Chapter Ten

Life is interesting.

Of course, by interesting, I mean that it fuckin sucks.

Eight weeks. That’s how long I’ve been miserable for. Eight weeks of having Buffy avoid me whenever her friends were around. Eight weeks of fleeting visits, whereby B would come by after patrol, stay for a few hours, and leave before her absence was noticed. Eight weeks of workin lotsa over-time cos I had nothin else better to do.

Eight weeks of weird mixed signals that I couldn’t even begin to decipher.

I think I was pretty fuckin patient. I never asked more of B, and I let her act distant and then clingy without givin her shit about the sudden changes between hot and cold. For anyone else, I woulda pushed them out the door with their jacket and shoes a long time ago. But this was B. It was a different situation. We were madly in love.

Or so I thought.

But last night was the breaking point. Something in me finally snapped; made me realize that maybe even a person like me doesn’t deserve to be treated like B has been treating me.

I’m nobody’s dark, dirty secret, and I won’t let myself get used anymore.

That’s exactly what B has been doin’ to me all along. Using me. Stringing me along. Making me feel like she needed me, when in actuality, all she needed was to support her superiority complex.

That’s right. Superiority complex. Imagine that: Faithy knows some big words. It’s probably cos of all that time I’ve been spending with G-man and his books lately. It’s not like B has been there to entertain me or keep me company. Well, not most of the time anyways. If I’m not workin, I’m at Giles’ place, just reading some books with him and stuff. I think it keeps us both from goin’ crazy while the rest of the gang is at college and stuff.

But instead of rambling on about all that shit, I should probably tell you about when I knew things were really startin’ to get fucking bad.

B had been living on campus for about two weeks. Yeah, she was spending a lot of time doing school stuff, but we still had a few nights a week together. After all, her roommate wasn’t about to run and tell the Scoobs if B didn’t come home for the night. They didn’t like each other; the girl was probably happy to be rid of B every now and then.

Things didn’t seem so bad when it was just me and B, just laying on my bed and talking or touching or whatever. It almost felt like the times that we had spent together that summer.

But in the morning, she’d have to get up wicked early in order to get back to campus and shower before her first class. She’d get real quiet as she wandered around my apartment, gathering her things up into her arms and randomly stuffing them into her bag. Mostly, I’d just stand at the doorway of the bedroom and watch her, wanting to stop her from leaving but too scared to jeopardize our few happy moments by making demands of her.

When she finally finished gathering her stuff, I’d walk over and stand before her, trying to catch her eyes. She’d finally look up at me, give me a sad smile, and close the distance between us to wrap her arms around me. I’d hold her back just as tight, keeping quiet and just enjoying the feel of her against me. After all . . . I never knew how long it was gonna be ‘til I would be able to touch her again.

After a minute, she’d finally sigh out, “I don’t wanna leave here”, her voice thick with tears. For that one moment, she’d admit it to herself that she wanted me; needed me.

There was a simple solution to it all, really.

“Then don’t.” I’d tell her. Simple as that.

She’d pull out of my arms just enough to give me a small kiss on the lips, then pull away completely and collect her bag.

“I have to.”

It always ended that way. She’d grab her bag and walk towards the door, carefully avoiding my eyes as she opened it, walked out, and closed it her softly behind her.

Sometimes she’d just stand on the other side of the door for a few minutes. How do I know this? Well, cos I’d stand there and wait for her to come running back in; to jump up, wrap her legs around me, and tell me that she loved me and wanted to be with me, no matter what. I’d stand there and wait until I would hear her footsteps walking away.

I was always waiting for her.

Suffice it to say, she never ran back in like I had hoped. I think you pretty much guessed that by now.

After those first two weeks, things started to change up again. Buffy’s roommate situation got all wiggy, and, after her demon-roommate had left . . . Willow decided to move in.

That, my friends, was the official signature on the death warrant of mine and Buffy’s ‘relationship’, pretty much.

Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t completely Red’s fault. Maybe if she had known about me and B, she wouldn’t have screwed things up so badly. But, as the situation would have it, she was the catalyst behind all of the bad stuff that was going to happen.

For a week after Red had moved in, I hadn’t been alone with B once. Twice we had seen each other at Giles’ place, but the Scoobs had been there both times. That pretty much meant that we sat on opposite sides of the room, avoiding the knowing glances of Anya and the oblivious ones of the Scoobs. Apparently, since B and I had been so distant from one another after the dinner fiasco a few weeks before, they had assumed that there really was nothing going on between us.

I wonder if Anya ever actually gave Xander the money for winning the ‘bet’ that we were really only ‘just good friends’. That chick is so tight with her money . . . I can’t see how’d she give it up willingly, especially knowing the secret truth.

