Making the Rent
by tango and indie
Part 2




After he had finished making her eat as much food as he could, he followed her back into the bedroom.  He gathered his sketchbook and sat down, sneaking glances as she laid back in his warm bed and stifled a yawn.  He frowned slightly, watching her rub her belly as if she expected a rounded Buddha belly in place of the sunken in look.  A frightening yet not completely unsatisfying vision of feeding her chocolate covered strawberries in bed sprang to his mind as he realized just how thin she had become lately.

He began to sketch her again, getting lost in her beauty, occasionally stopping to sip at his cooling coffee.  Her eyes were closed and Angel knew she had fallen asleep, but kept sketching.  Buffy contented and asleep in his bed was one of the most glorious vistas upon which his eyes had ever fallen.  It was close to midnight before he set the sketchpad aside, trying to ignore the uncomfortable tightness in the front of his pants.  He couldn't help but smile as Buffy let out a little snore, rolling over and burrowing deeper into the covers.

He should wake her up and send her back to her own apartment.  He should.  It would be the right thing to do.  On the other hand, the wrong thing to do would be to turn the thermostat down, change into a pair of threadbare pajama bottoms, crawl into bed and spoon himself around the beautiful, naked blonde.  But as he did it, it sure didn't feel wrong.  Buffy automatically curled back against him, sighing as he wrapped his arms around her waist.

He wanted to run his hands over every inch of her silky soft, golden skin, but he refrained.  He didn't want to risk waking her up.  He was already going to have a hell of a time in the morning explaining why he crawled in bed with her in the first place.  But he was confident in his ability to lie on the spot, a craft honed in early adolescence.  Closing his eyes, with a smile still planted on his face, he snuggled against her happily and fell asleep.

***

Buffy could feel the sunlight warming her face from the nearby window and she snuggled in deeper.  It wasn't every day that she woke up in the morning to the sunshine.  Besides the fact that her bed was on the opposite side of the window, she always had to get up way before the sun rose.   It was nice being bathed in warmth, snuggled in a bed so comfortable it couldn't possibly be her narrow twin...with a large firm body against...

Oh gods.

Buffy opened her eyes and closed them again quickly.  It only took a second to realize just what bed she was in and whose sexy bare chest was against her naked back.  His arm was slung around her waist, keeping her pinned against him and she thankfully noted that he wasn't completely naked when she felt the brush of his groin against her, covered in what felt like extremely thin cotton.  She took a deep breath and began to move slowly across the bed.  Inching.  Inching was the key.  She made it half a foot from Angel when he pulled her back against him, nuzzling against her neck.

"Not yet, love," he murmured into her hair, talking in his sleep.

Buffy froze, trying not to breathe.  Oh gods, could this get more embarrassing?  No doubt she had fallen asleep last night in the middle of her sitting.  The thought made her nauseas.  Had she snored?  Oh gods, she probably snored.  And drooled.  She knew there had to be drool.  She wished she were a snail so she could just crawl back inside her shell.  Obviously she had looked so pathetic passed out in Angel's bed - after he fed her - that he just let her sleep.  She was doing a great job of surviving on her own, oh yes she was.  Angel had to hate this, his best friend's bratty little sister mooching off of him for a place to stay, eating all his food, sleeping in his bed.  She felt like Goldilocks.  And now he was in the middle of some dream, probably about that skank, Darla, and was grabbing the nearest warm body.

Very carefully, she tried to move away from Angel again.  He grumbled in his sleep, rolling her onto her back underneath him, forcing one of his legs between her thighs as his hand descended over one of her breasts.  He smiled in his sleep, snuggling closer against her.

Despite all the warning bells going off in her head, telling her that she needed to get out of that bed, Buffy couldn't ignore the fact that she had lusted after Angel from the moment she hit puberty.  He was a god, all broad shoulders and dark eyes with a body that - oh gods, it was pressed against her and she swallowed so hard it was audible.  The thought of his body made her weak.  The reality of it pressed against her made her want to weep for joy.  There was no way she could capture Angel's attention.  He liked older, sophisticated - slutty - women.  What could she, a nineteen-year-old virgin, possibly have to offer him?  Nothing.  But it didn't stop her from dreaming.

