indie and tango
Time had really flown from Valentine’s Day and into Spring Break and flew faster still to the end of the school year. By the beginning of May, everyone was talking about graduation and what they were going to do after school was over. Buffy applied for college for the fall at UC Sunnydale and was making plans for the baby. Buffy squealed with happiness when she found out that Willow, who had been accepted to every University with a stamp, decided to stay in boring ol’ Sunnydale. The only Dingo matriculating with the college’s newest class would be Oz. The rest of the Dingoes were mostly focused on their summer tour around the West Coast.
The week before graduation, everyone was suffering from massive amounts of Senioritis and couldn’t wait to walk across the stage. Buffy was seven months pregnant and depressed from the stares she had to endure the whole semester. She felt like everyone was whispering, “Hey, look at the pregnant girl!”
She was relieved no one had actually said anything to her, even though she was certain there was only one reason why she wasn’t being made fun of right now. Angel probably threatened the whole school. She could already hear the growl in his voice as he described to someone how they would be using crutches to get across the stage for saying something mean to her. She sniffled at the thought. It really was sweet. It didn’t change the fact that she was going to have to graduate in a week with a huge belly and pronounced waddle.
Angel had decided to take off from work early that night and surprise Buffy by taking her out to dinner. He found her weeping in front of her full-length mirror in her bra and panties.
“Oh fuck,” he muttered. Picking up his step, he pulled her into his arms. “What’s wrong, baby?”
“E-everyone’s t-talking about the p-pregnant girl,” she sobbed. “They’ll all m-make f-fun of me at graduation.”
“No baby,” he crooned, feeling a full measure of guilt partially because it was his fault she was pregnant and partially because he was lying through his teeth. They probably would talk about her at graduation.
“A-and then you’ll beat them up and then you’ll get arrested,” she continued, sobbing wholeheartedly. “And you haven’t said anything about m-marrying me.”
He held her tighter. "You said you wanted to wait until after graduation," he reminded her gently.
"Well, yeah," she said, her voice shrill and slightly hysterical, "but if we wait too long, the baby is going to be here and I don't want to be an unwed, teenage mother."
He rocked her slightly. "Okay, so graduation is the first week of June. When do you want the wedding?"
"I don't know," she wailed, snuggling into his embrace.
He rocked her, smiling despite his frustrations. "What if we do it graduation night, since everyone will already be around?" he offered.
She looked up at him. "That's uh," she said, brow furrowing. She extricated herself from his embrace and sat down at her desk, leafing through her day minder. "That's a really good idea," she finally announced.
"Okay," he said, waiting for her to change her mind.
She sniffled one last time, rubbing her nose with a tissue. "Yeah."
"We should probably mail invitations," he said.
Willow looked at Angel's sober countenance as he opened the door. "She's in the kitchen," he said.
She couldn't help but snicker, thinking about a time when Giles had done almost the same thing. She followed him through the house to the kitchen where Buffy was seated at the small breakfast table. The tabletop was overflowing with various items, catalogs, magazines, stack and stacks of graduation invitations.
Angel sat down and indicated the vacant seat for Willow. As she took the seat, she saw that Buffy was leafing through bridal magazines and invitation catalogs, her eyes puffy and red rimmed. "What about this one?" she asked, holding up a magazine to Angel.
He made a sharp hissing noise and pointed at Willow. "I'm a guy," he said. "I have no opinion. I went and found you another girl so she could help."
Buffy smiled weepily at him. "That's so sweet."
Angel looked at Willow. "She's gone completely insane," he said seriously. With a huff, he turned back to the graduation invitations he was addressing. Most of the enormous stack was Buffy's. With relatives and family friends scattered over two continents, she was sending out nearly two hundred invitations. Angel himself had mailed only four. One to his maternal grandparents with whom he hadn't had any contact in nearly six years, one to Bud at the shop, one to his cousin Doyle in Los Angeles and after much deliberation, one to his father. Though the last one was sent mainly to let the old man know that he had graduated without his help.
