Author's Note: Disclaimer-I did not create and I do not own Moonlighting, its plots or its characters. I am borrowing them for my writing pleasure and hopefully your reading pleasure!
FINE AND FUN
from the Moonlighting, an Alternate Universe series
In the beginning…
Storming into her bedroom one Friday afternoon, Maddie dropped her purse on the vanity table, took off her clothes, and tossed them in a chair. She pulled on the gown still on the bed from the night before and flopped down on top of the covers. She didn't usually nap when she came home from work, nor was she usually home from work this early, but she needed to stop thinking for at least fifteen minutes. Her associate, known as one David Addison, Jr., the ultimate pain in her ass, had been extra Dave-like today. Mercilessly so. On purpose! She was sure of it. They'd had one of their usual silly circular arguments during which her head felt hot and she wanted nothing more than to tear the smirk off his face. It was one of those arguments when there was an edge to David's snappy replies that meant he was serious about what he was saying under all that snark, which put her on the defensive, which made her angrier. When she felt herself completely losing her composure, she left. Just like that. She was the damn boss so she could do that if she pleased. Maddie just thanked...the universe or whatever that there were no client meetings scheduled that day, nor did she care if she missed any prospective clients' calls. She just had to get away from that man! If she had to listen to one more innuendo or wisecrack out of that mouth while being raked over by those coolly assessing green eyes, she didn't know what she'd do besides beat him to death with her purse. And in her madness she'd probably turn on Agnes, Bert and the...what did he call them? – Wobblies, and beat them out of existence too. Of course that might not be entirely fair since Agnes actually worked. Bert too, more or less. But the rest of that group...she should have fired every last one by now but that damn David always tricked her out of it! The man was simply insufferable and Maddie didn't understand why she put up with him for as long as she had, or why she apparently would continue to do so indefinitely.
In the middle of their exchange she stopped talking and silently gathered her things. When she grabbed the doorknob, David treated her to another dose of his special brand of mockery.
"Hey Blondie, we're still talking but you start walking. And I see you're holding your nose up so high right now, it's lost in the o-zone. You trying to see how rude you can get? Because I'll tell ya free of charge, lady, it's plenty much. And tell me this, what kind of professional example are you setting for your employees when you leave in the middle of the day and there's work to do, Princess I'm The Most Perfect of Them All?
His tone told her he had the gall to be annoyed with her! It took all the maturity she possessed not to snarl the meanest insults against his manhood she could think of. She slowly turned, still gripping the doorknob, and pinned him with a blue glare cold enough to freeze fire. "Since those freeloaders of yours barely notice the work I pay them to do - thanks to you, King of Slackers - I doubt my comings and goings make any difference. So here's a professional example for you - kiss my ass, Addison!" And with that she flew out of her office slamming the door in his face. Wisely, he did not follow her. With a disapproving cluck of the tongue, he straightened a picture frame on the wall that was jarred sideways.
As Maddie stalked past the reception desk, Agnes stared with her usual wide-eyed wonder whenever something was amiss between her two bosses. "Ah, have a good weekend, Ms. Hayes!"
"Miss DiPesto, the weekend is merely an extended break after which I have to return to this nonsensical circus, this albatross around my neck masquerading as a detective agency. A good weekend would be one after which I never had to lay eyes on this place or a certain employee ever again."
Agnes blinked and widened her eyes even more, pointing to herself. "Do you mean me, Ms. Hayes?"
"No, Miss DiPesto. Never mind." She left, slamming the front office door too.
Maddie had only lain there for about five minutes when the phone rang. She ignored it until she heard her mother Virginia's voice on the answering machine.
~~Maddie honey, when you get this message, please-~~
She rolled over and snatched up the receiver. "Hi, Mom, I'm here."
"Maddie? What's wrong?"
She sat all the way up, sliding feet into her slippers. "Nothing. How about you? You sound upset." She leaned forward a little, her grip tightening. "Is Dad okay?"
