The... Something More Series
Part 1 - Chance Meeting
written by Nickle
Spoilers: BtVS through Season 4 and AtS through Season 1.
Summary: Cordelia and Giles have a random meeting in LA.
Thanks: Thanks to Kazza and Meawan for sticking with me through this.
Author's Notes: WARNING: Angst.
Feedback Author: Nickle
"I swear if he hits on me one more time-"
Cordelia impatiently tapped the countertop as she stood in line for her mocha latte. She had fled the office after Angel had left. As always he was off to look for whoever Doyle saw in his vision of the week. Which left her and Doyle to research whatever needed researching. Which meant another round of 'Hit on Cordy' from Doyle.
That guy NEVER stopped flirting and pawing and winking and giving her goofy grins. In the beginning it had been kinda fun, flattering even-he was cute afterall. But cute in a dorky way. A Xander way. And she had been down that road before, and had no desire to go there again. It had made her life way too complicated and messy. And had nearly killed her.
She stepped up to the cash register and handed the cashier her money. Nope, she did not need the aggravation or headache of a boyfriend, or boy toy, or wannabe boyfriend. But unfortunately she had it in the form of Doyle. He was waiting for her back at the office. She had only a few minutes of solitude before she had to go back. If she didn't need the cash she'd ditch Doyle and go home.
Well- that wasn't exactly true, she did want to help Angel. The carebear with fangs had really helped her out by giving her a job and she wasn't going to disappoint him by being as irresponsible and useless as he probably thought her to be. She knew she was better than that. She'd show him too.
But Doyle wasn't making this job thing easy.
She sighed and mumbled to herself."I am relaxed. I am serene. Nothing can disturb my calm aura-"
Cordelia opened her eyes to see the coffee geek stare at her with an open mouth.
"Your latte." He handed it to her with a smirk.
She let out a disgusted noise as she took it and went over to the counter to grab a napkin and spoon.
Great, just great. She had just been called ma'm by a guy who looked like he was a junior in college.
Her life was sucking so badly right now.
Turning to look for a table to just sit and fade into the background, her arm bumped right into somebody. Of course it was the arm with which she held the latte.
"Oh!" she jumped back as coffee sloshed over the sides. Fortunately the guy jumped back just as quickly and the coffee only succeeded in creating a mess on the floor.
"And the fun just keeps on coming," she mumbled as she bent down to wipe up the mess. "Sorry," she mumbled to the guy who stood above her- not moving an inch to help her.
She stopped wiping and looked up at the familiar voice.
"Giles!" she popped up from the floor with the fakest, superhappy grin plastered on her face. "What are you doing here in LA?" she quickly said bringing her hand to her hip in a casual pose. Her smile quickly fell, "Wait-is some demon-vampire-end-of the world thing happening here?" As if her day could not get any worse.
"Um, no," He shook his head. "Why -"
She sighed in relief. "Thank God. I thought I was gonna have to get Doyle and go search for Angel and-" she stopped at his look. "Forget it." She looked down at the sticky napkins in her hand and quickly threw them on the counter. "So…" she looked back at him.
He raised an eyebrow. "So..."
"Oh, uh sorry about the coffee collision," she pointed at him and then looked down at the floor where she had sat her coffee cup. She quickly bent to pick it up. "I didn't get you too bad did I?"
He looked down at his jacket sleeve. "A little, but it's no problem," he said looking back up at her.
"Yeah, well. A stain won't show up on that anyway-" she stopped at his look and clenched her jaw tight. "Sorry," she said tightly.
He just nodded at her like she was a nut. She felt like a nut.
"I should go," she finally said running a hand through her hair and cringing as she felt the sticky coffee on her fingers. Damnit, damnit, damnit! Could she BE any more pathetic?
"Are you alright?" he asked his brow furrowing. "You seem uncomfortable for some reason."
Yeah, because I'm spazzing like an idiot in front of you. She shook her head. "I'm fine, it's just been a long day and I'm experiencing a temporary wig out. I'll be fine."
Giles just nodded, giving her a look like 'O-kay'. He looked behind him at the coffeebar and then looked back at her. "Why don't you join me and collect yourself for a moment? Unless you have immediate business you need to tend to?"
Giles vs. Doyle vs. aimless wandering in the streets.
"I have a few minutes," she blurted out. Okay, that didn't sound desperate, Chase.