Angel was stuck in his own version of hell. Yes, he felt compelled to help Buffy out however he could, but he had his limits. It wasn't enough that they had both their graduations and the wedding to account for, there were also the rest of the trappings. Willow was throwing Buffy two separate bridal and baby showers. Devon had informed Angel there would be a bachelor party. Between all the social events, Angel didn't have a moment of peace. What little spare time he did have was spent working extra hours at the shop to save up money, putting the finishing touches on the nursery or merely taking the time to hold Buffy and remind himself why he was doing all of this.
He kept telling himself that if he could just make it through the month, then everything would be better. The band would go on tour, he would be happily married to Buffy and the baby would come. Knowing that and experiencing it, however, were two entirely different things.
He looked over the mountain of invitations, all the magazines and his teary eyed wife to be. Enough was enough. With a grunt, he finished the invitation he was working on, slapped it in the finished pile and turned to Willow.
“Home,” she said, shifting nervously under his unintentional hard glare.
“Right.” Angel nodded. He leaned over and kissed Buffy firmly on the lips. “I’m going out.”
“Where?” Buffy asked quietly.
“Somewhere…” he said, looking around him in near panic, “…that’s not here.”
Later that night when Angel came home, it was dark in the house. He made his way up to Buffy’s bedroom and peeked in. He could tell by her breathing she was still awake, so he made his way over to the bed and sat down beside her.
“I don’t mean to be crazy,” she said quietly, looking off at the wall. “I can’t help it.”
“It’s okay, baby,” he said, kissing her brow. “I just needed a few hours away.”
“Willow said that in an upsetting situation, sometimes a guy just has to bail,” she sniffled. “I’m upsetting, aren’t I?”
“No, Buffy,” he sighed. He bent over to take off his boots and shrugged off his jacket before lying in bed with her and taking her in his arms. “I’m just tired, that’s all,” he said. True to his word, he pulled her close, closed his eyes and despite his intention to stay for just a few minutes, he fell into a deep sleep.
Buffy hadn’t slept so well in a long time. The baby was always so active at night that he or she could make getting any rest almost impossible. But for whatever reason, the bump decided to give them a night off and Buffy had slept deeply and soundly, cocooned in Angel’s protective embrace.
She opened her eyes, blinking into the grayish early morning light. It was Saturday morning, but Angel would have to be up soon to be at the shop. Normally Bud wouldn’t want him in until nine, but Oz’s van was having some trouble and since that’s what the Dingoes were planning on using for this upcoming tour, Angel was trying to track down all the problems.
Buffy rolled over and looked at her sleeping soon-to-be husband. There were dark circles under his eyes and she could tell he’d lost some weight. She honestly couldn’t imagine how she had ever thought of him as a loser. He was wearing himself to the bone making sure that everything was taken care of. He was always checking up on her, making sure that she was as happy as she could be with the hormone war her body was waging. When he wasn’t looking after her mental and physical well-being, he was fixing things around the house, working on someone’s car for free, putting in overtime at the shop, or trying to make sure he passed enough classes to graduate.
Angel really needed more credit. And love. He definitely needed more love. Buffy smiled deviously. After all he did for her, he deserved some payback.
Angel came awake with a gasp, his body on fire as he arched into Buffy’s mouth. She squeezed his balls gently, taking him deeper into her throat as she increased the suction. Angel whimpered, his hands wrapping around the slats in her headboard with crushing force. He yelped her name once before his body corded, his eyes rolling back in his head as he climaxed.
When he finally regained his senses some time later, Buffy was sitting up in bed, looking down at him as she licked her lips. He reached out, threading one hand through her hair to pull her close. He kissed her deeply, whispering against her lips with perfect vehemence, “I love you, Buffy.”
Snyder scowled at the assembled crowd. “It’s now my duty because it definitely wouldn’t be my pleasure to present you with the graduating class of Sunnydale High. May you leave and never return.”
