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I'm so excited to see this fic finding some love. I think it is going to be a fun ride.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Buffy woke up shortly after eleven in the morning. She had a headache and five voice-mails. She whimpered at the flashing signal on her phone and decided that a shower and a cup of coffee was in order before listening was. After the shower and the first cup of coffee, she decided that she also needed food. She made a grilled cheese sandwich, ate it while drinking a second cup of coffee and then gave her phone a resigned glance. It was time to face the music.
The first message was, not surprisingly, from Willow. The other girl sounded far too perky and was “just calling to see if she was okay-not that she shouldn’t be.”
The next call was from Xander, another old friend. He had obviously talked to Willow earlier that morning and had heard about their evening out. He had mostly called to share a series of cracks regarding the fact that Buffy had apparently needed Cordy to buy her a date before he forgot them. As mortified by the entire situation as she was, Buffy had to admit that he’d gotten in a few good ones.
The third message was from Angel. “Hi, Princess. I hope you had a fun night out with the girls. I’m really sorry we fought. Please let me take you out next Saturday and make it up to you. You know that I’d rather be with you than anywhere. I love you. Okay? Call me. I’m going to play golf with a couple of the guys this morning, but I’ll be free this afternoon. I love you.”
Buffy sighed. Somehow she always felt guiltier after Angel apologized, even though she knew she’d been right in the first place. It had something to do with how he said that he loved her. He always said it like he had no choice, like he needed her and didn’t know what he’d do without her. It was such a contrast to the competent alpha man that he was normally. It was the rare glimpse of that more vulnerable side that had made her fall in love with him in the first place.
The fourth message was from Cordy, a giggling and spiraling monologue about how they were totally good people for supporting that charity and that it would only be a little sleazy if Buffy slept with the hottie she’d bought for her.
Buffy groaned. She was going to have to call the woman who’d organized the event and cancel her ‘date’. She’d just tell her to keep the donation and forget the silly man-buying part. She really didn’t want to think about Angel’s reaction if he found out that Cordy had bought her a date because of their fight.
The fifth message was the worst. “Hello..there. This is Spike, err William…Pratt. We met last night at the auction. Right. So, you—you ran off before we could plan our umm…our date, so your friend gave me your information. How about you give me a call at 556-1347 and we’ll…plan it? Right. It was very nice meeting you and umm…I hope you’re having a lovely day.” He’d made a strange noise just before he’d hung up.
Buffy listened to the message twice and giggled. The poor guy sounded as embarrassed as she was. She decided to simply call him and end all the silliness.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Spike hung up and stared at his phone. He’d sounded like an idiot. He now wished he’d planned what to say in case she didn’t answer. Had he truly said that he hoped she was having a lovely day? What was he, eighty? He sighed, dropped the phone on his bed and got back to work.
He had big plans to finish painting his bathroom and he figured he could ponder his immensely dorky message just as easily whilst stirring paint and fiddling with the drop cloth.
What, he wondered, was it about tiny woman with big eyes that turned him into a clumsy school kid chasing a crush with a bit a paste and paper he fancied was a valentine heart? Spike Pratt wasn’t a kid anymore. He figured he still had some of the prank gifts from the over-the-hill thirtieth birthday party his friends had thrown him a few months earlier around to prove it. He was a man; he had just bought a house and was now spending nearly every free minute he had trying to make the damn thing livable.
He wasn’t looking for a girlfriend. Spike had plenty of female friends that were willing to satisfy his need for female companionship when that need popped up and he’d found it was simpler to keep things casual. Spike had accepted that he probably wasn’t the type of man who found a nice girl and settled down. He’d dealt with it. Spike liked his life and he liked himself.
Still, there had been something about the small blonde he’d met ever so briefly the night before that intrigued him. He supposed it could simply be the outrageousness of their meeting. And he wasn’t above enjoying a bit of an ego boost; hearing that a pretty girl thought he was worth looking at was always nice. But, he thought, there was more. He shook off the foolish idea and got to work.
When his phone rang two hours later, he’d finished painting the bathroom and was washing off the brush and roller. He swore, brushed his paint splattered hands on his jeans and went off in search of his phone. He winced as he picked it up, hoping that his hands were clean enough and then held it a few inches away from his ear. “Yeah?”
There was silence on the other end for a moment and then, “Mr. Pratt?”
“This is umm…my name is Buffy Summers and—”
“Oh! I’m sorry, love. I thought you were going to try selling me the newspaper or something.”
“Nope. No selling.”
He laughed. He liked the way she said her p’s. “Right. How are you today?”
She laughed. “Yeah. A little embarrassed.”
“No need. It’s all for charity. Everyone’s got their heart in the right place.”
“Thank you. You’ve been very nice about all of this, but let’s just forget about it. I mean, the shelter will keep the donation but you don’t have to take me out. I’m sure you have a million better things to do.”
