Treacherous Love

Author: Angel

Summary: Rich, beautiful Buffy Summers is sent to live with her absent father, Hank, in Devil's Gorge. There she meets Angelus, the son of rich, powerful William D'Aestas, and both have awful reputations. Should she trust her heart and follow what it tells her? Or should she listen to what she's been told, and stay away from Angelus...And the danger that follows him.

Disclaimer: None of the characters portrayed in this story belong to me. They belong to Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt, Mutant Enemy, and everyone else who made them. I am simply using them for my own pleasure, and the pleasure of whoever might take the time to read this. This story is entirely my own, and has nothing to do with the actual events on the shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Angel. ** -The hotel "Princess Palace" is my own invention, any similarities or coincidental resemblances to any real hotel is purely coincidental. The song "Trouble" by Coldplay belongs to the singers, song-weiters, producers, mixers, editors, executives, and whoever else has edicated their time in to it. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Rating: NC-17

Feedback: Please let me know what you think!


Part 1

It was the summer of 1999. The year that I was to turn twenty. My final year of a fun and care free existence would be drawing to a close at the end of the summer. As per normal, I was not pleased about what the future held. My father assured me that it would be fabulous, and that he would have a blast showing me his world…Of course, that didn't mean that I would be having a blast.

Up until I turned nineteen, I had lived with my mother in New York. My life was that of luxury and class. My mother held the highest standards at all times. Even the maids had to have gone to Princeton or higher for her taste to be sated.

Then there was an accident, and my mother was killed. It was the hardest time for me. For the first time, I found I had to experience what I hadn't seen before…Life.

I was sent to live with my father, the rough-but-classy millionaire, Hank Summers. He was to be the base and bane of my existence until I was married and on my own.

For the first month that I spent with my father, I basically stayed indoors in his Chicago condo. But now the summer has arrived, and he's taking me to Devil's Gorge. He is so excited about showing me the farm, and taking me to all of the parties.

I, however, am not impressed.

Devil's Gorge, is basically the classiest place for horse lovers. I've never been that exposed to horses. My mother always believed that horses were for men or look, not for a proper young lady to ride like some type of ill-mannered prostitute.

But secretly, horses have always fascinated me. They are beautiful, sleek creatures with such strength, agility, and speed. I never understood how mother could see something that was so beautiful, and regard it with an ill eye. But then again, mother was a strange woman.

Devil's Gorge, as I was saying, is the world where the rich come to play. The country clubs and racing stables are everywhere in the rich, bountiful land. It is proclaimed as one of the most exclusive paradises in all of the world. My father is one of the most feared and respected men in the history of Devil's Gorge. Thus proving how much I am not looking forward to this summer.

What I mean by that, is that if I appear suddenly as the beautiful and mysterious daughter of Frank Summers, I will become the most sought-after prize. Thus providing me with countless suitors, none of which will look beyond my beauty or my name.

Basically, men.

My father, however, assures me that only the best of the best will be in my presence, and by the look on his face when he introduced me to the butler, I could tell that he meant it. My father, though he has never been there, has always been protective of what he views as "his property". I have recently been informed by the maid, that I am to be viewed as his latest and possibly greatest acquisition. This all means one thing…Controlling fathers will be shocked to see what this man will do to protect his new "little girl".

I'm almost positive that he'll have already fed half the town a story about how my mother was a controlling rat who insisted on sole custody, and now that she has gone he has the right and ability to spend his every moment with the daughter that he loves so very much. I can't begin to express what a lie this is.

First of all, my mother was hardly a controlling rat. She was a frigid woman at times, but only because of the standards by which she had been raised. She was responsible, polite, and well achieved. She was one of the first women in our family to ever attend university. She had insisted. Her parents might have protested originally, but my mother had been determined to learn.

My father, on the other hand, is a rather different story. He made it as far as high school, and then with his daddy's permission, he dropped out and has since lived his life as an inheritance mongrel with loose morals and unzipped pants. What I mean is that my father shoots from affair to affair with little to no knowledge or regard for the women who he so effortlessly hurts. Basically, he's your average man.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I hate men. That couldn't be farther from the truth. I'm just saying that I hate every man I've ever met. You know the kind I mean. The soon-to-be-rich-and-powerful-once-daddy-drops-dead kind of men. If I could find just one man in this sorry bunch of country club mongrels, I would be satisfied.

But I don't know if the kind of man that I so desire exists.

The man I want to find is intelligent and classy, but not afraid to stay in bed all day. I want someone who can laugh and joke with me in public, without worrying and looking over his shoulder to see what the rest of the guests at the ball will think of him and his marriage.

But as I said before…This man does probably not exist in the bunch that my father will permit me to see.

So for now, I grin and bare it. One day I shall find something that is truly my own. Until then…I am left with Devil's Gorge, my father, race horses, and rich bachelors and their over-bearing mothers.

Feel for me.

The Tale Begins...

"Buffy-darling!" My father called in his rich, powerful voice from where he stood on the front stoop of his luxurious mansion in the heart of Devil's Gorge. The sparkle in his eyes as he showed me the land had almost been enough to make me laugh. He was so utterly pathetic in his attempts to make me treat him as my father, and my patience for his needs to sate the appetite for being a father, was almost gone.

I looked out the window of the limousine that wasn't facing my father and shut my eyes. I took a deep breath. Come on, Buffy. You can do this. It's not that big of a deal. If you got through a party with Anya Standfield and her fiancé, Xander, on the hottest day of summer when the air conditioning decided to break-you can get through this. It's not that big of a deal. Just get out of the limo.

My little pep-talk encouraged me somewhat, and I allowed myself to put my hand on the door handle. I took another deep breath, and prepared to open the door to greet the world.

Unfortunately, two seconds before I was to open the door, it opened for me and a round face popped into my line of view.

That moment of surprise caused me to scoot back on the seat and let out a startled shriek.

The smiling face thought nothing of my alarm, and burst in to a full-out 'Greeting of Kings'-as my mother would have said.

"You must be Buffy. It's so great to finally meet you. I'm Geoff's daughter. You know who Geoff is, right? He's your father's premier horse jockey. I stay with my father in the guest house on the back of the property. I'm so excited to finally meet you. I've heard all about you from my father and your father. Your father talks about you all the time, you know."

I finally shook my head until it bounced back to reality. I stopped staring at the sparkling blue eyes before me and said, "I wasn't aware that my father spoke of me to anyone. I thought I was a secret."

Intuitively, I knew this girl posed no threat to me, so I started inching forward on the seat, to get out of the vehicle.

"Of course he talks about you!" The round face laughed. I thought I heard a snort amidst her giggles, but I wasn't listening too closely. "You're a secret to everyone off the farm, but around the barns-everyone talks about you. Your mother sends pictures and information to your father every month about you and your latest achievements. It's like waiting for Christmas when we wait for the letters."

She finally backed up and let me out of the vehicle. As I stepped out of the car and straightened up, she asked, "how is your mother, by the way? I hear she's quite beautiful.-But then she'd have to be, if you're related to her. You're breath-taking."

"She's deceased," I informed the girl bluntly. "But I'm still alive. And yes, she was quite beautiful." I wanted nothing more than to be gone from this place. Gone from my father. Gone from this incessant girl. And gone from Devil's Gorge.

"Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that," the girl stopped talking for a moment. Then she brightened and said, "we're going to be great friends-you and I. I can see that now."

I attempted a smile, but I feel that it fell flat. Luckily, this girl was too oblivious to notice that. I smoothed the air by asking, "can I know the name of my new friend?"

She looked for a moment, as if I had slapped her, and then she burst in to a fit of giggles. "I can't believe I didn't tell you my name!" This time, I was positive that I heard a snort. I believe I may also have heard her choke on her giggles. She stopped laughing and said in that bright, cheery voice, "my father is always telling me that I forget to introduce myself, and I just start rambling as if I've known the person for years. He's always saying to me that it's very rude, and that I should know better."

She giggled again.

As much as I didn't feel like knowing this girl…Ever; I really did want to know her name. "Your name?" I asked her again.

She seemed confused, "huh?" she asked in a rather bored, unsophisticated manner.

I took a deep breath to keep from screaming at this idiotic woman, "your name? What is your name?" I hoped that she understood me before I started screaming at her. The last thing I needed, was to play the guessing game with her.

She giggled, and pulled on her long, brown hair. The hair simply hung all around her round face, and her blue eyes just screamed her innocence. "My name. I get it now," she laughed.

"Good," I sighed. "What is it?"

She smiled, "my name's Fred. Fred O'Keiffe. I'm the daughter of Geoff. You know who Geoff is. He's the-"

"Premier horse jockey of my father's horses," I finished for her, shutting my eyes to check my anger and frustrations.

She smiled brightly, "wow. You took the words right out of my mouth! That's exactly what I was going to say!"

I looked at her as if she was crazy, but tried to act normal as I said, "wow. You don't say."

Just then, my father made the kindest act to me that he had ever done. He saved me from Fred. He called from where he stood, "come along, darling! You can meet with Fred later."

"Hello Mr. Summers!" Fred waved at him with a big smile on her face. She was waving so hard that I thought for a moment that I might get knocked into the mud.

"It was nice meeting you, Fred," I told her. "But now, I really must be moving along." With that said, I nodded and turned towards where my father was.

I walked over to him, and as I was walking, I heard Fred say, "she really is beautiful."

I suddenly found myself wishing that I hadn't worn such heavy clothing. The sun at Devil's Gorge was so strong and heavy that I felt like I would melt. I was wearing some black pants, and a light, pink, long-sleeved sweater. I had my black jacket tossed over my arm, but now I wondered why I'd even bothered to bring it with me.

My long, blonde hair hung down my back; perfectly straight and calm. I also started thinking of elegant ways that I could wear it up. I loved having my hair down and long, but with the heat here, I was quickly realizing that it would be next to impossible to keep it without fainting.

I reached my father and he said, "well, darling, what do you think of Devil's Gorge?"

I looked from him, to the long expanses of green grass and white fences. There were horses scattered her and there, but basically the land was just green. I looked back to him and sighed, "you're enjoying this far too much, Mr. Summers. I do believe that."

He sighed, "darling, I do wish you would call me father. Contrary to popular belief in New York, I desperately wanted to share custody with your mother over you. Please don't despise me simply because she won out over me."

"My mother would never deprive a righteous man of visiting his daughter," I said firmly. "If anyone is to blame, sir, it is you. You and your loose morals and lack of emotions towards anyone but your latest female companion, and perhaps the bottle. Now, if you don't mind, I am near death from the heat, and I wish to take a bath once I get out of these heavy clothes. So if you will have me shown to my room, we can pretend to be a happy family at a later point today."

"Buffy-" he began, but I cut him off.

"Don't worry, Mr. Summers," I rushed to reassure him. "If ever we are around your rich, socialite friends, I'll put on the act of perfection and call you My Wonderful father. However, until then, I do so wish to have nothing more to do with you for the afternoon. I shall see you at dinner, Mr. Summers. Good day." I nodded politely at him, and then turned and went in to the large structure before me.


About an hour before dinner was to take place, I heard a knock on my bedroom doors. I looked at the door for a moment, and then realized what had happened. It took me a while to figure it out, because I wasn't expecting to be disturbed for at least another half an hour. I had been informed by my father that dinner was at eight.

I sighed and looked back down at my book. "Come in!" I called regretfully.

I had enjoyed my bath very much, and since then I had basically confined myself to my room. I was reading through some old poetry books that my mother gave me when she thought I was "old enough to appreciate them in full".

I was surprised when I looked up after the door opened, and didn't see my father. Instead, I saw a short woman with tanned skin and dark hair pulled off her face in to a pony tail. Her deep eyes were gazing at me in a friendly way, and she had a pleasant smile on her full, dark lips. She was dressed in a basic, cream-colored business suit that explained her job was incredibly serious.

"Hello," I said with a slight frown. I could only begin to wonder what this woman was doing in my room.

She smiled again, "hello. You must be Miss. Summers."

"Buffy," I corrected her. "Everyone calls me Buffy."

She smiled that dazzling smile once more and said, "so sorry. Buffy, then. I'm Willow. I reside in the south wing of the manor. I'm your father's financial advisor and close friend. I was told of your arrival just a few moments ago, by your father."

I tried to smile as I said, "splendid." I knew that my every move was lacking for enthusiasm, but I couldn't be bothered to care. I was miserable, and it was true that I was looking for a great amount of company in my misery.

"I know you wish not to be disturbed," she said, taking a few steps towards me, "and I do apologize for the interruption, but I was told to deliver a message to you by your father, Mr. Summers."

I wanted to say sarcastically, "what other father would I have?" But instead, I checked my hostility and asked, "what may the message be, Willow?"

She smiled softly, "he informed me that there has been a slight change in the dinner plans, and that he wishes for you to accompany him to dinner at a friend's this evening."

"This evening?" I finally gave her my full attention. "But I just got here! Surely he can't want me to just adapt to what he wants me to be in not even one day!"

She sighed and stepped a bit closer, "I apologize on behalf of all of your father's short-comings."

I frowned and didn't check my sarcasm now as I replied, "you certainly have a lot to apologize for, then."

She surprised me by laughing and saying, "how right you are. How right you are."

I took a moment, and then loosened my hate. I apologized to Willow, saying, "I'm sorry for the venting frustrations I'm giving you. However, my life hasn't exactly been all that grand recently, and I am looking for someone to inflict torture upon. You seem like a nice woman, so I'll forewarn you that I'm a nasty person when I'm miserable."

She smiled and said, "it's no concern, Miss. Summers."

"What is it that my father wants from me?" My brow furrowed when I asked, and I imagined my face looked like I had just sucked a lemon, but I wasn't too concerned for my appearance at the moment.

"He said that he wishes for you to join him at dinner at a friend's home. Perhaps you've heard him mention this friend. The family name is D'Aestas, although they often just go by Destas."

"I haven't heard him mention them," I said, getting to my feet and wandering over to the large, glass doors that led me out to the marble balcony that overlooked the gardens.

"Well, he's a very close friend of your father's," Willow said, appearing behind me on the deck. "He has a wife named Chanelle, and two daughters: Harmony, and Darla."

I turned to look at her, and she continued to speak.

"They're heavy in to their horses, much like everyone else in this area, but they also have a high interest in the logging company that Mr. D'Aestas-his first name is William-inherited from his father when he died," she explained, looking straight in to my eyes.

I found it hard to dislike this woman simply because she was associated with my father, so I found myself civil and polite all of a sudden.

"They also have a son," she added.

"A son?" I quirked an eyebrow, and then realized how that made me seem. It made me appear man-hungry, and deprived of all male contact of any kind. "I mean…What's his name? Perhaps I've heard my father mention him a few times."

"I sincerely doubt it, Miss. Summers," she assured me.

"Buffy," I corrected her once more with a genuine smile this time-the first smile I'd had in a while.

She smiled back and continued on, "yes, Buffy, I sincerely doubt that you've heard your father mention their son. Their son is a bit of a 'wild child'-as they may say. He's bounced from girl to girl for many years, and never felt a twinge of emotion towards any of them. He's dated them all, I assure you. Rich. Poor. Thick. Thin. Beautiful. Models. Actresses. His father doesn't speak of him all that often, but apparently he is very proud of his son's achievements."

"Like what?" I asked, trying to sound casual, but surely failing miserably with my attempts.

She sighed, "well, he has a great mind for architectural design, I hear. I've never personally seen his work before, but I hear it's quite magnificent. And then, of course, the more women you can get-the more friends you'll have in this society."

"I see," I turned to look out at the gardens again. There was a moment of silence, and then I asked, "so what is his name?"

"Excuse me?" she seemed confused.

I turned to look at her. "This 'Ladies Man'. Does he have a name? Or is he just a title?"

She smiled, "he has a name. A very suiting one, at that."

I shrugged casually, "well, what is it?"

She smiled, "Angel."


My father, of course, had underestimated the amount of time that I required to get ready for a function such as that he had decided to make me attend this evening. Naturally, however, I did pull it off, and venture forth from my bedroom an hour later, looking as good as I thought I could in the time granted.

I had asked for Willow's advice about what to wear, and had been thoroughly pleased when she had selected one of my favorite dresses. It was long, black, and sleek. The thick shoulder straps led to a low V-neck line. The dress was form fitting, but not over-revealing. It left quite a bit to the imagination, without making one ponder for too long.

Her selection of shoes had also been impeccable, and the way she had the stylists do my hair and make up made me wonder why she was wasting her talents around my father.

My father smiled brightly when he saw me descend down the grand staircase that led to the front doors of the manor. "Buffy, you look marvelous, my dear. You remind me so much of your mother."

I almost laughed as I asked in amazement, "you mean that you'd actually remember?"

He smiled slightly, "my dear, I do not wish to fight with you every moment of our time together. Can't we just be civil, warm and loving for tonight?"

I allowed him to put my black, see-through wrap on my shoulders, and then I glanced back over my shoulder at him and said in a wistful tone, "and all the days of my life."


"My dear, there is something that you should know about William D'Aestas' son," my father said as the limousine pulled in to the long, winding drive way that led to the D'Aestas manor.

I smiled softly as I gazed out the window. "What's that, father? That he's a self-obsessive womanizer with an eye for architectural design and a hand for getting in to non-emotional relationships?"

He sighed, "I guess word travels fast."

I glanced over at him and said, "there's no need to preach. I've been forewarned of Angel. And trust me, father…There's no need to worry. Men like that only get one thing from me."

"And what's that, my dear?" My father asked.

I smiled softly, turning my head to look out the window again. I sighed and said softly, "detest."


Part 2

The limousine stopped in front of the large, white mansion, that in my opinion was more like a castle. The door on my father's side was opened by the chauffer, and once my father was out, he waited and offered me his hand for my assistance.

I sighed, took a deep breath, and accepted his help. The moment he helped me out of the limo, I put on a mask. My mask was one of confidence, beauty, and elegance.

My mother may have been hard for some people to deal with, but she knew how to keep people emotionally at bay. That was one of the things that I had admired about her the most when she was alive. Her ability to be so friendly and courteous with someone, without ever giving off the impression that she wanted anything to do with the person.

The moment I was out of the limousine, the door was shut again, and the sound was like that of a cell door closing…Locking me in.

The doors to the manor opened, and revealed a man in a black tuxedo. He smiled broadly, and held out his arms in a welcoming gesture. "Hank! It's so good to see you!"

I took my father's arm like a good little girl, and he led me up the steps to where his friend was waiting.

"William, it feels like it's been forever," my father said with a grand smile. He held out his hand to shake Williams. I stepped back at this, and removed my hand from my father's arm.

I was glad that I had done so, when the two, finely dressed men exchanged a hug. I had no idea that my father was capable of being that close to anybody!

After the embrace, my father turned and held out his hand to motion me forward. "William, this is my daughter, Buffy. Buffy," he smiled at me, "I'd like you to meet Mr. D'Aestas."

"How do you do," I smiled brightly at him, and held out my hand like a proper lady would.

He bowed over and kissed my hand gently, lingering for just a moment too long in my opinion. "Please, call me William," he smiled at me, as if thoroughly entranced by something I'd done.

The way that he was looking at me reminded me of how some rich man would eye up a new car for his collection…Or in this man's case, a new horse for the stables.

However, I showed no emotion but friendliness. "William, you have a beautiful home," I complimented him with my brightest smile. "It truly is a masterpiece."

"Thank you, Miss. Summers. Perhaps one day I can give you a tour," his smile was charming and full.

I still remained the same as I replied, "that would be wonderful. But please, call me Buffy."

He grinned, held out his arms in a welcoming gesture, and announced in a loud, rich tone that made me jump back in surprise at the force of it, "Buffy, it is then!"

I was given a brief tour of the main halls by Mr. D'Aestas, and then we were called to dinner. I followed my father and Mr. D'Aestas in to the dining hall, not sure of what I would find when I arrived.

I stood behind my father and Mr. D'Aestas, as my father was re-introduced to everyone, and made cute comments about how much the girls had grown, or how Mrs. D'Aestas was still more beautiful than anything he'd ever seen.

Then, Mr. D'Aestas stepped to the side to reveal me to the rest of the room. "How very rude of me, Buffy," he said. "I do so apologize." He smiled, and I stepped forward. "Everyone, this is Buffy. Buffy," he looked at me and smiled, "this is my wife, and our two daughters, Darla and Harmony." He motioned to each person with his hand as he spoke their names.

I calmed myself for a few milliseconds, and then I lifted my head and my gaze to the table of people before me.

The two, blonde girls that looked to be about my age that I guessed to be the daughters, froze as they were and just stared. And the older woman with dark, short curls that I took to be Mrs. D'Aestas, stopped lifting her drink to her lips.

Mrs. D'Aestas found herself first, and said with a bright smile, "Buffy, it's a pleasure to finally meet you. Your father has told us so much about you," she stood up and offered me her hand.

I shook it tenderly and said with a bright smile that I hoped didn't appear as forced as it really was, "I'll bet he has."

Mrs. D'Aestas sat back down again, and before I could greet the two girls, someone started walking in to the room, mumbling his regrets for being late, from the door opposite me.

"Hello everyone. Sorry I'm late, but you won't believe that I had car trouble in the mountains, and had to walk down to the nearest gas station, where some guy named Bubba lived in a garbage heap out back. Bubba happens to think that tattoos are an art form." The person kept his gaze down as he walked in to the room.

He went over to Mrs. D'Aestas, and kissed her on the cheek, "mother, you look wonderful," he told her.

She smiled at him and then said, "thank you, Angelus, but you're being quite rude at the moment."

He was silent a moment, and then asked with confusion on his face, "how?"

She held out her hand towards where I was standing, nervously playing with my fingers, and said with a smile, "we have guests, my dear. Do greet them."

It seemed to take an eternity for Angelus' eyes to notice me. But when he did, he did a double take. His lips parted slightly, and I wondered why I seemed to have that effect on most people. It made me feel like a portrait to be admired in an art gallery.

But then his eyes met mine. I held his gaze, but soon found myself lost. The deep, brown eyes that stared at me from his perfect features made me want to scream and run away in fear…Or run forward and hug him in excitement.

We were knocked from our moment when my father stepped forward to Angelus and said, "Angel, my friend, so good to see you again. I've heard all about your success in Palm Beach. Very good work, I hear. Extremely commendable."

Angelus looked to my father, and then at his hand as if he suddenly wondered what it was there for. Then he caught on and smiled in greeting. "Nice to see you again, Mr. Summers. I was so sorry to hear about your wife's accident."

My eyes widened as I heard what he said. My father's wife? But that can't be true! My father and my mother have been divorced for many years now. Unless they're secretly still married so as not to shame the family name with a divorce. Or unless my horrible excuse for a father and a human being, has been telling everyone that he is still married, and using my mother as a piece to win him friends with her extreme popularity.

I looked at my father, and checked my anger and hate as I heard him repeat what he had said. "Buffy, darling, this is Angelus D'Aestas. This is William's son."

