Ch. 47 – About Last Night…
A/N: New update.
Disclaimer: Song mentioned from previous chapter belongs to Bryan Adams. I own nothing.
Early the next morning, as the sunlight broke through the curtains, Dean slowly drifted out of his slumber. His vision blurred over the silhouette of a slender body sleeping across from him. When he pulled his vision into focus, his eyes widened with suspicion.
“Crap,” he muttered. “Don’t be who I think you are.”
He leaned over and pushed away a curtain of blonde hair that had been masking the face. When he confirmed his suspicions, he let out a long breath.
“Awww crap,” he muttered softly.
He slowly tugged up the covers when another aching question itched his mind. He widened his eyes even more when he saw her very intimate sleep wear.
“Crap,” he muttered again. “Best night of your damn life Dean and you don’t even remember it….I hate me sometimes….”
He settled back down to the mattress and struggled to recall his memories from the previous evening. He winced when a throbbing pain pierced through his head. He slowly pushed himself up against the headboard. He clenched his jaw and swallowed the searing sting thundering from his bruised rib.
Dean was startled when Buffy let out a contented sigh. She began to shift under the covers as she gradually stirred awake.
“Crap, crap, crap,” he grumbled quietly. “She’s gonna kill me.”
As her sleepy eyes drifted over Dean, she drew a dreamy smile.
“Mmm, good morning,” she cooed quietly.
Choked by the awkward wake up, he pried a silly smile on his face.
“Uh, you tell me. You’re uh, pretty naked under those sheets.”
She widened her smile in amusement.
“Yeah, well, so are you.”
She giggled for a short moment.
“Right, yeah, uh…..so…who took whose pants off?”
“Uh, we took off our own,” she answered. “But I helped you sit up so you could get yours off….and you were under the covers when you did that…”
He slowly nodded. “Oh….okay…..”
She clutched her pillow and let out a soft yawn.
“Well, you’re uh awfully uh….agreeable this morning….is it real or are you gearing up for a nasty “I hate you Dean how could you do this to me” speech before you poke me furiously in the rib until I’m bleeding out of my eyes?”
Buffy noticed the apprehension thickening over his face and giggled for a long moment.
“Is that what you think happened? That after all these years, you finally managed to you lure me into bed with just a handful of sappy lines and a charming smile?”
The fog in his mind blanketed his certainty.
“Uh….no?” he guessed.
She rumbled with laughter before she gazed at him with amusement.
“No,” she confirmed.
“Oh,” he said. “That’s good…..I guess…..so what….we just had another long nap?”
A glimmer of disappointed bled through her smile.
“Do you remember anything that you said or that we did?”
He shifted his eyes away as he pressed deeply on his memory.
“Uh….bits and pieces – it’s all kind of patchy and…I’m not really sure whether what I do remember actually happened or - if I made it up…”
Buffy propped her elbow on the pillow and leaned her head in her hand as she stared up at Dean. He looked confused and dazed with a shade of embarrassment.
“Well, why don’t you tell me what you think you remember happening and I’ll tell you whether it did,” she replied.
“Uh……okay,” he replied.
He took a long moment to collect his handful of hazy moments that sprung in his mind.
“I was pissed off about that bitch Faith…went to a bar…had way too much to drink.”
He shifted his eyes to Buffy. She gave a short nod before his eyes drifted over the mess in the room.
“You were there at some point…..and then….”
He scratched his head when an odd image flashed through his mind.
“Did I – get attacked by a….gorilla?”
Buffy pitched her head back and burst out laughing. After she settled down, she ironed out his muddled memory.
“No, not an actual gorilla, that was just a really, really hairy fat guy.”
Dean took a moment to mull over the information before he cracked a smile.
“Oh, yeah…yeah, okay….now I remember…..that explains why I kept thinking in my sleep that I was part of some weird joke where a guy and a gorilla walk into a bar…..”
Buffy erupted with laughter again. When she finished, she steered him back on topic.
“What else do you remember?”
After a long minute to focus, he drew a deep breath.
“Well…let’s see….there was…..a shitload of rain…..then I was here…with you and then….”
He gulped as he drew a sheepish smile.
“Uh…did I hit on you – a lot?”
She giggled at the sudden rush of color to his cheeks.
“Yeah, big time,” she replied.
“Oh,” he said softly. “Did you hit me in offense?”
She shook her head.
“Oh,” he replied softer than before.
“So far, so good,” she said. “Is anything else coming to mind?”
“Well, here’s where the really hazy stuff comes in.”
“Okay, shoot,” she replied eagerly.
Dean was taken aback by the blissful expression knitting her face. He took several long breaths and swallowed a hard lump in his throat.
“Uh….well, I think at some point in time we…..messed around.”
He waited for the laughter to erupt from her throat or the heavy sarcasm to paint her face but instead, she simply averted her eyes and gave a bashful smile.
“Um, yeah….we did,” she confirmed softly.
He was a little blown away when she looked pleased as punch by that fact.
“Huh…..interesting,” he remarked.
