When Angel’s email appeared on Willow’s smartphone-screen she nearly choked on her breakfast bagel. In a hurry, she gulped down the glass of orange juice and quickly regained her composure to read the message.
I need to talk to you, in private. Would you meet me in your backyard? This way you wouldn’t need to invite me – I understand that this may be too much to ask after my latest backslide… But it’s about Giles and I need your help.
PS: By the way, Faith has just bestowed me with one of those horrible technical devices, a smartphone but I have to admit that it comes in quite handy.
Whoa, she thought, I’m glad that Buffy’s late… Buffy with her extra Slayer senses would have guessed something right away.
Okay, this was serious! And he mentioned Giles… Willow instantly had to fight back her tears. No time for that now. Buffy would be here any minute! She hastily typed in a reply and proposed a meeting at her house for tonight at 8.30, after sunset. Now she was relieved, for the first time, that the building had needed some remedial actions before the floors were habitable again. The former owner had only used one floor to live in and hadn’t care about the others. Apart from the extra costs for renovating, it now made a secret meeting much easier.
In a few weeks, the other floors would be habited not only by Xander and Dawn but also by Buffy and her current roomies, Annaheed and Tumbler. Willow had no idea what they were doing tonight but Buffy would be teaching a gym course at her studio, so there was no danger of her popping up spontaneously. As for Xander and Dawn, they did not exactly live in the nearest neighborhood and wouldn’t stop by for a visit just like that.
Willow’s house was way too big for her alone anyway. She had bought it only two months ago, after her great success with an anti-virus program. She had fallen in love with the old villa the moment she had laid eyes on it. It was old and very Fin de Siècle with large windows and high ceilings. The house itself was surrounded by a crackly high wall but the portal that was covered with ivy, gave view to a charmingly overgrown lawn. The air seemed so much cleaner around there, and the street was lined with old large European beeches. She imagined how there would be enough space for the whole Scoobie gang – they hadn’t talked about it but Willow thought it would sure be nice to have some kind of anchor again, a safe place for all of them. Like Buffy’s house back in Sunnydale.
Well, not so much safe but it had become their home. Or Giles’ flat, where they used to have their meetings before everything had changed. And when she was walking along this particular street with the freshly received check in her hands, just to enjoy another look before she’d meet up with the others to celebrate the news, she discovered a sign that said “House for sell”.
When she suggested the others to move in as well, they enthusiastically accepted.
Willow took another sip from her orange juice, trying to calm herself down. If she acted normal, this secret meeting would actually turn out to be a secret meeting. It sure was weird. Not only had Angel made himself rare after the whole Twilight-incident but he had also teamed up with Faith to fight against evil on the other hellmouths of the world. And, as Willow figured, much more so to be anywhere but near Buffy and Spike. And then there was this Goddess that looked like a distressing cross between Fred and a very large smurf. What was her name again? Ilyria? Anyway, it sure was odd! And Angel finally had gotten himself a smartphone. That was news all by itself!
His reply came in form of a short text message:
Thank you! See you later!
Huh! Now it was settled. She would be secretly meeting with Buffy’s former lover and couldn’t talk to Buffy about it. This sucked… I’ll tell her after, he can’t expect me to keep this secret longer than necessary… Now she was curious. How was she supposed to have breakfast – she glanced at the watch – well, brunch anyway with Buffy and not tell her about the email?!? Breath. You can do this. Act like a grown-up, you can---
“Hey Will, sorry I’m late! Did I just scare you?”
“Buffy, hi! Uh... I was just thinking – well, yeah, you got me a bit! I was just going through some work related stuff...”
Willow sent her a cheerful smile. “I hope you don’t mind that I already ordered my bagel? I've been up for hours and was so hungry…”
“No, of course not! Sorry again, for the lateness but Tumbler was blocking the bathroom again – you know he has a new boyfriend so he spends endless hours in front of the mirror, fussing about his hairdo!”
“I can quite imagine! But you gotta admit, he really is a cutie!”
The Wicca was pleased with herself. That had turned out pretty well! They laughed and chatted and Willow could even forget about Angel’s email.