Dawn was having a decidedly good time in the bed with Andrew. The longer they stayed there, the bolder she got, and it wasn't long until she found herself lying next to Andrew, skin to skin. And still it didn't feel like enough. She wanted his hands everywhere, wanted to feel him all over her.

Andrew could tell how worked up she was getting. He didn't have much experience when it came to these matters, really, but he also knew it wouldn't take much to get Dawn to have sex with him right now. She was into the moment, and would probably go along with just about anything he pushed for.

Which is why he stopped. Dawn was important to him, and he knew it would be her first time. The last thing he wanted was to have her regret anything that happened between them. He wanted her, but he also wanted there to be decisions made before any actual sex took place. That choice needed to be made in something other than the heat of the moment.

Dawn looked at him in confusion when she realized he'd stopped. "Is something wrong?"

"No. Everything's perfect," Andrew assured her. "We've just gone far enough for right now."

"I…I'd be all right with going further," Dawn said.

"I know you would. Right now. But later, you might not feel the same about it."

"I know what I want, Andrew," Dawn snapped. "I'm ready for this."

"You think that, but…"

Dawn sat up, using the sheet to cover herself. "I'm not a child."

"And I don't think you are! But…" Andrew ran his hand through his already mussed curls. "Look, if you're ready for it now, you'll still be ready later, right? I don't want to push things with us. We haven't been together very long, and while it's all been wonderful, it's going too fast. Let's slow down just a little bit."

"Um, isn't that the speech the woman is supposed to be making?"

"I'm just trying to look out for you, Dawn," Andrew replied tersely. He got out of the bed, finding his clothes and putting them on.

"Where are you going?" Dawn asked.

"I told you, we're done for now. I'm going out into the living room."

"You're upset with me."

"A little. This is frustrating."

"Then let's make it not frustrating!"

"No! And wanting to slow down doesn't make me any less of a man, all right?"

Dawn realized then what was upsetting him, and congratulated herself on having at least a bit of insight, even if it was only after managing to stick her foot in her mouth. "Andrew, honey, I don't think you're any less of a man for that. What I just said…I didn't mean it that way, okay?"

Andrew's shoulders slumped a little. "I know. And I'm sorry I got snippy with you. It's just…it's a touchy subject. My masculinity—or lack there of—has always been a problem for me."

Dawn patted a spot on the bed in front of her. "Come here and talk to me about it?"

"I don't want to. It'll change the way you look at me."

"Having a conversation will do that?"

"This one will! Dawn, please, don't make me do this…"

"Andrew, I'm your girlfriend. If you can't open up to me…"

"I can't open up to anyone. And that's the way it should be."

Dawn felt like she was going to cry. They'd been physically intimate all day, but she wanted this type of intimacy with him as well. The thought of him shutting her out like this hurt her a lot. "Andrew—we can't have a real relationship if you don't open up to me."

"I don't talk about myself with people, Dawn. Well, except my therapist, but he's paid to listen to me rattle on…"

"I won't judge you. There's nothing you can say that would make me want you any less."

Andrew took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "What if I told you I'm bisexual?"

"I'd say tell me something I didn't know."

Andrew blinked. "How…"

"It's kinda obvious you like guys, dear. I mean, I used to think you were completely gay, but you've proven you have some definite interest in women. So I figured you must go both ways."

"And you're just okay with that?"

Dawn shrugged. "Sure. Why wouldn't I be?"

"I don't know. I thought maybe it would freak you out."

"Please. I spent a summer living with lesbian witches. I'm way harder to freak out than that."

Andrew sat in front of her on the bed. "Wow… I didn't think you'd handle that so well."

"You need to have a little more faith in me. And I promise you, I don't have any questions about your masculinity. I'm well aware of the fact that you have all the right manly parts."

Andrew blushed. "Yeah, I guess you do."

Dawn took hold of his hand in one of hers, though she still kept the sheet pulled around her with the other. "See? You can talk to me. It won't make me run away."

"It's been something that I've wrestled with for a long time," Andrew said after a moment of silence. "For a while, I thought maybe I was gay. I was attracted to women, but I was attracted to men, too, and it confused me. Especially since, well, I tend to be attracted to men more." He looked up quickly at Dawn. "But I am attracted to you. And in very much a boyfriend type of way. It's not like I won't be satisfied if you're who I'm sleeping with."

