Buffy’s cell phone buzzed in her purse. She dug through the usual mixture of Kleenex, lip gloss, gum, gum wrappers, stakes, and coins before snagging the phone’s flip lid on her nail. When she viewed the phone’s LCD screen, she had 6 text messages. Buffy scrolled through her Inbox. Angel. Angel. Angel. Dawnie. Angel. Angel.
Buffy smiled. Angel was even more addicted to text than she was. Between the two of them, they sent more than 2400 messages a month just to each other. Yay for unlimited text plans.
Buffy settled back into her chair in the local coffee shop and took a slow sip of hot chocolate. She smiled as she read the oldest newest texts:
Angel: just saw ur legs in shiny high heels + cute miniskirt.
Angel: this woman’s eatting ice cream. I wanna be the cone. U could lick me.
This was followed by
Dawnie: milk=1.99 getting 3 gals + turkey thawing home @ 8
Buffy wondered where Dawnie had found milk at that price. It was a good deal. They would be using lots of milk between the mashed potatoes and custard pies. Buffy loved Thanksgiving but the amount of food needed to make a traditional meal was mind-boggling.
The last three texts were essentially one long thought.
Angel: Better idea. U culd lick part of me most most like the cone. The hard part.
Angel: Then u could eat the cream part.
Angel: Or let it drip on my chest & u lick up. U like that. What u think?
What did she think? Buffy closed her eyes and took another sip of hot chocolate. She thought that she’d never expected to be texting phone sex with Angel ten years after he walked out of her life. (God, was it already sixteen years since high school graduation?) How did she and Angel end up here and not someplace else?
With a few exceptions (Thanksgiving, post-coma Faith, her mother’s funeral, falling from heaven, The End of the World – The Sunnydale Version), she and Angel had stayed away from each other. No phone calls, emails, or intermittent contacts. Buffy had heard that Angel survived the Los Angeles Apocalypse, but she made the conscious decision not to reach out to him. She needed time to figure out what she was doing and who she wanted to be.
Months somehow turned into years and suddenly, it was seven years later and Buffy was reading an email from Angel. She had almost not answered that first email. It had been bright and happy. Nina and I have been travelling up and down the western coast of the continent. The geography is an artist’s dream. I don’t think I can do it justice. It’s just so beautiful, especially when the evening light hits the ocean surface. It becomes this colourful window of reds, pinks, oranges, yellows. No matter how I draw it, I fail to capture the sheer beauty.
It had taken Buffy two weeks to craft a reply. She wasn’t sure what to say. Should she ask about his relationship with Nina? Since when could Angel not burst into flames in daylight? Could she have one of his drawings? She decided on a simple generic response: she and Dawnie were doing fine, she was settling into school, she liked seeing the leaves change colour in autumn. She hit send and waited for the inevitable heartache. Angel responded within the hour with more questions for her and more details about his new life. This time Buffy did not answer. She firmly put Angel back in the box where her heart was. Then she put the box in the attic.
Two more years passed before Buffy sent Angel another email. This time it was work-related. There was a monster to kill and Angel knew how to kill it. An easy email to send. Angel replied the next day and asked a follow-up question. Buffy sent a reply to the reply the day after that. Slowly -- very slowly -- a conversation through email began. It sputtered along with semiweekly formal missives. During the first months, they stuck to harmless topics: work, school, catching up on friends and acquaintances. They exchanged cell phone numbers, but neither dared to call the other. From Buffy’s perspective, their emails were awkward enough. She couldn’t imagine having a phone conversation. Even when she and Angel were together, they didn’t do the phone call thing.
One night, Buffy sent Angel a long email that was a brain dump of her awful day with the computer that ate her homework, the ATM machine that ate her card, and the dryer that was still eating her socks. She wondered if she was too old to be in university or if she had the brains to be anything more than the former Chosen One. Most of all, Buffy opined that she was pretty sure her new boyfriend was going to freak (as all the others had) when she told him about her night job. Seconds after she sent the email, she reread it and thought, “Crap.” It was too late to recall the invitation to Buffy’s Electronic Pity Party.
When her cell phone rang, she picked up without thinking and heard Angel’s voice say, “Maybe you should start a support group for the leftover socks.” All Buffy could think to say was “Angel” in the I’m-falling-into-the-abyss voice reserved just for his name. It seemed forever before he said “Buffy” and the box in the attic popped open.