Buffy shifted her eyes back on Dean and noted the inquisitive expression on his face as he regarded her.
“You told me something about you and Riley…..no, you and Faith….no, no, Riley and Faith.”
He shut his eyes for a second to firmly grasp the memory.
“Oh, right….she and Riley did the deed in your body but he didn’t know….”
When he glanced at her, he noticed her contented smile had been washed away by a look of deep disappointment and hurt. His face cracked with guilt.
“Sorry,” he said. “I should have said that in a better way…..my mind is really spinning and I’m – just a jerk sometimes….”
Buffy pushed away the blue expression threatening to set on her face. She shook her head.
“No, it’s okay,” she said softly. “I….I have to deal with it.”
He nodded slowly. “So is this how you chose to deal with it? By taking me home when I was wasted and letting me mess around with you? Were you just looking for a way to ease your pain?”
Buffy snapped out of her self-pitying moment when she heard the caution lacing his tone of voice. When she looked at him, she could see his eyes steeping with hurt. She was floored that in the course of a single night, she had become awakened to a new sense of understanding about how he was feeling. Just as he could gauge her true emotions by just a subtle expression or a gleam in her eyes, she was now acutely aware of the honest feeling veiled in his tone of voice or the slightest gesture on his face.
Buffy noticed the glaring shift in his tone, from caution to accusation. She let out a breath and picked her words out carefully, feeling the weight of his calculating stare.
“You always ease my pain Dean,” she said. “Whenever I feel bad, or low or scared, I come to you and you pick me up and lift me out of my blue mood. That’s why I turn to you because you’re the only one who can really read me. The only one who really knows me and knows what will cheer me up.”
“You mean my bullshit detector,” he said.
She nodded with a small smile, still feeling the weight of his questioning eyes bearing down on her.
“Oh. Well did I? Cheer you up?”
“Yeah, you did. You’re actually pretty funny when you’re drunk, well except for when you’re picking fights with hairy behemoths.”
“Well, I don’t think I was being ‘funny’ to cheer you up,” he said pointedly.
She was amazed that his guarded expression had remained on his face. Something was really bothering him and she knew she had to draw him out of his emotional suit of armor. Despite the loosening effects of alcohol, she believed that the vulnerable, sensitive side of Dean had shined through willingly. They had shared a very intimate, very personal night and she was convinced that had it been more than just two friends comforting each other. At least she hoped.
“I know,” she replied firmly.
Dean steeled himself against the deeply personal confessions that suddenly flooded through his mind.
“You said some stuff to me last night,” he admitted. “I don’t remember all of it but the stuff I do….I’m not a hundred percent sure whether you were being honest or just….playing along for whatever reason….”
Hope washed through her heart as she met his eyes.
“Oh? What did I say?”
“I don’t remember it verbatim but I think……I think it was….complimentary….”
“It was,” she confirmed.
He shifted his eyes away from her when his head began throbbing. He rubbed his temples and winced as shards of pain shot through his head. Buffy glanced at him with great concern when he paused to address his headache.
“I’ll get you some aspirin,” she replied.
Before he could form a response in his pounding head, she had bolted to her feet and shuffled over to the bathroom. Dean blinked in utter shock when she seemed to take no regard of her scantily clothed state in front of him. He forced his eyes away when he realized he had been staring at the firm curves peeking out from her underwear as she made her way over to the bathroom.
“I didn’t find any,” she moped as she leaned against the doorway.
Dean gulped in awkwardness when the sunlight beaming through the curtains washed over her and revealed a very clear, very intimate glimpse of what was nestled behind her beige colored tank top. He felt his body flash with a blazing heat as a familiar sensation began to rise and tighten under the sheets.
“There’s a bottle in the outer pocket of my bag.”
She spotted his bag in the corner of the room and shuffled over. When her back faced him, Dean tugged the covers up to his waist and snatched a pillow, flinging it in his lap.
Buffy quickly rummaged through the outer pocket of the bag. She yanked out the bottle of aspirin, popped the top and shook out two pills. When she straightened and twisted around, she caught Dean with a mortified look on his face before he met her eyes. He cleared his throat as he clutched a pillow over his lap and smiled awkwardly.
She looked around for a glass and snatched one off the dresser. She swiftly filled the glass with some tap water and returned to the bed. She gently sat down on the edge of the bed next to him and took his hand. She placed the two pills in the palm of his hand and affectionately brushed her fingers over his. She pushed the glass in his other hand and caressed the side of his face as she smiled sweetly.
Dean remained guarded as he swallowed the aspirin and chased it down with a few sips of water. He set the glass down and studied her for a long moment.
“What’s going on?” he asked point blank. “What the hell happened last night?”
His eyes rolled over her body before meeting hers.
“Why the hell did you climb into my bed – wearing – that?”
Another faint memory tapped his brain. He widened his eyes.
“Did you actually tell me you wanted to…...”
His voice trailed off as he lingered on the thought. He shook his head in doubt.
“No, that part I must have made up,” he said.