She turned her head, his sleeping face on the pillow a mere hair's breadth from her own.  He was so damn beautiful.  The sunlight streaming through the window caressed his face, making him look like a real angel.  She couldn't help it, she reached out, gently tracing the line of his jaw with her fingertips.  What would it be like to wake up with him after a night of passion?  What would it be like to really be with him?  A wistful sigh escaped her lips and Angel's eyes fluttered open.

Buffy went deathly still.  He blinked, obviously disoriented, but quickly recovered.  He looked at her and down at their intertwined bodies.  His dark eyes once again met hers and she waited for the inevitable embarrassment, the rejection.

It never came.

He moved only slightly, but it was more than enough to close the distance between them and then his lips were on hers, gently coaxing.  Buffy whimpered, parting her lips for him and the sound seemed to spur him on.  His hand tightened on her breast, moving down to cup it while he gently pinched her nipple.  She arched into his touch, her legs instinctively tightening around his invading thigh.  He rumbled deep in his chest, a sound of pure masculine satisfaction.  He pushed himself up, maneuvering himself over her, urging her to part her thighs far enough to accommodate his hips.  She did so eagerly, gasping as he came to rest against her, his erection prodding against her most sensitive places.  His hands slid up to grip the sides of her face, holding her still as his mouth attacked her with raw passion.  Her hands played over his back, her short nails digging into the corded muscle, tracing over the shoulder blade that she knew bore his tattoo - the same tattoo she had dreamed of touching for years.

"Angel?  You still in bed?"

Buffy and Angel both froze, staring at each other in alarm.  "It's your brother," Angel said in a frantic whisper.  He glanced over his shoulder.  Dammit, he hadn't closed the bedroom door last night like he always did when he had overnight guests.

Buffy made a helpless sound and Angel crawled off of her, snatching the voluminous comforter off the floor and throwing it over her as he shoved her under the covers.  He sat on the edge of the bed and reached behind him to make sure the lump in the covers that made up Buffy was directly behind him.  Then he raised his arms over his head, stretched and yawned.  "In here, Wes," Angel said inside his yawn.  He thought about walking out into the living room but his rock hard erection made him decide a different course of action.  He leaned over with his elbows on his knees, rubbed his eyes and attempted to look more tired and less aroused as his friend made it into the bedroom and leaned against the door.

"I suppose you forgot our breakfast this morning?" Wesley said, staying just outside. "At least that's the clue I'm picking up."

"Powerful ability to pick up the obvious you got there." Angel muttered, "Yes, I forgot.  Completely."

"Well, get in the shower," Wes clipped, "I'm famished and the gallery owner is not going to wait forever to discuss your work."

"The gallery owner is your mother," Angel said wryly.

"Chop, chop," Wesley chirped before heading into the living room.  Angel tiptoed to the door and looked out to see that Wesley was carrying the newspaper in from the hallway and setting it on the table.  Wesley would start the coffee next.  His friend was entirely too predictable and he made a mental note to thank him for it later.

Angel swung the door shut and hurried back to the bed, flinging off the covers and scooping Buffy into his arms.  He rushed to the bathroom and ignored the wild look on her face as he locked them both in there. Her clothes were still sitting in a neatly folded pile on the edge of the counter.  He placed her on her feet and immediately turned on the water.  She assumed he set it to cover their voices, but she watched as he adjusted the temperature before turning to face her.

"What are we going to do?" she whispered, trying to read the crazed look in his eyes.  He towered over her in the small bathroom, standing less than a foot away and she stared at his bare chest for a moment, dealing with the fact that, if she wanted to, she could just lean in and lick it.  The urge to do so was nearly overwhelming.

"I don't know," he whispered hoarsely, stepping closer.  He threaded his fingers through her tousled hair and she made herself stare at him rather than glancing in the mirror.  She knew she looked awful.  Somehow standing in front of him nude was different than posing.  She felt...more naked.  It was impossible to think otherwise...or think at all when his lips were moving closer and closer to hers.

