She slipped off his lap, standing on shaky knees. Taking both
his hands in her own, she pulled him to his feet and across the
room to the stairs.
As she placed her foot on the first riser, he made her stop
and turned her to face. Then, he picked her up, but not in the
usual 'carrying over the threshold' way. Instead, he plastered
his body against hers. Urging her to wrap her legs around his
waist, he carried her upstairs.
He paused for a moment so she could close Melanie's
bedroom door. She saw an uneasy expression cross his
face, and she quickly reassured him. "She won't wake up.
When she was a baby, I could vacuum right beneath her
crib and she wouldn't move a muscle. It kind of worried me at
first," she added as William proceeded down the hall to the
bedroom she was pointing at. "But when I told her pedia-
trician about it, he looked at me like I was crazy."
"Why's that?" William asked, pushing her bedroom door
open with one foot, then closing it behind him.
"Because most parents complain when their babies don't
sleep ENOUGH." she explained. "And there I was complain-
ing that mine was sleeping too much."
He smiled, setting her on her feet. "I see what you mean."
They stood for a moment in silence, both of them displaying
a little of the awkwardness caused by the enormity of what
they were about to do.
But, when Buffy finally kicked herself into drive and reached
to unbutton his shirt, he stopped her. "I need you to know
something," he said seriously.
She could sense a warning coming, but wasn't sure of
exactly which side of the fence it would land on. Torn
between breathing hard and hardly breathing, she nodded.
"It's just...this isn't a one night stand. I've had my share of
those and I know the difference. I want...I want more from
A bolt of excitement raced up and down her spine at his
words. "What do you want?"
"I want...everything," he said firmly. "Everything you're
willing to give me."
When he spoke that way, there was nothing that she
wouldn't give him.
"You'd better be sure of that," she said, lifting one hand
to caress the side of his face. "Cause I've got an awful lot to
William turned his head. Closing his eyes, he placed a lingering
kiss in the palm of her hand. "Give it to me, Buffy."
His lips were on hers before she could say a word, and then
everything else in her mind slipped away. All she could think
about was how good it felt to have this man's arms around her,
strong and secure. She'd been sailing her emotional ship through
storm tossed seas for too long; now she'd finally found a safe
harbor...and she never planned to leave it again.
As his tongue parted her lips, he held her face in his hands to
keep her still. Dipping into her mouth, he teased and explored.
Buffy's hands were clutching his upper arms, her fingers
caressing the hard muscle of his biceps. When his hands
moved around, sliding down to her waist and pulling her lower
body more firmly against his, she moaned softly into his
Pulling away to allow them both to breathe, he turned her
in his arms and sat down on the end of the bed. He parted his
legs and pulled her closer until she was standing between them.
Buffy took a deep breath and stared down into blue eyes that
were dark with desire. William stared right back, reaching for
the buttons of her blouse.
There were only five buttons for him to deal with, and once
he had the last one undone, he parted the sides of her shirt,
gazing with undisguised lust at her bare skin and lacy, pink
The zipper on the back of her skirt slid down before she even
knew his hands were there. The cotton garment pooled around
her feet, leaving her clad in just her underwear.
She felt a brief moment of embarrassment. It had been a
very long time since anyone had seen her undressed. Her
body was in pretty good shape...taking care of a six year
old, a home, and a business kept her on her toes, plus she
had a relatively fast metabolism that kept her from gaining
weight...but having a child caused permanent changes that
she couldn't control.
Her tummy, for instance. It was flat once again, but not as
hard and toned as it had been before. There was a definite
softness in her lower belly where the muscles and skin had
stretched to accommodate a growing baby.
William's hands moved around her back and unfastened her
bra with amazing finesse. He dropped the pink lace on the
floor and licked his lips. "God, you're beautiful."
Buffy blushed. "Well, I'm not the fresh, young thing I once
was," she said, hoping to amuse him. She knew perfectly
well that her breasts were no longer the perky handfuls they'd
been before she'd given birth. Motherhood had made them
fuller and heavier, and had darkened the light pink of her
nipples to a deeper shade of rose.
But William didn't seem put off in the slightest. Actually, he
seemed just the opposite as he leaned forward and nuzzled
the warm flesh of her stomach. "You're perfect," he said
softly, looking back up at her. "Buffy...you've nurtured life
inside of you here." He placed his hand over her abdomen,
his thumb brushing caressingly back and forth. "And you've
nursed a child," he added, laying an airy kiss on the soft skin
between her breasts. "I think you're lovely. Every inch of you."
He was completely sincere. To him, she was the embodiment
of 'woman', far more so than the dangerously thin females that
moved through his normal social circle; the ones who rarely
ate nourishing meals, and who had memberships at every gym,
spa, and health resort on the West Coast.
Buffy was slender, but softly rounded in all the right places. She
had no harsh angles or sharp curves. You couldn't see her ribs
defined beneath her skin, or her hip bones jutting out. She was all
smooth skin and warm, tender mounds of flesh.
Slipping his fingers into the elastic band of her panties, he tugged
them down until they fell down to the floor and she stepped
out of them. Then he sat back and let his eyes travel up and
down her petite frame.
The crotch of his jeans was uncomfortably tight, a situation that
had to dealt with before damage was done.
He turned her as he pulled her down on the bed, then kicked his
shoes off and unbuttoned his shirt.
Buffy watched, so engrossed in what she was seeing that she
forgot to be conscious of her own nudity.
Talk about beautiful bodies. She'd had no idea he was hiding such
nicely defined muscles beneath his clothes. An inch or so over
average height, he was on the lean side. There was no extra flesh
hanging around his waist. His upper biceps were well cut and
strong looking, and his abdomen was a work of art.
He was beautifully muscled, without looking overblown and
His chest was smooth, his skin unblemished, and only a
light scattering of gold hair grew on his lower belly, descending
below his belt.
Her silent admiration was interrupted by the sound of his pants
being unzipped, and when she looked up, she found him kneeling
on the bed. Grinning like a teenage boy about to lose his
virginity, he dropped onto his hands and crawled up and over
her, his belt and the fly of his jeans hanging open.
"Hi there," he said, dipping his head down to kiss the side of
her neck. He gave her no opportunity to answer, but immediately
captured her lips beneath his and kissed her deeply, no longer
coy with his tongue.
She could have gone on kissing him for hours, he was so adept
at it, but when he left her mouth to trail his lips down her throat
and find the curve of her breast, she didn't try to hold him back.
His wet mouth closed over one nipple, and she felt an electric
current zap her brain waves as he sucked at her.
"Oh...I like that," she murmured, just in case he was thinking
"Mm-hmm?" he hummed, sucking harder. The vibration his
voice made was an interesting sensation, and she groaned.
As he moved his attention to her other breast, he lowered
himself down until his hips were wedged between her thighs,
nudging them apart. "Buffy," he whispered against her skin. "Touch
She didn't hesitate to comply. Placing her hands on his
shoulders, she trailed them down his back until she came to
the waistband of his trousers. Her fingers played there, inching
just slightly beneath the heavy denim.
