Friday 7:03 AM
Angel could safely say that this was the most bizarre night of his life. It was far stranger than the drunken brawl in Juarez. It was way more peculiar than the night he and Mickey Mantle sat in a bar discussing the intricacies of wheat farming. It didn’t even come close to the time in Vegas with the eight showgirls
The question he should be asking is why the hell should he care about this woman? Angel should be pissed. Until he met this Adele girl, Angel had a full and rousing evening planned. He was going to get sloshed, go home, and then put his favorite Eagles CD on.
With a half empty bottle of whiskey, Angel would have belted out lewd lyrics to ‘In The City’ and wonder in a drunken haze why he was back in this world. It would have been fun. Was it really only ten hours ago that he planned this all out?
There was no real reason for him to be doing this. Even if he did save this girl it wouldn’t change how the others thought of him. Sure, this Adele chick may say it was his destiny to help people, but really, did she think he was stupid enough to buy that? After all, why would some mystical force of good entrust a vampire with saving humans? It was ridiculous.
So why was he in the high school library surfing the Internet for information?
That was a damn fine question. He hoped to answer it shortly, but first, Angel wanted to know what the deal was with all these book-marked websites Willow had. An X-Files fan fiction archive was listed. Another about something called Pokemon. And why did she have the Victoria’s Secret website marked? Willow didn’t seem like the type to wear that kind of stuff. Weird.
But while Willow’s websites were confusing, trying to find information on this Jameson was simply frustrating. It was also highly disturbing. Angel had performed a search on Regina’s as a starting point. He had found the club’s official website and found that it listed a Juan Ramirez as the manager. The site also had a link proclaiming you could contact the owner. Angel clicked on it and uncovered an e-mail address. He saved it for later.
The town of Sunnydale had its own website. Angel took a peek at the public records but was unable to find anything out about Jameson. He begrudgingly admitted that he wasn’t knowledgeable enough to do all the fancy hacking and stuff to find the info needed. Angel briefly considered asking Willow to do research on it, but then he thought about what Adele said. The vision came for him, not Buffy, and by association that meant her friends. Angel was on his own.
It was after looking at the previously mentioned websites that Angel found the disturbing parts. The next half dozen links offered newspaper articles from the Sunnydale Gazette. The past five years had seen six dancers disappear from the club. A little research into their backstories and Angel was able to distinguish the trend.
All of the girls were college age. All were extremely beautiful. All had large debts due to school and other things. The way Angel figured, Jameson found girls that were in a vulnerable situation. He promised to erase their debts in exchange for them dancing at his clubs and performing other…tasks. If he ever felt they weren’t working up to par or if they were screwing him over, then Jameson had them disappear.
Angel leaned back in the swivel chair and stared at the monitor. There were still a couple questions that needed answering. The first regarded whether or not Jameson was human or demon. Judging from the lack of a paper trail, Angel was leaning towards demon. The second question was how he would track him down. Angel typed in the address for a person search engine. In seconds, Angel once again was disappointed.
“No matching entries? Bullshit.”
No home address was listed for Juan Ramirez within the Sunnydale limits. Angel figured that was Jameson’s doing. He keeps his lackeys hard to find so he can insulate himself. But Angel supposed that didn’t matter. He knew where the son of a bitch worked. When the club opened at eight that evening, Angel would be there and he would beat Jameson’s address out of him. And if that didn’t work, Angel still had the e-mail address he found. He could track a person down from an Internet address. Angel read the slip of paper he scribbled the address on.
“That a vampire porn site?”
Angel startled in his seat. So intent on research, Angel totally missed the sunrise and the fact the clock now read 7:30. If he had noticed all that, Angel wouldn’t be surprised to find Giles, Buffy, Xander, and Willow entering the library. Angel quickly clicked out of the windows and stood up to greet the arrivals. He pointedly ignored Xander’s quip.
“Buffy. Good morning. How are you?”
“Fine,” Buffy answered. She slowly moved to the table to speak with him. Willow looked nervous by Angel’s presence. Xander and Giles sent him scathing looks. “And speaking of morning, why are you out and about in it? Isn’t this your bedtime?”
