Finalizing The Details.

Xander stepped out of his car and kicked the misbehaving thing. He looked around at the small town he found himself in and sighed. "I doubt they have a car place," he told himself, flagging down a car that was coming toward him. "Hi, my car just quit. Can you call a garage for me?" he asked the man.

"Sure. It's in the next town though."

Xander shrugged. "I kinda figured that since all I saw was a diner. No offense or anything."

The man smiled. "None taken. Want a ride?"

Xander looked back at his car and considered the things that were in it. "Nah, I'll wait with my car. There's some stuff in there I don't want to risk getting stolen. Pictures and stuff."

The man nodded. "Okay. I'll call them at the next payphone." He drove off, his window rolling up.

Xander looked down at himself and made sure that his jeans were done up and he was presentable at least. He wasn't even wearing anything unusual so why had that guy been smirking? He hopped up to sit on the trunk of his car, waiting for his help to arrive. When the cop stopped half an hour later, he gave him a grateful smile. "I asked a guy to call a tow truck for me," he said, not hopping down. "It broke down, again."

The cop looked him over. "You a student or somethin'?"

"On my way home from a roadtrip to find myself." Xander looked down at himself then back at the cop. "Is there something wrong with the way I'm dressed? I've got a few funny looks and I don't know why. I thought jeans were a normal thing."

"Oh, they are," the cop said, licking his lips. "Let me call and see where your truck is." He pulled out his radio and called his dispatcher. "Found the guy that we got told was hanging out on the side of the road, he's waiting on a tow truck. Can you check that for me?" He let the button go and listened to the speaker. "Thanks. Yeah, send them. Nah, it'll be okay. I'll be here." He tossed the radio back in and shut the door, walking over as he looked Xander over again. "You never answered. Are you a college student?"

"I'm holding off that fate for a few more months," he said with an impish grin. "I'm not ready for that fate yet." He tipped his head to the side. "I promise not to get into trouble if you have somewhere else to be."

"Nah, it's a slow day around here." He looked at the house across the street. "Why didn't you ask them to use the phone?"

"I didn't think they were home," Xander said with a shrug. "No cars, no flickering TV through the window. I'm sorry if I scared somebody."

"Nah, you're a stranger and they always bring attention around here." He turned and spit out his gum, smiling at Xander. "So, what's your job like?"

"Not real sure yet," he admitted. "I guess I'll find that out once I get home this week." He popped his neck. "I'm just coming back from seeing the Northwest and New York, and I'm on my way home with a quick stop through LA to get something straightened out."

"Ah, you're in trouble then."

Xander smiled gently at him. "Nope, I've got to find a person and talk to them before I head home. I'm not in trouble and I'm not trouble." He held up a hand. "I promise." He turned up his grin, making the officer smile at him. "See, you like me, so I can't be trouble. You wouldn't like trouble, right?"

The officer snorted then started to chuckle. "No, I wouldn't. You know that this tow's going to cost you a pretty penny, right, kid?"

"Xander," he said, holding out a hand, "and I've got the money. That's why I'm stopping in LA before I head home, to figure out what to do with it. That's also why I didn't let that last guy give me a ride."

They shook hands. "Good idea. I doubt you'd have come back very quickly." He looked Xander's outfit over again, noticing how the soft jeans accentuated everything he had very nicely and his t-shirt was just this side of being a rag. He jumped when a horn blew behind him, turning to glare at the tow truck driver. "Funny," he called, pointing at the car. "This one's for you."

Xander hopped down and walked over to talk to the driver. "I broke down and need towed to a garage?"

"Sure. Next town over okay?"

"Definitely, as long as there's somewhere to stay by there."

"Yup, sure is." He looked the car over. "What's it been doing?"

"It's been stalling. Totally cutting out while I'm doing anything over forty. I managed not to hit a fence this time, which was a good, but I guess I've made a bit of a nuisance of myself." He grinned at the officer. "Thanks for keeping me company. I hope I see you again." He looked at the tow truck, then at his car. "What do I do with my stuff?"

"Leave it for now," the driver said gruffly. "We'll drop you off at a motel and let you check in before we bring this baby to the garage." He got in and pulled up in front of Xander's car, parking and letting out his chain. He got back out and watched as Xander made sure everything was locked and rolled up. "Paranoid little guy, aren't ya?" he quipped.

