Love Me When I’m Gone ~ Chapter 12
Between bouts of ‘the’ sex, they talked. Panting, sweat drying on their bodies, hearts slowing to below orgasm level. Always touching. Hands, legs, faces, some part of them was always touching. As if loss of contact meant loss of each other.
“So you quit slaying?”
“Uh huh.” Buffy blew a stray strand of hair out of her eyes. “Andrew let slip that Giles knew about what was going to happen in LA and didn’t tell me on purpose.”
“Oh.” Betrayal ranked high on Buffy’s Do Not Do list, Angel knew from experience. Do anything else, but don’t lie to her.
“He was probably trying to protect you.” Another Don’t.
“That’s what he said.”
“You don’t believe him.” Not a question. Angel heard the finality in her voice.
“Maybe if it didn’t involve you – “ Buffy scraped her nails along his side. “I’d believe him.”
“I’m not Giles’ favorite person – “ He shivered as she raked her nails over his skin. Just hard enough to be erotic, but not enough to hurt. Too badly.
“No excuse. He told me Spike was alive – and he really should hate him more than you.”
Strangely, he felt no desire to defend his grandchylde. Or to point out that whatever Spike had done, Angelus had done one better in murdering Jenny Calendar.
“He kept me in the dark about everything. Fred – “ She drew an invisible tally mark on his belly. “Cordy – Connor – “
Two more marks made Angel’s cock forget it was exhausted and had just been begging to be left alone to die in peace.
“Crazy Slayer chick – “ Buffy frowned. “Three strikes, right?”
“What?” Baseball was not on his mind at the moment – nothing was on his mind – it wasn’t taking calls.
“Three strikes and somebody’s out, right?” Nodding, satisfied with her recall of sports trivia, she licked her fingertip and wrote the word ‘out’ across Angel’s quivering belly.
“Uh… yeah… good… whoo…” He huffed out a breath as she splayed her hands over his hips, framing his hardening cock as if it was a piece of art. Or… his eyes widened as she grinned at him, her tongue sliding over her lips and teeth.
They didn’t talk for awhile.
“What’s with these socks?”
“Huh?” Angel lifted his head and looked down at this feet. Buffy was tugging at the chartreuse and red striped sock on one foot. “Oh. I like funky socks.”
“Funky?” She wrinkled her nose. “This is a fashion disaster. Where did you even find these… things?”
“At a very upscale store in D.C.” He nipped at the arch of her foot, making her giggle. “Not all of us have perfect little tanned toes. How do you get your toes tanned, anyway?”
“Tanning bed.” She propped herself up on an elbow and looked down the length of his body. “Speaking of… you have tan lines.”
“I’m not tanning naked. Some of us don’t heal as quickly as Slayers, and that sock thing they have? Forget about it.”
“You could wear a thong.” When Angel’s head popped up, she laughed at the look on his face. “Okay, yeah, can’t imagine you in a thong.”
“I wouldn’t think so. I’m not a thong kind of guy.”
“I remember.” She smiled, remember Angel’s reaction to her t-back panties. Ladies, he’d told her, were supposed to cover their ass.
“My Slayer healing means I have to hit a tanning bed every couple of days.” She stretched one tanned leg up, pointing her toes at the ceiling. “Otherwise… pale as a vamp.”
“Naked?” He caught her foot as she brought it back down to rub along his chest.
“Naked? Tanning? Um, yeah.” She slid a hand up his leg to run a pink fingernail over the head of his cock. “I don’t have to worry about burning my junk.”
“Yeah – “ He sucked in a breath. “Okay, but – “ He couldn’t stifle a groan of pleasure as she made lazy circles around and around. “What about your nipples?”
“The tanning place has little stickers. You just stick them on and no worries.”
“No worries.” He frowned as she moved her hand away.
“Your phone is making noises.” She reached across his feet and legs to pick his phone up off the bedside table. “You have a message.”
Raising up on his elbows, Angel took the phone from her. “Phillies are getting their asses kicked.”
“Whatever.” She shrugged. “Sports. Buffy no know sports.”
There was a knock at the door. Angel sat up. “I’ll bet that’s room service. Hand me my wallet, would you?”
“You know, you can just sign for it.” She handed him the wallet. “Let Giles pay for it.”
“I was going to.” He pulled a couple of bills from the wallet and tossed it on the bed. “This is the tip.”
