1880 by Bekah Leigh
From Passion Toward Passion by Bekah Leigh
Author's Notes:
I'm baaaaack. BIG thanks to Dev, who's made it incredibly difficult to hide in writer's block world for as long as i have.
Chapter Four: From Passion, Toward Passion, Part One



"William, I wanted to tell you something that I probably should have mentioned when we first met." Buffy practiced as she waited for him to arrive. She was early, having sneaked out of the house at her first opportunity. Her father was keeping a close eye on her since her disappearance the night before. He'd been watching her like a hawk since she'd woken up that morning. But, when he turned around to speak with one of his employees briefly, Buffy had jumped at the chance to escape, not knowing if she'd be able to again. So, she'd arrived at least thirty minutes early, not minding one bit.

"I've got something to tell you." She started again. "My real name isn't Buffy. It's Elizabeth… Elizabeth Summers. Yes, my father's party was the one you attended last night. Yes, I was there. Why didn't I speak to you? I… I guess I didn't want you to be upset with me." Buffy looked down. She could almost see him staring at her with hurt and confusion. She hadn't really thought about the fact that he would be angry with her no matter where they were when she told him. She only hoped that he would give her a chance to explain.

"Buffy. Good morning." William smiled, albeit, a little shyly at her.

"Hi." Buffy timidly replied. She scooted over a little to make room for him. "Please, sit down."

He nodded his gratitude. "Thank you."

They sat quietly for a moment. Both felt the discomfort of the other, and it added to their own. Eventually, neither could bear it any longer. "Buffy…" "William…"

They both spoke at the same time. Laughing, Buffy insisted he go first.

"Ladies first, Miss Buffy." William grinned when she playfully rolled her eyes, the tension from before leaving his body.

"Just Buffy," she said insistently. "And, I have a feeling what I have to say is going to take longer than what you have to say. So, you go first." She interrupted him before he could protest. "By lady's request."

He just smiled and shook his head. "Alright. You win."

"Of course, I do!" She smiled brightly. "Now, go on, talk."

He gave her a look. "So polite…" His teasing ceased as he grew a little more unsure.

"I wanted to apologize for last night. I know I probably seemed like a blubbering imbecile."

"No, you didn't. You sounded like a man who'd been wronged by the woman he loved."

William looked at her. "I still love her, Buffy."

She looked surprised. "Are you sure it's her, or is it the idea of her? You said last night that she was as cruel as I'd warned."

"Yes, I did say that, and it is true. But I can't just hate her now that she's hurt me. Love doesn't end like that. Not real love."

Buffy looked down sadly. "Could have fooled me."

William watched her face, understanding dawning. "Buffy, those two were fools. They wouldn't know love if it smacked them in the face. Any man would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind to not care for you." He took her hand in his, giving it a gentle squeeze.

She smiled and tried to return the gesture, but when she did, a painful reminder of how the rest of her evening went screamed in protest. Her bruised wrist. She'd forgotten. Not able to stop the wince, she could only hope that William hadn't noticed.

But, of course, he had. "Is something wrong, Buffy? Did you get hurt?"

"Yeah… don't worry… it's just my wrist." But he was too busy worrying to listen. He lowered the short lavender glove from her hand and revealed a large hand-shaped bruise circling her entire wrist. Anger swelled within him like he'd never known before. "Who did this to you?"

Buffy knew it was time to tell him. "My father did it. He didn't like something that I did last night. Well, actually, it was a couple of things."

"And what could possibly possess him to hurt you like this?"

She smiled. "I threw a glass of water in Parker Abrams' face for saying something I didn't like."

He laughed. "I think that was a splendid thing to do." But then, as a thought occurred to him, William frowned. "But Parker was at the party last night… you were there?"

"Yes. You see…" Buffy struggled to find the words. She decided to just come out and say it. "My name isn't really Buffy."

At his confused expression, she amended. "Well, my sister and my mom and friends call me Buffy, but my real name is Elizabeth… Summers."

William couldn't believe it. He'd been talking to the upper class woman that Rupert spoke so highly of? The one he'd been sure was just like every other upper class woman he'd ever known. Like Cecily.

But, something else was bothering him. She'd told him that her mother had been a painter. That didn't work out with what his mother had told him. Buffy hadn't told him the truth.

"Why didn't you just tell me that you were a Summers? You didn't have to lie about how you got here." William didn't bother to hide the hurt in his voice.

