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Chapter Thirty Two

When I hear the doorbell ring I get up from the breakfast bar in the kitchen. I don't know who is at the door but they're going to pay for interrupting my snack. I'm sympathy eating a pint of Rocky Road ice cream. I'm still upset about the argument I had with Faith the other day and we're not even close to making up yet. It's easier to bury the feelings under a layer of cream, sugar, marshmallows, artificial flavoring, and almonds then it is to build up the courage to talk to her. She was the one who accused me of cheating on her, of using Scott for my own twisted benefit, so why should I be the one to go to her?

I stop dead in my tracks when I see Faith open the front door. What does she think she's doing? That could be Willow or Xander or maybe even Oz and she's supposed to be secretly living here. Emphasis on secret. Now she's opening the door up to anyone and totally blowing her cover. I'm going to have to knock some sense into her at our training session tomorrow. Keeping Sam a secret is her decision, not mine, but I promised I would help her and now it's like she doesn't even care. Well, she cares. I'm just bitter and angry because of the fight and because we can't be together yet.

"Hey. I was hoping we could talk," the person on the other side of the door says. My blood runs cold and I stop breathing. What the fuck is he doing here? Who the hell does he think he is just showing up here after I threatened his life? I watch Faith and she isn't slamming the door in his face like she should be. Why the fuck isn't she slamming the door in his face? All she does is cross her arms over her chest and look really pissed off.

"So talk," she says and she sounds as pissed as she looks. I honestly don't know why she's willing to hear him out. If I were her he wouldn't be standing anymore. But I'm not Faith and she put up with his shit for years so I guess it isn't surprising that she's putting up with it now. My heart rate speeds up and I can barely breathe as I wait for him to answer.

"Can I come in to say this?" he asks and my blood starts to boil. If she lets that asshole in my house I'm going to kill him and seriously question her sanity. Faith doesn't move out of the way, and she doesn't say a word. She just shakes her head no and keeps staring at him. "Ok. That's fair. Look, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything I did. Everything I put you through. You don't deserve that." Please tell me she isn't going to fall for that shit. I hear her let out an angry sigh and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

"No, see that's where you're wrong. This isn't about me or what you put me through. I was willing to put up with your shit because you were a good dad to Sammy. I thought as long as it was just me then I could live with it, especially after I became the slayer because I'm stronger and heal faster now. But you put your hands on my baby. You broke her fucking wrist. You put bruises on her body and she thinks it's her fault. She thinks she did something to make you mad and that's why you hit her." I don't think I've ever heard her sound that angry before.

"I know I fucked up, alright? I had too much to drink and she wouldn't stay in bed. You were out with Buffy and she didn't want to go to bed until you got home. I just lost control. You know I only get like that when I drink," he says and he sounds desperate but also kind of agitated. Is he really trying to subtly blame this on Faith? What, she wasn't around to be his punching bag so little Samantha had to be the stand-in?

"I can't believe I used to listen to this and believe it all," she says and she really does sound surprised. "You always say it's because you drink. You always tell me you're sorry and it'll never happen again but it always did. You crossed a line, Tanner, and you can't go back now. I can't trust you with Sam anymore, and I'm not going to be able to ever again." My chest swells with pride that she's finally standing up to him. She's finally putting her foot down and telling him what's what. Of course if it were me I'd be putting my foot through his face.

"I know that, Faith," he says and he sounds upset. Not mad, but he sounds like he's begging. He should be begging for her to stop while she kicks his ass. "I know I screwed everything up, but I really am getting better. I haven't had a drop to drink since that night and I'm in A.A. I've been going to a meeting every day and I'm getting better." Oh shit. God, please don't let her take him back. If there is a God you won't let that happen. "Please, babe, let me show you how much I've changed. I can be what you need now. I couldn't before but I can now."

I see his hand slowly reach out and cup her cheek. It's like she's paralyzed. She isn't pulling away but she isn't encouraging him either. I really do think my blood is starting to boil. The same hand that beat her for years, that hurt their child, is now touching her, and it's making me see red. I want to run over there and break his arm and throw his ass to the curb, but I can't. It has to be Faith's decision to tell him to step off or she'll just get sucked right back in.

"We used to be so in love. Can we just be in love again?" I hear him ask and my heart feels like it's been put in a vice. Please don't let her go back to him. I love her so much and I think I might die, literally, if I lose her. I know we've been mad at each other, things haven't been easy but nothing worth having is easily gained. Faith starts moving again. She grabs his hand and quickly pulls it away from her face. I can't really see the expression on her face but if I had to guess I'd say 'really pissed off'.

"Yeah, we used to be in love Tanner, before you showed me who you really are. You beat me and my daughter and I don't care how many meetings you go to, it can never make up for what you did." Oh yeah, she sounds pissed. I tense up because she just rejected him majorly and something tells me Tanner isn't the kind of guy who takes rejection well. Hell, he can't even take a death threat. Does he really think he can get away with this? That I wouldn't find out and come after him?

"She isn't just your daughter. She's my daughter too," he says and he sounds a little mad. I can't believe he has the nerve to take that kind of tone with her. After all of the shit he put her through he thinks it's ok to just show up here and get angry with her? "I made a lot of mistakes, Faith, but she's still ours." Ok, God, one more favor: please don't let this become a huge custody battle. If Faith goes on the record of having a kid then the Council will find out about it. It's already bad enough that Wesley knows.

