Within another hour, the friends are only ten minutes away from Sunnydale, and Buffy was counting every minute until she and Angel were dropped off at her house. For the entire ride back in Oz's van, she'd been forced to watch Cordelia and Xander groping alongside of her without the slightest care. Normally this wouldn't have bothered her. <God knows they've seen Angel and I do worse> But after listening to the two of them fighting for the entire weekend, almost coming to blows on several occasions, it took all of her slayer strength to restrain from slapping the hell out of both of them.
"Would you just look at the two of them," she whispers to Angel. "Happy as ever making with the major smoochies as if everything was just peachy this weekend. I bet by third period tomorrow they'll be at each other's throats again, and guess who'll have to break up their fight again?"
"I'm sure you'll be able to handle it," he shushes her with a kiss to her forehead.
"First stop guys," Oz calls from the front seat, jumping out to open the doors for them. "Been fun, man," he nods his head, patting Angel on the shoulder. "Maybe our next group trip will be skiing."
"That's a good idea. It'd be easier to ditch Xander in the mountains," he shares a small chuckle with him. After exchanging their goodbyes with the others, he and Buffy walk up to her front door, surprised to find Joyce waiting for them.
"Mom-" Buffy gasps, returning the hug her mother offered as she walked with them into the house. "I thought you weren't going to be home until tomorrow afternoon?"
"I wasn't. But I managed to move a few things around, got everything straightened out for the gallery, and here I am. I was just so anxious to hear about the prom and your weekend." She turns, pulling Angel into a quick hug. "How'd you enjoy it, Angel?"
"It was amazing, Joyce. The prom was really enjoyable."
"What about your weekend at the beach?"
"Let's just say it wasinteresting."
"To say the least," Buffy adds, nudging him softly. "Oooo- and look" she reaches into her duffel bag to retrieve her small golden umbrella. "I even got an award!"
"Wow" Joyce smiles, reaching in to take a closer look. "Where are you going to put it, honey?"
"Well, why don't you start looking for a place while I say goodnight to Angel," she hints, grateful that her mother was quick to pick up on it and began scurrying into the dining room.
"Goodnight, Joyce," Angel calls out to her giving her a small wave.
"Goodnight, Angel," she smiles back, turning back around as she suddenly remembers the invitation she wanted to offer him for next week. "Oh- Angel! I almost forgot- Buffy's father will be arriving in town next week for her graduation. I was hoping you'd join us all for dinner one night?"
"That sounds great, thank you," he accepts, beaming from ear to ear as Buffy walks along with him onto her front porch.
"I always hate saying goodnight," she gives a faint smile, pulling herself to him.
"Me toobut you need your sleep for school tomorrow."
"Hey-" he tilts her chin up for her to face him. "Patrol tomorrow night?"
"As usual," she sighs.
"How about before I take you to see a movie?"
"Or the mall. I could take you shopping. Maybe Willow and Oz would like to go too. But not Xander and Cordelia, please. I think I've had enough of them these past two days to last me a good few years."
"Okaywho are you, and what the hell did you do with my boyfriend?" she steps back in mock horror. "Where's all this coming from? I mean, I know you're always sweet and romantic, but this is crossing the line into sheer giddiness." Matching her huge smile with one of his own, he cups the side of her face with one hand, bringing her just inches from his own.
"This weekend really helped me to see things a lot more clearlyand not just how annoying Xander can really be." Sharing a small laugh with him, she smiles as he continues. "Buffyfrom the moment I saw you, you captured my heart. But I think now I'm just starting to realize just how incredible that ishow incredible our relationship, our bond, really is. Just to be with youjust loving youI can't even put it into words, but I'm not taking anything for granted. I want to take advantage of everything."
"So no more talk about leaving me 'for my own good'?" she quotes him, using the words that he knew would come back to haunt him.
"No" he whispers, shaking his head softly as he leans down to capture her lips. "Sleep sweet" he whispers, sharing one final kiss before turning to leave. "Love you" he smiles into the darkness, sure that she would see it.
"I love you." Watching as he walks back to the mansion, never shifting her gaze, even once he was out of sight, Buffy's taken by surprise when she feels a hand come to rest on her shoulder.
"Geez mom! Eavesdrop much?"
"I didn't hear much" she grins, wrapping an arm around her daughter's shoulder. "Nothing I don't always like hearing from the two of you anyway. So the weekend really went well, huh?" she asks, walking back into the house with Buffy.
"It went greatand I think Angel's finally realizing what just about everyone's already known."
"That's good to hear."
"Now we've only got one more problem," Buffy sighs, slumping down on the couch, curling up nex t to Joyce.
"And what's that?"
"Do you think dad's gonna like him?"