“Hey!” Buffy called after him as he walked into the suite’s main room.
“What?” He paused with his hand on the doorknob.
“What?” He looked down. “Whoops!” Grabbing a cushion off the sofa, Angel held in it front of his privates.
Opening the door, he smiled at the bellhop. “Hey, there.”
“Sir.” This was the bellhop’s third trip to suite 447, and he wasn’t surprised by the naked man holding a cushion in front of himself. This was Hollywood after all, and this was the second time the man had been undressed when he opened the door. “Your ice cream, chocolate, and peanut butter.”
“Great!” He handed the bellhop his tip and took the sack. “Cookie dough fudge mint chip, right?”
“Yes, sir.” He held the bill out for Angel to sign.
“No problem, sir. Just call if you need anything else.” The bellhop pulled the door closed. Just so long as they kept tipping, he’d keep delivering.
“Look what I got!” Angel tossed the cushion aside as he walked back into the bedroom. “Ice cream!”
“Yum. Who’s this?” Buffy held up his wallet and tapped a picture.
“That’s my son.” He sat cross-legged on the bed next to her.
“Parker.” Flipping to the first picture, Angel showed it to her. “He’s seven and he’s – “ His smile faded. “He’s seven… seven… There’s no way he’s my son.”
“Why? He looks like you.” The jealousy Buffy felt at knowing another woman had given Angel a child was quickly replaced with sympathy for his situation. “Look at his eyes, brown and – “
“Hazel. They were brown because of the shirt he has on.”
“Oh. Well, forehead – “ She tapped the picture. “Definitely your forehead. Only less broody.”
“Buffy, he was born in late 2001. I was still me then.”
“But you love him.” She said softly. “And he believes you’re his father. He loves you.”
“Yeah.” Angel smiled. “He does, and God, Buffy, I love him so much it just – it amazes me and it hurts, but in a good way, in a real good way.”
“See?” She leaned against him and kissed his shoulder. “That’s all that matters. Who are these other people?”
“Those are my squints. This is Bones – Dr. Brennan, but I call her Bones. Angela, Hodgins – they’re going to get married. If they ever find the guy she married in the Bahamas when she was drunk and gets a divorce. Zack – he – ah – he did – he killed a guy and I don’t really want to talk about that. Moving on. Cam, she’s the boss. She and I have known each other forever, we’re good friends, and we – ah – moving on again.”
“Friends with benefits?” Buffy grinned. “Angel, it’s okay, I do know that you’ve had sex with other women. And I’m cool with it.”
“Really?” He raised his eyebrows.
“Well, okay, so – “She shrugged. “I broke a few things when I heard about wolf girl. But I’m totally cool with – you know, it, and the having of it with other people.”
“Liar.” He tossed the wallet onto the nightstand.
“I am not!”
“Sure, and I didn’t have a meltdown over your affair with the Immortal.”
“I didn’t have – well, ok I did date him.” She shrugged again. “But no it. And affair? What century is that from?”
“Andrew said you two would cuddle.”
“And you believed him? He also thought Spike was hot. Please.” She opened the sack the bellhop had delivered. “My favorite!”
“Did he get the spoons?” Angel dug in the sack. “Here we go, spoons! One for me and – “ He tossed the package aside. “One’s all we need.”
Scooping up a bite of ice cream, he fed it to Buffy. He grinned at her enraptured expression and scooped up another spoonful. He held it temptingly in front of her lips for a moment before eating it himself.
“Hey!” She protested. “Buffy needs ice cream.”
“So does Angel. Angel needs – “ He pushed her onto her back, ignoring her squeal of warning that the ice cream would get on the sheets.
He plopped a spoonful of the ice cream onto one pink nipple, grinning at her shocked yelp at how cold it was. “Angel – “ He licked around the ice cream where it perched on her nipple. “Needs – “ He grinned at her efforts to get away. “Ice cream!”
Holding Buffy down, Angel licked at the ice cream dribbling down her breast. It looked so good, he plopped another spoonful on the other nipple.
Giggling along with her, he lapped at the melting ice cream, ignoring her pleas to let her up. With her strength, she could easily have gotten up. Angel had no illusions that he was really holding her down, but he loved her for letting him play the strong one.
He moved from one nipple to the other, chasing the melting ice cream with his tongue. “Mmmm… I never knew I liked ice cream so much…”
“Oh yeah? Have some more.”
