Buffy returned to the den/study, which was the only
thing she could think of to describe the room, to find
William standing in the open doorway. He was looking
at the sight before him, one hand over his mouth, obviously
trying not to laugh out loud.
When she touched his shoulder, he turned and placed
one finger against her lips to shush her and then moved
Peeking around the wall, she saw Melanie...still on the
sofa with the dogs...sound asleep. She had slumped over
to one side and was snuggled up to Belle's back. Sam had
his little head propped on her leg.
When William stepped into the room, both dogs looked at
him with their tongues out and an expression that asked,
"So, NOW what do we do?"
Instead of waking the child up, William grabbed Buffy's
hand and pulled her down the hallway. Stopping outside
of a closed door, he whispered, "Something that cute
should be illegal." He opened the door and headed
across the room towards a large walk in closet, it's doors
hanging open, and it's contents rumpled.
Buffy remained in the doorway. One quick glance around
the room told her that this was his bedroom, and she didn't
trust herself to step inside. "What are you doing?"
"Looking for....ah, here it is." He reappeared with a
camera, the kind of thing she'd only seen advertised on
His intent was clear, and she almost stopped him to
let him know that Melanie didn't much like having her
picture taken. Then she remembered that, as long as it
was William doing it, Melanie probably wouldn't mind if
he brought an entire camera crew into the house to film
She trailed after him back to the den and watched him
take several shots of her daughter. The camera's motor
was quiet, and the child didn't even twitch.
Back in the hallway, he whispered, "I'll have one of those
enlarged for her."
Before he could return to his bedroom to stash the
camera away again, Buffy caught his arm. When he
stopped and gave her a quizzical look, she couldn't
keep herself from pulling him closer and kissing him.
"Wow...what was THAT for?" he asked, when she
stepped back a few inches.
She smiled. "I don't know," she confessed. "Just an
impulse I couldn't control."
His own smile lit up his eyes. "Don't ever bother trying
to control that impulse," he murmured, dropping another
light kiss on her lips. "It's always a good one."
They managed to get Melanie out to his car and into her
booster seat without waking her up, but halfway home, she
finally stirred and opened her eyes.
Buffy turned and watched the little girl stare out the
window at the darkened streets. "Hi, sweetie."
"Where are we going?" she asked, rubbing her eyes.
The child nodded and continued looking out the window
for another few seconds before she spoke up again.
"Mommy....I think I'm hungry."
It made sense. All she'd eaten for lunch had been
fruit and a few crackers. The milk and cookies had
only been partially consumed before she'd fallen asleep.
"We'll get you something when we get home," Buffy
"Actually...." William began.
She looked at him and he shrugged, saying, "I'm hungry,
Well, now that everybody was mentioning it, Buffy's own
stomach announced it's emptiness. Before she could
volunteer to fix something for all of them, his eyes zeroed
"Hey! There's a McDonald's! Sound good to you, pixie?"
"Sounds good to me!" Melanie piped up brightly.
William looked at her quizzically before he swung the
car into the parking lot and pulled into a space. "This
okay with you?"
Oh, boy....was it okay with her!
The restaurant had an indoor play area with a gigantic
and colorful climbing structure built inside. The thing had
twists and turns, little alcoves with window bubbles looking
out on the eating area, and long slides both inside and
leading back out. There was a ball cage below it, filled
with thousands of red, blue, yellow, and green plastic
spheres, and a hoop at the opposite end to toss them
Melanie had never set foot in one before. Usually, when they
ate a McDonald's or a Burger King, there were too many
children buzzing around inside the playhouses for her to
feel comfortable venturing in.
But now, it was late enough that they had the whole place
Standing at the counter waiting to order, William picked
her up to give her a good look at the menu.
"What do you think, love? You order anything you want."
Melanie always ordered the same thing, no matter what
fast food restaurant she found herself in.
"Chicken nuggets," she requested.
"How about a milkshake?"
When it became clear that she wasn't really paying
attention, he turned to look at her and saw that she
was staring across the dining area at the playroom.
Delighted by her rapt gaze, he winked at Buffy.
"Hey, THAT looks like fun!" he said, turning to face
the play area. "We'd best go and check that out after
we eat, huh?"
Melanie said nothing in return, but she tightened
her arms around William's neck and squeezed him.
The meal was consumed in record time, Buffy
noticed, by Melanie and...she was fairly sure...by
Buffy stayed at the table as they ventured up inside the
play structure. She wanted to watch and see just how
far he was willing to go.
It didn't much surprise her to find that he was
willing to go all the way for Melanie. He followed her
all over the climber, crawling up and down tunnels on
his hands and knees, sliding down slides behind her,
and holding her on his shoulders so she could throw
the balls right through the center of the plastic hoop.
She was having a wonderful time, laughing and
chattering a mile a minute with him, then darting away
and making him chase her around the tables.
When he caught her and swung her up in his arms,
he dangled her across his shoulder and down his back
as he returned to their table.
Smiling, Buffy asked, "Where's Melanie?"
"I'm over here," the child giggled from behind William's
back. Grinning, he turned and showed Buffy where he was
hiding her daughter. She caught the girl under her arms and
William released her, letting her tumble into her mother's lap.
"Are you having fun, cookie?" she asked, smoothing Melanie's
"I'm having lot's of fun," the little girl replied, nodding and
reaching for her milkshake. "Can I go back in?"
William started to stand up, but Buffy stopped him with a
glance. "Sure," she said. "You go and we'll watch you."
Without pausing, Melanie once again disappeared into the
"Thank you," William said quietly, taking a swallow of iced
tea. "Those things....were NOT designed for people over the
age of thirty," he chuckled. "My knees are gonna hate me in
Buffy laughed. "You looked like you needed rescuing."
