It's Not Delivery


Fred_icon.gif Cordelia_icon.gif Wesley_icon.gif Dan_icon.gif


Dan delivers Chinese food to those at the Hyperion Hotel. A slip of the tongue makes Fred run off and Cordelia goes to comfort her.

Date It Happened: November 28th, 2001

It's Not Delivery

Hyperion Hotel

Later at night, still trying to come to grips that she's spent most of her time downstairs in the lobby where anyone can see her and anything can happen, Fred is comfortably lounging on one of the big red chairs by the counter, engrossed in her String Theory book and munching on the remains of whatever may have been in the refrigerator and wasn't marked specifically for someone else. The remains of another Sprite can is by her feet and for once, she actually looks relaxed out of her room.

Cordelia is actually here late, since she hasn't gone home yet. She's got a few invoices spread out on the counter, and occasionally works with pencil at a scrap sheet of paper. She looks at the work, more than a little vexed, and finally stabs a pile of envelopes with her pencil, like it was a tiny vampire and she was staking it. "Rrr!" Her hands come up and fingers splay through her hair, pushing it back a bit. "Okay, we need money. This is just crazy." she says to no one in particular.

"Cordelia! Why is there peanut butter smeared against the underside of my desk?" can be heard in Wesley's oh so dulcet tones, drifting from his office. He doesn't sound pleased, possibly because it has gotten all over his slacks. Apparently, he didn't hear or was politely ignoring the money comment coming from Cordelia. Either way, he appears in the doorway to his office, mopping at his knees with napkins, scowling unpleasantly at the goop on his pants.

"O-oh!" Fred straightens from her reading at Wesley's yelling. "That was me. Sorry. I was just…I was readin' and I had a peanut butter sandwich and I was trying to figure out if there was a proportional stickiness versus weight equation that would make peanut butter stick the knife to the wood." There's a pause. "It doesn't take much for a plastic knife, but the metal ones are trickier." As for why it hasn't been cleaned up yet? Well, that's probably because she got distracted and forgot that she was doing that.

Sure enough, Cordelia sounds indignant. "Maybe you should try asking the girl who hangs out under desks, Mr. Accusations. SOME of us have been busy here today!" Because, goddarnit, Cordelia's actually spent today doing some actual WORK. Which means that people will hear about it for a long, long time.

Wesley blinks at Fred and while he's annoyed, he gives a long suffering sort of sigh, "Ah. Well that explains things perfectly well then. Can't imagine why I didn't think of that reason before now." He tosses the messy napkins into the trashbin, only to root around for some more. He has backup clothes in case of spatter and gore, not for peanut butter accidents. "Oh really? Working you say? I wouldn't know what that's like," he says in a rather dry manner, as if he wasn't doing anything himself.

Dan is working, too. What a coincidence. Only his work consists of deliveries, and not of the baby kind. This is Chinese food. He was fortunate enough to have the owners of the recently closed Golden Dragon vouch for him to some colleagues, so the man is not without work. Dressed in a pair of khakis, a pale-olive tanktop beneath an open darker-green button-down, and sandals, the man with the unruly hair steps into the lobby of the Hyperion bearing paper bags emblazoned with the emblem for the Serene Panda in Chinatown. They look very full, these bags, and there are two of them. "Delivery?"

The one thing Fred hasn't been doing is working. Unless trying to acclimate herself back into the world is considered work. For Fred it may be. "I can go clean the rest of that up, if there's still any left that didn't get on your pants." Now that she's remembered that it's there, she's more than willing to do her share of the clean up. "But, there's not a lot of work to do without Angel, is there?" For the girl, he's kind of the Champion Center of LA. Standing up, she takes a step toward the office, but when the doors to the lobby open up what she does instead is all but dive behind the chair that she was just recently sitting on. Surprise visitor! Quick hide!

