“You’re chipper this morning,” Anthony DiNozzo said.
“Yes, I am,” Abby twirled in a circle. “I had a great night.”
“Sounds fun, fill me in,” Tony said.
“I just had a good time,” Abby took a drink of her Caf-Pow.
“You met a man,” Ziva David said. “No?”
“Yes,” Abby nodded.
“Tell me it wasn’t in another cemetery,” Leroy Jethro Gibbs said.
“It was a bookstore,” Abby said. “I learned my lesson about cemeteries.”
“What’s he like?” Timothy McGee asked.
“Okay, first off we just met so I’m not answering that,” Abby said. “And secondly, we just met. I barely know him. I just had a good time. We talked, a lot. It was nice.”
“Are you going to see him again?” Ziva asked.
“I don’t know, he didn’t ask for my number,” Abby said. “But he knows where I work so I guess he can find me if he wants to. Do you think it’s bad that he didn’t ask for my number?”
“Probably,” Tony said.
Ziva smacked him on the arm.
“What?” Tony rubbed his arm.
“You are not supposed to tell her that,” Ziva scolded.
“It’s okay, Ziva, I was stupid to think he’d want to see me again,” Abby sighed. “He was way out of league.”
“Nobody is out of your league, in fact, nobody is in your league, not even McGee,” Gibbs kissed her forehead. “If this boy didn’t realize that, then he isn’t worth your time.”
“Abby Sciuto?” A man said from the doorway.
“Um, right here,” Abby held up her hand, frowning as a delivery man crossed the room, a small box in his hands.
“Sign here,” he held out a clipboard, he must work for one of the few delivery companies that hadn’t updated yet. She sprawled her name across the line and then took the box. “Thank you.”
“Already taken care of, ma’am,” the man said and then just as quickly as he came, he was gone.
“Expecting something?” Gibbs asked.
“No, not that I know of,” Abby replied. She sat the box on the table and then opened the envelope tucked inside the top of the ribbon. Her named was scrawled across the white envelope in handwriting she didn’t recognize. It was beautiful, looked almost like old-fashioned calligraphy.
I enjoyed last evening, more than I can recall enjoying something in a rather long time. If you do not have plans tonight, I was hoping you might like to go to dinner, perhaps I‘ll even let you pay for coffee. If you are unable or do not wish to go, you can reach me at the number below. There will be no hard feelings. If you do decide to go, I will be outside of NCIS Headquarters at 6pm.
Looking forward to seeing you again, (hopefully)
“What kind of name is Angel?” Tony commented.
Abby elbowed him.
“Ha, you were wrong Tony, some guys do call, sorta,” Abby opened the box. “Oh, chocolate. And they send chocolates.” She popped one into her mouth, moaning softly as the rich treat melted on her tongue. “Very good coffee chocolate.” She opened another one and popped it into Gibbs’ mouth. “Good, huh?”
“Mm hmm,” Gibbs nodded, taking another one out of the box. “You better get on those tests if you want to go tonight.”
“You’re right,” Abby waved her hand at them. “Out, everyone out. I have work to do. And a date to prepare for. And I have no clue what to wear.”
“I didn’t realize we’d be coming somewhere so fancy,” Abby glanced nervously around the French restaurant. “I’m underdressed.”
“You look beautiful,” Angel said, his hand on the small of her back to lead her through the restaurant.
She was underdressed and she knew it. Angel was wearing a black suit, Versace if she had to guess, and looked damn hot. And he smelled so good, so familiar but she couldn’t put her nose on it. And no matter what Gibbs said, she was so not in his league. While he was dressed in designer duds, she was wearing a black shift dress with platform boots. But then he glanced down at her and she knew he meant it. He thought she look beautiful. And she suddenly felt that way, despite the people staring at them as they walked through the five star restaurant. As they sat, Angel said something to the waiter in French, who nodded and left the table.
“Thank you, for the chocolates,” Abby said.
“You’re welcome,” Angel replied. “How was your day?”
“Fine, busy,” Abby took a drink of water. “I’ve been crazy busy lately. I probably should ask for part-time help but the last time I had help, he tried to frame one of the guys I work with and then tried to attack me.”
“Your job is that dangerous?” Angel frowned.
“No,” Abby shook her head, hiding a smile at the concerned look on his face. It was the same look she got from Gibbs dozens of times, only Angel’s look made her belly tremble while Gibbs’ didn’t. “Okay, sometimes there is danger but Gibbs would never let anything happen to me.”
“My boss,” Abby said, looking up at the waiter while he poured them wine. “Okay, not really my boss because my boss is the Director of NCIS, Jenny Shephard, but he’s my boss.”