The few nights that we patrolled together, Red had tagged along cos she really didn’t have much else to do, apparently. She and B would talk excitedly about college stuff, and I’d just stay quiet and grumble to myself.

Especially when Red would bring up the ‘totally cute and available’ teaching assistant, Riley.

“You should go out with him, Buff. He’s totally into you.” Red squealed, jumping up and down a bit.

I just snickered and said, “Yeah, B, you should totally go out with him.” I mimicked Red as best I could without being too obvious.

B would just give me a no-nonsense glance before responding to the redhead.

“I don’t think so, Will. I don’t really want, or need, a boyfriend right now.” She answered with indifference.

Red’s giddy expression turned into a more concerned one, and her voice took on a softer tone.

“But, Buff . . . maybe it would be nice for you to go on a date or something. This whole past week, all you’ve done is sit in our room and mope all night.”

Oh really?

I stole a look over at B whose eyes had widened at the comment. She kept her vision focused straight ahead of her, taking a moment to respond.

“These are one of those kinds of fish that I’m gonna let get away, Will. I appreciate the thought . . . but I’m not much of the pursuer these days.”

Red just nodded her head, trying to wear some sorta look of understanding on her face. We walked in silence for the rest of that night, each of us lost in our own thoughts.

I remember thinking, ‘Please, let this be the last that we ever hear of this fucking topic’. It felt fucking scary . . . mostly, I think, because it felt like foreshadowing; like it was gonna happen, and that the conversation was just a little taste of things to come.

And when I’m right, I’m fucking right.

After another week of B ‘moping’ around the room, Red finally took matters into her own hands. She arranged for a date between my girl and the Teaching Assistant, Riley.

A big and dorky fucktart, if you ask me.

Me, B, and Red had been walking out of Giles’ apartment after a Scooby meeting when Red had finally told her about it.

“You what?!? Willow, I told you that I don’t want or need a boyfriend right now!” Buffy said exasperatedly, stopping right in the middle of the sidewalk. “I don’t want to go on any dates!”

Willow looked both nervous and concerned at the same time.

In all honesty, I think she was just trying to be a good friend. She just wanted B to get outta their dorm every now and then to find the fun a little. She just didn’t realize that B was supposed to be ‘finding the fun’ with me.

“Buff, it’s not a date. It’s just . . . coffee. A meeting of acquaintances. A chance for conversation with someone who isn’t one of your close-knit friends. Getting to know someone that could be a possible love interest if things go well.”

B just tossed her arms down to her sides and did a half-stomp kinda thing.

“I may not be Miss On-top-of-the Latest-Trends, but I think that’s what the ‘kids’ these days are calling ‘dates’! That’s not something I wanna get into, Will.” B said excitedly, finally glancing over to me.

I think that I was just frozen where I stood at that point. I don’t even think that I had heard most of their conversation . . . I was too busy listening to the sound of my teeth grinding against each other.

Pissed off? Yeah. You have no idea.

B and I locked eyes with each other, a silent battle being fought between us. Her eyes were begging me to understand. My eyes were telling her to fuck off.

“I just want to see a bit of the old Buffy again.” Willow said concerned, a pleading smile on her face. “The one from the summer that was all smiley and light-hearted. I’m not saying that you have to marry him and have incredibly cute babies. Just . . . get out for a night. Even if only to make me feel better about it for a day.”

She said the last part in a joking manner, but I knew that B would take it seriously. She’s always serious when it comes to her friends, and keeping them safe and happy.

B just stood there, eyes still locked on mine, when she gave the slightest nod of her head. A motion of agreement, of submitting.

I just shook my head slightly and clenched my jaw, my lips cracking up at the corners into an angry grin as I held back my anger.

Finally, Willow turned to me.

“Faith? What do you think about all this?” She asked, furrowing her eyebrows as she studied my face. I wasn’t gonna let on one ounce of what I was feeling.

I unclenched my teeth to put on a fake smile, keeping my eyes locked on B’s.

“What do I think?” I asked with a chuckle that came out more bitter than I hoped to let on. “I think it sounds like B’s going on a date.” I smiled as big as I could, completely fake-looking, I walked away from them and in the opposite direction down the street.

If B thought that I was gonna sit back and be cool with her going out with some random meathead, she had another thing coming. I had been patient. I had been understanding. But then I was just pissed. Pissed that I had ever let things get that bad.

I walked to the bar down the street from my apartment and had a few beers, hiding out for most of that afternoon. I just wanted to be numb for a while. To stop feeling.

After a few hours had passed and darkness had finally fell over the town, I made my way back up to my apartment and stumbled in the door, not drunk but not quite clear-headed either. I was leaving the slaying to B that night cos I really needed some time to just fucking mellow out. I was too fucking wound up.