I looked in to Angelus' eyes again, and my hand drifted forward to meet his own. "I'm very pleased to meet you," I said in a voice that I didn't recognize as my own.

He bent down to kiss my hand, and when he did, I felt him lingering just like his father had. Only this time, I found that I didn't mind as much…Or perhaps I minded more. I could not decide at the moment. I placed the thoughts on back burner then, when he straightened once more and said, "I hear you're my date for the Charletaine ball which I believe is hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Chase next Friday." He looked back to his father for confirmation, and his father nodded. "Yes," Angelus smiled at me again, "the ball is held in honor of Miss. Cordelia Chase. She's the only daughter-only child actually, of Mr. and Mrs. Chase."

I looked to my father, and wondered how I could hate someone as much as I was hating him at the moment…Especially someone apparently in my own gene pool.


The ride home that evening, was filled with conversation. I was upset, and my father was trying desperately to calm me down.

"But why was I never told that you were still married to my mother?" I asked hysterically. "Why was it such a secret to me?"

"I didn't want her to look harsh and uncaring just because she wouldn't let me see you," my father tried to explain.

"Why couldn't you just tell me the truth about everything. I mean, contrary to what you may think, father, I am not a child. I think I have the right to know when things are going on that may directly effect me." This led me to another point. "And another thing!" I announced, and turned my head to look at his face.

"Good Lord, what else could I have done?" he sighed.

"You know exactly what you did, Mr. Summers," I said in a level tone. "You went and told some womanizing maniac that I would be his date for some ball, without even telling me there was a ball!"

"William did it to him, too!" my father tried to make an excuse. "It's like a blind date sort of thing. You could have a lot of fun with Angelus. I hear he is a splendid dancer."

I scowled at him, "you have no morals. How in the world am I related to someone who has no morals?"

He laughed slightly then and said, "knock back a few shots in to her, and I'll let you know that your mother wasn't exactly the picture of perfection either, my dear."

"Now you're going to work on ruining my image of my deceased mother?" I looked at him and showed in my face that I couldn't believe it. "Do you ever feel these little things we sometimes like to call emotions, father dear?"

He laughed then, much to my surprise, and said, "my dear, the Charletaine ball is a major event, and I thought it would be a great way to introduce you to the society here, if you were accompanied by an extremely popular, and handsome young man such as Angelus."

I crossed my arms over my chest and said, "if you like him so much, why don't you go with him to the ball?"

"My dear, you'll have a blast. I assure you. Now let's stop arguing. I have no wish to fight with you every time we meet," he said.

"Not like you have much of a choice in the matter," I rolled my eyes. I knew I was being stubborn and unreasonable, but I couldn't be bothered to care all that much.

He didn't seem to notice or mind my rudeness. Instead, he said, "I'm having Willow take you shopping tomorrow, and hopefully you'll find just what you'll need for the ball."

"Goody." I sighed.


The next day, Willow did as she was asked, and took me shopping for a dress for the Charletaine ball. The stores in Devil's Gorge were limited to fancy evening gowns, and sexy lingerie. I wondered where on earth they bought their every day clothing when they were stressed. My mother had always said "when in despair, buy shoes". But here, there were barely any stores except those for formal wear. What were they to do when they were stressed? Go out and buy a corsage? It made no sense to me.

We went through dress after dress, and it seemed that I couldn't find one that I liked. Sure, there were many beautiful gowns in every store, but it seemed to me that nothing fit like it did in New York. Everything here hung differently that the dresses in New York.

I noticed right away, just why that was. Most of the women here were lacking in the chest area, so when I tried on a dress, it had to be a size or two larger than I would usually wear, so that I could fit in to the top. But then the rest of the dress would just hang down.

Around noon, Willow made a call as we sat down at a small café for a bite of lunch. I didn't pay too much attention to what she was saying in to the phone, feeling that it would be an intrusion of her privacy in the event that it was a personal matter that she was discussing.

When she set her phone down, our salads had arrived. I didn't ask her about the call, and after a few moments of silence, she asked me with a curious smile, "aren't you wondering what all of that was about?" she motioned to the cell phone next to her plate.

I shrugged softly, "it's your business."

She laughed outwardly then and said, "it's never my business. It seems that everything I do is for your father, or the farm. However, this time was different."

"So, it was good of me not to ask, right?" I raised an eyebrow and smiled softly. I took a sip of my water.

"No, it was about you," she said simply.

I looked at her sharply. "What about me?" I asked. "What did I do?"

She laughed, "nothing. Let me assure you. You didn't do anything wrong. I first spoke to your father, and then I called a designer friend of mine that is vacationing in Devil's Gorge at the moment."

I frowned and asked, "how are those two people connected with me?" I didn't see the connection.

She explained then, "they're connected because…Since nothing so far has fit right, I've resorted to calling in a fitting for you to have something made for the ball. I clarified it with your father, and then arranged a meeting with my designer friend for this afternoon."

I was silent a moment, and then I asked, "what could possess someone like you to work for my father?"

She grinned, "it's called money…Honey."

At this, we both laughed outwardly.


Part 3

Wednesday came around, and my father decided that it was time for my first riding lesson. However, he then informed me that all of his horses were either in heat, or too difficult for a beginner to handle. So he decided that I should have my first lesson at the D'Aestas manor. Mr. D'Aestas had no problem with this, and organized for someone to teach me to ride, and find me the perfect mare.

I wandered around the barns, looking in to the stalls at each horse. At one stall, the door was too high for me to see over, so I stood on a bale of hay. I pulled myself up, and held on to the bars of the stall door so that I could see in.

The name displayed on the feeding trough was 'Desire's Delight', and the horse inside was more beautiful than words. The sleek, tan mare looked at me as if trying to decide if I was worthy enough to see her.

Then she surprised me by stepping to the other side of the stall, revealing a tiny foal of the matching color.

I felt my heart melt as the big, brown eyes looked up at me. The foal was precious and adorable. It blinked twice at me, and then scurried over as fast as it's small legs would take it, to it's mother's side.

I laughed softly, and lowered myself from my tip-toes.

I turned suddenly in alarm when someone said, "we haven't named the foal yet."

I was surprised to see Angelus standing there before me. He smiled softly and asked, "did you see him?"

I finally regained my scattered wits, and said with a soft smile, "yes. He's precious."

"I don't think that name will work," he said with a soft smile, coming over and offering his hand to me.

I accepted it, and he helped me down from my place atop the bale of hay. "No, I don't think so either," I agreed.

There was a moment of silence between us as we stared in to each other's eyes. His gaze was so deep and intense, and finally I had to look away from it. I glanced down and realized then that he was still holding my hand. I drew my hand back rather quickly, causing him to chuckle softly. I felt my cheeks blush red with embarrassment, but luckily he stepped in to save me from myself.

"Come on," he chuckled softly. "Let's find you a horse."

He started to walk away, but I stopped him, saying, "I can't leave. I'm waiting here for someone. Your father is sending someone to teach me to ride."

He looked at me and asked, "well, what do I look like?" A half-smile was playing across his features as he spoke.

"You're teaching me how to ride?" I asked in disbelief, pointing at him and lowering my eyes slightly to study his response.

He smiled, "my father said he wanted someone experienced to teach you. I'm as experienced as they come."

My mind began to whirl. Angelus was going to teach me how to ride a horse? Was that safe? Was that smart?

I didn't have time to ask questions however, because he was already walking down the long halls. "Hey!" I called. "Wait up!" I jogged to catch up with him.


"Okay, now the first thing about choosing your horse, is choosing her personality," Angelus explained. We stood side by side at the gate that led to the paddock with the horses for beginners. There were eight horses in the paddock.

"Ah, yes. Personality is key. Got it," I said with a hint of sarcasm in my voice.

Angelus laughed slightly. "I know it sounds corny, but jokes aside-it's true. See, if you like things easy, you need to choose a horse with little to no personality like those two crème-colored mares over there." He pointed them out to me.

"But If you like things a little more challenging, you need to choose a horse that's got a bit of spunk and attitude. Like Mary's Dance," he pointed to a rust-colored horse in the far corner. "Or Destiny's Dame," he pointed to a dark brown mare with the mane clipped shorter than the other horses.

"Who names the horses?" I asked, a little off-topic.

He smiled softly at me. "It really just depends who the mare belongs to. If it's one of my father's horses, than he usually lets my mother name the foal. But if it's someone else's horse, it all just depends on what names are thought of."

"Why aren't any of the names just…Basic?" I asked, wrinkling my nose slightly. "Like Earl or…Daisy."

He chuckled, "I don't know. Now, see that one over there," he pointed to a dark, black horse with a red mane and tail.

"What about her?" I asked as I spotted the horse he pointed to.

"That was my first horse," he explained. "Her name is Dynamite."

"Just Dynamite?" I asked slowly.

"Just Dynamite," he assured me with a soft chuckle.

"Oh, I like her," a girly front took over me and I smiled and twisted my foot innocently on the ground.

"Do you want to ride her?" he asked, laughing softly at me. I nodded quickly with a bright smile. "Okay," he laughed again.


"Now since you're a beginner, I'm just going to give you a boost on. Eventually, I teach you how to get up without my help, but for now I don't want you able to get on and ride away without me," Angelus smiled hauntingly at me. "So I'll help you up for now."

"How kind of you," I frowned slightly, failing in all attempts to check my sarcasm or obvious lack of enthusiasm.

I realized then, that he was waiting for me. The look on his face as he watched me thinking to myself was one of pure amusement, and I suddenly felt the need to hide my face in the ground.

However, being raised by my mother meant that I had learned how to deal with embarrassment of any sort as if it was virtually non-existent. I walked over to where Angelus was standing next to the horse, and waited for his instructions.

"How do you want me?" I asked with a sigh. It wasn't until I saw the look of shock and potential lust on his face that I realized how that must have sounded. I rushed to save myself from a new lash of embarrassment. "I mean…Uh…Oh. I mean, where do you want me to stand, to get on to the…The horse."

He turned his head then, as if trying to hide his amusement, but when he looked back at me he wasn't trying too hard. He started laughing loudly, the corners of his eyes crinkling in the most adorable way.

I was tolerant of his enjoyment for a few moments. "Laugh it up," I sighed, and he continued to do so. Then it just got annoying and disturbing. "You can stop now," I told him with a slight glare.

He checked his laughter, and had to work extremely hard to keep from chuckling.

"Now, what do I do?" I didn't want to dwell on my embarrassment any more, and I was anxious to get away from this man.

He hunched down slightly, and slinked his fingers together so that his hands formed a cup. "You put your foot on my hands, and I'll boost you up on to the horse. Once you're up, you swing your other leg around, and straighten up. Then I can adjust your stirrups, if need be."

"I put my foot in your hands?" I raised an eyebrow to clarify.

"Yes," he said with a nod. "Go ahead."

"You mean like actually in your hands? Dirt and shoe and all?" I didn't know how he could be telling me to do that. The idea was simply appalling and grotesque.

"It's no big deal. Trust me. You'll survive." He assured me with another smile and a slight chuckle.

I took a deep breath. "Well, if you're sure." I lifted my left leg about six inches off the ground. I froze up and dropped it back down.

"No, go ahead," he encouraged me. "Put one hand on my shoulder to balance yourself, and the other on the saddle."

I mentally coached myself. Come on, this is no big deal. Just like anything else. Just do as he says. It's not weird or anything. You're just getting on a horse. It's not rocket science. You're just getting on a horse.

I took another deep breath, and lifted my foot. I put the toe of my shoe in to his linked hands, and shut my eyes, waiting for him to tell me I'd done it wrong, and that I was a sick person.

But instead, he nodded and said, "move your foot in a bit more so that your full weight is focused on my hands through your heel."

I kept urging myself onward. I reached a hand to his shoulder, and absently placed it on his black shirt. A small spark of electricity ran through me at that. I tried to calm myself down again and just assure myself that it was a just a shock from static electricity…But my thoughts were still whirling about it for some reason.

"You alright?" his voice cracked in to my daze, and I opened my eyes. I hadn't even been aware that I'd shut them. I let out my breath, also not aware that I'd been holding it to the point where my face was starting to change color.

"Uh, yeah," I attempted a smile. "No big deal. Just a little, uh…Distracted." I covered with a lame lie, but his attention seemed diverted for the moment, and I was very thankful.

"Okay, are you ready to try a jump up?" he asked me.

I nodded absently.

"Hold on to the saddle," he instructed.

I placed my hand on to the top of the saddle, and took another breath. I looked in to his eyes.

"On the count of three I'm going to lift you," he said. "Now count with me. One…"

I counted it out with him. "One…"

"Two…" His gaze was heavy on me.

"Two…" I repeated.

At the same time we said, "three." When we said it, he lifted me with his strong arms, and launched me up the side of the horse.

I didn't have time to think. My leg instinctively swung over the horse's side, and then I found myself on it's back, in the saddle.

I was on top of a horse!

"I did it!" I said with a giddy smile.

Angelus slid my foot in to the stirrup and grinned up at me, "yes you did." He circled around the horse to the other side, and slid my foot in to the other stirrup. "Now you're really a cowgirl," he joked.

"Ha ha," I rolled my eyes. "Say what you want, but I am on a horse right now, and it only took me three minutes. I bet you couldn't do that even if you…"

I trailed off as he suddenly launched his large body into the saddle of his black stallion, Dark Dare. "What were you saying?" he asked me.

I looked away from him and sighed, "never mind."

He chuckled softly, "okay, let's go. You want to give the horse a small tap. Now Dynamite is very good with beginners, so even if you give her just the faintest, confusing command, she'll respond. Mind you, she's much happier if you make it clear as to what you want, but she can deal with it either way."

I gave the horse's sides a little tap, and she suddenly started to move. I straightened suddenly as fear streaked through my body. This giant creature was moving with me on top of her! And there were no breaks!

"Angel!" I squeaked. "Angel, she's going to kill me!"

He chuckled, "nonsense! You've barely moved. Don't look at the ground, look at the scenery ahead of you."

"Soon the ground will be the scenery ahead of me!" I whined.

He came up next to my horse on his and reached a hand to Dynamite's reins, which were loose in my hands. She stopped abruptly, and Dark Dare stopped next to her.

We were so close, I could feel Angel's calf against my own. I looked over at him and said in a shaking voice, "I don't think I can do this."

He smiled at me reassuringly. "Yes you can."


We took it slow through the wooded trails. Angel was so considerate of how I felt. Every time that I started to freak out, he would come up next to me, stop the horses, and reassure me that it was all fine and that I wasn't going to die.

But somewhere inside my mind, a little alarm was still going off that told me to be careful and not to get too close to him. Something was telling me that he was dangerous and unpredictable. That thought alone was enough to make me tense up.

We stopped for a break in the middle of the woods, which made me nervous. What if he'd taken me all the way out here where no one would find us, to murder me? I put away my childish thoughts when he came over to my horse, to help me down.

I hadn't realized he was off his own horse, and then I saw that he had also tied her up near the little lake before us.

"Now you'll want to take your feet out of the stirrups, and flex your ankles gently for a moment or two. Your muscles might be a little stiff, so make sure you can move your ankles fine." He was always giving me little tips like that for my added comfort.

I slid my feet from the stirrups, and after a few moments of testing my ankles, his hands reached up and he held out his arms to me.

"Now, you're going to put the foot near me in to the stirrup again, and swing your other leg around the horse." As he instructed me, I slid my foot in to the stirrup, and guided my other leg over the horse's back to dangle next to my other foot.

This is when Angel's hands closed around my hips. He held me tightly, and I suddenly found myself wondering a million questions. Was I dirty? Did I smell bad from the horse? Did I feel too skinny to him?

He lowered me down to the ground slowly, and said, "now take your other foot out of stirrup, and you'll be safely on the ground."

I did as he said, and smiled brightly when I was done. "I did it." But then my knees gave way.

I fell forward in to his waiting arms. He chuckled softly, holding me close and said, "I thought that might happen. Your legs aren't used to all of that exertion."

"Well excuse me if these million dollar legs aren't made for rough work!" I tried to be coy and calm, but it came off sounding lame and rude. I worked as much power as I could in to my legs, until I could stand again.

When I could stand, I smiled and tried to take a step. I suddenly discovered that it felt as if there was a barrel between my legs that was preventing me from taking a normal step.

"Um, Angelus?" I asked hesitantly.

"It's normal," he assured me. "Just walk it off.


We stood watching the water for what seemed like five minutes, and then we sat down on a blanket that Angelus had brought with him. I made sure that I kept my distance since I still didn't trust him as far as I could throw him…And in all likeliness I couldn't even pick him up.

After about an hour of just watching nature, and making casual conversation about one thing or another, Angelus turned to me and asked me, "what do you think of riding?"

"I like Dynamite," I said in response.

He smiled softly, "yeah, she was a good horse. She's getting quite a bit older now, but she's still a really good horse."

I watched him for a moment, and suddenly my thoughts were too much. I had to know about his reputation. I blurted out suddenly, "do you use women?"

I gasped when I realized what I'd said. "I didn't…I didn't mean that. I just…I meant…Oh, dear," I furrowed my brow as I tried to think of a way out of the new mess I had created for myself. "I mean that I've heard a lot about you and the…" No! That sounded like I was some stalker who clung to every bit of information she could get about him!

Luckily, Angel stepped in to save me. "I've done my share of things that I'm not proud of. I'm sure you've heard quite a bit about me already. I don't exactly keep a low profile around here. God only knows what you've heard and what you've been thinking."

I looked out at the water. I needed a way to relieve the sudden tension I felt between us. I opened my mouth to say something, and when I turned to look at him, I was shocked to see how close he was to me.

His face was just centimeters from my own, and I wondered briefly how he had gotten so close without my hearing him.

His eyes locked with mine, and I felt so nervous. So afraid. What was he going to do? Was he going to kiss me? Did I want him to? Was that a good thing? His eyes held that passionate look that said all too well what he intended to do.

His left hand reached up to hold my cheek. His hand felt so rough, yet at the same time it was so smooth. I could feel his breath hot on my face, making me dizzy and breathless, and wanting in the most unusual way that I'd never felt before.

Suddenly something inside of me just snapped, and I felt like someone shrieked out NO! Right before his lips could close over my own, I pulled back and stood up.

"Well, are we ready for some more riding?" I asked with a bright smile as if nothing had ever happened.

He looked over at me, his hand still in the same place as if my face was still there to be held.


Part 4

Friday dawned bright and clear, and most of the day was spent in preparation for the first major ball of the summer season. Willow had called in two stylists. One for her, and one for me. Much time that day was spent getting our hair done, our nails done, and then our make up.

My final fitting for my dress had just been the day before, and I couldn't be happier with the results. The dress was long and elegant. The thick straps led to a low neck, much like the dress from when I had dinner at the D'Aestas manor. But this one was quite different. It had a train of light, see-through fabric of the same shade of dark blue, that hung off the low-cut back of the gown. The dress hugged around my stomach, and then it simply flowed down. With every move I made, the dress flowed all around my legs in an elegant and graceful manner.

The shoes designed for the gown were a shining silver. They had a strap-design that did up all around my foot and my ankles. They gave me the extra height I needed to be able to stand anywhere close to everyone else. Being naturally short, it was often hard for me to find shoes that lifted me to the right height, but these did the trick just fine.

A thin, platinum choker was designed for the dress as well, and off it hung a small, blue diamond. There was a matching platinum and blue diamond tennis bracelet and earrings.

My hair had been pulled off my face, but left down in soft waves. My make up had been done in a way that accented my bright eyes and my dazzling smile.

Willow came up to bring me down to the front doors at around eight on Friday evening.

"Buffy, he's here," she told me.

"Alright. I'll be right there," I said.

She closed the door to give me a moment to grab my thoughts. I gazed in to the mirror, and had no doubts in my mind as to who "he" was. It was Angelus, and for some reason I just couldn't seem to make up my mind about him.

For one thing, I knew I should stay away. But at the same time, there was something about him that made me want to get closer.

When I was forewarned about him, I had thought he would be just as Willow explained. A typical, rich, womanizing socialite with no emotion for anything but himself. But when I met him at the D'Aestas manor, I was compelled to think otherwise.

At the D'Aestas manor, he was sweet and charming. And when we went riding and he almost kissed me down by the lake…

I had wanted so badly to kiss him there, and it had scared me so much. I was so frightened by the intensity of him. I couldn't believe how much it made me tremble. I wanted so badly to be able to call him my own, and yet I didn't even know him.

However, I wasn't so naïve as to not consider that perhaps he had simply set out to toy with me and tease me. But even though I didn't know his routines for such things, I somehow doubted that it was the case with us. It just didn't seem to be.

Ever since the lake, he had been on my mind. Those dark, dark eyes that made me stare. That perfect smile that took my breath away as if I was a character in some romance novel. That beautiful face that reminded me just why he was named Angel. And finally, those broad shoulders, strong arms, and overall tall form that could only be compared to one of those Greek Gods. The basic picture of masculine perfection.

Plus his laugh was contagious, his personality was addictive, and his overall aura screamed that he was not at all like he was described by the rich, rude, and socially obsessive community here, at Devil's Gorge.

I emerged from my room, and took my time through the halls to the grand staircase.

I peered around the corner when I heard the voice of my father, along with the voice that I recognized as Angel's. I waited for just a moment, to hear what they were saying.

"Well, true," my father said. "But at the same time, Angelus, she is wild and untamed. I don't know what can be done with her."

Are they talking about me? I wondered to myself. I'm not wild and untamed. I'm calm and collected…I think.

I listened closely as Angel responded. "I know, but deep down, I think she's generally intrigued by the chance offered to her," Angel said. "I know that I would be."

Chance for what? My mind was asking a million questions every second, and it was difficult to separate one thought from another.

"Yes," my father laughed heartily then. "But Angelus, you must remember that you are not a horse."

I'm not a horse! I thought angrily. Then I realized that they weren't talking about me at all. They were talking about a horse. Well, that should teach me not to eaves drop, who knows what kind of ideas I could gather from that little bit about a horse.

I decided that then, was a good time to make my appearance, seeing as how there was a pause in the conversation. I took a deep breath to calm myself, and wandered around the corner to the top landing of the grand staircase.

My sudden presence caused my father, Angelus, and Willow-who I hadn't been aware of before-to look up at me.

My father smiled brightly when he saw me, and Willow was beaming proudly as she watched me. Angelus simply stared. At first, he showed no emotion or acknowledgement, but then a charming smile broke across his features.

"Darling," my father was the first to speak. "You look ravishing!"

I smiled at him and said, "thank you, father." Then I started going down the stairs.

When I was two steps from the floor, Angelus stepped forward. I offered my hand, and he took it and kissed it-all the while, never taking his eyes off of mine. His smile remained, and after kissing my knuckles tenderly, he said in a low voice, "you look wonderful, Buffy."

