A/N: Thank you so much for your feedback on the last chapter! You guys have blown me away with your amazing feedback! This chapter will set into motion the next little arc for the story. Hope you enjoy!
Buffy thought she was happy with Liam. In retrospect, she probably was. She had delighted in his attentions. Shivered at his touch. He had consumed her thoughts, and at times it seemed her very being. In her mind, he was on some pedestal, separate from the man that he was before. The man she always secretly knew he still was. It was all the more jarring when it ended due to this. It wasn't just him leaving her, but the fantasy that she had created. Lost love hurts. Crushing reality hurts, even more.
She had no allusions when it came to William. She knew who he was and what he had done. She had seen him at his worst and had pursued him for the exact traits that should have driven her away. Ultimately, she found him to be much more than the man she had initially met. He was all bravado then with his tongue curled behind his teeth. It seemed he only knew how to speak with innuendo, but she had been given the privilege of seeing past it. And it was a privilege. She knew that not many were let past his defenses, and she felt all the more special as he revealed further depths of himself. It started out as a game, and somewhere along the line she had fallen in love. Seeing him for exactly as he was, warts and all, she had found the truest love she ever experienced.
She loved him without question, and trusted him implicitly. This was why she found herself stopping short when she saw him in town with another woman. The woman was hanging from his arm like some gilded ornament, all brocade and rouge. Her raven hair was swept into an elegant chignon that set off her swanlike neck.
Buffy found her legs moving forward of their own volition, pulse racing as she neared the pair. William saw her first, and she was relieved to see not a trace of guilt pass of his face.
You silly girl, she said to herself. William loved her. He would never do anything to hurt her. He disentangled himself from the woman and stepped forward, giving her a light kiss on the cheek.
"Buffy, I have someone I'd like for you to meet. This is Drusilla Duchamp. She is a great friend of mine from childhood."
"Hello," Buffy said, dipping her head in greeting.
"Dru, this is Buffy Summers."
"It's a pleasure," Drusilla said in a silky voice. Buffy detected a slight accent, but she couldn't place where it was from .
"Dru was in France for the past, what, five years?"
"Six," Drusilla corrected. "I see you still can't count, sweets."
"Are you in town for long?" Buffy asked.
"Yes. Indefinitely, actually. With finishing school complete, there was really no reason for me to remain there."
For some reason, Buffy found herself less than thrilled. On the contrary, William was positively beaming.
"Brighton is lucky to have you," William told her. "As are the men of this fine town."
"So far I am left rather unimpressed," Drusilla said, sniffing daintily. "Although, my time in France left me unimpressed, as well. Perhaps I am simply hard to please."
"That's one way of putting it," William answered with a smirk.
"Bite your tongue, William," Drusilla said. "Just because you aren't the least bit discerning in your interactions with the opposite sex does not mean that we should all follow suit."
Buffy stiffened, and William glanced at her apologetically. It seemed he had yet to tell Drusilla about them. His hand pressed into her lower back and he said, "Actually, Dru, I have become quite discerning in my interactions with the opposite sex. One could say the most discerning."
"I'll believe that when I see it," Drusilla returned.
"Well, then believe it," Buffy said, giving her a small wave. Drusilla stared at her for a moment, not understanding the wave, and then her eyes widened.
"William, you have put your anchor down, I see."
Buffy's cheeks flushed while William laughed beside her.
"Dru, you always have had a way with words."
She shrugged and looked up at him through her eyelashes. "Learned from the best, sweets."
"She means me," William told Buffy with a grin, his gaze returning to Drusilla quickly.
"Yes, I can follow a conversation."
Drusilla smirked. "You found yourself one with some life in her. I was afraid you'd find yourself with some society bint."
"Me? Never. It takes more than batting eyelashes and deviant hands to make me settle down."
Buffy found herself increasingly uncomfortable with the conversation. There was an unmistakable ease between them that had her on edge. She could sense the connection – the rhythm – and she hadn't yet seen where she fit in.
