CHAPTER TWO

Lilah hated seeing Wesley this way, utterly despondent. How wrong was that? Six months ago she would have rejoiced at one of Angel's friends being so far down he couldn't see up. Now it hurt her deeply. She wasn't supposed to be falling in love. She couldn't afford that.

Love had been gone from her life for so long that Lilah scarcely recognized it. Law school had left zero time for romance. Wolfram and Hart left her so twisted she didn't think she could love any more. Still, this thing with Wesley felt like those more tender times in college and before, like the sweet boy, Bobby, who had taken her to the prom. How had this happened? She had started the sexual relationship hoping to gain a quick-witted, brilliant new convert who'd not only give them an in to Angel but also to the Hellmouth and the Watchers, all wildly differing but important commodities.

Instead, she found herself looking forward to the end of the day when she could get away from the office and go see Wes. Lilah hated her growing weakness. The Lilah of last year wouldn't have put up with the indignities Wesley heaped on her, the verbal abuse, the obviousness of his lust for the Texas Twig. She didn't get it. The girl had no body, no looks and no confidence. Fred might be smart but so was she and Lilah had all the other things, too. And still here she was, Wesley's punching bag. If it was just about the dirty sex, she could ignore the verbal whipping but if her heart was in danger of getting involved, she should just call it quits. The Lilah of last year had taken a gun after a so-called man who provoked men into the ugly behavior she saw in Wesley and yet the Lilah of today stood there and took it. It sickened her but she was helpless.

Remembering the look in Wesley's eyes, hearing him shredding himself over Justine's revelation, seeing that vulnerability, those were the things that kept her from leaving. She dutifully reported to her bosses that Angel's brat had killed the demon before anything could be learned and was shocked once more that they didn't order Connor's capture, torture and vivisection.

Watching Wesley pouring another scotch, Lilah made a call. She wasn't sure how far she could lead Wes down the dark garden path but she thought she'd kill two birds with one stone, make Wesley happy and get her hooks into him more. A little push might send him over the edge and into Wolfram and Hart's waiting arms. Her bosses would love that. She, oddly enough, no longer took pleasure in that thought. It would mean she had brought him down completely and that made her sad. Lilah only wished she knew how to get her control back.

Wesley tried to fathom why Lilah had brought him here. He knew she had gotten tired of him moping for days after the debacle at the New Age shop but he didn't understand why she thought that a resort tucked away at the beach would be something he'd be interested in. He wasn't a beach sitter. Worse, he wasn't into dance clubs, like the one they were sitting in now; a private club for resort members only but a dance club none the less. The pulsing music was so loud he could feel it reverberating in his chest.

Maybe he shouldn't have agreed to come but what else could he do? It was only for two days and one night. Justine had enough food so he didn't have to worry about her. The information Justine had given him had left him so hollow Wes didn't have the heart to continue to look for Angel. Lilah sensed that and he wasn't sure if she was disappointed because he was giving up on himself or because he was a way for Wolfram and Hart to get to the vampire should he prevail.

Wesley sucked at his scotch, looking at the packed dance floor, thinking back to the last time he had actually danced. Was it really Cordy's housewarming? No, maybe it was the party they had thrown after he, Gunn, and Cordy had solved their first case after Angel fired them. Wes was as bad at dancing then, even if he had enjoyed himself, as he had been at the rigid dances hosted by his all-boys' school. Oddly, as stunning a woman as Lilah was, no matter how confidently she normally moved, he just didn't see her being a good dancer either. She liked control too much and this kind of dancing was all about giving into the wilder part of one's self. In his case it meant jerking around like a frog in a blender. He knew Lilah was likely to be far too embarrassed to be seen with him on the dance floor. They should just leave the place.

"You look bored stiff," she said over her Appletini.

He looked into her eyes, seeing reproach there. He had heard her trying to finagle a spot here. He appreciated the effort she had gone through and he knew it was to make him happy. He wondered if she was as uneasy with that as he was. Was she developing the same feelings as he was, unwanted and unstoppable? He licked his lips. "Not bored...but this isn't really my thing."

She nodded. "We should go upstairs."

"What's upstairs?"

"The more private part of the club."

He cocked an eyebrow. "A private club within a private club?"

"Very much so. There are private rooms. We can talk without having to scream over the music. I'm not up for dancing anyhow."

"All right."

Wesley wasn't prepared for the upstairs. It put him in mind of the club his father belonged to, the one that had scared him as a child, the one time his father had brought him there. The sound proofing cut the roar of downstairs to just a vibration in the floorboards. There was a very English-looking wooden bar with twin blond bartenders fairly close to the elevator. Another bar was set up across the room but there was something odd about it. Wesley wanted to investigate but Lilah had his hand. She pulled him to the twin-manned bar.

"What rooms are available?"

"We have a nice ocean-view open with an Asian theme or a non-ocean view with a sultan theme," one of the blonds said.

"Ocean-view and set up another Glenlivet and an appletini there for us, thank you." Lilah accepted the key from the bartender. She squeezed Wes' hand. "Want to check out the other bar?"

He gave her a curious look. "Does it have a better scotch than this one?"

