Now, as I understand it, this means she is not just an evil lawyer, but The Evil Lawyer.
Giles rang us about her the day before in a state of fluster. I never heard of anyone being flustered before I met Giles, but it’s a good word.
Also, fluster makes Giles’ voice go all sexy, even if he is way old.
Looking at Lilah, I’d guess she put moves on him because Giles is normally very cool.
But Giles is a guy, and not a guy who can handle full-on slut.
Skanky or nor, apparently she has taken over the whole evil lawyer world.
She is also apparently kind of sort of Wesley’s old girlfriend though she also had a thing with Faith.
Classy and hot, evil lawyer.
She looks at me across the room and moistens her lips in a way that I know well.
She so knows that I know that she had a thing with Faith because omigod! It is not just the Daniel boy who is a big whore.
I am too, clearly.
Because the very thought of that tall dark and elegant woman even noticing me gives me shivers, and not only of the terrified of imminent death sort.
Also, apparently, there is some sort of post-LA truce going on.
So, anyway, here’s her deal, as Giles laid it out for us.
When the LA apocalypse went kerblooey!, Lilah pulled a power play on her bosses, who are now dead and not in the sense of undead.
Dead as in gone for good.
This means, presumably, that my own adventures in the Wolfram and Hart Rome office helped her.
Which might mean that she owes me, which is a comforting thing to know when she is looking at me in that lip-licking calculating sort of way.
She sits down and it is like she pressed a button under the desk, because one of the other lawyers stands up and opens an envelope and takes dust out of it, which he casts into the centre of the table like he was sowing seeds or something.
People are always talking about magic dust, but you don’t actually see it much any more.
It sort of shimmers in the middle of the air and then there is a blonde woman standing there in a white vest and jodhpurs outfit that is all about showing off her breasts and her thighs and how very lickable or slappable they are.
One of the next things that happens is that all the Mode people freak out – clearly they have never seen actual magic before and I reflect that they must lead very sheltered lives.
Also, they freak out because this is clearly Fey Sommers.
‘So’ she says in a voice like silk and barbed silver wire, ‘I’m dead, am I?’
She looks round the room with the sort of smile on her face that you really don’t want on the face of someone who might notice you.
‘Bradford, my love,’ she says to the hawk-faced man and the woman who is leaning into his shoulder. ‘You’re looking well, and no silly nonsense about grief, I see.’
She looks at the gaudy flower-shaped ring on the woman’s finger.
‘And Will,’ she says. ‘However did you get him to divorce Claire? You really mustn’t let him buy your jewels, though. He has no taste, except in women.’
Then she looks thoughtful for a second.
‘Oh,’ she says, ‘Don’t tell me that it was Claire who killed me. I’d never have thought she had the nerve. Good for her; I’d have killed me years ago. ‘
Then she smiles a little more.
‘That’s why she’s not here, ‘she says ‘ Such a shame. I had a whole room full of unbecoming outfits I left to her. Poor Claire, she drinks so much, she might have worn some of them’.
I’ve never actually heard anyone chortle with evil glee before. It’s like you can make teeheehee do all the work of bwahaha. Who knew?
‘Don’t laugh at our mother,’ Alexis Meade says.
Fey looks at the tall blonde, with amused respect. ‘Alex, my dear, you’re positively glowing. Indignation looks good on you. You were merely pompous before and now you’re quite quite gorgeous. Who knew?’
She looks at Alexis’ brother with a far less pleasant smile.
‘And little Daniel,’ she says, ‘still with us. Still wasting money and time.
Then she looks across at us.
‘Amanda, my dear. I hope you’ve had a nice life – I won’t apologize for not being the mothering kind.’
Amanda actually tears up a little and Buffy strokes the top of her head; honestly sis, she’s a cousin, not a cat.
‘Your cousins will look after you, though,’ Fey says. ‘I’ve made sure of that.’
She looks us up and down as if she found us deeply wanting.
‘And you can help them too, Amanda my dear,’ she went on. ‘Because someone has to. Their clothes and hair – so much worse than I’d heard. I know you save the world, my dears, but can’t there be a little grooming along the way? Or is that just the California thing, too much sun and unshaved armpits.’
The Wilhelmina woman smiles along with this and I add her to my list of personal projects. Marc titters somewhere in the background.
Buffy pulls her ‘I am not going to put up with this much longer face’ which is mostly pout with a hint of berserk fury
Alexis has clearly not forgiven Fey for dissing her mother because she speaks up.
‘I think someone like Buffy Summers has saved enough lives to dress however she likes,’ she says. ’Not everything is about fashion.’
This is clearly shocking heresy to some of those who hear it; Amanda looks almost as if she is going to cry.
I decide that Alexis is a dear.
Fey looks petulant.
‘She didn’t save my life,’ she says. ‘I died. And she is my niece.’
Lilah Morgan is starting to look bored.
‘Fey,’ she says. ‘We brought you back to read your will, not to gossip with your little friends.’
Fey moves from petulant to very slightly scared.
‘Being of sound mind,’ she starts to gabble.
‘I’m the lawyer,’ Lilah says. ‘Just get on with it. And not the random keepsakes and revenge presents either. Cut to the chase.’
‘I leave my apartment and all of the rest of my estate,’ Fey says. ‘To be divided equally between my daughter and my two nieces.’
Then she pauses.
