by Hayley

Chapter Seven

Today is a good day. Actually, better than good. I've had a smile on my face since the moment I've woke up.

Last night with Faith was just incredible. I never thought she'd be that sweet and that she looked like she was just as nervous as I was. That was definitely a surprise.

After she left last night I started to really think about my feelings for her and I'm quickly discovering that I've always had feelings for her. They've just been buried in the back of my mind and that was easy to do with all the drama I've had to deal with since I met Faith. With Angel back in my life and then having to break up with him along with the Mayor being a general pain in the ass there wasn't any time to think about what I really thought of her.

Now that all of those problems are gone all my brain can think about is Faith. Okay, well, Faith and panicking over college but mostly Faith.

I've been a little lazy this morning so I haven't even gotten up yet. I just woke up so relaxed that I didn't want to ruin it and I don't think I need to meet up with Faith until later. All I want to do is think about last night and what I want to say to Faith when I see her. My mind is just full of all things Faith but what I hear is my mom yelling that she's leaving for the day and then the door shutting.

"I wondered when I was gonna get to see this."

My head turns toward my open door so fast I think I get whiplash. Faith is standing in the doorway with the biggest grin on her face. "What . . ."

"Am I doing here?" she finishes for me. "I have a habit of getting up early now. Was kind of hoping you'd come over early but then I remembered what you said last night about sleep."

I sit up before I realize my kind-of girlfriend is seeing me in my pajamas. At least I'm not wearing anything too embarrassing. "So my mom let you in to surprise me?"

Faith nods. "I asked if you were sleeping and she agreed with me that you should be awake by now. I said I would come up here and wake you."

"I think that's just an excuse."

"True," Faith admits as she sits on the edge of the bed. "I kinda wanted to see you first thing."

I can't seem to stop smiling and part of the reason for that is Faith hasn't stopped smiling since she walked into my room. It feels like she's waiting for me to make the first move but maybe that's because we're in my room. Maybe she wants me to feel comfortable first.

The main thing that I notice is that I can't stop looking at her lips and haven't looked at much else since she got here. It makes me lean in and give her a light kiss. I can feel her smile against my lips as she returns it so I know she's definitely okay with the kiss.

We keep it light and we're both smiling when we break away. "I was hoping you'd do that," Faith says.

"Definitely a good way to start the way," I respond, giving her another light kiss.

She scoots a little closer to me so we're next to each other and takes one of my hands in hers. "I'm happy you're comfortable with me being in here."

I don't really know what to say to that so I kiss her again and carefully wrap my arms around her. Faith is such a great kisser that I feel that as long as we're dating I'll never get enough of her lips. It makes me think about what comes after all this kissing and I can feel the blush that comes with all the thoughts.

Faith seems to feel my blush because she breaks away from me as soon as I do. "I bet you want to shower and get dressed and all that."

"I don't know . . . I like having you here," I admit.

"Good," Faith says as she kisses me again, "otherwise I'd worry."

We stare at each other like idiots for a minute before she gets up and tries to pull me up with her. I let her and once I'm standing she looks me up and down. Part of me really wants to know when she starts looking at me like this because I know it was before she first kissed me. Mostly, I want to know how long I've been blind.

"You have no idea how cute you look right now," she says as she smirks at me.

"I don't know if you're teasing me or being serious," I comment as I look away. It feels like she's looking right through me.

"Maybe a little of both." She puts her hand on my chin gently and makes me look at her. "Saying stuff like this is new to me, you know? If I'm doing something wrong . . ."

"You're not," I cut in quickly. "Keep saying what you're saying."

When I smile so does she and the dimples I think are adorable are on full display. "I'll wait for you downstairs, okay? Then we can get breakfast."

Faith leaves before I can say anything else and I'm left staring there with my mouth slightly open. I can't believe how she can leave me speechless like that. That talent will get me into trouble later, I just know it.

"I think it'll be fun!"

I look over at Willow and I know she really wants me to say yes. We're sitting at the Bronze watching Oz play. It's the perfect bonding time for us: he's with the band and Faith's working until who knows when. Hanging out together just seems like the obvious thing.

Now that she found out Faith and I have been on a date though, she's trying to get me to agree to a double date. "I don't know, Will."

"We don't have to make it a big deal."

What confuses me is that the four of us have been hanging out constantly without the added complication of Faith and I dating. Since Xander and Cordelia have left Sunnydale it's just the four of us. In the end, we would probably end up at the Bronze which is what we do all the time anyway. "Wouldn't it just be like we hang out now?"

"No," she insists, "it's different 'cause we're couples."

I sigh. "Okay, here's the thing: Faith and I have been out once. That's it. I kind of want to have a couple with just her before we start doing anything more."

Willow looks a little dejected by that but she's also noticed that I didn't say no so she still has a smile on her face. "I guess that makes sense . . . so how was it?"

There's a smile on my face almost instantly. "It was nice. We talked and went to a movie. She walked me home."

"Did you get those butterflies in your stomach?"