“Are you asking about the part where I told you I wanted to show you how much I care about you? Or the part where I told you I wanted to be with you?”
He blinked several times in shock. “Uh…..both.”
“You didn’t make it up,” she admitted softly.
He raked his eyes over the seemingly sincere expression on her face. After a long moment, he hardened his doubtful glare.
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
Buffy drew out a breath when the skepticism thickened on his face. She scooted across him and draped her legs over the pillow in his lap. She noticed the shock bleeding through his frown when he watched her actions.
“You really think I’d spend the night with you stripped down like this and let you hold me and touch me and kiss me just to mess with your mind? You really think I’m that cruel?”
Buffy noted the dramatic change in his expression as reluctance flooded over his skeptical frown. After a long moment, Dean drew out a breath and dropped his eyes from hers.
“Kind of,” he answered very softly.
Her heart imploded with a mixture of hurt and guilt. She bit down on her quivering lips as tears hung in her throat.
“Don’t you know – don’t you remember that when you kissed me, I kissed you back? That when you hugged me, I hugged you back? I didn’t do that to tease you.”
“Okay, why did you?”
Buffy sighed as she stamped back the aggravating growl in her throat.
“Because I wanted to,” she answered. “Because you said these things to me, nice things….amazing things that made me see who you really are….made me see why you’ve been around in my life when you had no more reason to be….wonderful, amazing things….”
She searched his eyes for a glimmer of the man she had spent the night with cradled in the crook of his arm. All she saw was a gray fog.
Dean gazed at her in amazement as he waited for the moment when the alarm clock would shake him out of his dreamlike state. He waited and waited and waited but the moment never arrived. He stamped back the hope encroaching upon his splintered heart as he tossed out a sarcastic response in defense.
“Well, I know I’m pretty smooth and I have some great lines but you really should know better.”
His attempt to make light of the situation failed miserably when he couldn’t even laugh at his own joke. He couldn’t even force a smile.
“So you tell every girl that you make out with that you love them?”
He blinked and swallowed his horror.
“I uh, I say a lot of crap when I’m drunk, again, you should know better.”
Her eyes flared with hurt.
“You don’t remember saying that?”
“Uh….not really,” he replied.
Buffy drew in a long, slow breath to calm her nerves. Dean glanced at the alarm clock.
“Maybe you should get dressed and head on home,” he said flatly.
She gasped softly at his cold tone. Tears sprung in her eyes but she bit them furiously back.
“Is that what you want? You want me to go now?”
They stared at each other for a long moment.
“I want you – to be straight with me,” he answered curtly.
She frowned, “I am!”
She blew out a frustrated breath as she began to contemplate whether she had misread his feelings after all. When she closed her eyes and took in several more breaths, her mind recalled the song that played during their very passionate moment. The lyrics rang in her head several times as if to quell the doubt beating in her heart. “Look into my eyes - you will see,”
What you mean to me."
Buffy snapped her eyes open as the lyrics repeated in her mind. She glanced at Dean who was still assessing her with his own eyes. When she met his eyes, she looked passed the stony expression and saw a glow, the same glow she had seen the night before as he held her in his arms. “Search your heart - search your soul”
And when you find me there, you'll search no more”
Buffy drew in a deep breath as she collected the thoughts swimming through her heart.
“I think – I want to explore this thing between us,” she replied.
He shot her a blank look.
“What ‘thing’ between us?”
She gulped when she fell under his scrutinizing gaze.
“Um, well, when a girl likes a boy, and a boy likes a girl, at least the girl thinks the boy likes her, they um, they decide to have a thing….”
She watched his eyes narrow even more.
“You still haven’t defined the ‘thing’,” he pointed roughly.
Buffy cowered slightly, feeling his probing eyes.
“Um, I hoped it was obvious what that ‘thing’ is,” she said.
“Not when the girl is you,” he remarked. “And not when – last time I knew – the girl has a boyfriend she couldn’t stop talking about. So no, it’s not obvious to me what the ‘thing’ is. You’re going to have to elaborate a little more.”
Buffy sighed again, wrestling with the idea of whether to punch him or kiss him. When she failed to settle on a decision, she simply let out another long breath.
“I’m…taking time from Riley…”
The persistent questioning of his eyes began to weigh heavily on her nerves.
“I see,” he said. “You’re taking ‘time’ from Riley – to do whatever it was with me last night and then what? You’ll take a little bit more of what you need from me and then skip on back to him with a “Gee, thanks Dean for that little pick me up, it was fun – I’ll call ya later.”
She was appalled by his shallow accusation.
“You really think I’d use you like that?”
“Did you break it off with him?”
“Well, no,” she answered.
“Then that is exactly what I think you’re doing.”
She gasped in horror as she swung her legs off his lap.
“You should talk,” she snapped. “You’re the master at using people to satisfy your own needs!”
She growled loudly as she clenched her hands into fists.
“Why do you always have to make everything so difficult? Why can’t you just listen to and accept what I’m trying to tell you?”
“Because I can’t for the life of me figure out what the hell is going on inside that blonde head of yours right now!”