Spike frowned. He hadn’t even wanted to participate in the damn auction and know she was the one trying to get out of their date. No way. “Not at all. I think it’s important to...umm… fulfill my promises.”
His stomach dropped at the disappointment in her tone. What had happened in the past twelve hours? Why had she changed her mind? “What do say we go out next Friday?”
“I really think it would be a better idea if we just cancel.”
“It’s just…I have a boyfriend and he is not going to see the funny in Cordelia’s date buying thing.”
“Ah. I get it.” She had a boyfriend? Where the hell had he been when she was out buying blokes at an auction? “It doesn’t have to be a big deal. It’s not a real date. We’ll just go as friends.” He didn’t know why he was still pushing it. He just knew he was irritated by the fact that she had a boyfriend. “You see, the thing of it is, Fred, the pretty girl running things last night, she’s family. So, if I don’t do this, I’ll never hear the end of it.”
“You don’t want to be responsible for her badgering me for an eternity, just because you wouldn’t let me treat you to dinner, do you?”
She laughed. “That does sound bad of me.”
“You’re not that kind of girl.”
“No, I guess not. I—I mean I guess it’s not a big deal. Of course it’s not a real date, so—”
“Where can I pick you up Friday?”
Friday, October 1, 2010
“Have you ever been to Delilah’s?” Spike turned to look at the woman who had just climbed into his car.
Buffy shook her head. “No. Is it good?”
“Brilliant. They’ve got a wood-fired pizza oven. It’s all organic and what-not, which I’ll admit I don’t normally pay much never mind to, but this place—magic. Best pizza on the west coast. And a friend of mine will be playing guitar there tonight.” He looked at her hopefully. It wasn’t the type of evening he had originally planned, but he thought pizza said friendly and that was what she wanted to hear.
Buffy grinned. “Well after that review it would be mean to take me anywhere else.”
“Oh. No one told you then?”
Spike smirked. “I’m a bad, rude man.” He winked and enjoyed her giggle. “Just kidding, love. Delilah’s it is.” He put the car in drive and pulled out onto her street. “You know we are almost neighbors.”
Her eyes widened. She felt sure she would have noticed Spike around the neighborhood. He was just as attractive as she remembered. “Really?”
“Yeah, I’m about seven minutes by car in that direction.” He pointed vaguely west.
“Wow. That is close. If there weren’t all those houses and streets and businesses in the way I’d probably be able to see you wash your car.”
He smiled, glad that she’d played along. “Nah, I always hire pretty girls in bikinis to wash my car.” He turned to give her a quick glance. “Do you have a bikini?”
“I do. But I gave up washing cars while barely dressed back in high school.”
“Well that seems like a shame. I’m fairly certain scantily clad girls washing cars is America’s favorite past-time.”
She laughed. “I thought that was baseball.”
“Couldn’t be. There’s no bikinis in baseball.”
She giggled again. “Speaking of American and what is clearly not. Where are you from?”
“London. Well, a sort of boring, medium sized town an hour outside of London, actually, but let’s say London. It makes me sound cooler.”
“And what brought you to the U.S.?”
Spike sighed. “Hate to tell you, but we are about to get on heavy topics while we are still in route to the restaurant. You sure you’re game?”
“I don’t mean to be nosy.” She shrugged.
“It’s okay, love. I moved here because I ran out of family there and I wasn’t quite old enough to be on my own. My mum died when I was fourteen and my father was gone before I was born so I was packed up and shipped over to live with my uncle.”
He shrugged. “It was a long time ago, but thank you.” He turned and gave her a quick smile. “My uncle’s a good man, he lives in L.A. and his son, my cousin, is like a brother to me. That was his wife you met the other night, Fred.”
“It’s nice that you still live near family. My mom got remarried a couple of years ago and moved to Vermont. My little sister went with them. She’s in college now, though, in Boston.”
“And you miss them.”
“Yeah, I do. But I like it here. It’s warm and we have that one decent coffee shop.” She grinned.
“I prefer tea.”
“Oh! How British of you.”
They filled the rest of the ride with quiet chatter about the area’s various hot spots and soon pulled into a parking spot at the much-acclaimed, Delilah’s.
When Spike walked around to open Buffy’s car door, she quickly hopped out. “I don’t think friends open car doors.”
“True. Very true. You will also be on your own with your chair. If you can’t pull it close enough to the table, you’ll simply have to starve.”
They were shown to a table after only a few moments wait.
“Tell me now, kitten. What do you like on your pizza?”
Buffy considered telling him that kitten didn’t seem friend appropriate and then felt silly. She decided that he was simply a flirty man and that he was trying to be nice. “Mushrooms?”
“Whew, I was certain that I’d be suffering through anchovies tonight.”
