Gift From The Past

Chapter Fourteen

Monday Afternoon

Angel sits at his kitchen table staring down into his glass. He just took her home last night and the place already seems unbearably empty. He actually was hoping for Cordy to have a vision. He needs something to take his mind off the loneliness threatening to drag him under. He jerks to anticipating attention as the upper door opens. He looks up in shock as Joyce descends the stairs. Angel stands up as she approaches.

Angel: Mrs. Summers?

Joyce: Hi. I hope it is okay. Cordelia told me to come on down.

Angel: Of course. Come on in. Can I make you some tea?

Joyce: That would be nice.

He picks up his glass and places it on the counter before filling the kettle and setting it on the stove. Joyce watches as he takes out a cup and places a tea bag in it. He turns and places a sugar dish on the table.

Angel: Sorry, I donít have milk or lemon.

Joyce: Sugar is fine.

Angel: The water will take a minute.

He reaches up in the cabinet and pulls out a bag of cookies. He busies himself placing some on a plate. As he sets them on the table the kettle begins to whistle. Angel pours the water and hands the cup and spoon to Joyce. He sits down slowly and looks over at her as she jogs her tea bag up and down.

Joyce: I guess you wonder why I am here.

Angel: Yes, but I figure it is about Buffy.

Joyce: It is and well about the baby too of course.

She pauses and takes a sip of tea.

Joyce: Angel, I think we need to discuss the future. I need to know if you plan on doing the right thing.

Angel: Joyce, if you are asking me to step away again, I wonít. I will not leave Buffy and our child even if you think it is best.

Joyce: I donít. That is not what I am saying. Angel I donít know anything about how you were raised but I know your parents would expect you to accept the responsibility and do the honorable thing.

Angel takes a deep breath: I canít. I want to with every fiber of my being but I canít.

Joyce: You mean you wonít.

Angel: Joyce, I was raised catholic and this is tearing me up inside. But I legally donít exist and no minister or priest would sanction us.

Joyce: So find another way. I donít care if you jump a broom.

Angel gives a faint smile

Joyce: I am not familiar with all the non traditional ceremonies but there has to be something.

Angel: You are suggesting a pagan ceremony. But it would not be legal.

Joyce: Would it be any less important?

Angel pauses a moment in thought.

Angel: No. I am just not sure it is what Buffy would want.

Joyce: Angel, Buffy loves you. Even I am smart enough to see that. But it is not just about love. It is about being worthy enough to be your wife. Any woman can sleep with a man and have a child. But the woman that he chooses to wed has a special place.

Angel sits thinking again.

Angel: I wish I knew what she would have said 250 years ago.

Joyce: Iím not following you.

Angel: The day she disappeared, I was preparing to propose. I had the ring in my pocket and got to the room and she was gone.

Joyce: What did you do?

Angel: I looked for her for weeks but finally gave up and tried to put it behind me. Tried to forget everything about her. And it worked. Until recently I could only remember her name. The rest was a blur. Might have had something to do with the large quantities of ale I consumed over the next three years.

Joyce: It took that long to get over the hurt?

Angel: It took that long to run into Darla.

He smiles at her as he can see her understanding.

Angel: I was drunk then too. Then the demon took over and by the time my soul was restored I had worse things to weigh me down.

Joyce: So you never realized Buffy was the same Buffy?

Angel: No but all I could remember by the time I saw Buffy was the name Anne. I guess my subconscious knew though.

Joyce: If you were ready to marry her then why hesitate now?

Angel: Because I donít want her to regret it later.

Joyce: Angel, you may not want to listen to me since I failed so horribly in my own marriage. But if you love her and you want her to feel secure that you are in it for always, then you need to show her.

Angel: She knows I am.

Joyce: Does she? Does she really?

Angel: Joyce, I have dreamed of marrying Buffy many times but..

Joyce: No buts. If you are dreaming it, you know she is too. And I suggest you move fast. Women prefer not to be any fatter then necessary on their wedding day.

Angel smiles.

Joyce: What is it?

Angel: Just was thinking of Buffy heavy with child.

Joyce: Which will be sooner than you can imagine.

Angel: I know.

Joyce: Well I better be going home.

Angel: Thank you for coming by.

Joyce: Well I hope you will consider all I have said.

Angel: I will.

Angel stands up and starts to walk with her upstairs.

Joyce: I was surprised to learn you actually had an office.

