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The phone had begun ringing just as Helen left the room to get Bitsy’s schnapps. She didn’t let it stop her—it’d take five full rings for Bitsy to notice the thing, and three for her to go from the dumbwaiter and back. Indeed, the fourth ring had just started by the time she’d returned, and Bitsy was still nursing what was left of her mint julep.
She held out the drink at the same time as she picked up the phone. Bitsy quickly grabbed the drink, only to jerk back when she caught sight of Helen. “What are you doing, just standing there? Reenacting your past as some kind of street performer?”
Helen let the insult wash over her. “Phone for you.”
Bisty tsked, “Well why didn’t you lead with that?” She made no move to grab the phone. Bitsy’s beady little eyes narrowed. “Well, what are you waiting for?”
“Oh,” Helen huffed, bringing the phone to Bitsy’s ears, “one of those days, I see.”
Bitsy ignored her, speaking into the phone. “Who is it? Oh, Dimitry!” Bitsy’s voice raised an octave in an attempt to sound nice. Bitsy started nodding as Dimitry said something.
Only to immediately spit out her schnapps, almost startling Helen into dropping the phone. Not that it would have mattered, since Bitsy wrenched the thing out of her hands, screaming, “WHAT?!” into the receiver. “You can’t do this to me! Do you know who I am?!” A sneer bloomed to life on the old crone’s face—one that, with the fire blazing in her eyes, made her look actually intimidating. “Well, what did I expect getting into business with a Russian!” Bitsy snarled, slamming the phone into the receiver.
Helen stared wide-eyed at her employer, especially when she dropped down from her seat and began pacing. She’d never seen Bitsy get like this, not even with her brother. She gulped down her anxiety. “What was that?”
“Dimitry’s pulling out of the Central Park deal,” Bitsy ground out.
Helen’s mind stalled. “…He’s what?”
“He’s—oh, I don’t want to say it again!” Bitsy cried, flopping down onto the couch.
Helen blinked—that didn’t make sense. Dimitry had been the biggest supporter of Bitsy’s scheme. He stood to gain the first few mountains of money, when his construction crews bulldozed the park. “Did,” she began slowly, “he say why?”
Bitsy’s sneer returned. “Ah, now there’s the rub! Apparently, some associate of his convinced him to back out of the deal.”
“Who?” Helen asked. Who could have more influence over Dimitry than Bitsy—especially after they’d hosted his precious daughter’s wedding (and ensured that there actually was a wedding)?
“I don’t know—something ‘Fist’.”
Helen narrowed her eyes. Fist? No one in New York went by that—well, other than Iron Fist, she supposed. Bitsy must have misheard. But what could sound like—her heart stopped, the blood draining from her face as the answer slapped her in the face.
“…Did you mean,” she gulped, “Wilson Fisk?”
Bitsy just waved her hand. “Yes, whoever that is.”
Helen stared at her boss in unabashed shock. “…The Kingpin?”
Bitsy looked over at, confusion clear on her face. “What, he’s some kind of bowler?” Helen shook her head—she knew Bitsy was out of touch with reality, but was she really that stupid?
“The Kingpin of Crime?”
Bitsy laughed, laughed. “‘The Kingpin of Crime?’ What a garish title—what did he do, huh? Swindle some babies out of their candy? My family was one of the premier bootleggers of the Prohibition—absolutely ghastly time.” She snapped her fingers—or at least, attempted to. “Ah! He’s some sort of nouveau riche lout, isn’t he?”
“…In a manner of speaking.”
“Well then,” Bitsy leapt off the couch, returning to her desk, “it’s high time someone set this man straight. Thinking he can step around a Brandenham, the utter nerve!” She picked up the phone, making to dial. Only for Helen to press down on the receiver.
“Helen!” Bitsy exclaimed, aghast.
“Bitsy,” Helen fought to keep from shaking. “As the closest thing you have to a friend, I’m begging you, don’t do this.”
“First of all,” Bitsy smacked her hand off the receiver, “I have tons of friends. Second, you’re the Help, don’t presume that because I bother speaking with you that we’re friends. Third, just what is that Fisk fellow going to do to me, Bitsy Brandenham? Kill me?”
