9. Angel Eyes
Author's Note: Oh God, I am so sorry this took me so long, school and real life got in the way. I'm sending the next chapter to my BETA reader as I type, so hopefully it'll be up soon. Just think of it this way: the more hits and reviews, the quicker I update! *hint, hint*
It was Saturday and Faith was up in her room preparing for her first date. Not only her first date with Angel, but her first date in general. She had asked Willow to help her get ready and so Willow had spent another Saturday in the company of the Giles' family.
As Faith tried on what seemed like the hundredth dress, she turned to Willow.
"So, what's up with you and Graham? Or you and my dad?" she asked.
Willow's head snapped up.
"What? What do you mean?"
"Well, on Halloween, they both just couldn't keep their eyes off of you. And you and Graham have been getting friendly lately. And you're one of the few people who can make dad have a good time. So..."
"Nothing. There's nothing going on. On Halloween the only reason they looked at me was because of my costume, which I still can't believe you made me wear." She added.
"Oh come on. You know you loved it." Faith said, changing into yet another shirt.
"Yeah, I guess I did."
"So, how do I look?" Faith asked, posing in a short green skirt, green top and high heel green sandals.
"You look great. I think you should stick with this one." Willow told her.
Faith nodded to herself, looking at the clock on her wall. It was 6.30p.m.
"Oh my God. I am so nervous. What if he tries to kiss me? What will I do?" she asked, pacing nervously.
"Faith relax. Just be yourself and you'll have a good time. As for the kissing, it's up to you. If you want to you will, if you don't want to you won't."
"Ok. You'll stay here, right? And be here when I come back? Please?"
Willow nodded. Faith was putting on her make-up when the doorbell rang.
"Oh. God. It's him. He's here. He's early."
"Faith, relax and breathe."
Downstairs, in the living room, Spike stood up from the couch and went to open the door. When he saw who was outside, he tried very hard to suppress his laughter. Angel was leaning casually against the wall, wearing faded jeans and a blue shirt. His brown hair was spiky and he was holding a bouquet of flowers. He probably thought he looked very irresistible. To Spike he just looked funny.
"Mr. Giles. Good evening." Angel greeted him politely.
"Angel. Come in. Faith is upstairs getting ready."
"Cool." Angel commented, walking into the house.
Just then, Faith walked down the stairs. Both men turned to look at her.
"Wow, Faith, you look beautiful. These are for you by the way." Angel said, giving her the flowers.
Faith smiled and took the flowers.
"Thank you. I'll just go and put them in some water and we can go." She said and walked to the kitchen.
"Ok. Now that we're alone. I just want to make a few things clear, Peaches. You are to treat her nice, have her back by 11p.m. If you do anything to her or if she doesn't have a good time, I will hunt you down like a dog and hurt you in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. Understood?"
Angel nodded, swallowing hard.
"Good. Have a good time." He told them as they walked out of the door. Smiling, he sat back down on the couch. Willow joined him in a few minutes, took out some of her math books and papers and started marking exams.
Two hours later, Willow and Spike looked up as the front door opened and closed. All they saw was a glimpse of Faith, before she ran upstairs. Worried, they both stood up and walked after her. Her door was closed, but they could hear sobs coming out of her room. Knocking, Willow opened the door. On the bed, with her head on her knees, Faith was crying, her sobs shaking her body. As they entered, she looked up.
"Oh Goddess." Willow gasped before she ran to her and held her in her arms. Faith had tearstains on her face, her mascara was running and there was a blue bruise on her cheek.
"Faith, honey, what happened?"
Faith looked at her and then at Spike. Willow nodded and indicated to Spike to leave. Sighing, he walked out of the room.
"What happened?" Willow repeated.
Faith took a deep breath and started telling her about her date. Half an hour later, after putting Faith to sleep, Willow walked downstairs. Spike was pacing in the living room, his hair a mess.
"What did she say?" he demanded when he saw her.
