A/N: Thank you for all the reviews and for being patient with me. I was supposed to get this finished before Christmas but didn't have such luck. But luckily I succeeded before the year ended, heh. This chappie is on the short side but I figured you'd rather have a short one than none since it's been so long since I last updated this. And I'd like to thank my wonderful beta, Mac who once again got this chapter back before I knew to miss it. But Happy New Year to everyone and on with the story...
The months Buffy had spent with the Wilson's had taught her to adapt to the lifestyle of the era, and since there was no TV or other modern amusements, she was actually looking forward to getting out of the house and going to the market with the women of the family. On regular basis she missed the Bronze, but the price of actually going there was too high and she was not willing to give up Liam.
Still every day at sunset the slayer in her was screaming for a hunt, ever since she had become the slayer she had wanted a normal life, but now that she had it, she knew even more clearly that it was something she could never really have. Spending the night with Liam did something to lull the slayer in her into submission, but knowing there were demons roaming the streets, hurting people and that she had the power to stop them, made her feel guilty of being with the man she loved and ignoring her calling.
Buffy turned the vegetables in her hand, but her thoughts were running wild and straying from the actual task at hand. She had heard about a possible vampire attack and she was doing her best Angel-impression, a deep frown marring her features.
"What are you thinking?" Deirdre's voice pulled her back to the reality. She spun around, her eyes landing on the owner of the voice.
"Oh. Just the usual Buffy-thoughts," she answered with a small smile, waving it off.
Deirdre looked at her with a curious expression on her face, her head tilted to the side. "You truly have strange expressions," she stated.
"Yeah, I'm a strange girl," Buffy said with a shrug, she remembered Giles calling her that and just the thought of him made her miss him, the scoobies and her mother. Slowly she started to drift back into full brood-mode.
"Is something amiss?" This time it was Mrs. Wilson's voice that pulled her out of her brooding.
"Buffy thoughts," Deirdre answered and got a strange look from her mother. Buffy had to stifle a laugh, now it was official, she was a bad influence on people.
"Buffy," Deirdre started to say, turning around to face her new friend but she was nowhere in sight. She looked around herself, searching for the small blonde with her eyes but her search turned out to be fruitless. She let out a long, weary sigh, again Buffy had wandered off by herself without a concern of the consequences. She suppressed an annoyed huff, she wouldn't let herself act in an unladylike manner no matter how displeased she was from the blonde's behavior.
Buffy was walking down the street when suddenly someone grabbed her arm and pulled her to an alleyway. She was about to strike when she realized it was Liam. "Liam!" she cried out in exasperation and gently slapped his chest, careful not to use too much force.
"Happy to see me, eh?" he smirked. She gave him a halfhearted glare, she never could be seriously pissed with him when he flashed that sinful smirk, it should be listed as a lethal weapon.
"Don't do that! Haven't I told you not to do that, I could've hit you!" she chastised and again slapped his hard chest.
"Promise not to," he said with that delicious Irish accent that made her instantly forgive him. He added the sexy smirk and she knew that was it for her. "Lemme show you something tomorrow," he added and she turned her gaze to him, eying him suspiciously.
"And what would that be?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Don't you have a dirty mind. Not that kinda something, unfortunately," he answered and backed her against a wall, placing his hands on both sides of her head, trapping her with his body.
"I don't think I'm the only one," she stated and tried to duck under his arm, but he blocked her attempt. She turned to look at him, she could have easily escaped him, but she didn't seem to find the will to even try again.
"Say yes," he coaxed, running his knuckles over her cheek.
"Why?" she asked, raising a questioning eyebrow.
"Because I want to show you something. And before you ask, I'm not going to tell you," he answered and she gave him a pout she knew worked wonders on Angel. His eyes dropped to her protruding lower lip. Slowly he licked his lips and let his eyes wander back to hers. "Don't do that, lass. Or I might not be able to resist the temptation and that won't be good for your reputation," he said and her lip only stuck out further before she teasingly ran her tongue over it and wiped the pout off her face. "Vixen," he accused and she flashed him an unrepentant smile.
"I have to go, before Deirdre sends a search party for me," she said and this time managed to escape from his arms, already missing them.
"You didn't answer me. Say yes," he said, taking a hold of her hand and pulling her back.
"Yes," she whispered, her eyes closing from the closeness of him. He smiled.
"I'll come for you tomorrow, around midday," he said and let go of her hand, his fingers lingering on hers before releasing her completely. She nodded in confirmation before running off, returning to the others and not even the disgruntled look Deirdre sent her way could spoil her good mood.
The next day Buffy sneaked out of the manor and met with Liam at the same place as they always did. He was already waiting for her there. Liam took her to a secluded place, the main attraction was the pond that looked like it was filled with diamonds as the sun's rays hit the surface. At the bank there were two trees, a swing hanging from a thick branch on the other.
