When Life Throws You Demons, You Make Demonade
I had been in LA a couple of hours and I'd just finished unpacking my things in my hotel room when my stomach informed me that I was hungry once again. My flight had been more like a ride at a theme park than a smooth and restful way to travel long distances, so I had politely declined the offer of food when the hostess came down the aisle.
Not wanting to pay through the nose for room service, I decided to go eat at a café across the road from where I was staying. It was late at night so I wasn't surprised to see it empty when I opened the door, but I screeched to a halt when I saw the waitress. She was busying herself with cleaning the tables and replenishing the sellers and either hadn't heard my entrance or didn't really care. I didn't mind either way as I was hypnotised by the sway of her ass as she was wiping down the tables.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not normally the sort of guy to stand and leer at the opposite sex, but it was like a metronome, keeping a steady rhythm that I could have easily started dancing to if I allowed myself. After a few more seconds I shook my head to clear the less than pure images running through it and made my way to the counter, deciding to sit at one of the stools instead of a booth like I would at home.
As I walked past, she finally realised that she had a customer and made her way to the other side of the counter, a fake smile adorning her otherwise breathtaking face. She was a vision, one of those natural beauties that need no make up, her green/brown eyes appearing to absorb light to produce an otherworldly glow. Her skin was flawless and smooth and I had to suppress the urge to run my thumb across her cheek to feel how soft it was. Her lips were, well, the only way I could describe them was inviting and it was difficult not to take them up on their offer.
I took my glasses off and ran my hand down my face, trying to get my mind out of the gutter it had decided to lie in. I'd only been in America a few hours and I'd already gone native.
"What can I get you?" she asked in a cheery yet monotonous tone, making it evident that she asked everyone that came in that very same question.
I swallowed the first reply that came to mind, not wanting to get slapped, and took a quick look at the menu on the wall behind her before I gave my order. "Well…" I flick my gaze to her name badge, "Anne, I'd like a BLT on white, a large mug of black coffee and a slice of that lovely looking apple pie over there please."
I noticed that she had stopped taking down my order halfway through and actually started to look at me suspiciously, as though she'd seen me on some wanted poster. At first I thought that I'd maybe said something to offend her, but going over it I couldn't think of anything that she could have misconstrued so I was basically at a loss.
"You're British," she accused, making it sound like it was an offence to be so.
I don't remember ever being made to feel like my nationality was a crime before, but I certainly felt like that just then. My first impulse was to go on the offensive, several choice comments concerning colonials coming to mind, but my curiosity concerning why my accent caused such an extreme response caused me not to. Instead I use my old stalwart companion, humour.
"Actually my name is Anthony, although I have been told that, from a certain angle, I look like Samuel L. Jackson."
It's at this point I suppose that I should explain that I look nothing like him, apart from the fact we both have Y chromosomes. I'm white, a shade under 6' and a little over 300lbs, although I don't look an ounce over 285lbs. In my defence, most of that weight is muscle, but I'm the first to admit that I don't have an athletic or bodybuilder figure. I change my hairstyle almost as often as the wind changes direction, and at the moment I'm going for the shaved look, but you can tell from my eyebrows that I'd have black hair. My eyes are a very dark brown and almost blend in with my irises.
While not very funny, my comment had the desired effect of confusing her enough that her ire diminishes slightly, enough that her higher brain functions regain control once more. I wasn't too worried if she did get angry with me, she looked like a stiff breeze could knock her over, but I have had enough experience with angry women to understand that I'd best not antagonise her if possible.
"Do you know a Rupert Giles by any chance?" she asked me, using a tone that spoke volumes on how she'd react if I gave the wrong answer.
By this point I didn't really care one way or the other about what she'd say or do, any previous thoughts about her now forgotten. All I wanted when I came in was some food and a coffee; instead I seem to find myself in the Californian version of the Spanish Inquisition. I was still curious about why she was acting the way she was, especially after her question, so I kept myself as calm as possible as I answered her truthfully.
"As a matter of fact I do, he was a friend of my father's."
Rupert was actually one of the reasons I was in America, it had been years since I had spoken to him face to face and I wanted to see how he was doing. I could tell that she decided I'd given the wrong answer when quick as a flash she had grabbed me by the collar and lifted me effortlessly towards her. I was shocked to say the least, not by her reaction, but by how easily she manhandled me.
"Let me make this clear to you; I'm not going back and you can't make me. Go tell Giles and the Council that I quit, they can go and find themselves another Slayer."
Now not only was I confused, but I was also more than a little insulted. I grabbed her hands and applied a lot of pressure to a point on her hand between her thumb and forefinger that gave her no option but release me before slapping her hands away from me and resuming my position on my stool.
"There are a few things we need to get clear my dear. Firstly I am no more a member of the Council of Watchers than I am a Powerpuff Girl. As far as I'm concerned the Council is an abomination and I wouldn't piss on Quentin or Roger if they were on fire. There are in my mind only three exceptions to the rule that all Watchers are bastards; my father was one, Rupert is another, and when he isn't trying to impress his father Wesley is the third. Secondly the last time I corresponded with Rupert he said that his Slayer was a young lady by the name of Muffy or Puffy, something silly like that…"
"My name is Buffy!" she snapped, before realising that she had just blown her cover. I found it strange she didn't think she had before.
"I wouldn't be so proud of that if I were you. If you are Buffy, why are you here in LA instead of Sunnydale?"
"It's none of your business why I'm here instead of doing my 'sacred calling'."
