STUDYING IN BED TOGETHER? YES, IT REALLY DOES MAKE YOU SMARTER
5:26 PM the same day; after Buffy and Amy had
virtuously done their math, science, and history
homework at the Espresso Pump, they'd made
their way to Revello Drive and Buffy's new home...
Aslan, Buffy's golden colored cat, purred contently as she accepted the offering of chicken that her caretaker snuck down to her. Moving out of the way a little, she set it down on her cat dish and started to contentedly tear it apart.
Amy, similarly, was munching with satisfaction on some roasted chicken of her own. She was in the kitchen with Buffy and Joyce Summers eating a casual meal. Granted, it wasn't home cooked, it was from Safeway, but she wasn't about to quibble over details. She was just enjoying a very rare occurrence for her. A pleasant meal with family. True, it wasn't her family; but for roast chicken? If Joyce Summers had offered, she could've easily been influenced towards ideas of adoption.
"So your mother's in real estate, you say?" Joyce asked curiously as she got up to take her plate to the sink.
"Mm-hm." Amy confirmed, swallowing her last bite of chicken. "She's, um, really good at it too." She glanced over at Buffy with an unsaid question in her eyes. Not really a subject Amy was anxious to get into, apparently.
"Mm, well that's nice dear." Joyce said as she came back and retrieved Amy's plate, Buffy already having deposited hers in the sink a few minutes prior. "Maybe you and she could come over for dinner together some night?" She asked.
"Um, I..." A little panicked at this, but trying to hide it, Amy looked over at Buffy with beseeching eyes.
"Amy's mom travels a lot." Buffy blurted out, not really thinking it through. "She's uh, I mean she sells houses and stuff, all over. She might not have time or anything."
"Oh I see." Joyce smiled. "Well, you'll be sure to pass along the invitation anyway, won't you Amy?" Figuring she knew the reasons why Amy might not want her mother to be at such a dinner, Joyce accepted the somewhat lame evasion gracefully.
"Uh, sure!" Amy smiled.
"Well, look at the time." Buffy said all of the sudden. "Getting late around here. We should be studying. Wouldn't want to miss out on that - big dance club plans and all. Com'on Amy." She said, all too cheerfully, as she took Amy by the hand and started to lead her up to her room.
"It was nice meeting you, Ms. Summers. Thanks for dinner, it was awesome." Amy exalted gratefully as she headed for the stares, following along behind Buffy.
"You're welcome." Joyce called out awkwardly at the two retreating girls.
Shaking her head a little, Joyce set about straightening up in the kitchen some more. [Well, if she's going to date other girls, at least she picked a nice one this time.] She thought pensively, still not really completely used to the idea of her daughter's choice of lifestyle.
5:32 PM; in Buffy's room now...
"Thanks." Amy said with a wave of relief, as she plopped down to lay on her back on Buffy's bed. "You totally saved me down there." She sighed as she looked blankly up at the ceiling for a moment before she sat back up.
"No problem." Buffy replied as she retrieved the books and such from their packs. "Saving damsels in distress is one of my all time favorite pastimes." She was curious, sensing there was something Amy wasn't saying, but she figured if the other girl wanted her to know, she would tell her.
"And you do it so well." Amy commented drolly. "So, do you save damsels on a regular basis, or..." [What am I saying?] Amy thought to herself, realizing where her thoughts were headed.
"Oh sure." Buffy answered cheerfully. "It's like, my calling in life or something. But don't worry, most of them don't get invited over for chicken and pasta."
Amy kind'a half giggled, half laughed at this, unreasonably charmed by her friend's silly talk.
"You're such a goof sometimes." Amy giggled, her voice a little teasing.
"Well, yes that's true I guess." Buffy pondered as she sat next to Amy on the bed. "Teach me?" She handed Amy their English book, along with the script of Shakespeare's famous play.
Chuckling a little more, Amy agreed. "Sure." She smiled. "Um, well, like Mr. Jenson said, we've got the quiz and the discussion on the second act tomorrow, so I guess that's all we really need to know, right?"
"Sounds logical." Buffy agreed.
"Except, maybe the second act wouldn't make as much sense without the first act, right?" Amy thought.