“He’s like a dad to me,” Abby said. “Well, to all of us, me, Tim, Tony, and Ziva. They’re his team. He bosses everyone around and just has this look that makes you know you did something wrong. That’s all it takes, a look. Gibbs knows everything.”
“Sounds like an interesting man,” Angel commented.
“You’re not gay, are you?” Abby asked. “Not that there’s anything wrong if you are, it’s just…you dress so nicely and you’re polite and refined and you just called another man interesting. Plus your hot and not cocky about it, which I’ve never met a straight guy that was like that…”
“I’m assuming you want to know if I prefer female or male sexual partners?”
“Yes…see, the way you just said that was too perfect.”
“I prefer females,” Angel smiled at her.
“Yes, I’ve had sex with men before,” Angel interrupted. “Does that bother you?”
“No,” Abby shook her head. “Not at all.” Then she scratches her nose. “So this is a real date?”
“Yes,” Angel nodded. “The first one I’ve had almost ten years.”
Abby felt her jaw drop open.
“Okay, for a first date in ten years, I’m guessing the beach shouldn’t have been where we ended up,” Abby said. “Especially seeing how you used to live in L.A., you’ve probably been to the beach hundreds of times.”
“Half a dozen times, probably less,” Angel said. “I was always too busy to go to the beach.”
“You’re a workaholic,” Abby said.
“Yes,” Angel agreed.
“Well, it’s a good thing you met me then,” Abby grabbed his hand, pulling him along with her. “Because I work a ton of hours but I also have a lot of fun. I can teach you.”
Angel half-smiled and let his little Goth pull him toward the ocean. He didn’t even argue when she made him take off his shoes, socks, and roll his pant legs up to play in the waves. Her exuberance and downright optimism was like a drug. How she could work in any form of law enforcement and still be as shiningly bright as she was astounded him. Her cheerfulness was akin to what you would find in a child, not an adult her age. He hadn’t been around her type of optimism and sweetness in a very long time. And it wasn’t just that she was so sweet, she was also incredibly smart, in different areas. They’d talk for hours the first night they met and all evening. He never talked with anyone as much as Abby, not even Buffy. His relationship with Buffy was always shadowed by the fact that he was a vampire and she was the slayer. It was probably what doomed their relationship from the beginning, that and his curse. He could see it now, what he couldn’t when they were together. They were never meant to last. He was meant to help her survive the first few years of being the slayer while she was meant to put him on the path he needed to be on. She was and always will be the face of his redemption. She just wasn’t his anymore. And for the first time, he was okay with that. In fact, as he listened to Abby talk about her latest case, her tattooed dotted arms gesturing wildly to make her point, he was glad of that.
She calmed his demon in a way neither Buffy, Darla, or Cordelia did. With Darla, there was always a competition to see whom was more superior. His demon was always on edge with Buffy, because she was a slayer. Cordelia annoyed his demon, to the point that it almost made him miserable when she was around. But with Abby, his demon was almost languid, relaxed. Calm. It wasn’t that his demon liked her, given half a chance it’d rip her throat out, but it was settled in her presence.
A spray of water hit him in the face, knocking him out of his thoughts, even more so at the sight of the girl giggling as she ran down the wet sand. With a laugh, he chased after her, letting her get away for a few moments before grabbing her arms, spinning her into his chest, and then falling backwards onto the sand with the impact. Abby landed across his chest, her laughter still lighting up her face. And she was beautiful, her dark hair hanging past her face to curtain his. Waves were rushing on them, soaking his pants but he paid it little mind as she tucked Abby’s hair behind her right ear, his hand cupping her strong jaw. She sighed and settled into his hand, her green eyes staring into his.
“You’re looking rather chipper this morning,” Tony said. “Or stoned. I can’t tell which.”
“Uh huh,” Abby nodded. “Good morning too, Tony.”
Tony watched the Forensics Specialist walk down the hall, a blank, blissfully happy look on her face. “Ok, did somebody give Abby drugs?”
“No, why?” Tim said.
“Because I just talked to her and I’m pretty sure she had no idea what I said.”
“She had a date last night, remember?” Ziva said. “Perhaps it did not go well?”
“Or it went a little too well,” Tony murmured. “Ziva, go ask her.”
“You are a girl….wait, no, perhaps you’re not the best person for the job,” Tony said. “McGee, go ask.”
“You go ask,” Tim glared at him. “Since when are you afraid to talk about somebody’s sex life?”
“You’re right,” Tony agreed.
“Right about what?”
“Just Abby, boss,” Tony winced, not realizing that Gibbs was behind him, though after all this time, he should be.
