Author: dragonydreams (Elisabeth)
Summary: Leaving Wolfram & Hart was the best decision Lindsey could have made.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: joss10k, my site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Thanks to my betas: strangecreature, kallie_kat & emeraldswan for all of your help.
Author's Note: While this takes place during season 5 of Buffy, I'm leaving out some things to suit my purposes. 1) No Dawn & Joyce isn't sick, so Buffy is still living in the dorms with Willow as her roommate. 2) Tara is just a friend.
Chapter Word Count: 2,065; Total Word Count: 8,655/10,000
As they left the Magic Box, Lindsey spied the Espresso Pump across the street and offered to buy Willow a coffee. Part of him wanted to roll his eyes at the notion, not having asked anyone on a coffee date since college, but at the same time, hoping she'd say yes.
"I'd love a coffee," Willow beamed. "Only make mine a decaf latte. I'm not supposed to have caffeine."
"Why not?" Lindsey politely asked.
"It makes me hyper," Willow admitted. "I become a total spazz and believe me, that's something you don't want to see."
"I don't know," Lindsey slowly said, looking Willow over. "I think 'spazz' would be cute on you."
"Please," Willow sarcastically brushed him off.
"Why don't you grab us a table and I'll get the drinks," Lindsey suggested.
"Oh, sure. Just let me give you some money," Willow said, opening her purse.
"It's on me," Lindsey offered. Before Willow could object, he added, "I insist. After all, you're taking time out of your day to show me around. It's the least I can do."
"Fine," Willow relented. "But just this once."
Lindsey smiled as she went in search of a free table. 'Just this once' implied that they'd be doing this again, and that was definitely something to smile about.
"So what do you know about the open mic nights they have here?" Lindsey asked as he set their drinks on the table Willow was sitting at.
"Not much," Willow admitted. "I've never actually been to one. I guess it's what you'd expect, people singing. I usually hang out at the Bronze at night, and there's either a band or a DJ there."
"The Bronze? Is that a club?" Lindsey asked, taking a sip of his coffee.
"Yep, the only game in town. Plus, you don't have to be twenty-one to get in."
"Are you?" Lindsey hesitantly asked. "Twenty-one?"
Willow giggled. "On my next birthday."
"Damn," Lindsey swore under his breath. He'd had a feeling she was young. He comforted himself with the thought that at least she was over eighteen. "Guess it's a good thing I didn't ask you out for drinks then," he joked.
"Would you have?" Willow shyly asked. "'Cause drinks sounds an awful lot like a date."
"Would you have said 'yes' if I did?" he asked in return.
"You won't know if you don't ask," Willow teasingly said. She was flirting with him, she knew it, but she really hoped that he'd just hurry up and ask her out already.
Lindsey met her eyes and seriously asked her, "Willow, do you want to go out with me?"
Willow gasped at the intensity in his eyes. She found herself nodding her answer before she found her voice. "Yes."
Lindsey's grin lit up his face at her answer. He didn't know why he'd been so nervous. He supposed it was that innate fear of rejection, even though he hadn't been rejected often in his life. Until lately…until Darla. His face darkened at thoughts of the blonde vampire that had broken his heart.
Sensing Lindsey's change in mood, Willow sipped at her drink before asking, "So your girlfriend didn't mind when you decided to pick up and leave LA?"
"What?" Lindsey asked, coming back to the present. "No, no girlfriend. My life didn't leave me much time for a social life. Besides, do you think I'd be asking you out if I had a girl waiting for me back in LA?"
Willow shrugged. "I don't know. I just assumed you would have had someone."
"I could say the same thing about you," Lindsey countered.
"Well, I did. Until I didn't. Then I didn't want to have anyone else, ya know?"
"And do you now? Want to have someone?" Lindsey pressed.
"Yeah, I think I do," Willow said, briefly meeting Lindsey's eyes before lowering her lashes as she blushed.
When they finished their coffees, Willow walked Lindsey around downtown Sunnydale, before heading back towards campus. They passed the library that Willow had had him drop her off at the night before and stopped before a residence hall.
"…and this is where I live," Willow said, concluding their tour.
"Really?" Lindsey asked in disbelief. "I thought you didn't want me knowing where you lived."
"Well, if we're going out on a date, I thought you should probably know where to pick me up," Willow said, staring at the ground. "Do… do you want to come up?"
Lindsey blinked in surprise, floored by the invitation. "Are you sure?"
Finally meeting his eyes, Willow stared into them for a minute, as if she were trying to decide if she truly was sure that she was comfortable inviting this virtual stranger up to her room. Taking note of his honest surprise at the invitation, she smiled and nodded her head.
"Yep, I'm sure." She held out her hand for him to take, which he eagerly did. "Come on in, Lindsey. I invite you." They both laughed at the spoken invitation, easing the tension that had been building.
Pausing outside her door, Lindsey saw Willow take a deep breath, as if steeling herself for admitting him into her life. The small action warmed him.
She unlocked the door and entered, pulling him along. "Well, this is it."
Willow let out a small sigh of relief that Buffy wasn't back yet. She didn't want to have to deal with Buffy's certain disapproval of Willow bringing Lindsey home with her.
Lindsey stood just inside the room, taking in the two sides. He was temporarily taken back to his own college days, remembering some of the horrid roommates that he'd had to put up with since he couldn't afford a single room.
"You're lucky that you're rooming with your best friend," he commented.
