[NB: due the the extensive amount of time this fic & notes have literally been sitting on a disk, is killing me to restart, lol. I’m not sure I still know how to write fic, tbh! But Ill try my best to do it justice & finish it. I’m looking at about 30 chapters (18 others already written, but needing a rewrite). The new stuff isn’t beta’d either (sorry). This one is rather short, but the rest won’t be- hopefully. Cali xx]
Gazing at closed gates of her home, Cordelia’s eyes filled with a combination of dismay and weary resignation. “Really sucks to be me”, she muttered; a wave of self pity threatening to overwhelm her.
It had been bad enough walking for at least an hour to get here. Dressed like a high class slut; pervs tooting their horns as they passed her en route … which led her again to the question: Why was Angel so convinced it was the end of the World? “But then again, those pervs would probably fit well in hell, huh? “
It was a little lighter than when she left the mansion, but she figured it couldn’t be much past 6 in the morning. The chill in the air attested to the earliness of the day. Rubbing her arms briskly, then hugging herself, Cordelia briefly contemplated the gate: at least 12ft high, and the surrounding wall pretty much the same- the established Hawthorne bushes that draped them threw out a giant ‘no way in Hell’ vibe. So climbing over was defo out of the picture .
A shaky sigh fell from tight lips as she turned her back to the barrier, resting against it and took stock of her situation.
“No keys: check. No phone: check. Parents out of Country: check. Rosa on a break in San Diego: check … ” That sick feeling you had when you couldn’t recall the last time you’d eaten, edged into Cordelia’s vision, and she sagged against the cold steel of the gates. Barf or faint? She grimly hoped neither. Concentrating so hard on not collapsing into a puddle of ick, she missed the faint sound of a car – until it backfired; causing her to jolt so hard she dry-retched.
An elderly Toyota turned in, then screeched to a halt just a few feet from where she huddled near the ground. The driver practically fell out of the car in her haste to reach her. Lifting blurry eyes, for the first time in, like, forever, hope flickered to life.
“Miss Cordy! Oh my goodness! Are you alright? what are you doing out here? where is your car?” The frantic questions continued as she half knelt to reach for the girl’s hands. Eyes glossing with held-back tears, a shaky smile formed as she struggled to her feet with the help of her beloved Housekeeper, who’d ran the Chase home for as long as she could remember. been more like a mother to her than her own.
Rosa, now silent, took in the pale face, too-dark eyes and, querida Dios, the wounds on her throat! From her estimation, the injury must have happened several days ago. Although slightly pink, the marks had almost closed up.
Cordelia bit her lip and shifted under the scrutiny. What to say? Obviously something that didn’t involve Vampires, Kidnapping – and bloodsucking holes. The perfect lie popped in her head just as Rosa opened her mouth, no doubt to question those ‘marks’. “Harmony!”
Startled, Rosa’s brows rose in confusion. Cordelia, surged on, her voice now normal level. “I was staying over at Harmony’s house. Got sick of my own company”, she explained. “Her mother had been to Italy – shopping, so we decided to try a few outfits on when her parents went out.” She indicated to the dress and flushed a little at her deception. But to be fair, the dress was more suitable for her mom’s generation.
“Okay,” Rosa nodded, then asked: “But where is your car? And the time ” she checked her watch. Cordelia was not an early riser. “5.30 in the morning is a strange time to come home, yes? And …” she pointed to the marks with worry etching her features.
“Her father had set up a barbecue yesterday and we decided to try it out. Harmony accidentally jabbed me with a barbecue fork.” The flush deepened at the stunned expression on the woman’s face. “It wasn’t deep,” she assured quickly. “But we fell out big time. I stormed out, then realised I was still wearing this outfit and had left my purse in her room.” Her eyes dropped, “I was too mad to go back, so…”
“So you walked back alone; no car, no keys? Ahh, chica tonta!” she scolded. Shaking her head and muttering, Rosa walked her to the passenger side of her car; settled her in then went round to climb in her side. She started the engine and pressed the remote for the gate.
Once in front of the family home, Rosa turned off the engine and turned to face Cordelia. The girl was a sorry sight; slumped in her seat, looking bone-weary. As if sensing the scrutiny, Cordelia turned in her seat. “If it helps, I only got here about five minutes before you”, she assured. Then it suddenly dawned on her. “I thought you were still in San Diego?”
“Pfft! I promised you I’d be back Monday, and am good as my word. What? You think I’d leave you alone here for too long?” at the shocked expression on the girl’s face.
Monday! It’s Monday? Five days – FIVE DAYS! Cordelia rubbed her face in disbelief, hardly aware of Rosa exiting the car and coming round her side. Numbly she climbed out and let Rosa lead her into the house.
Luckily, the housekeeper must have assumed the long night, the accident and the walk home in the chill of the morning had knocked the stuffing out of her. She didn’t resist when urged to her room for a ‘long rest’ – not to worry, I’ll call the school and tell them you have caught a nasty cold – then she was alone, sitting on her bed and staring blindly as the door gently closed on the retreating Housekeeper.