So I got a little fidgety, started falling back into the old routine of making sarcastic quips from the sidelines. No big. Sure, I'm kickin' myself now for being such a brat after all they did for me, but hey, they know me. Angel knows me. I didn't mean any harm by it. No need to be tripping out over nothing.
Tell you what, thing I am cracking up about is this get up they decked me out in. I feel like a freakin' circus freak in this gear! I can't even begin to tell you how fast I'm tearing this off of me. See, I thought a pink dress would be bad. Mayor got me in one, but he was a father of sorts to me. Hell, I butchered innocent people for him. Why wouldn't I wear a dress for him? He was kinda hard to say no to. Guy got me into milk drinking, Flinstone vitamin taking, and pink dress wearing. What can I say? The dude had a steely determination that even my extreme stubbornness didn't stand a chance against. Too bad he was evil. He could've set me up on a pretty damn righteous path with the hold he had over me.
Now I'm standing here in a baggy pink T with a big red heart on the front and a pair of overalls. Couldn't quite get them up around my injured shoulder so I'm just wearing them as jeans with the top part hanging off my waist and hoping they don't fall off of me and give everybody a load of my prison brand underwear. Normally, I wouldn't give a shit... but these kind aren't exactly sexy and for the showing. Just your plain white cotton type that middle aged housewives and six year olds wear. Not really my style. As soon as I get settled in, I'm buying myself a thong.
Gotta say, I'm wicked shocked that I'm standing here watching Cor fumble with her keys. I figured I'd be set up with a hotel suite since Angel's all with the hospitality now. Never seen the place up close and personal, but Soul Boy sent me a few snapshots. Pretty sweet deal he's got up there. I'm kinda bummed that I'm gettin' shipped off with C in some apartment I have yet to see. Now I doubt C's living with cockroaches, but I've got my doubts about her place living up to Hyperion standards.
Whatever. I don't know why I'm making such a big out of this. I spent the last two years of my life in an 8 by 10 cell, at this point, a fleabag motel room in SunnyD would be high class living compared to the crappy accommodations I've learned to call home sweet home.
"Uh, C," I clear my throat to get her attention. She's got mascara stains on her cheeks just beggin' to be wiped off from all that bawling she did back there. "Not to look the gift horse in the mouth or nothing, but why am I here? I thought I'd be going home with Angel. I mean, he's the big champion guy with a mission to save lost souls likes me. Not to mention a good pal of mine. Makes sense that he'd want me around to keep tabs on my progress."
She just gives a light shrug of her shoulders and pushes open the main doors that lead into the hallways. "I don't really know. It just felt like the right thing to do at the time."
I snort skeptically at that. Don't really see how where I'm living makes a diff, but okay. I'll humor the chick. She's had a rough night. Angel never mentioned having a thing for Cordy before, he's not really big on the talking about his personal life. Imagine that. He kept the spotlight on me during our talks, asking me if the butches were still picking on me and if he could get me anything, just let him know. Always the martyr, that's my boy. I usually just asked for stupid things like CDs and Hershey bars, anyway.
"Let me guess," I drawl out as I let my eyes pan over her body. "It's a vision thing, right? You're doing this 'cause something invaded your head and told you that bunking with the rogue slayer was the only way to keep some big bad beastie out there off her case. So now you're doing the righteous thing 'cause you can't turn your back on what could happen if you don't. This is all about saving your ass."
Can't help it, I'm a cynical bitch. I don't want to be somebody's charity case because it makes them feel a little better about themselves in the morning. If C's feeling bad about what she's doing to my man, Angel, then she can go find another good deed to distract her from her pain. I got enough on my plate and I don't need to deal with being the middle man in another love affair that's going nowhere fast. I just don't get it. Angel's a great guy, I know this. Not a bad kisser either. But let's be realistic here. The guy's cursed! He can say I love you as much as he wants but if he shows it, he's screwed out of his soul. Call me crazy, but I'm just not into that whole scene.
