda's face, Wanda's eyes slowly go from side to side. She bites back her first reflex, which is to flinch backward.

Then Clea goes from touching to pressing, and Wanda can't help but tilt her head slightly, chin down and to the right, the better to furrow her brow at Clea very very slightly. "My name is Wanda," she says slowly, like she's trying to figure out if she's in danger of being stabbed (evidence: inconclusive so far). "What… is it that you need help with…?" (Leaning toward 'stab' though.)


Clea finally blinks, which is probably a relief.

"Wanda," says Clea, as if trying it on for size. Her hands come back. There are no knives… /that she can see/. "Yes. That's a name that suits you. I don't think I could have done any better." Clea puts a hand on her hip, pursing her lips in thought.

"Many things," she says. "But to begin with, I have not drank in nearly half of your day. I desire refreshment— but I wish also to see how it is prepared. Lead on to such a place, Wanda, and I shall follow… and once my thirst is slaked, we shall travel on to further things!"

Is this just a setup for the stabbing?



Wanda is not as alarmed as one might expect — to her, a penniless traveler, Clea's behavior just seems like a usual case of Bougeoisie Syndrome. To be wealthy, one must also be strange, and if one is not, one will BECOME strange.

"Of course," Wanda breathes, and turns slightly so that she can gesture with her hands. "If you would kindly follow me, madame, I can direct you to the bar area." It's open all hours for members, under 'It's always 5 PM SOMEWHERE' rules. Should Clea agree, Wanda leads the short way to said bar area, a large room with two bars pressed against two walls, a stage that is not in use at the moment, a dancefloor that's in a similar state, and various booths and tables set out. This is the bar, even though it resembles a ballroom — the actual ballroom is much, much grander.

"Would madame prefer a seat at the bar? That is where your drink will be made. If madame would prefer to observe from afar, there are also booths and tables available at your leisure." There are only one or two other patrons there at the moment, minding their own business and engaged in their own pursuits, being attended by a single wench. Both bartenders are at attention.


"Lead on," Clea says, and walks after Wanda. Eerily enough she walks in perfect synch with her after a few steps, which may lead to the occasional glance back, but yes: Clea is still there.

The ominousness is somewhat reduced when she looks inwards. "Ah! A celebration room. I must have walked past it several times already," Clea says, folding her arms in frustration. Further forwards, the bar! Clea tilts her head back as she studies the liquors on display.

"I will sit," Clea says, sinuously moving forwards and hoisting herself up onto the bar stool. She leans forwards, an elbow on the bar and her chin on her hand, looking directly at Wanda with that weird intensity. Back to one of the bartenders, the nearest. "I am very thirsty. Make me something grand. And cold!"

She checks herself. Even NOW, she doesn't want to terrify the service. She turns her head as if to scan around the room, and asks Wanda with chilling clarity, "Why is she," she points a little, "sitting in his lap? Is this a custom here?"

Her posture changes on the stool, less casual. "I want to try it."


Wanda's first day without blushing is threatened almost immediately by the turn the conversation takes. She's so deep in the pale 'bride of the Count' lap-lane of the Eastern European gene pool that a cold breeze makes her cheeks look like they've been slapped. "It is for… the enjoyment of the patrons… who enjoy those things." Wanda trails off a touch when saying 'those things,' like she knows what she's alluding to, but is embarrassed to know.

The bartender, having misunderstood Clea on some level, begins fixing her a cocktail using Grand Marnier.

Wanda awkwardly lifts herself to set on Clea's lap, with one or two quiet 'umphs' as she figures out exactly how to do this without the support of a proper chair — one hand stays rested on the bartop, bracing herself. She manages to successfully sit, and her cheeks have flushed fairly pink. She looks at Clea, and then at various points in the room in an unfocused way, as if not sure what to do next.


Clea has no idea what that is. She is going to find out.

As Wanda climbs into Clea's lap she does not discover any secret horrors or treacheries. Clea senses this difficulty of balance and wraps her arms around Wanda's waist but it is similar to grasping into someone while riding a motorbike, not a motor/bi/ke. She shifts herself, looking at Wanda, sitting still.

She answers exactly one second past the point where it gets awkward. "You smell pleasant, but this is not providing me with any particular enjoyment. Please stand once more." She unfolds her arms then, even as she looks with interest towards the cocktails being prepared.

