When he's feeling romantic he calls me love. For a long while it reminded me of Spike. It reminded me of my Lost Time after heaven when pain was the only thing I could process. It reminded me of Spike as my ally, fighting the First, cocky to the end. It reminded me of him dying (for real this time) his ashes littering the battle ground at the End of Days. Now when I hear it I think of a thousand new memories.
Sometimes, usually when he's distracted, he calls me sweetheart. In my head I hear the word as muffled: spoken around the same key ring he's searching for or as he pauses in his reading to drop a kiss into my hair. When he calls me sweetheart I send up a silent prayer to whoever might be listening that we get this chance. For the longest time I thought that we would never get this and now I am reminded not to take it for granted. When he calls me sweetheart I feel blessed for the everyday normal of PB&J and parent-teacher meetings.
He calls me baby on nights like last week when he greeted me in an empty house with nothing but a sheet pulled up to his waist. Let me tell you, having your much too attractive ex-vampire Irish lover call you "baby" is just as hot as it sounds. I remember my mom first giving me The Talk and thinking how gross it was that old people had sex. Now I wonder if it's normal too have sex as much as I do at my age. I read an article about a couple who wrote a book about having sex every night for a year. I wish I had thought of it first. We would have gotten rich years ago.
He's only ever called me ionuin in the middle of the night. Sometimes when he's curled around me in our bed he speaks quietly about things that have happened over his long life. His tears slip through my hair and I wonder whether he knows I'm awake or if he would only tell me these things when I'm asleep. Our daughter was born at night. We lay scrunched in a hospital bed not even big enough for one and he gazed at Vivienne with wonderment superimposed on his face. I drifted closer and closer to sleep as he spoke in Gaelic so softly that the syllables were just a background lullaby. He called me and Vivienne ionuin as I fell asleep.
He calls me all these things, but most of the time he just calls me Buffy. It is a run-on sentence of what he feels for me in that exact moment and forever: I've been driving for ten hours straight, they were out of Diet Coke at the rest stop (something I didn't believe possible), a cup of coffee costs four dollars and you've asked whether we're there yet more times than my four year old…but I still love you and I'm so grateful. And when he says it, I know that Buffy, my silly, ditzy, stupid name is the most perfect name of all.