“So, how was New York?” Cordelia asked a grinning Spike.
“Loud, noisy, busy, fantastic! – How have things been here?”
“Loud, noisy, busy, not so fantastic.”
“I’m afraid I had to bring Xander into line!” Cordelia
“Really? – do tell!” Spike perched against her desk
and waited for her to elucidate.
She went over to the photocopier and began to duplicate sheets while telling
Spike all the office gossip and what had gone on while he was away.
“Buffy………Buffy, it’s one o’clock,
Willow gently shook her friend, who’d fallen asleep in the armchair.
A sea of designer shopping bags and her open luggage surrounded her.
“Wha- oh..." She yawned and stretched. "Hi Will…golly, is
it that time already?”
“Yup…you don’t have to be anywhere, do you?” Willow asked.
“No, got a day off!”
“Great, we can catch up! I don’t have any lectures this afternoon!”
Willow said grinning, then she added, “Want lunch? I
was going to have a salad.”
“Great, I need to cut down. I’ve been stuffing myself silly
in New York. Let me go have a shower, and then I’ll
tell you all about it!”
“Look Will...real live, well, not live, but REAL Manolo’s!”
“Wow – “ Willow
looked at the strappy sandals Buffy was holding up in awe.
“They cost an arm and a leg of course, and then I bought this dress
in Prada. I mean, I didn’t think they’d let me through the door! – And... um, oh here, this is for you!”
Buffy handed Willow a DKNY bag with a dinky little shoulder purse in it in Willow’s favorite shade of pink.
“Oh Buffy –thank you – it’s lovely! Gods, I can’t
use it – what if it gets damaged?”
“Don’t be silly! Oh, and there’s this –
I got one too - I might wear it in bed!” Buffy handed her another bag, and Willow
took out an over-size ‘I (heart) NY’ tee shirt. “There’s a baseball cap around here somewhere too…”
Willow dropped her arms from holding up the tee shirt and
grinned at her friend. “So, how was it – you look....different somehow.”
“Different? How?” Buffy smiled and shook her head.
“I don’t really know…happy – you look really happy.
Your eyes are shining, and you’re all bubbly and excited – oh! I know! – I know what it is!”
Still bemused, Buffy shook her head smiling, “What? I haven’t
cut my hair or anything!” She smoothed her hair.
“No. Not your hair. You’re in love!”
“What- no!” Buffy giggled through the word, lowering her gaze.
“You are – aren’t you?” Smiling Willow ducked her head to try and look a smiling Buffy in the eyes.
She looked up and smiled shyly and said, “Well...yeah, ok, yes I
am – Oh, Willow – I had THE most FANTASTIC time
of my life!”
She proceeded to tell Willow what a brilliant time she’d had, obviously
not going into detail on certain aspects of the trip, but telling her all about the the interviews and shows.
When she’d finished Willow
got up and said, “Now to bring you back down to earth with a bump!” She handed Buffy a bundle of letters and bills.
Buffy rifled through them and stopped at one in particular, and held it
up. She looked at Willow.
“You know who this is from, don’t you?”
“Your dad?” Willow
said, biting her bottom lip.
“That’s the bastard.” Buffy threw it to one side and
began to open the bills.
“Oh, and um…I think your washing machine has had it. It works,
just, but it’s making an awfully funny noise.”
“Yeah, it was on its way out before I did the song at the Bronze.”
Buffy looked up from reading the bill.
“Actually, I don’t know if I could bear to part with it really.
It was because it had developed a worrying squeak that persuaded me to do the talent contest in the first place! I thought
if I won the $1000, I could have it repaired. I’ll put it in the garage, and order a new one.”
“Just like that!” Willow
“Yeah…just like that! – No worries!”
With her face devoid of makeup, her blonde hair stuffed under a well
pulled down baseball cap, and wearing tatty jeans, white tee and a denim jacket, nobody gave the woman a second look as she
casually walked down the back alleyway. She stopped, made a very quick call on her cell-phone, and looked up and down the
alley. The fire door opposite her opened, and Willy motioned for her to step inside, which she did.
“Well? What did this journalist mate of yours get?”
“A name, two addresses, and his birthplace.”
“Come on then, hand it over!”