"A lot. She was out on a date with Angel. He took her to a restaurant and they had dinner. They were having fun. Angel was being all nice and gentlemanly. Then they drove to this hill not far from here where they looked up at the stars. After a while, Angel wanted to get more than a little physical, but Faith said no. So he tried force. She started getting more than a little scared and started scratching him. He got angry and hit her. That's when she got out of the car and ran all the way home."
Spike stood there, breathing hard.
"That little son of a bitch. How dare he do something like that? And after I gave him specific instructions not to. God, when I get my hands on him, he'll regret he was ever born. And why exactly couldn't Faith tell me all this?"
"I don't know, I didn't ask. Maybe she was uncomfortable. Or maybe she was scared of your reaction, that you might blame her."
"Blame her? Why would she think that?"
"Wait, does she think I'd blame her because of the way she was dressed?"
"Maybe. I have a feeling that the way she's been dressing is just a way to get your attention."
"A way to get my attention?! What the bloody hell are you talking about?"
"Did she always dress like that? Short skirts, revealing shirts?"
"No, not always."
"And when did she start?"
"HOW THE BLEEDIN' HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW?"
"You're supposed to know because she's your daughter! It was about a year or two ago, wasn't it? Right after their mother died, am I right? And you've never told her not to dress like that?"
"Well no. I know kids, she'd just roll her eyes and do it anyway. I do have a sister you know."
"Did it ever occur to you that that's exactly what Faith wanted? That maybe she wanted you to act like a protective father? To show that you care?"
"SO YOU'RE SAYING THIS IS ALL MY FAULT?! THAT BECAUSE I WASN'T MORE STRICT, SHE WAS HARASSED?!"
"No. Well yes. Partially."
"Make up your sodding mind."
"Listen, Mr. High and Mighty. Don't you talk to me this way. I'm just telling you my opinion. But deep down you know I'm right. Faith wanted attention and you didn't give it to her. So she started dressing differently. Nothing. Her grades started slipping. Still nothing. All you do is work, work, work and work. You have no free time on your schedule to pay attention to your kids."
"I took them to the beach, remember?" he pointed out, frustrated
"Oh, you took them to the beach. Why don't we give you the Father of the Year Award? You were working the whole time. You paid absolutely no attention to them. You wouldn't even have noticed if they were kidnapped or something. Your nose was too deep in your oh so important paper work!"
"Yeah, it is oh so important! If it wasn't for me and my job, America and half of Europe could be in a war."
"If it wasn't for you? If it wasn't for your office you mean. For all of the people who work there with you. All you do is sign papers, make sure everything is ok in the mother country. If a war started, you wouldn't be able to stop it. When the hell will you realize that?"
"Fine. I wouldn't be able to stop it. Doesn't mean I can’t try!"
"What about your children Spike? They need you more!"
"DON'T YOU LECTURE ME ABOUT WHAT MY KIDS DO OR DON'T NEED! I am their father, you're just their nanny."
"Correction, I am Faith and Wesley's tutor in math. The fact that I cook for them, is only because I'm hungry and they are too. You're not at home and you can't cook for them so it's up to me that they survive. The fact that I clean up after them here in the living room? It's only because my conscience wouldn't stop nagging me for letting them live in a pigsty. You pay me to teach them math. Not to take care of them 24/7. That's your job. Along with making sure that Her Majesty The Queen of England gets along with the President of the United States. Only, you haven't been doing a good job, have you? Because Faith would rather tell a stranger her problems than to you."
Their shouting had woken up all three of the kids and they were now sitting on the stairs, eyes wide as they watched the two adults shout at each other from different sides of the room.
At her last comment, most of the color in Spike's face drained and he glared daggers at her.
"Are you saying that I am a bad father?" he hissed.
"Yes, I suppose I am. Your kids don't even know if you love them anymore. Dawn has been seeing so little of you that she dreams about you going poof. Wesley and Faith won't even tell you anything. This was Faith's first date and you didn't even tell her she looked beautiful. Nor did you say it on Halloween. She needs to hear you say these things. They need reassurance. If you don't give them the love and affection they need, they will go through life remembering not the good times they had before your wife died. But the bad times they had after she died. Their future is in your hands, don't you see that?"