“Uh, yeah. It is.” Angel wished she would quit looking at him like that. He just might spill the beans about what he was doing.
“What are you doing here?”
That was the question he didn’t want asked. Angel decided to avoid her eyes and think of something funny to say. “Just doing a little, uh, research. Thinking about getting into the stock market. Ensuring my future. I used the library computer because I didn’t think Giles would mind if I accidentally broke it.” Buffy just nodded and eyed him strangely.
“Oh. So what did you do last night after I left?”
“You know me. Same old, same old.” Angel chuckled nervously. “Read a bunch of bad French poetry and brooded.” By now everyone was looking at him peculiarly. “And speaking of bedtime, I gotta go.” Buffy squeaked in surprise when Angel delivered a quick peck on the cheek and scampered off to the sewer entrance in the back.
“This is the most normal I’ve ever seen him act.”
“Shut up, Xander.”
“Can we please get this meeting underway? You three have class shortly and I have my own research to conduct.”
Xander and Willow took seats at the table. Buffy continued to stare up at the stacks and the spot where Angel disappeared. She’d have to drop by the mansion later and ask if he was okay.
“Mr. Jameson, the firm would once more like to thank you for the services you have provided. Wolfram and Hart is extremely appreciative for finding the Aberzjian Scrolls. The firm would like to make it clear that we are willing to handsomely compensate you for your troubles.”
“Thank you, Miss Morgan…”
“Please, call me Lilah.”
Jameson smiled at the young and attractive lawyer seated across his desk. “Well, Lilah, it was my pleasure in doing this for your firm. My relationship with Wolfram and Hart has dated back to the days when your great-grandfather was wrapped in diapers. But enough about that. I do believe I can use your firm’s help. You see, there are two girls who have been bothering me…”
Lilah smiled in understanding. “How can they be bothering you if they never even existed?”
Jameson laughed. “For a person dealing with me for the first time, you sure have developed a quick understanding.”
“Thank you, sir.”
They were interrupted by the sound of knocking on the office door. Jameson called out and a pair of vampires entered.
“Any news?” Jameson asked.
The lead vampire nodded and spoke. “Yes sir. Mister Jacob found Julie.”
“Excellent! Have Jacob take care of her immediately.”
“There may be a problem with that, sir,” the vampire explained. Jameson beckoned for him to go on. “Mister Jacob apparently found her residing in the mansion occupied by Angel.”
“Angel?” Jameson rattled his brain as he tried to recall the name. His eyes went wide as understanding dawned. “You mean Angelus. The legendary vampire with a soul. Oh, that is certainly most interesting. Jacob does have a team with him, correct?” The vampire nodded. “Then instruct him to exercise caution. But Julie must be taken care of, understand?” The vampire did. “Good. Now, would you kindly go and retrieve our other little problem? I would like to deal with her personally.”
“Yes sir.” The vampires scurried off to obey their orders. Jameson turned back to Lilah with a slight smile.
“If you don’t mind, Lilah, I really have some work to attend to.”
“Of course.” Lilah gathered up her briefcase. “And I will have our people in the Records office attend to your problem. Have a good day, Mr. Jameson.”
“And to you as well, Miss Morgan.”
Lilah stood and escorted herself from the office. When Lilah was sure she was alone she withdrew her cell phone. Hitting speed dial two, Lilah tucked the phone to her ear.
“Hello? This is Lilah. Would you give Holland Manners a message for me? Tell him I may have discovered someone very interesting. Something about a vampire named Angel. I think he will be interested. Thank you, Carla.” Lilah disconnected the phone. A sly smile appeared on her face. This could be big. She may even make Junior Partner for this one.
Cordelia bustled about the small apartment frantically. She was so late for school and she had a million errands she needed to run. She huffed in annoyance as she grabbed a history book from underneath the bed. If she wasn’t in debt and still had a housekeeper, then Cordelia wouldn’t have to be worrying about these things.
But, of course, Cordelia was in debt and she didn’t have a housekeeper. Well, it was really her parents that were in debt, but they weren’t exactly around to take any blame. Just because she got stuck working in a formal wears shop trying to pay rent and pay off a few of their debts didn’t mean Cordelia was upset.
