"Now...who's that one?"
William smiled as Melanie squeezed his hand and
bounced up and down on the balls of her feet.
"Why does he look so sad?"
"He's very gloomy," she announced knowledgeably.
Buffy stood a few feet away, rummaging in her shoulder
bag for the tube of sunscreen she'd stashed there earlier,
listening to Melanie patiently identifying the various
Disney characters meandering around the town square,
and their relationships to each other.
After slathering a goodly amount of the lotion into Melanie's
delicate skin, she plopped a child sized visor cap on her
daughter's head and pronounced her ready for the sunshine.
Their status as hotel guests entitled them to the special
consideration of being admitted to the park a full two hours
before the gates opened to the general public. They ambled
slowly down Main Street, stopping whenever Melanie lingered
in front of the shop windows to examine the treasures behind
Buffy was having a difficult time giving her full attention to
the map of the park she carried in her hand while at the
same time trying to keep an eye on William. Every time
Melanie paused in front of an item in a window that caught
her eye, he reached for his wallet with the full intention of
buying it for her.
Anything...and everything...she might desire,
from a package of colored pencils bearing the likeness of
different characters, all the way up to a blown glass replica
of Sleeping Beauty's Castle that was bigger than the little
girl's doll house and carried a four digit price tag, was all
her's for the asking as far as he was concerned.
"You can't buy her everything in the park."
It was difficult stopping him. He got as much pleasure as
Melanie did out of everything he gave her, but if he was
indeed going to become a permanent fixture in their lives,
he had to learn how to control his impulsive spending
"But it's her birthday present."
"The trip to Disneyland is her birthday present. You
don't need to....no, William...no....I said no and I
mean it! Put it back!"
They started off their day in Fantasyland.
Melanie happily rode the merry-go-round five times
in a row, waving to her mother every time the horse she'd
chosen made it's circular progress.
Dumbo's Flying Circus made her squeal with giddiness
as the elephant shaped car swooped up and down. They
sat three across through Snow White's Adventures, Mr. Toad's
Wild Ride, Peter Pan's Flight To Neverland, and Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland.
Although Buffy was leery of it, they took a stomach churning
ride on the spinning teacups. Melanie shrieked with giggles,
in a way her mother had never heard before, as the cup and
saucer spun in increasingly rapid circles, propelled by William's
"Are you sure you're feeling better?"
"I knew those teacups were a mistake, especially
so soon after breakfast. You still look awfully pale."
"I'm okay, I promise."
Buffy shook her head. "Well, I still think we should just
sit down and....what? Is it coming again?...okay, there's
a bathroom right over there..."
"Mommy?" Melanie looked up at her mother as William
headed for the men's room. "Is he okay?"
"He will be, baby."
Storybook Land enchanted Buffy almost as much as
it did Melanie The tiny houses and buildings, taken
straight from the pages of fairytale books and Disney
movies, were so well detailed and realistic that they
almost expected to see the Three Little Pigs or Snow
White come out of their cottages.
As the boat wound it's path through the twists and
turns of the waterways, Melanie leaned further and
further over the rail, trying to peer into tiny windows
and doors, listening to the sound of familiar voices
singing snippets of songs from each movie represented.
William, sitting on the opposite seat, watched her
carefully, edging forward nervously every time she
seemed destined to tumble into the water. When
he couldn't stand it anymore, he made Buffy trade
places with him and wrapped his fingers in the back
straps of the child's overalls, keeping a firm grip on
Behind his dark glasses, he met Buffy's amused gaze
Buffy scowled. "I'm NOT wearing that."
"Oh, come on....it'll look cute."
"Then YOU wear it."
"No! You may have bought it, but you can't force me
to wear it. It's ridiculous for a grown woman to wear
"Look..I had them stitch your name on it and every-
"Don't care. Not listening." She turned around and
found herself facing a determined looking child peeking
up at her from beneath her own 'mouse ears'. They
exchanged looks for a moment, then Buffy sighed and
turned back to William, snatching the hat out of his hands.
