Are we all wrapped up? Wrapped up together? Are we all wrapped up, fit for the kill? Ruby. Paraffin.
She looks at him with eyes that are, strangely, not blank, but electric. Over the table where he's sprawled himself in a chair on one side and she's leaned against the counter on the other. She has not bothered to put on any clothes -- it is hotter than a lava pool in hell, and what does she have to be afraid of anyway? He's seen it all. He put the bruises there.
He reaches for the half-empty bottle of Jim Beam, but does nothing but fondle the glass. She watches his long, capable fingers. Imagines him writing his will on her. The room smells overpoweringly of sex and the curry, now cold, he had been eating before she walked in uninvited. She watches him with electric eyes, and still, he says nothing.
She wants there to be something to say. Anything. Are you okay, maybe. Did you get a splinter from the wall. Do your knees feel disjointed, like mine, like mine.
"Do your arms hurt?" she asks. She hates that she is always the first to ask. But she always is. She's the one to beg, she's the one to come to him. For him. Always.
"From what," he says flatly. He has told her that he hates the way his voice sounds now, raspy and inelegant, but it lights a fire in her that she has to beat down constantly. Now, low in her belly, it whooshes into flame again.
"From holding me up. I know I'm not all light and airy. Not like Fred would be." His head comes up slowly and she can see the danger in his eyes, and she curses herself for starting it up again. She hadn't meant to. Not really.
"I'm warning you, Lilah."
"You're warning me? That's rich." She laughs, her bitchiest laugh. "As if you don't think of her every moment we're together. As if you don't wish I was her." The words bitter across her tongue.
"I --" For a moment he seems confused, not angry. He leans back in the chair again and laces his arms behind his head. It showcases the sleek lines of his pectorals, but for once she is barely interested. She watches his eyes, and they tell her something surprising. He says, almost so softly that she cannot hear him, "I didn't think of her."
He's telling the truth. He'd thrown it in her face before that he was thinking of Fred, even called out her name once or twice, at first. Back when they really hated each other and all he wanted to do was hurt her. But even then, Lilah had driven the thought of Fred quite out of his mind with her white nipping teeth and the way she used her hands. Fred could never do what she was doing now - stand there, very naked, and be as poised as if she were wearing a power suit.
She cocks her head at him, flipping her hair out of her face unconsciously. "Didn't you?"
He shakes his head - in for a penny, in for a pound. "I can't."
Her eyes narrow slightly. "She's too pure for our dirty fucks? Is that it?"
Before he can help himself, he's blurted it out - he doesn't want to give her an advantage, but there is something behind the anger, something he has to assuage - "I mean I can't. When we're together - there isn't anything else."
She blinks, and when she looks at him again, the electricity there could probably power the whole of LA. The current of it strikes him in waves, and he suddenly wants her so badly he aches with it. She crawls onto the table and assaults him, and he assaults her back. It's brief and uncomfortable, but he had told the truth, and for several long, slow moments, there is nothing but her in the whole of this unforgiving world.
When his breathing has finally stopped hitching he turns his head to look at her. Surprisingly, the table has held up with both of them balanced on it. She is looking back, and there is muted triumph in her eyes. He's given her the advantage - but he was bound to give it up sooner or later. He'll just have to take it back, is all.
"Wesley - " Her lipstick has all been kissed off, and her chin is red and raw from his whiskers. He feels a kind of male possessiveness, which is wiped away completely by her next words.
"Come work with me. At Wolfram and Hart."
"We've had this discussion, Lilah." He rolls off the table and roots around for the whiskey bottle. He finds it on the floor. It had not broken, but the liquor has all puddled out onto the floor. Dammit.
"Please. I need -" He thinks she had probably been going to say, "I need you," but she amends it quickly to "I need a scholar to help me take down - ." She stops again, and he mentally finishes the sentence that she is too tactful to say. Angel. Take down Angel.
There isn't any more whiskey in the house, and now he has to go down to the store, where they know him by name. Anger wells up in him again, raw and fierce, and he wheels on her. "I can't. I won't. Stop asking me."
Her eyes spark up again, and she is off the table as suddenly, reaching for her purse and digging out her panties. "We could use your knowledge. The Powers That Be don't even know as much as you! It's imperative that we get a step ahead of him!"
She's thinking like a lawyer again and he suddenly feels old and stupid and tired. "Shut up, Lilah. That road is closed to me."
"It isn't! It's wide open!"
"Like your hole of a mouth, Lilah. Close it." It doesn't sound like him saying those words. It sounds like a drunken wastrel who has no class, no manners, and nothing to live for.
"Fuck you, Wesley." She sounds choked, like she might cry, but when he looks at her, she meets his furious gaze clearly. She drags on her shirt without bothering to put on a bra, and his mouth dries out again, but this time he stamps it down heavily.
"The same to you. Now get out."
She puts on her shoes and grabs her purse and opens the door wide, obviously not caring that he is completely starkers. As she saunters out the door, he can't help the parting jab -
"I was lying, before. I do think about her."
She pauses, hand on the doorknob, and gives him a wide, joyful smile that makes him wonder what she might have looked like as a girl.
"No you weren't." And quietly, sliding across the threshhold, she is gone.