Summary: They Knew No One Would Approve...But Love Doesn't Need Approval From Those It Does Not Belong To. So Can Our Favorite Lovers Overcome The Control And Class Of Their Time?...Or Will Power Supress Their Love?
Rating: PG-13, NC-17
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Disclaimer: All characters were originally created by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the WB, and all other participants in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I am simply using the characters for my own personal pleasure, and the amusement of other fanfic readers/writers like myself. So please don't sue me for giving in to my urges of writing what I only wish would happen on the show that is intent upon giving me a double stroke in every episode that I watch. Thanx so much!
Have you ever heard of “the wrong side of the tracks”? It’s that age-old expression that depicts some imaginary train tracks that seem to separate one class and stature of people from a lower class. It’s that term that mother’s use to tell their daughters what type of men they shouldn’t date. I’m sure you’ve heard it many times. “Not him, darling. He’s from the wrong side of the tracks.” Or maybe, “That neighborhood is on the wrong side of the tracks.” But let me ask you this…
Who decides what the ‘right’ side of these imaginary tracks are? Just because someone has less culture and wealth than you, does it mean that they’re no good? Is it simply unacceptable to love someone or befriend someone that doesn’t come from the ‘same’ side of those imaginary tracks?
In my life, it seemed so.
The story I’m about to tell you is one that you’ve never heard before. It is my own, and before today I have never revealed every truth about it to another living soul other than the few that lived the tale with me. What I’m about to tell you is the tale of two lovers from different sides of these ‘tracks’. It’s a concept you’ve seen and read about many times, but I like to think that my version is…unique. Why? Because it is my own.
It’s a safe assumption to make that my family was definitely from the ‘right’ side of these tracks. It’s always been fact where my family has lived for 73 years since they arrived in 1826, that anyone with “Summers Blood” is of a high, wealthy class and intelligence. So naturally from my birth I was a cherished and beloved member of the community based on the simple point that I was the youngest Summers child (my cousin, Willow, is 2 years older). I was especially well known all over due to the fact that the Summers family was beginning to fade, and that it was assumed that I would be the one to revive the wealthy blood lines and restore the family’s large size by marrying well and having many, many children.
As it were at the time, there were only really 5 members left in the Summers family. My grandmother, Lecilia Anne Summers, was the base that held the family’s name as perfect and precious as it was. She was the most respected individual in any community I’d ever visited. Everyone who knew her respected her opinion and her decisions. She was what kept my family “on the right side of the tracks” if we were ever being pushed to the other side. She was prim, proper, and incredibly conservative in every imaginable form that one can be conservative. Since the death of my grandfather 5 years ago, she had become even more assured in her position as ‘head’ of the family.
My mother, Joyce Anne Summers was the only child that my grandmother had ever conceived. Being of such a fragile nature when it came to health, my grandmother had struggled through the pregnancy and birth of my mother, and named her Joyce because she planned to rejoice every day that she was kept around long enough to see this family through. The doctors had advised my grandmother to never conceive again, and she never had.
My father, Giles, was connected by blood to this family only through me, so in my grandmother’s opinion, while she may love and respect my father she will never really count him as a ‘life member’ of the Summers family. My father was never too concerned about this because he was a generally high-spirited individual that was fine with whatever you thought about him as long as you were civil. He was from England which made him extremely proper in many of his mannerisms. I’ve always known that no matter what I do, my father will accept me.
The third surviving “member” of the Summers family is my mother’s cousin (my second cousin), Delilah Anne Summers. Her mother was my grandmother’s sister, but after her mother’s passing when she was just 4 years old, Delilah had been raised by my grandmother along with my mother as if she were my grandmother’s own child and not merely her niece. Delilah had married to a man named Wesley Windham-Pryce, who was a colleague of my father’s from England. Together, they had a daughter named Willow Anne Summers.
Willow was the fourth “member” of the Summers family left. She’s always been like more of a sister to me than a cousin as our mothers were. I grew up with her and could never imagine a better person to run to with whatever had me upset. I knew she’d never betray me, and she was one of the few people that I knew for sure my grandmother accepted. Everything, as you can tell, leads back to my grandmother in this family. But it had been the same way for generations of Summers’. The oldest living woman, it seems, is always what holds the family together…or what keeps the family in line.
I am the fifth “member” left in the Summers family. As the youngest, my grandmother has a fondness for me that she has only spoken of one or two times in my life. I remember once she told me that she saw her own spirit in my eyes. I had asked her if that was a good thing, and she had laughed and told me that “she would be battling her rebellion in me in years to come”. It is only now that I can look back and understand what that truly means. I was born April 3rd 1882, and named Buffy Anne Summers. As you can tell, Anne is the middle name of every woman in the Summers family, in memory of my great, great, great, great grandmother Anne who gave her life saving her children in a fire. She was the original ‘head woman’ of the Summers family, and to her memory, every Summers family member must be respectful.
So here my story begins. The year is 1899. We begin the story on June 23rd, just a few months after my 17th birthday. My family is spending the week at our summer cottage on the coast. We spend weeks on and off throughout the summer, here. My grandmother loves the sunrise over the ocean, and I love the freedom of the beach. I’ve had many adventures wandering the miles and miles of beach available.
And this summer, an adventure is just what I was looking for.
“Will somebody please tell me what would inspire a woman to wear a corset at all?!…Let alone during the worst time of the month,” I moaned out my complaints as my dressing maid, Kenya, fought the ties shut on the back of my tight beige corset that was adorned with a dark blue, lacy trim. I hated this one the most because it was the most restricting. I had some corsets that I could almost stand. This one, was not one of them. This one made sitting impossible. In fact, that was probably the reason that my grandmother had requested that I wear it to the Chase’s summer ball. She thought that when a lady sat for longer than a simple rest of her feet, it implies the lady to be lazy. And of course, my grandmother would have no Summers family member seen as lazy in any way.
My dress was new. A robin’s egg blue with short sleeves adorned with a thin lacy fabric that swished when I moved. The bodice of the dress was incredibly tight, but from the hips-down, it flowed like a dream. It was a gift from my grandmother today that by chance I could wear no other corset with due to the ‘color clash’. How perfect for her! She’d get me a dress that would force me into the only corset that would match it…The Suffocation Trap (as I had so lovingly nic-named this Hell garment).
Finally the bane of my evening was in place, and I experienced the exquisite pain of sitting in this awful thing while Kenya started in on my hair. She swept the majority of it up off my face, leaving the back hanging in little ringlets that accented my long neck. She tied a simple blue, lace choker around my neck and told me to stand. I raised my arms for her to slide my dress on, giving myself a slight breath as the corset was slightly shifted with the movement of my arms. Lowering my arms, the painful suffocation returned and I sighed in frustration.
“My grandmother,” I shook my head in disbelief.
Kenya laughed slightly and agreed with, “your grandmother.”
Finally I was dressed and ready. Looking in the full-length Irish mirror I’d had in my room since I was 4, I realized that I looked just like I should; perfect. I smiled as I remember being 4, insisting to my parents on my very first trip to Ireland that I wasn’t leaving without the mirror as a memory. Ireland held a special place in my heart, and to this day I really had no idea why. It was magical, enchanted, and it seemed to be able to capture my heart with just a glance, but there was something else about it that I loved. What, I did not know.
“I will tell your mother you are ready,” Kenya said bowing to leave, smiling around her thick accent that gave her voice such character in this dreadfully ‘normal’ house hold of plain voices. Wesley and my father were the only people out of the 7 family members and 10 servants, that had an accent other than Kenya. But there were so many British and English accents around Sunnydale that they held no uniqueness. Kenya’s accent, on the other hand, was something you rarely ever heard. She was light-hearted and pleasant, and she managed to make any awful experience slightly less painful.
Gazing into my reflection, I let out a sigh. I’d been a cute but awkward child. I had been too skinny, and only in the last year had I filled out in all the right areas. I was pleased with my physique merely because my grandmother never made a comment about it. Whatever grandmother didn’t comment on, must have been alright. My long, blonde hair, tanned skin, and striking hazel eyes were what I thought to be my best features. My nose was small, and I guess I don’t mind it all that much. It could be much worse. I could have gotten my mother’s nose, which was straight and large.
I took one last look in the mirror and followed out the door behind Kenya. I had a night filled with forced smiles at the Chase’s summer manor which was right near our own. Cordelia Chase was about my age, and she’d been a competitor for me since the day we were introduced at Miss Marie’s Preparatory School For Girls. Willow and I had had a many-member I Hate Cordelia Chase Club when we were in the third grade, but Miss Marie, the headmistress, had insisted we cancel all further meetings when she learned the purpose of the club.
The Chase family were close to my family in wealth and culture, but they’d always been slightly lessened in the eyes of the community due to their apparent greed. No one knew the tale of how the Chase’s fortune had come about generations back, but most assumed that the money was most likely stolen or dirty in some way.
Cordelia was beautiful. Her dark brown eyes and long, dark hair made her the perfect ‘exotic’ beauty. She had voluptuous curves that any woman would love to have, but she was cold inside. All she saw was wealth and control, and I doubted there was a loving bone in her beautiful body. Her mother was the same. They were both charming and friendly, but you could tell they secretly resented having to associate with people that like themselves, were not royalty. Cordelia’s father was powerful. One glance at him made you suddenly wish you were at home in bed. He was rumored to have orchestrated many problems created for his business competitors. Whether the rumors were true or not, the fact that they were a possibility made him a scary man.
Willow was in the hallway as I exited my dressing chambers, bent over gasping for breath as she too had been given a dress by grandmother that would only go with her most painful corset. Her dress was a light lavender that went well with her pale skin and long, red hair. Willow was cute. Nothing ‘sexy’ or ‘exotic’ like Cordelia, but pretty just the same. She looked to me and gasped, “she purposely does this to us. I swear, Buffy, that woman is evil incarnate.”
“That woman is here,” my grandmother said, exiting her own dressing chambers and heading straight for Willow and I. For being a woman of such weak health and old age, her hearing was incredible.
In her youth, my grandmother had been beautiful with her golden hair, petite body, high, arched eyebrows and bright blue eyes. In her age, she retained her effortless beauty with a still-small figure, bright blue eyes, and soft pale skin. For such an age, she hid it well. I would have presumed her to be 65 at the most, certainly not 72. She was only a year when the Summers family had settled down in Sunnydale, and naturally she was passionate about her home. But she so loved these escapes to the ocean.
“Good evening, grandmother,” Willow and I both chorused in a light tone.
“Girls,” my grandmother swept her gaze over us and smile approvingly. “You both look like perfect ladies. I trust you feel the same.”
We said nothing as we followed my grandmother down the grand staircase that led to the front entrance to the house. Willow and my grandmother both pretended the comment made hadn’t happened, and we all moved together in silence, being met by both my parents and Willow’s parents at the front entrance.
Willow and I shared a bedroom in the upstairs right wing of the manor, each of us with our own bathrooms, dressing chambers, and sitting rooms. Our parents each had a wing on the first floor. And our grandmother had the left wing of the upstairs level of the home. Willow and I had the option of separate rooms, but we loved the time we could spend at night whispering and giggling about the day, so we’d jumped at the chance to have a room together when the house was re-decorated 10 years ago.
Willow and I rode with my grandmother in her carriage at her request, and our parents rode in the carriage ahead of us during the 3-minute journey to the Chase manor. Again, no words were exchanged other than my brief observation that it “looked like it would rain”.
We passed Widow’s Peak, a cliff of rocks that hung over the rode and looked out over the water. It was referred to as Lonely Widow’s Peak because, as legend has it, Lady Madeline, a beautiful heiress from the south, had thrown herself off it after the untimely death of her beloved husband. However, legends do have the tendency to over-exaggerate. Some say that Lady Madeline was really thrown off it by the same person that had ‘murdered’ her husband. But who really knows what happened? Only Lady Madeline, and it’s clear to see that she isn’t around to tell the true story. So naturally, we’re left to our assumptions.
Arriving at the Chase manor, we were ushered in to the home like royalty and announced individually in a way I had always hated. Individually we would ascend the first part of the steps that led down to the grand ballroom, and give our name to the ‘announcer’. He would then call it to the attention of the entire room that we had arrived, and we would then descend into the room with everyone watching us.
My grandmother naturally went first, followed by my parents and then Willow’s. Willow followed, and I was left last. It seemed that I always was, being the youngest of the family. Eyes were on me even before I reached the announcer to tell him my named. It was a general theme that rather than turning away and turning back for every single announcement, the room would simply watch until they were all done.
“Buffy Summers,” I told the well-dressed gentlemen with the loud voice. It shocked me that his voice projected so loudly without sounding like a yell.
“Lady Buffy!” he announced sharply, and the room watched as I handed my shawl to the second man that was standing there waiting for it. I felt the intensity of everyone’s gaze increase. Feeling as if I was in a glass bowl, I descended the staircase to where Willow was standing, finding my uncomfortable position quite hilarious.
