Angel tried to ignore the ticking of the clock as he rummaged through the folders on his desk. But every once in a while he would let his eyes drift towards the dreaded thing. Had it really been that long already? A huge sigh escaped him as he quickly tallied the numbers in his head again. It had been exactly three weeks, four days, seven hours and thirty-six minutes since Willow had walked out of his office with Spike and out of his life. Not that he was counting of course.
With a look of determination on his face, Angel turned his back on the clock. There was no point in thinking about it any longer. He should just get on with his own life. She had made her choice and it obviously hadn’t been him. He’d had every intention of taking his own advice had it not been for the tiny voice whispering inside his head, reminding him that Willow hadn’t known she had a choice.
“That’s right!” Angel yelled as he quickly stood. She hadn’t known because he had never told her. Well, it was high time he told her exactly how he felt about her. As a matter of fact… He was shaken out of his reverie by Harmony.
He turned around and stared at Harmony with one eyebrow raised.
“I’m sorry for interrupting, Boss. I heard you yell and thought you might need something.” Harmony twisted her fingers together as she waited for Angel to blow his stack because of the name she had called him upon entering the room. He really hated when she did that but in her defense she had been worried that something was wrong.
“That’s alright, Harmony. But I need you to....”
Huh? Since when doesn’t she get an earful for calling him Bossy? Harmony quickly shook her head to pay closer attention when she realized Angel was still speaking.
“And then I want you to call all the clients I have scheduled for the rest of the week and reschedule. Then I...” He let his sentence trail off at the blank look on Harmony’s face. “What?”
It was all she could do to keep from cringing. But she was a vampire after all. She should be made of sterner stuff. She whipped her tablet from her pocket and pulled her pencil from behind her ear. “I’m sorry, Angel. What was that first thing you wanted me to do?”
Angel bit the inside of his lip to keep from smiling before he quickly repeated everything he needed her to do.
Five minutes later, Harmony walked out of his office with her notebook in her hand ready to handle everything on her list. For a brief moment she stopped and looked back towards the closed door. That was odd. For a just a minute she had thought she had heard Angel whistling. But that couldn’t be right. With a shrug of her shoulders, Harmony sat down at her desk and reached for the phone.
“This is Harmony. Yes, Angel’s secretary. Although, I really do prefer assistant because that’s what I do, you know, I assist him with... What? Oh right! Angel wants the private jet fueled and ready to leave for Paris. What? Now of course!” Harmony rolled her eyes as she hung up the phone. Shouldn’t they know by now that when Angel wanted something he wanted it right then and not later? Honestly, some people just didn’t know how to do their jobs properly.
Less than a minute later, Harmony rang the intercom to Angel’s office. “Boss, the jet is ready to leave whenever you are.”
A little less than two hours later, Angel was standing in front of the apartment where Willow and Spike lived. He couldn’t even think of the other vampire’s name without gritting his teeth. Just the thought of Spike holding her, touching her, doing things to her, with her. Things that he had wanted for a very long time was making him a little crazy.
Suddenly, the door opened and Willow gave a little squeal of delight. “Angel? What are you doing here?” Without waiting for an answer, Willow threw her arms around him and pulled him towards her. It felt as if she hadn’t seen him in forever.
As she turned him loose, Angel couldn’t help but smile. Her exuberance was a very good sign. But before he could say anything Willow began to panic.
“Oh, God! Nothing wrong is it? Please tell me nothing has happened to...” She let whatever it was she was going to say trail off. She couldn’t bring herself to say any names.
“No. It’s nothing like that. As far as I know everyone is fine.” Angel was quick to reassure her.
Willow closed her eyes as she felt her knees almost buckle in relief. Even though that part of her life was over she still didn’t want anything bad to happen to her friends. With a huge sigh, she finally opened her eyes.
Before she could say a word, Angel began to speak. “Is Spike here?”
“No, he went to get...” She lowered her voice just in case anyone was listening. “He went to get the...you know.” Even with her voice lowered she still couldn’t bring herself to say the word blood. Especially not to Angel. Even though he was a vampire too it just seemed such a personal thing to discuss.
Spike wasn’t there! He felt like dancing. That just made his life so much easier.
“So what are you doing here?” She quickly repeated her question from earlier. The look on his face was starting to worry her a bit. The way he was staring at her reminded her of Angelus. Not that bad really but just very intense.
“Well, you see. It’s this. You left and I was... that is to say...” This was getting ridiculous. It shouldn’t be this hard. Angel cleared his throat and tried again. “When you left, Willow. I don’t think you realized that you had other choices available to you.” There that was much better. Angel almost patted himself on the back.
“But I didn’t want other choices, Angel. I love Spike.”
Willow nodded her head. “Yes, I do.”
“Oh. I see.” Angel bowed his head as he let the emotions he had been holding at bay wash over him. Feelings of loneliness and frustration but most of all feelings of regret. If only he had spoken up sooner. Maybe, just maybe, he would have stood a chance.
As Willow stared at Angel, she had the strangest feeling she was missing something. Something that she would desperately want if only she knew what it was. “What is it, Angel? I don’t get it. What other choices?”
“I can tell you that, luv.”
Willow and Angel jerked in surprise at Spike voice. They turned in unison to see him walking towards them.
“Spike, I didn’t..” Willow was so nervous she began to stammer and even though she didn’t understand why she was so nervous she couldn’t seem to stop. “I didn’t know he was coming. Angel just....”
Spike slipped his hand around her waist as he came to stand beside her. “It’s okay, luv.” Unlike Willow he understood Angel perfectly. What he didn’t get was why it had taken Angel this long to show up.