Cordelia, for her part, is perfectly willing to put more indignant ire Wesley's way. "I can tell, given how low our bank accounts are! I mean, don't they teach you about managing money? You're English!" As if that should automatically come with mastery of finance. And tea. Any further ranting is cut short by the arrival of DINNER. "Ooh!" She bounces up, evil finances (and envelopes) forgotten, and heads over to check out the goodies. "Wes, dinner's here." That's CordySpeak for "Pay the nice man."

"Uhm, well, having Angel around does help, but we aren't entirely inept without him." The team is known to function without the vampire with a soul. Wesley flashes a brief smile towards Fred, "It's quite alright. I was just about to fetch the cleaning supplies. There are always worse messes to be cleaned up. Have we any new clients?" It's only been what, thirty minutes since he asked that the last time. "Being English has nothing to do with money management Cordelia. It just helps to have money /to/ manage." Dan gets a quick stare when Cordy calls attention to him, as if just realizing that there's someone else present. "Obviously not that low on funds," he says with a weak grin for the delivery man as he produces his wallet and starts counting out bills.

There's no answer from Fred to either Cordelia or to Wesley's observations on money or Angel or clients. Instead, she starts to peek out from behind the couch to see who it is that's delivering their food. Plus, she can never really turn down anything that smells that good and greasy. It's just that she feels a lot safer in the presence of strangers when there's a nice red fluffy barrier between her and them.

When Fred goes launching herself behind the chair, Dan shoots her a passive, if not slightly annoyed sort of look. Cordelia is allowed to take the bags off him, and he stands patiently awaiting payment. "I'm not a terrorist, you know," he remarks dryly to Fred in a rather tired manner, as though he's had to explain such many times already. Recent events and all that. A tight but civil smile is given to Wesley at the statement. "I hope not. The man who made this food has a very large cleaver and likes money."

Cordelia smiles winningly. And apologetically. "Oh, it's not you. She does that with everyone." She moves to take her food out, and looks under the desk. "Fred, sweetie, come on out. ~Egg-roll~" she singsongs, pronouncing each syllable as she waves it vaguely in a deskwards direction.

When Fred goes quiet and sort of ducks down and peeks out, Wesley gives no notice. He doesn't have the luxury of being able to constantly monitor the woman. Even if she needs the assistance to readjust to people and society. Dan gets a smile and a laugh as he shakes his head, giving enough bills to round out a tip, "Terrorist? Hardly! That's not it at all." Aah, the little worries in life. Like terrorists from foreign countries.. rather than big nasty slime coated demons from alternate dimensions who want to enslave the human race. Or something like that. "She's just.. wary of strangers, regardless of ethnicity," he says in a diplomatic way. "Ah.. a cleaver you say? Well if that's the least of our worries.." he trails off as he stares at Cordelia in horrified, wordless amazement

Dan gives the bills a quick once-over to be sure it's all there, then tucks them into his pocket and gives Wesley another smile. "I wouldn't cross him, even if he didn't sign my paycheck." His gaze goes to Fred again — or what he can see of Fred, anyway — and his brows and the corners of his lips drop. Someone clearly needs to get out more. Though Dan is not unsympathetic. "I'll be off, then, before your friend there has a nervous breakdown."

"I don't think you're a terrorist," Fred's tiny voice says from behind the couch. Her eyes focus on Dan for a moment, and she doesn't want him to think that she thinks ill of him. Or that he's going to blow up the hotel. And while she'd like to think that she can't be lured out of her hiding place with only an egg-roll, that's not completely true. "Is there duck sauce?" She'll hold out for the duck sauce, but more of her face is visible to the delivery food man, now. "No, you…you're not giving me a nervous breakdown. Just…nervous. I'm…not used to other people being here."

Victory is mine, thinketh the Cordy. The eggroll remains in one hand, and with her other she reaches into the invariable bag o' condiments that comes with every Chinese order ever. She waggles the neon-orangesque sauce packet near the eggroll. "Eggroll AND duck sauce, out here." She sets both on the counter, in clear line-of-underside-of-desk-view.

Wesley laughs at Dan's words then shakes his head about Fred. She's well beyond nervous breakdown stage, not that he voices that. "We don't let her out much," he does admit with a tight smile, tinged just slightly with humor. "Thank you," is said to Dan in a sincere tone. His wallet disappears back into his pocket as he moves to help Cordelia divide up the bounty.

