Angel took a deep, unnecessary breath as he stood in front of the Summers' door. He held two roses in one hand, and his other hand was on the doorbell. He took one last look at himself before finally pressing on the doorbell, hoping that Buffy would answer the door.
No such luck.
On the other side of the door stood Joyce Summers. She took in the appearance of Angel and couldn't help but notice why Buffy was so attracted to him. He wore long black pants, leather boots, a dark green, long sleeved, button-down shirt, and a leather jacket over it. His usual attire.
He smiled charmingly at the mother of the woman he loved. "Hello, Mrs. Summers," Angel said politely.
Joyce matched his smile. "Hello, Angel," she said. "Why don't you come on in?"
She stood aside, allowed him to step past her, and closed the door.
"Buffy'll be down in a minute," Joyce said. "She must really like you a lot. The most outfits she's tried on for a guy she's going out with is four. I think she's at her seventh."
Angel chuckled and held out one of the roses for Joyce.
"Oh, how thoughtful!" she said with a grin. "I'll go put this in some water. Sit down, please."
Angel nodded and went to the living room to sit down. Joyce came back a few minutes later and sat down next to him. "So, Angel," she started. "Um... where are you from?"
"Mom!" Buffy's voice came from the stairs before he could answer. "Have you seen my white platform sandals? Angel... hi."
Angel smiled. "Hi."
"You mean MY white platform sandals," Joyce answered.
Buffy frowned. "Really?"
"They're in my closet, you can borrow them," Joyce replied with a smile.
"Great!" Buffy said and darted back up the stairs.
Joyce shook her head and turned back to Angel. "Where were we?"
"Ireland," Angel said. "I'm from Ireland."
Joyce raised her eyebrows. "Really? You don't have an accent."
"Oh, I moved a lot," Angel answered.
Joyce nodded. "So how long have you been in Sunnydale?"
"About a year or so," Angel replied.
Joyce opened her mouth to ask another question when Buffy finally came down the stairs. Eighteen century manners kicking in, Angel stood up as she walked into the living room. She wore a knee-length light blue skirt, a white tank top, and the white shoes. Her hair was done in a simple ponytail, leaving a few strands of hair to decorate her face.
"Giving Angel the third degree already?"
Angel smiled and held out the rose. "A beautiful flower for a beautiful lady."
Buffy blushed and took the offered flower. "That's sweet, Angel, thank you."
Stepping forward, Joyce took the rose from Buffy's hand. "I'll go put it in some water with mine," Joyce announced and walked into the kitchen.
"You brought my mother a flower?" Buffy asked once Joyce was out of earshot. "Should I be jealous?"
Angel gathered her in his arms and planted a soft kiss of her lips. "Not at all."
Buffy laughed and brought him in for another kiss just as Joyce walked back into the living room. She cleared her throat and they broke away, slightly embarrassed.
"The lasagna won't be done for another twelve minutes, so why don't you both sit down and we can all talk," Joyce said.
"Mom," Buffy said. "You're not gonna keep up the drilling are you?"
Joyce didn't say anything. Instead, she lead them both to sit on the living room couch.
"So, Angel," Joyce started again. "Tell me about your family. Do you live on your own?"
Angel nodded. "Yeah. I don't really have any family," he answered truthfully.
"My parents and siblings died in a car crash some time ago," Angel said, repeating the story he and Buffy had made up. The truth wasn't something they could tell Joyce at the moment.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Joyce said. "So how do you support yourself financially?"
"I have some money that my family left for me."
"Is that enough?"
"Mom," Buffy said warningly. "Leave him alone. He's living, right? What does it matter how he does it?"
Joyce tightened her lips, obviously not happy about the interruption. "You're my only daughter, I'm trying to look out for you."
"It's not like we're getting married," Buffy muttered and Angel chose not to comment on that. He glanced at her hand and saw the Claddagh ring. She still didn't know what it meant.
"Alright, alright," Joyce said. "Um... what's your major?"
Both Buffy and Angel were caught off guard with that question. Thankfully, Angel recovered and answered quickly. "I major in history. And art."
Joyce broke into a huge smile. "Art?" she said. "How delightful! Buffy tells me you draw."
Buffy nodded vigorously. "And really beautiful, too," she said. "He drew me last night. I could show..." She trailed off when she saw the look on Angel's face. And suddenly, she remembered just how he had drawn her. She had gotten so caught up in impressing her mother that she had totally forgotten about the little detail. "Or not."
"I think I accidentally threw it away with some papers this morning," Angel said, glancing at Buffy.
"Oh," Joyce replied, completely clueless.
The next several minutes were spent with Angel and Joyce eagerly discussing art and Buffy sitting in a corner, very bored. Finally, Joyce nudged Buffy on the side.
"Sweetie, could you go check on the lasagna?" Joyce told her daughter. "I think it's done."