"Quite frankly my dear I don't give a damn about your calling, what I do care about is why you have left your family and friends alone to face the evils of the Hellmouth when you should be there to help and protect them."
I had definitely hit a nerve with that as she suddenly lost all of her anger and paled considerably. I guessed that whatever the reason were for her leaving, she had never taken time to think about those she had left behind. I had no thoughts one way or the other about her well being, and any inklings I had about her attractiveness disappeared the moment she went all paranoid on me, but I knew that if she had left without informing the others, Rupert would be beside himself with worry. Also she was blessed by being a Slayer that hadn't been found by the Council before she was Called, so that meant she had friends and a family that were no doubt worrying over her. It was for them that I decided to see if I could persuade her to return home.
"I couldn't stay, mom found out about the Slayer stuff and told me that if I left the house I couldn't go back. Kendra the other Slayer was killed and the police think I did it. Oh and I sent my boyfriend to Hell. Well, he was my boyfriend until he lost his soul but he still looked like him. All in all I had no choice but to leave and nothing's changed."
I can see the pain in her eyes and knew that she had been suffering greatly since everything she described occurred, and I understand how difficult everything must have been for her, but there was only one thing I could say in response to that.
"Excuse me?" she asked me, shocked by my statement.
"I said bollocks, another way of saying bullshit or that's a bunch of crap. Would you like me to explain why?"
"Oh please, dazzle me with your psychoanalysis skills."
"It's not something we should probably discuss here, someone might come in and I doubt they'll find murder and apocalypses everyday conversation topics."
"Hardly anyone comes in at this time of night, that's why I was given the job."
I could see that she was tempted to argue the point, but instead she just sighed. "Fine."
She made her way round the counter and over to the door, locking it and turning over the sign to indicate that the diner was closed. She then came over and sat down on the stool to my right.
"Talk, but be aware I disagree with my fists more than my mouth."
Now knowing that she was the Slayer, I took this threat far more seriously than I did her last and nodded once before beginning. I might have been taking her more seriously now, but that wouldn't change what I had to say.
"I'll start with your mother. I'm guessing that she found out just before you had to go and do something along the lines of saving the world?"
"Yeah, we had to stop Angelus from awakening Acathla."
"That would definitely qualify as a world saving event. Being that she probably didn't have the slightest idea what hides in the shadows, she didn't believe you and you didn't have time to set up any charts or flow diagrams to explain, so you were agitated, which turned to angry, which turned into the two of you arguing and your mother giving you the ultimatum that most mother's give their children at one point or another in their lives if they're reacting the way you were. How am I doing so far?"
She doesn't say anything, but the fact that she doesn't refute my statement tells me everything I need to know.
"Your mother didn't mean what she said, she was simply out of her depth and said the first thing that came to mind. No doubt she thought that it would shock you enough to stay and give her time to get some satisfactory answers. There's generally one constant about mothers; they will never turn away their children, no matter what they have done. If they do then they're not worth the trouble in the first place. Do you really think that she'd do that to you?"
She seemed to be mulling everything I said over; as though it were the first time she'd allowed herself to really think things over.
"No," was her eventual response.
"Thank god for that. Next is the Kendra situation. I don't believe that she was another Slayer as it's pretty well known that there's only one, hence 'Chosen One'," she wanted to argue but I put my hand up to stop her, "but we'll agree to disagree on that until one of us is proven right. There is no way that Rupert would allow you to be seen as a suspect in a murder that you didn't commit. Hell, if I know Rupert he wouldn't let you go down for a murder that you did commit, if it was during your duty as a Slayer. He's one of those loyal types you know?"
"Yeah, I know."
"I remember from one letter that Rupert said you have friends that are in the know about your nocturnal activities, I cannot see them just sitting by and allowing people to believe you killed this Kendra girl, anymore than you would let any of them be seen in that way. Basically what I'm telling you is that I highly doubt that there are any warrants out for your arrest. Is that a fair assumption to make?"
Again, she looked like everything I said was the first time it had occurred to her. "I guess so."
"Now your last stopping block isn't something I can really advise you on, having never experienced the same thing. What I do know is that, if I were going through what you are now, I'd sure as hell want my family and friends around for support. Everybody needs somebody to talk to, even more when you live in the world that you do. Isn't there anyone in your life, apart from your mother who is in my opinion first call in every situation, that you could talk to about what happened?"
"Well, there's Xander…"
"Xander? What flipped out country is this that parents give their children names like Buffy or Xander?"
"Buffy is a great name and Xander is short for Alexander."
"Ah, Protector of Man, a suitable name for one who fights vampires. So if you have this Xander that you could speak to, why didn't you?"
"I don't know alright? It's just that so much happened at once and I couldn't think straight so I ran."
"Fine, you're not the first to feel like that, but why haven't you gone back yet?"
"The longer I stayed away, the easier it was to believe that I couldn't go back, which made me stay away longer, which made it even easier to believe that I couldn't go back, which…"
"Stop! I get it. What about now?"
"What do you mean?"
"Why aren't you going back now? I just blew two of your three reasons out of the water and the third one I doubt will ever go away completely, it's just something you'll learn to deal with over time. What is keeping you away from everyone that you care for and cares for you?"
"I don't really know."
"Then I think it's high time that you return. I know that you do not know me, or even have any reason to trust me apart from the heart to heart we've just had, but I'm making my way to Sunnydale myself in a couple of days and I'm more than willing to drive you."
"I don't know."
"There might be something else you might want to accompany me with, if you're willing."
"Coming with me to pay respects to my father."
"Why would I want to do that?"
"My father was Merrick Jamison-Smythe."