“And again I say YES.” Said Cordelia shaking her head, “Want me to go out the room and come back in and say it again?”
Angel frowned, “But… But…” He growled, making Cordelia frown. “Geez, Angel! What do you *have* against me having a normal life? I know he’s not a vampire, I met him in the sunlight. He’s not a demon, he actually killed one in my presence!”
“But that doesn’t mean he’s not evil!” Angel yelled. What the hell am I saying? The guy’s not evil just… Well, if I say an asshole, does that mean I’m jealous?
“Cordy, there’s something you should know ab…”
“No!” Cordelia shook her head, stubbornly, “No, no and no again. For once I’m going to go out and be normal. I’m gonna sit there and not worry about noodles in my hair! I’m going out on a date and if you don’t like it you can go… BROOD!”
She grabbed her bag and stalked away from him, leaving Angel to stand there and sigh. Fred popped her head out of the door, “Are you brooding?”
Y’know? I think I am. Thought Angel.
“So…” Cordelia smiled, “How did you get into the whole… Demon fighting business.”
Riley glanced at Cordelia, wondering what to tell her. She seemed to know enough about it herself so there was no point in him hiding anything from her. “I used to… Fight demons… In college…”
“Oh!” Said Cordelia, “For fun or just for… Something else?”
“For… The something else thing. Involved a girl. Ended badly.”
Cordelia nodded, “Oh yeah, it usually does… I mean, take my ex-boss for example.” Riley’s eyebrows raised. “He’s brooded over this girl for the past God only knows how long, he’s just come back from this whole spiritual retreat thing to find out that hey, the girl he thought he’d… Uhm… LOST… Is back and… Now he doesn’t really brood anymore which completely throws me for a loop and…”
Cordelia stopped, “I need to breathe.”
Riley smiled at her, taking a sip of his beer, “Your boss broods a lot, huh?”
“EX-boss… And ohhhh yeah, we’re talking the Eternal Brooder, in the very literal sense.” She smiled. “He’s cool though. He does what you do. Fights demons and stuff.”
Suddenly, this was getting a little familiar to Riley. And then a *lot* familiar. “Uhm… Cordelia, what’s your boss called?”
“Why?” She was instantly put on guard by the question. If he wanted to hurt Angel, she’d walked right into this.
“Uhm… I think I might know him.”
“And where might you know him from? You’re from Iowa, he’s never been to Iowa… And he’s my EX-boss.”
“Well, has he lived anywhere else?”
“We’re in Southern California.” Said Cordelia.
“Oh…” Riley decided to play a different tack, “Just thought I might have known him from somewhere. Places like that aren’t all that common.”
“Places like what?”
“How the f…” Cordelia stopped, swearing wasn’t ladylike, “How do *you* know what a Hellmouth is?”
“I went to a school near one.”
“I went to school ON one.” Said Cordelia, pointedly.
“Let me guess, Sunnydale High?”
“Oh, you’ve GOT to be kidding me!” Said Cordelia, shaking her head, “I moved away from Sunnydale for a reason! To get AWAY from it!” Okay, so that theory hadn’t really worked – Angel was a part of Sunnydale, as was Wesley – a part she wouldn’t trade for the world.
“Is this some kind of ‘I was mean to you I think I’ll get back at her’ thing?”
“Huh?” This left Riley puzzled.
“Well, I was mean to people in High School – and if you want to kill me for it and think dating’s the way to do it, think again buster, I was impregnated with Hellspawn! Almost TWICE! I’m *so* not naive.”
Riley stared at her for a while in complete puzzlement, “I thought not many people knew of the Hellmouth…”
“Well, when you’ve got little Miss Likes To Fight in your Senior Class, it’s kinda hard not knowing…”
“Little Miss Likes To Fight?” ‘She who hangs out a lot in cemeteries’.
“Just a… Girl, I used to know her… I still do… Well, again. I do *again*. I didn’t know her for a while on account of her being dea… Uhm… De-ACTIVE!”
“De-active? Since when was she active?”
“With the Council?”
“The Watcher’s Council?”
“BUFFY!” He exclaimed. She knew Buffy!
“Buffy? You know Buffy?”
Oh God, Thought Cordelia, Could this BE any more awkward?
“I used to date her!”
“Oh… CRAP… You’re that Riley? Jeez, no wonder he brooded!” Said Cordelia, then,
“OHHH, YOU’RE THAT RILEY!!!”
“Yeah, I’m that Riley…”
“The one who… Left…”
“The one who went to Belize on the big missiony thing?”
“The one who doesn’t know that Buffy…” Cordelia tailed off, “Uhm, maybe I shouldn’t be the one who tells you this…”
“Tells me what?”
“Uh, nothing. I mean, everything’s fine now I think… Sure she’s still a little disoriented and everything but…”
Riley sighed, “Her Mom… It’s her Mom, isn’t it?”
Cordelia shook her head, “No, that happened ages ago… I’m talking about when Buffy died, not her Mom…”
“Joyce di – WHAT? BUFFY DIED?”
Cordelia gulped, “Uhm… Maybe you should… Take another drink…”