"I know she's ours Tanner, biologically. But you can't really think I'd let you near her after what you did. She's a baby, an innocent little baby, and you're an angry drunk. I'm not going to let you fuck her up the way my parents fucked me up." She sounds like she's going to start crying and every fiber of my being is screaming at me to hold her and comfort her but I can't. They need to get this conversation over with.

"I won't just let you take her from me," he says and now he sounds really pissed. He isn't yelling, which is good, but his tone is really harsh and I really want to kick his teeth in. "I'm her father, she needs me." Faith lets out a sigh and she runs a hand through her hair. He's getting to her. She only does that when she's not sure what to say. I can't believe this is happening. Faith, don't be stupid!

"I used to think that, but she's happier now than she ever was when you were around. She's not scared that her dad is going to lose his temper and hit her mom. She's living in a real house with her own room and a backyard to play in. When's the last time she had that when we were together?" She sounds even sadder than she did just a second ago and I have to fight the urge to run over there and comfort her.

"You can't do this," he says and he sounds really pissed off. "You can't just take her away from me. I won't let you." His voice raised and he sounds pissed as hell but he still isn't full on yelling. I guess he has better self control than I thought. Then again he isn't drunk right now. I guess what they say it true; give someone alcohol and they'll show you their true colors. Faith sighs again but this time it sounds irritated and she crosses her arms over her chest.

"This isn't about you, Tanner. This is about giving Samantha what she needs. She needs a home, stability, to be surrounded by people who care about her. People who won't hurt her," Faith says and she doesn't sound sad anymore but she doesn't sound pissed off either. I honestly don't know how to describe her. "You can't take me to court because the Council will find out about her and take her away from both of us. If you really love her, Tanner, just back off. Don't show up here whenever you want and demand to see her. Stop playing mind games with me. Just stop."

The last two words were whispered softly and I don't know why but I have tears in my eyes. I hear Tanner let out a sigh and I see Faith reach out. I have no idea what the hell she's doing but I have a feeling she's comforting him. I don't know why she's doing that. He doesn't deserve any kindness from her, but at the same time I kind of get it. As soon as Angel got his soul back I was right there to comfort him. I guess this is Faith's metaphorical way of driving a sword through Tanner's chest.

"Can I see her?" he asks and I don't think I've ever heard him sound so small. At first, before I found out how Tanner can really be, he seemed so charming, so confident, and it's strange hearing him sound almost like a scared little kid. I see Faith nod her head and she takes a step back. Tanner walks into the foyer and looks around. He sees me watching them and my eyes form a glare before I can stop it. I look over at Faith and she looks…I guess numb would be a good word for it.

I want to tell him to leave. To get the hell out of my house and not come back, but I don't. He's a bastard, he doesn't deserve to have Faith or Sam back in his life, but Sam needs this. She needs to see her dad one last time or the last memory she's going to have of him is something that's violent and nasty. Sam deserves one last memory, even if it's a goodbye. I watch them walk upstairs and I have to fight the urge to follow. I'm worried that something bad is going to happen but I know Faith will handle it. She won't just let it happen like she did before.

I go back into the kitchen and I sigh when I see the mess. My ice cream melted and it leaked out all over the countertop. Great, just one more thing I won't get to enjoy today. Maybe I can go over to Willow's later and get some of her sympathy ice cream. It's kosher, whatever that means, but it's still yummy and makes me feel better. I think it might be time I opened up to her about what's been going on with Faith and me. I feel like if I don't get it out soon I might explode.

I don't know how long I'm sitting in the kitchen waiting but eventually they come back downstairs. I walk back into the dining room and stand in the doorway so I can see and this time I'm not even trying to be sneaky about it. Tanner came back after I told him if he ever tried I'd kill him. So I don't really care if he knows I'm watching. I want him to feel intruded on and maybe even a little intimidated because Faith already told him she doesn't want him around and he needs to know he's not just messing with her if he doesn't listen.

What I see, though, makes me take a step back. He's holding Sam and she has her little face buried in his neck and she's crying really hard. Her arms are wrapped tightly around his neck and her legs are wrapped around his ribs. She doesn't want to let go. I feel a pang inside my chest because I know exactly how that feels. Since the divorce my dad has pretty much been a deadbeat, but that doesn't mean I don't miss him or want him to hold me when I'm upset.

"Sammy, it's ok. Don't cry, sweetness," he says and he gently rubs her back. He sounds upset, like this is hurting him just as much as it is her. I feel for him, I really do. I want to go over there and comfort her and give her anything she wants to make her happy again and I'm not even biologically related to her. But he should have thought about all of this before he started beating his girlfriend and daughter.

"Daddy has to go now," he says and he chokes up a little. I have tears running down my cheeks but I don't bother wiping them away just yet. "You have to stay here with Mommy. I love you, Sammy." He kisses the side of her head and tries to hand her to Faith but Sam won't let go. Faith gently untangles their little girl from Tanner's body and as soon as she loses contact with him she starts screaming. He tries to reach out and comfort her but Faith takes a step back.

"Tanner, just go," she says and she sounds so…broken. Tanner just nods his head a little and walks out the door. As soon as the door closes Sam starts freaking out. She's screaming, and crying, and struggling but Faith won't let go. She starts hitting Faith, on the shoulders, in the face but Faith still won't let her go. She grabs onto Sammy's hands with one of her own. She keeps struggling, though. Her tiny body is wriggling and tossing around and I can tell Faith is having a hard time holding on. Not physically because she's a slayer but I can see her resolve start to waver.