"What are you doing?" she whispered frantically as she realized that not only was she still naked and in full view of Angel, with her brother making coffee in the next room, but he was going to kiss her again.  He was going to kiss her while she was naked again.  He lowered his lips to hers, pulling her body against him and wrapped his arms around her.

"I don't know," he growled.  And he didn't.  He was completely fucking clueless to why he wasn't being smarter about this.  He could hurry in the shower while Buffy got dressed and get Wesley out of there before her brother figured anything out, but that's not what he wanted to do at all.  He wanted to strip off his pajama pants and make love to her under the warm spray before he took her to bed and made love to her again.

"Wesley..." Buffy reminded him against his lips, forgetting the rest of the sentence as he plunged his tongue into her mouth.  Gods, he tasted so good, even first thing in the morning.

"My name is not Wesley," Angel purred, kissing down her neck, enjoying the feel of her full breasts pressing against his chest.

Not Wesley indeed.  As if she could ever mistake this sexy masculine creature kissing her for her brother.  While her mother - and yes, Wesley - seemed to encourage it, she had never been able to think of Angel as a brother.  She couldn't.  The mere sight of him had always made her blood boil.  And now here he was kissing her like he had the same reaction.  It was overwhelming.

She broke the kiss, turning half away from him, panting harshly.  Angel didn't release her, his lips slid over her neck, her shoulder.  His hands caressed her naked body and she almost wept with want.  But they couldn't do this, Wesley was in the next room.  She twisted again, grabbing his face and forcing him to look at her.  "Wesley will kill me," she said firmly.

Angel looked at her with such naked longing she thought her heart might break, but then he pulled away, cursing as he paced around the small room, muttering to himself and dragging a hand through his hair.  He laughed wryly to himself, bracing his hands against the vanity.  "I'm the one he would kill," Angel said, "you would merely get The Look."

Angel grabbed her clothes, balling them in his fist before handing them to her without looking at her.  The steam from the shower was already fogging the mirror, so his view of her reflection was obscured.  "Put those on before I do something we'll both regret," he snapped.

Buffy took her clothes, watching as he turned and shucked off his pajama bottoms before stepping into the shower.  She couldn't exactly leave, so after getting dressed, she sat there on the toilet as he quickly washed himself.  She couldn't help herself from admiring his backside as he washed his hair.  As he slid the shower door open, she handed him a towel, averting her eyes.

He wrapped the towel around his hips and cracked open the door.  He could hear Wesley flipping through channels on the television and knew he had to be standing in the living room since he'd forgotten to change the batteries in the remote.  He ushered Buffy out into the hall in front of him, snuck her out the front door and was back in the bathroom putting gel in his hair without Wesley ever being the wiser.

***

Buffy missed her first class that morning and the better part of her morning shift at the library by the time she made it to campus.  She worked and went to classes and then applied for several jobs in the surrounding area.  Two of them were waiting tables and one was at the gas station directly adjacent to the east side of the campus.  She was worried about that one, not entirely sure she wanted to be stuck in a metal box where she handed people money through a little drawer and talked to them through a piece of bulletproof glass.

It was past 9 PM when she finally made it home to her apartment.  She was starving and it was becoming hard to concentrate.  She was dreaming about all those steaming trays of food in the two restaurants she visited.  It was much safer than thinking about what had clouded her mind for the majority of the day - Angel and his hot, probing kisses, his tight buns of steel through the steamed glass of the shower door, not to mention those talented, wandering hands...

She strolled in her apartment and flipped on the light.  She would have gladly mugged someone for a day old cup of coffee and a stale piece of toast.  Instead she poured herself a glass of tap water, thinking of her mother's Brita pitcher with longing, and sat down to flip through her mail.  The University had sent her pay stub as they did every month after direct depositing her salary.  The meager amount made her want to cry.  If she underpaid her electricity bill, she could get a little food to tide her over and put gas in her car.  Nearly all the rest went to Angel and with the three hundred he would pay her she could buy a few other things she needed with what was leftover after rent- which wasn't much.

