Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters since the Eloise movies and the characters are the property of Disney and Kay Thompson. I make no money from this work of fiction!
"Eloise? Might I have a word with you?" Wilkes waved down the child skipping across the lobby of the Plaza.
She obligingly changed direction and bounced over to him. "Hallo, Sir Wilkes! When did you get back from England? I thought you were going to stay there FOREVER! I'm glad you didn't, and that you came back to us!"
"Hello, Eloise. I got back late last night, thank you, and I was afraid I was going to be gone forever, too! Three months was a very long time! You look like you're off somewhere important! I won't keep you ..."
"Just my morning rounds," she shrugged. "Nanny'll be glad you're back. I'll tell her when I go back up. She's still in bed."
"Oh, is she?" Wilkes swallowed, cursing the image that rose in his mind at Eloise's words. When had he become so obsessed with the woman? When she had kissed his cheek on Christmas Eve, that's when! Since then, all he had been able to think of was how her lips had felt on his skin, how the warmth of her voluptuous body had pressed against him for all of an instant, and how his body had responded to the thoughts of his imagination ever since that night. Then he grasped after his straying mind and cleared his throat. "Yes, quite. Quite. I was wondering, Eloise, if you had heard this or perhaps even seen the papers this morning?"
He held out the morning paper to show her the large front page story about the final show of the Barnum and Bailey Circus under the big top. From July 1956 on, the circus would no longer be held in a tent but rather indoors. This April showing was to be the final performance in New York City before the circus was moved indoors to Madison Square Gardens and other venues in the city.
Eloise squealed. "The Greatest Show on Earth! I absolutely HAVE to see it!"
"I thought perhaps you would be interested. You may keep this paper, if you wish."
"Thank you so much, much, much, Sir Wilkes!" Eloise grinned, and danced off to see Walter about tickets, the paper firmly clasped in her small hand.
Wilkes smiled indulgently as he watched her go. Once upon a time, he, too, had had such energy, but no longer!
O o O o O o
It was two days before Wilkes saw Eloise again. She was sitting disconsolately on the front steps of the Plaza, an uncharacteristically long face shadowing her usually sunny countenance.
"Eloise?" he inquired as he drew closer. "Is something the matter?"
"Absolutely everything," came the gloomy answer. "Nanny is cross with me because I ate the last piece of her favourite chocolate fudge that they only make at Christmas, from the box you gave us, you know. And even WORSE, Walter said he couldn't get any tickets for the circus. He said they sold out long ago, even before the story was in the paper, and that even if Maman had wanted them, he wouldn't be able to get any! He told me this afternoon that he had tried hard, hard, hard, but it was absolutely impossible."
"Oh, I see." Wilkes grunted a little as he manoeuvred his body around to sit beside the child on the step. He thought for a moment, then said, "Would you cheer up, Eloise, if I told you that I do believe I might be able to get some tickets for the circus for you?"
Eloise's face lit up and she turned to him eagerly, "Really? Could you REALLY? Oh, Sir Wilkes, that would be absolutely divine!"
"If you will excuse me, then, I will go and make a phone call," and he managed to regain his feet although not without effort. He bowed formally, then hesitated. "Er, you ate the last of Nanny's favourite fudge?"
"I'm afraid so. She thinks that chocolate fudge from La Maison Du Chocolat is absolutely divine, and was hoarding the one last piece. I thought it might be stale."
"And was it?"
"No. That made Nanny even sadder." Eloise heaved a big sigh. "And crosser," she added as an afterthought.
Wilkes hid his grin. He knew just where he was heading after making his phone call this afternoon! Along with his other connections, he was friendly with the owner of La Maison Du Chocolat, the only place in New York City which made that particular fudge, and it just so happened that he would be passing the Rockefeller Centre where La Maison was located on his way to his dinner engagement.
O o O o O o
Later that evening, after what had seemed like an interminably long meeting over dinner with a woman who was trying to insinuate herself into Wilkes' business (and perhaps even his bed and bank account as well), Wilkes thankfully escaped her clutches. If only NANNY would seem as interested in him as this woman did! Fastidiously he showered and changed his clothes, not being able to bear the strong scent of the woman's perfume any longer. Then he hurriedly made his way to the other suite on his floor, bearing a couple of boxes in his hands, one large and one smaller one, both very elegantly wrapped.