Buffy huffed as she punched the pillow sitting in his lap. “Come on! You read me better than anyone! I know you do so what’s the problem?”
Dean pushed the pillow out of his lap as he inched toward the edge of bed, distancing himself from her.
“The problem is – I’m not interested if all you’re offering me is a repeat of last night on the days you’re pissed off at your boyfriend. I do not want to be put in the middle of this. The fact is, I probably just told you what you wanted to hear to get the end result, that’s how I work. I was drunk, I was pissed off and I wanted to get laid and you were there. I was just working you, that was all.”
She absorbed the intense bitterness in his tone as she shook her head.
“No, I don’t believe that,” she said firmly. “I know what I saw. I know what I felt. That wasn’t skirt chasing Dean with me last night, that was Dean my friend – my best friend, my confidant, my anchor….my
Dean….the one I’ve always known, the one I’ve always counted on, the one who’s always gotten me through some of the worst times in my life, the one…..I love.”
When the last two words rolled out of her mouth, she felt an enormous weight lifted off her shoulders. She let out a breath and met his eyes.
“I love you,” she declared. “I think I’ve loved you for awhile.”
He widened his eyes and gazed at her in complete amazement. As the minutes passed without any response, she grew concerned.
“I just told you that I love you and you’re looking at me like I’m an alien…..what’s wrong?”
He studied her for a long minute before he answered.
“I uh….I’m waiting for you to get to the punch line where you laugh your ass off.”
“There is no punch line.”
“Oh, well, are you under a spell again? Am I under a spell? I mean, is this really you talking or are you trying to mess with my head?”
She let out a breath. “Can’t you tell by looking at me?”
The astonishment thickened on his face. “Well….I still feel like this isn’t real. That this isn’t really you.”
Seeing the wide skepticism on his face, she moved closer to him and slipped her arms around him, clasping her hands around his neck. She gingerly sat in his lap, careful not to lean against his bruised rib.
“Close your eyes,” she replied softly.
He regarded her with mild suspicion.
She watched his eyes questioning her intently. She brushed a hand delicately over his cheek.
“Just close your eyes,” she said.
After a long second, he relented and shut his eyes. Buffy gently framed his face with her hands and gave him a long, loving kiss. Her heart imploded with joy as she deepened her kiss. Not a single doubt sprung in her mind as to whether she was making a hasty decision or retaliating over her feelings of betrayal. She knew with complete confidence that this was guy she truly loved with all of her heart.
Dean still fought with himself the longer she kissed him. He tried to guard his heart from the paralyzing euphoria coursing through his body but the more she caressed him, the deeper she kissed him, the quicker he felt his defenses weakening. For so long he had dreamed about this moment and if it wasn’t real it meant he was either dead or in a coma. The deep seated pain festering in his heart clung tightly to that fear, waiting for the chance to validate his theory. But as she stroked his face and raked her fingers through his hair, he felt a tickle in his throat. His eyes began to thicken with moisture but the last bit of resistance in his system continued to stamp back any optimistic emotion that threatened to pour out. He didn’t want to believe she would be so cruel as to take a joke this far.
Buffy let out a soft moan as she drank in the joy of kissing of Dean. When she finally parted from his mouth, she looked deeply in his eyes and saw the swell of tears collecting in the corners.
“Now look at me and you’ll know it’s really me,” she said.
She watched as his eyes shifted back and forth over hers. After a few seconds, his eyes widened.
“Holy crap,” he replied. “It really is you talking.”
She planted kisses around his face, careful not to disturb the bandages on his cuts. She heard him heave a long breath and met his eyes. He looked at her in great wonder.
“It’s me and I’m telling you that I love you and I’m sorry,” she professed.
“Sorry for what?” he asked softly.
“I’m sorry for being such an idiot. All you have ever done was support me and I know there were times when you didn’t agree with my decisions but despite that, you were still willing to stand by me. You’ve looked out for me and you’ve cared about me for so long and I – I never realized just how much you cared. I took you for granted. I expected you to be around because of our history. I never took the time to think about why you do what you do for me. And then that night at the Bronze, when we were dancing, I saw something in your eyes and I knew….I knew why….and it – it scared me because of the way you made me feel in that moment, the way you always make me feel when I’m in a dark place – safe and happy and….loved…..and I realized how I felt about you….that you – could be the guy – THE guy that could make it real and lasting and true….and that scared me too because the idea of having that – having someone like that….I – I didn’t want anything to screw it up because I think I’d….die to have something so special and pure like that and lose it….so instead of embracing it and taking a risk….I walked away…”
She caught her breath as she let the tears flow freely.
“But I’m walking toward you now – I’m running…and I just hope…..I hope when I get to you that you’ll be there with open arms and you’ll go on this new and exciting and amazing adventure with me because – you’re the best thing that ever happened to me. And I’m sorry I never realized that.”
Buffy dipped her eyes to the mattress as she heaved a deep breath. As the silence lulled, she shifted her eyes back up and affectionately slipped her hands through his.
