Lessons in Leaving
Rating: R for language, semi-adult content
Part One: Just Let Go
The bus is quiet now that we’ve been driving for over an hour. Most of the girls have settled in and have fallen asleep, but I’m not so sure how they’re able to manage that. I’ve been a slayer for nearly five years now and I still can’t sleep after a big fight. It’s not the hungries and it’s not the hornies. Yeah, they’re there, but it’s something different.
Maybe it’s cos of all of the pain and destruction I’ve seen as a slayer.
Maybe it’s cos of all of the pain and destruction I’ve caused as a slayer.
In any case, sleep defo hasn’t found me as I try to rest my tired body. The back of the bus is probably the bumpiest as we travel down this endless road, but it doesn’t bother me.
When I was a kid, the back of the bus was where the bad kids sat. We’d secretly try to smoke cigarettes that we stole from our parents and we’d swear up a storm, just cos we could. The bus driver used to ask us to explain the shoe-prints on the ceiling of the bus, and we’d just sit there and laugh. Yep, we were deemed the bad kids far back as I can remember.
I guess that’s why I picked the back of the bus now. I’m still bad. You can’t fix the errors of your past by sitting in the clink for three years, and it certainly doesn’t help when you bust out, even if it was to save the world.
The one thing I don’t understand is why B is in the back of the bus too. She’s not bad. She’s pretty much a fucking saint compared to me. Then again, she’s always trying to punish herself in one way or another.
In fact, I bet that right now, she’s mentally beating herself up for something or another. For watching Spike die, or for not knowing what step she should take next, or . . . I dunno, for forgetting to pay the paperboy or some shit.
I glance over to her seat across from mine and watch her for a few minutes. Her eyes are open and she’s staring out the window, her head resting on the cool pane of glass. It doesn’t take a genius to see that she’s lost in her thoughts. So much going through her mind all at once.
I’ll be the first to admit, it’s all a bit overwhelming. Totally understand that she’s got some stuff to think about now.
For a second I almost say something to distract her, but I stop myself before I can start. She doesn’t wanna hear anything I have to say. And seriously, what would I say anyhow? ‘Gee B, I bet you’re just about as horny as I am.’ Nah, not this time. The innuendos have always been there. The flirting has always been there.
But honestly, what’s the point of it now? We won. It’s over. She’s gonna go and be Jane Normal, and me? I’m back to being a number. 430019, that is. Inmate, Stockton Correctional Facility.
There’s really no point in the fun yet inappropriate innuendos if I can’t pursue them in some shape or form. We chased that dog years ago and look where it led us. We’ll never get rid of the awkwardness between us now.
After a few minutes I take another glance back at B. Her eyes are closed and her shoulders seem to be relaxed.
Damn. I guess she finally found her peace too. Maybe I’ll find mine in a pot of gold at the end of my prison sentence.
Thinking that everyone around me is finally sleeping, I reach up and pull the window down a few inches. I take one more glance around to make sure I’m not being watched before reaching into my jacket pocket and pulling out my smokes. I take one out and place it between my lips, anxiously looking forward to the nicotine rush I’ve been craving.
“I thought that the whole point of reforming was to stop the downward spiral,” Buffy says in a quiet voice, interrupting my actions.
I smile a little and keep the lighter a few inches from the tip of my cigarette.
“You ready to be my sponsor, B?” I ask, still smiling, earning a tired smile from her in response. “Yep, I’m trying to walk the righteous path now. All part of the bigger plan of finding some . . . I dunno, peace?”
Buffy watches me for just a moment or two before pointing to the cigarette dangling from my lips.
“You don’t think that’s just a little bit self-destructive? I don’t know if you missed the memo, but: we won. New lease on life, yada yada yada.”
I can’t help but chuckle. Buffy will never change, and part of me is so happy to know that. I hesitate for just a few seconds before 86-ing the cigarette, and the rest of the pack, out the bus window.
“I’m sure the Powers that Be will ignore that small act of littering,” Buffy says quietly, trying not to grin. She knows how to push my buttons.
“Baby steps, yeah B?” I respond back and just smile softly at her for a few seconds.
