Tables around the room were adorn with crisp white linen tablecloths.
Designers, supermodels, executives from all the top fashion magazines, and even some movie stars were seen sitting at the tables, all adorn in couture gowns and suits.
At the front tables sat everyone from American Runway, and the soon to be James Holt International crews.
The center table boasted Miranda, James, Irv, Massimo, and some of the top designers including Valentino and Miuccia Prada.
Off to the right side sat Nigel, Andy, Lily, and some of the top photographers including Demarchelier.
At the table to the left sat Jacqueline, with the Editor from Runway Milan, and some of the top supermodels including Gisele.
Behind them were tables with crews from all the other top fashion magazines including Anna Wintour.
Dispersed amongst them were more designers, models, and photographers.
Andy sat in wonder looking over all the big name people in this one room. Of course she had been to galas in New York, but this was Paris and everyone here had a stake in the events that were about to take place.
She was very surprised to Anna here, she was Miranda's top enemy, and she was sitting behind Miranda.
Stories of the two of them squaring off against each other flooded the halls of Runway. Were as Miranda was called Dragon Lady, Anna it was said could explode like a nuclear weapon. The one thing they had in common was the cold steely gaze, and if you were caught in the middle of them when they had a show down you would be frozen for life.
Andy giggled, and Nigel turned toward her, "Something tickle your funny bone Six?" He arched an eyebrow. Andy shook her head, "All these people. Anna Wintour? I thought her and Miranda never occupied the same building let alone the same room. And when did Demarchelier RSVP to come? I thought he had some huge photo shoot in Africa."
Nigel smiled, "Anna and Miranda know to keep their talons in check during fashion weeks. (Andy studied Nigel questioningly) They have to play nice in front of the cameras. As for Patrick it seems the rainy season started early this year and the shoot had to be postponed for the time being."
Andy took a deep breath, "Keep their talons in check? (Nigel smiled and winked) Thank god it wasn't one of American Runway's shoot."
Nigel nodded, "Now in a few minutes I will have to go up, and introduce Miranda. She will make sure I am back here in my seat before she begins. She wants to make sure you are well protected when she makes the big announcement. If the Unseelies get wind of the fact that you are carrying the future Empress of the Seelies they will do anything to undermine Miranda's plan."
Andy scrutinized Nigel with uncertainty in her eyes.
"If they threaten you in anyway it will throw Miranda off of her game plan, and we cannot let that happen. She needs to keep her head, and not have to worry about you or the baby's wellbeing. That is why she has arranged all the protection for you."
Andy frowned, "Maybe I should not even be here. I do not want to ruin this for Miranda, or Runway."
Nigel laughed whole heartedly. "You really think Miranda is going to let you out of her sight now? You have seen how she reacts to anyone who harms the twins, it will be twice as bad with you and the babies."
Andy protectively covered her abdomen with one of her hands, and blushed brightly.
Nigel smiled at the young girl sitting next to him, "Now remember some very…strange things might happen here today. I cannot stress how important it is for you to act as if everything is normal. We have never had someone like you around before so we do not know how much you will be able to experience, but if the past has given us any indication you may have the capability to sense it all. The Humans will not notice anything out of the ordinary happening. The Unseelies will know you are not a Fairy, and if you react they will know, they will become aware of what has happened between you and Miranda."
Andy sat stunned, how in the world… Nigel grinned, "Humans know it as telepathy, although that is not exactly how it works." He paused to gather the right words. "Fairies have a consciousness as to what is going on in the world. We can perceive others thoughts." Nigel inhaled deeply. "It is very difficult to explain."
Andy dropped her head, and quietly replied, "I understand."
Nigel tilted his head.
Andy shrugged her shoulders, "That is how everyone knew Miranda and me…" Andy blushed brightly.
At that moment a hush fell over the room.
Nigel and Andy turned their heads and as they looked at Miranda she nodded her head. It was time for Nigel to get up, and introduce the Editor in Chief.
The Empress watched as the scene played out below her.
She was very pleased with how "The One" was handling all the new information being presented to her. It should not surprise her as "The One" is a decedent of Lillian.
The Empress took a moment to remember her love. So much like 'The One'. Smart, beautiful long, silky brown locks, the deepest brown eyes.
They (the eyes) were always smiling. They held so much love for her (The Empress).
The Empress had never experienced anything like the feelings she had for Lillian, and it had hit her like a rock. She had wanted to connect with Lillian, give her a child, and live together for as long as Lillian stayed alive.
