After patrol that night, Xander wearily got out of his car, and trudged to the door of his apartment. As he walked by the mailboxes, the headache that was throbbing inside his skull worsened. Hope I don’t have another concussion. But, even if I did, it would be gone by morning, right?
He unlocked the door, tossed his keys onto the coffee table, walked into his bedroom, and fell face down on the bed, asleep before he landed.
His last thought, before conscience fled was: I hope the alarms on.
Ritchie looked around the apartment that Adam was letting him use. He was sitting on the couch, feet propped up on the coffee table.Nice place. Better than the one he’s using up in Seacouver. Wonder what else he owns.
He’d tossed his sparse amount of clothing into the dresser and the closet, and put away his toothbrush. He hadn’t really brought much else, other than his laptop and his CD’s. Adam had told him that the place was already furnished, so he didn’t need to buy anything, or have anything shipped down from his old place.
He’d changed clothes, and took a quick jog around the place to familiarize himself with the immediate area. Not once had he felt the Buzz of another Immortal. So far, so good.
Tomorrow, he’d check out the collage, and find a gym that he could practice with his sword.
He took a swig of the soda he’d bought earlier, along with some other groceries. The sudden feeling of another Immortal almost made him choke.Spoke too soon.
But it was there, and then gone. He waited, expecting the Immortal to come back, but nothing. Hunh. Usually they at least come back to check if it’s a friendly or not. Strange.
He got up, grabbed his sword, and slid it under the couch, leaving only the grip sticking out. He sat down, but after a few minutes was too bored. The cable wasn’t hooked up yet, so there was nothing on the TV except for static.
Ritchie wandered over to the bookcase, and started to read the titles of the books. Finding one that sounded good, he brought it back to the couch, and started reading. An hour later, he glanced at the clock and was surprised at how fast time had gone. The book was really interesting, and had drawn him in during the first few chapters. Flipping to the end of the book, he read the little bio on the author.
He snorted. Benjamin Pierce. Adam would
have a book that he wrote himself laying around in his apartment, wouldn’t he.Figures.
He tossed the book onto the seat next to him, grabbed his sword, and went to bed.
He woke up around 7 am. Duncan’s fault,
he told himself. He’s the one who drags you out of bed at this ungodly hour to run for three miles. It’s not because you like it. It’s the Scot’s fault.
He dragged himself out of bed, changed into his running clothes, put on his shoes, and locked the door behind him. He started off, running towards downtown, figuring he’d get to know the place while he was running.
After about a mile, his brain started to wake up, and he looked around for the first time. Nice looking town. Doesn’t seem like a bad place to live.
He noted where the stores were, and reminded himself to come by later and check them out. He also noticed a few help wanted signs, which was a good thing, since he needed to find a job.
Since he wasn’t found by the police or anything like that when he first died, his social security card and everything was still valid. According to the US government, he had never died, so everything was valid. He had only been 19 when he died, but 4 years later, he was 23, according to his drivers licence. According to Adam, he was only 4, though.
He reached the end of the block, and turned the corner, to go around the block and take a different way back to the apartment. Glancing up to get the name of the street, he didn’t see the blond that was turning the same corner. The ran smack dab into each other.
Only quick reflexes, on both their parts, save them from landing hard on the asphalt.
“Whoa! Sorry, didn’t see you coming. You alright?” he asked, holding onto her shoulders to steady her.
“Yeah. Sorry, didn’t see you coming either. I’m alright. Thanks.” she grinned at him.
He let go, and took a step back. The grin reminded him of someone... Dawn! The girl that he’d met the other day in the store.
“You’re Dawn’s sister, aren’t you?” he asked.
“How do you know Dawn?” she asked, surprised, and suspicious.
“Met her the other day when I stopped in to talk to Rupert Giles. She said she had a sister, but I don’t think she told me your name.”
“How did you know we’re sisters?” she asked, still suspicious.
“You have the same smile. I’m good with faces. You’ve both got great smiles, that’s how I recognized you.” he smiled.
“Ah. Gotcha. Ok, well, I’m Buffy, Dawn’s Sister.” she held out her hand.