"I'll get you for this," she muttered, slapping the ears on.
"Promises, promises," he said softly, handing his credit
card to the sales clerk.
On their way out of the shop, he leaned down to
whisper, "Maybe you could wear those the next time
Buffy looked at him as he waggled his eyebrows sug-
gestively. "If there IS a next time."
Surprisingly to Buffy, William's presence in the park
hadn't drawn much attention.
His sunglasses, and the two toned and tousled curls he
was now sporting seemed enough to throw all but the
most observant eyes off any track....until they stepped
The futuristically themed section of the park was filled with
people who knew all there was to know about anything
sci-fi oriented, and they had no trouble spotting one
of the genre's newest rising stars.
William, good natured as always, spent some time signing
autographs and posed for several pictures while Buffy and
Melanie browsed around the gift shops and the arcade. They
played two games of air hockey and fed a small fortune in
quarters into the different video games and pinball machines.
When William rejoined them, they sat at a small table with an
umbrella awning over it and had lunch. After they finished,
William bought Melanie a box of popcorn and he and Buffy
watched her as she walked around tossing kernels to the tiny
sparrows that hopped around the ground practically at her feet.
"You having fun, love?"
Buffy smiled as he pulled her chair closer to his. "I'm
having more fun than I can ever remember having here
before. I mean...I've been here plenty of times, but..."
"Yeah," William nodded. "I know...me, too. And it's dif-
ferent, seeing it all over again through a child's eyes. Like
it's all brand new."
"Exactly." She leaned over and returned the light kiss
he placed on her lips.
When she began to pull away, he slipped one hand around
the back of her neck and prevented it. Nuzzling her ear, he
spoke quietly. "Can I ask you something kind of personal?"
"Of course you can. What?" she added when he hesitated.
"Well...it's this...have you ever thought...that you wanted to
have more children?"
The question, spoken so quietly, made Buffy's skin prickle
Truth was, she had always wanted to have at least three
children. Having grown up as an only child, she knew better
than most that it could be a lonely life. She hadn't lacked
for friends, but at the end of the day, when families withdrew
into the private cocoons of their own homes, she'd always
felt a bit left out.
After meeting and marrying Angel, in their first flush of
love and happiness, they had talked many times about
raising a big family full of kids. It wasn't until she was
locked into her commitment that she began to see the
other side of THAT coin, the side that wanted no part of
it until HE felt they were ready.
Even though she was only twenty-eight, Buffy knew that
women had just so much window of opportunity when it
came to reproduction. She didn't have a limitless supply
of eggs in her ovaries.
Her biological clock wasn't exactly ringing its alarm, but
it WAS ticking.
Sitting here now next to William, hearing him ask her that
question, it suddenly began sounding off like a police siren,
matching the loud boom-boom-boom of her rapidly beating
"You're really thinking that question over, aren't you?" he
asked, a small grin tugging at the corners of his mouth.
"Well...no. I mean, yes."
"No, you mean yes?" he chuckled. "Once more with clarity?"
Buffy's cheeks turned pink. "I meant that I wasn't...that I
just..." She sighed at her own tripping tongue, deciding
to just cut to the chase. "Yes...I want to have more children
someday." She took a deep breath. "I've always wanted
to have a big family."
"A house full of kids?"
She felt that same delectable chill creep up and down
her spine. Turning to face him, she opened her mouth to
"Mommy! Can we go see Small World now?" Melanie
skipped back to them and grabbed her mother's hand,
pulling on it. "Can we?"
"Um...yes. Sure we can, baby." Flustered, Buffy turned
her attention back to her daughter. Rising to her feet, she
firmly controlled the urge to let her knees quiver and began
gathering up the remnants of their meal.
"And the boats, Mommy?" Melanie asked. "And can we
ride on the train?"
Stuffing the trash in the can, Buffy nodded. "Yes, we can
ride on the train."