Fag Haggery Loves Company

 

"So, how is he?" Virginia says, leaning forward a little, pushing springy red curls behind one ear. She's wearing pretty diamond studs in her earlobes and they catch Cordelia's gaze.

They're sitting at a balcony table in a quiet little restaurant, just this side of fashionable - Virginia's shout.

Cordelia shrugs, dropping her eyes to the Manhattan that's nearly finished, and swirls the toothpick the olive came on around the contents. "He's all very. . . Wesley about it. All British, I guess." She glances up to meet Virginia's disappointed stare. Smiles a little. "He misses you, I think."

Virginia throws back the contents of her glass and signals the waiter for another round. Third or fourth, Cordelia can't really remember but her eyelids are starting to get heavy with tipsiness. At least it isn't tequila. She watches Virginia twirling the empty glass around with her fingers - nails painted cherry blossom, nicely matching the forest green silk halter that Virginia wears.

She likes the other woman and hopes that Wesley will be okay with this, being friends with his ex-girlfriend. Virginia reminds her of what her life used to be like, except that Virginia is more grounded than she ever was. Spoilt, yes, but comfortable and generous with it. Virginia has money, more money than she knows what to do with, and that's no small part of the attraction. But she's centred. It's almost familiar, being with her like this, part of the past and yet very much of the present.

Virginia's eyebrows furrow slightly. "I guess it *did* sound like an ultimatum. It's just that I worried. . . worry."

Cordelia reaches a hand across the table and Virginia meets her smile faintly. "I'm sure he doesn't see it that way." Squeezes that hand that's several shades paler than her own, and smaller too. She notices the freckles that stand out. "Maybe it was time to make a break - you were headed in different directions. It happens."

Red curls bob slightly as Virginia nods, absorbing those words and Cordelia wonders in what weird dimension she has the authority to give tips on other people's love lives. She hasn't had a date for three months and here she is comforting someone else.

"You know, if it's any consolation, he's been spending a lot of time brooding with Gunn. I guess it's some male bonding thing."

Virginia looks unconvinced. "Bonding?"

"Well, you know how they are. All secret handshakes and, sometimes, they way they look at each other in, like, gushing admiration. It's just . . ." Cordelia falters, realising her words have run ahead of her and spies the waiter weaving towards them. "Oh, look, our drinks!"

The drinks are deposited with a smile and Cordelia quickly brings the Manhattan to her lips, taking a big slurp, aware that Virginia is pinning her with dark eyes. "Just what?"

Cordelia gives a nervous laugh. "Well, um. . ." she pauses, replacing the glass on the table, a little liquid sloshing over the side of the rim. "Didn't they ever seem a little. . . gay to you?"

Virginia just raises an eyebrow slowly. "Gay?" Her voice is all blank incredulity.

"Hey, it's just a vibe I got." A great big gay vibe.

She watches Virginia sit back in her chair, that cute little furrow settling on her brow again. Whoa . . . cute? One too many cocktails, baby. The redhead's eyes slide away as she stares off into space. "No. It makes sense. I mean, he has too much taste to be. . ." Virginia sighs and takes a sip fro m her drink. "Maybe he's got the right idea. Maybe I should go out and get myself a butch girlfriend. Couldn't be any worse than my relationships with men."

Cordelia snorts, and it sounds way harsher than she intended. Virginia just looks at her, her expression unreadable. "Sorry. It's just, hey, you don't exactly fit the stereotype."

Virginia smirks slightly, lips curving upward. "I can play tennis. I was team captain at boarding school. . ."

All Cordelia can do is blink, thinking maybe all those cocktails really have gone to her head. She focuses on Virginia's mouth edging into a smile. The candlelight shimmers and burns softly, bringing out the ginger in the other woman's hair. "What?"

"All I'm saying is that appearances can be deceptive," Virginia responds, knocking back the remainder or her Cosmopolitan. "I mean, what's life without a little experimentation, Cordelia?"

Cordelia blinks again. Either she's drunk or Virginia is. . . "Are you hitting on me?"

The redhead laughs softly, throaty and full-bodied. "What would you say if I was?"

"I'd say it was that fifth Cosmopolitan talking!" Cordelia says, eyebrows inching up her forehead. She reaches for her own drink, downing it in one. Except that her co-ordination is a little shot and some of the drink dribbles down her chin. Then Virginia's fingers are on her chin, wiping the liquid away with gentle fingertips. Cordelia watches in a daze as Virginia brings her fingers to her lips, licking the remnants of alcohol from her skin.

Cordelia swallows. "Um. . . what were you saying about tennis?"

 

The End