"Put me down!" Sam screams around her painful sobs. I can see the tears spill out of Faith's eyes and I'm having a hard time breathing. "Put me down! Me down, me down, put me down!" Faith does and I can practically hear her heart break when Sam runs away from her. She runs as fast as her little legs will take her, which is surprisingly fast, into the living room and she throws herself onto the couch. What she's doing may look a little melodramatic but I'm fourteen years older than she is and I acted pretty much the same when my dad left.

Faith just stands there in the foyer, a hand covering her mouth, tears streaming down her face, and she's trying as hard as she can to hold it all in. Before I even realize what's happening, my body is moving. I'm in Faith's personal space in a heartbeat and I wrap my arms around her. She doesn't fight me, doesn't struggle, and doesn't tell me to leave her alone. She clings onto me as tight as she can and she buries her face in my neck. I rub her back and my other hand is softly pressed against the back of her head. She quietly cries as the whole house echoes the sounds of her daughter's sobs and screams. I can't stop myself from being angry that here I am again picking up after Tanner's mess.



Chapter Thirty Three

I let out a little sigh as I stare up at the ceiling. All in all today was a good day and it's been a while since I've been able to say that. Giles thinks he finally found a lead on where the vampire cult is staying but he needs to confirm that with his sources before we check it out. With all of the little kids that have gone missing I'm really anxious to get in there and kick some demon ass. It's been driving me kind of crazy how quiet the patrols have been and I'm getting nervous because it means sooner or later there's going to be ciaos.

I'm also working really hard at mending my friendships. All of the drama with Faith took my attention away from them for a really long time. I did some retail therapy with Willow, bought her a new outfit for her next date with Oz and we finally had a chance to really talk. We also had a big group hang out night at Willow's so Xander doesn't feel left out. I still haven't told either of them about Samantha and I feel guilty about it. I'm practically becoming a step-mom and they know nothing about it. I'm scared and I'm nervous and I should be able to talk about that with my best friends but I swore to Faith I'd keep her a secret for now.

My mom has been out of town all week in San Francisco. There was a big art gallery opening that she was invited to and she's been going around to some other galleries making friends with the dealers and all of that other art stuff. Networking, I guess is the proper business term. All I know is she won't be back for another four days and it is possibly the best thing that could have happened. I love my mom, don't get me wrong, but having the house to ourselves has really given Faith and I a chance to talk without having to worry about Mom overhearing something we're not ready for her to know.

It's great being able to just relax with Faith. To cuddle with her on the couch while we watch television, or have a very light make-out session before we go to bed. We've been sleeping together, in the literal sense, for the last couple of nights and it's so far beyond great. Being able to lie next to her, to talk with her about how patrol went that night since we're still taking turns, and just about our day in general is really bringing us closer. I also think Tanner giving that impromptu visit helped a lot. Faith isn't as stressed out now. She really does believe that he's going to stay gone and she finally got to say goodbye.

We haven't had sex since that morning after we shared that wonderful night but to be honest I don't really need it. Don't get me wrong, my body and hormones are going crazy being so close to her for so long and not acting on them, but I don't need to be with her sexually to be happy. Just lying in bed next to her listening to her breathe or holding her while she falls asleep is enough for now, at least. We both think it's a good idea to wait and I don't want to put any pressure on her by going back on our agreement.

So that's what's been going on over the last week and a half. Right now I'm lying in Faith's bed waiting for her to get out of the shower. It was her turn to patrol tonight and she had a little bit of action. Some weird looking demon gave her a run for her money and got her pretty dirty by throwing her into a mud puddle. The way she told the tale someone at this moment is writing a song about the epic battle between Faith and the demon. She's probably working off the post-slay hornies with the detachable shower head but I'm really trying to keep my mind away from that thought.

Let's see, what else is there to think about? Oh, I'm getting totally better at this whole baby-sitting thing. Sam listens to me better now than she did even a week ago and she's happy about spending time with me. When Faith and I first started switching patrol Sam would throw a little temper tantrum because she didn't want to stay here without her mom. But now she knows that alone time with me means ice cream after dinner, playing with some of my childhood toys, and playing dress up with my shoes and some of my jewelry, and sometimes my sunglasses.

I hear the water shut off and my whole body tenses up. That means Faith is about to step out of the shower. She's completely naked, dripping wet and if I had a spine I would go in there and take her in a very dominating fashion. Faith thinks I'm sexy when I get aggressive, she told me so herself, so why am I not going in there right now and pushing her up against a wall and screwing her until she can't remember her own name? Because I have no sexual confidence and would make a fool of myself. Right, that's probably it.

When the door opens my body tenses up even more. Faith doesn't know that I'm in here. Being in her bed was supposed to be a nice surprise but now I'm not so sure if she's going to like it. We've gotten a lot closer since the day Tanner dropped by unexpectedly but I'm not exactly sure what the boundaries are. We agreed to just do what feels right and being together feels right. Although in the past when I've acted on things that felt right certain undead people lost their soul and other people paid the price, so maybe it's a good idea to over think everything.

"Sneakin into my bed, huh, B?" Faith says when she sees me. She shuts the door and I can't help but gulp. She looks so sexy in nothing but a towel and a smirk. "Couldn't be away from me for half an hour?" I know what she's doing. She's trying to make me sound kinda crazy and codependent to throw me off my game but I can see right through that little smirk of hers. To be honest I wish I could see through the little towel she has wrapped around her body but not everyone can get what they want.