I knew that I was blushing, but I tried my best not to show it. "Thank you," I said politely. Since I was raised on heels and the stairs, I found for the first time that I could see his eyes clearly. And I was not disappointed with what I saw. They were magnificent.

"I hope the fact that you did not wish to accompany this evening, won't hinder you from enjoying yourself just the same," there was a sparkle in his eyes as he baited me with the statement.

I wasn't about to let him get the best of me or cause me a moment of hesitation, so I smiled slyly at him and responded calmly, "I'll to remember not to let it."

He laughed slightly, and offered me his arm. I took it, and he led me down the last two steps.


At the ball, I felt like I was living in a glass fish bowl. Everybody was watching me like a hawk, to see who I was, and see what I would do. On countless occasions, I heard people whisper, "that's her!" Or, "there she is!" I tried not to let it bother me, but it was a little unnerving to be watched so closely by everyone.

Willow was a saving grace more often than not, and when I felt nervous, it seemed she was right there to give me a wink. And on the few occasions that I wasn't with Angelus, she made sure that I wasn't left alone to be "preyed on by the hungry vultures"-as she put it.

"How does it feel?" Angel asked me towards the middle of the ball, handing me yet another glass of champagne. I was certain that this was my fourth.

"How does what feel?" I asked, taking a sip of the bubbly liquid that made my veins and my head tingle like they were on fire.

"How does it feel to be the most watched woman here?" he asked, stepped just a little bit closer.

I still hadn't made up my mind about Angelus yet. He had been quiet all night, but still open to hearing whatever I wanted to say, or answering anything I asked. For the most part, I think he was trying to make up his mind about me. But in doing that, he wasn't giving me the best chance to find out about him.

"It feels awkward and unfamiliar," I looked around the room, and then sighed. "But at the same time, it makes sense. The daughter of Frank Summers just appears out of nowhere. If I were one of them, I'd probably be doing the exact same thing."

At this moment, he took my free hand, and looked down at it, as if trying to see my soul in my skin. He held it in his left hand, and his right fingers traced little lines on my palm. "I'm enjoying myself here with you, tonight," he said sincerely, bringing his gaze up to my own. "I hope you're enjoying yourself as well."

I smiled softly, "I am."

Then he did something I wasn't expecting. He started to explain himself. "Buffy, I know you've probably heard one or two things about me from some people around you, but…I want you to try to see past what you've heard…To me. Because, even though some things you've heard could be true…I want you to build your own opinion of me."

I didn't exactly know how to respond to this. I looked down at his hands, holding my own. My hand looked so small compared to his. It made me nervous and intrigued at the same time. I was nervous because he was intimidating, but I was intrigued because his size and his personality made him seem so caring and protective.

I was still trying to think of what to say, when his face cracked an adorable half-smile, and he asked me in a low tone, "would you care to dance?"

I smiled then and answered, "yes."


Dancing with Angelus, I felt like the most adored woman in the world, but at the same time, I felt the most hated. It was true that most people resented Angelus for his reputation, but at the same time, it seemed that the female population of Devil's Gorge hated me more, for taking him away from the market for the evening.

Even with my heels, I still found that I was too short to see him clearly. The top of my head came just above his shoulders, so for the most part, I was leaning my head on his chest. Looking up to see him gave me a kink in my neck, so I eventually just gave in.

"Do you hear them?" Angelus asked me in a low voice as we danced to the soft rhythm of the music.

My eyes were shut, and I smiled against his chest. I knew who he was talking about. The women. "I hear them," I assured him. "If looks could kill, I wouldn't have made it through the doors."

He smiled softly and said, "neither would I."

There was a moment of silence between us, during which my mind went crazy with thoughts. I was trying not to focus on any one thing about Angelus, but every five seconds my attention was drawn and held to a certain aspect of him.

My ear was right against his chest, and I could hear his heart beating. I shut my eyes as I listened, feeling as if his heart was beating only for me. It was a beautiful experience, and I hoped to God that this night would never end. This was the first night of peace I'd known since the accident, and the last thing I wanted to do, was end it.

Angelus' hands slid down to my lower back and held me close. Even just a simple touch, and he could make me start to quiver. I didn't know where these sensations were coming from, and I decided that I didn't care all that much. His head tilted downwards to watch me, and I could somehow tell that he was smiling. I didn't have to see it, to know exactly what the expression on his face was. It seemed that with Angelus, I just knew. It was like I'd known him forever, even though that couldn't be farther from the truth.

However, I wasn't so lost in this fantasy that doubt wasn't present. I was still wondering about his past. About his reputation. Everyone says that he's a vicious man, but he hasn't shown me anything but kindness. Could this just be a mask? Or could it be that he's different around me? No, I wiped that possibility away. Why would he be different around me? Surely I wasn't different around him.


Having Buffy in my arms was like holding heaven. For some reason, I was experiencing feelings towards her that were entirely new for me. I felt connected to her, like I had known her all of my life, instead of just a day or two.

I tilted my head downwards, and I could see her face slightly. Her eyes were shut against my chest, and her ear was against my heart. Was she listening to my heart beat? Was she aware that I was watching her? Was she aware that she was smiling?

A million thoughts were racing through my head, and my heart. For some reason, I couldn't stop thinking about her. Her dazzling smile, beautiful features, and addictive personality were on my mind so much in the last few days. It seemed as if I couldn't concentrate on anything else, and I barely knew her!

I slid my hands down her back, and I thought I heard her sigh softly. It was an adorable sound that made me smile. She projected innocence, even though she was a mature woman.

I had to wonder to myself, about how her mother had died, and how she had taken it. Despite the act she put on, I could tell she hated her father, so I could easily assume that she was raised primarily by her mother, if not entirely.

I was disrupted from my thoughts by the end of the song. Buffy pulled back, and I looked at her with a frown. Initially, I didn't understand why she had pulled away. Then she started clapping, along with everyone else in the room.

I realized that the set of music was over for the time being, and I clapped as well, though I was still in a bit of a daze.

Buffy turned to face me again with a bright smile on her face. "Wasn't that wonderful?" she asked with bright eyes.

I wasn't sure whether she was asking about the dance, or the music, so I took her hand and said, "let's go for a walk."

She tensed up for a moment, and looked down at my hand; holding her own. She seemed to be ready to turn me down, but I wasn't about to let her. Before she could speak, I did.

I tightened my grip on her hand. "I promise I'm not going to hurt you," I attempted a small smile to calm her. She smiled back weakly, and looked down at our hands again.

She turned her upper body to look around the room. She was searching for someone, and then she stopped. She must have found whoever it was that she was looking for.

I followed her gaze to Willow and her father. I looked down at her and said again, "come on."

She looked back at me, and her smile was so small that I barely saw it. But it was there, so I took that as her answer, and led her off the dance floor. She slowly slid her hand from mine as we walked, to hook through my bent arm. It took her a moment to adjust to my pace, but as soon as she was used to my strides, she matched my speed, which was fairly brisk.

"Where are we going?" she asked hesitantly as I led her out of the ballroom. We entered the lobby, and headed for the side doors which led to the gardens.

"Just the gardens," I said. "I want to show you something."

That seemed to satisfy her, and she then remained silent.

I led her through the glass doors to the lobby, and on to the large, marble deck that overlooked the gardens. She was very attentive as we walked, paying attention to any and everything.

It was a perfect night. The stars were shining above us, and the moon was shining and full. Strange how the moon can make you so anxious. It can give you a rush of adrenaline that tells you to do as much as you physically can handle until you drop from the exhaustion in to a deep slumber that will last a lifetime.

But tonight, I knew that the moon wasn't the only reason that I was excited. It was Buffy. Having her hear with me made me feel suddenly nervous, like I was sixteen again.

I led her down the steps of the deck, to the pathways that led in every direction through the gardens. I remember the best one, and took it. The path was narrow, and Buffy had to step a little closer to me to keep from walking off the small stone path.

After a few moments, we came to a clearing. In the clearing, was a large Willow Tree.

Buffy stopped and took her arm from mine when I kept walking towards the tree. I stopped abruptly, and turned to look at her. "What's wrong?" I asked her softly.

She looked to the tree, and then at me. "Where…Where are you talking me?" her eyes were big as she asked me, showing she was afraid and shy. All I wanted at that moment, was to soothe her fears of me.

I stepped forward and reached a hand to the side of her face, somehow unable to keep from touching her. "I'm not going to hurt you," I assured her. "I want you to see something in the tree.

She frowned and asked, "what? A bird's nest?"

I smiled softly, and took my hand from the side of her face. I offered it to her and said, "just trust me."

She eyed my hand warily for a moment, and then put her hand in to my own. "I can't believe I'm actually doing this," she spoke as if she were truly amazed.

I smiled softly, "I'm glad you are."

With that, I took her to the Willow tree. This tree was over two hundred years old, and the Willow branches reached all the way to the ground. With my free hand, I pulled the branches back, and stepped aside to let Buffy go in first.

She went in, and I followed her. She looked all around her and said, "I don't see anything special."

"Hang on," I said. I guided her to the other side of the Willow Tree. I pulled back the branches again.

She looked up at me inquisitively. "Are you serious?" she asked me with her brow furrowed slightly.

I smiled softly, "trust me."

She looked to the Willow branches, and finally went through. I went after her, and arrived just in time to hear her gasp.

Her hand flew to cover her mouth a she viewed the magnificent world before her. We were at the edge of the top of the gorge. We were over two thousand feet up, and below was a large lake that was sparkling like a bucket of diamonds in the moonlight.

All around the lake was Willow Trees like the one we had just gone through.

"Why do they call it Devil's Gorge?" she asked softly after a few moments. "It's beautiful. Like some place for angels." She looked to me and blushed slightly as she added, "that would explain why you're here."

I paused, sure that if I said anything at that moment, that it would sound like I was trying to seduce her. Finally, I said, "there are more Willow trees here than any other place in the world. Many great authors and poets have come here to write. They say it's the biggest burst of inspiration in all the world to stand right here when the sun rises. The rays of light reflect off the lake and the dew collected on the Willow trees. They say it's like being reborn. In that one moment, you can see everything you want to be."

I wasn't aware that she had turned to look at me until I looked down at her to ask what she thought of the view.

She was smiling faintly up at me in the most adorable, thoughtful way. "How can someone like you have such a bad image?"

I looked away from her, suddenly feeling bad about this. I shouldn't be up here with such a wonderful person. After all of the things I've done, the last thing I should be doing is befriending the sweetest, purest person in the world.

But she wanted an answer. "How?" she asked again.

I looked away from her, and then turned. I walked a few steps away from her, and then turned back again. I didn't know what to say, but I intended to say something. "I'm not a good person," was all I got out. To me, it sounded like it was probably the lamest thing I'd ever said to anyone.

She shook her head. "You can think that if you want, but I know you are. I don't know everything you've done before," she stepped closer to me, "but I don't think any of that matters. The way that you've acted around me…It's shown me nothing about you that would make me think otherwise. I don't understand why people say such horrible things about you."

"Because they're true!" I said emphatically. "It's all true. The lies. The cheating. Everything you've heard is true, and then some. I'm not a good person. I've done things to people you can't even begin to think of as anything but a nightmare. And I did it all without giving a damn."

"Like what?" she surprise me by asking.

I looked at her, wondering if she had really asked that, or if I had imagined that she cared to know anything else about me. "What?" I asked, trying to clarify.

"What have you done?" she asked again. "What have you done that's so God-awful and mean?"

"It…It doesn't matter," I wasn't even considering telling her anything about my past. I didn't want to corrupt her beautiful mind with thoughts about my past wrong-doings.

"So why do you act like it does?" she persisted, stepping even closer. "Why do you and everyone else care what you've done before, because it looks to me like you've made a change."

"Only since I met you," I frowned slightly as that realization set in to my own head.

She smiled softly, and reached a hand up to my forehead. Her fingers were soft against my skin. She flicked a piece of my hair back and smiled softly, "I can't believe that."

There was only one thing on my mind as I stared in to her bright, glossy eyes. That was how badly I wanted to kiss her. Her lips seemed to be calling me. I couldn't find the will to refuse them, but I knew that I had to try. My attempts fell flat after a few moments, and then, without even thinking, I said softly, "I want to kiss you."

She smiled fondly at that and said in a hushed voice, "so what are you waiting for?"

That was all it took. My hand reached forward to her face, and I pulled her to me. Her lips were soft against mine, and suddenly I was in heaven. Her scent was all around me. It was a delicate vanilla and rose smell that described her perfectly.

She made no move to touch me, and simply let me kiss her, making a few attempts at kissing me back. Her lips opened at my tongue's request, and I plundered her mouth, searching and discovering.

She nibbled on my lower lip, and I felt my entire body quaking for something. And for what felt like the first time in my life…I just didn't know what.

I pulled back after a few moments, and looked in to her eyes. They were clouded with doubt and insecurity, and I felt so unnerved by how afraid she could look when she looked at me.

"Why do you always look so afraid of me?" I asked her in a voice that I didn't intend to be as husky as it came out.

A soft sob escaped her lips, and suddenly the mood changed. She reached her hand forward and pulled my face down to hers. This time, she was the attacker. It was almost as if she was trying to conquer her fears of me. Her tongue licked across my lips, seeking my own out to play. I complied with her silent request as my hands slid down her sides, to pull her hips closer to me.

The desire I felt for her was humming through my whole being, and I couldn't believe it had taken me so long to realize just how much I wanted this. I had initially denied my attraction for her, but now it was too overwhelming to be ignored.

I just had to have her as my own forever.


Part 5

As I pulled her closer, she sighed in to my lips, and pushed against my lips even more. My veins were on fire as I kissed her, my tongue licking at her lips. It was as if someone had dropped fire in to my blood. She was driving me crazy with her gentle movements and fierce attempts to take passion to the next level.

Her hands dropped to my shoulders, and she gripped the material of my clothing between her fingers.

My fingers slid over the silky material of her dress, and I could only imagine what her skin would feel like under this material. This was one of the most sensitive patches of skin on the human body, and I knew that Buffy's would be no exception.

Just then, I heard something snap. It knocked me from my daze with Buffy. I broke away from her just in time to get in the way of the high-heeled shoe headed for Buffy's head.

She shrieked and stepped back.

The shoe connected with the back of my head, and I swear the spike of the heel almost went right through my skull. I cursed loudly, and looked down to the ground, where the shoe now lay; lifeless.

I held the back of my head with one hand as I bent to pick up the shoe. "What the…" I trailed off as I stood up again.

I looked towards the direction it had come from, but no one was there. I looked back to Buffy, and that's when I noticed the tears building up in her eyes. "Oh, Buffy," I said, sympathy quickly dissolving all of the anger from a moment earlier.

I stepped up to where she was, and pulled her into my arms. She crumbled against my chest and started to openly sob.

"That was meant for me!" she sobbed against my chest. "I can't take this anymore." Her knees started to give way beneath her. I pulled her close to keep her from collapsing, and tried to soothe her again.

I whispered reassuring words in her head, kissing the top of her hair tenderly. "Shh. It's okay. It was just an accident. I'm sure it was just an accident. You're alright. You're safe now."

"First my mom," she sniffed. "Now I'm stuck living with a man I only met for the first time three weeks ago in some place I despise, and now this." She wailed, "I need to get drunk!"

I almost laughed at her hysteria, and then I checked myself and kissed her forehead. "No, you don't need that. The bottle is the last thing you need when you're upset. Trust me on that one. And everything else can't really be that bad. Your mother loved you, I'm sure of it. And your father has got to be really nervous about having you here. I'm sure he's as upset as you are about your mother, and he's trying. He really is."

She pulled her face back to look up at me. "Well what about now?" she asked through her shuddering gasps for air. "Angel, someone just threw a shoe at me! A shoe!" This started a new level of hysteria…Anger.

"I mean, who honestly throws a shoe?!" she exclaimed. "And not just any shoe, but some stupid, cheesy size ten, Gucci stiletto knock-off from Milan! That's not even classified as a shoe! That's just footwear!"

"How do you know it's a size ten, knock-off from Milan?" I asked, momentarily distracted from my job of calming her down.

She sighed and took the shoe from me. "For one thing, I saw how big it was, and I've been around shoes my whole life, so I knew it was a size ten. Secondly, Gucci shoes only go up to a size eight and a half. And the only fake Gucci shoes in a size ten of this design, are from Milan. Okay?"

I took the shoe from her and looked at it. "You can tell all of this by one glance as it flew through the air towards my head?"

She sighed and explained, "Like I said, I grew up around shoes." She sniffed softly then, reminding me of her despair.

I looked into her eyes, and reached a hand to her cheek. I rubbed my thumb under her eye, wiping the tears away. It was so strange how even when she was crying, and her make-up was messed up, she could still look like the most beautiful woman in the world.

"It's okay," I assured her. I leaned in and gave her a gentle kiss, not attempting to take it anywhere this time. "You're alright. Okay?" I raised my eyebrows at her in question.

She nodded softly and sniffed. "Yeah."

I smiled softly, "good. Now let's take you inside to get cleaned up before we return to the party. We can't have suspicious noses turned anymore than they already are," I smiled softly, attempting to lighten the mood.

She nodded, and smiled softly, showing she appreciated my attempts. "Okay."


Angel waited patiently for me to come out of the Ladies room, and then we both went back to the ball. Nobody seemed to notice that we had been gone, or that I had been crying. But they still watched me with equal attention, as before.

After dancing a little bit more, Angel told me that if we didn't start mingling soon, people would start talking even more. However, I wasn't willing to let go of him in my current state, so he agreed that it was fine if we went together. I held his arm tightly as I was introduced to well over a hundred different people.

It dawned on me that all of these people had two things in common. One: they were filthy rich. Two: they were all snobs.

Of course, this realization didn't surprise me, but I did find it rather disappointing that pretty much everyone in Devil's Gorge would rather die than enter a grocery store.

Finally, we came to The Chases. Angelus was given immediate attention from Mrs. Chase, and it was clear as to why by the way she batted her eyelashes at him, and touched his arm as she laughed at a small joke he made. I had to wonder where her pride was. The answer was truly far from the heart.

"Mr. Chase, Mrs. Chase," Angelus said, "I'd like you to meet Hank Summers' daughter, Buffy. She's just moved to Devil's Gorge to live with her father."

"Well, hello, Buffy," Mrs. Chase was a great actress. If I couldn't tell by association that she was a snob, I would have thought she was genuinely pleased to meet me. "What a pleasure it is to meet you. It seems like you're the talk of the ball this evening."

I shook her hand politely and smiled. "So it would seem, although I really do have no clue as to why."

She laughed slightly and said, "oh, my dear, everyone is just so pleased to finally meet that daughter that your father is constantly raving about. Your ears must just burn constantly from all of the times he has spoken of you!"

I smiled, "they certainly do."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Buffy," Mr. Chase held out his hand. I placed my own in his, and he shook it politely. Seeing as how he wasn't that close to my father, it wasn't appropriate for him to kiss my hand, and now I found myself so very glad that though these snakes had no emotions, that they did have class.

"And you," I said back with a bright smile.

"Angelus, our daughter has been looking all over for you tonight. Have you seen her just yet?" Mrs. Chase asked him, tilting her head to the side inquisitively.

"No, I don't think so," Angelus replied with a slight frown. "Strange how she wouldn't have found me yet. There aren't over five hundred people at the ball tonight."

"I thought so too," Mrs. Chase agreed. She sighed and shrugged then, "oh well then."

Angelus smiled warmly and said, "well, if you do see her, please tell her that I said hello, and that this is a fine party she's having."

"Yes, I certainly will," Mrs. Chase smiled.

"Now, if you'll excuse us, I really must be introducing Buffy to more of your guests," Angelus nodded his head at Mr. and Mrs. Chase politely, and they returned the gesture.

"It was a pleasure meeting the both of you," I smiled and then turned with Angelus to leave once more.

As we were walking away, I opened my mouth to tell Angelus something, but I was cut off by someone screeching, "Angel!" I turned abruptly, as did Angel, and we looked for the owner of the voice. The crowds parted back, and revealed a brunette woman.

The woman was in a tight, maroon dress that showed any and everything. Her hair was pulled off her head in a tight bun, and her make up was so dramatic that it made me want to gag. This woman had broken the first, cardinal rule of make-up: To make it seem to everyone, as if you're not wearing any.

She smiled brightly, her perfect teeth sparkling white. "There you are! I have been looking all over for you!" she said with a beaming smile.

"Hello, Cordelia," Angelus said, a little less enthused than before.


Treacherous Love Part 6

The woman I now knew to be Cordelia, made her way through the parted crowds to where Angel and I were.

"Is this really any way to great me?" she asked with a slight laugh. "I mean, come on, Angel! It's been a long time!"

"Not long enough," Angel said under his breath.

The tension that formed in the room in those brief words, made me want to run from the room. All eyes were on Angel and Cordelia now, and I found myself stepped back unconsciously.

"Angel, you can't tell me you're still mad at me," she sighed. "I mean, tell me what honestly has you so upset about it. Is it that you got a taste of your own medicine? Or is it that I didn't care?"

I looked from her to Angel, realization setting in. Angel and Cordelia must have dated! But 'taste of your own medicine'? That could only mean that Cordelia hurt Angel like he's apparently done to so many other women…And to not care? It didn't make any sense.

"Cordy, can we not do this here?" Angel seemed to have a hard time checking his anger. "All of your guests. You should be entertaining them right now."

"Oh, I think we are," Cordelia laughed slightly. "I mean, here you are, a year after it all went down, and you're still mad at me!" She laughed at the irony of the situation. "Come on, Angel. You've got to see some shred of humor in all of this."

"The only humor I see is that you think I care," Angel shot back.

Cordy raised an eyebrow, her mood changing to one of defense and resentment. "You don't care?" she asked as if she found it impossible to believe. "You honestly expect me to believe that you don't care?"

"This isn't the time, Cordy," Angel tried again.

But Cordy was too upset now. "Not the time? It's never the time, Angel! I'm not working on your schedule anymore. And honestly I don't care what everyone hears. I can tell you one thing though. If they hear it from me, it's going to be the damn truth!"

It was Angel's turn to laugh now. "The truth?" he asked as if he couldn't believe she had said it. "From you? You mean to tell me that you don't lie so much that your great grandchildren's children will be paying for your sins in Hell?!"

"You think I lie all the time?" she asked ecstatically. "When was the last time you told the truth, Angel? Or can you even remember that far back?" She glowered at him like he was a bug on her freshly-cleaned, Mercedes windshield.

"I don't have time for this, Cordelia," Angel said, and turned his back to her to walk away.

She didn't miss the insult. "Don't you turn your back on me, Angelus!" Cordelia pointed straight at him. "You just can't stand it that one woman could ruin your life!"

Angel came over to me and offered his hand. I looked in to his eyes, and he seemed to be almost pleading with me not to desert him in the middle of all of this. He desperately needed someone with the guts and the nerve to stand by him.

"Come with me?" he asked softly.