"Oh yes, your father is fine. He's taking it easy like the doctor said, but...I do have some very sad news. It's your cousin Annie. She...Annie's gone, honey."
"There was a car accident." Maddie heard the catch in her voice. "She didn't make it to the hospital."
"Oh my god," she said through her hand. She hadn't spoken to her younger cousin in over a year but now it didn't seem like that long ago. "Oh my god. When?"
Maddie set the receiver down on the bedspread and covered her face.
~~You both were so close at one time. I'm so sorry, honey….Maddie?~~
Sniffling, she pick up the receiver again. "I'm here. How's Aunt Gloria? And Mark?"
Gloria was Virginia's younger sister, Annie's mom. Mark was Annie's husband of seven years. The last time Maddie spoke to her Annie said the marriage had turned sour.
There was silence on the line.
"Neither one is handling it well."
"Of course not. What am I saying? My God, I just can't believe this!"
"I know. But Maddie, there were other things going on with Annie. It's—I'll tell you about it later."
"Do you need me to come home now?"
Virginia sighed sadly. "No, don't. I'll call you as soon as there's a date for the funeral. Go back to whatever you were doing."
"No, we can talk for as long as you want. Is Dad there with you right now?"
"He's right here and I'm fine."
"What about Aunt Ruth?" Ruth was Virginia and Gloria's older sister who was suffering from the middle stages of Alzheimer's in a retirement home in Beverly Hills.
"We're not going to tell her. Why fill her lucid moments with bad news? Besides, she hasn't had any contact with Annie since moving to California over twelve years ago…. Oh, that's Gloria on the other line. I have to go. I'll call you soon, dear. And please visit your Aunt Ruth. She doesn't have anyone else in the family near."
"I will," Maddie replied. "I do. I have."
"Yes, well...even more than that." There was faint skepticism in Virginia's response. She knew how engrossed her daughter could be in her own life. Even she sometimes didn't hear from her for weeks.
Maddie swallowed back defensive words, saying instead, "I will. I promise. Tell Dad I love him, and I love you too, Mom."
"I will. Love you too, darling. Good-bye."
Slits of Saturday morning sunlight streamed through the closed slats of the blinds and across his face, enough to warm his eyelids. Two seconds later, David felt the pounding in his head from a major hangover. How had he even slept last night? Or did it purposefully wait for him to wake up before starting this relentless drum beat inside his skull? If that wasn't bad enough, he realized his mouth tasted like a filled ashtray. He groaned and gingerly turned over on his other side in the dim bedroom. Ol' Top Cat Addison was just that—too "ol'" for the kind of carousing he'd done last night at Obscenities. He and two other top cats he'd met at his office building's gym had gone to the hot new club on the Strip. The place was everything he'd heard about and then some. It would've been better if some of the music was Doo Wop instead of all that techno pop but the raucous atmosphere was exactly what he needed to dismiss thoughts of the ice coldest blonde he'd ever met from his head. It annoyed him that this was the case. And he'd take to the grave the fact that he only used the gym to vent his frustrations with dealing with her, which was often enough that he was actually getting in shape. But enough of that. She dominated his work week with her frigid attitude and holier-than-thou judgmental speeches, so he'd be damned if a woman like that claimed his attention in absentia on the weekends too, especially if a woman like that wasn't even sharing his bed….
David's eyes suddenly flew open again.
...like the stranger he was staring at right now was!
"Nyuh!" He jerked back and felt bile rising in his throat with the sudden movement. As much as he hated to do it he had to turn on the light, because no way was he attempting to stand up yet just to open the blinds. Every half inch of movement cost him something. He clicked on the lamp and at first all he could see was a lot of tangled red hair. He raised himself up and leaned over to see her face. Okay, now he remembered. This was Nancy. Or Noreen. David yawned, scratching his head, and sat up. He recalled that the extended party in his bedroom had been pleasant enough—like eating a 10-cent cookie from the corner store—but nothing to write home about. However, it wouldn't matter if it had been like savoring a Delmonico steak. To his chagrin these kinds of encounters always left him with a vague sense of dissatisfaction. Well, 'always' meant for the last two years, beginning with City of Angels becoming Blue Moon.
