Disclaimer: the author does not claim ownership to the characters or plot development mentioned from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Angel"

Disclaimer: the author does not claim ownership to the characters or plot development mentioned from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Angel". These properties expressly belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Greenwolf Corporation, 20th Century Fox Television, WB Network, etc. Any other characters contained in the original story are the author's.

Historical Note: The action in this story takes place after To Shanshu in L.A.

Author's note: Installment number three of my series "This Week at Angel's Investigations".

SUMMER OF '00

by Evan Como

Demonic activity for the week held below the norm as the City of Angels warmed considerably. Midday temperatures soared into the high eighties, prompting Cordelia to take to the beach...

Angel shrank further into the kitchen while Dennis Quickie-mopped the linoleum. He felt useless most days since losing his apartment and having to move in with Cordelia. Even something as mundane as dusting was unavailable to keep him occupied. Dennis, besides being amenable company, was one heckuva housekeeper.

He wondered if Dennis would be just as good at apartment locating.

"Watch your step!" Angel cautioned.

When Wesley stopped short of the threshold, his remaining beverage accidentally sloshed over the edge before the cup was immediately snatched into midair. An indignant mop flagrantly budged Wesley's feet.

Phantom Dennis obviously hated a redo.

"You have *got* to get rid of him," Wesley huffed, slumping his thin build alongside the kitchen's framing. He relaxed somewhat after the yellow long-handled cleaning tool was wedged into the refrigerator's crevice.

Angel waved off the hovering mug and coffee pot while waiting for Wesley to continue. An abnormally long silence settled into place until, finally, a towel drifted in the dining room's direction.

Wesley ducked to avoid being flicked. "How come he hates me?"

Angel observed the serio-comedic personality struggle between Wesley and Dennis, stifling his amusement in recollection of how often the apparition bested his opponent.

Wesley huffed while massaging the back of his neck after getting pimp-snapped by the towel anyway. "Isn't there *anything* you can do to make him stop that?"

Crossing the floor, already dried by the apartment's heat, Angel wrapped a consoling arm around Wesley's shoulder while leading his friend back into the dining room. Oblivious that Wesley had left him briefly, David Nabbit was still chattering away in conclusion of a story about an extravagant Hawaiian excursion.

Angel narrowed his disapproving brown eyes at the winding towel just behind the wealthy guest.

The towel unfurled and fluttered off to the back where a door slammed shut.

"All done!" Nabbit spoke with a self-congratulatory air as opposed to prognosis of his progress. He looked expectantly at the guys before his flushed face bowed hastily.

Angel abruptly dropped his arm.

"Let's see." Tightening a screw on the computer tower's casing, Nabbit paused longer than necessary for effect, "I think that'll be something close to the forty thousand dollar range." He chuckled uneasily after looking back up into the blank faces of the two taller men.

"That was supposed to be a joke."

A single dimple belied Wesley's smirk. "Quite amusing. *Really*," he intoned, his British accent condescendingly pompous.

Angel, with sudden insight into Dennis' hostility, offered his soft-spoken gratitude for the memory upgrade.

Nabbit offered lunch.

-0-

Safely-tanned, Cordelia entered her apartment shortly before sundown. She studied her guests, gracing each of them with a sunny smile while Dennis procured her beach bag.

Only Nabbit rose to greet her. "Oh, look at the time!" he stammered. His hasty departure was only slightly less-flustered.

Sneering, Wesley slammed his book shut. "Six and a half-hours spent looking for an incantation and all it took was a cheery 'hello' from Cordelia!" After Cordy's bag slammed against his shoulder, he headed for the door, enraged. "I'm going HOME!"

Angel, slouched comfortably into a corner of the divan, remained quietly seated. His curving left arm modeled the armrest while the right jack-knifed against a back pillow. His crossed ankles were straightlegged in front of him.

"I guess you'll be deserting me, too, any second," Cordy offered, looking out the window behind Angel to judge the light intensity of the rapidly-morphing sky. His silence drew her attention away from the view.

"Hey, Angel. You asleep?" Cordelia whispered as she neared him. She curled a still-sandy bare foot under her opposite thigh as she sat.

With his eyes still closed, Angel rocked his head imperceptibly against his fist. "Just thinking."

"Good or bad thoughts?" Cordelia placed the question to him in the same manner he had replied--as unspoken as their unconditional affection.

Her anxious expression was greeted by his blank expression after he opened his eyes. The corner of his lips twinging in sudden embarrassment, he focused beyond her regard.

Cordy snuggled against the expanse of his open side, appreciative of Angel's refreshing degree of normal. "It's turning out to be a pretty nice summer, huh?" she asked. Wrapping one arm under his shirttail, her thumb crooked around his empty belt loop to keep her arm in place.

"My thoughts exactly," Angel whispered into the top of her head. And then he closed his eyes again; content with imagining her sitting under the sun beside the boisterous Pacific Ocean he had tasted in her hair.

-0-

evancomo@netscape.net

Angel's Journal