"Are you doing what I think you're doing?" She asked, her eyebrows bunched.

He fell backwards, smiling. "I don't know what to do."

"Obviously." She grinned.

"Consider this a promise." He replied, finally sitting up again. Her handed her a small box.

She opened it. A Claddagh Ring. "Um, what does it mean? It's really gorgeous, but-"

He stood up "It's a claddagh ring. The hands represent friendship,the crown represents loyalty... and the heart... Well, you know... Wear it with the heart pointing towards you. It means you belong to somebody. Like this." He showed her the ring on his own finger and kissed her hand.

"Angel…" She trailed off as his lips descended on her own. She gently broke the kiss. "Isn't this a little fast?" She whispered.

"Maybe, I guess…" He stuffed his hands in his pockets, panicking. "Do you not like it?"

"No." She replied softly. "I mean, yes…I love it, it's amazing! But, a lot's happening and I just don't know where to go or what to do…"

He seemed shocked. His face was mirroring his frustration.

"Fine." He spoke shrilly. "You shouldn't have to deal with this." His voice turned into a yell.

"Are-, are you breaking up with me?" Tears were rising in her eyes.

"I guess so." He shrugged.

"I don't want to." She whispered.

"Me neither." He admitted, shrugging.

"But, I do agree that we need a little time. Get our bearings, y'know?" She narrowed her eyes, blinking back her tears.

"Yeah." He turned away. He turned back "Hey, my parents invited me to their cottage in Colorado. Three weeks from now. Reconnect at the flight?"

"That sounds nice." She smiled.

"Until then." He replied. "I hope you find what you're looking for."

She was sleeping when the phone woke her from a very pleasant dream. It was a week since she'd last seen Angel. She answered the phone.


"Hey, Buffy."


"Hey. What's up?"

"Umm, nothing much." She lied. "Why do you ask?"

"Well, I'm in town tomorrow and I was wondering if you might like to eat some dinner or something. For old times' sake."

"I wouldn't call four years ago 'old times', Riley." She rolled her eyes.

"Be that as it may, I'd like to see you. Chat."

"Um. Sure. When and where?"

"I was thinking maybe Tavern on the Green at 7:30…"

"That sounds good. I'll see you there." She replied nonchalantly.

"Good." He grinned. "Bye, Buffy."

"Bye." She hung up the phone hastily.

It had been a nasty breakup, with him leaving her for his precious Iowa and returning with a wife. Sam. Sam was successful, interesting, and shockingly brilliant. Sam was tall with a beautiful laugh, her dimples danced. Even with all of this perfection, Sam admitted to Buffy herself that she was jealous of her. Buffy was apparently a legend within the Finn household. Sam felt that what ever she did couldn't live up to Riley's expectations.

That had made Buffy slightly triumphant at first, but she eventually came to a feeling of pity for Sam. She couldn't initially let it show, but it was still there. She felt for her grief. They had kept contact through a few brief emails. They'd ceased after the first year.

And now Riley was coming to eat dinner with her. Was he still married? Was he hoping to get back together with her? She shook her head determinedly, no, she wouldn't let him even if he'd tried. She was past him. She was in love with another man, and rightly so.

When she arrived, he kissed her cheek and pulled out a chair for her. They chatted quietly, only a few laughs resulted. He complimented her on her hair, her blouse, and her eyes. They didn't faze her. She smiled and thanked him, desperate to leave. Near the end of their dinner he kissed her. Not on the cheek. She blushed and told him she had a boyfriend.

He laughed. He said she wouldn't have come out with him if she had. She shook her head and pouted, telling him that he had a wife and it still wasn't right.

He laughed again and kissed her cheek.

"Riley" She said coldly "Stop."

"Fine." He replied, quickly withdrew from the area around her, and calmly asked forthe check, cheeks flaming with embarrassment. As soon as he'd paid, she walked out. She strolled through Central Park alone, crying.

Buffy came home a week later from a shopping expedition at Barney's to find a message on her machine from Angel.

"Hey, Buffy. Um, I mailed your plane tickets today and you should get them soon. Bring some things, we're planning on skiing…heavy jackets would be nice. My roommate, Wesley, said he could watch Ernie. Talk to you later. Bye."

She hated how distant his voice sounded. Did he know about her dinner with Riley?

God, I hope not. Her heart pounded.

I've transformed intoa BA shipper within the last year or so, I used to be predominantlyBR...I don't usually write Riley in as someone bad for Buffy, so this is a change for me. Sorry, BR shippers :(. He mightmake a very brief cameo in the future...if at all.