Rolling his head between her breasts, he gasped. "Such soft
little hands. I love your touch." His tongue darted out and
swirled around the peaks, licking them with rough strokes.
Buffy arched her back, clutching the sides of his jeans where
they rested low on his hips.
"Push them down," he directed her, sucking languidly on
one erect nipple.
She shoved them down as far as she could with her hands,
then used her feet to push them all the way off. There was no
underwear to bother with.
With her eyes closed, she heard him exhale, "Better." He
then propped his weight up on one arm, freeing his right
hand. It slipped down between the mounds of her breasts,
over her abdomen, then into the 'V' of her thighs.
Before she consciously knew what he was doing, he was
moving down on the bed. Laying between her wide spread
legs, he dipped his head and licked her.
"Well, look what I've found," he said, looking up at her
and smirking, then going back down.
He didn't waste any time, but went straight for the
good parts with another long, slow lick up her labia.
His hands slipped beneath her bottom, lifting her to his
mouth and sliding his tongue all the way inside her.
He took a firmer grip on the cheeks of her ass and
jerked her against his mouth with short back and
Buffy stared up at the ceiling with glazed eyes,
wallowing in the erotic intimacy they were engaging in.
Her fingers groped blindly, sinking into the silk of his hair
and holding him harder as she strained towards orgasm.
Forcing his tongue in even deeper, he held still, allowing
her to grind herself against his face.
Buffy's neck arched into a rigid arc as her natural juices
flowed into his open mouth. When he tasted that, he knew
she was very close and he withdrew his tongue and latched
on to her clitoris, sucking voraciously.
Her lower body jerked hard with her pleasure, and she bit her
lower lip almost to the point of bleeding to hold back a scream
Much to her surprise, he didn't stop; he just kept on licking
her gently, bringing her down from off the ceiling.
William moved back and looked up at her.
Buffy caught the look and blushed, wondering how long he'd
been watching her.
"You still with me, honey?"
Although his tone was light, his need was not. Sitting up
for a moment, he gave Buffy her first long look at his erection.
The only other penis she'd seen close up belonged to her
ex-husband. Comparatively speaking, Angel once again came
up short; weighed, measured, and found wanting.
William's shaft was long and hard as tempered steel. It
extended straight out from his body, brazenly flaunting his
She wanted to touch it.
When he felt her fingers on him, he moaned, his eyes
slowly drifting closed. She squeezed and fondled him
until semen began to leak from the slit, lubricating her
caress. Her hand pumped up and down, making wet
He suddenly pulled away with a loud grunt. With his jaw
clenched tight, he reached for his pants and pulled a small
packet out of the front pocket.
She'd never had sex with a rubber barrier involved. Angel had
been her one and only lover, and they'd never bothered with
She watched as he rolled the condom on. He tossed the
wrapper aside, and she picked it up to look at it.
"Hey!" she said brightly. "Ribbed for my pleasure."
He laughed. "Only for you, baby."
With the shield in place, he returned to his previous
place between her legs. Kneeling, he sat back on his
heels and pulled her forward until her legs were straddling
his thighs. He positioned himself for penetration, then
told her to look down...to watch...as he slowly buried
There was some initial discomfort, but it faded quickly
in the face of the gentle thrusting he was doing.
Buffy felt wonderfully filled by him, lifting her hips to
meet his thrusts.
"Oh, yeah," William whispered hoarsely. "That's it. Keep
His words increased her arousal, making her even hotter
Her head thrashed on the pillow, and then he lunged
forward suddenly. Stretching out on top of her, he began
thrusting harder and faster, spurred on by her soft cries.
He was almost delirious with the slick and hot friction,
the tightening of her internal muscles around his penis
sending a jolt of pleasure up and down its length.
"Buffy...yes...fuck, yes..uh..." He grunted with each
thrust. "So good...tight...mine....you...mine...ah..."
She heard a roaring in her ears, a flood, a tidal wave,
getting closer, heading for her. Bringing up one hand,
she curved it around the back of William's neck, pressing
his hot face more firmly against her damp skin. The
other hand moved down and took a hold of his rear,
digging her nails in lightly.
Any control he'd managed to hang on to was now
slipping away from him. All he could do was abandon
it and hope for the best.
His hips began churning more powerfully, slamming into
her with a force that would probably leave a bruise. But she
wasn't complaining, wasn't trying to get away, wasn't
telling him to stop or even to slow down.
Her words, panted into his ear, were whispered pleas for
him to go faster...harder...deeper. Never to stop.
"Buffy," he groaned. "I'm gonna come...oh, god...baby...do
it...do it with me...please, baby...please..."
Planting her feet flat on the bed, Buffy rose to meet his
downward thrust. They both stopped, grinding and
pushing their loins together, caught in the grip of an
explosive mutual orgasm.
When it was over, they collapsed, his body falling
heavily onto hers as they both tried to catch their
"So," Buffy said, stroking his shoulders and his back. "One
down and four to go?"
He chuckled. "Give me a minute," he panted, "and
I'll take a shot at it."
"Do you feel like talking?"
Buffy turned on her side and smiled into William's
eyes. "Sure. What about?"
He shrugged, looking almost boyishly shy for a moment. "How
about what just happened?"
She considered the question, fairly sure he wasn't requesting
a rating between 1 and 10 on his performance. It was
definitely a solid 10, there was no doubt about it, but William
didn't seem like the kind of man to need that sort of reassurance,
which had to mean that he was ready to discuss the emotional
implications of the act.
Problem was, she didn't know quite what they were just yet.
Oh, she knew enough to satisfy herself that what had occurred
between them was in no way a mistake. Perhaps it had happened
a little sooner than it should have, but they'd both been willing
participants and were both well over the age of consent.
And she knew that he cared for her in some way. He'd made
that more than clear when he'd told her that she wasn't a one
night stand for him. He hadn't needed to say that. She'd been
ready, willing and able to go to bed with him before he'd made
that statement, and had he NOT made it, she wouldn't
have done any differently
Unsure of how to say everything she felt, she worked at
collecting her thoughts.
"How do you feel about me?" he asked, moving close enough
to drape his arm across her waist.
"I think you're wonderful." The words tumbled out of her mouth
before she could stop them, making her cheeks flush.
William didn't seem to notice. "Why?" he asked, with perfect
She could see by the look on his face that he really wanted an
answer, and could sense an inner desperation, as though he'd
been lied to in the past, or not cared about for the right reasons;
not wanted for WHO he was, but for WHAT he was.
"Because," she said, touching his cheek and smiling when he
instantly turned his head to kiss her palm, "you're gentle, and
you're funny, and you make me feel things that I haven't felt in
so long I'd forgotten how. You genuinely care about total strangers.
I mean...I watched you at the convention, and you were...were
really THERE. You were giving all your attention to the people who
came there to see you. When they asked you questions, you
looked right at them, and you listened to what they had to say.
People you'll likely never see again...you made them feel like
friends. Signing all those autographs...you didn't seem to mind
how long it took. God, I get grouchy if I have to sign too many
Christmas cards. But you were so patient, so friendly with every-
It seemed to be what he needed to hear. Moving a little closer in
the bed, he kissed her with amazing tenderness.
