The Letter

Chapter 1:
The Letter

The Letter
The  Coat
The Man
The Truth
The Talk
The Visit
The Dinner
Friends Come Visiting
Making Contact
Back in the Saddle Again
Pennies from Heaven
The Prodigal
The Salon
A New Beginning
Tea and Sympathy
Encounters and Interludes
Desperate Measures
Dancing in the Dark
The Vampire, the Witch and the Watcher
A Week in the Death of William the Bloody
Phoenix Rising
Picking Up the Pieces
I Love a Parade
Mr. and Mrs. Summers

 The heavy cream envelope stood out amongst the junk mail, fliers and bills like a rose among common garden weeds.

Buffy Anne Summers it read on the front in an elegant script. This didn't come through the mail, she thought, turning it over and taking in the lack of any other markings. On the back, the envelope was sealed with a dollop of burgundy wax, pressed into an intricate seal. She slipped her thumb under the flap and the wax cracked easily, allowing her to open the envelope. The heavy paper sliced her skin, and a few drops of blood stained its pristine folds. Buffy absently slipped her injured thumb between her lips as she sat down at the kitchen table to examine this unusual missive, drawing out the letter within and flattening the thick paper with her other hand.

My dearest Buffy, the letter began. I am sorry.

Her heart skipped a beat, then picked up again in quicker rhythm. She turned the paper about, looking for anything to confirm the source. There were no clues, but she already knew. Her eyes were drawn back to the simple, graceful handwriting, clearly not made with a drugstore Bic.

My dearest Buffy. I am sorry.

No matter how many times I have rewritten this letter to you, how many ways I have tried to say what I feel, it always begins with those words.

I was wrong. I tried to take from you by force something which cannot even be asked for, but must be freely given - your love. Nothing I will say will undo what I have done, and for my shameful actions I can only offer my deepest and most humble apology.

Knowing you has been, at the same time, the most terrible and wonderful experience of my existence. I have undergone many changes as the result of knowing you, not all of them willingly. I have learned friendship and I have learned love. But you were right to say you cannot love me, for I have not learned these things well enough yet to deserve them in return.

I love you. If I were to quote a poet greater by far than myself, I would say "I love you to the very depth and breadth and height my soul can reach". And there is the crux of the matter indeed. Though my love for you consumes me, it will always lack the essential essence of humanity.

Years ago I willingly surrendered my soul to become a monster, in search of something I thought would make me better than what I was. Now I see how foolish a choice that was. Yet I find cannot regret it, because without that decision I would never have met you. You returned some of my soul to me, when you treated me like a man, but I am not one. A true man, an honourable man, does not harm those whom he loves; nor does he force anything on a woman against her will.

Perhaps once I had the potential to be such a man. Until such time as I believe have that potential again, I am not fit for the company of humans. And so I am leaving that I may attempt to complete this transformation and become what I believe I can be.

Whatever the outcome, forever I will remain
Your devoted William

The letter blurred before her eyes, and a single teardrop smeared his name.

Buffy drew a shaking breath and steadied herself. He didn't even ask me to forgive him. Does he think that I won't be able to, or that he doesn't deserve to be forgiven?

I know you didn't mean to hurt me, she thought, I know you only wanted me to want you again - but you did hurt me all the same. The bruises - those were gone in a day. The emotional pain . . . will take longer.

She folded the letter again, slipped it back into the envelope, and then leaned forward on the table, wrapping her arms about herself.

I hope you find what you're looking for.

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Chapter 2: The Coat>>