Her nose wrinkled. “Eww. Do I give off an anchovy vibe?”
“Not at all. It just doesn’t seem fair for me to get out of this auction-date business so easily. Pizza with a cute girl and no anchovies? Too much to hope for.”
“You’re kind of charming, aren’t you?”
Spike smiled. “Well, considering the donation your friend made to Pylea, it seemed only fair that I bring out my A game.”
“Oh. I see. Nice A game. I’ll bet you do very well with the ladies.”
“The ladies.” He laughed. “Who talks like that?”
“Apparently I do.”
He laughed again. “I’m sorry, kitten. That was mean of me.” He tried to look contrite. “Tell me, can friends drink wine together or do we have to stick with beer?”
Buffy pretended to think it over. “I think friends can drink wine, as long as the one who is driving doesn’t have more than two glasses.”
“No worries. I’m a grown-up, got past the phase where I think I’m immortal a few years back.”
She blushed slightly. “I had to say it.”
He nodded. “It’s the hair, right? Makes me look like a delinquent?”
Buffy laughed. “I’d have said it even if your hair didn’t glow in the dark. But, since you brought it up, what’s with the hair?”
“It’s not as interesting a story as you’d expect.”
He shook his head. “Sorry.”
She shrugged but was prevented from responding by the waitress’s sudden appearance.
“Hi. Welcome to Deliliah’s. My name is Michelle and I’ll be your server tonight. Can I start you off with drinks or do you know what you’d like to order?”
Spike smiled at her. “I think we can go ahead and order. We need a large pie with lots of mushrooms and cheese, a couple of salads—” He pointed at Buffy. “It’s not a proper meal unless I feed you some veg.” He turned back to the waitress. “We also need a bottle of wine. What do think is good?”
“Do you like whites? Bonterra has a nice Sauvignon Blanc. It’s local and organic.”
Spike looked at Buffy. “What do you think?”
He looked back at the waitress. “And a bottle of the Bonterra. Thanks.” He waited until the waitress left. “I headed up a punk bank for about ten minutes seven years ago. Somehow the stage name and the hair stuck.”
“But that’s all that stuck?”
Spike smirked. “I can still play the shit out of a couple of Buzzcocks’ tunes.”
She giggled. “What do you play?”
“Guitar. Bass. I can handle drums if needed, but it would have to be an emergency.”
“So you’re way musical.”
Laughing again, he nodded. “There are a couple of critics who disagreed back in the day.”
“Back in the day? Who talks like that?”
“Touché, kitten. Anyway, I’m much more boring these days. I’ve got a shop over on West Street.”
“Guitars, basses, drum kits and an awful lot of clarinets every September. I also teach some lessons. That kind of thing.”
“I like it. How about you?”
“I’m a teacher.”
His eyes widened as Van Halen’s Hot for Teacher blared in his mind. “Wow. That’s…wow. Let me guess…art?”
“No.” She laughed. “But kind of close. I teach preschool over at Mossy Groves, so there is a lot of finger painting involved.”
“So you have a whole room full of little niblets.”
“Yeah. They’re something—cute but crazy.”
“Sounds like a good combination.”
“I think it keeps me young. You know, you can’t take yourself too seriously if you spend half your day kneeling on rug that’s shaped like a turtle.”
“I’m fairly certain I read that on bumper sticker just the other day.”
Their conversation continued easily through salads and pizza, which Buffy was sure was the best thing she’d ever put in her mouth.
An acoustic guitar player sang mellow alt-rock songs while they sipped their wine and visited Spike between sets. Buffy watched their interactions with an amused smile. After the other man went back to his guitar, she admitted. “I wish I could play an instrument.”
“Never too late to learn. Come by the shop.”
She laughed and shook her head, “No. I’m not musical. Even the kids in my class wince when I sing.”
Spike chuckled and shook his head. “You can’t be that bad.”
“When I was a kid I wanted a tambourine but my mom wasn’t having it, so then I decided on a triangle. I begged her for a triangle for months, but she held strong. I’m that bad.” She laughed at the horror on Spike’s face. “It’s true. I promise.”
“That’s horrible, kitten. I don’t know why I’m laughing.”
She laughed until she sighed. “So I don’t suppose you’d like to come play for a bunch of three and four year olds some time, maybe tell them about the parts of a guitar and show them what written music looks like or something.”
Spike’s eyes widened as he realized that she was giving him an opening, a chance to see her again. “Sure, I’ve got a guy that helps in the shop. I could take off for an hour or two. Maybe you’ll let the kids take home some business cards, help me drum up some new students.”
“I can definitely send home cards. When do you think you could come in?” Buffy was surprised and delighted by his apparent openness to the idea and had scheduled just enough classroom guests to know that the best thing to do was go ahead and get a date and time before they had a chance to change their mind.
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