He helped. He helped a lot.
“Do you think they know?” I asked him one night as he slid his fingers along the arch of my foot and then to my ankle. It tickled.
“Who?” Wesley asked with a smile, hooking a finger into my sock and pulling it off. “Angel? Cordelia? Gunn?”
“All of the above,” I said nervously. “Do you think they know?”
He got very serious for a moment, even though his fingertips were playing games with my calf, caressing it delicately. It’s a look I’d associated with demon-slaying and unpleasant prophecy-translating, not so much our relationship. But then I figured out that he was just playing with me and I relaxed.
“I think they do,” he said, a twinkle in his eye as he petted my knee, making my skin tingle underneath the jeans. “I think Angel in particular has to know because of what happened in the elevator.”
My eyes went giant, because oh, how I remembered what happened in the elevator. Not that I had particularly said anything at the time, but what sort of sensible girl says something when her lover deliberately makes the elevator stop so that she can get off?
“That was completely and totally your idea,” I said very severely, blushing. “So it’s your fault if Angel knows.”
“Would you be upset if they all knew?” he asked, his hand stopping dead on my knee. “Is this a secret?”
I realized too late that I’d hurt his feelings. Wesley knew I still had this sort of crush on Angel–not a big one, but still a little crush– and it sounded like I didn’t want Angel to know because I thought maybe I still had a shot with him. I leaned over and started kissing Wesley to remind him that it wasn’t true.
“No,” I said, punctuating each no with a kiss. “No– no– no. I was trying to make a joke–”
He pushed me away, and Wesley never does that. Wesley worried so much about what he said to me when he was under that misogyny spell that I had to take the initiative when we were first getting together until I told him he was being ridiculous. What happened next is another story. But anyway.
“Then why are you so anxious about it?” he asked, looking at me in this sad way. “Angel certainly knows and Cordelia and Gunn aren’t fools. Do you really care if they know? They’re our friends.”
“I know,” I said, putting my hand under his chin and forcing him to look at me. “Wesley, I don’t care. Really I don’t. It’s just funny, you know, when you have a secret, even when it’s a good secret. You wonder who knows, if you’re telling with the way you walk and talk and the way you smile–”
He relaxed and smiled at me again, one of those delighted grins that just lit up his entire face and I remembered why I woke up happy so many mornings. Wesley and I fitted together just right. He read me Spenser’s love sonnets–funny, weird Spenser–because everyone reads their girlfriend Shakespeare. I made him get a haircut because he looked shaggy and ridiculous, even though that was half of the appeal. We even liked the same sappy love music, the kind we’d never admit to anyone we liked but we listened to it anyway music.
His fingertips started moving again, deciding to ignore my legs for a while. Instead he started tracing intense patterns on my neck, pausing for a moment to slide those fingertips through my hair, and then back to my neck.
“I think that I’m madly in love with you,” he said and it was one of those things I never got tired of hearing. “But I think I’m particularly in love with this part of your neck.”
He proceeded to demonstrate what he meant by kissing his way from my collarbone all the way up to just under my earlobe, pausing for a moment here and there to taste a particular patch of skin while his fingers found the outside curve of my breast and started tickling it. My heart started beating faster and I climbed into his lap, arranging my legs, one on this side of his waist, the other on the other side.
“You’re wonderful,” I whispered to him. “You’re too good for me.”
I knew he didn’t think it was true, but it sort of was. Here I was, crushing on the undead with a crush on someone else, making my boyfriend’s heart ache on a regular basis, and he kept saying he was the bad one.
Silly, very, very remarkably silly for two such smart people.
He kissed me again, a long, long kiss that started off warm and got hotter and sweatier as it went along. I was glad I wasn’t standing up because I was getting weak in the knees. Those fingertips of his were lingering on the curves of my breasts, which was okay because my fingers were very busy trying to tug his shirt off. Ever since Wesley and I became lovers, I’ve convinced him to wear his grey t-shirt more often like he did in Pylea.
Lovers. The thought of the word made me happy, happy like taking those glasses off my boy Wes and putting them aside because he didn’t need them. I managed to get that dratted t-shirt off and then my fingers got to play with skin. He needed to eat more–we were both too skinny. I reminded myself to add bulk-up powder to our food.
“Fred–” he murmured at one point between a thousand kisses and a thousand more. Either that or he was undoing my bra and I didn’t particularly want him to stop. Probably both, now that I think about it. Wesley’s fairly good at multi-tasking.
“I love you,” I told him, feeling intensely real. I didn’t wonder about Angel or about it being a dream in a cave in Pylea. What was real was this strange and scared and complicated and silly man under me and I didn’t want anything else to change the moment.
So real. Every touch of his body on mine, of my lips on his, of my skin against his was something real, not a dream, not something I made up in my head. Real.
“Mine,” I murmured.
“Yours,” he agreed, helping me take off what I was still wearing. “For as long as you want me.”
I smacked him on the hand gently. He had to stop being so mean to himself. “Don’t be so negative,” I said. “I want you and I don’t foresee the not-wanting of you any–time–oh, do that again–soon.”
He did that again. Lots of agains. I stopped thinking so much about relationship dynamics and more about moving a little and arching up and his arms there and my arms there and then doing that again and many, many things that weren’t really so much thinking things.
I went with the not-thinking and it was very, very good.
I was going to be dreaming about his fingertips later, but first I was going to appreciate that it was real, that I didn’t have to dream or make up or rewrite in my head.
“I love you,” I said, fantasizing about fingertips. He kissed me on the cheek.
“I love you.”
And that was real. And that was more than enough.