They Aren't Mine.
Taking in a deep breath, Lorne Greene sat down. He reached into his large desk and pulled out the last airplane-sized liquor bottle that he had hidden in there, specifically for times like these.
Lorne could already hear the sound of them coming. He could already see in his mind's eye a good view of what else was to come.
Throwing away the bottle, he let out a large breath of air and laced his fingers together before him. He placed a smile on his face, looking toward the door.
It didn't take long though. After the briefest knock in history, it went swinging open.
"For the last time... I can not, and I will not, work with that wretched woman!" Liam Angelus O'Connor all but bellowed out.
Mister Tall, Dark and Handsome had hardly finished when the woman in question stepped inside.
Buffy Summers threw a glare Angel's way before stepping further into the room until she was in front of their boss. "I can not for the life of me even begin to understand why this sad excuse for a man has a job with us. He has no business here, Lorne."
"Me? Oh, no Missy. I am doing my job just fine. Or, I suppose I should say that I would be doing my job just fine is someone would quit fucking everything up!"
"Need I remind you that your job does not involve any explicit word used in your retort there with anything and everything that crosses your ill fated path?"
"What I do in my person life is my own damn business, you have no..."
The blonde gave a sharp laugh. "Your endless string of floozies parading through the halls, through our offices? Yes, that does make it my business, makes it everyone's business. You, Angelus, make it my goddamn business. But, you know what? We have pretty much all looked the other way, time and time again. And we did that because you have always had enough brains to keep it in your pants at the very least for when it came to our clients and their guests. Until now. Because apparently, the good fortune on that has run out."
Angel made a face and threw his arms up into the air. "What in the fucking hell are you talking about?"
Buffy ignored him and turned back toward Lorne. "He is flirting with the bride, Lorne. The goddamn bride!"
"I was not flirting with anyone!"
"Please," Buffy rolled her eyes. "They were this close to ripping one another's clothes off and just doing it right there in front of the whole wedding party."
"Yeah, Buf, I'm sure Mister Miller would have just loved that," Angel drawled out.
"Didn't look as though either of you, you especially, cared. And no, our poor groom probably wouldn't have, as he hasn't appreciated anything that you were doing." Buffy sighed. "Lorne, he wants to speak with you, and as I'm sure you've gathered, he isn't happy."
For the first time, Lorne spoke, "Angel, go get yourself something to drink, something to eat if you need it, then return so we can discuss this. Buffy, please head back down there, grab something nice and expensive for our lovely couple on your way, and hold the situation over until I get there."
"If you're going to fire him then I want to be here!"
"I'm not firing anybody."
Buffy made a sound. "Fine, whatever. I'll see what I can do down there, but you had better hurry," she looked over her shoulder at Angel, "and do something with him, would you?"
Angel made a face her way.
"I wasn't doing anything."
"Did you happen to do or say anything that could have been... construed perhaps a certain way?"
"Not just by Buffy," he interrupted, "but by anyone. That including the new, overprotective, jealous groom?"
Angel sighed. "I wasn't flirting with the bride, or anyone for that matter," he finally spoke after a long pause, his voice tired.
And that was answer enough for Lorne. "I know," he replied. He knew Angel, as both his employee and as his friend, he knew Angel understood the rules, knew the lines not to cross, but he didn't always see how thin that line could be and how he managed to flirt with crossing it without, in his mind, really doing anything. In all honesty, he was just being himself, but sometimes that ended up causing trouble all on it's own.
Slipping off her heels, Buffy slid into her chair, sipping a glass of champagne she'd been dying for all evening as she went.
"This is just the kind of thing that is prone to happen when you hire the biggest manwhore of the greater Los Angeles area. If not even on a wider scope than that."
"Buffy, he's good at what he does."
She raised an eyebrow.
"I'm talking about his photography, of course. He's the best we've ever had, probably the best anyone could ask for."
"Sometimes you do have to wonder if he's worth it though, and right now, I'm on the side of no, no he is not."
"Buf, go home, take a very long, very hot, and relaxing bath, get incredibly tipsy from this bottle of wine that I am giving you, and try and enjoy your weekend off. I will see you back here on Monday, alright?"
Buffy sighed. "Whatever."
When he was sure that everyone had left, Angel let out a breath that he felt as though he'd been holding the entire time. He rubbed his eyes, stretched out his legs from being huddled against his chest and let his head fall against the wall.