"Yeah, I kinda am," Xander said, looking around, waving to the nice officer as he drove off. "I've kinda got my best friend's inheritance in the car and I don't want it to get lost."

"Ah. Good reason that is." He got down and hooked the car up to the chain, sliding back out and standing up to brush himself off. "Okay, got your blinkers on?"

"Oh, yeah. This isn't the first time I've had to do this this week." He looked around and stepped closer. "Between you and me, this car sucks badly but it's my uncle's."

"Hey, we'll be right near a place where you can get a cheap one. Lots of college kids where we are, small art college nearby."

"Very cool," Xander said, giving him a smile. "Cash is okay, right?"

"Sure. It's a preferred method of payment the world over." He waved a hand at the cab. "Get in. Let's get this to a good mechanic. Maybe he'll be able to get you home."

"Or at least to LA would be nice," Xander told him as he walked around to get in. He was pretty sure this guy wasn't going to hit on him, which was really nice. He'd had enough of that with the last two tow truck drivers he had had to run into.


Xander flopped down onto his bed and looked at his bags, shaking his head. How could he have cracked the block when the stupid car hadn't been running right for days? He sighed and spread out on the squishy mattress, closing his eyes for a few minutes. He'd figure out what to do later, after a nap.

When he woke up, it was about twenty minutes later and someone was jiggling the lock. "It's occupied," he called out, sliding off the bed and grabbing the first thing that came to hand, a lamp. He yanked open the door and stood there, lamp upraised, staring at the cleaning lady. "Um, hi," he said, giving her a smile. "I'm in here."

"So I see," she said, holding out a pile of towels. "You won't want the ones in there, they're ragged." She smiled at him, nodding at the lamp. "Maybe you should put that back where you found it."

He blushed and put the lamp down, taking the towels. "Thanks."

"You're welcome. The owner thought you'd be here for a few days."

Xander snorted. "A few days? The engine block's cracked somehow. Either I send that one home without me or I get a new car."

She leaned closer. "Don't go to the spot next to the garage. There's a better place out by the highway. Much better cars, less beaten up and the like. They even have a few really nice ones."

Xander gave her a hug. "Thank you. I'm going there tomorrow." He pulled back and gave her a smile. "Any idea about where I should eat supper?"

"Well, the Chinese food place is one of those fifty-fifty places. Half of us want to call the Health Department on them and half of us love them. The pizza place is good for the college students, and those who like grease, but your best bet is a little place down the street called Belynda's. She's a good cook, real homemade food, but she's only open for the next hour."

"Do they deliver?" Xander asked.

"No, but if you call in, you could pick it up." She patted the side of his face. "I'd call now, they might close early if they're not busy." She winked and walked away, heading back to the office.

Xander put the towels on the bed and grabbed his wallet, checking to make sure everything he needed was in there already. He opened his smallest bag and pulled out a few dollars, shielding it from the doorway in case anyone was watching him. He grabbed his keys and ran out of the room, but he had to come back for his shoes.


Xander looked at the cars and shook his head. Nothing there said him. He wandered to the more expensive side of the lot, earning a frown from the salesman watching him, but he wanted a car that spoke to him about what he now was. He stopped in front of a purple SUV, a custom paint job since it was lavender, to look inside but the coarse seats were something he really didn't want. Besides, he didn't need something that big. He wandered along the other rows, stopping in front of a sedate sedan, an older model Lexus. He shaded his eyes to look through the heavily tinted window, but he couldn't see anything.

"Excuse me, but is that really in your price range?" the salesman asked as he walked over to him.

"Yes," Xander said patiently, "it is. Can you open it and start it?"

The salesman shrugged. "Prove it." Xander glared at him. "I really don't want to waste my time."

Xander made a show of looking around. "Yeah, you have so much to do. I can always take my needs elsewhere. I hear there's a nice place in the next town. I'm sure I can get a ride over there." He waved at the door. "Or you could do two simple things, and if I like this piece of crap, then I'll give you nice, crisp cash and you can have a good day."

The salesman tossed over the keys. "We'll see," he said, looking Xander over.

