You know how time drags on when things are going bad, but it flies by like a fuckin bullet when things are good?
Well, suffice it to say, the summer came to an end before I had even realized it.
B was practically livin with me by the time late August came around. Her friends would come to see her at my apartment. She had her own closet full of clothes and shoes at my apartment. She spent 5 outta 7 nights a week at my apartment.
Fuck, if I hadn’t been such a fuckin chicken-shit, I woulda called it ‘our’ apartment. But I didn’t wanna overstep her boundaries or cross the ‘comfort’ threshold. See, cos once you cross the line of what’s comfortable with B, she runs scared. At least until she can work things out in her mind.
Sounds a lot like me, right? Yeah, that’s what I was thinkin. She and I are more alike than I think anyone could imagine. Only thing is, when she runs, she always comes back cos she has her family and friends to think of.
Me? Well . . . generally when I got scared enough of something to run from it, I had NO problem with staying gone. No friends, no family, no cares.
That all changed with B, of course. Running was the furthest thing in my mind. Fuck, truth be told, I never wanted to leave. Then again . . . that summer was so good that I didn’t really have a reason to run.
But, as it goes, all good things must come to an end, or somethin’ like that.
I still remember the first thing, the first clue that gave me the feeling that things were gonna start to go downhill.
Personally, it’s a day I’d like to forget, but . . . well, I’ve told you guys about pretty much everything else. Why not share this little gem?
So, it was the end of August. B, Red, and Oz were starting up school in a few days. I could tell that she was nervous, but I also knew that she was excited about this new stage of her life. She was growing up. Despite the baggage of being a Slayer . . . she was living life. It was new territory for her.
She seemed so happy underneath her nervous exterior.
I’m pretty sure that I had a lot to do with said happiness. After all, she was always tellin’ me, ‘You make me so happy, Faith’.
She and I were really comfortable around each other. She’d grab my hand when we were out together. It was cute as fuckin hell. I can appreciate cuteness when I see it. And Buffy holding onto my hand with both of hers as we stood in line at McDonalds or some shit like that? Yeah. Wicked cute.
She was always more reserved when we were around her friends though. I mean, sure, she’d hold my hand a little bit in front of them. But then she’d also hold Red’s hand on occasion . . . and Xander’s, too.
Fuck, I even saw her try to get closer to Anya once, but Anya just wandered back off behind the counter of the Magic Shop, thanking Buffy for being attracted to her but explaining that she wasn’t gay.
I had to stop myself from choking on my Pepsi when I heard her say it.
I liked that chick a lot. But she was always kinda lookin’ at me and B . . . watchin’ how we interacted together and stuff. In fact, everyone kinda watched us a bit. I thought I was just being paranoid at the time so I blew it off. Didn’t wanna make B uncomfortable or anything, yunno?
So, this one day just before classes were starting, the gang decided to get together at Giles’ house for an impromptu dinner. Kinda like a last ‘hurrah’ before everyone began their new lives.
B and I went early to help G-man prepare. She thought that she’d be able to help in the kitchen . . . but I eagerly steered her into the dining room to set the table. There wasn’t a chance in hell that I was gonna let her screw up a perfectly good meal. Fuck, she really lacked talent in the kitchen. Every morning when she was leaving my apartment, she’d put a few pieces of toast down for me. She’d kiss me goodbye before she walked out the door . . . and then I’d scrape all of the burned sections off of the toast. I guess she never quite got the theory behind “insert bread, push down lever, let cook, remove finished product”.
Still makes me laugh every time.
Anyhow, I’m off-topic again. Dude, snap your fingers in front of my face or something next time I do that.
Back on track. So, B and I helped Giles finish things up before the rest of the gang got there. Xander, Anya, Red and Oz arrived at the same time, all of them paired up nicely. We sat down and had a really nice meal. I didn’t use my fingers once. I think B did once or twice, but she can get away with something like that. Not me.
After dinner, G-man even let us open up a bottle of wine to share between the seven of us. He sat back and watched us all discuss stupid stuff with a little smile on his face. As stiff as the guy was, I think he was proud of us all. Even me. He’d nod every now and then, but mostly just sat back and sipped at his glass of wine a bit.
When the gang started to reminisce about high school stuff, I stood up and began to clear off the table, excusing myself with a smile and a wink.