"Probably. I have to take the quiz for act one on Monday anyway, so I need to know it." Buffy admitted. "But, maybe you can you just summarize it for me now? So I'll know enough to get the second one?" She asked hopefully.
Amy seemed to ponder. "Um, yeah, o.k., I think I can do that..." She agreed. "We could get together on the weekend if you want? I could help you with act one then if you'd like?" She asked hopefully.
"I'd like." Buffy readily nodded her agreement. "I'd like a lot." She again affirmed. "...So, where do you wan'a meet? We could just study over here or-"
"Here's fine." Amy offered quickly. "I like your house, and you've got a nice room... And your mom seems really nice too and..." Amy tried to think of another reason.
"You're welcome any time." Buffy put forth, placing her hand on Amy's for a moment to further convey her intent.
"You... I am?" Amy asked, looking into Buffy's eyes. She didn't find any pity or compassion there as she thought she would, just, well, she wasn't completely sure, but she liked what she saw, a lot.
"Yup." Buffy assured. "It's a promise, o.k.?"
Amy was quiet for a moment as she looked down at her hands where Buffy's hand had recently touched hers.
"Thanks..." Amy looked over at Buffy. "That's... That's really sweet of you." She told her sincerely.
"You're welcome." Buffy gave her an honest smile. "So, as far as the play goes..." She began, having been looking at the words on the page rather like they had horns. "This is really English?" She said under her breath, looking up at Amy a little helplessly. "So, um, you were about to do the summarizing thing?" She asked hopefully.
Amy gave her a small teasing smile at that. "Yeah, I think I could do that..." She agreed, turning to the start of the second act. "Lets see, O.k. Right, well, first there's this nobleman guy, named Theseus, right? He's like the mayor of the city or something..." She looked in her notes. "Duke. Right, he's a duke. Anyway, he's marrying Hippolyta, she's the queen of the Amazons... you know, like from Wonder Woman?" She asked.
"Really? Huh. That's kind of neat." Buffy commented.
"Yeah, thought so too." Amy agreed, pleased. "Well, anyway, Theseus and Hippolyta are getting married in four days, but Theseus wants to take her to bed with him before the wedding."
"The cad." Buffy commented.
"No, it's this whole he's head over heals in love with her sort of thing. Sort of a theme in the play I think. So he's all 'it's driving me crazy to wait', and she's like, 'yeah, four days... not such a long time. Take a cold shower.' Or something."
Buffy laughed at that, so did Amy a little.
"Um, anyway, so somebody, another noble or something, comes up to Theseus and wants him to hear his complaint, about his daughter, Hermia. Because she won't marry the man he wants her to marry. She's in love with a guy named Lysander and wants to marry him, but her dad doesn't approve."
"And that's something for this mayor-duke guy to get involved with?" Buffy asked, not really getting it.
"Oh yeah. It wasn't a real good time to be a woman back then apparently." Amy assessed. "See, after he hears them all out, he basically tells Hermia she has three choices: do what her dad wants, be executed, or become a nun. Cheerful, huh?"
Buffy looked at her. "Damn." She said. "Very harsh ...What'd she do?" She asked.
"Well, she runs away with the guy she's in love with of course." Amy smiles. "But that's not 'til later." She explained. "The play has, like, three or four different plot threads going at a time. That's the first one."
"O.k., so what's next?"
Amy looked at the play again. "Well there's this acting troupe in town. They're trying to come up with a play to do at the duke's wedding, because if they get chosen, they'll get a lot of money or something." She proceeded to tell about Nick Bottom and company and the beginnings of their production of 'Pyramus and Thisbe', and things went on from there.
6:39 PM; It's an hour later into their study session,
they're just wrapping up with the second act of the play...
Amy and Buffy sat on the bed together. Buffy had her back against the headboard and her legs tucked up under her, the text of A Midsummer Night's Dream on her lap. Her eyes were fixed avidly on Amy, sitting cross legged right across and to the right a little of her and reading to her from the play. To her surprise, Buffy found she was actually understanding the words of the play reasonably well by this point...
"...what, removed? Lysander! Lord! What, out of hearing? Gone? No sound, no word? Alack, where are you speak, an if you hear; speak, of all loves! I swoon almost with fear. No? Then I well perceive you all not nigh. Either death or you I'll find immediately." Amy finished, looking up.
