He rolled onto his stomach, arms under his head, and opened his eyes. He closed them again quickly. The harshness of the sun shining brightly into his room was not soothing in the least. He had neglected to draw his shades down before going to bed.
"Bloody hell," he muttered as he sat up in bed. He clutched his head, rubbing his temples hoping to ease the tension. His stomach revolted when he stood making him realize he had indeed imbibed too much the night before.
He descended the stairs slowly, finding that sudden movements made him want to heave. He had already emptied his stomach of what contents were in there and he did not want to spend the day dealing with the dry heaves if he could avoid it.
"Nothing a good stiff cup of coffee and some toast won't fix."
He blinked and blinked again when he got to the foot of the stairs and saw the state his living room was in. There was a cup full of cigarette butts, record albums were strewn on his couch, the top of his desk, the top of his stereo, and there were empty wine bottles on the floor. "Good God," he muttered, realizing his mind was not playing tricks on him.
When he woke with images of roaming the streets of Sunnydale looking like a hoodlum right out of The West Side Story with his slayer's mother by his side, a willing participant he thought he had dreamt the whole ordeal. He pinched the bridge of his nose, pushing his glasses up along his forehead and sighed heavily. Had he really made love to Joyce on the hood of a police officer's car?
"I must have been mad." A knock at his door brought him out of his reverie. He secured the belt around the waist of his robe and answered it, careful to keep from getting a snoot full of sun again. "Joyce?"
"Hi," she said. "I hope I'm not bothering you. Can I come in for a minute?"
"Of course and it's no bother," he said, stepping aside so she could enter. "I suspect I know what's brought you by and I assure you I feel terrible for what happened last night."
"You do? I mean, of course you do."
"Well, yes and no. I mean, it's not exactly my idea of the perfect night out, but it's made me realize that I need to move on. I have been kind of stunted since Buffy and I moved to Sunnydale."
"I suppose it has been rather stifling for you."
"Anyway, I just came by to make sure you were all right. And to say that I don't think Buffy needs to know what happened. We weren't in control anyway and I don't want her to see us uncomfortable around one another. She'll get suspicious and she's like a dog with a bone if she suspects I'm hiding something from her."
"I agree she shouldn't find out," Giles said, though he was not sure he agreed with Buffy's mother comparing her to a dog. "I've always respected you, Joyce, I know raising Buffy has not been easy so I don't see how last night would change anything."
"Good. I'm so relieved. Oh my, I didn't realize what a mess we made."
"Yes, it is quite a sight, isn't it," he said and could not help but smile. It was remnant of his Ripper days when he would drink all night and maybe make classes in the morning.
"I can stay and help. You look a little worse for wear."
"And you, surprisingly, look as though you did nothing out of the ordinary last night. How is that possible?"
"A woman never tells her secrets, Rupert."
"Ah yes, the mysterious code you all subscribe to."
Joyce laughed lightly and Giles realized that all indeed could be well between them. "So, do you want that help I offered."
"I'd love it. I was on my way to making a pot of strong coffee."
"That sounds wonderful," she smiled.
"Ah, she is human after all," he said as he walked to the kitchen and put the water on to boil. He had never thought of Joyce romantically and last night did not change that. She was Buffy's mother, it would hint at something improper if he were to become involved with her.
He sensed somehow that because of last night he now had a friend and Giles realized he sorely lacked adult influencers in his life. It was not something he had really thought about since Jenny died until last night. Maybe last night was an eye opener for them both that they needed to put the past behind and move on.
Story © Susan Falk/apckrfan/phantomroses.com