He wasn't sure why he'd remained in the corner of his office after being told to head home after his meeting with Lorne, but here he was.
Taking several minutes to gather himself up, he stood, grabbed his bags and headed for the door, double checking his surroundings to make sure he was alone.
Satisfied, he continued on his way, putting his things away in the trunk of his car, getting in and driving toward the nearest bar to go find someone to take back to his place, all the while ignoring the voicemail on his phone.
He wasn't ready to deal with that yet.
"Hey, big brother."
Angel peeled himself away from the drunken brunette he's been dry humping on his porch as he fumbled with the lock, much to both of their annoyance.
"Faith," he greeted, peering over to his right.
"I did call," she said with a shrug.
He sighed, that was true. Many times in fact, he just never answered or listened to the increasing amount of messages she'd left. "What happened to Boston?"
"I'm pretty sure it's still there."
"That's funny. Why aren't you?"
Faith let out a sigh and fluffed her hair some, "Long story."
Angel nodded, of course it was. Looking back to his drunken girl, Angel gave an apologetic smile, "Look, I'm real sorry... uh, Cheyenne?... but..."
"Right, Shelia. Sorry. Shelia, as you can see I had some rather unfortunate events come up..." he glanced at his sister, "so..."
"Whatever," she muttered angrily and started walking away.
"I can call you a cab?"
As an answer, he got a middle finger.
Faith laughed, standing up and grabbing her bags. "You sure know how to pick 'em."
"Yeah, yeah, come on. I take it you need a place to crash?"
"You know me so well!"
"You're up early."
"I'm a working man, Faith."
"Right, sure you are." She watched him quickly down some breakfast, just this side of grossed out by it. "Can I come?"
"Can't I just come... hang out or something?"
"I'll stay out of the way. I just... I don't want to be stuck here all day. By myself."
"You're free to go out and find something to do. Or, you know, call your mother."
She made a face. "I don't know my way around and oh, no, no way in hell am I calling her. She wouldn't understand, she never understands. And before you try and suggest it, there's a lesser chance I'm calling our father."
"Wouldn't dream of telling you to do such a thing."
"Good. Now, please?" she pouted.
"Christ, fine. But you better get dressed in record speed," he told her, which had her smiling and flying out of her seat to go get ready. "And you better do exactly as I say!" he called after her.
"You got it!" she yelled back.
He muttered a few curses under his breath.
"Wow," Faith breathed, taking in the office. "Just... wow."
Angel chuckled at her. "Yeah, it's pretty nice. Lorne... he really outdid himself."
"I'll say! Nice to see that someone's dreams came true though."
Angel nodded, showing her into the elevator. His mind wandering back to a time that felt so long ago for the ride. It brought back some bad memories with it, but for the most part some good ones of a happier time as well.
"Holy shit!" Faith let out as they reached their destination and stepped onto the floor. She was loud enough that a few passerby's happened to hear her which she quickly apologized for and held a hand over her mouth as she took this floor in, too.
"Way to make an impression," he whispered, putting a hand on her lower back and guiding her through, smiling politely at his co-workers as he went. "You know, there's a reason we don't have a 'bring your sister to work day' around here. And I'm pretty sure you're that reason," he told her, unlocking his office and showing her in.
Faith's eyes all but bugged out as she drank in the space. It was, unsurprisingly, quite impersonal but you couldn't deny it was impressive. Her brother had done quite well for himself and she was proud of him.
"Go ahead, snoop around," he told her with a smirk as he began to put his things away.
"I don't snoop," she joked before starting to explore the room. "You keep your office as empty as your home," she noted after several minutes. He looked up and made a face, looking around at the collective mess he had in here. "You know what I mean, it should be more... well, it should just be more."
"Yeah, Faith, that makes plenty of sense. Really."
She rolled her eyes at him then jumped as she heard someone knock on the door.
"Yeah? It's open."
Faith squealed in delight as she saw Lorne's familiar face pop in.
"Hey there, I heard you were coming in with him today, just had to see for myself," he greeted, wrapping his arms around the brunette.
"I've missed you!"
"And you too, puddin'."
"I've been telling the grouch over there how impressed and happy I am for you, for the both of you. Even if someone needs to make their space feel a little more homey."
"Well thank you, my dear. And yes, I keep telling him that myself."
