Chapter Four

Flashback – Rome, spring of 2005

"I can't believe I'm finally here." She said her eyes gazing up at the dark sky. "I always knew I'd come here but now… It just seems so…" She was searching deep within herself to find the rights words but she couldn't.

"Surreal?" Angel asked as he looked down at her, watching the way her face lit with amazement, he could see just how much she was enjoying herself and that made him smile. He had known her since their paths had crossed almost three years ago, his sister having developed a deep bond with her when she started UC Sunnydale. From that first day, that first moment, he knew that there had been something different about her, something that he couldn't quite put his finger on, he knew, even then, that she was suppose to be part of his life. Now, standing there, all he could think about was wrapping his arms around her body and kissing the soft lips that he so often dreamed about.

"Exactly!" She beamed, looking to his face for a moment as her cheeks blushed a deep crimson. Embarrassed by her behavior she quickly looked away, her eyes now focused on the large fountain before them, lit and glowing.

He reached into his pocket and pulled a few coins out, taking one of her hands into his free one and putting the two coins in the palm of her hand. He smiled as she looked at him, her face giving away her confusion. "There is a theory that if you toss two coins over your shoulder into the Trevi fountain that you will fall in love and one day return to Rome. I've already done it of course but I wouldn't ever want to deprive you of that experience."

"Did you fall in love?"

"I'm working on that one." He flashed her a half smile, watching the color return to her cheeks. "Go one. I'll be right here." He watched, the smile even more prominent on his face as she turned away from him, he kept his eyes on her, watching as she walked closer to the fountain, making her way through the crowd of families and lovers who were enjoying the sights.

"Flower for the beautiful woman?" A merchant approached him, red roses in hand. Angel just smiled and nodded, handing him a euro coin in return for one of the roses. He knew that it wouldn't last long but he was hoping that she would like the gesture. No, he was hoping that he would love the gesture. True, he knew that she had been casually dating that punk Parker, but he thought that maybe this time he would be able to show her that he was the one who she was meant to be with. It amazed him that she still hadn't figured it out? Had she not felt the electric current that seemed to jump from his hand to hers each time that they touched? Could she not see straight into his soul when their eyes meet? He always felt that each time her green eyes met his own that she had the ability to strip him bare.

"What's that?" He had been lost in his own thoughts and jumped slightly when he heard her soft voice enter his ears.

"For you." She blushed and it caused him to smile. "Are you hungry?" She nodded and he motioned for her to move in front of him, his hand placed lightly on the small of his back. "We are right by the Via Veneto, my hotel suggested a few places, and I have to take you to Harry's."

"Okay." She smiled continuing to walk down the narrow alley, trying hard to ignore the currents that seemed to be pulsing through her body from his light touch on her back. Her mind unable to determine whether she wanted him to move his hand or leave it there.

Later That Night

"Are you having fun?" He asked, his voice a whisper in her ear, and she felt the chill that his warm breath on her neck sent down her spine.

"I am!" She beamed, leaning closer to him, realizing that her she was free from the constraints that had held her back from really allowing herself to love him. It was true that she had been attracted to him since they had met. But Cordelia had become one of her best friends and she wasn't sure what the boundaries were when it came to dating siblings. It was something she didn't have to worry about, her younger sister was much too young for any of her friends to date and it left her confused. They had always flirted, but she assumed that he never thought of her as anything more than a younger sister, his protectiveness of her, she always took it to mean the same thing as it did when he acted like that to Cordelia.

"Do you want another drink?" He asked, noting that her cheeks were already flushed from the alcohol. He wanted to make sure she had a good time yes, but he was afraid that she might take it that he was trying to take advantage of her. And he couldn't deny that he was hoping that the night might lead to that, that the night might lead to the start of the relationship that he had been longing for since he had first laid eyes on her, but he knew her. He knew that when it came to her, it would devastate him if she thought of him as only a European fling. He wanted more from her, he wanted all of her, forever.

"I think I've had enough." She smiled. "I still have a bit of a trek back to my hotel."

"Why did you bother to get a hotel when I told you I could take care of it?"

"I couldn't let you shell all that money out by yourself!"

"I wanted to take care of it all." He reached forward and brushed her hair off her forehead. "Cordelia told me how much you always wanted to come here. I wanted to let you have the full experience. Don't worry about the cost."

"I couldn't."

"You're family Buffy. My parents wanted to do it for you." For us… Well, that he added in his head. His parents adored Buffy, well, at least his mother did. His father wasn't around enough to have ever met her, and he knew how much his mother was trying to get them together, not that he minded. He could see the indecision on her face. "It's settled. Besides, I had your things delivered to the hotel anyways."

"Angel!" She shouted and playfully slapped his shoulder, causing him to grin.

