You wouldn't know that I was there
'Cause I have been there all the time
And if I had my way I'd hold you in my arms
Leave this madness all behind
'Cause you got so much to give
But you throw it all away
And all you got to show for who you are is pain
Well I got so much to give
If you'd only let me in
I'm gonna take the time to show you I'm a friend
You'll believe in love again
"She doesn't see me."
"What are you talking about?" William's co-worker asked incredulously. "Buffy?"
"Yes, Buffy." He answered as if it were more obvious than an elephant in an elevator.
"Buffy doesn't see you?" She was really getting confused now. “She was just in here talking to you for nearly forty-five minutes."
"Right," he huffed. "She talks to me about her no good parents, her no good ex fiancé, her no good job and all the woes of being an unmarried mother trying to finish university.
“It's like I'm her bloody…girlfriend."
"Or her shrink," Melanie supplied.
"Exactly!" he exclaimed, "See, I can't even compare myself to one of her girlfriends because they at least get to do things with her outside of listen to her whine about all her poor me stuff—"
"Will—" she tried to warn.
"No! She's never going to get it. I sit here every day during my break, hold her kid for her and let her tell me what's wrong. She's never going to know that I want more, that I want her."
"Well, she won't if you don't ever tell her," a new voice interrupted.
"Why, thank you for the wonderful advice," he started before changing his tone completely. "Now mind telling me who the bloody hell you are?"
"Like it matters, blondie, but for your information, I'm Cordelia Chase," she stated haughtily. "And I just might be the answer to your every prayer."
"Little sure of yourself there, aren't you?"
"Not used to seeing it somewhere other than the mirror?"
"What's that supposed to—hey! I am not full of myself, I'm just confident."
"A girl tell you that?" She had a knowing smile on her face.
"Buffy did," he muttered, refusing to look at Cordelia.
"I figured as much. Now, what time do you get off work?"
"What are you on about?"
"I'm going to tell you how to get your girl. But I can't very well do that while you're working…so," she drew out the word dramatically, "what time do you get off work?"
"'Round five thirty," he begrudgingly told her.
"Around five thirty?" she asked. "What do you mean, 'around five thirty’? Either you're done at five thirty or you aren't. I can't just be waiting around all willy nilly."
"No one exactly asked you to be 'waiting around' at all. Sort of invited yourself…shouldn't be asking questions you don't want answers to, Your Highness. If you don't want to be doing it, don't do it."
"Now don't be like that," Cordy argued. "I just want to know when to be here."
"Like I said, I get off 'round five thirty."
Cordelia, despite her earlier protests, was there—sitting in the small coffee shop area—at five forty-two when he got off work.
"Guess you really meant 'around'," she huffed upon seeing him, rolling her eyes when he sat down and just looked at her expectantly.
"Don't look at me like that. You offered to help, now help."
He wasn't sure how they did it, but they talked for nearly two hours about what he needed to do to get his girl--with him asking numerous times just why he needed to do that. Cordelia just told him that she was a girl and he wasn't so he'd best listen to her.
Now, ten minutes after nine, sitting on his living room sofa, he couldn't help but reflect on the conversation.
He hadn't wanted to tell this Cordelia chit too much about his Buffy, but she seemed to know most of it already, somehow—not specifics, just all of the general stuff.
"No one's ever really been there for her," Cordelia explained. "Or if they have, they don't stick around. That's hard for a girl to deal with."
"But shouldn't she know by now that I'm not going anywhere?" William asked, confusion evident in both his tone and on his face.
"She's put you in this little box; you're her safe guy. You're the one who, as long as she doesn't let you in, as long as things stay just the way they are, won't leave. It's things changing that scares her."
"Change can be good," he felt the need to point out.
"Not to her, not so far. What you need to do is tell her, show her that things aren't going to change." She stopped his objections with an upraised hand. "Just hear me out here. You need to get it across to her that even if there's more to your relationship than there is right now, that what you two have right now won't change."
"That doesn't make any sense."
"Right now she can come to you whenever anything goes wrong, right? Vent all her frustration with everyone to you?"
"Well, yeah, but she knows that."
"And you need to show her that that's not going to change. That she can still tell you all of that. That it's not so much that things are changing as being added to. You're not really altering your relationship with each other, you're just adding something to it is all."
"Now," he began after several thoughtful moments, "that just might make some sense."
"You have to have some faith in me, William."
He didn't point out that he had no reason to, that he didn't know her, that she didn't know them; instead, he just sat and listened.
"I'm sure that every time she comes in here to tell you something, you've thought of a way you could have made things better if only you were in her life more, am I right?" But she didn't wait for an answer, already knowing what it was. "You need to tell her that, tell her all of the times and ways you want to be there for her. Show her this isn't just some thing you decided on a whim—that you've thought about this. That you're not going to change your mind."
Now all he had to do was somehow get everything planned out so that the next time Buffy came to see him, whenever that might be, he'd be ready.
He thought of all the things that had happened to her in the last year, the amount of time he'd known her. Thought of her boyfriend leaving her—or rather her fiancé; her parents basically disowning her. Thought of how she was trying so hard to get herself through school and care for her baby girl as well.
He thought of everything she'd done on her own. Everything she shouldn't have had to do on her own. Everything he would help her with if only she gave him the chance.
Then he thought of everything she hadn't been able to do. She hadn't gone to any of the parties that were practically a requisite for a beautiful, young college girl like herself. She hadn't been on a date, that he knew of, since he had met her—not that he was objecting mind you, but it was the principle of the thing.
She was supposed to be out enjoying life from time to time, not always working on one thing or another. She needed someone to take care of her sometimes.
He could be that someone, he thought.