Title: The Red Elephant
Summary: Cordelia talks about the elephant in the room. Set after City Of...
Warning: This ficlet talks about female menstruation. Not in great detail, but I'm not using any euphemisms either. If functions of the female body are gross to you, don't read it.
Disclaimer: Not mine, obviously.
It was two weeks after Angel hired me that we had our first major bump, although he had no idea at the time.
I was about to enlighten him.
I paused at the door to his office and knocked on the frame.
Angel was in brood-mode, slumped in his chair and reading something heavy and musty. Only, I'd figured out the day before that there was a picture in the book, and he wasn't really reading.
No need to bring it up though, he knew what he was doing and as long as he didn't go do something stupid, like lose his soul again, he could stare at the Buffster all day long.
I got paid all the same.
He lifted his gaze to me and I smiled a little.
"Got a minute, boss?"
He wasn't used to hearing that word - boss
- and I wasn't used to saying it, but as awkward as it was working day to day with someone who tried to kill me two short years ago, it was nothing
compared to what I was about to bring up with my undead employer.
"Sure, Cordelia, what's up?" he said, closing his book and sitting up straighter.
I walked in and took the chair in front of his desk, staring at him over the polished wooden surface with my arms clasped loosely on my crossed knees.
"Well, it occurs to me that we haven't really worked out all the...kinks...of me working for you, and I thought we could..." I stared at him, getting a case of cold feet. "Talk."
Angel slanted his eyes away from me for a second and then back again, a slightly irritated expression furrowing between his brows. For a second, he reminded me of Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles
But without the cute to smooth over the awkwardness.
"Well, we've worked out your vacation schedule, and your pay scale for the next two years...even though you have yet to file a single piece of paper and you forgot to come back from lunch Tuesday and Wednesday, so I think we've covered everything."
"I told you I had auditions, it's not my fault you can't read my writing," I said. I leaned forward even more, my butt on the edge of my chair. "But we still haven't covered everything." I tried to tell him with my eyes, because for the first time in my life, I didn't know how to put something. I forced out a laugh. "This is kind of...delicate."
"Just spit it out Cordelia, I'm sure I can handle whatever it is."
"Well, Angel, I'm a woman," I started, looking at the desk between us. "And women go through...changes
..." I peeked up at him, and he looked blankly back at me. "One of these changes...occurs once a month..." I let my words trail off, and stared at him, urging him faster towards comprehension.
It hit like a brick.
"Oh God," he said, and stood up. "Cordelia-"
I stood up too, holding out my hands.
"I know," I said, cutting him off. "Not the funnest conversation I've ever had either."
"Ranks up there with asking Giles for help when I came back from hell, actually." He agreed, sticking his hands in his pockets.
"Well, we have to have it, so just suck it up already." He jerked his head up and looked at me and I knew what he was thinking, what he must have been picturing.God
, Cordelia, stupid
choice of words.
"I can't be here for three days but I can't go unpaid for three days either, and technically, since it's your
bloodlust driving me out of here, I think it should be paid time off." I finished fast, and watched Angel as he hunched his shoulders a bit.
"I don't have bloodlust," he muttered.
I dropped my hands.
"Oh, so now we're at the lying portion of our talk?" I asked, lifting an eyebrow.
He looked hard at me, and I got the uneasy feeling he was gauging something, trying to see inside of me.
"Soon," I answered his unspoken question.
The air seemed to heat as Angel kept looking at me, and I felt myself flush in awareness. Which didn't help because of the whole blood-rushing-to-the-surface-and-other-seriously-unused-body-parts
problem. He didn't say anything, though, but if he kept staring at me like that, I was
going to start, right there in his office, with nothing between him and the blood but $6.99 in cotton polyester.
I bit my lip, fighting to keep from being grossed out and turned on at the same time.
"Go home," he said. "Come back when-"
When I wasn't bleeding anymore and the only blood he could smell was not
I smoothed my hands down my hips, a gesture to slide my skirt further down, but Angel caught the movement with a sideways glance, and it looked like something else, I suppose.
Not an invitation, though. Of course not.
"See you Tuesday," I said quietly, and left, closing the door quietly behind me.
I took a deep breath as I hit the sidewalk. The sky was darkening just slightly, the slant of the sun against the building deep and hot.
I looked back once while I was walking towards my bus, and saw his shadow in the window, still looking in my direction.
I turned the corner to the bus stop and kept walking.