Summary: What do you do after higher powers intervene and stop you from committing suicide? Could you just move, forget about everything in your life, pretending that nothing happened? Do you strive to find what greater purpose is in your future? Kate Lockley is about to find out!
AN:Had help from my two betas. I think we did good. Let me know what you think.
AN2: this is for emphasis this is for thought or memory
Disclaimer: I DO NOT own. Really wish I did. Angel characters belong to Joss. Supernatural characters belong to Kripke. Ron is mine, though.
The late night moon shone on swaying trees, creating shadowy webs on the grounds below. The mock webs crept through the window casting a shadow, calling to mind a skeletal claw, on the sleeping form of Detective Kate Lockley.
Kate twitched slightly as flashes of the last year played out behind her eyelids in horrific nightmares that she could only wish were not based on reality. She watched as the vampire before her questioned Angel, ‘Yeah, why are you here?’ Angel’s features changed from that of her friend into the ridged forehead and yellow eyes of a fierce predator. His voice changed and it sounded as low and lethal as his face looked. He answered Penn, ‘To kill you.’
The shock of that scene melted away only to be replaced with the hallway outside her father’s apartment. She does not want to remember this, not again, but her nightmare persists. She was almost pushed down by the man running out only to fall to the floor with the body of her dead father. ‘I wanted to save him . . . He wouldn’t let me.’ She could hear Angel trying to explain. He said more but she just didn’t want to hear it. ‘Get out, get out, get out, get out.’
Her brain would not stop there. It replayed Angel biting her, the time she got drunk and overdosed on pills, along with all the subsequent fights with the undead. Each flash of memory more vivid then the last, until her subconscious mind couldn’t take anymore, thrusting her back to the world of consciousness.
Realizing it was another bad dream, Kate scoots back in her bed and slumps against the cool headboard. Waking up in a cold sweat was not the way she wanted to start her day. Drawing her knees to her chest, she props her elbows on her knees and cradles her sleep-deprived head in her hands. Taking a moment, and a few deep breaths to calm her rattled nerves, she turns to the clock and sighs. Two-thirty in the morning. Although, the middle of the night was not exactly considered the “start” of the day, she knew returning to any semblance of peaceful slumber anytime soon was unlikely at this point, she figured she would get an early start to the day.
The path to the bathroom was cluttered with unpacked boxes, just another thing to add to her growing to do list. Snaking her way through the dark hallway, fumbling against the unfamiliar walls Kate flipped the light switch. Her eyes weren’t prepared for the sudden illumination forced upon them. Shaking off the sharp pain in her head as she went through the doorway into the bathroom, using only the light from the hallway, Kate twisted the cold knob on the faucet. Running her hands under the water until they were cool, she splashed water on her face a few times—the last time holding her hands in place. As if the coolness would seep in and refresh her life some. Allowing that thought to pass, she grabbed the towel from the counter and dried off. Staring at her tired reflection, she reminded herself, “Angel was able save you. You
are here for a reason.” Taking that moment to wonder about her sanity, she laughed at the absurdity of the whole situation. “Now I just need to find out what that is.”
COFFEE! That’s what her body was demanding, and she was willing to oblige. Feeling a bit more refreshed from the cool water, Kate headed into the now brilliantly lit hallway. Her eyes were still a bit sensitive from their rude awakening a short time ago. Reaching the opposite end of the hallway, she flipped the switch off and made her way to the kitchen. Pulling the grounds from the cabinet, Kate frowned. This is the last pot she’d be making before the next stop at the store. While waiting for her coffee to brew, Kate booted up the tank she liked to think of as her computer. Man, she needed to upgrade. If she was going to continue working from home doing phone sales, she was going to need a system from this century. As Kate logged into her email, to download the weekly list of prospects, the rich smell of coffee hit her and her brain chose that moment to go stupid on her.
Knowing that no work would get done until at least some
amount of coffee was consumed, she headed back to the kitchen, grabbing the stack of unpaid bills on the way. Finally, now was as good a time as any to go through it. She started flipping through and stopped when she saw her phone bill. When opening it, she almost did a spit take. Well, it would’ve been a spit take if she had any coffee left in her mouth to spray across the room. But she had just gulped it all down so fast that it hurt her throat, almost choking her. The amount was beyond surprising and the only thing she could link it to, were all the calls for work. “That’s it. I’m going to the office and getting a desk in the morning. ”
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The next day.
