Anne woke up to the smell of dough. She wiped her eyes and looked at the fluorescent numbers of her alarm clock. 6 am. What the hell? Cursing softly, she got up and walked to the kitchen.
Cadee was in there. The incongruence of finding her friend just in fishnets and bra, up to her elbows in flour, making what looked like biscuits and drinking a cup of red wine, wasn’t so strange to Anne. Cooking was Cadee’s way of unwind. Anne walked into the room and sat down on a high stool near the other girl. She watched Cadee mix chopper butter with the flour, using two sharp knives to dice the mixture together with sure strokes. A pro. Anne was used to that too.
She yawned. “Cadee, it’s almost day.”
“Yup.” Cadee answered as she added water to the mixture. “Thought it’d be nice to have warm croissants for breakfast.”
“I see.” Anne took Cadee’s cup and drank a sip of wine. Cadee didn’t look at her, didn’t sound like herself either. “Never one to discourage your cooking urges, girl. But what’s the problem?”
“No problem,” Cadee kneaded the dough with the heel of her hand, careful not to crush the small lumps of butter.
“No shit,” Anne answered. She watched her friend closely, she was in hooker disguise again, and there were some fading bruises in her neck, and an already healing cut in her arm, but nothing that would put Cadee in such a mood. She’d seen much worse wounds on her friend, and she’d survived. “Spit it up, you’re not shitting me.”
Cadee shook her head, she didn’t want to think about last day’s events, she had even gone hunting after leaving the Slàinte. Not that it had helped much, so after dusting a couple of vampires, she found herself home and cooking, the bad feeling in the pit of her stomach as strong as before. It was years since she had felt this ‘different’, this... useless.
“I spoke to Meredith yesterday,” she said, as she looked for her marble rolling pin in a drawer, she sprinkled some flour on her dough and started rolling. “In the park.”
“Uh,” the redhead said, and sipped the wine, tasting it against her tongue. *Wine at this hour!*, she wondered, but didn’t speak not to stop Cadee. She knew she had planned on exposing the werewolf thing to the girl, but hadn’t seen her all day. *I guess that didn’t go very well, no wonder,* she thought, as she watched her friend expertly roll the pastry into a thin layer of dough.
“And...” she prompted when Cadee stopped.
“She thought I was mad. Offered me some help! Psychiatric help!” As she spoke, Cadee raised the marble rolling pin in a frustrated movement.
“Easy Cade, that’s too good to waste!” Anne warned, taking the cup of wine before the rolling pin swept it off the table in its pass. She wasn’t surprised at all, that ‘confession’ was doomed from the start. Who in her sane mind would believe such a thing?
“I’m sorry,” Cadee smiled weakly. “It’s just... I don’t know, I just... Look at me! Dressed up like this, killing vampires, warning her about werewolves - no wonder she thought me mad!”
Anne watched Cadee seriously, it wasn’t like her to have this kind of doubts. She was a cheerful person in general, sure and well adjusted. She enjoyed life, and enjoyed helping people. As she watched, her friend sighed and and got back to her dough, cutting it into small squares with a sharp knife. Cadee used the knife with precise, confident movements. Anne had seen her use a knife like that in a fight too: precise, confident moves that usually got her winning. She had saved her life with that same sure precision, and she hadn’t been yet seventeen.
“Maybe you should quit.” She said nonchalantly, sipping again at the wine and passing the cup to her. “Look at your arm, you’ll get seriously hurt someday, and I’m tired of mending your clothes.”
“Ti’s nothing.” Cadee answered, massaging the already scarring skin, which, funnily, was in the precise place she’d cut herself earlier - she knew that in a couple of days not even the scar would show. “Worse on the jacket than my arm.”
“Whatever,” Anne said. “You shouldn’t be doing this. What do you care about furry girls in parks? It’s her problem, not yours; she can take care of herself. I say, let people alone. Nobody will blame you...”
“I can’t leave her alone, Anne! She’s going to turn in less than ten days, if I don’t help her, she’ll kill somebody. That if she doesn’t get killed in the turning herself-“ Cadee turned to her, exasperated, her rolling pin almost flying, but when she saw her friend’s laughing face she stopped. “Very funny. You knew I wouldn’t leave her alone.”