They sat for a moment, watching Melanie scamper through
the twists and curves, waving back to her when she stopped
at one of the windows.
"Listen," he finally said. "Did you tell her about going to
She shook her head. "No. I wanted you to...you know...be
there. I mean, it was your idea and everything." Picking up
a french fry, she dunked it in a puddle of ketchup and ate it.
His gaze, lingering on the smear of ketchup she quickly
licked off her lips, was leaving her with no doubt about what
he was thinking, but all he said was 'thank you' and that
they could tell her about it on the way home.
Ten minutes later, Buffy gathered up the trash while William
fetched Melanie. As she watched him catch her daughter
at the bottom of the slide, all she could think was that THIS
was how things were meant to be.
Melanie was absolutely thrilled with the promised out-
ing to Disneyland. She bounced in her seat and peppered
them with questions about when and where and what
would they do when they got there.
In fact, she was so excited and animated about it that
Buffy knew her daughter had complete faith that the
promises being made would be kept.
Funnily enough, so did she.
By the time William's car pulled into the driveway of
the little house on Revello Drive, Melanie was starting
to drift off again. Buffy took her upstairs and changed her
into her nightgown, then helped her floss and brush her
As she tucked her into bed, William appeared at the
door and was invited in for the requisite kiss and hug
"I'll see you again soon, pixie," he promised the sleepy
little girl, stroking her curls back.
He leaned over to hug her one more time, and Melanie's
small arms wound tightly around his neck.
She murmured something that Buffy couldn't under-
stand, until she heard William's quietly whispered
reply..."I love you, too."
It was a sentiment Buffy was almost ready to echo
Downstairs in the living room, they made firmer plans
for the Disney excursion. Buffy purposely waited about
twenty minutes, then excused herself and asked him to
She went upstairs and stripped her jeans and t-shirt off,
then searched her closet for something a little more
feminine. In the very back, she located a dress she
hadn't worn in ages. It was a casual lounging dress, deep
emerald in color, and it clung attractively to her curves.
The hem of the dress brushed the tops of her feet, con-
trasting nicely with the light peach shade she'd painted
After brushing her hair and re-doing her make up, she
placed a drop of perfume behind each ear. Then, bare-
foot, she went back down to the living room.
William was sitting on the couch, glancing through
a newspaper he'd opened up on the coffee table.
When he heard her at the foot of the stairs, he looked up
and his eyes widened. "Look at you," he murmured
appreciatively, his gaze moving up and down her body.
She smiled at him, pleased by his reaction. "You remember
that G-rated day you were having?"
"Oh, yeah," he replied. "You...half naked...bouncing around
my house all afternoon...and a six year old chaperon. I
remember it vividly."
"Well," she said softly, gathering up all of her nerve, "that
rating is about to be...upgraded."
Upstairs once again, they stood in the middle of
Buffy's bedroom, kissing deeply, their tongues meeting
in hot, writhing caresses.
William placed his hands on her shoulders, then
pulled her closer and slipped his fingers under the
heavy fall of her hair, searching for the long zipper
that reached almost to the waist of her dress.
She felt him pulling it down, felt the soft fabric
separate, brushing back over her sensitized skin.
When he had it completely unzipped, he lifted his
hands back to her shoulders, ready to skim under the
straps of the dress and send it to the floor.
She looked into his eyes, and he smiled at her. "Miss
Smith," he murmured, "hold all my calls."
The green silk formed a pool around her feet, leaving
"You're so beautiful." He tried to pull her closer, but
she stopped him with her hands on his chest.
"No...you, too." With fingers that barely shook at all,
she started unbuttoning his shirt. When he figured out
what was causing the delay, he began to help her but,
once again, she stopped him. "Let me."
Sighing, he let his hands drop to his sides and sat
back to enjoy her undressing him.
With the final button of his shirt undone, she tugged
the shirttails out of his jeans and pulled the garment
open, exposing his nicely muscled chest and abdomen.
She unbuttoned the cuffs of the shirt and turned him
around, tugging it down his arms and off. Then, still
standing behind him, she reached around in front and
began to unbuckle his belt. Feeling his abdomen become
concave as he sucked in a breath, she smiled and pressed
her lips against the smooth skin of his back.
Once she had his belt undone, she pulled it slowly
through the belt loops of his jeans and dropped it on
the floor next to his shirt. Her fingers brushed lightly over
his flat stomach, moving slowly down to pop open the
top snap of his pants.
The second the fastening was released, his zipper
began to descend without any help from either of them,
forced apart by the pressure of his erection.
This was the point where Buffy's nerve finally
deserted her. Her fingers started to fall away from his
body, until he reached down and stopped them by
taking her hand.
Turning his head, he looked down and met her eyes
as he pushed her hand into the opening of his trousers.
Her eyes fluttered closed when she felt the rigid
evidence of his desire, and she placed her cheek
against his back, letting her fingers slide up and down
Melting inside, like candy with a gooey center, her
heart was throbbing madly. The sound of his softly
uttered groan raised her temperature even more,
making her want to do anything she could to coax
more of those sounds out of him.
Her hand tightened around his hard length, squeezing
him, alternating between gentle and firm touches. At the
same time, her thumb brushed over the silky head,
spreading the moisture she found there back into his
He was beginning to have a difficult time remaining still
beneath her tender touch. Removing her hand from his
pants, he raised it to his lips and kissed it, his tongue
caressing her palm. He turned to face her, then, slipping
his arms around her waist and pulling her up against
him to share his body heat.
