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Buffy and Spike entered
the office together. Cordelia looked up from her computer and beamed at them both.
“Nice holiday Cordy
– how is your sister?” Spike asked
“That would be my
cousin, not my sister, and she did what she does best, and popped out another one while I was there! Four children at 25…sheesh!
I’m glad to get back here for some peace and quiet!”
Spike smiled and then looked
guiltily at Cordelia’s overflowing piled high in-tray.
“Sorry love, I did
what I could, but with Xander out and Sweet thinking I should just drop everything and run and be at his beck and call whenever
he thinks fit…”
“It’s ok, I’ll
soon get done I suppose, as long as I work through my lunch hour and stay until about 8 tonight!” Cordy said cheerfully
enough. Both Buffy and Spike frowned, and Spike said,
“Just you make sure
you put the overtime sheet for Sweet, he doesn’t appreciate you nearly enough!”
“ Ah, there you are
Spike, can I see you for a minute …” Xander put his head around the office door.
“Um, sure, ok”
Harmony walked in and went over to Buffy and Cordelia who were cooing over photographs of the new baby Cordelia’s cousin
Outside in the corridor
just that I’ve decided that my flat-warming party will be on the 28th, that’s a Friday, that be ok
for you and Buffy – I want to keep it very low key, I don’t want it to get out, and have a horde show up”
“A Friday –
sure, no problem…are you asking Cordelia?”
“Oh, the way you
called me out here, I thought you didn’t want her to know”
“No, it’s not
that, it’s those messengers in there, their ears flap as much as their lips, it’d be all over the building in
two minutes flat!” Xander explained
“Ah, got you”
“Oh, that band, Roman
Holiday, they are coming in this afternoon to do a demo tape, shall I call you?”
“Yeah – you
can give me a shout, now I must go Xand, I’ve got a thousand and one things to do”
later” Xander went off and Spike went back into the office to get some work done. He heard Cordelia say,
so tiny and fragile make so much noise and such an evil smell!” All the girls laughed and Harmony said quietly,
“Anyway Buffy, Cordy,
we are having a flat-warming party on the 28th, and you and ‘you-know-who’ are invited of course, but
please keep it to yourself, we only want who we invite, not all and sundry turning up”
not sure what Wes will be doing, but I’ll definitely come…did you have a hand in the decorating?”
“None what so ever,
but it looks great!” Harmony said grinning.
me he got some taste at last! – He must have been watching those room makeover shows! – What date did you say?”
Cordelia minimised the programme she was working on, and opened up the diary page
it’s a Friday”
“Hold on, let me
put that in the diary………Oh…aren’t you going then Buffy?” Cordelia asked, frowning.
“Yes, course I am
– told him, I want the full tour – what makes you ask that?”
“Only your marked
down here as appearing on a TV show, evening, 6.30 – midnight a programme called ‘Amongst Friends” Buffy
frowned and looked over towards Spike, and said,
heard of it………um, Spike” Buffy beckoned him over to Cordelia’s computer.
“Did you forget to
tell me that I had a TV show on the 28th, the evening – I can’t go to Xander’s party” Buffy
“What? What TV show,
I’ve not booked anything” Frowning, he came and stood behind Cordelia and looked at her monitor.
“There, look, ‘Amongst
Friends’ 6.30 – midnight, on the 28th” Cordelia ran the arrow cursor along the details.
the first I’ve heard of it too, nobody consulted me anyway… ‘Amongst Friends’? – I’ve
never heard of it, have you?” Spike looked puzzled. The three girls shook their heads in unison
“Where is it at –
whose show is it anyway?” Spike leaned over Cordy and took the mouse, and highlighted the show name. The info box popped
up and Spike saw the name ‘Glory Benson’.
“Ah, well we can
cancel, she didn’t okay it with me, don’t worry, I’ll sort it, okay – cheeky madam, booking stuff
behind my back, well I won’t let her get away with it”
“Well, I must go,
I’m doing a photo-shoot, see you later – bye-ee!” Harmony left the office and Buffy was going to rehearse
for a live music show to be shown later on in the week, so she left too.
Cordelia watched Spike
out of the corner of her eye as he phoned Glory Benson’s office.
not, okay, well would you tell her to contact Spike Carling please…yes, ASAP…who is this I’m speaking to………………okay
then – oh, do you know anything about her new show, ‘Amongst Friends’? – You don’t, okay then,
in…no surprise there…”
“And they don’t
know anything about this new show?”
“It was one of the
researchers I spoke to, not a thing – I’ve a good mind to pop upstairs, I bet the cheeky cow is sitting there
really, just lying because she doesn’t want to change her schedule, well tough, she’s going to have to!”