"It's a huge room! You won't even know I'm there." He smiled, realizing that he knew she was okay with it. "Plus, I'm glad to know that you will be safe. Rome is a beautiful city but it's not necessarily the safest place."

"You little sneak. You knew the whole time that my things were never at the hotel that I booked…"

"Come on… Let's go to the hotel. It's going to be a busy day tomorrow." He placed a few bills down on the table and stood up, wrapping his arm protectively around her waist, something he never would have done had he not had the alcohol streaming through his blood system, and dropped a kiss to the crown of her head, not noticing the smile that had appeared on her face, and the sheer contentment that she was feeling at being in his arms.


The bar was crowded, at least, that was the first thing that he noticed as he drove up, leaving the keys in the ignition as the valet came up and handed him a ticket that he thrust deep into his jeans pocket. He could feel his heart racing in his chest, unsure as to how the night was going to play out. He wasn't even sure he was doing the right thing, showing up like that. Surely she would be furious with them all. Doyle was a great friend yes, but a good liar he wasn't and he was sure that this was all going to blow up in his face. All he wanted to do was see her, talk to her, explain to her.

His phone buzzed in his pocket and he pulled it out to look at it before letting out a huge sigh. Another call from Darla. She had been furious with him when he had called to cancel their dinner plans. He stared down at the phone, he knew that if he didn't answer it she would continue to call all night until he walked through the door of their shared apartment, where she would then proceed to yell at him until she tired herself out.

He wasn't sure why all of a sudden she had become particularly clingy. In fact, of the reasons that he had enjoyed dating her in the first place was that she had been a bit of a change for him, it was a purely physical relationship, they would have dinner, have sex, and she, or he would be out a few hours later. Though, once the press had caught on that she had been regularly seeing someone, their relationship took a public step forward. Not something he wanted. He hated being photographed with her, hated being her official boyfriend. Though, he put up with it, afraid that he would hurt her, again, he wasn't sure exactly why, he knew that she wasn't exactly exclusive to him. He just figured that it was better to have someone around than no one at all. He never thought he would ever see Buffy again and now that she was back in his life, he knew he had to do something to get rid of Darla.

"Hello?" He said into the phone, resolving to answer it. The sooner he got it over with the better.

"Honey where are you?" Her voice rang out, it reminded him for a moment of nails on a chalk board.

"I'm meeting with Cordelia for a few drinks." He figured it best to leave out Buffy's name.

"Oh how wonderful. You ditch me to meet with your sister who so openly despises me."

"Her and Doyle had a fight. She's my little sister Darla."

"Well I'm your girlfriend!"

He groaned, fighting back the urge to say something mean, something that would effectively end their one year 'relationship' but he wasn't the kind of guy to do that on the phone. "I'm sorry. I've already apologized. I can't leave her alone though, not until she works this out with Doyle."

"Fine." She was curt, her voice only a manipulation and it was one that would have worked had he not been anticipating the beautiful blonde that he really loved who was sitting inside.

"I'll see you when I get back to the apartment."

"Bye." The line went dead and he groaned and shoved the phone back into his pocket before entering into the club.

He saw them sitting at a table off to the corner, already a few empty glasses on the table. His eyes finally fell on her, watching as her eyes locked with his own. He could feel his heart race, as he approached her, ignoring everyone else at the table.

"Hi Buffy." His voice shook with nerves as her eyes bore into him.

"Angel…" She whispered, breaking their gaze and looking at her friends who just stood there, Cordelia smiling at her plan that had worked.

"Oh… So you know each other?" Doyle asked, trying hard to keep his voice steady though it wasn't working, he was starting to laugh which was silenced as Cordelia slapped him.

"I can't believe you Cordelia!" Buffy shouted, thankfully the club had been crowded so the only people besides those at the table who heard the conversation were sitting within ten feet of them, and their eyes were on them.

"Buffy…" His voice was sad, pleading almost.

"I can't. I'm going."

"You're not sober enough to drive Buffy." Cordelia chimed in.

"Willow?" Buffy shot her a look, one that told her that she had to get out of there.

"I'll meet you outside." She responded, watching as Buffy turned and stormed out of the club. Her eyes moved to Angel who stood there, his face still shocked. He should have been expecting that, he had been expecting that, he just had that inner hope that it wouldn't have happened. "I'm sorry Angel…" She placed her hand on his shoulder. "She'll come around."

"I'm not so sure." He groaned, grabbing the drink in front of Doyle and swallowing it, wanting to be anywhere but there.


Hey guys! Sorry it's taken me so long to update this story but things have been crazy! Anyways, just wanted to thank you for reading and for sending me your reviews! I look forward to seeing what you have to say about the new chapter! If you read Meet You There I'm hoping for a new chapter to be up tomorrow! Thanks again!