She smiles back at me the entire time, and . . . I dunno, it’s almost like we’re looking into each other or something. I can see how tired she is, how much she wants to rest, but I can also see how much peace she’s already found. Maybe that whole reflecting thing she did while staring out the dirty window gave her some perspective.
Whatever it is, she looks almost content. And whatever it is, I don’t really care; I’m just happy that it’s giving us this bit of time together. Maybe it’s the small piece of closure that I need before I head back to Stockton.
I’m pretty surprised when I see Buffy stand up from her seat, stretch, and then walk over and plop herself on my seat.
“So,” she begins as she sits down with ease, “what do you think about all of this?” She asks as she indicates the now quiet bus.
“I think we did a kickass job,” I answer back. “I think everyone’s earned a well deserved vacation.”
She nods her head in response, and a comfortable silence creeps over us. B looks down the aisle and assesses everyone, while I just glance out the window. A long open road with endless possibilities.
For the first time in ages, I feel like we’re . . . okay.
“I’ve been thinking,” she begins again, “I mean, I’m not exactly sure where we’re heading. Me and Dawn, that is. She keeps talking about Europe. I don’t know how I feel about that yet, but wherever we end up, maybe . . . maybe you should come with us.”
Umm, excuse me?
I turn my head and look at Buffy, sat there looking as tired as ever, but also hopeful. Is she serious?
“Are you serious?”
“Yeah. I mean, I don’t know if we’re gonna end up in Cleveland like Giles mentioned, or if we’re off somewhere new and exciting, but . . . it’d be nice to have you with us. I think that maybe we have a shot at actually learning and growing from the past. Hey . . . we could be the chosen two again. It could be fun.”
“Yeah, it could be fun, but we’re not the chosen two anymore, B,” I say matter-of-factly with a chuckle. “We’re two of many. And as much as I’d like to think I deserve a place at your side like in the good ol’ days, the sad truth is that . . . I don’t.”
She furrows her eyebrows, obviously not liking what I’ve said. I don’t want her to think that I’m bitter though. I let go of all of that a long time ago.
“Buffy,” I say, looking into her eyes, “there’s no place for an escaped convict at your side. It’s all too risky. Hell, this wasn’t supposed to have even happened; I’m supposed to be behind bars right now. I helped because I was needed, but like you said: we won. It’s over and done with now, and I’ve gotta go back to where I belong.”
She hesitates. She’s choosing her words carefully and I can tell.
“Maybe you belong with us,” she says quietly. “Maybe that’s why you got out of jail without a hitch. Maybe that’s why you survived the battle when only a bus full of us did. Willow can work her mojo and zap your record, and poof . . . you’re free to get your happy on.”
“All good reasons,” I answer with a nod. Hell, I wish she was right, but I know otherwise. “But the truth is, B, that I don’t really have a place to belong right now. I have a lotta shit that I need to make up for. That doesn’t happen while I’m gettin my happy on in Ohio or anywhere else.”
And like the flip of a switch, Buffy’s gone from tired and content to annoyed and upset.
I don’t really understand what’s going on here. Why can’t she just accept that I need to do this? That I need to keep on my own path? Following her around just cos she asked me to doesn’t set things right, nor does it make all the bad just . . . go away.
“Faith, why are you being like this?” she asks, frustrated. “Don’t you understand that I’m asking you to come with us? It’s not an easy thing to do, but I’m offering it anyway, and you’re basically slapping my hand away. I thought you’d appreciate it. We want you to come with us.”
And suddenly I feel like I’m being backed in a corner. I don’t wanna do this; I don’t wanna fight. Not after we just saved the world; not after we finally had our moment of ‘peace’ together.
“I do appreciate it, B, trust me,” I say, my voice less friendly now. I’m still quiet; I don’t wanna wake up the bus, after all. All I need is an audience to watch a repeat performance of the Buffy and Faith show. We can never just let things be, yunno?
It’s all been done before.
“But,” I continue, “don’t you appreciate the fact that I’m trying to stay on the straight and narrow? That I’m trying to do something right in my life for the first time in ages? That no matter what mojo Red works, it doesn’t change who I am and what I did?”