“Do you….even love me? Or did I completely misread you and embarrass myself with an Oscar worthy sobfest?”
After a long minute, Dean drew in a breath as he watched the sadness hanging in her eyes.
“No, you didn’t misread me,” he admitted softly. “But…..”
The flicker of hope that flared into her eyes dampened upon his additional clause.
“You….” he started.
He let out another long breath as the lines on his face hardened.
“You hurt me – a lot, with your ‘Oh Dean, you’re such a sleazebag, and ‘Come on Dean, I’d never be with a guy like you, and oh Dean, I’ll only love you as just a friend…” he replied shakily. “Usually I don’t give a crap when a girl rejects me. I just brush it off and move on, but with you….I couldn’t seem to kick it away….and then you kept luring me back here with your “oh but you’re so important to me” speeches and your friendly smiles and it drove me nuts that no matter what I did I couldn’t seem to walk away from you. I tried a couple of times but whenever I mentioned not coming around, you’d get this look in your eyes – the same look you’d get when you were a kid that made me feel horrible – like I ran over your dog. So I kept visiting despite all of that but it killed me a little each time to know that you’d never change your view of me. After awhile I had to just tell myself to let it go and just enjoy the time I spend with you because I’ll always care about you….but anything more……I couldn’t just let myself feel anything more because it hurt too much to look at something you could never have….and hell if you didn’t always joke about that.”
He fought the tears tugging at the corner of his eyes but a few escaped and rolled down his cheeks. Buffy noticed the deep pain darkening in his eyes and felt her heart splinter with guilt. Tears ripped through her eyes as she threw her arms around him and buried her face in his neck.
“I’m sorry,” she cried. “I’m so sorry I hurt you.”
She sobbed for several minutes before she raised her head and met his damp eyes. She stroked his face gingerly with her hand.
“I’m going to make things right with you. You deserve to have someone love you with all their heart and soul and I want to give you that, as long as you still want it….if you still want me.”
The long silence weighed painfully on her heart as she searched his eyes for some kind of reaction.
“What about Riley? I meant what I said earlier about not wanting to be put in the middle of anything. I’m not interested in just being Revenge on Boyfriend Guy.” he replied sharply.
She saw the lines on his face tightening with resentment.
“So I’m telling you – if you’re lying to me about how you feel, if you’re not sure – it will probably kill me so don’t – don’t tell me this if you don’t really mean it because I really don’t think I can take it, you’ve cut me too often I don’t think I can bleed anymore if this isn’t what you really want.”
Buffy sobbed softly as her heart thundered with remorse.
“One night with you is just not good enough for me and if that’s all you’re going to give me then I don’t want it.”
She roped up his hands, leaned forward and kissed him tenderly for a very long minute. When she broke away, she squeezed his hands and met his eyes.
“It’s not good enough for me either,” she replied.
She stroked the hard lines on his face until his expression softened under her loving touch. She inched forward and latched onto his mouth, kissing him again more intensely than before. When she broke away, she hitched his chin up with her hand and locked eyes with his.
“Look at me – I love you,” she affirmed. “And I want to be with you for more than just a night. I’m yours for as long as you want me.”
Feeling the heaviness of their true confessions, she cracked a playfully smile.
“And I want…..a ‘do over’ for last night,” she replied lightly.
Dean blinked at her unexpected shift in mood. He let out a short chuckle after he replayed her request in his mind.
“A do over? What are we two five year olds fighting on the playground?”
Buffy laced her arms around his neck as she gave him a light kiss on the cheek.
“I meant, I’d like a repeat of last night only without the beer flavored smoochies,” she replied.
She cuddled closer to him.
“And I’d like you to be sober so you won’t ever have to question how I feel about you, you’ll know, you’ll feel my heart, you’ll feel me.”
After a minute, she watched his light amusement thicken as he grinned wide.
“Wow, that’s a pretty damn good line, I can feel my clothes just dripping off. I think I’ll have to steal that one,” he quipped.
He shook with laughter until she frowned.
“You better not use that on anyone but me or I’ll hurt you,” she teased.
After they shared a brief laugh, she flashed him an endearing smile.
“So…..you’re sure taking awhile to ‘feel the rest of me’ as you so candidly told me.”
Dean blinked a couple of times in recognition. “Oh come on, you of all people should have seen right through that line.”
She gave a bashful smile and shrugged. “I don’t know…I kind of liked it.”
He mocked an annoyed frown. “Well Jesus Christ, if I had known you would have eaten up that line I would have thrown that one at you a long time ago!”
Buffy shined a contented smile as she drank up the sound of his laughter. She had hurt him so deeply in the past but she vowed from this day on that she would do everything in her power to make him happy.
Buffy leaned forward and caught his mouth in a passionate, lingering kiss. She was overwhelmed with joy when he laced a hand through her hair and finally kissed her back. She was even more elated when she felt his arms taking her in a firm embrace.
She opened her mouth and invited him inside. She let out a soft moan as their tongues laced together in perfect synch, sharing and exploring each crook and crevice of their mouths. Her body sailed with pleasure as she moved his hands down her back to the seam of her top.