Lilah smiled. "No scotch, come look."

Lilah led him over to the bar and Wes saw what was different. There was no alcohol at all. On either end were mounds of white powder and in between were piles of little round blue pills, long orange-brown ones, white ones with V's stamped out of them, a tier of mushrooms and a pile of dried plant material and a heap of what looked like ice chips.

"Drugs?" Wesley asked, stunned. He hadn't expected it to be just out there so openly and that Lilah might be into using them. It didn't seem in her nature.

"Today, we have cocaine." The 'bartender' pointed to the white pile closest to Wesley. "Demerol, Darvocet, Valium, Marijuana, Psilocybin 'shrooms, ice and heroin. Would you like to make a selection?"

Wesley couldn't find his voice. Lilah pointed to the cocaine. The bartender smiled and dished some out into what looked like a silver finger bowl. "The other accouterments are in the rooms. Please try the room service. Sushi is the highlight this week."

"Thank you." Lilah beckoned Wesley on. He was still stunned by what was before him and taken aback that Lilah would have anything to do with something that would strip away her control. Why did she think he would want this? Why was he tempted? Maybe a handful of those valiums might help him get through the coming weeks. He'd have to ask Lilah how much was the limit on the drug's consumption.

Wes looked at the room they had been given, all very tasteful and Japanese in styling. Despite the prettiness, there was an underlying sense of rot, a cheapness and that made it feel that much more fitting to his new life.

He slumped on the hard futon, looking out the sliding glass door to the ocean he could barely see over the lip of the balcony railing. Setting the coke down, Lilah opened the glass door, letting in the sounds of the surf before coming back to sit next to him.

He scrubbed a hand over his beard. "Why are we here?"

"I wanted to get you to let it go, Wes, all the anger and pain before it killed you." She patted his knee. "I thought maybe you'd enjoy yourself."

"You thought this...I don't understand." He threw up his hands.

"It's helped occasionally in the past. No pressure, Wes, if you don't want the coke, it won't hurt my feelings. If you have a different drug of choice, go get it."

Wes looked away, a hint of blush peeking over his beard line. "I've never...not even marijuana. I took my studies too seriously. I never had time for fun."

"That's a pity but it explains just about everything. College was meant to be fun. It was probably the last time I had no-holds-barred fun." Lilah pushed her hair back out of her eyes. "The firm uses this place from time to time. The drugs aren't the only amenities. I tried to find us a way to relax but when I thought about it, I had no idea what you liked to do, so I picked the resort. They claim to have something for everyone."

Wes got up, hearing someone at the door. He took the drink tray from the blond bartender and delivered Lilah's appletini to her. "I don't know what you like either, beyond the um...obvious."

She smirked. "I figured spending a day in bed wasn't going to help. If it was going to lift your spirits, it already would have."

"I think I should be apologizing for that." He sipped the scotch. "Probably says a lot about the state of this relationship that we don't really know anything about each other."

"Snorkeling," Lilah blurted out. " I like to snorkel. It's one of the things I like about this place. They have their own lagoon. I like to scuba dive, too, but the irony is it used to be too expensive when I was in school. Now I have the money but I don't have the time."

Wes smiled thinly. "I would never have guessed that you would have like scuba diving."

"It's very peaceful, relaxing. You go under the water and this world ceased to exist. The worries and the stresses wash away. I love to swim. It's the best exercise but I don't have much time for that either and the smell of chlorine never comes out of your hair." She shrugged. "I just don't like going into a conference room smelling like a chemistry set."

He brushed her hair off her neck. "Maybe tomorrow, if the weather holds, we can start the day with snorkeling. I've never tried it. It might be nice."

Lilah smiled. "I'd like that. See, we're getting somewhere."

He thought about it. Maybe they were at that. It felt almost normal, a couple of lovers on vacation. Even with Virginia, his one true relationship, he'd never had gone on vacation. "Acting was what I enjoyed in school. I never had much in the way of hobbies. My studies with the Watchers consumed my life. I had to be the best. There wasn't time for anything else but I did participate in my school's theatre."

"I'm not too surprised you like the theatre." Lilah pursed her lips. "Didn't you go to an all boys school?"

"Sadly yes, and I did end up playing mostly the female roles." Wes laughed. "My father always loathed that."

"Would you like to go to a play tonight? I think I could arrange that." Lilah smiled at him.

Wes nodded. "That might be nice."

"Still, it sounds like you've had your lid cranked on too tight for a long time." She clicked a nail against his thigh.

Wes heard sympathy for him in her voice. Maybe it should be disdain for someone who never had learned to live, his life all but withered on the vine. "Unfortunately."

"Never too late," Lilah said. "What happens in this place stays here. No one ever needs to know."

"I'm not worried about that." His eyes strayed to the cup of cocaine. He actually wasn't. He was tired of living his life trying to please people, trying to live up to some ridiculously high standard. Why should he give a damn what Fred and Gunn thought of him? Judas received thirty pieces of silver. He was being given a high-end resort and a supply of drugs. He was probably doing a little better than Judas.

She followed his gaze. "Do you want to try it?"

