I didn't realize that I never transfered this particular fic to LJ. This is another one that was put up on the Pit of Voles a few months before Buffy went off the air.
This story got mostly overwhelmingly good reviews when it first came out back in the day, although it did get a couple of anti-recs. Some people anti-recc'd it because it wasn't Spuffy-friendly. Some people anti-recc'd it (believe it or not) because Spike is shown in a good light. Oddly enough, no one accused me of character-bashing, which I thought sure would be a criticism because of its anti-Spuffy subtext.
Ahhhh, the fierce ship wars of S6 and S7. How I don't miss you at all.
I don't think I have a terribly good handle on Spike himself in this story, but this was the largest role he'd ever had in anything I had written until Nobody Never Gets to Heaven. All-in-all, since I'm not a huge fan of Spike, and considering that my characterization skills were still being built, I don't think I did too badly by him here.
What's interesting about this story is that my initial plan was to write a short story where Willow and Xander, both of whom are seriously suffering from PTSD, walk away from the "good fight" and try to escape into a normal life. The plan was that as they traveled across the country, they'd keep running across the weird and wacky. Slowly but surely, their resolve would begin to fail until they found themselves taking on a Scooby gang of their own.
Needless to say, it didn't quite work out that way.
Somewhere in the middle of writing the Willow-Xander part, it occured to me that it would make a much better ghost story, with Willow and Xander in the roles of confused ghosts who are trying to make sense of their situation, but unable to completely figure it out on their own.
Let me be clear: At the time I wrote this, there were spoilers going around for a BSD (big Schooby death), and fingers were pointing in several directions for up to and including Buffy herself getting trapped in the Hellmouth. Even so, I honestly thought that Xander and Willow wouldn't be in any danger of dying. Just the same, I wasn't too surprised when it came out that JW did consider killing Xander and making him the face of the First Evil in S7. I'm glad it didn't work out that way for two reasons: 1) A lot of really good Xander-writers wouldn't be playing with him in fanfic; and 2) It looks like Xander is going to have a fairly sizeable role in the S8 comics and all indications look like it's going to be a half-way decent one.
The Buffy parallel story was written after I had completed the Willow-Xander part. In short, I literally wrote around Willow-and-Xander's story to create Buffy's.
Another common criticism of this story is that, like Revelations, it's almost completely bloodless and devoid of emotion (I agree with this one). The other was that Buffy was too hung up on the loss of Willow and Xander (considering how long she was hung up on Angel, I disagree with this one).
For some reason, don't ask me why, but the original title for this story was The Intramural Street Hockey League and Goomba Society.
Don't ask me. I have no clue what it means, either.
I'm sure it made sense at the time.
Because of the story's thorough Jossing, at some point I changed the description from "spec" to AU, complete with a one-sentence description on why the world of Into the Desert was different from canon.
Title: Into the Desert
Author: Lizbeth Marcs liz_marcs
Rating: PG-13 for language, some sexual situations.
Pairings: B/OC; W/X. References to B/A, B/S, X/An, W/T. Hints of B/W/X.
Genre: Future fic, mystery, ghost story, character angst
Warnings: Character death(s). Spoilers for S7, up to “Dirty Girls.” Beyond that, it’s AU for the end of BtVS.
Summary: Buffy begins the task of starting her life over and rebuilding the Watchers Council without her two best friends at her side. (AU)
AU Element: What if Angel only brought himself and not the amulet to the final battle against the First Evil in “Chosen?”
Disclaimer: Xander Harris, Spike, Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Rupert Giles, and all associated characters and organizations are the property of FOX and Mutant Enemy. Any mention of real life events and real people are done to serve the story and are not meant to imply that the incidents in question have any relationship to reality. All original characters and the plot are mine. No payment was asked for or received in the writing of this story and no profit was earned. No copyright infringement on FOX or Mutant Enemy is intended.
By Lizbeth Marcs
The man leaned against his car and watched the numbers of the gas pump change with alarming speed while he filled his tank with gas. The hot desert wind ruffled his dark brown hair reminding him that at some point he’d like to get it cut. It was one of the first things he planned to do when they got to where they were going.
Wherever the hell that would turn out to be.
He looked back at the convenience store/gas station with irritation. He wanted to get in some serious mileage before nightfall. Where the hell was she?