"Buffy," Hank stepped to Cordelia's side. "Buffy, come here. Right now. Get over here." His voice was stern as he made his order.

"She's not going to go with you, Angel," Cordelia said, crossing her arms over her chest smugly. "She's got a brain."

I looked at her, and hated her. I looked to Angel then and said, "that's right. I have a brain."

He looked heart broken right there, like he thought for sure that I meant I would never speak to him again, let alone go with him.

How could he know what I was about to add.

I turned to face Cordelia and my father. "You," I pointed at Cordelia, and she smiled brightly at me.

"You must be Buffy!" she said with a big smile on her face. She was all too ready to have someone there to gossip about Angel with her. "I'm Cordelia Chase."

"Yeah I know," I smiled. "As you mentioned before, I have a brain." She laughed at my little joke, thinking I was really as cute and innocent as I was acting at the moment.

"Buffy, please come here, darling," my father said with a soft yet firm tone in his voice.

I smiled at him and asked, "father…When was the last time I listened to you?"

Everyone's faces fell.

I turned then, and I asked Angel with a hopeful expression, "are you going to ask me again?"

He smiled and held out his hand, which I gladly took. I smiled back at him, and in a flash, we were exiting the ballroom together.

My father, having recovered from his heart attack, started after us. "Buffy Anne Summers!" he exclaimed. "You get back here this instant! I mean it! You get back here!"

But Angel was already helping me in to the waiting limousine. As the limo drove off, I called out the window with a laugh, "don't worry! I'll be back home before curfew, daddy!"

He watched me drive off, and there was nothing he could do to stop me.

I sat back against the leather seats and sighed, "I can't believe I just did that. I just ruined my reputation." The idea of it all was too much to take in at the moment.

Angel slid closer to me and grinned, "how did it feel?"

I smiled, "surprisingly relieving. I was wondering how long it would take me to mess up. It makes me feel a little bit better to have it done and over with on my own terms."

"Where do you want to go?" Angelus asked me after a moment.

I glanced out the window at the world passing me by. I truly hated Devil's Gorge. It was no mystery to me now, why it was called Devil's Gorge. This is the place where all of the devil people in the world came out to play with their fortunes.

I looked at Angel and smiled softly. In the pale moonlight, he looked so mysterious. I couldn't think of anything I wanted more than to discover the mystery that was Angelus D'Aestas.

I slid closer to him, and placed a gentle kiss on his lips, nibbling on his lower lip for a moment. Then I leaned in closer to his ear and whispered, "anywhere but here…As long as I can take you with me."

"Sounds like paradise," Angelus said, pulling me into his arms and devouring my lips.


Part 7

The limo drove for what seemed like forever, and eventually it was too much for me, and I fell asleep in Angel's arms.

Though I was asleep, I could still somehow hear him talking to me, soothing me. He was kissing my forehead, and saying, "you know you've been through a lot lately, and you want a break. I can give you that. I don't deserve you. But I can be what you need."

My conscious mind was whirling, even as I slept. A million thoughts about the recent turn in events were racing through my head. The top one being…What should I do now?

Should I go back to Devil's Gorge where my father is? Should I take the risk and be with Angelus, despite the horrible things he's done before? Should I live for the moment? Think about the consequences? Should pink come back in to style?

I awoke with a start, my mind switching in to full-operation mode. I straightened up and looked all around me.

I was still in the limo. Outside, it was getting lighter. I figured it to be about half an hour past dawn. But where were we? All I could see was land. It was like we had left all civilization behind.

Speaking of We…Is Angel still here?

The answer came to me when two arms pulled me back into a gentle embrace. Angel pulled me back to his chest, where I had been resting moments earlier, and said in a low voice, "did you have a bad dream?" His voice portrayed a happy smile that I somehow didn't think he wore all that often.

I sighed. Did I have a bad dream? Or was I in the bad dream? I'd just ruined all the chances I had for having a decent existence in Devil's Gorge. Plus now my father had a reason to stop trying to butter me up and get on my good side. I had just proven that my good side to him was pretty much non existent.

But then I thought of Angel's face when he thought I might stay behind. The look in his eyes spoke so much to me. He was asking me to take a chance. He was saying that he didn't deserve it, but that he wanted it with all of his soul.

I felt the same. I had started wondering shortly after meeting my father, if maybe I didn't deserve happiness. If maybe my life was supposed to be about pain and rules. I didn't deserve to have someone like Angel step in to my life and show me what fun could be like, but I wanted him there. And right now, I would do just about anything to keep him.

I smiled softly, finally answering him and said, "no. No bad dream."

His eyes were still shut, and he smiled softly against the side of my head. "Good."

There was a moment of silence between us, and then I broke it. I asked, "Angel?"

"Hmm?" he raised his brow, still not opening his eyes and waking up completely.

"Um…Where are we?" I asked a little hesitantly. True, I wanted to stay with Angel, but also true, I didn't want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere in a black limousine.

He finally opened his eyes to greet the day, and smiled. "It's okay. Just trust me."

"I think I might have proven I do," I frowned. "But now I seriously want to know where we are, and…Where we're going."

"We're in Florida still," he told me. "I think we should be close to Miami pretty soon."

I glanced out the window of the limo, and sure enough there was a mileage sign indicating that it was only another 100 miles to Miami Beach. I felt quite relieved to have an actual destination in my mind now.

"Oh," I said.

Angel smiled down at me, "what? You thought I was just driving you off into the sunset with no plan?"

"The thought did cross my mind," I admitted, gazing out the window at the hot world around us.

"You're safe with me, Buffy," he assured me, nudging my head back so that his lips were right near my neck. "You'll always be safe with me. I won't let anybody near you."

A fire lit in the pit of my stomach, and I suddenly felt more nervous than ever. My rational mind was screaming at me. It was wondering what had I done? I had just jumped into a vehicle with some guy with a shady past, who was intent upon getting something for the ride out of Devil's Gorge! That's what I'd done!

But then his tongue licked over the vein on the side of my neck, and I stopped caring about my rational mind.

"Angel," I gasped, my head falling back onto his shoulder. He was licking and sucking my skin in the most delightful way, and there was no possible explanation to the feelings I was feeling all over my body. Every nerve ending was alive with life and fire, and I felt like my entire existence was based on his lips and his tongue; making me hotter than I'd ever been, and making me anxious for something I didn't know how to describe.

His lips traveled down a bit more, to my collar bone, and he nipped over the line of my collar. He pressed gentle kisses over my shoulders, and all around my chest.

I hadn't even realized that I had moved around in the seat, until I felt the seat beneath my head. I realized then that not only had I turned around, but I had lain down as well.

My fingers linked through the brown locks of Angel's hair, and I held him closer to me.

"You taste so sweet," he whispered in a husky voice. "Like heaven. Paradise. Sweet, sweet redemption personified."

His voice was making me even hotter. There was some key he could turn to make me crazy with want. It was like he knew every thing that would set me off and make me jump in to the pool of lust that he was wading in…Waiting for me.

"I can't…" I tried to get a grip on reality. "I shouldn't…"

"But you want to?" It wasn't as much of a question, as much as it was a revelation. True, I shouldn't, but I wanted to so badly.

"Yes," I gasped out as his left hand slid over my right breast. "Yes. I do want to. I want to."

He lifted his head then, and gazed down into my eyes. His irises were almost black with desire, and I imagined his entire eyes being nothing but blackness. That blackness was calling me. Inviting me to dance in the moonlight. It would be so easy to just give in…

"No. We can't do this. I can't let you. You'll regret it later if we do anything," he whispered then, sitting up so that he was on his knees, and no longer on all fours over top of me. "I want you so badly, but I can't let you want me back."

I felt like he had just stabbed me in the gut. How could he get me so excited and then not follow through in some way? I didn't know how he would "follow through" exactly, but I knew there must be something at the end of that hazy road of lust he just jogged down with me.

"But…" I sat up. "But you…You were-" I didn't know what to say to finish that sentence. "I thought…"

"I'm sorry," he apologized. "I shouldn't have let myself get out of control with you like that. I swore I wouldn't do that with you. That you'd be something I wouldn't touch. I just…I'm so sorry. So Sorry." He looked down, like he felt as if he'd just murdered a puppy or something.

I looked at him and asked, "are you pulling back for your own conscience, or for my remorse?"

"Yours," he said quickly, then added, "well mine." Then he changed his mind again, his brow furrowed, "no, both! You'd regret it and I'd feel bad. It's a vicious circle that way."

"Angel…I trust you," I whispered.

He looked at me, and I could tell he was melting inside. "I know. I want you to." He offered his hand then, and when I took it he pulled me forward in to his embrace. "I want you to trust me. So trust me when I say that I'm doing the right thing here. Just let me do this, okay?"

I nodded in to his chest. "Okay."


Part 8A

We arrived in Miami just after nine in the morning. Angel informed me as we watched the bright, sunny city passing us by, that I had to call my father before we did anything else.

"Why?" I asked, pouting a bit like a little girl. "I don't want to. He never knew where I was before, why should now be any different? It's probably a load off his chest. He's probably already spread a story about how I'm not really his daughter, to save his reputation or something. He's low and immoral like that, you know? He doesn't exactly care about people."

But Angel would not be dissuaded. He handed me his cell phone from where he sat in the seat across from me. "Just make the call, Buffy, and then we can check in to the hotel of your choice." His smile showed that he was just teasing me, but at the same time I knew that he'd let me choose the place that we selected as our "temporary place of residence" during our stay in Miami, if I made the call.

I took the phone with a dramatic sigh. "Fine," I started dialing the number to my father's place. "But don't expect me to be nice!" I warned, pointing a finger at Angel.

He held up his hands to form a barrier, "I don't ask for the impossible."

I rolled my eyes. "Very funny." I waited and listened as it rang once…twice…

"Is he picking up?" Angel asked.

I looked at him as if he had slapped me, and asked him sarcastically, "don't you think I'd be talking if he'd picked up?"

Angel cocked an eyebrow, but before either of us could say anything else, I was pushed to awareness by the sound of Willow picking up the phone.

"Hello?" she answered, sounding tired.

"Willow!" I said, thrilled that I could talk to her before my father. I needed a bit of a pep talk from a girl who would understand.

"Buffy!" she exclaimed. "Oh my God! Where the Hell are you? Your father's been worried sick! Oh...Well, actually that's not true, he's just pissed off right now. But he went through the routine that he goes through when he's pissed off. He took a bottle of Vodka, a mixed tape, and a hair dryer into the bathroom with him and had a bath."

"A hair dryer?" I asked; confused. "What for?"

"Well, he has this theory that if he's reached the end of the tape, and his problems haven't improved considerably, he can hook up the hair dryer, and drop it into the water with him. But to be perfectly honest, he never makes it past Barry Mannilow singing 'Mandy' before he passes out from the alcohol consumption, and that song's still on the first side of the tape, so I'm guessing he's still alive." She explained it all, sounding like she was waking up gradually as she spoke. "So where are you? I couldn't believe you ran off with Angel. I was so happy when you told your dad off."

"I know. I know," I smiled faintly at the memory. "We've been driving all night. I can't tell you where we are, because I don't know how 'Stalkerish' my father is. There's always the chance that he has the phone wires tapped."

"Okay, but are you okay?" she asked sounding extremely concerned.

"I'm fine," I assured her. "Really. Angel's taken care of me."

"I don't want to sound rude or anything, but I just have to ask," she said in a hushed tone, "but Buffy what the Hell are you doing?"

I couldn't help laughing slightly. I sighed, "I honestly have no clue, Will. I have no clue. To be honest, I'm just going with the flow right now. Know what I mean?"

"Kinda.I think I did that once. But then I woke up in a hospital after swallowing too much water. That expression's a lot more painful when you're in the water on a raft with friends at a third grade birthday part, Buffy." I could tell she was frowing about the memory. He mind jumped to another point, and her voice changed with the subject. "But what are you doing, Buffy? Are you ever going to come back to Devil's Gorge?" she asked.

"I don't know," I looked at the window. "Probably eventually, but right now I just need to figure some things out. Angel says it's completely fine, so I guess that's what I'll do."

"Buffy, I'd like to think we're friends, so…I want to let you know something that isn't rumor." She spoke in a serious tone.

"We are friends, Will," I assured her. "You can tell me anything. You know that."

"It's about Angel," she added after a moment. "And it's pretty bad."

My throat tightened as a small spark of fear was injected into my blood from those few words. I looked at Angel, and my heart sped up. "What is it?" I finally got the words out of my dry throat as it closed back up again like a chinese finger trap.

She hesitated, and then explained, "you've heard all about what he's done. About just leaving women after being their worlds…But what no one talks about is the other stuff."

"What 'other stuff', Will?" I asked, starting to get a little impatient. "Just tell me." I glanced at Angel, and he gave me a reassuring smile.

"It's what broke him and Miss. Chase up. Initially, anyways," Willow continued. "Apparently when Angel finds something that he's actually interested in, he'll go to any length to keep it."

"What did he do?" I asked her firmly, emphasizing each word. Then I noticed the bewildered look on Angel's face. I put the phone back from my ear and covered quickly, "my dad took a hair dryer and a Barry Mannilow tape into the bathroom, and we don't know if he's still alive."

"Buffy?" Willow asked.

"Yeah. I'm here. Just tell me what's going on, Will," I glanced out the window, at the floor; anywhere but at Angel.

"Well, the story is that…Angel…He has a temper. You don't want to get him mad. He…When he found out what Cordelia was doing…Cheating on him and all. He kind of lost it." She could barely get it out, and I could tell her voice was shaking.

"'Lost it' how?" I asked, getting more and more concerned with each passing moment of suspense.

"Buffy, they never found the body!" she finally spit out, sounding frantic and upset as she spoke. "They never found the body." she said it again.

My eyes widened in horror. "What?" I managed to squeak out as my voice went completely.

"It's…It's just story. But this one isn't changed like every other rumor around here. Buffy...No one really..They don't..." she sighed and continued, "Buffy, no one really talks about murders and such in Devil's Gorge. They leave it as suspicion, and no one buts into anyone's business regarding deaths. There's a lot of foul play here. People do things…Strange things. The horses are really just some sort of a cover. Buffy, be careful, okay? I don't want to see anything happen to you. This is important. Angel is dangerous, okay?" She was starting to sound panicked.

"Calm down, Will," I said, finally getting my voice and my brain back. "I'm fine. Tell my father that there's nothing wrong, and that I'll be back soon. I just need to figure a few things out for myself. There's…Things I need to know," as I spoke, I looked over at Angel.

He was looking out the window, and his face was so stern and serious. He looked so angry for some reason. I wondered if he knew we were talking about him. Would he kill me if I got too close to the truth? Would he kill me anyways? My mind was starting to race.

"Buffy-" Willow began, but I stopped her.

"Will, I'm fine. I really have to go now. I'll call later, okay?" I didn't give her a chance to respond. I just hung up the phone.

I looked down at it for a long moment, and then I looked to Angel again. "A-Angel?" I stuttered slightly. I tried to calm my nerves. Surely Angel wasn't a mad psycho killer! That was crazy! Just because he's done some bad things, the people in Devil's Gorge think they can make up anything about him, and everyone will believe it because he'd lied so much before. I'm not going to believe it…

But still…

Angel looked at me then with a bright smile on his face. "Did you talk to your dad?" he asked.

"I talked to Willow," I answered. "She'll tell my dad. Apparently he's going through this fake depression. Started this morning around 2 with a bottle of Bacardi or something. I'm sure he'll be fine though."

He moved slowly to my side of the back, and slid closer. "Good," he slid an arm around my shoulders. It took all of self control to keep form screaming and jumping out the door to the pavement we were driving over through Miami.

I relaxed to some degree, trying to reassure myself once again that what Willow had said was just a lie from the people in Devil's Gorge. But still, I was nervous. However, I found I was able to relieve some of the tension in my limbs, and relax against Angel's side.

"So, where do you want to stay?" he asked me with a smile. "Four Seasons? Beverly Wilshire? The Spade? Or do you want to go to a resort? Or we can stay in a casino. There's Presidential Suites everywhere in Miami. Just choose a place."

I could only think, that if he was indeed a psycho, he was an amazing actor. But then I thought, Angel's never been mean to me before. He's been nothing like what people have said before. Why should I start doubting him now?

It's just a story.

I smiled up at him, relaxing finally and said, "I don't care. Let's just flip a coin."

He laughed, "do you have a coin with a hundred sides?"

"Let's just go to the place that looks the most exciting." I leaned my head against his chest and shut my eyes. "I'm tired. You decide. Take me some place magical, Angel."

He kissed the top of my head and said, "Princess Palace, it is."


The Princess Palace was indeed as it was named. It was the most breath-taking place I had ever been to in my life, and that was definitely saying a lot after the world traveling I'd done in my years.

"Oh wow!" I breathed a gasp of awe as the limo pulled up in front of the lobby. "Angel, it's gorgeous!" I whispered, a hand flying to my mouth in surprise.

The building itself, was made of a white marble, and every window had thick, blue drapes pulled back with gold ties and long tassles. The front doors to the lobby were thick glass of about an inch and a half. There were beautiful fountains on either side of the front doors.

The very tired chauffer came around to the door of the back of the limo, and opened it for us. Angel got out first, and then offered me his hand. I was suddenly so self-conscious. I smoothed a hand over my hair, and under my eyes to smooth away any make-up that had been smudged after the night before.

I took a deep breath and accepted the hand that he offered me. When I stepped out of the limo, my dress fell back into place as if it hadn't been wrinkling all night. It looked flawless, and I considered sending a fruit basket to the designer friend of Willow's.

"Is it magical enough for you?" Angel asked me, holding out one hand to the building, and holding my hand in the other.

I smiled, "it's perfect."

We entered the lobby, and I was once again struck by the beauty of it all. The ceiling was at least two hundred feet high. It was a glass ceiling, and the blue sky and clouds looking like a painting. The grand staircase in the center of the huge lobby, was white marble like the rest of the building, with gold on the banister, and a plush, white carpet on the steps. That same carpet was all over the hotel, and it felt like you were walking on air when you stepped on it. It was perfect, like everything else.

"Wait here?" Angel asked, kissing my hand and causing me to blush. "I'll be right back. I'm just going to get us in." He led me to a small seating area, where the Victorian-style chairs were white with gold embroidery in the pads. I would have sat, had I not been sitting for the last nine hours.

I could only nod in response. I watched Angel go to the lobby desks and start talking to the well-dressed, middle-aged man that was there. His hair was cut short and neat, and his teeth were an alarmingly bright shade of white. I wondered if he used bleach on them.

Very few words were exchanged between the man and Angel. As far as I could tell, once Angel said his name, and showed his identification, the man was blushing with compliments and offers. A gold key was passed to Angel, and the man clapped his hands, bringing three assistants to his side.

"Please go prepare the Princess Suite on the top floor," he said to them, and then they were gone as quick as they came.

Angel came back over to me and smiled, "shall we, Princess?"

I smiled and accepted the arm he was offering me.

As Angel led me towards the elevators, I found again that I was being watched closely by all of the guests and the staff in the lobby. But for a different reason this time. This time, it was because I was with Angel, not because I was Hank Summers' daughter. I loved the feeling of being associated with Angel…Not Hank.

The golden elevators opened, and we stepped in. The man controlling the elevator greeted Angel nervously, and then nodded his head politely at me and said, "ma'am."

As the elevator began to move, Angel said to me, "I have arranged for some clothing to be sent to the room in your size. I'm sure you're dying to get out of those shoes," he smiled broadly at me.

"Thank you," I sighed dramatically. "You have no idea what my feet are going through right now."

Angel chuckled softly and continued, "but after you have a nap and food, I'll take you shopping for some clothing of your own choice. I want you to be happy when you're with me, Buffy. There's nothing that I won't give you, if you just ask."

I smiled softly as I saw the sincerity creeping into his eyes. "I know," I spoke softly. "Thank you."

The bell of the elevator chimed, letting us know that we had arrived. "Princess Suite," the elevator man said in a French accent that I hadn't noticed before.

"Thank you," Angel said, handing him a fifty dollar bill.

I smiled at the man, and then Angel led me off the elevator to the paradise that awaited me…And there is no way to describe the beauty that awaited me.


Part 8B

I said that there was no way to describe it, but I'll do my best at trying. It was all so breath-taking, and I felt so unworthy of it all.

The first thing that we came to, was a small waiting room. This alone was gorgeous. The white marble was flecked with a dark jade color, and the elegantly carved trim was a light shade of jade. There were two chairs on either side of two large doors. The chairs were like the ones from downstairs, except these ones were white with jade stitching.

The doors to the suite opened by a bell boy, and he stepped out and after mumbling a polite greeting to us, he got into the elevator and then he and the elevator operator were gone.

"Shall we, my Queen?" Angel asked me, bowing slightly and holding out a hand in the direction of the door.

I smiled, "yes, kind sir."

I went in ahead of him at his request, and stopped dead in my tracks. The first thing I saw, was a fountain big enough to be a pool. There was a giant angel in the middle, with water flowing from her hands as if she was creating magic right before our very eyes. The statue was white marble, and it glowed with elegance and beauty. All around the fountain in a circle, was a white couch that wasn't wet at all from the fountain.

"Wow," I breathed out. "It's so beautiful."

"We've only just begun," Angel assured me, taking my hand and smiling at me. I was so happy that I was giddy. I smiled back, and let him lead me around the statue, and to the left. He informed me that if we had taken the corridor to the right, we would have gone to his section of the suite. He said he wanted to show me my section first.

We went down a small, marble corridor that had beautiful, gold-framed pictures of angels on the walls. The corridor led to a beautiful, luxurious living room.

The carpets were a faint pink that was almost peach. The huge, plush chairs and couches that were almost as big as beds, were a soft beige swirl, with matching pillows. Millions of little pillows.

The coffee table was made completely of crystal, and on it was a bucket of ice, with a bottle of very expensive champagne icing. Two, matching champagne flutes were set up next to the ice bucket, with a single, red rose laying between the two glasses on the table.

On the wall facing the chairs, was a TV screen that spanned the whole area, with built-in speakers, CD players, DVD players, and different satellite dishes.

"The view," Angel said, pulling me to the other side of the room. He opened two, glass doors, and led me out on to the terrace. The huge railings all around the deck, were met by white couches.

The view in itself, was more than I could handle.

I was faced with the ocean, and the white, sandy beach. There were mountains about five miles away from the hotel, and they were a plush green. It reminded me of Maui-one of my favorite places in all of the world. It was so beautiful.

"Now, come on," Angel said, taking me back into the suite. He was so anxious to show me everything.

I laughed slightly, "calm down, Angel. We have some time." I tried to reassure him, but he was too excited.

Back in the living room, and then into another room. This room was full salon. There were nail stations, hair setters, and make-up tables set up everywhere.

"A princess needs her own things," Angel smiled down at me. "Come on," he pulled me through another door, into the closets. The closets were bigger than any bedroom, and there were so many of them. He flicked a switch on the wall, and the racks started twirling around, and revealing more racks and shelves.