He yelped as Buffy smeared a handful of ice cream on his chest and stomach. “Cold! Cold!”
“Tell me about it.” She pushed him back and crawled astraddle his hips. “Let’s see how you like it.”
“I – oh – “ Angel groaned as she bent down to lick the ice cream from his chest. “Wow…”
“Mmm… you’re right.” She sucked a hard nipple into her mouth. “Best ice cream ever.”
When her mouth moved down his chest, following the melting trail of ice cream, he arched up and moaned. “Wait…”
“Uh-uh.” She followed a sliver of chocolate across his belly.
“Wait – “ Angel sat up and took hold of her shoulders, rolling her onto her back. Settling himself between her thighs, he rubbed his cock against the delicate lips of her pussy. With a gentle thrust, he buried himself inside her.
“Angel – “ Buffy wrapped her legs around him, holding him close.
Lowering his lips to hers, he began a steady, rocking rhythm. The carton of ice cream fell over against her hip and she jumped, making him groan.
“The ice cream’s gonna get all over the bed.” She breathed into his ear.
Buffy cradled Angel’s head against her breasts, stroking his back as they caught their breath once again. “Where’s your tattoo?” She ran her fingertips over the place on his right shoulder where the gryphon had once been.
“I guess they thought it was too noticeable.”
“The Powers need to get out more. Have you seen the tattoos people have?”
“Yeah, but not too many giant gryphons with a big A.” He lifted his wrist for her to see. “I have new ones.”
“This one says ‘soul’ – “ He showed her the inside of his other wrist. “ – and this one says ‘fate.’”
“Seriously?” She frowned. “You’re sure they don’t say ‘stupid white guy who can’t read Chinese?’”
“I can read Chinese.” He chuckled, thinking of how many tattoos he’d seen on people that did say moron or idiot and that the people wearing them thought they meant strong or brave. “Wait…”
“Last time you said wait, we ended up with ice cream all over us, which by the way is sticky and nasty.” She pulled strands of hair loose from where they were stuck to her forehead. “We’ve got to shower.”
“I got these tattoos when I was Booth.” He sat up, excited by the realization. “I was Booth! This isn’t something they did when they created this – this life for me! I did it!”
“Yay!” Buffy wasn’t sure why that made him happy, but she’d go along with it.
“Part of me knew, Buffy.” He examined the tattoos on his wrists carefully. “I was driving somewhere and I saw a tattoo parlor, and I just went in and said this is what I want.”
“They had those designs?”
“No, well they did, but they weren’t in the style of the right dynasty. I wanted the same dynasty as the monastery I’d been to. Only – “ He pulled her into his arms and hugged her. “Only I didn’t know – but I knew – about the monastery and the writing! So I knew!”
“Okay…” The Buffy babble was catching.
“Buffy, somewhere deep inside I knew who I was – who I really was.” He pulled back and looked into her eyes. “I remembered.”
“I’m glad. And I’m glad you remembered it all, finally.”
“Me, too. I love you.” He kissed her, letting his lips linger on hers for a long moment.
Buffy ran her fingers gently over the ugly scar on Angel’s chest. It was healed but still pinkish looking. “What happened?”
“I was extremely stupid.”
“A bank robber shot you?”
“No, I don’t investigate bank robberies, or any robberies, actually. I investigate murders. Someone finds a body, we go out and bring it in, and Bones and the squints help me figure out who done it.”
“Doesn’t sound too dangerous. Was it a zombie?” She made a face. “Zombies with guns? I think Xander made me watch that movie.”
“No.” He laughed. “No zombies. There was this chick who was obsessed with this Idol wannabe. In her mind he was in love with her, and they were engaged to be married.”
“And in his mind?”
“He didn’t know she existed. Literally. So we find his body – after it was run over by a bush hog.”
“Gross!” She wrinkled her nose up. “She mowed him to death?”
“Yeah, and no. Yeah, it was gross, but no, she didn’t do it. She was out of town visiting her parents when he was killed.”
“Okay, convenient much? Parents can lie, you know.”
“True, but airport surveillance videos don’t. You’re so smart.” He raised his head to give her a quick kiss.
“I’m sure I should be insulted by that.” She pouted.