As much as I hate to say it, Buffy and Cordy are smart girls. A fuck of a lot smarter than me. Yet when it comes to love, they're like a bunch of retards... no offense to the disabled, but that's all I got. Maybe some people can go without sex, but not me. If I'm gonna do the flowers and candy, I sure as Hell want an order of hardcore screwing on the side. Nothing says I love you like multiple orgasms.
"What is your problem?" she half asks, half yells into my face. Damn, girl has grown herself a pair since our last meet up. She's looking at me like *I'm* the stupid one in love with a vampire. "We go out on a limb for you and this is how you treat us? I'm doing this because, for some reason, there's something telling me that I have to house a psycho killer. Angel always says we never gave you a fair chance, but how can we when you act like little miss hard as nails all the time?"
"I just don't want in on your whole Angel love affair, okay?" I admit, shuffling my feet under me and looking away. I'm not about to admit that I've just been told off. "So if you're just doing this to piss him off, take me back now. I'm not some little pawn for the both of you to push around whenever you need a little leverage on each other. As much as you probably don't believe me, I'm not out to hurt my only friend in the world." Not you either, C. But I keep that to myself.
She just lets out a sarcastic little laugh, typical of her high school days. "That's real noble of you, Faith, using your 'only friend in the world' as an excuse to act like the same little - "
"That's not what I'm doing!" I nearly shout, interrupting her before she can call me some name I've already heard enough of in my lifetime. I've only ever been called three things -- skanky, bitchy, and psychotic. Stupid is high on the list too, but those are the top three winning personality traits of mine. What order they come in depends on how much cleavage I'm showing, how much attitude I'm laying on you, and whether or not I'm killing people that day. "I had to go through this with B and it messed with my head big time. I don't need a repeat."
"Trust me, I'm not continuing Buffy's storyline," she sighs. With a roll of her eyes, she motions for me to follow her down the hall. "Believe me, I don't do recycled bottled blonde plots. Cordelia Chase does not settle for someone else's sloppy leftovers."
"So what does Cordelia Chase settle for these days?" I ask against my better judgment and give her my own exaggerated eye roll to boot.
Cor narrows her eyes at me, giving me a look that clearly tells me that whatever's going on is none of my fucking business. Well, now I'm just more curious. The less she wants me to know, the more I want to find out.
"Since when are you into girl talk? I don't remember you ever being so chatty before unless you were telling stories of, what was it again? Oh yea, naked slaying and alligator wrestling."
"Prison taught me to appreciate a good gossip session every now and then?" I offer up. I'm definitely not telling the truth about why. I just want to bug the shit out of her. "For real now, C, what are you trying to hide? Sounds to me like you're trying to move the spotlight from you to me so I'll lay off the third degree."
"It's just..." she trails off, sounding wicked flustered if you ask me. Damn. Her and Angel really did have something goin' on, didn't they? "It's none of your business."
"Fine," I shrug. I might stop nosing around now, but that don't mean she's safe from future questioning. I'm just tired and not in the mood for banter. Bed is sounding pretty damn sweet right about now.
I follow the cheerleader as she leads way, very obviously checking out her ass but since she's got her eyes trained up in a straight ahead place, I doubt she knows I'm getting a nice show here with the way she shakes her hips as she walks in those skin tight jeans of hers. It's no secret I had the hots for Buffy. She was everything I wasn't and everything I wanted to be. We were the chosen two, you know? We had a freaky connection thing goin' on between us. Doesn't take a genius to get why I'd be all over her.
The night B died for the second time, I felt a part of me die. The part of me that would always be linked to the chick. Even when she came back, the connection wasn't the same. It was weaker and distant; I could barely feel her anymore. Where it used to give me that warm tingly feeling, it only makes me shiver now. Something about the Buff just isn't right these days. Been a while since I've seen her too. Not like she takes the time to write, even if it is just to say something typical Buffy like, "Dear F, how's prison? I hope you haven't killed anyone lately. With much hatred, Buffy."
