June 21, 2003
The sun was already extraordinarily bright for 7:30 in the morning. Cordelia slipped off her shades as she entered the diner and brushed back a piece of highlighted hair. Scanning the tables for Faith, Cordelia idly wondered when this place last passed a health inspection.
Cordelia turned and saw Faith sitting at a booth with a view out the front window. Cordelia was pleased to note Andrea was also there. She liked the young woman that she and Faith met the previous day. Cordelia ignored the glances a pair of old farmers gave her and sat down across from Faith.
The women exchanged greetings and Cordelia called to the waitress for a cup of coffee. “The coffee is really great,” Andrea explained. “Perks ya right up. Removes some stomach lining too, but nothing better to wake a person up.”
“It also appears to be a good rust remover,” Faith added.
“Well, if I had some rusted farm equipment, I’d be all set,” Cordelia said.
“Speaking of rusted farm equipment, did ya notice Jim Bob and Bubba Ray checking you out?” Faith asked. Cordelia nodded that she had.
“Those guys freak me out,” Andrea said. “Every morning I come in here, they sit there and stare at me.”
“Just stare right back,” Cordelia explained. “Drives them crazy when you show fear.”
“Isn’t that wolves?” Faith asked.
“Regardless,” Andrea said. “This town gives me the creeps. I feel like I’m in a town full of X-Files extras.”
“I admit, this town does give off a strange vibe,” Cordelia said, “but I think we’re reading too far into it. It’s a small town. They’re kinda far away from the city. They’re entitled to be a bit quirky.”
“I don’t know if quirky is the word I’d use,” Andrea said. The blonde finished off her coffee. “Well, I’m going to check in with Henry and John Boy and the body shop. Maybe good news will actually await.”
“If not, maybe you’d like to drop by our room tonight?” Cordelia suggested. “Play some poker or something to pass the time.”
“That’d be great,” Andrea said. “See you girls later.” Andrea slid from her seat and dropped a five on the table. With a last wave, Andrea left.
“Drop by for poker or something to pass the time,” Faith teased. “You looking for a threesome? Cause I might be game.” Faith licked her lips suggestively.
“You know it, Slayer. If there’s one thing I like more than sleeping with a vampire, it’s sleeping with two chicks.”
“I’ve always wanted to ask about that. Does your screwing a vampire make you a necrophiliac?”
“Does your screwing everyone make you a slut?”
Cordelia reached into her jeans pocket and pulled out her cell phone. “If Gertrude ever arrives with the java, tell her I’ll be back in a second. I’m going to go call Angel. Anything you want me to tell him?”
“Yeah, tell him to buy me a Playstation.”
“Shut up, Faith.”
Angel hung the phone back on the hook. He didn’t like it. He didn’t like it one bit. And what the hell was a Playstation?
“Yo, Angel. Was that Cordy?” Gunn asked.
“Yeah,” Angel answered. “They’re still stuck in the middle of nowhere.”
Gunn could tell from the tone of voice that Angel was immensely displeased by the situation. And when the vampire got displeased, something usually lost appendages.
“And you’re still worried about them.” Angel’s noncommittal grunt was his answer. “There’s nothing to worry about. You got two girls, one of them a half-demon with super powers and the other is a sometimes psychotic slayer with a fetish for sharp things. Both of them are big girls. Hell, I feel sorry for the first person that tries messing with them. What do you think Cordy would do to the guy?”
Angel had to smile in amusement at the thought. He certainly taught Cordelia how to take care of business. But the vampire sobered up quickly. But the fact remained, he was here, and she was there.
“I’m going to guess my little pep talk did nothing for you, right?”
Angel’s grunt was his answer.
“Full House,” Faith grinned. “Eights and threes. Beat that.”
Cordelia threw away her ninth consecutive losing hand in disgust. “I just remembered why I stick to Monopoly.”
“And I just remembered why I love Vegas,” Andrea smirked. “Four of a kind.” Andrea laid out four nines as Faith’s jaw dropped in shock.
“If we were playing for money, I’d so be beating your ass right now,” Faith said.
“And if we were playing for money, you’d be flat broke right now.”
“Just deal five new ones.”
Cordelia leaned back on her bed and rested for a moment. Clad in her nighttime wear, tank top and sweatpants, Cordelia sighed heavily. She hated this town and she missed Angel.
“So Andrea, where you from?” Faith asked.
“Portland. I was heading to San Diego because of a job offer.” Andrea huffed in annoyance. “I doubt that the job’s even available anymore. I got sixty thousand miles on my Mustang and never a problem until now.”
“Life’s a bitch,” Faith said.
“So what’s the story with you two?” Andrea asked.
Faith fielded that one easily enough. “I just got out of jail and Cordy’s horny because her lovey dovey is back in Los Angeles.”
“Shut up, Faith,” Cordelia groaned.
“Is it my fault you forgot your vibrator at home?”
“Faith, be warned that I will suffocate you in your sleep.”
“Course, there’s always the fingers, but it just don’t have the same feel.”
“Shut up, Faith.”
Andrea just laughed at the two and put the cards back in the box. “You two are very sad. And I also must call it a night. Need to get some sleep before I go out on the road.”
Cordelia looked up. “You got your car fixed?”
“Bubba Carl Ray Bob or whatever said they got the part in early this evening. They’ll install it tomorrow morning and hopefully I’ll be on the road by noon.”
“And leave us alone in Hellburg? You bitch,” Faith retorted in mock anger.
“That I am, but I’m the bitch that’s got a ride outta here.”
Cordelia and Faith were both saddened by the prospect of spending the rest of their time in Serenity without the company of Andrea. They both really liked the woman. “Well, look us up if you’re ever in LA. The Hyperion Hotel is where we run our investigation agency. We can paint the town red.”
“Sounds like fun. Faith an I can pick us up some hunks while you sit in the corner sipping tonic water and telling the barkeep how happy your relationship is.”
Cordelia just grinned. “Faith was right. You are a bitch.”
Andrea stood and stretched her tired muscles. “Meet you chicks for breakfast?”
“Sure thing,” Cordy agreed. The girls said their goodbyes as Andrea left for the night.
“I must be going soft in my post-rehab state. Did I actually go out of my way to be nice to her?”
“You did,” Cordy agreed. “And you know what? You may have made…a friend.”
“You came out of prison acting almost human.”
Andrea made her way down the metal steps to the first floor of the two-floor hotel building. Automatically, her hand went to pat her back pocket to find her keys. But realizing she was wearing pajama pants, she remembered she had the room key in her jacket pocket.
She had just pulled the key out and was about to stick it in the lock when a strong hand covered her mouth. More hands grabbed her waist and arms. Before the young Oregon girl knew what was going on, her hands were bound and she was blindfolded.
“Take her to the field,” a voice ordered. Wasn’t that the guy that worked at the diner?
“Do you think Josiah will be pleased?” an eager voice asked. Didn’t that voice greet her at the dollar store?
“Silence!” the first voice ordered. “Do what you are told. It is not for me to decide if Josiah will be pleased. Only He can make that judgment.”
The second voice obeyed and helped toss Andrea into the back of a truck. Moments later the truck fired up and pulled onto the highway. The half dozen men that were left went to gather their own vehicles and drive out to the cornfield. The first voice, Ernie Connell pulled out his cell phone.
“Sheriff Brady? We have the first. She is being taken to the cornfield now. Yes, we let the other two be, just as you instructed.” Connell disconnected the phone. It was time to take another before Josiah. He couldn’t afford to be late.