1880 by Bekah Leigh
Summary: After a heart-breaking rejection from Cecily Adams, William is humiliated by all the men and women of his class. Everyone, that is, except one woman who's taken it upon herself to help him get revenge, popularity and, above all else, Cecily. But, what happens when that woman falls for him, and, so in love with Miss Adams, he can't feel the same way?
Categories: General Fics Characters: None
Genres: Romance
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 4 Completed: No Word count: 16817 Read: 10177 Published: 02/01/2006 Updated: 04/21/2006
The First Meeting by Bekah Leigh
Author's Notes:
As I promised, major kudos to my wonderful and very handsome first beta, DrkDevin. Thanks for all your help with this chapter!
CHAPTER 2

Giles had been working with the Summers girls since they’d moved. He had immediately taken a liking to both Dawn, for her eagerness to learn, and Elizabeth, ‘Buffy,’ as she had requested him to call her, for a reason he contemplated while he watched them work. She was… different to say the least; not your average well-to-do woman. She had a way with words that was just horrifyingly destructive to the English language, which should have been nipped in the bud years ago. Her slang terminology never ceased to baffle him, frustrating him and amusing him at the very same time. She was quite smart, though her interest mostly shone in war strategy. That alone confused him. A woman should take interest in more domestic subjects: cleaning, cooking, literature to name a few. This girl would sooner take a fencing sword to you than wash a dish. Then, there was her wit and humor. She was quite the comedian, surprising him every day with a new limerick or pun to go along with his lecture. Needless to say, he found himself laughing at every one.

And finally, there was her heart. She was so strong to cope with having a father who chastised her for everything she might do, good or bad. And she cared for her younger sister, Dawn, who received the same treatment from Hank Summers. Buffy would comfort Dawn and keep her from believing anything the man said about her. She loved her sister and mother with all she was, and he had no doubt that she would give her life if it would save theirs.

“Giles? You in there?” Buffy waved a hand in front of his face, smiling, as he seemed to be far away in his mind. She giggled when he blinked, following her hand in confusion until he connected it to her arm, then shoulder and neck, and finally her face. He returned her smile, nodding his head at her to speak.

“Where’d you go?”

“Ah, just thinking is all. I seem to have a lot on my mind lately. What do you need?”

“Oh, I was just gonna tell you I’m done with my notes.” She gestured to the notebook in her hand. “I was sorta hoping that you could let me out a little early today?” She put the look of a little girl on her face, knowing that he couldn’t turn her down with it firmly in place. “You know, cuz tonight’s the big party and I kinda wanted to get some time in at the park before I need to be back here and meet my doom.”

“Your doom, Buffy? I hardly think that this party is going to be that dreadful.” He shook his head, and her pout became larger. He could never resist that face. “Alright, alright! Go on, have your fun. But don’t be late tonight or else your father will have my head for letting you leave.” Giles thought for a second. “And take Wesley with you.”

Buffy groaned. “Giles, he’s so boring. And, besides, I don’t need a chaperone. I’m just going to the park. And it’s the middle of the day. I promise I’ll be back within a couple of hours.” She looked at her mentor with pleading eyes. When his shoulders slumped and she ran to tackle him in a hug.

“Thanks Giles!” She said happily, kissing his cheek. She walked to the door, “And don’t worry, I promise I won’t fall asleep. There’s too much to see. Bye, Dawnie!”

“Bye!” Dawn replied. Smirking, she turned to look at Giles. “You are so daughter-whipped.”

Giles acted affronted. “I most certainly am not. I let her go because she deserves some time away from here. And where did a scholar like you learn a term such as that? Don’t tell me Buffy has been teaching you English.”

Dawn snorted. “No, just how to bend them to your will.”

Giles frowned playfully. “Back to your history, Dawn. I will not have you wasting the day away on such meaningless talk rather than doing your homework.”

Dawn rolled her eyes, loving this game they played every time Buffy got her way. She and Buffy had begun to think of Giles as their surrogate father since they arrived. He had treated them with more kindness in one lecture than their father had in years. She was glad that they finally had someone besides just their mother to look up to. She smiled at him, giving him a Buffy inspired, “Whatever,” and got back to work.