That phone call had lasted 41 minutes and ended with mutual promises of being more open. The emails increased from one every two or three days to twice daily to conversational threads that stretched over 12 hours and 3 time zones.
Their relationship spun to a new level. From serious topics about the critical balance of work and family, Buffy noted that their emails now focussed on each other. “How are you?” was answered seriously with “I slept pretty good,” “I’m starving,” or “I think my allergies are starting up.” They developed a No Go list: no discussion of significant others past or present, no gossip, no politics, no talk of lost friends or family members. What was left was the dissection of where they were now: was there any future for Buffy and Angel together.
Those emails were not always pleasant. Buffy still found herself jumping to conclusions about something Angel had written. They would argue over email until one of them couldn’t stand it any longer. Then a cell phone would ring and they would hear the pain and anger in each other’s voices. Sometimes this led to torrential arguments; frequently it was the signal to begin healing.
It was at the end of one such phone call that Angel casually said to Buffy, “It’s a good thing I still love you. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.”
Buffy stared at her phone and thought it was a good thing that Angel had hung up. She was speechless. Angel still loved her; he didn’t just love her. He still loved her. He had never stopped.
She had a million questions she wanted to ask. Since when? Why did he tell her now? Where was Nina in all of this? What did it mean? Buffy wanted to call him back and repeat “I love you, too, Angel” but what would that mean to him? What did she mean if she said it?
The tone of their emails changed. In the space of 24 hours, the pain of their years as a couple began to be revisited. Vows of love were exchanged. The boundaries on the depths of that love were expanded. Pledges were made. There was discussion about meeting in person.
Buffy wasn’t sure this was a good thing. It had been years since she’d last seen Angel and they’d had anything close to a real conversation. It had been right before Sunnydale became a big hole in the ground. Buffy had been so young and so naïve. All that crap about cookie dough and baking and God, what the hell had she been smoking that night?
She was older now, with curves in new gravity-defying places. If Angel saw her now, what would he think? Would he turn away in disgust?
Over email, they bantered back and forth about middle-aged bodies. Buffy sent Dawnie’s graduation picture from Boston College. Angel sent one of him and Nina at the Seattle Space Needle. Buffy caved and sent a picture from this year’s Fourth of July picnic at Willow’s place. All the important people were in it. Buffy’s reasoning was that she was less noticeable in a crowd of people. She also warned Angel that any comments, ANY comments, on the picture would result in the immediate end of picture swapping. Angel had been appropriately mute. Buffy was left to ponder what he thought about how she looked without being able to ask the question.
Then Angel discovered texting. This started in the same manner as the emails: a slow trickle of disjointed texts about the humdrum little things of life.
Angel: Raining in Seattle. Again. Buffy: Early child psych test @ 9A. So not ready. Angel: Mtg @ 1P, 4P Buffy: A- on essay. I’ll take that. Need caffeine. Angel: Do I like sushi?
By now, Buffy was dreaming of Angel nearly every night. Often the dreams were old memories of demon fighting or post-slayage walks. Sometimes the dreams were more vivid. Buffy would wake with her hands between her legs searching for the orgasm that Angel had just promised with his tongue. Other times she would roll over and not find his cool body pressed against her overheated one. The ache in her heart on those mornings was so intense, her head would ache with unshed tears.
One Saturday morning Buffy texted Angel about how she had dreamt he was behind her, with his arms wrapped around her waist, and his face buried in her hair. She told him she had cried when she woke. She told him that she missed him so much it physically hurt. She wanted him so much.
Angel: I m bhind u. Feel my hands on ur hips pulling u onto my cock. Fuck u slowly til u cum. Then my turn.
Buffy read the text in the grocery store and felt her face flush. Where had this come from? She scanned her texts from the previous day. There was nothing there that suggested that she wanted this response. Yet here it was, waiting for a reply. Buffy didn’t know what the right reply was. They were both in committed relationships. Was this a form of adultery? Oh God, was she being a prude? Was she? Buffy put her hand to her face and felt the warmth of her cheek. Was she embarrassed or was she turned on? The wetness between her legs was the answer she needed.
Buffy: Yes, ur turn.
