Chapter 25: Amanda.
Thanks to Beta’s Spk, Mary and Karbear57 to taking the time to beta my fiction. Thanks!.
Chapter 25 Amanda.
“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Nick Wolfe asked as he eyed the five pieces of luggage stacked neatly on the porch.
Amanda, a medium height bleached blonde with short hair turned a sweet smile towards him.
“Of course,” she said. “When was the last time I didn’t know what I was doing?”
Nick rolled his eyes.
“Small town,” she mused with frown looking around. “Doesn’t even have a decent theater or museum.”
“When did you love those?” he asked dryly.
She gave him a look. “When I was robbing them,” she admitted.
He smiled. “We did pass at least a movie theater and what I believe to be an art gallery and museum on the way here.”
“I wonder if the gallery or museum has anything worthwhile to steal,” she mused.
“I thought we came for a visit,” Nick asked, eyebrows arched in question.
“We did, I mean we do, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot mix a little bit of business with pleasure. Darling, I love culture,” she cried.
“Yeah, only if it benefits you,” he commented sardonically.
Amanda gave him a mysterious smile.
“Are you sure you have the right address?” he asked changing the subject.
“Of course, I had to coax it out of Ritchie. I was told that Duncan called and said he was in Sunnydale, California, and he’s staying at 1630 Revello Drive.”
“What is he doing in California, any way?” inquired Nick. “I mean he was in Paris several months. Why go from Paris to a dinking town called Sunnydale?”
“You don’t like suburbia?” she mocked.
“Who can like a place called Sunnydale; it just screams Stepford Wives and kids.” Nick shuddered.
“That’s the city in you talking.”
The city,” he mused. “At least you know what to expect in the city. The bustling, the smells…”
“…the crowds, that gray pall that seemed to hang over every city,” Amanda countered. “But not here; smell that fresh air, that sunshine. This place screams Americana.”
“It is not normal,” he muttered.
“Yes, but I could get used to place like this,” she mused, taking a deep breath.
“Yeah right,” he scoffed. “After a few days, you will be begging for the city and its entertainment. Weren’t you the one complaining earlier about the lack of theaters and museum? Culture.”.
“I’m fickle,” she admitted with wry smile. “I’m a lady. I am allowed to change my mind.”
“A lady,” he snorted. “That will be the day. Are you sure Duncan is here?” he asked for the third time. “This place doesn’t seem like a hotel,” he added looking around. “He could have moved since he called Ritchie.”
“Since last night?”
“I don’t think so.” She pressed the doorbell.
“What are we doing here anyway?”
“I am visiting Adam and Mac.”
“You couldn’t wait until they are back in Seacover?” Nick asked. He was a handsome man in early forties with shaggy brown hair that needed trimming and hazel eyes.
“I won’t be left out of the action,” she said with her hands on her hips.
“Why are you sure, there is action to be had?” he demanded.
Amanda rolled her eyes.
“Because Mac and Adam are both here. Duh! Plus Joe. When is the last time Joe Dawson left his little pub?”
Nick opened his mouth to respond.
“Well-- never,” she commented while pounding on the door.
“Hey not so loud!” he said with a wince, as the door was opened by an attractive woman in her late thirties or early forties.
“Yes,” Joyce said cautiously, having learned not to invite anyone inside, no matter the time of day.
“Hi!” Amanda chirped with a blinding smile. “I am Amanda Montrose,” she said using one of her aliases. And this is Nick Wolfe; we are friends of Adam Pierson and Duncan MacLeod. I am wondering if we could speak to them.”
Joyce eyed them for a few moments and soundly shut the door.
“She closed the door!” Amanda exclaimed incredulously.
“Shh!” Nick whispered. “You can’t be too careful in this day and age.” He stiffened and felt Amanda do the same as they both felt an immortal on the other side of the door. A powerful one, too. They looked at each other, backed away from the door cautiously, and went for their swords. But before they could draw their weapons the door was abruptly opened.
Standing before them silhouetted by a circle of sunlight was one of the most stunning women Nick had ever seen. His mouth dropped open in stunned surprise.
Buffy grinned. “Amanda!” she squealed.
“Isabella?” Amanda questioned, her hands releasing her sword back into its secret place.
“Isabella!” Amanda said rushing to give the other woman a quick hug. “What are doing here?” she demanded. “I haven’t seen you since that time in Belize in 1882. You haven’t change a bit,” she paused to carefully look her over, “…except your hair,” motioning to Buffy now blonde locks.
“We all cannot stay the same, but look who’s talking,” she commented eying Amanda short bleached ‘do.
“Like?” She preened, twirling around in a half circle.
Buffy eyebrow arched in contemplation. “It’s definitely you,” she said with a laugh.