She was fucking furious.
If her parents ever came back from Switzerland or Luxembourg or whatever non-extradition complying country they were in, Cordelia was so gonna kick some ass. Leaving her to deal with all the creditors hounding after them. What the hell was up with that? And where the hell was her chemistry book?
Cordelia kneeled down and looked underneath the sofa. She found the desired chemistry book and one of her bras. She stuffed the book in her backpack and slingshot the bra into the corner. She was about to go retrieve her coat when there was a knocking at the front door.
“Who could that be?”
Cordelia dropped the backpack to the floor and crossed over to the door. She was about to unlock the deadbolt when she had a thought. She quickly retrieved a stake from the door side table. Being Sunnydale, a girl could never be too safe. Cordelia looked through the peephole and sighed at what she saw. Tossing away the stake she undid the locks and opened the door. Pasting on her biggest phony smile, Cordelia said…
“Good morning! How are you?”
Two young and attractive men, albeit slightly pale, greeted her. They appeared to be nice and non-threatening, but Cordelia hated them. This was the fourth time they had dropped by her apartment in the past few weeks. And frankly, it was getting old.
“Miss Chase. We are well. How are you this morning?”
“Very well, Roger. In fact, I was about to leave for school.” She hoped he would get the hint. Roger either didn’t get it or didn’t care.
“We were hoping to speak with you a moment. May we come in?”
Cordelia was tempted to say no, but in the end decided not to test fate. These two men worked for a man named Jameson. He was evidently a big shot that her father had made some business deals with. After her father was forced on the lamb, Jameson’s people showed up on her apartment door looking for money. Apparently, they had the legal right to seek payment from her. And that was what she was doing. A good chunk of Cordelia’s paycheck went to the assholes.
“I really need to get…”
The argument died on her lips. Roger and David would not be denied. Not that they ever were. Cordelia sighed and murmured a “Come in” before moving out of the way so they could enter. David came to a quick stop just inside the room. Roger wore a sly grin as he glanced about the apartment.
“I love what you’ve done with the place,” he commented. “Sort of a San Francisco grunge look.”
“I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Personally, I am upset with housekeeping.” Cordelia glanced at David who stood stone still with his hands in his pockets. “You doing alright?” David said nothing. “Glad to hear it.”
Cordelia cringed as Roger picked up a snow globe off her bookshelf. She had gotten that on a trip to Tahoe when she was eleven. There’d be hell to pay if the fucker broke it. Thankfully, Roger lost interest in the snow globe and set it back down. He easily slid into the speech he had obviously been practicing.
“Mr. Jameson is curious as to why he hasn’t received any money from you recently. You do still remember that he is entitled to garnish wages from you since your father is unable to deliver funds, correct? And as I’m sure you realize, Mr. Jameson hates it when people are late with payments.”
“I understand that. But if it comes between paying some dude my father owes money or fixing the pipes under the sink, I’m going with pipes. It costs a lot of money to get them fixed when they leak that bad. Plus, look at that.” Roger looked to where Cordelia pointed. A light blue rug dominated the floor. Well, half of it was light blue. The other half was a funny looking gray. “That is a water stain. And I loved that rug.” Roger didn’t seem to care.
“Am I to take it that you do not have this week’s payment?”
“Yeah, you can take it that I don’t have this week’s payment. I spent it on plumbing. I love the idea of an indoor pool, but that wasn’t what I had in mind. If you or this Jameson has a problem, then tough luck.”
Roger shook his head in disappointment. “I’m truly sorry to hear that, Miss Chase. Since you do not have the money, I think we should take you to see Mr. Jameson.”
“Oh yeah? What makes you think I want to go?”
Roger vamped out. “What makes you think you have a choice?”
Cordelia’s eyes went wide and she slowly began to back away. “Well shit. I probably should have seen this coming.”
“Yes,” Roger agreed. “You should have.” He motioned over to David. “Would you please detain Miss Chase, David?”
David vamped out. A slow grin appeared on his face. This was his favorite part of the job. He loved to see people struggle. He loved to hear them beg for mercy. He was sorely disappointed with Cordelia Chase’s reaction.