"I wouldn't say that," I tell her and stretch out on the bed. I make a big show of it, raising my arms above my head, arching my back and letting out a little moan when I feel all of my bones and joints pop and crack and I make sure to keep eye contact with her the whole time. She may be hot with nothing but a towel and water still dripping from her hair, but I can be sexy too. From the way her eyes just dilated a little I'd say she agrees. "You I can resist. This nice, big, comfy bed I'm having a hard time staying away from." She quirks her eyebrow and her smirk turns into a feral grin. Oh crap, that's the same look she gets when a vampire calls her a little girl and she proves him wrong by beating him to a bloody mess.

"Alright," she says and shrugs her shoulders a little. She's trying to act like she doesn't care, like my words had no effect whatsoever, but I can see the wheels turning in her head. Now the important question is: what the hell is she planning? "Go ahead and have your affair with my bed. I'm just gonna change." Before I can say anything or cover my eyes or do anything that could be defined as a reaction, she lets go of the towel and it pools around her feet. She stands there smirking at me for just a second and then she walks over to her dresser.

Ok, I see how she wants to play this. She's playing chicken, naked chicken, and I may not have much experience with this particular mind game but I am the epitome of self control. Faith may not think that because she's really good at knocking my will power on its face, but I can resist her. She's been walking around completely naked with beads of water dripping down her strong back and for a whole fifteen seconds and I haven't given into temptation. I'd say things are going great so far and oh my God she's bending over. That has to be cheating!

Alright, just stay calm. You're stronger than your hormones. You're stronger than Faith's perfect ass all up in the air and practically begging me to run my hands all over it. You're stronger than the desire to run your nails down her perfect back. I see her lips peeking out and they look all glisteny and I can hear Faith's voice in the back of my mind tempting me saying 'give us a kiss, B'. Even when she's completely silent she's still kind of a bitch. Seriously, who thinks it's ok to tease someone like this after both parties agreed it would be best to take the physical stuff really slow? Faith, that's who. Always pushing boundaries and every button she sees.

She slips on a pair of red panties and is it just me or is she doing it really slow so my eyes are forced to trail up her strong, toned legs and have a fantasy about those legs wrapped around my body while I make love to her so frantically and hard that her back might break? When the panties reach their destination she lets the elastic band go with a little snap and I don't know why but my toes just curled. She's good at this, a little too good at this, but she isn't going to win. I'm determined to beat her at this game, even if it makes me combust into a Buffy shaped ball of fire. Considering we live on a hellmouth that isn't impossible.

She takes an old, baggy t-shirt out of the top dresser drawer and slips it on. She grabs the towel off the floor and starts drying her hair. With her arms raised above her head her shirt rises up and I can see her panties under the hem of the shirt. Even though she's wearing clothes now I'm just as turned on as I was before and I'm getting even more aroused by the sight of her drying her hair. I know it sounds kind of weird but with the tattoo and the skimpy clothes and her hair all wild and messy she looks like a rocker chick or something and for some reason right now that's hot and sexy and I want to do dirty things to her.

After about five minutes of drying her hair and me staring at her like a freak, Faith drops the towel to the floor again and lets out a little sigh. She moves her hair out of her face and quickly combs her fingers through it but it still looks wild and totally sexy. I watch her with an intense gaze as she walks to the empty side of the bed. She's trying to act casual, like what happened wasn't a big deal, and like my gaze on her isn't having an effect, but I can see the goosebumps on her arms and thighs.

"So how was your day at school, B? Did you get the grade back on your history test yet?" she asks and lies down on the bed next to me. Her voice sounds deeper and huskier than normal. She's close but not too close. I can practically feel the heat pouring from her body and I want to reach out and touch her just to see if I'll be burned or not. Her eyes don't stay on mine for long. They wander down to my lips and seeing her staring at them with so much want is making me feel kind of dizzy. I don't think there's any blood left in my brain. That might be a problem if I try to answer those questions.

"It was good," I say and holy crap, was that my voice? It sounds so strange. So deep and husky and kinda strained. Faith glances up into my eyes again and her pupils are dilating a little more. Hmm, so she thinks I sound sexy. I could totally use that to my advantage. She teased me so I guess it's time to tease her back. "I got an A minus on the test." I smile a little and her eyes wander down to my lips again. This should be easy. "I'm surprised I did that well, I was kind of distracted during class that day." Maybe I shouldn't do this. It might be too mean. On the other hand, she bent over while she was completely naked. It's on.

"Why were you distracted?" she asks after a few seconds of silence. Damn, and I thought my voice was deeper and husky. Faith's voice is always kind of like that but right now it's…let's put it this way, Hoover dam is holding back a tiny pond compared to the flood my panties are keeping in check. I think even with the cotton barrier it's going to start running down my thighs soon. I take in a little breath and have to work really hard to control the urge to climb on top of her and have my way with that gorgeous mouth of hers.

"Because that day you came into the library to train with Giles during lunch. I sat and watched you for a little while. You're so sexy when you get all aggressive and determined to win. Then you started making all of these noises and I closed my eyes for just a second and imagined us alone in the library together and there being a different cause for those grunts and groans coming from you. I got so turned on I had to leave and I was majorly distracted for the rest of the day." Oh yeah, the panty dam is about to break. I think it's safe to say these are done for.

"B," Faith says but it sounds more like a throaty whimper. She bites her bottom lip and her breathing is getting deeper. Ragged puffs in and out of her nose and she almost sounds like a cartoon bull about to charge. I hate to say it so I'll only think it: Faith is going to win. Before she can say anything else I close the distance between us and kiss her. This isn't a soft or sweet kiss. It isn't tentative or full of hesitation. I want her. Now. Fast. And hard. Hopefully she's getting that message with this kiss.

