the pearl

Have And Have Not

Cordelia Chase remembers what it's like to be one of the Haves. And when they sit in front of her in their perfectly fitting Armani suits with Prada shoes and show off their manicured nails and hundred dollar haircuts, she unconsciously straightens, her body remembering how to react to wealth, to act like she still has some.

They also straighten, and their perfectly whitened teeth smile as the woman speaks to her. "Ms. Chase...we were in the neighborhood..."

Cordelia silently laughs at that, but doesn't say a word.

"And we decided that it might be in our best interests to make you an offer..." She gestures to the man, and he places on the small coffee table a small box. Cordelia tries to stop herself, but she breathes deeply when the box is opened. She knows what's inside before it's even opened, and at the sight of the row of diamonds, glittering like ice on indigo velvet, she trembles, just a little, remembering when her mother wore diamonds and strode through the house like the figure on a bow of a ship, when her father would bring home tiny little blue boxes with a smile, when they were the Haves and not the Have-Nots.

The woman has continued speaking, her voice unchanging despite her noticing Cordelia's behavior. "All we ask is that you come work for us...that your visions benefit our firm and not..." There's a brief pause. "Your current employer."

The other man speaks up. "We can offer you security, a steady payment, use of the firm's plane, car, and boat, plus one of the firm's many penthouses..." He pauses, looking down at Cordelia's clothing, a mish-mash of the occasional designer knockoff and street vendor chic. "And a clothing allowance at some of the finest shops in Beverly Hills..."

Cordelia's back straightens just a little more, and she looks away from the diamonds up to the man and the woman sitting on her couch. "Ms...?" She trails off, unwilling to remember the name.

"Lilah, please." The woman smiles like a cat, certain that she has captured her prey.

"Lilah," Cordelia matches the smile. "I'm afraid that I can not accept your offer, due to a...contract I signed current employer." The smile grows wider, almost smug. "I'm afraid that when my seer abilities were activated, I signed a contract stating that I would never use them for another company while my current employer was still in business."

The woman leans back, her eyebrows raised. "Is that true?" she asks, the t's sharp and bit back.

"I'm afraid so..." Cordelia's smile is dazzling now, faintly apologetic and yet giddy. "You see, we at Angel Investigations have a duty to the people of this city, and to use my talents at another firm would not be in the best interests of the people."

The man curses under his breath, then looks at Cordelia angrily. "How can you stay there? We've done the research, we've seen what happens..." He pulls out a pile of papers from his briefcase, pointing at the names. "You lived in Sunnydale...we've seen the list of students who didn't survive graduation day..." He flips through the papers. "And then there was someone named Doyle...and then a boy named Gunn...and the girl known as Faith..." He looks up accusingly. "They've all died, because of Angel. How can you stay with him and not take this offer? We're giving you what you want!"

Cordelia's eyes close for a second, her smile fading as she remembers, then opens them slowly. "Because he's saving people," she says softly. "Because he has a purpose, and all these...things..." She closes the velvet box and hands it back to the man. "They're meaningless if for them, I lose that purpose."

The woman's perfectly tweezed eyebrows are still arched. "And you believe that?"

Cordelia nods, a faint, almost bitter smile on her lips. "Yes," she says in a soft voice. "Because I have to have faith in something." She stands, slowly, reaching for the back of the chair, attempting to not seem weak. "I'm afraid you'll have to take your offer elsewhere." She looks towards the door. "Dennis?"

As the door slowly opens, the man and the woman stand, the woman shaking her head in resignation and the man glaring at Cordelia angrily. "It's a pity," the woman says. "You could've done so well in our firm..."

Cordelia nods, following them to the door. "Possibly..." she says. When they stand on the doorstep, she grasps the door in her hand. "But I choose to keep my soul." She closes the door, all of her strength required to not slam it.

This Angel/Buffy the Vampire Slayer story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at