I nod. "When Faith looks at me with those eyes . . . I can't describe it. It's like I know how much she likes me with just a simple look. And then when she kisses me it's amazing."

Willow nods. "I can definitely see the appeal."

The only way I can respond to that is to laugh. I don't think I've meant a person who hasn't seen the appeal of Faith. "But I need more time with her before I can really know what I feel. It's all so confusing."

"At least Faith's being patient."

"She is," I say with a smile on my face.

Truthfully, I don't deserve the kind of patience Faith is showing. It shouldn't take long for me to know whether or not I like Faith in a romantic way. Deep down I already know the answer to that but it's so scary that I can't wrap my brain around it yet. All I can admit to myself is that when Faith and I are in the same room I want to be next to her, holding her hand or getting her to put her arm around me. I want her close.

I blink a couple times when I notice Willow is repeatedly saying my name. "What did you say?"

"Your happy place includes Faith now, doesn't it?" she says, laughing quietly. "You just had the same face I'm sure I make when I'm thinking about Oz."

"Yeah, it does." I take a sip of my drink. "I think my only problem is when I should tell my mom and Giles."

"Don't do it until it feels right." Willow's giving me the most serious look she's given me all night so I know she means what she's saying. "It'll be a big step to let either of them know the two of you are . . . involved. I mean, will you wait until you're that . . . involved?"

I'm blushing before she even finishes her sentence. There isn't much else I've thought about more than any sort of nakedness with Faith. I've even had a couple dreams about it and those left me so hot and wet. I couldn't even get back to sleep because it was all I could think about after I woke up. All those dreams did was make me wonder about the real thing.

"I don't know," I say as I look down at the table. "We're taking it slow but I don't know what Faith thinks slow is. She's more experienced than I am."

Will nods. "Yeah, but that shouldn't matter. It doesn't seem to as far as Faith's concerned. The way she looks at you kinda shows that she'll do anything for you."

"But I don't want that," I say. "I don't want to lead her on or anything."

"I don't think you will."

I'm happy one of us is confident about that because I'm really not. I'm afraid that I'll really fall for Faith but I'll keep her waiting for too long and she won't want me anymore. She could have anyone she wants and probably right away, too.

"Okay, no more of this topic," Will says, probably because she sees my face fall a little. "The Dingoes will start again soon and I want you to be happy again before they do."

"I'm happy," I insist. "I'm just a little worried."

"Don't be. Faith really likes you. Just keep thinking that."

If only it was that simple.

"I like that you and Faith are finally starting to be friends," my mom says as we eat dinner. Faith took an early shift at the bar so it's the first time she hasn't been here in a couple days.

"It's nice," I say, trying to think of the right words to use. "I think I underestimated how much we had in common."

She nods and it looks like she wants to add something but doesn't. I keep thinking that she wants to ask if there's something more going on but maybe that's only my paranoia at work. It's not like Faith or I act all couply around her and she's never caught us. But then again, she always tells me she knows more than I tell her.

"Big plans tonight?"

I look at her and see she's smiling at me. There's a part of me that could try to read into how she's looking at me but that would only make me nervous and then once I see Faith that might be all I talk about. That'd be a mood killer.

"Not really," I say. "I think Faith is going to meet up with me during patrol. I'm not sure when she'll be able to leave work."

"I wish she'd work somewhere else."

I can't help but smile at the look on her face. There's a subtle hint of disappointment and worry and it's the same look Giles has whenever Faith talks about the bar. "You're not the only one, Mom. Giles wants her to find something different, too."

"Maybe you can convince her to do something else," she says. "Or do nothing. The Council is paying both of you."

I shrug. "Her decision, I guess."

We eat in silence for a couple of minutes and I think about the next date with Faith. I want to do something she likes but even though I'm slowly learning more about her I still don't know what she would want to do on a date.

Okay, that's not entirely true but I don't think we're at the point where I can be forward about all the sex stuff. You know, since we haven't had sex yet though I know that I decide when that happens. Faith's said as much.

"Buffy, is there something you want to talk to me about?"

I look at her quickly and try to read her face but it doesn't look like she's trying to get me to talk about something she already knows. She just looks curious. "What do you mean?"

"You look worried. Nervous about college in a couple months?"

I nod because she is right about that. It just isn't what I've been thinking about lately. "Yeah, but it'll be okay."

She gives me a look but instead of questioning my answer she only smiles. "Well, if you need to talk about anything I'm here."

"I know."

We start to pick up dishes but the phone rings and I excuse myself to answer it, hoping it's Willow so maybe I have something to do before patrol. Maybe she can even go with me because I've realized now more than ever that patrolling without Faith is really boring. When I answer it though all I hear is Faith over a lot of background noise.

"Hey, B."

"Faith, are you still at the bar?"

"Yeah, but I'm getting outta here early so I was wondering if you wanted to meet me at my apartment instead?"

I smile, realizing how much I look forward to seeing her or even hearing her. "Sure, we were just finishing up with dinner."