That gives Dan some pause and earns Wes a look. It's one of bewilderment, surprise, distaste, confusion, inquisition, and some good ol' fashioned double-yew tee eff. Then he glances at Fred again, then at Cordelia. The way the two women are acting is … well, it's not exactly leaving him much room to not consider Wesley's joke something less-than-joking. "To be sure," he utters slowly, displaying some uncertainty. "I can't imagine that is healthy for her."

It's true, Fred isn't let out much. But that's due to her own preferences as opposed to anything else. At the mention of duck sauce as well as egg rolls, well, she's dashing her way over to where the Chinese food is and then kind of ducking behind the counter again so that she's not in total full view of Dan. As long as there's things between her and most other people, she's fine. "Didja ever wonder why they're called egg rolls? There aren't any eggs in eggrolls, are there?"

Cordy is looking at Wes with the vaguely-shocked "You did not just say that" kind of expression. She passes over the eggroll and sauce when Fred comes to claim, and then says "It's not like that. She just got out of a really bad relationship, and she's feeling kind of gunshy around people, that's all!" Really. Reassuring smile.

"It was in jest," Wesley says as he pauses in his task and looks over to Dan. Sorry about his mannerisms, sometimes he just doesn't come across as obviously joking. There's something vaguely helpless about the expression he throws Cordy's way. Definitely a 'Help, I seem to have dug myself a hole and I cannot get out,' sort of look. Tell the nice delivery man that Fred's our mentally challenged ward or something! Or that. That suffices as well. Wes clears his throat a little, ducks his head and just sort of tries to melt into the background.

Ah. Well. That changes things. So Dan stops planning to call the authorities as soon as he finds a phone and nods a little in understanding. "I'm sorry to hear it." To the woman's inquiry, he adds, "They call it an eggroll because the wrapping is dipped in egg before frying. It helps make it crisp." Dan Benipal: answering your cuisine queries since 1992.

"Oh. Really?" That sort of takes the mystery out of it, but at least Fred has her answer. "And, no no, they're not really keeping me captive here against my will or anything and only feeding me Chinese food when they feel like it. I just…don't like to go outside." As for the breakup, she gives Cordelia a confused look. "That's not why, though." She's not exactly about to launch into the real reason, but she doesn't want to lie about it. "Wesley's just trying to make a joke. It's hard to tell because he's British," she explains to Dan.

Cordelia smiles, trying to be the bastion of reassuringness, or something like that. She looks to Wesley. "Tip well." is her directive, with the unspoken corollary "so he thinks we're less nuts" tacked on in her expression. She looks back to Fred. "The bad relationship. With…Phil. Phil Leaigh."

"Yes, being British does make humor a little hard," Dan chuckles. "Being Indian makes it even harder. Putting the two together, you're bound to never get any laughs." To Cordelia, he assures, "Oh, he did, he did. I won't be telling the authorities about your slave girl." The conflict about the bad breakup raises an eyebrow. Dan should really be going, but these people are entertaining.

"Phil?" Is that the best name that Cordelia could come up with? "I don't know anyone named Phil." She's making the ruse fall down in flames, but she doesn't really care. At the mention of slave girl, Fred's eyes flash with emotion. The little bit of humor and friendliness that she was showing to Dan flips off like a switch. Instead of angry, she starts to fold in on herself emotionally. "I'm not a slave girl," she tells Dan quietly and forcefully. "Not any more." Leaving her egg roll and her duck sauce, she's quick to flee toward the stairs and her room again.

Cordy's expression looks a little stricken as Fred starts out, and when push comes to shove, her friends are more important than convincing the delivery guy they're not weird. "I'll talk to her." she tells Wesley, and then hurries in the same direction Fred went.

