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18 September 2005 @ 01:55 pm
Cordelia Chase: Higher Being to Struggling Stage Actress  
Cordelia stepped out of the building and buttoned up her coat, pulling her scarf more tightly around her neck to block out the cold winter wind. This was her first real winter out of California and it was nothing like she remembered from the ski trips her father used to take them on. Instead of clean white flakes of snow there was dirty gray slushy ice. Instead of ski lifts and sloping paths there were subways and endless sidewalks. And at the end of her trip she wasn't going to be greeted by a bubbling jacuzzi and crackling fire-- more like a claw foot bathtub and a radiator that never seemed to be able to manage adequate heat in her studio apartment.

It was a different life, for sure, but Cordy didn't regret her move to New York. There were other things that she was more than happy to have left behind-- things like demons, comas, and evil law firms. Those were the things that she tried her damnedest to try to forget about. During the days forgetting was easy-- between dance class, voice lessons, auditions, and her reception job she didn't have a lot of time to obsess about the complete crappiness of the last few years of her life. The nights were a different story. Cordy hadn't slept through a single night since waking up from the coma, the nightmares coming like clockwork. If she was lucky she didn't remember any details-- if it was a bad night, she couldn't scrub the feeling of warm, hot blood off of her hands no matter how much she tried. Those were the nights she woke up screaming.

Over the past year she'd found that the best method of scream prevention was complete exhaustion. Luckily, the frenetic pace of her life made that easy enough. She took dance classes 5 times a week and had weekly voice and acting lessons as well. In her "spare time", Cordy worked as a receptionist for a greasy little ambulance chaser who took too much interest in her breasts, but he only worked with humans and it was honest money, or at least as honest as it could be given the skeeziness of her boss. She was just glad she found an office job-- she may have changed a lot over the years but Cordelia Chase was never going back to retail. She preferred to spend her time on the customer side of a cash register, thank you very much.

Cordy pushed up her coat sleeve and glanced at her watch. She had about 10 minutes to get to her modern jazz class and she was running late. The audition she'd just left had gone pretty well. The casting director had told her that her choreography was strong but hadn't had much to say about her voice-work. She frowned, thinking about all the money she was spending on voice lessons. She knew she was improving-- Maria, her voice instructor, hadn't winced in weeks and had in fact told her she was ready to move on to some more difficult arrangements. It was a far cry from her first lesson when Maria had frowned and muttered that while she didn't seem to have an ear for music, at least she wasn't tone-deaf. Considering how hard she worked at it, Cordelia had been hoping for some kind words from the casting director but at least he hadn't said anything negative. She wasn't sure if she'd get called back or not but it was the best audition she'd had yet and Cordy knew she was going to get her break any day now.

As Cordy rounded the corner, a well-dressed young man thrust a sheet of paper at her. Cordy glanced at the flyer and smiled. New York might be cold but they had the best sample sales ever. She couldn't wait to tell Rafael about this one after class- it was painful to admit it but his fashion sense was even more finely honed than hers and he was the perfect shopping companion. Shoving the ad in her bag, she picked up her pace and raced the rest of the way to the studio.
Maren: cordy rpgmarenfic on September 19th, 2005 04:30 am (UTC)
Three hours later, Cordy sank into the steaming hot water of her deep claw-foot tub and sighed with pleasure. It might not be a jacuzzi, but it had actually been the reason she'd taken the tiny studio apartment in the first place. She could give up high ceilings, arched doorways, and hell, a bedroom but Cordy was a woman who needed some creature comforts. The water was heaven-- the perfect temperature to warm up her chilled flesh and sooth her tired muscles.

At least it was a normal tired. It had taken months to get her coma-weakened muscles back into shape and she used to knock back ibuprofen like it was designer crack, trying desperately to cut down the pain of rebuilding tissues that hadn't been used in a long time. Now she was more fit than she'd ever been. All of the dancing, not to mention weight-training and pilates, had paid off and Cordy knew she looked damn good.

Not that that was unusual, of course...

Cordelia leaned forward to top off the hot water and was suddenly flooded with memories of Phantom Dennis washing her back in her old apartment in L.A. Cordy sat back slowly and closed her eyes, trying to think of something else... anything else. She so did not want to start thinking about L.A.-- that way led to the bad kind of nightmares. She ran through her usual list of thought distractors: Angelina and Brad, her very boring receptionist to-do list, the new steps she needed to practice for hip-hop class. . .

Sighing, Cordy opened her eyes and stared at the white tile surrounding her tub. It was no use. Once those gates opened there was usually no closing them and tonight was no exception. Sometimes she didn't even want to close them, although that was pretty rare. It wasn't like all, or even most, of her memories, of L.A. were of the horrifying variety. It shouldn't have been awful to remember Dennis-- he'd been a great roommate and a comfort to her once she got past the crazy-mom-trying-to-kill-her portion of their acquaintance. And the others... the ones she tried hardest not to think about... well, they had been her family.

Maren: cordy rpgmarenfic on September 19th, 2005 04:30 am (UTC)
Cordy sunk down until the water lapped at her ears and gave herself over to the thoughts. She left L.A. almost nine months ago, after what happened to. . . Shying away from the direction of that train of thought, Cordy considered the last letter she'd gotten from Gunn. He had sounded good, mostly, but she wondered how much of the cheeriness was forced for her benefit. She didn't understand how he could feel satisfied, stuck there at Wolfram & Hart after everything that place has done. Cordelia appreciated his notes, even though she never responded. Sometimes she felt a flick of guilt about that, but it never lasted. She hadn't told them where she was going for a reason. It still irritated her that she hadn't been in New York a week before a check for a large sum of money arrived with Angel's signature on it. Part of her had known he would track her down but she kind of expected him to be a little more subtle about it- he had some kind of shadow-stalker-guy title after all. But no, he'd shoved it right in her face and completely ignored the fact that she told him not to try to find her. After that, it wasn't even a surprise to get the first letter from Gunn.

She'd sent the next few checks back, unopened and marked return-to-sender. It was just too painful to look at all of the zeros. But Angel was nothing if not persistent and he finally started sending her checks out of his personal account instead of the corporate account, delivered by courier who opened the envelope and handed her the check, instead of through the mail.. As much as Cordy wanted to send the money back on principle, it was expensive to live in alone in New York and she was having a hard time paying the rent much less coming up with the extra needed for all of the extras. And somehow it made a difference that it came straight from Angel instead of Wolfram & Hart. Cordy didn't think too much about why it was different because if she did she might have to admit that blood money was blood money. Instead, she started accepting the checks when she needed it and sending it back when she didn't.

If Cordelia was anything, she was practical about money. A girl had to eat. And so what if she needed to occassionally buy a great pair of shoes?

It was the only contact she had with her old life. That's the way it had to be, if she wanted to stay sane.

Cordelia noticed that the water suddenly felt chilly and her muscles were tightening back up. She sat up and pulled the plug chain out of the drain with her toe. Planting her hands on the rounded edges of the tub, she pushed herself up and stepped out onto the plush white rug next to the tub. The air was shockingly cold and she shivered as she quickly dried herself off and slathered her skin with lotion. Then she pulled on a pair of soft cotton pants and a long-sleeved tshirt before opening the bathroom door and running over to her bed. Slipping under the comforter, Cordy shivered and rubbed her feet together, waiting for the warmth to return.

Maybe she should accept some extra money from Angel and buy a nice space heater.