He shook her hand. “Nice to meet you, Buffy, Dawn’s Sister, I’m Ritchie.” he said, making her name into a title.
She laughed. “Well, it was nice running into you, literally. I’m sure I’ll see you again sometime. Gotta go, before I’m late. Bye!”
“Bye.” He watched her disappear around the corner, then continued down the street. Which he still didn’t know the name of.
He finished his run, and returned to the apartments. Ritchie was glad that he didn’t fell the presence of another Immortal the entire run.
He showered, shaved, and changed into his “Job Hunting” gear: new light blue jeans, a white t-shirt, and his boots. That was the closes that he was willing to go to be ‘dressed up.’ Unless Amanda was coming, then he dug out the heavy gear. A button up shirt, and a tie. And black jeans, for that outfit.
If there was one thing that Ritchie refused to let Duncan change about him, it was his clothing. He would not wear slacks and a collared shirt and a tie every day. No mater how many times Duncan told him that he looked good that way. Jeans and a t-shirt worked for him.
He made sure he had his wallet, picked up his messenger back and grabbed his old worn leather jacket, although he didn’t think he would need it. But, when living in Washington, you prepared for the worst, and hoped for the best. Yes, but you’re not in Washington anymore, are you.
Still. It was better to be over prepared than to be under prepared.
Besides, it was only May. You never know, it might get chilly.
He left the bike home, and decided to walk. He also thought it would be a good idea to get a buss pass, and find the closest rout. What with gas being so expensive these days, it was best to ride the bus than to drive. Ok, list of things to do today:
Collage, Job, Bus pass, routs, eat sometime, Library, Movie store. That ought to cover it for today.
He’d seen the library earlier, so he thought that was a good place to start. Libraries usually had most of the information that you needed when you moved to a new town.
He found it with no problems, and entered the air conditioned building. Ritchie waited patiently for the people in front of him to finish checking out their books, then stepped forward.
“Hi. I’m new in town, and I was wondering if you could help me out with a few things.” He smiled at the lady behind the desk.
“Sure, what can I do for you?” she smiled back.
“Well, I was wondering where to get a bus schedule, and a buss pass, and maybe a map of the area.”
“Well, out in the lobby we have a bunch of bus schedules, see right there?” she pointed out a Sunnydale Public Transit sign that he’d missed. Sure enough, there were several bus schedules below the sign.
“Ah, great, thanks.” he nodded.
“And we can copy a map out of one of the atlases for you. You can get a bus pass at either Cost Cutter, or at the transit depot. It’s ten dollars, and lasts for one month, or if you’re a student, you can get a quarterly pass, and it’s seventeen dollars.”
“You don’t, by chance, get asked this frequently, do you?” Ritchie chuckled.
“How could you tell?” She scrunched up her nose, and rolled her eyes.
“Hmm. Wild guess. Ok, so which atlas should I look in?” Ritchie asked.
“Here, they’re over here. And the first four copies are free, so you can make 3 mistakes.”
As they walked by a shelf of books, he glanced at the book displayed prominently on the top. He stopped, and picked it up. The librarian stopped politely, and waited.
“Shadows of the Past, by Benjamin Pierce. Hunh. So, he’s got a new one out, does he.”
“Yes, that just came out about a month ago. It’s really quite good. Have you read any of his other books?” she asked.
“Only one. And I’m in the middle of it actually.” Ritchie shook his head. “I didn’t know he wrote books. He never said anything about it.” he muttered.
“You know Benjamin Pierce?” she squeaked.
“Apparently. But I didn’t know he was a writer. He, uh, he’s letting me use his place while I’m at to collage here.”
“Wow.” she breathed. “And he never said anything about being a writer?”
“Well, he told me he was writing his memoirs, but I don’t think that this qualifies.” he held up the book. “What’s it about, anyway?”
“Its about the legend of the Four Horsemen, from the Bible?” she answered, watching a child look a magazine.
Ritchie almost dropped the book. “The Four Horsemen?” he repeated.
