"Wait. You asked Buffy out on a date? And she said yes?"
Angel glanced at his sister, taking large strides across the room. "It's not a date. Just dinner."
"Oh, please. It's a date. What the hell are you doing?"
Angel sighed. "Trying."
"Yes. I can't keep..." Angel shook his head. "I have to at least try something."
Buffy sighed, throwing her hands up. "Why am I even doing this? I'm just going to cancel."
"You will do no such thing, young lady."
Buffy looked at her boss, then sighed again. "What in the world is he doing? And why to me?"
"Maybe he meant it. Maybe he does want another chance."
Buffy took a few steps and sat down. "He doesn't deserve one."
"A very large part of me would have to agree with you on that, sweetheart," he told her. "But a part of me is rooting for him getting a second chance, too."
Buffy made a face. "Of course you are." She waited a few seconds, then softly added, "And what if I do wind up letting him in again, if I give him another chance? What if I do... and he just dos everything all over again, if he fucks my life up all over again?"
Lorne gave her a very serious look, he temped his fingers together. "Well, that's simple. Then we kill him."
Buffy laughed. "Well, sure, that's one plan."
Lorne cracked a smirk. "Now, you go make yourself a bottle of some good wine and go run a warm bath and take a nice, long soak," he told her. "I'll go pick you something out to wear. And after yu get back home, you had better call me and tell me everything."
Buffy sat there for a few extra seconds then smiled, standing up, shaking her head.
Buffy walked over to her friend and boss, leaned down to hug him. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, Buf. Now get a move on it!"
Buffy laughed. She went to the kitchen, pouring them both a glass. She handed him his and asked if there was anything else he needed. He didn't so she headed upstairs to her bathroom to take that bath.
Buffy sank into the water, the tub fully with bubbles. She sighed, closed her eyes and tried not to think.
Buffy heard when Lorne came up the stairs, not too long after she had. He put on some music in her room, which she could hear lightly playing in the tub. She could also hear him muttering as he tried to figure her outfit out.
Before too long, he knocked on the door.
He stuck his head in the door. "You're all set, sweetheart. Is there anything else you need or that I can do for you?"
"Not that I can think of. Thanks again, Lorne."
He smiled. "No problem. Try not to over think this and just have fun, if nothing else. There's a handsome man wanting to spend some time with you and buy you a meal, there's worse ways to spend an evening." Lorne smiled again. "Don't forget to call me later."
Buffy sighed, knowing she needed to get out.
She wrapped a large white towel around herself and sat on the edge of the tub brushing her hair out and putting lotion on.
After drying off, she walked to the bedroom to find Lorne's pick laid out on her bed.
The dress was black, a strapless sweetheart, and had silver studs over the bust, with a draped material in between. She'd only tried the dress on before purchasing, but knew it flowed beautifully on her. The hem of the skirt to it was just below her knees in the front and made a small decline around the sides and to the back. The bottom of the back was a couple of inches from her ankles still.
Buffy slipped the dress on, then the black strappy heels he'd set beside it as well.
She headed to the bathroom to finish fixing her hair. She gave it just a hint of some curl, took her longer bangs and flipped them to one side with a black pin, and gave a quick spritz of hairspray. She wore some teardrop diamond earrings and silver solid bracelet cuff. She dabbed a hint of perfume on, retouched her make-up, then went to find a matching purse or clutch to take along.
By the time she was finished, it was just about time to head out.
"This is going to be a mistake," she muttered, heading back downstairs.
"Angel! You're going to be late if you don't get a move on!"
He muttered to himself walking through the living room.
"What are you looking for?"
Faith pointed to the counter. "You look nice."
"What? Oh. Thanks." He looked back at her. "Is it too much?"
"No. Are you going to be getting her flowers or anything?"
"It's not supposed to be a date." He waited a moment. "Should I?"
She thought for a moment. "In this case, I'll say probably not. You get your head out of your ass and have an official date then do so."
"I'll keep that in mind," he muttered. "Let's just get through tonight."
"You'll be fine. Geez. You've known the girl practically your whole life. And you have dated her before."
"Yeah, and this is still nerve wracking. And this is supposed to be nothing like the past."
"You'll be fine, Angel," she repeated.
"I have no idea what to say to her."
"That you wanna marry her and have her babies," Faith offered.
She laughed. "You never know what to say to her. Just go with it. Tell her how you feel. See what happens. And stop stressing out. You're making me nervous."
Angel kept checking his phone. One, for the time... even five seconds, two, he kept waiting for a message from Buffy saying she'd changed her mind.
In his stress, he didn't know really what to hope for, if she would or if she'd actually come.
Angel took a large gulp of the glass of ice water before him. He took another quick peek at his phone, then started glancing around the room. His eyes didn't go far though.
Angel spotted Buffy several tables down, being led by one of the waiters to theirs.
Angel barely had time to recover from his shock and joy, and drooling, over seeing her to stand up before she reached the table.
"Here you are, ma'am," the waiter told her. "Please have a seat. Your menus are over there," he pointed. "Your waiter for this evening will be over here in shortly to get some drinks for you guys, alright?"
"Thank you," they both told him.
