There was sweating like a pig, there was flop-sweat, and there was Mr. Blevins. He raised perspiring to a whole new level.
Cordelia sat still in her chair and looked across the old, metal desk at him before sneaking a glance at Wesley, who sat beside her. Wesley looked back and shrugged, just as Mr. Blevins finished looking over the paperwork spread out in front of him.
“Hooookay.” His voice was brusque, and a little strained. He looked over the forms and raised flat blue eyes to rest on Cordy and Wes. “I think we’re set. Just need..” He wheezed a bit. “Just need to sign a little John Hancock here and there….and get this baby filed…and” he paused, leaning back to emit a deep, gurgly hacking cough. Cordy leaned forward in her seat a bit.
“Um. Mr. Blevins…are you alright?”
“Yeah. Oh, yeah. Just…gotta lay off the cigarettes.” He wheezed a bit more and grabbed up a bottle of water, taking a deep swig before slapping the bottle back on his desk. He rubbed his head and looked back down at the papers.
They had first met with Mr. Blevins a week ago. Dry and cranky, he had assessed the situation and had said that it wouldn’t be a problem to get this taken care of quickly. He had prepared all the paperwork and laid the way for them to get to this point. Today was the day. By this afternoon, Cordelia would be a single woman.
“Okiedokie now….” Mr. Blevins seemed to be working to concentrate. Beads of perspiration shone on his forehead, and he had begun to pant a little. He slid the packet of papers over to Cordelia. “You’ve signed everything except this. It’s the final motion to annul. Right here…” he wheezed a bit and pointed at the blank line.
Cordy signed it, sighing, and handed the papers to Wes, who signed his name on the corresponding line. He handed the packet back to Mr. Blevins, who took it and looked down at it, raising his hand to sign his own name.
“Just…” he paused, wheezing a bit more. “Just need my own signature, and I’ll run these down to the county clerk and it’s done.” His face began to turn grey, slowly, and his hand shook a bit. “Hang on a minute….” He coughed harshly, and couldn’t seem to stop. Cordelia snuck another look at Wesley, who looked back, concerned.
“Mr. Blevins?” Cordelia’s voice was a whisper. “You seem….I think….” Suddenly, the lawyer groaned and slumped down on his desk, silent and still.
Cordelia and Wes seemed frozen, their eyes wide, before Wes jumped up and grabbed at the phone on the desk, dialing 911 while Cordy rose and ran around the desk, leaning Mr. Blevins back in his chair and loosening his tie. “Mr. Blevins? Mr. Blevins? Oh god, Wesley….I think he’s having a heart attack.”
Two hours later, they sat in the waiting room of the emergency room, forlorn looks on their faces. A nurse had come out to tell them that yes, it appeared that Mr. Blevins had had a heart attack, was stabilized, and resting. They took in a relieved breath.
“Do you think we could see him, just for a bit?” the nurse looked down at Cordy and smiled.
“Don’t see why not. Let me check with Mr. Blevins. You know, it’s so nice of you both to be concerned…I know it makes Mr. Blevins feel a lot better.” Cordy nodded, a frozen smile on her face, as the nurse walked away.
“What are you doing?” Wesley hissed in her ear.
She ignored him, looking casually around, as she reached into her bag and pulled out the blue-backed packet of annulment papers. Wesley looked down and his eyes grew wide.
“I cannot believe….” He looked around, lowering his voice. “I cannot believe that you brought those here to…..Cordelia. The man has had a heart attack.”
“Well yeah, was right there when it happened, Wes.”
“And you want him to sign them NOW?”
“Well, when would be a better time? He’s…ya know…in bed….probably bored…nothing to do. A little work will pick him right up.”
Wesley stared at her in disbelief. “He’s in the emergency room, not at a spa.” His voice dropped. “I’m not even sure this would be legal.”
“First of all, a lawyer. He’s used to things not legal. Not that this isn’t legal, it’s….creative.”
“Creative.” Wesley’s voice echoed hers.
“Yeah. C’mon, Wes. I’m a woman who’ll chase a heart attack victim into the ER to get him to sign papers. Do you really want to stay married to ME?”
“Good point.” They both stood up as the nurse approached them, crooking her finger at them. They followed her to a small curtained off cubicle, peering around the curtains at Mr. Blevins, lying peacefully on the hospital bed. A monitor hummed quietly beside his bed, and an oxygen tube entered his nose.
They approached the bed quietly, and the nurse left, pulling the curtains shut behind her. Cordy leaned over his bed, a small smile on her face. “Mr. Blevins? It’s me. Cordelia Chase.” Mr. Blevins opened his eyes and squinted up at them.
“Oh. Hi. Yeah. Chase and Price.”
“Wyndam-Price.” Wesley muttered under his breath. Cordelia kept smiling and didn’t even spare him a glance as she elbowed him in the ribs.
“How are you, Mr. Blevins?”
“Been better.” He coughed slightly. “Hey, gotta tell you both thanks. The nurse tells me if you hadn’t been there…” He coughed again. “Well, we wouldn’t be talking.”
