And Half Believe it True
And Half Believe it True
A nagging warmth in the pit of her stomach had Buffy’s mouth pulling into a lopsided grin as she attacked the cat on her head and sat forward, grey and navy striped sheets falling to pool around her waist. Her fingers combed through her blonde hair, attempting to detangle the knot on the side of her head as she listened to Cam make himself at home in her kitchen. The scent of coffee was making her mouth water and she was just this side of willing to forgo brushing her teeth for the sake of that first sip, but thoughts of morning breath and the chance to use a mirror beat out her caffeine addiction as she shoved the sheets aside.
The carpet felt cool against her bare feet compared to the relative warmth of the bed as she hurried her way to the bathroom and winced when she reached the colder tile and saw her reflection. Green eyes narrowed as she bent and opened up the cabinet beneath her sink, searching her basket of hair accessories for a tie and possibly some napalm. With a snort and a roll of her eyes she used her comb to pick at the knot, attempt to smooth it, before giving up because only a shower was going to tame that cowlick.
It was a wonder how Cam had spent the last hour or so with her in bed just talking without staring at the deposit of hairspray and, perhaps a smidge too much, teased hair. She smoothed it, as best she could, so that it laid semi-flat against her head before pulling it up and back. Creating a dewdrop that rested against the back of her head before she reached for her toothbrush and paused, startled by the sight of a simple blue and white bristled partner next to her brush.
The warmth building in her stomach rose up a bit to crowd beneath her ribcage and she had the oddest urge to cry before she swallowed it and snatched up her own toothbrush. A sniffle accompanied her movements to ready it and she ignored her damp lashes as she began the simple task of brushing her teeth. Steadily avoiding eye contact with herself allowed Buffy to notice that the cotton tee-shirt she’d worn to bed definitely left little to the imagination since it molded to her skin—comfortable it was, modest it was not.
A shrug lifted her shoulder and she finished the morning ritual of cleaning her teeth and rinsing out the taste of peppermint before she rose. Dropped her toothbrush back into the spot besides Cam’s and turned back to her bedroom. Her hands dropped, absently tugging at the plaid shorts that matched the top she wore as she made her way across the blueberry carpet to the open door of her bedroom and paused at the sight of Cam maneuvering his way around her kitchen. At the moment all she could see was his bare shoulders and arms, and what arms they were, as he pushed his chair towards the stovetop and the smell of garlic sautéing in a pan.
Buffy made her way closer, bare feet quiet against the wood floors, as she watched Cam deposit a newly peeled avocado beside the stove and a knife next to it. He turned, his head angled towards her and she offered him an easy smile as she rounded the island and noticed the skin of the avocado decorating a paper towel in his lap. His mouth quirked as he offered, “Good morning, sunshine.”
“Mornin’,” Buffy inclined her head, motioning to his lap and asked, “Want me to toss those for you?”
“Sure.” He caught one wheel of his chair and spun it, presenting Buffy with his lap and she arched a brow before gathering the corners of the towel up and lifted, managing the capture all the pieces of the avocado skin with movement before she made her way towards the trashcan besides the refrigerator. Cam’s casual observation of, “Your kitchen is pretty handicap accessible,” had her turning back to him with an amused smile.
“If you haven’t noticed, I’m not the tallest of people,” Cam smirked and turned back to the stovetop, adding the contents of a mixing bowl to the cast-iron pan as Buffy made her way back to the island. Pulling out a stool she took up a spot behind him and watched Cam work his own kind of magic in her kitchen. Several minutes passed before she felt compelled enough to ask, “So what’cha makin’?”
Another half smile was cast in her direction before Cam explained, “Omelets,” his head turned as he worked a spatula around the outside of the pan, spreading the egg whites, “they’d be great if I had Gjetost, but I had to make do with Mozzarella and Colby so you’ll hafta make due with only good.”
A brow quirked as Buffy inquired, “Jgwhatsit?”
“Gjetost,” he paused, frowned a little, “or is it Jgetost?” A shrug lifted his bare shoulders and Buffy was distracted by the movement before she noticed Cam was indeed still explaining that, “It’s Norwegian, I think.” Buffy laughed and Cam shook his head continuing, “I know that it’s a thing of wonder and can make your taste buds sing with joy.”
Salt and pepper were added to the beginning stages of the omelet and then the cheese as Buffy hooked the heel of her foot on the rung of the stool and turned it with the other. Toes pushed against the wood floor as she took a moment to study the still brewing coffee, before turning back to Cam and the addition of the avocado to the pan. He maneuvered the spatula around the edge once more, easing up the outside of the omelet before a deft flip of his wrist closed one side over the other and sealed all of the possibly yum’ness inside. “Do you bake too?”
The casual question was answered with a quick nod as Cam readied a plate beside the stove and motioned her to come closer. Buffy eased her way off the stool and forward as Cam offered, “I make a mean macaroon.”
“Your grandma’s recipe?”
His smile spread into a grin as his nodding intensified, “That it is.” He motioned to the pan, “I can lift it, but I’m sure I’d make a mess if I do.”
Grasping the heat resistant handle, Buffy maneuvered it up and over to the counter, deftly sliding the omelet from pan to plate with a tip of her wrist before placing the pan on the cool back burner as Cam used the front dials to shut off the front. A hand settled on her hip and Buffy smiled, the warmth in her chest making itself known again, as Cam tugged her into his lap with one hand and handed her the plate with the other. “What about the coffee?”