Xander tossed over his wallet as he got into the car, humming as he slid into the leather seat. "Like this," he noted, starting the engine, smiling at the loud purr it made. "Oh, yeah, like this." He got out and held out a hand. "Pop the hood and let me look and we may have a deal."

The salesman gave him a smile and popped the hood. He knew better than to argue with a guy who had a Platinum card, much less two. He stepped out of the way and let the young man look down inside it, watching him to see if he knew what he was looking for.

"I want to take it over to be checked out," Xander said, looking up at him. "Want to come with me?"

"Sure. Want me to drive?"

"Nah, I want to try this puppy out." Xander slammed the hood and walked back over to get in, revving the engine while he waited for the salesman to join him.


Xander got out of his new car and walked over to his door, frowning when he saw it was open. He pushed it open gently, staring at the man who was bending over his bags. "It's wired to explode if you don't have my fingerprints," he said quietly.

The man turned and it was the cop from yesterday.

"Okay, never mind, no explosives after all." He smiled and walked in, shutting the door behind him. "Sorry, but I thought you were trying to steal from me."

"Thieves are usually much less neat about their searching," the officer told him. He cleared his throat. "There's been a question raised about the money you've been spending, kid."

Xander sat down in the little chair next to the bed. "I figured as much when I saw it was you. I told you, it's an inheritance."

"Yes, but you said it was a friend's." He sat on the bed and pushed his baseball cap back. "I want the truth, or we can do this in my office."

Xander shrugged. "Part of that is hers. Part of it's mine. It's all from the same source. The cash is mine and some of the jewelry is hers. What more do you need for me to prove it to you?"

"How about some legal papers? A copy of the will?"

"I can call someone and have them tell you that's what it is," Xander offered. "Would that be good enough?"

The officer thought for a minute then nodded. "Sure. If it's from a reliable source."

Xander got up and went to the phone, pulling out one of the cards in his wallet. "Hey, it's Xander," he said quietly as soon as the other end was picked up. "Yeah, I'm doing okay so far. No kidnapping attempts yet but the car died and there's a question about how I got the money." He looked at the cop. "Yeah, I told him that it was an inheritance, but he's not believing me. Can I get you to talk to him, Blair? Please?" He smiled and handed the phone over, getting out of the officer's way. "He's a nice guy. Very sweet for what he is."

"This is Sheriff Halster. And you are?" He looked back at Xander. "Are you an attorney or something?" He smiled. "Okay then. Did he get the money where he said he did?" He nodded. "Okay, thank you." He hung up. "Nice guy, for a New Yorker." He nodded at the door. "I'm going to go, I'll spread it around that you're okay and all." He nodded and left, closing the door softly behind him.

Xander picked up the phone and hit redial. "Hey, Blair, thanks for that. Yeah, I know, I shouldn't have let myself get into that, but I needed a new car. Mine died." He chuckled. "Really, no kidnapping attempts. Not yet anyway. Of course, I've only run into one guy that might have and he kinda had to disappear. No, he was snacking at a mall, he needed the cloth to procreate." He sat on the dresser, smiling as he looked down at his feet. "Yeah, that was kinda a neat thing. Thanks again. What? Sure, the next time you're in LA, call me and we'll have dinner. What? Nope, I'm out of the business, that was a limited engagement to help me find myself." His smile got sappy. "Yeah, I got a good life ahead of me. Thanks, Blair. Love you too. Be good to poor John, I know he can't keep up with what I did. Oh, you're ready for slow, huh?" he teased. "Well, still, be good to the guy. He deserves it. He stuck up for me." He laughed and hung up, swinging his feet. "Yeah, he's a good vamp." He hopped off and checked his watch, heading out to get some dinner and talk to the mechanic.


Xander groaned as he pulled up in front of his chosen new bank and found cop cars. "Gee, this time they didn't even wait for me to get here," he muttered, pulling into a parking spot to wait this out. A cop came over to try and shoo him away, but he gave him a smile. "I'm supposed to be in there right now," he said, pointing at the bank. "I've got a meeting with my new financial advisor."

"Get away," the cop growled. "No civilians."

Xander got out of his car and leaned against the door. "I'm not going to get in the way, I don't have a camera, but I do need to get in there to go to my meeting, so why don't you," he tapped the guy on the chest, giving him a look from under his lashes, "go fix this so I can go make sure everything's fine with everything I just got."

