“Nervous about tonight?”
I glanced at Selina Kyle in the mirror's reflection, smiling as I put in my earrings. “A little. I'm also very excited.”
She smiled as she pinned my hair up to my head. “Why is that?”
“I convinced Bruce to let me invite a friend. He seemed more than happy to comply.”
“Bruce is more than happy to do pretty much anything,” she sighed. “I can't believe Veronica Vreeland lets you borrow her jewelry.”
“I always return it,” I replied, adjusting the golden necklace around my neck. “She really likes me, for some reason.”
“Speaking of which, did you see the article about you in the Gotham Gazette?”
I smirked. “Unlike Veronica, Vicki Vale seems to hate me.”
We stood. Selina spent another second adjusting her blonde hair in the mirror as I glanced around the spare bedroom Bruce let me use as a changing room. I pulled on a pair of black opera gloves.
“Lucky charm?” Selina asked, extending something to me in her hand. I reached out with a smile, taking the brooch from her.
“It is,” I said softly, tracing my thumb over the treble clef engraved in the green gemstone. She helped me pin it onto the neckline of my dress.
“You look wonderful in that shade of purple,” she purred.
“That gray looks great on you as well,” I replied.
We laughed, going downstairs. Selina started speaking with Bruce in the main foyer, while I led myself to the ballroom. Alfred was there, directing maids to where they were needed.
“Hello, Mr. Pennyworth!” I said, dodging a maid holding a tray full of wine glasses. I briefly remembered my time at Daisy Cafe, carting trays to and from the kitchen. “Is Bruce refusing to help set up his own party again?”
He smirked. “Good evening, Miss Mina. There's tea waiting for you just behind the curtain.”
“Thank you, Alfred!” I said cheerily.
“You seem very excited.”
“I am,” I replied. “I'm seeing a good friend tonight. We haven't seen each other for a year.”
“Master Wayne has been telling me,” he replied. “We look forward to meeting him.”
I smiled and walked towards the stage, avoiding the piano and microphone which had been set up and ducking behind the curtain. In the small back room, there as a cup of tea waiting for me. I took a sip, sitting in a chair; lemon herbal tea with honey. I smiled—Alfred made the best tea.
Upon finishing my drink, I began warming up. The noises from my throat were hardly musical, only preparing my voice to sing later.
I heard chuckling from the other side of the curtain and smirked.
“Be quiet, Alfred.” “From Matches to Mobile!”
I sang. “From Memphis to Saint Joe, where'er the four winds blow!”
I continued studying the crowd. There was no hint of red hair in the front rows, to my disappointment.“I've been in some bad towns and heard me some bad-talkin'! But there is one thing that I know,”
I smirked, casting a glance to Selina Kyle. “A man is a two-face...a worrisome thing, who'll leave you to sing the blues...in the night!”
The song ended on a chord, and people began applauding as Bruce Wayne made his way to the stage. I handed him the microphone and took a step to the side, sights sweeping the audience again. He had to be here somewhere. He must have gotten the invitation.
I kept my smile plastered on my face as Bruce Wayne gave a speech, thanking everyone for coming. My mind was anywhere but that—I remembered being at home, unpacking the rest of my boxes from when I had moved out, when the phone rang. I answered it, expecting a call about a gala from Bruce or from Aida about meeting for lunch, but instead heard Batman.
He'd only said one thing: “The Music Meister's been declared legally sane. He'll be out of Arkham within a week, Miss Todd.” Then he had hung up.
I only wondered briefly how he'd gotten my number, but had immediately began making plans to see Patrick again. I'd expected to have to beg Bruce to let me invite him, but he was willing to invite my “old friend.”
I was tugged back to reality, back to the ballroom, when Bruce handed me the microphone.
“And I also would like to thank you for coming and supporting me tonight,” I added. “Please remember to attend the silent auction which will be taking place in the library in ten minutes. Last week I displayed a diamond necklace, donated by my dear friend Mr. Wayne, which will....”