"So that's the end of the act?" Buffy asked.
"So I take it when Hermia finds Lysander, it's not going go to well?"
"I'd say probably not." Amy quirked a little smile.
"Jeeze." Buffy spoke. "So, let me get this strait. Oberon gets angry at Tatiana... and out of spite decides to drug her so she'll fall in love with some random guy and... But then he sees Helena's love life is as bad as his, and decides to help her out by drugging the guy she likes too? Only Puck gets it wrong... and act three, we're thinking train wreck here?"
"That sounds about right." Amy nodded.
"That is so messed up." Buffy shook her head.
"Well, yeah. But it's no worse that what a lot of people would do in modern times, given the chance. I mean, getting someone drunk? Date rape drugs? In other countries. Africa? The middle east? You don't even wan'a know what they'll do a person, man or woman, just because they can, or because it was done to them... I mean, I'm sure if there was a drug that would make me want to become an anorexic cheerleader, and my mom had it? I'd've been waving my pom-poms at anything in a jersey a long time ago." She said it with a curious amount of dispassion.
Buffy looked at her a moment. "Yeah, I guess you're right about that. People can be pretty monstrous, I know."
"Yeah... But at least, with the play, I think Shakespeare was more trying to call attention to than endorsing it. I mean, it's hard to be sure sometimes, but I think so. It seems to be something that's a theme for him. Like for Romeo and Juliet? Showing what a conflict like that can do, who knows how many lives that play could have saved?... I don't know. I hope so anyway." Amy said with modest optimism.
"Hmm... Well, I suppose it does at least make you think about things like this, right? That's got'a be a good thing." Buffy put in, her small smile showing further proof that Amy's optimism had been returned and appreciated.
"I think so." Amy replied.
"Oberon's still a bastard though." Buffy qualified. "And his little Puck too."
Amy laughed. "No argument."
"So, you think we're done with this for tonight?" Buffy asked hopefully.
"Yeah, I think so." Amy confirmed, closing her book.
"You really seemed to know this stuff though." Buffy complemented, closing her own book. "I mean, I really think I get this now. Do you realize how huge that is?" She teased.
"I can imagine." Amy gave her a little of a lopsided grin. "I have to admit, I did have a little help though."
"Yeah, from cartoons. There's this one called Gargoyles? It's really a good cartoon, like, not just for kids, it has a really good story. Anyway, there's a bunch of stuff from Shakespeare in it, so I was kind of familiar with the characters when the teacher assigned it. I could relate more, you know?" Amy explained.
"Hm. Yeah, I'cn see how that would help. The way you explained it, it sounded like you really knew what you were talking about." She allowed. "So, what was the cartoon about?" She asked curiously, wanting to leave the subject of school work behind now that she could.
"Stone statues coming alive at night and protecting New York City." Amy said without missing a beat. "It was more interesting than it sounds."
Buffy made a small laugh sound. "I bet." She said.
"Well, what about you? You don't ever watch cartoons?" Amy challenged.
"Well, when I was little I think I watched some, my mom says I did anyway... but, truth to tell, I haven't really watched much TV in a while." She admitted. "Just some ice skating, and sports sometimes."
"Gee, I never would have guessed." Amy said, looking around Buffy's room and seeing some posters from both those things. One each from women's basketball and tennis and one from the 1996 Summer Olympics U.S. Woman's soccer team (there was also one of Madonna). There were some family portraits and such too - one bigger one, an eight by ten, on her dresser was of Buffy and another girl with dark hair at sunset on a beach. Amy felt uncomfortably threatened by that last item, but deliberately tried not to think about it.
"Yeah." Buffy looked a little chagrinned. "I guess that would be kind of obvious."
"So, um, that's it, no other TV?" Amy set up a little and asked, resisting the urge to ask who the girl in the picture was. "But... What do you do for stuff to watch in the off seasons when there's no sports?"
"Oh, um, well, I'm pretty active I guess. I don't even watch those things very often anymore, just sometimes. I guess I just like to be out doing things if I can... But when I don't have anything else, I'll usually just listen to music or read a magazine or something." Buffy explained.
"Wow." Amy said simply.
"Ah come on. It can't be that strange, can it?"
