Limelight (5/5)

By Liam


Fox Studios
March 25, 2003

In the back of the ‘Abyss’ soundstage, Francis worked diligently to try and repair some wiring cables that ran up to the ceiling lights. As he examined the coils inside the rubber coating, he realized he’d have to replace the entire wire. Francis sighed. That could take several hours.


Francis turned to see who called his name. He smiled when he saw that it was Cordelia. “M-miss Chase. H-how are you t-today?”

“I could be better,” Cordelia admitted. She glanced around quickly to make sure they were alone. “I got home last night, and I started thinking. It seems that everyone died right after they insulted me. And I think you know that.”

Francis knew enough to look confused. “W-w-what do you mean, Miss Chase?”

“Amanda Carver, Sarah Reese, Charles Fincher. You know that all of them didn’t seem to care for me. And I know what you did to that man about twenty years ago in that supermarket. You beat him for insulting a woman.”

“I s-still d-don’t understand, Miss Chase.” It was clear that he did understand.

“You killed them,” Cordelia said. “Out of some misguided sense of chivalry or something, but you killed them.”

Francis tightened his grip on the rubber wires. “They d-deserved it,” Francis said, the anger in his voice surprising Cordelia. “Nobody s-should be rude t-to others. Especially t-to someone n-nice like you. They h-had to be t-taught some manners.”

“Francis, what you did is wrong. You’re right, they weren’t very nice, but that isn’t justification for murder.” Francis just stared at the floor, his hands wringing around the wiring. “Francis, I want you to go to the police,” Cordelia said. “I want you to tell them what you’ve done.”

Cordelia was starting to worry. Francis’ silence was unnerving to say the least, and she was seriously reevaluating her decision to talk to him alone. But finally, after several long minutes of staring downwards, Francis nodded his head slowly.

“Y-yes, Miss Chase. I’ll g-go to the police. B-because you t-told me to,” he stuttered. “C-can you take me there? I don’t have a c-c-car.”

Cordelia smiled slightly and nodded. “Sure Francis. Just let me tell the director I’m going to be gone for a bit. Francis?” Francis slowly raised his head to look Cordelia in the eyes. “I’m going to help you,” she said. “I’m not going to allow you to be treated unfairly. We’ll talk to them, okay?”

Francis nodded again and watched Cordelia jog away. He didn’t want to talk to the police. Francis remembered how they treated him when he hurt that man when he was young. They said they’d understand, but they didn’t. They sent him to a hospital so doctors could give him medicine that made his head feel strange.

“No more,” Francis said. He knew what to do.

“Call an ambulance!” someone screamed from the back of the soundstage. Cordelia’s blood ran cold. Francis had done something, and it wasn’t good.

Cordelia raced across the set, ducking and dodging crewmembers jogging towards the shouting. A small crowd had gathered in back, and Cordelia pushed her way through, muttering a few apologies for stepping on toes. She was right. It definitely wasn’t good.

Francis hung limply from some pipes, the exposed wiring wrapped around his neck in a crude makeshift noose. A small stepstool was knocked over just underneath the body.

“Don’t just fucking stare!” Cordelia yelled. She quickly found a pair of wiring cutters and was trying her best to get him down. Alex Baker arrived then, and he was soon helping cut the wires wrapped around Francis’ neck. When the last wire was cut, Baker grabbed onto the body and gently eased it to the ground.

“There’s no pulse,” he said.

The on-set medic arrived and tried to resuscitate, but after five minutes of futile effort, finally gave up. There wasn’t anything he could do. When the paramedics arrived, they quickly reached the same conclusion.

Hyperion Hotel
April 15, 2003

“Yes, thank you,” Cordelia spoke into the phone. “No, I understand. It’s just business. Thank you.” Cordelia replaced the receiver and flopped back into her office chair.

“Hey Cor,” Angel said as he entered the lobby. “Are you okay?” The vampire was immediately attuned to Cordelia’s emotions.

“Surprisingly yes,” she answered. Angel raised his brows in confusion. “That was Fox. They have some good news and some bad news.”

“What’s the good news?”

“They want to air the two hour pilot episode of ‘Abyss’ sometime in November or December.”

“And what’s the bad news?”

“That’s all they want to air. The studio just saw the rough cut and decided not to pick up the series. Instead, they want to air it as a two-hour movie.” Cordelia huffed in annoyance. “They said they may air it during Christmas hiatus when their shows go on break. With my luck, they’ll air it in that stupid show “Firefly’s” timeslot. That’ll give it great ratings,” she said sarcastically.

“And you said you’re surprisingly okay?” Angel asked. “I thought this is what you wanted. I thought acting was something you wanted to do.”

“I thought it was, but after a day on that set, I don’t think I could have done that for five years or whatever. I wasn’t as happy doing it as I hoped I would be. I wasn’t as happy as when I’m here with you.”

“Really?” Angel grinned.

“Yes, but don’t let that go to your head. You can still be replaced by Matt Leblanc or Dylan McDermott.”

“Maybe, but your indispensable,” Angel admitted.

“No casting change for the role of ‘Voluptuous Seer’ on the horizon?”

“Not a chance in hell,” Angel said. “This is one role that was written especially for you.”

“Really?” Cordelia asked. “Kick ass.”