Another, longer, kiss erased it and he smiled. I still got it. “I wrote her off as harmless because she didn’t kill him – but I should’ve seen the signs that she could be dangerous.”
“Just because she had a crush on someone? Then you better lock me up because I had Christian Slater posters all over my walls, and had names picked out for our children.”
He chuckled. “And you were how old? Thirteen? Fourteen?”
“True… hmm… okay then, Hugh Jackman’s in danger.”
“Seriously?” Angel frowned. “Wolverine?”
“He has done way more than that! He’s done Broadway, he sings and dances!” She protested.
It was his turn to pout, and her turn to kiss it away. “He was just a substitute for Angely goodness I couldn’t have.”
“Well, you can have it now.” He ran his hand down her back, tracing the curve of her spine.
“Before we get distracted – “ She rested her head on his chest once again. “Finish.”
“Where was I… oh! So she’s got an alibi, she was in Florida telling her parents about her upcoming wedding to this guy –“
“She was what?” Buffy’s head popped up again. “She’s the one who shot you, isn’t she?”
“I revise my earlier opinion, you’re smarter than I am. How’d you guess?”
“Because she just moved past Angel-like stalking to Angelus-like stalking.”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t remember Angelus. And I thought she was harmless. She was crying and upset and I made a big mistake – I touched her.” At Buffy’s raised eyebrow, he continued. “I put my hand on her shoulder, trying to comfort her.”
“How is that a mistake?”
“Because she transferred her attention to me. Big strong Alpha male comes to her rescue – in a manner of speaking. I’ve been trained to read the signs and avoid interaction with people like her, and I totally blew it.”
“I don’t think offering comfort to someone who’s hurting is blowing it.”
“Normally, I’d agree, but in her case it was not the thing to do. She started showing up at my office, bringing me gifts – and I just ignored the signs.”
“What kind of gifts?” Buffy crossed her arms on his chest and rested her chin on them so she could see his face.
“Socks. Crazy socks. It’s kinda my trademark.” He grinned and waggled a still socked foot in the air.
“How did she know?” Buffy frowned. “Yeah, okay, so that’s definitely an Angelus level of detail noticing.”
“And I should have caught the signs that she could be dangerous, but I didn’t. She didn’t worry me until she asked about Parker.”
“That had to have set off a few warning bells.” A surge of protectiveness startled her –she didn’t even know Angel’s son, but the thought of someone scaring or hurting him made her angry.
Angel noticed the subtle shift of color of Buffy’s eyes. “She didn’t get anywhere near him. And I stopped being friendly to her. Which…” He rubbed reflexively at the scar. “Turned out to be the wrong thing to do.”
“Rejection makes stalkers dangerous. I can vouch for that.” She thought back to Spike and his attempt to “prove” his love.
“I can, too, that’s where I was stupid. We – Bones, the squints, and me went out to karaoke – “ A giggle interrupted him. “What?”
“I’m trying to imagine you karaoking.”
“I’m a great singer!” He laughed, remembering the look he’d seen on Lorne’s face the last time he’d sung for him, Manilow’s VSM. “Oh my God! I love Barry Manilow! I’ve missed like five years of concerts and albums!”
“I love – forget it.” He said hurriedly. “So she comes in, and she’s yelling my name. We’re all watching Bones sing ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ – and man, she’s never going to go karaoking with me again.”
If Angel thought he could babble away that Manilow confession he was wrong. She’d just bide her time. “Anyway?”
“Anyway – I turned around, and I’m pissed she’s followed me. Then I see she’s got a gun.”
“And she shot you?” Buffy ran her fingertips over the scar once again. “With a bazooka?”
“A .38, but they leave big holes. The bullet tumbled.” He put his hand over hers as her fingers clenched reflexively. “She was trying to shoot Bones.”
“’Cos she thought she was her rival?”
“Exactly. We always made a good team, didn’t we?”
“Still do.” She smiled.
“Still do.” Angel agreed. “I wasn’t going to let her shoot Bones, so I got up, got between them, pulled my gun out and blam!”
Buffy shuddered and he ran his hands down her back, soothing the sudden goosebumps away. “I’m okay now.”
“And the crazy chick who shot you? Do you have her address?” She asked tightly.
“Six feet under.” Angel grinned. “Bones picked up my gun and shot her.”
“Good. Saves me the trouble. Though, I’d have liked to slice her into little pieces.” She wiggled her body on top of his. “Does it still hurt?”