David shook his head like he was shaking out bugs and grabbed it with a moan, instantly regretting the movement. He looked down at the sleeping form again. This was the not-fun part of these trysts and the reason why he preferred to be invited to a woman's house. It was easier to leave someone else's place than to get them out of yours. This situation was particularly more difficult for him because for all his surface crudity, he was a gentleman at heart like his father raised him to be. It made him uncomfortable to kick a woman out and he rarely did, often enduring the morning-after until she was ready to split. Sometimes they hung around until late afternoon if he didn't have anywhere to go. But today he was hung over and feeling less satisfied than usual, and thinking about Cold Stone Hayes more than usual, while in bed with another woman. Unacceptable! Therefore, he wanted said woman gone pronto. Like yesterday.
David lightly tapped her exposed shoulder. "Hey Nan-...ah, Nor...ahhhh—Hey honey, you awake?"
An answer was smothered by a pillow and then she slowly turned over and squinted at him. She had that hard well-used look. Some men liked that but it wasn't particularly appealing to him. The way he felt right now though, he was sure he looked worse. She stretched and yawned without covering her mouth. It was really big. And she had a gap between the two front teeth almost wide enough to fit another tooth. Or had she in fact lost a tooth?
"Hey, sugar." Her smile didn't reach eyes that were too close together. "We can go another round after I get a cup of coffee."
"Ahhh,…as tempting as that sounds, Red, no can do."
Her eyes narrowed unpleasantly. She sat up, adjusted the sheet around her and leaned back against the headboard as if she was making herself comfortable for an extended visit. "Well, you got coffee? I don't get going good without coffee in the morning, so…" She looked at him expectantly.
"Ahhh, I don't got coffee, but what I do got is a parole officer, who has to see my face in half an hour—or else."
She jerked forward. "A parole officer? You told me you were a detective!"
"Well…yeah. When I'm not in jail."
She threw the covers off, jumped out of bed, stalked around to his side and opened the blinds, making him squint. Then she quickly yanked on clothes that had been carelessly discarded on the floor.
"Oh boy, do I know how to pick em'! Look pal, I been down this road with guys like you before and I don't go that way no more. I only deal with guys who got their shit together. You wasted my f*ckin time."
"So sorry." David rubbed his temples because her voice was like nails on a chalkboard.
And from the looks of her in the brutally revealing light of day her time wasn't nearly as wasted as he must have been to bring this frightmare home and sleep with it. On top of that she apparently had rather high standards for her one-night stands.
"Ha! You're so sorry? Save it, pal. I should charge you for my time and my precious flesh wasted on you!"
David tried not to show his alarm at realizing he was trapped in his place with a 'real live one.' However, a hangover-induced lack of self-preservation made say, "Umm, I got ten bucks if you need a cab."
"Ten?! You insulting son of a bitch! And you're not even offering to take me home yourself?! You dickless dick! I never want to see you again in my life, you lousy lay! You worthless, lying jailbird! I hope your f*ckin parole officer puts you back in the joint and throws away the damn key! I hope they—revoke your US citizenship and your right to vote, you lousy lay! You dog! You lying jailbird communist pig! Die!"
With that she left and slammed the door of his apartment so hard that he could hear something crack in the frame. And in his head, which he grabbed and fell back against the pillows.
Even Maddie never slammed a door that hard.
He was never going back to Obscenities again!
She looked at her watch, using the sensor light by her door. 12:32am. Dr. Jeffrey Kurlen-Jones stalked down her pathway, got in his Mercedes-Benz and aggressively cut in front of another driver as he shot away from the curb. Looking up at the starless night of early morning, Maddie brushed the locks that escaped her upsweep during her brief tussle with Dr. Kurlen-Jones and pulled her short fur more securely around her shoulders. She couldn't remember the last time she felt this objectified.