She looked up at him. "I didn't. My father is the one who's been lying. Even back home, he lied about whose talent it was when my mother's art got sold. I understand, though. A woman would not receive attention for her skills, no matter how good she was. It's just the way things are. But I still hate how he gloats about it. Even when we're alone."

"Your mother really is a painter, then?" William felt a little relieved. But he needed to know one more thing. "What did you lie about?"

Buffy's head swayed back and forth. "It was only a lie by omission. My name is Elizabeth "Buffy" Summers, my mother is a painter, I'm twenty years old, and… okay, I didn't have piano lessons yesterday. I had to get ready for the party."

That made William laugh. She smiled, too, glad that he wasn't angry with her anymore.

"Well, Buffy, aren't we an odd pair?" William shook his head.

"One," he put his hands in his chest, "A social outcast, heartbroken and humiliated by the upper class. And the other," he gestured to her, "An upper class-woman, who lied to the social outcast to be accepted by him."

Buffy giggled along with him. "A perfect match."

When that was said, William stopped laughing, consequently ending hers, and stared at her. "A match?"

Buffy looked down at her hands again. "As friends."

William tilted her chin up. She gazed into his eyes, drowning herself in the ocean-colored depths, and thought that it was the perfect color for him, symbolizing the peace that he made her feel.

William looked into her eyes. Every time he looked at her, she always seemed so interested in what he was saying or doing. He'd never met someone who could devote her attention to one person so well.

Leaning forward, feeling drawn in by his blue orbs, her vision began to blur. If he were to kiss her, it would have been the perfect moment.

William noticed her leaning, and was drawn to it as well. His gaze flickered to her lips, soft and ready for his own. But, he reminded himself, he could not ask of her what he'd asked of Cecily.

Cecily…

"You said you'd help me get Cecily back?" William sat back, scratching his head in a manner that screamed his discomfort.

She blinked a few times, and regained her mind when William spoke again. "How do you propose to do that?"

"…Well…" Buffy hadn't really thought of that part of the plan. She didn't even know why she should be planning. "Can I ask you something, William?"

"Yes."

"Why do you still want her? After the way she treated you, and the way she hangs on to Parker… I don't get why you think she's worth it."

"I don't. I think that making her regret her decision is worth it." William replied, determined.

"And what will you do once she changes her mind? Will you go to her?"

He thought for a minute. "I honestly don't know."

"Okay, then." Buffy stood up. "We'll just focus on making her want you."

Both were silent. Buffy bit her lip thinking hard.

"I've got it. But I don't think you'll like it."

William stood up to look at her better. "Tell me, and I'll tell you what I think."

"In order to make Cecily want you, you'll have to change yourself in public."

"How do you mean?" William didn't know how one could change himself like that.

"I mean, you can't talk about poetry." Buffy flinched, expecting him to be outraged.

"That's all?" William grinned.

"You're not upset?" She hadn't expected that at all.

"I am, but I expected that I would have to set it aside considering last night. The Cunninghams have always loved embarrassing me, especially the son."

"William, it's your passion I'm asking you to leave." He couldn't be okay with that, could he?

"From passion toward passion." Was all he said as explanation.

Buffy threw her arms up in defeat. "Alright. Whatever you choose. But there's more. A Plan B, if you will."

"Plan B?" William asked, confused.

"Just in case that alone doesn't work, I have another idea," Buffy quietly suggested.

William raised an eyebrow. "And what is that idea?"

"You pretend to court me," she muttered.

He coughed. "Pardon me?"

"Well, you know how I'm the daughter of a rich man," she stated with sarcasm and disgust. "If I approve of you, then you must be worth it. I'll tell her about all these funds you have hidden away in a bank somewhere, and she'll be swooning before you know it."

William could not believe it. "You'll lie to her in order to make her think of my money. And what if she finds out I don't have any?"

"She won't," Buffy smiled. "I'll make sure she doesn't even try."

"And you're sure this will work?" William was already having doubts.

"Absolutely. Take me out one night, William, and we'll make Cecily wish she'd never turned you down."

 

He thought it over, weighing his options. Finally, he looked at the schemer next to him. A small, wicked grin flashed over his features. He had a feeling that her plan could work.

"Miss Summers?" William asked politely, very easily reverting to his proper manner. His grin and eyes turned warm and earnest as he asked, "Will you join me to dinner tomorrow evening?"

Buffy smiled, a fluttery feeling in her stomach. "I'd love to, Mr. Arlington."

Both of them smiling, they linked arms and made their way through the park to finish their chat.