Faith nodded. "I mean, think about it," she linked one arm together with Lorne's while the other waved across the room, "Get a few more of those paintings he loves so much and hang them up there, there and there," she pointed at the spots she liked the best, "perhaps there as well, put up one or two of those large advertisement posters, either in a large frame or just as they are, a few shelves, a few bookcases, fill them with his... whatever all that is on the floor, some books, knick-knacks, photos of his family," she smiled, "and whatever else, awards and certificates, some can go on there, some hung up on the walls, oh, get some of his favorite shots, frame them, just regular size, and have them displayed on the walls as well... so, you know, when someone comes in they can be wowed. A new desk, chair, and ... lack of organization system he's got going on there..." she made a face at the walls, "And this color, not him. You know, just for starters."
Lorne laughed and hugged her. "You're right, absolutely right."
"I happen to like my office just as it is, thank you."
They both chose to ignore him. "Just how long are you planning to stay in Los Angeles?"
Angel's head popped up at that, he knew he couldn't be the one to ask, at least not yet, but he was more than curious about what the answer was going to be.
Faith shrugged. "Haven't really decided that yet."
Lorne thought for a moment. "Well, how would you like a job?"
"What?" the siblings both question.
Lorne opened his hands up before him, "Well, we all know you have a knack for interior design, Faithy, and I just so happen to be re-doing my office, and thinking about doing the whole floor and a few of our other locations as well. Plus, as you've pointed out, your brother here needs some work done in here, as well. I'm sure there's others who'd love your advice and skills along with us."
Faith was squealing in happiness. Angel... not so much. "Lorne, could I speak with you... in private... for a second?"
Faith knew that tone and looked over at him. "Look, I wasn't exactly planning on moving here or anything, you know that. But... I'm here, and there's a good chance I will be for awhile. And I'm sorry for that, but I... I don't have anywhere else to go, Angel. And... I could use a job. I mean, I might actually like it. And I promise I'll do whatever you want, either of you want. I'll stay out of the way. I promise."
Angel sighed. He knew that was probably going to be the case, she'd be here until the next crazy idea came her way and she'd run with it. Until it came crashing down and she'd be back on his doorstep.
This might actually be good for her.
Faith jumped up and down in place then ran to hug them both.
"I can save up and get my own place," Faith continued excitedly. She'd break out into these random talks every half fifteen minutes it seemed. "Doesn't mean it's exactly going to remain here, but for once, I can really do this. On my own. Not live off someone else or rely on someone else, not borrow for you or whatever."
Angel looked up from his computer and smiled at her. "I know, Faith. And you're more than welcome to stay with me as long as you want though, you know that. You're allowed to stay in LA as long as you want, too. Hell, you might like it."
"He's giving me a lot of responsibility though, just like that," she snapped her fingers.
"You'll be fine. He knows what you're capable of. And I'm not just referring to your designing skills."
"I know, it's just..."
"Faith. You'll do great."
She sighed. "Well, it will look great on my resume."
Angel lifted an eyebrow at her.
"Hey, a girl has to move on to bigger and better things," she said and they both laughed.
When he had a few spare moments, Angel decided to give Faith a quick tour of the floor and offices. Also took some time to introduce her to some of his-their-co-workers.
She seemed to enjoy it and kept growing more and more excited with her new project, already going on and on about what she planned to do here and there.
She'd become official on Monday but she was already letting the wheels turn and dishing out ideas. She and Lorne had already gone over some of the basics, her ideas, her schedule, the costs and some other details.
Angel was happy for her though. This was her dream, which she had chased after before, then let it go, would chase after, then let go again. This was without a doubt her luckiest break. He knew he could have offered her it before but with her, sometimes you just had to wait for the right time to come. And finally, it had.
"A lot of people sure seem to think I'm your latest 'lady friend,'" Faith commented after awhile.
He laughed, "Which would be why I am going out of my way to introduce and explain to everyone that you are instead my annoying baby sister."
Faith stuck her tongue out at him. "Jerk."
"You know you love me."
"Whatever. So where is she anyway?"
Angel gave her a confused look. "Who?"
"Oh. Her. She's not... she's not working this weekend."
"Uh huh. Must suck, huh?"
Faith rolled her eyes. "Having to work alongside the only woman you've ever loved. A woman who spent half of her life loving you back, the other cursing the day you were ever born."