“No – um… maybe a little.” He grinned again. “I didn’t have anybody to kiss it and make it all better.”
“Poor baby.” She pressed kisses to the roughened skin. “I’ll kiss it all better, if you tell me about your man crush on Barry Manilow.”
“Oh, no, never.” Not for a million kisses would he tell all about Barry.
“Are you sure?”
He shivered as she blew a warm breath over the scar. “Maybe for a few more kisses… we can… negotiate, right?”
“That’s nice… a little more… it’s all coming back to me…”
Angel woke and stretched – his muscles were a little sore. He could probably blame it partly on his crazy experience at the Hyperion, but the truth was that it was hard work bedding a Slayer.
A smile curved his lips. “Dangerous job but somebody’s got to do it.”
Speaking of his Slayer… he raised his head to look around. She wasn’t in the bed with him, that was a first. They’d rarely left it except for necessary trips to the bathroom and to answer the door when room service knocked.
“In here.” She stuck her head out of the bathroom doorway.
“Hey.” He smiled at her. “Whatcha doin’?”
“I’m going to take a shower. I’m icky.”
“Me too. Want some company?” He threw the sheets off and started to get out of bed.
“No.” At his surprised look, she laughed. “I’d say yes, but I’ve got female things to do.” She held up a pink razor.
“Ah… female things.” Over the years, Angel had found that women fell into two categories. Those who thought it was erotic to have a man help them shave, and those who were embarrassed to admit that hair even grew on their legs. Buffy obviously fell into the latter group, judging by the blush on her face.
“No problem. I need to check my email, and make sure Parker and his cousins haven’t driven my parents crazy. Save me some hot water.”
“Will do. We’ll need it.” She winked.
That sounded promising. Angel wrapped one of the discarded sheets around his waist as he went into the suite’s main room. Clothing had been strictly optional since he’d walked in the door. His socks were the only thing he’d had on for the last… he didn’t know how many hours.
“Hey, is it okay if I use your laptop?” He opened it and held his finger over the power button. She probably wouldn’t care, but he’d better ask. Angry Buffy was dangerous Buffy, and he didn’t heal like he used to.
Though… there were punishments that could be fun. Damn! I don’t have my handcuffs!
“Sure. Have fun, but no porn.”
“I don’t need porn, I got you.” Hitting the button, Angel waited patiently while it powered up. He was pleasantly surprised when it brought up the desktop in half the time his would have taken. The surprise was less pleasant when he saw the background was a half naked, soapy Hugh Jackman. “Hey!”
“You need to change your wallpaper!” He didn’t get an answer, but he was fairly sure he heard her giggling over the sound of the shower.
“I’ll – I’ll – what’ll I do?” He opened a browser and put in the address for his email server. “I’ll… pose for a better picture than that, I’m pretty ripped.” Angel patted his flat stomach. “I can soap up and look sexy.”
Parker had answered his email but hadn’t elaborated on whose hair had been cut. No doubt he was feeling bulletproof from three thousand miles away. Angel sent a reminder that he’d be home in a few days, and everyone had better have a full head of hair.
Bones’ email was short and to the point. She hadn’t wished him luck in her last email because luck didn’t exist and had nothing to do with the competition. He should win based on being “highly skilled” – Angel preened for a moment.
Buffy’s voice drifted to him. She was singing a song that was naggingly familiar.
“What would I give to live where you are? What would I pay to stay here beside you? What would I do to see you smiling at me? Where would we walk? Where would we run? If we could stay all day in the sun? Just you and me? And I could be part of your world.”
The Little Mermaid. He’d snuck into a late show, partly to avoid the sun and partly to avoid the children that would have crowded the earlier showings. And because in a near empty theater there was no one to complain about the smelly bum in the front row.
It made him sad to think that Buffy still longed to be a normal girl. She never would be.
Angel closed the browser and shut the computer down. He could at least help her pretend to be normal. Now that he was human, they could walk in the sunlight together.
“No more creature of the night.” He said to himself as he approached the bathroom doorway. The water shut off just as he stepped into the bathroom. “Hey! I was going to take a shower, too, remember?”
“I remember. I saved you some hot water.” Buffy opened the shower door and stepped out onto the mat. “Hand me a towel?”