"So....you like me, then?" he asked, kissing the tip of her
"Yes. Very much."
"That's good to know. Because I sort of...well, I....."
Once again, he seemed surprisingly shy about articulating
his thoughts, a trait she found endearing considering
the profession he was in.
He shook his head, laughing a little at his own clumsiness. "You
know what you said about feeling things you haven't felt in
years? It's the same for me."
Rolling onto his back, he stared at the ceiling with one hand
behind his head.
"I'm not going to lie to you, Buffy. I've had a lot of women interested
in me for one reason or another. Some of it was real and some of it
wasn't. Believe me, I'm not trying to sound like a conceited jerk
here, but a lot of it was because of the show. There were some
women who couldn't have cared less about me...as long as the show
was in the top 10 every week. Some of them were more interested
in what I could do for them career wise."
Buffy suspected this was all very true, and she was a little
surprised that he wasn't a more cynical person because of it.
Somehow, he'd retained an inner sweetness that couldn't have been
easy for him to hold on to in the world he lived in.
"Well," she said, propping her head on her hand, "that's their
loss, isn't it?"
William turned his head and smiled at her. "You know, I think
you're wonderful, too."
"You do, huh?" She struggled to sound as though her heartbeat
hadn't just quadrupled.
"Yeah," he nodded, pushing a lock of her hair off her cheek. "When
I first saw you at the convention, I was so attracted to you. I felt
this...this pull towards you...and, now..."
Breathless, she waited out the pause.
"I think about you all the time," he said softly. "I miss you when
we're apart. That's never happened to me before with anyone
"Please don't tell me it's too soon." He hushed her with one
finger touching her upper lip. "Because there's nothing I can do
Gently, she pushed his hand away, but held on to it. "That's not
what I was going to say," she informed him, guiding his hand
to her breast.
He drew an unsteady breath. "What, then?"
Now, it was Buffy's turn to be shy. "I was going to ask you to
make love to me again," she forced out. "But now..."
His warm fingers closed around her breast, squeezing it
"I think...I want to make love to you instead."
Actually, she'd never been more certain of anything. Not
just because she found him desirable or had feelings
for him, but also because she needed to give him a physical
demonstration of those feelings and show him that they
were very real, that all she wanted from him was him-
Her words had quite an effect on him. He breathed in
deeply as his eyes darkened to sapphire gems, kindling
The sight both aroused and worried her. Now that she'd
made the overture, she wasn't quite sure where to start,
never having been the aggressor in sexual matters.
In the beginning, with Angel, her youth and her rather
sheltered upbringing had made her too reserved to
initiate intimacy. By the time she was over it, he had
already started sleeping around and the love she'd once
felt had turned to suspicion and then to revulsion, poison-
ing everything between them, seeping into her like icy
lake water and making her cold to him...frigid, as he'd
never hesitated to point out.
In fact, in the midst of their divorce, he'd tried to make
it seem like his unfaithfulness was more HER fault than
HIS, claiming that after Melanie's birth, Buffy had been so
wrapped up in her baby that she'd neglected her husband,
forcing him to find comfort in other women's beds.
Knowing that it took two people to either make a marriage
work or tear it apart, she'd been willing to take a share of
the blame. But, even as far back as their college days
courtship, Angel had been a philanderer at heart, and she'd
been stupid to think that marriage and fatherhood would
Now, of course, she knew that she was far from frigid. Light
years away, in fact. Her encounter with William had been
the proof of it.
Whatever ice may have been formed inside
of her during her failing marriage was melting in the
heat he caused so effortlessly, a warmth that started
in her center and radiated throughout her body.
Buffy was certain that there wasn't a woman alive who
could be frigid with him around.
"What do you feel when I touch you?" she whispered.
He smiled expectantly. "Touch me," he whispered
back, "and I'll describe it for you."
Starting at the top, her hand caressed his face, stroking
the fine bone structure with her thumb. It glided down his
throat and explored his pectorals before continuing its
She smiled when he moved invitingly closer, bending her
head to kiss the hard layer of muscle below his rib cage.
"Well," he said hoarsely, "the first word that comes to mind
is.." One hand began to stroke her hair as she teased
him with more soft kisses, moving down lower. "Torture."
"Really?" She was delighted. "Want me to stop?" she
asked, dipping her tongue into the cup of his navel.
"Christ, no!" he said, coming down hard on the 'no'.
Her hand reached down and took a firm hold on his
fully erect organ, giving it a gentle squeeze that made
him groan out loud.
"Harder," he begged. "Slide your hand up and down
like....yeah, like that...just like that." His hips lifted a
little, thrusting him into her closed fist. "Jesus, Buffy.
I don't think my cock's ever been so hard."
His comment increased her own building arousal.
This was something very new for her...erotic talking
as foreplay. Angel's pillow talk had mostly consisted of
directions; 'Move up a little...raise your legs...hold
Buffy liked William's approach better. She wanted to
"Tell me what you want," she said, rubbing her cheek
against his upper thigh.
"I want you to...to keep doing that...keep touching me
She shook her head. That wasn't what she wanted to
hear. "No, say it the right way."
His eyes had been closed. Now, he opened them,
looking down and meeting her intent gaze.
It wasn't difficult to see what she meant. Still...
"Are you sure, babe?"
Her silence and one arched eyebrow convinced him.
"All right then," he said, his voice deepening. "I want
you to play with my cock. Squeeze it and rub it."
Now, THESE were directions she could get used to!
Her hand continued pumping slowly, alternating her
strokes with squeezes. "Is that what you want?"
"Yeah," he nodded, swallowing hard at the deliciously
wanton sight of her crouching between his spread legs.
His erection was almost touching her lips. Hoping he
wasn't being overly graphic for her, he said, "I'd love
to feel your mouth on it."
She brought the head of his shaft to her lips, placing an
airy kiss on it. "And?"
Sensing that she wanted it more plainly said, he dis-
carded gentility. "Take my cock in your mouth. Suck on
it," he demanded, pushing himself more firmly against
At this point, she was too aroused to resist or tease.
Holding his hips, she allowed his length to slide smoothly
into her mouth. She tasted moisture and salt on her
tongue, an intoxicating flavor.
His moans of pleasure told her that she must be doing
something right. Gaining confidence, she bathed him in
tenderly sucking caresses, swirl and fluttering her tongue
around the head of his penis.
He threw his head back, arching his hips higher to get
deeper inside. Buffy felt a thrill of feminine power at the
sight and sound of him lying before her, needing her so
desperately. Cupping his testicles in her hand, she held
them gently as her mouth moved up and down.
When he let out a harsh grunt and pushed her away, she
was dazed and surprised. Still holding him in her hand, she
could feel the pulsing throb of the orgasm he'd been getting
close to having.
Looking up at him, she shook her hair out of her eyes. "What's
"Nothing," he said, striving for control. "I don't want to come
yet." Looking into her eyes, he tangled his fingers in her
hair and urged her back up to him. "I want to fuck you first,"
he whispered hotly in her ear.
