Readers: Just in case you're worried, I'm still in the process of writing my other stories. I just wanted to shoot this one out there, since it was in my head for a while. It's going to be two chapters and that's it. Just a diversion.
And, as always: The television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters and materials belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy and UPN. You'll have to guess at the other character..
"So, what's the plan for tonight?
"I don't know, Dawn," Buffy said nonchalantly. "I thought I'd stay in, catch a movie or something."
"Come on, Buffy. Just because you're not with The Immortal anymore doesn't mean you can't have fun."
"I am having fun. Look, we both just broke it off because I'm not ready for a serious relationship yet."
"I'm not asking you to pick out a wedding dress," Dawn said. "I'm just saying there are other guys to see out there. Normal guys."
"I think it's time I took a break from all that; to just be comfortable where I'm at right now. And to add to my comfortable feeling, I'm getting another chai."
"Get me one, too," Dawn said as Buffy went to get the refills. "And don't forget a shot of vanilla. And get some cinnamon, too. Oh, and not too hot."
Johnny picked up his coffee from the counter and started walking toward a table, trying to grip his cane, cup, and cell phone in his hands.
"Yeah, Bruce, I'm enjoying myself here so far. Then again, it's only been two days."
Johnny had decided it was time for a break two weeks ago. Being accused of murder had that effect on people. His subsequent arrest, arraignment, and exoneration made him realize that he hadn't really seen where his life was going. He had been so busy trying to stop the end of the world that he forgot he was still in it. He decided that he needed a vacation, time to reenergize and focus on whom he was and what he was doing.
"Yeah, well, you need it," Bruce said. "After everything that happened you need a little recharge. Still, the town ain't the same without you."
"I'll be back in two weeks. For right now, though, it's time to relax."
"Maybe spend time with those hot Italian women?" Bruce quipped.
"Hey, who knows, bro?"
Laughing, Bruce decided to bid his friend goodbye for the day as he prepared for his. "Alright, man. I'll talk to you later."
"For crying out loud, Dawn, I got…" Buffy shot back.
"Buffy, watch…!" Dawn yelled right before she saw her sister unknowingly collide with a man on a cell phone.
The man dropped his drink and cane on the ground in surprise, still holding on to his phone.
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" Buffy exclaimed.
"No, it's alright. I'll just get another one."
"Here, let me get that for you," Buffy said sheepishly bent down to pick up the coffee and cane. She had thoughtlessly bumped into a man and spilled his drink. All because she was paying attention to her demanding younger sister.
"You don't have to…"
"No, it was my fault. I wasn't paying attention," Buffy replied as she was getting up.
Johnny looked at the young woman with a start. She was slim and athletic, with blond hair that was brightened by the sunlight through the windows of the café. But what killed him was the smile; it was the kind he saw on only a few women, one that you couldn't forget. "You're American?" Johnny asked.
"Yeah. You too?"
"Yeah. I'm here on a vacation of sorts," he replied.
"Well, I'm living here with my sister. Say, I'm really sorry about the drink. I'll get you another one."
What the hell, Johnny; go for it. "No, that's alright. I'll just get another. You were getting something, too?"
"No, I couldn't let you. I was the clumsy one," Buffy replied.
"It's no problem. What were you getting? I can bring them to your table. It's no problem, really."
"Um…" Buffy replied, hesitating. "It was, uh, two chais: one with cinnamon and vanilla."
"Alright, two chais coming up," Johnny replied.
"You really don't…" Buffy started to say.
"Like I said," Johnny interrupted. "It's no problem."
"Okay…" Buffy replied before she started to make her way back to her sister.
"Nice going, klutz," Dawn quipped.
"Hey, if you hadn't been so demanding I would have seen him," Buffy shot back.
"Super strength, super agility, and super-klutziness all in one Slayer package."
"Ha, ha," Buffy replied sarcastically.
"What's he doing anyway?"
"He's bringing our drinks back, Dawn."
"Wait, you knock his drink on the floor and he's paying for all of us? Oh, he's smooth and generous." A few minutes later, Dawn got a better look at his face as the man approached the table. "And cute, too," she whispered to Buffy. Buffy rolled her eyes.
"Here you are: two chais, one with vanilla and cinnamon."
"Thanks. You really didn't have to," Buffy responded.
"No, it was my pleasure," Johnny replied.
"Thanks," Dawn replied as she picked up her chai. Looking at her watch, she exclaimed, "Ah, I'm late!"
"For what?" Buffy asked.
"For that thing, you know… that thing," Dawn was scrambling, picking up her purse and holding on to her cup.
"Dawn, wait…" Buffy replied.
