The motel sign said 'hot and cold running water'. If I was still in lawyer-mode I'd be in the middle of drafting a claim against false advertising. A much better way of saying it would be 'tepid', 'lukewarm', 'anything but hot'. It'll do though, so long as I don't pay too close attention to the stains that I can only hope are rust around the drain. I check one last time to make sure Faith's gone and finally step into the shower.
I let the water course over me, trying to work out the kinks in my neck, the aches from driving for too long, trying not to think about how I ended up here, in this shithole with a convicted killer as the only person I can even think about trusting. I laugh bitterly, who am I kidding? I don't trust her to be in the next room when I'm naked, vulnerable, of course I don't trust her. If it wasn't for Angel's say so she'd have either walked away the first chance she got or I'd be some other John Doe on a morgue slab in some back woods town.
Still might turn out that way.
Something's different about her, she's not the desperate kid I first saw in Lilah's office … what? About fifteen months ago? There's this odd calm coming from her, she's still dangerous, I can see that in the glint in her eyes when she's watching me. I don't think she thinks I know how often she does that, or maybe she doesn't care if I know. The way she looks at me, it was as if she was expecting me to grow horns or something, hell maybe that's what she did expect. Girl like her, a Slayer, she's gotta be used to seeing things in that whole black and white way. Demons bad, humans good. World doesn't work like that though, she saw that, hell it's how she ended up in the mess she was in. Maybe she's just hoping that the world can be the way she wanted it to be.
Nothing's clear cut though.
She clearly doesn't trust me either. I wonder for a second if this was all a mistake. Bringing her along. Nothing's happened so far, maybe I'm just jumping at shadows, maybe the Senior Partners won't send anyone after me, maybe I'm not important enough to make it onto their radar. Maybe…
A noise from the other room brings me out of my thoughts abruptly. I stop and listen. There's no other sound but there's definitely someone, or something, out there. I keep the water running but grab a towel and quickly wrap it around my waist. I step out of the still-running shower as quietly as I can and scan the tiny bathroom for any kind of weapon. Nothing. Everything I have is in the holdall in the other room.
Cursing under my breath at my own stupidity, I take in my options. Not much beyond a bar of soap which… I gag a little, is very obviously used. Looks like I'm limited to what I've got on me. A grin works its way onto my face, been a while since I've been in a throw-down brawl. Just hope there's a chance I'm evenly matched.
There's another hint of movement out there, someone's making the kind of noise amateurs make when they're trying to be silent. Good, means it's not a professional, and given the fact that it's still daylight outside, chances are pretty good it's not a vampire. Could still be a demon I guess, but I figure I'll deal with that bridge when I cross it. I pick up my jeans from where I dropped them and quickly drag them on and put my ear to the door, might be my imagination but I could swear I can hear breathing on the other side.
I swallow the last of the fear that could paralyse me, and steel myself for whatever's out there. I throw open the door.