“So tell me Spike…have
you been to Xander’s place?”
a nice enough place, it’s in Norwood. Handy for here”
“The nice end or
the more ratty end by the multi-plex?”
kind of in the middle, quiet, front parking, no pets, you know the type of thing” Cordelia nodded thoughtfully.
here we go, switchboard girl has arrived” Cordelia rolled her eyes as the phones started ringing…
Hank Summers picked up
the long white envelope off his front door mat and smiled, turned it over and slit it open with his thumbnail. He pulled out
a letter, a return ticket from Seattle to LA and confirmation booking for a double room en suite at the Holiday Inn. Also
in the envelope was a schedule for the show and a brochure for the hotel, showing the Olympic sized swimming pool, solarium,
gym, tennis courts with professional tutoring, and free access to a nine-hole golf course. All that and a guaranteed meeting
with his daughter! Admittedly, it would be on live TV, but at least he’d see her in the flesh…
Cecily was sitting on the
sofa, her knees under her chin, she felt cold and very shaky. She hugged herself more tightly around her legs, she was trying
to go ‘Cold Turkey’, and not use any drugs just to get through the day. She was trying to limit herself to taking
it for sheer enjoyment while she was out socializing, or straightening herself out for work, that was all.
Dru had been going on about
Spike since he turned up for the meeting with Sweet. She’d been Spike this, that and the other. And over breakfast,
she’d even picked the names for the children and the dogs they were going to have for fucks sake…she’d tried
to tell Dru that Spike wasn’t interested, but seeing her happy…so Cecily let her get on with it, she’d soon
learn. Most probably the hard way, but she’d get the message eventually…
“So what do you think?”
Dru asked, wild-eyed with excitement.
“Hmm? Oh, yeah…very
nice!” Cecily barely looked at the ‘yet another blue dress’ bought by Dru.
“But what do you
think? – Will Spike like it do you think? Blue’s his favourite colour!”
“Yeah, you told me…about
a thousand times” Cecily mumbled the last four words to herself.
“I bought different
shoes to go with it, not too high, I like to be a bit shorter than he is…oh god – I can’t wait! –
It’ll be just wonderful!” Dru swayed from side to side, dreaming in her head about not only times past, but to
“Lorney said that
of course Spike’s invited to the party, his was one of the first invitations sent out…so, what are you wearing?”
Cecily sniffed, and shakily
wiped her nose on the back of her hand. She could feel a sort of panic in her stomach, and desperately wanted a hit of something
to calm her. Dru had been droning on and on about Spike until in the end, Cecily rubbing her temples with sheer desperation
pities sake…please love…I’ve, I’ve got a splitting headache!”
“But I was only saying
that for a first back-together date, I thought a picnic on the beach! Just the two of us…it’ll be SO romantic!”
“Back together –
Dru, what ARE you going on about?”
Dru rolled her eyes and
slapped her arms against her sides.
“Me and Spike, getting
back together of course! He’ll see me in this dress, and fall in love with me all over again, and-“
you be a love…go and make us some tea, eh, please, for me, huh? – Help my headache”
“Oh poorly baby –
of course!” Dru patted a concerned hand on Cecily’s back, and went off to make tea.
The phone rang, and with
effort, Cecily shifted herself to answer it.
“Oh, hi Tucker…what
- oh no, why?…………Bloody idiot! – Can’t you just cut it different, and – okay, okay………but
I was busy, you’ll have to give me a couple of hours…I’m sorry, but it’s the best I can do –
it’s not MY fault that you’ve got an idiot for a producer………no, I can’t – take it
or leave – okay, yeah, but you’ll have to send a car, and DON’T send it early thinking it’ll make
me come over any quicker, it won’t. Yeah, bye” She threw the receiver down.
Dru came in carrying two mugs.
“I’ve got to
go into work…that pillock that you picked up and screwed from that night club, the one that fancies himself as a producer
– what’s-his-name…Parker, he couldn’t produce shit…he’s only gone and cut and destroyed
the last scene of ‘Rough Rider’ in the editing suite by mistake, so I’ve got to go and film it all over
again…that’s ALL I need – oh it’s no good, I’ll HAVE to have a toot now, just to get me through!”
Secretly Cecily felt relieved,
this let her off the hook about cutting down on the drugs, after all, she could hardly go on-set shaking like a leaf now could
Standing up from snorting
the second line through the other nostril, Cecily pinched her nose and sniffed, wiped it on her finger and sniffed again,
waiting for the euphoria.
Either she was doing far
too much and was used to it, or this was an inferior product, the ‘hits’ she was getting lately barely registered
now, only just keeping the withdrawl symptoms away. Where as when she first took it, it used to be like a mini atom bomb going
off in her brain. She’d mention it to Daddy………
bills?” Sam called out to her husband. Riley was standing in the hall reading, holding a long white envelope, he grinned
when he read, ‘confirmation’ bookings of flights and Holiday Inn, Burbank reservations. He shoved the contents
back into the said envelope, and he slid it into the back pocket of his jeans before re-joining his wife at the dining table.
