Buffy was completely, utterly, and 100 not excited for her date. If Riley seriously thought he could make up for being as ass by buying her dinner, he had another think coming. She pulled on her boots with a short, sharp tug. Stupid bull headed overly muscular…
"Whoa whoa whoa. Be nice to those boots missy. If you don't like them, I'll certainly take them." Despite her crappy mood, Buffy grinned. Lorne always made her smile.
"I'm sorry. I promise, no boots will be harmed in the dressing of this girl." Lorne wrapped his arms around her, resting his chin on the top of her head.
"What's wrong schookums?"
"Alright, this time we're going to try it without the dramatic sigh and depressed tone. Ready, aaaannnnddd…GO!" Buffy laughed in spite of herself.
"He just…and I…he keeps…UGH!" She picked up one of her pillows and chucked it at the wall.
"Yeah. I know. But hey, if he's worth it…he's worth it." Lorne rubbed his hand across her back. Buffy was so vibrant and full of life, but she really knew how to pick her men. If only she would wake up and see the delectableness that was sharing an apartment with her… But that was something that had to work itself out. Lorne glanced around her room, settling on the clock. He was going to be late. "Oops, gotta run. Chin up, old girl. You'll be fine."
Buffy smiled softly, not really convinced. She glanced at the clock and groaned. Fifteen minutes. Great.
Buffy stared out the window of the restaurant, watching the people go by and generally tuning Riley out completely. He was so boring. How had she missed that all these months? A couple walked by, holding hands. The man suddenly stopped the woman, pulling her in front of him. He was looking at her with such adoration, like she was the most precious thing in the world. The woman was looking at him like nothing else mattered, that the world could be swallowed by a crater, and all she would care about was looking into his eyes. Buffy sighed. She wanted that.
"Buffy? God, are you even listening to me?" She snapped back to Riley.
"Sorry. I was distracted. What was that?"
"If you didn't want to listen to me in the first place, I don't feel like—"
"God dammit Riley!" Buffy hissed. He looked at her in surprise; she'd never talked to him in that way, that…fiercely. It was kind of hot. "I was distracted. It happens. If you'd really like to know, I saw a couple kissing outside, obviously in love, and I was thinking—" she cut herself off, not willing to discuss it any further here. That was a conversation best saved for private. Riley, of course, completely missed the frustrated subtext of her angry words.
"Oh, Babe." Buffy gritted her teeth. She really hated that nickname. Was it too much for him to be creative? "That's what I was getting at! See, I was thinking that since you're graduated now, and I'm not going to distract you from your studies now, that it's time for you to move in with me. Really, we should have done it ages ago, but I understand that you weren't ready and your studies came first. But now, we can be together, you don't have to live with those…other men, and we can start talking and thinking about our future. I mean, we're not getting any older, and my Mom would really like some grand kids. I've always wanted a big family, and what better time to start?"
Buffy stared at Riley in dumbfounded disbelief. Was he actually serious? Had he just blatantly ignored every conversation they'd had over the entire course of their relationship, or had he bothered to listen at all? She was so stunned she didn't even know where to start or what to say.
"I love you, Babe. Do you think we should tell your roommates tonight?"
"N…no!" Buffy said, still trying to wrap her head around the sudden turn in conversation. And when, exactly, had she agreed to this lunacy?
"Oh. Right. You'll want to…celebrate," Riley murmured, running his hand up her arm. Buffy angrily jerked her hand away.
"No, Riley. No as in no I'm not moving in with you! Not now, and not ever!"
Riley was stunned. What had gotten into Buffy? Why was she saying these things?
"Buffy, I assumed now that you—"
"Exactly. You assumed," she interrupted angrily. "You didn't ask. You just…assumed that I'd give up the life I've been building to move in with you. You, who couldn't show up to my housewarming party or my graduation! This is my life Riley! You don't control it! And you sure as hell don't get to make plans for me. We're in a relationship; we're supposed to be equals. It's not supposed to be me waiting and hoping for you to show up."
