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A Symphony of Echoes

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"I don't think this is such a good idea," Cameron Mitchell, a mechanic in the workshop across the street from where Buffy was temporarily working as a barista, said. "I'm not good with lying."

As she was pretty certain he was lying through his teeth about his background, and something about the way he held his body reminded her of Riley and the other Initiative soldiers, she was certain he either was or had been a member of one of the military branches. "We're just going from your car and into your house. We'll stay for a little while and then leave. You've picked me up many times before at my place and people have thought we were a couple, the only difference this time is that we'll stop by your place, and the touches will be deliberate, and in plain view of your neighbor so she'll get the wrong idea and leave you alone."

She smiled at his dubious look. "Come on or we'll be late for the movie."

Cam sighed at her, more for show than anything else, and got into his non-descript car. She followed.

Buffy was dressed in a nice pair of black slacks, a blue blouse, ankle-high boots with a small heel. It wasn't an all-out date night outfit, but a casual one. Which would hopefully indicate that they had been going out for a while and were past the dressed to the nines for every occasion part of the courtship.

It would've been a lot funnier, but Cam had told her he'd been living in this particular city for nearly a year, and Heather's consistent attempts to flirt with him was beginning to grate on his nerves. Despite never having met the woman, Buffy had decided to 'save' her friend by pretending to be his girlfriend. It hadn't sounded like his neighbor was a threat or really overstepping any boundaries, just not getting the 'not interested' signs Cam was trying to broadcast.

So, they were going on a fake date. First a movie and then dinner afterward. They had done it before, mainly because one or both wanted to see a particular movie but didn't want to go alone. They had established early on that there was nothing romantic, just a friendship between two people who were (semi-) new in town.

It didn't take long to get to his house, and when they arrived a boy Buffy assumed to be Heather's son was playing with a football in the yard next to Cam's house. It was much bigger than she had expected, and it had a double garage to boot. A single, never-been-married man of his age didn't need a house and he didn't really seem like the type to want to deal with all the extra upkeep. Yup, something definitely wasn't adding up, but she could be patient.

In her peripheral view, Buffy saw the curtains move in one of the houses next door, and she got out of the car. As she walked towards the front door, just half a step behind him, she made sure to invade his personal space just a little while looking up at him with an approximation of the looks she had used on Angel many, many years before. Cam's blue eyes were somewhere between amused, resigned, and annoyed. She gave him a sweet smile while her eyes laughed at the entire thing.

As soon as the door closed behind them he rounded on her, "You're enjoying this way too much."

Buffy laughed out loud. "Maybe I am." She looked around. There were sparse furnishes, but it looked lived in, and much more comfortable than she had expected. "Why don't you give me the tour?"

Half an hour later they were back outside. She had gotten her tour and Cam had gotten a shower and changed. They appeared to be a good-looking couple, even if she could easily be mistaken for being half his age. Slayer healing had somehow put the breaks on her aging process, but they got along reasonably well.

This time they were holding hands while hurrying towards the car. The pretty lady who lived next door had gone outside ostensibly to look after her son. She was attractive and much closer to Cam's age than Buffy had expected.

Cam called out a greeting to both, but they really were running late so they didn't have to fake it anymore. As they got into the car, Buffy smiled a greeting of her own even if she refrained from saying anything. The return smile wasn't quite as genuine as it had been when it was directed at Cam.

As he sped out of the living area, she asked. "Do you think she bought it?"

"I think so." He looked thoughtful and a little uncomfortable. "I hate lying."

"It'll be okay." If you're so uncomfortable, you can always tell her we broke up."

He gave her a look and they drove the rest of the way in silence.