Title: The Dinner
Author: Love's Bitch
Disclaimer: All characters owned by Mutant Enemy, Inc.
Notes: Okay, couldn't sleep last night. So I typed. This apparently is what I typed.
God, for once, she wished she’d answered the phone. The one time he answers it…this happens. She was helpless. Totally unable to stop it. She had just finished burping Connor when she heard him say the words…
“Yeah, Cordy and I would love to…see you around 8….”
He hung up, and looked at her sheepishly.
“Angel….what did you just do…”
“Cordy…how do you feel about a fancy sit-down dinner in Malibu….”
“Normally…great….but why do I feel I won’t like this? Who was that on the phone…”
“Buffy…you want me to go eat dinner with you and Buffy….well….sorry….I’ve got mommy duty…”
She turned and brought Connor back up to her shoulder and began bobbing up and down, trying to rock him to sleep.
Angel winced as she stopped bobbing, and turned slowly toward him.
“Did you say Xander…”
Angel nodded, fearing what was coming next.
Oh no, he thought there it is. The eyebrows just shot up.
“You want me to go eat dinner with Xander and Buffy?!”
“Because….the last time with Buffy didn’t go so well….”
“So what, you want me there to hold your hand?”
“….yes?” he said hopefully.
“Why, so she won’t?”
“Listen, I’m sorry,” he said, heading for the door…. “I’ll just…”
“Get ready,” she said. “And wear the blue silk…”
He turned his head. “You’re coming?”
“I have to, don’t I? You promised.”
He kissed her on the forehead and bounded up the stairs like a little kid.
She shook her head, and holding Connor’s hand, she looked into his eyes…
“The things I do for your Daddy…”
He walked down the stairs to find the lobby empty.
Fred stepped out of the office with Connor in her arms. “She’s upstairs getting ready…”
He smiled. “Thanks for baby-sitting…”
“No problem…you two deserve a night off….together…”
“Fred….about this kye-rumption thing….”
“Whet kye-what?” came a voice from the top of the stairs.
Angel turned to see Cordelia in a beautiful mid-length blue cocktail dress, showing just enough cleavage to let you know it was there, and just enough leg to make you want to see more. She stood there, her hands on her hip, one foot to the side, resting on the tip of the heel. Angel found his mouth opening in shock. Womanly didn’t begin to describe her.
“Not a real big compliment coming from you….”
“See,” he said putting her hand to his chest, “proof….”
Cordelia smiled in spite of herself.
“Let’s get this over with….”
As they walked into the restaurant, she felt self-conscious. Not only about the fact that Angel insisted on taking her arm, but all the little stuff too…
“You’ve got your cell-phone, right….?”
“And so do you, Cordy. We just talked to Fred five minutes ago. He’s fine…”
“I know….it’s just….”
“Hey…you were the one that told me to let go a little…”
“Yeah, but that was before….”
She looked around the room, searching for an answer. Instead all she found was Xander waving like a chicken with its head cut off. Not that she knew what that looked like. Demons with their heads cut off she knew. Even did the cutting a few times herself. This was far scarier.
“Heh,” mumbled Angel. “I don’t want to do this,” he said, leaning back like he was going to leave.
“Oh, no, you don’t, buster. You dragged me here. We’re doing this…”
They walked up to the table and put on their best faux smiles. Xander, in a surprisingly fashionable black shirt, made an awkward attempt to hug her. She watched as Buffy gave Angel a surprisingly unenthusiastic hug. They separated and repeated the process, although Cordelia had to admit that Xander and Angel hugged in a very manly way. No, they didn’t they looked like the two biggest geeks she knew. Probably because they were.
Buffy sat across from her, Angel between them, Xander on her right. Buffy had on a white cotton sundress with a floral print. Not really evening wear in LA, but hey, she lived in Sunnydale.
“So,” said Angel..
“So,” repeated Buffy…
“So,” moaned Cordelia..
They all looked at Xander. “Oh…so…” he said meaningfully.
They managed to make small talk of no real importance. Cordelia knew it was because Buffy was waiting to talk to Angel alone. And Xander…well, Xander had no clue what to say to her…
They talked about why they were in town….to pick up a shipment for Anya at LAX. They moved on to Fred, Wesley…..Dawn, and Anya….Angel mentioned Spike’s name, but Buffy quickly squelched the topic. There was something there, but Cordelia was pretty sure she didn’t want to know what. Okay, maybe she wanted to know, but not if it would hurt Angel.
Finally, it came time to order.
Buffy ordered a chicken dish with pasta, Xander a steak.
Then Angel began to order. Cordelia could see on the puzzled look on Buffy’s face. She was surprised he was ordering at all.
“I’ll have the shrimp etou--“
“Angel,” said Cordelia in a low voice, still looking at her menu. “No…”
“Cordy,” he whispered. “I can handle a little..”
“And then we have to handle you with the hiccups all night. I don’t think so…”
Angel smiled up at the waiter. “I’ll have the steak tartar….”