“What about Abby?” Gibbs asked in that overprotective voice saved only for the Goth.
“She had her date with the stranger she met last night,” Tony said. “And I just ran into her and she seemed rather out of it. Like drugged out of it.”
Gibbs frowned and then turned on his heel, heading down the hallway.
“I think we should follow,” Tony said. “Do you think we should follow?”
“Yes, we should follow,” Ziva agreed. “Perhaps our help will be needed.”
“And that’s why he’s completely out of my league,” Abby said.
“Because he’s a good kisser?” Gibbs scratched his chin, wincing inwardly at the direction of the conversation but not sure what to say.
“No, he’s an incredible, out of this world, better than anyone in the world kisser,” Abby said. “Gibbs, kissing him was like kissing something….out of the range of normal human ability. It’s probably where he got the name Angel from.”
“Abby, I’m sure you’ve kissed people of his same level,” Gibbs said.
“No, I haven’t,” Abby said. “I’ve had good kisses before but he was amazing. Out of this world amazing.”
“Wow, aren’t you insulted, McGee?” Tony whispered rather loudly, standing in the doorway to the forensics lab.
“Have something to say, DiNozzo?”
“Nope, not a thing, boss,” Tony said. “So, Abby, did you have a good date?”
“Yeah, it was unbelievable,” Abby said. “We went to this really nice French restaurant on the beach, I had this awesome lobster dish, and then we walked on the beach.”
“Sounds like a fairly quiet night,” Tony said. “I was expecting night clubs or something like that.”
“I don’t think Angel is a night club guy though he did agree to go see my friend’s band tonight,” Abby said.
“I said it before and I’ll say it again,” Gibbs said. “Nobody is out of your league.”
“No, Abby, we can’t,” Angel pulled her hand away from his pant buckle.
“Don’t you want to?” Abby asked, pouted really.
“More than you know,” Angel said. “I like you.”
“I like you too,” Abby said. “Which is why….”
“I really like you,” Angel cut in. “In a way I haven’t liked someone in a very long time.”
“I really like you too.”
“And I don’t want to cheapen this with drunken sex,” Angel said. “I could find that anywhere. I want to get to know you.”
“I don’t sleep around,” Abby whispered, her head laying against his chest. “I don’t want you to think I sleep around because….”
“Shh, it’s okay,” Angel kissed the top of her head. “I know what you’re trying to say.”
“Want to watch a movie?” Abby sat up and reached for her remote. “I don’t think anything’s on but infomercials.”
“Whatever you want to watch,” Angel lounged out on her rather comfortable and large couch, listening as she talked about what was on television. He’d been in D.C. for nine days now, seven of those days spent with Abby. They’ve gone to movies, bars, museums, and restaurants. He even went to listen to her friend’s blaring, obnoxious rock band, which she loved while he did not. Something they were both okay with, she enjoyed it and he enjoyed watching her pleasure. He’d always had a bit of a voyeuristic streak. Abby drank and drank, dancing for hours with her friends, even persuading him to dance a few slow songs, something he hadn’t done since Buffy’s prom. That was a few hours ago, after which he had driven her home, where she insisted he join her for a nightcap. Which they’d never gotten around to having.
She settled on a movie, something loud and violent, and then crawled back onto the couch with him. As they laid there, watching television, he realized he never experienced this before, just this type of contentment without fear of what could happen or what was coming. That was always how it was with Buffy. Before he lost his soul, they spent their time just waiting for something to happen. After he lost his soul, they could never relax for fear of it happening again. With Abby, there was none of that tension, that dread. He liked it. Much more than he thought he would
Her head hurt. That was her first thought. Then it was Angel. Her eyes popped open, expecting to find her man-friend beside her on the couch, only to find no one there. And that she wasn’t on the couch. She was, in fact, in her bed, stripped down to a pair of black boxers and the tank top she wore last night.
She fell asleep on the couch, pretty much drunk, after being turned down by Angel for sex. Oh, god, he must think she was like the biggest slut in the world and ran. She really, really liked him. Liked him in a way she hadn’t liked anyone in a long time. Not even McGee. Angel….there was just something about him that made her body hum. And it wasn’t just that, he was so smart and sweet and caring. And he really listened to her. He never seemed self-conscious when they were out (like McGee did because of the way she dressed) and he never once made her seem like she needed to tone down any of her personality. He just seemed to get and accept her for who she was. It didn’t matter that he was designer suits, classical music, and stoic to her Gothness, heavy metal, and chatter. He was an old soul, she could easily picture him in the eighteen hundreds, without any modern technology.