The comments about being British earn a scowl from Wesley as he finally decides to join back in on the conversation, "I beg your pardon! We are on the front lines of cutting edge humor in the world! Black Adder, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python.." Granted they are all older shows.. but don't go telling him that.. The comment from Dan about slave girls makes him wince involuntarily. He sets his takeout box down, ready to chase after Fred, but doesn't at Cordy's command. "Y..yes. Alright." Dan gets a mildly reproaching look, even if the man had no idea what reaction his words would envoke.

No look from Wesley could make Dan feel like more of a jackass than he does right now. Here he was making the crazy shut-in feel good and happy with the outside world and then he made a passing remark and made her run off. Good going, Dan. Spot-on. His mouth opens, closes, and he swallows some before stuffing his hands into his pockets. "I, ah, I'm sorry. I suppose that's one example of how Indians fail at humor, hmm?" Ha ha, Dan, you so funny. Gtfo. A weak smile and another apology later, he turns to go with the last shreds of grace he can muster.

Wesley's expression changes to something incredibly neutral as he shifts attention back to Dan. "Don't blame yourself. You had no way of knowing how that one word would affect her. She's been through a traumatic time." There's no trace of humor to his tone now or an attempt at being light. Fred was deeply wounded just now and is facing a setback, even if it's no fault of Dan's.

The door to Fred's room is shut and locked via the chain on the door like most hotel rooms have. Kneeling on her wardrobe, she's scribbling on the wall very purposefully. It looks like a complex equation. The scratching from the marker she's using could be audible to the hallway outside.

Cordelia knocks at the door. At the same time, she also tries it, and discovers it is, in fact, locked. "Fred? It's Cordy. Can I come in, please?"

The walls of Fred's room are all but covered in scribblings and equations as well as drawings and and other strange things that are probably only understandable to her. As she writes she's mumbling to herself. "X equals y when…" At Cordy's knocking and questions, she pauses. "N-no. It's okay. I've…I'm fine. There's no need to come in."

Cordy sighs. She can't bust into Fred's room even if she wanted to. That's an Angel job. Or a Gunn job. "Please? I could use some company while I eat." -She's- the one that needs the company. Really.

The scratching has returned as Fred continues to write on the wall while Cordelia talks. It slows down a little, though, as she listens. "Well. If you need company…" The Texan frowns a little and looks around at the state of where she's been living. "But…let's…let's eat in the hallway, okay?"

Cordelia looks about at the hallway. "There's not so much table space in the hallway. And I think this hallway is to vacuums what sun is to Angel. But there's a lot of other rooms." It is a hotel, after all. "You can pick any one you want."
Cordelia has partially disconnected.

"Alright then." Reluctantly, Fred crawls off the wardrobe and puts her marker down somewher where Cordelia won't be able to see it. Then, she undoes the chain lock and slips through the door trying to make it so that Cordelia can't see what she's done to the walls. "Well. We can just go next door, can't we?" Pause. She's trying to act normal again after her breakdown.

Cordelia nods. "Sure. We can go next door." she says, trying to give Fred the "you're not a crazy person" smile. "Why don't I run back downstairs, I'll grab us more food, something to drink, and I'll come back up and meet you here?"

"Okay." Trying to act as much as a not crazy person, Fred sort of just hold her hands in front of her and moves toward the room next to hers. "Alright then. I'll, meet you in here? Unless you want to eat downstairs with Wesley, that's fine. I can sit in the room by myself for awhile. I don't mind, really. I'm used to that."

Cordy will happily latch onto that. "No, that's a great idea. We should eat downstairs with Wesley!" No, that's not what Fred meant, she's sure, but by grabbing it, hopefully the rabbity girl won't have a good opening to back out.

"Oh, no, that's not…" What she meant. Not at all. Fred'd prefer to stay up in her room now. "I can't do that. You go downstairs and eat. I can…I'll just stay up here." It's safer up here. Where there are no strangers or anything like that.

Damn. Well, it was worth an attempt. Cordy smiles. "Don't be silly. I wouldn't pass up a chance to eat with you. I'll go get the food and I'll be right back up." And with that, off to do exactly that before it gets any worse.