She met the good doctor in a contemporary art gallery downtown where he struck up a conversation with her near an Andy Warhol display. He said all the right things with the right manners and had the right look and an approved profession and obviously, money. He was even the quintessential WASP version of tall, dark and handsome. This had been their first date. He took her to see an evening performance of Giselle by the Los Angeles Ballet and then to a posh restaurant in Bel Air. Maddie let him do most of the talking and, common among men of his status, he talked mostly about himself but at least he wasn't too obnoxious with it. He did eventually get around to asking two questions about her and then went on to state his opinion on a few articles about his profession featured in that week's issue of Time Magazine. In spite of that, he was nearly a perfect gentleman and a pleasant enough companion—until they ordered dessert and after-dinner drinks. Alcohol loosened his tongue a tad too much and he could no longer seem to raise his eyes above her clavicle area. When they arrived at her front door, he became irate when she didn't invite him in for the casual sex he imagined all ex-models were into. He also didn't care for the slap in the face she gave him after he groped her and tried to forcefully kiss her because he 'knew she wanted it.' Then he accused her of being an 'aging, has-been gold-digger.'
How nice. To think she almost missed this experience in favor of a cup of tea and a good book alone at home.
Maybe if she hadn't been distractedly thinking about Annie all night, she would have thought more wisely and called a cab to pick her up from the restaurant. She'd done it before on other bad dates when her escort's behavior took a turn for the worse. She probably shouldn't have gone out at all.
Maddie felt a sudden breeze and finally went inside, wanting nothing more than to go to sleep and forget all about Dr. Potential Rapist, who had no idea how close he'd come to a crippling knee to the groin. Her mother hadn't called back yet to tell her anything else about Annie or the funeral arrangements. If Maddie didn't hear from her tomorrow, she would call her first instead. In the meantime she'd do what she did best: get on with life as it was, right in front of her….
…except when she didn't do what she did best.
Later on she would berate herself but on Monday morning Maddie found herself venting to David Addison, of all people, but without going into the specifics of Saturday night. Maybe she licked too much glue off that stack of envelopes she sealed about an hour ago.
She whirled around to face David. "I don't know what it is! And it's always the same." She folded her arms and started pacing again. "Here comes the PhD, MBA, Lawyer, Mr. Success. They say they want to take me out, show me a good time in the usual places and in the usual ways. Then they get around to the usual cookie-cutter compliments, like 'you're beautiful,' you're special' and 'I've never met anyone like you.' One talking head after another—."
"Sucks to be you, Blondie-blonde." David sat leaning back in his desk chair with that annoying 'Lady,-you-don't-know-what-real-problems-are' look that she hated but was too intent on venting her frustration to care.
"—and I swear to you it almost never fails that they turn out to be either looking for just one thing like you owe it to them; or if they're not trying to get you into bed after knowing you a day, they're so impressed with their own…impressiveness that I feel like a third wheel witnessing the romance between the man and himself! I might as well be table decoration. What is it with men these days?"
"So it sucks to be a man too, huh? Cuz we're obviously the worst thing since death in your book."
"Addison, that's not what I'm saying. Why do I even bother talking to you about anything? Why did I even come in here? Good bye!"
Maddie stalked towards the door but David leaped up and blocked her exit. "Hold it!"
"Addison, get out of my way."
He gave her a placating smile, but with a suspiciously mischievous gleam in his eyes.
"Come on, Maddie. I'm listening. I want to be a sounding board for you like you are for me. We're partners, right? Let's talk about this."
Although she didn't move away from the door, she didn't try to leave either. "What's there to talk about?" She started pacing again. "Some men are shallow and callous and their manners are more slick and calculating than genuine. What happened to a man bringing you flowers and holding your hand without trying to hold anything else? What happened to looking into a woman's eyes and not below her neck, while actually listening to what she's saying, like he gives a damn what she thinks, about anything?"