"Cool," she says and I can almost hear her smile through the phone, "I'll see you in a few."

She hangs up and suddenly I'm looking forward to tonight. I don't have to patrol by myself and I get to spend some time with Faith that doesn't include staking vamps.

"Was that Faith?" my mom asks as I walk into the kitchen.

I nod. "She left work early so I'm meeting her at her apartment instead of on patrol."

"Okay," she says with a smile then sighs. "I should have made extra for you to bring over."

"That's okay, mom," I laugh. "She'll live. I'll see you in the morning."

"Be careful." She has this sad smile on her face before I turn to leave, something I'm used to. She's worried but we both know that so there's no use in saying it. At least it's gotten better now that I have Faith with me.

The walk to Faith's is a quick one but mostly because I'm walking as fast as I can. It's amazing how my feelings for Faith are starting to show not just to her but to myself, too. I want to see her all the time now that she's told me she likes me and that we've been on a date. It's almost like I've given myself permission to let my feelings show.

I'm also starting to get the courage to initiate stuff with Faith. When I see her tonight I want to be the one who kisses her and not the other way around. I don't want to wait for her to make the move even though I know she thinks she's the one that has to right now. That shouldn't be her responsibility.

When I reach her place she's actually sitting outside the door to the building on the front step. She smiles when she sees me and I know I'm doing the same. Faith's still got on the tight t-shirt she always wears to the bar on, something she says helps get her tips, so I don't think she's even gone inside yet.

Before she can even say anything to me, I kiss her gently as soon as I reach her. Her arms are around me almost instantly and I can feel her smile against my lips. Even with taking the initiative I keep the kiss light because we are outside. I don't exactly want her neighbors spying on us.

"That's . . . a great way to say hello," Faith says when we break away from each other.

There's not much I can say to that so I change the subject. "Why are you out here?"

"Just wanted to wait for you." She pauses. "Why? What would you have done if we were inside?" I immediately blush and she laughs. "Just kidding, B."

She puts an arm around my shoulders and guides me inside but when we get to her front door she stops and reaches into her pocket. When she pulls her hand out there's a key in her hand connected to a very simple silver key chain.

"What . . ." I start but she stops me.

"When I first got the apartment and you were helping me pick out everything . . ."

"And you didn't listen to a single word," I interrupt with a smile.

"I thought that you should have a part of this," she continues without missing a beat, "even before we started dating." She takes a breath. "I know that this seems early but I thought you should have a place to call your own, too. So . . . if you need to get away and I'm not around you can come here."

I don't know what to say. Faith's actually left me speechless. First because she noticed that I was a little jealous that she was truly getting out on her own. I mean, even though I'm leaving home I'm only heading to the dorms of UC Sunnydale. I won't even have my own room but Faith has her own place, all to herself.

Also, she's letting share her place and so soon after we've decided to take the huge step to start dating. Faith's not even putting any extra pressure in the offer either and that's just amazing to me. I really don't know what to say.

After a minute of my mouth hanging open, Faith speaks up. "You gotta say something 'cause you're starting to scare me a little. Too soon?"

I smile and take the key chain. "You're going to ruin the badass reputation you love so much when you do sweet things like this."

If I didn't know any better I'd say there was a blush beneath that smile and cute dimples. "Just open the door, B."

I do and see a red rose on the table and feel Faith's arms wrap around me from behind. It's almost instinctual that I lean back into her. "You really know how to impress a girl."

"Good," she says and I feel her place a light kiss on my shoulder, "'cause this is all new for me."

"Doing a pretty good job so far."

Faith turns me in her arms and presses her lips against mine. She keeps it light but my thoughts of wanting to take the first step are still there and I attempt to deepen the kiss the first chance I get. The response I get is Faith moaning into my mouth and her hold on me gets a little tighter, which is of the good since once again I'm weak at the knees.

When we break away to catch our breath, Faith places another couple feather light kisses on my lips then rests her forehead against mine. "Damn, B. I know you wanna take it one step at a time but . . . damn."

"I don't want you to always be taking those steps," I say quietly. "But I still want to go slow."

"I know," she says quietly as she brushes her nose gently against mine. "I'll do whatever you want, B. Even if that means trying to reign myself in every once and awhile if you think you need to stop."

She's being way too sweet and it's making me even more nervous. My mind starts going through that talk with Willow and my fears that Faith will get sick of waiting for me are right in the front of my mind again.

I don't say anything and Faith must pick up on the fact I'm nervous. "Hey, we need to get that look off your face 'cause it's way too serious. You wanna watch a movie or go out somewhere before patrol?"

Faith runs her fingers lightly up my side, just enough to tickle me and I laugh quietly. "Maybe an early patrol, then grab food to go and come back here."

"I like that plan." Faith leans down and lightly kisses my neck a couple times before putting her lips to my ear. "Don't worry, okay? You're worth the wait for me."

She really can't call herself a badass now and if she keeps talking like that, I'm not sure how long the wait will be.

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