Almost on cue she popped out the front door bearing two gallons of water and a plastic bag dangling from a wrist. She paused when the door slammed shut behind her, squinting against the glare as she peered curiously up and down the abandoned two-lane road.
He could remember a time when she would’ve half-jumped, half-skipped her way out of the store just because the unknown spread out before her and adventure called. Now she walked with the tread of a much older, more cautious woman. He felt a brief pain in his heart as he tried not to compare her then and now. The man closed his eyes in a vain attempt to quash memories of the before.
Age and time had taken that sort of childish excitement and optimism from both of them. Now they were on the road and trying to reach a very specific goal, even if he couldn’t exactly remember what that goal was. Damn, his memory was a sieve these days. He’ll have to ask her if she remembered.
The gas pump gave a hard jerk indicating the tank was full. He replaced the nozzle and paused briefly to rub his fingers over his palms. Beneath the calluses that defined a blue-collar life he could sense too-new blood on his hands.
“I didn’t see anyone in the store so I left money on the counter to pay for gas and snacks.”
He jumped, startled by the intrusion of her voice, and turned to look at her across the roof of his car. The bright light reflected off her red hair, giving the illusion that blood was pouring over her shoulders. He blinked quickly to shake the mental image from his mind.
“Ready?” she prompted.
He gave a quick, silent nod in return. They both opened the doors and unison and slid into the still-cool interior.
“Where to, m’lady?” he asked. The question had become a tired joke and a sacred ritual. He couldn’t even bring himself to turn the key in the ignition before asking the question.
She answered as she always did. “Anywhere but here.”
Buffy sat on the couch in her living room and dejectedly stared at the boxes that contained her entire life.
No. Not her whole life. Two big pieces of it were being left behind in one of Sunnydale’s many, many cemeteries.
Funny how the old cliché turned out to be right: you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s long gone.
God, she didn’t remember hurting this much after Angel left.
Then again, Angel walked out of Sunnydale on his own two feet, not as dust motes on the wind. Or buried under a tombstone shared with his bestest life-long friend.
“Ready to go, luv?”
Buffy looked up and tried to keep the hatred for this creature out her face. Yeah, soul now. Yeah, he got it for her.
Funny how she just didn’t give a flying fuck about it or him anymore.
Willow Rosenberg and Alexander Harris were dead. There would be no resurrection. There would be no coming back from the great beyond. No prophetic Slayer dreams with the messages delivered by a man with Cheshire-cat smile or a woman with stunning red hair. A chapter in her life was ended and now she was someone new, someone who had loved and brutally lost.
The fact that her “loved and lost” didn’t apply to Angel or to this sorry excuse in front of her struck her as irony on its highest level.
Although if she were being truthful, she lost them some time after she died the second time. It just took their physical deaths for her to realize that. She’ll never get the chance to tell them that she loved them beyond all reason. She wonders if they know anyway, safely ensconced and waiting for her in whatever afterlife they found themselves.
She wondered if Jewish/Wicca heaven was the same as Slayer heaven. She wondered if normal humans could get entrance to either, even for only brief visits. Heaven without Xander and Willow greeting her with goofy smiles and open arms would simply not be heaven. It would be pure hell.
“Penny for your thoughts?”
And god, how he looked at her, head cocked at that angle to highlight his cheekbones and create the illusion that he gave a shit about anyone besides himself.
She wanted so badly to rip his eyes out of his head if only to make him stop looking at her.
Instead she numbly sat on the couch and watched him. She will never forgive Spike for saving her life. She will never forgive him for pulling her from the rubble of her last battle while Xander and Willow died in agony fighting until they simply couldn’t fight any more.
“Almost,” she said. “Tell Giles the movers will be here to get the boxes in storage around 5. I’ll be ready to go first thing in the morning.”
“It’s a brand new day, innit?” Spike asked.
Buffy grunted and hoped Spike would get the hint and get out of her sight.
“A chance to rebuild the Watchers Council in your own image,” Spike continued. “Faith active in the field, new Slayers to recruit, a better Slayer training program to develop. All and all a long time in coming if you ask me.”
“I didn’t,” Buffy snapped. She used her last reserve for ‘being civil with Spike’ five hours ago.
Spike held up his hands to show his surrender. “Right. I’ll be getting some shuteye. I’ll be in the basement if you need me.”
Buffy breathed a sigh of relief when Spike disappeared and sank into the silence. She checked her watch and silently cursed. The movers were scheduled to arrive in twenty minutes. She couldn’t wait for them to be here and gone.