“Oh God,” said Amanda. “This is the last place I expect to find you. Nick,” she said turning to her silent boyfriend. “Nick?”
“You are beautiful,” said Nick walking over to kiss Buffy’s hand.
“And she’s mine,” said Jack, hearing the last sentence.
“Johnny?” questioned Amanda.
Jack grimaced as he walked over to kiss her on the cheek. “Amanda, how many times I asked not to call me Johnny?” He frowned, but his eyes held a mischievous twinkle.
“I like the name Johnny,” she pouted.
Buffy rolled her eyes as she said to Jack, “You know she only called you that to rile you up.”
“Wait a minute,” said Amanda. “You are still together?”
“Yes,” said Jack proudly.
“Sort of,” Buffy added.
“What!?” Jack turned to look at Buffy in surprise. “What do you mean sort of?”
“Not now, Jack,” she said dismissively.
His eyes narrowed. What’s going on?
he wondered, eying her thoughtfully. “We have to talk,” Jack ordered.
Her mouth tightened and she gave him a dry stare. “Later.”
Amanda eyed them for a minute, as she felt tension between them. “So,” she said casually. “...are you together or what?”
She followed them in the living room. Buffy shrugged.
“Then you wouldn’t mind if I made a go at Jack,” Amanda provoked.
Buffy stiffened and opened her mouth.
“Gotcha,” Amanda crowed, holding up her hands, placating. “I have my own boy toy. I don’t need yours.”
“How long have you guys known each other?” Nick asked, ignoring the term boy toy. Amanda could be outrageous at times.
“It’s been a while,” Buffy said noncommittal.
“It’s definitely being a while,” Amanda agreed with a laugh. “Nick, if you think I’m wild. Bella here puts me to shame,” she admitted with a smirk.
As stains of scarlet appeared on Buffy’s cheeks, she grew angry at herself for being embarrassed. She had nothing to feel embarrassed about. Yes, she done things she wasn’t proud of, but who hadn’t. Then there was that tension that sprang up between her and Jack. It was all her doing, of course.
Earlier she had Jack set out to find the Goa’uld with high hopes then they decided to split up. It was a great strategy, but it enabled her to start thinking without the cloud of lust that surrounded her. Thinking had aroused her old fears and uncertainties. She had changed from the old Bella everyone knew. Adam saw it; even Angel saw it, but not Jack. She couldn’t go back to being the old Bella.
She won’t, but more importantly, she can’t. Plus, what did they know about each other. Nothing, even though they had made love. Everything wasn’t right between them. He couldn’t expect that they would just pickup where they left off fifty years ago. Could he? She thought glancing at his stormy face. Apparently he could.
Also noting the tension that seemed to spring up in the room, Joyce quickly brought cups of coffee into the room.
“Mr. Wolfe, are you an immortal?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“Really?” she inquired, slightly surprised. The immortals she had met seemed different to her somehow. “How old are you? If it’s not an imposition,” she quickly amended, her eyebrows rising curiously.
“No, it’s not,” he assured her. “I’m forty-two. I became an immortal last year.”
“Oh,” she said sympathetically, knowing that an immortal’s first death was always shocking and violent. She didn’t mean to bring up unhappy memories, so she searched the room for something to do. “Does anyone want more coffee?” she asked, poised to rise up from the sofa.
“No, Mom,” responded Buffy, as she sipped from her cup. “We didn’t even finish our last cup.”
“Mom?” Nick questioned, taken aback. He looked from one woman to the other. They didn’t seem like mother and daughter, plus Bella was an immortal. And all immortals were foundlings.
“It’s a long story,” Buffy said wryly.
“Where are Mac and Adam?” Amanda asked abruptly. It didn’t seem like Bella’s scene,
she mused, taking in the cozy looking living room
“They are checking on something for me,” Buffy replied.
“Well, since the people we came to see are not here, we might as well hear the long story,” said Nick before sipping his black coffee sweetened with one sugar, no cream.
Buffy looked around as if searching for something to distract everyone, but seeing no obvious distraction, gave a huge sigh. She then proceeded to tell Nick and Amanda how she met Joyce. “…and that’s how she became my mom,” she concluded as a shuffling sound came from the front door.
Having sensed the Immortals, Buffy walked to the front door and unlocked it. “What did you find?” she asked impatiently as they set a foot over the threshold.
“Nothing,” Duncan grumbled as he strolled into the room. “Bupkis.”
“Me too,’” mumbled Adam as he followed Mac to the living room. “Maybe we’re getting too old,” he mused. “Because our powers of persuasion aren’t what they used to be.”
“Speak for yourself,” Mac scoffed. “I could tell that they were afraid.”
“They didn’t show it. They could have acted more scared,” Adam insisted; his brows furrowed in a frown. “Instead they clammed up.”