"Buffy," he whispered, his lips traveling down her
throat. "I want you so much."
Her head dropped back and she closed her eyes.
"William," she murmured, when his lips touched
lightly against hers. "You have me."
He did. Her heart...her soul...her body...and any other
part of her he might want.
Forcing himself to step back from her, he sat
down on the end of the bed and tugged his boots
off, then stood back up and shoved his jeans down
and off, kicking them halfway across the room.
Before she even had a chance to admire the picture he
was presenting her with, he'd leaned over and picked
her up, depositing her in the middle of the bed.
"Here goes our rating again," he said teasingly. "From
an R to an X."
With a predatory leer, he hovered over her and lowered
his head until his mouth was touching the soft skin
between her breasts. Keeping her eyes locked with his,
he licked her all the way down her abdomen, filling the
hollow of her navel with his tongue.
She couldn't help it. It tickled, so she laughed.
The sound seemed to please him, and he did what was
necessary to produce it again.
As her body twisted and writhed under his, he suddenly
came back up to her and captured her mouth again,
thrusting his tongue boldly inside and gathering up the
flavor of her saliva. It was a wet and messy kiss, and they
drew it out intentionally, both enjoying the intimacy of it.
He pulled away and, with his mouth still very wet, bent
his head and latched on to her breast, taking the nipple
in deep and nursing at it. Soft, husky moans of pleasure
emanated from his throat as he moved to her other breast
and gave it the same care.
Buffy's back arched, almost without her knowing it. She
buried her hands in his silky curls, clutching at them and
twining them around her fingers.
When his mouth moved further down, she let her legs
fall apart. He kissed and nuzzled the under curve of her
breasts, using his thumbs to stimulate the wet tips.
Down and down he went, over her stomach and through
the soft curls of her sex. Her legs moved farther apart as
he descended, waiting for his touch, wanting it, needing
And when it came, stars burst behind her tightly closed
His soft tongue was voracious, lapping at her with an
intense hunger, then gentling in its attentions, becoming
a teasing, sliding presence inside her. He held her hips
in his hands, anchoring her to the bed, allowing her no
respite at all from his avid mouth.
She was nearly mindless with pleasure, loving the way
he stoked the fires so slowly, so sweetly, making sure
that she felt everything he wanted her to feel.
Then, when she was sure she couldn't go any higher,
he found the most sensitive place on her body and took
it into his mouth, sucking it firmly, rhythmically, taking her
over that edge she'd been hovering on.
Buffy felt a sweetness invading her body, as though she
was slipping off into her own rushing heartbeat, the world
around her falling farther and farther away.
Her eyes opened wide, and she looked down where he was
resting his cheek on her stomach and smiling at her.
"Hi," she managed to whisper.
"Hi," he said back, planting a hard kiss on her belly. "You
ready to crank up that rating to a double X?"
"A double X?" she said, trying to look appalled at the
very idea. "Mr. St. James...I think you're trying to corrupt
He grinned, showing no repentance at all. "Corrupting
you is going to be my new favorite thing to do."
Deciding to turn up the corruption a few notches, Buffy
rolled onto her stomach and stretched invitingly. The
swiftly drawn in breath she heard him take told her she
was having the right effect.
His hand curved around the swell of her bottom, fondling
and caressing it softly. "Beautiful," he murmured.
She turned to look at him, her hair falling in her eyes
as she reached for his hand.
Unsure of what she had in mind, he allowed her to
pull and nudge him until he was on top of her, his chest
pressed against her back.
A quietly explicit curse word fell from his lips when
she lifted her bottom a little and rubbed it against his
Before she could say anything, William leaned forward
to whisper in her ear. "You want it like this, baby? From
Being asked such a question would once have embarrassed
her, making her blush and duck her head. But when William
asked it, it took on an erotic flavor that she was beginning
to enjoy far too much.
She did want it like this, from behind. This was no time
to be shy about it.
Peeking over her shoulder at him, she smiled in what she
hoped was an enticing manner. "What do YOU think?"
If the look on his face was any indication, he thought it was
a splendid idea.
He sat up and nudged her legs farther apart, then moved
up her body and began massaging her shoulders. It felt
so good that she couldn't hold back a moan of pleasure.
William chuckled. "You sound like a kitten purring." His
hands...his wonderful, skillful hands...continued down her
body, stroking and rubbing until she was as limp and pliable
as melting wax.
He purposely avoided an intimate touch as he slid his
hands further down, caressing her rear and the tops of her
When she was certain that she couldn't wait one more
moment, he lowered himself on top of her, pushing her
down into the mattress. His erection nestled between her
thighs, slick and hot.
"Lift up a little, babe," he directed her.
She elevated her lower body a couple of inches, just
enough for him to slip one hand in and play with her.
Her eyes drifted shut, and she dug her fingers into the
pillow she was lying on.
"Do you like that? Does it feel good when I touch you
like this?" He used one finger to stroke her clit, stim-
ulating it to the point of madness.
'Feel good' didn't begin to describe it. She actually
couldn't come up with a phrase that would be more
on the money. Her head was too dizzy and her body
was in a tumultuous free fall. All she could do was nod
and whimper some sort of agreement.
He seemed to understand what she was trying to get
across. Sliding down just a little, he moved into position
and slowly began penetrating her as he continued
massaging her clit.
Instinctively, she raised her bottom, letting him slide
all the way in with one stroke.
"Oh, god," he groaned in her ear, nipping at it. "I can't
get over how tight you are...how wet."
With her cheek pressed against the soft cotton pillow
case, Buffy could only sigh.