He threw a bill and a couple of circulars down and took his seat, pouring them both coffee.
this nice, a leisurely breakfast together!” Sam beamed at him from across the table, then she said,
“Listen honey, I
was thinking, how would you like to go and see my parents, I thought we could drive down, stay overnight somewhere and make
more of a mini-break of it?
bit into a slice of toast.
“Towards the end
of the month”
“Uh, uh, sorry no
can do!” He had a big grin on his face
Sam frown/smiled and intrigued,
“No, come on, tell
me, please – you know I hate surprises!”
“You big fibber,
you love them! All I say, is this, dust off your bikini, and go buy yourself a posh dress”
“Really – are
you sure we can afford it?”
“No, no! You’ll
find out. We fly on the morning of the 26th”
“Fly? – Fly
where, oh please – tell me!!”
“Nope, you my darling
are going to have to learn a little patience!” Riley said and they beamed at each other.
Skimming through the schedule,
they’d arrive, go to the hotel, have dinner, spend an evening in the luxury hotel, go to the studios the following morning
for a show run-through, then the rest of the day was for themselves, maybe even a little sight-seeing in LA, then the following
evening was the show for real, leaving plenty of time to take full advantage of the hotel’s luxurious facilities! They’d
fly back the next day after breakfast.
“And what time do
you call this? – Fuck me, you look DREADFUL” Warren pushed his chair back from the desk slightly, leaned back
and yawned – then surveyed his barman again.
ow- late…bloody hell fire…” Willy grit his teeth and held onto the desk for support.
“What HAVE you been
doing?” Warren grimaced at the sorry figure standing (only just standing) in front of him
“I wish I knew…ow
fuck…any chance of getting one of the other’s to restock the shelves of mixers, it’s usually only the tonic
water and the ginger ale that needs topping up…bleeding hell…my as – um, back’s killing me”
“Where did you go…are
those what I think they are… you DIRTY little git! Where have you been?” Warren had caught sight of Willy’s
scarred and now scabbed over wrists, and grinned.
believe me if I told you”
“Try me” Warren
place” Willy said without smiling. Warren’s brows arched high
“Glory Benson? –
THE Glory Benson…pull the other one!”
“See, I TOLD YOU,
you – ow…ow fuck, sorry boss, I just gotta sit down for a minute, ow. OW!” Willy pulled out the chair opposite
and very carefully sat down.
Warren frown/smiled at
his hapless barman.
“YOU, were at Glory
Willy just nodded
bite, say I believe you, what were you doing there – and don’t tell me her, coz THAT I wouldn’t believe,
not in a million years!”
With indignance, Willy
“Why the fuck not
– why is it so hard to believe that-“
Warren leaned forward,
and twiddled his pen, and interrupted him, shaking his head...
“Willy, Willy, Willy…the
woman has taste…refinement; her idea of a ‘bit of rough’ is that Irish actor, what’s-his-face…(Warren
clicked his fingers, thinking)………um…that one that was in that film with thingy”
“Well THAT narrows
it down!” Willy groused sarcastically, he shifted slightly on the seat and winced in pain.
Definitely not barman Willy! – Besides which, she once knocked ME back, so………what chance would-“
“Contrary to what
YOU might think, you’re NOT the bloody cat’s whiskers, and I’ve had my success in the past with the ladies!
Ow…ow fuck that smarts…”
Warren beamed at him.
“So, what was it,
“No. Just me and
her” Willy looked tired, and in pain. Warren frowned, and began to think. Why would Willy make a story up like that,
that he’d been at Glory B’s house, the idea was just too preposterous, unless it were true…
“So, what did she
do to you then, this Blonde bombshell – coz boy, does it look like she put you through the wringer!”
Before Willy could stop
himself, he blurted out,
“I wish I could remember”
Warren started to laugh,
for a full minute, he belly-laughed until the tears rolled down his cheeks. Willy said and did nothing, just sat there feeling
miserable and in pain.
“Oh fuck, oh god,
that’s…that’s so fucking funny!” Warren held his side, banging the desk with his fist in mirth.
Willy asked, still looking pained.
“YOU! You jerk –
You go to this beautiful woman’s place, and you get totally fucked over and hung out to dry, and you don’t remember…”
“I think she might
have drugged me, bitch. I didn’t have a drink all night, I wanted to be, well you now, at my peak, when…I think
I might have had a drop of champagne” Willy trailed off and Warren went into another paroxysm of laughter.
“Why did you go anyway
– or, more to the point, how come she let you?”
“She owed me for
some info I got for her”
Warren arched a brow, and
shook his head slowly, stood, and came over, patting Willy’s shoulder, barely keeping the grin from his face.
really spare you, but take the rest of the day off, the laugh you’ve given me alone is worth it…and um, take some
advice?” Willy looked up at him.