"I know," Dawn said, smiling softly at him. "It's okay."

"I went back and forth a lot," Andrew said. "And sometimes…with the men I liked…I didn't know if I wanted to be with them or be them. It's part of why I worked so hard at getting girlfriends when we left Sunnydale. I wanted to know…to know if I enjoyed sex with women. And I do. It's…it's different, being with a woman. I feel safer somehow, like I can be more open."

"Different… So you have, um, actually been with men?"

"Not…I mean I haven't…" Andrew looked away. "But I've done some things, yeah."

Dawn took hold of his chin and turned his face back so he was looking at her again. "It's nothing to be ashamed of. I was just asking. I'm not going to run out of the room screaming 'ew.'" She smiled. "And I still want you."

"My experiences with men haven't been very good," Andrew said softly. "I always end up feeling used. I think…I think it's the kind of men I'm attracted to. Not that I've been with that many, but it was always ones that liked to push me down a lot, make me feel weak. Unimportant. Men that liked to hurt me."

"Warren," Dawn said, her voice barely above a whisper.

Dawn saw tears forming in the corner of Andrew's eyes when he answered. "He was the worst. I don't…I don't want to talk about what happened with him, okay? It's too much."

Dawn gave his hand a soft squeeze. "It's okay. I'm not going to push on that, all right? I don't want you to close yourself off from me, but…but there's certain things I'll let you keep to yourself."

Andrew looked relieved. "Thank you."

"Is that…is that all that makes you feel like you're not a man?"

"No," Andrew admitted. "My father used to say stuff all the time, too. And…and Tucker." Andrew shifted uncomfortably. "Can my brother be another one of those things we don't talk about?"

"He hurt you? Not pressing for details, just…"

"Yeah. He did."

"Is that why it bothered you so much when people would refer to you as Tucker's brother?"

"Part of it, yeah. And I didn't like not having my own identity either, being seen as nothing but an extension of my sibling." He smiled slightly. "I'm sure you can relate to that."

Dawn smirked. "A little, yeah." She pulled her hand out of his to reach up and caress his face. "Do you feel any better now, talking about this with me?"

"Yeah, actually. I was sorta worried, you know, about what would happen if you found out."

"You didn't need to."

"I'm seeing that now." Andrew took her hand from his face and pressed a kiss to her palm. "I've never been able to tell another woman that."

"I'm glad that I'm the one you could tell."

"Me, too. You…you make me feel good about myself, Dawn. Like maybe I'm not such a miserable excuse for a man after all."

"You're not a miserable excuse for anything," Dawn said. "And don't you even start to protest. See, you agreed that I'm your girlfriend, and along with that comes a clause which states that I am always, always right. About everything."

"Oh really?"

"Yeah, really. It's the well-known 'girlfriend's always right' clause. No one filled you in?"

"I think I may have heard of it once or twice," Andrew said with a chuckle, glad that the conversation seemed to be turning away from more serious topics. It felt good to get that off his chest with Dawn, but he felt like he'd poured enough of his heart out for the time being. Dawn said she wouldn't judge him for these things, but that didn't mean he wasn't afraid something would come out that she couldn't handle. His past had more than its share of darkness.

"Good, 'cause keeping it in mind will get you far in this relationship." She leaned in and kissed him. "See? I still want you."

"I don't want to do anything to make you run off," Andrew said once Dawn had pulled away.

"You won't," Dawn said, smiling.

"How can you be so sure? I mean, I'm perfectly capable of…"

Dawn pressed her finger to his lips to silence him. "I know because, well…" She dropped her hand and took a deep breath, deciding there was no time like the present to let him know how she felt. "I know because I love you."

Andrew stared at her, slack-jawed. He tried to speak, but only managed to open and close his mouth a few times.

"Aren't you going to say anything?" Dawn asked, his response making her doubt her decision to tell him. Was it too soon? Saying that scared guys off sometimes, didn't it? But Andrew had said he didn't want her getting scared off, so why would he be the one to bolt? Unless maybe her being in love with him was really that scary. "Well? I mean, I have zero relationship experience, unless you count that vampire from Halloween a few years back and RJ of the possessed jacket, but isn't this usually where you'd say you love me, too? Unless you don't, in which case can you just forget I said anything, so I can quit babbling and we can go back to where we were..,"

"No one's ever been in love with me before," Andrew said, stopping Dawn before she could keep going. "I…do you really?"