Angel stared. Water was dripping from her hair and onto her shoulders, the drops trickling between and over her breasts, and down her stomach to vanish into the honey blond curls.
“What?” He blinked.
“Towel.” She repeated again, saying it slowly so it would penetrate into his brain. “Buffy… need… towel.”
“Oh…” He groped behind him for a towel, not willing to take his eyes off of her. “Why don’t we just get back in the shower?”
“Because you – “ She finally reached around him for one of the fluffy towels the hotel supplied, and wrapped it around her hair. “Need to shower and get clean first.”
“We can get clean together.” He grinned and followed a droplet of water on its path over one pink nipple. “You can scrub me down. And up, and any other way you want.”
“Tempting.” She picked up a package off the counter and pulled a pink razor from it. “But first you need to shave. Man stuff.”
“Okay, I like my man stuff the way it is.” Angel cupped a hand protectively over his cock.
Buffy laughed. “I didn’t mean there. I meant your face, it’s scratchy.”
“Oh.” Relieved, he laughed with her. “That I can do, but you can still help me get clean first.” He lowered his head and kissed her.
“Ummm… later.” She told him as the kiss ended. “After you shave. You go wash and I’ll put clean sheets on the bed.”
The sheets did need changing. Again. He took the razor and set it next to the sink. “Deal. How about calling room service while you’re at it? We need to keep our strength up.”
“Yeah, ‘cos it’s not about the sex.” She smirked.
“Don’t prejudice the jury, it’s still out.” He hopped from one foot to the other, peeling off his socks. “Steak, medium rare.” He gave her a quick pat on the ass and stepped into the shower before Buffy could answer.
She stuck her tongue out at his form behind the glass. “Just because I’m the woman doesn’t mean I fetch the food.”
“Can’t hear you, water’s on! Jesus!”
She grinned at his yelp. “Oops, guess I lied about saving any hot water.”
Buffy was pulling the room service cart into the room when she heard music. Following the sound of Secret Agent Man, she found Angel’s cell phone under the discarded bedspread.
The display read “Bones”. Not sure if she should answer it or not, she headed for the bathroom where Angel was shaving. “Hey, your phone is going off.”
He replied but she couldn’t make the words out over the sound of running water and the ring tone. “Oh, well.” She flipped it open. “Angel’s phone.”
“Booth – who is this?” A woman’s voice demanded.
“Well, who are you?” Buffy shot back. She remembered that Bones was one of the friends Angel had pointed out in the picture, but couldn’t remember if she was the one with benefits. She did know that she didn’t like the other woman’s demanding tone.
“This is Doctor Temperance Brennan. Why are you answering Booth’s phone?”
“Because he’s shaving.”
“Shaving? Why is he shaving?”
“Because he has scratchy five o’clock shadow. Hang on.” Buffy tilted the phone away from her mouth, and called out to Angel. “Phone. For you. Dr. Bones lady.”
Not getting an answer, she went into the bathroom and held his cell phone out to him.
Angel was shaving, trying not to cut his own throat as he hurried. He could smell the food that had just arrived, and his stomach growled. As much fun as the ice cream and other goodies had been, they weren’t real food, and he was starving.
He smiled at Buffy as she stepped into the bathroom. “Hey.”
“Hey, your friend Bones wants to talk to you. Does she have benefits?”
He frowned at Buffy’s question. “Benefits? What? Oh, no, no benefits.”
“Good. I mean. Yeah, good.” She grinned.
“Bones probably wants to lecture me on luck again. Tell her I’ll be a sec.”
“’Kay.” Buffy put the phone back to her ear and frowned. The other woman was still talking.
“– do you have permission to answer his phone? And why did you say Angel’s phone? Who is Angel?”
“He said to hang on a sec.”
“You still haven’t told me who you are.”
“Buffy who? Is that your real name? No one names their child Buffy.”
She ignored Bones’ questions. Rude much? Like Temperance is a common name? “I think he’s almost done. You know, men say women take a long time in the bathroom, but he’s been in there twice as long as I was. He’s totally primping in front of the mirror.”
“I am not!” Angel splashed water on his face and grabbed a towel. “Just because I’m using your Barbie pink razors doesn’t mean I’m turning into a pretty boy.”
“I disagree.” She ran her gaze lasciviously over his naked body. “You are way pretty.”
“I am, aren’t I?” He took the phone from her. “Hey, Bones! What’s shakin’?”
