Summary: Willow and Lindsey are set up by a mutual acquaintance.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Author's Note: Thanks to velvetwhip, emeraldswan and strangecreature for all of your help.
Author's Note 2: Written in answer to mrsdrake's Unanswered Challenges, Challenge #12: Pick two characters from the BTVS/ATS universe that have never met on the shows. Then send them on a blind date together. That's it. Be creative with it.
Lindsey looked at his watch, again, wondering for the tenth time what he was doing there. He had piles upon piles of work waiting for him at the office. Yet here he was, sitting at the bar of a casual restaurant.
The powerful attorney cringed at the real reason he was sitting there. Deep down inside, he was nothing but a big softie. One phone call from that soft, stuttering voice and he was putty.
"Please, Linds," she'd asked him. "Just one night, th-that's all I'm asking. Just take her out to dinner, o-or something."
She knew he couldn't resist her; never had been able to. So when his favorite cousin, Tara, had called him, asking him to take her friend Willow out while she was at a conference in LA, he could scarcely refuse.
Reluctantly, he'd agreed to meet her. Tara had given him Willow's e-mail address and they'd corresponded briefly this past week. Yesterday, Willow had emailed him a photograph of herself so that he'd know who to look for.
"It's better than 'I'll be the one wearing green carrying a red rose'," she'd joked. At least he thought she'd been joking. You could never really tell with e-mail.
Lindsey had printed out the photo and now pulled it out of his jacket pocket. She was cute, he had to give her that, if a little young for him. She was still in college after all - a freshman.
He took a sip of his beer, glancing at himself in the mirror behind the bar. He figured he'd go dressy-casual, wearing a white button-down shirt - top button open, no tie - tucked into blue jeans and his cowboy boots. He was also wearing a blazer to complete the outfit.
Turning back to the restaurant, he scanned the room again for Willow. As if on cue, the petite redhead walked through the doors, looking as wary as he felt. Swigging back the rest of the beer, Lindsey set the glass on the bar and pushed himself up.
Willow was so nervous she almost didn't come. She still couldn't believe that Tara of all people set her up on a blind date. They really hadn't known each other very long, but when she'd told her new friend of her weekend computer conference in LA, Tara had insisted that Willow had to meet her cousin Lindsey. Even after she found out Lindsey was a guy she was hesitant to agree.
Tara insisted that he was a good guy and that she'd have fun with him. Willow was a little surprised to get an e-mail from Lindsey not an hour after she agreed to meet him. But in a way it was good. He did seem nice, from his e-mails, which wasn't saying much. The last e-mail she'd sent him had had a picture of her in it. He didn't send one back, so she had no idea what he looked like, aside from some old photos Tara had shown her.
She paused when she got out of the taxi in front of the restaurant, looking down at what she was wearing. "Casual" he'd said, when he'd recommended this restaurant. Willow didn't want to be too casual though, so she'd gone with a long skirt and a t-shirt.
Taking a deep breath, she entered the restaurant, then paused realizing she didn't know who she was looking for. She only hoped that Lindsey was already here.
She looked around at all of the single men standing around the bar area. She watched as one of the most beautiful men she'd ever seen came towards here. 'This can't be him,' she told herself, hoping that she wasn't drooling.
"Hello, Willow?" the hunk asked, when he reached her.
"Uh huh," Willow acknowledged. Realizing she was staring, Willow blushed and ducked her head. "Lindsey? Um, hi."
Lindsey shifted uncomfortably, not sure of what to do in the face of her blatant appraisal of him. He thought about offering to shake her hand, or hug her, but he didn't think either was appropriate.
"So… You hungry?" he asked.
"Yeah, kinda. They kept us pretty busy all day," Willow admitted.
"Great. I'll let them know we're ready to be seated."
Willow was glad for the moment alone to kick herself, mentally, over her behavior so far. 'Just great, ogle the guy who's taking you on a pity date; make him all uncomfortable before the date even begins.'
"Ready?" Lindsey's voice asked, pulling Willow out of her self-flagellating thoughts. He was holding his hand out for her.
"Yeah, sorry," she apologized. "Let's eat."
They silently followed the hostess to their table. Lindsey pulled out her chair for her, surprising Willow with his gentlemanly behavior. Once she was settled, Lindsey sat down across from her and they both opened their menus.
"Would you like the wine list?" the hostess asked.
"Ye-- ah, no," Lindsey answered. "No thank you."
"You didn't have to do that," Willow said once the hostess left. "If you wanted some wine, that's fine."
"I didn't want to be rude. As a lawyer, I can't offer to buy alcohol for a minor, but that doesn't mean that I have to show off."