Shaking his head, David shoved his hands in his pockets. "I don't know, partner, but, ah—where are you finding these not-paragons of virtue?"
"I don't find them. They find me."
"Come on, Maddie. There has to be a common thread here. You're approached by these guys in those upscale joints you hang out in—"
"I don't hang out anywhere. That's what you do, like an alley cat in an alley."
"I'm trying to help you and you're slinging insults. Which is kinda odd, but I know that's your thing when I slice too close to the bone. Let me ask you this—" he said quickly, when he saw that tell-tale flash in her baby blues. "Would you be subject to such uncouthness if you didn't say 'yes' to that kind of guy?"
"What 'kind of guy?' What are you trying to say?"
"I'm saying if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. If rubbing shoulders, and other body parts, with doctors, lawyers and injun chiefs leaves you less than satisfied, maybe you should expand your horizons."
Leaning against his desk, Maddie gave him a droll look. "Oh, really? Define 'expand horizons.'"
He briefly looked away from her with a self-deprecating smile, mute for several beats and then, "When are you going to give men who'll really appreciate you a chance, Maddie?"
Something in his manner made her stand up attentively. "Whenever he appears," she said quietly. "But tell me this, how will I recognize him?"
One of those fleeting moments of communion passed between them but almost as if by mutual agreement his mocking smirk reappeared at the same time she put a hand on her hip and continued skeptically,
"I'm waiting. Where's the big reveal from David Addison channeling Dr. Joyce Brothers?"
"Well, it's simple, boss lady. You won't recognize him. Because you're a snob." With that, he moved around her and sat in his chair, putting his feet up.
"Excuse me." She dragged out the words, warningly.
"You heard me. And you don't need me to excuse you. I'm not the one who'll accept nothing less than some blueblood or captain of industry driving me around in a shiny black Rolls, with the family crest on the front grill, and dinner at a joint charging a hundred bucks for a plate of garnish with three shrimp on the side. Your kind of guy's worth is all in what he has, not who he is. Inside. He doesn't even know who he is without all that pomp and circumstance, and he really couldn't care less who you are without it either. That is the kind of man ex-model Maddie Hayes dates. What does that say about her?"
"Let me help you out of your self-delusion, mister. You know less than half of what you think you know, especially about me. You don't know the men I date."
David spread his hands. "Hm, that's funny—because you just spent the last fifteen minutes telling me exactly who you date, Maddie."
"I can't have a simple conversation with you without you acting like a jerk or a joke! I tell you one little thing and your pea brain proceeds to cast me in your imaginary show about some vain ditz who wouldn't know a good thing if it bit her."
She was so irked that she didn't heed the anticipatory twinkle in his eyes as he got up and moved towards her.
"You said it, Blondie. I didn't."
"You are the most annoying person on this planet! How can you stand your own company? You – " she paused. "Ohhhh…." She turned slowly away and back with a smile. "I see."
David wasn't sure where this was going. "What?"
"Okay, now we're in your imaginary show! Here are the facts. You don't know how to date; your own experience is the proof in the mud. You don't know how to have a good time period."
"Ha! A good time to you is picking up some straggler in a bar and taking her back to your apartment at 2am with crusty sheets on your bed!"
David frowned a little. ~Did she spy on me this Friday night?~ He shuddered inside at the thought of her ever knowing how low he'd gone. And that incident wasn't even the lowest.
"Irrelevent speculation in order to deflect!" he crowed. "Lady, I'm talking about real people being real with each other socially; not dressing up for some costume ball, sitting there like a grinning mannequin, and enduring a boring evening with some bland stiff in hopes he'll sweep you off your feet, so you can shop at Neiman-Marcus every day. Do you have any idea how to have real fun as a real person, Maddie?"