“I think you should be nice to me, if you want this-ah-a-a-a-ahh-h-h-h-OW!”
“Just GIVE IT, you little weasel!”
“Ow!” Willy frowned rubbed his throat and passed over the
slip of paper to her.
“A frat house – and an Army Cadet Training Center…
…you said an address!” The blonde looked annoyed with the hapless barman.
This time it was Willy’s turn to get indignant, and he bickered
back, “Listen, you do your own foot slog – it’s not like you’re payin’ for any of this!”
“I’ll buy you a drink sometime – and remember, don’t
go shooting your mouth off about this…I’m arranging a little surprise!” the blonde said over her shoulder
as she pocketed the piece of paper, pulled open the fire door, and left.
Willy slammed the fire door shut mumbling to himself how she thought she
was SO funny. Buy him a drink indeed...
Anya was almost annoyed at the lack of attention that Xander was giving
her. He used to follow her around like a little lap dog with his tongue hanging out for her, hanging on her every word –
and now he didn’t even bother to look up from his computer monitor when he spoke to her.
It wasn’t that she fancied him or anything…she liked him enough,
but, well…she supposed it was an ego thing.Since she'd split with Sven, there had been a distinct lack of action as
regards men and her, and she was starting to feel it. She liked the company of men better than women, and most of all, she
liked sex. And of late, she’d had neither. She’d phoned Rupert Giles and arranged a lunch-date with him as she’d
always been able to talk to him. She’d get a decent lunch, and commiserate with him over Jenny’s faux pas.
“Where is she?” Sweet asked Lorne.
“In the garden. I was just going to call her in for morning coffee.”
“Okay. She’s got to see the doctor again…although I’m
not sure those tablets they’ve got her on are helping her much. She seems…zombified.”
“Well, Daddy, you can ask him when he comes after lunch this afternoon.
Maybe he can change them or something. There’s got to be more than one type of medication she can take,” Lorne
“Yes. Ah, this will be my call from Switzerland. Get the accountant on the phone for me please, I need to know exactly
how much I can transfer to my accounts in Geneva and Zurich.”
“Consider it done.” Lorne said and left Sweet’s office.
“You’re kidding...what?...voluntarily?...I don’t believe
it!” Spike said incredulously.
Cordelia nodded. “Honestly. When it was put to them what you said
about if he was convicted...if that photographer died...he knew he’d be looking at a mandatory 15 years minimum. Luckily
for him, the guy came round Monday evening, and it looks like there will be no permanent damage, but he will still be charged
with assault. As he’s in rehab of his own accord, his lawyer says that will count to the good of his case.”
“Ah…if he gives up the name of his supplier, then they might
go a little more leniently on him. The amount he was found in possession of was classed as for personal use, so the pushing
charge has been dropped. If he’s lucky, he could just end up with a fine, as long as he goes to rehab too.”
“Well, he isn’t going to give up Sweet is he? – Oh,
let HIM sort it out. No doubt if Sweet throws enough money at the problem it’ll ‘go away’, so to speak.
Let’s see if we can get Rack to go rehab too, get three for the price of two!” Spike said, grinning, and Cordelia
There was a knock at the office door and Glory walked in without waiting
for an answer.
“Do you keep phone-books for different states?” She walked
up to Cordelia’s desk.
“Uh-huh, where do you want?”
Cordelia went over to the filing cabinets and found the appropriate book and gave it to Glory, who took it without a thank
you and left.
“Wonder what’s in Iowa?”
“Who cares? So, did Sweet sign those shopping receipts alright?"
“Yup…he didn’t bat an eyelid. He never does with yours.”
“Good. Did you get yourself something?”
“Nice little Chanel jacket, thank you!” she said with
a grin. “So...how did the trip go?”
“Fantastic – got a lot of work done!”
“I’m not talking about work!”
“That’s ALL I’m telling you!”
“That’s me! – So, where’s Xander?”
“Um…not sure, he was sorting out Caleb’s tour dates,
“How are things between him and Harm?”
“Ah, the ‘secret’ relationship!” Cordy said, grinning.
Spike also smiled. “Well, she’s stuck to him like a limpet every opportunity she gets, when she thinks no-ones
looking that is, and they are totally nauseating when they rub noses and coo at each other. She calls him Pookie, and he calls
her Poppet. I was half tempted to pinch the window cleaner’s bucket yesterday and dump the contents over them!”
