A Christmas Slaying
Part 3

"But now, itís nighttime," said Buffy.

It was suddenly dark. Buffy walked closer to the house and Joss followed her. Voices inside were clear and floated out to them.

"Do you know what itís like to be a divorceeí in this petty town?" Bettyís mother raged, "Itís tough enough to get respect! And then I find out youíve been traipsing around with a murdering Sicilian-"

"Nobody in his family is related to mob people, Mom! Theyíre not Mafia!"

"And heís older than you...people talk, Betty! Think of someone else besides yourself for once! I have clients who live here and I canít afford to have my daughter associating with that trash!"

"YOUíRE trash!" shouted Betty, "I hate you!"

They watched Betty run across the lawn, weeping.

"You come back here! Donít you go to him again! Do you want to live with your father?" Bettyís mother shouted into the darkness, but Betty was gone.

"Gee, whereís she going?" said Buffy, "I have a feeling it might be across town," She whipped the flashlight in a circle.

Buffy and Joss stood in front of an old apartment building. The paint was peeling. The lawn was balding in places, and the balconies were festooned with hanging laundry. Buffy brought Joss closer.

"You put the trouble on all of us!" said a deep voice, an older manís voice.

"I never meant to," That was Angelo.

"What you are thinking, a young girl! It makes you look like a criminal! They will all call you a criminal, they will find a way to punish you, to make the law work against you! What about the rest of us?"

"I love her,"

"Love! Love! Just when things start to go well, weíre almost out of this terrible place, and you talk about love? Think of your family when you think of love!"

"I always think of my family,"

The other voice became quieter.

"You love this girl?"

"Yes."

"You want her happiness? Whatís best for her?"

"Yes,"

"Then send her away,"

"No! I wonít!"

"You think of yourself," said the voice. "If you thought of her happiness, you would think of how her life would change. Sheíll never understand you, what itís like. Sheís used to having everything. You think she can go without, and if she could, that sheíd be happy?"

"But I talked to Uncle Jimmy-I can go back home-"

"You gonna take her away from the town she knows, from her mother? Sheís too young, a girl needs her mother near her. She canít be happy. Sheís too young, Angelo. She doesnít know what she wants. Today, she wants you. But what about tomorrow? And even if she still wants you, can she live so far away from her family? Itís not fair to her. Sheís a child, still in school. Will she never get to grow up, will she go from school books to babies? Itís not fair to her,"

A door slammed. Angelo bolted into the night.

"You think of HER!" the voice followed him. So did Joss and Buffy. Angelo rounded the corner of the street and bumped right into Betty.

"Oh! Hi," she said.

"Hi,"

They were both breathless, gazing at each other. They stood for a long moment, and then, wordlessly, began to walk beside each other. Finally Angelo spoke.

"Itís too dangerous for you," said Angelo.

"I donít care what anyone else says!"

"Youíd better care. They can make your life Hell. All the people on your side of town hate us. It will make them hate you,"

"Itís prejudice! Itís wrong and they all know itís wrong!"

"Itís the way it is,"

"Itís the way they are," said Betty, "Itís not the way we are,"

Their hands joined.

"Fast-foreword button," chirped Buffy, snapping the flashlight sideways with a jerk of her wrist. "Hey! Look whoís lying in wait at the cemetery," The world finished spinning and they saw young Joss in the grass, peering from behind a tombstone. He was chewing on a candy bar.

"You watched them make love that night, didnít you, Joss?" said Buffy. "You saw how happy they made each other,"

"Yes,"

"You knew you could never make her that happy,"

"She loved him,"

They watched the young couple kissing in the moonlight, their hands running hungrily over each other.

"Letís fast foreword again," said Buffy, waving the flashlight.

They watched Angelo and Betty crooning together on the grass, moving in synch like dancers, whispering each others names and heart-rending vows of love.

"Well, at least Angel and I got a bed," said Buffy.

Joss was in tears.

"I didnít mean to ruin her happiness,"

"Her happiness wasnít ever really a part of the equation, was it, Joss?" said Buffy, "It was really all about you,"

The young loversí croons were gaining in volume. Jossí stomach turned sour. "I canít-I canít look any more,"

"You can deal, Joss," said Buffy, turning the high beam of the flashlight on the writhing bodies, "Letís turn up the volume, too...."

Their cries got louder, they were chanting, "I love you, I love you," together, and Joss put his hands over his ears. Buffy jerked his hands away from his head and boxed his ears severely. After they stopped ringing, he realized with horror that he was hearing everything even more loudly.

"Marry me, marry me," Angelo whispered breathlessly, "Promise youíll marry me, Iíll wait, weíll find a way,"

"I will! I only have one year left,"

"Weíll go back East, I can work for my uncle. Itís good money. You can go to college. Weíll have a house. I love you, Betty. I love you more than life itself, Iíll show you every day. I love you,"

"I love you,"

They clung tearfully to each other.

"Wow," said Buffy, "They really love each other. Thatís like, once in a lifetime kind of love, isnít it, Joss? Neither one of them will ever feel like that again,"

Joss was wiping his face with his sleeve.

"But doesnít young Joss here have a plan?" said Buffy.

They watched the teenager creeping away.

"Letís follow him,"

"OK," Joss turned to Buffy, "I get it. I get it, all right? Iíll write the apology, I promise. Iíll do it right now. We can be done now,"

Buffy turned her eyes on Joss.

"What did I tell you about denial tonight?" she demanded, "We donít have time, Joss. Weíve still got a couple of things to cover, as well you know. And to be brutally honest, I wasnít totally into this idea. You know, me representing the past. I am all about the NOW. But in this twisted thing I have to take you through your past, because Iím the teenager and I'm the fulcrum of your high school trauma. Right now it already sucks to be me. So spare me the cowardly antics. The Seventies," she rolled her eyes,"Ick!"






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