"Your bedroom," he said, pulling me through another door into the mistress suite.

This room was too beautiful for words. The bed was covered with a pink duvet, and a million white and pink-swirled pillows. There was a canopy over the bed, and hanging from it at the sides of the bed, was a lace, light pink cover. The head board of the bed, had a crown carved into it in gold and diamonds.

There were small night tables on either side of the bed, with a phone on one, and a fancy clock on the other. The clock was white, with pink numbers and gold trim.

The carpets were a sparkling white, and there was another deck off the side of the room. There was a huge vanity in the side of the room, with fancy lights all around the huge mirror. There was a mini bar in the other corner of the room, stocked with waters, wines, and millions of goodies.

The room just breathed elegance and class. I was entirely too excited to sleep in the huge, inviting, double-king-sized bed.

On two hooks in the corner of the room, there were two ensembles. One was a pair of pink, silk pajama bottoms, with a pink tank top, pink thong, and head bandana for sleeping. Beneath that outfit, were some plush slippers that looked so much better than the spiked heels I was wearing at the moment. I wanted nothing more than to wear them for the rest of my life. Fashion could be damned!

The next outfit, was some basic jeans, and a white, off-the-shoulder peasant top with a tight stomach area that tied up the back like a bit of a corset. There were basic boots with that ensemble, that looked so comfortable for shopping.

"Your en-suite," Angel said, pulling me through another door into the bathroom attached to my suite. In here, was a Jacuzzi the size of the fountain, a large, golden, limestone shower stall, and an added room for the "royal throne" for the women. There were matching, elegant, white limestone sinks in a pink counter opposite the shower, and a huge mirror hung over them with lights all around it.

"This is all so perfect," I said in a hushed voice. I was afraid that if I spoke too loud, that I would scare it all away, and it would be gone.

"Not finished yet," Angel grinned, and led me back into the bedroom. He led me through another door, and after walking through a small corridor, I found myself back in the living room. Angel took me over to a door I hadn't seen before, and inside I was presented with another beautiful luxury.

The pool.

All around the pool, the ground was an actual mattress! Angel explained that it was a lot better than a slippery surface when you get out of the pool, and that it was a special material that absorbed the water and flushed it back through a cleansing system and into the pool again.

The pool was huge, and Angel informed me that the bottom was lined with fyber-optics, so that at night you could turn off the lights, and the bottom of the pool was lit up with lights to look like the sky.

"And every thirty seconds, a shooting star will go across the bottom, in a different place each time," Angel told me.

"It's a heaven," I said, still in a bit of a daze.

Angel led me out to where the fountain was, and to a door in the middle of our separate living areas, that took us to a small room for the both of us to share. This one was just like the living room that was in both of our suites, except it was all done in white, not pink, or maroon and beige like Angel informed me his side was.

"Also, if you go back to the elevator, and tell the man that you wish to go up stairs, you can go up to your own bar, complete with any game you desire. There's also a gym up there for you to use, and a spa where you can have the masseuse to come up and relax you a bit." Angel smiled down at me and asked, "how do you like it?"

I could barely form words. "When can I move in?" was all I could ask. Angel just chuckled and answered, "let's get you some food and clothing first. Plus a shower, maybe?"

"Oh Angel," I sunk into his arms with a delighted sigh. "You were sent from heaven for me, weren't you?" I asked.


Part 9

After showering, I headed straight for the set of pajamas. The bottoms lid rather low on my hips, and the underwear was designed specifically for these bottoms, in a way that it allowed you to see the thin straps at my hips. Overall, I was completely cozy. There was nothing more sensual and luxurious, in my opinion, than having silk rub against smooth skin. It made me tingle all over every time I moved.

Coming out of the bedroom with my hair blown dry and tied off my face in a loose pony tail, I found Angel in my living room, accompanied by four roll-in carts covered with all different kinds of food.

One cart was covered with drinks. One was covered with fruit and vegetables. Another was covered with eggs made in a million different ways. And the last of the carts, was covered with all types of toast, waffles, and bagels.

"I didn't know what you liked for breakfast," Angel flashed me a dazzling smile. "So I figured I'd guess and hopefully get it right."

"You were right," I smiled back.


Half an hour later, I sat back in my seat, and put my fork down. "Angel, I know you want me to eat a lot, but if I eat anymore, I'm not going to be able to breathe."

"Okay," he agreed. "You can stop. But lunch is going to be big too. You need to put on a little more weight. I know you've been upset lately, but you need to pay attention to your health." His eyes showed how concerned he was.

His concern confused me. We barely knew each other, and he was protecting me and watching over me like we'd been together for years. But it felt so natural. So natural to have Angel as my constant provider and endless fountain of support. It was like being with him just felt right.

This brought up our plans. What were our plans? Did we even have any? Did Angel have any? Was he looking for a weekend of fun with me and then back to Devil's Gorge? Or did he just want to never go back to Devil's Gorge?

"What are our plans?" I asked, looking down at my fingers nervously, and then up at him with hesitant eyes.

He looked up from the paper he was reading and stared at me for a minute, as if trying to figure it out for himself. He glanced to the window for a moment, and then back at me. "What do you want to do?" he asked after several long moments.

I sighed and shrugged softly. "I don't exactly have any plans. It's not like I have priorities or direction in my life."

He took a moment to digest that and then asked, "if you could go one place, where would it be?"

I thought for a moment, and then sighed, "Maui. But Angel, I really think we should discuss what we're going to do now. I mean-"

He cut me off, "I thought that's what we were doing." His face showed he was confused.

My eyes darted to the side and then back, as the rest of me stayed still. Then I had to accept that I had no idea what he was saying. "What?" My face showed my exasperated confusion.

Angel set his paper down, and turned his chair so that he was directly facing me. "I mean this," he said, taking my hands, causing me to squirm in my seat. "Let's go to Maui. If Maui's the one place you'd like to be, then that's where we'll go."

"Seriously?" I asked, doubting that he wanted to stay with me that long. "I mean…Don't you have a job or something that you need to do? You can't just ignore your priorities because of me, Angel." I was trying to breathe reason into this heavy conversation that was making me more and more nervous by the second.

"I inherited twenty million from my grandfather five months ago," he said, his face a mask that showed no emotion.

"Oh," I understood that.

"So let's do it!" he said with enthusiasm. "Let's just go."

I looked away from his bright face, to our hands. Our joined hands. Once more, it felt so natural. So right. But what should I do? Should I take the chance? It seemed like mystery followed Angel. Did I really want to be a part of that mystery?

"What do you say?" he prompted me for an answer, his concern growing that I would turn him down.

I looked up into his eyes. "I don't know, Angel," I whispered honestly, standing up. I walked over to the open balcony doors. The light, soft pink, see-through drapes were blowing out the doors in the morning breeze off the ocean.

I stood in the doorway, my arms crossing protectively over my chest, and I tried to make some sort of sense of what I wanted. What did I really want to do? Should I completely destroy any chance of having a connection or relationship of any kind with the man that had fathered me and "loved" my mother? Should I try to make it work in Devil's Gorge? Try to fit in with everyone? Or should I just throw caution to the wind and run with Angel. Run and discover the world. Discover Angel. Angel's mystery. Discover me and my heart.

I tried to talk myself into one choice or the other. "I mean, if I go with you, then I won't ever want, or be able, to go back to Devil's Gorge. I don't care about that, but at the same time it's a damn shame to live in exile from one of the richest places in the world." I turned to face Angel again, my arms dropping to my sides.

"And if I go with you, what are we?" I asked, moving quickly to another point. "I mean, it seems from what I've heard that you've got a pile of ex's around the globe, so do I want to constantly be fighting with them about being with you? Am I even with you? Are we together? Or are we just travel buddies? I mean…I don't know what you want from me, Angel. I honestly don't know what you want us to be."

Angel stood finally, and came over to me. He was so tall. He towered over me. He took my hands in his, and bent his head to kiss my knuckles. "Come with me," he whispered, and started leading me from the room. He led me down the small hall, into my bedroom.

I was starting to shake as I glanced at the bed. What did he want? What were we going to be? He'd stopped us in the limo before. If he hadn't, who knows how far I would have let myself go.

But Angel surprised me by not leading me to the bed, but to the huge, full-sized mirror in the corner of the room. He moved to stand behind me, and he wrapped his arms around my waist from behind.

"Look," he whispered his command into the skin on my shoulder, laying a gentle kiss to my collarbone. "What I want?…Tell me what you see."

"I-I see…I see me," I could barely form words. My nerves were humming, and I felt so warm all over. I was sure that I would be breaking into a sweat at any moment.

"And that's all I want," he whispered into my ear, nibbling gently on my ear lobe. I shut my eyes as he nibbled, and then kissed his way down my neck again, to my shoulder blades.

I tried to hold on to my fleeting sanity. I took a deep breath, trying with all of my reserved might, to make it sound a little less ragged then it wanted to come out.

I turned slowly in Angel's arms, until I could gaze up into his eyes. I felt so many emotions coursing through me. There was fear. Uncertainty. Trust. Doubt. Compliance. Desire. And there was a keen sense of lust in my every cell that I had never felt before.

But I had to know. I had to know how long he'd want me. Would he tire of me in a week? In a week, I could fall completely in love with Angel. And if that was the case, I couldn't stand the thought of him wanting to end whatever we would have.

How long would he want me?

"How long?" I asked, my voice just barely a whisper. I didn't intend for it to sound as husky and seductive as it came out. It just came naturally around Angel. I could tell instantly, by the sharp intake of breath, that he had been affected by it.

His eyes locked with mine; searching. Then his reply came. Panted. "Forever."

And then his lips were on mine, and I was in heaven. I suddenly didn't care about the warnings. The threats. The incidents of almost being assaulted by a shoe. I didn't care what anyone said. I wanted to be in Angel's arms, and no one was going to be able to keep me away from my dark prince. My only desire, was the mystery that he was. Possible angry temper, be damned. I wanted him, and he wanted me, and I was intent upon keeping it that way…

At all means necessary.

He pulled me flush up against him, and my arms twined around his neck as I tried to pull him closer. He needed to be closer. There was no way that he could ever be close enough. Of that I was sure.

His tongue licked a serpentine in my mouth, making me tremble. "Angel," I gasped as his lips parted from my own to trail a blazing trail of fire down my neck with his tongue. He found a particular spot that intrigued him on my collar, and his lips and tongue sucked my skin ever-so-delicately.

Just as I was about to whisper for him to take me away, to take me to bed and never let me go, there was a loud bang.

No one could have seen the bullet coming. But we sure felt it.


Part 9B

The slicing pain that cut through my arm, exacted throughout my entire body; making me feel like I had just been stabbed all over with a thousand dull knives. Again and again. My legs dropped from beneath me, and Angel lowered me to the floor.

"Oh my God," he said in a hushed voice, his fingers circling the wound on my arm, being careful to avoid touching it too much. "Oh my God, Buffy. Buffy, look at me. Don't close your eyes. Whatever you do, don't close your eyes. Don't close your eyes."

I could barely think. I could barely breathe. I didn't have the abilities to think about breathing. Everything in my body was constricting with the pain, and my entire mind had gone numb.

Angel grabbed a large, white, unused, cloth napkin from the table where we had eaten our breakfast, and he said, "this is going to hurt a little, but I need to apply pressure." With that, he pressed the piece of cloth to my wound, holding it firmly.

It felt as if he had pressed a button on my "Pain Monitor" and suddenly I was delivered ten injections of the terrible drug.

I found my voice, and let out my extremely-pained version of a scream/gasp. "Oh-" I sucked in a dry breath that did nothing for the pain except center it on my lungs.

"Who-" I couldn't finish the thought.

"Buffy, listen to me," Angel instructed, pillowing my head with his hand, and holding pressure to the bloody wound on my shoulder with the other. "You need to listen to me. Are you listening to me?"

I could barely manage a hint of a nod.

"Buffy, you need to stay with me here, okay? I need to get you out of here, but I can't just take you out the front doors on a stretcher. I don't know who else is out there, and if they see you on a stretcher, then they'll know they got you. So I'm going to need you to help me out, okay?" His eyes were filled with concern and…fear. Fear for me. Fear for my safety. A fear that I'd be gone from his life as fast as I had entered it just a week and a half ago.

My voice came back, and I gasped out my sarcasm, "I've just been shot in the shoulder, and you want me to help you out? What in the Hell can I do for you?"

He leaned over and pressed a gentle kiss to my forehead. "I'm gonna need you to be strong, Buffy. Can you do that for me?"

I nodded, wanting so badly to be able to help him. Anything for Angel. Anything for my Angel.

"Okay, here's what we're going to do…"


I don't know how Angel got me dressed. I was half-aware of my surroundings, as I was starting to fade out from the blood loss and the shock. But about ten minutes later, I looked down at myself and found that I was dressed in the jeans and top provided by the hotel.

"Buffy, I need to cover the wound now, so that they don't see anything's wrong in the lobby," he said. "I need to get you out of here, and to a private hospital, without anyone seeing. So I'm going to need to put a jacket on you. Can you deal with that much pressure?"

I shook my head that I couldn't, so he started looking around the room for something to substitute.

"Oh!" an idea dawned on him suddenly. He dashed through the suite, to my bedroom, and returned a moment later with the pink night-stand cloth from my bedroom. He folded it into a triangle, and came over to me.

"I think these are coming back into style," he said, gently tying it around my shoulders as a wrap. It effectively covered the back of my shoulder, where the wound was. Angel had found a small bandage to hold the blood back, so the wrap didn't soak through immediately. We would have just enough time to get out of the hotel and to the limo, before it became visible.

Angel carried me to the door to the suite, and he buzzed the button for the elevator to be brought up. "Okay, Buffy. Now I need you to walk. We'll go slowly. I promise. But we need to get to the elevator, and if I carry you, they're going to know. Can you walk for me?" He asked me in a low voice that sounded genuinely curious as to whether or not I would be able to move my feet.

The elevator arrived, and the door was opened to reveal the same operator as a few hours before. Angel helped me as much as he could, and finally I was settled in the corner of the elevator, leaning against Angel's chest. I hid my face in his chest, feeling the effects of the blood loss and shock. It would be so easy to just sleep. Just for a moment…

"Buffy!" Angel commanded me awake.

My eyes shot open, and then shut partially. I had to fight to keep them from shutting, but it was like they had a mind of their own.

Angel looked to the operator, who was trying not to stare even though he found the events of the ride very intriguing. "She needs coffee. She hasn't slept very much. Honeymooners, you know?" Angel explained his "story" with a convincing smile.

"Oh," the operator came to attention, "sir, we can have coffee delivered to your room. It is no problem. You don't have to go all the way-"

I came to Angel's aide, even though I was half-dazed. I looked at the man and said, "too strong. I need my coffee maker. I left it in the car. It's my boyfriend. We have a…connection."

I smiled at the man, and he seemed to be satisfied with thinking that I should be committed. He said nothing for the rest of the ride, except his parting wishes when we stepped off the elevator.

At Angel's request, the limo was waiting with our familiar chauffer, and after getting me into the back, Angel whispered his instructions to him, and climbed in the back with me.

"Okay, there's a private hospital about five miles out of Miami, Buffy. We'll be there in about ten minutes. Can you stay awake for ten minutes?" he looked deeply into my half-shut eyes.

I took a deep breath. "As long as you promise never to kiss me again."

He looked confused, and I explained, "every time you kiss me, I get hit with something."


Part 9C

I tried to stay conscious through the limo ride, but as the car swerved through the morning traffic of the city of Miami, I found my efforts to be in vain. I shut my eyes and slumped against Angel. He gathered me in his arms, and held me close, assuring me that we would "be there soon" and to just "hold on a moment longer".

The next time I awoke, Angel was carrying me into a small building. It looked more like a brick box to me, but once we were inside the steel doors that opened for us, I saw that it indeed wasn't just a box. It was a hospital of some sort. The only difference was that everyone here had nothing less than five million in their bank accounts.

I heard someone explaining that this is where the rich come to have their injuries treated. It's a place where they don't ask questions, and they don't report things to the police. I wondered why Angel would have brought me here. Why wasn't he going to report it to the police? Why wasn't he going to file an arrest warrant for the person that had shot me?

Angel was noticed immediately, and I decided to assume it was because he was so rich and powerful, and not because he'd been here before. He was pointed in to the first door on the left. It was a large room with an operating bed in the middle.

Angel set me down, and no sooner had I shut my eyes again, did the door open and a doctor walk in. Talk about service! Most people with gun shot wounds had to wait for the women with broken hips to get any attention from a nurse! Let alone a doctor.

"Back again, Angelus?" the doctor seemed to know Angel quite well by the way he joked with him. "Who'd you bring me this time? Another weekend fling?"

I noticed the look on Angel's face, even in my state of half-consciousness, at the same time the doctor did. The doctor shut up and covered by saying, "just joking. It's been a long time, old friend."

I could tell he was faking it, even in my current state. But I ignored my thoughts and musings as the man started asking questions and looking at the wound on my shoulder.

Then there was a poke in my arm, and all of my cares went away. I smiled to myself as I started to fade out, the pain leaving instantaneously. That was a miracle shot!

Was it patented?


"Angelus?" Doctor Sanders came out of the operating room. I looked to him from where I sat, and stood immediately.

I went over to him, and anxiously asked, "is she going to be alright? What happened?"

"Angelus, I'm only going to say this once, because I care about my patients, and I care about my friends," he placed one arm on my shoulder. "Angelus, I don't know who this girl is-and I'm not going to stress over finding out. But I do know this…Whoever shot her, was serious. The bullet they used is called a Durix Ninety Three. It's a new bullet being sold on the street. I'd heard of it, but never worried about checking for authenticity in the rumors. This bullet, Angelus, it poisons the respiratory system. It causes a victim's heart to squeeze together and hold, sort of like a heart attack, but much more painful."

"But is she going to be alright? Is she poisoned? Will she…Will she make it?" The details weren't important to me. I just wanted to know if Buffy would live to stay with me. But then there was another aching question on my mind…Would she want to stay with me now? After all of this?

My thoughts rushed away as the doctor continued.

"Angelus, it seems this girl's not exactly…Normal. She's reacting to this bullet slightly differently than anything I've ever seen." His eyes bore into mine, trying to express his concerns.

"Is it bad?" I asked, my voice choked with emotions that I wasn't aware I could ever feel for one woman alone…Or any woman at all, for that matter. Buffy was special to me, of that I now knew more than ever, was for sure.

"No," the doctor surprised me with his answer. "She's not taking the poison. In fact, her body has started pushing it out of her system. It's nothing short of miraculous, Angelus."

"Pushing it out?" I was confused. "How? Where?"

"We hooked her up to an IV about half an hour ago, and instead of accepting it, she started pushing the poison out into the IV. Now, as you know it takes a tremendous amount of strength to push something in to an IV when it's trying to pump something out." His eyes grew smaller. "Angelus, this girl is amazing. I don't know what she is…But she's different than anything I've ever seen in my entire medical career-and I'm not a young man."

I looked all around, trying to process the information. Then I asked, "Can I see her? Can I just go in and sit with her?"

"Absolutely," Doctor Sanders said. "In fact, she was asking for you about an hour ago, when we were stitching her wound. She's been talking to us non-stop about one thing or another. And she's-"

The doctor never finished his sentence. I was already in Buffy's hospital room, at her side. "Buffy," I whispered, taking the hand that didn't have an IV needle in it, and kissing her forehead tenderly. "Buffy, baby, how are you feeling? Are you okay?"

She frowned, "you know how people say that a paper cut is the worst kind of pain?"

I nodded, "yeah."

She looked out the window and answered after a moment, "I have a sinking suspicion that none of those people have been shot before."

I smiled and kissed her knuckles, "nice to see you haven't lost your sense of humor."

"Angel," she looked at me; suddenly serious. "Angel, I don't think I can go with you. I think I should go back to Devil's Gorge."

I straightened up, but refused to let go of her hand. "Buffy," I began, trying to think of how to beg her to stay. It was selfish to put her at risk, but I was confident that now that she'd been hurt, I wouldn't let her anywhere near danger.

"No, listen," she whispered, her eyes focused on my own. "Angel, I want to stay with you. I really do. But there's someone who doesn't want that. They're near desperate to separate us."

"So we can't give in-" I started.

But she caught me off, being incessant. "No. Angel, I can't get shot again. It hurt too much. It was terrifying. I don't want to know what else the people or person after us will try. I just…" she looked down. "I can't wait around with you to find out."

"Is it about what Willow told you?" I asked, as that suspicion took over my being. If Willow had said something, I was damned sure to be paying her a little visit very soon. "Is it about what she-"

"No," Buffy cut me off. She was quiet a moment, and then said, "but Angel I've heard things. I'm not going to deny that. I've tried to ignore them and form my own opinion of you, but being shot kind of makes you wonder if people could be right."

"Buffy, I'd never hurt you. You know that," I was getting desperate. I looked into her eyes, praying to God that she would see how honest I was. I would hurt anyone who hurt her, but I would never cause her any pain. "You know I'd never hurt you."

She looked down at her lap, and to the IV. "I think so…But Angel, you're doing things that make me wonder."

"Like what?" I was surprised.

"Like taking me to a place that won't ask questions or tell the police. Like making sure no one in the hotel knew or called the police. The way the doctor asked who you had THIS time?-"

I cut her off, "you know he was joking about that, Buffy."

"But what about everything else?" she asked.

"Everything else is…Buffy, if people knew, then they'd cause a scene, and it would be all over the press, because of who we are. Then your dad would have known where you were, and he'd come to get you, and…I just thought I was doing the right thing." I hoped that seemed believable. I couldn't stand the thought of Buffy wanting to leave.


She looked at me, and then down at her hand, "I think I should go. Angel, if I stay with you…Someone could kill one of us. I want to stay with you, but…I'm not going to die for it."

Before I could say anything, there was a sound of another gun being fired, and people started screaming as loudly as they could in fear.

Doctor Sanders burst through the door, "Angelus!" he gasped, holding his bloody stomach. "Angelus, they have come…" he fell over then, his eyes rolling back in his head like in a movie.

"Angel," Buffy whispered softly, her voice beginning to quake with fear..

"Get dressed," I commanded in a stern voice. "Right now. We need to get out of here."


Part 9D

Angel started helping me out of the bed, not caring that I was half-naked. When I went to stand, I felt a painful tug on my hand. I looked back and remembered my IV. I paused, "Angel, wait," I said. I grabbed hold of the huge needle, clenched my jaw, shut my eyes, and pulled it out. The pain made me want to scream, but I avoided it-remembering that there was someone there killing people, possibly to get to us. The last thing I wanted to do, was let them know where we were.

"Do you think that you can you stand on your own?" Angel asked me in a hushed voice.

