Disclaimer:  I do not own these characters.  They are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB.

Three Little Words
By:  Lorelei

"How do I deal with you, How do I deal with me, when I don't even know myself what it is you want from me."

Sheila snapped the stereo off. "I want you to talk to me, Willow, not listen to that inane music."

"I don't like it anyway.  She's a no talent."  Willow truly believed that, although the lyrics from the song did have a certain meaning for her relationship with Angel right now.

"I couldn't care less about your taste in music.  I want to talk to you about this note you left."

That was her mother's entire problem.  Willow knew it wasn't just the music, her mom couldn't care less about anything that was going on in her life.  It was just dumb luck that she'd even found the note.

"Well, mom.  You have the floor. Talk."

Sheila picked up the note and began to read from it, "Mom & Dad, I'm staying over night at Amy's.  I'll be home tomorrow after school." She paused.  "I don't know how you could be so inconsiderate, Willow.  You just decide you're going to sleep over and leave a note instead of talking to us.  We worry, you know.  We may have very busy careers, but you are the most important thing to us."

Willow had to fight to keep her composure.  She was angry and found it funny at the same time.  That same note had lain on her bed on and off for three weeks. As a matter of fact, it had been on her bed for the last four nights running.  Willow always checked in after school, always left a few dirty dishes in the sink, always made it look like she was still spending her nights in her own bed. Her mother wouldn't have even found the note if she hadn't been looking for Willow's copy of H.L. Mencken's 'The American Language', God only knows for what.  Her parents might feign concern, but they didn't care about her.  As long as she did well in school and didn't wind up in jail they barely noticed her.  Some people should never have children. Willow swore to herself that she'd never be that kind of parent, if she ever got that chance.

"Well, what do you have to say for yourself, Willow."

"I'm sorry, Mom.  I didn't mean to worry you and dad."

"It's a little late for sorry.  There's going to be a change around here.  No more notes."

Conflicting emotions ran through Willow.  Her parents were finally taking a genuine interest in her life.  On the other hand, no more nights with Angel.  She wasn't sure what she felt.  She was even a little angry.  She'd finally found someone who cared for her, who she cared for.  Her mother and father's timing was as bad as their parenting skills!

Her mother reached into the pocket of her sweater, pulled out an object and handed it to Willow.  She took it.  It was a cell phone.

"From now on, you can call and leave a message on the machine if you're staying out late or sleeping over with Amy or Bunny. If you forget, we can call you. There's no need to uselessly worry your father and I.  We have too many other things to deal with other than fretting over your whereabouts."

Willow stared at the phone, relief and disappointment clouding her features.  "Good idea, mom."

Her mother's voice softened. "We know you're a good girl, dear. A good girl with a good head on her shoulders, especially since you stopped dating that weird little musician.  Boz, wasn't it?"

"Oz, mom. His name was Oz.  And he was a nice boy, too."

"It's all for the best.  You need to concentrate on keeping your grades up, not some silly relationship with a boy. You're much too young for anything like that.  You know that, don't you."

Willow gave her a wistful grin. "Yes, mom.  I'm not ready for a boyfriend."

Sheila patted her daughter awkwardly on the shoulder. "Good." She handed Willow an instruction booklet. "This will tell you how to use it.  The charger is on the dining room table and the number is on the pamphlet.  Now your father and I have a banquet to attend, so don't wait up."

Willow spoke quietly as her mother walked out of the room. "I never do, anymore."

Willow walked into Angel's and wearily headed towards the sofa.  She drew back her hand, as if to throw her new phone into the fire, but couldn't do it.  She sat down, staring at it.  What would have been a status symbol for any other sixteen-year-old, was just another sign of her parent's indifference to her existence in their world.

"Here, Tupelo." She called quietly for her kitten, but the animal must have been off exploring.

Willow lay down and closed her eyes, trying to catch a few winks before Angel woke.  She knew she should be doing homework, she was just too exhausted.  She jumped when she felt Angel's hand on her stomach.

"Good morning, Willow."

"Actually, it's afternoon, and so far there's not been anything good about it."

Angel gave her a gentle kiss on her forehead. "What's wrong, little girl?  Bad day at school?"

Willow shook her head. "No. My parents.  They finally found the note I'd been leaving on my bed."

"Didn't go well, huh?  I guess we won't be spending as much time together."

"It went fine.  And I'll be spending as much time with you as I want.  It's the same old thing, a brief show of parental concern and then it's back to the status quo."

Angel moved to the end of the sofa and pulled her shoes off.  He started massaging her feet, trying to ease some of the tension in her body.  She sighed and wiggled her toes.

"I'm sorry you got stuck with your parents, Willow.  I'm sure they care in the ways they can.  I love you."

"I know.  And I'm so grateful for that."

Angel moved his hands up to her calves, still massaging her.  He could slowly feel her relaxing.  A change of subject would probably be best. "You know, next week is Valentine's.  What would you like to do?"

Willow looked at him for a moment. "Um, are you really wanting to celebrate it... I mean... You kind of have a bad history with that holiday."

Angel froze and looked at her, silent.

Willow sat up and covered his hands with her own. "Oh, Angel, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you feel bad.  I didn't think."

Angel gave her a half-smile.  "I know you didn't mean to hurt me.  And *I * don't really have much of a history with Valentine's day.  That was Angelus."

Willow moved into his lap, kissing his neck.  "I know. Well, flowers and dinner are traditional.  Dinner's kind of out and you've given me plenty of roses."  She hesitated. "I do know one thing I'd like from you, but it's part of what I'm doing for you, so I can't tell you."

"Oh, really.  I bet I know what it is then." He winked at her.

"Oh, stop it.  You know though, by my count, the fifteenth is going to be one hell of a night, so Valentine's should be pretty interesting, too."

"Is that so."  He snaked his hand beneath her blouse, cupping her breast. "What about tonight, will it be a hell of a night, too?"

She bit softly into his neck, sucking his cool skin between her teeth.  Angel groaned, brought his hands underneath her knees, stood and headed for the bedroom.  He deposited her unceremoniously on the bed.

"Hey! Is that any way to treat the one you love!"

"Oh, I love you, little girl.  I was just putting you in your place.  My bed.  And do you think *I * might get to here those three little words from you soon?"

Willow answered in a sugary sweet voice.  "Oh, I'll say them now, if you want, Angel.  Fuck me hard." She stuck her tongue out at him.

Angel dove on to her.  "What a mouth you have on you, Willow.  But your wish is my command."