Chapter 18 - Making Things Right
The end of the day came quickly, and Buffy made her way through the halls and toward the pool. There was no training on today; Coach Jones had given them a session off because of the teams’ stellar efforts at the weekend. But Buffy needed to get in the water, needed to clear her mind.
A few minutes later she was diving into the empty pool and freestyling to the other end. She kicked away the pent up anger, the hurt and the embarrassment she felt. Fifteen minutes later she was beginning to feel a lot better.
Buffy continued to swim, oblivious to her audience.
Spike watched Buffy swim gracefully through the water from the stands. She really was a great swimmer. He watched her in silence, trying to figure out in his head exactly what he was going to say to her. So caught up in his thoughts, he almost didn’t see her exiting the pool.
But when he did see her he gasped in a breath quickly. She was wearing a two-piece suit, her lean and toned stomach exposed to his gaze. She removed the cap from her head and shook out her hair, turning her head upside down and rubbing a towel over her locks to dry them quickly.
Spike stood up and walked over to her as she wrapped the towel around her hips.
Buffy looked up from her bag, only seeing his approach at the last second. Her first response was shock, which quickly turned into embarrassment when she saw his eyes flicker over her exposed skin. Leaning down to grab her T-shirt she quickly pulled it on over her head.
“Spike, what are you doing here?” she asked quickly, her cheeks flushed.
Spike stopped within touching distance, reaching out with one hand to caress her cheek.
For a brief moment she leaned into his touch, closing her eyes. Then his words from last night—and in the cafeteria at lunch—echoed in her mind and she recoiled from his touch as if she’d been burned.
“What are you doing here?” she repeated through clenched teeth.
Spike dropped his hand to his side, knowing she had every right to be angry with him. “I just wanted to talk to you.”
“HA!” Buffy spat out. “So because you want to talk I’m supposed to stand here and listen? When you wouldn’t listen to me?” She shook her head and waved her hands at him in rejection. “Nope. I’ve got places to be,” she snapped as she leaned down to pick up her bag, turning to leave.
Spike quickly stepped around her so that she was facing him. “Summers, just bloody well listen would you?”
“Oh Spikey, are you in here?” a voice filtered in from the locker rooms.
Spike turned around and shouted as the blonde appeared on pool deck. “Not NOW, Harm!”
When he returned his attention to Buffy he found that she was no longer there, the doors leading to the parking lot swinging closed. He sighed, realizing that she was gone.
Spike dialled the number for the Summers’ house as he drove through Sunnydale. It rang a few times before someone finally picked up.
“Buffy, it’s Spike, can we talk for a minute?” Spike asked.
There was a pause on the other end of the line for a second before Buffy responded. “No, Spike, I don’t think we can. Goodbye.”
“Buffy, don’t hang up!” Spike begged.
He frowned in frustration and dialled her number again. It rang twice before she picked up.
“Buffy, please, just listen to --”
“God dammit!” Spike shouted as he turned left onto the next street. He dialled the number again, hearing the line pick up, then the crash of the phone being slammed down again. Spike punched his steering wheel, the horn blaring.
He dialled the number again, but was met with the busy tone. She’s taken the phone of the hook… he thought.
Making a quick decision, he spun the steering wheel quickly to make a right hand turn into the next street, cutting off another driver who proceeded to yell abuse at him through an open window.
A few minutes later Spike pulled into Buffy’s driveway and switched off the engine. She had to listen to him, he had to make things right.
He was certain she had heard his car pull up and wouldn’t answer the door, but if he had to he would find a window to climb through. He walked up the path quickly to her front door and knocked on it three times in rapid succession.
Buffy heard a knock on the front door and reluctantly lifted herself from her bed, replacing the phone receiver in its cradle as she left her room. She bounded down the steps two at a time when she heard another knock.
“I’m coming,” she called, frowning at the impatience. Buffy twisted the handle and pulled the front door open. When she saw Spike standing on her doorstep her mouth gaped, before trying to slam the door in his face.
Spike had expected that reaction, and he pushed his way into the house before she could get the door closed.
She glared at him angrily, the door slightly ajar. “Get out,” she demanded.
Spike kicked out with his foot, closing the open door. “Buffy, I just need to talk to you.”
“Get OUT, Spike!” Buffy yelled, turning her back on him and proceeding to run up the stairs two at a time.
Spike almost turned for the door, but he knew if he did there would be no going back, he wouldn’t be able to smooth things between them if he just left. She was angry, but he would make her listen.
Quickly climbing the stairs he found himself in unfamiliar territory. He’d been inside her house before, but he’d never traveled upstairs. There were several doors to choose from, but he knew immediately which one she was in, the last on the right at the end of the short hall. He could hear her stomping her feet about the room, cursing his name.
He moved swiftly to the door and threw it open, his gaze flickered about the room. His eyes scanned the room, spotting the dresser top cluttered with photo frames, the posters that hung about the room, the clothes thrown messily over her bed. The whole room smelled of vanilla and honey, and he breathed it in deeply. And then he saw her.