“So not funny,” I told her in a hushed voice as I made it to where she stood. We instinctively moved to a small corner to sit and gossip in peace and pray that Cordelia hadn’t heard the announcement of our arrival or seen where we’d gone. In the last two years, she’d attempted to make kind with us (probably at her mother’s request in an attempt to better their image in the community). It was disgusting to hear such a cold person try to be sweet and charming.
“I guess the Chase Ball will be a smashing success…But then again, anyone who thinks otherwise will be promptly removed.” I observed as I looked around the room at the hundreds of people in the grand ballroom. The ballroom in our own summer manor was in all actuality quite a big larger than the Chase’s, but little things like this were never really pointed out for fear of starting a pointless war over wealth and possessions between the two families.
“I didn’t expect it would be dull,” Willow scanned the room with her bright green eyes. “I’m just wondering how long it will be until-”
“Buffy!” came that familiar male voice that I’d been praying I wouldn’t hear tonight. I couldn’t stand the idea of spending another night trying to be nice to Riley Finn without being nice and accidentally giving him the impression that I wanted him to propose…again.
Willow and I had known Riley for just a few years. His family had a successful fleet of fishing boats, and while they were a well-known and wealthy family…they weren’t exactly the most exciting group of people in the world. In fact, Riley was downright dull. Every time I spoke to him, we’d have these uncomfortable and awkward silences during which he’d just stare at me and smile. Willow, of course, found this all amusing and cute. I, of course, did not. I wanted so much more than an aim-to-please puppy dog.
“Look, Buff, here comes your boyfriend,” Willow laughed, quickly abandoning me and heading over to talk with an old friend that we only saw in the summer, Stacy Marianna.
“Willow!” I whisper-shouted to her. I turned just in time to run straight into Riley’s chest. “Riley,” I said in a bit of a surprised greeting. “Hi.”
“Buffy,” his voice was dripping with excitement. “You look beautiful. I haven’t seen you in so long. How have you been?”
“Good,” I tried my best to smile, but it came out flat. It wasn’t a surprise that he didn’t seem to notice how much I had to work to muster up any form of happiness about the idea of speaking with him. Around Riley I found myself saying as little as possible. Our conversations were merely greetings and silences. The first silence was threatening to make an appearance, so I asked back, “How about yourself?”
“I’m good. I saw you at Faith Weston’s summer ball, but you seemed to rush off before I could get to you. I’m sorry I missed you. I know you must have been disappointed,” he offered a mild form of sympathy that we hadn’t been able to ‘speak’.
“Deeply,” I nodded, not bothering to hide in my eyes just how weird and awkward I thought he was. Then there it was. That first silence. I tapped my right hand against my side in impatience, and looked away as he started his usual routine of staring and smiling at me. “Well…” I finally broke the silence after a few intense moments. “I think I need some air, so I’m going to-”
“I’ll take you,” he informed me before I had a chance to finish telling him that I was leaving. He grabbed my hand and took it into his folded arm like a gentleman. “You never can be too careful these days,” he said as he began to guide me to the exit onto the balcony that overlooked the gardens of the Chase manor.
The saddest thing about my situation with Riley Finn was that my grandmother quite frequently voiced her approval of him and his family. She seemed to think that he was a ‘fine young man’, and she often turned to me after saying this and smiling said, “he’d be a catch for any young woman. He’d take care of a lady forever.” There was no doubt in my mind that my grandmother and the rest of the family would in turn rejoice if I were to one day marry Riley. The only person that would object would probably be Willow because she knows he bores me to tears.
Arriving on the balcony, I abruptly pulled my hand from Riley’s arm and moved to the stone railing to look over as if I was intrigued by the gardens and not merely thrilled to escape his touch. I felt bad that Riley could be so clueless, but what on earth could I do? When I was mean, I felt bad because he would look so innocently hurt. When I was kind, he got the wrong impression and thought that perhaps I wanted to get married. Either way, I was doomed to feel awkward around Riley Finn.
“It’s a beautiful night,” he said, looking up at the sky.
“Yeah,” I agreed, looking above to the bright stars and the full moon. The night air blew over me, and I suddenly felt a tingle creep down my spine that I’d never felt before. It was as if something was near. Something…some place…some one. I didn’t know what it was, but I felt like I should know it. I turned suddenly, my hands sliding down my arms to warm the chill from my skin. Looking out over the gardens and the beach beyond, I felt like there was something out there that I needed to find. There was something waiting there for me that I needed to get to.
Riley noticed that I was warming my skin, and he took full advantage of the situation by attempting to pull me into his arms.
“No,” I said, for once unconcerned about his reaction. I was too focused on what was down on the beach. I squinted to see in the dark night. My only lights were the candles around the garden and the light of the moon. “I’ll be right back,” I managed to say as I headed for the beach. I almost ran down the balcony steps.
“Buffy!” Riley called after me.
I ran through the gardens as fast as I could manage in my heavy dresses and corset. I made it to the fence that cut the beach from the gardens, and I pulled on the lock until it popped open and the large wooden door swung open. I ran out and looked around. Out on the beach, everything was so plain. The beach looked cold in the pale moonlight, and the ocean was lapping roughly against nearby rocks. Clouds were gathering, and there was a new chill in the wind. I couldn’t tell what it was, but there was something out here that I needed to find.
I went down the beach looking for whatever it was that was calling to me. I couldn’t see anything or anyone around. What was I even doing out here? What was I looking for? Who was I looking to find? I had no idea what the answers of these questions were, but I felt like I had to keep looking. So I did.
The beach was now separated by a wall of rocks about 10 feet high that went out into the water a little ways before disappearing below the waves. On the other side of this wall was more beach. Perhaps this was where I would find what I was looking for. Whatever that was.
I maneuvered up the jagged rocks as best as I could despite the difficulty of moving my dresses. I had a feeling that I had to work quickly because Riley would be coming looking for me soon, and I didn’t want to be taken back before I found what I was looking for. And I knew that’s just what Riley would do; Try to take me back to the ball and away from any potential ‘danger’ that he thought I, a woman, wouldn’t be able to deal with or handle. Riley thought I was fragile, but at the moment…I felt strong. Like I was about to find the thing that would make me strong like this forever. What was this thing that would give me such strength though?
I made it to the top of the rocks and found it to be slightly less jagged and fairly easy to walk across. The beach curved around a corner in the distance, and I thought I saw someone off in the distance, but I couldn’t tell from where I stood. I moved further down the rocks in an attempt to see around the turn of the beach. I went out towards the water. My eyes squinted, trying to see what I needed to see. I definitely could see something…or someone. What I didn’t see was the jagged rock behind my foot.
Before I knew it, I had tripped backwards over the wall of rocks. Miraculously I cleared the wall and didn’t hit the rocks, but I landed into the cold night water. I screamed just as the water washed over my head, giving me little to no air to breathe. I suddenly felt so heavy. My strength was gone, and pure terror had replaced it. No one knew where I was, and I couldn’t fight my way to the top.
I panicked and tried thrashing my legs and arms in an attempt to resurface. Nothing was working, and my heart was racing so fast. All around me was darkness. It wanted to take me. Wanted to hold me in its haunting embrace. But I didn’t want the darkness. I wanted the light. I reached for the light that I saw above me; the light from the moon. But it was just too far away.
I couldn’t reach it.
The darkness was starting to win. My legs were so tired and heavy, and my arms had gone numb in my panic. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. But I could do neither. All I could do was keep trying to kick. That’s when I felt something new. Arms wrapped around my waist as I took the last kick my legs could manage and the darkness began to celebrate its victory.
And suddenly it lost.
I felt myself being pulled up onto the rocks, and as something pushed on my chest I opened my eyes and coughed out the water in my lungs. I heaved all the water from my body, shaking violently and turning to my hands and knees in an attempt to breathe through my trauma and my corset. I could feel something right next to me rubbing my back…Or someone. I turned my head and looked into dark eyes.
He said nothing as he looked at me, and I felt like he could see right through me. Tenderly, he reached a finger to slide the wet hair from my forehead. “How can something as beautiful as you be real?” he asked in a low voice that sent new chills down my spine and increased my shivering.
His dark hair was dripping wet and clinging to his damp skin just like his clothing was. He looked rough, dark, and huge. The muscles I could see under his clinging clothes were rippled and firm. He was undoubtedly the most handsome man I’d ever seen in my life. I found myself realizing that he was what I had been looking for. He reached out and pulled my shaking form into his arms. “You’re OK now,” he told me. “You’re safe.” And without a doubt, I knew that I was. There was no place safer than here in his arms. There was suddenly no place I’d ever want to be.
I didn’t have a chance to say anything. Not a ‘thank you’. Not a word. I wanted to know who he was, where he came from, and if he would ever leave my side. He pressed a tender kiss to my forehead just as the moment was ended by shouts of my name coming from Riley and a few others coming from the Chase manor. He looked into my eyes and smiled softly. “I’ll see you,” he whispered and kissed my forehead once more. Settling me down gently, he removed himself from my arms and leapt down the other side of the wall of rocks.
I watched breathlessly as he faded into the shadows. In a whisper I found myself asking, “come back?”
I barely had a chance to blink before I was reached by Riley. He gathered me into his arms and held me tightly. “Buffy,” he said in complete relief. “What happened? How did you get in the water? How did you get out? Who did this to you? Tell me who did this to you.”
Willow, her mother, my grandmother, and my mother were down on the beach, being held back by the other men that had rushed out. Riley wrapped me in his jacket and swept me into his arms easily. He carried me to where my father stood at the bottom of the rocks, on the beach. I was soon in my father’s arms, and I began to cry. I was so cold. I’d never been this cold in my life.
“Quickly. Get her inside,” my grandmother said, and her command was quickly obeyed…like always.
The next day was spent in bed surrounded by blankets and heat. Willow sat with me for most of the day, reading one of our favorite childhood books and laughing with me over stories from our youth. My mother and grandmother also sat in with me for tea, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The women of the Summers family were especially protective when it came to one of their own, and I barely had a moment to myself to think about the stranger that had saved me. All I dreamed about the night before, was being rescued by those brown eyes…and then drowning in them. My dreams were haunted by him, and I didn’t even know who he was.
During one of the rare moments that day that I had to myself, my thoughts of the dark, handsome stranger were interrupted by a knock on the door. Who should walk in? None other than Cordelia Chase.
“Buffy!” she seemed relieved to see me. “Here you are!” She moved towards my bed and I suddenly wished that there was a lock on the door to my bedroom. “I heard what happened, and I wanted to come and see if you were alright.”
“I’m fine, thank you,” I attempted a smile. I knew why she was really here. She probably wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to associate the ‘almost drowning’ as having anything to do with her party. She was concerned about her reputation, and she was here to convince me that it was all my fault, and none of it was hers. While this was true, I knew that the manner she would go about making this point was going to be extremely aggravating.
“I felt just awful. I so wanted you to be there for the ball. But you had a good time, didn’t you!” It was more of a statement that she had decided I should believe than an actual question. “You had fun!”
“Yeah, Cordy,” I laughed slightly. “I enjoy almost-drowning. It’s right up there with suffocation and burning to death.”
“Oh you’ve always been so funny!” she acted as if my comment hadn’t been made, and as if she gave a damn about me. She and I both knew the only thing she cared about, was herself.
Just after the usual “after dinner tea”, I sat in silence with Willow on my bed and laughed slightly. “I didn’t pull myself out of the water, Will,” I told her.
“I can’t see how you could have,” she didn’t seem surprised at the revelation. “I can barely dance in this clothing. Getting soaked and being in the water for that long would definitely not leave me with the strength to save myself.” She was silent a moment and then she asked, “Buffy, what were you doing down there? No one’s asking because they’re all just thankful you’re alive. But I’m your best friend. I want to know what you were doing down there.”
“I was looking for him,” I admitted with a slight smile as I remembered that that was exactly what I had been unknowingly doing.
“Who?” she asked.
“The man that saved me,” I told her. “I…I was out on the balcony and I suddenly had this feeling that something or…someone…was out there. I knew I had to go find out who it was. So I went. I left Riley where he was and I ran down to the beach. I could feel him, but I couldn’t see him. So I climbed that wall to see beyond, and I saw something move. It was what I was looking for. But I didn’t see the rock or whatever it was behind me. And I slipped and I landed in the water.” I felt the fear return as I went through it all in my mind. “I was so cold, and it was so dark, Will. And I tried so hard to get to the surface, and just when I had lost my strength…these arms pulled me to the surface. He held me in his arms while I waited for you. He saved me, and he was tender and kind…but I don’t know who he was.” I looked down and laughed slightly. “He had these dark eyes…I think he was the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. I keep questioning if he was real or not. Maybe he was an angel, you know?”
“Being saved by an angel sounds nice,” Willow smiled softly.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “It does.”
The next morning, I ventured out of bed. My mother and my aunt insisted that I should stay and get my rest. My father agreed. My uncle said nothing. My grandmother made simple comments like, “I don’t think you should be pushing yourself in your fragile condition.” Fragile condition? I fell into the water, I was saved. I didn’t drown and I don’t have pneumonia. I’m fine.