The vampire leapfrogged the couch and landed a foot in front of Cordelia. The metal base of an expensive coffee table lamp promptly greeted him. Cordelia whipped the lamp around a second time and nailed David in the jaw. She grinned in satisfaction when his left fang broke in half. Cordelia was less satisfied when Roger came up and backhanded her. She dropped to the ground and rubbed her jaw. Roger barely flinched at her scathing look.
“Will you come with us now?” he asked.
Cordelia spat on his shoes. “Fuck you.”
“That isn’t very nice.” Roger reared back and belted her across the jaw with his fist. Cordelia’s head smacked against the floor. The blow knocked her unconscious. “I hope that doesn’t leave a mark. Mr. Jameson hates eating bruised food. David!”
David rubbed his jaw and felt his broken fang. “The bitch broke my tooth!” he whined.
Roger rolled his eyes and indicated for David to come pick the girl up. “We have dental insurance. Now let’s get her down to the tunnels and back to the office. We’re running late as it is.”
David bent down and hoisted Cordelia up like a sack of potatoes. Tossing her over his shoulder, David continued to grunt and moan over the loss of a fang as he exited the apartment and down to the tunnels. Roger gave the place a quick visual sweep. He grabbed the Tahoe snow globe and pocketed it before following David down to the basement.
Adele finished shuffling the deck of cards and quickly dealt out five cards to herself and Julie. She picked up her five cards and observed them passively. Five of clubs. Six of clubs. Seven of clubs. Eight of clubs. Queen of hearts. Son of a bitch.
The two sat Indian style on the floor and played poker in relative silence as they waited for Angel to return. Adele didn’t quite know how, but Angel had managed to track her down that morning to ask if she would baby-sit the woman of her vision. She strongly suspected Angel had returned to the Bronze and picked up her scent and followed that to her apartment. If that were so, Adele was only slightly wigged that Angel had already catalogued her scent in his memory.
Not that she minded doing the whole babysitting deal. On the contrary, Adele was all about doing good. It’s just that Adele had finally slipped into her PJ’s and was heading to bed when Angel came knocking. The fact she was going to bed alone AND that the Cordelia girl had spurned every one of her advances was not the issue. The mission is what mattered. So Adele threw on a pair of jeans and a sweater and volunteered to keep watch.
Adele looked at the new card to see if she had acquired a straight flush. Ten of spades. Well fuck a duck. Maybe she could bluff on this. She tossed fifty dollars worth of chips into the pot. Julie didn’t think twice before tossing her own money in.
“Call,” Julie said.
Adele could only stare at the pretty blonde incredulously. “I fold.” She tossed the cards to the floor as Julia silently gathered up her chips. Adele was getting her ass spanked. That was normally a good thing, because hey, she was in the company of a hot babe. But this whole uber-laconic thing Julie had going on was slightly unnerving. Adele needed lots of talking. She needed noise. And what made it worse was that Angel didn’t even have a TV to break the silence.
“So, uh,” Adele began, “are you seeing anyone right now?”
Julie stopped counting her chips for a moment to look up in confusion. She shrugged off the question and countered with one of her own. “So how long have you known Angel? It sounds like you two have been friends for a while.”
Adele glanced at her wristwatch. “Oh yeah, Angel and me go back a good ten hours.” Julie nearly choked on her sip of coffee. “You wanna play seven card stud this time?” Before Julie could answer, Adele held up a hand to silence her. Her demon hearing was twitching. She brushed some long brown hair away from her ears and focused.
She stood up and quickly went over to Angel’s weapons cabinet. A stake was quickly tucked up her left sleeve. Adele knew she wasn’t much with bigger stuff so she grabbed a sai and gave it a quick twirl. This would work.
“What’s going on?” Julie whispered. She was quickly becoming freaked, and Adele didn’t want to contribute, but she needed to get her out of the way.
“Bad vibes. I need you to go into the bedroom and lock yourself and Donovan in there. Don’t come out unless you hear me or Angel call you.” Julie didn’t move. Adele pointed to the bedroom with the sai and hissed, “Get going, girl!” Julie jumped up and bolted to the bedroom. Donovan was just walking out and rubbing the sleep from his eyes when Julie scooped him up.
