Originally broadcasted 4/12/05
Watchers Council – Kitchen – Early Evening
Andrew herded a team of junior slayers carrying stuffed garbage bags out of the kitchen and into the adjacent alley where the dumpster was located. Meanwhile, Robin supervised a trio who were cleaning out the dry storage pantry. Nearby, Faith stood watch over another group as they scrubbed the industrial walk-in refrigerator and freezer. In the freezer, both Shannon and her fellow junior slayer Rita were on their hands and knees, wiping down the walls and lower shelves with bleach water.
Shannon made a sound between a groan and a growl. “This is no fair,” she complained. “Why do we have to do all the dirty work while she just watches?”
“‘Cause we’re on the bottom of the pecking order, that’s why,” Rita replied. “Oh, need your car washed? Get a junior slayer. Or how ’bout these five-hundred pound boxes? Oh, let the young’uns do it. We’re like slaves or something.”
“Do I hear complaining in here?” Faith asked, walking toward the two younger slayers.
“Yeah,” Shannon said, “this is torture!”
“It’s like…cruel and unusual punishment!” Rita added.
“Let me ask you somethin’. Do you like to eat?” Faith inquired.
“Of course we do,” Rita replied.
“Do you wanna continue eating?” Faith said. “Then I suggest you clean like your meal plan depended on it, because it does.” Rita and Shannon both swallowed hard and took a tandem step back from Faith. “Not from me,” the slayer continued, exasperated. The girls seemed to relax for a moment. “Health inspector’s coming tomorrow, and if we don’t pass, we get shut down. We get shut down, you don’t eat. So, the logical answer would be…?”
“Clean,” Rita and Shannon grumbled. They returned to their work.
Faith simply laid a finger on her nose.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Same Time
Becca hobbled through the Council’s front entrance and immediately plopped into a nearby chair in the lobby. She sprawled out in the chair and moaned in pain.
“Oh God, my feet are killing me!” she exclaimed.
“I’m sure it’s…nothing…compared to my back,” Giles grunted from behind an armload of bags and packages. He struggled through the doorway and into the lobby. “Oh…dear…lord…” he groaned, as he finally set the packages on the floor. Then he, too, fell into a lobby chair.
When Rowena entered, on her way to the exit, she caught sight of the exhausted parents-to-be. She grinned and went over to join them.
“Back from another lengthy expedition, I take it?” she asked.
Giles and Becca didn’t answer. They merely nodded wearily.
Rowena glanced at the packages. “Hmmm…Babies R Us, A Pea in the Pod, Nursery Depot, Baby Universe…boy, you two have really been at it.”
Becca leaned up in her chair and looked at Rowena more closely. “Don’t you look nice,” she said. “What’s the occasion?”
Rowena struck a momentary pose, then said, with a wide smile, “I have a date. A real date, by the way – not just a take-out pizza in the rec room.”
“Should I warn Willow?” Becca teased.
Rowena gave Becca a sarcastic ‘ha-ha’ look, then went on. “She’s meeting me at the Palace, and after that, it’s just the two of us for the rest of the night.”
“It sounds lovely,” Giles said.
“It will be, so unless there’s an apocalypse, don’t call us!” Rowena said, hands mockingly on her hips.
When Giles and Becca grinned and nodded in compliance, Rowena gave them a wave and headed out the door.
Watchers Council – Kennedy’s Apartment – Same Time
Kennedy and Mia sat on the couch, their supper plates on their laps. The television was on, but neither was really watching. Mia nervously looked over at Kennedy, then cast her gaze back at her plate. Seconds later, Kennedy glanced at Mia and then also looked away quickly. After a seemingly interminable silence, Mia finally spoke.
“I’m glad we got out of the whole super-clean downstairs,” Mia commented.
Kennedy forced a smile. “Yeah, me too.”
“Lucky us, huh?”
“Yeah, lucky us.”
The two slayers returned to their meals, once again eating in awkward silence.
The Palace – Dining Room – Later
Rowena sat alone at her table at the Palace. She lifted the fine china cup from its saucer and took a sip from her tea. Then she turned around and glanced nervously at the doorway to the restaurant’s foyer, where the hostess stood greeting guests.
“Need a little more tea, hon?” the waiter asked, forcing Rowena to turn back around.
Rowena smiled at the server and shook her head. “No thanks, Sammie.”
Sammie put his hands on his hips. “Where is that girlfriend of yours?”
“I’m not sure,” Rowena replied. “She’s usually very punctual.”
“That must be one of the things you two have in common.”
Rowena laughed. “Yep, sticklers for timeliness.”
“Well, I know she wouldn’t stand you up,” Sammie said. “Willow thinks the sun rises and sets in those eyes of yours. You know that, right?”
Rowena blushed at the thought. “That’s good, ’cause the feeling’s mutual.”
“It’s obvious,” Sammie said. “I’ll check back with you in a little bit. In the meantime, hang in there. Willow’ll be here before you know it.” Sammie gave Rowena a wink of encouragement, then hurried off to the kitchen.
At the table in front of Rowena sat a well-dressed, heavy-set woman who was probably in her late forties or early fifties. She glanced over her shoulder at Rowena. When Rowena met her eyes and smiled, the woman stuck her nose in the air and turned back around. Rowena frowned and shook her head.
The woman stroked the arm of the mink coat draped over the back of her chair. Then she reached up and touched the diamond necklace that lay conspicuously on her chest. She patted it several times and then reached over to touch her companion’s hand.
He was a much younger man, in his late twenties at the most. He was dressed in a very expensive black suit. When the woman touched his hand, he smiled graciously and turned to her, the charm coming off him in waves.
“I simply cannot believe the gall of some people,” the woman said, loudly enough for both Rowena and other nearby patrons to hear. “It’s a disgrace, I tell you.”
The woman’s companion nodded in whole-hearted agreement, giving her hand a comforting pat. Rowena, however, went crimson in embarrassment and shrank back in her seat, dropping her gaze to the tabletop. She cut her eyes to her left and right, but found no encouraging glances. She gripped her teacup with both hands and stared into it.
“Willow, where are you?” she whispered urgently.
Fade to Black