It dawned on me then that the reason the women in this family were so weak was because we treated ourselves as if we were. The one time that a Summers family member is stronger than usual, we honor her by naming all of our girls’ middle names after her. I suddenly felt like a member of a hypocritical family. We claimed to be strong and independent, but really…we were weak and fragile on the inside. We secretly wanted to be coddled and treated as if we couldn’t walk on our own two feet.
With my defiant thoughts in mind, Willow and I hit the beach. One of the best things about the summer was that when you go to the beach, you have a reason to wear just a light corset. Nothing suffocates you. Nothing restricts you to sharp, tiny breaths. You almost feel like you’re not wearing one. And a world without a corset seemed like a heavenly world to me.
“So who do you think he was?” Willow asked as we walked along the beach, having taken off our shoes to feel the sand between our toes.
Willow was dressed in a pale blue dress with simple white lace trim and short sleeves. The material of our summer dresses was much lighter than even our ‘light’ evening gowns. It sashayed in the breeze and gave our skin a chance to breathe in the fresh air – a luxury we were not often granted. The winters were the worst as we would have no reason to wear any clothing that was light and comfortable. It’s not like we could join the boys outside, sledding or skating, and wear clothes that therefor allowed us to move. I secretly believe that winter sports are given to the men for the simple reason of having an excuse to keep ‘young ladies’ in their uncomfortable winter corsets.
“I wish I knew,” I finally answered. “He was there. I know he was. He was real, Will,” I looked to her. “I couldn’t possibly of saved myself, and my memory of him is so…vivid. You know?”
Willow nodded, but said nothing in response.
My dress was a soft pink with beige lacy trim and very short sleeves. Grandmother could never embrace the thought of a lady in her family wearing anything without sleeves, so naturally even our lightest dresses had small sleeves to cover some of our arms. I suppose to my grandmother, showing arm was too ‘alluring’, and perhaps it gave the ‘wrong impression’. But with my grandmother…you just never know what she was thinking.
“What do you think he was?” Willow asked suddenly.
“I got the impression that he was a human being, Will,” I told her frankly, almost laughing about her asking such a question.
“I know that, Buff,” she sighed in exasperation. “I meant…do you think he was a gentleman? Do you think he was wealthy? Because if he was, I’m sure we could ask around about him.” She was right, if he wasn’t of our circles, it wouldn’t be proper for us to ask people if they knew him. It would associate us with that “other side” to those “tracks”. That ‘side’ that grandmother despised the thought of associating with.
My memory flashed back to looking up at him. His clothing, soaked to his skin didn’t look like the attire you’d see a gentleman dressed in to attend a ball or even to attend afternoon tea. He looked…well…common. If memory served me correctly, he was wearing a simple white cotton shirt, black trousers, and a black vest. Nothing was distinguishable or fancy. Just plain and to-the-point, which gave me the immediate impression that he was either hiding from his wealthy family in commoner’s clothing, or that he indeed wasn’t born to privilege.
“I don’t think he has money,” I admitted finally, looking down at my hands as we continued to walk through the sand. We’d walked so far, and we were almost at Widow’s Peak. If we walked a little longer, we’d eventually reach the wall of rocks that I’d stumbled off of last night.
“That could make it hard to find out who he was,” Willow noticed out loud. I could only nod in response. There was a slight silence, and then she asked, “did he say anything to you about who he was?”
“No. I’ve been racking my mind trying to remember if he has, but he hasn’t,” I told her. “He told me I was safe, and he said that…” I started to smile.
“What? What did he say?” A smile crossed Willow’s face as she realized there was something cute and charming that I was hiding that was making my face blush to a light pink.
“He…he asked how some one so beautiful could be real,” I finally told her.
“Ooh,” Willow squealed in her usual giddy way. Willow was a hopeless romantic, and this was the type of thing that made her excited beyond belief. The idea of someone being charming and sweet and courteous sent chills to her toes. I knew that Willow wanted the Fairy Tale. She wanted a Prince Charming that she could fall in love with and marry.
But the sad truth was that at 17 and 19, Willow and I were more than likely to be pressured into marriages that our grandmother approved of. The idea of choosing our own husband become more and more of a dream as we got older. The chance to choose was even further from Willow than it was for me as she was older. But we continued to dream. We’d accept fate at a later time. For now…we could dream that our own Prince would stumble into our lives and love us.
Maybe I’d already met mine.
We came to a group of large palm trees, and sat down beneath them for a little shade. “I don’t know, Will…Maybe I should give up the idea of ever finding someone for myself. Grandmother will have the final decision in any relationship either of us ever have, so why should I bother finding someone and falling in love with them when in the end she may not approve and make me give him up?”
“I know I’m not the only one that hates this situation,” Willow began. “We make every decision based on what grandmother likes or doesn’t like. I feel so controlled by someone that can’t even see things our way. She won’t adjust to the times. I mean…arranged marriages aren’t right. I’d hate to think of ending up in one.” She paused and when I said nothing, she said, “You hate it too, Buff, because I’m sure if you don’t find someone to marry that grandmother likes, you’ll end up marrying…I don’t know…Riley Finn.” She laughed at this.
I groaned in frustration and stood up. “I’d sooner die a thousand deaths than be married to a man that can put me to sleep simply by entering the same room that I am in!” I reached up to grab a hold of the large, curved tree trunk. The tree bent completely towards the ground, and as a girl I’d loved to climb up the trunk and sit straddling it with the wind blowing through my hair. I was up above the world, if only just a little, and it made me feel free.
“I think you’d die those thousand deaths from boredom if you married him,” Willow giggled and remained where she sat. She’d never been one for climbing anything, and she rolled her eyes at my love of it. “Can you imagine how awful he would be to kiss?” she shook her head in disbelief at the thought.
Finally I was up the tree, and I sat with one leg on either side and spread my arms out. I raised my face towards the sky and laughed, “Willow, I am inclined to think that kissing Riley Finn would be like kissing a brother…or a fish.”
Willow burst out laughing. “You’re probably right. I imagine it would be awful.”
I paused then and looked down to Willow. “Will…how could you imagine it? I thought you’d never kissed anyone!” She didn’t respond but merely hid her face from me. “Willow, you scamp!” I shrieked with laughter. “Why didn’t you ever tell me? Who was it?”
“Do you remember Ostriker Jones? The one they call ‘Oz’?” she asked.
“Son of Richard Jones, the musician?” I asked to clarify. At Willow’s nod I answered, “of course I do! He was cute, Will. I’m sure grandmother would approve,” at this I laughed loudly.
“I don’t know, Buff,” she frowned. “He had that broken engagement with Harmony Kendall. Grandmother may not approve.” She was silent a moment and then she coyly said, “he writes me letters.”
“He does?” I was astounded. How could Willow have kept this all from me? “What do they say? Has he told you he loves you? And how was the kiss?” I had a row of questions to ask suddenly. Shy Willow wasn’t so shy any more it seemed. I was happy that my friend could have a beau.
“His kiss was wonderful,” she smiled at the memory. “He tells me how much he misses me, and he once said that he’d walk to the end of forever if only to kiss me one more time,” she giggled.
It shocked me, to say the least. ‘Oz’ Jones did not strike me as the romantic, open kind. He was always quiet when we saw him at social events. It is my belief that the saying ‘keeping up with the Jones’ was written about Oz’s family. They came from royalty in some country. I couldn’t remember which one. But that gave the rumor to the town that Oz was indeed a prince. His engagement to Harmony Kendall had been for just a few weeks. His parents and her parents had attempted to push them into courtship, but in the end it just didn’t fit and they broke it. No one really knows who broke it off, but most people think if must have been Oz because no Kendall family member would pass up the chance to marry royalty.
Oz had short red hair that matched well with Willow’s, and he was rather short. He was cute, though not the type of man that I found myself attracted to. His answers were always short and basic. I couldn’t imagine him being so open, but apparently to Willow…he was.
“I’m happy for you, Will,” I said honestly. I really was happy that she could be in love with someone. But of course, at that we both began to think about grandmother. It shocked me that even though we hated it, we always considered her opinion. It was the way we had been raised. It was the way we’d been taught to think.
There was silence then as I turned my eyes out to the rolling waves. It was so peaceful to just sit and watch the waves crashing to the shore. The scent of the wind off the water was something I’d always remember as a peace of my childhood, no matter where life were to take me. The beach was a part of me. This place was a part of me. It always will be.
Willow was about to speak when suddenly someone yelled out, “Buffy! Willow!” It was Cordelia and Harmony. Harmony and Cordelia had been best friends since grade 5 when they’d both realized they would be beautiful. Harmony had long, curled blonde hair and chubby features. Her body was perfect for her, and she was cute and pretty. Nothing that I would classify as ‘beautiful’ though. It was clear that behind the pretty face, there lay no brain.
Hearing my name called out, I turned a little too quickly and lost my balance. Letting out a sharp scream, I began to fall for what would be the second time in three days. But before I could hit the ground, I found myself caught in strong arms. My eyes were shut tightly, and it was only a few moments later that I realized I hadn’t hit the ground. I hesitantly opened one eye first, and found myself still held in the air. Opening the other eye and focusing, I turned my face to the person that had caught me and held me still.
“A lady as beautiful as yourself certainly knows how to get herself into trouble,” said my dark eyed stranger. Sure enough, it was my gorgeous rescuer from the other night. Funny how he didn’t show up until I was in danger. He was wet again, and his shirt was gone as if he’d been swimming.
For several moments I found my body, my mouth – everything – frozen. I couldn’t move a muscle. Until, “It’s you,” I finally managed to speak a word. Willow was standing right next to me, wondering what on earth was going on, and Harmony and Cordelia had rushed over to see what was happening.
My dark prince set me down on my feet when he noticed the protective look Willow was challenging him with, and he smiled brightly at me. “So you speak,” he noted. “I wasn’t sure.”
“You saved me,” I said, still unable to sound at all intelligent with my responses. I was leaning in to him, still shaky from my fall and still shocked that I was actually seeing him again and that he wasn’t a dream like I’d started to think he may have been. He was real, and I found myself unable to do a thing. He looked so incredible. So strong and handsome, I suddenly felt as if I should be trying to look prettier in an attempt to be worth even a moment of his time.
“Twice it seems,” he chuckled softly and leaned down to apply a kiss to the top of my hand which he still held in his own. His laugh was deep and alluring – like music to my ears.
“Cordelia Chase,” Cordy stepped in front of me and offered her hand deciding to make her presence known to the gorgeous stranger. Cordy had a reputation of not being as ‘pure’ as an unmarried woman should be. It had been said that she’d been with many men that were certainly below the standards of a man that she would one day be married to. Seeing my handsome man take her hand and kiss it, I felt an overwhelming surge of jealousy. She could ‘be’ with however many men she wanted…but not this one.
Just as Harmony was about to step forward and try to steal the light from Cordelia, I spoke up. “Willow, this is the man I was telling you about; the one that rescued me the other night. Without him, I surely would have died.”
Willow finally nodded at him as she realized that this was the man I had been looking for. She smiled brightly at him and kindly said in that shy Willow-way, “a pleasure to finally meet you.”
“Pleasure’s all mine,” he reassured her. Turning to me then he said, “You gave up quite the fight though,” he chuckled. “I thought you were going to make it out before I had the chance to save you.” The smile he gave me sent a warm tingle straight through my body.
“I was nearly hit by a carriage this morning,” Cordelia chimed in with a sympathy story of her own. “Some people should not be allowed to operate those things.”
“Indeed,” my dark-eyed man answered her, keeping his eyes connected with mine all the while. There was a moment of silence as he studied me, and then he said, “well I’ll leave you ladies to your day.” To me he said, “I’d ask you to try to stay out of trouble, but I rather enjoy rescuing you.” He smiled once more, and then turned to leave.
I looked to Willow, and she gave me a ‘go after him!’ expression. It seemed that Harmony was giving Cordelia the same look, and I rushed to run after him before Cordy had a chance to move.
“Wait!” I called, moving as fast as I could to catch up to him. He stopped and turned to face me and wait to hear what I wanted. “You never gave me a chance to thank you,” I told him.
He laughed, and his smile was so big that his eyes crinkled slightly in the most adorable way. “I’m listening,” he told me.
I hadn’t a clue about what to say now that I was here. I wanted to know his name. I wanted to know where he was from. I wanted to know if I’d ever see him other than the times that he rescued me from my horribly clumsy self. Finally I spoke, “I can’t thank my rescuer without knowing his name, now can I?” I smiled in an attempt to look sweet and charming. I felt as if my efforts were coming out unseen to him, but I kept trying just the same.
“Angel,” he finally said with a laugh.
“Your name is Angel?” I clarified, and he nodded in response. “How suiting,” I mused. It was only after seeing the smile creeping onto his features that I realized I’d said that out loud. “I mean, umm…Thank you, Angel. You’ve saved me from myself twice now, and I can’t thank you enough.” I waited and then asked, “do you live any where around here?”
