The champagne is bubbly enough, as long as you hold your hand over the top of the glass to keep vampire dust from sifting into it.
But the evening has gone vaguely flat.
For most of us, that would be the effect of brief mortal terror and discovering that there really are monsters under the bed. For Buffy and me, it's just the routine of slayage breaking into the wild wacky adventure of being in New York.
I can't guess how it is for Christina, suddenly discovering that she is some sort of superhero as well as New York's most promising young designer.
After a bit, the various models and other hangers-on drift on out of the bar, muttering about some party they were going on to.
I guess there's always some party somewhere. If you're a model.
Becks and Claire look at each other, meaningfully, and she asks him if she can use his darkroom, which is the first time I have heard it called that.
But they both have lots of pictures in the papers next day, so I guess that they really were just being professional.
At least some of the time, because he is a big horndog and she is pretty cute if you like them with an overbite.
It does not take us very long to run out of champagne, because clearly the vampires just did not stock very much. Customers were there to be drunk, not to drink, and vampires, like the man says, do not drink....wine.
One of the major disappointments of Dracula was that he never actually said that where any of us could hear him.
Oh, and I know I arrived after that, probably, but memory says otherwise.
Of course, Spike would drink just about anything in bottles, but that was just him being different for the sake of it.
I so miss being annoyed with him.
There is also the post-Slayage munchies thing, which ought not to apply to me, but somehow does. Obviously a matter of early training.
Or possibly my subconscious finding a sneaky way to give me permission to be hungry. And the other thing.
Daniel is obviously a keen observer of women, because he looks round at his sisters, and us, and Christina and Mark, and suddenly says 'I think we need Chinese takeout.'
'Will they bring it to a bar?' Buffy says. 'Delivery boys and vampire bars, that really is takeout food.'
This is what passes for a joke with my sister, but Daniel laughs anyway,
He is so clearly making moves on her.
'No,' he says. 'There's an apartment just around the corner.'
And he waves a bunch of keys he pulls out of his pocket.
'Your apartment?' Buffy says, and she has the smug smart smile of someone who so knows the game that is being played.
'No,' he says, ' yours,' and gives a winning move look that takes in me and Amanda.
Then he says, 'that lady lawyer came into my office and said the three of you could have access to the apartment for the next six months, because Dawn needs somewhere to live.'
He has a dreamy expression on his face when he said the words 'lady lawyer' that does not go down well with my sister.
I say,' Daniel, Lilah Morgan is a walking corpse. And if you pull the scarf, her head comes off.'
Sometimes shock tactics are entirely necessary.
I hope that information is enough to put him off. ( I hope that information is enough to put me off, come to that.)
'It really is just round the corner,' he says. 'We can walk from here.'
It's rather sweet that he talks about walking, when what he means is that we walk, and he gets pushed.
I'm not clear how damaged he is right now - he may not be able to walk, but he clearly has plans for later in the evening.
As, I start to realize as I watch Alexis push him out the door, do I.
She has a very attractive back view - a triangle of shoulders and waist that opens out into generous buttocks. There's not an ounce of fat on her, but that is still an awful lot of woman to think about.
She may be my boss, but I really need to think about something apart from the evil lawyer. Clearly I so now have a thing for older women.
Older taller women with curves.
I guess it is my way of coping with being given a license to cheat, by my sweet young skinny girlfriends.
It doesn't feel like cheating, if they're tall dark and dead, or tall and blonde with an air of secret sorrow.
The apartment really is just round the corner; the whole block looks terribly high-toned.
Clearing out a barful of vampires probably put hundreds of thousands of dollars on property values.
We so are the radical wing of urban renewal.
There's a doorman, and everything, and he tips his hat to all of us, but especially to the three of us.
'Miss Summers, Miss Summers, Miss Tannen.' he says. 'Good to have you with us.'
Then he says, 'You'll find everything in order.'
Which gives me a shiver, because, as I suddenly think, this is a dead woman's apartment, which she left one day to go for a drive and never came back.
Marc hangs back, as the rest of us go in, shifting from one foot to another.
'I'll pass on Chinese,' he says. 'It's not really my carbs day.'
Amanda goes back out to him and hugs him and ruffles his hair like they were each other's pets.
'Come on in, sweetie,' she says. 'It's my new apartment.'