Angel: I have to admit it was more Cordyís doing. I rented the space because of the apartment. She turned it into a real business.

She pauses on the landing and looks at him.

Joyce: I talked to her when I came in. Is she okay?

Angel: I believe so.

Joyce: She just seems very subdued.

Angel: Cordelia. Subdued is not a term that I would ever use for her.

Joyce: Maybe Iím wrong.

Angel opens the door and they walk into the office. He says good bye to Joyce and moves into his office. He stops and turns and watches Cordelia intently. She sits staring at the monitor as if a million miles away. He stands perplexed until Wes breaks his revere by entering the office.

Wes: Well hello there all. Sorry to be late.


Friday Afternoon

Angel begins again to pace the living room. He had arrived right before sunrise so he would have time to speak with Joyce before seeing Buffy. With her help he now had everything ready. Now he just had to settle his jangling nerves. Joyce had attempted to assure him it would be fine. He wished he could be as confident as she was. He tried to assure himself by mentally going over the details.

His head jerks up as the front door opened and the petite blonde propelled herself into his arms. Her arms slide around his neck as she pulls his lips to hers. He wraps her in his arms as his mouth opens to admit her tongueís sensual quest. His fears forgotten in the passion fired by her wonderful assault. He pulls her closer and lets his nervous energy fuel his response.

She relishes the feel of his body pressed against hers. She loves how his powerful form molds with hers perfectly. Her skin flushes as her body hums with unbridled desire. She quickly becomes aware of his equal arousal. She forces her head back and looks around the living room.

Buffy: Whereís mom?

Angel: On her way to San Francisco. Something about an estate sale.

Buffy: Sheís gone? All weekend?

Angel: Yes.

She kisses him lightly.

Buffy: We are alone?

Angel: Yes.

Buffy: And your boo-boo?

Angel: My what?

Buffy: Are you healed?

Angel: I am.

Buffy attacks his lips once more and starts to back up towards the front door pulling him with her. Angel stops them and pulls back to look into her eyes.

Angel: Where are we going?

Buffy glances over her shoulder and up the stairs. He smiles.

Angel: Oh.

He leans over and rest his forehead to hers.

Angel: I want to show you something.

Buffy smirks: I want to see.

Angel: Not that. Come here.

He takes her hand and guides her into the dining room. Although the sun is still low in the sky, the drapes are closed making it very dark. He leads her to a chair at the head of the table and helps her to sit before pulling out matches and lighting the large candelabra. Her faces lightens up as she see the elegant table. He leans from behind and kisses her cheek.

Angel: Be right back.

He turns on the soft music on his way into the kitchen. She glances around at the flowers, lace table cloth and her mothers fine china and silver. A bottle rests in the sterling silver ice bucket. He walks back in carrying a single plate. He places it in front of her before taking a seat beside her.

Buffy looks down at the steaming food and back up at him. He leans over and picks up her fork and cuts a small bite of the tender stuffed flounder. He brings it to her lips and smiles. She opens and takes in the tasty morsel.

Buffy: Mmmm.

He leans over and kisses her buttery lips. Angel sets down her fork and picks up one of the insulted carafes on the table and pours milk into her silver chalice. He hands it to her as he sets the carafe back down.

Buffy: I guess you are not eating.

Angel lifts the second insulated carafe and pours the steamy fluid into his own silver goblet. She watches in surprise as he lifts the drink to his lips and sips quietly.

Buffy: Thank you.

Angel: For what?

Buffy: For not being afraid to be yourself with me.

Angel smiles.

Angel: If we are going to be a family, we have to be completely open.

Buffy: I agree but I never knew you would.

Angel: Just say I had a bit of a motherly lecture today.

Buffy smiles.

Buffy: She can be persuasive.

Angel: That she can. So are you going to eat or are you waiting to be fed.

Buffy: Hmm hard decision but I think you have your own meal to consume.

He nods as she picks up her fork and spears the steamed zucchini.

Buffy: Stuffed flounder and steamed vegetables. You are amazing.

Angel: Not really. But I know who to ask.

Buffy: Mom?

Angel nods and smiles. She takes another bite and he leans back with his dinner as they both dine is silence watching each other. After long moments, Buffy watches him refill his cup and continue drinking. She is consumed with a feeling of completeness. He has finally understood she accepts him unconditionally. She is almost giddy with joy.