The boy gave a surprised gasp before disappearing behind the heavy wooden door with his mother. Adele heard the lock snap shut and prayed it would hold. She was the first to admit that she wasn’t a tremendous fighter. She quickly realized she would need some trickery to hold off her foes, and if her hearing was correct, she would have a few to deal with.
Adele picked up the sounds of four different foot patterns. But she only detected one heartbeat. That meant three vampires and one other. Vamps she could handle no problem. It was the other that might whoop her ass.
In a quick motion, Adele whirled around and thrust the sai forward. Some vampire had thought perhaps he could get the jump on a poor defenseless girl. He proved incorrect since he now had the sai buried in his chest. The vampire howled in pain and began to shout at her.
“That will not kill me, little girl!” he bellowed. “Are you that stupid?”
“I am not stupid! I know this won’t kill you, but it’ll sure as shit reduce your vision!” Adele jerked the sai out of the vampire’s chest and elicited another howl. She quickly jammed the point into his left eye socket, twisted, and jerked it back out. The vampire screamed bloody murder and fell to the floor. Adele slapped the eyeball off the sai and poised herself to receive the next attack.
Two more vamps jumped from the shadows, a male and a female. The male leapt from the staircase and delivered a clubbing blow across Adele’s face. She slid against the tile floor and slammed into the concrete wall. Momentarily stunned, Adele began to finger the stake beneath her sleeve.
The vampire stalked the prey confidently. “All the vamp can do is leave a weak little girl to protect Mr. Jameson’s property?” The vampire crouched next to Adele and grabbed her roughly by the hair. “Any last words before I drain you?”
Adele spat in his face. “Yeah. I’m not that weak.” She snapped her wrist at the vampire’s heart before the stunned demon could react. Adele heard his sternum crack only a few moments before a cloud of dust exploded.
She would have thought the final vampire would exercise some caution after seeing one of her allies staked and the other blinded. Adele was slightly amazed that the female vamp charged at her. But Adele quickly grabbed the fallen sai and flung it. The force of the metal slamming into her stomach kicked the vampire back.
Adele gingerly rose to her feet. She tried to sense the location of the heartbeat, but old One Eye’s screaming was making it hard. Adele delivered a kick and dislocated his jaw. That shut him up. Taking up a fighting position, Adele waited for the final foe to come crashing down upon her. Instead, he walked right through the front door.
Through the front entrance stepped a very disarming looking man. Slicked back brown hair, dark gray suit, dark blue shirt. He looked like an executive. Adele sniffed the air. Kind of deceiving since he was a demon.
The man smiled and stepped into the room slowly. Extending a hand, he said, “My name is Mister Jacob. And you are?”
Adele merely glared. Rocking gently back and forth, she prepared to deliver or block the first blow.
Mr. Jacob surveyed the damage that Adele had caused. A pile of dust rested in a heap. Two other mangled bodies moaned audibly. He was obviously impressed. He even said so.
“It’s nice to see a young woman take care of herself. You know, in this town, there are many unsavory characters lurking about.”
“You don’t say?”
“I do. A skill that like and you can protect yourself from most of the nasties in this town. It means shit against me, but others you’ll do fine against.”
“You wanna test that theory?”
Mr. Jacob smiled condescendingly. “If you want to.” In a flash, Jacob closed the distance and clocked her with a straight right jab. The blow sent Adele flying back into the wall and left her impression in the concrete. She collapsed face down and didn’t move. Jacob moved next to her and gently kicked Adele in the ribs.
“Where is Julie?” He kicked lightly again. “Answer me. I know you’re not dead because I see you breathing.” Jacob moved to kick her again when he found his legs knocked out from under him. He watched as Adele twirled to her feet. Instead of lovely hazel eyes and porcelain skin, Jacob saw that she had morphed into a purple visage with pitch black eyes.
“A demon,” he observed casually. “Interesting.”
“That’s part demon, asshole,” Adele barked. “And don’t ever fucking kick me again.” The threat was cut short by Jacob delivering a sharp boot to her gut. Adele ricocheted off the fireplace and crashed to the floor. Blood dripped to the tile from her forehead. She was fairly sure her left shoulder was out of joint. And it looked like things weren’t going to get better.