Buffy walked to the swing, looking around herself before sitting down. She shifted on the seat and adjusted the skirt of her dress, trying to make it fit to the seat. She reached out to him and pulled him closer to her by the edge of his jacket. "It's beautiful," she stated and flashed him a smile. Slowly her fingers crept up his stomach to his cravat that was loosely hanging around his neck, she wrapped her fingers around it and pulled him down to face her. "Thank you," she whispered, her lips almost touching his as she spoke. His fingers played with the soft curl hanging on her face and a crooked smile formed to his lips.
"My reasons are entirely selfish," he stated. "I want to draw you, right here in this swing."
"If I have to pose for you, do you mind if I take the dress off?"
His eyes traveled over her body, finally returning to her eyes. "That could prove to be distracting," he stated with a smirk, there was a glint in his eyes that told he was already distracted.
"Come on, it's a hot day and I can barely sit here with this dress on," she complained, her lower lip sticking out.
"Don't do that, lass," Liam said shaking his head, but he couldn't take his eyes off of her lips.
"Do what?" she asked, her voice soft and seductive.
"You are a wicked woman, Buffy," he accused and she gave him an unrepentant grin.
She stood up, her body almost touching his and she started to remove the dress. He didn't look away or give her more space, but his eyes followed her movements with keen interest. Openly watching her undress was something Angel would have never done, but Liam's eyes were firmly glued to her chest and he showed no signs of caring that he was caught staring. She set the dress to the ground, careful not to wrinkle it.
"Little help," she said and turned her back to him as a sign for him to open the bindings of her corset. Slowly he opened the strings and as the corset loosened around her, he took it off and threw it next to the dress.
"Better?" he asked softly, knowing how much she hated the thing. He pressed a soft kiss to the nape of her neck and she let out a breathy sigh, she could feel her body responding to him just from the simple touch. His fingers toyed with the soft strands of hair that were hanging loosely on the back of her neck before he pulled them out of the way and brushed another kiss to the skin.
"Much better," she whispered.
"I still want to draw you," he stated, his warm breath tickling her.
"Even if I'm not decent?" she asked with a mischievous grin.
"I certainly don't mind."
She turned around and sat back into the swing. She lifted her eyes up to him, staring at him almost shyly from under her eyebrows. "So, how do you want me?" she asked with a small grin. He grinned back to her, giving her a chastising look even though she could see from his eyes that his thoughts weren't as pure. He took a step closer to her, his legs touching her knees and he started to arrange her into the position he wanted her.
"I know this is dull as hell for the model but try not to move too much," he instructed and moved back. He took out his sketchpad and sat against the other tree. His eyes took in the scene in front of him and after what felt like a long while, his hands started to move on the paper, making the first lines with the charcoal.
Buffy was swaying slowly on the swing, her eyes fixed on Liam who had just removed his shirt as the hot sun was making him sweat in his clothings. It appeared that Liam wouldn't be the only one with trouble concentrating. Unconsciously, she licked her lips as her eyes traveled over the hard plains of flesh. His hand was moving with confident stokes, his eyes glancing at her from time to time. A smirk rose to his lips as he noticed her staring at him. It really should be illegal to look that good.
"You are spoiling my concentration," his voice pulled her out of the lusty thoughts. She gave him an innocent expression, but she was blushing furiously, she was sure she must have been red as a ripe tomato because her cheeks felt like they were on fire.
"I'm not doing anything, just looking," she defended herself, sounding like the epitome of innocence.
"Then don't look at me in that manner," he amended.
She flashed him a smile. "I promise to behave myself," she said and settled into slowly swaying in the swing and watching him with less heat in her eyes.
The minutes passed in silence, but for some reason Buffy felt no signs of boredom. The sight in front of her was easy on the eyes, but the concentration and talent he had made watching him even more interesting. The whole afternoon had been so peaceful and easy, no worries or heartache and she knew she wanted to savor the feeling as long as she could. She had always known she'd want to spend the rest of her life with Angel, no matter how short or long it might be, but since he left she knew it couldn't happen. Liam was not Angel, she knew and accepted that, but there was also the cold truth that she couldn't have him either.