Buffy let out a gleeful squeal as her hands roamed over his chest and explored him, careful to stay away from the bindings around his ribs. She paused momentarily when she realized his hands weren’t roaming. She pulled away from his mouth and eyed him curiously. Her lower lip formed a deep pout.
“Why haven’t you ripped the rest of my clothes off and tried to have your way with me?”
Dean chuckled for a long minute as she pouted.
“Don’t you want to?” she asked softly.
When her pout lingered, he stopped laughing.
“Hell yeah I want to,” he replied emphatically.
She brightened and flung one of the straps of her top off her shoulder.
“Okay, so rip away.”
Her playful smile faded when she noticed the hesitation invading his eyes.
“What’s wrong?” she asked. “Do you still not trust me? What do I have to show you that you can trust me?”
She tried tugging off the covers blanketing his waist but he held them firmly to his body.
“Well, eagerness to get in my pants is always good,” he answered lightly.
After his laughter subsided, he took a deep breath.
“I can’t believe I’m about to say this but….I think we should wait.”
He widened his eyes at his own disbelief.
“What?” she gasped. “But haven’t I made you wait long enough?”
“Ohhhh yeah,” he said. “Believe me, if it weren’t for this incessant thought raging in my head, I’d have you bursting with pleasure by now – several times over.”
She whined at the delicious thought she was being deprived of experiencing and drew a deep pout.
“Ohhhh, well, can’t I have just a little ‘pop’ or something?”
He chuckled at the cute pout thickening on her face. When he settled down, he brushed a hand over her hair.
“As much as I want this,” he said gently. “I can’t let this happen, not until you settle things with Riley. I don’t want to move forward until I’m sure your heart is not hanging onto him. I don’t want to dive into something with you if you still think about him, if you still love him and care about him. I don’t want to start something only for it to fall apart because you start to question your actions about being angry at him. When you’re with me, I want all of you and I want to be the only guy on your mind. I don’t want to share your heart with him….or Angel but that’s a whole other issue….I just want to ease that part of my mind that’s still waiting to wake up from this very long dream.”
Her heart rumbled with the pain she had unknowingly inflicted upon him. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. She rested her head on his shoulder and began to weep softly.
“God Dean, I am so, so sorry for hurting you so badly,” she said.
Buffy hitched her head up and met his eyes. She kissed him for a long second before he parted from her lips. He glanced back at the clock.
“You should probably get going,” he advised. “Take care of stuff.”
He swept the tears hanging on her cheek bones with his thumbs. She slowly nodded.
“I’ll come by later,” she said.
Her smile faded when she noticed the reluctance on his face.
“You don’t want to see me later?” she asked meekly.
Her lips began to quiver as her eyes shaded with sadness.
“Of course I want to see you,” he affirmed softly. “I always want to see you. But I really need you to take some time with this. I’ve been down this road before and I don’t want to go there again. Go talk to Riley and then take a day or two or whatever to be certain this is what you want.”
He blew out a long breath. “And then….if there’s no doubt in your mind, you know where to find me.”
She sniffed as she saw the longing in his eyes.
“Okay,” she replied very softly. “I love you and I’m going to see you real soon.”
He wanted to shine an optimistic smile but caution still gripped a part of his heart. All he could give was a faint smile.
“You want me to drop you off at the dorm?”
A horrid thought sprung in his mind at that moment.
“You didn’t drive my car back did you?”
She saw the genuine dread on his face.
“No, you left it at the bar,” she grumbled.
He let out a huge sigh of relief. “Thank god, I don’t think I could take another blow to my heart.”
Buffy frowned and lightly smacked him on the shoulder.
“You don’t think I could drive your car two measly blocks without getting into an accident?”
“No,” he answered succinctly.
“What about around the parking lot?”
“Hell no,” he said. “You can’t even drive in a semi-circle without hitting something.”
“Well, what about…”
“Forget it,” he snapped lightly. “I’m not letting you drive my car – EVER.”
Buffy drew her famous pout. “What if I sit in your lap in a really, really hot outfit? Can I turn the steering wheel a quarter inch?”
As his mind lingered over the possibilities of her skimpy wardrobe, Buffy brightened with a glimmer of hope. She watched his eyes spark with excitement before he glanced at her.
“Engine on or off?”
“On of course,” she replied.
He shook his head.
“Nope, forget it,” he said frankly.
She sunk with disappointment as she heard a classic rock ring tone. Dean swiped his cell phone off the bedside table and viewed the screen.
“It’s dad,” he said.
“Oh, uh, I’ll get going,” she said.
“It’s just a text message,” he said. “I’ll check in with him in a bit. But you should get going. And I need to drum up a sob story for the manager so she doesn’t stick me with a bill to cover the damages when I ask for a new room.”
“Oh, you want me to help with that?”
He shook his head, “I lie for a living, remember? Anyway, she’s kind of sweet on me so I won’t have to work her up too much.”