Graduation was as long and boring as Snyder could possibly make it without putting them all in a coma, but in the end, he had some satisfaction for the torture he put them through. Buffy had been nervous all week, but when the moment came, she walked across the stage, took her diploma and walked off. No one yelled out or sneered. There were no shocked gasps from the audience. And when she looked out in the crowd, she saw her father beaming with untarnished pride, her fiancé smiling just as lovingly and her friends grinning ear to ear.
When Angel finally walked across the stage, he felt the world around him grow brighter. He never thought he would get this far. When the crowd dispersed over the grounds and people were milling toward their family and friends, Angel spotted Buffy and Giles hugging each other. It was interesting to think how losing his mother destroyed his life and his father’s, but the loss of Buffy’s mom just brought them closer together. They were a real family. As Buffy spotted him and held her hand out, he realized, they were his family too. And they were about to make it official.
“Damn,” Devon exclaimed, looking at Angel in his tux. Angel frowned, pacing nervously around the basement. The sun was just beginning to set and the entire house had been rearranged in order to host the wedding. It sounded like herds of buffalo were tromping overhead. How could they possibly have this many friends and family? Angel had almost choked when he realized his grandparents were at the graduation. He hadn’t been prepared for the emotions their attendance caused in him. He had been worried they would disapprove, but they both beamed with pride as he showed them his diploma and introduced them to Buffy. His grandmother positively fawned over her.
Angel had been so busy recently that he hadn’t taken the time to appreciate just what a big deal this wedding was. Of course, he was prepared to commit himself to Buffy for forever, but the idea of doing it in front of two hundred people was a bit daunting. When Buffy had suggested a ceremony at home, he’d thought small. Leave it to Buffy to add just a little here and there. All the furniture had been moved gods only knew where. The living room and dining room were both filled with folding chairs. The backyard was all set up for the reception and dance where the Dingoes were playing, along with Shy.
The worst part of it was Angel hadn’t even seen Buffy in hours. She shooed him down into the basement as Jenny, Willow and surprisingly, Cordelia, whisked her off upstairs to prepare for her grand entrance. He didn’t know that it would be so difficult to just hang out in another part of the house than Buffy, but apparently, it was next to impossible. He was greatly relieved when Oz finally came downstairs.
“Is it time?” Angel demanded, already brushing past Oz on the stairs. Oz pivoted on the bottom step and headed back up, smiling silently. He had expected Angel to have the normal sort of wedding jitters, but instead he was ready to plunge into the fray. Devon cursed under his breath as he headed up the stairs behind Oz. He thought it was fucking stupid to waste his life in marriage at the very beginning – Cindy Crawford tapes or not.
When Angel got to the top of the stairs he was ushered by Cordelia into what used to be the living room. “Don’t move,” she said, turning his shoulders just so. “Maybe, if you behave you won’t screw this whole thing up.”
“Well, gee Cordy, thanks,” Angel said dryly.
“No problem,” she said, nodding and brushing off his shoulders. “Remember,” she warned.
“I know,” he said, holding up his hands. “I won’t move from this spot.”
Oz was still smiling as he stepped into his spot next to Angel. Angel glanced at his best friend and then expectantly to the back of the living room, searching for Buffy. The house was packed with people, at least half of whom Angel didn’t even know. Some of Buffy’s relatives from England were there and an aunt and uncle from Illinois. It looked like almost the entire school was present, as well as Angel’s maternal grandparents and Doyle. With all these people looking at him expectantly, Angel began to get very nervous. Was this a joke? All these people here just to witness him marry Buffy? The universe must have some sick sense of humor. He felt like the biggest fake to ever walk the planet. There was no way he was good enough for her.
But at that moment, the music queued and Buffy and Willow stepped into view. Every thought flew from Angel’s mind as he looked at his bride.
Everyone stood as Willow, and then Buffy walked down the small isle between the chairs. Willow was wearing a simple sage green slip dress and an upswept hairdo that made her look elegant and sophisticated. But Buffy ...