"And telling me you're a lawyer isn't showing off?" Willow teased.
"Well now, that's just a point of fact," he smiled back in answer.
They spent a few minutes reading the menu, ready to give their orders when their waitress arrived at the table.
"So tell me how you met Mouse," Lindsey said.
"Mouse?" Willow giggled.
"Tara. She was always a quiet little thing, hence the nickname."
"Oh, she is so getting flack for that one when I get back," Willow grinned. "We met at school, at a Wicca meeting."
"Damn, she's still into that? I thought for sure that father of hers had banned all witchcraft after her mom died."
"Maybe that's why she stuck with it," Willow shrugged. "As a way to keep her mom alive. I don't know that much about her family, but I know she was close to her mom before she died. I get the feeling that she had to practice in secret before she came to Sunny U."
"Makes sense. So, I suppose that means you're a witch too," Lindsey guessed.
"You betcha," Willow grinned. "Seeing as how you knew Tara and her mom practiced witchcraft, I take it that you believe in it too?"
"I believe that there's more than one higher being," Lindsey admitted. He generally didn't discuss his beliefs with strangers. Hell, he didn't discuss them with his friends either. But Willow made him want to open up. Maybe it was because she seemed so open-minded. "With all of the things that I've seen, I just can't believe that there's one omnipresent deity. Especially with all of the evil in the world," he finished, mumbling that last sentence.
Shaking himself out of thoughts of evil, Lindsey flashed Willow his brightest smile. "I guess that if you're hanging with Mouse, then you are the magick practicing kind of witch."
"What if I said that I was?" Willow cautiously countered.
"I'd say that it's good that you're careful who you admit that to. Lots of people out there who'd be happy to exploit someone with power."
"And would you be one of those people?"
"Me, nah," Lindsey brushed the accusation off, trying to get back on a lighter note. "Just don't want you getting yourself into trouble, that's all."
Willow wasn't sure what to make of this shift in discussion, but she wasn't going to press it. They were hardly in a place to be talking about magick and the kinds of people who'd like to exploit it.
"So, are you still in a band?" Willow asked Lindsey, following his lead back to more neutral territory.
Lindsey choked on the sip of water he'd just taken. "Geez, I haven't thought of that band in ages. I'm surprised Mouse remembered that, and told you about it."
"I'll take that as a No."
"That's a big No," Lindsey agreed. "I still sing every once in a while at this karaoke bar I know, just to unwind and keep in practice mind you, but nothing more than that. Doesn't really go with my career."
"That's right," Willow silkily smiled. "You're a big, hot shot attorney."
"And proud of it. I know all the jokes about how evil lawyers are, but I make a damn fine living for myself."
"Hey, I wasn't accusing you of anything," Willow held her hands up in defense, laughter in her voice. "If you're such a powerful guy, then how come you can't get your own dates?"
"Oh, I get plenty of dates on my own," Lindsey postured. He was trying hard not to join in Willow's laughter. Her eyes simply glowed with mirth.
"That why you don't have a girlfriend?" she continued taunting him, enjoying his efforts not to laugh.
"I'm too busy to have a girlfriend," he answered truthfully. "Being a fancy lawyer doesn't leave a lot of free time to date."
"Well, you're here with me," Willow pointed out, feeling a secret pride that he made time to meet her.
"I also have a stack of paperwork on my desk. Can you honestly tell me that you can say no when Mouse asks you to do something?"
Willow smiled shyly, remembering her own conversation with Tara. "No, I guess not. In any case, I'm honored that you took time out of your busy schedule for me."
"It's my pleasure, really." Lindsey said, reaching across the table to squeeze Willow's hand. His lips curled up in a small smile at the color that suddenly flushed Willow's cheeks at his gesture.
The awkward, yet oddly comfortable, moment was interrupted by the arrival of their food.
Willow eagerly bent her head to her meal as she tried to figure out what had just happened. 'That was a spark,' she told herself. 'There had definitely been sparkage. But I don't even really know this guy. Okay, so he's gorgeous, and Tara's cousin, and a singing lawyer.'
Lindsey divided his time between eating and watching Willow eat. He found her studious avoidance of looking at him amusing. He could practically hear the wheels turning in her head. He'd already guessed that she was a thinker. In fact, he found it endearing. He'd always preferred smart girls to the dumb ones. The dumb ones were good for a one-night stand, but this girl was obviously a keeper.
'Wait just one minute there, McDonald,' he cautioned himself. 'Willow's not someone you should be thinking about keeping. Not while you're employed by Wolfram & Hart at least. She radiates innocence, and not simply due to her young age. Which is too young for you.'