She looks round at me and Buffy, and adds, 'Theirs too, of course.' And it really does sound like she thinks of us as family and is happy to share, and slightly wistful.
'I can't,' he says. ' I'm a spy. Remember. I tell Wilhelmina everything. Everything I see.'
And he turns, and walks away, so sad that I want to hug him even though I don't especially like him.
Maybe I don't want minions after all. Bad for you and bad for them.
Inside, the apartment is anything but creepy.
I don't know what I was expecting, some sort of chrome and ivory nightmare, or something out of the Arabian Nights. There's a big room with couches and coffee tables and a small dining table over to one side; there are book-cases and a small television, and a stereo, and big speakers set into the wall.
It doesn't entirely tally with the woman whose revenant we saw earlier; from her, I'd expect something less like a home.
The couches look comfortable so I stretch out on one.
It more than lives up to expectations.
Daniel and Alexis just stand there looking subdued.
'So this is where...', Daniel starts.
'Doesn't seem like...' Alexis goes on.
They act like they had not thought through what it would be like to be in the apartment of their father's dead mistress.
Amanda looks at them, taking pity.
'She didn't meet him here,' she says. 'All of that happened in the Love Dungeon.'
Alexis looks sharply at her.
'You said the Love Dungeon was a myth,' she says.
'Well,' Amanda says. 'I thought it was. Until Christina and I got locked inside it, for hours and simply hours.'
She runs her tongue round her lips until Christina gives her a for-gods-sake-shut-up look, rather too late to stop Daniel cheering up immensely.
Boys and their happy visual places.
'Anyway,' Amanda says, ' that was all fantasy sex and ball gags and chaise-longues. This is her other place.'
Then she smirks and says, ' Dibs on the big bedroom.'
She grabs Christina's hand and pulls at her.
Christina says,' But what about the Chinese?' and then looks at the small cute woman tugging her towards a bedroom and says, 'Oh sod the bloody Chinese meal' and rushes off with her.
If they were trying to keep that relationship dark, they've pretty much failed at this point.
Further scientific evidence that, with nine out of ten slayers, horniness beats hunger hands down.
Daniel wheels himself over to a table, picks up the phone and looks at us.
'So,' he says, ' that'll be Chinese for four?'
Buffy looks at him and says, 'Personally, I'm not all that hungry.'
He says, 'Neither am I, really.'
She says, 'I've a long day tomorrow - lots of meetings.'
He says, ' Perhaps we should go, Alexis and I.'
She says, 'Don't you dare.' and kisses him, then and there, right on the lips.
When they come up for air, Daniel has the biggest shit-eating grin on his face and Buffy just walks over and grabs his chair and wheels him out of the room at high speed.
And then there were two. Which suits me just fine.
Alexis is standing in the middle of the room, looking as nervous as I feel, so I say, 'Just how many bedrooms did Fey have, I wonder?' which is probably not, I realize, calculated to calm her down.
She seems scared to death, poor love.
I did not know that I come across as that predatory.
'There's something I need to tell you,' she says.
She walks across the room and sits on the couch beside me.
'This is difficult,' she says in a serious voice with her eyes staring hard into mine 'Because I'm used to people knowing, and I get the impression you don't know, so I have to tell you.'
This is quite a build up, I think, for something that probably is not all that important.
'You do know,' she says, 'that I used to be a guy.'
And OK, I hadn't seen that coming, though I realize that everyone has been mentioning it to me all day and I am obviously completely clueless.
In a way that is totally ironic given how I have been bitching all day about the Mode people's failure to notice demons and vampires.
It does explain those shoulders, I guess, but oh! such shoulders.
But I say, 'I used to be a giant ball of magical green energy. I think that means I win' and reach up and peck her on the cheek.
She giggles, bless her.
Then she gets all serious again.
'And there's someone in my life,' she says, 'sort of, but it's difficult.'
I make sure that I look interested, because the complications of people you plan to have sex with are important even when they are dull.
'We used to be together,' she says, in a flat tone like she's been practising it in her head 'Before...Well, before. And I left and didn't tell her. And we thought it was over, well obviously. Only maybe it isn't. And we don't know. Well, we don't know how. I mean, obviously we know how, because that's pretty straightforward. It's just not what we expected.'
I think I follow this.