Buffy slipped off the bed and yanked her jeans off the floor. She worked them back on as they were still slightly damp.
“Will you grab me my knife off the dresser? I want to get out of these bindings for a bit.”
She nodded and eagerly swept the knife off the dresser. She smiled when she handed the blade to him. He started to cut away at the medical tape.
“You need some help?”
“No, I got it, thanks,” he answered.
Buffy snatched her sweater and smelled the smoke from the bar.
“Ugh,” she muttered.
She eyed the long sleeve flannel draped over the chair. She inhaled it and was pleased to find it carried no scent of smoke.
“What are you doing?”
Buffy paused from buttoning up the long sleeve shirt and glanced over at Dean.
“My sweater smells like an ashtray,” she said. “But your shirt is smoke free. And I want to wear it home.”
“Don’t you want a clean one? I mean, I can’t remember the last time I did laundry.”
She finished buttoning up the shirt and pushed the sleeves up her arms since they were too long on her.
“No, I like it. It smells like you,” she said. “I’ll get it back to you a little later.”
“Oh, okay,” he said. “You want that lift?”
She shook her head. “No, I’ll walk. Don’t aggravate that rib anymore and eat some breakfast but not junk from the vending machine….and get some rest.”
“Okay, mom,” he quipped dryly.
She slipped into her coat and shuffled over to the side of the bed. She planted a kiss on his forehead and smiled.
“Bye,” she said sweetly. “I’ll be back.”
“If you say so,” he replied.
“I’ll be back,” she repeated firmly.
Dean stamped back the overwhelming hope that swarmed around his heart as he watched her walk out the door.
A short time later, Buffy arrived back at the dorm, basking in her cheerful mood. When she swept through the door, she waved at Willow who was studying on her bed.
“Hey,” she sang.
“Hey,” Willow replied. “Guess that’s why I didn’t hear you come in at all last night.”
Buffy bounced around her room as tossed her sweater in her laundry bag.
“Wow, you’re simply glowing,” Willow remarked. “Good night with Riley huh?”
Buffy leaned against her desk as she drew a goofy smile.
Buffy snapped out of her daze and frowned. She shook her head.
“I mean no,” she said.
Willow grimaced. “Oh, it was bad?”
“No,” Buffy answered. “Not bad. I mean yeah it was bad but I….”
She drew a deep breath as her mind began to spin out of control.
“I wasn’t at Riley’s last night,” she said. “I spent the night….with Dean.”
Buffy flushed red as her eyes drifted to the floor. Willow gasped.
“What?! You spent the night with Dean? Wow……”
Buffy shined a dreamy smile. “Yeah, my thoughts exactly.”
Willow bit back the plethora of prying questions swimming in her mind as she assumed her role as best friend.
“Oh so um…..how was it to finally….you know…”
“Um, we didn’t actually do that but we uh…”
“Made with the smoochies?”
“Yeah, major,” Buffy replied.
“Wow,” Willow replied.
After dancing in her glee, Buffy focused her attention back on Willow. She saw Willow’s conflicted expression.
“What is it Will?”
Willow shifted on her bed uncomfortably as she bit down on her lip.
“Uh well, it’s just….well, what happened with Riley to make you go and have a smoochfest and a slumber party with Dean? I thought you said things were going well – with Riley I mean.”
Buffy sunk down onto the desk chair and sighed. After a long minute, she imparted the details of Faith’s seduction of Riley and the brutal attack on Dean. Willow listened with intense interest before she took a long moment to absorb all the information.
“Wow. So now you love Dean?”
“I’ve loved him for awhile Will, I just didn’t realize how much until I saw what Faith did to him and what he did for me, what he’s always done for me.”
“And what did Riley say about all of this?”
Buffy’s smile faded. “That’s actually my next stop.”
She filled Willow in on the request Dean had made as well as a few other mind blowing tidbits. Willow let out a deep breath as Buffy gathered a few of her bath items.
“Oh wow,” Willow sighed. “Wow, wow, wow.”
Buffy giggled. “Yeah, that was the reaction in my head too.”
“What are you going to say to Riley?”
Buffy drew in a long breath. “I’m going to be honest with him. He’s a good guy – I owe him the honest truth. I hate to hurt him.”
“Yet you have to make a clean break,” Willow noted.
Buffy nodded. “Yeah, it’s still doesn’t make it easy and Riley probably won’t understand…..do you think I’m being harsh or overreacting?”
Willow took a long moment to process her thoughts. “When Riley told you he loved you, how did it make you feel?”
“Um….it felt nice to be loved…”
“And when Dean said it or….confirmed he felt it, how did you feel?”
Buffy flashed back to the moment and grinned. “Amazing, totally, completely amazing.”
Willow nodded. “Then you’re not being harsh. You’re just realizing a feeling that has always been there. It sucks that Faith trying to kill Dean and seducing Riley made for this awakening but now at least you’re aware of where your heart truly lies.”
Willow eyed the clock.
“Ah! I’ve got to get going. I’m meeting up with Tara.”
The girls walked out into the hallway and paused outside the door.