However, it had not been approved. The Directive declared no Fairy would ever connect with a Human, and then The Empress was erased from Lillian's mind.
Now The Empress knew the reason why, although understanding why she was not allowed and Miranda was, was another issue.
The Empress bowed her head as Freesia petals fell from her eyes.
Unbeknownst to The Empress, she had never been erased totally from Lillian's mind. There lived a small spark, a whimsy, inside Lillian, and it was passed down through all the females in her family. All of Andy's Grandmother's on her Mother's side were known for their eccentricities. This spark was what helped Andy believe the unbelievable.
The Empress had kept an eye on Lillian through the years to make sure she was protected, and lead a happy life.
Lillian had lived to the age of eighty nine years. With this in her mind The Empress knew 'The One' would live well beyond a normal human's life span.
Andy watched as Nigel so eloquently praised his boss to the room full of the elite.
Andy turned toward her slightly, and gazed at the silhouette of Miranda. As she watched a smile, a true smile broke out on Miranda's face. Andy knew it was for her.
Andy was broken from her hazy as applause broke out all around her for the Queen of Fashion.
Miranda arose from her seat exuding power, and grace. She almost glided to the front of the room.
She stood at the podium and in her soft spoken voice praised the expansion of James Holt, and in her own words express how pleased she was that he had chosen someone from Runway to be his second in command.
She looked around the room, and her eyes landed on Andréa, she smiled, then looking at Jacqueline announced she would be the new Creative Director for Holt International.
Jacqueline froze as she heard the secret revealed.
What, how, this was not how the luncheon was supposed to go.
Miranda was supposed to announce Nigel would be taking that post, then Irv was to get up, and make it known she would be taking over for Miranda.
As the applause grew she became aware she had no other choice but to stand, and accept the promotion.
Just as Jacqueline stood the realization came to her that she had made a huge mistake.
Nigel laid a hand on Andy's shoulder. She turned her head and Nigel whispered, "It is beginning."
Andy remembered Miranda telling her that people with bad characters, and dubious behavior leave themselves open to magical enslavement by the faeries, and James was oblivious to all of this. An unwilling participant (human) in this whole other world.
She watched with trepidation.
A black film appeared to shroud Irv's now emaciated, and almost lifeless body. It swirled, and smoked until a thin tendril emerged from it, and found its way to James. It attached itself to his head, and began to encircle James's body. As it totally engulfed James it left Irv, leaving him a skeleton of his former self.
Jacqueline raised to her fullest height. Much taller than her Human form. Her eyes turn an onyx black; her teeth begin to elongate, sharpen, and turn yellow. Black/white lights erupt from her being.
Andy witnessed this transformation, and shivered.
Before she knew it Lily's essence had wrapped itself around her. Lily whispered to her, "You must not show that you can see what is going on. Close your eyes for a few seconds, and focus on something else."
Andy closed her eyes, and immediately her hand went to her abdomen.
She opened her eyes shivering, and focused on Miranda still standing behind the podium.
Miranda was concentrating on Jacqueline.
"How dare you." Jacqueline hissed.
Miranda maintained her cool demure. "Before you make a scene Jacqueline I would advise you to take what I have given you. What's done is done. You cannot reverse it. Irv is not healthy enough to return to you, and James is more than happy to give you what you crave."
Miranda began to morph into her Fairy essence as the blue/white lights shot from her body. "Jacqueline, you have interfered with American Runway long enough. I will not allow it any further."
"Nor will we." Valentino and Miuccia stood at the center table, and morphed with red/white lights emitting from them.
Demarchelier and Gisele stood at the same time, and began to morph. "Nor will we."
Andy could not restrain herself, and turned to watch as more people began to morph.
Colored lights came from all corners of the room.
Andy's head began to spin, and she felt faint.
Those who did not rise, and hence were human continued to look forward at Miranda as if mesmerized by her speech.
Andy whipped her head around as she heard…"Jacqueline, it is time to sit." It was Anna.
She stood, and morphed. Amazing brown/white crystal lights were emitted from her as she did.
Andy gasped. She could not help it. Anna was a Fairy? And a Seelie? Just like Miranda. No wonder they were so much alike. Both strong, intelligent, beautiful.
Jacqueline was ready to sit, and take her punishment until she noticed Andy, wide eyed, and oh so innocent.