Angel took a deep breath. She had never looked more radiant. Her skin positively glowed, her eyes twinkled. But one look at her gown and he forgot to breathe. Being in the late stages of her pregnancy, the bump was quite pronounced, but the rest of Buffy was slim and toned as always. Except for her breasts. Oh, Angel loved her breasts, plump and firm from pregnancy. She’d gone up two cup sizes and Angel wanted to drop to his knees and thank god at least twice a week for that little perk. The gown was made of a stretchy, cream lace that clung to her curves. It was strapless, displaying ample amounts of cleavage and leaving her neck and shoulders deliciously bare. It trailed to the floor, but was split up one leg to mid-thigh giving a luscious look at her shapely legs and beautiful ankles. Leave it to Buffy to manage to look graceful and elegant in stiletto heels just weeks before giving birth. Her hair was curled in gentle waves, loosely swept up and laced with fresh flowers. She was without a doubt the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
Buffy couldn’t help but smile as she looked at Angel. He was so damned handsome standing there. His hair was still semi-punk in wild black spikes all over his head and his tuxedo fit him perfectly. Buffy thought it was the perfect way to taunt everyone else on how lucky she was. He was undoubtedly the most gorgeous man in the room. Her eyes pricked with tears as she took her father’s arm and walked down the aisle toward Angel.
There may have been moments when she regretted getting pregnant so early or she was worried about raising a child and having a husband, but the one thing she never doubted was Angel. She loved him so much more than he would ever understand. Giles stopped at the end of the aisle and kissed her cheek.
“I’m so proud of you, Buffy,” he said in low voice. The tears that were already filling her eyes were dangerously close to spilling over, so she nodded gratefully. Giles met Angel’s eyes and nodded with approval. “You take care of my little girl,” he said quietly. With a lump in his throat, Giles moved quickly away and sat down.
The ceremony was short and sweet. Buffy and Angel both were jittery and filled with emotion, but neither hesitated with their vows. They kissed lightly when the minister prompted them and stood together as he announced loudly, “May I present for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Angelus Roarke.”
Angel looked down and grinned broadly at his new wife before sweeping her into his arms and kissing her deeply. Their friends and family laughed and clapped as he strode down the aisle and into the back yard with her and the bump firmly in his grip.
Hours later, Buffy smiled, reaching across the table to clasp Angel’s grandmother’s hand. She looked down at the little photo album the woman had brought, filled with pictures of Angel growing up. From his first day to teething, him as a toddler and then a young boy with shades of the man he would become. The album stopped abruptly when Angel must have been about five. The last page had a picture of him held firmly in his mother’s arms. They were both beautiful. “Thank you,” Buffy said quietly.
“You deserved to have it,” she replied. “I don’t know if Angel is quite ready for it yet, but I thought especially with your own child on the way that you would appreciate it.”
“I do,” Buffy said.
There was a loud yell and Buffy looked up, smiling wryly. The reception was in full force and she couldn’t help but laugh. The backyard was overrun with people, most of them students from Sunnydale High. There was a small stage and the Dingoes were playing, including Angel who had stripped down to nothing but his tuxedo slacks. As usual, Devon was howling into the mike, jumping around like a monkey on crack. Angel seemed to be having a great time and Buffy was thrilled.
She watched as they called an end to the set and Shy took the stage. Angel searched her out immediately, pulling her against his sweaty chest and kissing her breathless. He threw a heavy arm over her delicate shoulders and headed over to sit down when Giles stopped them.
“I was wondering if I might have a word with the two of you,” he said, speaking just loud enough to stretch over the din.
Buffy and Angel looked at each other curiously but followed him into the house. Angel sat down in a chair and pulled Buffy in his lap. She giggled but Giles gave Angel a stern frown.
“It’s my wedding day, Giles,” Angel laughed. “Unwind a little.”
Chuckling, Giles nodded, “I’ll never get used to you two. I wanted to speak to you about living arrangements.”
“Daddy, if you’re going to kick us out can you please wait until after my honeymoon?” Buffy groaned.