~*~*~*~*~

‘I hope he’s here. I hope he’s here.’ Buffy repeated over and over as she followed the path she had found him the day before. She held his poem in her hands, and wondered whether to give it back to him. She felt somewhat guilty for reading it. It wasn’t her business and it was an invasion of privacy, something she hated. Her father never let her keep a diary, saying that anything she had to say in there could be told to the person’s face. She had kept one when she was younger, and, while it didn’t say anything very telling, Hank had literally burned it in fury at her disobedience. Dawn kept them, had since she was old enough to write, and Buffy had taken it upon herself to help keep them hidden from their father’s sight. A friend of hers from America, Alexander, or Xander, had called them the Dawnmeister chronicles, because she had so many; literally dozens of notebooks filled with her life. Buffy had never read them for the very moral she had so easily broken with William’s poem yesterday. Sighing, Buffy decided to return it, and tell him the truth. It was enough that she’d read it without adding liar to her guilty conscience. He would probably never want to speak to her again, and he hadn’t even started.

Coming to the bench he had been seated on, her heart sank when she saw no one there. She had hoped so strongly that he would return, and she would get the opportunity to introduce herself before his inevitable hatred prevented her from learning anything more about the handsome stranger with such heartfelt poetry. Okay, maybe he wasn’t Shakespeare, but the emotions she knew were behind them were enough to call it beautiful. She just didn’t want to think of whom those emotions were for.

William walked up to the bench he always sat on, hoping he would have another inspiring day like the one before. He had come to this spot for years, finding it a nice secluded area in the park that was rarely populated by anyone other than himself. Glancing up, he realized that today was quite the exception. There before him, sitting on the bench he always sat on, was a beautiful woman with golden hair and golden skin, thumbing a piece of paper between her fingers. He had to stop walking, as she seemed to be nervously glancing in the opposite direction of him, intriguing him. He couldn’t help himself; he had to speak to her.

“Good day, miss.” Buffy’s head snapped to William, standing in front of her as if he had been watching her for a while. Oh God, he was as handsome and wonderful as before.

“Uh… hi.” She blushed.

“May I ask why you were glancing around so nervously before? You’re not lost, are you?”

“Oh, of course not. I’m just… I was looking… no, I’m not lost.” She stuttered, embarrassed that he had seen her so anxious before. Quickly, she came up with an excuse. “I was being crazy. I thought I heard something earlier. I guess it just gave me a wiggins.”

William’s brow furrowed. “Excuse me? A wiggins? What on earth is that?” He tilted his head to the side, and Buffy thought it was the sweetest thing she had ever seen.

“Sorry. A fright, a scare. It made me nervous. I guess I still have some words to eliminate from my vocabulary. My teacher says I speak in riddles that have no answer. I’m still working out the kinks.”

William smiled, finding her vocabulary very interesting. Walking forward, he asked if he could sit beside her, and she nodded almost excitedly. “On the contrary, I think your words are quite fascinating. It’s rare to find someone who relaxes enough to speak however they want. An American, too, judging by your accent. Have you just moved?”

“With my family a while back. My mom is an artist, and her work got us enough money to leave America.” She hadn’t lied; it was her mom’s work that had gotten them money. She’d just left out her father’s oil fields.

“Do you miss it?”

That wasn’t a question anyone had asked her. Honestly, she didn’t miss that much. Her friends, her home, the familiarity of Sunnydale. But, London was so beautiful, and she still had her sister and mother and her friends had each other. Plus, a letter was sent to them all once a week.

“Not really, I guess. I mean, I miss my friends, Willow and Xander. But, I like it here alright.”

“It must be hard moving away from people you’re close to.”

“You’ve never moved?” William shook his head.

“Same house since I was born. I’ve never even left England.”

“How old are you?” The question was out before she could stop it with the hand slapping to her mouth.
William laughed. ‘I love that laugh…’

“Quite a random question, though, I suppose my own have been strange enough. I’m not yet 25. And yourself?”

“Twenty. I’m sorry, my mouth has a mind of its own.”

“Don’t worry, I find it engaging. Ask me any question you’d like.” They both found it odd that they were so comfortably speaking with a stranger they had only just met, but neither of them questioned it.

“Name?” She wasn’t going to make him think that she knew his name, and getting it earlier would save her from slip-ups.

“William Arlington. And yours?” ‘I’ll bet it’s something I’ve never heard before.’ He’d been finding this woman very unique after only a minute of speaking.

“Eli… uh, Buffy. And just Buffy. That Miss and Missus stuff sounds to old.” She never let people call her Buffy unless they were close to her. But this man had attained her fondness of him before she’d even met him. William was close enough in her book.