My voice silenced momentarily when I saw Patrick leaning on the door frame. “...be auctioned as number seventeen. Thank you all for attending!”
I handed the microphone to Bruce quickly as people applauded again. I went behind the curtain, catching my breath and creeping into the small hallway which led to the main foyer. I ran, holding the long evening gown in both hands.
Emerging from a door, I glanced around. He was still in the doorway, a hand at his lips and the other arm crossed in front of his chest. His eyes were shut, brow furrowed in what seemed to be worry. His hair was parted to the side neatly. I didn't speak, dropping my bundled skirt to the floor.
His eyes shot to attention, focusing on me. He was stiff—not like any of the other men in tuxedos, who held themselves in high regard, but almost as if he was scared.
“Philomina,” He said. “You sounded excellent.”
We stared at each other, memories returning with full force. I felt my eyes water.
“I missed you,” I whispered, wringing my gloved hands.
He smiled, relaxing. “Me too.”
“You're still in contact with Batman?”
“Yeah, he knows my number, for some reason,” I replied, smiling at Patrick. “You seem surprised.”
“I am,” he said.
“He told me when you were getting out of Arkham, so that's how I knew when to invite you,” I replied. “He has me do really small tasks for him sometimes.”
“It's really ridiculous stuff. He had me go with Bruce Wayne's ward, Dick Grayson, to the Iceburg Lounge for an espionage mission a few months ago. That
made headlines. Last week he told me to wear a diamond necklace during a performance to help catch a thief. If he's certain that you've reformed, he might want your help too.”
“Will we ever have a normal life?” He asked teasingly.
I shrugged. “Ask him.”
We laughed, then fell into a comfortable silence. I had led him to a small gazebo in the backyard of Wayne Manor, where we could watch the party going on while being alone.
“I guess you're a socialite now,” He said after a minute.
“Not really, it takes a lot of money. I save most of what I earn,” I looked back at him as he leaned against the railing, a gentle smile on his face.
“You were really lucky, Mina. You didn't get thrown in Arkham, you have a great job, and things are looking great for you.”
I looked into his eyes again, “You wouldn't be able to guess how I got so lucky. Batman lied to the police.”
Patrick straightened. “What?”
“He'd said that you had hypnotized me into helping you. He'd seen that you had a chance, so he helped me contact Bruce Wayne for work. He told me that I needed to be ready for you when you got out. We wouldn't be here without him,” I admitted, walking to his side.
He stared at the Manor thoughtfully, arms crossed. “...I guess he isn't as bad as I thought him to be.”
We were quiet again, and I could hear the auction going on from where we were.
“...And you never forgot about me?” He whispered.
I smiled again. “I've lived a year waiting for you to come back.”
He inhaled deeply, a new determination in his gaze. Patrick pulled me toward him, his hand at my back.
“Philomina, I love you.”
A world of worry fell off my shoulders. “I love you, too, Patrick.”
I rested my hand at the back or his neck as he pulled me in for a kiss.
It hadn't lasted for long until we heard alarms back at the Manor. We pulled away suddenly, disappointed.
I sighed. “Someone's trying to steal one of the necklaces, probably the one Bruce donated.”
“The windows look green, like they're reflecting plants.”
“It's probably Poison Ivy.”
“Should we go help?” He asked.
“Batman comes quickly whenever something happens here. Do you want to go inside and play victim?”
“That's just acting like we're terrified of the situation, right?”
I nodded. “It's usually one of my favorite parts of the galas that get invaded, although I'll make an exception this time.”
He smirked. “Shall we stay out here, my little fermata
“Why not?” I replied. “I've never really understood that pet name, although I missed the way you said it.”
“It's because I want to hold you,” I stated, pulling me into his arms.
I snickered. “You and your puns. You're ridiculous.”
“Always,” he said, planting a kiss on my head.