“Actually, I’m kicking myself out,” he explained and grinned when both of their faces were contorted into looks of shock and surprise and confusion.
“Huh?” Angel blurted.
He stood up and paced around the kitchen. “I could barely sleep when you two were separated and Buffy was sneaking to the basement on a weekly basis,” he said. When Buffy gasped, he turned and eyed her severely. “I know what’s going on in my house young lady.”
“But I was so quiet!” Buffy shouted in exasperation.
“You were quiet by yourself,” Giles admitted, “but I assure you, the two of you together were not.”
“Oh my fucking god,” Angel groaned, leaning his head on Buffy’s shoulder.
“Precisely,” Giles agreed. “So in the interest in keeping all of us sane, I have sought out different living arrangements. I have a bachelor’s flat on the other side of town and I will be signing the deed to the house over to the two of you immediately.”
Buffy sniffled, pushing herself out of Angel's lap as she went to hug her father. "Thank you so much, Daddy."
The motorcycle was definitely not an option with the bump quickly approaching critical mass, so they needed a car for the evening. Angel managed to guilt Giles into letting them borrow his sporty red mid-life crisis mobile for their trip through town to Sunnydale's only slightly upscale hotel. All their friends threw bird seed and yelled as they drove away.
Buffy giggled happily and Angel told them all to get the fuck out of the way. Very soon, Mr. and Mrs. Roarke were ensconced in the honeymoon suite. Buffy looked at the bottle of Champaign, pouting. Angel laughed, leaning over and pressing his face against the bump. "No booze for you," he said, doing a fairly spot on impression of the soup nazi from Seinfeld.
Buffy rolled her eyes and waddled over to the bed. She leaned back, supporting herself with her arms, making her cleavage that much more visible. "You know," she said, "you shouldn't have put your shirt back on. You're just going to have to take it off again."
"Oh, but see you're wrong there," he told her, stalking over to the bed. "This time, you get to help me take it off. It was all part of the master plan."
She giggled as he reached for her, tumbling her back on the bed. He dove in for the first kiss, capturing her mouth and tangling his tongue with hers. He groaned as her hands roamed underneath his shirt, her nails lightly scratching his back. The kiss deepened and he was dying to be inside her, but first he had other plans.
“Well, Mrs. Roarke,” he said, kissing her again, “are you happy?”
She nodded nervously. “I love you, Angel.” It was strange that she felt apprehensive about tonight, given that they had already made a child together and had sex many times, but this was her wedding night. She wanted it to be absolutely perfect.
She let him pull her to her feet and watched the devotion play across his face as he undressed her. He kissed reverently each patch of skin that was revealed. When the bump was unclothed, she looked around, wishing the light switch was closer. He saw the look, but ignored it. Instead, he pecked little kisses all over her round tummy.
“I love you,” he whispered to her belly and then looked up at her, smiling proudly. He slipped off the rest of her clothes and stood to strip out of his own with a lot of anxious help from his bride. With a sort of finesse others never saw, he led her to the bed and draped her across it. Grinning carnally, he flipped her legs over his shoulders.
“Oh, there they are,” she joked, but her smile faded away into pure ecstasy as he parted her nether lips with his thumbs and leaned in to taste her. He groaned with pleasure as she strained to lift her hips, digging her heels in for leverage. He teased her mercilessly, circling around her swollen nub before abandoning it for her hot sheath. When she was panting and begging for release, he took pity on his new wife and lashed at her pleasure point until she was bucking and screaming.
As she recovered, he pressed hard kisses to her thighs, gentle ones to the bump. He moved up her body, peppering her chest and neck with more kisses before she languidly threaded her fingers through his hair, pulling him in for a deep, soul-searing kiss. She moaned at the taste of herself on his lips, pulling on him, wanting the friction of his body against her own. He broke off the kiss, panting and chuckled. “I think the bump might protest if I lay on top of you.”