I managed a nod that was barely there, and walked as softly as I could to the chair in the corner of the room, where my clothes were. It took me about forty five seconds to shimmy into my jeans due to the fact that my left arm was useless because of my shoulder, and my bleeding hand that stung so horribly after ripping out the IV needle.

Angel came over and lifted my hospital gown off, not seeming to care that I was embarrassed by standing before him in my jeans and peach-colored bra. He grabbed my peasant top, and slid it over my shoulder. I cringed at the thought of having that bloody shirt on, but it was all I had for now.

"Okay, there's a back door that not many people know about," Angel said, looking to the door the doctor had come through. "The only problem is that we have to leave the room to get there."

"No!" I whispered harshly. "Angel, if we got out there, they could see us and kill us! What if we're the ones they're after? What if we're not? What if we just get in the way and piss them off to the point where we become the ones they want to kill?"

Just then I spotted something in the doctor's hand. It was gun. I couldn't believe our good fortune. I crouched down next to the body, and picked it up. "Angel, look!" I showed it to him.

"Good. Now, Buffy, listen carefully. I want you to put your bad arm around my neck if you can. You need to have your good hand free for shooting the gun if you need to," Angel whispered, ignoring everything I'd said as he lifted me into his arms despite my protests. I didn't have the strength in my muscles at the moment, to put my arm around his neck, so I left it against Angel's chest.

I gripped the gun tightly in my hand as he started walking towards the door, and suddenly I wanted nothing more than to cry. I would be going out into a room that-at the moment-contained murders and possibly even dead bodies!

Angel pushed the door open with his foot, and stuck his head out. "It's clear for the moment," he said, and moved out of the room. He walked at a brisk pace, making sure he wasn't pressing on my wound.

We were almost to the door at the end of the long, white hallway, when I heard someone exclaim at the top of their lungs, "there!"

I looked behind us, and saw a young man with a gun. "Angel turn your head!" I commanded, and pointed the gun over his shoulder at the man. I shut my eyes and fired.

I missed by a hair, but it confused the man enough to let Angel get us to the door.

As we exited the hallway, I heard a woman's voice say, "Wesley, you idiot! You let them get away!"

Angel and I were now in a cement staircase. The steel steps made it harder for Angel to be gentle with me, and I found myself biting my lips until it drew blood, in order to keep from screaming. He went as fast as I could, and just as we reached the bottom of the second set of stairs, I heard the door open above us.

Gun shots were fired down through the stairs at us. It took all my courage, as Angel kept taking us down the stairs, to look up, and raised the gun. I aimed it a few feet before where the man-Wesley-was. I fired, and he walked right in to the bullet.

With a pained yelp, he fell forward and tumbled down the stairs at an alarming rate. The woman kept going though, running down after us, taking a moment to step over the crying body of her companion.

Angel reached the bottom of the four flights of stairs, and he used all his strength to kick open the steel door that led us in to an underground parking garage.

In this garage, there was one car, and one motorcycle. I knew that I wouldn't be able to stay on the motorcycle, so I was so relieved when Angel ran to the car. The car was a 2000 Porsche. Angel went to the passenger's side, and miraculously, the car was unlocked.

"Angel?" I asked as he opened the door and put me in the seat.

"Put on your seat belt," he commanded, slamming my door and jumping over the front hood of the car, to jump into the driver's side.

He reached across to the glove compartment in front of where I sat, and he pulled out a set of keys. He started the engine, and drove like mad towards the exit of the garage.

The door to the stairs opened just as we drove by, and I was about to get a good look at who the woman was, when Angel swerved the car for no reason that I could tell, and my vision was lost.

I sighed, and slumped in to the seat. I shut my eyes, leaning my head back against the head rest, and thought for a moment about everything that had just happened. I didn't like that man because he shot at us, but I hoped to God that I didn't kill him.

Kill him! My brain triggered to the gun that I held. I looked down at it, and freaked out. I opened the glove compartment, and stuffed it inside. What if the police caught me?

I suddenly remembered to a dinner party I had once been forced to sit through with my mother's friend, Giles. Giles was a police officer, and he'd told us all about how a simple skin test from under your finger nail, can tell exactly when you fired a gun, and what kind it was.

But I also remembered how he'd said we could avoid failing this test. Hot wax! If we could peel the gun residue off our fingers with hot wax, then we could pass the test if we were ever caught. My mother had joked at the time, that this information would never be of any use to me, and I thought it was the most ironic thing in the world that this information could save me from going to prison now, if we were caught.

But where would I get hot wax in the next five minutes, before the gun powder had embedded itself in my skin permanently?

I looked all around the car. Then I found something I could use. It was a wax figure of a Hula dancer. But how would I burn it?

"Who's car is this?" I asked Angel.

"The doctor's. He obviously wasn't going to use it, Buffy, so I don't think our regrets should be that high." He answered, focusing on the road ahead as he sped out of the city.

"Did he smoke?" I asked.

"I don't know. I didn't exactly check the bullet wound for smoke signals, Buffy," Angel snapped; sounding upset and annoyed.

"I meant cigarettes!" I yelled back. "Did he smoke cigarettes?!"

Angel looked at me for a split second, and then back to the road. After a moment, he said, "I think so."

I hoped to God that I was right about this next thought. I reached my good arm behind the seat, and strained to feel around the pocket on the back of the seat.

"Aha!" I announced, finding the lighter. I pulled it out, and stared at it like it was a gold medal.

"How did you know that would be there?" Angel asked me.

"My mother hid the fact that she smoked from everyone. I knew all of her hiding places. Naturally, doctors have to try to hide that they smoke-especially from the rich. My mother used to hide a lighter in the back pocket of the passenger's seat in her Mercedes. She hid another under the back of the toilet." As I explained, I pulled the glove compartment down again, so that the tray was right in front of me.

I leaned forward, and flicked the lighter on. It lit on the second try. Holding the wax doll in one hand, I started burning the wax on to the tray before me. It began to form a pool of burning wax. The bright colors of the doll were mixing together to make an ugly brown color.

"What are you doing?" Angel asked, glancing from the road to the tray, and back to the road again.

"I fired the gun twice. I shot that guy. I need to pull the gun powder off my skin, before it's in far enough to stay where it is. This way, if we get caught, they won't be able to run a GP-CCB on me," I explained, focusing on the doll. It was getting harder to hold it without burning my fingers.

"What's that?" Angel asked.

"A GP-CCB is a Gun Powder Cross Check Burrake. It's a test the police can run that tells them if you've fired a gun, and what time you fired it. They can tell the make and model of the gun as well. If I pull out the gun powder remains, they can't test me," I explained, tossing the doll away. I had gotten as much off of it as I could without burning my fingers with the lighter.

"You're dipping your fingers in the wax?" Angel asked; shocked.

"Do you have a better idea?" I asked him; exhasperated.

"Yes. Let's find a candle. What you're doing is too dangerous, and it's going to be way too hot."

I shook my head. "It'd be too late. If I don't do this in about a minute's time, it'll be way too late." I shut my eyes then, and took a deep breath. I lifted my right hand, and opened my eyes. "This is going to hurt so much," I said with a sigh.

"God," Angel looked away, feeling helpless to save me from this pain that I was about to endure.

I didn't have long before the wax would cool and set. I took a breath, and submerged all of my fingers on my right hand, into the hot wax.

The pain wasn't there at first. I felt the wax against my fingers, and recognized it as warm but not painful. Then my nerves kicked in their response, and I wanted to scream.

"Ah!" I couldn't hold back a shriek of pain. I pulled my fingers out of the wax, and stared at my red fingers with the brown wax on the tips.

"Oh my," Angel whispered, glancing at my red fingers.

I started peeling the wax off my fingers, after being sure that it had set properly. It hurt even more to have the cool air on the fresh layer of skin that had been hidden under the layer that the wax had taken with it.

I scraped all of the wax off the tray with a pen from the glove compartment, and rolled all of the wax from my fingers and the tray, into a little ball.

"Open the window," I managed to form words despite the multiple pains on my body.

Angel pressed the button just as we crossed a bridge, and the window went down. I used my last ounce of strength, to toss the ball out the window and off the side of the bridge to the waters below.

I sat back in the seat, and tried to catch my breath. I could barely move at this point, and I was exhausted from the blood loss, the amount of pain I was in, and the traumatic events of the day.

I looked to Angel and asked, "what do we do now?"


Part 10

It was decided(by Angel)that we needed to get out of Miami. But to where, we didn't know. I was racking my brain, trying to come up with a reason for all of this, and all I could come up with was that I was making some girl extremely jealous.

But then there was what Willow said. The person who Angel flipped out on. She said they'd never found the body. Maybe that was who had shot me. Maybe they were trying to kill Angel, and they'd missed and shot me instead. That thought only further encouraged my want to get away from the danger that followed him…even though I can't imagine leaving him behind.

At the airport, there were so many people getting ready to board first class flights, and I wanted more than anything to be wearing something that wasn't splattered with my own blood. I felt so tacky around everyone in their fine clothes.

I put my wishes aside for the moment, however, to ask Angel just where he thought he was taking me.

"I haven't figured that out yet," he said, staring at the list of flights that would be departing soon. "I was thinking Jamaica. But then maybe Ireland. What do you think?"

"Angel," I reached out to his hand with my right hand. "I can't go with you. You know that."

He turned to look at me. "Buffy…I don't want to force you to stay with me, but I'm sorry…I can't let you leave. If I'm not there, who knows what might happen to you. These people could be after you."

"But they could be after you!" I pointed out. "And so far, they've missed because of me. If I stay with you, they could kill me to get to you."

"But we don't know for sure," he responded. "For all we know, they could think we're some other couple. Or maybe they think we have something that they want. Whatever it is-we don't know. So I'm sorry, but I can't let you go. I'd never be able to live with myself if something happened to you."

He turned to look at the list of flights again, but kept my hand in his own. I looked down at our joined hands, and wondered if-despite what he had said before-the only reason he had me with him, was to make sure these people didn't kill me.

I looked up at him as he studied the flights. He was so serious. So determined. It was almost frightening. I was afraid of him, yes. But really, I was only afraid of being in love with him. I felt myself growing attached, and after a week and a half-I couldn't seem to imagine my life without him.

How would I live without him there?

"Angel?" I questioned in a soft voice. I didn't want to become an annoying pest by always asking questions, but I just had to know.

"Yeah?" he asked, not taking his eyes off the flight screens.

I was silent a moment as I considered my options. I knew I wanted to stay with him, despite the danger…But how should I tell him that without sounding desperate and vulnerable? How could I lay myself on the line without being open to pain?

I chewed my bottom lip for a moment, sticking out in a bit of a pout. What could I do? Then it dawned on me, and I had no doubts about my course of action.

I stepped on to my tip-toes, and with my good hand, I turned his head to the side to face me. Before he had time to react or think, I pressed my lips against his.

For a moment, he seemed hesitant to respond. His protests changed, a millisecond later, when I stood directly in front of him, and allowed my body to slide slightly closer to his own. I clashed my hips against his own, and pressed against him.

His eyebrows lifted in surprise, and then he moaned longingly in to my mouth. I reveled in the sound, licking my tongue across his lips and teeth; silently begging him to kiss me back.

To let me in.

It worked!

His hands slid around my waist, to hold me even closer to the growing ache he was feeling in a certain part of the male anatomy, that had a mind of it's own, and an IQ of a potato.

His lips parted, and his tongue slid out to meet my own, and trace over my lips.

The kiss lasted several, long moments, and when we broke apart, the world seemed so much darker. So much more passion was floating around us. Angel's eyes were almost black with desire, and it was the most amazing feeling in the world, to know that I was the reason to that passion. To that desire…That lust.

I gazed in to his eyes, panting slightly, and then asked, "can I choose where we go?"

"As long as it has a bed," he whispered, leaning down to apply a tender kiss to my lips once more.

I smiled in to the kiss and said, "Bora Bora it is."

He moaned out his reply, and before we knew it…We were flying.


The jet ride was fairly smooth, save for some turbulence about an hour in to the flight. But then we leveled off, and I relaxed enough to snuggle in to Angel's chest and go to sleep.

When I woke up, I discovered that Angel had gone to sleep. His head was leaning against the pillow he had shoved against the window next to him, and his brow was furrowed as he slept. He looked so serious. He looked like he was trying to focus on something very important. Like defusing a bomb or something along the lines of a serious situation like that.

I leaned over, not able to resist his perfect, pouting lips, and I kissed him tenderly, nibbling on his lower lip first.

He shot awake with the first touch of my lips to his, and relaxed when he opened his eyes and saw that it was me. He shut his eyes again, and pulled me closer, wrapping his arms around my shoulders to draw me in to his lap and his chest.

I was so glad then, that Angel had gone all-out on the flight plans, and booked the jet suite. This was a place on the jet that very few people ever had the opportunity to know about. Only the rich and extremely handsome were admitted access to this area of a first-class jet. Most people didn't even know that it existed.

We were surely not to be disturbed for another hour or two by the flight attendants, at our request, so I wasn't opposed to his moves when Angel stood up with me in his arms.

*~*Oh no, I see The spider web is tangled up with me And I lost my head And thought of all the stupid things I'd said*~*

He deepened the kiss, setting me on my own two feet. His hands reached down to hold my hips closer to his aching manhood. The intense reaction he was having was making me tremble and shake in nervous anticipation. I knew it would happen. It had to. That knowledge-the knowledge of my power to cause such a wonderful and powerful man to react like that-was enough to drive me to a farther point in my passions.

My left arm was barely any help due to the pain in my hand and my shoulder, so I avoided doing anything with it other than resting it on his chest. But my other hand was free. I traced it down his shoulder, and around his nipple through his long-sleeved, black shirt.

He moaned in to my mouth as I slid my hand lower. Lower still. Till I could trace the outline of the hard bulge in his pants. "Angel," I gasped against his lips. "Angel." That was all I could get out. What I wanted-what I needed…I couldn't think of the answer to those thoughts, or how to say it if it started to make sense to me.

*~*Oh no, what's this? A spider web and I'm caught in the middle So I turn to run And thought of all the stupid things I'd done*~*

His lips parted from mine, and he began tracing a line with his tongue down my throat. He licked across the vein in my neck, sucking it between his lips and nibbling tenderly with his teeth. I could hear his heavy breathing, and I opened my eyes, looking up at the ceiling of the jet. I could just imagine the sight of the clouds all around us, as I made love to the one man I'd ever felt anything for.

This was surely my heaven.

Angel's hands supported my back as he started to back me up towards the bed in the corner of the room. He stood before the bed finally, with me in his arms, and as he kissed across my good shoulder, his fingers went to the lace-up of the back of the top I was wearing.

He took his time making me more and more nervous and excited with every aching moment. The ache between my legs was growing, and I couldn't figure out how to stop it. I tried squeezing my legs together as tightly as I could, but that only helped for a few moments as my body went numb. Then, two seconds later, the ache was back. But it wasn't a painful ache. It was a bit of a playful reminder.

Of what, I wasn't sure.

*~*And I never meant to cause you trouble I never meant to do you wrong And ah, well if I ever caused you trouble Oh, no I never meant to do you harm*~*

Laying me down on the bed after removing my shirt with extreme care, I had never felt so cared for. So "tended" to. Angel was being ever so gentle as he settled me back against the white pillows.

He stared down at me with questions in his dark eyes. I answered them with my smile, and he nodded and looked down with a slight smile on his beautiful features. He reached the bottom of his shirt, and pulled it up and over his head in one swift movement that left him suddenly bare to my gaze of admiration.

Surely there had never been a more perfect specimen of man than the Greek God before me! That was for sure!

"Angel," I whispered, offering my good hand. I didn't care anymore about the fact that all I had on were my jeans and a tiny bra. I felt so comfortable-though I was nervous-and I didn't harbor any doubts about what we were doing. It felt so right.


*~*Oh no, I see The spider web and it's me in the middle So I twist and turn But here am I in my little bubble*~*

He took my hand, and I pulled him down to me, guiding his face to my own so that I could kiss him once more. I licked and nibbled across his lips, panting in my own way. How could one person, one kiss-make me so hot and breathless with want? How could he change my mood so simply? It was like he put no effort in to it.

"Oh," I gasped as he pulled his lips back from mine, and his left hand started playing with my nipple through the material of my peach bra. He started kissing down my neck again. His fingers were tracing the lacy design of my bra, and it was making me impatient. Couldn't he hurry it up somehow? I may be new at this, but I knew it could get there faster.

"Angel!" this time it came out as a bit of a whine. Angel chuckled his response, and traced his fingers to the back clasp of my bra. He found it amusing how I arched my back as best as I could without causing my shoulder pain, so that he could unhook it from my body.

Angel slid my bra away from my body, and then trailed his lips up to my ear. He nibbled the ear lobe for a moment, and then whispered in a hot, sweaty voice, "my baby anxious?"

I managed a moan in reply, as his free hand pressed to my center, through my jeans.

He chuckled softly, deep in his throat. "Just wait, love. I promise it will be worth it. Just trust me."

*~*Singing out I never meant to cause you trouble I never meant to do you wrong And ah, well if I ever caused you trouble Oh, no I never meant to do you harm*~*

I moaned impatiently. "Angel, please," I begged as he increased the pressure from his fingers. His left hand twisted my nipple until stood at painful attention. His right hand was applying pressure to my heat in a way that even I hadn't done before. And his lips…

Oh! His Lips!

He was whispering sweet endearments about beauty and desire in my ear, and it was making me so hot. So wet. I felt so incredibly desired. It was like nothing else I'd ever experienced.

Suddenly, everything that was making me hot…stopped. Then I heard the sound of something, and I felt a shifting near my hips. I opened my eyes, and looked down.

Angel took his time, taking my jeans down my legs, exploring every inch that he revealed with an agonizing slowness that made me want to cry out in pained impatience.

When he finished with that, he slid back up my body and hooked his fingers inside my white panties. He looked up at me, as if waiting for my rejection or protest.

But hearing and seeing nothing, he continued on. He guided my panties down my legs and off.

As he climbed up my body, he hesitated to leave a few small kissed along my pleasure bud. I wanted him to continue, but he whispered, "no. I want to be inside you, baby."

His left hand returned to my nipple, and his mouth latched on to the other. His tongue swirled around the hardening pebble, and his teeth scraped the skin ever so gently. I moaned, arching my back so that I was closer to his talented mouth and hand.

"Please," was all I could gasp.

His left hand kneaded my breast slowly, and then his lips parted from the other. He trailed kisses through the valley between my breasts, and his right hand slid down my sides. He reached my mound, and gently began to stroke me through my curls.

*~*Singing out I never meant to cause you trouble I never meant to do you wrong And ah, well if I ever caused you trouble Oh, no I never meant to do you harm*~*

"You're so beautiful," he whispered in to my ear once more, making even hotter. Even wetter for him. "Every inch of you." He licked my neck again. "I could spend an eternity devouring you."

I couldn't think far enough to the point of forming a thought-let alone full words or sentences. I wondered briefly in the back of my mind, how the Hell Angel was able to do it. Hack it down to experience, I supposed, not dwelling on that thought for much longer.

His fingers slid over my clit, and I moaned outwardly at the quick, butterfly flicks he skimmed over my heated nerve endings. "So responsive, my baby," he whispered more in to my neck. "It makes me want you so much more. It's not even possible, but I do."

I pushed in to his talented hand, but he resisted, and slid his fingers back further. One finger prodded my tight opening, waiting patiently for me to relax again before pushing ahead to check the wet warm home that awaited an extremely swollen member of his body.

I don't know how Angel got rid of his pants. All I know it that one second, he was dressed. The next, he wasn't.

I could feel him hard against my leg, and it made me both excited and afraid. What if he was too big? What would he think of me if I couldn't take all of him? How much was this going to hurt?

Angel lifted his weight off me on his hands on either side of my head. He was positioned just outside my entrance, and his eyes were filled with questions. "Are you sure?" he asked me; concerned.

I nodded, pulling his face down to kiss his lips again. He slid in so slowly. He reached a certain point, and the stopped. His fingers worked my little bud until I was dripping, and then he pushed in further. It was painful because he was so large, but I wanted to continue.

I couldn't stop. Not now.

Angel was just one push away from being completely inside of me. I opened my eyes and locked with his own. His fingers were working me in to a frenzy, and I could feel the approaching rush of pleasure.

Angel's eyes bore into mine, and before he could ask me again if I was sure, I kissed his lips and said, "I would die for it."

The change in phrase from when before I'd said I wouldn't, made Angel happier than he had ever looked before. As my climax hit, he slid inside me completely, adoring the feeling of my tight, vaginal muscles squeezing his manhood at the height of my pleasure.

*~*They spun a web for me They spun a web for me They spun a web for me*~*

"Buffy," he moaned, clenching his jaw to keep form exploding. He wanted to feel me come again before he let go. He wanted to feel my love, my passion…Complete with his own…

Making us one.

Suddenly everything had changed. Now, not only could I not literally survive without Angel there…

I couldn't keep living emotionally, without him in my life.

This changed everything.



Part 11

I woke up when I heard a buzzing sound. I wondered what in the Hell it could be. A coffee maker? A doorbell? An electric shaver? No. None of those things. I opened my eyes to see what it was, and then I felt an added pressure to my side as someone rolled closer to my chest.

I turned my head to look at the entry to the VIP part of the first class jet we were in. The buzzing was coming from the alert next to the door that was used to signal to us that we would be landing in half an hour. It had been installed twenty years after the VIP rooms were invented. This way, the flight attendant didn't accidentally walk in on anything that someone really shouldn't be doing on a plane.

I looked down at Buffy's blonde head, relaxing on my outstretched arm. My other hand was placed absently on her hip, and I couldn't resist massaging her skin tenderly. She moaned in her sleep, and started to wake.

Her eyes moved under her eyelids as her conscious mind fought for control over her body. She blinked her eyes open a moment later, and at first she looked confused-she couldn't remember what had happened.

And then she looked up at me with those big, bright eyes, and a blush crept over her adorable features. She hid her face in my chest and I couldn't help chuckling softly.

"How are you?" I asked, trying to sound casual to hide my deep feelings of over-protective concern. Now that she had let me in, I was damned if I would ever be put out. After having a glimpse of the real woman that Buffy Summers was, I knew there would never be another for me. She had become the gold standard by which any woman would be measure if ever Buffy left me. Of course, I was intent upon making sure that didn't happen. Buffy could never-would never, leave me.

I needed her now, like I need air to breathe.

She raised her eyes to look up at me, the questions were evident, and I rushed to reassure her doubts. "I'm not going anywhere," I assured her, placing a gentle kiss to her temple. "I promise you that."

She settled against my chest again, resting her hand over my heart, and she didn't say anything for a moment, and then she asked in a hesitant voice, "Angel?"

"Hmm?" I raised my eyebrows but didn't open my eyes. I wanted to enjoy and savor the moments we had until we had to get ready. Holding her in my arms was like nothing else I'd ever experienced. I had never held a woman in my arms after sex. I had either gone home, or asked them to leave-to which their replies were usually extremely vulgar.