A large hand gripped around Adele’s neck. She was suddenly lifted a good six inches off the ground until she was staring directly into Jacob’s eyes.
“Where is Julie?” Jacobs asked calmly. Adele could only gurgle in response. “Is she in there?” Jacob indicated to the bedroom door. “Let’s find out, shall we?”
Jacob reared back and hurled Adele at the door. The young woman shattered the heavy wood and didn’t come to a rest until she collided with the back wall of the bedroom. Her head smacked against the concrete with a sickening thud and collapsed to the bed face down, unconscious.
He smirked as his hearing picked up the pathetic sounds of whimpering coming from the bedroom. As he entered the room and looked left to the near corner, Jacob found Julie curled into the corner, her arms wrapped tightly around her son.
“Hello, Julie,” he smiled. Extending a hand, Jacob said, “Please come here.” Julie made no move to do so. The smile disappeared and Jacob snapped, “Come here or I will eat that kid.”
Julie gently scooted Donovan off her lap. The little boy whimpered when his mother lightly kissed his cheek and obeyed the big man’s orders. As soon as Julie was in distance, Jacob wrapped his fingers around her throat. She struggled, but the grip was far too powerful.
“Julie,” Jacob began, “it pains me to say this, but it seems your services are no longer needed by Mr. Jameson. In essence, you have been terminated.”
When Angel arrived back at the mansion he immediately knew something was wrong. The front door was slightly ajar. And he smelled something peculiar in the air. Keeping to the shadows between the sewer grate and door, Angel cautiously approached his home. When he pushed the door fully open, the scent of blood hit him hard. It just wasn’t human blood. And then, a soft moan of pain drew his attention.
The girl was collapsed face down in the center of the room. Angel rushed over and helped Adele to her feet. She clung fiercely to his arm. It was obvious that she shouldn’t be up and moving, but he needed to know what happened. And when Angel brushed the hair away from Adele’s face, he grimaced at the long gash across the forehead and the swelling in the jaw and left eye.
“What the hell happened?”
“Before or after I got the shit knocked outta me? Cause I’m a little fuzzy on the latter. Last thing I remember is getting thrown. Then I think I crawled here.”
“A guy named Jacob came storming in here with a few vamps. I took care of the bloodsuckers, but Jacob…You gotta love a guy that’s not afraid to take his aggression out on a woman. He came in here looking for…SHIT! Julie!”
Adele pushed away and began to hobble towards the bedroom. Wood splinters were strewn all about. The wall above the bed was cracked and dented. The violence of the scene was disturbing.
Angel and Adele turned to the near corner of the room. Donovan sat on his haunches, tears trickling down his face, as he gently nudged Julie’s shoulder. She could have been sleeping if not for the awkward angle her neck was bent at. Donovan evidently couldn’t understand that. He looked up at them with wet eyes and asked…
“Why won’t mommy get up?”
Angel’s heart sank. He had failed. He promised to protect her and he didn’t. The feeling of hope and purposefulness he felt earlier was gone. Now all he felt was anger, and it was building fast.
“Adele, take Donovan someplace safe. Wait for me to call you.”
“What?” Adele looked back and forth between the young boy and Angel. “What the hell are you talking about? What are you going to do?”
Angel grabbed Adele by the front of her shirt and yanked her closer. His eyes flashed yellow, and for a brief moment, Adele felt a cold fear run through her. “Take Donovan to the police or something. Stand by with your cell phone for when I call. I am going to find Jameson and I am going to get even.”
“Angel, this isn’t the time…”
“For action? Bullshit. It’s the time to find out where he is, get a really big and sharp weapon, and cut his fucking head off. You will not argue, understood?” Adele gulped and nodded. “Now go. I’ll call you in thirty.”
Before Adele could even utter a weak reply, Angel was gone. She had never seen a being so furious in all her life. And while the vampire set off on his campaign for vengeance, Adele was left to wonder what to do with a child that just lost its mother.