He didn't say so verbally but his eyes must have said it for him. Lilah got up and knew exactly where to find the paraphernalia for the cocaine. She cut a few lines but he waited until she went first, seeing if she would, studying what she did. There was a sharp look of surprise or maybe pain as she breathed in a line of powder through the tube. She wiped at her nose with the back of her hand. An indescribable look settled over her face as she relaxed back on the futon.

Wes sat forward, picking up the plastic tube. It felt slick and cool under his sweaty fingers. A nervous tickle crawled up his spine. No one was holding a gun to his head, making him do this so why was he nervous? There was an innate curiosity in him, a hint of an experimental nature. Hadn't Freud tried coke just to see what it would do, gathering data? Maybe it was a drastic way to try and kick himself out of his ugly ennui. Maybe drastic was what he needed. Dangerous, maybe but he felt like being dangerous for once.

His hand shook just a bit as he breathed in the drug. He stopped halfway through the line, jerking his head away. Fire flooded his sinuses. He doggedly finished the line, pressing the back of his hand to his nose, wondering if it was bleeding. He wasn't sure he liked this. He didn't feel different beyond the flames dancing on his mucous membranes and it wasn't a pleasant sensation.

"It takes a while to kick in but when it does, it's a rush," she promised him.

Wes got off the couch and went out onto the balcony. He felt warm as he watched the water. As a slow fire built inside him, he heard Lilah making a call, probably trying to find a play for them to go see. He didn't care what it was. He hadn't been to a play in such a long time. The last cultural thing he had done was go to the ballet and that had ended so badly he'd rather not think on it.

There was a certain calmness about the ocean. It had a way of making people feel small, insignificant and yet at the same time connected in ways not felt elsewhere. Now that he was here, forcing himself to gaze out over the water, Wes felt a certain weight lifting off his shoulders. He didn't feel good but he felt less like throwing himself under a bus.

He lifted his face into the salt-kissed wind, as the warmth inside him grew. He was beginning to feel that up welling, the surge from the coke as it percolated through his body. A fine sheen of sweat broke out all over his body. His heart started picking up speed. He felt capable of doing just about anything. He hadn't felt this confident in a long time. Wes stepped back inside.

Lilah had a triumphant look on her face. "Got us tickets to Hairspray. Hope that's okay. It was that or Puppetry of the Penis."

Wes's face screwed up. "Hairspray is just fine. Lilah, earlier, you wanted to dance. Would you like to go back down there and dance?"

"I'd love that."

Wes really couldn't tell if Lilah was a good dancer or not. The dance floor was so crowded, all either of them could do was bop in place but that was just as well. It saved on his embarrassing moves, which he feared would be worse than normal given the coke-induced roar tearing through him. They danced for what seemed like hours, until they were sweating and tired. They left the club, Lilah taking a doggy bag from the drug bar, and went to their suite for a shower and a change before the show.

She had gone for hours without thinking about work. She had Wesley where she wanted him, indebted to her, doing things that would put him behind bars if it were discovered, or worse, disappoint and disgust those unforgiving people he once called friends. But even so, she didn't take advantage of him. Her mission forgotten, Lilah was living for herself, for her own wants and desires for a change. She could have broken Wesley after that first line he snorted; she knew that but she didn't even try. Hell, she probably could have gotten him to sign on the dotted line as they hung around the theatre at intermission but it never occurred to her.

By the time they got back to their suite, converting Wesley to Wolfram and Hart was the last thing on her mind. It flittered through once as she blew a dusting of cocaine onto his penis before they made love but the wildness afterwards drove out all rational thoughts. Looking at his face highlighted by moonlight, Lilah no longer cared what her bosses wanted. It no longer mattered to her. Tomorrow they would go snorkeling and any cares she had would wash away with the tide.

Wesley clung to Lilah as she was slow to get out of bed. They had dragged back to his apartment after a day of snorkeling. He hadn't done any more coke. He had woken up barely in shape to go snorkeling and he did so only because Lilah had tried so hard to make him feel good that he owed her that much. He decided he had flung his oats with that one night of illicit indulgence. He felt too much like hell afterwards. It wasn't worth it. Nothing that dulled his senses was. Lilah didn't even bring up the cocaine or anything else that had happened.

She clawed for the phone and to his surprise called in sick. She turned in his arms, snuggling against his chest. "I hope you don't mind. I can hardly move...been too long since I've used all those muscles to swim."

"Since I'm quite incapable of even lifting my head, I think I'll leave off snorkeling in the near future," he assured her.

"You didn't like it?" She sounded acutely disappointed.

"I liked it. My body didn't. But, I have a new perspective on things so, thank you." He meant that. He felt recharged and ready to go back to wrestling with trying to find Angel.

Wesley drifted back off to sleep and it was nearly noon before he and Lilah dragged out of bed. She made lunch and for once, when he went to confront Justine, he didn't feel the need for some liquid courage. This time he took Lilah's taser with him.

He thumbed the taser on letting it crackle for just a bit. "Now, you're going to tell me what you and Connor did with Angel."

Requirements:

Drug: coke

Characters: Lilah, Wesley

Requests: dark, takes place in early s4

Restriction: no fluff