As welcomed as they all made me feel, there were some things that I just couldn’t share with them, such as those moments that centered around Sunnydale High School. They needed to have their own moments to share together. I get that. I liked having my own special moments with B, too.
I started to clean up in the kitchen . . . washing a few dishes and picking up the pieces of the plate and the glass that I smashed on accident.
Slayer strength. Can’t help it sometimes.
After a few minutes, I was surprised to feel a pair of arms wrap around me from behind. I didn’t need to turn around to know who it was. The tingles I was gettin' was proof enough.
Besides, it’d be fuckin weird if Red or Xander walked up to me and snuggled me from behind, right? Heh.
I smiled real big as B tightened her arms around me and rested her face against my back, sighing contentedly against me.
“You’re great, you know that?” She asked me.
“Yeah, real great.” I replied sarcastically. “Tell that to the dishes I broke.”
I felt her chuckle against me. Just feeling her body against mine, her warm breath against my back . . . it made me feel so fucking grateful. I couldn’t just sit there with my hands in the soapy water. I quickly dried them off and turned in her arms so that I was facing her.
“You really are great.” She said as she looked up into my eyes, smiling. “I love you.” She whispered before giving me a quick peck on the lips.
“Yeah, you’re pretty okay too.” I said, earning a smack on my ass from her.
My eyes widened for just a minute before I grinned mischievously. I moved my fingers a bit, tickling her back in a really sensitive spot she has. She started wriggling in my arms, trying to free herself, but I pulled her tighter against me. Laughing, I leaned in and planted a kiss on her lips, letting them linger there for just a minute.
That’s when we heard someone cough at the door.
Oh, FUCK ME.
Standing there with a little self-satisfied smirk was Anya, arms folded and blocking the doorway.
Buffy gasped and jumped back, and I just tried to stand there as expressionless as possible.
I think that B’s pink lip-gloss all over my lips was enough to imply guilt almost more than our kissing and groping had.
“Anya, what are you doing in here?!” Buffy asked in a loud whisper, putting as much space between us as humanly possible.
“I suppose I could ask you the same question.” Anya replied, stepping further into the room. Buffy stood still, trying not to imply any further guilt by backing up.
But, me, on the other hand . . . well, Anya took her eyes off of me for 2 seconds and I had already passed her and was standing at the doorway of the kitchen, ready to make my escape.
“This is all very interesting.” She said matter-of-factly, glancing back and forth between B and me.
I think that maybe the sound of my own heart beating in my ears was impairing me, cos I didn’t even hear Xander next to me in the doorway until I heard him speak.
“What’s interesting?” He asked with a goofy smile, looking between the three of us.
“Well,” Anya started, “I was just coming into the kitchen to get another bottle of wine, and when I walked in, I . . .”
“Anya!” I yelled out, interrupting her just in time. Words fumbled outta my mouth, trying to distract her as best as I could. “Why don’t you come with me and B for a second? I have some money I wanna show you.”
Her head jerked a bit and her eyebrows furrowed as she played my words over in her head, finally smiling brightly after a moment.
“Yes, I’d love to see your money.” She beamed, nodding her head.
Before she could say anything else, B had grabbed her hand and was dragging her along as we practically ran up the stairs and into the bathroom, locking the door shut behind us.
B and I stood with our back to the door, passing worried glances between us. Anya backed further into the bathroom, a questioning look on her face.
“Hey, what’s going on here?” She asked, a flicker of fear in her eyes. “Is this some kind of ‘gay’ initiation? Because if it is, I have to say . . . I’m going to decline. Though you’re both strangely attractive and quite aesthetically pleasing, I prefer my love interests with a penis.”
If I hadn’t been so tense, I mighta laughed. But as it was, my entire body was rigid and unmoving. Fuck, it wasn’t that I was scared about bein’ found out. I coulda fuckin cared less. I was more concerned that B was gonna flip and push me away.
“What do you mean, gay initiation?” Buffy asked before I had any chance to respond.
Anya crossed her arms over her chest, trying to look menacing. Yeah, I think she actually thought we were bringin’ her up there for a threesome or somethin.
“Gay initiation: a welcome into the world of gay. I thought it was a fairly simple term, Buffy. You and Faith lure me up here with the promise of money-touching, and then you try to incorporate me into your sexcapades.”
“Hey, I never said you could touch the money.” I pointed out, missing the obvious.