He bore her down under his weight, pinning her to the
bed. "This is the way it was meant to be," he said. "For
us. Knew it....the minute....I saw you...oh, Buffy...you feel
so damn good."
They performed a lazy and erotic dance together, pushing
and pulling, gasping and moaning. His lips trailed softly
over the back of her neck, nipping at tender skin.
When he sensed her need, he pulled out and rose to his
knees, tugging her hips back and up to meet his next
She keened softly in her throat while his hands moved
up and down her back, stroking her like a cat.
His thrusts became a little harder, and she knew that
the finish line was in sight. Determinedly, she pushed
back into him, meeting his pumping hips.
Their bodies surged and writhed together in a wave of
sexual heat. He was driving her wild, caressing her with
strong hands as he uttered husky encouragement,
begging her to push back harder, make it tighter, let
him all the way in.
Then, when she almost there, he reached around with
one hand and rubbed her clit firmly, sending her over the
edge into a mindless whirlwind of release.
He followed right behind, forcing himself not to shout
her name into the silent house.
When it was over, the sagged together in the middle of
the bed, panting, trying to catch their breath.
William was the first one to lift his head. "You okay?"
"Mm-hmm. I'm very much okay."
"I was afraid I was being..."
Gingerly, he pulled out of her and moved to one side. "Too
rough...you know...towards the end."
Buffy took in a deep breath, releasing it slowly. "No. You
He took her hand and kissed it. "I just...I don't ever want
to hurt you. You're so small."
"I may be small," she told him, "but I'm pretty tough." Her
brow furrowed. "Was that why you moved? Because you
thought you were hurting me?"
"Well..." he shrugged. "A little, maybe."
Buffy smiled. She appreciated his consideration and care,
but it was hardly necessary. Years of lying beneath a man
who was taller and much stockier than this one had con-
ditioned her for just about anything. William's slimmer
build and slighter weight never made her feel as though
she was trapped under a fallen redwood.
"I promise you weren't hurting me," she assured him. "I'd
tell you if you were."
Returning her smile, he let the subject drop and pulled
her close again. "This time YOU set the pace."
Buffy's eyes widened. "You mean there's more?"
"Oh, there's a LOT more. I'll do anything you want
me to, for as long as you want."
"Hmm...you should be careful offering that. What if
it's something really perverse?"
His smile turned playfully lecherous. "I'd count my
Sunday morning started way too early for Buffy
when a six year old crawled into bed next to her and
announced that she was hungry.
After pushing, pulling, and nudging her mother into a
sitting position, Melanie stood next to the bed and grabbed
her hand, tugging and giggling as Buffy feigned sleep.
When her hand slipped out of Melanie's grasp, she fell
backwards on the bed again, wrapping her arms around
a pillow and burying her face in it.
"Mommy! Wake up, wake up, wake up!" Melanie chanted,
clambering on top of Buffy and sitting on her upper thighs,
bouncing up and down.
"Why?" Buffy asked plaintively, injecting as much 'whine'
as she could into her voice. "Don't wanna wake up. Wanna
"You can't sleep anymore. You gotta fix breakfast."
"Because you're the mommy. I can't do it."
The little girl yanked on the pillow, then scooted up
and pried one of Buffy's eyes open.
"Have some cereal," Buffy said. "You can do cereal."
"But it's Sunday."
"Pancakes, Mommy. Pancakes, pancakes,
pancakes," the child sing-songed.
Before she could start bouncing up and down on
her again, Buffy shifted her daughter to one side,
tumbling her down on the mattress, then went in for
the kill with all fingers wiggling.
Melanie shrieked with laughter as her mother found
all her ticklish places and gave them a good work
out before breakfast.
"What, baby?" Buffy turned the page in her newspaper,
studying an advertisement for a sale on children's under-
wear at Sears.
"Are we still going to Disneyland?" Melanie asked, her
voice slightly garbled from the bite of pancake she was
still working on.
"Don't talk with food in your mouth, Melanie," Buffy said
She'd tried the old "don't talk with your mouth full" routine
on Melanie once, a request the child had immediately disputed
by showing her mother that her mouth was only half full. Un-
fortunately, Buffy found it difficult to scold the little girl when
she was having trouble controlling her laughter.
Melanie made a show of swallowing, then repeated her
'Yes, honey. We're still going. He promised, didn't he?"
"Uh-huh." Melanie stabbed another bite of pancake and
dunked it in the pool of syrup on her plate. "I believe him."
"So do I." Reaching for the scissors, Buffy began clipping
coupons from one of the booklets they stuffed in Sunday's
papers. She was carefully cutting along the dotted line of a
75 cents off coupon for laundry detergent when the phone
Melanie jumped out of her chair and reached for the
receiver with sticky hands.
"Hello?....Oh, hi, Gemma." She looked over at Buffy. "It's
Buffy forced herself not to roll her eyes. Angel's mother so
completely disliked being called by any variation of the name
'Grandmother' , that she'd insisted on Melanie using her first
After a brief conversation with her grandmother, Melanie
handed the phone to Buffy.
"Hi, Gemma, how are you?....Really?....Congratulations...I
guess that's good, right? I don't know much about golf...Uh-
huh....Wow....Um, no." She turned around to face the all
and lowered her voice. "Not for over a week...He had to cancel
his weekend with Melanie....Not much of one....Just the
usual....Well, have you tried his fax line?....What about that
girl he's seeing?....Already?....Yes....I'll let you know....Me?
Well, yes....actually, I am.....Not long....No, no, he doesn't."
She'd had just about enough of this phone call. The last
thing she wanted to be doing at the moment was answering
Gemma's nosy questions about her private life.