The power and dominance she'd felt before changed hands
instantly. Now, she was the one made helpless by his words
and deeds, letting them sweep her along on hot waves of
With his hands on her shoulders, William turned her over
until she was lying on her stomach. He straddled her hips,
one knee pressing down into the mattress on either side
of her. Moving down a little, he lowered his head and kissed
the small of her back, then tongued the length of her
"Like this," he murmured against her damp skin. "I want to
take you from behind."
Although he didn't ask, she could tell he was waiting for her
to accept or deny the whole idea. Pressing her scarlet cheek
against the pillow, she nodded.
He said something she couldn't understand through the
drum of her heart beat pounding in her ears, and took a
firm hold on her hips, pulling her back until she was on her
"Grab on to the headboard," he said, his voice a fierce
Buffy wrapped her fingers around the cold brass, waiting.
Pressing himself against her thighs, his fingers slid around
her hips into the wet heat of her sex, seeking her clit and
coaxing pleasure out of her with gentle persistence.
Her mouth felt dry from all the panting she was doing. Lick-
ing her lips, she concentrated on his touch.
"God....you're so responsive," he marveled. "So wet for
Tiny orgasmic shivers rippled through her every time he
pinched her clitoris, whetting her appetite for the one that would
rock the foundations of the house.
William sucked in a deep breath. Taking himself in hand, he
rolled on another condom and then eased into her a little at a time,
drawing out the pleasure of penetration. When he was completely
buried in her heat, he grabbed her hips again and ground against her,
gasping when he felt her tightening around his cock.
He looked down at the place where their bodies were joined,
nearly undone by the sight of his shaft sliding in and out of
her, wet and shiny when it emerged from the slick, tight
recess of her body.
The bedsprings rocked as they moved together. She was so
wet and soft that he could finally abandon control and fuck
her deep and hard without fear of hurting her.
With her eyes closed and her head tilted back, she seemed
to him like the perfect picture of sensual woman, all soft
rounded curves and smooth, scented skin. Her back dipped
so fetchingly that he had to take one hand and slide it down
the surface of her flesh to see how it felt.
"Buffy," he groaned out. "Push back against me...harder...ah,
that's it...that's good...you like this?"
All she could do was nod and make some incomprehensible
sound to signal him that she was highly pleased.
Suddenly, he needed her closer. Sliding one arm around her
waist, he pulled her back on her knees until their bodies
were pressed firmly together. With nothing to hold on to, she
slipped one arm behind his neck when he leaned down to nuzzle
Locking his arms tightly around her, he began thrusting harder
and faster, breathing in the floral fragrance of her hair, mixed
with the more earthy scent of raw sex.
"Come on, sweetheart," he urged. "Come for me...I want to
feel you come...all over me...so wet and hot...I need it...I
need YOU ...baby...yes...feels so good...so sweet."
He drove into her over and over again. Buffy gasped for
breath, nearly screaming when she felt him use one finger
to play with her clitoris.
That was all she needed to send her over the top. Her
internal muscles clamped down hard, trapping him inside
her as she orgasmed.
The feel of her spasming around him brought on his own
climax. Biting his lip to hold back a shout of pleasure, he
pushed her down on the mattress and delivered three more
thrusts before he erupted.
When he began ejaculating, he pulled out and stripped off
the condom, then burrowed his cock between the tight
sheath of her inner thighs, grinding his pelvis as the hot
fluid spewed out of him.
After it was over, they lay tangled together on the mussed
bedsheets, waiting for their breathing to regulate and their
bodies to calm down.
"See?" he murmured in her ear, stroking and fondling and
petting her all over. "Wonderful."
Being held so close that their hearts pounded in unison,
Buffy nodded. "Yes. You are."
"WE are," he insisted. "You..and me...together."
A short time later, William rolled over in bed and checked
"I hate to say this, but I guess I should go. If I fall asleep
here, you'll never wake me up."
Buffy sat up in bed and wrapped the sheet around her
upper body, watching him get dressed. She knew he was
doing the right thing, and she knew he was doing it because
he didn't want confuse or upset Melanie should she awaken
and come looking for her mother.
A tiny smile formed on her lips. If he only knew.
"What are you smiling at?" he asked, sitting down next
She shook her head. "It's nothing."
"Oh, come on. That's mean. You can't do that to me."
Looking up at him, she made a snap decision, hoping it
was the right one and wouldn't send him running for the
"It's about Melanie. Something she said."
"Well, I want to know," he insisted. "Tell me."
Buffy sighed. If he was going to run, she'd just as soon
find out now. "Okay. Remember I told you about 'share
time' in school? When she talked about you?"
"Yeah. And the kids didn't believe her."
"But I fixed that...didn't I?"
"Yes," she assured him. "But she said something else about
"Tell me," he prompted again.
Well...he was asking for it. "She said that you were going
to be her...her new...daddy."
Sitting back against the headboard, she watched as a
slow smile appeared on his face.
"Really? She said that?"
So far, he wasn't running. He actually looked almost...proud.
"Yeah, she did."
"You think she wants me to be?"
Buffy just shrugged and nodded.
There was a short silence, then William reached for her
hand. "Tell me about her father."
Feedback? It cheers me.
The knowledge that, sooner or later, she would have
to get around to discussing Angel had never been far
from Buffy's mind.
Ever since William had made it clear that he had more
than a passing interest in her and Melanie, she'd figured
it was only a matter of finding the right time and place.
She just wasn't sure that this was it.
After sharing such a life altering experience, one that
had left her more than a little dazed, the last person
on earth she wanted to even think about was her
cheating ex-husband. It felt like a weird sacrilege
to follow the best lovemaking she'd ever been treated to
with such an unpleasant subject.
But William seemed determined to get it out in the
open, so she took a moment to try and collect her
He must have sensed her reluctance to talk about it,
since she was being careful not to let her facial ex-
pression give her away.
"I'm sorry. Am I being too pushy?"
Buffy shook her head. "No, it's not that. I knew we'd
be talking about it...."
He was silent for a long moment, then gave her a rather
lopsided smile. "I'd kind of like to get him out of the way
Obviously, he wasn't going to drop the subject.
"Well...Angel and I met in college," she said, reaching for
her robe where it was draped carelessly over an armchair.
"Angel? Your ex's name is Angel?"
Working her arms into the robe, Buffy smiled at the note of
derision he couldn't disguise. "His mother had this sort of
mixture of flower power and born again christian thing going
on. He has a younger sister named Heaven."
"Angel and Heaven? They must have had fun in school."
"Anyway...he was studying law and I was a history major. My
best friend took me to a party at his fraternity, and that's
where I met him. We started dating, and we got way too
serious, way too fast. I mean, we'd only been going out for
a few weeks before we were talking about getting married."
William watched as she climbed out of bed and crossed the
room. "You must have really loved him, then."
Buffy picked up her brush from the dresser and began to
pull it through her hair, just to give herself something to do
with her hands. "I didn't really know him," she replied, turning
to look at William. "Unfortunately, I didn't realize that until it
was too late. I was so starry eyed over him that I totally
missed all the little clues that should have warned me about
"And what would those clues have told you?"
Still tugging the brush rhythmically through her hair, she
sat on the end of the bed next to him.