She had a schedule to keep. She had to say goodbye to some old friends staying in the cemetery before she got on the plane and embraced her new life in London.
They visited the Grand Canyon. The two of them sat on the Western Rim and quietly dared each other to get as close to the edge as possible, but fear of vertigo kept them away. They thought that maybe they’d hire donkeys and go down to the canyon floor, but they were too entranced by the view and the too close sky to make the effort.
“For a major tourist attraction, there isn’t exactly a crowd here,” he commented.
“Maybe it’s a slow day?” she ventured.
He snorted. “A slow day on the Grand Canyon. Right.”
“Hey, even major tourist attractions can have an off day,” she lightly replied. “Still, how often do you get a view like this to yourself?”
“Not often,” he allowed. He threw a companionable arm around her shoulder and she responded by leaning her head against his shoulder. “I could stay here,” he commented.
“So could I,” she said.
“Not forever, though,” he said.
“No, but for now,” she said.
“If you squint at the sky, I bet you could see heaven,” he said.
“Almost,” she agreed.
Buffy glared around her suite in the Watchers Council’s new HQ.
“Is there a problem?”
Buffy sighed. “No, Giles. I’m just trying to come up with a list of things I have to buy to make it more homey.”
“This isn’t homey?” Giles asked.
Buffy tightly smiled. “For you maybe, you grew up with this, this…”
“I was going for ‘stuffiness,’ but I guess opulence will do,” Buffy said. “Is there a particular reason why the new Watchers Council needs to be headquartered in a mansion?”
Giles sighed. “We need to project a certain image…”
“At an amazing cost,” Buffy flatly said. “Looking around here, I gotta wonder if maybe the money we’re paying on the mortgage wouldn’t be better spent on a salary for Slayers.”
“I do agree, Buffy. That’s why we’re setting up a trust fund to provide a stipend for Slayers in financial need or who make it to the age of majority,” Giles assured her. “The new regime…”
“Meaning you,” Buffy interrupted.
“Myself and a few of the younger, more worldly surviving Watchers,” Giles corrected her. “Let’s just say your experiences showed that with everything else that rides on a Slayer’s shoulders, money problems shouldn’t be one of them.”
“That’s good, I guess,” Buffy glumly replied.
After an uncomfortable silence, Giles said, “You’ll be pleased to know that Spike is already installed in his rooms. Unfortunately we had to convert some space in the basement. It’s a short-term solution until we find more suitable quarters.”
“Spike must be pleased,” Buffy snorted. “He’ll never have to work for his blood, booze, and smokes again. He’s managed to latch onto quite the gravy train. Who would’ve thought the Watchers Council would become his ultimate sugar daddy.”
“I think you’re hardly being fair…”
“I think I’m being more than fair,” Buffy snapped. “Once upon a time you would’ve agreed with me. Now let me think, who was it that tried to help get him staked only a few months ago?”
“All I’m trying to say, Buffy, is that Spike has shown a willingness to work with us. Given his extensive experience with both the demonic world and Slayers it would’ve been foolhardy for us to turn him down.” Giles sighed. “I know the two of you have a…a…complicated history, but you do really need to keep the venom down to a minimum.”
Buffy crossed her arms, steadily refusing to look at Giles. “I still say including him in on rebuilding the Council is a massive mistake,” she said.
“So you told me in the most colorful language possible when I mentioned it back in Sunnydale,” Giles said. “I promised he wouldn’t have any real power to direct the Council’s activities, but he will be an invaluable combat instructor for any new Slayers we can find and bring here.”
Buffy said nothing because she knew Giles had a good point, much as she didn’t want to admit it.
Giles shifted uneasily, sensing that if he stayed he and Buffy would get into a full-blown argument. She clearly had not recovered from the necessity of reverting Dawn back to her Key form as part of the effort to lock the First Evil back into its own dimension. Even though everyone’s memory had reverted back to the original timeline prior to Dawn’s arrival, the fact was Dawn was a part of Buffy’s life for two years. He figured that Dawn’s loss served as a harsh sting.
“I’ll leave you now to unpack,” Giles said. “Buffy, much as I hate to rush you, we really do need you into the swing of things next week. We have a lot of work to do.”