"Gemma, I have to go....Yes, I'll tell him....You, too....Okay.
Buffy replaced the receiver, then went into the kitchen to
wet a paper towel and clean off the sticky fingerprints Melanie
had left on it.
She stood at the sink, watching the neighbor's cat walk along
the fence that divided the property.
The fact that Angel hadn't called his mother lately bothered
her just a little. For all of his faults as a husband and father,
he'd been pretty good about staying close to his mother, es-
pecially after his own father had died so suddenly of a massive
Gemma was the helpless, clinging type of wife who had
depended on her husband for everything. Liam Conner had
married her young, and had continued to treat her like a child,
no matter how old she got. He'd doted on and spoiled her to
insane lengths, providing her with a brand new car every year,
enough designer clothes for ten women, jewelry, furs, a check-
book with an unending supply of cash, and a credit card for
every upscale store on the west coast.
When he'd died, Gemma had transfered her dependency from
her husband to her son. Her daughter was practically ignored,
and they'd drifted apart years ago.
But now, Gemma hadn't heard from Angel in over a week.
Where the heck had he disappeared to?
Startled out of her thoughts, Buffy looked down and saw
Melanie standing next to her, holding her breakfast plate.
"You want another pancake, baby?" she asked, reaching
for the bowl of batter.
"No, I'm full."
Buffy exchanged the plate for the damp rag she had in her
hand, asking Melanie to please go and wipe the syrup off the
After the breakfast dishes were done, she threw on a
pair of jeans and a sweater, then went down the hall to
She found the child sitting in the middle of the floor,
dressing her dolls in their 'party clothes', and singing
quietly to herself.
"A peanut sat on a railroad track
His heart was all a flutter
Round the bend came number 10
And toot-toot, peanut butter.."
"Want to go to the store with me, baby?"
Melanie looked up and smiled. "Okay."
Buffy opened the closet door and pulled out a blue
sun dress, as Melanie wriggled out of her pajamas.
After running a brush through her daughter's hair,
she waited patiently while Melanie tackled her
shoe laces. It took three times as long to get her
ready to go, but she was so pleased with herself that
Buffy was willing to wait.
They stopped at the mall for a few minutes, just enough
time for Buffy to check in with Willow and go over the
work schedule for the following week.
In the market, Melanie trailed behind Buffy, pushing a
child size shopping cart. She filled the basket with small
items Buffy handed her, and pulled a huge handful of
coupons from the automatic dispensers for things Buffy
had no earthly use for.
After loading all her groceries on the conveyor belt, she
grabbed a copy of TV guide and flipped through it while she
waited to be checked out.
Her fingers turned the pages quickly to the Wednesday
night listing and she found herself face to face with an
advertisement for that weeks episode of 'Outpost: Space';
an advertisement that had a very attractive picture of the
She couldn't help the little shiver of possessiveness that
chased up and down her spine, caused by the knowledge
that this man, one that thousands of women ached for in
very private places, was her lover. The memory of what he'd
done last night in her bed was enough to make her cheeks
Melanie tugged on the hem of her sweater. "Can I see,
Buffy handed over the TV guide, then began digging around
in her purse for her checkbook.
She had just put Melanie to bed, when the phone rang.
"Hi, beautiful. How are my two favorite girls?"
Smiling, she stretched out on the sofa. "We're fine. We had
a not-very-productive day. How are you?"
She heard him release a heavy sigh. "Tired. I spent the
day with the writers and producers, after not getting much
sleep last night."
"Oh, what a shame."
He chuckled. "I was kept up most of the night by a very
beautiful and sexy lady."
"Oh, yeah. And demanding, too."
"Mm-hmm. Insatiable. She couldn't keep her hands off
"I seem to remember your hands not staying where they
"Not true. My hands belonged all over you...and that's
where they were."
Deciding to change the subject, Buffy said, "We found a
picture of you in this weeks TV guide. It's now residing in
Melanie's wall gallery."
They talked for a few more minutes, then he told her that
he'd made arrangements for their Disneyland trip, but wanted
to check her schedule first before he finalized them.
"I would think your schedule would be harder to work around
"Not really. We're filming the season finale this week, after
that I'm free for about...oh, a month and a half or so."
"Yes...and I'm planning to spend a lot of that free time with
you, baby. And a certain little girl. If you'll have me, that is."
If she would have him? If?
"I'll definitely have you...I mean WE will. Both of us. Stop
laughing at me....you know what I mean."
"I know what you mean. Listen, I'll try and call tomorrow,
"Goodnight, darlin' Sweet dreams."
Tonight that was going to be a sure thing.
Buffy tried to call Angel the following morning, after
dropping Melanie off at school. She got through to his
secretary, who told her in a rather snide tone that she'd
heard from him and all was well. Buffy acidly informed the
woman that his daughter and mother had NOT heard from
him, and both had rather urgent business to discuss.
"I'll give him the message, Ms. Summers. As soon as he
returns from court this afternoon."
"Thank you, Miss Kendall," Buffy snapped right back, then
slammed the phone down hard enough to make it 'ping'.
"What did that phone do to you?" Willow asked, dumping
her purse in the lock drawer.
"Hmm? Oh....nothing." Buffy shoved the phone away and
reached down for a box from one of her suppliers. "I think
we should mark down the spring pastels...maybe twenty-
five percent. We've moved almost all of it and we're going to
need the room. If it doesn't move fast, take another ten
The phone rang that night as Buffy was putting
Melanie to bed.
Closing her bedroom door, she stretched out on the bed
and reached for the receiver. "Hello?" she said softly.
"Well, hello. Something tells me you weren't expecting
my call at the moment."
