|A New Stage
Author: lilliewildelangtry PM
Takes place 16 years after the Series Finale. Maxwell is hired by a local Californian theater to produce a stage version of "Sleeping Beauty", and Fran decides to get the whole family involved. Includes some side stories of love, humor, hate, and romance.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 12 - Words: 31,809 - Reviews: 28 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 01-03-13 - Published: 10-19-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8623620
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Thank you so much for all of your reviews, they are really keeping me going!
All 'Sleeping Beauty' references are owned by Disney and their other rightful owners.
The early morning Californian sun came through Niles' and C.C's bedroom shades, the light beams landing on C.C's sleeping form laying amongst the mass of blankets around her. After the ordeal last night, all she wanted was some peace and quiet and some company with Jack Daniel, or whatever else her grubby hands could get ahold of. She settled for some wine in the wine cooler from the kitchen, had two glasses full and went to bed, wanting to get a head start on healing the potential excruciating headache that was to come. But the extra few hours of sleep didn't seem to help, her brain was pounding within its skull walls making her want to gouge out her eye sockets they moment they began to open. Thank god she managed to put on her eye mask...
And then her cell phone ran on the nightstand beside her, making it all the more hellish. Not stirring, she flung her hand around the nightstand until she grabbed hold of it and pressed it to her ear. "Who is this?" Her gruff voice asked in a growl.
"Er, C.C, are you alright?" Maxwell's voice sounded through the phone, "You don't sound so good."
"No, no..." She held onto her forehead as she sat up, "Never felt better." She answered with clenched teeth.
"In that case, I need you to come over and handle some of the phone calls we have to make. I want everyone to participate."
She took off her eye mask, confused. "What phone calls? I thought you told Niles to tell the rest of the actors that they were rescheduled for today, why would I need to call them?"
There was a pause on the other end, "You do know I am talking about calling the in laws right? The in laws, the extended Sheffield family, the children... its supposed to be a family affair, C.C I don't want anyone not participating. Frankly I'm surprised Niles didn't tell you, I was counting on his sneaky behavior to turn against me and tell you all about it."
C.C's eyes narrowed, her jaw locking in place. Of course. Niles. He had always withheld information from her whenever there some kind of importance attached to it, why didn't she think of him while she began questioning Maxwell? This one was going to cost him big, not only was she going to have to listen to the in laws speaking on different frequencies than her own, but she was going to have to endure it throughout the rest of the production.
"Oh, yes... now I remember. He did mention something about that. I'll be right over." She assured before clicking off.
A few moments after Maxwell put down the phone, Niles come knocking at the office door. "Sir, I regret to say that it seems that I have forgotten to get the milk on my last grocery trip. I am leaving the house promptly to get some." He said hurriedly.
Maxwell looked up at him from the reports he was looking at. "But you used milk in my coffee this morning..."
"Oh, no sir that was creamer... its a new brand, makes it taste just like the real thing." He said, "I will not be long, sir."
Maxwell sighed, "Alright, but get back before Fran gets up. I love her to death, but your breakfasts are the only that seems to keep my ears from falling off in the morning."
Niles chuckled, "I won't be long." He hurried out of the room, grabbed the town car keys and shoved them in his pocket as he darted through the hallway, past the living and into the foyer, opening the door and...
"Hello, Niles..." Her voice purred with a lovely wide smile upon her face, covering herself with an overcoat as she seemed to be still in her pajamas. To anyone that had not known Chastity Claire Babcock, she would appear to be friendly and almost angelic. But to Niles, that face could ward off the devil.
He looked up at her sheepishly. He heard everything she said from the intercom system in the kitchen, which can also tap into the land line phones. Oh, the benefits of technology...
"Going somewhere?" C.C asked as she continued her smile.
"Only to check on you, lover." He answered coolly, "And to make sure your coffin lid was cleared off before you woke up." Damn, wrong move.
She gave off another dark chuckle before looking at him again, her eyes sparkling, "If I were you, I would use the back door..."
He narrowed his eyes at her suspiciously, "Why?"