“Ah, Buffy. I knew it would be different. Lovely, but unique.” She blushed at his compliment. He looked down bashfully, and saw the paper in her hands.

“If I may…” Sliding it from her hands slowly, so that if she didn’t want him to see it, she had plenty of time to stop him. When she didn’t do anything, he slipped in completely away, unfolding it to see what was on it. What he saw flooded his heart with fear. It was his poem. The one that he’d begun the previous day for Cecily. This girl had found the poem, most likely read it, and was laughing at the author. He clenched his jaw, and shut his eyes tight. If she knew that he had written it, she would probably do the laughing right in his face. Just like everyone else. “Where did you get this?” He asked almost angrily.

Buffy’s eyes were large with distress and a hint of fear that he’d hate her now. She knew that she had to tell him. Things had been so wonderful before. They had chatted comfortably, and she was beginning to learn that the potential for kindness and gentility she had assumed he had was really who he was, and she regretted having ever invaded his privacy. Breathing deeply, she fessed up to William. “I found it yesterday. I- um- I saw you leaving and when I got to this bench, this was on the ground. I guess my curiosity got the best of me. I’m sorry, William, I know how it feels when people bud into your personal things, and, believe me I have berated myself over and over for letting myself do that to such a sensitive writer.”

Still on the defensive, William gave her a hateful and pained glare, causing her to flinch at the stab she felt in her heart. Where was the kind man she’d been talking to for that brief time? He’d gone so cold. Looking down so he wouldn’t see the tears in her eyes, she nodded to herself. She’d known it would come to this. Her affection for him from the first time she’d seen him had grown with every second, until she’d read that poem. Then, she was sure that she could fall in love with him. But the sin that had shown her that had been the very reason she could not pursue that love. He’d only just met her and already she’d proven that he couldn’t trust her. Standing, preparing to walk away, she told him in a quiet, shaky voice, “I’m really very sorry, William. For what it’s worth, I think it’s a beautifully heartfelt poem. I only wished to get to know you, but clearly I have already overstepped my bounds. I’ll not bother you longer.”

She turned away as the tears fell from her eyes. Just as she began walking, she felt a hand gently hold her arm. Looking up, she saw William smiling gently, tugging on her arm slightly for her to sit down. Reassured that there was still hope, she smiled a little, wiped the tears from her face, and returned to her seat. She still couldn’t look at him for fear of seeing that look in his eyes. The icy shards of blue in his eyes had frightened her, she could practically feel the chill of the ice. She never wanted that look directed at her again.

William was reeling. She’d said that she liked his poem. That it was beautiful to her. He didn’t know why it meant so much to him that she thought that of his writing. He just reasoned it away, thinking he just wanted someone other than his mother to praise his work. “Do you really like it?”

Buffy’s head moved up and down, “I don’t know much about poetry, so I’m not much of a judge. But, honestly, when I read that poem, I think I could feel what you felt. Or possibly feel. Or… this is rather presumptuous of me, isn’t it. Assuming to know what you were feeling. Suppose you merely wrote that because they were pretty words. Or maybe I interpreted wrong… I…”

William put a finger to her rambling lips, stopping them immediately. Smiling in amusement, he shook his head at her. “Your teacher certainly knows what he’s talking about. You have quite the talent for speaking for incredibly long amounts of time without breathing. I’m impressed.”

Buffy let out a sigh, a smile on her face again. “Yeah, my mom swears she gets her headaches just from trying to make sense of it. It’s a bad habit I’m trying to break.”

William shook his head, “Don’t break it. I find it adorable.” He tried to hide his bashful expression, hoping to appear charming.

She blushed again, wondering why his compliments made her so bubbly inside. Deciding to change the subject, and to answer a question she’d been wondering about, she asked, “Who’s it for?”

William frowned, not sure why he was hesitant to tell this beautiful woman that he was pining for another. Especially since he was so enamored with Cecily, that he should want to shout it from the mountaintops. Shouldn’t he? Gathering himself, he gave her a smile, hoping it didn’t offend her. “Her name is Miss Cecily Adams.”

Buffy felt her own smile falter as she recognized the name. He couldn’t mean the uppity brunette from across the street who shamelessly flirted with every man with more money than her father. Her William was in love with THAT wench?! Kind, handsome, sensitive William cared for someone as callous and ugly-hearted as the woman who would as soon spit on you as look at you?