~*~*~*~*~*~



She'd had an easy enough time sneaking away from her father's 'eagle eyes', but sneaking in without being seen was an entirely different matter.

"Ah, ah, ah, Miss Summers. Where do you think you're going?" It was Wesley. Caught.

Hunching her shoulders, and looking entirely pained, Buffy turned around slowly. Once she knew she was under the watchful gaze of her hired chaperone, she attempted to smile. "Hello, Wesley. How are you?"

The man simply shook his head, walking up to her and shaking a finger. "Don't think I'm not onto you, milady. As innocent as your face may be, I know you stole off today while your father wasn't looking. Where were you?"

Buffy's mouth dropped open. He sounded demanding, almost worried, when he'd always been aloof and… for lack of a kinder way to state it… not very good at bossing her around. Seeing his expectant face, she answered him casually. "You know me, Wes…"

He seemed put off by the nickname, and she had to repress a smirk. "I have to get out for some fresh air every once and a while or I start to stuff up…" Looking him up and down, she smiled. "You know how it is."

"Now, Miss Summers, I won't put up with this behavior. Do you have any idea what would have happened if your sister and I had not been able to convince your father that you had taken ill? Imagine what he might've done to her. To me!"

His worried features grew more and more as he continued to speak. She felt guilty that Dawn had had to lie to her father about her whereabouts. If she were to get caught, there was no telling what he would have done to the fourteen-year-old girl. Hank Summers had never laid a hand on his younger daughter, but Buffy wasn't sure how long that would suit him. She couldn't bare it if her transgressions were the start of it.

And poor Wesley. He needed this job to support his wife, Winifred, who was with child. He'd be thrown to the streets if he were found out. And it would be her fault.

"Miss Summers? Are you even listening to me?" She was shaken out of her guilt-ridden thoughts when Wesley's incredulous voice said her name. She readied herself for apology.

"I'm sorry, Wesley. I shouldn't have run off today. I wasn't thinking of you or Dawnie when I left like that, and it was wrong."

Trying to remain angry with the young girl, Wesley frowned disapprovingly at her. But her genuine expression had cracked at his cold exterior, and he found it harder and harder to maintain the stern look he thought he'd mastered. He finally let up, her pout and watery eyes softening him. Cursing, he relaxed his stance.

"Don't let it happen again. You have no idea how much danger your absence has on all of us."

Buffy looked down. "I know."

"And, after your disappearance last night… and what almost happened…"

Wesley's words triggered the images and memories of the previous night, and they flooded her mind. She shook her head and winced, trying to push them away. "Wesley, please."

He saw what his reminder had done to her. Changing the subject, he offered her his arm, and she hesitantly took it. "Come, milady. Let's hurry you on up to your rooms before Mr. Summers returns from his meeting."

They made their way up to Buffy's bedroom, talking quietly about nothing, trying to veer their minds away from the previous night. When they arrived at the door, Wesley began to take his leave when Buffy stopped him.

"There's something else that I wanted to ask you. A friend of mine has invited me to dine with him tomorrow night. Will you be available to come along?"

Wesley felt a surge of brotherly protectiveness combine with friendly intrigue. "Who might this gentleman be?"

Buffy smiled. "William Arlington. I just met him, but he's so wonderful, Wes."

"Ah, how odd that a lady like you should be wooed by the town's own outcast." He chuckled.

She looked at him in mock-surprise, hiding the fact that she really was quite surprised that he even knew how to laugh, let alone make a joke. "Did you just jest at me, Mr. Windham-Price?"

He chuckled a little more. "Though you believe me to be as stuffy as Mr. Giles, I have been known to tell the occasional riddle and rhyme," he pointed out.

"Sure you have." She nodded, unconvinced, then turned to open her door. "And, besides, Giles isn't stuffy. He's old."

"Is that so?"

"Oh yes." She beamed proudly, thinking of her surrogate father. "He let me leave yesterday without a chaperone."

Wesley's throat made a sound similar to choking, and he gaped at her. "He… he wouldn't possibly!"

"So, will you come tomorrow night? Supervise?"

"I… oh alright. On one condition, though." He pointed a finger at his charge.

"Yes, Wes?" she chimed.

Wesley grimaced at the little rhyme, but continued, finding even more motivation to get his next statement across. "Do not under any circumstance call me that dreadful name."

Buffy reached out a hand. "Deal."

He looked at her tiny palm. He was not accustomed to making deals with women. Hesitantly, he took it in his, shaking hands awkwardly. Almost immediately releasing her hand, he moved on. "Go to your room. Your father could appear at any moment."