"I must find out more about the resources of this place. Do you know where the libraries are, Wanda? The places for meditation? Where do the many members gather? I must meet them— at least see them, and make my judgments…" After this, Clea seems to notice something. Up comes the hand to rest on Wanda's face again. "— Is this a rash?"


Wanda tries to mask any relief in her tone: "Of course, madame," she says as she slides herself out of Clea's lap and stands. Her hands hang down at her sides for a moment, and then she clasps them behind her back, and then she decides that this is not ideal for some reason, and clasps them in front of her lap.

"The, ah, libraries? There may be one upstairs, in one of the private function rooms, but I would have to ask, I am not sure. The other members typically gather at the… scheduled occasions, such as parties. There is a schedule available to members, and—" Wanda stops cold when she is once more face-touched.

The question makes Wanda blink in confusion. "I, I certainly hope not, Madame," she says, and turns to look at herself in the mirror behind the bar, leaning forward to try and see better in a gap between bottles. "I… think I am only blushing," Wanda says, as if she's suddenly not so sure herself.


Clea's hand draws back. "Oh," she says, finally. "I apologize. Am I embarrassing you?"

She looks curiously at the presented backside, but despite the spirit of experiment, does NOT put a hand on the presented backside. "I am a guest of Sebastian Shaw, and I suppose that I am disrupting the natural order of things. Please accept my -"

Clea leans over though. "Oh! This isn't fitting quite right." NOW she does reach over, albeit in a clinical sense of clothing adjustment. "Forgive me; I'm fond of clothes. It looks excellent on you."


All things considered, and noted for posterity, Wanda's backside is pretty nice.

"N-no, madame, I am simply… new. I am still adjusting to my job. Please accept my apologies causing you to think you had in any way done something wrong." It's a sincere but sort of robotic apology, perhaps because Wanda doesn't quite know the words to use. Still, she knows enough that at the Hellfire Club, it's never the customer's fault.

Wanda's spine straightens a bit when her uniform is adjusted — she reacts like a bee just buzzed by her ear. Her hands rise from the bartop and tense a little too sharply.

Wanda is not actually trained by anyone in the use of her mutant powers. Her deployment of them is solely through practice and, as it turns out, Pavlovian conditioning. When she's off her guard, the wrong motion can sometimes make her powers trigger.

So: suddenly one of the bar's shelves creaks. Before the noise is even finished, one of the arms holding the shelf aloft comes out of the wall, like it had been improperly nailed there, and the entire shelf falls to the ground, liquor bottles breaking and spilling. The bartender jumps out of the way and is spared, but lets out a "JESUS!" that catches the momentary attention of the other patrons. The other bartender comes over, to see what happened, and then begin helping to clean up. Wanda, for her part, has her hands over her face, now even redder.


Clea looks up sharply because she seems to have found the spot on Wanda that triggers SOMETHING. Then part of the bar starts to fall apart. Clea looks on with interest, though when the bartender leaps out of the way things become clearer.

"Oh! What awful luck," Clea says after leaning back away from the cacophonious noise of the bottles falling down. To Wanda, she asks with utter candor, "Does that happen when someone touches there?"

Her nose twitches. "— Ah, they're all intermingled," Clea says, though this goes unexplained. She does shift to rise to her feet with a sigh. "Perhaps we should be on our way. I will collect my beverage upon my return," she informs the bartender, possibly while he's dealing with broken glass.

After this she asks Wanda, "I was also told there's decadence taking place here. Is that in a particular room?" At least she's being less arch.


Wanda doesn't seem to even begin to know how to answer Clea's question, but then there's that witchy nose twitch and Clea answers herself, apparently.

"There are private rooms for, um, that sort of thing, but I am not… they do not let new employees, um… Please forgive me, I am forgetting my English. It is something that is, ah, handled by more experienced servers, madame."

When they are further off, Wanda's voice drops to a stage whisper. "M, Madame," she says, leaning in. "I know it is not my place to ask anything of you, but — please do not… speak to Mr. Shaw of what happened today. I do not want to make any trouble for myself, and I would not want you or Mr. Shaw to be involved in any such thing." Wanda seems to feel that making any request of a wealthy individual is like trying to win the lottery by throwing her ticket in a hail-mary pass.


