Not everyone is happy to have the uninvited guests at the Hyperion. The question now is how are they going to deal?
"Gunn, have you been picking fights again?" Cordelia leaned on the front desk watching his face darken. This was one of the few times she was able to embarrass him and there was no way she would let the opportunity pass by. She pushed away from the counter shaking her head.
"No…" Cordelia stopped and uncrossed her arms to point a finger. "Wait, didn't you get beat up by a girl?"
Gunn turned away sulking and she couldn't help it, the giggles just spilled out. She turned to follow him trying to stop laughing and apologize at the same time when the little boy jumped the three steps and looked up at them.
Cordelia stared curiously at the little boy. "Is this…part of the package from last night or is Angel Investigations taking in orphans?"
Gunn crossed his arms. "He's with her." He said over his shoulder still staring at the little boy.
"You hit my mom."
Cordelia glanced at Gunn who had uncrossed his arms and dropped his tough guy pose. She wasn't sure what he would say so she stepped around him and smiled down at the boy.
"Hi. Umm, what's your name?" Cordelia lowered herself so he could look in her eyes.
"Sebastián." He tilted his head to the side staring at her. Cordelia let him look taking in his little face. His cheeks were still softly rounded as well as the rest of his features. He had the longest lashes she'd seen on a boy and his eyes were a deep dark brown. They were almond shaped but pulled longer so as to give them a bit of an Asian look. He pulled on his lip biting it thoughtfully. By his height she guessed he was probably 8 or 9 years old.
"Where's your mom?" she asked.
"Sleeping." At his answer Cordelia arched her eyebrow and stood up. What kind of mother did he have?
Sebastián turned to Gunn once more. "You're not supposed to hit girls." He said sounding very much like an adult. Cordelia almost smiled at the serious frown on his face.
I woke up with a pounding in my head and groaned. I knew what kind of day I was going to have and I wished it were over already. Days like this… they tended to become extremely painful. Physical pain is not the problem, its more the…emotional- okay so maybe its just memories that bug me.
"Hate migraines." I grumbled getting up from the bed. I stumbled to the bathroom and washed my face pushing my hair out of the way. I wasn't about to pull it up, the way my head felt at the moment. I began to brush my teeth and glanced into the room. I frowned and rinsed my mouth before going back in there.
"Sebastián?" he was either hiding under the bed or he wasn't there and if he wasn't in the room that meant he was out in the hotel somewhere.
"I swear cabron…" I slowly got on my knees, everything hurt, and looked under the bed.
"Dammit!" I slipped on a pair of sandals and hurried out of the room still wearing my pj's. I'd be embarrassed if anyone saw me in the little black shorts and red tank but I was more worried about finding Sebastián.
I got lost and ended up in a section of the hotel that was either falling apart or under construction. Plastic sheets hung on walls; buckets and furniture were strewn about. It was all a big mess. I knew construction sites were dangerous but a little boy would find this very tempting and I knew Sebastián. He'd spent the first seven years of his life around this, going to one site after another with Gramps or an Uncle…
"He so better not be here."
I had to retrace my steps a couple of times in order to get to my room and ended up by the lobby staircase. I didn't see anyone so I ran down the stairs.
"Sebastián?" I called out looking down so I wouldn't fall. When I glanced up his head popped up from the round chair thing they called a couch.
"Que haces a qui?" I hissed as I walked towards him. "Haven't I told you not to wander off? What if something happened to you? Si te roban?" I grabbed his arm and pulled him closer. My head was pounding and I'd been more worried than I'd want to admit especially when I thought of last night.
"He's fine. He's been here. With me."
She startled me.
I hadn't expected anyone to be in the lobby since I hadn't seen or heard anyone but still, that never meant we were alone. That was something I shouldn't have forgotten.
"Oh." I remembered what I was wearing, how little of it there was and stood Sebastián in front of me. I knew I was blushing, feeling embarrassed. Here I was standing in the lobby having got right out of bed with my hair a tangled mess in front of this tall dark haired woman who totally looked like she had her life well in hand.
"I'm sorry if he bothered you." I apologized then glared down at Sebastián. "He snuck out on me." And to him I hissed; "Didn't I tell you not to leave the room?" I began to hedge towards the steps pulling Sebastián along. "We'll just get out of your way. I'm not exactly dressed-." I smiled faintly and looked down at myself. Jesus I was so not dressed to meet the rest of this group!
I glanced at her sharply. Had I heard her correctly? She looked me up and down then at Sebastián, who I noticed had changed his clothes. Not just changed but actually put on jeans, sneakers and a dark gray skulls t-shirt. I ran my hand over my hair and looked behind me. The stairs were so close I could run up them... but she had insulted me.
I turned to glare at her again. I was going to say something rude, more than a little sarcastic when she spoke.
"He's a handsome boy. So, he gets his looks from you?"
I looked at her, not liking her so much. She complimented him but insulted me and so craftily, too.