So, I guess you could say I've moved on. That little crush of mine was gettin' old. The closest I'll ever get to screwing B is when I was literally in her body and had a little fun while in that bubble bath. Man, I can't even begin to tell you how great it was to make that little body of hers come with my will guiding her fingers in and out of herself. Bet that was how B got her kicks in while dating Angel. Maybe prom queen here went in the same direction.
"Hey Cor, what's your take on bubble baths? Love or hate?" I ask out of the blue, just to get my suspicions confirmed about what a girl's gotta do when she's got an ensouled vamp that can't get bouncy for a boytoy.
We stop in front of her apartment door. Hey, she never moved! I recognize this door. Alright, now I'm not so doubtful about the kind of place she inhabits. I don't remember much, but I remember her place bein' the kick. Girlfriend just looks at me with utter confusion at my very innocent sounding question.
"Is this some kind of trick question?"
I shake my head and put on my best `I didn't do shit` expression. I'd say innocent, but that's something I can never claim to be. "No tricks, C. Honest."
"You do realize how crazy it sounds for the word `honest` to come out of your mouth, right?" I nod and she sighs. "Okay, yes. Bubble baths are of the good. Happy now?"
I nod again, this time happily. I'm pretty damn tickled at this new information. "Very," I reply, shoving my good hand in the pocket of this lame get up while I rock back and forth on my heels. "I was just thinking that a bath could be cool. I haven't had a good soak in over two years." When she gives me a squicked out look, I realize how bad that sounds. "In the tub, I mean. Fuck, C, I did shower in prison!"
She actually starts to laugh at that. Well look at that, I'm funny. Maybe now she'll stop looking at me like I'm about to slit her throat at any second. I lean against the wall as I watch her fiddle with her keys. The door doesn't seem to be budging' though.
"Need some help?" I throw out casually, trying not to sound too smug about the whole thing.
A little frustrated sound spills out from her lips as she kicks the door with the toe of her pointy shoe. Pointy shoe? That's weird. Those shoes look like they could do some serious damage. "I haven't been back here for a while," she explains to me. "I spent my summer vacation as a higher being."
"Probably just stuck," I venture a guess. "A little slayer strength oughta get this baby budging."
Cor steps aside and with my good shoulder, I push my body into the door in an attempt to use sheer force to bust though. It works on locked doors, should work on stuck doors too. The door opens but as soon as I start to get through, it slams back shut.
"Somebody's in there," I say seriously as I turn around to face C. That's gotta be it. Doors just don't slam shut by their lonesome. "Somebody pushed it back shut!"
"Oh, it's probably just Dennis," she laughs and at my confused expression, she furthers her explanation. "My ghost. He doesn't like strangers." She turns her attention from me to the door and taps on it. "Dennis, it's just me, Cordelia! I'm sorry I haven't been home in a long time but I'm back now. Please open up."
Sure enough, the door creaks open. So Cordy has a friendly ghost living with her. Trippy. She walks through the door as if it's the most normal thing in the world. I'm a little skeptical. If this ghost decides to mess with me, I can't exactly beat the thing into submission, you know? I slowly make my way to the doorway, my guard on, when the door slams shut in my face again.
"Hey!" I protest, grabbing the handle and trying to push the door back open. "Okay, Casper, I've had enough of your tricks, now open up!"
"I don't think he likes you much, Faith," Queen C chuckles through the door.
"Well why the Hell not?"
"You did kind of elbow me in the face last time you were over." She just had to bring that up, didn't she? Bet she's been dying for a blast from the past to rub in my face all night. "Maybe you should apologize."
"To you or the ghost?" I ask, rolling my eyes. This really isn't my night is it? You'd think getting shot would be enough bad for one day, but no. If it's not bullet wounds, it's more doomed Angel relationship angst and ghosts wanting apologies. I lean forward and bang my head against the door. This sucks.