Buffy pouted, but didn’t fight as he moved off of her, urging her to roll over onto her hands and knees. She did so as gracefully as possible. Angel could have cared less that her actions lacked her natural elegance. She was still the most gorgeous thing he’d ever seen. He moved behind her, pressing kisses up her spine, against her neck and out to her shoulder before biting playfully. She arched against him restlessly and he obeyed her unspoken command, positioning himself at her entrance.
He pushed inside her slowly, gently and they both moaned at the sensation. Their love was slow and sweet. Angel whispered his devotion against her sweat-slicked skin as they moved together. Buffy shouted her love for him as she came apart in his arms. Angel joined her, burying his face against her back as he climaxed.
They collapsed together onto the bed, limbs intertwined and bonelessly limp. Angel brushed stray tendrils of hair away from Buffy’s face and kissed her tenderly. She laced her fingers through his and their hands rested protectively over the bump. “Forever, Buffy,” he whispered.
Buffy and Angel spent two magical days in the hotel suite doing nothing but making love and ordering room service. Clothes were only donned when absolutely necessary – which, of course, meant Angel putting on a robe to answer the door when their latest order of food arrived. They took baths together in the giant Jacuzzi tub, made love in the shower, on the bathroom floor – basically anywhere with a flat service. Despite her advanced pregnancy, Buffy didn’t balk at his choice of adventurous places to make love around the room.
After their blissful days ended, they went back home to find that Giles had moved all of his belongings out already. Buffy wandered into her father’s room, the Master bedroom, to find the furniture had all been replaced. A beautiful four poster king size bed replaced Giles’ queen and two dressers and a vanity table matched it perfectly. They found a lovely note from Giles welcoming them home.
Buffy sniffled after reading the note and went around to admire the new furniture. “He’s the best,” she said, trying to keep the tears at bay. As it was, she couldn’t believe how often she had cried during her pregnancy. It was probably more than she had cried since she was a baby herself.
Angel walked over to where she was looking out the window and circled his arms around her waist, rubbing the bump. “Are you okay, baby?” he said, nuzzling her neck.
“I’m going to miss you,” she whispered.
He turned her around and framed her face with his hands. His deep brown eyes were unwavering as he looked in her eyes. “I’m not leaving you,” he said. “I’m coming back.”
“I know, Angel,” she said softly.
“Four weeks,” he murmured, pulling her into his arms. “Not a day more. Even if the baby is two weeks early, I’ll be home.”
“’Kay,” she muffled against his chest. She held on to him for a long time, her arms surprisingly strong as she clung to him. After a long while he pulled away and slowly undressed them both before leading her to the new bed.
“I’m going to spend my whole life with you,” he whispered, holding her close. “I love you, Buffy.”
The band had a couple of days to rehearse before they left for the tour and Angel couldn’t believe that Buffy hadn’t said a word about it since that first day in the bedroom. She never asked him to stay or anything remotely referring to it. In fact, she acted as if he wasn’t leaving at all. She didn’t begrudge him the time he had to practice either. If he didn’t know better, he’d say she was in denial about him leaving at all.
However she felt about it, she kept silent, which was odd because she was recklessly emotional about everything else. Her mood swings were becoming more apparent, if that was even possible and he started to worry about how she would do in the house alone while he was gone.
He finally called Willow at the end of the week and asked her about how she would feel moving into Buffy’s old bedroom while they were gone, just to look over his wife. She happily complied, telling him how lonely she would be without Oz around for a whole month. The tone of her voice was like a fist in the gut. Buffy, however, was infuriated that he would go behind her back and move Willow in.
“This isn’t a covert operation, baby,” Angel groaned, running his hand through his hair. “I just thought you might like some company while I’m gone. Even Willow said she was going to be lonely with Oz away.”
“Well, in case you hadn’t noticed,” she barked back, “I’m not Willow.” Angel took a step back as she became slightly hysterical. “I’ll be fine without you here. I’m not incapable of taking care of myself. I’ll be fine. I don’t need you. I’ll be fine.”