“Okay people, let’s run through this again. We toss a ball up fifteen feet above the edge of a 120-foot cliff. Now, using the formulas provided, with what velocity does the ball hit the ground and how long does it take to hit? Anyone?”
Mr. Bookings stared at the disinterested class over the top of his glasses. Most were either not paying attention to the lecture or were completely lost. But thank God he had his insurance policy. Willow Rosenberg was paying attention and she always did her homework.
“Willow? Would you please tell us how you worked this equation?”
The young redhead’s eyes widened. This was a ritual. The two other inhabitants at the bench, Xander “Do no wake me unless it is time to eat” Harris and Buffy “Where are the Tarot cards, this is Physics class” Summers woke up long enough to watch Willow nervously shuffle through her papers for the correct problem. She would yammer for a bit and Bookings would need to reset her in the right direction. The final answer would be tedious and overly detailed, but Willow was the only one he could consistently count on for an answer.
“Well, um, velocity and, um, gravity and, er…”
“Willow, please bring the plane in for a landing.”
“Um, yes sir. You first must take the fifteen feet and….”
All the sleeping bodies were awakened by the sound of the classroom door being kicked open. A very large and very angry looking man clad in black stood in the doorway. Bookings would have suggested he leave, but figured he might get his neck snapped because of it.
“Willow!” the man roared. “Get over here now! I need your help!”
Buffy rubbed the sleep from her eyes and looked at the man warily. “Angel, what are you doing?”
The man Angel ignored her. He continued to glare at the redhead. “Did you hear me girl? Get over here!”
Willow found it best not to argue. She simply left her stuff on the table and meekly walked to the vampire. Angel grabbed her arm and half dragged, half led the girl to the library. He ignored the fact Xander and Buffy trailed behind them. When Angel busted through the library doors, Giles was startled so badly that he knocked a stack of books from the table.
“Oh, bloody hell!” he cursed at the fallen books. He then looked up and noticed that Angel basically had Willow hostage. “What is the meaning of this?”
“That’s what I would like to know,” Buffy voiced. She grabbed Angel by the arm only to have it batted away. “Angel, what the hell is wrong with you?”
Angel continued to ignore her. Instead, he forced Willow to sit down and flipped on the computer. From his pocket he withdrew the slip of paper with Jameson’s e-mail and slammed it on the table. He had been planning on paying Ramirez a visit that night to track Jameson down. But now he figured he didn’t have time. And despite not wanting to involve Buffy or her friends, this seemed the best idea.
“You can hack into certain information, correct?” Angel asked the redhead.
“Hack?” Willow shifted nervously. “Hacking has been labeled a felony by the FBI. What I do is…”
“It was a yes or no question.”
Angel pushed the e-mail address into her sight. “I need you to do your voodoo and find out where the person who owns this address is located. Can you do that?”
“Oh no! I can’t do that. It’s wrong and unethical and…” Angel reached into his pocket and retrieved his wallet. He opened it up and slapped a 100-dollar bill on the table. Willow went wide-eyed. “Well, it is kind of invasion of privacy and…” Another hundred went on the table. “Well, it could take a bit of time to…” A third 100-dollar bill was put down. “I can have it in five minutes.”
Willow took the address and began to do her voodoo. Angel nodded slightly and allowed her to work. Buffy took the opportunity to get back in his face.
“I ask again, what the hell is wrong with you, Angel?”
Annoyed, he merely answered, “It isn’t your concern.”
“When you drag my friends out of class because your acting like a madman, then I should say it does concern me.”
“Then you’re wrong. Not everything in my life revolves around you. There’s a whole world out there. I had forgotten that. And now I’m trying to get back in it.” Buffy shook her head in confusion as Angel went over to the weapons cabinet and opened it up. “Giles, I’m borrowing some of your stuff. There’s another three hundred in my wallet. Consider it a rental.”
Angel grabbed a hatchet and a scythe and tucked them into his duster pockets. He found a long sword and tucked it inside his duster. He held onto the battleaxe. “Willow, I’m still waiting.”
Willow clicked on the Print icon. In moments, a page with the information Angel wanted was produced. She scanned the printout and handed it to the vampire. “It’s listed for that mansion on Excelsior Avenue. The e-mail is actually routed through a Los Angeles based law firm named Wolfram and Hart. Heard of them?”