She’s angry now. I can tell it in the way she’s sitting, in the way she’s holding her jaw tight as she speaks again.
“Of course I appreciate that, but aren’t you done punishing yourself? You did bad. You went to prison. We grow and learn and move on.”
I sigh and rub my eyes with the palms of my hands. Please, Buffy . . . don’t make me do this. This girl knows that I’ll do anything that she asks. As much as I want to keep on keeping on, I know that I’ll cave if she keeps this shit up.
I so need to be fucking strong right now.
“Why are you pushing this, Buffy? My mind’s made up,” I say, my exhaustion apparent in my voice.
“Because you’re not listening to me,” she answers, truly annoyed now.
“I AM listening. I listened, and then I explained why I can’t. Why can’t you just let it go?”
“Why are you being so stubborn about this?” She fires back quickly. “Seriously, just . . . forget for a moment that you’re trying to . . .”
I sigh loudly and can’t stop the words that fly out of my mouth.
“Goddammit, Buffy, why can’t you just let me go?”
The words were neither soft nor quiet. In an instant, I hear rustling on the bus as a few people turn to see what’s going on. I don’t see them though. I’m having a stare-down with B. There’s anger in her eyes, and frustration, and . . . maybe even a bit of hurt?
But I don’t have the chance to ask her. Before we have the opportunity to talk it over, she’s up and out of my seat and back in hers, staring out the window with her arms crossed over her chest.
She doesn’t say two words to me the rest of the trip to LA. In fact, she doesn’t say two words to anyone at all. Red came back to check on her after our little conversation, but B just shook her head and dismissed her.
Needless to say, B gets up from her seat and is off the bus before we even come to a full stop in LA. She makes her way into the large hotel before I can catch up with her, and I figure that she doesn’t want to be found at this point.
As much as I’d like to think otherwise, Buffy and me? We can never be friends. She’ll always be stubborn, and I’ll always be wrong.
Maybe not in her eyes, but at least in my own.
I decide to take one last night to enjoy freedom before I head back to the clink. Giles told me I could have my own room after I explained my situation to him, and I’ve been sat up here almost the whole day. I watch some TV, and I sit on the balcony and . . . don’t smoke.
Damn, I’m defo wishing I hadn’t thrown my last pack out the bus window.
Giles cheerily agreed to spring for hotel rooms, but he wouldn’t spend five bucks on a pack of smokes for me. That’s fucked up, right?
Guess I can’t blame him. It’s a bad habit anyhow.
I’d much rather be spending my last free hours breathing in the fresh air, and watching the sun travel across the sky and settle. I wanna see the stars come out, and I wanna watch them fade into morning.
You don’t get to do simple stuff like that in prison. You start to miss it after awhile.
I spoke with Angel a while ago; he’s got lotsa drama going on, but he agreed to go with me when I turn myself in. I’m pretty sure that nothing he says will make them forgive me for up and escaping, but . . . well, it can’t hurt. Red’s gonna work some mojo so that he can be in the sun for a few hours.
Not sure why, but I keep going back to what Buffy said. She told me that Red would do her computer thing and zap my record clean. And yeah, that doesn’t change what I did. I can’t take anything I did back. But . . . damn. Livin’ it up with B and Dawnie in Italy . . . that sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I’m not real cultured or anything, but I’ve heard good things about Italy.
And yeah, I was pretty shocked that B agreed to go to Italy so quickly. Dawnie mentioned it in passing during a Scooby meeting, Giles said it had good schools, and B agreed without even giving it much thought, or any thought at all.
Guess she just wants to put as much distance between us as possible.
But still . . . it’s not stopping me from thinking about what life would be like if I made the move to Italy with Dawn and B. Giles could probably hook us up with some kinda slaying jobs, and if not, well . . . I’d just get one of those little mopeds and ride around looking fashionable and saying ‘ciao’ a lot.
I could probably get paid for that, right?
No doubt I’d keep on flirting with Buffy, just like I always have since day one. It’s fun watching her squirm under pressure. And who knows . . . maybe after a bottle of some cheap wine, she’d let me get lucky. Cos I’m romantic and stuff.