Ordinarily, at those words, Helen would have let Bitsy on without another word. Anything that could potentially kill the old bat was another potential step closer to her well-earned inheritance.
But no one deserved to be put in Wilson Fisk’s path. Not even Bitsy.
“Bitsy.” Bitsy blew a raspberry. “Bitsy, please.” Another one. “I’m serious!”
“Helen,” Bitsy’s voice gained an edge, “You’re starting to annoy me.” She waved her hand, “Go, I don’t know, take Shampagne for a walk. I need to set-up a meeting with this Fisk.” Helen made to reply, but Bitsy glared at her through her glasses. Seeing that she wouldn’t get anywhere, she muttered a quick goodbye, leaving the room.
She was probably overreacting anyway. There’s no way Wilson Fisk would give Bitsy the time of day.
Wilson Fisk saw fit to give her the time of day.
Helen wasn’t even sure how it happened. She’d expected Bitsy to be denied and rage about it for the rest of her (hopefully very, very short) natural life. But here they were, riding an elevator flanked by two walking tanks of guards to Wilson Fisk’s office.
Bitsy thought it was just some routine meeting, hence why, instead of freaking out or something sensible, she was fussing over Shampagne. “What kind of third-rate building is this?” She glared at the guards. “This elevator is moving far too fast! Poor little Shampagne can’t handle the sudden shift in altitude, can you, Schnookums?” She devolved into high-pitched gibberish, which the dog ignored as it whimpered and squirmed in Bitsy’s grasp. Spoiled the mutt may have been, he had decent survival instincts, unlike his owner.
Helen just tried her best to look as small as possible.
When the elevator finally stopped, they were led down a short hallway to a spacious room filled to the brim with Japanese paraphernalia, the doors leading to Wilson Fisk’s office right across from them.
Bitsy gave the room a once over before snorting, covering Shampagne’s eyes and handing him to Helen. “Keep his eyes covered, Helen. Don’t want him getting influenced by any of this strange malarky. Look, he’s already shivering!”
“I don’t think that’s why—”
Another scoff cut Helen off. “Just take him!” Helen did so, a little surprised at herself when she started to pet the mutt, calming him down a touch. “Don’t bother sitting down, I won’t be long.”
“Bitsy,” Helen couldn’t help but call out. When the shorter woman arched a brow, she said, “It’s not too late, we can still leave and forget all about this.” She looked over at one of the guards with a nervous smile. “Right?” The guard shrugged, moving his hand in a ‘fifty-fifty’ gesture.
“I don’t know what you little Help lingo means,” Bitsy replied, “but I’m not leaving until I inform this Fisk who he’s dealing with.” The guard Helen didn’t speak with chuckled, ignoring the dirty look Bitsy sent him.
Someone opened the door across from them. “Bitsy Brandenham,” he said, “Mr. Fisk will see you now.”
“Finally,” Bitsy groused, marching for the office.
Helen watched Bitsy disappear through the door, unable to shake the dread clutching her heart.
“Ah, Ms. Brandenham,” a deep voice, rumbling like a rockslide, said from across the room, “please, have a seat”.
“My god, you’re fat,” Bitsy said as she walked over to his desk.
Fisk—wearing what had to be the tackiest white suit Bitsy had ever seen, stretched across his big, blubbery body—smiled thinly. He looked over to the Help, his bald head gleaming in the light. “You can leave us alone.”
The Help all left as Bitsy finally made it to Fisk. He was even fatter up close. “Seriously, you are unbelievably fat. Do you have to sit in one of those motorized scooters to get around everywhere—though in your case it’d be more like a Hummer.”
Fisk chuckled, clearing his desk and clasping his hands over it. “I’ve entertained the idea. Please, sit.” Bitsy eyed the offered seat—it was fairly high up off the ground.
She rolled her eyes. “Oh yes, excellent power play, fatty. Never seen that before” But if her own family couldn’t knock her down, this nouveau riche tub of lard certainly wouldn’t. Thus, she climbed onto the seat all on her own, with only a minimal amount of scrambling. She squirmed in the seat. “This is so stiff, is this really how you treat your guests?”