She kisses me back just as fiercely, and cups my cheek with her hand. My whole body is burning for her, screaming at me to take her but I can't do that. We said we were going to wait, that sex complicates things and we want to just be happy for a while before we try to take that next step. I feel her tongue on my bottom lip and I open my mouth just enough to let her inside. She teases the tip of her tongue along my upper lip and I think I just came a little bit. Is it just me or is losing sometimes the best thing in the world?

My lungs are screaming at me to pull back and take a breath, but I don't want to lose this contact. Faith's lips feel so good, her tongue teasing me so erotic, and I'm afraid in the time it takes to fill my lungs with the air they need something will happen to prevent us from doing this again right away. That thought sends a chill of panic down my spine and I wrap both of my arms around her, pulling her flush against me. We both moan at the contact and Faith pulls her mouth away from mine.

"B, we're still taking things slow, right?" she asks and my breath gets caught in my lungs. Her lips are dark and swollen, her eyes are so dilated they're almost completely black, her face is flushed, and I can feel her rapid breaths puffing out against my face. I can't help but take a moment just to look at her. She's the definition of temptation. She's beautiful, she's sexy, she's hot, she's dangerous but right now holding her in my arms and her looking at me the way she is I've never felt this safe before.

"Right," I say and kiss her softly on the lips. She kisses me back and soon things are like they were before: heated, frantic, and I feel like if I don't touch her soon my whole body is going to explode. And that's not the hormones talking. That's me talking, and I'm starting to think this slow idea is really stupid. "It's still slow if we keep the touching above the clothes and waistline, right?" She kisses down my jaw line and when she nibbles on my earlobe my toes curl and I let out a long, very loud moan. Yeah, that's definitely one of my spots. No doubt about it.

"Yeah, that's what we meant by slow. Just some light second base stuff," she says and as soon as the words are out of her mouth my hand trails from her back to her breast. Normally I'm not this bold and it takes a while before I outright cup her like this, but normally I'm not this turned on. I run my thumb over her hard nipple and I hear her hiss out a breath. If there was any doubt that she's as turned on as I am it was just tossed out the window.

She abandons my ear and I mourn the loss for about three seconds. That's how long it takes for her to start kissing my lips again. I know what you're thinking: what took her so long? But I am toying with her sensitive nipple so it's understandable that she's distracted. Faith starts grinding against me and I can't help but smile into the kiss. Grinding with Faith, or dry humping whatever you want to call it, is one of my new favorite things to do. Although the other night when we did it, it wasn't exactly dry if you catch my drift. I gently but firmly pinch Faith's nipple between my index and middle fingers and the moan she lets out reverberates all the way down to my toes.

"It's still going slow if we touch under our shirts, right?" she asks, her lips softly rubbing against mine as she speaks and her breath mingles with mine as we pant heavily in each other's mouths. I open my eyes and I don't even recognize hers anymore. They're almost pitch-black and the look in them is this primal, borderline predatory expression. It makes a cold chill shiver up my spine.

I nod my head a little and kiss her again. My God, kissing Faith is a full blown addiction and I need to be careful. If I'm not soon I'm going to end up on that television show with my friends and family reading letters they've written saying how much they love me but they think I need rehab. And a professional psychologist will be there saying things like 'this is about love and healing, not blame'. Ok, I think I took that metaphor a little too far.

I think the more important thing I should be focusing on here is the fact that Faith stopped kissing me. I'm just as confused and upset as you are, trust me. Before I can ask why she stopped, she sits up and takes off her shirt. She drops it over the side of the bed and looks down at me with a little smirk on her face. If this is what she means by 'light second base' I can't wait to see what full on second base is. God, when did I turn into such a horn dog? I sound more like Xander than I do myself. I guess that's what being in bed with an almost naked Faith will do.

She lies back down and instantly her lips are on mine and it feels like she's trying to devour me. That sounds kind of gross but it feels really good and my blood is starting to boil. I can't tell if it's metaphorical or literal and being on a hellmouth it could be either. But right now I don't care. As long as I die kissing Faith I'll die the happiest person in the world. I'm really glad she can't read my mind or all of the sappiness might destroy the mood if she knew what I was thinking.

I wrap my arms around her back and how the hell does she get her skin that soft? I think I need to get some funding to look into this because there's no way she's not genetically mutated or something. Maybe she's the next step on human evolution. Ok, so I'll admit I'm focusing on the feel of her back and her amazing lips because I'm nervous about touching her. Sure I talk a big game about wanting to explore her body and claim it as my own and all of that other possessive, cavewoman like stuff.

But the truth is I'm really scared about doing this wrong. What if me being good was just a fluke? What if I can't pleasure her the way I want? I'm starting to panic. There's no doubt about that. Ok, I just need to stay calm. Faith isn't the kind of person who goes along with something if she doesn't like it. If I'm doing it wrong she'll tell me. Hopefully she'll tell me.

I feel her finger softly caress the skin right above the waist of my pajama bottoms. How I'm still fully clothed while she's in nothing but her panties is a mystery to me. If I wasn't so busy grinding against her hot body I would do something to make us a little more even. I suck in a deep breath when she scratches her nails into the soft skin and I think Faith is now the telepathic one and is about to take matters into her own hands.