“I’ll be ready,” Buffy dully said. She didn’t bother to walk him to the door. When she heard the click of the lock behind him, she knew he was gone. She sunk to the floor, grateful that she was alone. In her mind’s eye she could see Xander inspecting the ornate carving in the woodwork and wondering aloud how the builders fitted together the parquet floor. She could hear Willow running through the suite exclaiming and commenting on every surprise and object that took her fancy.
As the ghostly echoes sounded in her ears, Buffy dropped her head into her hands and began to weep.
They decided to take Route 66. She was attracted to the notion of the interstate highway’s romantic history. He just wanted to see all the tacky roadside tourist attractions and couldn’t resist any sign promising the world’s biggest something or the world’s only anything.
The road wound its way through the flat, grey landscape, interrupted only by forlorn signs recalling a better, more innocent age in American history before people stopped believing that the good guys would always win and the hero would always save the day.
It was the perfect route for the two of them to travel.
“It’s sad,” she commented as she sipped from a tub of soda.
“What is?” he asked even though he could guess what she was about to say.
“No one uses Route 66 any more,” she said. “All the tourists abandoned this road for something bigger and better just so they could get from point A to point B faster. All these towns were left to die on the vine.”
They passed a shell of an abandoned gas station, an illustration of her point.
“Explains why there are no cars on the road,” he commented before taking a sip from his own tub. “Oooooh, a diner up ahead.”
“I could eat,” she said. “It’s 3 o’clock and we didn’t stop for lunch.”
They pulled into the empty lot, jumped out of the car, and tried the door handle. They exchanged a look of relief when the door opened, grateful that this particular stop hadn’t been abandoned. They took seats in a corner booth; all the better to see the view outside, not that there was much view to see.
As if by magic, food appeared on the table along with the bitterest coffee either one of them could remember tasting. They didn’t remember giving their orders, or the waitress approaching their table for that matter, but still they must’ve ordered. Proof was on the plates in front of them.
They ate in silence. When they were finished they glanced around the diner in hopes of attracting the attention of the waitress so they could pay their bill.
No such luck. Both the waitress and the short order cook were nowhere to be seen.
“Probably out back having a quickie,” she giggled.
“You’ve developed quite the dirty mind.” He couldn’t resist smiling. There was a time that the very thought would’ve caused her to stammer and blush furiously.
“Nah, just more aware of human nature,” she said. “The menu’s posted there. I guess we’ll just have to do some math.”
“Ugh, math. Flashbacks to high school are giving me the wiggins,” he said.
They eventually figured out the bill. After a brief discussion about how much sales tax the state imposed on diner patrons, they left the money on the table for the waitress. The amount was enough to cover the menu prices, a 10 percent sales tax, and a 20 percent tip.
After a final look around the diner in an effort to find someone, anyone, to tell them the money was tucked under a dinner plate, they gave up. They left the diner, the ringing of a bell the only sign of their passage back into the daylight.
“Merry Christmas, guys,” Buffy said to the picture on the wall. It was her favorite of the three of them—the Three Musketeers as Cordelia called them; the Scoobies they called themselves.
Xander was lying on the ground with a wide grin for the camera. She saw her younger, more innocent self sitting behind him making the universal sign of the bunny ears as she looked down with fondness at her goofy friend. Willow grinned her own sunshine smile at the camera from behind her.
Buffy took the picture off the wall and curled up in a comfortable chair, struck by the insanely bright light that washed out the picture’s background even as it brought the three human figures into sharp focus.
She didn’t recall the light ever being that bright in London.
For a brief moment she wondered what it would’ve been like to make love to Xander. If Faith were to be believed he wasn’t half-bad, considering she was his first. If Anya were to be believed, Xander was nothing if not imaginative and adventurous in the sack. She wondered what it would’ve been like to make love to Willow. Would it be gentle and laconic, the kind of lazy touching that lasts all night? Or would it be frenzied passion as the redhead let down her inhibitions behind a closed door?
Buffy snorted and hugged the picture close to her chest. She felt stupid having such thoughts because she never had any sexual interest in Xander and certainly not in Willow. So why even ponder the notion when they weren’t even around to answer the question?
The Slayer picked up her glass of red wine and silently toasted her apartment and the fire roaring in the ancient fireplace. She absently sipped at her glass feeling slightly guilty about turning down Giles’s invitation for a Christmas Eve get-together. She promised she would make it for Christmas dinner when she saw his disappointed face.