Gathering his defenses about him, he crossed the room and pulled her into his arms. “Everything’s going to be okay,” he crooned as she sobbed in his arms.
“I know,” she said, her voice thick with tears.
“Ooooh!” Angel cooed mockingly. “A strip club in Oxnard!”
Muttering a few obscenities, Devon swiped the tour schedule out of Angel’s hand. “Money is money,” he informed Angel tersely.
Angel rolled his eyes, picking up his drum sticks again. “Devon, if my wife finds out we’re playing a strip club, I’m a dead man,” he said seriously. “And when she’s done with me, she’ll kill you.”
“Quit being a pussy, Angel,” Devon groaned. “I know you’re a husband now and all, but fuck man, she’s not going to be on the tour with us. You know, if you want we can blind fold you.”
“My very pregnant, not mention hormonally imbalanced wife, cries when I say hello to her the wrong way. What do you think is going to happen when she finds out I left her right before we’re having a baby to play in fucking strip clubs?” Angel growled.
“Dude, we’re not changing the schedule,” Devon huffed.
“Hey, that’s cool,” Angel said brightening up. “When she rips off my nuts and hands them to me, I’m going to shove them down your throat. No hard feelings or anything.”
Devon stalked off stage and Oz wandered over to the drum kit. “Guess it’s a little tense at your place?”
Angel grunted. “With Giles moving out and the baby coming in four weeks, it’s pretty crazy. I wore a black t-shirt yesterday. Somehow Buffy interpreted that to mean I didn’t love her anymore.”
“Wow,” Oz said.
“Yeah,” Angel replied tightly.
Angel watched the young, naked woman gyrate against the pole and truth be told, he couldn’t possibly have been more bored. He was keeping time, glaring at the back of Devon’s big, fat head, telling himself only five more days and they’d be finished. Then he could get home to Buffy and he could get that front all smoothed out before the baby arrived. He and Buffy really needed some quality alone time. His cell phone was acting up and he hadn’t had a chance to have it replaced. That meant that his phone calls were quickie affairs on payphones in motel parking lots. Not exactly conducive to bonding. Plus, it seemed like every moment he wasn’t on stage was spent trying to resurrect Oz’s behemoth van from the dead. Every time he fixed one thing, another fell apart.
He knew Buffy was going to flip when she found out the Dingoes West Coast tour was actually a tour of every sleazy strip joint between Sunnydale and San Diego. Angel had never imagined that breasts could get so boring after a while. Sure he would still get hard just thinking about Buffy’s, but the ones being waved in his face nightly weren’t doing anything for him.
It was with much relief that Angel realized by Devon’s convulsive movements that he was winding down the set. Oz wasn’t even finished playing the last note before Angel had tossed down his drumsticks and started disassembling the kit. Devon glared at him, but Angel just flipped him off and continued with his work.
However, being loaded in record time wasn’t destined to help the Dingoes this night. The van coughed and sputtered as Oz tried to start it, but refused to roar to life. Cursing, Angel hopped out and lifted the hood. Twenty minutes later, he leaned in the driver’s side window with bad news. “You need a new alternator,” he said.
“So, what’s the problem? You know what’s wrong. Fix it,” Devon groused from the back. Tempers were running high after a week and a half stuck in the van with not only them, but Shy as well.
Angel grabbed an empty soda can off the dashboard and threw it at Devon’s head, narrowly missing Veruca in the process. “It’s two o’clock in the morning, shithead. There aren’t any parts stores open.”
“So, what? We’re stuck here another day?” Devon bellowed. “We have to be in Santa Monica tomorrow!”
Angel was about half a second from crawling through the window, over Oz and beating the shit out of Devon when Spike’s bellow pierced the air. “Hey!”
All the van’s occupants turned to look at him. He held his cell phone out to Angel. “I don’t know how they tracked you down through me,” he said, “but it’s your father-in-law. I think it’s important.”
Angel’s heart was in his throat as he took the phone. “Giles? What’s wrong? Is it Buffy?” He listened, his rigid form taken over by a fine trembling as Giles’ words rushed over him. “Okay,” he said hoarsely. “I’ll be there.”