"That he was controlling, and not completely grown up," she
admitted. "That he had a problem committing himself to anything
but his job...and that he probably wouldn't be faithful."
It still hurt to confess that, even to herself.
"He cheated on you?" William frowned. "He had YOU
to come home to....and that wasn't good enough for him?"
"Oh, not at first he didn't." She didn't want him to think
that she'd be stupid enough to go through with marrying
a man who was already fooling around before they made it
to the church. "That came later."
The brush caught on a nasty snarl. She yanked at it
harshly, but before she could tear through it, he took
it out of her hand and worked the tangle gently out of her
The feel of him brushing her hair, the intimacy of the act,
made her sigh blissfully. This was a man that knew what
he was doing. He never took a wrong step with her.
"Things were good at first. We had a lot in common,
liked doing the same things. Most of our friends were
couples, too, so we went out a lot. Restaurants and
clubs...stuff like that. His parents have a condo in Palm
Desert that they let us use whenever we wanted, so we'd
all go down in a big group for weekends."
Listening intently, William put the brush down and
gathered her hair into three equal portions, then started
"Right after he passed the bar, he was hired by Wolfram
and Hart, this mega-power law firm. That's when it all began
to change. He really wanted to go somewhere with them, as
far as he could, so we had to start socializing with a different
crowd. People at the firm, the senior partners and their
wives. You know...people who could "DO" things for him,
who could open doors. Our old friends just kind of...drifted
away, but he didn't care. Actually, he was kind of happy
about it. He said we really didn't have time for them, any-
way, and they'd just be holding us back."
Almost absentmindedly, he unraveled the braid he'd
"Just about everyone in our new crowd was older than
us, higher on the social scale...and he wanted to be up
there with them. We started attending art gallery openings
and saw plays that I didn't understand, not because he
really enjoyed it, but because it was a good place for us
to "be seen" by all the right people."
"And you hated it?"
"I went along with it," she sighed. "I wanted to see movies
and go to football games. Just have fun with people our own
age. But he didn't want that. I felt so cut off. He didn't want
me to work because people might think that he couldn't
support us. So, there I was...with nothing much going on for
me outside of making a home. It wasn't too long after that I found
out I was pregnant, and it was a BIG surprise!"
"But a good surprise, yes?"
Buffy nodded. "For me? Yeah. For Angel? Not so much. I
was on the pill, but it was making me nauseous, so my
doctor had to adjust the dosage. Somehow, during that
time, Melanie was conceived."
Not if she lived to see the dawning of a new ice age
would Buffy ever forget the look on Angel's face when she'd
announced her pregnancy. His shock and anger had taken
all the magic out of what should have been a beautiful
moment. During the argument that followed, he had even
alluded to the idea that she'd 'allowed' it to happen.
"Let me guess," William said. "He didn't want the baby."
It wasn't a question.
"We had this huge fight. He just kept telling me that it
wasn't the right time for that sort of thing. Not even close. He
wanted to be more established in his career, more successful
at it, and making a lot more money. One thing led to another,
and he finally stormed out with this sort of...backhanded
warning that he wasn't going to let ME be the one to hold
him back just because I'd gone and gotten myself pregnant."
"Got YOURSELF pregnant?" he echoed. "Well, THAT'S quite
Buffy picked at a loose thread of her robe. "He never came
out and asked me to do it...but I could tell he wanted me
"Okay, stop right there!" he said angrily. "I don't even want
to HEAR the rest of that sentence!"
And she didn't want to say it. It was probably the single most
painful truth of her life; the man her foolish young heart had
chosen as a soul mate hadn't wanted the baby they had created
together, and would have been willing to see it destroyed.
Swallowing the lump in her throat, she pressed on, wanting
this to be over with soon. "After she was born, it just got
worse and worse. I'll admit I was pulling away from him. I just
loved her so much...she was my whole world. Angel couldn't
deal with that. He'd always been the center of my universe,
same as he had been with his parents. He had no interest in
Melanie at all. Sometimes, I think he forgot she was even
there. It got so bad that I was afraid to go to the store unless
I took her with me. I didn't want her to need something and
have him ignore her while she cried."
"Christ," William muttered under his breath. He pulled her
closer and wrapped his arms tightly around her. "That's
enough. I get the picture. I don't want to hear another word
Buffy pressed herself against his warm, hard body. "Well, now
you know why she said that at school," she said, turning her
head to look at him. "She really loves you, you know?"
He tightened his embrace. "I love her, too."
The tension in her body began to drain away, leaving her
soft and pliable in his arms. "She turned down a trip to Disney-
land in favor of that convention," she told him, lightening the
mood a little. "If that's not love, I don't know what is."
"She did? Wow...I feel so honored," he replied. "I won out over
Buffy laughed. "It was a birthday she'll never forget, because of
He pulled back in surprise. "It was her birthday?"
"Mm-hmm. Her sixth. I offered to take her to Disneyland or
give her a party, but she chose the convention instead."
"I missed her birthday? Damn it!"
"Well...technically you didn't. You were there."
"Yeah, but I didn't know."
He was really disappointed, and Buffy couldn't help
thinking that, had he been Melanie's father, every one of
her birthdays would have been celebrated in high style. He
certainly wouldn't have skipped her party for a romp in bed
with his latest extra curricular activity.
"Hey, I've got an idea," he said, pulling her out of her
musings. "Let's take her to Disneyland. We'll have an extra
birthday for her, since I missed it. We can spend the weekend
at the hotel and really do it up."
He sounded almost as excited as a child would at the
idea, and his enthusiasm was catching her up in it.
"Oh, she would love that! Are you sure, though? I mean,
it'll be awfully expensive?"
William just laughed. "Don't worry. I can afford it."
"I KNOW you can afford it. I just meant...."
He cut her off by pushing her flat on the bed and kissing
her until her toes curled. When he pulled back to smile down
at her, she placed one hand on his cheek. "I wish...." The
words were out of her mouth before she could stop them, making
her blush at her own boldness.
"What?" he asked. "What do you wish? Tell me, and I'll
make it happen."
"No, it's not that. I was just thinking..."
"Tell me," he insisted.
She took a deep breath and jumped. "I was thinking that...that
YOU should have been her father."
He was silent for a moment, thinking, then he came back with
a comment that nearly made her heart burst out of her chest.
"Buffy....I want to be her father."
(Am I making Angel out to be "too" horrible? I don't
want to overdo it.)
When the phone rang on Saturday morning, Buffy was
standing at the kitchen sink with a cereal bowl in her
hand, trying to chip off hardening bits of oatmeal from
As it always did these days, her heart rate kicked up
a notch. Drying her hands on a dishtowel, she picked
up on the second ring.
"Hi. Did I wake you up?" William asked.
She smiled. "No. We've just had breakfast."
"Damn. I wanted to catch you still in bed."
"So I could picture you there, all soft and warm,
with your hair spread out over the pillow, your
eyes sleepy and a little smile on your pretty face,
because you were dreaming about me."
He was painting a very appealing picture with his
words and the husky tone of his voice, and she felt
a pleasant shiver chase up and down her spine.
"Sorry," she replied. "But you'd have to call a lot
earlier to do that. Melanie's up with the birds."
