Elizabeth took Giles' left hand and pushed the sleeve of his jacket back to expose his wrist. It was one of the few places on his body free of scars, and she relaxed when she didn’t find whatever it was she'd expected.
“So, you are one of those
watchers,” she said, releasing his hand.
“You haven’t aged a day in the past thirty years,” Giles answered.
“Surely you recognize the symptoms, Rupert,” Elizabeth said. Her smirk was as he remembered, and for a moment he could almost imagine he was seventeen again.
“But you were one of us.”
Elizabeth nodded. “I wasn’t the only one.” She glanced toward the street where a group of giggling women went about their shopping. “We’ve much to discuss, but I’d rather not air dirty laundry on the street.” She stepped around them and exited the alley calling, “Why don’t we head to my place. You both look like you could use a drink.”
Giles looked to Jenny and shrugged. “We wouldn’t want to put you out,” he said.
“Think nothing of it,” Elisabeth answered. “It’s a couple blocks down this way. I’d be grateful for the company. I’ve been a little lonely, new in town and all, you know.”
Jenny caught his arm as he moved to follow, drawing his attention without halting his progress. “Are you sure about this?” she hissed. “She’s got to be a demon of some sort. She could be leading us into a trap.”
“I may not have known her as well as I believed,” he said, “but I know what she is. Elizabeth may not be normal, but she’s not demonic.”
“That doesn’t necessarily make her good.”
“No it doesn’t,” he agreed. “She was a tutor of mine. The best teacher I had actually.” He looked down to find Jenny watching him with surprise and disbelief. “She may be older than she looks and have a difficult time staying dead, but that doesn’t preclude her being a good woman.”
“Think she’ll tell me where she gets her moisturizer?”
“Looks like you’ve done well for yourself,” Giles commented as they turned up the walk.
“Having a very long life helps,” she answered. It took her a few moments to find her key and unlock the front door. She entered and stood back to allow Giles and Jenny to enter. “Not many of my kind are poor, we just have to live as if we were from time to time to blend in.”
“Must be frustrating,” Jenny grumbled as she took in the living space.
“More nostalgic really,” Elizabeth commented. Her head disappeared below the wet bar for a moment, and she reappeared holding a bottle of scotch. “Kind of like getting back to your roots, you know,” she continued, pouring them each a glass.
The house was large with hardwood floors, rich paint colors, high ceilings, and a decorative fireplace. It was otherwise bare, with a couple of chairs and a table in view around an assortment of boxes.
“I’m only half moved,” Elizabeth said as she brought tumblers to them. “My husband had a few loose ends to tie up. He’ll bring the rest in a few days. I’m afraid most of the seating is in his truck.”
“You’ve married?” Giles asked as they all found seats. He hoped his expression and tone remained bland but friendly as images of stolen moments and heated kisses flashed through his memory. He tossed down a mouthful. Ah, nothing like the burn of strong liquor to distract yourself from untoward thoughts.
Elizabeth shook her head as she swallowed the sip she’d taken. “I reconciled with my first husband.”
“Been married often?” Jenny asked.
“A fair few times, Miss…” Elizabeth looked startled for a moment and blushed. “I’m afraid I don’t know your name.”
“Miss Calendar,” Elizabeth repeated. “I’m a great deal older than my appearance would leave one to believe.” She stared into the middle distance for a moment before downing the rest of her drink in one shot. “I’ve outlived several husbands,” she sighed.
“But not your first one?” Jenny asked. Giles grimaced at her tone.
“He’s an Immortal as well, isn’t he?” he asked. These two could make his life miserable with very little effort, and he hoped steering the conversation back on topic would help dispel the tension growing between the two women.
“He is.” Elizabeth stood and returned to the wet bar to refill her glass. “We were married before our awakenings, and a series of badly timed events had us each thinking the other dead until we were reintroduced by a mutual friend.”
“You seem to have become accustomed to Sunnydale rather quickly.” He knew his attempt to change the subject was obvious, but he didn’t care at the moment.
“I did do my homework,” she answered, rolling her eyes. “And, I’ve met a few vampires and demons in my day.”
“Yet, you let yourself get drained and dumped in an alley,” Jenny interjected, smirking over her glass.
“It’s fun to see the confusion on their faces,” Elizabeth answered with a shrug. “The older ones last long enough for me to come around, but alas, it’s difficult to tell the fledglings from ones who’ve been around a decade or two.”
“They always have that kind of reaction to your blood?” Jenny asked.
“The blood of an Immortal is poisonous to vampires,” Giles explained when Elizabeth simply nodded. “We don’t know why.”
Jenny blinked wide eyes twice before nodding. “Cool.”
Giles swirled the amber liquor in his glass. “What brings you to Sunnydale?” he asked.
“I heard something ugly was heading your way, and I thought I could help,” she answered.
Her voice was too innocent, and it sent alarms off in his mind. Giles raised an eyebrow, letting a trifle of the suppressed rage Elizabeth knew so well show through his expression.
“Okay!” She squirmed. “So that’s not the only reason. Some of the watchers have begun hunting us, and we needed to disappear before we lost our heads.”
“So your husband is erasing any trace of your passage and setting up new identities and documentation for you both,” Giles guessed.
Elizabeth nodded. “And I’ve come along to begin setting up our new lives and…” She shifted uneasily. “Determine if you’d be an ally or enemy.”