"Of course it can." Amy looked at her as if she was contemplating something. "Buffy, come on, you're probably the nicest person I've ever met and all (and I know this about you only having just met you today, so you know it's totally obvious how nice a person you are), but you got'a admit, there's not much that's ordinary about you. Don't worry though, the kind of strange you are is a really good kind of strange. Or I think it is anyway." Amy stopped talking and looked at Buffy. "What?"
"If I'm strange, I think it's a catching condition. You do realize you sounded just like I do sometimes just then, right?" Buffy pointed out saliently.
Amy was silent for a moment, looking down at her hands? "My hair isn't turning blond, is it?" She winced, looking at Buffy with widening eyes. "Did you poison that chicken with hair color or something?" She asked. "You did, didn't you!" She accused, and, whereupon seeing the look on Buffy's face what she'd said had elicited, she immediately dissolved into laughter.
"And she thinks I'm strange..." Buffy complained grumpily.
Looking up again at this, Amy saw something of a pouty look on Buffy's face, which of course caused her to laugh all the more.
"If you're quite done now." Buffy said in mock impatience.
Looking up at her again, Amy valiantly tried to reign her laughter in. "O.k.. O.k.." She breathed. "I'm good. I'm good." She lay back and rested her head on Buffy's thigh.
"You know, it really feels good to laugh like this." Amy said. "Thank you."
"For what? Being such a goof that you can laugh at me all the time?" Buffy asked, half abashed, half mock-offended.
"No silly. You know, for being my friend and cheering me up and... and..."
"Yeah." Buffy replied. "I know. You've kind'a done the same for me." She looked downwards a little.
"I have?" Amy turned over on her stomach, supporting herself with her arms.
"Sure." Buffy smiled, warm affection and regard clear in her eyes. "I mean, here I was: This new girl in a new town, feeling alone. Not a friend in sight... Except for my mom I guess, but she doesn't count... And I luck into finding the best new friend I could ask for. Who not only cheers me up and makes me feel like I'm of some use in this world, but offers to help me get caught up in school and takes me on a tour, and... It's just nice having someone I can really talk with. Someone who'll give me a hug even. Makes me feel like I don't have to worry so much... about things... you know what I mean?"
"Yeah." Amy sighed as she got up and took her place sitting next to Buffy, lay her face on her shoulder again. "I know."
Looking down at Amy at the sudden silence, she saw tears falling down her face.
"Amy... Amy, hey, what's wrong? What is it?" Buffy asked, worriedly, as she got up and tucked her legs under her so she could look into Amy's eyes.
"I don't know. I, I just..." Amy moved forward and hugged Buffy tightly, burying her head in her friend's shoulder.
"It'll be all right." Buffy said softly, just holding Amy back. Returning the closeness, offering whatever comfort she could as a few tears started to fall from her own eyes as well. [She has no idea how much being able to do this with someone... She has no idea.] Buffy felt a little like crying herself just then. "It will be. You've just gotta believe that." She did her best to comfort her.
Amy felt the emotions settle within her at those words... she had just felt so lost somehow lately. But now? Now, here in Buffy's arms, she felt safer and more grounded than she could ever remember feeling in her whole life, and she just held on tighter, somehow afraid that if she let go, the feeling would escape her.
The two stayed together like this as the minutes passed, Buffy moving her hands soothingly over Amy's back.
As the tears started to slow, Amy became more and more aware of how close she was to the other girl. Buffy felt so good, so solid and strong, but also so soft and warm and good. It felt a little strange, but definitely good.
Moving slowly, she pulled back from Buffy a little, for some reason wanting to look into her eyes, and she did. They were so beautiful, she felt almost adrift, and she felt her hand raise almost of it's own accord, touching the soft cheek in front of her.
Before she knew what was happening, her lips were on Buffy's. Her mind all but blank as the sensation of the kiss overwhelmed her every sense. She didn't know how long it lasted, but when it was over and she could breathe again she looked up into Buffy's eyes and her mind caught up with her. Amy pulled back in disbelief at what had just happened.
"...Amy?" Buffy spoke in quiet wonder, still a little dazed by the unexpected (but not at all unwelcome) kiss.
to be continued in part four...
LOVE YOU? BUT IT'S ONLY BEEN A DAY...
see you next time!