But now, it felt so natural to lay with Buffy in my arms after making love. After all, that's what we'd done. I'd never made love to someone before. I'd heard it's great, but never found someone as special as Buffy to initiate me in to the act. Now, I couldn't imagine just having meaningless sex. Making love was addictive…So was Buffy Summers.

She knocked me from my thoughts when she asked me, "Angel, was it…I mean, what do you… Do you have thoughts?"

I smiled and laughed once, still keeping my eyes shut as my fingers stroked across her back, being careful to avoid her left shoulder which I had noticed was healing surprisingly fast.

"Sometimes," I answered, wanting to tease her in to asking me what she wanted to know.

"I mean…Now?" she asked, finally just getting it out. "Do you have thoughts about…Umm…Us?"

I reluctantly opened my eyes and turned my head to look in to her questioning, hazel eyes. "Buffy, I told you what I wanted from you. Forever. I can't imagine anything else now. I just want to know what you want in return, from me."

She looked down at my chest to think for a moment, and then she looked back up at me, a soft blush on her cheeks. "I don't know how to say it," she whispered.

I accepted her innocence and reluctance on the matter, and nodded softly, "so don't say a thing. I'm never letting you go, Buffy. So all you need to do is kiss me."

She smiled. "I think I can deal with that."

She leaned up to kiss me, and it seemed as if it took forever for her lips to reach mine. I wondered what was going, and was about to say something, when I felt the contact of her bottom lip hit my own. I felt a little awkward at first, for having been speaking when she kissed me, but then all my insecurities smoothed away.

I wrapped my arms around her, and she started to giggle.


"Do we have anything set up here?" Buffy asked as we exited our section of the jet, entering in to a small, first class corridor that was clean and tidy, unlike some of the other corridors that led from the jet to the arrivals section of an airport.

No sooner were we out of the corridor, did we see a woman with dark hair and dark eyes holding a sign with Angel's last name, D'Aestas, written in fine calligraphy.

"There's our plans," Angel said, giving my hand a delicate squeeze and smiling at me reassuringly.

He led me over to where the woman was standing, and I suddenly felt more insecure than I'd ever felt in my life. For one thing, this girl was standing in such a way that screamed sex appeal and intoxicating allure. I, on the other hand, my hair looked rumpled from the flight, I had not put on make-up after washing off the remains of what I had on at the Chase Ball, and my once-funky top was fitting awkwardly, and had my blood on the back shoulder. I definitely was not looking hot.

The woman had dark brown eyes, a perfect body, and a smile that could melt an iceberg…or freeze a lake. It seemed like the kind of smile that could go both ways. She was dressed in some form-fitting black pants, and a white tank top with a dark jean jacket over top.

"Angel!" she smiled brightly when she saw him. "Good to see you. You're looking good, as always."

Angel smiled back genuinely and said, "you too, Faith."

"Faith" looked to me, and looked me up and down, keeping a polite look on her face as she waited to decide what to think of me. Should she make fun of me? Or should she assume that I was "with" Angel and back off? Oh the decisions.

"Faith," Angel pulled me a little closer to the two of them. "This is Buffy. Buffy, this is Faith. Faith's a close friend of mine. She moved here just last year. Left me all alone," he acted all dramatic and upset.

She responded with an act of her own, putting her hands on her hips and saying, "well, God-Angel! I couldn't wait around for you forever. You have to make all of the wrong choices before the right one, and watching you with the entire female population in the palm of your hand was kind of heart breaking."

Angel acted concerned, "Faith, I had no idea. You should have told me you were jealous."

She rolled her eyes, and hit him playfully on the arm. However, when her hand collided with his arm, I instinctively backed away. I had been through so much in the last twenty-four hours, and for some reason I couldn't make myself stay still.

Faith noticed, and Angel pulled me close again, babying me slightly by wrapping an arm around your waist.

Faith frowned and asked me as if I was a bug, "Angel, what the Hell is wrong with her?"

"Nothing's 'wrong' with me," I defended myself. "I just got shot today, so I'm a little on-edge."

"You got shot today?" she looked at me with wide eyes; dumbfounded. "And you're walking around just fine? The bullet just skim your fingers, or what?"

I stepped away from Angel, and turned my back to Faith. She checked out the quickly-closing hole with twelve stitches, and said, "woah. You've got some crazy healing going on there."

I went back to Angel's side. "Thank you?" I had no idea if that was a compliment, but I thanked her just the same.

"Now, on to the road," Faith clapped her hands together. "You guys are gonna love my new pad. It's to kill for." She looked to me then and said, "oh sorry. I'll watch what I say a little more."

She turned then and started leading the way. I looked up at Angel, my discontent showing on my face. He leaned down and kissed my pouting lips, "just relax. You're safe with me."


The entire car ride, I tried to figure out what the relationship had been between Angel and Faith. Had they just been friends? Lovers? Had they been engaged? What were they to each other? They way Faith smiled at Angel, and was always taking quick looks at him made me achingly suspicious, but I said nothing.

I figured that if I absolutely had to live with Faith temporarily, something told me to stay on her good side, or she would have no problem finishing what my shooter had started to do.

"So Buffy!" Faith called to me from the front of the car; looking in the rear-view mirror to catch a glimpse of me. "How did you meet Angel?"

Angel glance din his own mirror to watch me, and I suddenly understood what it felt like to be in a glass fish tank. I thought a moment of what to say, and then I answered, "our fathers kind of know each other. Meeting Angel was sort of forced upon me by my father. I don't really know him all that well." I found myself looking down at my hands as I spoke.

Faith frowned and asked, "you don't know your father?"

"No," I answered. "My mom and dad were divorced when I was three, and ever since then, my mom's been raising me in New York. I never really heard from my dad. And now he suddenly wants to mold and control my entire life."

"What brought about that change?" she asked, actually looking interested and not just acting civil.

I looked out the window and thought of what to say. I answered solemnly, "an accident."

"An accident?" she asked. "What kind of an accident? Like a car crash that made him realize he's an ass hole, or what?"

I looked in to her mirror and said, "not exactly. My mother died about a month or so ago, so now I have to live with my father."

Her gaze softened then, and she looked away from my gaze. "I'm sorry," she apologized. There was a moment of silence, and then she said, "my mother died when I was six." She looked to Angel and attempted a smile, "if it wasn't for Angel, I think I'd be in prison right now. He sort of…Helped me through every thing."

I looked up to Angel's mirror, and his eyes immediately averted from my own. I decided to just throw caution to the wind, and come out and ask what the Hell they had been to each other. "Did you two date?" I asked.

Faith and Angel both started laughing at this.

"Date Angel?" Faith laughed at the thought as if it was absurd. "Who would want to date Angel? He's dated everyone on the Eastern Border. Working his way West now, I hear." She smiled over at him as she playfully teased.

"So do I," I added under my breath.

Angel was dead silent, and I looked down at my fingers. Suddenly Faith clued in. "Oh," she whispered. She tried to cover then, "I mean, that was a lot time ago though. He's changed so much." When still no one said anything, she tried again. "I mean, as hard as it is to believe, he's really-"

"It's okay, Faith," I smiled softly at her. "I already know everything about his past with women."

She looked at me in the mirror for the longest time, and then she said, "no offence to you-or Angel, but…That seems a little naïve. Kind of care-free, don't you think? To just take off on a jet with someone with a past dirtier than a beach that you barely know?"

I took a deep breath, "God knows you're right, but…Circumstances being what they are…Choices are limited to good or bad. Angel and were shot at twice, and now we're running from unknown attackers that are trying to kill us for some reason we can't begin to think of."

She took a moment to process that, and then an evil smile crept across her features. "You guys screwin'?"

My face blushed red, and I tried to hide as far down in the seat as I could, but I couldn't seem to convince the earth to open up and swallow me down whole.

Angel looked to Faith and smiled wryly, "why? Still jealous of me?" He joked, earning another playful punch, this time it was also accompanied by one from me.


Faith's beach home really was great. Her dad had let her move out last year, and she had chosen Bora Bora as her ideal place of residence. Her home was clean and expensive, although it didn't look as elegant as the homes in Devil's Gorge.

Faith's home was more modern, more practical. It just screamed out Faith. The cuts of the walls were sharp, unlike the graceful curves of any home I'd ever lived in. She went for a direct approach, with no false pretenses. Faith had things in her home that either meant something to her, or would be used by her. Nothing was there just for "decoration" she explained. Everything had a purpose.

Faith set me up in one of the guest rooms next to Angel's master suite, and left me alone to shower while she found some clothes for me to change in to. Left on my own, I felt so relieved when I finally took off my bloody top, and tossed it on to a chair in the corner of the bathroom. I turned and looked all around the white room I was in.

On top of the large, white, fireplace on the far wall of the room, I spotted a few pictures in frames. I walked slowly over to look at the mantle. I could hear the ocean waves lapping against the side of Faith's docks through the open, glass doors that led out to a small, unfenced deck that had a large day bed for tanning on.

This was definitely a beach house.

I peered closely at the pictures. The first was of Faith dressed in a long, black dress, hugging tightly to a man that I guessed to look to be somewhere in his late forties. He had slightly-fading hair, and he was dressed in gray. I assumed he was a father…But could someone that serious and boring-looking be Faith's father?

The next picture, was an older one, of a woman that looked so similar to Faith. Those same dark eyes. Same dark hair. Same perfect complexion that would tan so easily. In the picture with this woman, was a little girl that had a necklace on that said "Faith". I smiled as I observed how happy Faith was with this woman. This must be Faith's mom.

The final picture surprised me. It was of Faith and Angel. Angel was laying on his back, and a red-checkered blanket like the ones you use for a picnic, and Faith was laying on top of him. Her face was only a few inches from his, and they both seemed happy-though they were completely focused on one another.

Were they really just friends? Did Faith want more? Did Angel ever want more? Whatever the case was, I found myself determining that I would have to watch the two of them as closely as I could without seeming overprotective of someone that I wasn't even sure belonged to me.

Which led me to the thought of Angel and I. He had waved Faith's questions with cute jokes or funny remarks about her that would divert the attention and heat so that we didn't actually have to answer, but I was starting to wonder what he would have said. What he would have answered, if Faith hadn't been there.

Perhaps I should just ask him…

My thoughts were cut off as Faith knocked a few times in a rock-rhythm, and then bounced in to the room with a bright smile. "Hey!" she smiled. "Couldn't wait to get changed, huh?"

I smiled, "you have no idea."

She came over to me and presented a large pile of clothing and accessories. "I found whatever I figured would fit. You're a little shorter than me, so I was wondering about the hem on the jeans, but we'll just have to wait and see."

I smiled, "thank you." I took the pile of clothing from her, and walked over to the bed. I set them down, and picked up a black, thick-strapped tank top. I pulled it on over my head and adjusted it.

"I think that there's a bathing suit there to, in case you want to take a dip in the ocean when your shoulder's all healed." She waved her hand towards the open doors, indicating the ocean. Or I have an indoor pool on the bottom floor that you're welcome to." She explained, motioning over her shoulder towards the stairs that led downwards.

I turned around to face her and smiled softly. "Thank you for letting me stay here with you. It's very kind."

She smiled, "well, there's a first for everything." Then she sobered slightly and said, "Angel's a good friend of mine. He's always been there for me, and I want to be able to be there for him." Her eyes locked on mine and she said, "I should really try to warn you more about his past 'cause you seem so sweet and all, but…The way he's looking at you...Touching you…I can't imagine trying to disrupt the bubble of happiness he's floating around in right now with you." She laughed slightly.

I found myself starting to blush again. I tucked a stray strand of my straight, blonde hair behind my ear.

"I love Angel," she told me. "Like I said, he means a lot to me, and…I just want to say that I've never seen him look at anyone the way that he's looking at you. I honestly mean that," a faint hint of a smile slid across her face as the irony of the situation doddled in to her mind nonchalantly. "Strange. I never thought I'd see the day where I'd say this, but…I hope you two last. I mean, I don't know if that's what you want or anything-or if you're even together, but I really do for some reason."

I smiled at the young woman before me. She was really sweet, though she'd rather jump in to a pool of vinegar with a thousand cuts than admit it to anyone. "Thank you," I smiled.

I motioned with my good hand, to the mantle next to her and asked, "is that your mom?"

She looked to it and smiled. "Yeah," she smiled. "That's her. Real hottie, huh?" People say they see a resemblance, but…I don't know, I think I see more of my dad's looks in me." She motioned to the picture of her father in the gray shirt.

I laughed slightly, "I don't mean to sound rude, but…I would have thought Kurt Cobain was more your father than that man. He's a little too…" I searched my head for a word.

"Boring?" she offered.

"I was going to say 'dull' but boring works too," I nodded, and then smiled. She smiled back and we both laughed. Maybe hanging out with Faith wouldn't be so bad after all…


Part 12

Angel "tucked" me in to bed early that night, making sure that I had everything I needed, and making a fuss over reassuring me about everything and saying that he would be in soon to sleep if I wanted him to be, but that he had to talk to Faith first.

Around two in the morning, I found I was tossing and turning myself in to a minor annoyance of my head. I couldn't stop thinking, and that was a bad thing when you had a lot to think about and desperately wanted to get some semblance of sleep.

I sat up in bed, and with a sigh, I tossed off the light white covers, and climbed out of the huge bed. I looked down at my ensemble, and thought I looked rather "slutty". Faith's clothing had a way of projecting a sexy image that just didn't seem to be me.

Angel however, had assured me earlier when he was kissing me goodnight that I was plenty sexy, and that if I was any more alluring he'd be locking me in a pair of sweat pants and a jacket and never letting me out of his bedroom. Still though, the pair of extremely short, tight shorts, and the small tank top that hugged my body like a glove made me a little nervous.

I left the bedroom, and gazed around the hallway I was in. The door to Angel's room was in, and I peaked my head in and discovered that he still hadn't gone to bed.

I heard voices then, and started down the hallway, following what I heard. There were little streams of light cast around the hallway from the ocean and the lights Faith had outside.

As I neared the place where the voices were, I could hear some form of a conversation. It was Angel and Faith, no doubt. But what were they still up talking about?

I moved a little closer, being careful not to make a sound, and listened carefully. I knew I shouldn't be eaves dropping like this, but it was a sneaky tactic I just couldn't resist.

"Faith, we know who it was though!" Angel was protesting to whatever she had said.

"We?" she asked. "Angel, no offence buddy, but your little girlfriend doesn't seem to understand just what you've dragged her in to. She probably doesn't even know who you're running from. You may know who and when and how, but she doesn't even know why.-And I think that's all she cares to know, if you want my honest opinion."

"Faith, you don't understand. I can't just tell her about Cordelia. If I tell her, then she'll want to go to the police and file a report and everything, and nothing will be safe back home for my parents, my sisters, my father, or Buffy's father! Because the second we go to the police, the Chase's will do all that they can to see that we get hurt just as much as their pride will." Angel tried to make his point, but Faith would have none of it.

"I know all of this Angel, don't you remember? I went through this with you, when it was Darla! You just have an awful habit of turning ex-lovers in to psychotic, murderous stalkers with access to all the money in the world to buy you a nuclear warhead. Okay? I've been there with you. I knew everything that was happening. Now, you have someone else there with you, and she doesn't know anything. She doesn't know why you're running, or who you're running from. She's looking at everyone like they're going to try to put a bullet in her head." Faith seemed to be extremely protective of my situation, and my mind began to race as I thought of something she'd said.

'I've been there with you'. Huh? Did this mean that Angel has been through this exact situation before? Possibly more than once? Could it be that he did this every year or so to make his life more interesting? Did he go to the trouble of finding someone like me, who's emotionally distraught, and then go about setting up some big ordeal to make me passionately obsessed with him? Could he be that low?

What he said next, also made me think.

"Faith, you know with you it was different. You didn't have to run with me. You could have stayed behind. Hell, you didn't even have to move from Devil's Gorge after it all happened. It was different with you. They weren't after you. They were after me." Angel was silent from then on, letting that sink in to Faith's head.

"What do you mean?" she asked in a low voice. "What do you mean 'they were after you'? Angel, you said they were after both of us!" When he said nothing, Faith continued. "So what about now? Who exactly is Cordelia after? Who's pissing her off the most?"

Angel took a moment, and then said, "it's Buffy."

My eyes widened in sheer horror and fear. So he DID know who this person was after! What's even crueler, is that he knows who's chasing us! Worse yet, he's been through this all before!

"Are you sure?" Faith asked him, and I started listening closer to understand what was going on. "Are you sure Cordelia's after Buffy? I mean…Maybe she isn't after anyone specifically, Angel. Maybe she's just trying to hurt you."

"No…I got a note." He said, and then I heard the sound of paper. "Someone dropped it in front of me at the hospital. It had my name on it and I picked it up, but with all the events that happened after, I didn't get a chance to read it after I put Buffy in bed."

"Okay, Angel, I'm drawing a line," Faith said. "You either tell Buffy what's going on first thing in the morning, or I'll go tell her right now. You can't just go and risk someone's life like this, and not tell them that they're in danger. I love you Angel, but I think Buffy's a nice person too. And you know how few of them there are left in this world."

"I know. You're right, but…How can I just tell her? I just want to…Faith, I will tell her. I promise. I will. Just let me do it."

She agreed to this, but added then, "Angel, I know you want to 'keep' her, and be the only thing she has left, but…Not to be rude or anything, but she deserves more than that. She deserves the truth. I know that's what I would want."

There was a moment of silken, and then Angel sounded like he was in a different area of the room, closer to Faith when he said, "I'm sorry, Faith. I'm sorry you went through so much because of me. And now here I am, dragging you in to it all again."

"Angel, I never blamed you for what happened." She told him. "What we went through together?-that wasn't even my main reason for leaving Devil's Gorge. I left because there was nothing left for me there to keep me. I mean, you were in Palm Beach working at making a change, and I just felt that…It was time for me to make one too."

"Do you think we'll ever be what we used to be?" Angel asked, and his voice detected his hope and wishes to go back to being whatever they were.

Faith smiled then and said, "I don't know Angel-buddy. You've got your new girl in there, and she's pretty dead-set on watching to make sure I watch my own."

"You're joking me!" Angel rushed to assure her.

"Kid you not, man. She's been watching me as much as she can without being intrusive. What's worse though, is that she doesn't even know if she's supposed to be watching other women. She has NO idea what she means to you," Faith laughed.

Angel stopped laughed. "Of course she knows, Faith," he said. "I told her exactly what she means to me. IN just two weeks, I've fallen for her completely. I've told her I can't live without her."

"Angel, this may sound hokey or whatever, but just listen…Actions DO speak louder than words. Remember that." Now it sounded as if she was right next to him.

"I know. You're right," Angel sighed.

Faith grinned, "of course I am. I'm a genius, remember?"

Angel laughed, "how could I forget? This is the person that lit her father's barn on fire with a blow torch. Well, 'genius', I'm heading to bed. Goodnight, and thank you."

I could hear them exchange a hug, and then Faith said, "Angel, remember what I've said. I'm serious. ALL of it."

"I will," Angel said.

I knew I'd have no excuse if I was caught, so as quietly as I could, I ran back down the hall to my bedroom. I shut my door with an aching slowness, shutting my eyes to cringe when I heard the metal clasp make a detectable 'clicking' noise.

I raced over to my bathroom then, knowing that I sucked at acting asleep. I could never pull it off in my current state, especially now that my heart was beating so fast.

I went to the counter in the large bathroom, and found a hair brush Faith had supplied me. I went about brushing my hair until I heard the door open, and Angel entered the bedroom.

He must have seen the empty bed and freaked out that I'd been kidnapped, because he said frantically after a moment, "Buffy? Oh God. Buffy, where are you?"

I rushed out of the bathroom, making my appearance before Angel called Faith in to look for me. "Angel, calm down. I'm right here," I said with a faint hint of a loving smile that hopefully didn't tell him I knew everything that was happening.

"Oh Buffy," Angel sighed in relief and rushed over to where I was. He pulled me in to his arms and kissed the top of my head. "God, you had me so scared. I thought you'd left or something."

I looked up in to his eyes, deciding that the guilt he would feel in the morning could be worse if I said one word…"Forever," I whispered and leane dup on my tip-toes to kiss his ear love.


He froze, his eyes widening. "O-Of course," he stuttered, feeling suddenly nervous. I acted like I didn't notice, and cuddled closer, but inside, I knew how tormented he would be tonight. Good, until he told me the truth-all of what I already knew-he shouldn't have it easy.


I woke up again, at around three, and blinked my eyes open. I struggled to focus on the dark room I was in, but nothing was outlined in the darkness, and all I knew, was that I was in bed, with Angelus wrapped around me. I felt him pressed tightly to my back, and his arms were wrapped tightly around my stomach, as if protecting me from the world.

There was just enough space in his arms, for me to turn in his embrace. I took my time, making sure that I didn't wake him up as I moved. His arms were so warm, and I felt so cold for some reason.

Was it some deep sense of nervous anticipation that was chilling me down to the bone? Was I scared about what tomorrow may bring? Was I scared of being here with Angelus? Or maybe it was just that I was regretting this entire trip. But then, no. Not leaving the ball with Angelus, would have meant that I wouldn't know what it felt like to be guarded. Protected. Safe from the world.

There was one, pale ray of moonlight streaking in to the bedroom, and it was conveniently dancing across Angelus' finely sculpted features. I watched him as he slept, and I found myself struck with awe about how even in sleep, his features could still be covered with a deep cloud of intensity that rolled over his form like drops of water.

His dark eyes were shut, and his brow was slightly furrowed as he slept, as if he was thinking of something extremely interesting. His lips-perfect, as they were-were set in a stiff pose that showed no passion or desire like they sent to me when he kissed me. It wins be damned! I think I have a much stronger emergency than the shower curtains and the maintenance staff's disapproval.


Downstairs, I asked the front desk where the nearest pay phone was. The informed me, and I crossed the street to the convenience store, and found the phone. I slipped in a quarter, and dialled a familiar number. The person I was calling picked up on the second ring.

"Dad!" I exclaimed, thrilled that I had gotten him and not his assistant. His assistant had a divine hate for me, and probably would have said that my father wasn't home.

"Angelus!" my dad sounded so relieved to hear from me. "Where in the Hell are you? They sent letters to Hank."

"Who sent letters? What do they say?" I asked, my fears mounting even higher with every passing second, and with every new bit of information revealed to me.

"Threats, mostly," my dad sighed, and I could hear him sitting down, probably in his study at his desk. "They say that they need Buffy. If they don't get her, they're going to take what they know to the press."

"What do they know?"

"Apparently they know every little, dirty secret of every inhabitant of Devil's Gorge. Leads me to believe it's an insider. Devil's Gorge folk don't tell strangers anything. We're pretty damn good at hiding our indiscretions, too. Only thing is that we can't hide them from each other," my father sighed.

"Did they say what the want Buffy for?" I asked.