Eloise opened the door when he knocked, and he gaped almost foolishly at her as she was dressed in her nightclothes, sported a large pink pair of sunglasses, and held an open umbrella. "Oh, hallo, Sir Wilkes!" she said cheerfully, then turned and cried, "NAAAAAANNY!"
"Eloise, no shouting, for Lord's sake! This bout is almost finished!" Nanny was seated on the sofa, her eyes glued to the television. "YES!" she shouted, bending forward and punching a fist in the air. "'It 'im 'ARDER! I KNOW you can do it! That's it! One! Two! YES!" She raised both hands in the air and collapsed back on the couch, spilling some liquid from her glass. "Oh, bother! I've spilt my beer, pet, so don't sit ... SIR WILKES!" As she had been speaking, Nanny had looked around, then shot to her feet at the sight of the man standing awkwardly in the doorway. "Aoww, I'm so, so, so sorry! I didn't realize ... Eloise told me you were back, but I..." She set her glass down on the table and stepped towards Wilkes, her face a fiery red.
"Please, no apologies necessary," he said hurriedly, his eyes running greedily and hungrily over the face that he had begun to see in his dreams. She hadn't changed a bit, unless it was to have grown more attractive in the last couple of months. "I didn't ring the bell, after all. I'm not surprised you didn't hear my knock. Was it a good bout? I didn't know you were a boxing aficionado."
"What's that?" asked Eloise, inserting herself in between the two adults determinedly. "What does a fishondo mean? Does that mean she likes boxing? 'Cause Nanny absolutely loves boxing! But I absolutely love boxes, especially when they look like presents for ME, Eloise! What is in the boxes, Sir Wilkes?" She beamed up at him ingratiatingly. "Do you have a present for me, Eloise?"
"Eloise!" Nanny gritted out, but Wilkes merely grinned at her, and bowed to the child.
"This one is for you, Eloise," he said, handing her the smaller box. "And this one for you, Nanny."
"My stars, stars, stars, it's not Christmas or our birthday! Whyever are you giving us presents?" Nanny asked him, making no move to unwrap the box he had thrust into her hands.
"Since I didn't get you something for Christmas..." he began awkwardly.
"You gave us that fudge, Sir Wilkes," Eloise reminded him, turning her own box over and over in her hands. Finally she gave up and ripped into it. In a moment she was joyously dancing around. "It's FUDGE! Your absolute favourite, Nanny! Chocolate FUDGE! And now I have some of my OWN, some just for ME, Eloise! Oh, THANK you, Sir Wilkes!"
"Oh, my Lord!" Nanny gaped at Eloise, then at Wilkes. "Oh my LORD! Eloise, don't you eat any of that!" Suddenly noticing that Eloise was tearing open the inner box, Nanny lunged for the girl and confiscated the box. "No, no, no, Eloise, not tonight, for Lord's sake! You've already cleaned your teeth! Sir Wilkes, what on earth...?"
"I understand that you are rather fond of this fudge..." he began.
"Rawther. But that is not the point!" Nanny interrupted him.
Wilkes continued doggedly, "So, since I am acquainted with the owner of La Maison, I thought I could..." he paused, not sure where he was planning to go with his sentence. Then he thought better of his words, and changed the subject, adding, "Besides, see what other gifts I come bearing tonight!" He pulled three pieces of cardboard from the inner pocket of his jacket with a flourish, "three tickets to the Greatest Show on Earth for this Saturday afternoon."
Nanny gasped in surprise, but Eloise cried out, "Oh, Sir WILKES! You did it! You DID it! Oh, Sir Wilkes, I absolutely LOVE you!" She launched herself at the gentleman who barely had time to open his arms to receive her. Eloise flung her arms around his neck, hugged him tightly and kissed him enthusiastically on the cheek.
Wilkes felt his face flushing with embarrassment, especially when Eloise released him, slid to the floor and said, "Nanny, now YOU can kiss him to thank him!"