"Where is this coming from, Buffy? You—"
"This is coming from almost a year of letting you walk all over me!"
"Don't turn this on me, Buff. You don't love me enough. You've never loved me enough; you aren't willing to put me first, you aren't willing to make compromises. And I get that, that's a part of who you are. But I love you, Buffy, warts and all. I am willing to live with your shortcomings, but you have to make some concession for me. Because that's one hell of a concession on my part, being with someone who doesn't love me like they should. And one of the things I won't stand for, Buffy, is you acting like a complete whore," Riley hissed. Buffy's jaw dropped open.
"That's what people think when they find out you've been living with two men. It's disgusting and unhealthy, Buffy. I was willing to overlook the low morals of your friends, but when they start corrupting you—"
"My friends are not corrupting me! And there is nothing wrong with how they—"
"Most of your so called friends are gay! That's disgusting and wrong! And you shouldn't be associating with them."
"I'll associate with whoever I damn well please, Riley Finn. Nothing you say or do will make me give them up."
"It's them or me," Riley aid, crossing his arms over his chest, oblivious to the people in the restaurant who were becoming more interested with the drama unfolding before them.
"Easiest choice I ever had to make," Buffy challenged, her eyes glittering. What a self-righteous prick!
"It's them isn't it? Those…men." Riley asked with disgust. Buffy wanted to bang her head repeatedly on the table top.
"What are you talking about?" she asked with a resigned sigh.
"Them. Will and…Spike." He spat the name like it was a disease.
"Oh, I have eyes, Buffy. They want you. And you want them. Both of them. You think about them. You're always talking about them. 'Will does this, Spike likes that, this would be great for my Twinlets!' Well, you know what? I'm through playing second fiddle to a bunch of punks."
"You're off your rocker," Buffy snapped.
"Oh, sounds like something THEY would say. You think about them when you're with me, don't you?" He looked so petulant and whiney, brooding there. Buffy snapped. She was done with Riley Finn. She was just…the damn broke and nothing could stem the flow of words coming from Buffy.
"It's not my fault I have to find away to get my self off 'cause you suck so badly, Riley," Buffy said sweetly. She grabbed her purse and stood up, ready to leave. But she paused, a rather fitting thought moving through her head. She strode back to the table and got close in Riley's sad, Iowa face. "You want proof that I wasn't thinking about them?" Her lips brushed the shell of Riley's ear, her breath warm and hot. "I wasn't screaming."
A very pleased Buffy Summers exited the restaurant to the sounds of one Riley Finn sputtering angrily behind her.
A couple of hours late, a half-amused, half-annoyed Faith strolled into the Bronze.
"Faaaaithey!" Buffy giggled. Four shot glasses were lined up in front of her, and two pint glasses beside those. This was not good. Buffy started giggling insanely.
"Damn B, what the hell got into you?"
"Riley dumped me!" Buffy started laughing all over again.
"No shit," Faith said. "Right on, I'll drink to that. Hey, give me a beer, something on tap, and water for the blonde."
"NO! No water. I yam feelin' gooooood."
"Her last shot hasn't hit her yet," the bartender informed Faith. "I'm glad you showed up, I was about to cut her off."
"She been bad?" Faith asked, sipping her celebratory beer.
"No. Just…surprisingly happy for a girl that's just been dumped."
"Yeah, well, you would be too if that kind of man dumped you." The bartender laughed before moving on to other customers. Faith spent the better part of an hour listening to Buffy's drunken ramblings and amusing assessments of her now ex.
"Faith! Wow, the walls are all movey and spinney!" Faith drained the last of her beer before picking up her inebriated friend and dragging her to the car.
"You better be able to find your own bed, B, because I'm leaving you at the door!"
A/N: Here endeth Singlets, to be continued in Twinlets (coming soon!)