Like I said, I was nervous.
The ex-demon turned her eyes to me. “Surely touching was implied. I wouldn’t have come up here if I didn’t think you’d let me touch it.”
That flipped the ‘dirty-Faith’ switch in my mind.
“It? Touch it? What ‘it’ are we talking about again?” I asked, confusing myself and Anya at the same time.
Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “The money ‘it’.” Then her eyes grew wide. “Ohhh, no . . . not it ‘it’. Xander would kill me. Besides . . . like I may have mentioned, you seem to have a certain lack of penis.”
I was too involved in the conversation at hand to notice B gettin' antsy next to me. She had finally had enough.
“Anya!” Buffy yelled, trying to get her attention.
“What?” Anya said back loudly, annoyed. “I’m standing right here. No need to yell, it’s a bathroom. A bathroom in which no sex with me shall occur.”
Buffy shook her head, dismissing the comment.
“What do you mean, ‘sexcapades’?” B asked, staring Anya down long and hard.
“Geez, Buffy, you should really start too look more into the obvious. I’m talking about all of the hot sex between you and Faith here.” She said, flapping her arm randomly in my direction as she said my name.
B turned her head and looked at me, fear, desperation, and misunderstanding all in her eyes. The silence was gettin' pretty awkward, so I finally tried to dig a little deeper.
“What makes you think that me and B are havin sex, An?” I asked, tryin not to give her any clues as to the obvious.
She raised an eyebrow at me, taking a deep breath. “Ohh, I don’t know. The hand-holding, the piggy-back rides, the satiated look on both of your faces, the inherent cuteness between the two of you, the moon eyes, the raw sex-smell in Faith’s apartment any time we stop over . . .”
“That’s good enough.” I said, holding out my hand to stop her.
“It’s not like you hide it well.” She continued, earning an even more desperate look from B. “In fact, we’ve all been making assumptions as to the state of your relationship. Xander has $20 on it; he thinks that you’re just good friends. Of course, he’s a man and wouldn’t be able to see it if the two of you were having sex on the dinner table. Actually . . .” she thought about it, “. . . he might see it then, but he’d likely forget about it after he fainted from the ecstasy.”
Silence filled the room again as B and I let the truth sink in: the gang may not have actually known about it, but they were making assumptions. It pretty much meant one thing for us.
Can you smell that? Yeah, take a good whiff. It’s the smell of doom.
Buffy kept her eyes on the ground, nervously fiddling with her hands. I tried to put my hand on her back to comfort her, but she flinched away at the touch.
“Anya, I need you to do something for me.” She said quietly.
Anya just sighed. “Is it difficult or labor-intensive?”
Buffy shook her head, eyes still on the ground.
“I need you to pretend that you don’t know anything about this.” She said, finally looking up to meet Anya’s curious gaze. “I’m not saying that you have to deny that it’s happened if there’s some big reveal in the future. But, for now . . . I need this to be our little secret. Just the three of us.”
The ex-demon huffed a bit.
“I don’t think that’s right, Buffy. I shouldn’t be left to hold back a secret of this magnitude. I’ve often believed that secrets kept in cause physical pain after a while, and that blurting them out is the only way to make it better. Plus, gossip is a part of my nature. It’s like asking the sun not to shine.” She said innocently.
I was keeping quiet.
If I had to talk, I probably woulda told B how much I was beginning to dislike the whole ‘secret’ thing, and that I wanted everyone to know. That I wanted the world to know. But again, I didn’t wanna make her run scared.
Plus, I was too busy thinkin’ about how much this was gonna fuck things up between B and I over and over in my head. Any progress we had made over the months was gonna be all for shit now.
I was distracted by B who had started talking again.
“Listen, Anya, I know it feels like it might be a big deal, and it kinda is . . . I just need to figure things out. They can’t know. Not like this. They’d be hurt if they heard it from you. Please . . . just . . . don’t say anything. Can we just let it be?”
What the fuck? ‘Figure things out’?? What the fuck does that mean? I thought we had pretty much figured it out. I love her. She loves me. We keep it on the lowdown until she figures out how to say it aloud.
I thought that part was already figured out.
Again, just another example of how wrong I am sometimes.
Awkward silence filled the room again. Buffy was making pleas with her eyes. Anya looked deep in thought, staring B down. I breathed deeply as I clenched my fists, trying to swallow the lump in my throat.