"Are you busy today?"
Surprisingly, she wasn't. Both Willow and Anya would
be opening the store, and she had no pressing errands
"Because I was thinking," he went on, "I have to take the
dogs in for their rabies shots around noon, but after that
I'm free. How about if I come and get you two and take
you out to lunch?"
Buffy was agreeable, so they made their plans and
said goodbye. After finishing the breakfast dishes,
she went upstairs to tell Melanie that William was
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It was almost one o'clock when she came down and
found Melanie kneeling on the couch. She was facing
backwards, staring out the window and watching for
William's car to pull into the driveway.
Just for something to do, Buffy picked up Melanie's
pink backpack and began to empty out the previous
weeks worth of corrected homework papers, a wadded
up sweatshirt with a grape juice stain she'd never seen
before, a Cinderella lunch box, and notices from the
school about upcoming events that required either her
participation or a hefty donation to the cause.
Smoothing out a piece of slightly crumpled blue paper,
she sighed when she read the heading, remembering
when this same notice had come home last year to
inform her of the upcoming breakfast banquet the
school was having for the children and their fathers.
Melanie had been very excited about it a year ago. The
pizza lunch for the kids and their mothers had been a
great success, and she hadn't quite lost all her faith in
her father's promises at that point. Angel had agreed to
attend, had even marked the day down on his calendar
while Melanie had him on the phone.
Then, the night before the event, his firm had sent him to
Spain to handle an emergency for one of their wealthier
clients. He'd called on his way to the airport, after Melanie
had gone to bed, leaving Buffy to break the news in the
morning. Not wanting Melanie to be the only child in her
class whose father wasn't there, she kept the little girl
home from school that day and took her to the park
"Hey...I see they're having another breakfast party," she
"Uh-huh," Melanie replied, leaning forward to see if the
car turning the corner belonged to William.
Trying to keep an encouraging smile on her face, Buffy
asked, "Do you want to call your dad and invite him?"
The little girl just shrugged. "Maybe later."
Buffy set the flyer down on the coffee table. Without
her meaning it to, her mind drifted back to the
other night when she and William had made love, after
which he'd made that startling declaration about
wanting to be Melanie's father.
Although she didn't remember planning it that way, her
facial expression must have been somewhere between
disbelieving and totally flabbergasted. He'd apparently felt
as though he'd said too much, too soon, and had offered up
a stumbling explanation of what he'd meant; that he would
be happy to assume any kind of 'fatherly' type role Melanie
might need him to play. He'd been so pleased that he'd been
able to rescue her from the unkind taunts of her school mates
that he wanted to be there for her if she should need him
for anything else.
Buffy had almost laughed at his nervous backpedaling,
assuring him that she knew exactly what he'd meant by
his words. When she'd thought it over later, she'd
come to the conclusion that it had been an impulsive
remark on his part, no doubt prompted by his obvious
dislike...sight unseen...of Melanie's biological father.
But he was far too sensitive and intuitive to consciously
try to shove Angel out of his daughter's life at this point
in what was still a very new relationship.
Still, he HAD offered, she mused, eying the paper
she'd placed on the table. Certainly, Melanie would be
On the other hand, maybe it WAS pushing things along
too quickly. If William volunteered to attend this function
with Melanie, it was liable to give rise to all sorts of wrong
impressions, especially to Melanie herself.
Her rambling thought patterns were terminated when
Melanie suddenly jumped off the couch. "He's here!" the
little girl announced, flinging open the front door.
Deciding to think about it later, Buffy followed Melanie out
onto the porch just in time to see her streak past William,
who was halfway up the sidewalk, and head straight for
his car instead.
Since he'd parked by the curb and not in the driveway,
the child was able to see in the windows of the SUV.
After trying hard to peer through the dark tinted glass, she
finally turned and looked at William. "No doggies?" she
asked, clearly disappointed to find that he hadn't brought
his canine pals along with him.
William glanced at Buffy helplessly, then walked
back to his car and ruffled Melanie's curls. "I'm sorry,
Pixie," he said sincerely. "I took them home before I
"Oh. Did they go to their doctor?" she asked, taking
the hand he held out for her and walking back up the
sidewalk with him.
"Yes. For their booster shots."
"I did that for school." She looked up at him. "Won't
they be lonely?"
He smiled. "No, they'll be fine. They have each other."
Buffy leaned against the door jamb, her arms folded
across her chest, watching them.
It quickly became clear that William wasn't going to
be able to stand letting Melanie down. "I think you're
right," he finally said, contradicting his previous statement.
"They might get lonely. Maybe we should go back to my
house and keep them company. You know, I've told
them all about you, and they can't wait to meet you."
"Can we go do that, Mommy?" she asked her
Buffy smiled at her. "I don't see why not."
Melanie wasn't the sort of child who jumped up and
down clapping her hands in excitement when a treat
was promised, but she more than made up for it with
the sweetness of her smile.
William had no resistance whatsoever. "Great,"
he said, then asked, "Do you have a bathing suit?"
"You run up and get it, then," he instructed her.
Without even pausing to ask why, she obeyed.
After she was up the stairs, he joined Buffy on the
front porch. Sliding one arm around her waist, he pulled
her against him and kissed her.
"What about YOU?" he murmured, biting gently on her
earlobe. "Have you got a bathing suit? Something
"I have one." Her smile was teasing. "I'm not sure it's
all that sexy."
"How about I be the judge of that?"
Disentangling herself before her legs stopped working,
she went upstairs after Melanie, only stopping to grab
the school flyer from the coffee table and slip it into the
back pocket of her jeans.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
His house was in the Hollywood Hills area of Los
Angeles. Alone, it sat nestled at the very end of a
long private driveway that was lined on both sides by
dense foliage and huge shade trees.
William pulled in to a three car garage, parking the
SUV alongside a silver Carrera, and cut the engine.
He escorted them through the double front doors,
and into a large foyer. Buffy's jaw dropped when she
looked straight ahead across the living room through
a large picture window, amazed at the panoramic view
of the surrounding hills and canyons.
"Oh, my gosh," she whispered, taking it all in. "What
He nodded. "Part of the reason I bought it. Wait'll you
see it at night."
A sliding glass door next to the window opened out onto
the patio. There was a redwood deck with a built in jacuzzi
off to one side and, beyond that, a swimming pool's
turquoise blue water shimmered in the warm afternoon sun.
Melanie clung to Buffy's hand as William gave them a
quick tour of the house. There were four bedrooms, each
with their own private bath; the large living room with a
stone fireplace on the far wall; a family room; a formal
dining room; and the biggest kitchen Buffy had ever been
in, with a breakfast nook in one sunny little alcove.
"So, what do you think?" He seemed anxious to know
"I think it's beautiful," she said honestly.
"How about you, Pixie?" He knelt beside Melanie. "You
like it here?"
"Yes,"she nodded, looking around. "Where do the
William chuckled. "Pretty much anywhere they want to."
he told her. "But right now, they're in the side yard.
Come on and meet them."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As Buffy had imagined, it was love at first sight
between Melanie and the dogs.