She nodded and continued inside her room. "Thanks, Wes…ley," she caught herself when he raised an eyebrow.

"Your welcome, milady."

~*~*~*~*~

"Dawn? What are you doing in my bed?" Buffy had noticed a heap underneath her blankets, and knew that her sister was hiding there before she'd even gotten close.

The girl in question peeked her sleepy head out from the pile. "I'm glad you're back. I didn't want dad to come in and find out that you weren't here. So, I hid in your bed in case he decided to check on you. He'd think you were sleeping and leave."

Buffy felt once more the guilt of leaving her sister to cover for her. "Dawnie, you didn't have to do that. You could have gotten in trouble."

Dawn got out of the bed and straightened her dress. "Forget about it. Dad wouldn't hurt me. Don't ask me why. I'm the one always misbehaving. I owe it to you for all the times you've taken the fall for me."

The older sister raised her eyebrows suspiciously. "That could possibly be it. What else do you want?"

Dawn smirked. "The details about where you've been running off to the last two days. Is it a guy?"

Buffy tried to hide her smile. She waved a hand at her curious sister as if waving off the question. "Oh, you don't want to hear about this."

"Oh, yes I do. Come on, Buffy!" Dawn begged.

"Okay, okay." They moved to the small sofa that was pushed against the wall next to her bed. "I met someone."

"So it is a guy," Dawn confirmed smugly.

"Yes, I met a really great guy, and we met today," Buffy began. "His name is William and he's a writer."

"Wait… you don't mean the man that Charles Cunningham was making fun of at the party, do you?"

The elder girl looked to the ceiling. "Why does everyone… yes, he is the 'social outcast' of our neighborhood. But, he is a kind gentleman, and he has a talent for putting his emotions into words, even if the words aren't as pretty as they could be. He has emotions."

"I was just going to say that he was kind of handsome, even if I was on the other side of the room."

Buffy gleamed. "He is. He's got the brightest blue eyes you've ever seen. And when he looks at you, it's like you can see everything he's feeling. He doesn't hide it."

"Yeah, Buffy's in love." Dawn grinned, and her sister looked at her dreamily.

"She is." She sighed, and a wisp of a smile appeared on her face. Their moment was interrupted when the bedroom door opened. They both looked warily at the intruder.

"Elizabeth. Feeling better, I assume?" Hank walked into the room, a false air of concern surrounding his form. All three could feel it, and Dawn wondered idly why Hank felt the need to carry on as if he didn't know that his daughters knew he didn't really care.

"Yes, I am, actually." Buffy's smile dropped. "I was a little unsettled. Had a rough night."

"You probably should have kept that water, then. It might have helped." The double meaning was obvious as he took the chair opposite the sofa. Without looking at his younger daughter, he said, "Dawn, why don't you give your sister and me some time alone. You can visit with her after we've talked."

The sisters exchanged looks before Dawn left them, purposely not shutting the door so that she could listen to their conversation.

When Hank saw that she'd left, he spoke. "Have you learned your lesson, Elizabeth? Will you obey me now?"

"What do you want, Hank?" Buffy spat. Any modicum of respect she had for him had completely depleted since the night before. He only chuckled darkly in response.

"I want you out of my life. I want you to marry so that I can finally be rid of you."

She nodded her head. "I want to be gone more than you know. I met someone… at the party last night. He's asked me to dinner tomorrow night."

Hank smirked. "You won't be meeting with him."

"Why not?" Buffy asked, angered.

"After tonight, you won't need to. You're to apologize to Mr. Abrams for your accident at the party."

"What? No, I won't. He deserved it, and I will not apologize for dealing out jus- Ah!" She cried out when he took hold of her sore wrist. He squeezed the injury tightly, knowing just how much pain he caused her.

"Do you want a repeat of last night, girl? You will go to him. You will ask his forgiveness and hope that he still wants a wretched girl like you."

"And if he doesn't?" She took whatever outlet she could.

"He will. You'll make sure of it." Hank squeezed as hard as he could before letting her go. "Unless you want to be punished."

Buffy ignored his last comment. She ignored the tears flowing from her eyes, and she ignored the tremor in her voice as she asked, "Why him? If you want me gone so badly, why does it have to be a man that I hate, and who probably hates me just as much?"

Her father made his way out of her room. "Because I finally found a man who's willing to take you from me, abhorrence or not, and I'm not going to lose that chance."