The tension was only broken when there was a knock at the door.
“Everything alright in there?”
Well, it is his house, after all.
“Nothing.” Buffy said as calmly as she could, eyes still glued on Anya. “Just talking.”
“Talking?” Giles asked through the door, obviously knowing that something was up, with the three of us being locked in the bathroom and all.
After a moment of silence and the continued stare-down between B and Anya, the ex-demon finally sighed and broke eye-contact.
“Yes, nothing. And certainly not any lesbian sex.”
Without another word, she had walked between B and I, opened the door and walked outta the room.
Giles stood on the other side, looking at us over the rim of his glasses.
“Nothing.” Buffy repeated quietly, side-stepping her way around him and down the stairs.
A bitter chuckle escaped my lips as I watched B walk away, turning Giles’ attention towards me.
“Yeah, nothin.” I said angrily, closing the door between us.
I returned to the living room a few minutes later to find the group laughing and smiling away. B was sitting on the couch, silent but smiling as her friends chattered on. It was so fucking fake.
All of it.
I grabbed my leather jacket and swung it over me, clearing my throat to get their attention.
“Well, dinner was great and all, but I gotta go. Stuff to do, yunno. Good luck with classes on Monday and all.” I said with a fake smile, trying to fit into their obliviously fake little world.
As I walked toward the door, I heard B call out to me from the couch.
“Do you want me to walk you home?” She asked nonchalantly.
I kept my back towards her and called out over my shoulder before I closed the door behind me, “Nope, I’m five by five.”
And just like that, the walls were back up.
It was about 1:30am when I heard the keys jangling in the door.
I had fallen asleep on the couch, not able to stay in bed with B’s scent all over it. It made my body wanna run to her, but my mind wouldn’t let it.
Nope. My mind wanted to mope and be bitter.
I kept my eyes closed, pretending to be asleep. Or dead. Yunno, like they say with bears: play dead, they’ll lose interest and go away.
But not my Buffy-bear.
…Fuck, I really said that.
Anyhow, I kept completely still until I felt the couch sink a little bit beneath me and a hand on my face.
I opened my eyes to the teary face of Buffy.
Now, don’t get me wrong. On any normal occasion, I’d be holding her tight and kissing her tears away. But this wasn’t a normal occasion. She really fucking hurt my feelings. Or my pride. Whatever.
I stayed completely still, eyes locked on her, not responding at all to her touch.
“I’m sorry.” She said.
Yeah, I get that. Hence the tears.
Still, I stayed quiet.
“I know this sucks.” She continued. “You know how I feel about you, and I know how you feel about me, but this is a hard situation for me, Faith. I was so sure that Angel and I would work out because I was so madly in love with him. Then he went away and you came along out of nowhere. And I know that we may not have been close at first, but then I realized how much alike we were . . . are.”
Her thumb rubbed circles over my cheek, pleading for me to respond in some way. I couldn’t. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what kinda point she was trying to make.
“But now, I feel that I have to prove to my friends that I’m strong. That I’m able to handle something of this magnitude.” She indicated the space between us with her free hand. “And I know it may not be something I have to prove to them, but, in my own mind, I need to. Faith . . .”
Oh boy, here it comes . . . wait . . . wait . . .
“ . . . I want to be with you. But I have to sort things out within myself before I can do that publicly. I don’t wanna stop seeing you, and I don’t wanna stop loving you . . . I don’t think that I can. But I have to put a little bit of distance between us if the gang is going to believe that I’m strong and functioning on my own.”
I don’t get it. I don’t fucking get it. Distance does NOT make the heart grow fonder. I’ve been distant my whole life. I know from experience.
But I was too far in love with B to tell her to fuck off with her distance.
I’d give her distance; room to breathe, help her throw off the Scoobs, whatever. That didn’t mean I liked the plan . . . it just meant that I wasn’t at the point yet where I had to let go.
We gazed at each other for a few minutes, trying to let the silence say more than we could ourselves.
After a few minutes, I finally gave in. I lifted the blanket up and scooted back on the couch, leaving a small spot for her in front of me.
She lay down without hesitation, placing her back against my chest and snuggling up against me.
I may have let her sleep in my embrace, but it wasn’t as warm and as comforting as I think she hoped it would be.
What can I say? I guess that I just freeze up when someone turns their back on me. Literally, in this case.
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