She sat bolt upright on the bed. "Angel? Where the hell
have you been?"
He chuckled. "Never mind that. Who are you answering the
phone for like that? All soft and sexy?"
"None of your business," she said curtly. "Have you called
your mother? Because she called here yesterday, looking
"Slow down, Buff. I called her. I know I kind of flaked out
on everyone....but I had a good reason."
"Oh, I can't wait to hear it. Melanie's fine, by the way."
"I was about to ask. Jesus, Buffy, give me a chance."
Taking a deep breath, she let it out slowly. "Sorry. I had
a long day."
"Pretty good, actually. I've moved just about all my Spring
"Glad to hear it. Did you get my check?"
"Listen, I've got a few things for Melanie's birthday. How's
about I come and get her tomorrow, take her out for dinner?
You're welcome to come along, if you want. I can share my
news with you."
Dinner with Angel was the last thing she was interested
in. "I'm sure she'd like it, but I'll have to pass. You can tell
me when you pick her up."
"Okay. Be there around six or so."
"Good. Oh, and Angel...they're having another Father/
Daughter breakfast in a couple of weeks." Best to find out
now whether she should encourage Melanie to ask her
father to take her.
""Mmmm...that's gonna be tight, Buff. You know I'd love
to go, but..."
"I understand," she said quickly. "Just do me a favor and tell
her straight out that you can't, okay? Don't make her think it's
all set and then cancel out on her at the last minute again."
"Never gonna let me forget that, are you?"
"I'll be on my fucking death bed, and you'll lean over and
remind me of all the times I...." He stopped suddenly. "You
know what...let's not do this."
"Look, Buff, I'll see what I can do. Maybe I can switch a
couple of things around."
"Angel, don't." She rubbed her forehead, trying to put off the
headache that was coming. "I've got it covered."
He was silent for a moment, then said, "You've got it covered?
What's that supposed to mean?"
No, no, no....she was SO not in the mood for this discussion.
"I mean...I've got a friend who can take her."
"A friend? What sort of a friend?"
"A friend sort of friend."
"Buffy....are you dating?" He sounded amused.
"Hey, wait a second! Come on....you can tell me."
"I'm going to tell Melanie you'll be coming tomorrow. Don't.."
"...disappoint her," he finished. "I know the drill, Buff."
Her fingers tightened on the receiver. "I'll see you
"Sure, baby. See you then."
She hung up the phone, then rolled off the bed and
headed for the bathroom to run a tub full of hot water and
bubbles in an attempt to calm her jangled nerves.
At the last minute, she took the phone along with her.
She bathed quickly, then leaned back against the bath
cushion and closed her eyes. Two minutes later, the phone
"Hi, sexy. How's my girl?"
The knot her stomach had twisted into smoothed out.
"Fine. How are you?"
"Is something wrong, love?"
Realizing she must still sound tense after her conversation
with Angel, she made herself breathe deeply and redirect
her energy. "No. Just a long day. I'm glad you called."
He hesitated, and for a moment she was afraid he was
going to challenge her denial and demand to know what
was bothering her.
"I'm glad I called, too. How's the little one?"
They talked for a few minutes about generalities. She
told him how work and Melanie had fared that day, while he
told her about reshooting the opening credit sequence for
the next season.
"So," he said after a short silence. "What are you doing right
"Taking a ....nothing much," she quickly amended.
He laughed. "You were about to say something else, weren't
"Yes," she admitted, blushing, even though there was no one
to see it.
"Tell me, baby," he coaxed sweetly. "I want to know."
Sighing, rolling her eyes at her own silliness, she said, "Taking
She heard him catch his breath.
"Are you talking to me....in the bath?" He sounded delighted at
the idea. "Baby....that is so sexy. Tell me more."
Buffy smiled. "Like what?"
"Bubbles or bath oil?" he asked.
"Is your hair up?"
"Tied with a ribbon?"
"Do you know what I'd do, if I was there?"
"I'd pull the ribbon out....slowly."
She felt her skin begin to tingle. "Would you?"
"Yes. I'd let your hair fall down around your shoulders. Then
"William," she cut him off impulsively, then took a deep breath
for courage. "Why don't you...come over?"
He said nothing for a moment, and she was horribly afraid
she'd been too pushy.
"Do you really want me to, love?"
"If....if you feel like it. You don't have to. I know you've had
"I can be there in twenty minutes."
"Mm-hmm. Will you wait for me in the bath?"
She smiled, every nerve ending in her body doing an
Although waiting for him in the bath sounded unbelievably
sexy, Buffy knew it was hardly a feasible plan. Not wanting
to be waterlogged and shivering when he arrived, she climbed
out of the tub and drained it, then wrapped herself in her robe
and ran into her room.
She pulled the ribbon out of her hair and brushed it, tying it
back up in a attractively disheveled way. Reapplying a dash of
make up took up another minute. With one eye on the clock,
she ran downstairs and grabbed two fat, creamy white candles
from the bottom drawer of her china cabinet.
At nine minutes still to go, she positioned the candles in
strategic places to give out a nice, romantic glow.
The doorbell rang as she was refilling the tub with fragrant
She dashed down the stairs, clutching her robe closed, and
pulled open the door. "Hi!"
"Hey!" he complained, stepping over the threshold and
bending over to pick her up. "What happened to waiting for
me IN the bath?"
Buffy laughed, pushing the door shut behind him. "Oh, come
on. Did you want me all soggy and wrinkly?"
Sighing with pretended aggravation, he took the stairs two
at a time. "I have no problem with that."
"In cold water?"