When I flicked on the light, I came face to face with a teary-eyed Buffy. It sobered me right up. So much for not feeling.

She sat silently on the couch, eyes locked on mine from the moment that I had caught sight of her. I blinked hard a few times before finally tearing my eyes away and moving through the room. I tossed my jacket aside and kicked my boots off, going about my business as if nothing was wrong. Again, my jaw was tightly clenched.

“Are we going to talk about this?” She asked solemnly, her eyes following me around the room.

I couldn’t stand still. I was afraid that if I did, my emotions and my anger would catch up with me and have me completely overwhelmed. I had to keep moving.

“No.” I said simply, my voice hoarse.

She sighed. “We really need to.” Her voice was pleading. She wanted me to make it easier for her, I think, but I wasn’t gonna let this go down without a fight.

“No, we really don’t.” I replied quickly, standing to face her. “You made your decision. I obviously have no fucking say in it, so I’m backing off. I get the picture, B. You have a new prospect so you’re done with me now. Fine. Okay. Whatever. Now leave.”

I started moving around the room again, making my way into the kitchen and grabbing a bottle of beer outta the fridge. I opened it quickly and took a long swig, draining half of the contents in one go.

“So you’ve resorted to drinking?” Her voice rang out from just behind me, leaning on the doorframe. She was giving me a look . . . condescending and . . . arrogant?

“Just like you resorted to serial dating to make you feel better. Don’t patronize me, Saint Buffy. You don’t get to turn this around on me, so back the fuck off.”

Nice Faith was gone. Nice Faith had left the building a long time ago. This was the real Faith . . . straightforward, uncaring, and unwavering. It felt good to have her back.

I walked past her and into the living room, plopped down on the couch with my beer, and turned on the TV. As far as I was concerned, the conversation was over. She needed to take the hint and get gone.

Just when I thought that maybe I had scared her off, I felt the couch sink down next to me. There she was, sitting so that her body faced me, her eyes glued onto my face.

I turned my head to her after a few minutes of silence, staring at her emotionless. “What?” I asked her, annoyed.

“I’m not doing this for me.” She said quietly, her eyes begging me to understand.

“Well, that makes ME feel a whole lot better, twinkie. Wanna fuck?” I said as sarcastic and crude as possible.

It made her flinch. I’m not a sadist, but . . . it felt good.

“Faith, don’t. Don’t be like that.” She whispered, looking down at her lap.

“How the fuck do you want me to act?” I asked, sitting forward a bit so that I could get in her face. “How do you want me to react to the fact that my GIRLFRIEND, whom I can’t even be with in any other capacity than secretly stashed away in my apartment, is going out on a fucking date with someone else? I’m pissed off, B, and there ain’t no way for me to hide it.”

“I know.” She said, eyes still trained on her lap. “I’m not happy about it either.”

I scoffed.

“Then do something about it. Say no. Tell him to fuck off. You’re not powerless, B. Grow a fucking pair already.” I sat back against the couch and exhaled loudly, breathing out a bit of my anger. I brought my hands up to my face and pressed the heels of them into my eyes, rubbing hard.

“If I can just do this, get through this, keep my friends off of my back for a little while longer, then I’ll be able to deal with telling them about us. I just need you to be patient.”

I laughed, shaking my head. “I’ve been patient. I’m all out of patient. Now I’m full of ‘pissed off’ and impatient.”

Then, in an act of desperation I think, she bypassed the talking and went right for the feeling. Before I could stop her, she was straddling my lap and had my face in her hands, staring deep into my eyes.

“Just a few more weeks, Faith. Two weeks. I’ll have my friends off my back about the finding the fun. I’ll tell them that I only wanna find the fun with you. I’ll let them know about the summer, and how you’ve been there for me since last year. If we can only get through these next two weeks . . . we can be happy together.”

I couldn’t move. I was lost so deep in her eyes . . . in her words . . . in the way that she had leaned in and was softly kissing my lips.

I wanted happily ever after with B. I really did. So I let go of the tension in my body and unclenched my fists, placing them softly on her lower back, pulling her closer against me.

That was about four weeks ago.

I gave her twice as much time as she had asked for. I let her come to me as she needed and spent time with her, only for her to leave before bedtime. She’d cry against my chest, her arms wrapped around me, and told me that she didn’t want to go back to her dorm . . . that she wanted to stay with me.

I thought that she meant it.

But last night was the breaking point. She came and told me that she was still ‘dating’ Riley. That she had kissed him a few times, but that it was only so not as to rouse suspicion within him at her lack of interest. That she was going to ‘continue’ dating him, because her friends were so happy for her at the moment. That she needed me to wait a little bit longer.