Forcing himself to wipe the newfound frown from his face, Lindsey spoke up. "So why is it that you're not involved with anyone?"
Lindsey wanted to kick himself at the pained look that crossed her face.
"I, um, was, until recently. Shortly after I met Tara I caught my boyfriend in bed with another… woman."
"He must have been an idiot," Lindsey said vehemently.
"How could he cheat on someone as sweet as you are?"
"You don't have to say that," Willow protested, feeling herself begin to blush again. "You don't even know me."
"Maybe not," Lindsey reached across the table, lifting her chin to make her meet his eyes. "But I know people. And I can tell that you aren't the kind of person that should be cheated on."
Part of Willow wanted to defend Oz. She knew it was silly. He'd hurt her terribly. But he'd been her first love. It was hard hearing bad things about him, despite what he'd done to hurt her.
"Thank you," Willow mumbled. After a pause, she added, "You too. I mean, you've been great tonight. I bet that there's tons of girls, women, who would jump at the chance to be your girlfriend, even with your long hours."
Lindsey chuckled. "I'm not often in the right position to meet women like that. Most women I know are even more cut-throat than I am. They're fellow lawyers."
"Well, I can see why you wouldn't want to date them, what with the bad rep lawyers have and all," Willow teased.
"Hey, now," Lindsey protested, laughing heartily. Willow joined in his laughter.
The rest of the meal continued amiably. Laughing and joking easily filled the spaces between bites of their meals. Lindsey insisted on paying for dinner and, after much protesting, Willow relented – on the condition that she paid the tip.
As they walked towards the exit, Lindsey surprised himself by asking, "Did you need to get back to your hotel or would you like to do something else?"
"Well, first of all, I'm staying with a friend, not at a hotel. But I do have kind of an early morning tomorrow. So I should probably go," Willow reluctantly admitted.
"Oh," Lindsey commented, his disappointment at having to end the evening already evident in his voice.
"Um, what did you have in mind?" Willow asked. "To do, I mean."
"But you just said…"
"I know, but I'm having fun. And how often do I get to spend an evening with a handsome lawyer in LA?"
"I don't think that I want to know the answer to that question," Lindsey laughed. "To be honest, I hadn't thought that far ahead."
"What about that place you go to sing karaoke?" Willow suggested.
Thinking of all of the demons that would be there, Lindsey didn't think that was the best idea. This girl might be from Sunnydale and study witchcraft, but that didn't mean that she knew about demons.
"Not tonight. I don't have my guitar with me," he hastened to add.
Willow tried not to wince at the mention of a guitar. 'It figures that he's a guitar player,' she miserably thought.
"Hey now, what's that look for?" Lindsey asked, watching her face fall.
"My ex. He was the guitarist in a popular local band," Willow admitted.
Lindsey reached out and pulled Willow into his arms. "I'm sorry, you didn't say that earlier. I didn't know."
Willow wrapped her arms around the solid body enfolding hers. He was so much bigger than Oz – taller, more muscular. Her head seemed to fit perfectly against his shoulder.
Lindsey was glad that Willow couldn't see the shocked expression he was certain that he was wearing. He usually wasn't a touchy-feely kind of person. Heck, he didn't know many guys who were. But she'd looked so vulnerable when she talked about her ex, that all he wanted to do in that moment was make that look go away. Even though he couldn't see her face, he was pretty sure that it was gone now.
He relished the contact of her body pressed against his. She was a little thing, but it felt like she was made to be in his arms. He loved how her head was resting against his shoulder. He had a sudden urge to find some nice slow music to spend the rest of the night dancing, just like this. But he didn't want to have to share her with anyone.
Pulling back, he met Willow's eyes when she looked up at him nervously. He brushed the hair back from her face as he said, "I know just what we can do. It's a little secluded, do you mind?"
"Not at all," Willow sweetly smiled. She knew that she shouldn't be so accepting of the idea of being alone with this virtual stranger, but she was. In fact, she felt the beginnings of a tingle she hadn't felt in a long time in her belly.
Lindsey led Willow to his car and helped her into it before getting in himself. He drove out of the city, hopping on the Pacific Coast Highway. After half an hour he turned off the highway and wound his way through the hills until he stopped in a clearing.
Willow's first vocalized thought was, "It's beautiful." Quickly followed by, "So did you bring me out here to make out with me?"
"What? No!" Lindsey exclaimed, although the idea did sound rather appealing.
