Title: Upon receipt, please review.
Author: Dea Brynhild Ensomhet
Timeline: Ats, early season 2.
Rated: PG. Take the necessary precautions: practice responsible reading.
Archival: Just ask and ye shall recieve.
Disclaimer: Don't own any of the Buffy cast/crew/characters/plotlines/etc.
On the fifteenth day of each month, Cordelia sends out invoices. Unless, of course, there's a vision that night - then they get out a day late. Business has started picking up recently, and now there's a small stack of papers ready to be folded, stuffed into envelopes, and stamped so that they can go out in tomorrow's mail. The pile rests on the center of her desk, with a box of envelopes on the right and a box of Kleenex on the left.
Over the months she's changed the format of the invoice, making it look less threatening and more appealing. She pays extra to print the invoices on pastel green paper, because she read once that the color would make people subconsciously think of money. It just makes her think of mint chocolate chip ice cream, but more people have been paying their bills, so it must work.
She also keeps a can of soda nearby to wash away the taste of the envelope glue. She waits until late in the evening to do the billing, after Wesley has retired and Angel is out skulking the streets. She's the only one who handles the finances, so she's had the practice to get into a routine. Once Wesley offered to help out, but she politely refused, and he hasn't asked since. An hour after they leave for the evening, she goes into the bathroom and removes all her makeup, before returning to her desk and arranging the papers and boxes. She folds and stuffs, muscle memory kicking in when her mind wanders. The initial thrill of sending out invoices is long gone, but she doesn't think she could let anyone else do the task. She's sure they think she's a perfectionist, and though that's true, it isn't why...
You're doing a lovely job there. Looks very official.
Even the tears are part of her routine now. She pauses the folding to dab at her eyes with a tissue, and lets herself cry and remember.
That's not money you're holding in your hand there, darling, that's mail. There's a big difference between that and actually getting paid.
Her hands shake as they fold but even with her sight going blurry, she knows that every crease is perfectly aligned. When she was little, her father was involved in campaigns and her mother volunteered in several movements. They both often enlisted her help to fold, stuff, and stamp mailings, and now she's a pro at it.
All I'm saying is that if we're ever going to take that cruise to the Bahamas together, we're going to need a lot more clients of means.
Her throat is sore and tight, and the soda helps with that too. Eventually the final envelope is licked and pressed closed and the final stamp affixed, and it's time to go home. She carefully reapplies her makeup, smudging it slightly so it looks like she's worn it all day, before calling Angel on his cell. He'll walk her to her car, and then she'll go back to her apartment alone. There's a carton of double fudge chuck in the freezer, and she knows she's going to need it to get through the night.
Yeah, well, itís a pretty good dayís work for us, I think.