He gave her a surprised, but polite, look and pointed towards a table in the corner. She nodded and followed him as he led the way. Now that he wasn't looking at her, she felt herself relax a bit and she quickly assessed herself. Aside from sticky hair, she looked decent enough. Nice shirt. Nice sandles. Jeans without holes in them. She was set.
She looked up at Giles as he stopped to let someone pass. He was wearing jeans. She blinked. And was he NOT wearing a button down dress shirt? No, he wasn't, he was wearing a crewneck sweater.
Whoa. Were pigs flying?
"Here we are," he said as he stopped at their table and pulled out a chair. She waited for him to sit down and looked up at him after a moment when he just stood there.
"Are you going to sit?" he quirked an eyebrow at her and waved at the empty seat. She gave him a strange look when it dawned on her that he was holding out the seat for her. She gave a small smile and quickly sat down, placing her cup on the coffee table.
Snap out of it Chase she told herself. She fluffed out her hair and briefly closed her eyes to collect herself. When she opened them, Giles had taken off his jacket and hung it over the back of the chair, his cup of tea on the table.
Cordelia didn't realize she had been staring at him until he was seated in front of her and looked at her with a strange look. "Something wrong?" he queried.
"You look good," she blurted out. His eyes widened and she started. "I mean you-look-fit," she tried to amend and he actually smiled. "I mean have you been working out?" She sighed and closed her eyes. Sometimes she thought Buffy was right-maybe her brain and mouth weren't connected at all.
"Ah, well yes, actually." He studied her carefully. "I've taken up running." She nodded silently at him.
"Running. Runnings good," she nodded. "You look good," she said again, smiling like a complete moron.
"Thank you for the compliment." Giles said with an amused look. "Cordelia is something the matter? Because you don't seem like yourself-"
"Oh. I've had way too many mochas today. I'm reaching toxic levels of caffeine here," she laughed nervously. "I'm really busy with work and all and need to stay energized."
"I'm acting," she said quickly. "Well pursuing acting. I've gotten several small gigs so far, but looking at several big projects, a television guest spot and even a few movie roles," she stopped to take a sip of her coffee.
"You're not going to college?"
She looked up at him and shook her head. "No," she smiled quickly. "I decided that I've had enough of school and wanted to try something else. I mean I shouldn't let my talent go to waste while I do four more years of school."
"And your parents say?"
"We aren't- They respect my decision," she nodded at him.
Giles frowned slightly but said nothing. "You could always do drama while in school."
"Yeah, I guess," She said with a smile that didn't come close enough to be considered happy. "But, there's all that other stuff that gets in the way like classes and stuff - I don't need all that hassle." She played with the cup in front of her. "So what are you doing here in LA?" she quickly said before he could question her more.
"I came to visit a friend who was in LA for the weekend."
She sat up. "A girlfriend?" she grinned suddenly.
He started. "What? No," he scoffed. "What makes you say that?"
She shrugged and leaned back in her chair."The casual yet stylish clothing ensemble. He jeans say you're relaxed, as well as the crewneck, but it also says that you aren't a complete slacker."
Giles shook his head at her. "And what does the jacket say? Or is that a fashion faux pau of some sort?"
Cordelia shook her head. "It's a sports jacket-says your casual, but still gentlemanly," she smiled. He snorted and looked away, but couldn't hide the half smile on his lips.
"Interesting," Giles murmured as he looked back over at her.
"What?" Cordelia asked.
"I should say you've paid me more compliments than insults tonight," he looked at her carefully. "Are you sure you're alright?"
Cordelia gave him a dirty look. "Geeze, pay a guy a compliment," she mumbled.
"No, no, it's much appreciated," Giles assured her. "It's just," he paused and looked at her carefully. "You've seemed to have changed a bit."
"Like you haven't Mr. Playboy," Cordelia arched an eyebrow. She leaned forward. "Now about that girlfriend-"
"I don't have a girlfriend," Giles interrupted.
"Well, you should," Cordelia retorted. "You shouldn't let yourself go to waste looking-" she stopped at his look, "-the way you do."
"I'll try not to," Giles replied drily.
Cordelia just smiled as she took another sip of her coffee.
Giles sat up in his chair in concern as Cordelia nearly dropped her coffee cup and began coughing at the sight of a tall blond woman who came over to their table.
"Mia," she choked out. "Hi." Cordelia quickly glanced over at Giles.