Yeah, that’d be a good deal. Almost good enough to make me re-think my decision, but not that good.
I’m distracted from my thoughts when I hear a soft knock at the door. I figure that it has to be Giles or someone coming to say goodbye. Yeah, they all know the plan now. I guess they’ve been pretty understanding. Red offered to work her mojo but I kindly refused. I told her to check back in a few years in case I get a bit stir crazy.
I hop off the balcony ledge and make my way across the small room, pulling my terrycloth white robe closed as much as possible. Laundry service offered to wash our battle-stained clothes and I figured that it’d be best if I went back to prison without blood stains all over me.
When I finally make it to the door and pull it open, I’m a bit freaked out to see B standing there. She’s got her arms wrapped around her body and she has tears in her eyes and . . . who told her where my room was?
We gaze at each other for a few moments in silence, waiting for the other to say something.
Hey, she’s the one who came to see me. She can talk first, thank you.
Instead of talking, she steps into my room and gets right up in my space as she closes the door behind her. I stand firm, not backing up, trying not to let on how surprised I am to see her here.
A few more moments pass and I can tell she’s struggling with herself. Just as I go to take pity on her and break the silence, she reaches out quickly and puts her hands through my hair, pulling me down into a passionate kiss.
Unexpected? Totally. I’d ask her what was going on if my tongue wasn’t too busy trying to keep up with hers. Hell, I’d try to put my hands on her shoulders and push her back if they weren’t too busy resting on her hips, pulling her closer to me. And I’d totally take a step back, if I wasn’t already being pushed back towards the big bed in the middle of the room.
I feel the back of my legs hit the bed, but there ain’t no way that I’m about to be dom’d by Buffy Summers when I don’t even know what the hell’s going on here. As I start to tumble back, I pull Buffy with me and turn so that she lands on her back with me hovering just above her.
Not sure how I manage it, but I pull away from her lips – god, the dreams I’ve had about those lips – and look down at her. There are tears in her eyes and she’s doing her best to reach my lips again, but I stay just out of range.
“B?” I ask, my voice shaky. “What . . . I don’t understand . . .”
“Shhh,” she interrupts, leaning up far enough this time to brush her lips over mine. “Please . . . just, please . . .” she pleads, resting back down with her hands in my hair, pulling me down with her.
And as strong as I’m trying to be about staying on the right path, this – this moment that I have with Buffy – I can’t fight it. I’m not strong enough. It’s what I’ve always wanted.
I don’t know how many hours we lay together, kissing and fucking and . . . shit, maybe even making love. I can’t say cos I’ve never done it before, but what we did together was different from anything I’ve ever done or felt.
At some point in time we fell asleep, the moonlight filtering softly over our naked, tangled bodies. I’m pretty sure that when we fell back onto the bed to sleep, B was all up on me, but when I wake up at the first signs of daylight, she’s on the far end of the bed on her side with her back toward me.
I reach out across the bed to touch her, but I pull my hand back at the last second. I can’t. It’s too hard. I have to walk away soon.
Buffy must’ve felt the slight movement on the bed, because I hear her speak quietly.
“Is it almost time?” she barely whispers.
“Yeah,” I answer, my voice thick with sleep. “Angel will be here in a couple hours.”
A couple minutes of really awkward silence pass by before I hear a sniffle. I try to reach out again, but Buffy gets up from the bed and starts searching for her clothes, putting them on piece by piece.
“B,” I start, not really knowing what to say. I don’t want her crying. It’s breakin my heart here.
“Don’t,” she says quietly still, trying to avoid looking at me at all costs. “Yesterday on the bus, you asked me why I couldn’t let you go.”
I nod rather than answer her. I don’t know if I can speak right now.
She puts on her shirt, the last of her clothes, and looks around the room before finally looking over her shoulder at me, tears streaming down her face.
“That’s why,” she says, her eyes welling up with even more tears.
She walks to the door and lets herself out without so much as another glance back. I’m still laying here on the bed, naked and covered in her scent, in the same position that I was five minutes ago.
There’s too much to think, too much to say . . . too much to regret.
