Jan. 15th, 2008

stbethadettes: (picking up Junior)
There's a storm over Paris.

Lightning streaks the night sky with a jagged glow, and thunder rattles their apartment windows.

Though her occasional unhappy whimpers never quite evolve into a heartwrenching cry, it's been one of those nights when nobody but her mommy has been able to make Junior happy.

They're all restless. Today's searching was cut short because of the relentlessness of the rain, and even with a fire crackling in the fireplace and a game of cards that temporarily distracted all of them, Beth thinks Hero's antsiness shows through better than anyone else's.

Later, after Ciba and Vlad have both gone to bed and Natalya's reading by lamplight on the couch, her gun by her side, Beth takes her sleeping daughter in her arms and knocks on Hero's door. Spike's cloaked hand rests on the shoulder opposite Junior, and Beth covers it with her own and squeezes even though she can't see it.

He knows what she thinks it's time for.

When Hero's voice prompts her to come in, Beth opens the door and goes in with only Junior for company, then closes the door behind her.

It's time for a little good old-fashioned no-holds-barred girl talk. Nothing's off limits for the next few hours: not Spike, not Yorick, not forgiveness, not the amazons, not Beth singular, not the goddamn rain or Catholic boarding schools or botched engagements or queens named Victoria or the appeal of men with scruffy facial hair or even the bar that after about three years Beth had almost been able to start thinking of as home. Tonight's for talking without crying but not without feeling about the men they knew and loved, as well as the ones they've been lucky enough to meet at the bar. It's for laughing quietly so Junior doesn't wake up while they compare sex in the back of ambulances with sex in churchyards. It's for seeing -- with no ill intent -- who can come up with a phrase that sounds the most like something Natalya would say and making up characters for the novel Hero wanted to write years ago.

To Beth, Hero's importance doesn't rely on the fact that she's the sister of the only man to survive the plague or even on the fact that she's a smart ex-EMT.

Sometimes a woman just needs a best friend. Hero is hers.

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stbethadettes

January 2009

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