These last two weeks have been the weeks from Hell at work. 60 plus hours each week, preparing for and then doing a Wall to Wall audit of my inventory for the Repair and Overhaul department.
Good news, with a $50,000 inventory, after all the pluses and minses are taken into account, we only had to write off $250.00. Best inventory ever. EVER.
Have I received any acknowledgment from the compay?
Didn't really expect too, but still. My warehouse isn't a totally secured area. The R&O department is a 24/7 operation and I am only there from 6 to 3:30 Monday thru Friday and 5 to 12 on Saturday. So the team leads of swing and graves have access to get parts, and I know they don't always leave me notes that they have taken things. That I have been able to track missing parts and get them charged to the proper units has been an ongoing struggle.
I admit it. I'm obsessive about my inventory. I'm responsible and I take the job seriously.
At least for the next two months. Then we are getting a new computer system and the R&O harware goes away. All of the hardware will belong to production, and I will go back to being a drone in the main warehouse.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Maybe I'll win the lottery tonight and I can tell them where to shove it.
ANYWAY. Enough of the feeling sorry for myself. This is such a petty problem compared to the problems of others.
I came home and crashed last night, went to bed at 9:30 and didn't get up until almost 10 today. (GASP! I took Saturday off! I thought the day shift team lead would faint when I told him I wasn't going to be there today.) Last night, just before going to bed, I was listening to a soundtrack CD from the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces and the last song on the CD, a song that's not in the movie, inspired me to write a story.
Here it is.
Title: All of My Life
Rating: FRC Totally harmless, no cussing, and no sex.
Disclaimers: I do not own the characters used in this story and I am making no profit from it. This story is purely for entertainment purposes. I do not have the right to use the song All of My Life, music by Barbra Steisand and Marvin Hamlisch, words by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. It is a special bonus song on the movie soundtrack, The Mirror Has Two Faces, a beautiful love story about someone who is afraid to reach out for the love that is right in front of them. The song inspired this story.
All of My Life
Rupert Giles was sitting behind his desk, the image of a busy executive. A tall stack of folders filled his ‘In’ box, an even taller stack filled the ‘Out’ box, and the contents of one folder was spread across his desk, ready for his inspection. Several people had stuck their heads in the door to speak with him, but had walked away in silence, not wanting to interrupt.
Looks can be deceiving, and today they were. His mind wasn’t on the papers in front of him; it was on his Slayer. Buffy.
It had been just over a month ago, when, on a typical evening alone at home there had been a knock on the door of his flat. He opened it and had been hugged within an inch of his life by Buffy and Dawn. After a few blissful moments of holding Buffy in his arms, she had pulled away and asked if he had room for two visitors. Giles had shown them to the rooms he kept prepared for them, just in case. Buffy had looked around the room, then had given him a pleased smile and another hug.
They had fallen into a pleasant routine: Giles spent the day at the new Council offices while Buffy and Dawn played tourist. They shared supper every evening, talking about what they had been doing since Sunnydale and things that had happened that day. He was beginning to grow accustomed to having them there. But, a few days ago, things had started to change.
Buffy seemed uncomfortable around him. She found excuses to go out in the evenings, leaving Dawn with him at the flat. When he tried to ask her if anything was wrong, she had blushed and stammered. Buffy. Blushing.
His head came up suddenly as he thought of what might have happened. She had started acting strange just after Andrew brought the damaged Slayer, Dana, back from LA. Andrew must have told her that Spike was alive. She was planning to go to Spike, and didn’t know how to tell him. His heart sank.
He had been lost in his own little dream world, playing house with his Slayer, pretending that she was really his. He lowered his gaze to the papers. He wondered when she would tell him she was leaving. He wondered if Dawn would be going with her, or if she would ask him to become Dawn’s guardian. Just like having Mom around, he thought bitterly.
There was the sound of a hesitant cough from the direction of the door. Giles looked up to see the object of this thoughts standing there. “Um, Giles, you got a minute?”
He waved his hand at all the folders. “I’m pretty busy right now, Buffy. Can it wait until tonight?”