I could go with her. I can run after her, spin her in my arms, and kiss her with everything I’ve got and promise to never leave her side. I can promise her the happily ever after that we deserve.
But that won’t happen. Ever. I have to go where I’m supposed to be.
I bang my head back on the headboard and close my eyes, sighing deep.
Never really liked Italian food anyway.
Part Two: Not Be Shy
Suggested music: Shy by Ani Difranco
What’s the difference between love and lust?
I’ve tried to figure that out for a long time. I mean, I’ve wanted a lot of people, not gonna lie about that. But it was different with Buffy. Yeah, I wanted her. A lot. So much that it fucked me up in the head.
Not saying I wasn’t a bit fucked up before then, but that’s beside the point.
I’d only ever wanted people in a sexual kinda way. Never had a ‘relationship’ and never wanted one. Saw what it did to my parents and figured I could live without being in one.
But then Buffy fucking Summers came into my life and went and fucked all that right up. I wanted her, and I don’t mean only in the sex kinda way. I mean in the love kinda way. I wanted to love her, to be loved by her. A fuckin relationship, the whole deal. Knew it wouldn’t happen though, so I did everything I possibly could to push her away.
Having her as a friend wasn’t enough for me back then. It was all or nothing.
I chose nothing.
Thing about prison though? You get lots of time to think abut things. How you got there, how you coulda done things differently. Ultimately, all that thinking is for shit cos you’re there anyway, but it does make you realize things.
Me? I realized that yeah, I was in love with Buffy back in Sunnydale. Am I still? I dunno; does shit like that ever go away? But what I’ve come to realize is that unlike years ago, I’m content with having her as only a friend now.
Better to have friends than be alone.
Took me a long time to be able to admit that – that I don’t wanna be alone – but the time it took me was well spent. I’m in a better place now. A more peaceful place.
A drunker place.
I’m not a drunk, so quit thinking that shit.
I’m in the middle of some club in LA, sat on a big ol’ couch with Buffy, Xander, and Kennedy and Willow while Dawnie and a bunch of the other girls are out on the dance floor getting their groove on.
Yeah, Scoobies decided to have one last night out together as a group before we all leave LA in the morning. Sure, friends usually stick together, but they all decided that they needed some time to enjoy their newfound leases on life.
As for me, I’m defo gonna enjoy my new lease on life. Giles has the hookup, man, I’m telling ya. Think he made about ten, maybe eleven calls and my record was buried deeper than Jimmy Hoffa’s body. Red helped, making sure to zap any lingering records that were in the government computer system, and poof . . . Faith is a free girl.
I promised Giles that I’d help him out with the whole slayer gig, so he’s more than happy about his decision to help me out. Guess he figured what better way to whip the troublesome new slayers into shape than with the original troublesome slayer there to play poster child.
So, B and Dawnie are taking off to Italy in the morning, and the rest of the Scoobies are taking little detours on their way to their new lives. Tonight is their last hurrah, and what better way to celebrate than by getting tanked and dancing to some crazy loud music?
We’ve been here for a few hours, having way too many drinks and reliving tales of the good ol’ days back in Sunnydale. Buffy’s been really cool with me, sharing tales with everyone about our joint slaying adventures and totally omitting the parts where I went a little evil.
Yunno what? Totally can’t complain. It’s nice to be remembered for good stuff and not for the million times I fucked up.
The night’s winding down now and Xander left with a bunch of the younger girls and Dawn, making sure they all got back to the hotel safely. Red and B have been going back and forth with memories for the last twenty minutes now, and I’ll tell ya . . . there’s absolutely no fuckin way to interrupt two drunk chicks that are talking a mile a minute. Ken checked into la-la land about five minutes ago. Girl’s a lightweight. Seven drinks and she’s asleep on the gigantic couch with an ever attractive dab of drool in the corner of her mouth.
I’ve been lost in my own thoughts for a while now too, but I’m pulled out of them and back to the now when I feel a slight tugging on the bottom of my shirt.
“I’m gonna get another beer. You want?” Buffy asks as she stands and indicates the bar.
“Sounds good,” I answer with a smile.
She bounces off toward the bar and I turn back just in time to see Kennedy fall off the couch as Willow leans forward reaching for her drink.