Belle, the labrador, was calm and good natured. She
sniffed the newcomers up one side and down the other,
then stood still and accepted the over abundant affection
Melanie lavished on her without complaint.
Sam, the poodle, was the antithesis of Belle. He was all
wriggling silliness and ran around them in circles, yapping
his tiny lungs out for attention.
It didn't take Melanie long to discover a couple of slobbery
tennis balls hidden in the grass. She threw them as far as
her small arms could propel them, and the dogs patiently
brought them back, time after time, dropping them at her
Buffy sat on a small retaining wall that surrounded a clump
of bushes that hadn't been pruned in what looked like years,
watching her daughter play with the dogs. William stood next
to her, one foot up on the wall, his thumbs stuck casually
through the belt loops of his jeans.
After fifteen minutes, Melanie announced that the dogs
were thirsty. She spotted two large silver water bowls on
the patio and dumped out the old water, refilling them with
a garden hose. Belle and Sam drank loudly, snuffling their
noses in the water as Melanie knelt beside them, patting
them gently on their backs.
When the animals had drunk their fill, they collapsed in
the shade of a tree close to the back wall. Melanie wiped
her hands on the grass and trotted back to her mother.
"Having fun?" Buffy asked her, smoothing down her hair.
"I like your dogs" she told William, squinting up at him
through the sun. "Is it time for their lunch?"
He sat on the wall next to Buffy, pulling Melanie onto
his knee. "I guess it could be," he said. "And I think it's
time for our lunch, too."
"Are you hungry?" she asked him, slinging one arm
around his neck as he stood up.
"I could eat. How about you?"
"I could eat, too."
They both looked down at Buffy. "Oh, I get it," she said,
standing up and brushing off the seat of her pants. "Some-
thing tells me that the 'out for lunch' plan is scuttled, right?
Is it time for old mom to see what's in the kitchen?"
"Well," William replied, "we could still go out...but it's so
hot.." He gave Melanie a little squeeze. "and I think
Melanie wants to try out the pool."
"Mommy is a really good cook," Melanie added.
Buffy smiled archly at her daughter. "Flattery will get
you everywhere, cookie," she said. "Let's go see what's
in the kitchen."
"Yay!" Melanie cheered.
"Yay!" William echoed. He tossed the child up
and caught her easily, then did it again when she
squealed with laughter.
Buffy stood there, watching them play, feeling that
notice from the school practically burning a hole in
her back pocket.
(Still with me on this one?)
Title: Acting The Part
Disclaimer: None of the BtVS
characters belong to me.
Feedback: Love some, thanks.
Rating: Up to NC-17
Summary: AU. William St. James is
an actor in a hit television show. While
appearing at a fan convention, he meets
Buffy and her six year old daughter, Melanie.
After a quick examination of the contents of William's
refrigerator, Buffy began preparing a luncheon platter.
She sliced up apples and peeled oranges, separating
them into segments and pulling off the "white strings"
that Melanie disliked. She found a small container of
strawberries and washed them, then pulled off the husks
and added them to the plate, along with a bunch of
In the pantry, she spotted a can of pineapple chunks...a
particular favorite of Melanie's...and a box of wheat grain
crackers. On a whim, she went back to the refrigerator
and began checking the little doors on the side, smiling
when she found a brick of jack cheese. She took down
another plate and arranged the crackers on it, then sliced
slivers of the cheese on top of them.
In the very back of the freezer, she dug up a can of frozen
lemonade, then searched for something to mix it up in.
William had obviously never acquired a collection
of Tupperware, so she had to make do with an expensive
looking crystal pitcher she found in a cabinet over the sink.
After the juice was prepared, she added ice cubes and
lemon slices to it.
Melanie bounced into the kitchen wearing her yellow and
white checked bathing suit, dragging a towel behind her
that was twice as long as she was.
The little girl climbed up onto a stool next to the high
counter and hung over, watching her mother. "Can I have
some lemonade, Mommy?"
Wiping her hands on a paper towel, Buffy started
searching the cupboards. It soon became obvious that
this was a house unused to the presence of small children
with buttered fingers, because she was unable to find
anything but highly breakable glassware.
She selected the smallest juice glass she could find, filling
it a little more than halfway and passing it across the
counter. "Be careful."
Melanie nodded agreeably, then promptly began fishing
around inside of the glass with her fingers, trying to grab
hold of the lemon slice.
On the brink of admonishing her, Buffy completely lost
her train of thought when William walked into the kitchen
wearing nothing but a pair of faded cutoff jeans and a towel
slung around his neck. "Ready to swim, pixie?"
Melanie gathered her towel up and squeezed it into a
terry cloth ball. "Do you got steps?" she asked.
A smile formed in the corner of his mouth. "Steps? You
mean a staircase like the one in your house?"
"No, the ones that go into the water."
Buffy explained. "We haven't really had a chance to take
swimming lessons, so we usually stay in the shallow end
where the steps are."
Actually, she hadn't even tried to talk Melanie into the
idea yet, knowing that the child would be unhappy being
placed in a pool with a lot of strange children and having
to submit to a hands-on teaching method from still another
"Yes, I have steps."
They sat at a glass topped patio table on the deck,
shielded from the hot California sunshine by a large
Melanie ate a small amount of the fruit and three of the
crackers, after brushing the cheese off. Impatient to
get to the 'fun with water' portion of the afternoon, she
resisted all Buffy's attempts to coax her into eating
more, asking, "Is that enough?" after every bite she
The child was a consummate deal maker when it came
to mealtime. When told to eat five more bites of chicken
and six green beans, she was more than likely to make
a counter offer of four bites and three beans, haggling with
the savvy of a rug merchant in a Persian marketplace.
Over the years, Buffy had learned to start the bidding
high in order to get the amount of food SHE wanted into
Melanie's stomach, while giving the impression that she
was being taken gross advantage of.
When it became clear that nothing would induce her
daughter into taking one more bite of anything, Buffy
threw in the metaphorical towel and went inside to
change into her bathing suit, a simple black one piece
with diamond shaped cut outs on both sides.
She found two more towels in a linen closet that was
bigger than her bathroom. Heading back outside, she
paused at the window and smiled.
William and Melanie were in the shallow end of the
pool. She was lying on her back in the water with
his hands beneath her, helping her float. As Buffy
watched, he slowly took his hands away and left her
to do it on her own.
Dropping the towels on a chaise lounge, she sat
on the side of the pool and dangled her legs in the
cool water. "Hey, look at you!" she said, feeling a
shiver scamper up and down her spine when she
felt William's eyes on her. She met his intent gaze
with her own, blushing a little when he mouthed the
words, "Very sexy" in reference to her bathing suit.
"I'm swimming!" Melanie announced. Unfortunately,
her concentration broke and she started to sink.
William caught her and turned her upright.
"Did you see?" she asked, unfazed at her dunking.
"I saw," Buffy nodded. "Very good."
As she sat on the warm tile and watched, William
spent the next twenty minutes giving Melanie her
first official swimming lesson, doing such a good
job of it that she briefly wondered if he gave bike
riding lessons as well.
There was a large metal shed on the side of the
house, a shed containing the various necessities
for maintaining a swimming pool.
