"Buffy . . ."

"Buffy!" Buffy's head snapped up at the sound of Kate's irritated voice.

"What?!" She exclaimed giving Kate a look that said she was definitely questioning the older woman's sanity.

"I've been trying to get your attention for the past ten minutes, where is your mind at?" Kate asked through a soft laugh and Buffy sighed ran her hand through her pony-tail and twirling it around her fingers.

"There's this . . . guy." Buffy said tentatively, but she didn't miss the way Kate's eyes lit up in excitement or how her body jerked to attention like some schoolgirl wanting the good gossip.

"Ooh! Is there now, what's he like?" Kate asked.

"He plays football and basketball. I went to a couple of his games last week. He picks me up every morning, then again he lives right next door. He's flirty and I'm pretty sure my libido only exists around him." Buffy says taking a long sip of coffee. She's a caffeine addict.

"What's his name?" Kate asks, smiling to herself as she writes on her notepad.

"Angel." Buffy states swallowing hard and Kate glances up.

"He's got the body of a Greek fucking god, his facial features are like carved stone, and he's nice!" She exclaims like being nice is awful.

"I mean, Kate, he's nice, nice. Like sweet and I hate it." She snaps, gulping the coffee now.

"Oh dear, does Ms. Buffy Summers have a . . . a crush?" Kate teases and Buffy glares.

"Yes. And I hate that too." She snaps stubbornly and Kate chuckles softly.

"Well, if you're letting him near you, talk to you, and you're going to his games to please him or yourself than you have to trust him on some level." Kate states with a shrug.

"Oh, do I now?" Buffy counters, in denial.

"Yes, Buffy, you wouldn't even be in the same room as Ethan for months! Your body and mind have these trust issues, more alert with men than usual women. You understand that not all of them are nice go-happy people. You understand the danger that can occur with a stupid decision, you trust your instincts as one would trust their own eye-sight. So you would have to trust this boy to get into his car every morning and to go to his games." Kate explained, sounding flabbergasted.

Buffy sighed, "Kate, my first kiss was with a middle aged man who happened to be my father, the same man happened to be the first to ever touch me. Tell me, what guy, no matter how sweet he is, wouldn't be completely and utterly turned off by that?" Buffy demanded, self-hatred and disgust rolling around in her stomach.

Kate was silent. Too silent and Buffy nodded raising her drink to the woman. Kate wasn't a liar, never had and never would lie to Buffy, about anything, it was the first promise she made when they met and it was one she stood by to this day. Kate told her harsh truths and it was for her own good. So the next thing that came out of her mouth would stick with Buffy until the day she died.

"You cannot predict or know another's intentions or emotions. We, we humans are not gods, Buffy, no matter how much we'd love to believe we are, we just aren't. We no not of the future and we will never know what's in another's heart. All we have is what is in our own and use that to guide us through this life." She paused as Buffy let that sink in.

"You don't need to decide how this Angel would react to you explaining the devils in your past. You need to decide if you are ready to let that part of yourself into another. You need to decide if you'll finally except the forgiveness you've been denying yourself."

Buffy sat in Computers, very aware of Angel's stare boring into the back of her skull. She inhaled and pushed her chair back slightly, tilting her head and looking at him. "Can I help you?" She asked sweetly and he grinned, handing her a piece of paper. With a sigh she turned back and settled into her seat again, leaving the note there for a while, until she could hear Angel tapping his foot. Oh she loved to tease him.

Lifting the note up she read the elegant script with barely concealed interest.

A couple of us are going to a local club in town. It's called the Bronze, you in? ~Angel

She sucked the top layer of her teeth and chewed on her bottom lip. Running her sweaty palms over her thighs, she lifted her pencil and wrote back.

Pick me up at seven.

The bell rung and Buffy left the note on her desk, leaving the classroom with a small smirk on her face. Buffy sighed as she plopped down under a tree in the courtyard. A local club. Tonight. Her? She almost couldn't believe it. She'd never been to a party let along a club, then again she'd never been to a football game before last Friday. It was currently Tuesday and Kate's words were still rolling around in her head. It was like that woman had some sort of magic. Like a spell for being wise and a large pain in the ass when one wanted to forget their problems.

Angel slid next to her and she nearly jumped out of her skin as he settled on the ground, eating a pudding cup. "So seven?" He asked, mouth full of chocolate. She pressed her lips together and rolled her eyes.

"Sure, it's what I said, right?" She asked coyly and he nodded, pulling the spoon out of his mouth and looking at her.

"What are you eating?" He asked and she shrugged.

"Nothing, I'm not hungry." She states simply.

"You say that everyday, do you just skip lunch?" And breakfast, sometimes dinner. She added silently in her head before answering his question.

"Yep." Se states pronouncing the p with a pop.

"This isn't some stupid weight issue that you have, right? Because I could do bicep curls with your body." He states and she laughs, giving him a raised eyebrow.

"Is that so? Could you?" She asked, blinking innocently and she was suddenly hoisted up, all of the air leaving her lungs for two very different reasons. The first, would be the shock and the second would be feeling his powerful arm around her thighs.

He starts to literally pull her up and down and she makes a whining noise, even though she wants to laugh.

"Angel put me down!" She nearly yells and he sighs begrudgingly falling back onto the ground and she just happens to settle on his lap. Oh dear god.

"No, Angel, it's not a weight issue that I have." Buffy states inhaling and pushing away from him, pulling her knees to her chest. Well, not anymore. Sure, she'd had body image issues in the past. Not that she was ever overweight or anything, actually a couple times during her childhood she'd been severely underweight. The body image issues came from her father always telling her she was either too fat or too skinny, he could be a cruel man even without his fists. Buffy flinched rubbing her arms and when she looked back at Angel, his eyes were darkly examining her.

"What?" She breathed and he shrugged.

"Nothing . . . I just wish I could go with you when you do that. You just close into your mind and I'd like to follow." He admits, before clearing his throat almost uncomfortably and releasing a nervous laugh, grabbing his pudding cup.

She watched him fumble, when he tried to stand, "I'll be right back." He states turning and walking toward the trash can. Buffy stared at his back, watching the muscles roll under his thin t-shirt as he clenches his fists repeatedly from tension. She had this strange and unexplainable urge to jump up and kiss him when he came back.

He sat next to her, silently, the air wasn't awkward like she had expected, but it was tense. "Angel." She murmurs and his eyes snap up.

"I don't think you'd like what you would find in my mind very much." She whispers, every single cell in her entire being telling her to get up and run. Run from this confusing boy and these confusing feelings that could only end in heartbreak. However, she didn't move an inch.

"I think that's very impossible." He whispered back to her. All she had to do was lean forward an inch and they would be kissing, or he just had to lean upward an inch. Her heart hammered in her chest as his lips parted to say something else, but she spoke.

"Actually it's very possible. You'd most likely run away screaming. I'm messed up." She says softly and watches his Adams apple bob as he swallows. After a couple beats of silence he shook his head.

"No, not messed up, just lost." He says quietly and she was going to lean forward, honest, but the bell rung. Relief and disappointment, along with a twinge of annoyance hit her as she stood and walked briskly away from him. Leaving the temptation he seemed to emit behind.