"No problem. Have a great evening."
As he walked off, the two of them sat down.
"You look beautiful," Angel said, looking her over again as he folded down into the chair.
Buffy smiled. "Thank you. You look rather dashing yourself."
He blushed a little. And thought of how Buffy was the only person to really ever cause such a reaction.
Angel reached over to grab the two drink menus, handing her one.
About a minute later, their waiter came by to introduce himself and to get them something else besides the water. He took the smaller menus and gave them the meal ones. "I'll go get you your drinks and be back in just a few minutes? Is there anything else I can do for you right now?"
Buffy smiled at him. "Nope, nothing I can think of."
Angel shook his head. And the waiter headed off.
The two began looking through the large menu, though Angel had a hard time concentrating on anything other than the woman across from him. He did have to hand it to Lorne's quick suggestion of this place. He had never been, heard good things though, and everything did look pretty damn good.
When the waiter returned, he sat their drinks down then asked if they were ready to order.
Angel directed him toward Buffy first, unsure if she was or not.
Buffy smiled at the guy again, then looked down at her menu. She began biting her lip, her eyes looking over the page before her.
"I can come back, if you need a few extra minutes."
Buffy smiled again. "No..." she flipped between two pages, looking them over, then chose and handed him the menu back.
"Thank you," he said, nodding his head at her. "And you, Sir?"
Angel told him, then handed his menu over as well.
"Alright. I will let them know and be back in just a bit." He asked if there was anything else he could get, to which the both said no, and he again left them to themselves.
"This place is beautiful," Buffy commented.
Angel nodded. "Yeah, it is. I'd never been here before, but I can say I'm impressed so far."
Buffy smiled. "Not exactly your type of place, if I do recall."
He chuckled. "Yeah. Not so much." Angel waited a few more seconds then added, "I didn't think you were going to come."
Buffy sighed, turned her head to look about the room. "I wasn't sure if I would or not myself."
"I'm glad that you did."
By the end of the evening, Buffy was glad that she had come, too. Which rather surprised her, but it was nice.
The staff were very friendly every step of the way, and the food was to die for. The two of them had seen a former client couple and briefly spoke with them, asking how they were doing and all. And then when it came to Angel... well, there had been the surprising part.
At first, it was rather awkward between the two of them... but after the food was ordered, and after they got past the easy topic of talking about things with work... it settled down and became a very easy going time with him. The two of them spoke on various topics, told stories, laughed. A lot.
Even after they had finished dessert, the two of them remained at the table for quite some time. Just talking.
While Angel finally paid the check at the front, Buffy went ahead to wait in the lounge area.
He really wasn't looking forward to going their separate ways yet. Even with how late it had become, and the fact he'd see her tomorrow at work.
He wished he hadn't suggested the meet at the restaurant either, as he'd have the extra minutes in the car with her if he was driving her home. But he had went this route because of the whole non-date thing.
"Hey," he greeted, placing a hand on her lower back, unable to keep his hands off of her completely through this evening.
Buffy's head turned. "Hi."
"Thank you again for coming tonight."
She smiled. "I had a very nice time, Angelus."
"I'm glad." He took a deep breath. "Maybe we could do this again sometime? Or... go do something else together... sometime?"
Buffy took a breath of her own. "Tonight was lovely, and I thank you for it. But I don't think that would be a good idea."
His heart sunk. "Why not?"
"We've tried this already, Angel. It didn't go well." She turned, out of his reach. "It's getting rather late so I should probably be heading back home. You should too, don't you have an early meeting?"
He nodded numbly. "Yeah."
She smiled, too brightly. "I'll see you tomorrow then. Goodnight."
And with that, he watched her turn and begin to walk away.
Buffy was just about to get into her car when he reached her again. "Buf?"
She jumped a little. "Jesus, Angel. You scared me half to death. What are you doing?"
"Buf, please give me a chance here." Angel watched her suck in an angry breath and continued before she could go off on him. "I know. I know. You already gave me a chance before, and I fucked everything up with it. And I am sorry for that. I was... I was a stupid kid then. I'm not now. Yes, until recently I was still resembling in great measure that dumbass kid, but I'm done with that. With all of it. I want to do right by you, Buffy. Like I should have all those years ago."
"Why are you doing this to me?"
He closed his eyes for a moment, then took a step closer to her. "You're the only girl that I have ever loved, Buffy. You're the only one I ever will."
"I need to go home."
He could hear her about to cry.
"Think about it, please? I'll do whatever you want me to here, Buf."
"So? How'd it go?"
Buffy sighed, slipping her shoes off, the phone cradled between her shoulder and chin. She began to tell him of the lovely evening.
"And are you seeing him again?"
"Yes," she said dryly, "Tomorrow. At work."
"That is not what I meant."
She sighed again. "He asked. I told him that I didn't think it was a good idea."
"Why not? I thought you had a nice time?"
"There's just too much history there, Lorne. Too much already happened between me and him."
"Buffy, you can't live in the past forever. I'm with you, he made a mess of things the last time. But I think he's finally in his right head. And I think that if you let him, he could do right by you."
"It's a huge risk. I know I can't live completely in the past. But he gave me a lot of past to get over."