"It wouldn't hurt to apologize to us both, but if you're even sorry for what you did to me, I'd rather you say it when you really mean it." In other words, she ain't accepting my apology until I've proven I'm worthy. I get that. Don't blame her for having that kinda 'tude about me either. "So just say you're sorry to Dennis and I'm sure he'll be more than willing to let you come in."
Why can't she just have an alarm like most people? There's no way I'm apologizing to a fucking ghost! "This is stupid, C. I'm not apologizing to a ghost."
"Okay," she replies in a sing-song voice. This is the happiest she's been all night. "You can just camp out in the hallway then. I'll bring you out a blanket."
This is bullshit, man! I'm a slayer, I shouldn't have to say I'm sorry to Casper the unfriendly ghost. I should just break the damn door down and see how Casper keeps me out then. Can't slam a door in my face if there's no more door left to slam. Inside I can hear Cordy laughing her stylish little ass off. Oh yea, I'm sure this is like Comedy Central to her. Big bad Faith being shut out by some invisible being that holds a wicked grudge.
"Whatever," I mumble under my breath. "I'm sorry." I wait for the door to open. Still nothing. I raise my voice up a notch. "You hear that, Casper? I said I'm sorry."
"With a little more meaning, Faith," C calls out, now near hysterics at hearing my not so happy apology. "And maybe you should tell him what it's for."
"I'm sorry for elbowing the queen in the face," I say, feeling all kinds of stupid for this. I'm sure I'm blushing up a storm too. This has gotta be the dumbest thing I've ever had to do.
"And..." she shouts out.
"And I'm sorry for what I did to Wes." I cringe at those words. I don't want to think about what I did to him.
A little elbow in the face? Yea, I can deal. I always wanted to do that, psycho or no. Girl was always subtly snubbing me whenever we were in the same room together. I heard the whispered `slut` and `white trash whore` whenever she saw me. She hurt me, I hurt her. So what if I gave her a wicked black eye? Her whispered insults to Xander or her bimbo friends just added up with all the other shit that was goin' down in the 'dale.
I know I talked big, acted like I was on some high horse and that nothing bothered me. Everybody just thought I was one big ball of self confidence. Truth is, that was just a show. I know I look good and I know I can fight and I can slay and that I can play a mean game of pool. But beyond that? I didn't think much of me. I wasn't smart like Red or chock full of goodness like B. I was just a loser that lived in a fleabag motel and occasionally did a good thing by slaying a vamp when golden girl Buffy had her hands full. So maybe I had a little grudge against her for seeing beyond my bravado and cracking me just that much more every time she made some wise crack about my bein' a poor white trash whore.
Finally, the door cracks open. I push it open angrily and slam it shut once I'm in. Decor's pretty much the same and C is sitting pretty on her couch. All those old memories did a number on me, and by the time I'm in, I just want to either cry or hit something. Both of those options being out of the question with her in front of me.
"I'm gonna take that bath now," I mumble out as I quickly walk past her, my head bowed so that my hair's more or less covering my face up from her view.
"Okay, miss talkative, it's the first door to your right."
"Thanks," I reply in an even more muffled manner than before.
I practically run into the bathroom, slamming that door behind me. It's been so long since I felt like this. Prison helped me deal with things on a nonpersonal level. It's easier to deal when you don't have to see the people that made you feel like less than a person right in front of your face. Everybody in Sunnydale had a hand in making me feel like I couldn't be one of the good guys. Now here I was with one of them and if I'm not cracking jokes, I end up having to face things I thought I'd buried long ago.
The tub don't take long to fill up and I don't take long to strip down to the bare essentials. The pain meds are wearing off so there's a dull ache in my shoulder but it's nothing compared to the emotional pain I'm trying to get a grip on. As soon as I'm sinking into the water with Cor's bubble bath surrounding my body, I finally let it all go. Man, am I ever glad I've gotten real good at the silent crying in my lifetime. The waterworks might be turned on, but you won't hear the sobs escape from my throat.