From London With Love
Chapter Sixteen: From London With Love
Nov. 23, 2002, 10:47 AM
Hyperion Hotel, Los Angeles
Cordelia threw open the double doors of the Hyperion's main entrance, bathing the lobby floor in a shaft of morning sunlight. A wry grin crossed her face when she saw some movement in the shadows. Her eyes hadn't adjusted to the darkness yet, but she would have bet that was her boss diving out of the sunlight. Got him on the run already. Good.
Angel peeked out from behind a dark leather armchair. "Morning, Cordelia. Mind closing the doors?"
"Actually, I do. But since I seem to be your little puppet
on a string
this week, I had better do what I'm told without complaint, right?" Cordelia shrugged, as Brian dragged her suitcase a few feet inside the doors. "I'll be right out with your fare," she whispered, smiling at Brian. The smile vanished as she turned back around to face Angel. "The boss and I need to have a little talk
." Cordelia announced, before closing the doors.
As soon as the doors were closed, Cordelia lowered her sunglasses to the tip of her nose, staring over them at Angel, who was obsessively brushing dust off of his jacket, having emerged from behind the chair. "So, did you bring the journals?" He waved vaguely at the counter, where a Federal Express shipping carton was already standing open, ready to receive them.
Cordelia removed the sunglasses and put her hand on her hip, tapping the sunglasses against it. "Is that
all you've got to say to your errand girl? You've gotta
me!" Cordelia asked, hurling the carryon bag at him. He had to take a step backward when he caught it, to balance out its momentum. "I just got home from one of the strangest
Twilight Zone trips I've ever been on - and
considering what I've been through in both
Sunnydale and L.A., that's a hell
of a lot." She slapped the sunglasses against her palm. "After all that
, the first thing you ask me about is some old, crusty journals? Not even
a 'Welcome home, I missed you?'. I would think that someone from the sixteenth
century would have better manners than that
"Um, welcome home, I missed you?" Angel ventured, hoping he might be able to defuse what seemed to be an explosive Cordelia drama-bitch-queen tirade. "And it was the eighteenth
"Slightly better, Angel, but not good enough." Cordelia watched him stand there silently looking at her, then threw her hands up in the air dramatically. "Like that makes so
much of a difference. What, you're just going to act
like everything's normal
Angel shrugged. "Isn't it?"
"No, it most certainly is not!
" Cordelia ran one hand through her hair, which had been destroyed by the Santa Ana wind, wincing when she hit a large knot on the back of her head. "You didn't feel it necessary
to warn me that this Slayer-expert vampire friend of yours looks exactly
like a certain Slayer we all know and
loathe, and what is up
with her calling you Liam
and knowing everything
there is to know about you and
Slayers in general? Gee, thanks for the consideration." She shoved her sunglasses in her purse. "She's seriously cryptic about how she knows you, by the way, which I suppose
makes you two a matched set, and that's
something I so
don't want to get into." The seer shuddered slightly. Her hands went to her hip and she began tapping her foot.
As Cordelia paused for breath, Angel took it as an invitation and started to explain, "Well, you see..." Angel trailed off, realizing Cordelia wasn't finished when she held her hand up at him.
"Not to mention
that you didn't feel it absolutely necessary
to explain that she lives behind a magic mirror
in some damned
magical theme park
that would give Walt Disney a heart attack, and
of strange friends who are weirder
than Willow Rosenberg, which is saying a lot
, considering Willow tried to END the damn WORLD
a few months ago!" Cordelia's head tilted to one side obviously looking for some sort of an excuse.
The vampire sat down in the leather armchair and put the leopard print carryon on his lap, staring to unzip it. "She's a bit unusual, okay?"
"A bit UNUSUAL
?" Cordelia took several steps forward and looked down at Angel. "That's the understatement of the century
, boss! Unusual
is a kind word for it! Little miss Americana-vamp lives in the middle of London
, and you're calling her a bit unusual
? Her entire apartment
looks like a cross between a Tommy Hilfiger showroom and one of those kitschy country clutter stores, and I bet
there's some stuff in there the Smithsonian would love
to get their hands on! A lot obsessed
is more like it! She does
know London's not part of the United States
Angel shrugged slightly, pulling one of the journals out of the carryon. "We're all a little eccentric. She likes rubbing their faces in her colonial upbringing." "A LITTLE ECCENTRIC?"
Cordelia's pitch rose as well as her volume. "And so you send me over there? I'm a colonial girl too, it's not like I wasn't raised by the chairwoman of the Sunnydale D.A.R. chapter."
Angel grinned slightly and waved a hand at his secretary. "Not in the same sense, you're not. I meant, she was actually raised in the Thirteen Colonies."