The third envelope in the pile had her first name only printed on it in a heavy, slanted script that she recognized as Angel's.  She hesitated before opening it.  She was starving to death, broke as hell, her feet hurt and she didn't want to read a note where he told her that this morning had been a big, hormonal mistake and that she was a little sister to him...blah, blah, blah, bliddity, blah.  She would rather study than deal with that sort of note, but she knew that she had to read it.

"Buffy," it said in masculine black letters, "Please come up when you have a chance."  That was it.  No I don't like you anymore or your brother's gonna kill me or you're just a flat-chested virgin with no ability to please a stud like me.  Nothing.  Just an amicable looking "A" at the bottom.  Great, he wanted to insult her to her face.  Lovely.

***

When Angel answered the door, his expression was guarded.  He stepped aside and she entered.  Her body language was awkward as she braced herself for either insult or rejection - both actually.  Angel merely nodded her over to the sofa.  She waited for him to take a seat before she lowered herself into the leather armchair.

He was fidgeting.  Angel never fidgeted, but he couldn't seem to keep his hands still and his gaze would lock with hers and then flick away.  "You wanted to see me," Buffy finally prompted when the strained silence got to be too much.

"Uh, yeah.  Yes," Angel said, mentally berating himself for being such a spaz.  "I wanted to give you this."  And with that he handed her another envelope in the same buttery yellow parchment as his earlier note.

Buffy's brow creased in a frown, but she accepted the envelope, clutching it in her hands.

"Open it," Angel said somewhat impatiently.

Frowning, Buffy opened the envelope and felt like an idiot when she saw it was cash.  He just wanted to pay her.  She felt like smacking herself in the forehead.  Of course, if he was paying her, that must mean he was done ... which was a rather unpleasant thought.  For as uncomfortable as she felt right now, she still liked the idea of being near Angel, of having an excuse to see him - to be in his bed.  "Thanks," she said with a tight smile.  "If you ever need another model, you know where I live."

"I'm not going to pay you to pose for me again," he said firmly.

Oh, this was the crushing rejection part of the evening.  She was actually glad she hadn't eaten or she was fairly sure his blunt setdown might have made her vomit.  "Oh," she said quietly, "I see."

With a frustrated noise, he stood up, staring down at her with a scowl.  "No you don't see," he said.  "I'm paying you, ending our business agreement, because the next time you're naked in my bed, I want to know that you're there because you want to be there and not because of money."

"Next time," she parroted, wide-eyed.  She was certain that he could see her gulping for air and swallowing it harshly but she couldn't help it.  There was no way he meant what it sounded like he meant.

"Yes, next time," he answered, moving a bit closer until she was craning her neck to look up at him.  "I want to take you out to dinner tonight," he added more quietly, reaching down and trailing his fingers over her face and stopping to cup her chin.  "After this morning, I think it'd be a good idea to spend some more time getting to know each other."

"We've known each other for a really long time," she said, feeling like a moron for the trembling in her voice because she meant exactly what she said.  She had known Angel for so long she barely remembered not knowing him.  He had dinners with their family, came to Christmas, Turkey Day, the whole shebang.  She knew him, lusted after him, fantasized about doing much more than what happened this morning and yet she couldn't seem to meet his eyes without her knees feeling rubbery.  Not that her knees didn't feel rubbery before...but still.

"I think we both know there's a difference between then and now," he answered huskily.  Just as he was about to kiss her, her stomach roared.  Angel's brow wrinkled as he frowned at her tummy and then looked back up at her face.

"Guess my stomach agrees with your plan for the night," Buffy joked.  "Where do you want to go to eat?"

"Anywhere you want," Angel said, still frowning, "And while we're there we can discuss your money issues and why you think paying me rent is more important than eating."

***

Angel frowned as he pulled his black Mercedes up in front of a club called "The Bronze".  It looked loud and one quick glance at the Marquee informed him that it was an all ages club.  He was used to a different type of place, ones with forty-dollar cover charges and adults only.  However, Buffy assured him that the kitchen was of the good and frankly if it would make her happy, he would have taken her to Chuck E. Cheez.