“Who was that? And why was she answering your cell phone? Why are you shaving?” Brennan demanded.
“That was Buffy, she answered my phone because – “
“Buffy. You know, the Sl – “ Angel barely caught himself before he could say Slayer. Buffy’s eyes widened and she shook her head. In Bones’ world, the Slayer didn’t exist. “S-s-sweet girl I met out here. Sweet, really, really sweet. And special.”
Mollified, Buffy moved to the bed and began stripping the dirty sheets off. He watched appreciatively. Half-naked sheet changing should be on ESPN.
“You picked up some strange woman out there?”
“I didn’t exactly pick her up – “
“Booth, that is so dangerous!”
“How is it dangerous?”
“You know the risks of sex with strangers!”
“How do you know we’re having sex?” Buffy threw a grin at him over her shoulder. He laughed. “Never mind, stupid question.”
“She could be an axe murderer – we’ve had cases like this.” Bones was still talking.
Well… she does have an axe of sorts… Angel chuckled. “Bones, there’s nothing to worry about. Buffy won’t hurt me.” She may kill me with sex, but it won’t hurt a bit.
“How can you be sure?”
“Because she’s – “ Can’t say Slayer! “With Interpol. She’s with a special crimes unit of Interpol.”
Buffy looked up at him. Interpol? She mouthed.
Angel shrugged. What was he supposed to say?
“Well, if she’s a law enforcement officer…” Bones’ voice trailed off. “I supposed that’s okay.”
“Oh, well, thank you, Dr. Brennan for putting the Jeffersonian seal of approval on my sex life.” He snorted. He was over two hundred and fifty years old and Bones thought she could approve or disapprove of his sex partners?
“Was there a reason you called, Bones? Besides making me crazy and interrupting my fun?”
“Yes, if you think you have time before your next session of intercourse.” Brennan replied sarcastically.
“Ha. Ha. Just make it quick.” He lifted the lid off one of the dishes on the cart and found his steak. Tucking the phone under his chin, he cut a piece and forked it into his mouth. “Perfect!”
“My publisher wants me to write a book about identifying Mr. Cooper’s remains. She suggested having you as a contributor, although I don’t know why. I’m the person who found the identifying factors.”
Angel nearly choked on the bite of steak he’d been swallowing. “Are you kidding me? How about because I helped in the investigation?”
“Technically, you took statements and filed reports, and Sherrif Samuels had already done most of the work.”
“Technically, it was an FBI crime scene and I was the FBI Special Agent in charge. Without me – you wouldn’t have been there!”
“That’s not true.” She scoffed. “I’m the leading expert in forensic anthropology. It was out of your jurisdiction. You came along because we’re partners.”
“Ah ha!” He chewed furiously on another piece of steak before pouncing on her slip. “Partners! That’s why you need me on this book – so there!”
“That has no relevance on the fact that I identified Mr. Cooper’s remains.”
“Technically, you and the other squints identified the body, and also technically it was an FBI investigation!” He scooped up a forkful of baked potato, waving it in the air to make his point. “You didn’t even know who D.B. Cooper was!”
“Only because I was busy with math and science in school while you were playing sports and absorbing useless trivia instead of studying.”
Angel was glad he had a mouthful of potato. It kept him from saying what had popped into his head. Carefully, he chewed and swallowed, chasing it with a drink of ice water. He caught a concerned look from Buffy, and shook his head.
Bones thought he was dumb. And why not? He’d let her believe – no, he had led her to believe he was just a big, dumb goofball with a shiny badge. He’d played stupid to stroke her ego and her insatiable need to feel superior and smarter than everyone around her.
He bit back the words that he knew would hurt Bones’ feelings. He’d played to her needs and built her up, done it out of his own growing love for her. Love that had seemed so important to him yesterday.
Angle watched Buffy as she put clean, fresh sheets on the bed. He and Buffy had had their issues, but she’d never expected him to be, or wanted him to be, less than he was. She wanted an equal.
Sensing his attention, Buffy looked up and smiled.
That sweet, loving smile lit up his heart like the sun, burning away the feelings he’d had for Bones. Love versus affection. Soul mates versus friends. Bones didn’t stand a chance.
He smiled back, letting his love show. “Bones, I gotta go. Do whatever you want to do with your book, I don’t care.”