“Oh, baby!” Willow says as she leans down and helps a disoriented Kennedy up from the floor. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were sleeping.”
“I think I broke my head,” Kennedy says, rubbing the goose egg that’s forming on the side of her forehead.
“Poor baby, we need to get you home and get you fixed up.”
Willow stands up and ducks her head under Kennedy’s arm, helping her to her feet.
“Sexual healing?” Kennedy asks and laughs at her own joke. It’s okay, I chuckled too.
“Oh, I’m thinking something more along the lines of two aspirin and a spell that will keep you from puking in the nice hotel bed,” Willow replies, then looks over to me. “Tell Buffy we’ll see her in the morning before she goes?”
“Sure thing,” I answer with a nod.
“Thanks. And Faith?”
“It’s been nice. I may actually miss you,” she says with a grin.
“Likewise, Glinda. Keep Ken in check, yeah? And I’ll see ya around.”
“I look forward to it,” she says with a genuine smile, then turns and helps Kennedy stumble toward the exit.
A few minutes pass before Buffy comes bouncing back to the couch, swaying to the music while trying not to spill our drinks. She stops when she reaches the area we’ve been sitting at and looks around, confused.
“Either I’m really drunk and I can’t see my friends, or they’ve gone invisible.” She gets really serious for a second and looks at me. “Oh god, are they invisible?”
I can’t help but laugh.
“You’re safe, blondie, no one’s invisible, at least not so you’d notice.”
That seems to appease her, cos she starts up her dance-walk again and plops down next to me on the couch, nearly spilling our drinks all over us.
“Careful, Grace,” I tease her, taking my bottle of beer from her hand.
“It’s Buffy, not Grace,” she corrects me with a grin. “No confusing me with your alternate-lifestyle conquests.”
Shit. I knew I never shoulda told her that I dig chicks too. Every chance she gets, she likes to tease me about it and make ‘alternate-lifestyle’ jokes. Man, I bet it’d shut her up if I told her that whenever I was with a chick, I was busy pretending it was her.
Then again, I’m pretty sure that friends don’t say shit like that to friends, so I decide to let it go for now.
“Now don’t be jealous, B. Just cos you never got a turn on Faith’s wild ride doesn’t mean you have to be bitter. Besides . . . I’m all about the good deeds these days. I’m more than happy to teach you the mechanics of Bisexuality 101.”
Ha. Pretty sure friends don’t tease each other quite like that either, but . . . what the hell. We’re leaving in the morning. No reason to be shy, right?
“You, my pervy little friend, wish,” she says, all close against my side.
Pretty sure she should stop the drinking though, because she’s getting pretty friendly here with the closeness and the touching.
Not complaining, but . . . it’s not easy for me to fight back the temptation when I’ve got a nice buzz going and I’m feeling all relaxed and mellow like I am right now.
I don’t know if it’s the drink or the atmosphere or the fact that we’re all outta here tomorrow, but I can’t help responding honestly to what she just said.
B looks over at me, her eyebrows knitted together a bit as she smiles, confused.
Time to go for broke. Hopefully she’s drunk enough to forget it in the morning.
“Always have, B. Was totally head-over-heals crazy bout ya back in the day. Wouldn’t have liked anything more than to have shown ya the ropes.”
“What?” she asks again, smiling all big now. “You were not.”
“Yeah way. I mean, yeah, I hated ya and stuff. But that’s cos I was so in love with you and you were all straight and bein all lovey with Angel and shit. Made me fuckin crazy.”
She looks at me for a second, studying my face, probably trying to see if I’m lying or just teasing her.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” she asks, sitting sideways next to me now, totally facing me.
“See above answer, re: you being all straight and in love with Angel.”
“Angel and I were doomed from the start and you knew that.”
“Yup. Point is you didn’t though. What was I gonna do? Be all like, ‘Wassup B? You and deadboy are totally fucked. Wanna come over and learn how to ride pussy?’ Don’t think that woulda worked.”
I stop and reach forward to grab a napkin from the table, then hand it to Buffy so she can clean the drink she just spit all over herself. She accepts it and dabs at her shirt and the couch, looking all embarrassed.