“Nearby,” he confirmed. His face covered with wonder then as he asked curiously, “what were you doing out there the other night any ways?”
I found myself admitting simply, “I was looking for you.” It was only after that I realized that no he knew what I felt for him. I felt such a connection between us in such the short time I’d even known he existed, and now I knew he knew it too. “I’ll see you,” I looked down and prepared to leave. I suddenly felt so transparent. He could see right through whatever I said, and whatever I did. He could see my soul. Just like the other night, I felt nude before him.
“I hope so,” he finally spoke. With those three little words he made me feel like the most precious thing in the world. He looked forward to seeing me again, and that meant the world to me. I smiled up at him and he smiled back.
It was then that I realized this was my moment. I had to do what my heart was telling me to do. I reached a hand up to the side of his head, pushed myself onto the tips of my toes, and raised my head to press a tender kiss to his lips. Lowering myself and stepping away before he could react in any way, I moved back and smiled. “Bye.”
As I walked away, I felt a sense of victory. I’d found out his name. I knew he wanted to see me again. And what made it even better was that…I had beaten Cordy in this little battle.
The three girls under the palm trees were all giggling over what they saw as I walked back towards them, blushing furiously. Cordelia was giggling, but I knew that innerly she was angry. This made me smile even more than I already was, and when I reached Cordy, Willow, and Harmony, I asked, “did you see that man’s muscles?”
“That was actually him!” I said to Willow a few hours later when we were finally rid of Harmony and Cordelia. “I mean…I was starting to wonder if he even existed. But that was him! He’s real, Will!”
“I noticed. It’s often rather difficult to kiss some one who isn’t there,” she laughed. “So what are you going to do?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Are you going to see him again?” she asked.
“I want to,” I told her truthfully. “Oh I want to. Did you not see his perfection? His complete and utter perfection? I want him, Will. I just want him to hold me. The other night when he saved me…I was in his arms and there was no other place I wanted to be. It happened again today when he caught me. I felt so safe, and so right. Like that was where I belonged. I didn’t care what happened. I didn’t care what grandmother or anyone else thought. It’s like being with him was what was important.”
“But who is he? All you know is his name,” she pointed out.
“I don’t know,” I sighed. “I wish I did though.”
The next time I met Angel was three days later. I had spent the day having my etiquette studied and criticized by my grandmother, and I found myself completely exhausted. My grandmother had decided that perhaps I would benefit from one more year at Miss Marie’s to ensure that my manners and etiquette were polished perfectly. I had insisted that was not necessary, innerly despising the idea of spending one more year being told how to sit and what to say. But my grandmother and my mother had seemed to think it was a good idea. My grandmother had launched into her “in order to catch a fine gentleman as a husband, a lady must look respectable and act as if she has the world on her shoulders yet be graceful as a swan”. She made no sense to me, but she thought what she said would be taken into consideration.
I considered it alright. I considered telling her exactly what I thought of her manners and her etiquette and her criticism. I’d done everything today from walking around with a dictionary on my head, to practicing the way I sat. All day long it had been criticism. My grandmother had suddenly decided that my manners were not as good as she thought they’d been. She’d decided that I needed to be polished up, and she’d set about it the only way she knew how: by tearing me down until I submitted to her lessons. It started out with her morning comments of “Good gracious, Buffy! You’ve folded your ankles in entirely the wrong fashion” and “Buffy, how many times have I taught you that you never, under any circumstances, finish your piece of toasted bread.” My grandmother had a special consideration for the feelings of any gentlemen at the table. It was thought by some for many years that if a woman were to eat her entire piece of bread, it would worry the gentlemen that perhaps she would eat all of the bread.
Insane, right? But this is how the people of my time thought, and I’m sure this tradition of thinking has been passed down to generations after me. It’s sad, but women in my position were literally ruled by their manners and the impression that they gave to others. My entire life was to be devoted to reputation and name. I hated the thought and longed for escape.
That night, I tossed and turned in my bed until finally I gave up on sleep altogether. Still in my sleeping gowns, I crept by Willow’s bed and out the glass doors that led to our private balcony over looking the gardens and the beach beyond. I took a deep breath and looked up at the starry night sky. The moon was no where to be seen. Odd, but not rare. I walked down the steps of the balcony slowly. There were several flights for every stair case, giving little spaces to rest between sets so that a lady would not finish a full set of stairs and look exhausted. Everything in this home was designed to make a lady look just as she should…or at least, how my grandmother thought a lady should.
Arriving in the gardens, I wandered over the stone paths that led me through the exquisitely maintained flower beds and bushes. Everything was gorgeous, even in the darkness of night. The ocean called to me, and I answered by unlatching the door that led from the gardens to the beach. Wandering out, I took a deep breath of the fresh night air. It felt so fresh in my lungs. I’m sure that had grandmother been there, she would have scolded me for taking such a deep, obvious breath. Perhaps she would think that the men around would fear that I would breathe in ALL of the air, and leave them with nothing. Honestly, how over-dramatic are the women of my time?
I moved closer to the water. Tide had brought the water closer, and I walked through an inch of water and wet sand. My gown was getting wet, but I couldn’t be bothered to care. I bent down and picked up a seashell. Studying it in my hands as best I could in the dim light, I allowed myself to get lost in my thoughts.
How could it be that my life felt more restricted than that of a slave or a prisoner? At least a prisoner wouldn’t have to be concerned about the way he folded his ankles or eats his toasted bread. Men – even if they were in prison – had a much easier existence than ladies as they didn’t have to be concerned about reputation. Their lives weren’t ruled by appearance and rumors, like a lady’s was.
When I thought about it, men – or should I say ‘gentlemen – in general had it so much easier than ladies did. All they had to be concerned about was taking care of their wives, speaking the world about their children, putting on a positive face in public, and keeping the wealth overflowing. Women have so much more to tend to. We have to look perfect, act perfect, smile through our tears, tend to our husbands, tend to our children, keep up appearances, eat half of what we are served even when we’re famished, and generally act like we’re fabulous every waking second of every single day. Only when I sleep am I finally allowed a release. I’ve discovered that sleeping is like allowing yourself to be all the things you shouldn’t be, without getting in trouble for it. It’s your own time to be exactly what you want to be, and no one can say a word about how you act or what you do.
Everything is just how you want it to be.
Looking around me, the scene before me looked like that of a dream. It was dim and barely visible, but I knew where everything was. While living it, it was fuzzy because I couldn’t see so far, but my memory would be clear as crystal. Just like the memory of a dream. When you dream, it’s fuzzy. But the moment you wake up, everything is clear as can be. Afterwards the memory may fade, but you knew it once was clear.
I turned to face the ocean, stopping every step and running my hands down my arms to smooth the chill from my skin. I could see the light shining faintly from a lighthouse in the far distance. It must be foggy out on the open water. I’d asked my father why a lighthouse shone it’s light, and he’d told me a beautiful story about a father and husband that lost his way on the ocean one day when he went fishing to get food for his family. The man would surely have been lost for good if his children and his wife hadn’t shone a light so brightly so that he could see his way home.
My father said that after that, the man dedicated his life to building the very first lighthouse. And any time you see the light shining from a lighthouse, it’s really that man’s family helping him find his way home.
When I was a child, I could hear these stories and believe them. This story and few others still retained a magical essence that I adored. It was the fact that at the base of these stories, there was love that made me like them so much. If as a child I had stopped to consider how unrealistic the tale truly was, I’m sure it wouldn’t hold the space in my heart that it does today. As a child we don’t consider the things we are told. That seems to be what makes us love or hate the things we were told, when we get older. We either love that we were told magical tales, or hate that we were told lies to keep us quiet and given directions that didn’t give us choice.
I loved the stories from my childhood, but I hated the directions I’d received every day of my life. I had both. A love for my past, and a hate for the person that it directed me to be. If only life was simple. I was unaware that tears had slid from my eyes at the thought of my emotions towards my life. They fell silently, totally unaware of anything but their journey.
Lost in my thoughts, I didn’t notice the person that crept up behind me. Two rough hands slid over my eyes, and before I could scream there was a whisper in my ear of, “it’s not safe to be out here alone,” that told me exactly who it was that had masked my eyes. I turned out of his hands to face him, and he finished, “who knows what trouble I’d have to save you from?” Seeing the tears on my face in the dim light, his smile faded then. He reached a strong finger to wipe the tears from my left cheek. “What’s wrong?” he asked me, concerned.
I couldn’t say anything, and I found myself lowering my head and my gaze from his. His fingers crept below my chin and he tilted my head back up to make me look into his dark eyes. “You’re Buffy Summers, aren’t you,” he said as more of a clarification than a question.
I nodded and finally managed to speak. “How did you know?”
He smiled faintly, “who doesn’t know who you are? Your beauty is known everywhere it seems. I’ve being seeing you here since you were a little girl. I was 11 when I first saw your bouncing blonde curls and bright green eyes in the sun. Do you remember when you lost your footing and fell in the water when you were younger?”
I did. I was 6, and I’d been wading out into the water only to walk over a drop-off into water that was deeper than 3 of me. I remember an older boy had saved me, and only now did I realize that the dark brown eyes of the boy that had pulled me to shore, were the same dark eyes I looked into now.
Smiling faintly I said, “I guess you’ve been saving me longer than I’ve known.”
He smiled and nodded, “that’s the way it would seem.” There was a moment of silence and then he closed the small distance between us. Looking down into my eyes, he asked me suddenly, “How can some one so beautiful be real?” He slid one hand around my thin waist, and lifted his free hand to wipe the remains of the tears from my right cheek. “I feel like I’ve waited for you forever,” he admitted.
I knew he would kiss me. The thought made me tingle deep inside. I closed my eyes and waited. Any moment now, his lips would press against my own. But instead of feeling his lips…I suddenly felt nothing. His lips weren’t on mine. Hs hands were pulling me closer. His embrace wasn’t tight and safe around me. I couldn’t feel him against me. I couldn’t feel him at all. I suddenly wondered if he was even really there, or if he had been dreaming.
I opened my eyes to see that he had stepped away from me. He looked at me with an intense longing, yet it seemed he was holding himself so back. “What is it?” I asked. I was so sure that this gorgeous stranger would kiss me. But now I wasn’t so sure that he wanted me like that.
“I’m sorry…” he apologized, looking away from me. “I can’t.” With that, he turned and walked away.
I found that I wanted to cry. I’d felt it, and I’m sure he had too. He wanted to kiss me. I know it…so why didn’t he?
I never told anyone about that night. Not even Willow – the one that I told all of my deepest secrets. I never told anyone that I crept out into the night and met him. I’ve never told a soul until now. There are many thoughts…many feelings…and many things that I am revealing to you now that I’ve never revealed to anyone. My thoughts about the over-dramatic, complicated and pointless lifestyle I lived…no one’s ever heard them like this. It is all exactly how I remember it, and you’re the first to hear.
So what next? You may ask.
The next morning, I woke up feeling strange. Something felt different. Not wrong, just…different. It was as if I somehow knew something now that I didn’t know when I finally shut me eyes last night. What I knew…I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out. So as I went through the motions of preparing for tea at the Finn estate a few miles away, I felt as if I was in a daze. Everything seemed so unreal…like I was dreaming wide awake. It makes no sense. I know. For once I found that I couldn’t be bothered to think about how to deal with Riley Finn and his awkward silences and long stares. For once, I couldn’t be bothered to care at all about anything in my life that I usually worried over.
It just didn’t matter.
Arriving at the Finn’s, I looked just the way I should: perfect. My dress was a long, creamy beige with green flowers and a layer of see-through, cream lace over it that made the flowers less eye-popping. It was an off-the-shoulder gown that accentuated my smooth shoulders and showed just a hint of the top of my cleavage. In this dress, I looked older. I looked like a sophisticated woman.
Grandmother only ever requested this light summer dress on certain occasions, and both Willow and I knew what that occasion was as she asked me to wear it because she “liked it”. Grandmother was hoping to interest Riley even more in her womanly, unmarried granddaughter. It was in grandmother’s opinion that Riley would be a perfect math. I, on the other hand, had another match in mind.
The afternoon tea went by in a blur. I think I was polite and considerate, though looking back it’s really all a blur. The details of my story are so intricate except for this day. Everything felt like it was something out of a dream. Watching someone speak to me, I could hear what they were saying but I was mesmerized by the movement of their lips and I couldn’t understand a word that they spoke. Watching someone walk I felt as if their movements were entirely foreign to me. I didn’t know why their legs moved the way that they did…I didn’t understand the purpose of walking. Everything felt as if I was in a new world. But I couldn’t figure out what had happened to make me feel this way. I knew that the night before, nothing had happened that could make me feel different. He hadn’t kissed me. I supposed that meant he didn’t want to.
Riley did his best to get my attention all day long as my grandmother invited him back to our own manor for dinner, but I couldn’t even attempt to smile courteously at whatever ‘jokes’ he tried to make.