Willow grinned. "Relax, I didn't think you did. I mean, not that it would be terrible. I'm sure making out with you would be very nice, great even, but just 'cause we're in the middle of nowhere looking out at the ocean with no one else around doesn't mean that you are trying to seduce me."
"Do you want me to seduce you?" Lindsey asked when Willow ended her babble, his voice sounding like pure sex.
"I, um, I…" Willow didn't know how to answer. While she'd love to shout 'Yes' and then demonstrate that desire, she didn't want to come off as some first-date-make-out-slut. "Why did you bring me here?" she quietly asked in the end.
Lindsey took pity on the flustered girl. "Now don't laugh," he prefaced with. "I wanted to dance with you under the stars. Or what passes for stars in California."
"Really?" Willow beamed. "That's so sweet. I'd love to."
"Do you mean it?" Lindsey asked.
"Absolutely. But why here?"
"It's peaceful. I wasn't in the mood to go to a club and be jostled by a bunch of other people out on a dance floor. And I didn't think you'd be comfortable coming back to my apartment."
"So you take me to the middle of nowhere to ease my mind?" Willow giggled.
"Um, yeah," Lindsey reluctantly admitted that this probably didn't seem a much safer place if he wanted her to believe he wasn't going to try anything unseemly.
Willow reached over and touched his arm. "It's beautiful here."
Lindsey flashed a dazzling smile at her before turning on the car's radio to a classical station. He turned the volume up high, then exited the car, moving around to open Willow's door. He offered her his hand and helped her out of the vehicle, pulling her into his arms in one fluid move.
Willow melted into his embrace, this one not much different from the hug outside of the restaurant. Only this time there was swaying and no uncomfortableness.
Lindsey couldn't remember the last time he felt so carefree and relaxed. Working at Wolfram & Hart was very stressful, especially with this new menace to the firm, Angel. He felt his body stiffen and tried to shake off the frustration that thoughts of the vampire brought on.
"Everything okay?" Willow asked, pulling back a bit to look up at him.
"Yeah, sorry. Started thinking about work," he apologized.
"Thinking about work gives you so much tension?" Willow asked, unconsciously running her hands over his shoulders, trying to ease the stress from his body – causing an entirely different kind of tension to build.
"This one case, yes," Lindsey admitted. "But I don't want to talk about work. I'd been thinking about how nice this is, how relaxing compared to what I do all day."
"Me too. You're very comfortable, Mr. McDonald." Willow pulled him closer to demonstrate her point.
"Comfortable?" he questioned, lazily running his fingers up and down Willow's back.
"Mm-hmm," Willow nodded, closing her eyes. "That feels nice."
'So will this,' Lindsey thought as he slowly lowered his head until his lips grazed Willow's. Her eyes popped open and she looked at him questioningly. He pulled back a bit, allowing Willow the opportunity to push him away. Instead, she pressed her body closer to his, tilting her head up to graze his lips this time.
For many long moments, they tortured themselves by teasing each other's lips with barely-there touches. Finally, unable to take it any more, Lindsey wound his fingers in Willow's auburn tresses, pulling her flush against him, as he pressed his lips firmly against hers.
They both moaned at the sensation, then again as the vibrations were felt in the other's lips. One of Willow's hands found its way into his hair as the other slid up under his jacket, pressing against the heat of his back.
Lindsey rested his forehead against Willow's as they reluctantly parted in order to pant for breath.
"How did you do that?" he whispered in awe of the passion this girl invoked in him.
"Do what?" Willow whispered back.
"How'd you get me to lose control like that?" he asked, his fingers never stilling as they traced her face, ran through her hair, over her shoulders, anywhere they could reach.
"Magick," Willow grinned, pressing her lips to his once again.
Lindsey laughed into the kiss, believing her flippant answer. She truly was a magickal creature if she could get him to become nothing but putty under her gentle ministrations.
He suddenly realized that he wanted to know more of this girl. Not just her body, although he'd love to explore every inch of her skin with his lips. He wanted a relationship with her. Something he hadn't wanted with anyone since he started college.
It was a sobering thought. Especially since she wasn't his to have. She was barely an adult, in college, in another city, who was only recently single after what sounded like a harsh break-up.
When he felt Willow begin to pull his shirt from his pants, he pulled away, catching her hands in his to still her actions.
"No," he insisted.
"Wh-why not?" Willow asked. She tried not to berate herself for her bold actions.
She thought this was what he'd want, why he'd brought her here. She knew she wasn't a worldly woman, but he seemed to like her, if his kisses were anything to go by. It had taken her only a little convincing that it would be okay to give herself to him, knowing it would most likely just be the one time. But she wanted Lindsey, enough so that she didn't want to think about what would happen later. She knew they had very different lives, but she didn't want to have a life not knowing what it was like to be with him, if only once.