“Nice going, Grace,” I tease her again, using another napkin to wipe some beer from her chin.
She looks up into my eyes and my hand freezes on her face.
“You should’ve said something,” she says. “Maybe not, yunno, exactly like you just said. But you should’ve said something else. I might’ve listened.”
“Yeah, maybe,” I say, my eyes still locked on hers. I take a deep breath and look back to the table in front of us, tossing the now damp napkin on it. “Doesn’t really matter now though. Past’s the past and all that.”
“Yeah,” she says almost sadly, resting back on the couch.
“And hey, the future’s the future, too. Tomorrow we all get on some planes and take off in different directions to start these great new lives, right? I mean, we all may never see each other again. Crazy, right?”
Her voice is a lot quieter now, and she’s off in some far distant place in her mind. We sit in silence for a while, nursing our last drinks, before I finally suggest that maybe we should get back and get some rest for the big day tomorrow.
The cab ride back is also quiet for the most part, with just some empty chatter about check out times and flight numbers. It’s not awkward. It just is what it is, yunno?
When we get into the elevator and head up to our rooms, I’m more than a bit shocked to feel Buffy’s hand slip into mine. I look down at our hands, then up at Buffy. She’s smiling all soft, and I see it there . . . forgiveness. Complete and total forgiveness, a clean slate.
The moment is interrupted by the ding of the elevator and the doors sliding open.
“This is my floor,” I say, giving her hand a little squeeze.
Buffy hesitantly lets go of my hand. Weird, but I won’t think about it now. I go to say my goodbye to her, to tell her that no matter where she goes or what she does she’ll be fine because she’s Buffy, but I’m temporarily silenced when I feel her embrace me in a warm hug.
“Be good,” she says, her head resting on my shoulder and her warm breath caressing over my ear.
“Me? Always, B.”
She pulls back just a bit and looks up into my eyes, then leans forward and places the softest, most chaste kiss right on the corner of my mouth. My eyes slam shut and I inhale deeply, trying to fight the urge to respond in the way I want to: pushing her up against the elevator wall and taking her the way I’ve always wanted her.
After a second I feel her pull back and I open my eyes again, looking down at her.
It takes me a second but I finally remember that I have feet – and legs – so I offer her a little smile and use them, walking my ass right out of that elevator and toward my room. Just as I slide my key into the door, I hear the elevator ding again. I look over wistfully, hoping to see Buffy running toward me with her arms out, but it’s just a bellboy.
“Ma’am,” he says and nods as he passes.
I nod back and unlock the door, stepping inside the darkened room. A quick flick of the light switch fixes that right up, and I can see a folder placed on the bed. Giles musta stopped by. I sit on the edge of the bed and open up the folder, smiling all big when I find a passport and a plane ticket inside.
Faith Lehane, free and living easy.
Looks like I’m headed to Barbados to pick up a new slayer, Liana. Leave it to Giles to send me to Barbados and expect me to leave on the same day. Ain’t no way. I’ll change the ticket tomorrow afternoon, make it so I can stay for a few days to get some sun and fun.
I’ll need a bathing suit. Fuck, I bet they have nude beaches there. Maybe I can save the fifty bucks . . .
A knock at the door pulls me from my thoughts. Probably Giles coming to check that I got the folder. Folder in hand, I make my way to the door, ready to give him hell for being a scrooge with the free time.
Needless to say, I’m a bit more than surprised to see Buffy standing there, hands on either side of the door frame, looking all kindsa charged up.
“Uh, hey. You need an escort to your room, B?” I ask, forgetting that she’d had a lot to drink.
“I’m not drunk,” she says quickly. “My last three drinks had no alcohol in them. I . . .” she stops and looks down, fighting with herself.
“What?” I ask, taking a step closer.
She looks up, determination in her eyes.
“Let’s not ask what next, or how or why. I . . . I’m leaving in the morning.”
She’s looking at me, waiting for me to respond in some way, but I’m at a bit of a loss. Is she . . .?
She takes a step closer and I feel her hand on my bicep, holding it gently.
Shit, I think she is.