The cop growled and walked away.

Xander looked at the bank, then back at the cops, who were ignoring the fire escape for some reason. He stared at it for a few more minutes, until he was tapped on the shoulder. "Yes?" he asked pleasantly, smiling at the new officer standing behind him. "Hi. I'm supposed to be in there."

"Sir, you need to back away from here now before we arrest you," the officer said harshly.

Xander pointed at the fire escape. "Is there some reason that you're ignoring the stairs into the basement?" He looked at the officer, who looked stunned. "It was recently on a news program and I noticed that there's a door right into the side of the bank, near the back offices. And I'm supposed to be there, I've got a meeting about ten minutes ago with someone in there in one of those offices." He reached into his new car and pulled out his wallet, handing it over to show off the handful of thousand dollar bitlls that it was holding. "That's why I'm here. You're here to stop these guys. We could work together."

The officer handed it back. "That's legit?"

"That's an inheritance that I have no idea what to do with, that's why I'm here," Xander said patiently. He caught sight of one of the people in the bank, one eyebrow going up. "Um, they're peeking at us," he said, pointing.

The officers all turned to look at them and the first one shuddered. "What is that costume of?"

"Not real sure," Xander lied, "but from the look of it's he thinks he's a lizard. Maybe some cold air might slow him down." The officers glared at him. "Sorry," he said, holding up his hands. "I'm going to stay right here until this is all settled so I can get everything set and I can go home where I belong. I can't go home without doing this first, I'll never get back here with most of this intact."

The officers looked at each other and the senior officer nodded, walking away with his junior officer following after a called, "Stay there!"

Xander hopped up onto his trunk and waited this out, hoping that the cops got the clue. Though he wasn't sure if these were the same guys he had run into in New York. At least he wasn't for a few more hours, until the lizard guys demanded that he come in with the food. He groaned as the cops approached him, sliding down to stare at them. "Hey, I'm harmless, I haven't got a gun trained on them," he explained before they could say anything. "You can search me if you want."

He was quickly searched then handed a bullet-proof vest and a big bag of food. "Just go in a few feet and hand it over, then take whichever hostage they give you and back out," the senior officer said.

Xander nodded. "Okay." He shifted the bag and headed for the door, walking inside like he had been told. "Oh, lizard guys," he called out, shaking the bag. "Food!" One of the demons stepped closer to him. "Hey, it is you! You tried to kidnap me in New York. Small world, man." He shook the lizard's hand and broke it, kicking him in the stomach. He smiled at the other three that pointed guns at him. "Like you want to do that," he reminded them. "Those are humans outside, guys, do you really want to do this here?"

The lizards talked among themselves then looked at him. They nodded and pulled Xander in, waving the rest of the hostages out.

"Gee, not what I was hoping for," Xander complained as he was pushed down into a chair. He could hear swearing outside over the loudspeaker, but he knew that it was up to him now. There wasn't any way that those cops would come in and get him if they had found out why the demons had wanted him. He looked up at the one standing next to him. "Um, guys, I'm not working here. I'm on my way home and I'm going to be missed by my vampires." They laughed. "Okay, if you really want to deal with Angelus, go right ahead," he said, shrugging. "You know what people like him are like."

The lizards looked toward one who was staring out the windows. That one grunted something that Xander didn't understand and waved a hand. He was tied up.

"Not nice," Xander complained, trying to get free. "Damn, I hate this." He rocked the chair, getting free because he bent the back too far. "Ha!" He jumped up and grabbed a sprinkler, hanging on. When it came on, he blocked some of the spray to hit the demons in the face, jumping down while most of them were trying to clear their eyes and heading for the door. He smiled at the one in his way, ducking under his lazy grab attempt. "Later," he called out, running out into the arms of the waiting cops. "Cold stuff," he told the cops, staring at them. "Those aren't costumes. They're an experiment."

A few of the cops laughed but one, a blonde female, grabbed a small fire extinguisher and walked over to the door, spraying at the first demon that poked it's arm out. Its screams brought everyone's attention to what she was doing. A few more of the officers grabbed the extinguishers from their cars and followed her lead, going in.