‘On one condition.’
Somehow I really really don’t like the sound of this.
‘One of my nieces,’ she gabbles, ‘ has to spend six months as an intern on Mode, or the entire legacy to all three of them goes to charities nominated by my lawyer.’
Amanda looks at us with big appealing eyes and I know that I am utterly screwed.
Buffy has things to do, I know.
But money to evil charities is so not a good idea when Amanda could be spending it on shoes and bags.
What’s six months, after all?
The lawyer who scattered the dust claps his hands, and suddenly Fey just isn’t there any more.
Lilah looks round the room.
‘I think we’re done here,’ she says.
Then she says, ‘Miss Summers and Miss Summers, a word.’
And I don’t know whether it is evil lawyer mojo, or just that people do what this woman says because she is so cool and so hot, but all of the Mode people file out of the room without saying anything, or looking at us.
Even Amanda gets up and leaves the room, though she sort of hovers.round the door a bit looking small and lost.
Buffy is so clearly wanting to say something very rude and possibly homicidal, that I get in first.
‘Yes,’ I say,’ sure. You got me. I’ll stick around here so little Amanda doesn’t get screwed.’
Buffy looks at me.
‘You can’t want to do this,’ she says. ‘There’s got to be a way round it.’
I look at her.
‘Evil charities,’ I say.
‘Thankyou, Dawn,’ Lilah says. ‘I appreciate an opponent who faces reality. It saves so much time.’
She flashes that smile which is clearly her very time-saving version of a standard villain gloat.
‘Isn’t this all, well, kind of petty?’ I say. ‘Or do I face a life of Wolfram and Hart playing nasty little pranks on me forever?’
Lilah shakes her head.
‘Fey came up with the will all by herself,’ she says. ‘Not my idea at all. She just thinks one of you should be saved for style while there’s a chance – you know what religious fanatics are like.’
I am clearly supposed to say that fashion isn’t a religion and get looked at down that disturbingly aristocratic nose, but I bite it back because she is totally right about Fey.
‘I will admit,’ Lilah says,’ that your being here is quite handy’
Buffy and I look at her enquiringly.
‘The usual,’ she says. ‘A prophesy. Some Apocalypse. You know the drill. The sort of Apocalypse that isn’t really a good and evil thing, either. Lots of blood and screaming and things catching fire. No profit to be made at all. And it happens here, quite soon.’
‘And we should care about this because?’ Buffy says.
‘Caring is what you do,’ Lilah says. ‘You good people.’
So this is what she means by détente.
‘Of course,’ she says, ‘ I could put my own people in to handle whatever it is that is going to happen somewhere in the Mead Corporation building, but why spend Wolfram and Hart money when I can make a Slayer, or the Key, take care of things for me?’
‘Oh,’ she adds.’ Wesley sends his love to both of you.’
‘How is he?’ Buffy says.
‘Dead and damned,’ Lilah says. ‘Otherwise just peachy.’
And then, because she clearly wants to be a good winner, she walks over and looks me straight in the eye.
‘There is another reason why you should do this, Dawn’ she says. ‘And it has to do with Rome’.
I think about which dimension of fierce purple plants and screaming rocks to send her to, but then I decide to hear her out.
‘It will always follow you,’ she says. ‘The sex tape thing. You’ll be a hundred, and the Watcher’s Queen of Libraries or whatever, and someone will dig it up again.’
This is not helping.
But,’ she says,’ that’s only, because if you’re a librarian, having a sex tape is funny.
If you’re a Mode girl, it’s just one of the things Mode girls do. Six months in and out of gossip columns and the sex tape goes away.’
This is all making a hideous kind of sense.
‘Think of it as a holiday,’ she says.
‘You have this all worked out, don’t you?’ Buffy says. ‘How did you know it would be Dawn that said yes, and not me? ‘
Lilah laughs. I clearly like to notice laughs, because this is full-throated and sounds like wine and blood, and kind of like she is getting off a bit.
‘Because, Buffy,’ she says, ‘like me, circumstance has shaped you into a serious person.’
‘Don’t think you get me,’ Buffy says. ‘You’re evil and you don’t get to say you understand me.’
‘I said something like that once,’ Lilah said, ‘to a very wise and brave woman. And she said that she didn’t have to understand me. She was me, only with better shoes.’
Lilah offers Buffy her hand, and Buffy doesn’t take it.
Then Lilah walks over to me and doesn’t offer me her hand at all – she grabs me by the shoulders quite roughly and kisses me.
Her lips are ice and her tongue is like cold stone as it slides past my teeth and I remember that she is dead, but not all at once.
Parts of me take quite a while to remember that fact and not especially care.
She laughs again, looks round at her minions, claps her hands and is gone.
Buffy looks at me, quite shocked.
I refuse to be guilty.
‘We all kiss the enemy once in a while,’ I say.
Amanda is still hovering by the door as we leave the conference room.
‘That was so hot,’ she says, ‘when you kissed the scary lawyer. Weren’t you scared?’
‘I don’t scare easy,’ I say and Amanda looks up at me with eyes that are part admiring, part calculating and part mocking.
Amanda so wants to gossip and dish, and I realize I want that as well.
Gossip and dish and bitching at Marc and wearing silly shoes.
Omigod, I think.
It’s like someone cast a spell and I got changed.
I’m a Mode girl now.