She couldn’t believe she ruined it. Her luck with relationships aside, she really wanted this one to work. She really wanted to get to know him better. With a sigh, biting her lip to keep stupid, emotional tears at bay, she stood up and started her morning ritual. It took longer than normal and because of that, she wasn’t going to have time for breakfast or to get a Caf-Pow on her way to work. She was barely going to make it on time, not that it would be a big deal if she were late, she was pretty much her own boss. As a reserve, she kept a few cans of Fuze in her fridge, a last resort but one she would definitely need. Shoving her feet into a pair of boots, she grabbed her purse and ran downstairs. As she started toward the kitchen, her front door jiggled and pushed open.
“Abby,” Angel frowned at her. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“What are you doing here?” Abby asked, okay, snapped.
“Driving you to work,” Angel frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“You left,” Abby said.
“I know, I’m sorry,” Angel took her purse out of her hand, slipping her keys inside. “I went home to shower and change, then Dawn called. I have to pick her up in an hour, I was hoping to make it back before you woke up but….”
“Oh,” Abby interrupted. “So you were always coming back?”
“Of course, why wouldn’t I come back?” Angel asked.
“I don’t know, I guess I’m being stupid,” Abby said.
“I highly doubt that,” Angel did that half-smile thing of his that was so cute. “Are you ready?”
“Uh huh,” Abby nodded. “I just need to…” Her words were cut off by Angel’s mouth, his lips settling gently against hers, his tall, strong frame dwarfing hers. Even though he wasn’t that much taller than her, he still made her feel tiny, dainty in his presence. He still kissed out of this world, still made her feel like she was kissing something not of this world, something that she shouldn’t be touching. Like every other time, her body melts into his, hands fisted against his shirt.
“That’s more like it,” Angel pulled away from her lips, pressing a brief kiss to her forehead. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you woke up, that was never my intention.”
“Uh huh,” Abby nodded, licking her lips.
Angel smiled again and then wrapped his arm around her waist, directing her outside. She half watched as he tested the door to make sure it was locked, her brain still fuzzy from his kisses. If he could get her this worked up with just some kissing, she couldn’t imagine how’d it be when they had sex. If they had sex. It wasn’t until she reached his car that she realized that she forgot her morning caffeine kick (which she could not survive without) and started back.
“I forgot my fuze, I need my caffeine,” Abby said.
“I grabbed something for you, it’s in the car,” Angel opened her door and helped her inside, like he always did. He was old-fashioned that way. Then she spotted it, the huge, wonderful, plastic cup full of her morning crack. She picked up the Caf-Pow with an excited squeal, moaning happily as the sweet, caffeine rich liquid hit her tongue. He really was the best man-friend in the whole wide world.
“Oh, doughnuts,” Tony said. “Who brought doughnuts?”
“Abby’s boyfriend,” Tim said.
“Man-friend,” Ziva corrected. “Abby made that very clear. He is her man friend.”
“Okay,” Tony said, mouth full of jelly doughnut. “Why man-friend, Abs?”
“We haven’t declared ourselves as anything,” Abby said, picking at her glazed doughnut.
“What’s wrong, Abby?” Gibbs swiped a doughnut as he passed by Ziva.
“Nothing, Gibbs,” Abby said.
“Abby?” Gibbs prodded.
Abby sighed heavily. “Does it mean something bad when a guy turns a girl down for sex?”
Gibbs pinched his nose between his thumb and forefinger. “Abby..”
“You wanted to know what’s wrong,” Abby reminded him. “And this is it. Last night, Angel and I went to watch one of my friend’s bands play and I got rather tipsy. And tried….well, you know, and he said no. That he liked me and didn’t want to cheapen that with drunken sex.”
“That does not sound bad, Abby,” Ziva said. “It sounds rather sweet, actually.”
“I know,” Abby exclaimed. “And that’s the problem. Angel’s perfect and I’m so not. And I’m terrified I’m going to screw this up.”
“I never took you for one to be insecure,” Tony said.
“I know that too,” Abby said. “And I’m usually not, it’s just….I really, really like him. Like borderline love like him and I’m afraid something will happen and he’ll be another motorcycle through the living room or stalker guy. I’m afraid I’ll screw it up.”
“Abby, you’ve only known him nine days,” Tim said. “That’s too soon…”
“I know, it’s too soon,” Abby denied. “But this is different. I’ve never felt like this before. And that’s why it’s so scary. I’ve known Angel nine days and he’s already a huge part of my life.”
“Abs, you need to slow down and take this one day at a time,” Gibbs said. “You’re rushing and unless you want to end up with a couple ex-husbands, you need to slow down.”
“I know,” Abby nodded. “I’m trying. I just can’t….he’s just perfect.”