Xander walked over to where the other hostages were. "Who's Mr. Knowles?" he called out. Someone lifted their head and he smiled, walking over to him. "Xander Harris," he said, holding out a hand. His other went through his wet hair to push it back.


Xander walked back out to his car, smiling at the officer waiting there, the blonde from earlier. "Nice save," he told her, sliding up to sit on his hood. He liked this car. "What's up? I've already answered the other guys' questions six or eight times each. You got more?"

"No, I've got a different sort of question. How did you know?"

"That they were lizards?" He gave her a beautiful, gentle smile. "Because I almost got taken by them in New York. I used the extinguisher trick myself. Sometimes you have to trust your instincts." He yawned. "Mine are telling me that I need to go take a nap and then get supper. Know a good place? Comfy, nice, but not five star?"

"Yeah, go downtown and hit one of the big chain places. They've usually got a business section that's pretty nice." She got off his car door and waved at it. "Have a nice nap." She stopped and looked back at him. "They said that they came to this coast to get away from you by the way. Their bad luck I guess."

"Yeah, I guess it was." He stretched and yawned. "I plan on getting that nap now. I haven't been kidnapped in weeks." He slid off the hood and got in, heading for where she had said.


Xander walked into his new bank the next morning with everything he had gotten while he was working, including the stones he had gotten and his papers from the demon bank in New York. He was shown into Mr. Knowles office immediately and handed everything over. "Let's see what you can do with this for me. I want to keep a bunch of it available right now because I need to get an apartment set up for myself and that sort of problem, but I want it to make baby money for me so I can live off it for a *very* long time."

Mr. Knowles looked up, his bald spot now hidden from Xander's eyes. "I think we can come up with an equitable solution that should allow you to do all that. How much did you want to keep out?" Xander shrugged. "Okay, how about investments. Do you know your risk category?"

Xander leaned closer. "All I know is that suddenly I have a lot of money and I have no idea what to do with it. This is all new to me and I'm stupid."

Mr. Knowles smiled. "I doubt that. No stupid person could make this much money very quickly. Not even if they resorted to selling drugs." His smile faded. "You didn't do that, correct? We'd have to confiscate your money and call the police on you."

Xander shook his head. "No, I became an entertainer for some of it and the rest is an inheritance." He grinned. "My Aunt Devi was a rich old broad, but she was kinda crazy, that's why I have all that stuff in the thick briefcase."

That briefcase was opened and immediately handed back to Xander. "All we can do for that is to put it in a safety deposit box, which would be best done where you live so you have easier access to it." He pulled out the paperwork first, humming as he looked it over. "I've never heard of them. A small bank is it?"

"Very. Kinda exclusive too. My boss got me hooked into it."

"Ah, a credit union setup. I can understand that perfectly well, they tend to have very good interest rates." He put the papers aside and looked in the other briefcase, shuddering when he saw all the bills. "You carried this much across country?" he squeaked.

"No, actually, I had to buy a new car the other day because mine broke down. I think I've spent about twenty grand out of that." He shrugged when he got stared at. "That's all part of the inheritance. My Aunt Devi didn't like banks, she hid things under a loose floorboard under her bed. That and her stones were her retirement fund."

"Ah. I see." He closed the briefcase and put it aside, resting his arms on the desk. "You said that you still have to set up an apartment. Have you figured out what that's going to cost you?"

Xander shook his head. "I've been trying to figure out how to do that before I get back to Sunnydale."

"Now I see why you came to us. Such large investments are best put into national or international banks instead of small local banks. We have more options to invest in." He thought for a second and then nodded. "All right. I'm going to start an account for you here and in two days we'll meet to get the details of your investments settled. Until then, I'm going to give you part of this money, enough for you to get an apartment and furnish it in antiques, if that's your style, but not all of it so you won't be robbed. I'll call your other bank and get the particulars of your account there so you can decide if you want to keep anything in that account also." Xander nodded. "Good, I'm glad that you're letting me handle this."

"Like I said, this is the first time I've ever had real money. It's just better for me to let you handle this." He stood up and looked down inside the briefcase, picking out six of the bundles of cash. "How's that?"