"Eloise, I DO believe it's your bedtime!" Nanny said firmly, not meeting Wilkes' eyes. Ignoring the child's protests, Nanny put the girl's fudge high in a cupboard.
"Oh, all right, Nanny. Good night. I still love you, even if you ARE making me go to bed! And good night, Sir Wilkes. Thank you EVER so much for the fudge, and even MORE for the tickets to the circus!"
"I'm sure you and your mother and Nanny will enjoy it," Wilkes beamed at the little girl.
"Oh, Maman won't be here. She's in Paris," Eloise said matter-of-factly. "There's always SOMETHING to do and SOMETHING to see there, you know. So you'll have to come with us."
"Er, ME?" Wilkes was shocked into being ungrammatical.
"Of course! You have three tickets, don't you?" Eloise turned a somersault on her way to bed. "Oh, it's just so absolutely DIVINE that we're going to the circus, isn't it? Goodnight, Nanny and Sir Wilkes!"
"Yes, right. Er, goodnight, Eloise ..." Wilkes said almost absently, his mind whirling. Go to the circus? He hadn't been to a circus for YEARS, had had no DESIRE to go to one! He believed he had seen in the paper that there was to be a midway right beside the Big Top, and the thought of the rides almost nauseated him. It may have been half a century since he had been forced onto some of the rides on a midway, but he still remembered the sheer terror of the small boy he had been. Add that to a CIRCUS, with all those ANIMALS that smelled... and yet... he WOULD be with Nanny! Her presence would almost make up for all the rest. Eloise would be with them, of course, to help keep awkward silences at bay... Yes, perhaps this circus outing would be rather interesting and amusing at that!
He beamed at Nanny who had been peeking surreptitiously into the box of candy she still held in her hands. "I'd be delighted to attend the circus and midway with you, Nanny. That... that is, with you and Eloise," he added hastily. "After all, it's to be the last time the circus will be held under a Big Top, you know. It's going to be set up in the old Madison Square Gardens, in Madison Square near where P.T. Barnum had the Hippodrome. I understand that the first established place for the circus in New York City was there in an abandoned railroad depot in 1873. Rather fitting they hold the last one there too, don't you think?"
"'ow, er, HOW did you manage to get tickets, Sir Wilkes? Eloise said Walter told her they'd been sold out for weeks!" she asked, trying to put a classier accent on her words.
"Oh, they have. But, well, you see, the business I, well... we can get excellent seats for almost any show... it's one of the, er, perks, you know." Wilkes felt his face flushing slightly. "I do believe these are ringside seats..."
"Oh my Lord," was all Nanny could whisper, staring at him with wide eyes, awe in her expression.
"I missed you, Nanny. For the three months I was back in England, I thought of you almost every day." Wilkes admitted sheepishly. "I, er, I felt guilty not having given you your Christmas present..."
Nanny, whose face had grown very red at his frank admission, now began to stammer herself. "Oh, my stars, stars, stars, Sir Wilkes! You gave us... the fudge! But I... I didn't give you a present."
"Yes you did," he sighed, smiling reminiscently. "I almost didn't wash my face all the time I was gone." Then Wilkes grew very daring. "You still haven't given me my thank you kiss tonight, Nanny." He tapped his cheek lightly.
Her face grew redder than before. "Aoww, Sir Wilkes, I DO thank you..." She wanted to kiss him as exuberantly as Eloise had, but he was a KNIGHT, for Lord's sake! She couldn't just... just KISS him! To be sure, sure, sure, she had kissed his cheek last Christmas Eve, but that had embarrassed him so much that she had been quite ashamed of herself for days afterwards! She even had wondered over the months since if that is what had scared him away and sent him back to England! Well, it seemed that whatever had kept him away for so long wasn't anything SHE had done... and he appeared to be expecting a kiss, for sure, sure, sure! Did she have the nerve?
He waited. She made no move towards him, even when he deliberately turned the cheek she had kissed almost four months previously. He continued to wait, patiently, and at last was rewarded when she stepped hesitantly up to him and leaned forward. When he glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, her vivid blue eyes were hazed over with pure, unadulterated desire, and Wilkes' groin tightened.