Angel took the sheet and frowned. “No. Have you?”
“In passing. Supposedly they’re the law firm Johnny Cochrane is too ethical to join.”
“Lovely.” He folded the page and slipped it into his pocket. “Don’t spend all that money in one place.”
With his duster flowing in a mighty cool and heroic looking fashion, Angel breezed into the stacks and towards the access tunnel hidden in their depths. The gang could only stare in confusion at the retreating form. It was Giles who spoke first as he nodded towards the wallet on the table.
“Did he say three hundred dollars?”
If there was one thing Cordelia Chase hated, it was people that yammered. She’d been conscious fifteen minutes and was forced to listen to this moron blab for about twelve of it. Something about not paying debts was bad and repercussions and yadda yadda yadda. Cordelia was more focused on the Ming vase by the window. That was a nice vase.
“Am I boring you, Miss Chase?” Jameson inquired of the young girl sitting in his leather chair.
Jameson frowned at the brutal honesty. He was an imposing looking man. This Chase girl should be quivering in her designer jeans. But she merely sat looking bored. He didn’t like that at all.
“So what type of demon are you?”
And yet another curveball. “Excuse me?”
“Demon. What kind are you? Since the blinds are open, I think it’s safe to say you’re not a vampire.”
Jameson actually let out a chuckle. “No, Miss Chase, I am not a vampire. Although I employ the creatures, they are a despicable lot. Never met one worth the space it occupies.”
“Is that right? Well I know one that’s fairly worthy. He could kick your ass in a heartbeat, this is, if you have a heartbeat.”
Jameson continued to smile at the naïve girl. “My dear, if you knew a vampire, you wouldn’t be alive. He would have torn your voice box out.”
“Angel wouldn’t do that.”
The smile was gone in an instant. “Angel?” The girl nodded with a satisfied smirk. It seemed she enjoyed having knowledge that would piss him off. Almost made him sorry to pull the rug from under her. “I’m sorry to say, Miss Chase, but Angel will not present himself as a problem. He is very, what is the word? Oh yes. Dusted. My people had him taken care of. Seems he had some property that belonged to me.”
His smile returned the instant hers faded. “You’re wrong. I seriously doubt you could take care of Angel. He’s a hero. Despite that whole homicidal thing he had going a few months ago.”
“He’s in hell. And in a few hours, so will you. I like lunch around one in the afternoon.”
The office door swung upon and Mr. Jacob strode in. He wore his usual pensive face as he approached Jameson and bowed in that old fashioned Teutonic way. Jameson smiled as his most trusted employee came to report.
“Mr. Jacob! I trust that Julie has been taken care of?”
“She has, Mr. Jameson.”
“And what of the vampire, Angel?” Jameson couldn’t help grinning in satisfaction at the girl. This should be good.
“He wasn’t there, sir,” Jacob regretfully informed. “Another woman was there, a demon, but I personally took pleasure in beating her senseless.”
“So the vampire lives?” Jameson asked worriedly.
“Actually, vampires aren’t alive. They are…”
“Shut up, girl,” Jameson snapped. He would beat that smirk off her face.
“Did I say anything? I may have mentioned the fact you couldn’t get rid of Angel easily, but that’s about…” Cordelia spat up blood when Jameson backhanded her.
“You don’t know when to shut up, do you?”
Cordelia shrugged. “I think something, I say it. It’s a thing I do.”
“And it’s something that will get you in a mess of trouble.” Jameson turned back to Jacob in concern. “But you say the vampire was not found?”
Jameson sighed as he considered things. It was obvious he didn’t like the situation. “Make sure that security keeps a sharp eye. This Angel fancies himself one of the good guys. He may try something foolhardy like trying to exact revenge. You will make sure that doesn’t happen, understood?”
Jacob bowed at the dismissal. He whirled around and exited the office. Jameson continued to ponder the situation while Cordelia wiped the blood from her mouth. She hoped that Angel would be pissed enough to come gunning for Jameson. And maybe he would save her in the process.
You know, if it wasn’t too much trouble.