“I’ll have the shrimp etoufee. And we’d like a bottle of the best merlot you have,” said Cordelia.
Angel looked at her sternly.
“What, just because you hiccup like a three year old every time you eat shellfish, doesn’t mean I can’t have some…”
“He does what?” asked Buffy.
“He hiccups. No biggie.”
“It’s not that bad,” said Angel. “I just…”
“Oh, c’mon. You remember that night we saw Lilah at Long John Silver’s? I thought you were laughing but it turned out you were just hiccuping. It was so loud that I was worried the cops were going to knock on my door for disturbing the peace…”
“Your door?” asked Xander. “And Angel went to Long John Silver’s?”
“What..oh…yeah…Angel lived with me for a few months a couple of years ago…listen, Angel, I’m going to go check on…..Fred., see how she’s doing….I’ll be right back,” she said, and headed to the restroom.
“Something wrong with Fred?” asked Buffy
“No…she’s just….not used to staying by herself…”
“So Cordy’s playing mom?” asked Xander.
“What?!…what makes you…what?”
“This Fred. Cordy playing mom to her?”
“Oh….Fred. Cordy playing mom…no, they’re just friends. Fred has a mom of her own….”
“Most people do,” said Buffy, her eyes narrowing. “What’s going on, Angel?”
Angel looked around, hoping Cordy would walk back in. Something almost as good happened.
The waiter sat the plate down in front of him, and Angel quickly moved to stuff his mouth with the small vegetable slices.
“Like that dip, do ya?” asked Xander.
“Mmmm….good….” smiled Angel, his mouth full.
Xander looked at Buffy. What the hell?
Cordelia sat back down at the table right as the wine arrived.
Their drinks were poured, and as Xander took a sip, he saw Cordelia reach over and chug down Angel’s glass. Angel leaned toward her, blocking people’s view as she reached into her purse and pulled out a thermos. She poured the contents into the glass.
“Is that blood?” asked Buffy.
“Yeah, what did you expect him to drink?”
“Trust me, he’s only good for two, maybe three glasses. Goes straight to his head….”
“I’m not that bad…”
“Yes, you are…”
“I’m not the one that got up on the bar at Caritas and started to sing Respect…”
“No, you chose I am Woman, Hear Me Roar….and at least I can sing….”
“I don’t even want to know,” said Xander.
“So you brought blood for him?” said Buffy, trying to steer the subject back around.
Cordelia looked at her like she couldn’t believe she’d just said that.
“I hate that expression,” mumbled Buffy.
“O…kay,” said Xander….
”And he’s just going to….”
Angel put the empty glass back down on the table. “More please?” he smiled at Cordelia.
“Sure….hold on…I’ve got to put some more cinnamon in…it’s all settled to the bottom…”
Xander and Buffy looked at each other wide-eyed.
Cordelia stood up again. “I….I’ve got to go powder my nose…”
Buffy rose. “I’ll go with…”
“No…no that’s okay…”
“Cordy,” said Angel sternly…
Cordy inhaled. “Fine…let’s go….”
As soon as she got into the restroom, she ducked into the nearest stall, hitting #3 on her speed-dial.
“Hi, Cordelia,” said Fred’s voice on the other end.
“How’d you know it was me?”
“I don’t know. Maybe ‘cause you call every five minutes….why are you whispering?”
“Sorry…how’s he doing…”
“He won’t go down….I’ve tried singing to him, but….”
“Just keep trying. We won’t be long…”
“Cordy, I don’t think that….I think you should try…”
“Over the phone?”
“Yeah….he knows your voice….I’m going to put the phone to his ear….”
“Okay….Connor…this is mommy….can you hear mommy….now go to sleep for Aunt Fred…..”
“I think you’re gonna have to sing, Cordy…..”
“Okay….Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don't you cry! Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-l… “ Cordelia trailed off. Something was wrong. She felt…..watched…she looked up and shrieked at the sight of Buffy peering over the wall of the stall.
Buffy shrieked in response, and fell. Cordelia heard a loud crack, and a splash.
“Buffy….? Buffy, are you all right?” she said, walking around and opening the door to the stall. She almost burst out laughing. Buffy was leaning against one side of the wall. One leg was completely inside the toilet.
“Uh….I think I’m stuck…”
Cordelia looked down and realized that Fred was still on the line.
“Fred, I’ve got kind of an emergency here….”
“He’s down….whatever you did…he’s asleep….”
“Good, good….good night, Fred….Angel and I will be home later….”
She stood there looking at Buffy, who was beginning to cry….
Cordy hesitantly walked toward her and hugged her..
“It’s okay…you’re just a little wet…we can go back to my apartment and get you all fixed up….”
“It’s not that…you…you’re a mommy?”
Cordelia backed off, still keeping her hands on her arms.
“Yeah…yeah, I am…”
Buffy nodded slowly, reaching over and grasping a piece of toilet paper and wiping her tears away.