"I wouldn't have said it if I didn't."

"How…how do you know? Are you sure it's love?"

"Either that or a bad case of indigestion." Dawn giggled at the look Andrew gave her. "It's love. I'm sure of it. I've never really felt anything like this before, but I know that's what it has to be." She took a deep breath, then said it again. "I love you."

"I love you, too."

"And how do you know?" Dawn teased.

"Just do."

"So you think maybe you could rethink this whole getting out of bed thing?"

"We're back to that, are we?" Dawn nodded, and Andrew took a deep breath. Dawn was clutching the sheet to her bare body, her hair tousled and her lips swollen from kissing. She was gorgeous—everything he could ever want. "Not now."

"Why not?" She gave him a pout that almost shot his willpower all to hell.

"Because I want it to be special," Andrew replied.

"It will be special. It'll be us."

"I know, but…" He closed his eyes for a moment, reminding himself exactly why he was turning down the gorgeous, willing woman in front of him. "There's lots of reasons why right now isn't a good time. You decided today that you want to, and before you tell me you're not going to change your mind, you still could, whether you realize it or not. It's a big step, and it's not one that can be taken back."

"But…"

"No. Listen. I do have more experience here, okay? Let's do this right. Put some planning into it?"

"Planning?" Dawn asked, her brow furrowed.

"Well, yeah. I keep trying to tell you, it shouldn't be a spur of the moment decision. For one thing, I don't have any condoms, and I doubt you do either."

"Oh. Good point." Dawn blushed a little. "I didn't think of that."

"And that's important." Andrew gave her a crooked smile. "As beautiful as I'm sure our children would be, I really don't want to see one anytime soon."

"So we need to buy some condoms. That's no so big of a deal."

"There's more than that, Dawn."

"Like?"

"I told you, I want it to be special."

"And I said…"

"I know what you said. But that's not what I meant. Maybe go someplace first? Have dinner at a nice restaurant?"

Dawn thought about that for a moment. That could be nice, she decided. Something special to mark the occasion. "So when? Tomorrow?"

"I was thinking more like Friday."

"Friday? But it's Tuesday now! That's like…three days away!"

Andrew chuckled. "Yeah, it is. I want to give you some time change your mind if you need to."

"I'm not going to change my mind! I've made it up, and that's where it was going to stay."

Andrew decided the stubborn gene must be very strong in the Summers family. Not that he really minded so much. He liked strong women. But right now, he needed her to give in, at least a little. He had no doubt that in most things in this relationship, she'd get her way without much of a fight, but not here. It was too important. But he wasn't against compromise. "How about Thursday then? It'll give you a day to really think about it, make sure you don't have any doubts that you're ready for this."

Dawn sighed. If he could give in a little, so could she. "Fine. Thursday. I don't have to keep my hands off you until then, do I?"

"Um, no. Not even sure that would be physically possible… But I do think maybe we should cool it down for a little bit right now. Are you hungry?"

"A little. I guess it has been a while since breakfast."

"Then how about you put on some clothes, and we'll raid the fridge, okay?"

"Okay." Dawn stood, letting the sheet fall to the bed as she found her clothes. Andrew wasn't sure if she was just to the point that she was perfectly comfortably being naked around him or if she was purposely taunting him.

Either way, it was going to be a long couple of days…


I put this fic on hiatus for a while for several reasons, and while I don't feel like getting into them all right now, just take my word for it when I say they were really good ones. But it's back now, and I'm not planning another three month break.

I would, however, like to know if you're all still with me out there, so if you're still interested in this fic, please review and let me know. It's easy to lose readers when you have to take a break from a fic for a while, and I want to know if people still care about reading this.

Also, a note about some earlier reviews and author's notes. When I clarified that this isn't a "sappy love story," I didn't meant that in a way like I was insulted that that's what people think it is. I mean it really, really isn't. As in there's some serious angst coming up. I meant that more as a warning that a defense of my fic (because honestly, I have no problem with sappy love stories).I don't want people thinking that's what this is and then being blindsided when a large chunk of it is not. So, to sum up: When I say this isn't just a sappy love story, I'm not saying the previous chapters aren't sappy. I'm saying later ones will not be. Hope that cleared that up.