Cordy patted his hand. “No problem. Always willing to lend a hand.”
“Sorry about this….know you wanted to get this taken care of. Wish I could fix this…”
“Well…” Cordelia smiled brightly as she yanked the packet of papers out of her tote bag, “as a matter of fact…if you could just kind of…you know…sign these…”
Mr. Blevins looked a little surprised. “Oh. Yeah, we can do that. You have to take ‘em down and file ‘em yourselves. County clerk. County seat. Open till 4:00, so you’ll have to hurry.” He took the pen Cordelia handed him and squinted down at the paper. “Um.” Cordy guided his hand to the line and he began to write his name, his hand starting to shake.
“Um….” He wrote his first name and stopped, suddenly gurgling and passing out as the monitor beside his bed beeped an insistent alarm. Cordelia froze, panic on her face. Wesley groaned and covered his face with his hands.
Suddenly, Cordy reached down and grabbed at Mr. Blevin’s hand, the pen still gripped in his fist.
Raising his hand to the paper, Cordy guided his hand and signed his last name, snatching the pen out of his hand and stuffing the papers back into her bag just as the curtains ripped open and a team of nurses and doctors raced into the small space.
Cordy and Wes moved back out of the way, and watched as they worked on Mr. Blevins frantically. A nurse took them aside and said they’d have to go outside to the waiting room.
Cordelia stalked straight through the emergency room lobby on out into the bright day, an appalled Wesley close on her heels. “Cordelia.” His voice was a low hiss. She ignored him and walked around the corner, stopping to pull the papers back out of her bag. Smoothing out the wrinkles, she looked down at them.
“Cordelia. Oh my god.” Wesley leaned against the wall of a building, closing his eyes. “I cannot believe that you…that we….”
“Ease off, horror boy. We’ll send him flowers later.” Cordelia scanned the papers and carefully put them in order. “Ok. I think we’re good.”
“Good? We’re awful. We just…forged a signature on legal documents.”
“Nope. He signed ‘em with his own hand.”
“Oh, Cordelia, really.”
“Oh Wesley.” She looked at him closely. “This has been a train wreck from the get go, Wes. I love you. You’re….you’re like a best friend or something. But the last month, we’ve been fighting and scraping and yelling and it’s just been nasty. I’ve taken on Klingon ministers, demon virgin sacrificers, and more embarrassment than a human should ever have to take. This is it. This is our out. This is us going back to normal. Sorry it’s not all perfectly Perry Mason for you, but this is what we got. I worked with it, and pulled it out of the crapper.”
She looked at him. “Now. Do we both go to the county clerk or do you want to do it or do you want me to do it? ‘Cause we’re burning daylight, here.”
Wesley looked at her, resigned, and wordlessly held out his hand. She gave the papers to him, and they looked at each other blankly. She finally spoke.
“Ok. I’ll head on home. You take the bus to the county clerk’s. I think you need the yellow line, and take it to 56th…” Wes looked up as a bus rolled by and on up the street.
“Was that it?”
“No, honey, if that was our bus it would be exploding.” Cordelia thought a moment. “Ok. You take my car, I’ll take the bus. It’ll be quicker.” She handed her car keys to Wesley and he took them, silent for a moment, shaking his head.
When he looked up at her, there was a glint of dark humor in his eyes.
“We’re going to hell. You know that.”
“Yeah.” She patted his arm. “But we’ll be seated in the singles section.”
He chuckled mirthlessly, and they both looked down at the papers. Wesley looked up, and searched her eyes, as if looking for reassurance in the hazel depths. Cordy smiled and he nodded his head. “Hey, look. 2:15. Ya got just enough time to get to the county clerk and get this notarized and on record.”
Wesley looked closely at her. “Sure you don’t want to go along? Seems that an occasion of this import…”
“Nah. You go. But….swing by the Hyperion. Maybe take Fred with you.”
Wesley seemed surprised. “Fred.”
“Yeah. Fred. I think….I think she needs to know this is a done deal.” Wesley seemed speechless. “And, you know, if the clerk happens to be Klingon, she can help you translate.”
Wesley laughed, a little lighter, and looked at Cordelia. She looked back, feeling the old, familiar feelings of love pour through her. This was the best, she thought. This is my family.
Wesley leaned in and kissed her softly on the cheek. “Ms. Chase, it’s been an honor being your husband.”
She smiled back at him, feeling tears gather in her eyes. “Wesley, I don’t know if I’ll ever get married for real…..but if I do…..God, I hope he’s at least half the man you are.”
Wesley’s smile faltered a bit and then he nodded and rose, ducking his head. He turned to go towards the street where her car was parked. Cordelia watched him, a sad smile tilting her lips. He paused, and turned back to her. She grinned, and intoned solemnly, “We’ll always have Vegas.”
Wesley smiled back, and left. The smile bled off her face, and she turned to walk down the sidewalk. Another day, another…..crisis. Her pace picked up. Now on to the rest of her life.
But first, she had to finish the day.