She turned her wrist and let him look at the bag she was holding. "A studded Louis Vuitton bag can surely do a lot of damage..." And then it hit him. Literally, as he turned around and ran through the foyer, living room and hallway with his wife running at his heels with slippers and pajamas, attempting to smack him with her bag.
They gathered in the auditorium as the Sheffield family grew and the lobby couldn't hold them or their voices any longer. Everybody that Maxwell hoped would come, did. All except for his eldest, Margaret. For the last few days, her contractions with her third child with Michael were getting more and more serious every minute and would be able to take the drive up from Fresno. Nevertheless, Fran made sure that every cell phone in the Sheffield household was on and batteries fully charged. No matter what happened, or how it happened, she was going to make sure she would get those pictures when they came in. The youngest Sheffields and Sara came in last, coming straight from class, with Sara and Eve talking about Eve's weekend camping trip like the best friends they were and Jonah hanging in the back and going over to sit next to Brighton, who just came back from a trip to Europe.
As Maxwell and C.C finished organizing the rest of the paperwork, Niles and Fran stood nearby and watched everyone converse with one another. "It's just like old times," Fran commented with a smile, "Sitting around, talking with one another, with one voice over the other. It's almost making me homesick." Niles gave a chuckle as Maxwell stood upon the stage and informed everyone on what was going on, with C.C at his side as usual. But Niles could easily yank her leash back in his favor again.
He got up on the stage and tapped her on the shoulder, holding out his hand.
"What?" C.C looked at him confusedly.
"I know you've got them. Now drop 'em."
C.C looked up at Niles with a smirk over her face, "Oh, Niles... you animal..." her voice purred, lowering her voice, "I thought we settled on having a private performance later?"
He continued to hold out his hand, "Hand them over"
It was then C.C realized what he wanted, "Oh, no!" she hissed, moving themselves over to the side. "I need these to survive around these people, and I've got a headache larger than that dime sized bruise you got on your shoulder... or that is that part of a spider vein?" She beamed evilly as he continued to look up at her with the same stonic face.
"Either you give them to me, or I'll start ransacking your purse and dump everything out here on the stage." He leaned his lips next to C.C's ear, "Including the hidden compartments..."
She looked at him narrowed eyes of confusion.
"Need I remind you of our last rendezvous, a week ago? After cocktail hour, and you were smitten... and we took ourselves to the back of the limo parked outside...?" He removed his lips from beside her ear, "For the rest of the evening you went fully commando, and I have yet to see black lace in the recent loads of laundry..."
C.C's face flushed as she grabbed a hold of her purse in the side wings and took out the vial of pills. "There," she growled, "Happy?"
"More than that..." He answered with his lips curving into a sly smile, "Rehearsal room, 4 o'clock?"
She looked up at him with a smirk starting to form on her face. He always knew how to drag a smirk out of her, "Make it 5. We'll be here for awhile."
With that, she turned around to seat herself in the audience while Niles quickly goosed her from behind before she left his sight, making her jump and smack him with the folder in her hands. And of course, it all had to happen right up on stage where everyone could see it, even Sara. She lowered her head and shook her head. How embarrassing!
And on that note, the auditions began. The roles were getting filled rather quickly, but then again, everyone was going to be assigned a role, the two producers just needed to know who was going to do what character. C.C suggested that the in laws go first, to get them done and over with while her last Aspirin was still working. Even though Sylvia might have not been a professional, it seemed like her infamous guilt trips and other mothering techniques made up for some of what some acting schools taught nowadays, granting her the the role as the head of the three Good Fairies.
"I didn't learn all of those techniques for nothin', you know..." She said as she touched at her hair, winking over at her daughter. "Morty, get out of there! None of those wig boxes have what you're looking for!" She scrambled offstage to grab her husband while Maxwell and C.C covered their ears.
Fran helped Yetta up to the stage, setting her script on the top of the piano and waddled to the center of the stage, her jewel encrusted jacket bouncing the light coming from the stage lights above.
"To be or not to be, that is the..."
"Yetta!" Fran hissed before getting up on stage and showing her the correct line. The old woman looked at it for a moment before continuing, "Each of us the child may bless with a single... Hey, where's did everybody go? I didn't know this place gave refunds!"
