A. N. So alternate ending of sorts. This is what Im thinking it could be. I mean, dont read too much into this. If you want a happy ending, read on. If you were satisfied with the previous chapter, by all means stick with that one. Or something like that.
A. N. 2. Im going to finish TT before starting the spin off... And to answer a few of you: Yes. I have decided slip our two fave Slayers in there somewhere. Maybe even Baby T. Anyway, thats it for now. Its been a blast! You all rock. So, in that spirit... Huh, Rock On!
Gravis hands me the drying towel before plunging his hands in the soapy dishwater. His sleeves are rolled up clumsily, and his short hair has a few pillow licks. He looks horrible. I guess he took the break-up pretty hard.
I have to admit I was quite shocked when he appeared on the doorstep with red eyes and a bottle of wine. His feeble "Can I crash for dinner?" was weak and uninspired. He didn't say anything else until the middle of dinner when he abruptly announced that he and Faith had broken up. Dawn choked on a piece of broccoli, Andrew spat out a mouthful of beer, and Teresa just stared at him in disbelief. I don't really know what my reaction was like. I guess I kinda knew all along. Knew that something wasn't right. I mean, what can you say or think when your ex's boyfriend shows up unexpectedly, all disheveled like? Especially since I only met him a few weeks ago.
So right after we finished dinner, I urged Dawn and Andy to take Terry out for some ice cream, to give us some time. I guess doing the dishes is the best way to talk, since he started towards the sink right away.
"Youbrokeher." He states, scrubbing a plate weakly. "No dishwasher?" He mumbles after that, looking down at the cupboards.
"I—what, sorry?" I ask as I wrinkle my nose involuntarily.
"You broke her." He says again, this time with more clarity. He stops washing and stares out the kitchen window.
I did what now? Break her? When the fuck did I drop her? Don't get me wrong. Gravis is a nice guy. The kind of guy you bring home to meet your parents. The kind of guy who'll give you the shirt off his back if you ask him to. The kind of guy you don't stumble across everyday. The perfect guy. You broke her. He just doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd blame someone else for his problems.
"I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound like a… It's just…" He says, casting a glance to the time on the microwave. "Ever since you guys talked she's been acting…" He starts as he places a plate in the dish rack. "She comes home in the middle of the night, most of the times, drunk, she doesn't tell me where she's been, smokes more than ever, sulks when she's not killing the equipment in the gym—" He explains, and I stop him before he can go further.
"Stop." I say as I lay the towel on my shoulder, and lean against the counter. "All of that… well maybe not all of that, but most of it is kinda normal for her."
Gravis stops washing and lands his eyes into mine. Like he's trying to read me, but not succeeding. He gives me a tired smile and sways his head slowly in slight amusement as if he doesn't believe me.
"Without all those things, Faith is like an Oreo cookie without the creamy frosting in the middle." And I really need to ease off of the cookie references.
"So what are you telling me? That really you fixed her?" His head falls into a stray of light and I can see how exhausted he really looks. He hasn't shaven in awhile, he's got bags underneath his eyes and the tip of his nose is flaking with dry skin. There's a sudden pang in my gut that's urging me to comfort him like I would've liked to have been when the same thing happened to me.
"And I'm trying, you know, to like, eighty-six it from my mind, but it's like… like I can't." He says, renewing his washing effort with some gusto.
"Did you move out?" I ask, drying a few forks and knives.
He sways his head before sighing. "No." He brings a finger to scratch his nose, and leaves a trail of dish soap by his mouth. "I just can't seem to."
"Oh." None of this is making sense to me. Tonight started out just fine. Normal Saturday night dinner with Dawn and Andy. Dinner and a movie. Why can't anything ever just stick with the plan? I don't need any more deviance in my life, thank you very much.
News that Faith is single again and in a sinking ship isn't the best thing that could happen to me. Fuck Faith. Why'd you have to go break his heart? He loves you. Just like I did. Like I do. I mean, what does this mean? That she'll be running the bars before landing another Gravis-type? Or worse—a Buffy-type?
"You should go see her." He says, nodding. "Yeah. That's what I think you should do." He says, agreeing with himself.
"Should I now."
"Isn't that what you want?" He asks in an innocent way, scrubbing away vigorously. I don't think he even realizes what he's implying. "Want for Terry?" He adds.
Okay. Maybe he knows what he's saying.
"Look. Gravis." My hand has somehow found itself on his right shoulder, and I affectionately give it a slight squeeze. "After that weekend, I… I figured out that I could be happy without her. It took me five years to figure it out, but I finally did. And I am. Happy, I mean. And now… Now you come over with this…" I break off as I try to find the word I'm looking for, but he beats me to it.
"This opportunity to make you happier." He finishes softly, giving me a sad smile.
There's only one she'll ever love, and I'm a fool for pretending it's me. Oh, Gravis.
"She's not happy, Buffy. I can't stand seeing her this way." And I'm not the one who can fix her. "And as much as I hate saying this, I'm not the one who'll make everything right as rain again."
There's an awkward silence as we both absorb what he just said before he starts wiping down the counter top with the dish rag.
"What's in it for you?" It's so soft; I don't even think I said it out loud. But he heard it 'cause he's swaying his head in despair.
"Bring her home." He says slowly. "Come with me and bring her back home."
Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision that night. Wonder if it was for the best. Wonder what our lives would be like if I hadn't done what I did. And then the wondering stops. Because it could never be as good as it is now.
Terry just smiled when we walked through the front door. She smiled and Faith started to cry. Only the second time I had seen her cry. And it was beautiful. Ter's smile turned into laughter as she jumped into Faith's arms and wrapped her arms around her neck lovingly. And then I started to cry. And Ter laughed harder.
"Mommy. Don't be silly." She said. I still don't know who she was talking to. But I don't care. Mommy, don't be silly. Never. Never again.