I didn't want to be here and I certainly didn't want to be here with Riley. What I had at first found cute and endearing I now found downright irritating. His faults were becoming more and more obvious.
His faults? Where did I begin? Besides the obvious that he was completely devoid of an interesting personality? He was warm. His heart beat. He didn't drink blood. He could go out in sunlight. He wasn't 247. He wasn't Angel…
…If I suffered from insomnia then Kate would be the cure. For the last hour I had suffered her self-pitying oration. Her life was so hard. No one understood her. She was unappreciated at work. Yada yada yada. 'She' though 'she' had it hard. My mind drifted to another time and another blonde. Petite, beautiful, hazel eyes and a heart full of love. She had far more reason to complain than the self-flagellating bitch beside me now and yet she never did. Not really. Only about a broken nail or some vamp exploding in a cloud of dust over her hair and outfit. Kate thought she had it hard and told the world about it. Buffy 'had' it hard and yet she just.. did…
…I yawned and tried to stay awake. Spike was patrolling tonight, I wished to God that I'd gone with him. I looked at my watch. 9pm. Three more hours. THREE! Either I'd be asleep or I'd experience a psychotic episode and stake Riley. The staking held major appeal!
The hair on the back of my neck stood. Vamps. I focused hard, shutting out Riley's incessant whining about life back in Iowa and the noise of the club. The feeling grew stronger and with it came a familiarity…
…I'd escaped Kate's clutches and had driven to Sunnydale. He whining had pushed me into making a decision. I didn't give a damn what Buffy's Mom thought. Come to that, I didn't give a damn what anyone thought. Anyone but Buffy. Her, no OUR happiness was all that mattered. And since the PTB had decided that I could have my soul on a fulltime condition free basis I could share as much happiness with Buffy as we wanted…
…I tried to focus harder, to pinpoint exactly where he was but I couldn't. My pulse quickened and my heart seemed to do little flips in my chest. Why was he here? We'd agreed emergency contact only. Come on Buff; you don't care about the whys, you're just glad he is!
And then I saw him. A vision in black, his duster flapping at his heels, he made his way to our table. Riley hadn't noticed my complete disinterest in him had reached epidemic proportions. I began to stand…
…She's seen me and her face says it all. God she is so beautiful. A smile plays on her lips as she moves to greet me. She looks so good. I can't wait to feel her lips against mine, to crush her to me, to feel her warmth, to hear her heart, to smell her scent, to taste her, to fill and awake every fibre of my being with hers…
…The whole world has ceased to exist. He and I are encased in an isolation bubble. I jump him; my arms round his neck. I said one word before I kissed him. "Husband…"
…She knew! When I had given her the Claddagh ring I hadn't been completely honest. For my people it was an unofficial wedding band. I broke off our kiss. "Wife?" She smiled at me and nodded. "Wife." she echoed, but without the question. I lifted her off her feet; she wrapped her legs round my waist. I was home…
…"Forget everything I said in LA. I was angry. I never want to forget. I never want to be apart from you. We'll make it work whatever." I was babbling.
He smiled at me. "Did we have a conversation in LA???"
I kissed him again. Only a loud coughing brought reality crashing down.
"Buffy? Would you like to explain what the hell you're doing? And you. Get your damn hands off my girlfriend!"
He lowered me to the ground but didn't let me go. Riley looked ready to explode. I felt no guilt. Love, happiness, sheer euphoria. But no guilt. However, I didn't want to cause anymore of a scene than I had already so I decided to pull my punches and not tell him exactly what I felt.
"Riley. I'm sorry but I'm not your girlfriend. We've been out a few times and we've had some fun but it was never anything more than that. I'm sorry if I lead you to believe it was."
"You're telling me this was a game?"
***No, games are fun!*** "It wasn't a game. I like you but I was never in love with you. My heart has always belonged to Angel and it always will. I never meant to hurt you, I guess I have though."
"Yes you have. You're not the person I thought you were Buffy. I thought we were going somewhere with this. I guess I was wrong…"
…He pushed past us, making sure that he elbowed me. I didn't rise to it. Buffy turned and looked up at me.
"Emergency contact? Soul lossage?"
"I've been granted fulltime custody of my soul and I thought we never had a conversation in LA!"
She laughed and then looked serious. "You can't lose your soul?"
Her whole face brightened. "Then let's get out of here. I want to give you some serious happiness." She grabbed hold of my hand and dragged me to the exit.
I didn't fight it.