“Buffy?” William grew concerned as he observed the red tint to her face. The tightened muscles in her soft features held such repressed anger that he couldn’t help but worry that he had been the one to put it there. “A-Are you alright?”

“What?” She barked unintentionally. As soon as she saw the nervous look on William’s face, her anger drained out of her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you like that. I’m fine.”

“Forgive my lack of tact, but you were fuming, Buffy. I hardly think that “fine” is an adequate description of your state.”

She looked at him, knowing that telling him how much trash Cecily was worth would not be a good way to keep on his good side. “I can’t tell you what’s wrong. If I told you what I thought about your love-interest, I hardly think you’d want to speak to me again. So, I choose to be mum.” She sat down on the bench again, looking at her hands uncomfortably. She wasn’t used to biting her tongue to keep someone happy. She was never known for sparing people’s feelings by not telling them exactly what she thought.

She didn’t look up when William sat next to her.

“Many people think that Cecily is… harsh. But, I’ve learned to look deeper. I believe she’s just hiding behind a façade. No one as cold as she seems could truly be that way. There is an insecurity underneath the heartless woman you see.” William tried to convey his opinion.

She laughed unbelievingly. “Even if she is ‘insecure,’ it doesn’t excuse the way she acts. We’ve all got insecurities. That doesn’t mean we have to treat others like garbage by any means.” She looked up at him. “Don’t you see how she is?”

“I see how she wants to protect herself from rejection or harm. Letting someone in is a dangerous sport, Buffy, and I just know she’s hiding so that she won’t get hurt.” His vehemence worried her, but she kept her mouth closed.

‘Yes, William, it is. But what happens when YOU let HER in, and you find out that she is everything she seems?’ She looked at him with concern as he sighed, seeming to have moved on from the subject of Cecily’s personality.

“I intend to calm her fears of rejection tonight. There is a welcoming party for a family that’s just come from America, and I have no doubt that she’ll be there.” He looked over at Buffy who was watching him with excited eyes. Just as he was about to question her about it, they changed to a wary sort of acceptance.

“Are you sure you want to do that tonight? So publicly?” Buffy found new inspiration when she thought of a way to postpone William’s declaration of love. He wouldn’t get hurt if he didn’t admit how he felt about her. She raised an eyebrow at him as if ordering a response.

William frowned. “That’s not good? I would think that she’d want a man to express his affections even with such humiliating circumstances.”

Buffy inwardly sighed. A man who would sacrifice his reputation for her love? She’d take that any day. But Cecily would not. She would wound the man in a heartbeat to save herself from possible demotion. Buffy had to protect William from that. “It’s hardly a way to romance a girl. A girl like Cecily should be dealt with peacefully and privately. Knowing her, she’d probably start weeping, and we wouldn’t want to embarrass her by allowing herself to break down in front of all those people, now would we?”

“No, of course not! I would never harm her.” William cringed at the thought of hurting Cecily by forcing her to lose control of her emotions at the party. He looked at Buffy, who had a sort of proud look on her face. ‘For my realizations, no doubt,’ he thought.

“When should I do it, then?”

Buffy practically jumped out of her seat with relief. “I suggest you wait until you have a private moment with her. When you do, don’t confess everything all at once. That’s a little overwhelming, let me tell you.”

William looked away, confused at the mixed feelings of jealousy and sadness he got when she said that. “You’ve had suitors who loved you?”

Buffy blushed shyly. “A couple… they both told me they loved me right away. It didn’t work out with either of them.”

“I’m sorry. You deserve more than that. I can already tell after just meeting you what a wonderful person you are. Any man would be honored to have you as theirs.” He didn’t want to think of how much he meant those words.

‘If only you were that man.’ Buffy smiled, telling herself that he didn’t mean himself, and looked into his sincere blue eyes. “Thank you, William.”

He was going to look away, but something about her eyes locked his own in her gaze. The emerald mixed with forest green swirled and blended with the loveliest gold he’d ever seen. He just couldn’t look away. Luckily, she broke his gaze, looking around the area. “Wow, I forgot the time. Do you have a watch?”

William cleared his throat. “Uuh… yes. Let me see…” He reached inside his coat pocket, pulling out the watch she’d seen him use the day before. “My word, it’s almost dinner time. I should have been home by now.”