“It’s completely understandable, Ms. Lockley. Many of our employees didn’t want to step foot in here, even to pick up their paycheck. Although, when that first, hefty phone bill comes in many change their minds quickly.”
He continued the tour as he spoke, escorting her to the main room. It was huge, but with everyone working there crammed together tighter than a waistband on Thanksgiving, there wasn’t much space left. She looked at everyone sitting in their cubicles, and ‘little’ didn’t even begin to describe how tiny they were.‘Wow, have I really sunk this low? I’m a telemarketer now?’
Hoping she didn’t just say that out loud, she jumped when Ron continued.
“I know it doesn’t look too promising, but due to the working space, pretty much everything else is well compensated. The break room is down the hall and in back, well stocked with snacks, drinks, media and comfortable furniture. To accommodate everyone equally, break is an hour long and in two shifts. The time schedule rotates every two weeks. If there is anything that you would like and it’s within reason we will happily get it for you. We understand that this is not exactly the best of jobs, so we like to make our employees as comfortable as possible.” He said with a smile.
Then Ron’s demeanor changed from ‘happy-to-have-someone-new-in-the- company-family’ to a stern visage she only ever saw on her captain that time someone accidentally spilled his coffee . . . that man really was a bear of a grouch when he didn’t have his morning coffee!
“We have a strict three strike policy. If you screw up three times, we will have to boot‘cha and send you on your way. You will not receive any recommendations, or anything. Well…severance, but still very little. Don’t think that because we’re so accommodating that you can take advantage. We’ve had a few employees steal various things from the break room. We completely skipped the three strikes and had to let them go immediately.” Changing his demeanor once more, in a way that was done with practice, he continued in a, nicer, more friendly, tone. “Now, I wouldn’t expect so little respect of authority and property that stealing from work would require from you, given your background, but it’s policy to warn new employees.”
Kate realized that he was a good person. He didn‘t like laying down the law, but he had to in order to keep the company afloat. He reminded her of the deputy sheriff in the movie she saw just last week. She came across it at the rentals, and saw the giant spiders and Sheriff Dewey on the front of the case and thought it might be goofy, and goofy was just what she needed on that particular night.
She nodded, “I completely understand, sir. You won’t hear about anything like that being connected to me.”
He smiled, “I’m glad to hear that.” He turns, about to go back to his office, hesitates and turns back. “Ms. Lockley, you don’t have to sir me. Other than the few incidents that I’ve mentioned, we do pride ourselves on treating everyone here like family. It would please me if you felt the same, please call me Ron.” He added with a smile.
“Yes sir.” She said, purely in response, as she had for so many years. “Sorry…”
“No problem.” He said with a smile. “Old habits and everything.” Glancing over her shoulder. “Hey, Sam, could you show Kate here to her seat?”
“Sam Wesson meet Kate Lockley. Kate Lockley meet Sam Wesson. Sam is our top employee in tech support. Kate has been with us for a awhile now, telecommuting from her home office. She’s finally decided to join us here.”
“Hi Kate,” he said and offered his hand. The beam from his mega-watt smile momentarily blinding her. “Glad to have you here on the team.”
“Hi, Sam.” She smiled back, returned the shake, and tried desperately not to blush and bat her eyelashes. Man! There is just something about that smile.
“Thanks! Glad to be here and on a team again.”
Ron, interrupting their moment, said, “Great. Well, I’ll leave you two to your work.”
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Sam started walking towards the cubicles with Kate in tow. “So, how long have you been…,” he stopped as if to choose his words carefully, “…in this field?”
Kate smirked, noticing his decision not to say exactly what it was she was there for. “Not long really, just started last month.”
“Really? Well, you know the basics, then?”
“Yup.” She nods and smiles.
“Alright. Lunch is at 12:00. We’ll be sharing the same lunch hour until everything has been settled.” He sees Kate’s raised eyebrow and smirked “It’s policy with new employees. It allows them to get the lay of the land and the flow of everything much easier.”
Sam smiled genuinely. “Well, let me know if you need anything else.”Man! That smile is gonna be trouble.
“Thanks. See you at twelve, then.” She turns to her cubbyhole, pitifully disguised as a ‘desk’ and thinks to herself with a small smile. ‘This might not be that bad after all.’