They gave their orders to the bartender and found a secluded red velvet sofa tucked away in a corner.  There was no band tonight so it would probably be slow.  Most of the patrons seemed to be studying while they nursed various coffee concoctions though a few inspired lovebirds were swaying on the dance floor to the canned music.

Buffy was completely confused about just what Angel was up to and couldn't imagine that he could have possibly meant that she was going to be in his bed again.  Well, maybe one more time but he surely didn't mean they were going to date.  Did she want to be just a one night stand?  For Angel, hell yes.  Only, screwing her brother's best friend and being tossed out with the rest of the skanks was not the best way to encourage jolly feelings when they had to see each other at Christmas.  The really sad part was that she knew she would do it anyway.

When the food was served, Angel finally spoke for the first time since they arrived.  He had a plate balanced on his lap and was watching Buffy dive into her burger and fries.  She groaned in delight with the first bite and then looked over at Angel self-consciously.  He was watching her and chewing slowly.  It was unnerving.

"You can't afford to pay rent, Buffy," he said finally.

"I can," she argued trying to keep her voice from shaking, "I just need to be a few days late this month, Angel.  I'm getting another job and I'll pay you, I promise."

"No," he said, shaking his head and setting his plate on the coffee table in front of him.  "You can't pay rent.   You obviously aren't eating and you don't look healthy.  No, I'm sorry, but our current arrangement is not working out."

"I can pay," she shot back trying to will the desperation from her voice, "I promise.  I won't let you let me live there for free, it wouldn't be making it on my own.  If Wesley finds out, he'll tell our parents."

"I'm not offering to let you live there for free," he answered quietly.  "You've made it clear that it isn't an option."

"You're kicking me out?" she gasped.  Crocodile tears swam behind her hazel eyes and her plate slid precariously close to falling off her lap.  "Angel-" she started.

"I want you to pack up your things," he said slowly and firmly, "and I will have them moved to my apartment."

"What?"  Buffy stared at him blankly.  He hadn't just said that, had he?  Angel owned the building and his apartment was nice, but it was still just an apartment.  The layout wasn't platonic roommate friendly, about that much, she was certain.  There was only one bed in his bedroom.

He looked at her seriously.  Blunt.  He had to be blunt.  He respected her far too much to play any games and he couldn't risk her misunderstanding him.  "I know it's a rush," he said, somewhat awkwardly.  "I wish I had the option of going slower, of wooing you, but that's not in the cards.  Your financial situation is bordering on disastrous.  Drastic measures need to be taken, and quickly or you're going to starve yourself or get murdered in a robbery at one of your jobs.  In your position you don't have many options.  You can move back in with your parents - which I already know you're not going to do; you can live in your current apartment rent free - which I know your pride won't allow you to do; or you can move in with me - which common sense would dictate you not to do, but which I really hope you want to do because I sure as hell want you to do it."

Lest she drop her plate, she set it on the table next to his and self-consciously wiped her hands on her napkin.  She shot him a sidelong glance, worrying her bottom lip with her teeth.  "You want me to move in with you?" she asked.  "Like move in, move in?"

"As in be my lover?" he asked.  "Yes."

Buffy flushed at his words.  Angel's lover.  The mere idea of it made her stomach clench with desire.

He reached over, gently stroking her cheek with the tips of his fingers.  "I know it's a bad idea," he said truthfully.  "Wesley is my best friend in the world.  He's like a brother to me.  Your family is the only one I've ever known.  I also know that none of them would take our involvement well.  Wesley will likely try to kill me.  But knowing all of this, I still can't stop myself," he admitted.  "When I woke up with you this morning ." he trailed off, a look of naked longing on his classical features.  "I want more mornings like that, Buffy.  I need them."

She wrapped her hand around his much larger one, holding it to her face.  Her tongue darted out to lick her lips and she said breathily, "I . uh, don't know what to say."

He leaned forward, his lips the barest brush against hers.  "Just say yes," he whispered.

"Yes."  She answered, breathless.

***

TBC.

on to next part

feedback to tango and  indie