"That should be more than enough." Mr. Knowles stood up and waved at the chair. "Sit, there's a little bit of paperwork we're going to have to do to get all this started, young man." He walked out and came back with a security guard and one of the tellers. "Mr. Harris is transferring funds into our bank." Xander waved. "We need an exact counting of this money and I need you to start the forms to have him start an account with us." The teller nodded and took the briefcase. "Bill," he said, stopping the guard. "I want you to put this in the safe for Mr. Harris until he comes back in two days. The less of a paper trail he has, the safer it will be. It's full of gemstones, an inheritance from an eccentric Aunt, so put it somewhere safe even from all of us." The security guard nodded and left with the heavy case, going over to talk to the vault manager.

Xander coughed. "Thanks for that. I didn't really want to trust my hotel with those and I was getting a little paranoid about having them in such a low security place like my hotel is."

Mr. Knowles nodded. "I can understand that." He pulled out a few forms and started to fill them out, handing each one over to Xander as soon as he had gotten them done as far as he could. "Let's do this part and we'll figure out your next part in a few minutes."

Xander gladly filled out each form, using Giles' address whenever it asked for it. After all, it was stable. It's not like the Watcher was going to be moving soon.


Xander tapped on the realtor's door and walked in, giving her his best helpless look. "Do you do apartments?" She smiled and waved at a chair. "Okay, I'm kinda in a bind here," he said quickly as soon as he was seated. "I'm just coming back from a road trip to find myself and I need a place in my hometown, Sunnydale. But I'm not sure what I need, just that I need at least one bedroom and it has to be somewhere kinda quiet."

She smiled. "Why haven't you called someone in Sunnydale?"

"Because I don't know who to call and I'm on a pit stop here for the next few days. Once I hit home, there's nowhere for me to stay. Staying with my parents is definitely out of the question, I'll never spend another night there again."

"All right. We do have some listings up that way. If not, I can always call someone up there to find a place for you. You do know that we charge a fee?" Xander nodded. "Okay then. You looked like a college student to me and they're usually shy of fees."

"Yeah, I'm the right age, but I'm putting off that problem for another year or so. I've got money, but I've got no idea what to do with it."

She smiled. "Then you've definitely come to the right place, Mr..."

"Harris. Xander Harris." He ran his fingers through his dark hair. "Will this take all day? I really need lunch and caffeine. Can I buy you lunch? That would solve a lot of problems."

"I'm afraid I'll need access to my computer." She patted it. "Let me see what we have listed up there. This may be easier than you think." She called up a file and looked it over. "All right. You don't want a house, right?" He shook his head. "A smallish apartment, quiet, at least one bedroom. Well, we have an apartment complex that's run out of this office. It's mostly got business rentals in it so it's partially empty."

"Where is it?" he asked, leaning closer so he could see.

"Out by the industrial park."

"No, uh-huh. That's not a good area of town anymore. There's been a lot of things that have happened out there in the last few years."

"So you're a native of the town?" He nodded. "That might make this easier. Do you know where the Goldenseed Apartments are?"

His face scrunched up as he thought. "Yeah, kinda. It's near the downtown area if I remember right. Is there something open there? I remember it has gates around it and that's all good to me too."

She nodded. "It's three blocks from the downtown shopping district. It does have security, and it's also semi-reasonable for rent. Six hundred a month." Xander whistled. "Yes, I know it's expensive, but you're not going to find a better place to live with their benefits at a lower price."

"I was expecting more. I just spent six weeks in New York working." He pulled out one of the bundles of cash. "How much for, say, five months? Including deposits and all that."

She looked at the cash, then up at him, then back at that. "I see you weren't joking when you said you had the cash." She turned back to her computer and called up the floor plans. "We have no one bedrooms open, but we do have a two-bedroom on the second floor or a three bedroom on the first. Do you have a preference?"

"The second floor, that way I have some view. I will have something other than a fire escape and another building, right?"

"Yes, a small one, it should look out over the empty lot beside it. Your second bedroom will have a window facing that way also. It's smaller but that shouldn't make too much of a difference. It's configured to make a nice home office if you need that sort of thing."

"I'm not sure yet," Xander admitted. "This is all an inheritance." He gave her another helpless look. "How do I furnish it and get it there without breaking myself into little, aching pieces?"