“Well,” Fisk spread out his hands, “I’m not the hotel magnate.”
“Quite—couldn’t even figure out what the hell it is you do, it’s like you just throw whatever you crap out onto the wall and hope it sticks.” Fisk’s thin smile returned—fatty was probably floundering under the weight of his recently gotten wealth and didn’t know either. Nor did he like getting called out. Well, if that was the case, he should have thought twice before making an enemy out of Bitsy Brandenham.
“…Let’s get down to business.”
“Yes,” Bitsy huffed. “What the hell did you say to Dimitry—to all my business partners? Do you know how hard it was to get them to agree to my redevelopment plans? And now,” she blew a raspberry, “it’s all gone!”
Fisk shrugged, “I merely asked them to truly think on what they were planning to achieve.”
“Uh, making more money than they all could know what to do with?”
Bitsy received a flat stare in return. “At what cost, Ms. Brandenham? Central Park is an integral part of Manhattan—of New York as a whole.”
“Sentiment?” Bitsy barked. “Really? That’s what got them all turning tail?”
“Not all,” Fisk admitted. “Everyone has different buttons. But it did work for Dimitry—especially when I asked where he expected his daughter to take his newly discovered grandchild out to play.”
“Well first of all—ha! I knew the little trollop looked a bit heavy in her dress! Secondly, why the hell would Dimitry listen to you about family matters, considering the disaster you call you wife and son.” Fisk stilled, his face slipping into a blank mask.
Bitsy harrumphed, crossing her arms with a triumphant smirk. “Thought I wouldn’t do my research, did you? Well, I did. And boy, what a mess! Son vanishes off the face of the earth while in Switzerland—and really, how stupid do you have to be to get lost in Switzerland. Then your wife gets lost in the sewers—like some sort of dead pet flushed down the toilet. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad—well, it is a little funny.”
Fisk’s face was still blank; cowed in the face of Bitsy’s brilliant and biting remarks, no doubt. But his previous, raxor-thin smile returned soon enough. “Yes,” he chuckled, “I suppose the events of my life would provide a certain type of people…humor.” He rose from his seat, lumbering around the desk in front of Bitsy—and she was honestly surprised the entire building didn’t shake with his every step.
“Indulge me, Ms. Brandenham, in a rather odd non sequitur.” He leaned against his desk, fiddling with his sleeves. “Upon your demise, would yours be an open or closed casket?”
Bitsy hummed. “That is rather odd. In truth, I’ve debated with both. On the one hand, I want to give everyone the chance to bask in my presence one last time. But on the other, I don’t want to give my brother and those disgusting hangers-on he calls family a chance to mess with me.” She waved a hand in the air. “I decided that it’d be closed, in the end—I won’t allow Ambrose the chance to ruin another big day for me.”
Fisk’ next smile was nothing but teeth.
Helen distracted herself by petting Shampagne, and actually found comfort in the mutt. She could almost understand why that weird kid in the park was so fond of him.
But then a loud ‘thud’ came from Fisk’s office, followed by several more. Shampagne curled into a tight little ball in Helen’s arms, and Helen found herself struggling to stand.
Eventually, the noise stopped, and Fisk stepped out into the room, wiping his hands with a red—god, she hoped it was naturally red—handkerchief. “I’m terribly sorry, Miss,” the Kingpin said, just barely sounding apologetic, “but I’m afraid your employer has had herself an accident. Don’t worry,” he smirked, “I’ll take care of all the necessary funeral arrangements—she did expire on my property, after all. You just ensure her estate is maintained—you are the sole inheritor of the will, after all.”
Something in Helen seized at that. Was that true, had Bitsy really named her the sole inheritor? Or had Fisk, somehow knowing how much it meant to her, changed the will to say that, in order to buy her silence? She didn’t know. She didn’t want to know.
Instead, she just thanked him for informing her, carried Shampagne back to the Brandenham, and took a long, cold shower to try and drain away the anxiety permeating her being.
A/N: It’s fun trying to figure out what ways Bitsy’s plot would fail if it took place in the Marvel Universe.