Fran sighed. "Never mind, Yetta," She escorted her off the stage. It was best to figure out what role she play later.
As much as Brighton thrust himself out there, trying to take over the stage with his charm and presence, C.C insisted that he get a minor role just out of spite.
"Uh, ahem, I do have a higher say in this, C.C," He said with a fake grin on his face. "Dad, what say you?"
Maxwell lowered his glasses, staring up at his eldest son, "I think you're being too big for your breeches. And for that, you'll get a minor role." He said as C.C smirked up in Brighton's direction, writing down his name beside the word "peasant" on her legal pad.
Gracie did her audition without a fuss, already having an idea of what role she would play. "Its a minor one, but minor characters always have the more complex psychosis." She told Fran as she got off the stage, being given the role of a second fairy out of the three.
Maxwell turned around to look at the triple threat in the back of the theater, "Alright, I hope you three can prove to me some substantial acting. We're going to need it, especially for the major roles. And I know two of you know how to sing." He said pointing to his two children who lowered their heads. "Jonah, you go ahead first."
The young man went up to the stage, plucking a score out of his mother's outstretched hands as Niles played on the piano. Although Jonah was not significantly trained in sight reading, he had heard this tune many times when he was young, since Sleeping Beauty was one of Eve's favorite films. This certain did help him sing "Once Upon a Dream" quite well, even gaining him some applause from his surrounding family members, including Maxwell and C.C.
"Well done, son!" Maxwell beamed, "And because of your hard work, and your behavior," He turned around to face a glowering Brighton, "you'll be the Prince." C.C wrote Jonah down on her legal pad while Jonah exited the stage, turning to his mother, "Does that mean I gotta wear those tights?" Fran touched his arm assuredly, "Believe me, girls love to see guys in those things!" She gave him a wink before sending him back into the audience, his self confidence rising a few levels.
Eve came behind him, hopping onto the stage with the same genetic energy her mother gave her. She was sure to get the role of the Princess, knowing all of the words of "Once Upon a Dream" since she was a little girl. After a few breaths, she began to sing. Her voice was good, and both Fran and Maxwell knew she was doing great in vocal lessons, but she seemed to be coming up short for the beautiful voice that the two producers were looking for. "Oh, come on Daddy, give me a break," Eve said, twirling one of her long brunette colored strands around her finger. "You know the instructor absolutely adores me! I've even outsung Ginger Roger's great-granddaughter!" Maxwell nodded. "I know, angel but... we are looking for a voice that can carry us all out of our seats and... and..."
"Carry us right back again..." C.C added with a condescending smile. "However Maxwell, she could be one of the fairies." Maxwell looked up at his little girl on the stage, his wife peeking out at him from the stage wings and the script in front of him. But something was telling him to resist it... "Yes, that will be alright." Eve stomped slightly and left the stage, returning to her seat in a small fit of rage.
"Well, that settles it." Maxwell said, "With all of this funds we're saving we can find ourselves a real star to cast as the princess. That will really bring in the box office numbers." He said outloud and stood out of his chair as Niles got off his stool, noticing a flourish of long blonde hair in the back of the theater, attempting to sneak out.
"But sir, why would we need to find a Princess, when we have a Princess in our midst already?"
Sara stopped in her tracks to turn and look at her father from afar, Maxwell following Niles' gaze toward the back of the theater, everyone else following suit. "Sara?" he looked up at his employee, "But has she had any vocal training"
"I am afraid not, sir, "Niles answered before placing his hands behind his back, "But I believe it is worth giving her a shot..." He said, watching as the girl came out from the back of the theater, noticing as Fran and her mother reacted in the same confused air, coming onto the stage.
"Niles, what are you up to?" C.C nearly barked, her hands on her hips as she looked up at him as Fran gave Sara the score. "This better not be one of your cutesy little ways of telling me that I should have taken her to vocal lessons when she was younger." She hissed up at him. But he paid no attention to her, only to the piano before him and the girl behind him.