“Ah, don’t be cruel…” Spike laughed.
“Anyway, if there is anything you want doing today, can I please have it by lunchtime?
I’m going early.”
“Oh – don’t tell me you actually have a life
beyond these walls!” Spike quipped.
“Funnily enough, I was only thinking that the other day. I reckon
I’ve more than earned that Chanel jacket in unpaid overtime anyway! Yes, the jacket is going to get an outing…I
have a date!”
“Come on, spill!”
“Shan’t, won’t, will not! – My lips are sealed!”
“Where’s that expenses form you forged my signature
on?” Spike asked with a grin.
“Wes Price! You rat-bag! PLEASE keep it to yourself!”
“Darling, my middle name is discretion! And here…these are for you, coz I know
you broke your last pair.” Spike put a small package with Dolce and Gabbana written on the front, on her desk.
She frown/smiled, opened it, and took out a pair of sunglasses, the type
of which she had broken a month previously.
“What’s this? - Oh Spike! Thank you! Come here,
you are a sweetie.” She gave him a light kiss on the cheek.
“You’re welcome pet. Now…I bet I’ve got a ton
of emails to sift through!”
“Oh, I’ve put a Spam blocker on your account, and sifted out
the rubbish. I haven’t opened anything personal, just left you the important and private ones.”
“Aren’t you the bestest? Thanks!”
“Thank YOU!” She waved the glasses at him and they both began
to get on with some work.
“Is Rupert there please…………Jenny Calendar...yes,
I’ll hold…………………He’s not? Oh. I don’t suppose you could tell me
when he’s - no, okay then, thank you, bye."
Jenny held the receiver to her chest, ending the phone call with her fingers
on the cut-off digits, and when she got the dialing tone again, she dialed Anyanka’s mobile.
The Four Seasons was closed, but Anya and Rupert had enjoyed a sumptuous
lunch of grilled lobster and champagne. They’d both heard the phone ring at the bookings counter, and the waitress blatantly
lie about the boss not being in.
Grinning, Rupert sipped his champagne and said to his lunch companion,
“You know who that’ll be calling, don’t you? I’ve instructed all my staff to say I’m not in
– I can’t speak to her. I just wish she’d take the hint!”
Not five seconds later, Anya’s cell phone rang, flashing up the
name ‘Jenny C’.
“Oh, guess who this is? – I shan’t answer, I’ll
let the message desk take it. Anyway, sorry, do go on, Mick Jagger said what to you?”
Rupert finished his anecdote as they finished their drinks.
“Coffee?” he inquired.
“Is it ‘Taster's Choice?" Anya asked wickedly, grinning.
“Hey! That was years ago. Nothing wrong in doing the odd commercial!”
“No, sweetie, I Know. In fact, I must run. I’m doing
a commercial this afternoon for Steinbeck piano’s. It’s for the foreign market, and pays quite nicely, thank you
Rupert stood up, and ever the gentleman, he helped her on with her jacket.
She turned to say goodbye, and suddenly found herself being passionately kissed.
Slightly taken aback at first, she stood quite stiffly, but quickly
yielded to his embrace and found herself totally enjoying it. She blinked open her eyes and thought, **wow, no wonder Jenny’s
desperate to get back with him**.
“Anya…gods, do you know how long I’ve wanted to do that?”
“Huh? Um…oh gosh, I...er...."
“Meet me, tonight, please? Come for a drink upstairs at the cocktail
bar – ring if you’ll be coming after hours.” Rupert was rubbing her arm gently up and down, looking at her
“Er, Um…y-yeah – yes, yes, I’d love to!”
They both smiled and found the slight awkwardness had gone, especially when Anya launched herself at him for another
toe curler of a kiss.
“Tonight, around nine-ish. I’ll ring if I’m going to
be late…got to go...bye!”
Anya left on shaky legs. She got into her waiting car and told her
driver where she wanted to go next. She looked up at the restaurant window, and Rupert raised his hand in a wave, she did
They both knew that a line had been crossed, and they’d moved on
from being just friends to, well, what exactly she didn't know.
A million other thoughts ran through her head, not least of which was
how she would break this to her friend.....Jenny?