My mind was going a mile a minute. I glanced over at my travel clock for the sixth time in less than five minutes. It read the same as it did the second before and I cursed it under my breath, lifting it up with the intention of checking the batteries. Reason finally came back to me, almost sending my hopes packing and I return the clock to its place bedside. After for what felt like an eternity, denial replaced my disappointment and I found my eyes drawn back to those digital orange numbers teasing me. Only the last digit had changed.
I reviewed my memory of the note, trying to remember what exactly I wrote.
Maybe I said 9:00 am? Maybe a breeze came though the window and sent the note flying off the bed, under the bed. Maybe he never saw it. Or maybe he did.
I swallowed down the lump in my throat and felt my doubts gaining steam.
He wasn’t coming. He’s never late. He’s allergic to late. Intolerant of tardy. It’s the eighth deadly sin to him.
Giles wasn’t coming.
I messed it up like I always do. With that lame note… that “come up and see me sometime” slutty note. What was I thinking? This is Giles, not some regular guy. I probably totally wigged him out. Stupid, stupid Buffy!
A creak of an old wooden floorboard outside my room sent me charging at the door. I managed to stop before colliding with the wall and waited, my doubts winning out again. I held my breath and peeked through the peephole.
It was him. Ohmygod! Ohmygod!
I waited, wanting nothing more than to pull open the door, grip his shirt and wrestle him inside. But I waited. Nothing. I peeked again. He was still there, face bowed forward so all I could see was windswept curls of grey-speckled russet filling my fish bowled view.
Waiting some more, I spent every second willing for him to knock. But it never came.
I don’t remember reaching out. I don’t remember grasping the doorknob and twisting it. But it must have happened because the next thing I knew, there I stood, face to face with Giles and not a single brain cell firing any brilliant ideas of what to do next.
“Hi.” I managed that much and with it, had overdrawn all my vocabulary abilities.
“Hi.” He responded uneasily, eyes barely able to look at me. Oh yeah, it was going well.
“You… um… whatcha doing?” I’d been reduced into a moron.
“I don’t exactly… not sure.” His forehead creased with uncertainty and I could see his thoughts churning just beyond the nervously wrinkled brow.
“You want to come in?” I tried to sound friendly but as far from needy as was humanly possible. I failed.
“I don’t know.”
“It’s not really that hard of a question, Giles.”
“You haven’t a clue how hard it is,” he said with a sigh then his eyes went wide and quickly glanced away. “Perhaps I should rephrase that.”
“Is that my note?” He said hard.
“Er… this? Actually no, this… this is a different one.”
“Is it for me?”
“I’d intended it to be, yes.”
“Can I read it?”
“You could, if only there was something written on it.” He held up the blank page then let it fall uselessly at his side. “I couldn’t think of anything. Thought my coming over here might inspire something… anything.”
“So… you gonna stay out there all night or you wanna come in?”
“More than anything.”
“Which one, Giles. There was two parts to that question. In or out? No ‘all of the above’.”
“I’m not particularly sure, at the moment.”
“As far as I know, the fate of the world is not hanging in the balance here. I’m pretty sure no apocalypses will happen either way.”
I managed to coax a smile from him. It felt good.
“Please, come in and talk.” I gestured welcomingly as I stepped aside. “Talk being the predominant word here, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“I’m not worried, Buffy. It’s just… after all these years… and to discover that you’d… well, discovered…” He glanced to the stars for help. “I’m at a loss to understand it.”
“I kinda figured that out with the ‘passing notes in class’ routine we were starting.”
“You are?” I couldn’t help my grin. “For what?”
“I… well… I don’t know, really, but I’m sure I’m at fault in this somehow.”
“For this? For what, Giles?”
He reached in his pocket and revealed my note.
“Is that something to be sorry for?” I asked, suddenly apprehensive of the answer.
“Perhaps I should come inside,” he said softly, making a point of it to avoid touching me as he entered.