"It's refreshing." He nudged her bedroom door shut and carried
her into the bathroom, making her squeak with surprise when he
stepped into the tub...shoes, pants, shirt, and all....and sat down
in the steamy water, holding her on his lap.
"You know you're crazy, don't you?"
"What? Didn't you invite me over to join you in the tub?" he asked,
smiling his most wickedly charming smile. "You naked under that
"Give us a look, then."
Teasingly, she parted the sides of her robe, then closed them
"You call that a look?" he demanded.
"It WAS a look!"
"Oh, please....I blinked and I missed it. Come on love, show
me your wares."
"My wares?" She pulled back and gave him a look of disbelief.
"That's even worse."
He gave the matter some thought. "Your goodies?"
Buffy couldn't hold back her laughter anymore. "That'll do."
Wrapping her arms around his neck, she drew him down into
a long, lingering kiss.
"I just now thought of something," he said when they broke
"These jeans I'm wearing are pretty tight. I'm gonna have a devil
of a time peeling them off."
"Well, I'll help you with that problem."
"Thanks. Hate to impose."
"I really don't mind."
"Isn't this nice, now? You and me...tub full of hot water
and bubbles that are failing to hide your considerable
charms...candlelight. I'll tell you, love...I'm a happy man."
His jeans and shirt were hanging off the hook on the back
of the door, dripping steadily onto a bunched up towel next
to his shoes and socks.
Buffy leaned back into his embrace, her body completely
relaxed and docile under his touch.
"This is pretty," he murmured, tugging on her hair ribbon.
"Black velvet looks lovely in your hair."
"Her eyes, they shone just like diamonds," he sang
"You'd think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulders
Tied up with a black velvet band..."
She tilted her head back and looked at him. "That was
nice. Where'd you learn that?"
"It's something my granddad used to sing. Some Irish folk
song," he explained, picking up a sponge and holding it out
for her to squirt body wash into. "He was always bursting
into song when he got drunk as a bloody lord." He chuckled.
"Drove my gran stark starin' mad."
"Getting drunk or bursting into song?"
Smiling, she asked, "Is there more to it?"
"Oh, yeah, quite a bit." His arms encircled her waist, giving
it a squeeze. "Why? Do you want to hear it?"
"Let me think a minute. And please remember I never
claimed to be a good singer."
"In a neat little town they call Belfast
Apprenticed to trade I was bound
And many's the hour of sweet happiness
I spent in that neat little town
Till blasted misfortune befell me
And caused me to stray from the land
Far away from my friends and relations
To follow her black velvet band.."
"Why do I get the feeling this is going to end badly?"
He shrugged. "Could be the 'blasted misfortune' part."
"Could be. So, THEN what happened?"
"Be quiet and I'll tell you."
"I was out strolling one evening
Not meaning to go very far
When I met with a pretty young damsel
She was selling her trade in the bar..."
"WHAT?! She was a PROSTITUTE!?"
"That's the part my gran hated the most."
"What a song!"
"Wait, it gets better."
"Then a watch she took from a customer
And slipped it right into my hand
Then the law came and put me in prison
Bad luck to her black velvet band"
"A prostitute AND a pick-pocket? What kind of song
IS this, anyway?"
"Next morning before judge and jury
For trial I had to appear
And the judge he said, Me young fellow,
The case against you is quite clear
And seven long years is your sentence
You're goin' to Van Diemen's land
Far away from your friends and relations
To follow the black velvet band.."
"Now this last part is the moral of the story."
"I can't wait."
"So come all you jolly young fellas
I'll have you take warning by me
And if ever you're out on the liquor, me lads
Beware of the pretty colleens
For they'll fill you with whiskey and porter
Till you are not able to stand
And the very next thing that you know, me lads
You've landed in Van Diemen's land.."
"What's Van Diemen's land?"
"Penal colony in Tasmania. Now, big finish."
"Her eyes they shone just like diamonds
You'd think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulders
Tied up with a black velvet band.."
"So...she gets off scot free?"
"Pretty much, yeah."
"And your grandfather taught you that song?"
"Among others. Some of which I can't sing in the
presence of a lady."
"I think I would like him."
William smiled, lifting her right arm and running the soapy
sponge up and down. "He'll definitely like you. He's seventy-
nine years old, and he still has an eye for a pretty girl."
"And how does your grandmother feel about that?"
"She says that as long as the pretty girls don't develop
an eye for him, she'll hold her peace."
He washed up and down her left arm, then leaned back in
the tub again, sliding his hands over her slick skin.
Several minutes passed in blissful quiet, then...
"Did I mention I had a long and difficult day?"
"I think you did."
"How are you at scrubbing backs?"
"I'm an expert."
They traded places in the tub. Buffy re-soaped her
sponge, plying it up and down William's nicely
muscled back. Rinsing all the soap off, she gave in
to a sudden impulse and leaned over, kissing the
scattering of light freckles on his left shoulder blade.
"You're right," he said softly, leaning back into her
touch. "You're an expert."
"I aim to please."
"You succeed beautifully."
He turned around and took the sponge away, tossing it
into the cooling bath water with a 'plop'. "Now...come
"In the bathtub?"
"Just the preliminaries," he promised. "We'll save the main
event for the bed, but I just have to feel your naked wet skin
all over me...so hold still."
Buffy tried, but it wasn't easy.
He lowered his body against hers, surrounding her with his
heat and strength. The 'naked wet skin' situation was
producing some marvelous sensations, and she purposely
wriggled closer, locking her arms around his neck.
His hard, possessive kiss took her by surprise. Vibrant
and strong, he pressed her back into the slick porcelain
surface of the bathtub, then rose to his knees, taking her
The next kiss was slow and sweet, as his hands moved
up and down her back, then held her around her waist.