“Whatever you decide, you know I’ll support you,” Willow replied.
Buffy smiled and nodded. “Thanks Will.”
Buffy drew a long breath as she watched the shock thicken over Riley’s face. She sat on the edge of his bed as he sat in his desk chair. After several minutes, he got to his feet and slowly paced around his room.
“I don’t understand Buffy. I thought when you called wanting to come over and talk that it was a sign that we we’re going to work things out but then you tell me it’s over….and I….I really don’t get it.”
“I’m sorry,” she lamented. “I didn’t plan for things to happen this way, they just did.”
Riley heaved a huge sigh. “If you need more time to think, take as long as you want. I mean, I really think that what happened with Faith is something we can get through. I care about you a lot Buffy and I’d hate to see you walk away from something that can be great just because you’re still angry with me. So, if it’s time you need, or space, then go ahead and take it. Just don’t throw what we have away so hastily.”
“I don’t need any more time,” she said frankly. “And I’m not being hasty. I can’t go on with you when I feel this way about someone else.”
Riley had a hankering suspicion as he paused and propped his hands on his hips.
“Who is it?” he asked point blank.
Buffy let out a breath. “It doesn’t matter who it is. It only matters that you know how I feel about them. And I can’t be with them until what you and I have is settled.”
Riley sunk back against the wall, completely devastated.
“I’m really confused,” he said. “One minute you tell me you care about me, the next you tell me that this can’t work and then you tell me it can and now….now you’ve changed your mind – again.”
He shook his head in dismay.
“Are you going to come back to me next week when you have another change of heart?”
Buffy bit her lip and sighed.
“Riley, I care about you, I really do,” she said. “But I’ve realized that my heart belongs to someone else and I can’t go on like this with you knowing that. It’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to him.”
“When did you realize this? How long have you known that you’ve felt this way? Have you been seeing someone while I was away or this whole time?”
Riley steadied himself as an abundance of questions spun rapidly through his mind.
Buffy sunk her eyes to the floor and let out a breath. Her brows furrowed in dismay as she met Riley’s prying eyes.
“This is hard enough for me without you drawing accusations. I could have just ignored you or told you on the answering machine but I came to you in person because I care, because you’re a good guy with a good heart and you deserve that much.”
Buffy sniffed as tears welled in her eyes. Riley straightened with sudden suspicion.
“It’s Dean, isn’t it?”
Riley stared at her for a long minute before she let out another sigh.
”Yes, okay, it’s Dean.”
Riley shook his head as a wall of emotions hit him.
“I knew he had feelings for you,” he replied. “I could see it. So how long have you been seeing him? Did he seduce you? Manipulate you? I mean, I know guys like him. They find your weakness and they prey on it. They get what they want from you and they move on. Guys like him, they don’t get attached to people, they don’t care about people, they just use women Buffy and he’s probably using you for whatever personal reason.”
Buffy bit back a stream of tears swimming in her eyes.
“You don’t know anything about him,” she cried. “So don’t stand here and try and put the blame on him. He didn’t do anything wrong. He’s not the bad guy. If you want to be angry at someone, if you want to blame someone, blame me. I was ignorant to my feelings and his for a long time.”
Riley dropped down onto the chair and let out a long breath. His face was riddled with frustration and confusion.
“The whole time we’ve been together, did you have feelings for him? Have you been sleeping with him?”
Buffy gasped in disgust as she got to her feet.
“I really don’t like where this conversation is going,” she snapped. “I hoped we could still have some kind of friendship when this was over but it’s obvious that’s not going to happen.”
“Do you love him?”
She nodded without hesitation.
“Yes, I do.”
Buffy let out a long breath to calm her growing frustration.
“Why does it matter?”
“It matters to me,” Riley said firmly. “I thought we were happy. I thought you cared about me. I thought…I thought this was just something we could get through with time and work. I just need to understand why.”
Buffy stamped her eyes shut as her heart throbbed with agony. When she opened her eyes a second later, Riley was glaring at her expectantly.
“Why? Because when Faith was in my body, he KNEW it wasn’t me. He looked into my eyes and within a few minutes, he knew, he had a feeling and he didn’t let that feeling go. He figured it out because he is the only guy in my entire life who knows me – and I’ve never given him the time of day. I never considered giving him my heart when that’s all he’s done for me. I can’t expect you to understand. Dean and I have had a connection for a long time – I just never realized how deep it went until now.”
Buffy turned toward the door and paused when Riley drew a deep breath.
“I really think you’re making a mistake,” he said.
Buffy twisted around as she saw the hurt on his face. She sniffed as tears rolled down her eyes.
“The only mistake I made, was not listening to my heart in the first place. I made such a mess of things and I’m sorry you ended up getting hurt, I’m sorry for all of this but I
can’t be with you when I don’t feel the same way about you. You deserve to be with someone who loves you. I’m sorry.”
Buffy sobbed softly as she walked out the door.
TO BE CONTINUED. FEEDBACK PLEASE. MUCH MORE B/D TENDER MOMENTS TO COME.