After dinner, my mother followed me to my sitting room where I had excused myself to. Touching my shoulder gently she asked me in a concerned voice, “where are you today? You’re walking around as if you’ve been struck by lightning.” I could only look up at her, not bothering to hide the confusion and loneliness in my eyes. “I know,” she finally sighed. “I’m not inclined to find Riley very exciting either, but…he would take care of you.” She paused and then continued, “Your grandmother told me of some information about Riley’s plans that she received through his mother. She said that Riley plans to have you as his bride.”
I barely reacted. I’d known this for some time, so hearing that my mother had learned it from a reliable source as well made no impact on me. It was no surprise, and I certainly didn’t act as if it were.
“Buffy, what on earth happened?” my grandmother said, entering the room without so much as a knock to announce herself. “You left your guest all alone. You know how incredibly rude that is. I honestly thought you’d been raised just a little bit better than that.”
“Your guest,” I whispered as I gazed out the windows at the ocean.
My grandmother, if she heard me, was unmoved by my response. She continued on, “Riley is a fine young gentleman. He comes from a prominent, respected family, and he has the means that allow him a choice of any lady around. It seems that he has chosen to court you, and all you do is ignore him and run away. I can’t even begin to wonder what happened the other night when you nearly drowned. Riley claims you just ran from him and barely heard his calling. I find this incredibly appalling, to say the least. I know you want to explore, but you can save that desire for after you are married with children. For now, you have specific obligations to-”
I turned to face her and cut her off by simply telling her in my calmest tone, “I do not wish to marry him, grandmother.”
This enraged her. “Was I asking you if you wished or wanted to marry a perfect gentleman with a good name? I most certainly was not! I was asking you why on earth you would treat him so poorly when he has shown you nothing so far beyond kindness and patience.”
“He’s dull!” I exclaimed.
“He’s shy!” she countered.
I let out an exhausted sigh and turned to my mother, “for once, will you help me? I know you’re her daughter, but I’m yours! Will you let me have a choice just once? Will either of you give me a chance to choose?”
“You don’t know what you want!” my grandmother tried to convince me. “And until you realize what you do want and need – a decent husband and children – it is our obligation to make decision for you for your own well being.”
“It’s not for my own well-being,” I insisted. “It’s for yours. Just admit it, grandmother. You want me to marry Riley Finn so that I can’t make any mistakes, right? You don’t want to give me the chance to choose, because you think I’ll make the wrong decisions and marry the wrong man. You don’t want the obligation of having to say ‘I told you so’ when I realize that I’ve made the ‘wrong decision’. Well what if I make the right one? What if I can make my own choices that don’t lead to disaster?…Every thing I do is dictated by you! Every step. Every breath. Every thought. It all comes back to you, and I can’t stand it! You’re not my heart and you’re not the voice inside my head, so why should I listen to you?” My frustrations poured out of me, and my grandmother simply took it.
After I had finished, she did the coldest thing I’d ever experienced her do to me. Worse than the criticism and the put-downs, she said the worst possible thing. “You have two weeks. Find someone better than Finn, or marry him. If you do neither…you’re out of my mind.” With that, she turned and left.
I knew what that meant. “Out of my mind,” was what my grandmother said when she intentionally forgot someone. She was threatening to remove me from the family in her eyes unless I did as she instructed. It was evil and it was manipulative, but I realize now that that was my grandmother. She would have her way whether it hurt you, pleased you, or not.
Turning from my mother who did nothing to help me, I ran from my sitting room to my bedroom. My first thought was to fling myself onto my bed and cry myself into an exhausted slumber, but a better thought crossed my mind. I made my way down the balcony steps, through the gardens, and to the beach. The sun was beginning to set, and it cast a soft glow over everything as if it were a candle.
I knew he was here somewhere. I could feel him near. I ran down the beach, holding my long dress to the side as my long hair flew out behind me. I turned the corner and sure enough, there he was; sitting on the beach looking out into the empty sky.
There he was, looking as perfect in the soft glow of the sun as any other time that I’d seen him. He seemed barely aware of the world around him as he looked out into the rolling waves and pink-splashed sky. He looked peaceful…yet out of place. His dark hair and his dark eyes gave him a darker aura that captivated me. He was my complete opposite it seemed; both inside and out, and that is ultimately what had me fascinated. He had no obvious wealth. He had no life pressures from overbearing family members it seemed. And he certainly didn’t have the light, sun-kissed features I’d grown up with. His dark appearance made him seem almost as if he wasn’t really sitting there in the glow of the sun. Like it was too opposite and too absurd to be true.
But he was really there. As I ran towards him, he became aware of my presence and turned to look at me. He stood as I reached him and threw my arms around his neck, pulling him tightly against me. “Please save me,” I whispered into his neck. “Please don’t let them take me back. Take me far away from here.” The tears streamed down my cheeks more than ever, and it was all I could do to get the words out of my choked voice.
“I can’t,” he whispered, finally wrapping his arms around my back and holding me close in his warm embrace. “I want to, but I can’t.”
“Why not?” I asked, pulling my head from his chest and looking up into his dark features. Behind him, the sun was still shining it’s last light, casting a shadow over his turned face and giving me a clear view of his eyes. He was older. That much, I could tell. By the story of when he was 11 and I was younger, I’d guess he was only about 6 years older than me. 23. That’s not so bad. I asked him again when he failed to respond, “why?”
He looked away from me, and I wanted to die. Instead of letting him turn his head, I turned it back to face me. “Why won’t you look at me?” I asked in a small, helpless voice that was really all that I could manage in my desperation. “Why won’t you tell me why I want you?” When still he said nothing, I asked one more question. “And why won’t you kiss me?”
His eyes connected with mine, and it was all I could do to breathe. The intensity of that moment will remain in my mind forever. Whenever I think of the times when we first met, I think of this very moment, and how warm it suddenly made me feel. Before I knew it, he had grabbed my face and pulled me into a passionate embrace, kissing me with every drop of his soul. I could feel him coursing through me, and I just remember feeling alive for the first time in forever. Never before had this feeling been so intense. I’d been kissed before, but not like this. This, in all honesty, was the first kiss to make me feel anything.
And what it made me feel is far too precious and difficult to ever hope to explain.
He lifted me against his body and swung me around slightly so that now it was my face in the shadows, and his, which I could barely see from the glimmer of the sun. The kiss ended, and breathlessly I looked up into his eyes. I couldn’t find the words to speak. All I knew was that finally he had kissed me and that it was everything I hoped it would be. Suddenly my day was clear. Suddenly my world was right. All I needed to make my life complete was him.
It was then that he stepped away from me. He moved back and looked at me with his dark eyes staring right into my soul as I still struggled to catch my breath. Passion was coursing through my body, and I felt as if I were on fire.
But as he backed away, the fire went out. I went to say something to stop him as he turned, but he barely heard me gasp as he ran away. I wanted to cry out in frustration and desperation, but I said nothing. Instead, I dropped to my knees and buried my face in my hands as the tears continued to fall. I didn’t understand why he didn’t want me. Was I not good enough? Was I not right? Was my kiss really that awful? Or could it be that he was as scared as I was at the intensity of that moment? I’ve never admitted to anyone that my fear during that kiss surpassed my desire and my desperation. I was afraid.
And now I realized that maybe he was too.
It wasn’t until early the next morning that the full weight of what my grandmother had said sunk in. She was threatening to take away my family for I knew that the majority of the family would listen and comply with my grandmother’s demand to cut me out should I choose to disobey. She was also taking away my means of survival. I had no skill. I had no way of knowing how to work. All I had ever known was a life of privilege. If my grandmother took that away from me by choosing to ignore me in her world, I’d have no way of providing for myself.
The worst truth I had to face was getting up out of bed. My mind was racing with a million thoughts…most of them about Angel. That kiss had changed my mind on what passion should and could be. But after the way he’d abandoned it, I wondered if maybe my feelings were truly as one-sided as he made them seem with his actions.
Dressed for the day in a light, white summer dress that went just past my knees and had short, frilled sleeves – I prepared to face the world. My hair was tied off my face but hung loosely in the back. I looked proper and sweet, but inside I was rebelling.
The biggest part of me wanted to show my grandmother exactly what I thought of her ultimatum. After all, I’m only 17! It’s barely time to classify me as an “old maid that can’t catch a husband”, right? Willow is two years older than me, and I don’t see grandmother pushing her nearly as hard as she pushes me to get a husband. I always thought that it was the older granddaughter that was to be wed first. But apparently my grandmother has another plan in mind, like always. Though I wanted to rebel, there was that inner child inside of me that wanted to stay with my family despite their actions and the results of the things they did. My grandmother could be cold and ruthless, but she was still the woman that I somehow came from. Without her, I would cease to exist today. So how could I not love her and want to do as she bid?
I skipped breakfast and instead stayed in my rooms to contemplate my choices. It was shortly after the morning tea that Willow burst into the room with a smile on her face and fear in her eyes. I looked at her and wondered out loud, “Willow, what on earth is the matter?”
“He’s here, Buffy!” she squealed in excitement, and I immediately assumed she was talking about Oz. I was immediately pleased that she would be so excited to see her beau, and I smiled at her kindly.
“Were you expecting Oz to call today?” I asked, wondering why she hadn’t been talking to me about it since she found out. Usually when it came to something this big, Willow and I would talk and plan every detail of the event to death for weeks in advance. So naturally it surprised me that she’d said nothing of Oz’s visit…unless of course it was a surprise.
“No!” she rushed over to where I stood and grabbed my arms. “Not Oz…Angel!”
My face revealed my complete confusion as a flood of questions began pouring from my startled lips, “Angel? What is he doing here? Where is he? Has grandmother seen him? Has anyone seen him? Is he inside? How long has he been here? What does he want?”
“He’s in the front entrance way with your father. Why don’t you go and find out for yourself, what he wants?” Willow smiled coyly at me.
She had no sooner said that words than I was out the sitting room door, all-but-running down the hallway that led to the grand staircase. Just before I reached the top of the stairs where he would be able to see me if he was indeed still there, I stopped and ran my hands over my dress to smooth out any creases. I took a deep breath and stepped around the corner and surveyed what I saw.
Standing near the door, talking with both my grandmother and my father, was Angel. It shocked me to the core that he didn’t seem nervous at all. In fact, he and my grandmother were both smiling as he conversed lightly with my father, who in turn was laughing loudly. All three of them turned to look up at me as I stood there, trying to hide the disbelief in my features.
“Buffy, my darling!” my father held out a hand towards me and I smiled at him appropriately like a young lady is taught to when ANY gentleman comes calling (regardless of the class or purpose of the caller). I began down the stairs as my grandmother began to speak.
“Buffy, dear, it seems that you have made friends with Angel D’Aestas. His family has been a dear friend of our own for generations, ever since our very first summer here.” She looked at me with a stern gleam in her eyes then as she spoke, “I do so wish you’d told me sooner that you’d met so that we could have invited him for tea one afternoon.”
“I barely knew myself, grandmother,” I told her honestly, pushing myself as hard as I could to make the words politely flow from the lips that so wanted to spit venom at the woman before me. I finally arrived where the three people stood and turned to Angel. “Would you like to stay for tea?”
“Perhaps after,” he smiled at me and then at my father.
“Buffy, Angel has requested my permission to take you for a boat ride through the rivers today to show you the sites as I doubt you have seen them in many a year,” my father told me the best news I’d heard all day.
I only allowed myself a small smile for fear that if I expressed too much excitement the offer would be refused by my grandmother and Angel would be sent away. “That sounds quite lovely,” I answered finally, and looked to my grandmother to finally see her nod reluctantly.
My grandmother is never one to not verbalize, however, and it was true to her character that she added as I prepared to leave with Angel, “Buffy, darling, do be back for afternoon tea and bring your friend with you. I should very much like to catch up on what his family has been up to these past few years.”
Once I was alone with Angel, I looked at him in complete disbelief. “What are we doing? And more importantly…who are you?”
“You know,” he informed me. We began walking along the familiar path that led to the private beach harbor. Willow and I had run along this very path many times in our childhood, rushing to get to the very best boat possible to rent it for an afternoon of pretending we were pirates or damsels in distress as we rowed over the gentle blue waves. “My family has known your family, and now you know me.”
“Why have I never heard your name mentioned before if our families are so close?” I peered at him curiously. “I would think…well…Would I not have heard of you sooner?” I finally asked.
“Our families have a somewhat…rocky…history. Your grandmother, I knew, would be civil, but I’m sure to be harassed at a future point with questions about how my family has dwindled since we were close friends generations ago. See…our families were indeed as close as can be generations ago. But a difference in opinions eventually led to the polite yet relieving parting of the friendship. Since then my family has died and lost the wealth we once possessed, while the Summers name carries on in elegance and composure.” He explained the past as we neared the harbor. “When I was seven, I moved into a small home with my grandmother on the beach to escape the pressure from my parents to be the D’Aestas that would revive the family’s fortune. It was in the summers that followed that I first saw you.”