"Hello," Mia smiled over at Giles but didn't wait for a response before looking back at Cordelia. "How are you? It's been ages since I've seen you. Have you gotten any work since we last talked?"
Cordelia started, "Well-"
"Don't worry. The drought won't last forever-plenty of actors go for months at a time between gigs. Well," she laughed, "Some of us are luckier I must say." She sighed and patted Cordelia's arm.
Cordelia smiled up at her tightly. "Yes, well, that and the willingness to do anything for 'artistic' purposes will take you far." Mia looked at her in confusion for a moment, glancing at Giles, before smiling and shrugging.
"Oh, you," she gushed. "Sometimes, you're just too funny. Look I know you need any job you can get while your waiting for your big break-I'm having a big moving on up party this Friday at my new beach house and need people to help with the food and stuff. You wanna do it?"
Cordelia's face flushed red. "You know what-"
"I do believe that we have plans that night," Giles said suddenly.
Both women looked over at Giles in shock.
"Oh, really?" Mia looked back at Cordelia who quickly snapped her mouth shut.
"Yes, she and I have plans," Giles smiled casually up at Mia, taking a sip of his tea.
Mia looked back at Cordelia with a snicker and shrugged. "Well,okay." She glanced down at her watch. "Ohh, I have to go. Gotta schmooz with some producers and all. Later Cor!" Mia darted away, leaving Cordelia and Giles staring after her.
Giles shook his head at the departing blond and turned back to the look over at Cordelia, who was studying the side of her coffee cup, her hands tapping the table nervously. The sad, dejected look on her face prompted Giles to lean forward and cover one of her hands.
"Are you okay?" he asked kindly.
She sighed and continued to stare at the cup. "Can we just forget that just happened?" she asked.
"Okay," he replied after a moment. She nodded and pulled away from him, sitting back in her chair.
"So," she said after a moment. "Is the Scooby Gang knockin 'em dead at Sunnydale U.? Not literally mind you."
"They're okay I suppose. I really don't spend as much time with them as I used to. They're in college and I'm-"
"Not." Cordelia finished. She fiddled mindlessly with her napkin for a moment, a multitude of emotions flickering over her face. Suddenly she checked her watch and grimaced. "I've got to go," she mumbled, pushing her chair back.
"Now?" Giles asked standing as well.
"Yeah," she smiled at him with a hint of sadness. " Doyle's probably wondering where I am. While it's doubtful he's granted me his absence for one night, one can hope."
"Doyle?" Giles cocked his head.
Cordelia hesitated. "I work for Angel. Doyle's his partner. We supposedly help lost souls, but mainly end up fighting all kinds of weird, icky, demon creatures. I help out with the research book stuff while they go off and do the Batman and Robin deal. Unless Robin is left behind to help me."
Giles studied her silently. "I hope you're being careful," he finally said with concern.
Cordelia's face softened. "Pays not good enough for me to go running off into the night with a crossbow after demons and other icky things. My battle is with the computer." Giles nodded in sympathy. "Still though, just because I do desk duty doesn't mean I haven't learned how to use the crossbow- I can kill an apple from across the room." She gave a little curtsy and Giles laughed softly.
"Well, I should," she pointed towards the door.
"Yes, well," he moved aside and let her pass. "Cordelia," she stopped and turned around to look at him. "It was really nice talking to you tonight."
She smiled at him, the first real one she had given him since they'd run into each other that night. "It was nice talking to you too. It'd be nice to do it again sometime."
Giles nodded in agreement. "What's your telephone number here?"
She grunted. "Uh, it'd probably be better if you just call me at Angel's office. The phone company and I are not on friendly terms." She reached into her purse and pulled out a card. "Here," she handed it to him.
He studied it a moment, his eyes narrowing. He let out a laugh. "It's an Angel," he said looking back up at her.
Her eyes widened slightly. "You're the first person who's gotten it right on the first try." She laughed, "Nice to know my doodles can be appreciated."
"You drew this?" Giles asked. She nodded. "It's good."
She gazed at him a moment, her hazel eyes searching his face and suddenly brightening. "Thank You," she said softly. "For that… and for earlier."
"Your quite welcome," he smiled at her. She quickly turned and made her way to the door.
Rupert remained where he stood, looking at her fondly as she left the coffee shop and bounced down the street. He glanced down at the card he held in his hand and sighed.
"Be safe, Cordelia," he murmured to himself.
Read the next part: Just Checking In