My heart rate speeds up and I didn't think it was possible for it to get any higher, when I feel her hand slip under my shirt and it starts sliding up my body. Her nails gently scratch my burning skin on its ascent towards my breast and I take Faith's bottom lip into my mouth and lightly suck on it. That always drives her crazy and since she's doing a great job at making me loony bin material I thought I would return the favor.

She palms my breast and my breath catches in my throat. It's almost like my nipple has a direct connection to my pussy and it just got way wetter from that simple touch. She starts kneading my breast, flexing and relaxing her fingers on my over sensitive flesh, and my back arches pushing me closer to her. I didn't think it was possible to get any closer but apparently I was completely wrong.

"Faith," I moan when I end the kiss. I start placing wet, open mouthed kisses along her throat and she gently but firmly pinches my nipple. My hips buck sharply and the friction it caused makes both of us moan out. I can't take it anymore. It's a miracle I've lasted this long. "I don't want to go slow anymore." Who am I trying to fool? In no way does what we're doing constitute as slow, but it's polite to keep up appearances.

"Thank fucking God," she says and a loud throaty groan rumbles out of her throat when I lightly nip at the skin on her neck. Hmmm, so she likes it when I nip. I didn't know that before but now it's noted. "So what do you want, B?" Her voice sounds strained. Probably because we're still grinding against each other like animals in heat and I'm gently scratching my nails along her back, and I'm still kissing her throat. And she's letting me set the pace? My almost girlfriend is very considerate.

"World peace…," I say against her hot flesh. I place another kiss on her throat. She teased me, it's time I returned the favor. "…the end of world hunger…," I place another little kiss a little higher up on her neck and she shudders against me. I can tell she's getting frustrated. Her whole body feels tense and she's making these little whimpering noises in the back of her throat. I can tell she's trying to hold herself back and is it wrong that I love the power I have over her? "…and I want a pony." I nip along her neck until my lips are next to her ear. She moans again and I honestly can't tell if that was out of frustration or pleasure.

"But right now, most of all," I whisper right against her ear and I'm really glad she's not looking at me or I wouldn't be able to say this. "I want to go down on you." The noise that comes out of Faith's mouth is so foreign and animalistic I honestly don't know how to describe it. She starts grinding harder against me and I'm going to take that as a good sign. A sign that she agrees my idea is a good one. Now if I could just get over my nerves and do it we'd both be totally happy.

"Oh fuck yeah," she says and kisses me. It's a frantic kiss, a needy kiss. A kiss that says her fuse is starting to run out and if I don't do something soon to get her off something bad might happen. Ok, so that last description was just me projecting, but can you blame me? She pulls back from the kiss and I'm left panting harder, faster, and my head feels all woozy. I know there's such a thing as punch drunk but is there such a thing as love drunk? 'Cause I think I might be it. "Might sound selfish but I like the last one best." I can't help but smile at her words.

"I thought you would," I say and I moan when she starts nibbling on my ear. That's not fair, she knows I have sensitive ears. She's getting even more worked up and now that I've said it she's going to want it but I don't know if I'll be able to follow through with it. I need to let her know and I feel safe enough with her not to be afraid to tell her. I don't need to be worried about how she'll react. After everything we've been through I really don't think there's anything that can tear us apart.

"But I'm nervous," I say and holy crap, is that my voice? I don't think I've ever sounded so small or vulnerable before in my entire life. "I've never done that with another girl before." Ok, that's a little bit of a lie. I should probably say something before she points it out. "At least not on the giving end." I will admit that being on the receiving end of Faith's affections was amazing and I wouldn't hesitate if she wanted to do it again. I feel a little guilty for not just doing it to her. She did it to me so it can't be that scary or difficult, right?

"B, it's alright," she says and lifts up just enough so she can see me. She looks amazing, and beautiful, and hot, and sexy. Yep, she's all those things wrapped up in a delicious package. Well, what I can only assume is delicious since I've never tasted her, not yet anyway. "There's no rush or pressure or anything bad here. When you're ready, you're ready and I can wait until you are." My God, I have the best almost girlfriend in the world. Her sweet words and the sincerity behind them are giving me the courage I need to fight back my nerves. Ok, I can do this, and hopefully it won't be a disaster.



Chapter Thirty Four

As soon as I wake up there are two things I'm aware of. The first is that I already have a little smile on my face which means I was probably smiling in my sleep. It isn't such an absurd thought considering what happened last night. The second thing I'm aware of is how sore my body is in all the right places. It isn't sore in an annoying way like after I have a really rough patrol. It's sore in the best way possible because it's a reminder of the things Faith and I did to each other last night. I'm sure she's going to be just as sore when she wakes up.

I open my eyes and I'm a little surprised to see the entire room is bathed in light. If it's already this bright out then why hasn't Samantha woken us up waning breakfast and attention? I should probably go check on her just to be safe. She's three so maybe she decided she's big enough to make her own breakfast and got hurt really bad, like to the point where she can't cry out for help. Ok, now I'm just being paranoid, but just the thought of that sends a little shiver of fear down my spine. Maybe I should go check on her just for my own peace of mind.

I slowly sit up so I don't disturb Faith. I don't want to wake her up or she might be grumpy. I stretch my arms high above my head and sigh in relief when all of my bones pop and crack and all of the other weird sounds they make. I look down at Faith and I can't help but smile. She's so cute when she's asleep. She always looks so relaxed and carefree and it's nice to see her like this since it's so not the case when she's awake.