Buffy gave a little shrug. “Sure, that’s what I wanted to ask you. What time do you think you’ll be home tonight? I was thinking of fixing something special and I wanted to know when to have it ready.”
Giles looked at her carefully, but she was avoiding his gaze. Wanting to butter me up, he thought, before she tells me she’s leaving. “I have made it a rule that, unless there’s an emergency, I leave every day at 5:30. I should be home around six o’clock, as usual.”
Buffy flashed him a brief smile. “Okay, see you then.” She started to leave.
“Buffy.” His voice halted her retreat. “You came all the way here to ask me that? You could have used the phone.”
“We were near here, and Dawn wanted to pop in to see Willow, so I figured two birds, one stone. Later.” She gave a wave and left quickly.
Giles stared blankly at the empty doorway. She was going to leave him again. He was sure of it. For a moment, a very brief moment, he considered not going home tonight. But he couldn’t do that to her. Bloody fool, he told himself. Have you no self-respect?
He angrily returned to the paperwork, cutting through it with ruthless efficiency. He cleared his desk long before 5:30, but stayed there, wishing, hoping even, that something would come up that required his attention. Nothing did.
At 5:30 precisely he snapped his briefcase closed and left the Council building. Following his usual routine he walked to the nearest underground station and took the tube home. He walked up the steps and opened the outer door to the building vestibule at 5:55.
He was nearly run over as Willow and Dawn exited.
“Sorry,” Willow began, then recognized him. “Oh, hi, Giles. And bye, Giles. We’re on our way out.”
Giles frowned slightly. “Dawn, I thought Buffy said she was fixing something special tonight. Aren’t you staying?”
Dawn and Willow exchanged a look. “Um, no. Buffy said she wanted to have a little Watcher/Slayer bonding time with you. Willow and I are going to have a girl’s night in. Movies and ice cream. See you tomorrow.” The two girls gave a quick wave, rushed down the steps, and hurried away.
Giles’ shoulders slumped as he entered the elevator for the brief ride to his floor. Now he was sure she was leaving. She didn’t want Dawn to witness the argument that she was afraid would happen. When the elevator stopped, he straightened. There would be no argument. He would be understanding and supportive. Then he would go to his room and drink himself to sleep. Giles walked down the hall and entered his flat.
He closed the door and placed his briefcase on the side table. “Buffy,” he called. Nothing. He sniffed the air, but couldn’t smell anything cooking. He frowned and walked into the living room. A fire was burning in the fireplace and lit candles were scattered around the room. In the center of the coffee table was a small CD player. Next to it was a piece of paper with the words ‘Press Play’ written on it. “Buffy,” he called again, but there was still no answer.
Giles felt a surge of rage. She wasn’t even going to tell him to his face that she was leaving. She had made a recording. He felt like taking the little player and throwing it against the wall. He was even reaching for it, when the sight of his trembling hand stopped him.
Giles stood upright, drawing in deep breaths. When he felt he was back in control, he leaned over and pressed the ‘play’ button on the machine. Instead of Buffy’s voice, he heard piano music and a woman crooning. The woman began to sing.
I was alone
You were alone
Parallel lines that touched one another.
Just feeling our way,
Lost in the dark,
Drawn to each other.
A slight movement in the corner of his eye had Giles turning his head. A small part of his mind acknowledged that the singer was Barbra Streisand. The sight of Buffy standing in the doorway captured the rest of his attention. For just an instant he didn’t recognize her. Instead of the carefree girl of the past few weeks, a woman stood there, in a simple, yet sophisticated, black dress. As the song continued, she walked slowly across the room towards him.
So much to say,
So much to do.
So much of you for me to discover.
Like what makes you laugh,
What makes you cry—
How does a friend become a lover too?
Giles’ heart began to pound. Buffy walked up to him, placing her left hand in his right and sliding her right arm around him. He stood there, not sure what was happening. Buffy laid her head on his shoulder and nudged him gently. He put his left arm around her, tucking her close, and began to move to the music.
