A/N: Thanks for the reviews!
"Kennedy won't mind you coming with me?"
Willow looks at me like I've gone crazy. "Wouldn't that have been a good thing to ask me before the plane took off?"
She laughs and pulls out her computer. She wanted to get any research she could done before we touched down in Dallas, but apparently Faith didn't tell her much.
"Go through it with me again."
"Buffy, we've been through it three times, and each time I tell you the same thing. She didn't say much. Just that she thinks she may have gotten in way over her head, and she needs backup. She didn't say what she needs backup for, you hung up the phone before we could figure that out."
Yeah, I did hang up pretty quickly, but I was afraid if we kept talking I would lose all the courage I had worked up to agree to go see her. I didn't even allow myself much time to pack. I just grabbed a bunch of random clothes and threw them into a bag. I really hope I packed something nice for the trip. I don't think Faith will be impressed if all I brought are sweats.
I'm glad Willow decided to come with me because I don't think I could have managed this trip on my own. I already had enough trouble packing, and I think Willow knew that because she was sitting at the dining room table with flight information for the both of us. She even had a small suitcase packed with what I can only imagine was meticulously folded clothes and every accessary she would need.
I'm not even sure I brought a toothbrush.
"What could you be researching then?"
"I want to see what Dallas has to offer."
I'm kind of surprised. Usually Willow is so focused on the task at hand. "So Faith calls out of the blue, worried that she may be in trouble, and you're researching attractions?"
"Yeah. I want to know where we can go to pet a cow, and we have to have chicken fried steak and sweet tea."
That actually sounds like fun. I've never pet a cow and I'm not completely sure what chicken fried steak is. "Do you think we could do both at the same place?"
"Seems like it would be convenient."
I have no idea what to expect. Willow managed to get our flight time to Faith, so I know she's going to be here to pick us up, I just don't know what to expect. Am I supposed to hug her or should I shake her hand? That seems like it would be a little weird, and we've never really been the hugging kind, so that might be a little weird too.
Maybe I'll just stand there and stare at her because that would be a totally normal thing to do.
I don't have nearly as long as I want to decide what to do because she's standing there in the middle of a crowd, and our eyes immediately lock despite the chaos around us. She looks so good, and I almost hate how effortlessly it comes to her.
Her hair is a little longer, and she's gotten a little more tan since she's been in Texas, but as good as she looks, she looks like something is bothering her.
Willow spots her almost as fast as I do, and she answers my question on how to greet her for me. Before Faith can pull her hands out of her pockets, Willow has her wrapped up in the biggest hug I've ever seen her give anyone.
I'm pretty sure Faith and I are wearing identical shocked expressions considering neither one of us expected her to be so friendly.
"It's so good to see you, Faith. You have to tell us everything about your time in Texas. Do you know of a place we can pet a cow and eat chicken fried steak? What about a place we could get some sweet tea?" It all comes out in one breath, like she's afraid Faith won't listen if she pauses between sentences.
Despite her efforts, though, I can tell Faith really isn't paying much attention to her. Looking over Willow's shoulder, she's giving me a look that's making me a little uncomfortable with how intense it is.
I wonder what she's thinking about. I hope she thinks I look as good as I think she does, and I hope she missed me as much as I missed her.
Sensing that Faith really isn't concerned with steaks or tea, Willow releases her and we all kind of stand there awkwardly.
"Well, as fun as this is, I think you wanted us to help you with something? And I'm really looking forward to seeing the sights."
Leave it to Willow to cut to the chase. It's not like it does much good, though, because Faith and I are still standing here staring at each other.
She doesn't even smile when she says it. It's almost like she resents me being here, but she's the one that asked, so she can just get over it.
"Faith." I try to say it with the same emotion she did, but I don't think I quite pulled it off.
That catches us both off guard because neither one of us said it. We both turn towards the third wheel with questioning looks on our faces.
"No one said hi to me. I was feeling left out," she says with a shrug of her shoulders.
Faith finally smiles at that, and it's nice to see her relax some. I was worried that the entire trip would be spent with her mad at me.
"I got you guys a room at a hotel. I'll take you there, and then we can go over what's been going on."