"Well, I must continue on with my errands," Buffy told them.
"It was wonderful meeting you, dear," Drusilla said with a wide smile that showed off her teeth. Something in the perfect rows of teeth unnerved Buffy, and she looked away.
"Yes, you too," she said, gaze already on William. "Will I be seeing you later today?"
He typically joined her sometime in the afternoon, and they would sit with the others inside or find more privacy in the gardens. He hesitated and her stomach clenched.
"Drusilla is coming to visit my parents," William explained. "I was going to accompany her."
"Of course," Buffy said. "Well, then I will see you later."
"Of course," he echoed.
"My parents are hosting a party for my return this weekend," Drusilla told her before she turned. "You and your family are more than welcome to attend."
"I will tell them. Thank you."
While she was the one who claimed to have errands to attend to, it was William and Drusilla who ended up walking away. She stayed rooted in her spot, watching then disappear around the corner.
She tried to put it from her mind the next few days. There was no reason to worry, because he loved her. He chose her. With each day that went by without a visit, though, she found the excuses in her head becoming less believable. By the third day, she had nearly convinced herself that he had run off with Drusilla to South America and completely forgotten about her. Of course, when he did appear on the fourth day and pulled her into a tight embrace, she told herself that she was being silly.
"I've missed you," he murmured against her hair, arms locked around her waist.
"Me too," she agreed. "It's been much too long since we've been alone."
"It has been a whirlwind with Drusilla back," he admitted. "But I am happy to be here. Nowhere else in the entire universe I'd rather be, pet."
"I bet you tell all the girls that," she teased, relieved to find herself at ease with him again.
"Only some. I don't want to become predictable."
"So, how have you been since…Saturday. My goodness, it really has been a long time."
"Four days," she said. "Not that I've been counting."
"Time got away from me, I suppose."
"Drusilla must be quite the enthralling creature, then," Buffy said in what she read as a nonchalant voice. William could tell that it was anything but, though.
"Pet, what are you hedging at?"
Buffy stared down at her lap, clasping and unclasping her hands. It was to her hands that she spoke when she asked, "You two weren't involved, were you?"
"No, pet. We weren't involved."
She looked up and asked, "You sure?"
"Pretty sure I would remember that."
"But you two seem so close-"
"We are," he told her. "But only as friends. Dru and I grew up together. We've gone through a lot together."
"I'm sorry," Buffy said, avoiding his gaze sheepishly. She felt silly for doubting him now. Even for questioning him. "I may have overreacted a bit."
"It was just a simple question, Buffy. That is hardly overreacting."
She looked up at him and admitted, "When you didn't visit for the past few days I had convinced myself that you and Drusilla ran away together to South America."
William burst into laughter.
"Oh, pet," he said, catching his breath. "Dru wouldn't be caught dead in South America!"
"Well, I don't know that."
"And the only person that I am running away with is you," William said, reaching forward and cupping her cheek. "Theoretically, of course. I quite like Brighton."
"Me too," she agreed.
He leaned in and pressed his lips against hers. She kissed him back fervently, sliding her hand onto the back of his neck, and pressing his mouth firmer on hers. When he pulled away he had a soft grin in place that made her feel like the biggest fool for having ever doubted him.
"Can we forget this conversation ever happened? Start over, perhaps?"
William grinned. "Not a chance."
"Don't worry. I find your neurotic suspicions endearing. They'll give me good memories for later."
Buffy thread her fingers through his hair and tugged his face toward hers. Against his lips she murmured, "Wouldn't you like to make other memories?"
He grinned, and before capturing her mouth with his own, he answered, "I could always use more of these."
A/N: This chapter marks the arrival of Drusilla! I didn't want to include her initially, because she always seems like a cop-out to me in Buffy/Spike stories. I think you will all enjoy my use of her in this, though. It's not conventional. Anyhoo, let me know your thoughts! Are you excited for Dru's arrival?