The bubbles had dissolved completely away, and the
water was becoming unpleasantly cold. Somewhere in her
lust addled mind, Buffy decided it was time to move on to
the next level.
Pulling back, she gasped for air. "Do you...do you want to
go to bed?"
"More than life itself," he panted, nodding.
Once again, he took her by surprise by picking her
up off her feet. Playfully, he tossed her into the middle
of the bed.
Rising up on her elbows, Buffy watched him advance on
her slowly. When he knelt on the mattress, she scooted
backwards towards the headboard.
William caught her ankle before it was out of reach, then
yanked her back down until she was lying prone beneath
Looking down between them, it was hard not to stare. His
penis jutted out from his body, long and thick, and heavy.
"See something you want?" he murmured, leaning down
to nuzzle her throat.
She tried to swallow, but her throat felt dry. "Yes."
He thrust his hips forward a little. "Help yourself."
They stared into each other's eyes in the dimly shadowed
room. William reached for her hand, then drew it down
towards his groin.
Her fingers wrapped firmly around his shaft. Keeping
his hand over hers, he moved it up and down his hard
flesh, slowly at first, then a bit faster, a little rougher.
"Touch me," he pleaded, his voice soft and intense. "Squeeze
me with your...soft little fingers. Please."
Buffy was hypnotized by the whole experience, by every-
thing she saw and felt. His eyes, darkened with passion
and need; the thick length of his penis with it's velvety
skin and throbbing veins; his hot, damp body, thrust so
willingly into her grasp....it was all so electrifying.
Her heart beat at a wild pace as his fingers tightened
a bit more, roughly moving her fist in a circular motion,
spreading the fluid he was emitting until his penis was
slick with it, then pumping her hand slowly up and down.
"Buffy..." His voice was a husky whisper. "Do you want
me? Like I want you?"
The force of his obvious desire was making her shiver,
a giddy chase down her spine. "I want you," she told
him, pressing her lips against his chest. "I need you."
Lowering his head, he slipped his tongue between
her kiss swollen lips. "Baby....I'm yours."
He released her hand. Sliding his left arm beneath her
neck, he leaned his weight on it and sent his right hand
down to play between her legs.
His body was almost vibrating with a pleasure of its
own as he slid his forefinger over her mound, between
the moist folds of her labia.
She inhaled sharply, and he smiled at the sound,
moving his fingers tenderly around her clit, spreading
her wetness. "That's my girl."
Bending his head, he thrust his tongue into her
mouth with the same seductive swirling rhythm
as his hand. Buffy was becoming even more aroused
by the wet sounds his fingers made as they played
It wasn't long before she needed more. Spreading her
legs farther apart, she reached down and took hold of
his penis, placing it at the entrance to her body. The tip
slipped in, then he pulled back with a gasp.
"Sweetheart....I left in such a hurry....I didn't bring
She knew what he meant. "It's all right. My period's due
in the next day or so. We're safe."
William looked into her eyes. "Buffy....you DO know that
She cut off the rest of his sentence by raising her hips,
taking him in further.
A ragged sigh shuddered out of him. He flexed the muscles
of his buttocks, rocking against her small thrusts, burying
himself to the hilt inside her.
"God....you're so tight," he said against her throat. "Feel so
Buffy's entire body was tingling as her hips bucked up to
meet every thrust. Her hands slipped down his back, finding
the hard curve of his rump and clutching it, feeling those
William angled himself so that every gliding motion of
his body stimulated her clit, making her even wetter and
more willing than she already was.
The bedsprings squeaked in the darkened room, the only
other sound besides the slap of their flesh and their harsh
As the tension built, he began to bear down harder and
thrust deeper, moaning soft, incomprehensible words of
He knew he wasn't winning any awards for finesse at
the moment, but he was so turned on that he couldn't
help it. And she seemed to be enjoying what he was
doing; the wild, unrestrained pounding he was delivering.
Raising his head, he leaned down and pressed his
hungry mouth against her heaving breast, nuzzling
and leaving a wet trail over their smooth surface, then
latching on to one nipple and sucking hungrily.
Buffy's nails dug into his shoulders as she hissed
in air through clenched teeth. Her back arched in-
voluntarily, pushing her breast more deeply into his
His sucking matched the rhythm of his strokes, and
he knew he wasn't going to last much longer. Wanting
her pleasure to come first, he searched blindly between
her thighs and fondled her clit, flicking the wet knot of
flesh with his finger, then squeezing and rubbing it gently.
Orgasm blindsided her, taking her down in a wave of
bright lights and tumultuous shudders. It was so
overwhelming that it was almost a struggle to breathe.
William thrust into her three more times, then let
it all go, releasing himself into her deepest reaches,
then collapsing heavily in her arms.
It was such a wonderful feeling, having him so completely
on her and inside of her, that breathing properly was the
last thing on her mind.
She threw his clothes into the dryer, then ran back
upstairs and rejoined him in bed for post coital
snuggling that quickly turned to more energetic
An hour later, they stood at the front door, exchanging
final kisses goodnight.
"Listen," William said, squeezing her hand, "how about
I come and get you two tomorrow night? We could go and
get some dinner."
"I'd love to....but Angel is coming to pick Melanie up for
She watched his face carefully, but he was a consummate
actor and wiped the slightly disgruntled look off before it
"Well, just you and I then? We'll go someplace nice."
"Great. You get all dressed up fancy. I want to impress
you. Pick you up at 7:00?"
Perfect. Angel would gone by then.
She nodded. "Seven is fine."