Jacqueline hissed, "What is this? A Human?" She turned, and glared at Miranda. "A Human who can see us." Jacqueline looked at Andy once again, and bared her teeth. "A Human being protected by a high ranking soldier… (She produced an evil smile)…and one of your own personal protection detail. What is this little pet to you Miranda?"
Miranda's eyes began to turn dark. She could feel herself changing.
"She is none of your concern."
Jacqueline moved, she rounded the table she had been sitting at, and sneered. "What is the story with this pretty little thing?" Jacqueline opened her mouth to say something then gasped, "You…and her…and." Jacqueline gleamed. "She is carrying the new Empress! The rumors are true?"
Christian Thompson had morphed into his spindly Fairy Spirt Puck, and was now jumping up and down, clapping his hands. Laughing mirthlessly he chimed, "Miranda's gone. Miranda's gone. Long live Jacqueline."
Miranda's teeth started to grow, sharpen, and turn yellow. "You would be smart to stay away from her and forget."
Jacqueline continued to walk toward Andy. "Ahh she is special to you, too all the Seelies. How else could she see us? I have never known of a Human to be able to do this unless..."
Jacqueline had made it half way across the room.
"Stop now." Miranda hissed.
Miranda had told Andréa the Fairies did not fight in wars with each other.
Well, she had told mostly the truth. They had not had a war for thousands of years. Miranda had never witnessed one. She only knew of them through the nightmares Andréa had as a small child. Miranda knew if Jacqueline tried anything with Andréa. If Jacqueline hurt Andréa or the babies a war would break out, and she would be the leader.
Andy was stunned she had let it show.
Jacqueline, all of them knew she could see the confrontation play out.
She knew all the Humans who were really Fairies including Jacqueline.
Andy felt safe as Lily, and then Nigel surrounded her with their essence.
Andy jumped as she heard a piercing roar.
She turned just in time to watch in hoar as white smoke swirled about beside Miranda.
Miranda turned as the white smoke appeared, and smiled.
As the smoke began to dissipate Andy saw a huge animal like vision appear.
It had a long white slender neck, with the head that looked like a dinosaur. From the sides of its body blossomed two brown wings. From the middle of the wings sprouted claws with long curved talons.
At the same time next to Anna sprouted a plum of golden/brown smoke. From the smoke appeared another animal just like the one next to Miranda except it was golden brown in color.
Both animals were beautiful with glowing crystal blue, and brown eyes.
The animals stretched out their long necks toward Jacqueline, and roared once again. A long torrent of flame surged from the animals' mouths burning a path, blocking Jacqueline from either progressing or backing up.
Jacqueline stopped short, and Christian curled into himself frightened.
Miranda smiled, and petted the magnificent dragon standing by her side. "Good girl Patricia."
Blue/green/white lights ignited through the room and The Empress appeared. "Jacqueline! Enough. You will leave now or suffer the consequences."
Jacqueline whirled around, then bowed. "Yes…yes your majesty." A black/white mist fizzled around Jacqueline, and she morphed back into her human body. She slowly backed up to her chair then sat.
Christian morphed back to his Human form, and looked as if someone had just stolen his lollypop.
The Empress stretched out her arm, and passed it over the room.
The Fairies one by one morphed back into their Human forms.
Multicolored mist permeated the air.
The only one who stayed in her Fairy form was Lily. She would stay that way until Andy, the babies, and Miranda were safely back in their hotel room.
The Empress nodded to Lily then turned toward her Daughter. "Send Patricia home." She looked at Anna and nodded. It is time to send all the pets home."
Miranda turned and caressed the muzzle of the glorious dragon who was snuggling into her neck. Miranda giggled, "Thank you for your help Patricia but it is time for you to go home. I will be along tomorrow."
The dragon huffed, and a puff of white smoke came from its nose. White smoke once again began to swirl around the animal, and before Andy knew it the dragon had disappeared.
She looked over at Anna, and the Fashion Editor was doing the same with the dragon by her side.
Andy whimpered, "Oh my god."
She closed her eyes as the room began to spin.
"Six." Nigel grabbed on to the unconscious woman, and disappeared.
When Andy woke up she was lying on Miranda's bed with the woman sitting next to her.
Miranda was caressing Andréa's face, and smiling. "I see you have finally decided to wake up. How are you feeling?"
Andy looked around, and instantly touched her abdomen.
Miranda smiled, and placed her hand on top of Andréa's. "Yes, they are all right. Now would you like to go home?"
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