Saved, But One For Time

He walked into the hotel, still dressed in his jeans and leather coat. Hadn't taken the time this morning to dress in more appropriate - more typical - clothing, because he'd woken late and hadn't been able to convince a certain stubborn someone that he meant it when he wanted to shower alone. Wesley was thankful he'd been able to convince Gunn he needed a shower, at all.

He set his motorcycle helmet down on the counter, heading over to check the messages on Cordelia's phone. No matter what time she arrived, she never managed to check them herself until well after lunch. It proved more expedient to check them, himself. He saved three which were actually for her and deleted the rest. Another reason to check the messages.

"Mr. Wyndham-Price, we are calling to remind you that-"

If they were desperate enough to call him here, it was time to say something to Angel and Cordelia. Not the truth by a long shot, but something vague and confusing to explain why persons who sounded like creditors would be trying to contact him.

It wasn't like he was refusing to pay. But the post between here and England was sometimes slow, and last month's check had already been a week late. It was any excuse to harass him, he was sure.

Sighing, he continued to his desk. Perhaps something evil would attack and he'd be able to get his mind off-

"Wesley."

"Good morning, Angel." Wesley nodded at his employer, surprising himself at how calm he felt and how little he reacted to the stare he was getting.

Angel kept looking at him as he walked past. There was no confusion in Angel's face, nor anything else except awareness. The silence was what told him there was more to it than that. Wesley made it as far as the desk when Angel spoke again from just be hind, surprising him with his proximity.

"Wesley?"

"Yes?" He assumed his tone made it clear they both knew why Angel was now looking so hesitant. Why he was following Wesley in the first place.

"I know it isn't any of my business...."

Wesley waited. When Angel didn't continue, he said simply, "No, it is not."

Angel nodded, and his expression changed just a little. Wesley could see the unhappiness that was always a part of Angel's moods. They both stood silently for a moment, then Angel looked away and asked quietly, "Is...is it because you love him?"

He wanted to smile, but controlled himself. Couldn't keep the surprise out of his voice as he replied, "What makes you think it's because I love him?"

Angel shrugged, and Wesley could see he wanted to glance up, maybe look him straight in the face. "I just...didn't know. Wanted to, in case...it was."

It occurred to him he could easily say 'yes'. It would give him excuses he needed, and it would be far too amusing to watch Angel and Cordelia react. Cordelia would think it sweet, if a bit too bizarre. Angel would just hope they were happy.

Wesley shook his head. "He is a friend whom I find attractive. We...had an opportunity last night. I imagine we'll have more." He raised his hand, palm up, as if offering more, unspoken answers. "I'm not in love with him."

"Do you want to be?"

The softly-spoken question surprised him into an honest reply. "No." As he composed himself, he added, "Not particularly."

Angel still didn't look at him. Staring instead at some safe spot on the floor, unable to move away though Wesley didn't doubt he was ready to. He said nothing for long enough that Wesley tried to think of something to say, to give them both an excuse to go on about their business.

Fianlly, "It's just...."

Wesley waited expectantly. Knew there was nothing but silence which would encourage him.

Angel finally looked up, and all he could see in the vampire's face was misery. "It's just...if the price wasn't so high, I would have asked you."

Very carefully, Wesley controlled his reaction. Kept his face nearly as impassive as Angel's had been 'til now. He took a step forward and reached out one hand to touch Angel on the cheek. "You know," he whispered, "If the price wasn't so high...I would have asked you."

He could see Angel begin to crumble, see him try frantically to stop it. Wesley reached out and put his hand on Angel's far shoulder, and pulled him gently in. As Angel accepted, Wesley gathered him in his arms and held him.