He clicked off the phone and looked blindly at the van. “I have to get back to Sunnydale,” he said. “Now!”
“What’s wrong?” Oz asked.
Angel looked at him, blinking, like he didn’t understand why there were other people still there. He walked around to the front of the van, staring inside the hood. “I have to get home,” he repeated.
“Angel!” Oz said sharply. “What the hell is going on?”
He looked at Oz again, terror etched on his features. “There was a car wreck,” he said. “Buffy’s ... Buffy’s ... I have to get home now.”
“Don’t worry, man, we’ll get you there,” Oz assured him. He slipped the phone out of Angel’s boneless fingers and began dialing.
Twenty minutes later, they were still no closer to a solution. Angel was pacing around the strip club’s parking lot like a caged tiger. Oz shook his head, looking at the van. They were five hours from Sunnydale. There was no way that Giles would leave Buffy to pick up Angel. Jenny and Willow offered, but it would double the time if they had to drive all the way to where they were to pick him up.
Oz addressed the assembled bands. “Does anyone know anybody near here? Friends, family?”
Angel’s head snapped up. “Oh hell!” he cursed. “My cousin, Doyle.”
He grabbed Spike’s cell, trying five times before he finally dialed the right number. “Doyle? Yeah, sorry, it’s Angel. I’m sorry to wake you up, but I need a huge favor.” He gave a very terse description of the situation and then went very quiet. “My dad? What?” Angel paced around in little circles. “Dad? Why are you in L.A.?” Angel explained the situation again and then said, “Okay,” and clicked off the phone.
He handed the phone back to Oz. “My dad’s in town taking care of some business. He’s going to pick me up and take me back to Sunnydale. He should be here in about forty-five minutes.”
Oz looked at Angel quizzically but held his tongue. He wasn’t going to mention that the last time Angel had seen his father the man nearly beat him unconscious. Their relationship was strange, but if it meant that Angel could get back to Sunnydale quicker, he doubted it mattered.
Angel hopped in the truck before it even finished moving. His father didn’t say a word as he pulled back onto the highway and headed for Sunnydale. The sun was coming up before either of them spoke.
“I’m not real clear on the details,” his father said, “but your ... wife was in an accident.”
Angel nodded. None of this felt real. Everything, sights, sounds, all of it felt hollow and fake. He needed to be with Buffy. Every second away from her was killing him. Icy terror flowed through his veins. He couldn’t lose her. He couldn’t. His entire life was in Sunnydale, his wife, his baby. How could he have left them alone? He cleared his throat roughly. “Her dad called me. He said she was in a wreck, that it was serious and I needed to come home.”
Angel’s dad lit a cigarette, cracking his window. “She’s pregnant right?” he asked. “She has to be close.”
“Three weeks,” Angel said tautly. “She’s due in three weeks.”
“I saw her at your graduation,” he said. “She seemed like a real nice girl.”
“You were at graduation?” Angel asked, snapping his head toward his father.
“I was there,” he said, nodding and flicking his ashes out of the window. He kept his eyes on the road, not even glancing at his son. “Saw the end of your wedding too. Stood at the back. You didn’t even see me when you walked right past me with her in your arms.”
“Why?” Angel demanded. All his emotions were already at the forefront. He should have just stared out the window and kept his mouth shut but he didn’t.
“I know how you feel,” his father said quietly. “I loved….” He scowled and tossed his cigarette out of the window. He drove in silence for a few minutes before speaking again. “I fucked up your life son,” he said. “I know that. I didn’t have a thing left after Samantha-“ his voice broke and he cleared his throat irritably. “After your mother died, I just stopped living too. Didn’t even think about what you were going through. I didn’t understand you growing up, son, but I understand this. If you feel anything for that little girl like what I felt for your mother… I just hope she’s alright.”
“She’s everything to me,” Angel said, his voice choked as he stared out the window. “Everything.”
On to part 10
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