“I’d get yourself
off down to the clinic, get a few tests done…she drugged you, and probably had a couple of $10 whores fuck you over
– you never know WHAT they might have given you!” Warren cheerfully patted Willy’s shoulder, and left the
office, leaving Willy feeling not only had the bottom just fallen out of his world, but the world had just fallen out of his
going to lunch, well, I’m going to grab a sandwich and a juice, have a look and see what you think about this offer
that’s just come in from the Hat-Trick Cable Quiz network, I’ve left it up on my monitor…” Cordelia
left the office and Spike slid into her chair and began to read.
Buffy put her head around
the door, and Spike called her over.
babe?” he gave her a light kiss and Buffy put her arm around his shoulders.
“What do you think
of this – it’s a new quiz show from Hat-Trick, they do the Spy Camera House and Make me a Millionaire shows, I
thought you and Harmony might fancy it. Make some money for charity, it’s a celebrity quiz special, it’s multiple
choice questions and answers?”
“Well yeah, I’m
game – see what Harm says, it’s for a good cause…oh look, it says we can choose our own charity too, yeah,
I’ll definitely do it”
Cordelia came back carrying
a barbecue chicken wrap and a freshly squeezed orange juice.
“So, what do you
think?” She asked, Spike got up out of her chair.
definitely willing, I’ll ask Harmony when I – oh, speak of the devil! Harm, come and look at this…”
“Right then, that’s
booked, it’ll mean the whole day at the studios, because they are going to record the three celebrity episodes all in
one go, but they don’t know the running order” Cordelia informed Buffy and Spike at the afternoon tea break.
any ideas as to what to buy for the guy that has everything – the party is less than a week away?”
“Who – oh,
you mean Sweet’s birthday…I’ve no idea. Did I see right, he’s supposed to be 50?” Cordelia asked
Spike and Buffy grinned.
56 at least, to my knowledge!” Spike said
59, I remember reading something before I worked here, it said that Sweet’s father was a war hero, he’d been a
POW during the second world war, and had escaped, got shot down again, and was crippled by the crash, so the war ended for
him in 1944, but all was not lost as his wife gave birth to a son, one Cornelius Algernon Sweetly, they had a girl too three
years later, but that puts him at 59 in my book.”
“Algernon eh? –
I’ll have to remember that when he’s tearing me off a strip next time!” Spike said.
“Oh my god! Have
you read this?” Xander came into the café reading the LA News.
god!” Xander said grinning, passing Spike the newspaper.
shrieked with laughter, in fact everyone was laughing, and then Spike read out,
“Trick, 31, real
name Ron Ward guitarist with the rock band Noiz spoke from the Joanne Mondale clinic in Seattle said yesterday that he found
the meditation sessions at the chemical dependency unit so spiritually enlightening, that he’s embraced the faith and
wants to become a Buddhist – bloody hell…I swear to god this has got Sweet written all over it, what do you say
“The only Faith he’s
ever embraced does a duet with Lilah!” Spike joked.
“Sounds like a cheap
publicity stunt to keep them in the headlines as they are not actually making records, although, I haven’t quite got
to it yet in my work-load; but I think that there was some talk about issuing a ‘best of’ album” Both Xander
and Spike frowned.
“Are you still their
manager?” Buffy asked Spike.
“Well, I suppose
so, but what with Rack and Trick in rehab, Animal ‘guesting’ with Pantana, since he got off with that drug possession
rap there isn’t a band to manage.”
“Has Glory got back
to you about that show thing yet?” Cordelia asked. Spike looked up and said,
“Oh god no she hasn’t,
I been in the office too, and no email, phonecall, nothing. I even sent a note with the messengers, don’t worry, I won’t
let her get away with this, this booking stuff behind my back, who the hell does she think she is?”
“Anyway, I just thought
I’d show you that piece in the paper, I’ve got to go, I’m just going to give the band a run through of what’s
going to happen, give me about an hour Spike, then come down and let me know what you think?”
“Sure, is this Roman
Holiday or Mellow?”
“The first one, Mellow
are coming tomorrow, later” Xander left.
“Anyway, to get back
to what we were talking about…what are we going to buy Sweet for his birthday?” Spike looked at Cordelia and Buffy
“I should say a calendar,
so he can work out his true age!” Buffy suggested.
not a problem for me, as I’m not invited!” Cordelia stood up, picking up the empty cups to throw away.
She shook her head.
“I’m only one
of the under-minions of this place according to them, I’m not bothered anyway, Wes is coming to my place!” She
said with a smug grin, and Buffy and Spike chuckled.
“Well, I suppose
I better get back to rehearsals…see you later babe?”
“Yup, if I’m not in the office, I’ll be down in one of the
recording studios, ok?” Buffy nodded and left. Cordy threw the cups and followed everybody out.