A voice that started so meekly, like a mouse, gradually crescendoed into a lovely voice, full of smooth dark notes and tones that made quite a beautiful accompaniment with Niles' delicate piano playing. Everyone was astounded, especially C.C, who had no idea that a voice like that could could come out of the very person who had loathed her the day before, and most likely still loathed her now. With thoughts clouding her mind, along with the very sounds she was hearing, C.C motioned to sit down with Maxwell following her right after.
The entire auditorium erupted in applause as the girl settled the score down before her, her cheeks flushing with a rose tint that contrasted with her electric blue eyes and a beaming smile that matched her father's as he came over and settled a kiss on the side of her head. Fran came out with her mouth still agape, "What... Where – Where did that come from?" She shook her head in disbelief with her hand over her heart, looking over at Niles' sparkling eyes.
"Oh, come now, Miss Fine..." he answered slyly, "After listening to Barbra Streisand for ones entire life, it can start taking an affect on you."
Fran placed her hands on her hips and nodded, "Uh huh, like you didn't aid in that process."
"Me?" He asked innocently, "Oh, that's preposterous! What would a butler know about singing melody?" He smiled slyly in her direction, his friend giving him a small smack on the shoulder as he escorted his daughter down the stage wing steps.
C.C was still in her chair stunned, how could she have not known about this? Or even heard a lesson or two going on? It puzzled and nearly sickened her as she stood out of her seat, clutching the legal pad in her hands and watching as the rest of her small family came towards her.
"Sara that was sensational!" Maxwell exclaimed, "Go ahead and take the title role, you've earned it!"
"Thanks Mr. Sheffield," Sara answered with a broad smile, her cheeks still flushing.
C.C gained the courage to put herself forward, "That was...indescribable. Without words, dear..." She said with a smile, taking one of Sara's hands.
"Thanks," the young girl answered again, nodding in her mother's direction. C.C then knew it was time to pull away, leaving Sara to head back to her seat to pick up her backpack and purse before resuming her conversation with Eve once more. Niles noticed this small difficult strain those two posed to one another, but said nothing, wanting to leave all of those problems at their front door.
"Oh, wait..." C.C said flipping pages in the legal pad, "We still have to find actors for these parts..." She pointed to the four parts left unassigned: King and Queen, parents of Princess; King, father of the Prince; Maleficent, wicked sorceress who curses the Princess
"Oh, what are you talking about," Niles chimed in, "You've had the sorceress' role before it was even created."
Maxwell took one look at it, "Well, you are half right, old boy." He said with a smile. "I was planning on casting myself and Fran as the King and Queen, you know, to show our status in this production."
"Maxwell!" C.C came from behind him, "What about me? I have a high status in this production, too!"
"Well, you heard what Niles just said." Maxwell said as Niles pursed his lips and turned away, expecting his wife's usual death glare on him. "And besides, Maleficent has a very large role in this."
"I am well aware of the plot, thank you very much," C.C said defensively, "But... but we are already the Princess's parents for God Sake. We actually look like her!"
Just then Fran came down from the stage with couple of bags draped on her arm and handing C.C her own. "C.C, it just makes sense in the casting. I am the producer of this show, this production is my kingdom. And I cannot rule my kingdom without my wife, the Queen." He explained as he placed his arm around Fran's waist. "It doesn't have to parallel with real life, after all."
"And besides," Fran held up a blonde wig and placed it on her head, "That's what wigs are for!"
C.C sighed and threw her hands up with her eyes closed, "Alright. Alright, you win. Have it your way..." She said as she began to put away her things in her bags, Niles helping her by her side.
"So, I suppose you are canceling our appointment for today?" Niles asked as he finished off with one of the bags and threw it over his shoulder.
"Yep." C.C answered crisply, "And I'm heading straight for the bath with a double shot of bourbon." She said, not caring about Niles' glare upon her.
Maxwell was wrong. All this was paralleling to real life, now the arch enemy of the very person who she gave birth to, her own flesh and blood, her tiny "little witch", what was once her world. And as she watched as Sara popped in an earbud from Eve's iPod with her long blonde hair flowing about her, she began to think she was looking upon her own reflection, and had been given a role in which she would have to curse herself with.