'There was this guy,' she says. 'I mean, recently. And I liked that, I really did, first time. I mean, I never did, with guys, before. Only he was acting, I mean, completely. Father paid him, bastard bastard. And now this, I don't know, I really don't know.'
She so needs someone to hug her, poor woman, and there is no-one else in the room.
So I put my arms about her in as comforting a way as I can manage and am for once grateful for my spider monkey arms, because round Alexis is a stretch.
And she sobs a bit.
'I remember,' I say. 'How it was just a little while ago. Kennedy was this girl who was dating my sister's best friend, and then she was this girl who was staying in our apartment and hanging out with me all the time and rescuing me from muggers. And then she was this girl I knew I was going to sleep with.'
Alexis looks down at me fondly.
'That sounds sweet,' she says in a quiet voice.'That's how love ought to be.'
'Well, not so much,' I say, tightening my grip on her a little, 'because stuff happens, is what I mean to say. Before anything happens with Kennedy, I get kidnapped and find myself in a room with this girl who's my double and we cop off and suddenly it's all over the internet, and I am having to rescue both of them from evil lawyers. So I go from virgin to international sex tape whore in threesome sex capers more or less overnight.'
'And that's the other thing,' Alexis says. pushing me away just a little 'You've got your girlfriends.'
'Yes,' I say, 'but we're on Rock Star Rules, apparently. They gave me a New York sex exemption.'
I look into her deep blue eyes.
'So,' I say, 'where is she, this lucky woman of yours?'
'Oh,' Alexis says, 'she's in Peru. On a mountain. What with the accident, we didn't sort things out before she went. She hadn't decided...'
'Decided?' I say.
'Well,' Alexis says. 'She was going to date Daniel as a way of being close to me, but then he caught us kissing, and then he overdosed, and then I crashed the car. And Jordan came to the hospital and said she had some thinking to do.'
She looks at me as if she were about to cry again.
'I don't think I can bear to lose her again,' she says. 'Even if it's no more than I deserve.'
Oh, so it's the woman who jumps off things.
'Well,' I say. 'I think you deserve better than you are getting.'
'I've done terrible things,' Alexis says. 'The crash...'
And even though I guess she isn't telling me quite everything, I say 'You don't deserve any of this. You deserve better.'
A self-critical side of me says ' Even if she does desrve better, does better really mean being Dawn's New York bootycall?'
I suppress it hard, because damn! she is gorgeous and I am young and hot and we both deserve something.
I'm stuck in New York saving the world, so I ought to get some fringe benefits.
And so I lock my lips onto hers because we could talk all night and not sort things out, and she really could say no, because she is my size and half a size more, and those curves have steel inside them that I feel as I snuggle up to her, and she is not fighting me off and then she is not fighting at all and our lips slide round each other.
Sometimes I think I like kisses that are almost dry kisses and air kisses, and then there are times when you remember that the inside of someone's lips are meant to be wet and slightly sticky and taste of mouthwash and coffee a bit but not in a bad way.
I climb on her a bit, all awkward getting my legs onto the couch, and there is enough of her that I can climb, all that flesh and muscle and I want to kiss those lips from a better angle, where I can look into those charmed scared blue eyes, and watch them flutter closed as she leans back under my weight.
'Think of it this way,' I say. 'And I sort of get this more than you know. You absolutely need to find out what you want. Not just who, because clearly you want her. And I totally respect that. But the two of you are going to dance round losing each other if you don't know what you want. And if it works, it's got to be this whole new thing.'
Am I really offering myself as a sex instructor?
At some level, that is a whole new kind of tacky, and at another, I really like this woman, enough to be what she needs, I think.
And looking for a bedroom would totally wreck the mood.
So there's this thing I can do and I do it, and suddenly we are under a snow of white rose petals as I take my kisses away from her mouth and up inside the curve of her neck and round to the lobe of her ear and she is kissing me back now, down the underside of my chin and into the hollow at the base of my throat. And her hands are on my waist helping me angle on top of her, but making gentle strides of finger-touches at the base of my spine.
'Is this OK?' Alexis says as we roll off the couch and into a soft scented drift that has built up beside it.
'Oh yes,' I say. ' Trust me.'
'I just worry,' she says.
'Forget the past,' I say between kissing her some more. ' Because, remember, green ball of energy. That was then. This,' and I chew the lobe of her ear until she squeals with pain and pleasure. 'This is now.'