“You said you can tell me. Do you know what’s going on?”
“Yeah, I do. You see the big poof here...”
Spike flashed an evil grin at Angel’s warning tone before he continued, “I know exactly what the other choices were. Well, I think it’s more to the point to say choice. Don’t you think, Angel?”
“I’m warning you, Spike.”
“You’re warning me? Really? Why don’t we just see who has the biggest set of...”
Willow quickly interrupted. The last thing she needed was a brawl between two vampires right there out in the open for everyone to see. “Spike, please! What choice?”
Surely, she couldn’t have heard that right. She quickly stuck her finger in her ear and wiggled it about. “Huh?”
“You heard me, Red. The big poof here wants you and it’s killing him, pardon the pun that you’re with me and not him.”
Willow waited with baited breath for Angel to deny the accusation but he was strangely silent. She had thought she was prepared to hear what the choice was. For some reason she’d had it in her mind, Angel was there to offer her a job somewhere far away from Spike. But it had never occurred to her the thing he was willing to offer was himself. She’d had no idea he hated Spike that much. She didn’t know she had said that last part out loud until Angel answered her.
“It’s not about Spike.” At the disbelieving look on her face he couldn’t help but smile. “It’s really not.”
“Then what is it about.”
He had hoped he could explain everything to her with a little more privacy but with Spike there.... Hell, he’d been doomed the minute she’d said she loved Spike. With determination written plainly on his face once more, Angel ignored Spike and began to speak. “I’ve had these feelings for you ever since you came to the Hyperion to tell me about Buffy. You were so sweet and so caring that I couldn’t help myself. Before I knew it, I was in love with you.”
“That was almost three years ago.” Why did he have to wait so long to say anything? Couldn’t he have said it any sooner? Once again she didn’t realize she’d spoken her thoughts out loud until it was too late to recall them.
“I tried, Willow. But it never seemed like the right time. When was I supposed to say something? At Buffy’s funeral? Oh, I know the day Giles called and told me that you’d tried a resurrection attempt but it had failed; was I supposed to say something then? Or the day Tara died was I supposed to say something then when you were grieving for the loss of the love of your life?”
“No. You wanted to know why I didn’t say something sooner. And I’m telling you it wasn’t that easy. Why didn’t you?”
“I...I...” Willow stared at Angel, then at Spike and then back at Angel again. “I...”
“Exactly. It’s not easy is it.”
Oh God. What was she going to do? She loved Spike. She knew she did. But there was something about Angel that she was drawn to. Something she couldn’t deny.
Spike dropped his arm from around her waist and turned her to face him. “You’re worrying yourself for nothing, pet.”
“What?” Willow couldn’t believe he would say that. “I know nothing when I see it, Spike. And believe me this isn’t nothing. This is definitely something. As a matter of fact this is the mother of all somethings.”
The look on Spike’s face was one of amused indulgence which he quickly let fade when he caught a glimpse of the exact same expression on Angel’s face. Spike quickly began to speak. “There’s no reason to work yourself up. I only meant that this isn’t something we can’t work out.”
“I beat Angel up and he goes away.”
Angel could feel himself begin to bristle at the threat. “I’d like to see you try it. I’m not that easy.”
“Sorry, luv.” Spike apologized to Willow before turned to Angel. “This situation isn’t easy either, Angel. No matter how much you might wish it to be. This isn’t some pretty little thing you picked up for the two of us to share.”
“Why not?” Spike parroted Angel’s words back at him. “Because she’s mine. I love her and for some reason she loves me.”
“Listen, Spike. It wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve shared a woman. Hell, we even shared Darla and Dru. I think this might be the best answer for all of us. If we....”
Whatever Angel was saying was lost as Willow allowed herself to drift in thought. She wouldn’t have to worry about hurting Spike or Angel. She could have them both. For a few blissful moments she allowed herself the luxury of imagining what it would be like to have both vampires hold her, touch her but most of all to love her. But like all good dreams this one came to an abrupt end when sounds of harsh words caught her attention.
“Because she’s mine, you bloody sod!”
“But she wants me too!”
Spike rolled his eyes. “Well, there’s just no accounting for taste is there?”
“You’re such an.....”
Willow had heard enough. “Just stop it, the both of you. I don’t need to hear anymore. I love you, Spike. I don’t want to ever loose you. And nothing or no one will ever change that.” With tears in her eyes she turned to face Angel. “I’m sorry, Angel.” Without another word Willow turned and began to quickly walk away. She had to get away for just a little while. Maybe some fresh air would help ease the pain of knowing what almost could have been.
After taking a deep breath, Willow turned to face Spike and waited for him to speak.
“Did you mean what you said?”
She nodded her head.
“Then he can stay.”
Her mouth flew open in shock. She couldn’t believe she heard what she’d heard. A cruel thought came to her. What if she hadn’t heard it at all. After all she was standing quite a distance away.
“What did you say?”
“I said Angel can stay if he wants to.” At the look on Angel’s face Spike quickly amended. “At least for a little while.”
Angel quickly ducked his head to hide the look of triumph he knew must be written plainly on his face. Spike thought he was giving his permission for them to share. That the three of them would be one big happy family. But what Spike didn’t realize was that he had every intention of taking Willow for his own. And if it meant he had to play along and share then that’s what he would do. At least for now. But one day Willow would belong only to him. With that comforting thought wringing in his mind, Angel raised his head and watched as the woman he wanted more than anything in the world made her way back towards the both of them.