"Big deal." Cordelia leaned in closer. "And what
is between you
two that you
feel the need to defend
"Well, we were..."
Eyes rolling, Cordelia interrupted Angel by throwing her hand at him. "Oh, that's
all I needed to hear. I really needed
the mental picture of you and miss Americana-vamp rolling around in a passionate
room temperature embrace. You and the Buffy look-alike
had a thing? As if the real
Buffy wasn't fawning
all over you already..."
Shaking his head, Angel looked up at the ranting seer. "She was before Buffy. Way before Buffy."
Cordelia shook her head. "EWWW. Please
, no more." She shuddered. "That's even creepier
, boss. So Buffy's
for your little Colonial Barbie, huh? Obsessive, much?
And what's so amazingly important
about these damn
books that you sent me
, of all people, halfway around the damned world
to pick them up from your ex
Angel tilted his head to the side. "That's a rather long story, considering you've got the cabbie waiting." Cordelia snorted. "The basics, it's a favor for Willow. I do kind of owe her, putting my soul back and all. Besides, I really don't
want to get on her
bad side this
"Oh, right. My flight back here was a living hell
, I look like something the cat dragged in, and I lost all
of my damned money
in the slot machines in the airport
, so I really
hope you've got some cash laying around, boss. Not to mention
, you owe me one hell
of a Christmas bonus, payable immediately
Angel nodded, pulling two fifties out of his coat pocket, and holding them up to Cordelia. "The meter's running."
"Thanks. Oh, and there's some interestingly flavored
lollypops in there for you. Not that you freaking
deserve them, but..." The seer spun on a heel and stalked towards the door. "Don't think we're finished with this discussion
Nov. 29, 2002, 6:35 PM
1630 Revello Drive, Sunnydale
Willow sat down, the quiet beauty of the single candle burning in the menorah being overtaken as Xander flipped the lights back on. "That's the Hanukkah I remember," he joked, as Willow put back the center candle, which was used only for lighting the others. "That, and the little presents."
Buffy nodded, sliding a card across the table. "It's not much, but..."
Willow smiled. "It's enough. It's the thought that counts." I just wish someone had been able to track down that missing Watcher's Diary... now I'll probably never know what happened to Libby...
Anya watched as Willow opened the card, then pulled two small wrapped packages from her oversized purse, laying one in her lap. The first, all prettied up in dark blue glossy wrapping paper covered with little printed silver menorahs and dreidels and tied off with silver ribbon, Anya handed over first, as Buffy rose to collect the refreshments from the kitchen. "This is from Xander and I."
Willow beamed, ripping the package open to reveal a new leather checkbook cover, imprinted with a Celtic knotwork Star of David. "It's perfect! I've always wanted... a checkbook cover." Willow trailed off, after realizing what the gift actually was.
"Oh, and Angel sent... this." Anya said with disdain, lifting the second package from her lap. It was the size of a DVD case, wrapped in plain brown wrapping paper that had probably once been a grocery sack, tied off with twine, and had a small '1' written beside the bow in blood-red Sharpie. She handed it across the table, and Xander pulled a Swiss army knife from his back pocket, passing it silently to Willow for cutting the twine.
As soon as the twine was cut, the wrapping neatly slid off of the DVD-sized present, and Willow found an untitled book, wrapped in a cover of hardened black leather. A note - a simple, folded sheet of yellow legal-size notepaper - fell out, and Willow picked it up, beginning to read. Dear Willow, Giles contacted me regarding your search for the Watcher's Diaries pertaining to Miss Liberty Glover of Marblehead, Massachusetts, who served as Slayer during the American Revolution. I had the honor of meeting Miss Glover several times during that period. In the years since then, I have kept myself aware of the location of the journals chronicling her adventures. These journals were, as you may be aware, never submitted to the Watcher's Council archives. Upon Giles' request, I contacted their current keeper - an acquaintance of mine in London who has spent most of her vampiric existence studying Slayers - and she was able to have these exact copies reproduced for your reference. As there are eight volumes, and my understanding is that by Hanukkah tradition, it is customary to give eight seperate small gifts... enjoy! - Angel
"I don't believe it! Angel found it!" Willow squealed.
"What did he find?" Buffy asked, carrying in the tray of drinks from the kitchen.
The redhead squeaked as Dawn came over to see what she was holding. "The second Watcher's Diary... the missing one!"
Dawn's fist shot in the air. "Yes!"
Buffy's forehead wrinkled. "What? I mean, what?
"Look at this!" Willow said, shoving the yellow letter at Buffy. "Anya, you're not really
going to make me wait for the other seven, are you?"
"Of course I am." Anya grinned. "Angel's paying me to do so."