Back Before, How It All Began
This is chapter is set post "Sanctuary" for Angel
and pre Chapter One.
For disclaimers, please see the first chapter.
I held my gun pointed at Angel. My mind was racing trying to understand what I had just witnessed. I couldn’t seem to make heads or tails of it, but he seemed to know it all.
“Your clip is empty,” Angel quietly stated as we stood in the middle of a mini-battlefield.
“I’ve still got one in the chamber. Will you survive a bullet between your eyes?”
“I’m not sure,” he honestly answered and shrugged slightly. A deep groan escaped from within him at the movement and I frowned.
My mark had just saved my life and now I was faced with emotions I had never experienced before. His arm hung useless as his side. The leather jacket had taken the brunt of the blow, but the creature’s claws had done extensive damage. He had thrown himself in front of me right before the creature attacked. All of the training I had endured had not prepared me for what I saw mere moments before.
Blood soaked through the front of his shirt from my gunshot wound in his chest. I’ve never missed a heart shot before…okay maybe that once but those were different times. Of course, to my own defense, I’d never seen anyone move so fast. One second he was in my sights and the next my bullet was bouncing around in his ribcage rather than a through and through to his heart. He should be bleeding out on the floor rather than carrying on a conversation with me. Creatures of my nightmares hadn’t been mentioned in the contract and this was certainly not like anything else I had ever been brought in for.
I sighed and a few loose strands of hair blew away from my face. I switched the safety back on and tucked my handgun in the back of my pants. I was moving toward him before I realized it. “You’re supposed to be a bad guy, saving my life doesn’t seem to fit in with that description,” I muttered as I approached him.
“Lindsey tell you that?” he asked. He bit his lip as I touched his arm to examine the wound. There was so much blood that I couldn’t see anything.
“Mostly Lilah,” I replied and looked up at him. He was clearly in pain but the imminent signs of death were not there. “You need to get to a hospital if you want to save that arm.”
He chuckled for a moment before shaking his head. “They didn’t tell you what I am, did they?”
“What you are?” I asked, confused at the odd phrasing of his comment.
A bitter laugh escaped him, which promptly led to a coughing fit. I could see the blood in his mouth – my bullet had done damage. He swallowed a mouthful of blood down and spoke, “How did they tell you to kill me?”
“They wanted your dead body, they didn’t specify how. That shot to the chest should have killed you, even if I missed your heart.”
“I’m not that easy to kill.”
“So what are you?”
He looked down at me, our bodies still close to one another, and his face morphed into something else. I took a step back, my hand automatically going to my gun. The safety was clicked off and the heavy metal weight of the gun was a welcome presence in my hand. Point for me because I did not scream.
“You’re a vampire?” I couldn’t keep the laughter out of my voice. “A real live vampire?” A smile appeared on my face as I watched confusion appear on his.
“That’s it? No running, screaming, or denying my kind exists?” Angel sounded a little disappointed. I was pretty sure he was even pouting slightly around those fangs.
“Nope, although that would explain why you moved so fast, and why that bullet didn’t kill you.”
His face melted back into that of the handsome man it had been moments before. “So, are you going to finish your hit, or can I go get stitched up?”
“The deal is off. Your status as a vampire wasn’t mentioned in any part of the deal.”
“Oh good,” he muttered.
“I’ll even help stitch you up, you saved my life after all,” I offered and he chuckled.
“Fine.” He turned away from me and started limping back towards the building he lived in and worked out of. I waited a few moments and then followed after him.
The following morning I walked into Lindsey’s office and interrupted the meeting taking place. He looked up, as did his clients, and a frown appeared on that devilishly good-looking face of his.
“I’m in the middle of a meeting right now,” he stated and I nodded acknowledging that.
“Deal’s off,” I announced and tossed the duffel bag onto his desk. Papers fluttered off and landed on his floor but I ignored them. The advance I had gotten for the hit on Angel was still in the original packing as it was when I accepted it. Call me superstitious but I never touched the money until the deal was fully completed.
“Excuse me for a moment,” Lindsey addressed his clients and started towards me. I stood my ground at his desk. He tilted his head toward the door to his office and I nodded once. He beat me to the door and held it open for me.
Once the door had fully shut he turned his full attention to me. “The deal is off? You’ve never canceled a deal before, Mathilda,” he questioned me as he crossed his arms over his chest.
“I’m canceling this one.” Short answers would work best with Lindsey. He hated bullshit.
A slow, unfriendly smile appeared on Lindsey’s face. “How’d he get to you?”
“He saved my life after I shot him in the chest.”
“So he survived a heart shot?”
“You realize the Senior Partners aren’t going to be happy to hear that you are backing out of this deal.”
“I’m not one of their employees.”
“Not obtaining Angel will make them very upset,” Lindsey assured me.
“That’s more your problem then mine. Find another way, Mr. McDonald. And don’t bother considering my services again.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Lindsey said and I turned to exit the building. I doubted that would be the last I heard of Wolfram & Hart and Lindsey McDonald, but a girl could hope. “Mathilda,” he called as I reached the elevator door. I turned back to look at him. “It would be safer for you if you didn’t align yourself with him,” he quietly called down the hallway.
“I’ll remember that.” I offered him a terse smile and stepped into the elevator. Aligning myself with Angel would probably result in my death, but it seemed like the right thing to do.