"He gets the shape of his eyes from his father and his height. The rest is all me." I pushed Sebastián towards the stairs but he stubbornly refused to go up. Instead he stayed by the banister looking at this woman.
You little brat, you're at it again. I can't believe this little flirt!
I was more than annoyed at this point and I pointed up the stairs staring down at him hard. "Up. Now."
Still he tested me and of course this meant The Mom had to come out.
"One." I could practically see his little brain working, wondering if he should go now or wait.
"Two." He hesitated just a little more and once he saw me begin to say 'three' he ran up the stairs. Feeling more than satisfied yet still annoyed I turned to this woman who now openly regarded me with some dislike. Really, after the fight last night I was itching to go at it again and I didn't care that she was taller than me or probably stronger. It would be easy to get at her; she had her arms crossed while mine weren't. My arm twitched and I could feel my nails digging into my palms.
Oh man! I turned to the stairs and went up feeling a wrenching pain with every step.
I really, really want to hurt her.
"She's such a bitch!"
But really... I hated that I felt like a total looser because of those snotty little words she tossed at me.
"Sorry, I'm late." Wesley stepped in fumbling with some books. "Bloody traffic." He mumbled coming down the steps.
Cordelia uncrossed her arms and went back to her desk. "It's that gory, huh?" she waved to the little boy and Wesley, seeing her, looked up and caught a glimpse of Phade.
"Who was that?" he glanced up at the stairs once more but the girl was gone. He'd only caught a glimpse of her back side and long black hair as she ushered the boy down the hall.
"A guest." Cordelia shrugged then began to type. The clickety-click of the keyboard would eventually annoy him.
"We're taking in guests?" Wesley wasn't sure what had changed since the night before.
"Apparently." Cordelia stopped typing and leaned her elbows on the desktop. "She tried to beat up on Gunn." She looked over her shoulder then leaned forward to whisper. "He's still in pain. There's a definite limp…" she let the rest of the sentence hang.
Wesley had no idea what she was alluding too but figured it was just Cordelia being Cordelia.
"Does Angel know?"
Cordelia blinked wondering if he'd even heard a word she'd said.
"He was there!"
Wes shook his head. "Where? Cordelia, does he know she's here?"
Cordelia rolled her eyes sighing with exaggeration. "Of course he does. He's the one who invited her." She waved in the general direction of the stairs and went back to her typing.
"Invited?" he asked. "Is she…?"
Cordelia shrugged. "I don't think so. Sebastián didn't mention her being allergic to the sun and she's not pale."
"Sebastián?" Wesley wished Cordelia would just speak normally for once.
"Her son." Cordelia replied then stopped typing again. "He's such a cute boy. Normally I wouldn't bother with kids but he's such a handsome little boy. He's definitely a flirt. Girls will love him." She got up taking a set of files to the cabinet. "I know my fellow heartbreakers when I see them."
Wesley made his way into Angel's office and stopped in front of the desk to take off his glasses. Angel watched him wipe the lenses and set his mug of blood down. He knew by his actions that this would take a while.
"Angel." Wes began. "About this girl you 'invited'. Do you really think that was wise?" Seeing that Angel's expression stayed the same he continued. "She has a child and from what I heard she's a bit…" he searched for a good word for her. "Explosive. Did she really hit Gunn?"
Angel barely inclined his head. Wes stood expectantly before his desk and it irked him that Angel's expression stayed the same.
"Good god man, we're attacked all the time!" he paced the length of his desk. "If it's not Wolfram and Hart it some other demon. Do you really think it safe for a child?"
Angel sat up and leaned his arms on the desk looking at Wesley.
"It's temporary. She's also human." He kept his eyes on Wes then took the mug in his hands and reclined comfortably to drink.
Wesley turned to the door at the sound of voices. Both he and angel made their way to the door.
I ran after him, both of us laughing. It felt good to run around like a kid, at least I was over the wanting to kick some one's ass. Okay so maybe not completely over.
Sebastián made a quick turn and I missed grabbing his shirt collar.
"Hey! Ven aqui!" I feinted right and he went left then ran around the couch.
"Nah, nah! Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!" he taunted me still laughing hysterically. Man, what it was to be a kid. His laughing made me laugh just to see his crazy faces. I stopped trying to catch him and turned to the door.
"I guess I'll go by myself. Bye…" just as I knew he would, he came out from behind the couch and ran towards my legs shouting.
"No! No, no. I want to go too!"
I turned to catch him. "Ha! I got you!"
Sebastián squealed happily still giggling as he turned to run away from me. We just didn't get a chance to run around like chickens without our heads as much as we used to. I made another grab at him and missed his arm but this time I got his collar. Then the little sneak surprised me. Instead of pulling away as usual he turned into me. I tried to stop from running him over and ended up getting tangled up. I could feel us falling down and I was scared I'd hurt him. Somehow I managed to turn so that he fell on top of me. We both started to laugh and as I sat up I saw two figures.