"That's right. It's in MY
hands. So why don't you stop butting in on our lives? Go home and mark papers. That's all you'll ever do anyway. Be a teacher. Earn little money."
"Well at least I'm not a shell of a person."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Spike asked, even though he already knew the answer.
On the stairs, the kids held their breath. They also had a feeling they knew what Willow was going to say and were afraid of their father's reaction.
"You know very well what I'm talking about. I'm talking about Drusilla's death and what you turned into."
Spike started breathing hard and he took a few steps toward her.
"Listen to me, you little bint. You haven't got the first clue about what Drusilla meant to me or about the kind of life that we had. You weren't here, you didn't see us. So don't come here and try to lecture me about how I should or should not feel or act."
"Why not? Somebody should. Admit it. After she died you closed up. You stopped caring about anything but your job. But it has been two years Spike. Two years! Your kids could move on, so why can’t you?"
"BECAUSE SHE WAS MY WORLD! She meant everything to me. She was my dark beauty. Our love was forever."
"AND SHE WAS YOUR CHILDREN'S MOTHER! You can find a new wife or love whenever you want to. But they will never have another mother. I think that it's been hardest on them. Which is another thing. It was hard on them and they needed you to be there for them. To guide them and tell them that it was going to be alright. Instead you asked Buffy to take care of it. You acted like a selfish bastard and they may very well hold this against you for the rest of their life!"
"FINE! Now, why don't we talk about you for a while, huh? You're telling me I should move on after my wife died two years ago? Well, I don't see you in a relationship. What, haven't you moved on since Oz left you? Or has the feeling of being split down the middle and half of you being gone not quite left you yet? Hmm? Here you are telling me what I should do and you aren't doing anything either! Tell me, why exactly did he leave you?"
Willow's face paled and her eyes blazed.
"That is none of your business. And as for why I'm not in a relationship: ever since Oz left, no one has been interested in having a relationship with me. And I was concerned about my studies and college. I didn't have time for dating and soap opera problems."
"AHA! So you admit it! You didn't have time. You were buried in your books. You are no different than me!"
"Oh I am very different from you. I finished college two years ago and since then the only time I look into a book is when I'm teaching or marking papers. The rest of the time I
free time to raising YOUR
children. So I don't really have time for a personal life, do I?"
"You're just using this as an excuse. You've only been working for me for three weeks. So what did you do for the last two years? Don't tell me being a waitress at Pizza Palace took up so much of your time?"
"I already told you! Nobody was interested. And I wasn't interested either. Besides, I'm not the kind of person who starts dating just about anyone. I wait for a connection! And there haven't been any lately! And why the hell are you changing the subject? The facts still point to the point of this argument! I
make time for YOUR
children and YOU
The children looked at their father, waiting for his answer.
"You're right. I haven't been making time for my children. But I will. The kids' marks have gone up, they no longer need a tutor in math. We don't need you to come here anymore." He answered calmly, then took out his wallet.
"Here's two hundred dollars. I am of course paying for the hours you spent tutoring my children." He handed Willow the money.
Willow just stood there, not able to form words. Her brain was still in full shock mode from being fired. What had she done wrong? She thought desperately.
Nothing, another part of her brain told her. You didn't do anything wrong. It's the bleached wonder in front of you who doesn't want to admit that they need you. Damn all the men who think they are better than women.
Setting her jaw defiantly, Willow took the money.
"Close the door behind you when you leave." He told her, turning his back to her as he walked over to the papers on the coffee table. Glaring at his back, she walked to the door.
She looked at the stairs and smiled reassuringly at the three kids that were looking at her, shock and sadness on their faces.
"It's going to be ok." She mouthed to them then indicated that they should go back into bed. They nodded and ran up silently.
Taking a deep calming breath, Willow opened the door and slammed it as hard as she could behind her.