Buffy stood up and turned to leave. Then, she stopped and turned back to her mother. "Is this like, the part where I leave so that you can ask Angel about his intentions with me or something? 'Cause I've seen that in the movies..."
"Go check on the lasagna," Joyce repeated, this time with a small smile.
With a sigh, Buffy turned and left. Sure enough, as soon as she was out of the room, Joyce turned to Angel.
"What are your intentions with my baby?" she asked.
"I love her," Angel said bluntly. "I know it sounds weird, Mrs. Summers. Especially coming from a guy my age..."
"Joyce," she interrupted. "Call me Joyce."
"Joyce," Angel said. "But I really do, and I guarantee that I would never intentionally hurt her in any way."
Joyce sighed and looked to the kitchen, where Buffy was. "She's really not a baby anymore, is she?" She turned to look at Angel again.
"She's a beautiful young woman," Angel replied. "And I swear that my intentions with her are only the best."
Joyce stared at him for a what seemed like hours, but were really several seconds. Finally she nodded. Slowly at first then faster.
"I believe you," she stated. "And any mother in her right mind would scream at her daughter for dating an older man at her age, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that perhaps I'm not in my right mind."
With that she laughed, Angel joining her.
"I can tell she really likes you too," Joyce continued. "I don't think it'd do any good to forbid her from seeing you. I'm gonna let you two go out, but if I ever hear that you hurt my little girl..."
"I assure you, you won't," Angel replied.
"But if I ever do," Joyce said anyway, "I will hunt you down myself."
Angel smiled. "If I ever did, I'd hunt myself down... if that's even possible."
Buffy poked her head out of the kitchen. "Are you done yet? 'Cause I'm hungry."
"We're done," Joyce said.
"Oh, good," Buffy said, stepping out of the kitchen. "So did he pass the test?"
Joyce glanced at Angel and nodded. "He passed the test."
"See?" Buffy told Joyce. "Told ya you'd like him."
"Let's eat," Joyce said with a smile.
They all sat down at the table, where Joyce continue with the drilling.
"So, Angel, tell me about your name."
Angel, who had been serving himself a piece of the lasagna, looked up in surprise. "Pardon?"
"Your name," Joyce repeated. "It's a strange name for a guy."
Angel shifted his weight uncomfortably and glanced at Buffy, who nodded. "It's actually a common name in Spanish," he said with a small smile. "My name's actually Angelus. I was uh, named after a great, great grandfather. Since it's a strange name, I figure Angel is a bit less strange. 'Angelus' is really just latin for 'angel.'"
Joyce nodded. "You said you moved a lot," she said. "Where?"
Angel shrugged and took a bite out of his food. After he swallowed, he answered. "After I left Ireland, I went to England, France, Spain, Italy, and a few places around there. I moved to New York some time ago and came to Sunnydale lastly."
"Wow," Joyce said. "That's a lot of places in such a short time."
Angel chose not to answer as he took another bite of his food. "This is really good, Mrs. Summ... uh, Joyce."
Joyce smiled. "Thank you," she replied. "So how long will you be in Sunnydale?"
Buffy held her breath as she waited for Angel's answer.
"I'm not sure," Angel answered and glanced at Buffy. "Hopefully, a very long time."
Buffy blushed and smiled. Joyce totally missed the exchange.
"Do you know all those languages of the countries you visited?" Joyce spoke again after a small while.
"Yeah," Angel said. "I had time to learn them all."
"How interesting," Joyce replied. "Why did you..."
"Mom!" Buffy said, feeling exasperated. "Leave poor Angel alone."
Angel smiled and shook his head. "It's alright."
"Why did you choose history and art?" Joyce finished her question.
Angel considered his answer momentarily. "I love to draw, and I've always found history interesting," he said finally as Buffy got up and gathered all the empty plates. She quickly disappeared into the kitchen.
Joyce nodded. Buffy came back with dessert and they all ate in relative silence. Occasionally, Joyce would ask a question about Angel's childhood, which he would answer as truthfully as we could. Various times, he was asked about his family's names or the place he grew up. Buffy listened with rapt attention, until finally, Joyce decided she was going to go to sleep.
"Goodnight," Joyce said as she got up from the chair she sat. She glanced at Buffy warningly. "Don't be late."
Buffy nodded and, with a final smile at Angel, Joyce left the room. Almost immediately, Buffy grabbed Angel's hand and dragged him out to the living room, where she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him softly.
Unexpectedly, she giggled. "We did it!" she cried. "Hey, was all that stuff about your family true?"
Angel smiled and nodded. "Yeah," he said. Then, almost as an afterthought, "your mom liked me."
"You thought she wouldn't?"
"You are so insecure," Buffy said. "You are a great guy, my mom would have to be crazy not to like you."
Angel smiled and brushed a hair from her face. "Thank you."
Buffy looked puzzled. "For what?"
"Just for being you."
"Well, you're welcome."
"I love you."
"I love you."
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