Hastily getting to my feet and pulling Sebastián up I turned to both men feeling very embarrassed. I mean, it just looked as though I had no manners and by extension neither did Sebastián.
"I'm sorry about the noise." What the hell was wrong with me acting like some little punk with no manners? Didn't I always tell Sebastián nobody liked ugly little boys who couldn't behave?
Great example, PJ.
Angel shrugged. "It's not a problem."
I saw him turn to the man next to him. "This is Wesley. You've already met Gunn and Fred." I turned to look over my shoulder and sure enough the tall black guy and the skinny white chick were coming down the stairs. I inclined my head acknowledging them before I gave my attention to Angel. The man, Wesley, was rubbing his side as he hastily stepped forward extending his hand.
"Yes, a pleasure."
He took my hand in his. I liked that it wasn't some weak, wobbly handshake and I smiled at him. His voice was a pleasant surprise as well, he had an accent.
"Phade Vartan. This is my son, Sebastián." I pulled him forward resting my hands on his shoulders.
Of course I had noticed Angel's good looks and now I was noticing this other man but as usual, my initial reaction of: Hmm, handsome. Turned into: Eh. All in a matter of seconds.
Sad isn't it? When a woman can look at a ruggedly handsome man and not even get tingly or in Angel's case, a dark mysterious stranger?
Truthfully, I'm just not into the whole dating thing. It's a waste of time, for me anyway. I don't want to deal with another person that has no blood ties to me. Hell, I don't want to deal with my blood relatives either.
Off to the left a door closed and then the dark woman from earlier in the morning sauntered in.
"This is Cordelia."
She pretty much brushed my presence aside.
"Yeah, we met." She didn't even look at me! Sebastián pushed my hands off him and I realized I had been slowly squeezing his shoulders.
Damn that woman pissed me off.
Have you ever met anyone you just don't like the moment you see them?
It happens all the time to me.
"We'll get out of your way." I turned to leave.
"Are you going for a punk look or what?" she asked me.
Really, the chick was pushing it.
She was looking me over and I looked at myself again. The black t-shirt I wore was a tiny bit on the small side but I liked the star and military bars on the right shoulder sleeve. My jeans had a rip on the left knee and I wore black all stars. I glanced at the leather cuff on my wrist but other than that I really wore no fancy gear. Not so she would think I was some kind of punker. I mean my hair was one color, black, and I wasn't wearing any make up, well besides the black liner.
She liked to insult me, which was obvious and I wasn't about to let her think it was ok.
"You know, comfort is key." I said taking a step towards her. Hooking a thumb in my jean pocket I could feel the waist pull low on my hip.
"Chains, spikes, leather-pleather, what ever. It's not my thing." I looked her over and arched an eyebrow. "It's the snotty ones who like it that way."
Her mouth tightened just a little and I smiled. Before she could think of something else I pushed Sebastián to the door and waved to the others as we left.
Now on the path I let out a sigh and looked down at Sebastián.
"Portos potato balls."
"I don't like her, Angel." Cordelia turned to him with a frown, her arms crossed. He knew this was going to turn into an argument and he wasn't looking forward to it.
"Yes, well I think she's charming." Wesley cleared his throat fidgeting with his collar.
"You would." Cordelia turned her glare on him.
Angel tried to sneak into his office quietly while the others argued. Gunn complained about her and Wesley defended her but Cordelia wouldn't back down even when Fred tried to explain Phade's actions.
As he was about to sit in his chair the arguing gravitated towards him. Sighing he got up and threaded his way out of the office and into the lobby.
I could hear them arguing as we went up the steps. They didn't notice when I opened the door or as we went in. I don't think they realized we had come back so soon. The first to look up from the huddle they had formed was Fred. Her mouth fell open and her eyes widened. She must've pinched Gunn because he pulled his arm away from her.
"Hey!" Gunn followed her line of sight to me and went silent. The others turned to us and also fell silent. It was very uncomfortable watching them watch me and if I hadn't known what they were discussing I had a feeling the subject had been me.
"We brought snacks." I raised the pink box and hurried down the stairs to set it on the front desk. Once I put it down I had to turn around and walk to the stairs. My sight stretched out like a tunnel and it made it seem as if they were further away. Believe me when I say it was the longest walk I ever took.
"We'll let you get back to-." To what? Talking about me?
None of them spoke but Cordelia's expression did it for them. I had done something to her without realizing it but I was tired of trying to figure out other people's thoughts. Disliking me was her problem and it didn't necessarily have to be mine.
Fred opened the box and turned to them with a bright smile. "Chocolate!"
Cordelia arched her eyebrow. "She's trying to sweeten us up."
Angel watched her go to the box and look in. Fred was eating the little heart shaped cake.
"Maybe you could let her stay a little longer…" Cordelia turned to them wiping green frosting from the corner of her mouth. Seeing the look on Angel's face Cordelia shrugged. "I love chocolate mint."