“Yeah, you know, Pestilence, War, Famine, Death?”
“Yeah, I know who they were. Intimately.” he muttered the last under his breath.
“Hunh. Guess I’m going to have to check this one out, and read it. Ought to be an...interesting story.”
She smiled, confused at his tone. “Yeah, I found it fascinating.”
“Fascinating. I’m sure it will be. Right, so, maps?”
“Yep. Over here. This one’s a good one for local maps, the pages are marked, see?” she opened the page to a marked page. “The copier is over there, and if you need help, I’ll be behind the desk. Alright?”
“Yep. Thanks a lot. I’ll be over in a few minutes.”
He found the map he wanted, made a copy, and put the book back. He took Adams book up to the counter, and filled out the application for a library card. He signed his name on it, checked out the book, and thanked the librarian once again for all her help. On his way out, he grabbed two copies of the bus schedule. One for his bag, and one for home.
He headed for Cost Cutter, which he could see a few blocks down, since it was easier to find than the bus depot. On his way, he swung into one of the many McDonald’s in town. Since cholesterol wasn’t going to kill him, he figured that he was safe eating there. He at his breakfast on the way to the grocery store. He also stopped into one of the coffee places on the way, and got a cup of coffee.
One thing that you did a lot of in Washington was drink coffee. Apparently, you did the same in California, from what he could tell. Since he’d left the library, he’d passed at least three places that sold coffee and tea. That’s almost as bad as Seattle. Seattle is the Mecca of coffee drinkers everywhere. There’s at least three coffee joints on every two blocks of Seattle.
He got into Cost Cutter, got his bus pass for the month of May, since he wasn’t enrolled in the university yet. Ok, so that ticked off bus schedule, bus pass, maps, and eating. That leaves job and collage. Since it’s Saturday, I’ll go in on Monday to the admin office. So, that leaves two days for job hunting.
Ritchie walked back into the down town area, and started going into stores, asking for applications, and if anyplace was hiring. There seemed to be quite a few places that were hiring, mostly for nights, it seemed. He filled out applications until his hands hurt. He gave them his cell phone number, and reminded himself to get a house phone hooked up along with the cable.
At a nutritional store, he asked the clerk if there was a good gym nearby. The girl, an athletic blonde, beamed at him, and gave him several names. He thanked her, and escaped as quickly as possible. Uuuuhg. Health nuts. Scary beings.
He also stopped into a Blockbuster, and a Hollywood Video, and got cards at both places. That way, if he had fines at one place, then he could go to the other until he payed the fines, and vice versa.
By now it was late afternoon. His stomach was telling him that McDonald’s was several hours ago, and that if he didn’t feed it soon, it was going to eat his spine instead.
“Ok, ok, fine, I’ll feed you. Just hang on a few more minutes. I’m sure I can re-grow my spine, but I’m not sure I’d want
to.” He muttered in the direction of the starving organ.
He pulled out his wallet, and checked the contents. I think I need to find a bank, and have Duncan transfer my account down here. Before I run out of cash.
Ritchie walked into a small restaurant, hoping that their burgers and apple pie were equal to that of Betty’s in Seacouver.
He settled down, and ordered. He watched people walking around out on the streets until his food came. He cautiously tasted everything, and found that it wasn’t as good as Betty’s, but it came close. When he was done, and got up to pay the check, he asked the waitress where a good mechanic shop was, and she wrote down a number, and an address for him.
“This is the one that I use. He’s good, and he doesn’t charge an arm and a leg. Just one or the other.” She winked.
“Sounds good. Thanks for the help. Have a good day.”
“You too.” She sighed as he left. “What a cutie. Polite too.”
One of the other waitress, overhearing muttered, “Probably gay too.”
“It would figure, wouldn’t it? All the good ones all have girlfriends, and all the other good ones have boyfriends. Ah, well, what do I expect, living in California, land of the fruits and nuts.”
“So, which one are you? A fruit, or a nut?” The other girl teased.
“Me? I’m a fruity nut.” They both laughed.
“Ok, then I’ll be a nutty fruit. Now we’re the best of both worlds.”