"See you, sis," Dawn said quickly as she left toward the exit, giving a 'thumbs up' to Buffy before leaving.
That little sneak. She doesn't have a 'thing' she's late for, Buffy thought.
"I guess it's just us then," Johnny said.
"Yeah. Look, I'm going to get going."
"No, please stay," Johnny pleaded.
"No, I should get going."
"I just want to sit and talk for awhile, if that's alright."
"Look, Mr. uh..." Buffy said, realizing she and the man never properly introduced themselves.
"Smith. John Smith," he replied.
Buffy looked at the man questioningly. The name seemed so… plain… and normal. "Really?"
"Yeah, really," the man remarked.
"Look, I'm not some crazy guy or anything like that. I just, you know, would like to talk for awhile. Besides, would you refuse an injured man?"
"Injured?" Buffy inquired.
"Yeah, I think that coffee scalded my fingers," he replied, smiling.
Chuckling, Buffy just looked at him. He looked innocent enough, and it was as blindingly bright out. Well, at least he's not a vampire. Acquiescing, she decided it wouldn't hurt to sit and talk. "Alright, I guess so."
Smiling, Johnny said, "Thanks, Ms…."
"Summers. Buffy Summers."
Johnny looked quizzically at her. The name was so… unusual… and somewhat daring. "Really?"
"Yeah, really," Buffy replied, repeating Johnny's remark. Sitting down, Buffy asked, "So, what do you want to talk about?"
"Well, how about where you're from in the States."
"Sunnydale, California," Buffy answered.
"Sunnydale? Wait, wasn't it the place where that big sinkhole happened last year?" Johnny asked.
"One and the same," Buffy replied.
"Oh, sorry about bringing that up," Johnny said apologetically. "Wow, this conversation started out all wrong,"
"No, it's okay. Most of the people got out before it went under. Some didn't."
Johnny saw the look on the woman's face. He quickly decided to move on to something more pleasant before she thought sitting down with him wasn't worth it. "So, what do you do for a living?"
"I'm, uh, a recruiter. For a private organization," Buffy replied, hoping he bought it.
"Really? Does it usually take you around the world?"
"Now it does," Buffy quipped, laughing internally at her own joke. "But me and my sister have only been living here for a year. Seemed like the right place to be."
"Well, I like it so far, even though I've only been here two days," Johnny replied.
Buffy decided it was her turn to ask the questions. "So, where are you from, John?"
"Maine, near Bangor."
"What do you do there?"
"I'm, uh, a consultant. I used to be a schoolteacher."
"Really?" Buffy was shocked. She didn't remember any of her schoolteachers being as handsome as John was. She began to think that maybe she would have enjoyed it more if they were. Brushing aside the thought she asked, "So what made you change jobs?"
"Oh," Johnny replied. "I just realized I had other talents."
And for the next hour, the two talked. Buffy realized a little bit more into the conversation that she was enjoying the man's company. They talked about a myriad of things: childhood, hometowns, and pretty much anything else that didn't have to do with their respective "professions". It was then Buffy looked at her watch.
"Oh, I have to get going, John," she said quickly as she gathered her purse.
"Wait, Buffy. I want to see you again, maybe tonight."
"I… really don't think that's a good idea. Look, John, I just got out of a… well, some kind of a relationship. I'm really not looking to see anybody."
"Buffy," Johnny replied. "I'm leaving in two weeks. I'm not asking you to register and pick out china. I just want to spend the evening with a beautiful woman. Things that happened recently made me realize that I need to take value of what's important in life. You know, to seize the day."
"Be careful, that advice has gotten people in trouble before," Buffy quipped.
"Well, not today it won't. Just one evening and you'll never have to see me again." Buffy just looked at him, unsure of what to do. "Remember," he said. "injured man."
Laughing, Buffy relented yet again. "Okay, one date. You can pick me up at eight tonight." Taking out a slip of paper and a pen, she wrote down the address and name of her apartment building and her phone number. "That's where I'm staying. Call me if you need directions." She handed the slip of paper to Johnny, who touched her hand when he took it. It was then he received a vision.
It was night and Buffy was in some sort of building. It was run-down, like an old warehouse. Something that looked like it was out of a horror movie towered over her, holding a metal pipe. There was a girl chained to one of the supporting pillars with a gag around her mouth. Buffy was hanging upside down, like she was in a trap. The thing approached her, swinging with all his might toward the back of Buffy's head, unbeknownst to her. As soon as it connected, Johnny was brought out of the vision only to see Buffy walking toward the exit of the café.
"See you tonight, John," she said as she left.
Looking worried, Johnny only hoped that he would.
The television series, The Dead Zone and all characters related are properties of Lions Gate Television, Piller2, USA Network Inc.