Chapter 3 in Which I Have an Interesting Lunch
A/n: Shout-out to AllenPitt for the idea for the location of Mars Investigations. Thanks! Also, Buffyworld.com is the source of all of my researching needs.
At lunch, I looked for Willow, Xander, and Jesse. I found Willow first, sitting and talking to the new girl, Buffy. As I walked closer, I heard Buffy asking Willow for help catching up on her classes.
“Can I get in on this?” I asked as I sat on the other side of Willow.
“Veronica, hey,” Willow said looking guilty. “This is Buffy. She’s new, too.”
“Yeah, we kind of met,” I said with a friendly wave. “In the library.”
This caused Willow to get all excited again and start explaining about the new librarian to Buffy who, to her credit, seemed suspicious of the timing of the librarian’s arrival as well.
“Hey! Are you guys busy? Are we interrupting? We’re interrupting,” Xander said as he squished his way between Buffy and Willow, throwing his bag to Jesse who remained standing.
“Hey.” Buffy said.
“Hey, there,” Jesse flirted. I rolled my eyes. I could tell my earlier assessment of him as a major flirt was spot on.
“Buffy, this is Jesse and that’s Xander,” Willow said pointing them out to Buffy, her affection for the guys obvious. “Guys, this is Buffy.”
“Oh, me and Buffy go way back, old friends, very close,” Xander told Willow. “But then there was that period of estrangement where I think we were both growing as people but now here we are, like old times. I’m quite moved.”
“Is it me, or are you turning into a bibbling idiot?” Jesse asked Xander.
“No, it’s, uh, it’s not you,” Xander admitted.
“Oh, and don’t forget Veronica.” Jesse said sitting by me and throwing an arm over my shoulders. “Long time, no see.”
“Yeah. Three whole hours. I don’t know how
we made it,” I teased, deliberately grabbing his hand and unwinding his arm from around my neck before dropping it into his lap.
He looked at me, calculating. Possibly wondering if he had a chance. I smirked back so he’d know that all was not lost. Hey, he was cute, nice, and just the right amount of sarcastic to pique my interest.
“Well, it’s nice to meet all of you,” Buffy said looking amused. “I think.”
“Well, you know, we wanted to welcome the newcomers, make you feel at home. Unless you have a scary home,” Jesse joked as Xander stood and rummaged through his backpack.
“And return this,” Xander said holding up what looked like a wooden stake. “The only thing I can think is that you’re building a really little fence.”
“Hah. No, um, a-actually it was for self-defense. Everyone has them in L.A. Pepper spray is just so passé.” Buffy reasoned. Everyone else seemed to accept her excuse. Me, not so much. My spidey-sense was tingling.
“So, what do you do for fun, what do you like, what do you look for in a man? Let’s hear it,” Xander rambled, having apparently decided that the front of Buffy’s head was much nicer than the back, as his lack of interest from earlier was non-existent now.
“Yeah, spill, “Jesse said directing the comment at me. Instead of answering, I looked to see what Buffy’s reaction would be.
“Gee, everyone wants to know about me. How keen,” She said sounding like she meant anything but. At this point, she was throwing me and Willow a pleading look.
“Well, I like a guy who knows the value of a good ice cream cone,” Willow threw out, willing to be a team player. “How about you, Veronica?”
“Intelligent, but not smarter than me, obviously,” I said playfully. “He can take a joke and
tell one. Bonus points if he can cook because that skill is NOT in my DNA.”
All of that was true, except it might be okay if he was smarter than me. Or maybe not. I’ll admit it: even Veronica Mars has an ego.
“Ouch,” Xander told Jesse giving him a pat on the shoulder. “Not even one outta three. That’s gotta hurt.”
“Shut up,” Jesse said pushing Xander away with a self-deprecating smile.
“Cordelia alert,” Willow announced. So that
was the name of the mean chick from this morning.
“Are these guys bothering you?” Cordelia asked Buffy.
“Uh, no.” Buffy answered confused.
“She’s not hanging out with us,” Willow said trying to save Buffy some face that, to her credit, Buffy didn’t seem to want saved.
“Oh, god. They’re multiplying,” Cordelia said upon spying me sitting at the edge of the group. She was a total 09er at heart.
“Willow, I think I've found someone else who could use your math tutelage,” I retorted nodding at Cordelia. “You would think someone who’s heard ‘plus one’ their whole life would know the difference between addition and multiplication by now.”
“Whatever,” Cordelia said, turning back to Buffy. “I don’t mean to interrupt your downward mobility, but I just wanted to tell you that you won’t be meeting Coach Foster, the woman with the chest hair, because gym was cancelled due to the extreme dead guy in the locker.”
“What?” Buffy asked.
“What are you talking about?” Willow asked a second later.
“Some guy was stuffed in Aura’s locker,”Cordelia explained.
“Dead.” Buffy might have been asking but it sounded more like a statement. And she sounded resigned to the fact when she said it. Like this somehow affected her directly.
“Totally dead. Way dead.” Cordelia confirmed.
“So, not just a little
dead then?” Xander joked.
“Don’t you have an elsewhere to be?” Cordelia asked as her vicious personality reared its ugly head again.
“How did he die?” Buffy asked, a little too interested in the details, if you asked me.
“I don’t know,” Cordelia answered.
“Well, were there any marks?” Buffy asked.
Ok. This was getting downright strange. I couldn’t help but wonder why this stylish blonde, who for all the world could have just been another cheerleader, cared so much about a dead body that she couldn’t possibly know.
“Morbid much? I didn’t ask.” Cordelia said looking weirded-out by Buffy’s interest.
“Um. I gotta book. I’ll.. I’ll see you guys later.” Buffy said as she grabbed her bag and left in a rush.
I couldn’t help but wonder if dad knew about this yet. He wasn’t law enforcement anymore. In fact, he had decided to open up a private detective business in Sunnydale. He’d found a great spot for it next door to the Sunnydale Cultural Art Gallery but he would also be offering his services to the Sunnydale PD as a consultant.
Somehow, I didn’t think Dad knew yet but I was sure that he was not
going to like this.