That explained the history and the reason why I’d never heard of his family before. His family had become…well...“common”, and we all know by now that my grandmother does not take well to associating with common, as old a friend as they may be. My only wonder now was how on earth Angel and I would survive tea with my grandmother. She may be polite to Angel out of respect for how close our families had apparently once been, but there was no doubt in my mind that she would hold a certain amount of resentment towards anyone from a family that had allowed itself to fade and descend along the lines of class.
Angel had a simple, white row boat ready and waiting for us when we arrived at the harbor. He guided it through the rivers easily, every movement looking graceful and planned. He had also had a simple white umbrella waiting for me to guard myself from the hot rays of the sun. I smiled at the planning that had gone into this event, but continued to question myself about why Angel would go through such trouble to see me. After last night, I’d gotten the impression that I was certainly not who Angel wanted to be near to. Now it was looking as if I was wrong while the doubt lingered in the back of my thoughts.
“So why have you never spoken to me before this year?” I asked finally as the boat reached a small clearing beneath a large Willow tree that hung over the river like a sheet. I lowered my umbrella as the sun was blocked where we were now, and watched Angel as he set the oars down and moved closer to me.
“I wanted you to grow just a little bit older,” he admitted after a moment of thought about what he would say. “I’m a few years older than you, and I didn’t want to simply appear intimidating in any way at all. The truth is that I hadn’t planned on introducing myself until next summer.” He smiled at me then as he paused, “but I guess you had a way to speed things up.”
I looked down from his smile and laughed slightly, “yes. Intentionally almost dying to get some stranger to introduce himself? – Works every time!”
He chuckled softly and our eyes joined once again. There was a moment between us where he simply watched the way I reacted to watching him. I know it makes no sense, but it was as if we were both watching each other for a reaction of some kind that would betray some hint or clue to an emotion. I was the first to lower my gaze, and as I gazed into the water around the small boat I could feel his eyes continuing to concentrate on me.
There were a million questions and thoughts racing through my head and battling for dominance. I wanted to ask him why he’d brought me here. I wanted to ask him why he had watched me for so long. I wanted to ask a million things, but there was one question in particular that begged to be queried. Alas I gave in, and looked into his eyes to ask him, “do you regret kissing me last night?”
There was only that brief moment where he seemed to be just a little uneasy, and then he looked calmly to me and answered, “no. I don’t.”
I had half-expected him to tell me that he had indeed regretted it and that the reason that he had brought me out here was to tell me that he would never feel ‘that way’ toward me. So you can imagine my surprise when this half of me was wrong. The other half, was rejoicing that he felt no regret over what I could now firmly identify as the most intensely passionate moment of my existence…up until then, at least.
I showed no surprise on my features as I thought about what I should say next. But finally I concluded that the only logical next question seemed to be, “so why did you leave me like that?”
He straightened immediately, as if water had just been splashed onto his face. He looked away from me and said nothing. He gained this ‘far off’ look in his eyes as if to show that he were contemplating one of Life’s greatest mysteries…Like why the sky was blue and not green.
I realized then that perhaps my question had embarrassed or annoyed him, and the lady in my rushed to retract it by saying, “I’m sorry. I fear I may have crossed my boundaries just now.”
Looking back to me then, he smiled. “There are no boundaries with me.” Before I had a chance to even consider what to say next, he continued, “have you ever wondered why fate exists?” I looked to him and shrugged my shoulders, still not trusting myself to speak. But he kept speaking as if he hadn’t really even asked a question, “I used to think that fate was something that we’re taught by our parents to believe exists. Like a God or something. I always assumed that we learned about it just because our parents had been taught by their parents, who had in turn been taught by their parents. It never dawned on me that fate was more than something we’re taught. The expression ‘everything happens for a reason’…I realized it could actually have some form of truth when I first saw you.” He looked into my eyes as he spoke those words.
His eyes moved back down to his hands as he toyed with his fingers, and he said, “I wasn’t looking for anything when I first saw you. You were innocent – barely old enough to fully comprehend the world around you, yet there was something about you that made sense to my soul. It was as if every wrong turn in my life and in my family was right and meant to be because it had led me to you.” He paused, and then said, “And that’s how I know fate exists. I know it because I feel its plan for me is you.” His eyes locked with mine and he held my gaze as he spoke these final words, “you are what I was meant to live for.”
I felt myself near tears, as if everything he’d spoken rang so frighteningly true to everything I knew that I could barely stand its power. The only words I could even try to speak to reason the moment were, “you barely know a thing about me.” I looked into his eyes and saw that he had moved closer.
He smirked softly and whispered, “I have the rest of my life to learn,” and with that, his lips captured my own.
He pulled me close and wrapped his arms around me. I found myself completely powerless in his embrace. A part of me knew that this was wrong. My grandmother would never approve. But the bigger part of me wasn’t inclined to care what anyone else thought. The man before me was ultimately everything I’d ever hoped to find, and now that he was with me I knew exactly where I belonged. I knew exactly what I had to do. I knew exactly who I was.
Pulling out of the kiss finally, he looked deeply into my eyes. His eyes betrayed a new emotion: hope. It was as if suddenly he thought that maybe he had a chance to be with me, although in all honesty I would have expected him to be this hopeful a lot sooner. It was painfully obvious that I was his, and if he hadn’t seen that until now, I wondered if perhaps he was blind. Finally he asked in a low, hushed voice, “come away with me?”
I wanted to agree. I wanted to tell him ‘yes’ and fall back into his embrace…but something held me back. What it was?…To this day I don’t really know. It could have been my fear, as I was certainly afraid of the intensity I felt when I was around Angel. It could have been my dedication to my family. It could have been a million things. But whatever it was, it held me back. I looked down, giving him my lack of answer as an answer for the moment. Although he was definitely upset inside, he said nothing to me about his disappointment. Instead, he tilted my face to his own, kissed me once more briefly, then moved back to his seat and began rowing again.
The rest of the time in the boat was spent in silence. While not uncomfortable, it was definitely not as it should have been. I shouldn’t have spent so much time analyzing every single motion he made looking for a hint that he wanted me to leave. While it was true that I had analyzed every motion before we spoke under the Willow trees, at that time I had been analyzing them to look for clues to his emotions. Now I was looking for hints that he wanted me out of his world.
We arrived back at the harbor and still he said nothing. As he led me home, his hand occasionally touching mine accidentally, he still said nothing. Occasionally he gave an apologetic look for touching my finger, but other then that he betrayed no thoughts in his actions or his words. I was confused: Had he not just wanted me only moments before? What was it that suddenly made him so indifferent to me? I could only wonder to myself, because he certainly gave me no clues.
When finally we were back at my home, it appeared as if he was readying himself to bid me “good-bye”. Something inside of me jumped at what could be my last chance today to keep him from leaving. I reached out and touched his arm before he could say a word, and asked him, “would you care for some tea?”
He looked as if he was ready to object, but I wouldn’t let him. I slid my hand into the crook of his arm and smiled, “afternoon tea is always the best time to sit with the family. No one is still cranky from a lack of sleep, or tired after a long day of arguing. It’s a comfortable ‘middle’ time. The best time to deal with my grandmother, I’d have to say.” I continued to speak, allowing him no chance to as I led him in to the big estate home.
Awkward, couldn’t begin to describe the silence that surrounded the family as we sat out on the veranda for tea. If Angel not being there wasn’t awkward enough, it was substantially more uncomfortable due to the fact that Riley had stopped by while Angel and I were out, and my mother had invited him to tea not knowing who was already coming for the event. So there we sat. My father and Wesley had gone to attend to some business for a few hours, and were not in attendance, but my mother, grandmother, Delilah, Willow, Riley and Angel were all there.
Angel seemed to mask his emotions well. I somehow knew exactly what he was feeling. He felt horribly out-of-place and a little upset by the fact that Riley was there. Riley, on the other hand, made little to no effort to hide what he was thinking. It was clear to anyone that saw his simple eyes, that he was indeed upset that some other man was spending time with me and my family – even if that man was obviously not on the same ‘level’ as Riley believed himself to be.
Willow, Delilah, and my mother seemed to find the entire situation quite amusing, and they showed so as they tried to stifle their smiles and giggles. My grandmother showed her lack of appreciation for the mood of the afternoon tea by frowning at the three giggling women, and looking to me to do something before she disowned me on the spot for not having the manners to speak.
I finally took it upon myself to lighten the mood. It was, after all, because of me that both men were here in the first place. I supposed that for once, my grandmother had a reason to look at me with such force in her eyes. If she didn’t make me speak, who would? If any of the other ladies at the table spoke, their words would contain hints of laughter that would indeed prove embarassing to my grandmother.
What was interesting about my grandmother was that despite how much she believed herself to be on a different level than “common” folk, she somehow continued to care what they thought of her. Now, for example, she cares deeply that she may be embarassed in front of Angel. I can only imagine that she cares so much about what the “common” folk think of her, because she wants everyone to see her as fabulous. And I mean EVERYONE.
Finally, I cleared my throat and began to speak. To Willow I said, “I can’t believe the year will be 1900 in just a few months.”
Willow somehow managed to stifle her laughter as she replied with a polite smile, “I know. It seems like just yesterday that it was 1890. Remember, Buffy? We thought the world would change completely just because two numbers of the year were changing.” She smiled at the foolish memory.
I expressed my gratitude to her through my eyes, and turned to my grandmother, “Grandmother, do you remember what Willow and I did on the eve of 1899?”
My grandmother smiled and politely told what she remembered, “I remember that you both went through the house trying to pile things on top of the furniture in an attempt to keep it from blowing away when the year changed. The guests at our party found themselves seating onto a pile of rocks on every chair.” She almost seemed fond of the memory, but then her discontent returned as she looked to Angel and then to Riley to say, “Riley, your parents were at that party, but I believe they left you home.” She sighed and then said, “such history our families have together.”
“Yes,” I immediately pointed into the conversation again before the two of them could start reminiscing and making Angel feel bad. “It’s interesting that Angel’s family goes back so far with us too, right grandmother? I mean, it seems as if everyone we know has been a friend to this family for years and years.”
“How is your family, by the way, Angel? I so seldom hear anything about them any more. It’s as if they’ve all but vanished.” my grandmother studied Angel scrupulously.
“My family passes as the years do, M’Lady,” Angel remained composed, polite and completely unemotional as he responded. “My parents, you may remember, Sarah and Marcus, have gone to the South of France for the summer, and I hear they’re having a marvelous time. I spent the majority of my time with my grandmother, who’s told me fond memories of her childhood with you.”
“Ah yes,” my grandmother seemed displeased that he had answered so well, but she did well in hiding it with her smile regarding the memories. “Jessica was always so fond of the ocean, as I am. We spent many hours walking down the beaches looking for sea shells. She had a special liking for the pink ones.”
“She still does,” Angel smiled at the thought of his grandmother, whom I could tell meant the world to him.
“You must remember to have her come see me for tea some day soon,” my grandmother said, as if she almost genuinely wanted her to. “We have so many years to catch up on.”
“I’m sure she would be quite pleased to come,” Angel nodded politely. “her health is rather timid these days, so I might have to escort her over some day when I’m not working.”
“And where do you work, Angel?” my grandmother pounced on the comment as if ready to expose him as the “common” that she believed he was so impeccably hiding. “Anywhere I would know?”
“Actually, you may very well know of it,” Angel smiled at her, “I spend fall, winter, and spring as a General in the U.S. military. I spend my summers here with my grandmother, but the rest of the time I serve in the military – occasionally overseas, but usually here in America.”
Well, he had certainly left that important fact out of what he had told me about himself, hadn’t he?
I could see my grandmother innerly die. Her chance to prove Angel as “common” was definitely not going to be happening today, especially since it was just revealed that he served this country that she loved so dearly. She almost smiled at what he had said, pleased perhaps that things could definitely be worse for me. “Buffy, darling,” she turned to me and smiled, “you didn’t tell me that we were having tea with a General.”
“So sorry, grandmother,” I apologized to her with a smile, and then looked to Angel, “it must have slipped past me.” The double meaning of my words registered with Angel, and he almost looked apologetic. But I smiled at him despite the fact that I had been thrown slightly. He was full of surprises, and this one seemed to redeem him slightly in my grandmother’s eyes.
It was then that Riley finally spoke up to make his presence acknowledged again, “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be in the military. Tell me now, Angel,” he turned to Angel and in his most ‘challenging, powerful’ voice, he asked, “do you get shot at often?”
Angel seemed rather untouched by the tone of challenge in Riley’s voice. If anything, I think he found it amusing. “Not since I was first called to battle,” he looked right at Riley and continued, “I was shot in the arm on my first day. Never since then, in the five years I have served, have I been scratched in any way.”
“Well,” my grandmother smiled, “wonders never cease, now do they?”
Angel looked right at me as if speaking of me being a Wonder, and said in a calm tone that agreed with my grandmother, “they never do, My lady.”
My grandmother, looked unimpressed.