“Of course, as you didn’t leave me alone that time. I know you, girl. You’re good, deep down.”
"You were easier to convince," Cadee said, smiling.
"I didn't have much choice, did I?" She poured another cup of wine for herself and she handed her friend hers “So, why don’t you tell me more about Ms. Wolf, did you follow my advice?”
Cadee accepted the cup and took a sip. “Yes, I opened a gash in my arm the size of the Red Sea. She thought it was a trick. I didn’t even try the spoon bending one, or she’d call Guinness.”
Anne nodded slowly, it hadn’t been a sure thing, but she had thought that maybe, maybe, if Meri saw Cadee’s supernatural side, she’d be more keen on believing her. “So, what are you going to do? Still seeing that wizard?”
“Yeah, I finally contacted him. I’m seeing him Monday morning.” Cadee turned to her croissants and started placing them on a buttered pan, careful to leave enough space between them to rise. Then she placed the pan in a kitchen’s corner, free of drafts, so as to not disturb the process. After that she sat down next to Anne, and refilled her cup; they had half an hour to wait, anyway. “But it’s a last ditch effort, I don’t really think there’s a way to cure or prevent the change.”
“What about the New Initiative,” Anne asked, and prepared for the blow that was surely coming. However, Cadee’s reaction wasn’t what she expected, which could only mean that her friend had pondered on it by herself, but of course, she would. She just placed her cup down and looked at her in the eye.
“I won’t call Rafe,” she said calmly. “There’s no way I’m putting Meri in the Initiative’s sight. She’ll end up strapped to a dissection table with wires in her head in no time.”
“You don’t know that. It’s not the same Initiative, you’ve told me that.”
“I can’t risk it. I don’t trust them; I won’t.” She suppressed a shudder at the thought of the government facility; the Initiative was a part of her life that she wanted to forget, but she still had nightmares about it. She wouldn’t, couldn’t, turn Meredith to them. Sighing, she pushed her flour matted hair back and smiled brightly at the brunette. “What did you decide about Jasmin? Please tell me you’ll decline the offer.”
Anne frowned; she understood Cadee’s feelings about the New Initiative, but if the wizard’s route failed, she didn’t see any other option. It wasn’t as if you could leave a werewolf loose in New York… however, she also knew it was a dead end street to try and talk Cadee into it. At least not that night.
“I think I’ll do it.” She said, and stopped her friends with a look. Much to her surprise, after last meeting with Jasmin, she had found a little note tucked between the neat bills of her tip. It was simple and to the point: Jasmin wanted Anne to work for her, doing her usual stuff, but just for her. This wasn’t the first time they had discussed the pros and cons of such a position, and Cadee was completely opposed to it. “Don’t say a word, you’ve made your position quite clear. But I want to do this. And no, you won’t go and threat the woman on my behalf. I forbid it.”
“Damn it, Anne. The woman is a bloodsucking monster!” Cadee couldn’t help saying, even if she knew it was a lost battle; she could recognize defeat when she faced it. However, she would pay the vampiress a visit, with Anne’s approval or not.
For a few minutes, both women sat in silence, sipping at their wine, deep in thought. Then Anne smiled and turned to her friend. “So, what about Logan? When are you seeing him again?”
“Sunday,” Cadee answered brightly, happy to change the topic.
“Niiice, third date. You want me to stay over at Warren’s for the night? The Brady Bunch’s been bugging me about it, anyway.” Anne rolled her eyes at the thought of her overprotective brothers.
Cadee laughed at her friend, but corrected her quickly. “Second date, you can’t count walking me home as a ‘date’. Besides, he’s taking me out for lunch, I work Sunday night.”
“Geez, girl. You need to get laid, how long has it been?” She feigned severity and pointed at Cadee. “And that one’s a treat; I warn you, if you don’t, I will.”
“Over my dead body. Don’t worry, you’ll pay a visit to Warren soon enough.” Cadee laughed, and stood up. It was time to put the croissants in the oven. “Why don’t you brew some coffee? These will take no time to bake, and they don’t go well with red wine.”