The lights were dim at his apartment, the shades drawn, she knocked timidly on the window. Through the translucent centimeter space between blinds, she saw movement, she quivered. He came to the door presently and opened it.
"Hey." She said softly.
"Hey, why're you here?" He asked, his eyes were bright.
"I called earlier, nobody picked up, I was worried, instinctual, you know..."
"Yeah. I know." He looked dully at his feet.
"So what're you doing?"
"Checking my email, have been for the last hour. You wouldn't believe how much crap they don't filter." He chuckled lightly with a grin.
"Can I come in?" She asked, her eyes nervous.
"Um, sure, of course..." He mumbled and she came in a little too anxiously.
"So why'd you call?" He asked as they both sat on his bed.
"Oh, it was something that I had to say or propose or whatever."
"Shoot." He said as he picked up his laptop and perched it on his lap, careful of the phone cord.
"Riley, how can I say this...?" She looked at the handbag on her lap. His nostrils flared, but he didn't as so much give a look her way, he was that scared, he just felt that she was going to breakup with him. "Riley, I think we need to, we need to go to couples counseling."
"Couples counseling? Why?"
"We seem so..., so distant. There's something wrong." She bunched her eyebrows. "I don't know if it's me, or-"
"Me? Is that why you came, you're worried about me?"
"Yes and no, Riley, I'm just generally worried, we haven't seen each other much recently, and I feel like we're growing apart..."
He took a deep breath "I've noticed that, too. With your mom and everything, and Glory, it's hard to not get separated to some extent. I do wish it could be the way it used to, before..."He cut off.
"Before Faith? Yeah, I noticed that too, I know it wasn't really your fault that you didn't notice, I mean, she was in a Buffy suit, you probably thought I was hyper or drugged up or drunk or something-" She shrugged.
"It-it wasn't just Faith, Buffy, it was Angel, and Dracula, and all that other stuff in between. There were several other factors."
"Riley, you know I lo-"
"Riley, you know that I love you, right?" He nodded in shock, at the computer again. "But, sometimes I wish we could start over, kind of clean slate with all the good things still there, like the time on the beach, and that time we went to the carnival and you got pied and I wiped the meringue off your face and we laughed, and that time we went to WalMart on Dare Night to buy tutus." She burst out laughing. He laughed with her.
"I understand, do you really want that?"
"More than anything, besides you, of course. I mean, we could still patrol and stuff like that, you know our normal routine, but like starting to date again, but that means, I know I must restrain myself, no sex..." She could barely believe that she'd said that. "Which is actually okay, 'cause just hanging out and being with you, is kind of it within itself. Restraint, respect, and love, most of all, I'm not asking for roses, or cheesy lines from romantic movies, or surprise getaways, but you can improvise." She gave him a wink. He smiled, she really wants those things, doesn't she? he thought.
"Cool, I like that idea, so no couples counseling? I'm a psych boy at heart, but seriously, those places actually do freak me out."
"No joke? I thought you really dug those places, learning all the time."
"It's fun learning and stuff, but on the other side, it is kind of scary. I went to that guy that Graham recommended after the overdose thing, and I was so scared, I almost wet my pants, I felt like I was four again, that takes real bravery."
"Aww, c'mon, you're brave."
"Sad to say, from a male perspective, that you are the brave one in this relationship." He put his arm around her, he gave her a small light kiss on the cheek.
"Remember, I'm a lady, kind sir, forward much?" She gave him a small smile.
"Then you won't mind another." He kissed her cheek again.
"Okay, okay, enough, if we're going to try again, we gotta take it slow, not that I didn't like it." She smiled and got up, she started to walk to the door.
"Where're you going?" He asked, anxious.
"Leaving, I have to pick up Dawn from school, you can come with, if you want, it would actually help if I had something to pick her up with."
"Sure, I'd love to meet my girlfriend's sister." He joked.
"Hilarious, let's go." She winked.
"Okay, I'll be at the car in a minute, I need to get my watch." He said as she left. This might be a little fun.