"As a real person, I'm about to really punch your head off your neck! How about that? You act like there's something wrong with dating up, like I'm some sort of empty shell if I don't jump up and down with gratitude when the coat-check boy winks or the construction worker whistles. And you act like just because I grew up in Oak Park that I can't handle myself on the South Side. I can and I have. I bet I could 'out-fun' you. And I know how to do fun right. Fun doesn't have to be sleazy. You, on the other hand, would be lost like Dorothy and Toto where I go for a fine time."
David saw his opening and moved in for the kill. "And I'll take you up on that bet, Madolyn."
She blinked, then recovered with a small laugh. "What are you talking about?"
"What you just said." He dramatically swept a hand over himself. "I'll show you the sophistication beneath the rugged exterior."
"The what beneath the what?" Maddie said, her anger dissipating into amusement at the ridiculous image of joke-a-minute Addison trying to act refined.
"You heard me. And after I prove you wrong, on so many levels, you show me how Maddie Hayes gets down, and we'll see who has the finest or the 'funnest' time. Deal?" He held his hand out.
Folding her arms, she looked at him like he was trying to trick her. "No. I don't have to prove anything. And you can't prove anything, so what's the point?"
"Okay. Then you concede that the reason your love life stinks is because you're as boring and soulless as the men you go out with. So the problem is you. Noted. Now as I have work to do, boss lady, would you—?" David gestured towards the door.
It looked to him like black smoke was coming from the top of her head. She stalked over and poked him in the chest, making him take a step back. "Everything you see in this place, I own, you little sub-human," she said between clenched teeth. "You don't tell me to leave this office, and you don't tell me when you're going to do work. Because I'd have to see such a rare occurrence to believe it. Got it!"
He smirked at her dismissively. "Sure thing, boss lady."
"Stop calling me that! You know deep down inside that sunken chest of yours that you'd lose this ludicrous bet, Addison."
She must be joking! He knew damn well his pecs were okay. He'd been faithful to that gym—more faithful than any woman had ever been to him.
~Whoa. Where'd that bitter little aside come from? Let's get back to our regular programming, shall we?...~
"Let's cut to the chase, Maddie. Are you or are you not up to this challenge, or any challenge, outside your safe vanilla world?"
David had her crowded against the door again and Maddie eased away from his disorienting closeness.
"There's been nothing vanilla about my world, pal, since I walked into this money-sucking dump. Do you even know what a fine date is?"
"Why, Ms. Hayes! I didn't say anything about a date but if you insist, I can accommodate.
He held up his hands. "Okay, semantics. Yes, I know what you consider a fine evening, and I can execute such an evening walking backwards blindfolded in a maze. The real question our viewing audience has been knockin' their noggins about since the Pilot episode is – 'Does Madolyn Straight Arrow Hayes know anything about fun?'"
"Oh I know tons about fun. I also happen to know that life isn't one big punchline 24/7, unlike some people."
"Oh yeah? Prove it. You vs. me, lady."
"David, I'm not into silly bets."
He didn't mind that. He remembered the last time they were involved in a bet and how he felt that sickening drop in his stomach when he'd lost and was obligated to fire some of his fellow Wobblies. It was only because she'd had a sudden change of heart that he wasn't forced to do it.
"No, no, no. The stakes are the simple satisfaction of both of us knowing that one of us can do and the other—well, tries hard, but clearly needs to reassess her courtship practices. It's a bet of pure principles. I'll even go first. Wednesday night, say 8-ish?"
She looked like she was about to say no but hadn't quite decided to, which meant she'd probably go for it. David was almost giddy.
"I'll pick you up-ish. Wear a dress-ish." He made a face. "Uh, that rhyme didn't really flow. Learn from me and don't try it. Whaddaya say?" He held out his hand again, determined to leave it in the air indefinitely.
"On a week night?"
"You're stallin', babe. What's it gonna be?"
Maddie hesitated, knowing she should nip this in the bud but not wanting to back down from any challenge questioning her ability to do anything. She stared at him disdainfully but finally said,
"Fine!" She shook his hand and he grinned wickedly.
TO BE CONTINUED...