Lonely Women And Bad Booze
by Angelina

Why is liquor so disgusting? People seek out comfort in alcohol right? So why make it taste so fucking gross? Ice-cream I get. Chocolate I get. But vodka? I don't get vodka. When it's in your mouth it tastes like cheap perfume. After you swallow it it burns your throat. It lies in your stomach like it's some foreign object that could be rejected at any time. And the next day it smells like you've slept in a doorway and lived on meths for a couple of months. So it escapes me why people turn to it for solace. I will admit that it makes your head feel nice after a few mouthfuls. Well, maybe not 'nice', but better than it felt before. And then the numbness that follows shortly afterwards is kinda good too. Here's to vodka.

Ewwwww. I'm not quite at the numbness yet, but I'm getting there. I don't know whether to be pleased that the bartender is serving me without question, or depressed that I look older than I am. I'm 18 and look like I'm 21...at least. Does this mean I'm going to look 40 before my time? I can't think about that right now. Much too scary. If I was still rich I might be able to console myself with the fact that plastic surgery is always an option. But I'm not and it's not. My stupid fucking father had to go and screw up his taxes. In the not paying them sense. Like we would have been in the poorhouse if he'd just paid up. Well, that's where we've ended up. Thanks Daddy! Here's to you.

Bleuch. I'm going to be sick. Very soon. But who cares? No-one. There's no-one here to hold my hair off my face. There's no-one to shoulder me up the path and sneak me into bed so my parents don't find out. No-one. I'm alone. Completely. My lying scumbag of a boyfriend decided that dating the most eligible girl in the school wasn't good enough for him. No, he had to have the computer geek too. Well, they're fucking welcome to each other. I'm so happy that my abdomen is punctured and I'm scarred for life because they felt compelled to act on a lifetime of unresolved sexual tension. Here's to Willow and Xander.

Who am I? Is there anything special about me? I'm not rich, I don't have a boyfriend, I'm no longer popular and revered...I'm nothing. I'm some sad, washed up poor girl whose geeky boyfriend cheated on her. I'm a nobody. OK, the vodka comfort isn't really working for me. I obviously need more of it. So here's to me, the nobody.

"Shit, didn't figure this place for a cheerleading bar."

Faith. Just what I need. I came here to get away from all the strangeness in my life. Seems like I can't get away from hellmouthyness even in a dive like this. Maybe that's what she wanted too. But she's sitting down and doesn't look like she plans to leave any time soon. Does this mean I have to talk to her now? Couldn't she have chosen a stool way along the other end of the bar? What can I possibly say to her?

"So...I heard you killed a guy."

So the liquor's loosened my mouth a bit...so what? She can leave if she wants...which is good. Or she can stay and tell me what it's like to murder someone. How often in life do we get access to stuff like that? Not very. I think she's quite impressed that I asked. Which, now I think about it, was a pretty stupid thing to do. She could have just slugged me across the face and left. But she's still here. And she's still looking at me.

"It was an accident."

Hmmm, I expected more bragging than that. It occurs to me that I don't know Faith at all. I've barely spoken to her since she arrived. It's probably jealousy. She's absolutely drop dead gorgeous. But so am I so it's not just that. She has this confidence about her, it oozes out of her pores. She struts about and tells tall tales about her slaying and her sex-life. But is that really her? I bet it's not. That's not what she looks like right now. She looks sad. In fact, she looks angst-ridden. Yeah, like something out of a movie. She'd look fabulous in black and white, incredibly dramatic and tragic. And gorgeous.

"How'd it happen?"

Is it morbid to be asking stuff like this? It's not like I want details...just gossip.

"Didn't your little pals fill you in?"

Woah. The sad, tragic heroine has gone. She's been replaced by the bitter hard-done by understudy. The bartender brings her a drink. It's whisky. Which is scores even lower than vodka in the flavour category.

"Leave the bottle."

Darn it. I wish I'd said that to him when he brought me a drink. She's totally playing the movie-clichˇ here. And I am loving the show. She looks into the glass for a moment, swirling the amber liquid around, watching the whirlpool forming in the middle. Then she tips her head back and swallows the contents of the tumbler in one gulp. The glass slams back onto the bar and her eyes close briefly as she adjusts to the slightly sour taste of the drink. Her eyes open and she immediately refills the glass and repeats the process. I'm fascinated by her. Maybe I see myself in her a little. And I stress a little. She's here alone. Her life sucks. She wants it all to go away. Like me. Except I didn't kill anyone. And I guess I'm not alone...Faith's here.

"They're not my 'pals'."

Please don't let me cry. Please don't let me cry.

"Awww...did the poor little rich girl have a fight with the Scooby gang?"

Wow, the grin didn't take long to appear. And here I was feeling sorry for her. She was just dying to make fun of me. Well fuck her. I reach down and pull up my shirt to reveal the angry red scar marring my otherwise perfect skin. It's healing, slowly. But right now it still looks pretty impressive as scars go.

"Yeah, you could say that."

Her grin fades as she looks at the blemish.

"Sorry, I forgot about that...I heard about your boy and Red."

