Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the WB's television series 'Angel'. All those pretty shiny characters - such as Spike, Angel, Wesley, Fred and Lorne - belong to Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon. The only thing that belongs to me is Lisa and the part of the story line which isn't based on season 5. This story was purely written out of fan appreciation and because I enjoyed doing it. So please don't sue.
Contains spoilers up to 'Destiny'. So all of you, who haven't seen the episodes yet, be warned grin
Lisa wasn't good at those kind of things. She hated job interviews. It was all about pretending to be a person you are not. Nobody is always happy or brilliant all the time. And having to pretend to be perfect is something annoying - perhaps even unhealthy - especially when you can feel your own doubts nagging at you at the back of your head.
Lisa uncomfortably tugged at the hem of her dark blue skirt. She had gone through her entire closet to find something decent to wear for this occasion. Finally, after a rather long and fruitless endeavour, she had found the business dress, her mother had once given to her as her present, hoping against hope that she could be redeemed to a less extravagant wardrobe. She nervously started playing with a strain of her hair, while her gaze wandered here and there.
The young woman stared absent-mindedly through the spotless glass front of the waiting room. Gosh, this place was huge! It had the sort of forceful cheerfulness to it, most office buildings have nowadays. It was equipped with huge windows, bright colours and absolutely no personality whatsoever. People were scurrying around busily like bees in a beehive. Maybe if she was lucky she would be one of them sooner or later. Lisa needed the money badly.
She picked up a magazine. The thin paper slightly trembled in her hand when she turned the pages. Toothy grins and the latest fall fashion passed her by unnoticed, while her mind was occupied with other thoughts. She couldn't concentrate properly, because she was that nervous. She had even skipped breakfast this morning. Lisa threw the magazine back on the table and started playing with the rings on her fingers. The ditzy blonde secretary, who had already welcomed her at the reception and had let her here beforehand, popped her head into the waiting room.
"The boss is ready for you," she announced with a cheerful grin, that Lisa somehow found utterly unnerving. "Please, follow me."
"Uhm, yes, thank you."
She was shown into a spacious office room with huge windows. For a moment her eyes curiously scanned her surroundings. Though the office was light flooded, it seemed to have a gloomy touch . Probably it was due to all those antiques hanging from the walls: African masks, spears, swords...Strange. She certainly hadn't imagined a lawyer's office like that.
She was called back into the present by the voice of the secretary . "Good luck," she sang, in what seemed to the young woman unmasked sadism. The door closed behind her and Lisa tried to put on an air of confidence as she approached the desk at the far end of the room. The huge leather chair turned and revealed a handsome young man in his mid twenties. He rose and shook her hand. Ouch, that was certainly a firm handshake. 'Try to keep grinning', she repeated to herself and almost would have exhaled in relieve when he let go of her hand.
"Please, take a seat, Miss Gray." He indicated the chair in front of his desk. She followed his invitation and looked at him expectantly.
"Well...As to your appliance as a secretary...", he looked at the papers in front of him with a frown on his face.
"I know that I'm not the best typist, but I'm a good worker. I will give a hundred percent if you just give me a chance so..."
"We didn't invite you here because we wanted your services as a secretary."
"You didn't ?", she asked incredulously. "What am I here for then?"
"Actually, there is another vacancy...which...uhm..." he seemed to search for a the right word for a few seconds, "turned up a few days ago, which would suit you much better", he leaned back in his chair and scrutinized her closely.
Was he trying to come onto her? Her senses were probably playing tricks on her. She tried to keep up the illusion of a cheerful enthusiastic person, that is supposed to help you get a job, but somehow it was getting more difficult with every second his stare bore into her. Though Wolfram & Hart had a very good reputation in the business world, this job interview was turning out a little bit awkward. Just in case he got ideas she had her pepper spray right in her purse.
"What kind of vacancy?" she briefly paused, contemplating whether or not she should address his weird behaviour and finally decided for it. "And may I inform you, sir, that I will leave immediately, if you are implying anything other than offering me a job," she squinted her eyes together and looked at him challengingly.
"What do you mean?" he looked at her confusedly.
Did she really have to spell it out for him? Obviously, yes."I mean, that I'm not one of those girls who sleeps around in the office."
"Oh, no, no, no," her vis-à-vis laughed embarrassedly and knocked over an empty mug with a clumsy movement. "That was not at all what I meant! We need a new psychic," he calmly explained while he bussied himself with cleaning off an imaginary stain from his shiny desktop. Then he put up the mug again, only this time out of his moving range.
"You need a what?" she shot to her feet in surprise. "Are you joking? I thought this was a law firm. A highly respectable one even", her voice rose a pitch while the questions bubbled out of her without her being able to hinder them from doing so.
"I'm rarely in the mood for jokes", a statement which his serious voice underlined with determination .
"Okay", Lisa stretched out every vowel of this small word. "How come you were thinking of me? How do I fit into this picture?" she crossed her arms over her chest waiting for him to come up with a good answer that would convince her to stay.
"We heard of your abilities. Also the questions you answered in your application helped a lot."
She had to admit she had already been slightly suspicious when she had read things like 'Do you believe in the existence of supernatural phenomena?' or 'How do you work under stress?', not to mention 'Do you believe in the afterlife? Right 100 words or more'. Why had she been so stupid? She had been blinded by the prospect of a regular income that would at least be able to pay some of her debts. She should have known. That was a joke right? She wasn't in the mood for jokes. She hadn't skipped her afternoon classes at university for some childish mind games. "Let's not waste both our time. What is going on here? Who told you about me?"
