With a strangled growl, Angel rolled off his wife and stared blindly up at the ceiling, his features set in a scowl. Buffy propped herself up on one elbow and looked at him quizzically. It was a lazy Sunday morning, things had been going well. Now this.
“I can’t do this with her watching,” Angel grumbled.
Turning, Buffy looked at Trixie who was sitting right next to the bed, staring up at Her Most Beloved Mistress and The Vile Creature. Trixie blinked placidly, licking her chops before panting happily.
“You, Mr. Candid Camera, can’t perform in front of a dog?” Buffy asked wryly. “You video taped every sordid thing we did to each other for almost two years.”
“That was different.”
“Video cameras don’t stare back at you.”
Rolling her eyes, Buffy ordered, “Trixie, go find your bear.”
Trixie continued to pant and eased down onto the carpet, relaxing for a lengthy stay. She knew exactly where bear was. She hid bear from The Vile Creature. The Vile Creature liked to steal bear and throw bear in strange places like the swimming pool or the street out in front of the house where the Giant Metal Mice of Doom zoomed to and fro. Once The Vile Creature threw bear outside in the rain. When she went out to get him, The Vile Creature locked her outside. She retaliated by peeing in The Vile Creature’s shoes.
“She doesn’t like me.”
“Angel, she’s a dog. Dogs like people. You’re being weird.”
Trixie loathed The Vile Creature. He would attack Her Most Beloved Mistress and rub against her until Her Most Beloved Mistress screamed. The Giver of the Treats never did that. But now The Giver of the Treats was gone and only The Vile Creature was around. Trixie didn’t understand why Her Most Beloved Mistress didn’t take The Vile Creature to The Place of Pain and get him fixed like Sampson next door. Sampson used to rub against things and then he went to The Place of Pain. Now Sampson just sat in the sun and ate. The Vile Creature really liked to rub against Her Most Beloved Mistress.
Buffy reached for Angel, her fingertips tickling down his chest and stomach to the line of coarse hair that disappeared beneath the sheet. Angel grabbed her wrist. “Not with the rat in here,” he said firmly.
Throwing back the sheet with a huff, Buffy got out of bed and scooped up Trixie. Trixie happily licked Her Most Beloved Mistress’s face. They were leaving The Vile Creature. It was a triumph! Though Trixie did find it a bit weird that Her Most Beloved Mistress wasn’t wearing any clothes.
Buffy pulled open the bedroom door and set Trixie on the floor in the hallway. She patted her on the head and closed the door.
Trixie stared at the closed door. Defeat was not acceptable. The Vile Creature kept his Black Skin of Doom in the closet by the front door. Sometimes they forgot to close the door.
Angel grinned as Buffy returned to bed. He pulled on her wrist, tumbling her down on top of him. Buffy moved to kiss him and he turned away.
“What?” she snapped.
“You just kissed that rat,” he groused.
She stared at him blankly. “You honestly want me to believe that dog saliva is the grossest thing you’ve ever had in your mouth?”
He frowned, but she ignored him, grabbing his face and shoving her tongue down his throat. He didn’t fight. He merely kissed her back, rolling her underneath him and thrusting home. She broke off the kiss to moan, arching against him. He kissed her neck, one of his hands palming her breast as he slowly moved in and out of her body. “Gods I love Sundays,” he groaned.
Joey was stretched out on the sofa watching television when Angel, freshly showered, made it downstairs. Buffy was curled up in the oversized armchair eating a bowl of cereal and reading through the newspaper. Angel snagged a couple of the sections his wife was finished with and picked up Joey’s feet before sinking down on the end of the sofa and re-depositing them in his lap.
For a very long time, the only sound was of newspaper crinkling, the television chattering and the clink of Buffy’s spoon against the bowl.
“Dad, when can I get a car?”
“As soon as hell freezes over,” Angel answered automatically without turning to look at Joey.
She kicked him in the thigh. “Come on,” she whined. “Em got one.”
“Em,” Angel said, frowning as he thought about his granddaughter, “is six years older than you.”
Joey sat up, staring at her father. “Yeah, but she had one when she was my age.”
“No, Joey. End of story,” he said firmly.
She huffed, turning her attention back to the television.
“Hello, baby,” Buffy crooned. “What did you bring Mommy? Oh that’s ... uh ... “
Angel turned and looked at the rat. The picture wasn’t registering. The rat had something in its mouth. Something that looked a lot like a strip of black leather. But where would she find leather? He and Buffy kept all of the erotic paraphernalia on the top shelf of their closet.