"We're not staying with you?" I can't help the hurt tone that comes out, but I hate feeling like she doesn't really want us here.
"I didn't think you would want to. It's kind of a small house."
"Fine, so take us to the hotel." I really just want to get this encounter over with. Maybe if we both sleep on whatever is bothering us, we'll be much more pleasant tomorrow.
We push our way through the crowd, and I'm thankful I only had a carry on. It seems like my bag always gets lost when I check them, and that's one problem I do not want to add to the others that seem to be mounting here in Dallas.
Faith is slightly in front of us, but I don't know whether or not she's just trying to lead us or trying to get away from us. This trip is not looking good, but you could never tell Willow thought the same with the way she's looking around the airport.
It seems like everything she sees is new and exciting, despite the fact that it's an airport and the people look exactly the same here as they do anywhere.
We finally make it outside and to Faith's car parked not too far away. She pops the trunk open and Willow and I struggle to get our bags into the tiny space.
"Sorry, it's a little small," she says with slight embarrassment.
"That's ok. It matches your house." Yeah, there's a hint of resentment there, but I'm past caring at this point.
There's not really a backseat to climb into, but I manage to crawl my way into the space that's there. If Faith wants to act like a brat, I can do the same, and I know that I'm much better at it.
Willow looks a little confused at how I'm acting as she sits down in the front passenger seat. She probably thought I would be over the moon with seeing Faith, and I would be if she were even a little bit excited in seeing me.
Faith throws a look over her shoulder as she sits in the driver's seat. I can't tell what she's thinking, but she lets out a sigh and turns back to start the car.
I'm already loving Dallas.
We pull up to what's supposed to be our hotel, but looking at her car and assuming her house is much of the same, I'm not sure how Faith afforded it.
A five-star hotel in the middle of downtown? There's no way.
She climbs out of the car, and Willow follows suit. I try my best to gracefully exit the vehicle, but considering the tight space and my lack of grace to begin with, I don't quite succeed.
Willow laughs as I hook my foot in the seatbelt and tumble out of the car. I look up from my spot on the ground and see that Faith is trying to hide her smirk. I guess me making a fool of myself was all that was needed to break the ice, but just as quickly as the smile appears, it disappears.
She extends her hand down to me, and I accept the offer of her helping me up. It's not much, but I'll take whatever contact I can get at this point. She maybe holds onto my hand a little longer than necessary, but I'm not complaining. The feeling of her hand in mine is nice and something I've missed way more than I thought.
Willow clears her throat and Faith and I drop hands like they are on fire.
We grab our bags, and Faith leads us into the lobby. I don't think I've ever been anywhere as nice as this, and I still can't believe Faith would put us up here.
After getting our keys and finding our way to the room, Faith pulls me back as Willow enters to check things out.
"Look, I know you're pissed that I called you here, and I know this isn't exactly what you expected, but I'm trying."
"I'm not mad that you called me here, and yeah, this isn't what I expected. How happy would you be if I called you up to come see me and then put you in some hotel?"
"Some hotel? Buffy, I can barely afford for you guys to stay here, but I thought you might like it. Go tell Willow to pack up her shit. You can come stay with me in my shithole."
"The fact that you think I would think something like that about where you live just goes to show why I didn't want to be with you."
Yeah, that hurts her, and I'm kind of angry with myself for letting it slip out. I should really work on that thinking before speaking thing.
"Why you didn't want to be with me? You didn't want to be with me because of what others thought about us. Don't act like you weren't ashamed of it, of me, so is it really so hard to believe I don't want you to see where I live? It would just be another thing to add to your list."
And that hurts me. Yeah, maybe I was afraid of what the others thought, but I wasn't ever ashamed of Faith. There isn't anything to be ashamed of.
"I don't have a list. There's never been a list."
"Yeah, well, you can start one then."
With that, she turns and leaves without even glancing back at me.
"Faith, wait!" I try to call out to her but she doesn't acknowledge I've said anything.
Just as she gets to the elevator, she finally turns back to me, "I'll be by in the morning to go over things with you guys."
The elevator doors open, and just like that, she's gone. Again.