I’ve waited all of my life to find
Someone who’d need my heart and read my mind.
To light my days and warm my nights
Someone I know I could call
My someone for all my life.
The voice stopped, leaving the soft music, and Giles pulled away slightly to look down at the blonde head nestling against his chest. He opened his mouth to speak, but Buffy looked up at him and slid her hand up to lay a finger against his lips. She placed her head back on his shoulder, leaving her arm around his neck. As the song continued, her fingers gently played with the hair on his nape. Giles shuddered as arousal flooded through him.
Looking at you
Looking at me.
Loving the look of love that I see there.
I find when I look deep in your eyes
Reflections of me there.
Giles stopped dancing and cupped the back of her head, titling it so he could see her face. Buffy smiled at him, though her eyes were filled with tears. She pulled his head down and gently kissed him.
I’ve waited all of my life to find
Someone who’d need my heart and read my mind.
To light my days, and warm my nights
Now all at once in your arms, everything’s new,
All that I feel tells me it’s true.
All that I ask is all of my life with you.
The song drew to a close and silence filled the flat. Giles was sure he had fallen asleep at his desk and was dreaming. Since this was a dream, he intended to make the most of it. He ran his tongue over her lips, urging them to open. When they did, he deepened the kiss, tightening his arms around her.
Long moments later he released her mouth and took a deep breath. He slid his lips down her neck, pressing kisses along the way. He encountered cloth, the strap of her dress, and nuzzled it to the side.
Buffy drew in a shuddering breath. “Oh, God, Rupert. That feels so good.”
The use of his proper name startled him, and he drew back. Buffy blinked dazed eyes at him, panting slightly. She gulped, drew in a deep breath, and blushed as she smiled at him. “Wow. I have so been kissing the wrong guys.”
Giles blinked a little too, now not so sure that this was a dream. In his dreams Buffy would have declared her undying love and started ripping his clothes off by now. He pinched himself. That hurt. He was awake.
Buffy was looking at him anxiously. She waved her hand in front of his face. “Earth to Giles. Are you in there?” He nodded. Her expression grew fearful. “Were they wrong? Don’t you love me?”
Giles gave a little shake of his head. “Was who wrong? And of course I love you, you know that.”
“Willow and Dawn, and I don’t mean that kind of love. I mean,” she hesitated and turned pink again, “I mean you and me and smoochies.” She made a face. “Oh, great way to prove I’m grown up. I can’t even explain it right.”
“What kind of love?” he asked softly.
Buffy swallowed hard and looked away. In a low voice she said, “The way you loved Jenny. The way you love Olivia.”
“I’m sorry, Buffy, but I can’t love you like that.”
He saw her face pale, and she turned away, staring out of the window. Giles moved behind her. He put his arms around her and pulled her back against his chest. He leaned forward to whisper in her ear. “I didn’t love Jenny. I was certainly attracted to her and if we had had the time, I probably would have fallen in love with her, but it wasn’t to be. Love has never been a part of my arrangement with Olivia. We’re just two friends who enjoy each other. So you see, I can’t feel about you the way I felt about them. You are much more important to me.”
Buffy gave a sob and turned in his arms, clutching him tightly. Giles held her just as fiercely. In a voice choked with emotion he managed to ask, “When?”
“When did I realize that I love you?” Buffy felt his body move as he nodded. “A little over a week ago. That night Dawn and I came home from the movies and Olivia was here. She gave me that smug little smile and I almost decked her.”
Giles drew back and looked down at her incredulously. He remembered that evening. Liv had dropped in and asked him if he was interested in going to Paris with her. When he turned her down, they had spent a pleasant evening talking about mutual friends. He hadn’t noticed any difference in Buffy’s behavior when she and Dawn arrived. “You were jealous of Liv?”
Buffy nodded. “And it wasn’t the first time, either. When I was thinking about why I was so upset that she was here, I realized that I was jealous the other time too.”
Giles couldn’t remember that Olivia had visited them before that night. “Other time?”
Buffy looked away again. “Back in Sunnydale.”