William disappeared inside, coming back out with a
few pool toys that looked suspiciously brand new to
Buffy; a large and colorful beach ball, a couple of long
foam rubber noodles, and a blown up 'Shamu' raft that
was almost as big as the whale itself.
Handing over the toys to Melanie, he sat on the
lounge next to Buffy's and stretched out on it.
Melanie giggled riotously as she tried to climb on the
back of 'Shamu' and kept sliding off into the water.
William laughed and looked over to meet Buffy's
inquiring gaze. "What?"
"Did you buy those things for Melanie?"
"What? No!" he blustered, visibly searching his mind
for an excuse. "I keep those around...in case friends
come over. Friends with children," he added when he
saw her skeptical look.
"Really?" she asked him, her tone laced with dis-
belief. "Because those things look like they just came
out of the package five minutes ago."
He tried to hide behind his sunglasses, but she was
too determined. "Not five minutes ago," he finally
admitted. "Last night."
"But you didn't know we'd be here last night."
"Well....I figured I'd lure you two up here some-
time...and I wanted her to have something to play
Melanie tossed the beach ball in their general
direction. After leaning over and whacking it back to
her, he turned and faced Buffy. "You aren't mad
because I bought her some toys....are you?" he
asked, giving her his most appealing smile.
In the face of such sweetly charming words, not to
mention a smile that made her knees quiver, how could
"Of course I'm not mad."
Actually, she was touched beyond words. The way he
always thought of Melanie, even when he wasn't with
her, was wonderful. She just wasn't completely certain
that allowing her daughter to get used to such treatment
was a good idea. What if he woke up one morning and
decided that he was tired of.....
**Stop that. It's not going to happen. He adores her and
he is NOT like Angel. He is NOTHING like Angel**
"I'm glad to hear that....because I was thinking about
having a slide put in."
As soon as the sun began to do down, the air outside
turned chilly. Against Melanie's wishes, Buffy took
her back into the house and changed her into her
William gathered up all the plates and glasses and
took them inside while Buffy parked her daughter in
front of the television and switched on 'Animal Planet's
Funniest Videos', one of the little girl's favorite shows.
She went back into one of the guest bedrooms to change
out of her bathing suit, and had barely gotten the door
closed before she heard a soft knock. Melanie never
knocked...ever...so there could only be one person
on the other side of the door.
"Who is it?" she asked needlessly.
To her surprise, instead of answering her, he opened
the door and stepped inside. Closing the door behind
him, he looked at her with a playful leer.
"Oh, no," she said, pointing at the door. "Out you go.
We're not doing this here."
"Buffy," he murmured cajolingly, moving just a little
closer. "Come here and kiss me. You haven't kissed me
all day....and I'm lonely."
The pouting expression on his face was so fiendishly cute
that she almost laughed. "Melanie's...."
"Melanie," he interrupted, "is sitting on the couch watching
television with the dogs. I even got her to drink a glass of
milk. Now don't I deserve a kiss for that?"
She folded her arms across her chest and looked at
him. "Oh, you did? And...?"
"And....what did you have to give her?"
He made a face. "A few Oreos...but she's drinking the
milk! Now, come here," he said, advancing a few feet.
She backed away. "No."
"All I want is a kiss," he begged. Clasping his hands
together, he held them up in supplication and dropped to
his knees, inching closer. "One kiss."
Buffy had to clap a hand over her mouth to keep from
giggling like a silly teenager. "Stop it."
"I've had a totally G rated day," he whined. "And it
hasn't been easy with you prancing around in that dead
sexy bathing suit."
"William...." Still avoiding him, the back of her knees hit
the edge of the bed. She fell on her back, and William
took instant advantage of the opportunity. Before she
realized he'd done it, he was off the floor and on the bed.
"Now," he said softly, leaning over her, "I've got you where
I want you."
Her blush and wide eyed gaze, the tempting rise and
fall of her breasts, and the soft rose petal shade of
her lips were drawing his full attention. The playful inter-
lude was changing...deepening...becoming something
He hovered over her, leaning on his left arm, which
left his right hand free. Placing it on her waist, his fingers
slipped just slightly behind it and pulled her forward.
"Buffy," he whispered, now serious in his tone and
intent. "Will you kiss me?"
Without waiting to hear an answer, his mouth descended
on hers with heart aching sweetness, his eyes holding
her gaze until her sable dark lashes slowly fluttered
closed, shielding her emotions from him. He closed his
eyes, too, his breath mingling with hers as his tongue
slipped between her lips with a gentle force.
He wanted to pull her closer, to mold himself against
her warmly feminine form, but he couldn't. The desire
to make love to her was too strong. He was already
having a difficult time controlling it.
When they finally separated, he stared down into green
eyes that looked soft and a little dazed, an expression
he was sure his own gaze was reflecting back at her.
His hand cupped her cheek, thumb stroking the
moist curve of her lips.There was so much he wanted
to say to her, but his thoughts refused to form coherently.
Fully aware that there was a six year old girl in the
other room who was liable to come looking for her
mother, he reluctantly moved away from temptation.
"Thank you for the kiss," he said softly, rising to his
feet on unsteady legs. "I'll let you get dressed."
He had his hand on the doorknob when she stopped
She spoke without thinking first, an impulsive
request to keep him in the room, but when he
turned around, her inspiration failed her.
"Yes?" he finally prompted.
"Um...there's this thing." Climbing off the bed,
she picked up her jeans and extracted the crumpled
blue flyer that she'd stuffed into her pocket at home,
the one that had been drifting on the edge of her
subconscious mind all day. "I'll understand if you
don't want to," she said, handing him the flyer.
She watched him unfold the paper and read its
message. Her nervous system was taking a
pounding until he looked at her and smiled.
"If I don't want to?" he echoed. "Are you asking me
to take Melanie to this breakfast?"
"Sort of." She sat down on the end of the bed,
smoothing imaginary wrinkles. "In a way. But, don't
feel like you HAVE to say yes," she added quickly.
He was silent for a moment, then said, "Don't you
think she wants her father to take her?"
Buffy shrugged. "The thing is...well, they did this
last year when she was in kindergarten. She asked
him, and Angel agreed to do it, but...."
"He DIDN'T do it." William guessed. "Why am I not
"It's a lot to ask, I know..."
"Buffy," he said, cutting her off. "I told you. I'm here for
Melanie, and I'm here for you. And I'm not going any-
She believed him. She really, really did. Believed him
and believed IN him.
It was an odd and unfamiliar feeling, one that she could
get used to quite easily.
But there was more to say, and she had to force
"I don't want you to feel like...to think that..." She
sighed deeply. "What I mean is...she might want to
ask him...and he'll probably say yes. But if he does,
and then...." Her voice trailed off. She felt awful for
making it seem like he was second choice, only to be
called upon should Angel flake out again at the last
He seemed to know what was going on in her head,
because he held up one hand.
"I know what you're saying, Buffy, and it's fine. I don't
mind playing the supporting role," he said, then smiled
as he pinned a direct gaze on her. "For now."
It wasn't until he'd left the room that she realized
she'd been holding her breath.