She just wanted to be alone. It was her first Christmas Eve in London and the first Christmas Eve without her friends. The occasion seemed to call for some serious alone time. No Englishmen or undead of the souled or unsouled variety need apply to keep her company.
They trudged into the seedy motel room tired from the long drive from Marah Lake in the Yukon to, well, wherever the hell they were now. They collapsed onto the bed and stared up at the ceiling.
“Sometimes I want to stop,” she said.
He didn’t say anything. They’ve had this conversation before, not often, but often enough. Sometimes he started it, sometimes she did.
“Why can’t we just stop?” she pleaded.
He didn’t answer because he knew she wasn’t asking him.
“What are we looking for?” she asked. “Why do we do this to ourselves?”
Ritual questions that amounted to nothing more than words. He knew it and she knew it. Asking them didn’t make anyone feel better, but sometimes the questions had to be asked.
He saw her roll over to face him out of the corner of his eye and braced himself for her next question.
“Are we that evil?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “I just don’t know.”
He remembered they once stopped outside a very fancy resort in a remote corner of the Rockies. It was near the end of the summer tourist season so there weren’t many people around. They sat in the car while the engine idled and debated whether they should stay the night. They had stayed in so many cheap motel rooms and had camped out under the stars so often, what would be the harm of spending at least one night in five-star comfort?
Money wasn’t the issue. They always had enough cash to pay for a place to sleep, gas, food, whatever they needed, really. They knew they had plenty of money to cover a night in a fine hotel with several fine restaurants, room service, a clean pool that actually had water in it, and beds that didn’t sag when you lay down on them.
Was it too much to ask for clean sheets and towels, confidence that you wouldn’t scare a colony of cockroaches away when you turned on the light, and a spotless bathroom with a shower distinctly lacking mold?
They knew the answer to that, of course. They knew it even before they pulled into the parking lot. They knew it before they even laid eyes on the resort.
When they pulled back onto the road they didn’t even glance back at the piece of heaven they left behind.
“I’m glad you’re with me,” he blurted out.
She raised herself on one elbow and looked down at him.
“I mean, I’m not glad you’re with me as in, you’re with me here. I’m glad that I’m not alone and that you’re on the road with me. Wait, that didn’t come out right…”
“I know what you mean,” she smiled. “If we have to be here, I’m glad we’re here together.”
He nodded, feeling the lump in his throat. “Do you think we’ll ever find whatever it is we’re looking for?” he asked. It was his turn to plead with the unseen force that kept driving them; that kept them on the road in a never-ending search for, what? Home? “Do you think we’d recognize it if we found it?”
“I don’t know,” she sank back down to her former position, staring at the ceiling. “I just don’t know.”
“Know what I think?” he whispered. “I think we’re afraid to find it.”
After a beat she said, “I think you’re right.”
Buffy stretched the full length of her body and luxuriated in the pull of her muscles before relaxing. She glanced at the clock and silently swore. She overslept. She rolled out of bed with a practiced move and began searching the room for her clothes.
“Leaving already, mon cher?”
“Yes, business to attend to,” Buffy said. She found her bra hanging from a lamp. She desperately tried to remember his name. It was embarrassing. They met several times in the past few months for some recreational sex, but she could be damned if she could remember his name.
“You and your mysterious jobs,” he said. “Are you a spy? You must be with your strange hours.”
Buffy chuckled. “Not a spy. My life would be so much less complicated if I was.”
“I bet the CIA trained you to say that,” he said as he threw the sheets off so she could get a look at his nude form.
“And you’re the double agent come to teach me the error of my Yank ways,” Buffy joked. Where the hell was her blouse?
“Double agents have better jobs than art restoration specialist,” he said as he rubbed a hand across his chest.
“You’re forgetting something else. I can’t be a CIA agent because I’m a British citizen,” Buffy lightly said. His name was something like a girl’s name. Evelyn? No, that was the guy she occasionally saw in London. She met him when the Council called him in to oversee construction of the new wing. Carol? Oh, wait, that was a girl she experimented with in Poland. She had the most beautiful red hair…
“MI5, then,” he teased, snapping Buffy out of her thoughts. “You have a perfect cover with your California ways.”
“Jean!” The name was out of her mouth before she could stop herself.
“Ahhh, I’m warm, then?” He slowly began to stroke himself, keeping his eyes fixed on her. “Stay and see how hot I can get.”