I know I shouldn't risk waking her up but I can't help myself. I move some of her tangled hair out of her face and place a soft kiss on her forehead. She twitches a little but she doesn't wake and I get a really warm feeling spreading throughout my body. My almost-girlfriend is possibly the most adorable person on the planet. I could sit here and watch her sleep all day but I won't because that would be pretty creepy.

Instead of giving into my stalker tendencies, I get out of bed and don't even bother looking for my clothes. I have no idea where Faith threw them and I'm not going to waste time searching for them until I've had some coffee. I open up Faith's dresser drawers and I'm surprised she can find anything in here. There's no organizational system at all. I'm not saying she should be OCD about it but would separating the socks from the underwear and the underwear from the night shirts really hurt her that much? I grab a baggy t-shirt and a pair of boxers and slip them on. It isn't cold despite that it's December. Gotta love Southern California.

I slip out of the room as quietly as I can and stand outside the doorway for just a moment. Now that I'm out of bed, away from Faith and our little love nest, I'm waiting for the panicked feeling to come back, but nothing is happening. I don't feel like things are about to go horribly wrong. All I feel is happy, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I don't feel guilty about feeling so carefree, which may be a first for me. I think I could get used to feeling this way and if things with Faith stay the way they are I probably will.

With a little smile on my face and a slight limp to my step, I quietly make my way towards Sam's room. If she's still asleep I don't want to wake her up. I don't think she's a light sleeper. Now that I'm thinking about it, I hope to God she's not a light sleeper because Faith and I forgot to turn the stereo on and if she woke up she would have heard pretty much everything. No child, especially Faith's, should hear the noises that came out of that bedroom. We're just lucky my mom is out of town because even if we had music playing I'm sure she would have known what was going on. Just the thought of that grosses me out.

"Oh no, the evil lion is coming. Run away!" I hear when I get closer to Sam's room. I hear her little footsteps scurry across her bedroom and then I hear her closet door open and then quickly close. She must not be hungry if she's playing instead of waking Faith and me up for food. "The lion will never find us in here." I have to cover my mouth with my hand to stop from laughing. She sounded so serious and it was the most adorable thing I'd ever heard. "Raaaarrr! Oh no, the lion found us. Run!" Ok, I take it back. That was the most adorable thing I've ever heard.

I open the door very quietly and peek inside the room. I see Samantha running across the room with a toy in each hand and a huge smile breaks out on my face. This is the first time since Tanner's been gone that Sam looks happy and carefree. All of the shit I've been through, the fight with Faith and the uncertainty and all of the frustration and worry is completely worth it. Seeing her so happy and doing something she hasn't done in weeks is such an amazing sight. I would die for this little girl and her mother if it means she gets to play and just be happy and get to act like a normal little kid.

I want to go in there and play with her but I don't want to disturb her. I don't want to take that moment away from her. So I shut the door as quietly as I can and head back down the hall. I don't want to wake Faith up yet even though I have some pretty interesting ideas of how I could do that. The first is something innocent. Some light kisses on her lips and face and gently coaxing her awake. The other involves a repeat performance of last night but I don't want to bore you with the details.

I think it would be nice to make a big breakfast for everyone. Faith has been doing most of the cooking since my mom has been away and we've also had a lot of take out. It would be a nice gesture to give her a home cooked meal instead of relying on her to do all of the cooking. That's slightly sexist if you really think about it. Now that I'm thinking about it, after the way she made me feel last night I think I'd have to cook her breakfast for the rest of our lives to pay her back.

I'm not just talking about the physical pleasure that she gave me. I'm talking about her making me feel safe and loved in a way that no one ever has before. I was so nervous about going down on her and even though I fumbled big time in the beginning she was so patient and loving and she never made me feel stupid for not knowing what to do right away. She didn't make me feel like that at all. Even though my jaw got really sore after a while, and I was kind of dizzy from the lack of oxygen, I can't wait to do it again.

I'm in such a good mood, I think I'm going to try making pancakes this morning. I've tried making them in the past and it never worked out. It was always a disaster from the beginning. What pan am I supposed to use? Do I melt some butter in the bottom of it or use that non-stick cooking spray? Then it turned into a fiasco trying to measure out the pancake mix without getting it everywhere and no matter what I tried they always turned out burnt on the outside and gooey in the middle. But Faith taught me how to make the perfect pancake so I don't need to worry about that anymore.

She's pretty amazing if you think about it. She's an amazing mom, she can cook, she's really smart, she's sexy, she's funny, she's great at slaying, she's a total bobcat in bed, and she's only eighteen. Well, she'll be nineteen at the end of the month. Hmm, I wonder what I'm going to get her. I already have her and Sam's Christmas presents all picked out and hiding in the back of my closet waiting to be wrapped, but what am I going to do for Faith's birthday? It should be something fun, and maybe sexy, and come from Victoria's Secret. Yeah, that sounds like it could work.

I wonder if she would like a surprise like that. I'm not the innocent little girl that everyone seems to think I am, but I don't really have any super sexy lingerie. What if Faith doesn't think it's sexy? What if she thinks it's totally slutty and she stops being attracted to me? Ok, hold on a second. This is Faith we're talking about. If I buy some sexy lingerie to wear for her birthday she'll probably start drooling and looking at me like the wolf in the cartoon where he looks at a sheep but what he really sees is lamb chops. I don't know why my thinking always gets so negative all the time. Maybe I should see someone about that.

