He never tells Lilah about the other women.
He tells himself it’s because she already knows, of course; she’s always looking at him with that smirk that says
she knows everything, and why shouldn’t he take her at her word? Conniving bitch that she is- oh, he respects her, likes
her, maybe even deep down loves her, but he also sees her for what she is- of course she knows. It doesn’t need to be
And other times he thinks that maybe he tells himself that so he won’t feel guilty about not telling her, because even
deeper down he knows that it would hurt her terribly. Easier to write it off as playing the bitch’s game than admit
that he cares for her and doesn’t want to hurt her.
And still other times he gets damn tired of thinking so much and just grabs his wallet and his coat and heads out the door.
He knows the woman on the stool next to his looks familiar, but can’t place her until she looks at him, her eyes go
wide, and she gasps “Wesley! Watcher Wesley!” Then it all comes back and he can relax and say “Well, not
anymore, but hello, Anya.”
“Oh, right, we heard, you’re working for Angel now,” she bubbles, and he tenses up, wondering if it’s
possible that they haven’t heard in Sunnydale. Or perhaps only Anya hasn’t heard?
Instead of finding out he simply asks, “Are you in town- ” and then, seeing the necklace peering out from under
her top amends to “- on business?”
She blinks, pleasantly surprised. “How did you- oh, right.” She adjusts the ruffles of the shirt quickly to cover
the stone. “You would know, wouldn’t you?” She takes a sip of her drink, then looks at him curiously. “You
sound awfully happy about it, actually. Looking to curse somebody?”
He’d hoped he’d kept that out of his voice. Failed again. “Not exactly. There’s someone…someone
I rather think might be looking to curse me. But he’s missing. I thought if you were looking for him, it would mean
he’s all right.”
She blinks. “I would think that if someone wanted to curse you, you wouldn’t want him to be all right.”
“It’s complicated.” His lips feel stiff and numb. He takes another drink. “He’s…he was…an
She nods. “Those are the worst kinds. Get very ugly.”
He closes his eyes.
“But I’m not here to work,” she continues. “It’s just that you literally have to go this far
from Sunnydale to find a decent single’s bar.” She stands and brushes imaginary lint from her skirt. “So.
Your apartment or a hotel?”
“Pardon?” He sits up very straight and stares at her.
“Well, you’re here looking for someone to have sex with, I assume, since that is the purpose of this establishment,”
she says matter-of-factly. “I’m certainly here looking for someone to have sex with. Why should we let the fact
that we know each other deter us from our purpose?”
He sits still for a moment, then finishes his drink. “I have absolutely no idea.”
Of course he can’t take her back to his apartment- if she doesn’t know already, Lilah would absolutely know then.
There is no doubt in his mind that she can sense these things. He’s certain she knows about Justine.
He takes her to a motel of questionable repute, because he can’t bear the notion of stepping off an elevator into the
plush corridors of a proper hotel anymore. The cab drops them off in the parking lot of a place that rents rooms by the hour.
She doesn’t seem to care.
Off his questioning look, she tells the desk clerk they’ll take their single bed overlooking the dumpster for two hours.
She pockets the key and doesn’t look back to see if he follows.
In the room she removes her clothes and sits on the edge of the bed, and after a moment’s hesitation he does the same.
She slides off to the floor and begins mechanically performing fellatio, to his embarrassment and discomfort. But when he
tries to stop her, she shakes her head, eyes tightly closed. “I have to go through all the steps,” she says, bracing
her hands against his knees. “I have to do this correctly.” Confused and suddenly disoriented in the stale motel-room
air, he submits to her ministrations.
After a length of time she deems satisfactory, she climbs onto the bed and lies down on her back, staring up at the ceiling
blankly. For a moment he sits dumb, then realizes what she’s waiting for. He gets on top of her and begins thrusting
Neither of their hearts is in it. Her eyes never waver from the water-stained ceiling tiles. After only seconds he can’t
bear to watch her staring anymore and closes his.
The sex is dismal and halfhearted and sad. After another indeterminate length of time she stops him, pulls out from beneath
him, and gets onto her hands and knees on the bedspread. She looks back over her shoulder at him and nods curtly. He assumes
the new position and resumes pumping away, wondering what else is included on this mental list of hers.
And sure enough a few perfunctory moments later she pulls away again and dispassionately guides him onto his back on the bed,
straddles his hips, and rides him for a few more thrusts. Her jaw clenches, she closes her eyes, she shudders. He takes this
as a sign and allows himself to spurt weakly against her inner thigh. She gets off him and walks into the bathroom, closing
the door behind her.
He lies there staring at the water stains, thinking about how Lilah would never permit that sort of performance from him,
of how she would be calling some clandestine black-market pharmacy for Viagra and insisting that they go again.
Anya never even met his eyes.
She emerges from the bathroom, dripping water from the shower, and dresses herself as coolly as she’s done everything
else. He’s already dressed, sitting in the single chair by the window, watching her.
“It didn’t work,” she says simply, buckling the delicate strap on her fancy shoes. Lilah would know the
designer’s name; to him they’re simply impractical shoes. “I don’t feel any better.”
He can’t help it. He laughs- a stunned, amazed, coarse, hopeless laugh. “You thought this would make you feel
She stares at him. “It’s what they do in the movies…people do it all the time. Why, if it doesn’t
He may be cynical now, wiser for his wounds, but it doesn’t mean he has all the answers. “Just something to do,
She looks at him now- really looks at him for the first time since she recognized him in the bar. “Is there anything
I can do for you, Wesley?” She extends her hand to him, then awkwardly touches her necklace. “Anything you…you
He thinks for a minute. Of Gunn, of Fred, of Cordelia. Even Lorne. Certainly of Angel- perhaps if he wished for vengeance
against the vampire, Anya would be able to bring him back from wherever he was…
“Does my heart cry out for vengeance?” he asks her.
She shakes her head. “Your heart feels hollow.”
He nods slowly. “Yes. Yes, I suppose it does.” He looks up at her, standing there in the splash of dull fluorescent
light. “Do you need a cab?”
She smiles a little. “You should know better.” She shimmers and is gone.
“Ah, yes,” he says to no one. “Demon woman.”
His cell phone rings- Lilah. Invoke her and she appears.
“No, I’m not home…I went out for a bit…of course. Yes. I’ll come to you.”