Angel glanced at his watch surprised to see how much time had passed. He was very late! She had told him to meet her at the Hyperion, within an hour, and she would give him her answer then. His body hummed with excitement at the thought of seeing her again. Finally he would know whether or not she would be his for all time. He didn’t think he could take the suspense much longer.
He didn’t bother trying to wipe away the blood and entrails that clung to him like a second skin as he hurried through the tunnels. His long black coat billowed behind him as he almost flew to get back to the motel. He couldn’t keep her waiting any longer.
The walk from the basement to the stairs to the upstairs hallway and then the stairs to the lobby seemed interminably long but finally he was standing in the middle of the lobby waiting for her. He heard his name, barely whispered and he turned around to see her standing behind him. Every fiber of his being was taut with suppressed emotion; he couldn’t tell by her expression what her decision had been. It was driving him crazy. He had to know what she had decided and he had to know now!
But before she said anything there were a few things he needed her to remember. “Before you say anything, Willow, I just want you to know that no matter what your decision is it won’t stop me from loving you or wanting you.”
He held up his hand to stop her. “No. Let me finish. I know this has been hard for you. And I know you feel guilty because you think you’re taking me away from her. But you shouldn’t. You’re not taking me away from anyone. That shouldn’t even be an issue. I don’t belong to anyone. Unless you decide that you...” He paused at the look on Willow’s face. “What’s wrong, Willow? I know you’re worried about something. So out with it.”
“It’s just that.... No. You’ll think I’m being silly.” Willow twisted her hands together as she began to pace the floor. What the hell was she thinking? How had she even found herself in this situation?
“I would never do that. Your feelings are real. I would never belittle you because of them.” Angel grabbed her by the arm to stop her pacing. “Come on, Willow. You know you can tell me anything.”
She swallowed hard before she began to speak. She was so nervous and worried her words ran jumbled together. “WhatifRileyandBuffybreakupwillyoustillwantmethen?”
Angel stood there stunned. Surely he couldn’t have heard what he thought he had. “What?”
Willow ducked her head as she spoke more clearly. “What if Riley and Buffy break up? Will you still want me then?” She raised her head until she was looking Angel in the eyes. “I mean you two do have a history together and it would be only natural for you to want to go back to....”
“Stop it right there, Willow. Buffy and Riley have been married for a while now. The last I heard didn’t you say she was expecting their first child?” At her nod he continued. “I doubt very much that they are going to break up. But even it they did it doesn’t have any baring on you and me. I won’t lie to you. I loved her but what I feel for you makes that pale in comparison. You are every thing I have ever wanted out of life.”
Her bottom lip trembled as a new and horrible thought occurred to her. “But what if...?”
Once again Angel held up his hand to silence her. “Don’t you think we have had enough of the ‘what if’ for today?”
“But...” She couldn’t let it go. The thought of losing him after she had had him was almost too much to bear.
“Okay, what about you and Oz?”
A confused look crossed Willow’s face. “Oz?”
“Yeah, Oz. Don’t you think sometimes I worry about what will happen if you ever run into him.” At her quizzical look he continued, “Didn’t you tell me that if you turned a corner in Timbuktu you wouldn’t be surprised if Oz was standing there behind you, waiting because he was always with you?”
“Istanbul.” Willow couldn’t stop herself from correcting him automatically. She had told him that in confidence a long time ago, before they had even started seeing each other. Leave it to Angel to remember the one thing she wished he would forget. “And that’s different.”
Angel arched his eyebrow as he stared at Willow. “Oh really? How?”
“Because he... because I... I mean we...” For some reason she couldn’t quite think of the right words to explain the difference she just knew there was one.
“Uh huh. Look, Willow. We all have someone in our past that we cared for more than anyone else at that time. The thing to remember is that it is the past. Oz is yours just like Buffy is mine. The past is what has led us up to this moment. Because of the things we have done, the people we have loved, it has made us who we are today. And I for one can’t regret anything that brought me you.”
Willow felt her heart skip a beat at his words. And they said Spike was the poet. She bit her lip as she thought about what he had said. Maybe Angel was right. How could she say no to Angel just because she was worried about what might happen? If he wasn’t going to let her past interfere with their future then she could do nothing less with his.
Angel’s mouth dropped opened. “Did you say yes?”
Willow couldn’t help but smile at the shocked look on his face as she nodded her head.
“You’ll moved to LA, live with me, share my life?” Now that she had made her decision Angel couldn’t quite believe his luck.
“Yes, Angel. You were right. Our pasts shouldn’t matter. It’s the love we feel for each other now that’s the most important thing of all.”
Without warning, Angel lifted Willow off the floor and planted a quick kiss on her lips before he whispered, “You are my past, my future, my everything and I will never let you forget it. I love you, Willow. I will spend the rest of your life proving it to you.”
As his lips claimed hers once more, Willow had no doubt that Angel would do exactly that.