She threw the unwanted feeling away and decided to enjoy the happiness while it lasted. She concentrated back into watching as he sat in the sunshine, the bright sun streaming down on his tanned chest. He was focused on the drawing he was making, his hand moving with the firm strokes of charcoal. Keenly, her eyes followed the movements of his hand. She loved his hands. Well, she loved everything about him. She let her gaze sweep over his body, the tanned skin of his chest, the face that was still so young and free of worry and guilt, the dark eyes that made her want to drown in them, eyes that didn't show suffering and remorse for all the terrible things he had seen and done. For a moment her gaze lingered on his hair and mentally she stated that he needed a haircut, not that he looked bad, she just liked the short style better. But he looked scrumptious no matter what. She continued back down his body, her eyes tracing the toned muscles that she knew hadn't come from physical labor or working out at the gym. Seeing him there, sitting in the sunlight without burden of the past made her heart ache. Some day, not all that far in the future, Darla would make him a vampire, take away the tan from his skin and the most evil creature she had faced would take over his body for over hundred years.
Suddenly, it felt like he was far away from her reach instead of just some feet away, the heartache she had tried to keep away came washing over her and she needed to make sure he really was there. Slowly, she descended down to the ground and crawled over to where Liam was sitting. She looked at the sketch over his shoulder, it was nearly finished.
"You know, this is really good for my ego," she stated with a smile, just the closeness of him soothed her nerves. He turned to look at her, his eyes slowly tracing every feature of her face.
"It doesn't do you justice," he said seriously. He put down the sketch and turned, his hand rising to her face, gently cupping her cheek. He knew she was about to make some kind of joke of her looks and he stopped it with a kiss, effectively wiping the comment out of her mind once his lips touched hers. She moaned softly as she felt his fingers trace her face before running down her neck. She deepened the kiss and wrapped her arms around his neck, letting him make her forget all her depressing thoughts. His hand continued its path down her body and she couldn't stop herself from smiling against his lips as his fingers traced the edge of her under-dress.
Once more she kissed his lips before pulling back, feeling breathless. After she had managed to get her breathing back to normal, she looked down at her body and frowned as she saw the black fingerprints on the rise of her breasts. She raised her gaze to Liam who looked back at her unapologetically.
"Now I'm all smudgy," she stated with a pout and glanced at his hands, his fingers were black from the charcoal. Her eyes turned to the pond and without even realizing, she bit down to her lower lip as she pondered the possibility of washing in the pond. Almost as if reading her mind, a smirk rose to his lips.
"Go ahead, I don't mind," he said softly.
"I'm sure you don't," she stated with a smile tugging at her lips, her amusement was clear in her voice. Quickly, she brushed her lips across his and got up from the grass before walking to the shore. She squatted down and reached for the water, running her fingers over the surface before scooping her palms full of water and splashing it to her face.
She saw as his large body cast a shadow to the water and slowly a wicked grin rose to her lips. She ran her fingers through the water and threw the drops at him over her shoulder. Her joyful giggle turned into a startled scream as he picked her up into his arms and threw her into the water. She rose to the surface, glaring at him as she wiped the wet hair off her face.
"That was not fair!" she cried out and splashed water at him as he laughed at her. He squatted down and finally stopped laughing, but the grin on his face didn't fade. She took couple of strokes closer to land and set her feet to the sand, standing up. His eyes roamed over her wet body, hungrily taking in every inch of her he could see. The water reached up to her waist and her wet clothes were clinging to her body, making her nipples show through the fabric. Again she threw water at him, but still didn't manage to wipe the look off his face. He offered her his hand and for a moment she just stared at the helping hand before taking a hold of it and yanking him into the pond as well.
"That was wicked of you, Buffy," he accused, shaking the water off his hair and walking closer to her. She took a swim back, not really trying to get away from him. Liam reached out and pulled her against his body. He raised his hand to her face, his fingers running over the smooth skin, leaving black watery marks behind. He wiped the marks off with his thumb and let his eyes slowly take in every inch of her face, his fingers slowly following his gaze until finally his eyes locked with hers.
"Buffy," he whispered, his voice soft and low. She didn't say anything, just stared into his eyes, waiting for him to continue as her heart pounded in her chest. The playfulness had stepped aside and now there was only raw emotion, she could see from his eyes that he was conflicted, struggling with something he wanted to say. But he didn't say it. Slowly he leaned closer to her, his lips softly touching hers, almost as if asking for permission.
She let her eyes close from the tenderness of the kiss and her hand searched for his. Her fingers traced each of his digits as her lips strayed from his, pressing a soft kiss to his cheek before she raised his hand to her lips, kissing his ring finger just like she had done on her 17th birthday. But now there was no ring on that finger, the heart didn't point inwards and she hadn't heard the confession of love from him, but she felt his feelings just like she had felt Angel's. Without words, Liam entwined their fingers and pulled her into another kiss, his lips gently brushing against hers before it changed into something more passionate, hungry and all consuming.
To be continued...
A/N: Yes, I know, very evil of me to leave it hanging like that. But what can I say, I'm feeling a bit wicked at the moment but I plan to finish the next chapter much sooner than it took to get this one out. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010!