"It is no trouble," Clea says. "I have found English challenging myself." She seems obscurely disappointed, but in the air of someone who found out the Ferris wheel is closed. Then as they move further along, a voice lowers into a confidence.

Clea looks at Wanda. Her expression softens another notch. "I don't understand," she says. Her arms fold as her lips purse: "Sebastian seems to be a wonderful person. I am sure he would understand, especially if, as I infer, you are new in this service?" She knows him on a first name basis, isn't that great??

"But," she continues, "I would keep the confidence. I would be pleased if you would explain why it is necessary, however."


Wanda looks away like the small amount of clothing she's wearing had been reduced to nothing. "I… have abilities," Wanda says, in the same sort of whisper that she might use when confiding that she has a horrible disease. "It is a thing that has caused me much trouble, and has made many people I have met distrust me. I need this work. I do not have the, the qualifications for other jobs — I have tried. This is not a job that I am proud of, but it must do. And I will lose it, I fear, if it is known that I am… different."

Wanda almost bites her lower lip, looking like a puppy in fear of a new face — will it throw her a bone, or kick her tiny puppy belly?


Clea considers matters in silence for a few more steps.

She is slowly frowning, but not at Wanda. She seems lost in thought for long seconds, walking alongside the serving girl and looking first up, then down, then at nothing in particular.

"I have these abilities too," Clea says, which is at least sort of vaguely true. "I do not think the result you fear would come to pass - but I will respect your wishes, Wanda, if they are true. I can tell that you are afraid…"

"Are these things truly hated so much?"

(Stab count remains zero, and she hasn't even gotten handsy at all for the last five minutes. Progress?)


Wanda does not have the eloquence of Charles Xavier, but she does have the experience of living out what, forty years later, Sascha Baron Cohen would offhandedly joke about as a made-up Kazakh game of 'Kick the Gypsy.'

"When enough people who are the same gather in one place… they close themselves off to those who are different. Look at the news, the problems faced by the negros." It's 1963, by the way. Wanda rubs the back of her neck. "Things like skin color, though, that is… there is science to it, there are family trees. Things such as what I do… there is no explanation that I know of. I do not even understand it. How could someone who is normal?"


Clea was at the Apollo last week! Yes, she knows of what Wanda speaks. Her lips purse as she puts a hand on her hip.

"I suppose that without the mindless ones," Clea says cryptically, "you have much time to invent these things. - I am sorry; that is cruel of me to say. It is something from my own… country."

The country of DRUGS. She reaches out to touch Wanda's shoulder again. "I think that explanations are weak and flimsy things. But nothing can come ill of finding a place and being calm, of being steady in your way of life. If you should wish my aid I would give it, if I can."

Then she purses her lips again as if in thought. "But," she says then, and /now/ she sounds sly, "I have a price for my silence. Though it is not a dear one!"


"A— price?" Wanda feels like she's stumbled into one of the tales that her father used to tell her around the campfire. This price is apparently not a dear one, but she still feels a pang of suspicion in her belly. "I… what… is it?"


"If it is done here - and you are excused if it is not-" Clea says, eyes narrowing as she leans in. Does she smell faintly of woodsmoke? No, that's just something from elsewhere in the club.

"I would like for you to serve me when I am visiting!" She smiles then. "You have been terribly forbearing. I think it would be — fun? — to have someone who has learned my preferences and tastes."


Wanda tries not to let out a huge breath through her nose in relief. "O-Oh! Of course, madame. I will inform my manager at once. I would be happy to serve you." Wanda isn't a cynical enough person to think that maybe Clea will summon her one day and tell her 'I need your fingerprints on this candlestick.' Maybe it'll occur to her while she's drifting to sleep later in the night.


"Oh, wonderful! Do you know how to give massages?" Clea says brightly.

Well, no murders are involved.

"And if you are agreed— then your secret will be safe with me." Inwardly, Clea considers how to conceal the memory, which is something of a factor now that she knows about Ms. Frost, but this is, at least, not an unprecedented problem for her.

+==~~~~~====~~~~====~~~~===~~~~~~ end of log ~~~~~~~==~~~~====~~~~====~~~~~==+

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License