"Tell me about it. I started out with someone else last year who did nothing but host parties in our room. But when Buffy's roommate suddenly… dropped out, I was able to move in with her. It's great because she doesn't have to hide her Slayer stuff from me and I don't have to hide my witchy stuff from her."
"Yeah, I could see how that would be convenient." Lindsey watched with some amusement as Willow nervously played with some of her belongings on the far side of the room. "So does Xander live in this dorm too?" he asked.
"No, he just got an apartment. He also isn't in school. He's a construction worker," Willow said, finally taking a seat on the edge of her bed.
Lindsey stepped closer to the bed and cautiously sat on the opposite side. He noted Willow's eyes nervously fill with uncertainty as he sat, but his only other choices seemed to be sitting at the desk or on Buffy's bed, and he didn't want to disturb anything of hers.
"I'm not going to try anything, promise," Lindsey said, his voice pitched to try to comfort her. He was surprised by how quickly the nervousness in Willow's eyes changed to disappointment. This girl was a wealth of contradictions, but at least they seemed to be going in his favor.
"I know. I know that I probably shouldn't, but I trust you," Willow admitted, scooting closer to the middle of the bed, and Lindsey.
"I know that I haven't done anything to earn that trust, so thank you," Lindsey sincerely said.
Lindsey slid his hand across the small space separating them to rest on top of Willow's, giving it a small squeeze of thanks. Being as close as they were, Lindsey didn't miss Willow's gasp of surprise when their skin touched. There was no denying that she felt the same shock of pleasure that he had.
As their eyes met, Lindsey closed the remaining distance between them and leaned forward to meet Willow's lips in a tentative kiss. Shocks of pleasure spread like wildfire from his lips throughout his body, awakening every nerve and pleasure center inside him. He saw the awe that must have been written all over his face mirrored on Willow's face when they separated moments later.
"What was that?" Willow asked in a quiet voice, her fingers brushing against her tingling lips. "I've never… How did you do that?"
"I honestly don't know," Lindsey admitted, sounding as lost as she was. He ran a hand through his hair, thoroughly confused by what had just happened.
"Maybe it was a fluke," Willow suggested, but doubting the words as she said them. She'd fluked before and it hadn't been anywhere near as electric as this brief kiss with Lindsey.
Smirking, Lindsey suggested, "Maybe we should try again; just to be sure."
"An excellent idea, Counselor," Willow agreed, already leaning back in.
This kiss was just as electrifying as the first, if not more so. This time they gave in to the kiss, lips pressed firmly against each other's rather than just barely brushing. Lindsey's arms circled Willow's waist as hers slid around his neck.
This kiss seemed to last an eternity… until Buffy walked through the door.
"Get your hands off her!" she nearly screamed, slamming the door closed behind her.
Willow and Lindsey instantly separated, each panting harshly and trying hard to glare at the intrusion, but having a difficult time focusing.
Being the first to recover, Willow tried to stand, although her legs seemed to be made out of jelly at the moment. "Buffy, I didn't hear you come in."
"I can see how your hearing would be impaired with Lindsey's tongue down your throat," Buffy hissed. She drummed the fingers on one of her hips impatiently, waiting for an answer.
Lindsey and Willow exchanged an amused look at Buffy's accusation before sobering.
"Look, this is my room too, and if I want to make out with someone in it, that's my business," Willow said, her chin lifted defiantly. "It's not like I haven't walked in on you and Riley kissing on your bed before."
"But that's different. Riley's my boyfriend. You barely even know Lindsey. And, oh yeah, my boyfriend isn't Evil!" Buffy retorted.
"Well neither is mine," Willow countered.
The girls stood there glaring at each other, and Lindsey tried to get over the shock of Willow implying that he was her boyfriend. He knew that she was just riled up over Buffy's accusations and didn't mean it, but hearing her defend him like that made him want to throw Buffy out of the room and not let Willow out of bed for a week.
Willing his body under control, Lindsey stood to face Buffy. "Look, all we were doing was kissin', nothing more. There's nothing to get all worked up about."
"You stay out of this, you evil lawyer you," Buffy demanded.
Turning back to Willow, he apologetically said, "Look, maybe I should just go."
Willow immediately softened her stance. "No, you don't have to."
They both ignored Buffy's, "Yes, he does."
Glancing between the two girls again, he said, "I think I'd better. Besides, the sooner I go, the sooner I can pick you up for our date."
Willow smiled at that thought. "Well, when you put it that way… Pick me up here at 7?"
"On the dot," Lindsey agreed. Ignoring Buffy's glare, he walked around the bed to give Willow a quick kiss before leaving.
Buffy didn't relax until she heard the door click closed behind him.
"Don't even start," Willow cautioned her roommate. "I don't want to hear it."
"I didn't even say anything," Buffy protested.
"I know what you're going to say, so you can save it. I like him and I trust him. And for some reason he seems to like me, too. I haven't wanted to be with anyone since Oz left and you are not going to deny me this chance to be happy," Willow calmly stated.
"But Willow," Buffy couldn't help pleading. "You know how Angel feels about him. Lindsey's even admitted to being evil. How can you open yourself up to be hurt by him?"
"You don't know that he's going to hurt me," Willow insisted. "There's something there between us, and I want to see what it is. It's a risk I'm willing to take. And if you don't like it, then too bad."
Willow grabbed a spell book out of her trunk and a pad of paper and stormed out of the room, leaving Buffy to fume in her wake.