Really? Fred takes that at face value and kind of gives a goofy grin at Cordelia's statement. "Alright, then. That's fine. I'll just be…sitting in the room, then." Because what else is she going to do there? Glancing over her shoulder, she opens the door at Cordelia and pushes through it to wait.

Cordelia heads downstairs, and grabs the box of food. Hopefully Wes has obtained his own by now. Cause if not; snooze = lose! She heads to the fridge, tossing in a couple sodas, and then heads up to the Not-Fred's-room, knocking by gently tapping her shoe against the door. Hands kind of full.

The door isn't really closed, so when Cordelia's shoe taps against it, it cracks open. But, Fred is on it and goes over to open it up all the way. "Wow. You've got a whole lot there." Which is perfect for Fred. She loves to eat. "Lemme get some of that." She tries to take the sodas out of Cordelia's hands so she can help, though she may just be getting in the way.

Cordelia says "I brought the box." She knows that Fred eats…LOTS. She has no idea where she -puts- it, but hey. She moves to put the food box down on the bed, and she looks back to Fred. "So. How…are you doing?" Baby steps, Cordy.

It's probably due to the fact that in Pylea she was living in a cave for years and didn't have much to eat. Now that she can, she puts it all away, but her metabolism is still putting it out. Oooh, box of food. Quickly, the woman starts tucking it away. The question gets a shrug. "Oh, I'm good! Thanks for asking. How are you?" It's kind of a stilted reply, kind of like she imagines real conversations much be like.

Cordelia looks back, and sits on the edge of the bed. "I'm not bad. Dealing with the bills." She wrinkles her nose. Trying to draw Fred into modern conversation, back here to Earth. "The utility companies somehow don't take "trip to another world" as an excuse."

"Really?" That's the sort of thing she never had to worry about while living in a cave. Caves don't have electricity. "Well, maybe we could just show them the portal and then they'd have to take it as an excuse. Or you could just write that, really, electricity is a natural force and therefore charging for it would be like trying to charge for water and we all know that you can't live without water so charging for it would be totally evil!"

Cordelia can't help but chuckle a little. "I think utility companies are evil to start with." But hey, this is good. Conversation. "You know what we should go do? Shop." Cause Fred didn't exactly have much of a wardrobe in Pylea, and they're not exactly the same body type."

"I wouldn't be surprised. Like…debt collectors…and lawyers." Because those are all evil inherently, aren't they? In no time, Fred has finished the Chinese food that Cordelia has brought up for them and starts to sip at the soda. "Shop?" That sounds like something they'd have to do outside, doesn't it? "What d'ya mean?"

Cordelia manages to avoid the wigging. "Shop? As in shopping? Going to stores, picking out lots of gorgeous clothes?" The tone there is not far removed from the devout talking about God. Cordelia worships at the altar of Macy's.

Whatever that altar is, it's quite evident that Fred does not worship there. She's been wearing hand-me-downs and whatever they could scrounge up from the basement and she really doesn't mind. Even if the clothes all lean more toward too big on her than anything else. "Isn't that….outside?" As in, the place that he has yet to go since getting back from Pylea?

The other woman nods. "Well, yes. But I'd be with you the whole time. And it's just stores. We're in control the whole time." Cause she figures that would help. "Besides, new underwear makes ANYONE feel better." Some stuff she can loan Fred. Some she can't.

The thought of going outside, even with Cordelia, makes Fred nervous. Anything can happen out there. She could get sucked into a portal again and no one will be there to rescue her. Not even Angel. "I don't know. I mean, I've got clothes." Fashion sense is one of those things that she lots while living on Pylea and basically wearing a sack for five years. She blushes a little at the idea of buying new underwear. "Oh, I don't know."

Cordy smiles. She's still trying to be reassuring. "Oh, it's okay, it'll be fun!" she says. "Come on, we'll make it a girl's day out. Bright sunshine, lots of people nearby, but not so near that we can't have our own thing. Perfectly safe."