"That's another easy step," she said, giving him a confident smile. She pressed a few keys and a print out came out, then she went over to another program to figure up how much he'd owe her. "Here we are," she said, handing both printouts over. She also handed over a business card. "I like this company for furniture and they do deliver out to Sunnydale, they've done it before. For appliances, TV's and the like, go to Sears and make sure you get a maintenance plan."

Xander counted out the money under her eager eyes and handed it over, taking the picture of his floorplan. "Um, I think I have an antique bed in storage, but I'm not sure where my parents put it. Do I have to call them?"

"That's usually the easiest way, yes," she agreed, printing him out a receipt. "I'll call the apartment manager today and tell her that you've rented it. On the receipt is the address you'll need everything sent to. The apartment comes with all utilities included, except cable and phone. Those you'll have to arrange with the respective companies." He nodded. "Do you know how to do that?" He shook his head. "All right. When you get there, you find out who your local cable people are and you call them, asking them to come hook it up for you. They come out in a few weeks and you pay them, then they start your service. You can even pay them ahead of time if you need to, so don't worry about that, okay, Mr. Harris?"

He nodded and jumped up, reaching across the desk to give her a hug. "You are *so* nice." He smiled one of his special smiles at her and left, making sure he had all of his papers with him, not caring at all that she was now very warm in certain places.


Xander walked into the furniture store, much less jumpy now that he had had some food to counteract the coffee this morning. He looked around at all the available stuff and wrinkled his nose. He tried to get one of the salesman's attention but he chose another couple that had just walked in to help instead. So he walked out and headed for the nearest payphone to find another place. "Value City?" he muttered, running his fingers down the listings. "Huh. Maybe I should try there. They sound like they'd have a good selection." He wrote down their address, and one other place that sounded promising, and went back to his car to go find himself some furniture.

He looked around this new showroom and smiled. He liked this place. There was a lot of leather and soft chairs. He sat down in one to try it out and hopped back up when he started to sink. "Huh, not getting that one."

"Well, that's not a popular model," the salesman said as he walked over to him. "I'm Greg."

"Xander." They shook hands. "Okay, truth here. I'm using my inheritance, I like soft, fuzzy things and things that make me feel good, and I've just got a new apartment to furnish." He pulled out the drawing. "This is what it looks like. Help?"

"Of course. Let's try a few styles out and see what suits you best. When are you moving by the way?"

"Two days at the most probably."

"Ah, a rush job. Problems with your family?"

"Just getting back from a roadtrip to find myself but I can't stay with my family. I might be able to stay with a friend for *a* night, but no longer."

"Then I guess we'll have to see what we have in stock." He led Xander upstairs to where the more expensive stuff was.


Xander tapped on Mr. Knowles door before walking in, giving him a smile. "Got it all done," he said proudly. "Got an apartment, furnished it, and I still have spending money left to get the phone and everything hooked up."

"Good," he said, giving the young man a smile. "Sit, let's talk dividends and returns."

Xander sat down. "Gee, that didn't quite sound like Greek," he quipped.

Mr. Knowles smiled. "I've got everything planned out, you're in safe investments with medium returns, that's what you get back - that's things like interest, your profit." Xander nodded when he got that last part. "You really don't understand this, do you?"

Xander shook his head. "Not a bit. My last savings account had six cents in it the last time I knew and that was about eight years ago."

"Good, then I can teach you without you having misconceptions. That's a very good thing. Never be afraid to ask for an opinion or help where you're not sure of the meaning of the circumstances you're in." He pushed his monitor over. "This is your new account with us. It has this much money in it, and we'll be putting most of that into safe investments. Things that are insured if something happens to the bank. Got it so far?" Xander nodded. "Good..."


Xander accepted his key from the apartment's manager, and he liked this lady instantly. She reminded him a lot of one of the grandmotherly figures on the BET and WB sitcoms. She was kind of wrinkled and had white hair, but you knew she was still feisty and could pound you into the ground the first time you acted up. He followed her up to his apartment and opened his door for the first time, gasping as he saw his furniture already arranged for him. He walked toward the bedroom and smiled as he saw his antique bed, his mother had come through for him after all, then he turned to look at her. "Cool. How do I get cable again? I miss cartoons."