"I don't want some casual fuck with you," Lindsey sincerely said, stepping back.
"I know I'm not much to look at…" Willow began, tears beginning to form in her eyes.
"You're beautiful!" Lindsey said, cursing himself for making her think he was rejecting her. "You're passionate, and smart, and funny…" He laughed harshly at himself, "For a lawyer I'm not being very eloquent am I?"
"I think you're getting better," Willow said, slipping her fingers through his.
"What I meant to say, is that I want more with you. More than just this night. You deserve better than a quick fuck in the middle of nowhere. You deserve more than a quick fuck period. What I want, is to see you again, to… I don't know… date."
Willow blinked owlishly up at him. "You wanna date me? But… You're here, in Los Angeles, and I live in Sunnydale. And you're like… an adult!"
Lindsey laughed, pulling their joined hands to his mouth to kiss her fingers. "Would you be willing to try long distance dating?"
"You mean, I come visit on weekends, and then you come to Sunnydale?"
"Yes. I want to get to know you better, Willow. I want to spend time with you after tonight. Is there any chance that that's something you'd want?"
"Goddess, yes. I-I'm usually not so forward with guys, but I just didn't want to have to let you go."
Lindsey let out a sigh of relief, then pressed a soft kiss to Willow's waiting lips.
"I better get you back to your friend. She's probably worried that I kidnapped you," Lindsey said when they parted.
"You're right, he probably is. He's the overprotective big-brother type," Willow agreed.
"Should I be jealous you're spending the weekend with another man?" Lindsey teased as he helped Willow back into the car.
Willow laughed. "Not about this guy. He's my best friend's ex. That's like against the law."
"I don't remember reading that in any of my books," Lindsey chided.
"Oh, you know what I mean." Willow playfully slapped his arm as Lindsey headed back towards the city. "When he found out I was coming to LA he insisted that I stay with him. Wouldn't have me paying for a hotel when he had a perfectly good couch."
"Still, maybe I should meet him," Lindsey suggested.
"Aren't you the overprotective boyfriend," Willow lightly said.
"I certainly hope so," Lindsey seriously answered.
Willow sobered at Lindsey's serious tone. "Isn't it a bit soon for us to use the B-word?"
"I s'pose it is," Lindsey agreed with a sigh. With hope in his voice he added, "But it's going to apply sooner rather than later. Right?"
Willow rested her hand on tip of Lindsey's on the gear shift, relishing in the shiver of excitement the simple touch evoked. "Oh, yeah."
Once they were back in the city limits, Willow directed Lindsey to Angel's offices/home. Lindsey had never been there before, but he knew the address by heart. He hoped that he didn't let on that he knew who she was staying with. Willow obviously had great affection for her host, and he wasn't ready to admit to her how he knew who Angel was.
He walked her to the doors of Angel's offices, hating that they would have to say good night. Possibly goodbye, if Willow told Angel who she'd been out with. He obviously didn't know beforehand, otherwise there was no way he would have let her keep the date.
"So, now what?" Willow nervously asked as they lingered outside the door, fingers tangled in a loose embrace.
"You call me when you get back to Sunnydale to let me know you're home safe. We talk, email, and I'll find a way to come visit you soon." Lindsey used their joined hands to pull Willow closer.
"Are you sure you want me to call you? What if you're busy?" Willow asked, playing with the lapel of Lindsey's jacket.
"Then you'll leave a message and I'll call you back. I want this, Willow. I want you."
"I want you too," Willow said, sliding her hand up to tangle in the hair at the nape of Lindsey's neck, pulling him down to her eager mouth.
This kiss was slow and bittersweet. They poured their newfound longing into it, each hoping that the other meant what they'd said, knowing it was possible that they would change their mind upon reflection.
Finally, it was Willow who pulled away, licking her lips.
"I know this sounds corny," Lindsey started, reaching into his inside jacket pocket, "but here's my card. All of my numbers are on it, my home number's on the back."
Willow took the card and held it to her chest. "I'll call, the second I walk in the door. I promise."
With one last kiss, Willow turned and went inside. He could hear her calling out to Angel to let him know she was back.
Lindsey allowed himself a lingering look at Willow before leaving. He didn't want Angel to catch him there, after all.
As he drove back to his apartment, he found himself praying to whatever deity might be listening that Angel wouldn't say anything too horrible about him to Willow; and if he did, that she'd do him the courtesy of hearing him out. He knew that she could be the goodness that saved his sanity. He only hoped that he would be able to tell her that.