“Have you been torturing peons, Methos?” said Amanda, smiling slightly. She was happy to see her friends.
“Amanda!” Adam walked over to give the woman a tight hug.
“Amanda?” said Duncan, startled to see the woman. “What are you doing here?” he asked in bemused frown taking note of the living room full of suitcases.
“I’ve been asking her the same things, since she dragged me out here.”
“Nick!” he exclaimed. “Did she drag you here too?”
“You know I can’t tell her no,” the youngest immortal said with a wry smile. “How are you Adam? Mac?”
“Good,” said Duncan. “I’m just surprised to see you, that’s all. What are you doing here, anyway?” he asked, bending to give Amanda a kiss on her lips.
“I couldn’t let you run off on another adventure without me,” Amanda protested, returning the kiss.
“What adventure?” Mac asked mildly.
“Who were you torturing for information?” she demanded, giving him ‘are you kidding me’
“None of your business,” he said, without any heat.
“You see,” she objected gleefully. “You are having an adventure. When I heard that Joe Dawson took a vacation with you two, I knew something was up. And if that was suspicious enough, the place you guys are staying is with Bella. Where Isabella goes, chaos is sure to follow,” she said almost triumphantly.
“Are you sure you aren’t talking about yourself?” Buffy retorted, irritated.
“I’m sure,” retorted Amanda, smiling sweetly.
Buffy and Amanda had met years earlier, when they both went after the same priceless jewelry. At the time, both women had different reasons for stealing the jewel. To Amanda it was its worth; at the time, the jewelry, a sapphire big as a robin’s egg was worth 10 thousands marks. But Buffy had been stealing it for her own brand of justice.
The sapphire had originally belonged to a duke’s family for generations. But the young heir believed that he was in love, gave it to his sweetheart before the wedding vows, to later find out that he was been cruelly used. Buffy, as always a champion for mankind, had came upon the distraught young man and promised that she would retrieve the jewel without any fuss. After thoroughly investigated the story and the jewelry, Buffy embarked on a life of jewel theft.
However, Annalisea, wife of Dagon the Conqueror, an immortal Viking, closely guarded the jewelry. Annalisea was mortal and greedy. Feeling neglected by her husband, she would seduce young men promising that she would leave her husband for them, but her fears and lack of purse would disable her for leaving. She would choose a prize jewel, one that was surely in their family for generations. When they protested, she would cry that they didn’t love her. To show their love, they would comply with her wishes.
Buffy decided the young duke would be the last of such young men this woman would seduce. And she had a plan. But the plan didn’t include Amanda, and most surely didn’t include Annalisea who cried thief when she unexpectedly came upon both Buffy and Amanda in her house. In the midst of getting away, Annalisea was struck down. It was also happenstance that Dagon came home during what Buffy conceded to be the debacle of a lifetime. Having missed Amanda’s escape, he only took note that Buffy was alone with his wife when she died. And so even now, he constantly chased Buffy, wanting to take her head.
Buffy didn’t have time to worry about being chased for something she hadn’t done, she needed to find Amanda who had escaped with the jewelry. When Amanda was found, she wasn’t willing to part with such a rare find, unless Buffy could give a replacement of equal or greater value. That was the start of unusual friendship, that fifty years was nothing between them.
“Where is Joe?” Amanda asked, eagerly looking behind both Adam and Duncan. “Is he behind you?”
“No, he’s not with us,” responded Adam, walking to sit beside Buffy and Jack on the opposite sofa.
“A friend of Bella owned some obscure books,” Duncan said. “…he and a couple pals of Jack’s went to visit him.”
“Listen,” interjected Buffy, she sounded curt. “…since some of us are here, we needed to make several decisions. School will be out soon and the rest of the gang will be here soon, we need to coordinate what we need to do. And we also have to talk about the rooming situation,” she said gesturing around the crowded living room.
“If you could direct us to the nearest hotel, we will be satisfied,” Nick said lightly.
“We don’t actually have a hotel,” Buffy admitted.
“What!?” mocked Amanda, aghast. “Sunnydale has a theater, why not a hotel?”
Buffy shrugged. “Weird town” she said dryly. “We don’t have hotels, but we have motels, but they’re not fit for fleas. I wasn’t going to mention this until the others are here, but I met up with Angel earlier, and we both decided it is better if we are all under one roof. He has plenty of space at his place, and he’s willing to put us up until our situation is resolved.”
“What kind of situation?” asked Nick.
“Angelus is in town?” Amanda mused, licking her dry lips.
“Yeah,” Jack said dryly.
“Who is this Angelus?” asked Nick, not like how Amanda said the other man’s name. He knew that as an immortal, she had many lovers, but he couldn’t help but being jealous of her past.
“A friend,” said Amanda, smiling enigmatic. “A really old friend.”