My boy. He was never my boy. He was Buffy's, then Willow's. And if neither of them had a pressing need for him, then maybe he'd be mine. God, when is this numbness going to come? This wallowing stage is lasting waaaay too long for my liking.

"Yeah well...shit happens. Like with you and the dead guy."

She looks over at me quickly. But I'm not accusing her of anything. It was unfortunate that she stabbed the guy, but she's a slayer, these things are bound to happen.

"It...it was just so quick and I...he...I didn't mean to..."

Was she even given a chance to explain things? I'm not sure. All I know is that the Slayerettes are painting her as some psycho who's joined forces with the Mayor...damn, that slipped my mind. Here I am having drinks with the henchwoman of the guy who wants to destroy the world. What the hell?

"You should've told Giles."

"Dontcha think I know that C? Dontcha thing I lie awake and go over and over it in my head, thinkin' of how it could've been different? But it ain't different, this is how it is now. I'm a bad guy."

For some reason I want to laugh. She's so little and cute. How can she possibly be a bad guy?

"You're not a bad guy Faith, you made a mistake. A pretty major mistake, granted, but still a mistake. It doesn't have to be this way."

A wry grin spreads itself across her full lips as she regards me. She probably thinks I'm drunk. Which may be the case, but what I'm saying is still right.

"You wanna save my soul C?"

"Maybe you should save it yourself. Go to Giles, tell him you're sorry abo..."

"Yeah, sure. 'Hey Giles, I know I killed that guy and lied about it and joined up with the big-bad and took Red hostage and shit, but I'm sorry, 'kay?' Yep, that'll do it."

She pours herself another drink and throws it back. Then she refills her glass and, after a second's consideration, fills mine too. I'm going to be dying tomorrow morning.

"They wanted to take me back to England. D'you know what they do to Slayers who act out C?"

I don't actually, so I shake my head as I sip the drink. It is absolutely vile. Who the hell invented this stuff and thought 'Mmmmm, that tastes good'? I decide that quick is best so I tip the whole lot down my throat which proceeds to burst into flame. Tears well up in my eyes as I cough and splutter and generally make a fool of myself. From nowhere, a glass of water appears by my arm and a hand is gently rubbing my back. I attempt to control my dorkiness. I look up at Faith, she looks amused. But I guess it was funny so I can't really complain. How can this girl be a cold- blooded murderer?

"No, I don't know what they do..."

My voice sounds all strangulated. My oesophagus is probably permanently damaged by that cheap booze. Her throat must be made of stronger stuff than mine because she's really putting it away like it's water.

"Me neither, but I'm guessing they don't give 'em tea and cucumber sandwiches."

She fiddles with her empty glass, frowning down at the bar. Surely they don't, like, kill bad slayers? That's just, wrong. Well, duh! This drinking stuff doesn't agree with my mental processes. I look over at her and for some reason I'm unable to resist the urge to place my hand over hers. Alcohol is the ultimate evil.

She looks surprised. Then she smiles. Then she looks away and laughs.

"What's goin' on here C? You wanna spice up your life a bit, huh? Get a bit of rough to piss off the parents?"

Great, now she thinks I want to sleep with her. Why does everything have to be about sex? I'm offering her a little comfort and she thinks I want to get in those tight leather pants of hers. I'm not saying that I wouldn't...but really, does she have to assume that right away?

"I was just trying to be nice Faith, supportive and crap."


One word. Big significance. So a lot is riding on the answer. Fucking hell...I can't deal with pressure when I've been drinking.

"Because...I don't know...just because I don't think you're some big murdering psycho. You're a young girl who had this shitty 'duty' thrust upon her and then made one mistake while trying to protect the rest of the world from evil. One mistake Faith, that's all it was, you don't have to throw your life away by becoming evil and helping the mayor destroy the world and I hope the bartender isn't listening to this..."

My stomach feels funny. Kinda like when a washing machine goes round and round and round...that's what it feels like. And I'm having to swallow a lot. It's not looking good.

"So what do you think I should do?"

More pressure. Mostly from those huge brown eyes gazing at me. Big scared eyes.

"How old are you?"

I'd always assumed she was older than the rest of us...but right now she looks about 12 so I'm not sure. If I scraped off all that make- up would sh...oooooh, my stomach is very unwell. I'm going to vomit very soon.

"What difference does it make how old I am?"

Now she looks annoyed.

"I just wanted to know...how old are you?"

"I'm nearly seventeen."

My God. Seventeen. I thought she was nearer twenty. Not that it makes a difference really. But seventeen...oh God. I'm definitely going to throw up now. I cover my mouth and slip off my seat. I sprint to the bathroom. I push the graffitied door open and pause to consider my options...could I make it outside? Because I really don't think I could bring myself to be sick in a dump like thi...

OK, so I managed it. Isn't throwing up like, the worst thing in the whole entire world? The loss of control, the horrible retching, the sweat, the smell...it really is the most undignified act ever. I'm kneeling on the floor of a seedy bar's bathroom, hovering over a toilet bowl that may not have been cleaned since shoulder-pads were in, it doesn't get lower than this.