He glanced at Buffy, who was, if he dared say it, looking a little disappointed as he stood from his seat on the bench. “I’m very sorry, Buffy. But, I promised my mother I would be home in time for dinner. I’m already late, so I must go now.”

“Oh, you live with your mother?”

William cringed. “She has spells where she becomes very ill. I can’t leave her on her own in that condition, no matter that she says it must be ‘hazardous to my reputation.’” He hoped that she wouldn’t mock him. So many people had before, and he really didn’t want Buffy to be like everyone else.

Buffy smiled sweetly. “That’s a great thing for you to do for your mom.” She gazed into his eyes once more before saying, “Well, I should be going, too. I have… piano lessons in a half hour.”

William nodded. She was a wonderful woman. He found that he could very easily talk to her, and he wanted to make sure that he got the chance. He offered hesitantly, “Perhaps we can meet again sometime? Tomorrow morning? It’s a Saturday so I won’t be busy.”

She smiled brightly. “I’d love to see you. Again. Tomorrow’s good. I have no lessons tomorrow. How’s 10?”

“That would be perfect.” William took her hand, and bent to give her a kiss on the back of it. When he stood back up, she was staring at him. “I look forward to seeing you again, Buffy.” With that, he walked away.

Buffy watched him leave, then looked at her hand. He’d just… he… she squealed with delight and jumped up and down like a young girl who’d just had her first kiss. She started her walk home, forming a cycle in which she’d look at her hand, smile, giggle to herself, and then look around to see if anyone had noticed her behavior, before looking at her hand again. Once she got home, she went straight to her bedroom to bathe and prepare for the party.

~*~*~*~*~*~

William was smiling. That was the first thing that Anne noticed. He’d smiled before she’d said hello. Something had happened at the park that had made her boy happy enough to keep a smile on his face, even when he was alone. So, while they were finishing their dinner, she decided to question him.

“William, dear?”

“Yes, mother?” was the cheery reply.

“Did something happen today?” Anne eyed her son carefully, waiting for a response.

“No, mother. Not something. Someone.” William grinned again. “I met a woman today. Her name is Buffy.”

“Oh?” Anne, surprised and excited that he had found someone else besides Cecily. “Is she pretty?”

William frowned. Was she trying to… “Yes, mum, but that isn’t the point. I made a new friend today, and do you want to know the best part?”

“What’s the best part?” Anne leaned forward, eager to hear about this potential partner for her son.

“She likes my poetry.” William sat back proudly.

“Darling, that’s wonderful! Tell me all about her. I want to know everything.”

“Well, she’s a few years younger than me. She has an amazing talent for inventing words and speaking for lengths of time without pause.” He chuckled… ‘wiggins…’

His mother laughed, also. “Where is she from? Does she live nearby?”

“She moved from America…” He had a sudden thought. “How did you say the Summers family made their money?”

“Hank Summers has oil fields in California. Why do you ask?”

“I was just thinking. The likelihood of two American families moving to the same area at approximately the same time is very low. But, it must be so. Buffy’s mother painted to make enough money to bring them over.”

“Well, this Buffy seems like a unique character. You must bring her over sometime to meet me. Just think if you two were to marry and I had yet to…”

William choked. “Marry? Mother, she’s my friend. I’m not planning to marry her. Have you already forgotten Cecily? The woman I love?”

“William, I was only trying to suggest that you keep your eyes open for another woman. I don’t want you to get hurt if Cecily is in fact not the one you want to spend your life with.”

He shook his head and stood up from the table. “I tell you this every time we have this conversation. I. Love. Her. She is ALL I want, and all that I will pursue. I can’t spread my heart to another just because there is a chance that she doesn’t feel the same way.”

Anne sighed, defeated. “Then tell her you love her. Tell her and get it over with. I’ve had all I can bear of this worry.” She stood, but her weakened state forced her to leaned against the table greatly for support. “I’m tired. I’m going to go upstairs and take a nap. You have fun at that party.”

She walked past his tense form and through the hall to her bedroom. There was no arguing with William when it came to his emotions. If he felt one way, she could not sway him, no matter what warning she gave. In this case, she had tried her hardest. She feared that his feelings for Cecily were consuming him. Should she reject him, William would break. But above all, she feared that he would not be able to mend.

~*~*~*~*~
I had a little bit of trouble with that darn William/Buffy scene. DrkDevin helped me a lot, but I still want to know what you guys think of it! Please review!
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