The hand on her hip eased up a bit and his thumb slipped under the edge of her shirt to draw more lazy circles on her skin as Cam rested his chin on her back and offered, “We can come back for it later.”
“We need something to drink and forks would be nice,” her tone was just a little mocking, but she made no move to get up from his lap and he rubbed his chin against her back. Day old stubble pierced through the thin cotton of her shirt to send a delicious shiver down her spine and Buffy sighed, and amended, “Take me to the fridge and I’ll see if there’s something within reach.”
The hand on her hip slipped forward, underneath her shirt to press a warm hand to her stomach and his chin dragged downward so that his forehead was pressed against her spine. “I kinda like what’s in reach now.”
Buffy switched the plate so that she was holding it with just one hand and the other dropped to cup over Cam’s and pull his arm tighter around her. “Don’t worry, Colonel,” her fingers interlocked with his and he fisted his hand, drawing her back against his chest and hooked his chin over her shoulder as Buffy finished with, “I’ll always be in reach.” ~*~
Green latex was wound around Cam’s hands and stretched down his right leg to hook around the arch of his foot. He compressed his thigh muscles and pushed down on the yoga band, tightening it and forcing it to bite into the palms of his hands as he stretched. Sweat beaded along his upper lip and the base of his spine as he repeated the motion until he reached fifteen and then allowed the ache in his calves to calm as he switched to the other leg.
He treated his left leg to the same muscle quivering workout before forcing himself to lean back in his bed and just breathe for a few minutes. Stephanie had left very thorough and specific orders with the nurses about him overdoing himself with the bands and he had no urge to have them taken away. He’d spent the week before, the week following his overnight stay with Buffy, waking up nearly every night with a Charley Horse that had set his teeth on edge and led the nurses to force on him an IV once a day to up his potassium levels before Stephanie had suggested he stretch.
So Cam stretched and he’d been Charley Horse free for two nights running and he had no urge to have a repeat of those debilitating cramps. He was definitely debilitated enough and he had no plans on making himself feel weaker when he’d been making so much progress in the last month. Progress that was bringing him closer and closer to getting out of that damn chair and to his dream job and to leaving Buffy. His brows pinched together as he shifted his weight on his arms and dropped the band onto the table beside his bed before searching for the remote and something to distract him.
Blue eyes widened, his brows rising at the sight of Lorne standing in the opened doorway of his private room and Cam, shifted back in his bed, reaching for the remote to his bed as Lorne offered him a jaunty wave and the welcome of, “Hey, big fella. Mind if come in for a spell?” the amused quirk to his mouth must have given something away because Lorne was chuckling and stepping into his room as he assured Cam, “Not a spell in the literal sense, but in the ‘I’d like a moment alone
to chat’ turn of the phrase.”
His brows dropped down once more with Lorne’s stressing of the world ‘alone’ and Cam motioned him closer, a sickening sense of dread twisting in his gut as he used the bed’s remote to raise himself up. “Is there’s something wrong?”
“No,” his head inclined as he removed his Fedora and placed it gently in his lap before conceding, “well, not yet.”
Cam shifted, mouth tightening when the movement pulled at something along his spine, and cleared his throat to work his way through the discomfort before he fixed his gaze on Lorne. Crimson eyes stared back at him, steady as a rock, before he swallowed and started with, “So something is going to go wrong?”
“Depends on your definition of wrong I suppose,” he waved a dismissive hand and stated, “You love Buffy.”
“That wasn’t a question, cupcake, it was statement of fact,” Lorne’s eyes narrowed with his interruption before he pushed onward, “You love her, she loves you. It’s a whole big love fest you two have going at the moment and normally I’m a little more delicate with these types of situations, but I have this soft spot for our little minx so I’m going to come right out and say it…”
Lorne trailed off, his red mouth puckering with a grimace as he searched Cam’s face and he sighed, blue eyes narrowing before he was forced to prompted, “Say what?”
The demon blinked, a frown now marring his mouth. “Tell her.”
“Tell her what?”
“The truth and I don’t mean that abridged version you tell your parents,” Cam made a movement to argue, to deny, but Lorne held up his hand, adding, “I know. Top secret and believe you, me. I know
how to keep a secret.” He made a motion towards his chest. “Have you seen me? My whole life’s a secret.”
“So you aren’t going to tell Buffy? Tell anyone?” He couldn’t help the relief that filled his voice and Lorne seemed to only frown harder at him.
“I don’t share what I see in others. It’s bad for business, but I do guide and I am trying to guide you toward a brighter future.” His head dipped, hands falling to brush imaginary dust from his fedora before his gaze rose and Cam found himself on the receiving end of a very impressive glare. “You’re a good man. A brave man and our little Slayer is lucky to have found such a peach.”
A brow arched as Cam inquired, “But?”
Lorne smirked. “But nothing. I’ve said what needed to be said and I know you’re going to ignore me because of protocols and whatnot so let’s get off this dead horse. Besides,” he motioned to the television remote on the table beside Cam’s bed, “Judge Judy is on.”
Cam stared at his expectant face a moment before he gave a slow blink, sighed and turned on the television.