(NOTE: Lyrics quoted are from Warren Zevon's "Werewolves in London")
Buffy waited until the others went off in an attempt to find Willow someplace secluded to do her locate spell again. She wondered what the group of them looked like to the people mingling around the campus. They certainly were a mixed lot from Dawn and Andrew to Buffy and Faith to Willow, Kennedy, Xander, Giles and Robin.
She dialed a number that she still knew by heart but had not called in almost two years.
"Weird," she said when she got an operator message saying Angel's number had been disconnected. She wrote down the number the computer generated voice provided her as the changed number and dialed that.
"Wolfram & Hart."
"I, um," she said confused. "May I speak with Angel?"
"Just a moment," replied the woman and Buffy was on hold. A few minutes of listening to oldies music passed by and then she heard another woman's voice. "Angel's office, may I help you?"
Buffy was thoroughly confused now. "May I speak with Angel?" she asked again.
"I'm sorry he's not in. May I take a message?"
Buffy frowned, not that she expected Angel to be there every time she called, but she was admittedly disappointed. "I, this is Buffy." There you go, moron she thought to herself.
"Did you just want me to let him know you called then?"
"Is Wesley Wyndam-Pryce available?" she asked, taking a stab in the dark that where Angel was Wesley was, too.
"Just one moment," she said briskly and Buffy was once again listening to oldies on hold.
"I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain
He was looking for a place called Lee Ho Fook's
Going to get himself a big dish of beef chow mein
Werewolves of London"
She could not help but think of Oz hearing this song and wondered briefly how he was doing. No one had seen him since he left Sunnydale over two years ago. Willow talked to his mother on occasion, but rarely relayed those conversations to Buffy beyond Oz was still out of the country.
"Katie speaking, may I help you?"
"I was on hold for Wesley."
"May I say who is calling, please?"
"And your last name?"
"Just tell him it's Buffy, he knows who I am."
"And what is this regarding?"
"He'll know. Please, just tell him I'm on the phone."
"Very well then," she said, not sounding overly convinced and Buffy was once again on hold. If she was transferred to another faceless woman behind a desk she would scream.
"This is Wesley."
"Wesley?" she asked suspiciously. It sounded like him, but she was going to be sure.
"Buffy?" he asked, sounding equally as suspicious.
"Do you remember the name of the guy who tried to ruin Prom?"
"Oh bloody hell," he murmured into the phone. "Wells was the lad's last name, I remember that because I thought of H.G. Wells when I heard it."
And with that, Buffy knew that it was Wesley. "Tucker."
"Yes, that's it, Tucker Wells. He had brainwashed some hell hounds to go after men in tuxedos."
"It's nice to hear your voice, Wesley."
"It's always a pleasure, Buffy, but I'm afraid I'm in the middle of something. What can I do for you?"
"I was looking for Angel."
"He's not in today, Buffy, he took the day off."
"Well, I was hoping I could talk to him."
"I could give you his cell phone number."
"That would be great."
"He's been concerned about you, to be honest. I had no idea he had even gone to Sunnydale, or I would have offered to come along of course."
"I know, Wesley, it's no big. I sent him back to LA, I needed to know we had a backup plan in case mine failed." She wrote down Angel's cell phone number. "Thanks, Wesley."
"I'm surprised Leslie didn't give it to you."
"Angel's secretary, he's been asking for months now if you've called each day when he wakes up."
"I'm sure you've been busy, Buffy. I am glad to hear you're all right."
"Me, too, about you guys I mean."
"He's fine, too."
"Thanks again, Wesley."
Buffy glanced at the phone briefly, curious as to what was going on in Angel's world that he had a secretary. At least Wesley had not told Buffy that Leslie was his girlfriend, Buffy was not sure how she would handle Angel with a girlfriend.
"Here goes nothing," she muttered as she punched the buttons on her phone. "He's probably out of town if he took the day off." She almost hung up when one ring turned into two but she did not. By the fourth ring her hand was on the end button.
She paused for a second. "Hi, it's me."
"Buffy?" he asked, his voice sounded low and sultry. How could he do that with just his voice?
"I'm sorry I worried you."
"Now that I'm hearing your voice for real, I have to admit I'm a little disappointed you haven't called before now."
"We've been a little busy."
"We?" he asked. Buffy thought she heard hesitation in his voice, as if he did not want to hear her answer.
"Yeah, the whole gang."
"I see," he said simply. "How did you get this number?"
Uh oh, she thought, he did not want her to have total access to him after all. "From Wesley."
"Oh good." Silence. "I really was worried about you, Buffy. I know I have no right to be."
"You do have the right," she quickly interjected. "I worry about you, too, Angel."
She thought he heard him say you should, but she was not sure. "What was that?"
"Nothing," he said. "Where are you?"
"I'm in LA," she said simply.
"What a coincidence. Do you need a place to stay or something?"
She closed her eyes, fighting back the tears. Is this what they had been resorted to? Did they both think the other one always needed something when they called or visited? Since he had left Sunnydale, that had generally been the case so she could not blame him for the question.
"Well, actually, I was hoping you might be up for some training."
"Training? With you?"
"Well, sort of," she said cryptically, wanting to get his reaction to the idea in general first.
"From what I saw in the temple, Buff, I don't know that you need too much help in the training aspect anymore."
"What if I said it was not just for me?"
"Faith doesn't need much help either, Buffy. She can hold her own. If she didn't in Sunnydale it was only because of her run-in with The Beast before leaving to help you."
"No, no, Faith did great."
"Then who do you need me to help train?"
"Some more slayers."
"You've lost me, Buff, though you've got my attention. So, go on."
"Well, first, where are you?"
He hesitated in answering. She thought she heard him sigh. "I'm checking up on something."
"Okay," she said. That did not tell her much of anything. "Are you in LA?"
"Oh yeah, I'm at UCLA campus actually."
She pulled the phone away from her ear and stared at it for a second. She was no longer used to the freaky coincidences that accompanied her relationship with Angel. It had been far too long since they had been together. "How weird is that, because that's where we are."
"Yeah," she said, glancing around her. "Where are you?"
"Near the residence halls."
"Is that anywhere near this bear statue?" she asked, glancing up at the statue in question.
"I think I remember seeing that, yes," he said with obvious amusement in his voice.
"Don't laugh at me."
"I'm not laughing at you. But I've been worried for months that you were dead again and no one survived the battle this time to come tell me and we're minutes apart when you do finally decide to call."
"I'm sorry," she apologized.
"It's all right, we have our own lives now, I understand that." He sounded bitter and Buffy wondered what had happened to make him sound that way. "Is Spike with you?" Ah, she thought.
"No, no he's not," she said quietly, devoid of emotion.
"Good," he said simply.
"Aren't you curious why he isn't?" she asked. She felt the familiar sensation that was her body's awareness of this particular vampire and knew he was within seeing distance. She scanned the crowd nearby, but saw no one resembling Angel.
"Not particularly. Why? Should I be?"
"I guess that depends," she said finally seeing him. He was not dressed to blend in. How she had missed him the first time she scanned the crowd of people she did not know. He was dressed completely in black and he looked positively lethal. She stared as he strode toward her, his gait confident yet still stealthy.
"Hi," he said when he was within hearing range.
Her hand fell to her side where she turned off her phone, closed it and without thought kissed him. She did not care they were in full view of the public, she needed this. He apparently needed it to because he was kissing her fully. Her hands found his neck and skimmed around it, inside the collar of his leather coat while his went around her waist. "Hi yourself," she said when she had to break the kiss in order to take a breath or two.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com