After tea, I escorted Angel to the door as per my grandmother’s hints, and she followed behind us, keeping a close watch on every move that we made together as if looking for one last reason to despise him.
“Do remember to tell your grandmother to come see me, Angel. It’s been a pleasure having you,” my grandmother spoke up.
“I assure you the pleasure has been all mine,” Angel smiled politely at her, bowing conservatively. “Perhaps tomorrow would be a suitable date for my grandmother to stop by.”
His comment seemed to startle my grandmother, and I think she innerly hated that he had actually decided to take her up on her ‘polite yet not so serious’ offer. She held her composure, however, and smiled brightly. “Tomorrow afternoon would be just fine. I have a garden tour in the morning, but the afternoon is wide open. I’m sure she and I will have a marvelous time catching up on everything we’ve missed. She must have quite the story to tell. Do bring her by.”
Angel nodded, “I will do so.” My grandmother left then, bidding adue to Angel one more time. Angel turned to me and smiled, “I think I survived.”
“You’d do better surviving if you had told me you were a General,” I said with a teasing smile. “Things would have gone much better from the beginning if you had. My grandmother would have been nice out of respect to the country, not just a mild respect for me and your opinion of her.” I laughed slightly.
Angel smiled and took my hands in his own, “meet me tomorrow morning. We’ll spend the day together.” He looked straight into my eyes as if to judge my reaction to his request.
I smiled, “I’d love to.”
Riley watched from a nearby position hidden slightly from our view as Angel leaned down and applied a tender kiss to the back of my hands. He then pressed a kiss to my forehead and smiled, “I’ll be here in the morning for you.”
Gazing into his eyes, I confessed, “I’ll count each moment.”
I barely slept a moment that night. I found myself glancing out the window every moment, praying that the sun would go down quicker, and then I began to pray that it would rise faster. It was around 5 in the morning when I finally decided that it was a suitable time for me to rise from bed. Willow sat up the second my feet hit the floor and laughed at me, “I was wondering how much longer you’d last laying there.” We both laughed, and she turned back into her pillows to continue resting. She knew she’d be getting the full, detailed story later.
I headed to my changing rooms and Kenya followed me in. I’d told her the night before that I was very excited for the events of today, and she had somehow known that meant that I’d be getting up and ready early. So naturally, she was awake and waiting for me when I finally entered my dressing chamber. She smiled brightly and asked, “what color, Miss?”
Laughing at how incredibly transparent I was to everyone, I told her honestly, “I don’t even know where to begin. Please just help me look good, and…” I gazed into the mirror, “mature.”
Kenya and I spent about two hours giving me the perfect look. A look that screamed: I just threw this on!…but don’t I look fabulous?
We chose a soft yellow dress that was accented with soft pink threading and a light pink lace around the short sleeves and dropped “U”-shaped neckline. The dress stopped just past my knees, and every movement I made allowed the material to swish and toss in the air around me. It provided a wispy, dreamy effect and I knew it was just the right one. I’d only ever worn it once before, last year in fact, for a summer party. I remembered that wearing it had given me appreciative glances from all the boys in the room, and jealous glares from Cordelia and Harmony. Cordelia’s V-neck, green dress had done nothing to compare to my own, and Harmony’s tight red, short (scandalous) outfit had done nothng but make my grandmother prepare to faint.
For my hair, it had been decided that leaving it down in slight, bouncing waves was the best way to go. I a dded a simple, thin lace choker and decided that everything looked as best as it possibly could without looking TOO overdone. I didn’t want to look like I’d spent as long as I had on this outfit, and I certainly didn’t want to look like I was preparing for an elegant evening out dancing…and yet, I wanted to look as special as I possibly could for Angel.
My feelings for Angel were conflicted. I was loving every moment I saw him, and every second without him was pure agony. I knew he was making me feel things I’d never felt before for anyone, and yet I couldn’t exactly sort out what those feelings were. Could they be lust? Desire? Longing? Obsession? Love? Whatever they were, I was drowning in them, and I found that the last thing I wanted to do was surface.
I waited in the gardens that led to the beach, wishing to myself that I’d asked Angel exactly what time he wanted to see me. A million thoughts ran through my mind as I waited. Had he changed his mind? Had he been hurt and unable to get a message to me? Had he found something better to do? Had he asked me to come with him merely to get out of the house without having to say ‘no’ to something that I suggested? Or was he really on his way and I was just being paranoid?
My thoughts were interrupted then, by a noise behind me. I turned towards the house to see where it had come from, and there was my grandmother, looking quite nice in a soft purple dress. My grandmother, older though she may be, knew how to dress to look striking. And standing before me, she looked just as she should; perfect.
“Good morning, grandmother,” I smiled softly, wondering what she was going to say to me. Would she ask me where I was going? Would she ask me who I was waiting for? I knew what the honest answer to that would be, and I knew she wouldn’t like it. I could just imaginbe what she’d say if I answered, ‘I’m waiting for Angel, and I don’t know where we’re going or what we’re doing. Wish me luck!’
But my grandmother smiled genuinely at me and said, “good morning, dear. Your escort is waiting at the front for you.”
I smiled, “thank you.” My smile faded, however, when neither of us moved. I knew she was going to say something, and it was probably going to be something along the lines that she was sending Angel home with a vow to keep him from ever seeing me again. I waited for her to say something, anything, with a nervous anticipation in the pit of my stomach for two reasons: First, because Angel was here! And second, because he could very well be gone with a flick of my grandmother’s wrist.
“Buffy, darling, I don’t need to tell you that Angel is…well…”
“Not what you want for me,” I sighed, knowing how she would finish her sentence.
“He’s a nice young man,” she began.
“But I believe it would be best if the two of you remained friends, and no more. I spoke again with Riley after tea yesterday, and he told me that he high intends to make you his bride one way or another. I believe it would be best for everyone involved, especially your new friend, if you accepted Riley as your future husband.” My grandmother’s tone was hesitant in a way I hadn’t remembered it could be. Did she perhaps think that maybe with Angel, I would run away?
“You have history with his family, you’re seeing his grandmother this afternoon for tea, and he’s a General in the military. Granted, he’s no booming pile of wealth, grandmother, but his name is just fine. What is so wrong with Angel?” I knew what it was, but I didn’t want to mention it. I knew why my grandmother despised my friendship with Angel. She knew that I would fall in love, and she knew that love, as great as it was AFTER you were married, was something horrible to battle before the wedding.
My grandmother had long ago warned me that love was something that should take time, or else it could be all-consuming, obsessive, and generally too powerful. She said that when it came to choosing a husband, love clouded your judgement. But to me it felt as if love made things so clear. Everything was so clear as I look back on it and remember that at this point I was falling in love with Angel.
“I just don’t think he’s for you, dear,” she said calmly. There was a moment of silence, and just as I opened my mouth to speak, she cut me off. “Now go see your friend. It’s very rude to leave a caller waiting.” It broke my heart that she emphasized the word ‘friend’. It was as if she was saying to me, ‘I know you think he’s wonderful, and he loves this country and serves it will, but he’s still not good enough’.
I brushed past her abruptly, not caring if it was rude and improper to swipe against another woman as I walked. I knew she stared after me as I walked, but I didn’t care. Once I was inside the manor, I took a moment to compose myself. I reminded myself that I was spending the day with Angel, and I immediately felt better. Today could still be great. Today WOULD be great.
Angel was waiting in the front, and when he saw me his face broke into a big smile. “Buffy,” he breathed, his voice barely more than a whisper. He swept his gaze over me and I blushed. “You look like heaven,” he said as he stepped close to me. It was then that he pulled the rose from behnd his back, and presented it to me. “One rose for my angel,” he smiled, and took my hand to kiss it.
I examined the rose and smiled, “no thorns.”
“I took them off,” he said matter-of-factly. “I never want to see harm come to you…even if it’s something as tiny as getting pricked by the thorn of a rose stem.
I melted at his words, and took the arm he offered me. With a bright smile, he led me from the house into the bright day. I had been right. Today WOULD be great. There was no way it couldn’t be.
Or so I thought, at the time.
It’s amazing how much can happen in a day. In just twenty-four hours, so much can change. You can wake up on the day of your wedding, completely free of all of the obligations of a wife, and go to sleep with your mind racing about the proper conduct you should for ever more exude as a Mrs.
The most amazing part of today was that I had no idea that anything would change like this. It’s really today that my story changes. Up until this point, you’ve learned the base of this tale. But now I’m going to tell you what really happened, and what took place that made this story significant enough to put down as a piece of history. Now, I will tell you what makes this story so incredible, and so necessary for you to hear. Today, is what changes me. Today, is what changes Us.
Angel took me from my home to the boats once more. A boat was ready and waiting, stocked with a small pile of things beneath a plain black sheet that kept me from seeing what he had brought with us for the day. He helped me into the boat and held my hand for support to keep the boat from rocking as I was seated. Then he got in and we left the shores behind. I never knew how different I would be when I returned to the shores. I never knew how much would change.
The boat ride was fairly silent. We spoke very little, mostly about the weather, the calm feel of the water, and how it usually was this time of year. The silence wasn’t awkward. It was comfortable…comforting. It’s a memory I’ll never let go of, for it truly was perfect. I could watch him in the morning sun, and just be silent. No words were needed. Nothing was rushed, and nothing was necessary. The only thing that mattered to that moment, was that we were together and it was quiet. Nothing else had any effect on us. If only every moment could be so perfect.
We didn’t head down the rivers. Instead, we rowed out into the ocean, along the coast. The boat ride was about an hour’s time…but it passed by so quickly. It was nearly eleven when Angel pulled the boat to the shore of an island in the middle of somewhere I’d never been before.
“Where are we?” I asked as Angel docked the boat and secured the rope tightly. He said nothing as he turned to face me and offered me his hand other than, “you’ll see.” He pulled me to the dock as if I weighed nothing at all, and told me to turn around. I did as I was told and he retreived the few things from in the boat. He told me to wait where I was, and he turned and left for a few moments. He returned empty-handed, and I assumed he’d put whatever he’d brought, on the top of the small hill that led down to the little dock we stood on.
His hands slid into my own as he faced me and he whispered, “I want to show you something. Something I’ve never shown anyone before.”
I smiled softly; my heart was fluttering at the thought of being a first for something in his life. I doubted there were many things he hadn’t experienced, and it thrilled me to the core to be a part of one thing he’d never done before…Even if it was as small as showing someone something. Afterwards I look back and realize that perhaps this was the biggest First for him, ever…for this was the First, that brought me into his world.
Angel guided me up the side of the little hill, and told me to close my eyes. I did as I was asked, and waited. He guided me as we walked for a minute or so, and I remember how completely I trusted him. I knew he wouldn’t let me fall, no matter what lay in the path that I was walking. Angel would never let me down…
He would never let me fall.
Finally we stopped and he moved to stand behind me. His hands moved to my arms, and I could feel the rough skin of his palms against my arms. His touch was so light as he trailed his fingers up and down my skin. Finally his hands rested, and I felt the heat of his breath on the back of my neck…and then near my ear. He breathed in the scent of me, and waited for what seemed like an eternity before he spoke. When he spoke, his voice was deep and soothing, “open your eyes.”
What I saw, made my mouth drop in surprise.
I bet you’d like to know what I saw, right? You’d like to know what made me so shocked. You’d like to know what was such a secret. And most of all, you’d like to know what happened after I opened my eyes. You’d like to know what I did with the information I gathered from the moment my eyelids lifted to reveal what was right in front of me. You’d like to know what happened after I saw Angel’s secret. You want to know what his secret was…so I’ll tell you.
Before me, was a beautiful stone home. Not quite as large as my own summer home, but big just the same. It was surrounded by stunning gardens filled with lilac bushes and rose flowers. Everything was perfect. From the white trim surrounded the windows to the intricate carving in the stone pathway that led to the home. The sunlight was shining in a direct ray onto the house, making it seem as if it were something out of a dream. It was beautiful and charming, and it was blessed.
And then I realized, that it was Angel’s.
I turned to face him with questions in my eyes. But he said nothing. He simply took my hand and smiled. “It’s ours,” he whispered.
I was confused. How could it be ours? How could it be his? How had he found it? Did he own it? Who did? My mind was racing, but I could see that now was not the time for questions. I knew that like always, Angel would only leave me wondering for so long. Eventually, he would tell me what was happening, and it would all make sense. I could trust him with everything I was. And this was a time where there wasn’t a single doubt in my mind that I was safe. I was safe because I was with Angel.
He guided me down the stone walk way that led to the little mansion, and then he opened the door and took me inside. The house was beautiful inside. Oak staircases and marble floors made it truly majestic. It was expensive, I could tell. But it surprised me that it was empty. There was no furniture save for a few statues of cherubs and angels. There were no pictures hanging on the walls, and no chairs to sit upon. It was empty…and yet it felt full.