Seconds seemed to stretch on forever as she waited in vain for an answer. Lisa ran her hand through her long black hair exasperatedly. She stared at her vis-à-vis as if the answers to her question would be revealed just by looking at him. Already at a young age she had been able to see things other people simply ignore, because their senses were numbed by everyday life. An ocean of information floods the brain on a daily basis and some of it is too subtle to be properly registered. Lisa had always paid attention to the small details. Now, for example, she noticed, that the man's chest wasn't rising or falling. He didn't breath! But he wasn't a ghost, she would have been able to sense that.
"You are not human," she stated and oddly her voice sounded slightly firmer than just a few seconds before. The supernatural was a world she was well acquainted with and strangely enough she felt a little bit more secure of herself now. Well, at least as much as you could feel, faced with a potential threat to your life.
"Yes, you're right. I'm not human" he answered hesitantly. He didn't move, didn't do anything to make her feel threatened. He just sat there waiting for her reaction. She looked at the windows through which the midday sun was streaming merrily. A vampire who didn't burn in direct sunlight? That was certainly something new.
He had noticed her gaze. "I'm guessing you are just asking yourself why I'm not burning like a torch right now.."
"That and why you are running the L.A. branch of Wolfram & Hart." He smiled. Obviously he had some sense of humour. "I knew there was some kind of close relationship between lawyers and vampires," she muttered under her breath, trying to win some time to work out a plan to escape from this office. Lisa carefully thought about her options and quickly figured out that her chances were about that of a snowball in hell. He was a vampire which meant he was strong, quick and deadly and that she had no possibility of making it out of this room without him allowing her to.
"Look, I imagine that comes to you as some kind of a shock. But, please, stay calm. I don't want to hurt you."
"Of course, you are just making me a job offer", she shot back sarcastically.
"Yes?" Lisa had the sudden urge to sit down. She slumped down in the chair behind her and stared for a few seconds at the shiny tips of her shoes. She could remembered the last time she had worn shoes this clean. Perhaps at her graduation, maybe. Her thoughts slowly worked themselves from the cleanliness of her footwear towards the current situation. A vampire was making her a job offer. It needed a few moments before the information sagged in. She thought about how odd this situation was, about the bills that were strewn all over her apartment like a paper explosion and waiting to be paid with money she didn't have. Somehow the reality of her financial problems put the whole situation in a whole new perspective.
"I probably will regret this...", Lisa announced wearily. She just hoped she wasn't making the proverbial deal with the devil. There would always be time for remorse later.
"Is there a test...or something?" she looked at him questioningly.
"Actually, yes, there are a few," he awkwardly pressed a button on his telephone as if he wasn't sure it would fulfil the desired task. "Harmony, would you please send in, Lorne?"
"Of course, bossy," came the immediate response from the other line.
"I told you to stop calling me that," he hissed between clenched teeth.
"Okay, b...uuuhm...Angel." Lisa tried hard to suppress a grin, listening to the brief interchange.
They didn't have to wait long for this guy called Lorne to arrive. "Angelcakes, how have you been?" asked a melodious male voice from behind her.
She turned around in her chair to greet the newcomer and almost would have done a doubletake. Her brain lately registered strange images - more strange than usually at least - for example, right now it was telling her that a demon with freckled green skin, red eyes and horns and a gigantic smile on his face was walking up to her. Lisa became aware that she was staring and quickly caught herself. Nevertheless she wasn't able to get out a single word.
"Who is this charming young thing? That hair and that skin... she almost looks like Snow-white," Lorne shook her hand enthusiastically.
"Our new medium."
"So I'm here to hear her sing, I guess?" Angel nodded in response.
"Wait a minute...singing? What does that have to do with...", Lisa protested after she had finally found her voice again.
"Lorne is an empathic demon. He can read other peoples' auras when they sing," she was informed briefly.
"Oh.", Lisa was dumbfounded by this whole situation though usually she was quite sharp witted.
Things had gotten completely out of hand. They just passed her by at the speed of lightning, while she was reduced to being nothing but an idle bystander. Lisa was completely overwhelmed like somebody who has been inside of an empty cave for all his life and was now shoved into the bright and noisy environment of one of those annoying theme parks. Your senses were bound to go on overload. True, she dealt with the supernatural on a daily basis, but this was absolutely new territory to her.
"I had a demon karaoke bar in the good old days. I guess old habits die hard," Lorne said good-humouredly, chatting away merrily as if she was on old acquaintance of him. "There is nothing like a good song to cheer you up."
"Do I have to?" she rolled her eyes like an annoyed child.
Obviously they absolutely wanted her to sing. How ridiculous! "Can't we just use a lie detector or something?"
"No", by that point she was already too worked up over the question whether or not she was to sing, to care about how bizarre the whole situation really was.
"Okay," she sighed, "What do I pick?"
"Alright, just give me a moment to think about it," Lisa said while she inwardly cursed the day the crazy idea of considering working for this law firm got into her head. Silence. Both men...well, the vampire and the demon...anyways, they were both looking at her expectantly.
She nervously cleared her throat. Lisa liked singing, but not in front of other people. Her frequent performances were only meant for herself in the perfect acoustic of her shower. She closed her eyes - this way she wouldn't have to see her audience - and started singing. Her voice was soft and beautiful, "The very thought of you and I forget to do. The little ordinary things that everyone's ought to do. I'm living in a kind of day dream, I'm happy as a king and foolish though it may seem to me that's everything...", she stopped and looked at them shyly.
Lorne was grinning from ear to ear, while Angel was wearing a contemplative frown on his face - she reckoned it was something he did very often..
"Clearly somebody who picks that kind of song can't be evil," the demon announced, "I think she will be perfectly right for the job", he informed Angel.
"So, I can send her down to Fred?"
"I don't see a reason why you shouldn't."