“Four years ago?”
“Yeah, but major denial girl here. I wouldn’t admit, even to myself, that that was why I was upset. I had to put the blame on you in some way.” She finally looked back at him, her eyes filled with sorrow. “I wasted so much time, for both of us. Can you forgive me? Can you still love me? Dawn said you used to, and Willow was pretty sure you still did. They gave me hope, and the courage to try this.” She waved her hand at the room.
“I have loved you in one form or other since the day we met. At first it was the love of a Watcher for his Slayer. I was so proud of you, of the way you faced your destiny. My feelings began to change, but like you I denied it, until the night of your 18th birthday. When that idiot Travers said that my love for you was that of a father for his daughter, I realized just how wrong he was. That was part of why I tried to push you away when you started college. It was just a coincidence that Olivia was there. I didn’t want you to need me as your Watcher. I wanted you to see me as a man. To need me as a man. But I also made mistakes, and we both paid for them.” He pulled Buffy back into his arms.
“So the reason you’re been acting odd the last couple of weeks was because you realized you loved me not because of Spike.” The instant the words were out, Giles knew he had made a mistake.
“Spike? What could Spike have to do with anything? He’s dead.”
“Um, actually he’s not.”
Buffy pulled away, looking up at him in disbelief. “I saw the light destroying him as I left. He couldn’t have survived that. If someone told you that Spike is still alive, they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Giles drew a deep breath and looked away. He said, “Spike was sent back by the Powers. He’s working with Angel in Los Angeles. Andrew told me when he came back, and I called Angel to confirm the fact.”
Giles worked up the courage to look back at Buffy. She was just staring at him with this strange look on her face. “Spike was sent back and no one thought to tell me?”
“Andrew and Angel both said that Spike didn’t want anyone to tell you. He didn’t want you to come to see him out of some sense of duty.”
“Not that I necessarily want to see him at all, but it should have been my choice to make.”
“I know, I’m sorry. What can I say, I was jealous. I was afraid you would go to him and I would lose what little I had of you.”
“See, this is why we needed to sit down and talk a long time ago. We both made too many assumptions. No more assuming, and no more secrets. We discuss things. Okay?” Buffy pulled him back into her arms for another hug.
A sudden gurgling sound broke the silence. Buffy giggled and pulled away. “Is your stomach trying to tell us something?”
Giles grimaced. “I thought I was getting a special supper, so I didn’t eat lunch.” He looked down at her. “You did say you were fixing something special, didn’t you?”
Buffy flushed. “I tried, but I was so nervous that I forgot the differences in British and American oven temperatures and it was ruined. Willow came over and magicked the smell out of the apartment before you got home.”
Giles smiled. “Then you decide where you want to go while I run up and change.” He gave her a quick peck on the lips and started to leave the room. He halted in the doorway and said, without turning around, “Buffy, I think you should pack a bag and spend the night with Willow.” He hurried away.
Buffy stood there, stunned. Hurt flooded through her. She started to follow him, when the answer came to her. He didn’t want to rush. He wanted to prove to her how important she was to him by not jumping into bed at the first opportunity. Buffy smiled. He didn’t trust himself to be alone with her tonight.
When Giles returned to the living room ten minutes later, Buffy was blowing out the last of the candles. The gas fireplace had already been turned off. A nylon overnight bag was sitting by the front door. He gave a sigh of relief. She understood.
Buffy walked over to him, sliding her arms around his neck and pulling his head down for a quick kiss. “It’s okay, we’ll do this your way. But I won’t change my mind. So, whenever you're ready, I’m ready.” She pulled back and picked up the bag. “I had planned lasagna for supper, so how does Italian sound?”
Giles put his arm around her waist and led her out of the flat. “It will be soon, Love, I just need a little time. It’s not everyday that a man finds all of his wishes coming true. Italian sounds fine for supper.” They walked to the elevator and entered.
Just as the doors closed Buffy said, “So the Powers sent Spike back. And he’s working with Angel? Poor Angel. He must be driving him crazy.” The two laughed as the elevator descended.