Buffy giggled, partially from the ridiculous sight of an occasional bed partner masturbating while she got dressed to leave, partially from relief that she finally remembered his name. “Tempting as you make the offer, I think Mrs. Palmer and her five daughters will be able to keep you occupied.”
He stopped, his brows drawing together. Jean’s English was almost perfect, but some idioms flew right over his head.
Now fully dressed, Buffy leaned over and kissed him on the forehead. “What I meant to say is that you looked like you were about to have fun without me,” she said.
He burst into a wide grin, the kind that lit up his eyes and threatened to overtake his face. The sight transfixed Buffy. That smile was the reason why she dragged him back to her hotel room the night she met him, why she always looked him up whenever she hit Paris.
“You are an amazing woman,” he said.
“You say that to all your little groupies,” Buffy lightly replied.
“Ahhh, you wound me to my core,” Jean said with hand over his heart for emphasis.
Buffy’s cell phone rang, causing both of them to jump. She fished it out of her coat pocket, looked at the number, and groaned. “A friend,” she explained. “Probably calling to make sure I’m on my way.” She flicked open the cell with a practiced move and greeted, “Giles, I’m on my way. I overslept…”
“Buffy! I’m so glad I caught you before you left,” the Watcher interrupted her.
“Usually you’re irritated when I’m running late,” Buffy said. “What’s with relief mode?”
“We just got word that you were walking into a trap,” Giles replied. “Turns out the book you’ve been negotiating for is cursed.”
Buffy sat up. “You mean booby-trapped. Anyone could be hurt if they get their hands on...”
“The curse is keyed to activated Slayers,” Giles interrupted her. “The second you opened the book to inspect it, you would’ve been transported to Quor-toth.”
“Quor-toth?” She saw Jean’s confused look at the unfamiliar language and waved him to silence before he could ask the question. “Isn’t that where…”
“Yes, yes, it is where Connor grew up,” Giles said.
“But I thought there were no existing…” Buffy paused as she looked at Jean’s increasingly confused expression. “…roads to get there,” she lamely finished.
“Ahhh, you’re not alone. I see.” Buffy could hear vague disapproval in Giles’s voice.
“Girl’s gotta have some fun,” Buffy lightly replied, giving Jean a wink. The mild flirtation worked and Jean settled back on the pillows. “Answer the question, Giles.”
“Apparently when Holtz and Connor ripped open the fabric of reality to return here they thinned the dimensional walls that separated our world from Quor-toth,” Giles explained. “You still can’t directly get from here to there with a simple portal spell, but a magic user with enough power can manage the trick of it with the right spell.”
“And the right target,” Buffy added. “Great. Do we know who’s responsible?”
“We’re working on that. We have a few suspicions, but nothing concrete,” Giles responded.
“How’d you find out?”
“One of the bookseller’s assistants overheard her boss talking to someone about it and immediately contacted your ‘import-export office’ number,” Giles said.
“Ahhhh, how nice that people occasionally use my voicemail,” Buffy responded. “So I best get going to meet my contact and teach him a lesson about…”
“Not necessary,” Giles said. “We have a wetworks team on it. Plus, we sent one of the inactivated Potentials to retrieve the book with her aura magically altered so the shop’s wards will read her as an activated Slayer.”
“But when the book opens, nothing will happen resulting in a nasty surprise for our guy.” Buffy nodded her approval even though she knew Giles couldn’t see it. “I still should be there.”
“Best if you’re not, since the cover story is that you were seriously injured in an auto accident and are hanging on to life by a thread,” Giles said. “We do want you here to help question the bookseller when we drag him back to London. How soon can you come home?”
“First flight I can get out of De Gaulle,” Buffy promised. She sighed. “It never ends, does it?”
Giles chuckled. “It really doesn’t.” A pause, the fond tone staying in his voice, “Enjoy your R&R for the rest of the night, but make sure you make it back tomorrow.”
“Will do,” Buffy promised. She flipped her phone shut and fixed Jean with a look. “You’re in luck, my seller backed out and I get to stay until I can catch a flight outta Paris.”
“Ahhh, be still my heart,” Jean teased as he began playing with a strand of blonde hair. “A whole night with you must mean I’m in heaven now.”
“Flatterer,” Buffy commented. When his smile lit up his face again, she dove in for a kiss.
She never could resist a perfect smile.
Well, almost never.