"No," my father disappointed me. "They just said that if she wasn't handed over by tomorrow, they'd take what they know to the press, and they wouldn't stop until every last resident of Devil's Gorge was arrested. Angelus, do you know how angry that makes the neighbours 'round here? We have some very wealthy, powerful people living in Devil's Gorge, Angelus. We can't have them being threatened because you need a booty call with the new girl."

"Dad, this isn't a booty call," I groaned. "This is different. Buffy's special to me. Listen to me...I need to know what they want from her."

"No, you don't. You just need to bring her but back here, and pray to God that they don't go ahead with telling the press anyways. You, yourself, have a reputation on the line, Angelus. Or have you forgotten the little incident from two summers ago?"

"I didn't forget," I barked. "But dad, I can't just hand her over like a bag. She's everything to me. Reputation-I don't care. I'm nothing without her. What's the point in having a reputation for someone who has nothing?"

"Don't get philosophical on me, Angelus," my father was beginning to sound impatient. "I'm telling you what you need to do in order to protect your community. Your family. Your life! And hers! If you care about her like you say you do, then you'll let her go, and wait to see what happens. You don't know that they'll kill her, Angelus."

"But I don't know that they WON'T, either," I pointed out.

"You have until sundown tomorrow," my father sighed in resignation. "Angelus, if you don't bring her back, you're going to have more than one maniac hunting you down from Devil's Gorge. You'll have the whole community after you."

"Dad, I can't just let her go," I said slowly.

"Then you'd better have a brilliant plan and a wonderful hiding spot, son," my father told me. "And...If you don't bring her back, I'm going to have to look for you to, Angel."

"What?!" I exclaimed in shock.

"I love you, son. I really do. But my money, my reputation, my wife-I can't let all of that get risked for your infatuation. Just do the smart thing, Angel. Bring the girl home, and let her go. Get what you need from her, and get gone. You've done it enough before this. So do it now."

My mind was whirling with every passing second of this conversation. Maybe my father was right. I knew I was in love with Buffy, but maybe none of that mattered. Maybe I should give her up like everyone else. After all, it would save my life.

I hung up the phone and sighed. I had to have some time to think, and time wasn't exactly on-hand right now. If I was going to take Buffy back to Devil's Gorge by tomorrow night, I had to get going soon, and catch the next flight.

But how could I just let her go? How could I ignore what my heart, my soul-my entire being, was telling me. I love her. I love her more than life itself. And that's exactly what I'm willing to give for her. But I know I can't run with her. I can't hide from my community, even though I'd like to. They hunt me down like a dog by sunrise if they're stories made the evening news.

I have to take her back. I have to have a plan.


I knew I had to get rid of the dart, and flushing it down the toilet would be too obvious. They'd figure it out within an hour of our departure, so I thought up a plan. I needed to get the tracking dart to someone who was leaving town in a separate direction. My luck finally came when I heard the two elderly women in the room next to us, discussing the trip they were about to make to Ireland.

"Oh, Betty!" the one woman chastised her friend. "We'll call someone up to get the bags. Just put them in the hall."

"If you're sure, Gladys," Betty sighed, and I hear the sounds of the door open. I crept back in to my room, and grabbed the tracking device off the dresser. I took off my shoe, and then took off my black sock. I needed to disguise it so that if they went through any customs checks, the dart wouldn't be found. I slipped the dart in to my sock, and then rolled it up as tightly as I could. I put that sock in to my other sock, deciding that the more material blocking the dart from view-the better our chances were of getting away.

I waited with the door open a crack, listening to Gladys and Betty argue about how to set things up outside their door for the bellboy that they assumed was at this crummy hotel. I waited until they went downstairs-Gladys in search of a strong man to help with the bags, and Betty to hail a cab for their ride to the train station.

When I was sure they were gone on the elevator, I slid out of my room. I kept down to the ground, and crept over to the bags outside their hotel room door. I looked over the bags. There were make-up cases, hatboxes, and three large suitcases. One suitcase was black, one was brown, and one had flowers on it. I decided the flowered one looked the least suspicious, and no one would suspect this old woman's case would have anything like a tracking device in it.

I unzipped the side pouch of the suitcase, and slipped the socks in, setting the toothbrush, toothpaste, and everything else around it to make it less noticeable.

Suddenly I heard the sounds of Gladys dragging a man to her room to get her bags. I leapt back, and landed in front of my hotel room door. Gladys glanced at me as she walked by, and said, "well really, George, you'd think that hotels wouldn't want bleeding crack hussies in their hallways! It's very low-class, in my opinion. I mean, she's practically passed out in the hallways. Very rude."

I slid back in to my room, being careful of my hand and trying to create as little attention as possible.



Angel returned to the room, looking like he'd been through an emotional Hell twice over during his ten minutes away from me.

"Okay, this is the plan," he started talking almost immediately. "Buffy, first we need to get the tracker out of your..." he trailed off when he noticed the bloody bandages on my hand. "Did you take it out on your own?"

"It's taken care of," I assured him, deciding not to tell him about the unfortunate couple of Betty and Gladys. "What do we do now?"

"There's a lot at stake here, Buffy. These people after us, really want you for some reason. If we don't get you back to Devil's Gorge by tomorrow night, things are going to be revealed to the press about the community and all of its inhabitants, and that's not something we want if we ever want to see the light of day again. If things get told, we'll have everyone after us. The police, these people who keep finding us, and the entire community of Devil's Gorge-our own families included. So I have a plan to get through all of this. You might not like it, but I know it'll work out if we stick to it," he told me.

I swallowed the lump of fear that had crept in to my throat, and said, "tell me what I need to do."

Angelus looked down for a moment, and then turned his back to me. He took off his shirt, moving to the chair in the corner of the room to take a fresh shirt out of our bag. Finally, with his bare back still turned to me, he spoke. He said, "I need to take you back to Devil's Gorge...Right now."

I exploded, "Angelus are you kidding? You're crazy! Crazy! I'm not going back there so these psychotic lunatics can just kill me! I'm not going out like that! Wesley can kill everyone around me, but I'll be damned if he kills me like he killed my mother."


"Killed your mother?" I asked, confused. "Wesley? Buffy, what are you talking about? I thought you said your mother's death was an accident."

"That's what everyone was supposed to believe," she said, looking down. "My mother didn't die in a car accident. My mom was killed by someone she was having an affair with. She wanted to end it, and this man-Wesley, he just couldn't take it. The next thing I know-I wake up in the middle of the night to hear an argument in the parlour. There were shots fired, and my mother was dead. I was the only witness to the crime. I'm the only thing Wesley hasn't taken care of. That's why they want me dead."

"His last name," my memory triggered a thought. Wesley Wyndham-Price. Cordelia! "Buffy, this is very important. Wesley. What's his name? His full name."

"Um, something about money," she frowned and shook her head. "Amount? Tab? Um...Price? That's it! Wyndham-Price! That's his name, Angel!"

I shut my eyes as the horrors of realization washed over me. Now everything made sense. It made sense why Cordelia was after us, and it made sense why Wesley would come out of his hiding to face me. They wanted Buffy gone, because she knew about the murder of her mother. And they wanted me gone, because of Wesley's personal needs for revenge.

"Angel, what are you not telling me?" Buffy asked, stepping closer. "What is Wesley to you? Why was he with Cordelia; shooting at us?"

"Because I tried to kill him," I couldn't believe I'd just admitted my secret. I'd spent two years trying to pretend that it hadn't happened. But now it was here, and there was nothing I could do to hide from it. "Buffy, I almost killed Wesley."

"What?" she almost laughed. Then she realized I was serious. "No. No, you didn't," was she trying to convince me? or herself? "No, I thought that was just a rumour. You said you hadn't killed anyone!"

"But I tried," I shifted uncomfortably. "Buffy, Wesley was having an affair with Cordelia when she and I were engaged, two years ago."

"You were engaged?" I watched as her heart broke a little more with every word I spoke, and every confession I made. "And she cheated on you," Buffy began to piece things together. "You found out, and you tried to kill Wesley. But he lived."

"Yeah," I sighed, "he did." I pulled on my new shirt. "And then some."

"And he was hiding from you, in LA. That's where he met my mom." Buffy's face was ghastly pale as the frightening story became clear to her. "He must have known I was Hank's daughter."

"And everyone knows that Hank and my father are closer than close," I added.

"So he got close to my mom, and when she tried to end it-he killed her. Then I was sent to Hank, and I met you. It would have been so easy for him to kill me too, if I hadn't met you. One body, that's easy to take care of. But if it was both you AND me, the police wouldn't ignore it. That's why he's been trying to separate us! That's why Cordelia's been trying to separate us!" She laughed softly at the irony, and said, "there's just one thing that makes me wonder now."

"What?" I was confused. Everything was clear now. It all made sense to me. What could she possibly not understand?

"Did you honestly think I didn't know all along?" she asked me with one eyebrow raised inquisitively.


Part 14

"You knew?" I was shocked. How could she have possibly known? And for that matter, why didn't she tell me? "Buffy, how could you know?"

"I'm not as blonde as I look, Angel," she sighed. "I knew Wesley wanted me dead, I knew Cordelia wanted you. I pieced two and two together, and figured out you probably did something to Wesley to further enrage him. It all made sense to me. And then we saw them together, at the hospital, and…I just knew everything. I was hoping you'd just be honest with me and tell me the truth about what you did, but of course that never happened. So yeah, I knew."

"God, I can't believe you didn't tell me!" I ran a hand over my face. I took a moment to calm the anger inside of me, and then I put my head on straight. "Okay, this idea I have…It'll work, but only if you're up for it."

"I'm tired of all of this," she began.

I cut off her protests, "Buffy, we have to do-"

But she stopped me. "You didn't let me finish." Obviously. "I'm tired of having to run, of having to hide. I'm tired, Angel. And I'm ready to end it." She looked into my eyes and said, "tell me what you want from me, and I'll do it. There's only one thing I want when this is all done."


"You," she answered solemnly. "Angel, if we get through this alive, and you ever leave me, I swear to God I'll kill you myself."

I stepped to her, and pulled her into my arms. "That'll never happen. I promise. It may be dangerous to love you…But that's a risk I'm willing to take," I smiled down at her. "Besides, I'm a man of danger, right?"

She laughed, "yeah. Real dangerous."


Arriving at the airport, I was getting increasingly nervous and fidgety. I wanted something to relieve my stress. But there was nothing. Standing in the private rooms reserved for passengers to the VIP rooms of the plane I felt my shoe loosen. Dammit, it was undone! Oh well, then again it gives me something to concentrate on for the moment. I lifted my foot onto the chair, bending over to tie it up again. However, this gave Angelus a great view of my ass in these tight pants.

"Oh God, baby, you look so good right now," he whispered in my ear, placing his hands on my hips and pulling my ass flush against his groin. "Let's make love right here."

I straightened, and turned in his arms. Linking my arms around his neck, I smiled, "you know we can't do that. We only have twenty minutes until the plane boards."


Motioning to the long table behind us, she raised an eyebrow. "How would it look if you had me bent over the table...Half naked?" she nipped along my lower jaw, not helping to discourage this naughty idea from my head.

I groaned, hardening even more. "Please, lover? I can assure you, that there's nothing like knowing you can get caught at any moment, at the height of your...pleasure." I smirked at her, and that was all it took for her eyes to glaze over with a consenting answer and a lust that matched my own.

Reaching my hand between us, I sat her back on the table, laying her back and unzipped her pants. Pulling them down just enough so that I could have access to her molten depths, I smirked and kissed her breathless. I helped her with the belt of my own pants.

Sliding them down just enough to free my straining erection, I tested her readiness with a stroke of my fingers into her wet depths.

She was dripping wet.

For me.

Taking her lips with my own, I kissed her ruthlessly, plundering her mouth with my tongue; mimicking what I wanted to do with our lower bodies. Distracting her with my lips, I thrust into her with one hot thrust that made her eyes pop open and a shriek escape her lips; muffled against my own.

I didn't let her break the kiss as I began to drive into her. The only word that seemed suiting for this carnal act of expressing my passions for her was...fucking.

She met my thrusts with equal fervor. I pinched her beautiful, bare ass, pulling her into each of my thrusts so that I could get deeper with ever...single...stroke.

"Harder," she whispered breathily against my lips, shutting her eyes and clenching her jaw. "Please, Angel. Harder."

I complied to her requests, pushing harder with every ounce of strength that wouldn't hurt her. Licking down her neck, to her collar, I began nipping along her skin; knowing that little biting sensations like that drive her completely and totally out of her mind.

She twined her fingers in my hair, and pulled me closer, dropping her nose into my hair to allow my scent to surround her. She shut her eyes, clenching her insides as the pleasure was almost too much. When she clenched, I almost came right then and there. We had made love many times, and every time I was surprised at how deliciously tight she remained.

It was like a vice; squeezing me.

I felt her panting, on the edge of her orgasm, and with two more strokes, we were both there. Pumping in to her wildly, I gasped her name into her neck, biting her skin with blunt teeth. She shrieked into my hair as another one hit her.


Coming down from orgasm, I leaned my head against Angelus'. "Wow," was all I could say.

He leaned his face up, to kiss my lips again. I savored this kiss, allowing myself to just feel what he was feeling at the moment. I wanted to be able to hear and understand the emotions and thoughts running through his head.

Dressing each other between tender kisses, after about three minutes you could barely tell anything scandalous had happened here.

Kissing my soundly, Angelus smiled at me. "You ready for this?" he asked me, a flicker of doubt hidden behind his eyes.

I nodded. "Ready."

So the plan was set into motion. Angel and I caught the first flight back to Devil's Gorge, and by three in the afternoon, the next day: we were back in The Gorge of the Devils-as I was affectionately beginning to refer to it as. Angel went over the plan about five billion times with me while we were in the air, until I finally begged him to stop talking. When that didn't work, I took him to the bed on the plane and made love to him for several hours.

That seemed to distract him enough until we landed.

Then he started going over it again.

Walking up the steps to my father's home, where apparently both Angelus' family and my own, had gathered, I held Angel's hand. "Okay, so we know what we're doing, right?" Angel asked me for the fifth time in the last two minutes.

"Yes," I groaned and sighed dramatically. "There'll be a slight kink in the plans if you ask me one more time, let me just say that for the record."

"Sorry," Angelus pulled me into his arms at the top of the steps. "I just can't believe I'm dangling you as bait. Just promise me, you won't hold this against me in the future."

"I won't," I assured him with a soft smile. "Ready?" I asked, and at his nod, I said, "okay. Manhandle me."

He picked me up and threw me over his, and so began the greatest plan ever, as I began to beat wildly on his back. "Put me down!" I shrieked, allowing myself to start crying. I thought of everything I'd gone through and allowed my emotions to take over me; crying and sobbing and pounding on Angelus' back as he kicked open the front doors and stormed in to the house, ready to make a scene that would be remembered.

"Put me down you damned basterd!" I shrieked, kicking at his stomach, and trying to rip his shirt. It ripped successfully, and I knew Angelus was inwardly cringing as he tabulated the cost of it in his head.


Strolling into the main parlor, I found the scene a little different then it should have been. Instead of just my parents, and Hank…Wesley and Cordelia were there as well. Cordelia had a gun pointed at my cowering, gagged family on the couch, and Wesley was pacing back and forth in front of the fireplace.

Upon making my entrance, everyone looked up. I spotted Hank in the corner of the room, chained up to the large, mahogany desk. An evil smile spread across Wesley's face when he saw me with Buffy over my shoulder. To add to the drama, Buffy had dressed in the shirt and pants that her blood had stained when she originally got shot. This would help to convince them even more, that I didn't care at all for her well-being.

"I believe you were looking for this," I said, and tossed Buffy to the floor, hating the sickening crunching sound as she smashed to the hardwood floors. But of course, it had to be believable, so I didn't do anything to help her or tend to the new cut on her lip.

"True to your word, Angelus. Something I admire about you," Wesley grinned wickedly. "Unfortunately, there isn't much else for a man like me to admire about you…But then again, there's always hope, right?" he laughed as if he'd just made the funniest joke ever. "Bring the girl over to the desk by her father, so he can say his good-byes and watch her die."

"The girl has a name," Buffy said bitterly, climbing to her feet unsteadily. "And if you kill me in front of all of them, they're witnesses. Doesn't that make it kind of hard to let them go?" she raised an eyebrow at Wesley.

"I suppose you're right. It would," Wesley acted as if he hadn't thought of that. Then he laughed, "oh that's right!" He acted as if he'd just realized something else, "I have no intentions of letting them go! How could I have forgotten this little massacre I have planned?"

"Oh please," Buffy scoffed. "The police will easily pin it to you. And trust me, if there's more than one murder-they will investigate. Just one body, that's fine. But six or seven makes it a little harder."

"Not exactly," Cordelia finally spoke. She wandered over to Buffy, looking like she had all the power in the world. "See, after the police find the tape we have of you and Angel fighting with your families about being allowed to be together, the police will have no doubts that you murdered them all when they wouldn't allow you to get married. They'll pin the murder on you, Buffy, because Angel will still be alive. And if Angel knows what's good for him," she came over to me and walked her fingers up my left arm, "he'll tell the police you did it all. You killed everyone. Even your own mother. Then he'll explain that he shot you, in self defense, to keep you from killing him."

"And let me guess," Buffy continued, "after all of that, you'll threaten that if Angel ever leaves you after that, you'll take a different story with some more phony evidence, to the police and put him in jail for the rest of forever, right?" Buffy rolled her eyes, "to be perfectly honest, Cordelia, it sounds like you have to go through a lot of shit to keep a man. Did you ever just consider faking a pregnancy to keep 'em?"

"You're real funny, Buffy. Maybe your sense of humor will save you one day, and you'll find yourself on the good graces of the higher powers." Cordelia laughed, walking back to her. Suddenly, she backhanded Buffy hard, dropping her to the floor. "But not today."

"Okay, enough talking then, don't you think?" Wesley asked.

I cut in, "there's just one thing I don't get," I said.

"What's that?" Wesley sighed.

"Your revenge on me…What is it? You're losing Cordelia to me. You're not killing me. So how are you hurting me here, Wes?" I was confused at his motives.

He smirked, "I should have thought it would be quite obvious by now, Angelus. Your darling love there," he motioned to Buffy from where she sat on the floor, nursing her cracked lip and cut cheek. "You love her, so I figure killing her is probably the best way to make you suffer."

This is when I began my real act. "Love her?" I laughed. "She has a hot ass, and she was a nice fuck." I walked over to where Buffy was, and bent down to look into her eyes as I spoke. "The fact of the matter is, Wes, that I never stopped loving Cordelia. Buffy was something to pass the time…" I trailed my fingers over her hair, and then pushed her backwards, "for that matter, I think she was a lousy fuck. Just nothing there," I grimaced, as if thinking of something disgusting. "She gave herself so willingly. There was nothing there. No sense of adventure. And she was always thinking of herself." I mocked her voice then, saying, "Oh Angelus. Please let me cum. Please. Harder. Harder!" I rolled my eyes. "Pathetic, really."

Wesley pulled out a gun then, and pointed it at Cordelia, "then I guess we'll have to say that Buffy was jealous of Cordelia, and killed her too." He cocked the gun, and smiled, "in fact, this works out great. I'm depriving you of both women, Angelus. You do get a choice here, about which one dies first, though. So tell me…Fluffy, the Bad Layer? Or Cordelia, the Exotic Slut?"

"Wesley, what are you doing?" Cordelia was beginning to fear him. "We had a deal. You're ruining things."

"It's what I do best, beloved," he laughed outwardly. "Now, tell me…Do you have any last words?"

"Yeah," Cordelia started.

"Not you," he chuckled, and turned to aim the gun at Buffy. "You."

Buffy's eyes widened, and then time stopped.

The doors to the parlor flew open, and shots were suddenly flying everywhere. I dove for Buffy, just as Wesley's fired the gun. The pain rippled through my back as I tackled Buffy on the floor, and the bullet ripped through my flesh.

Turning my head, I saw Wesley fall to the floor with blood gushing from his mouth. Cordelia went down in much the same fashion, her head smacking in to the floor with a sickening snap that informed everyone in the room, that she had just broken her neck.

I was starting to black out as I felt my heart decreasing. Buffy shrieked, rolling me onto my back. "Angel, no! No, stay with me, baby. Stay with me. Please. Please stay with me." She stroked her hand over my hair as she cradled my head in her lap. Looking over the blood on my chest, she let the tears roll down her blood-streaked face.

Ripping off her own shirt, she pressed it into my stomach, where I'm assuming the wound was. Feeling nothing, I felt so tired. My body was numb, but it was a pleasant numbness. I felt like for the first time in a long time, I could really sleep. And as I shut my eyes…That's what I did.


"Angel, no!" I screamed, pressing harder into the wound. "Don't you leave me, dammit! You promised me. You promised me! You promised you wouldn't leave me. You can't."

Sobbing as a million people dressed in red, white, and blue; rushed into the room, I felt him letting go. His eyes flickered shut, and I couldn't see his soul anymore. He was leaving me.

He was leaving me.


Part 15

I wanted to wake up. I wanted to open my eyes and see what was going on, but my body wouldn't co-operate. Why was it that every time I wanted to do something, it never worked out? Was I an evil person in my last life? What did I ever do to deserve such torture?

The cold water being splashed onto my face helped to rouse me from my sleep. My hands flew up to block my face from the coming onslaught of cold liquid, but it didn't help.

Apparently the Chinese use cold water as a strenuous form of torture. The constant dripping of cold water over someone's head, as they are chained, standing in a room of spiked steel. If the victim tries to move away from the water after it finally breaks their hold on their sanity, they trigger a motion sensor which sends all of the steel spikes in to their bodies.

Perhaps my torturer is Chinese.

The blonde hair says differently.

"Wake up, sleepyhead. I've waited long enough to see those eyes." That sweet, sensual voice that I left the peace of heaven for, made me open my eyes. She's the reason I didn't let go when I had the chance. She's the reason that I didn't let everything fade.

I could have been free.

But why should I be free when the only person I want, is still held behind the bars of existence? So I chose to fight. I fought death and all of its appealing opportunities and choices.

And here I am.

Lifting a large hand to cup her cheek, I can't help smiling. I always smile when I see her. My blonde goddess. My wife. My lover. Soon to be the Mother of My Children.

My Buffy.

"Miss me?" I ask.

Those tears come to her eyes, like they always do when I ask that. She worries so much when I shut my eyes to sleep. Some nights, I simply pretend to sleep, to see what she'll do. She watches me some night, as I sleep, trying to reassure her subconscious fears, that I will wake up again if she shuts her own eyes for just an hour or so.

"Don't ever leave me," she whispered, leaning down to kiss me.

Licking my tongue through her honey-sweet lips, I can't resist repeating the words I always say when she makes that particular request. "I'm a dangerous man, remember? And what's more treacherous than our love?"


And she's right.



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