Closing the phone, he set it on the cart next to his half eaten steak. A steak this good shouldn’t get cold for no good reason.
“So… you’re good friends?” Buffy asked.
Laughing, Angel recognized the real question Buffy was asking without asking. “We are friends, good friends, but that’s all.”
“Oh, good. I mean… um… “ She finished pulling a clean pillowcase onto one of the pillows and tossed it onto the bed. “Okay, yeah, I’m jealous.”
“There’s no reason to be.”
“Really? No girlfriends or fiancées or anything?”
“Nope.” He assured her.
“Good.” This time she didn’t pretend she hadn’t been jealous. A smile curved her lips – one that changed suddenly to a frown. “Are the women out there blind or something? You’re like… perfect!”
“God, you’re good for my ego.”
Watching her finish with the clean bedclothes, Angel watched, amazed at how sexy changing a bed could be. Of course, it could be because Buffy was nearly naked, clothed only in his shirt.
When she bent to pick up the bedspread and toss it on the bed, her bare bottom peeked out just enough to tease. And it was natural, unpracticed, and she probably had no idea that she was making him crazy.
“You gonna eat?” He’d already scarfed his food down in anticipation of dirtying the sheets again.
“I thought about it.” She smiled and shook her head as she noticed how he was cleaning his plate. “I guess I can wait.”
“I don’t want you to faint from hunger or anything.”
“Please. I’m the Slayer. I made it through high school and slayed every night on less.”
“That’s because – “ He frowned as his phone rang again. “I gotta get an unlisted number.”
“You talk different than you did before.” Buffy frowned as she sat down next to the food cart. “Kinda weird.”
“I do a lot of things different.” He winked at her as he flipped the phone open. “What?”
“Well that’s a damn fine way to answer your phone.”
“Hey, Crawford. I’m a little busy, what’s up?”
“What’s – do you realize you missed the sniper competition?”
“Uh… “ The competition had completely slipped his mind. “No.”
A sigh came from the other man. “You tracked down the blonde, didn’t you?”
“Is he getting laid?” Asked a voice in the background.
“Oh, yeah.” Angel smirked.
“You just won Bosco twenty bucks.” Crawford told him.
“Sorry.” He wasn’t, and he didn’t try to fake it.
“That puts you out of the overall marksman prize. Are you at least coming back for the finals?”
“I don’t think so. Buffy and I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.” Angel smiled. A lot of catching up to do.
“Buffy?” Crawford laughed. “Seriously? Her name is Buffy?”
“It is, and she can kick your ass, so you better watch it.”
Buffy had looked up from her breakfast. “Why do people hate my name?”
“Nobody hates your name.” He assured her. “It’s just… cute.”
“Great. It’s the cute Slayer.” She popped a bite into her mouth. “Though – guess it beats the ugly slayer or the no fashion sense slayer, or the slayer with the ugly shoes.”
“Booth, you’re at the top of the standings in nearly every event, you can’t just walk away now.” Crawford said. “Come on, you don’t want those CIA spooks thinking they’ve scared you off, do you?”
“No, but, you know, me and Buffy…” He smiled, watching her eat her breakfast in hearty, but somehow dainty bites. “We’ve been apart a long time.”
“So she’s an old flame?”
“You could say that.”
“Well, bring her along!” Crawford said. “I’m sure she’d like to see you strut your stuff. You can show off for her.”
That was an appealing idea, now that he thought about it. Angel caught Buffy’s eye. “Hey, wanna go watch me compete?”
“Like a date?” She smiled. “Sure.”
“Definitely a date.” He reached across the table and brushed his fingers over her cheek. “Like normal people.” To Crawford he asked, “When does the first event start?”
“What time is it now?” Angel reached for one of the curtains covering the French doors and pulled it back. He was startled to see it was daylight.
“It’s seven-thirty.” Crawford laughed. “Don’t tell me you’ve been in the sack all this time?”
“Pretty much.” He grinned. “And lots of other places.”
“Then you need to give the poor girl a rest. Get down here, I’ll tell them you’re coming. Oh, and you’re welcome for borrowing my rental, by the way.”
“Oh, that. Yeah, ah… sorry, thanks.” Closing his phone, Angel put it down. “So… how about a quickie first?”
“With LA traffic? Are you kidding? Get dressed!” Buffy headed for the closet. “What do people wear to gun thingies?”