That she couldn’t stay because she was going to the movies with him.

I didn’t let her see any of what I was feeling. Any of the pain, hate, hurt, anger. I waited until she left . . . and then I broke down. I finally lost control. I finally realized that my dream world was crashing down before my eyes . . . and that I was powerless to stop it.


So, now you know what’s happened up ‘til now.

I fucked up. Allow me to explain.

Buffy Summers is like the sun. She’s bright and warm, and one of the most beautiful things that I’ve ever seen. I was entranced by her. I had to get closer. I wanted to see, to feel, to touch . . .

. . . and I did. Guess I just never realized that, when you touch the sun . . . you’re gonna get burned.

Yes, I was stupid. Yes, I reached out. Yes, I touched. And yes, I got burned.

And now I’m leaving.

Don’t shake your fucking head at me, and don’t gimme that fucking look. You don’t know. This has gotta be one of the hardest fuckin things I’ve ever done . . . walking away from the one thing in life that I’ve ever loved unconditionally.

Buffy told me that she loves me. I believed her once. Maybe she does, I dunno. I guess I can’t know for sure. But I DO know that love isn’t supposed to hurt. It isn’t supposed to make you feel broken and used. That’s why I know that this ‘thing’ between B and me can’t be love.

She’s my great love . . . and I’m her crutch. She’s using me . . . and I think it’s killing me.

Not physically, of course, cos I’m a fucking ROCK. But when I look in the mirror, I don’t recognize who the person in the reflection. ‘Faith’ is gone. All that’s left is this . . . girl . . . and she looks broken . . . sad . . . hurt. That’s not me. Never has been.

I never should have let myself get to this point. Fucking pathetic.

This isn’t who I am, or want to be.

So, like I said, I’m leaving. I need to find myself again. I need to get back into the routine of not giving a fuck . . . cos it hurts too much when I do.

I’ve just finished packing the rest of my clothes into my backpack and 2 duffle bags. That’s what my life amounts to. Three bags full of clothes and the small wad of cash in my pocket.

I’ve got the row of pictures that B and I had taken in the cheesy photo booth stashed in my backpack. It’ll serve two purposes: one, to remind me of the good times. Two, to remind me not to let my defenses down again, cos I don’t know if this is something that I would willingly put myself through a second time.

Just as I heft the backpack over my shoulder and bend down to pick up the two bags, I hear keys jangling in the door.

I don’t need a psychic to tell me who it is. I can feel the tingles. B is here for her casual dose of Faith. But I’m not gonna let her have it this time. I can’t. If I give her any more, it might break me.

I almost feel like I wanna panic . . . throw my bags out the window and jump out after them. But that’s pretty fucking cowardly, and I generally like to think that I’m tougher than that.

With every ounce of will that I have left in my body, I put the bags back down on the floor and take a seat at the end of the bed, looking down as I fiddled nervously with the hem of my shirt.

The shirt B gave me.


“Baby?” She calls out into the apartment, getting closer to the room. I flinch as I hear the chipper tone in her voice, knowing full well that though she may not love me . . . this could very well break her heart. Fuck, it’s breaking mine too.

She enters the room with a bounce in her step and a bag from McDonalds, pausing immediately as she notices the solemn look on my face.

Our gazes stay locked on one another, her eyebrows furrowing as she works out the implications of the scene around us.

The open drawers. The empty closet. The bare clothes hangers lying around. The bags that lay at my feet.

I can hear her breath catch in her throat, and I’m pretty sure that she’s either about to say something or cry. I know that at this moment, I can’t handle either.

If she cries, I’m gonna run to her. If she speaks, I’m gonna run to her.

Therefore, I need to get the fuck outta here before I bend to her yet again.

Slowly, I stand up from the edge of the bed, flinging the backpack over my shoulder and lifting the two duffle bags in either hand. I turn my gaze toward the bedroom door and start a path towards it, cautiously avoiding eye contact as I make my way past her and into the living room.

This feels so familiar. I wonder if she’s feeling what I normally did when she walked away from ME like that.

Just as I approach the apartment door and think that I’ve made it out without a hassle, I hear the McDonalds bag drop and a pair of footsteps running out into the living room.

I can do this. I’m Faith. I tilt my neck and hear it crack as it adjusts for the onslaught of whatever is to come at me.

Warily, I drop the bags at my feet and turn around to face the living room, keeping the most unaffected look on my face that I can muster.

Fuck. Be strong, Faith.

As she stands 10 feet away from me with tears running silently down her face, I draw in a deep breath and prepare to make the hardest speech of my life.

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