“Who’s the father…?”
Cordelia just stared at her, taking a deep breath.
The silence hung in the air.
“Yeah…listen, I’m going to go get somebody to get you out of there….”
Buffy inhaled deeply. “Never mind,” she said, as the toilet seemingly crumbled as she walked forward. “You said I could borrow some clothes.”
They stood in Cordelia’s living room, whispering to each other. Xander was raiding the kitchen, and Buffy was in the other room changing.
“You told her?” asked Angel
“I had to…she heard me singing to Connor….”
“What he wouldn’t go down?”
“No, but I…”
“I knew we shouldn’t have left him, I…”
“You? You were the one dragging me out…”
Xander and Buffy stood watching from the doorway.
“I don’t believe it,” said Xander.
“I do…I mean, look at them, they act like they’re married or something….”
“You think they are?”
Buffy looked at him, blinking. “Maybe…I don’t know….after tonight, I’d believe pretty much anything….but I just can’t believe how much Cordy has changed…”
“Buff…you’ve died twice. You’ve been to heaven and back….and you can’t believe Cordy could change…?”
She cocked her head. “You’ve got a point.”
“Listen,” said Cordelia. “We were wondering if you wanted to meet Connor…”
Buffy’s eyes widened… “I…yeah….yeah…”
Xander nodded. “That’d be cool.”
“Okay, Buffy, why don’t you come with me,” said Cordelia. “Angel, you and Xander go get some take-out. We didn’t really get to eat…”
“Sorry,” said Buffy.
“What do you want to eat?” asked Angel.
“Chinese good? Okay, Chinese….and I’ve got a craving for one of those bloomin’ onions…”
“NO,” said Buffy. “No bloomin’ onions.”
“O-Kay,” said Cordelia. “Ixnay on the bloomin’ onion.”
Xander headed toward the door while Angel just stood looking at Cordelia blankly.
Angel raised his eyebrow in a persistent yet forceful way.
“Oh,” smirked Cordelia, reaching into her purse
“What?” asked Buffy
Cordelia slapped a $50 bill into Angel’s hand. Angel smiled and headed out the door. Cordelia watched him walk out the door, shaking her head.
“He’s making you pay?” asked Buffy.
Cordelia flinched, surprised to be asked.
“What, no…that’s his money…”
“So why do you have it?”
“I handle the money….”
“Has anyone ever thought…that you and Angel were….”
“Well, yeah, but there were all full of …”
“No….no they weren’t.”
“Buffy?!” asked Cordelia confused.
Buffy shook her head.
Buffy stared at her the whole way to the Hyperion. Cordelia hung up the phone (she’d been telling Angel she’d forgotten they were out of wet-naps) when she looked over to see Buffy shaking her head, grinning.
Cordelia decided to turn the tables. “So….how’s Spike?”
Buffy gulped. “Spike? What do you mean?”
“I’m a direct pipeline to the PTB, Buffy. I know a lot….”
Buffy sighed and looked up. “Cordy….I just…it just happened….”
Cordelia turned, interested. “Yeah…..I know….”
“But you know what?”
“It was good….God, it was good…..It was so…”
Buffy looked over to see Cordelia’s face. Cordy was trying to keep watching the road, but had this smile on her face.
“You didn’t know anyhing, did you?”
Cordy laughed. “Nope. I just knew you avoided talking about him at dinner.”
“I’ll give you credit…that was good….”
“Hey, you deal with evil lawyers a while, you learn a few tricks…”
“You going to tell Angel?”
“Is it any of Angel’s business?”
Buffy thought about that for a moment, looking at Cordy. “No….no it’s not.”
“Well, there’s your answer.”
They walked through the entrance to the Hyperion to see Xander on the floor, making faces at a very confused Connor.
“They beat us here?”
Cordy smiled. “Angel doesn’t get very many chances to show him off…”
Buffy stood watching for a moment.
“Go ahead,” nudged Cordy. “He doesn’t bite….well, he does, he just doesn’t have any teeth yet…”
Buffy looked at Angel, and he nodded. Buffy joined Xander on the floor.
Cordelia walked over to Angel, who had a mile wide grin on his face. She leaned into him, watching.
“You woke him up?”
“He was already awake…I swear”
“Uh…huh…What’s Xander doing?” she asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Those goofy faces….does he really think Connor would…”
“Hey….you don’t know that….have you tried it?”
She smiled up at him, realizing he had probably tried the exact same thing. She thanked the PTB she’d never had to see it.
“Angel…Buffy said something…”
Angel turned to her. “She’s just going to have to get used to it….”
“used to…used to what?”
She saw Angel’s brow furrow in confusion. “Used to us. She’s just going to have to get used to us being together,” he said, pulling her to his side. She tried to watch his face for some sort of explanation but he was intent on watching their son play.
She did the same, but it still hung on her mind.
“Together?” she whispered to herself. Oh, boy.