"Good morning, B," I hear Faith practically purr and she wraps her arms around me. I fight back the urge to jump since she startled me but I won't hold it against her. If I hadn't been zoning out I would have felt her coming. She starts placing these tiny open mouthed kisses along my neck and now I'm the one practically purring.

"Good morning, baby," I say and I hold my breath for a second. I didn't mean to call her that and I have no idea how she's going to react to a pet name. She didn't mind last night but that was different. She either didn't hear me or she doesn't care because she keeps kissing my neck and now she's lightly rubbing my sides. I wonder if she's going to try something. I hope she's ready to be disappointed because I'm not having sex in the kitchen. But this attention does feel really nice. "You're being a cuddle-bug this morning. What's the occasion?"

"So now I need a special occasion to give you some love?" she says and she's trying to sound hurt but I can hear the smile on her face. "I see how it is, B. So maybe I should just stop what I'm doing and wait for a special day." But she doesn't stop. She tightens her grip a little and places one last kiss on my neck before resting her chin on my shoulder. I let out a little content sigh and flip the pancakes.

"I wasn't saying you need a special occasion. I was just asking what put you in this good mood, that's all." She stops rubbing my sides and rests her hands on my stomach. Instantly I cover her hands with one of my own and hopefully she'll get the message. The message being that she's welcome to do this whenever she wants.

"Well, that's easy. There was this little demon that snuck into my room last night and rocked my world. It was gone when I woke up but I'm hoping it'll come back soon," she says and I can't help but smile. So she liked what I did to her last night. I got the hint last night, especially when I started paying more attention to her clit and she started moaning really loud and almost broke my neck with her pelvis, but there was a tiny bit of doubt in my mind. She just erased all of it, though.

"A demon, huh? That doesn't' sound good," I say and carefully place the now finished pancakes on a plate and pour in the rest of the batter. "I should probably stay with you in case it comes back so I can keep you safe." I hear her chuckle a little and she softly kisses my neck again. I lean my body a little more into hers and I can't help the little purring sound that makes its way out of my throat. What can I say? I'm happy and I don't care who knows it.

"What are you doing?" I hear a tiny voice ask from the doorway and my whole body tenses up. I glance over at the doorway and Samantha is standing there in her night shirt and for some reason her brown faux leather boots with the fake fur along the top and she looks totally confused. Faith lets go of me and takes a step back. I turn more to the side so I'm facing Sam but I can also see Faith out of the corner of my eye. Ok, what the hell are we supposed to say?

"Uh, I was just giving Buffy a hug," Faith says and she sounds about as lost as I feel right now. I hope Samantha buys whatever Faith is going to say. She's really good at picking up on lies or at least she's starting to get good at it. That might make things between Faith and I more complicated if she wants to keep this relationship a secret for much longer.

"Why?" Sam asks and she sounds even more confused. I really don't blame her for that. It's not like Faith and I ever show affection in front of Sam. Up until recently we weren't really affectionate with each other at all. Faith and I have been really tense around each other and Sam has definitely noticed. So it has to be really odd walking into the kitchen and see the two of us sharing a really random embrace.

"Because she was sad, and when people are sad a hug can make them feel better," Faith says and I think it's a little strange how good she is at just coming up with random stuff like that. I mean, she's not a very good liar and I can see that from a mile away but she can come up with some pretty convincing stuff. Now if she could just get rid of her tells then she would be golden.

"Why is Buffy sad?" Sam asks and I glance over at Faith. She doesn't have anything, I can tell. Her mind is totally blank and the silence is starting to not only get really long but also very awkward and kind of suffocating. Like the whole room is going to collapse in on us if someone doesn't say something to take the pressure away. Ok, I'm starting to panic. Think, Buffy, think. Oh, I think I got something.

"I'm sad because I miss my mom. She's been gone for a really long time and she won't be back for a couple more days and it made me sad. So your mom gave me a hug to make me feel better," I say and Faith is looking at me like she can't believe I just pulled that out. I have no idea where that came from but I don't think it matters because Sam doesn't look confused anymore.

"I miss Gram too," she says and now she looks sad. I guess she's faking, though, because Faith has a small smile on her face. I watch as Faith walks over and picks her daughter up and holds her really close. Sam wraps her arms around Faith's neck and I can tell she's holding on pretty tight. They sit there for a second hugging each other and I turn my attention back to breakfast. Luckily the rest of the pancakes didn't burn or that would've been really bad.

I hear Faith's voice as she whispers something to Samantha, but I can't make out what she's saying. I guess if she wanted me to know she wouldn't be whispering and I won't let my curiosity get to me. I glance over just in time to see Faith give Sam a little kiss on the forehead and she puts her down. As soon as she's on the floor Sam runs off and Faith just stands there for a second smiling.

Neither one of us says a word but it doesn't get awkward, which I'm grateful for. Faith walks over to me and I think she's going to hold me again. It would be nice but a little risky. I don't want Sam asking more questions because she might say something in front of my mom and I think we've been doing a good job about being sneaky. She doesn't hug me, though. She gives me a kiss on the cheek and gently rubs my back for a second and I know what she's doing.

She's checking to see if I'm ok because she wants to keep us a secret and I don't. I'm not going to hold it against her. I'm not going to be bitchy or impatient because she was in a really bad relationship for a long time and I don't want her to think this relationship is going to turn toxic. But mostly she doesn't have anything to worry about because I want to be a part of her family and if that's going to happen it's going to take a lot of time and if this is going to work she needs to see this can work without getting any pressure. I'm not known for my patience so hopefully I won't die from waiting.



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