To her consternation and his faint surprise at his own forwardness, Wilkes turned to face her just as she touched his cheek, and her lips covered his for a heart-stopping moment before she jumped back in horror. "Aoww, Willy, I'm so, so, so sorry!"
"So am I. That you pulled away, that is." Before she could react to his comment, his hands were on her shoulders, burning through her blouse as he drew her closer, then he was kissing her again. His lips were soft and beguiling, and in moments Nanny forgot her surroundings, forgot that she was not young and beautiful, forgot that chances were good that Eloise would be watching.
When her lips parted under the force of his kiss, Nanny was lost in a sea of sensations. Her fingers curled into his jacket sleeves, she clung to him and kissed him back enthusiastically. Oh, KNICKERS, this was so, so, SO much better than her secret dreams! It almost was as if she could feel every muscle of his chest, his stomach, his legs against hers and something wicked and buried within her noticed how well they fit together. The rapid thickening of his body reminded her of how very powerful human desire was and how easily it could slip out of control. She felt his arms tighten around her, and her body flared with forbidden heat... wanting him... needing him... reacting to his hard, hot need for her as well.
His kiss deepened again and a shock of raw static tore through her, ripping her apart at every joint with the feel of him. A wild, uncontrollable urge to feel more and more of his touch was unleashed when she pressed closer to his hardness. She was overwhelmed with his scent and the scratch of whisker friction against her face. MORE, she thought dizzily, I want so much, much, much more! Now her entire body was humming with an escalating need she had never before experienced in such an out-of-control way.
"*I* never kissed Sir Wilkes THAT long when *I* thanked him, Nanny." Eloise's awed voice cut through the sensual haze surrounding Nanny and Wilkes.
With twin gasps, they sprang apart, breathing heavily. Wilkes shielded his obvious arousal from the child's view by half turning to the door. "Perhaps... I ... I should go... I... I'm most terribly sorry, Nanny... if I... overstepped..." he stammered breathlessly, and fled.
Nanny gazed after him helplessly, wondering how it was that men seemed able to escape awkward situations so handily.
"I really don't know WHY adults like kissing so much," Eloise said conversationally when she realized that Nanny was still unable to speak. "You're all red and you're breathing funny... even if you always are just like that when you see Sir Wilkes anyway... So maybe it's not the kissing but Sir Wilkes?"
Thankful that they had only been kissing, oh my sainted Aunt Fanny, his kisses were heavenly!, and nothing more, Nanny almost staggered to the sofa and collapsed onto it. Her very skin was tingling with the desire to feel his body move and slide against hers, and her legs felt wobbly.
"Nanny?" Eloise stared at her.
"Hmm?" She couldn't speak yet, just COULDN'T! Her body was still humming from being in such close contact with his, her lips felt swollen and overly-sensitive.
"What is a kiss like, Nanny? Leon told me something about tongues, which sounds absolutely disgusting, and he called it a FRENCH kiss. Why is it different than an American kiss? What IS a French kiss, Nanny?"
"A Fr...?" Nanny almost swallowed the tongue that had been stroking Wilkes' heatedly. With great effort, she gathered her fragmented control about her. "Eloise, what are you doing out of bed? 'Ow many times do I 'ave to tell you that you are NOT to get up at night unless there is a real emergency?"
"But it WAS a real emergency, Nanny! I absolutely HAD to see you thank Sir Wilkes!" Eloise said frankly. Then she grimaced. "But I didn't think you'd kiss THAT long. Oh my Lord, it looked absolutely awful, like you were BITING each other instead of kissing! That's what I think! I just hope I don't have nightmares!"
Finally Nanny felt as if she was fully in control of herself again, although the colour still burned in her cheeks. "Eloise," she said firmly, "Get back into your bed right now, now, NOW."
Heaving a sigh, and muttering, "I absolutely hate it when I'm treated like a child!", Eloise trudged back into her room, Weenie trotting faithfully at her heels.
Nanny sank back on the couch and closed her eyes, reliving the most wonderful moments of her life ... she had really and truly been kissing, PASSIONATELY kissing, for Lord's sake!, a KNIGHT! Oh my stars, stars, stars!
O o O o O