With a yelp, Buffy picked up Trixie and ran.
Angel watched as his wife slammed and locked the bathroom door. His brow was furrowed. Turning, he saw a trail of more leather. He stood up and followed it ... to the hall closet ... to the shredded remains of his favorite leather duster.
The roar of pain and fury could be heard for blocks.
Angel tore through the closet, looking for his golf clubs. “Trixie, you nasty little rat,” he bellowed, “do you know about the time I nailed a puppy to my obsession’s front door?”
“Dad,” Joey said very calmly, “you can’t beat Mom’s rat – er – dog to death with your favorite putter.”
“The fuck I can’t,” he cursed, fighting to pull the club out of the bag.
“Dad,” Joey repeated, “you can’t beat Mom’s dog to death.”
Turning, he glowered at his daughter. “You know, the last time I checked, I was the parent.”
“Yeah,” she snorted, “the psycho parent. Why are you so upset anyway? You never wear that coat.”
He sighed in exasperation, throwing the club to the floor. “Wearing it is not the point,” he explained shortly. “It’s the principal of the matter. That coat has a lot of memories.”
“Of what? Murdering people?”
“That’s it,” he snapped, “you’re not allowed to go over to Connor’s house again.”
She frowned at him, obviously not worried by this threats. “Since you and mom can’t have more kids, he’s the only family I have,” she said seriously. “Are you really going to tell me that I can’t hang out with Molly anymore? She’s my best friend.”
Sobered by Joey’s words, Angel took a deep breath. “No, of course, I don’t mean that,” he said quietly. Molly, Connor’s youngest daughter, and Joey were almost the same age. The two of them were very close and as much as Angel didn’t get along with his son, he was infinitely grateful for Joey and Molly’s attachment in so much as it kept Connor in his life.
“So, can I have a car?” Joey chirped, hoping to catch him at a weak moment.
He ran his hand over his stubble-roughened cheek and surveyed the damage. With a sigh, he put the putter back in the golf bag and put the bag back in the closet. Then he began the painful task of disposing of what remained of his beloved duster. He wouldn’t kill the rat. He wouldn’t. But he made no promises about kicking it.
Angel groaned again. Okay, he wouldn’t punt the rat either, regardless of how desperately the dog needed it. But only because he loved his wife more than life itself. He hated the rat. He despised it. If anything happened to Buffy, the rat was going to be right on her heels.
Angel didn’t understand Buffy’s fascination with the nasty, ugly little dog. He understood the void that Trixie had filled for Buffy, but he didn’t know why she couldn’t have just gotten a cat. Though if he admitted it to himself, Angel was happy that Buffy had both Joey and Trixie. The year that they got married would have been damn near impossible without both of them to distract Buffy.
In all the time they were having their affair, Buffy made it clear that as long as Angel was careful with his other lovers, that he didn’t have to use condoms with her. Angel just figured she was on the Pill. It wasn’t until after they reconciled that she finally admitted there was more to it than that. In her mid-twenties, Buffy made the decision that life sucked beyond bearing. She decided she never wanted children. She had a tubal ligation.
Cut to twenty years later, Buffy in her mid-forties, happily married to her soulmate, eager to add to her family. After months of meeting with doctors and painful surgical procedures, they were finally informed that it was never going to happen. Buffy was beside herself, consumed with guilt. She wanted to be able to give Angel a child. Angel tried to assure her that he already had two children, Connor and Joey. He told her that he would love to have a child with her, but that he didn’t feel incomplete without one. He said he really didn’t want to be the weird old guy at his eldest grandchild’s high school graduation holding his newborn baby. Buffy laughed. It didn’t reach her eyes.
For months, Buffy curled up with that damn rat. Trixie shadowed her everywhere, Buffy’s constant companion, distracting her when things got to be too much. One day, Angel came home from dropping Joey at soccer practice and found Buffy trying to coax Trixie out from one of the crawl spaces. Trixie wouldn’t come. Buffy burst into tears and went to bed without a word. Angel stood in the middle of the living room. A couple minutes later, Trixie came out of the crawl space. She walked over to him and dropped something at his feet before padding off to her food bowl. Angel leaned down and picked up the razor blade.
For that reason and that reason
alone, he would not beat the rat to death. But it didn’t mean he liked
Trixie. And it didn’t mean the war was over.
feedback to indie