I'm tired. Tired of feeling and not saying anything about it. It's building up in my heart and it'll burst, really, really soon. Not Riley's heart attack burst, but crumpling up and letting the tears roll down my face. Sad thing is, I'd let them. I'll let the tears flow and splatter on the grass, nourishing dandelions. Drowning the plants like some wacky sprinkler, I'll spew.
Even with him, I can't say the words I practice in front of my mirror every morning. I'm nervous, I blush and babble, he smiles, he loves it when I frustrate myself. Loves. I wish I wasn't such a coward, I wish I had his courage, I wish I could say what I feel, easily. But since Angel.... Damn you Angel, for doing this to me. Just disappearing in a mist, I hate the disappearing act, it's never fun.
Riley's coming to pick me up in twenty minutes, I stare at my reflection, the other Buffy stares right back at me. She looks good, hair curled and bouncy on the shoulders, a lavender halter, some washed out cuffed pants, and some comfy boots. I smile, the other Buffy is me.

"I love you." I say quietly and tenderly, pretending my reflection is him, patient, sweet, gentlemanly Riley. I kiss the other Buffy's lips, leaving a pink smudge on the mirror. I say it again and again, 'I love you, I love you, I love you' now I say it to his picture, his smiling picture he gave me for.... heck, I don't know, maybe it was spur of the moment. The picture-Riley smiles back, he's situated in a backdrop of dewy grass. That reaction, the smiling, surprised by the flash-face he's got on, is the actual reaction he'll have when I tell him. I hope. Dawn runs in all cheerful, happy, she has NOTHING to worry about, except if her crush likes her, not the weight of the world.

"Riley's here." She says. Funny, I didn't hear the doorbell ring, I must've been practicing pretty damn loud. I blush, I'm so embarrassed. I make a hand symbol that means shoo! she follows my orders. I walk slowly down the stairs, blushing the entire time. He looks at me smiling, I return the gesture. I walk over to him and give him a brief kiss on the cheek.

"You're ten minutes early. I was practici----" Don't lose yourself, Buffy. Just don't. I order myself.

"Practicing? I thought I was the only one. You ready?" He asks.

"Yes, of course." I take his arm and we stroll out of the home on Revello. We get into his small Beetle. I wonder how he can stand such little space. He's so tall. I blush again. He drives to The Bronze. I get out of the vintage vehicle and close the door behind me. I take his arm again and we walk in together.
The party is hopping, some blonde hussy's on stage singing, rather whining, one of the main bands must've backed out. She is out of tune, the normal bands have soft chords that mesh, hers squeak and squeal every five words, it disgusts me.
I drag Riley to the quieter part of the room, the lights are dimmed, the scene is romantic, a few candles are lit, they give off a luminous glow and a lavender scent, my favorite. I cuddle up to him on the couch letting him put his arm around my shoulders.

"I like this." I sigh. We kiss, his lips fit so nicely with mine, they interlock. Until now, my eyes are closed, now I open them, taking in his reaction, his eyes are open too, taking in mine.

"Me too. You know, you are the most beautiful girl in this whole club." He smiles after we break the kiss. I embrace him, nuzzling his neck.

"Really?" I purr into the soft threads of his hair.

"I love you." He whispers.

"I love you, too." I manage, finally. I'm not afraid anymore.