She rushed to his side, angry and desperate to find another way. "It doesn't have to be him, though. Can't you bear to live with me for just a little longer? A month, maybe. Give me the chance to find someone for myself, and I will."

"We've already discussed this. You've had two chances and failed to keep either one. I don't have very much faith in your promises of quick matching. Besides, I can't have my eldest daughter choosing whom she'll marry. Knowing the one I have, he'll end up being a streetwalker's pander."

Buffy bit her lip, once again forgetting about his snide comments and focusing on how to get herself out of this mess. She was running out of ideas. She thought fast, though, and a very good argument popped into her mind. "You want to be rid of me? To never see me again?"

Hank sighed longingly at the thought. "Precisely."

"But, if I were to marry Parker, you would have to see me all the time. Considering that he's a business associate of yours, you'll see him quite a bit," she pointed out. She could see that she was catching his attention, and got to the point. "With his trophy bride right along side him."

She'd had hopes that this last attempt would work, but they faded the moment Hank began to sneer. "I am not so old as to have let that detail pass me by. But, I have chosen to bare it. He'll soon have you trained and pampered to what you should have been years ago. I would no longer have to look at you as my daughter. When you are married to Mr. Abrams, you will be a trophy bride in my eyes, and no more."

Buffy was depleted of any optimism. All she could do now was ask him, "How could you do this to your own child? After all I've done for you. I took care of mom and Dawn when you were gone for days at a time without warning. I made sure that no one ever found out about those paintings not being yours. I protected your secret, for the sakes of Dawn and mom, and this is how you repay me."

Hank snorted derisively. "You also scorned the family name. You acted out of your class's propriety by fooling around with those street rat friends of yours… Widow Rosenburg… or whatever her name is… and, of all people, the town drunk's son."

"Her name is Willow," she corrected him through gritted teeth. "And Xander isn't a bad guy just because his father's problems. He's a carpenter, and he's been making good money these days."

"Elizabeth, trash is trash. You can call it anything you like, but you still throw it away. You don't take it with you to the park." Hank reproached.

Buffy folded her arms across her chest, looking away in disgust at the man she called Father. "The pot's calling the kettle black," she muttered quietly in a singsong voice.

Apparently, she judged from the harsh pain across her cheek, she hadn't spoken quietly enough.

"You will hold your tongue. Or I will make you hold it."

She put a hand to her wounded face, testing the tender skin for the pain level in an absent manner. It hurt. More than she was willing to bear receiving again. Silently, she looked back at her father with hatred in her eyes. She simply stared at him this way and did nothing more, waiting for him to say what he wanted to say.

"You will see Mr. Abrams tonight for dinner and you will use your… physical charms if nothing else to sway him to take you as his wife. You have no choice but to win his affections. If you do not succeed…" he let her finish the sentence for herself.

Buffy had to literally bite her tongue to keep herself from speaking out against her father's threat. She took a few moments to control her anger. "If I do this, will you allow me one thing?"

Hank smiled in a manner that was probably intended to be fatherly, but instead looked malicious. "When you secure a future with Parker, I'll be more than happy to grant you one thing."

No matter what he demanded of her, she had to see William. Of course, she couldn't tell her father that. "Can I go out tomorrow evening? I'd like to do some shopping so that I can look my best for any future outings with Parker."

"I don't see why not. If you are to look suitable for Mr. Abrams, then you'll need to buy several gowns. I'll give Wesley enough money for you to purchase a few. Think of this as a parting gift." Hank's eyes glittered almost gleefully when he said 'parting.' It made Buffy want to roll her eyes.

"Thank you, father." Buffy looked down so he wouldn't see the anger and annoyance in her face that went along with the anger she couldn't hide in her voice. She wouldn't be shopping the following night. She would be seeing William. When her father left the room, she lifted her head with a new determination to see that Mr. Abrams would remain hesitant, and she would be able to help William.

Her father wanted her to do her best to impress Parker. He'd see her marry that scum before seeing her love a man of any less social or business reputation. Well, she wasn't going to destroy her chances of happiness because he wanted her to make him look good. In fact, she was going to make it so Parker wouldn't want anything to do with her. Tonight, she'd do her worst.



~*~*~*~*~*~*



A/N: Thanks EVERYONE for being patient! I know how horrible I've been with the not updating… and this here is just a rewrite of a chapter you've already read lol. But, I'm working hard on the next chapter, and Devin's keeping me from hiding, whether he's doing it on purpose or not lol. So… whatcha think?

*Credit to Dev for the line 'a wisp of a smile appeared on her face.' :) Thank you, sweety!


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