Then, out of the blue, two hands are sweeping my hair off my damp face and holding it in a loose ponytail. I spit a couple of times into the bowl and she flushes it. Oh how ladylike do I feel now? Projectile vomiting in a non-descript bar...with witnesses.

"You done?"

God I hope so. I don't know where all that came from...I don't remember eating that much, ever.


She puts her hands on my elbows and easily lifts me to my feet. My knees feel a bit bendier than usual. They won't stay straight. Finally she kind of drapes my arm across her shoulders and holds me up by my waist.

"Let's get you home Queen C."


I'm not going back there. I can't stand it there. It's not my home, not anymore. Not since the IRS decided that they own everything in it. Not since my car was repossessed. I hate it there.

"No? Well...uh, it's kinda late and you're totally wasted so I don't think you got much choice babe."

"I'm not going there. It's not where I want to go. It's not my house. Queen C doesn't have a palace anymore."

Suddenly I feel very, very sorry for myself. I didn't ask to be rich and popular, but I was and I dealt with it. And now it's all been snatched away from under my nose. It's just not fair. Given that she's the nearest warm thing I throw myself around Faith's neck and sob into her shoulder. She stands patiently, rubbing my back, even though she hasn't a clue what the hell's going on. So that's really nice of her.

"Hey...shhhh, c'mon C, it can't be that bad...shhhh, at least you're not me, right?"

I can't help but laugh a little at that. I pull back out of her neck and sway slightly before she steadies me again by encircling me with her arms. It feels nice to be in her arms. She feels nice. And she looks nice.

"Do you want to kiss me?"

I feel it's the least I can offer her with her being so nice and pretty and all. I don't think she really expected it. And why would she? I'm Cordelia, Queen of the Straight Girls. Yeah right...maybe when I'm sober that's me. But when the walls come down I know what it is I want. And right now I want Faith to kiss me.

"Uh...I usually don't kiss chicks who've just thrown up."

Oh yeah, forgot about that. That's fair comment. I wouldn't expect her to...because that would be gross.

"But any other time, C, I'd jump at the chance...believe me."

I do believe her. And I am intensely flattered by it. Exactly why the thought of Faith wanting to kiss me makes me so happy isn't clear right now. Let's face it, she's hardly discerning. But she's way nicer than I thought she'd be. And she's very attractive and strong and she has really nice eyes and a great butt and she's kind. So she killed someone in the heat of the moment. I've had a few near misses myself. Pedestrians seem to have a death wish at times.

"I want to stay with you."

Wow, that was forthright, even for me. Nothing like inviting yourself back to someone's house while inebriated. She quirks her eyebrow at me questioningly. She probably thinks I'm going to pounce on her and is planning to buy me some gum or a toothbrush on the way. But I'm too tired for any of that kind of stuff tonight. I just want a bed. Not mine though. Hers.

"Look, I think I should take you to B's house...or Giles' place or something...if you really don't wanna go home."

God, hasn't she been listening?

"I told you before, I don't have a home, I don't have any money and I don't have any friends. Nobody gives a shit what happens to me except me. And right now I want to stay with you."

Fuck. Now I'm crying. We're obviously hitting the maudlin section of the night. Maybe saying it out loud just brought it home...I don't have anything, anyone. I have nothing, no-one. No reason to stay here. Oh...oh! We've suddenly moved on to the brilliant idea having part of the evening.

"Let's leave Faith."

"We've left C, we're in the street now, the bar's away back there."

For God's sake, maybe she's drunker than I thought.

"No, I mean, let's leave Sunnydale. Let's get out of here, tonight. We can just up and leave and never look back. We can start somewhere new where nobody knows us and nobody thinks of us in a certain way. We can be whoever we want to be."

For a minute I think she's going to agree. There's a spark in her eye...she wants to believe it. She wants to leave all this shit behind. Then the spark disappears, the light goes out of her dark eyes and her face clouds over.

"You really are wasted C."

"No I'm not. I'm thinking as clearly as I ever have. I was planning to leave Sunnyhell as soon as I graduated anyway...and now it looks like the Mayor's ascension might put a dampener on that so what's the point in sticking around? And you...you don't have to be a bad guy. You could go somewhere new and be the slayer there, without the Super- friends to contend with."

I smile at her, it could work, it really could. She smiles sadly and shakes her head. Then her eyes flick up to look at something behind me.

"You're home."

I spin around and find myself standing at the entrance to my drive. We got here without me even noticing. I turn back around and look at her pleadingly.

"No, Faith, please...I don't want to be here. Please, I want to get the hell away from here."

"Not tonight. You've had a shitload to drink. You go in there and think about what you just asked me. I mean really think about it. And if you still wanna do it tomorrow, you come find me."

There are hot tears on my cheeks as I realise I'm not going anywhere. I'm condemned to stay here and die young. And so is she. Then she leans in and brushes the lightest of kisses against my wet cheek. She pulls back and looks at me without smiling.

"Goodnight, Queen C."

Then she turns and leaves me standing in the dark driveway. Alone. Again.