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Written for halfamoon: 14 Days of Celebrating Women.

Title: The Barmaid in Tight Jeans
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Ugly Betty
Characters: Wilhelmina, Hilda, Alexis
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: A warpath of sorts for every wrong ever wronged us.
Notes: Vague spoilers for 2.04

Girlfriend, I believe in Gandhi.
But some nights nothing says it
quite precise like a Lone Star
cracked on someone's head

Back when they called her Wanda, Wilhelmina cared about what people thought about her. Smiles from her superiors were her bread and butter, before she reinvented herself and discovered caviar on crackers. She found, however, that making other people's lives easier meant they stopped noticing her. They forgot her, and she'd already spent too much of her life being ignored.

Under Faye's critical eye, she transformed herself into someone who would never be ignored again.

Now, the interns scrabbled under her gaze, and she only had to smile for the cameras and Bradford Meade. When she walked through the cafeteria, the staff whispered nonsense about her.

She fired, no set a freelancer on fire, because he didn't consult her on photography. She kept three bullets in her pencil drawer, but nobody knew where she stashed the gun. She never drank anything except the tears of puppies and the odd virgin.

Wilhelmina strode through each day with satisfaction, because she no longer worried about pleasing anyone but herself.

Little Rose of San Antone
is the queen bee of kick-
When you go out with her,
don't wear your good clothes.

Sometimes, after Justin went to bed, Hilda snuck out of the house to go dancing. (She used to sneak out to do other things, but she couldn't think about that, not yet.) She would catch a cab heading towards the first club she could name, and dashed on make-up, hasty and perfect, on the way there. She slid out of the cab and brushed wrinkles from her blouse, shook her hair out and decided she was invincible.

Hilda liked dancing with men, because it was easy to find them, and easier to leave. She danced with women, too, but she waited for them to come to her. It didn't matter, really--a twist of her shoulder and twistier grin, and she never lacked for partners. She closed her eyes when she twirled, and limited herself to one beer and one margarita. If they played the music loud enough, she would sing along beneath the bass thump.

She joked and she bickered and she laughed and she spun, and every time, she celebrated being alive.

Ya'll wicked mean, a voice at the bar
claims. Naw, not mean. Shit!
Been to hell and back again.
Girl, me too.

The gaps haunted Alexis at the oddest times.

When she turned, absent-minded, and realized she was standing in front of a urinal. When she went jogging in the morning, and four minutes in, realized she had forgotten her sports bra. When she winked at a cute redhead on the other side of the conference room, and received a puzzled frown in thanks.

She thought to herself, often, that she had wanted this for so long. It was the details that kept biting her in the ass.

At the end of the day, alone, she would pour herself a finger of scotch. She held it up, watched the last rays of sun cast through the glass, spackling against her skin. She told herself she wanted this, and it was worth wanting it.

She told herself she would work for it, because she was a Meade, and they could never take that away.


A/N: Title and summary adapted from Las Girlfriends by Sandra Cisneros.

Linked on halfamoon.
Linked on uglybettyfic.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 4th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful, a wonderful glimpse of all three characters.
Feb. 13th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 13th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
Feb. 6th, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
This is so good. Quite possibly the best example of character exploration through interconnected drabbles that I've ever read. All of them were so insightful.

My favorite phrase is "...make-up, hasty and perfect". It's just a perfect turn of phrase that captures Hilda's personality so succinctly.
Feb. 13th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it! Thank you!
Feb. 9th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
This is excellent work. Wonderful job of charaterization in such a short space.
Feb. 13th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Feb. 11th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is fantastic! You manage to say so much about the characters in such a short space, and I especially love the section about Wilhelmina and how much she managed to change herself.
Feb. 13th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.
Jun. 23rd, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
Your observations of the characters are absolutely stunning. I especially loved the piece on Hilda and Alexis, especially Alexis as it was the rather painful piece. But, truly, I loved it.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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