When I grin at her, she smiles back shyly. Well I’ll be damned. I step back from the door, giving her plenty of room to walk in.
“Then let’s not be shy,” I tell her, looking her up and down as she walks in and past me.
Time for a little Bisexuality 101.
I turn to close the door and Buffy’s all over me before I can even fully turn around. Her hands are in my hair and she’s holding me to her, kissing me with all she’s got. I match her every nibble and every kiss, all while trying my best to undo the buttons on her shirt.
Now, I’ve never had problems in the bedroom, right? But there are like eleventy-seven buttons on this tiny damn shirt and I can’t get a fucking one of them undone. I’m about to complain when I feel her hands leave my hair and grab onto the shirt, ripping it off of herself.
“Clothes are bad,” she says breathlessly as she bring her lips back to mine, kissing me again while trying to get my shirt off.
No way in hell I’m letting her rip this shirt cos I just got it like three days ago, so I help her out and lift it off, tossing it down to the side.
She pulls back and looks down, checking out the goods. Bras are for suckers.
“You’ve always had the best body,” she says as she slowly runs her hands over my stomach and up my sides, pulling me right up against her.
“Don’t talk til you’ve seen the ass,” I tell her as I keep trying to undress her.
“Oh, I’ve seen the ass,” she says as she takes hold of my butt with both hands, giving it a nice grope. “Ever wonder why I’d get all pissy if you lagged behind me while patrolling, but I never cared when you walked ahead?”
I grin all big as I think back and remember just that.
“You weren’t the only one studying bisexuality back then,” she finishes with a grin as I finally get both of our pants unbuttoned and down.
I try to walk us over to the bed, but my feet get tangled in my pants that are pooled around my ankles and we stumble and flop onto the bed in a heap. We laugh for a moment or so before I suddenly realize this isn’t starting out so smoothly.
“For the record, that little stumbling incident doesn’t make me any less smooth or fly,” I tell her. “Everyone stumbles before they get into their groove.”
“Sure thing, Grace,” she teases, and I grin down at her.
“No getting me confused with the girls from your expeditions into alternative lifestyles,” I say, mimicking her earlier words.
Buffy slides her fingers back into my hair and stares into my eyes, letting her legs fall apart just a bit so that I can slide down between them. She bites on her bottom lip and I moan softly as our centers press together.
“Never been about Grace; it’s always been about Faith,” she says quietly before pulling me down to her lips, kissing me all soft and deep.
I was wrong earlier. She wasn’t offering me forgiveness with a look. She’s offering me forgiveness with a gesture, and I happily accept.
Hours pass and we finally fall asleep. I’m not sure what time it is when I first crack my eye open to see sunlight, and I don’t have a chance to look over at the alarm clock before I hear the door open.
I turn my head just in time to see the housekeeper walking in with her large key ring, expecting to find an empty room.
“Hey. Morning,” I say, my voice thick and scratchy.
She jumps up and clutches her hand over her heart, the keys jangling in her chubby hand.
“Dios mio!” she exclaims, then quickly closes her eyes and tries to make a quick exit. “Lo siento, Missus.”
The door closes and I roll over, tasting the pillow with my grin. I take a few minutes to stretch out, noticing the completely empty bed.
It’s okay, I wasn’t expecting her to be there. She had a plane to catch, after all.
After a few minutes I sit up in the bed, pulling the sheets up over my chest. They’re all twisted and still damp with sweat and god knows what else. I can’t help the big ol’ smile that comes up on my face when I remember last night. The first time, and the second time, and the seventh and eighth time . . . damn.
I flop back down onto the mattress and close my eyes, pretending for a minute that Buffy’s still here and that I can feel the mattress sink under her weight as she comes back from the bathroom. It’s stupid, sure, but hey . . . I’m basking.
When I open my eyes, I notice something sitting on the bedside table. It’s the folder Giles left, but there’s some writing on it. I lean over and grab it, pulling it onto the bed so I can read it.
‘Giles is thinking of adding a Slayer training facility in Rome. You should ask him about it’.
Maybe I’ll forget about changing the Barbados trip and get right on Giles about that facility.
My stomach growls. I’m suddenly craving Italian.