Angel closed the door behind us and led me from the grand entrance, to the left. He guided me through beautiful room after beautiful room. The home was bright and sunny with a million windows to let in the bright light that shone down all around it. He led me finally to two large, glass doors that took us out onto a stone balcony overlooking the ocean. The view was incredible. The water was endless, and just off the island I could see dolphins. Angel let me look for a few moments, and then he took my hands and turned me from the view to face him.
“This island belongs to my family. It’s what is left of what we used to have, and it’s mine now. I swore to myself that it would be a place of love and destiny, and I swore that I’d never come here with the intent of staying, unless the person I intended to stay with, was by my side.” Before I could say anything, he spoke again to reassure me, “I’m not saying that we have to stay now. I just…I wanted you to see it, because I feel like…like you’re the one I’ll stay here with one day.” I wanted to speak, but I couldn’t find the words. I’d barely known Angel for that long, but at the same time I’d always known him…and maybe I’d always loved him.
“Buffy, I…” he tried to speak again, but he stopped. He moved slightly, and I wondered what he was doing or where he was going, but then I realized he was moving downwards. And then suddenly, he was on his knees before me, looking up into my eyes and gripping my hands tightly between his own as if they were the one thing he could depend on at all times. “I’ve loved you forever,” he looked up at me; emotion behind his eyes that I couldn’t interpret. He looked shaken, and he looked broken. His voice was rough and trembling, but he spoke just the same, not caring how he seemed to me. Finally he asked, “Be mine forever?”
I breathed sharply, my heart stopped for a moment as my life lit up with joy at his request. Forever was a long time, and I had no doubt that I wanted to spend it with Angel by my side and in my heart.
He was in the middle of repeating his wish when I reached down and pulled him up into a kiss that would seal our love forever. He pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around my waist. How he’d gotten to his feet so quickly was beyond my mind and unimportant to that moment. All that mattered was that I was in his arms, and I’d never felt this alive before.
Angel lifted me into his arms, and the world faded away. The kiss slowed to a soft tenderness that I’d never known could be so sweet. His kisses became like the wings of a butterfly; there and apparent, and yet barely touching the air. They were soft and fluttery, but yet they held a purpose, just like a butterfly. A butterfly brings beauty and light to the world, and as a butterfly brightened the world, Angel was brightening my life with every gentle caress of his lips…with every gentle dance of his butterfly wings.
**Oh thinking about our younger years,
There was only you and me,
We were young and wild and free.**
He carried me from the sunny balcony, back into the beautiful home that we would one day share together. I knew now that nothing could ever change that. If I had doubted it when he spoke, I didn’t doubt now that he loved me now, and he always would. So naturally any doubts I could have possibly possessed about him and I always being together, were gone away with any other doubt. No questions clung to my mind as he kissed me. No fears passed through our minds like a shadow threatening to pour down chaos and thunder. No thoughts of the future other then that he would be in mine, dared to drift into my conscious soul. I was his…I was in his arms…And like I’ve said a million times by now…that’s all that would ever matter.
Angel freed one hand and picked up a red velvet comforter that was tossed onto the mantel of the beautiful stone fireplace of the room we were in. He bent down to his knees, never once breaking the kiss or letting me go, and he managed to arrange the red duvet on the solid floor as if it were nothing at all. Then he finally broke the kiss. I was breathless with excitement and rapture, and yet I felt as if I’d barely begun what I knew was coming ahead of me. I knew he wanted to love me…and I knew that now would be the time that he chose to do so.
**Now nothing can take you away from me,
We’ve been down that road before,
But that’s over now…you keep me coming back for more.**
He smiled softly at me, and I smiled back into his dark brown eyes, my eyes then drifting back to his lips. He wrapped his arms tightly around me, and leaned me back onto the velvet-covered ground. Covering my body with his own, he continued to kiss me with such a gentle passion that I felt as if every fibre of my being was on fire.
How could this be so sweet? How could it be so perfect and so right? As Angel kissed me, everything made so much sense, and everything felt so perfect. There was nothing better than this moment. There was nothing better than this feeling of being completed; whole; filled with such an incredible mix of lust and love. I knew then, and I still know now, that no amount of love-making with Angel will ever compare to the moments where he simply kissed me, and loved me – reaffirming it with every touch of his lips to my skin.
His hands trailed over my arms. I was increasingly aware of the roughness of his hands, once again, as he ran them all over me. It amazed me as I felt the vibrations they created along mine skin, that something so hard and so rough, could be so soft and soothing. I realized then that the soothing part was the fact that he was touching me, and not the touch itself. It was the mere realization that he was tracing his fingers over my arms, that made the vibrations and shivers that danced over my skin; so vivid.
**Baby you’re all that I want,
When you’re lying here in my arms.
I’m finding it hard to believe, we’re in Heaven.**
I’m not so sure how the next events came to pass. Looking back in my memory to this moment, the removal of our clothing seems a blur in the hazy fog of my mind. It’s but one missing piece of several. Time has worn away at many of my pleasant memories, and yet this one – though missing pieces here and there – remains the most untouched.
So it came to my realization finally, that I was completely bare to his touch, and he was bare to my own as well. I finally began a gentle exploration of his body – not sure even at that time if it had been I that removed his clothing, or if he had done it on his own. But again, it was unimportant as I trailed my fingers down the smooth, firm contours of his back. I could feel him against my leg, and I remember feeling one pure moment of fright as I realized what was happening, but I also remember that as soon as it arrived, it faded back. It was just a moment. It was chased away by my love and my want of the incredible man I was holding in my arms.
I remember how innocent I felt, looking up at him. Here he was, and he’d seen almost everything. He’d seen a man die in war. He’d seen women. He’d experienced life, and I had yet to be released from the protecting shelter of my existence. I was half his size, if that, and yet none of these things seemed to matter. I was innocent, yes…but I was his equal, just the same. He wasn’t looking at me as if I was young and breakable. He was looking at me now, as if he knew I could be the strongest thing this world had ever seen, if he was by my side. It was as if he knew what I realized then…that together, nothing could hurt us.
**Your loving is all that I need,
And I found it there in your heart.
It isn’t too hard to see, We’re in Heaven.**
His kisses trailed down to my neck, and over my collarbone. His left hand slid between my legs, and I remember that I tensed for a moment, but only a moment. For with his touch came a sweet feeling of delight as his fingers began to stroke me so tenderly. It wasn’t a rough and unkept touch. It was gentle and comforting.
It was perfect.
“Buffy,” he spoke my name softly as his one hand continued to massage between my legs and the other stroked down my chest and over my left breast. I could tell that he wanted to ask me if I was OK. I think he even wanted to find out if I wanted this. But all I could do was pull his head down to my own, and kiss him. Where my courage came from, I’ll never be sure, but the next thing I knew, I was guiding his naked manhood towards the center of my thighs, and praying that he would take things from there.
He did, and tenderly, the hand that was between my legs moved slightly, to part my netherlips and test my readiness by sliding one finger into me. I felt a moment of discomfort as the new sensation registered in my mind, but then I felt at ease as I realized that it wasn’t all that bad.
**Oh once in your life you find someone,
Who will turn your world around,
Pick you up when you’re feeling down.**
Angel moved slightly, still keeping his lips near my own as he pressed them against my skin, all around my jaw and my cheeks. And then he whispered to me, “I love you,” as he prepared to move inside of me.
I remember my thoughts at this point, exactly. It started with a realization that I was losing my innocence and my virtue, before marriage, and without the approval of my family. Then I remember not caring who approved, because I felt inside how much I wanted to make love to Angel. And my final thoughts as he slid inside me, were that from now on…I knew I’d never want to be anywhere other than in his arms.
He pushed inside me completely, and then he stilled every muscle in his body and just watched me. He watched my features loosen finally as I relaxed to the discomfort and allowed it to drift away. I encouraged myself to take long, deep breaths to calm my nerves and allow myself to ease further. And while I thought that by now he would have begun to move again, he remained still and silent – as if knowing exactly what I needed, and being completely respectful of me.
**Now nothing can change what you mean to me,
There’s a lot that I can say,
But just hold me now…cause our love will light the way.**
He looked into my eyes, and smiled softly. There were no words exchanged between us; merely the same thought of our new and yet timeless love. We both knew this was it. We both felt the emotions connecting and bonding in a form that could never be broken.
His hands were braced on either side of my head, and I reached my left hand to his right hand, and pulled it close to me; linking my fingers with his own and feeling the bond between us strengthen. It was then, as I held his hand tight, that he finally pulled out of me, and pushed slowly in again. My eyes felt dry, and I could feel uncomfortable tears forming behind them as if to soothe the burn of the dryness. But I held back my discomfort, and eventually managed to relax once more.
He began moving in and out of me in an achingly slow rhythm. Half of me wanted him to speed things up to get it over with…but the other half of me, the bigger half, was beginning to enjoy the way it felt. I was starting to experience trickles of pleasure with each stroke of him inside me. As if somehow knowing how to make those little drops of ecstacy expand, Angel moved to angle his hips differently, and push deeper inside of me. His hand released my own and moved once more to rest between my legs, right on the top of my mound. He began to massage me gently with the palm of his hand, and I couldn’t help but feel overcome with delight.
**Baby you’re all that I want,
When you’re lying here in my arms.
I’m finding it hard to believe, we’re in Heaven.**
I remember that it was at this point that I began to sigh and make little noises with every thrust of his hips to meet my own. I let out a moan at one point, and I remember the smile that slid across his features as I did so. Perhaps he liked knowing that even during this difficult first time, he could give me such pleasure. I’ll tell you now that of all the times I’ve made love…this one, though the most painful, was somehow the most pleasurable. I find it to be so, because it was the pain that made Angel so desperate to please me. It was as if he knew that now, more than ever, I needed the pleasure as a distraction. And if there’s anything that Angel is good at…it’s pleasuring my body to the point where I can barely move.
His rhythm finally increased, and I remember wrapping my arms tightly around his back and burying my head in his neck, as if clinging to him to save my life. It was all I could do to hold on as the seas rocked and tossed me from all reason into this incredible world where Angel’s hand and his cock inside me, were the only things that mattered. I wanted to scream as the pleasure mounted, but I held it in and tried to calm myself yet again. It shouldn’t feel so good so fast, should it? It shouldn’t be so pleasurable...so delightful. I shouldn’t be enjoying his deep thrusts and gentle hand motions so much, should I?
**Your loving is all that I need,
And I found it there in your heart.
It isn’t too hard to see, We’re in Heaven.**
He kissed me, a long a deep kiss. His tongue massaged over my lower lip, and he moaned into my mouth, sending vibrations through my tongue that matched the vibrations in my body. I could feel something approaching. I didn’t know at the time what it was, but it felt like something big. It felt like something I’d never experienced before, and yet it felt completely right.
“Angel,” I remember whispering his name into his neck as the pleasure and his rhythm increased yet again. I faintly remember the sound of him sliding into me, and moving against me. But I barely remember anything else. The only sound that I’m positive I heard, was the beating of our hearts. It was so loud that I’m sure anyone could have heard it from five miles away. My heart raced and pounded in my chest, and I found myself desperate to contain my moans as he continued to massage me and plunge so deep inside me. I remember how wet I was; he slid in so effortlessly. And yet at the time it wasn’t far enough. I wanted him further inside me, and to help this along I recall liftng my legs to wrap them around his waist to help pull him inside me with every stroke he made.
**I’ve been waiting for so long,
For something to right,
A love to come along.**
It was building. Everything was getting hazy. I’d never experienced an orgasm before, and I remember as we both exploded a few moments later, wondering how I had lived so long without this type of exhileration in my life.
I remember being able to feel him cumming inside me at the exact moment that my inner walls began to clench around him. I screamed his name, I think. He moaned mine, I’m sure. And I found then that he was plunging into me harder and deeper and faster than he had yet. It was so filling, so satisfying, so perfect. And it seemed as if the ripples if delight that rocked through me would never end.
**Now our dreams are coming true,
Through the good times and the bad,
I’ll be standing there for you.**
But finally, we began to slow. Or, he did at least. Our hearts continued to race as he slowed the rhythm of his thrusts slightly. With every stroke, he slowed. And yet his movements were just enough to keep the sensations rolling through me. I let out a contented sigh and remembering looking up at him through hooded eyes. He smiled softly at me, and finally pulled the hand that had been continuing to stroke me, up to cup the side of my face. It was sweaty and smooth, no longer as dry and rough as it usually was, and I turned my face to the side, slowly, giving him the chance to move his hand if he so choose. But when he didn’t move his hand, I shut my eyes and kiss his palm tenderly.
He leaned down after several long moments of allowing me to kiss his sweaty skin, and pulled my lips to his own for a tender kiss. I felt so sated, and so exhausted. There was a mild discomfort as he pulled from me completely and turned to pull me into his arms. He began to press soft kisses to the top of my head – soothing me into a state of complete satisfaction. It was unbelievable that anything could be so incredible…and yet, I knew that as long as it was Angel I was making love to…it would always be this way. It would always be this good.
It would always feel so right.
**We’re in Heaven.**
please feed Angel
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