While she's not so sure about this, Cordelia's been nothing but nice to her and she wants to agree. Or at least say something that will make Cordelia happy. After all, she brough up Chinese food and soda for them. "Fun?" A place with a lot of people and outside doesn't seem all that fun to Fred, but then maybe it's time to break out. "I…don't know." She looks down into the empty contents of her empty white chinese food container. "Maybe?"

Cordelia smiles. Again. Doing a lot of that, under the whole "let's coax out the crazy person" auspice. She says "That sounds great!" She can have enough exuberance for them both. "Trust me, everything is better with the world when you're properly lift-and-supported."

Is coaxing out the crazy person really that good of an idea? There might just be a lot more crazy to deal with. Puttind town the carton, Fred looks a little like a deer in headlights now that Cordelia has taken her maybe for an absolute yes. "Oh, well, I mean, it doesn't have to be for a couple of weeks or something. You know those stores. They're always, you know, there. And waiting. They may want us to wait a bit before stopping by. Call and make sure they're expecting us."

Cordelia smiles. "Trust me. Stores always want you to visit. And tomorrow is Saturday. Perfect day for it." No, no postponing for weeks. She has one of Fred's feet out of the door, metaphorically speaking, and it isn't going back in, dammit! "We'll shop. And lattes! Oh, my God. They barely even had lattes 5 years ago. You need one."

"L-lattes?" What are lattes? Fred isn't even sure she knows what they're talking about any more. One moment it was shops and then it turned into undewear and whatever lattes are. "And tomorrow? Oh, I don't know. Isn't there all that work you had to do? Because we need the money? I'd understand if you needed to put it off 'cause of all that work."

Hey, that's just the way Cordy's brain works. It is occasionally full of a dire lack of sequitur. Completely non. "Trust me. Nobody shops like I shop. I know where all the best stuff at the lowest prices is." No comment needed on how that's how she HAD to shop after Daddy And The Great Tax Misadventure. "We'll get you a couple nice things, a nice lunch, and everything will look right with the world."

It's hard to argue with Cordelia's logic. Especially for someone like Fred who has no idea where to shop or get a cheap lunch or make things right with the world. All she knows is how to get lost. "I trust you." Because, she does. Because Angel trusts Cordelia.

Cordy smiles. "Sounds perfect." She looks at the mostly-eaten food. Considers. Does she try to push Fred a little more for "normal-people-bonding" time? "Well, I'll take this stuff back down, and tomorrow we can go do our shopping." Beat. "Want to do your nails before you go?" Cause, if there's a more bonding female experience, she doesn't know it. Well, not in Cordyverse.

"Do my nails?" The phrasing sort of floors Fred. She looks down at them before she hands over the empty containers to Cordelia. "Is there…something wrong with them?" She looks at them. "They look like nails to me."

That draws a surprised look from Cordelia. Surely Fred at least did makeup before Pylea. She holds up and waggles her own fingers so that Fred can see the polish. "Nailpolish." is offered by further way of explanation.

Oh right! Make up. There are some basic things about hygene and make up that Fred has forgotten. Like pop tops and blush. "Oh! Yeah. Nailpolish! Um, I'm not sure if I'd be any good at that any more."

Cordy smiles. "Which is why I offered to do them for you. They'll look pretty, and I can give you a couple pointers and get you back into practice on it."

The light dawns for Fred and she finally understands what it is that Cordelia is trying to do here. "Oh! Well, sure if you don't mind. I mean, my nails would probably take forever to make as pretty as yours."

Cordelia offers a reassuring smile. "I don't mind at all. Tell you what. I'm going to take the box down, we'll—" She pauses. "Oh, darnit. I don't have any polish here. That's okay. We'll get some tomorrow while we're out."

Cordelia doesn't have polish with her? That's an odd thought. She always seems so together. Fred just shrugs. "That's okay! I went for five years without nail polish. I think I can wait another day before finding some more." There's a pause as she looks at the containers and the empty room with the dust covers all over everything. "Thanks, Cordelia."

The other woman smiles. "No problem, Fred. Any time." She tosses the rubbish into the box, and picks it up. "See you tomorrow." She's got a home to get back to, after all.

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