The texts were like alien invaders. Suddenly Angel and Buffy were sending over 50 messages a day. There was nothing left unsaid. Buffy started each day with a text of her daily schedule; Angel matched with his schedule on his first text. From there, the conversations roamed to the short outfits and heels that Angel spotted on Rodeo Drive to how Buffy needed to be fucked right now because she was stressing about her teacher interview. They talked about best positions for sex, personal preferences for lubricants, nothing sexual was off-limits as long as there was mutual consent.
There was a rhythm to their texts. When work was stressful for Angel, he needed to dominate Buffy. In the real world, this was impossible. Over text, Angel bent Buffy over gravestones, bound her hands and feet together, ripped her panties from her body, and impaled her on his cock while he milked her tits until he came at least twice. Buffy’s texts were not usually so explicit. Hers were more the striptease variety. She would wiggle her bare ass in Angel’s face so he could smell her pussy juices and almost, but not quite taste them. Her fingers would stroke his cock until it was hard enough for the precum to dribble from its tip. Buffy’s tongue would then lap the precious liquid until Angel bucked and begged for her to swallow him. She was always happy to oblige.
There were lots of questions that went unanswered. Buffy had taken enough psychology classes to realize that she and Angel had formed an attachment. What Buffy wanted to know – what she was afraid to ask – was where did she fit in Angel’s life? He was with Nina. Angel had stated on several occasions that he owed Nina his life. He refused to elaborate, but was unequivocal in his commitment to stay with Nina. Buffy wondered if this made her the other woman in Angel’s life. What could she expect as Angel’s mistress? Was Buffy really Angel’s mistress? Was she a casual discardable fling? She struggled with Angel’s insistence that he loved both women equally yet differently. Buffy wanted to be THE woman in Angel’s life. She wasn’t sure when or how she’d lost the title, but that was what she wanted. How could she make this happen? Should she even try? Should she walk away from all of it?
One night, after a stream of sexual bantering texts, Angel called Buffy and said, “Make me cum.”
She paused. Angel had just asked for the equivalent of phone sex.
In Buffy’s mind, she ran through all the reasons why a man would look outside of his committed relationship for sexual release. She knew if she did this, there would be not going back. It would change their relationship irrevocably.
Could she do this? Could she continue to give this man her heart and pieces of her soul in exchange for these morsels of almost life with him?
“It’s been a long day, Angel. We’re both tired. Why don’t you take a hot shower and let the steaming water loosen your muscles. I’ll join you in a minute.” Buffy leaned against the bed’s headboard and sighed. “You’re really tense, Angel. You need to loosen up. Here, let me help you. Can you feel my hands on your body?”
The only time she’d ever heard him climax before that call was the night of her seventeenth birthday. This time, as Angel neared his release, Buffy encouraged him to fuck her harder, split her apart, make her walk funny tomorrow. She assumed when he babbled, “God, yes. You like it when I fuck you hard. I can feel your pussy pushing back against me. Reach back and spread those pussy lips like you did last time,” that he was drawing on that memory too. When he yelled something about breaking the kitchen table again, she winced at the idea that he was confusing her with someone else. None of this detracted from the pride she felt when he inhaled, announced he was cumming, and then fell into orgasmic oblivion.
One year later, Angel and Buffy were three time zones apart and inseparable. Buffy had stopped giving excuses as to why she couldn’t meet Angel; he had stopped asking. By unwritten mutual consent, they understood their relationship could only exist in this form. If they saw each other, it would cause too much pain to too many people. This was safer and manageable. If either one wanted to stop, all they had to do was turn off the phone.
Before Buffy left the coffee shop, her phone buzzed again.
Angel: u doing end of world thing? Buffy: nope, playing w/ whipped cream Angel: not ice cream? pout Buffy: How u know I like 2 lick ice cream off ur chest? Don’t even know if I like that. Angel: Experience Buffy: Not w/ me. U mixing up ur sex goddesses? Buffy: Hello? Buffy: Yo! Where’d u go? Angel: Yeah, somebody else. Not u. Sorry. I forgot.
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Rating: NC-17 (for ze sex)
Summary: How do you celebrate an anniversary when you don’t know it exists?
Disclaimer: Yadda yadda yadda not mine. Joss still Ruler Supreme. All hail the mighty Joss.
Distribution: IWRY Marathon site, Yseult’s Passion, anyone else should ask if you feel so inclined.
Dedication: To other anniversaries and lovers.