Buffy’s didn’t hide her shock. She’d told him to leave, and thought he had. But now here he was, in her room, watching her closely. “Get out, Spike, just leave me alone!” Her earlier anger wasn’t present in her words; she sounded defeated more than anything else.
“Buffy, I need to talk to you. Just listen to me, god dammit!” Spike demanded forcefully as he took a step towards her.
Buffy backed up in response and found her knees backed up against her bed. She looked at him expectantly, remaining silent with an expression that she hoped resembled loathing. For a long moment there was silence as she waited for him to say something, but when he didn’t she rolled her eyes and threw her hands up. “I don’t have time for this crap, Spike. Close the door on your way out.”
She turned her back on him, suddenly finding the old posters from LA which adorned the walls of her room incredibly interesting.
Spike quickly walked the four steps it took to cross the distance between them, and spun her around in his arms to face him. Before she had a chance to object his lips were descending to hers, his arms tightening around her body and crushing her tiny frame against him.
For the briefest of moments Buffy didn’t resist him, and then she remembered who he was, what he had said to her and she raised her hands from her sides to push at him roughly. “You can’t do that! You can’t just walk in here and take what you want!” she objected.
She lifted her arms to push at him again, but he loosened his hold on her and captured her wrists, keeping her still and close, but allowing room between their bodies. “Buffy, I’m sorry,” he started to apologise. “For everything. For jumping to conclusions last night, for what I said today.” His gaze dropped to the floor at the shame and guilt he felt.
“You have no idea how much you effect me. Just being near you makes me crazy. When I thought that you were going to just forget everything that happened between us in LA, just return to your boyfriend…” He didn’t hide the spite in his voice when he spoke that word. “Well, I guess I over-reacted.”
Buffy snorted. “I’ll say.”
Spike smiled faintly, thankful that she wasn’t screaming at him to get away, that she was listening to him even though her expression was still hard and angry. “Then Willow told me --”
“Willow told you what?” Buffy interrupted, mentally cursing her meddling friend.
A slow smile crept across his face. “Willow told me that you’d broken up with him, with Riley. I was so god damned happy you wouldn’t believe.” The smile disappeared, and was quickly replaced by a frown. “Then my words from today flew back in my face and I knew how badly I’d messed things up.”
He let go of her wrists, lifting one of his hands to her cheek, gently brushing a lock of hair from her eyes and tucking it behind her ear. Buffy’s expression softened slightly at the gentle gesture, and he continued before she could interrupt.
“I’m sorry,” he apologised again. “And I know I’m pushing my luck here, but I was wondering if…” his voice faltered, “… if you would like to come to the Bronze with me this Friday night.
Buffy’s eyes widened, and Spike knew he had to act fast, not wanting to hear her shoot him down. He lowered his lips to hers again, gently pressing his against hers in a soft kiss. Reluctantly breaking away a moment later, he continued hopefully, “You don’t have to give me an answer immediately, please just think about it? I’ll give you all the space you need.”
Buffy nodded numbly.
Spike smiled, turning away from her to walk out of the room, stopping at the door. “I’ll see you at school tomorrow, Summers.”
And with that he left.
“I can’t believe you did that!” Buffy exclaimed down the phone.
“I’m sorry, Buffy!” She tried to sound genuine but to be truthful she wasn’t. Spike and Buffy, they just fit. And if it was going to take a little prodding from her to convince her friend of that fact, then prodding it would be. Still, Spike could have made it easier on her by not blabbing like he had.
I’m going to kill Spike for telling her that…
Willow heard Buffy sigh at the other end of the line and realized that the mini temper tantrum her friend had thrown for butting in had lost its steam. “So,” she asked tentatively. “Are you going to?”
“Going to what?” Buffy repeated the question.
“Going to go to the Bronze with him?” Willow heard Buffy mutter below her breath, and she smiled.
“Tell me everything, from the beginning,” Willow insisted.
Hanging up the telephone Buffy slid beneath the covers of her bed. The conversation with Willow had helped to clear her mind, and she liked the clarity it brought. Spike had messed up, badly. But at least now, she seemed to understand why. Buffy cared about him more than she wanted to admit, and the fear that one day he could just turn around and morph into the cruel alter-ego she’d seen today seemed enough to convince her to stay away.
Willow on the other hand had offered an alternate explanation for every argument that Buffy could present. While it seemed her red-haired friend was obviously enjoying the role of matchmaker, Buffy could see Willow genuinely believed that she and Spike would make a great couple. The little girl inside Buffy, the one who had fantasies of meeting her Prince Charming and living out a happily ever after, was eager to give Spike the chance Willow seemed to believe he deserved. And the more her friend encouraged her, the more confident Buffy became.
So here she was, at a crossroads. She could either cut her losses and hope to find someone less volatile that made her feel the way Spike did; or, she could put her faith and trust into the boy who’d one day made her feel more alive than she ever had, and then broken her heart with his easy cruelty the next.
In the short time she known him, there had been plenty of times when Buffy had wanted to hit Spike for how he’d spoken to or treated her. But the good times outweighed the bad. There were more times that she’d felt gratitude, friendship and maybe even something deeper towards the bleach haired former menace cum friend. Spike had been there for her when her father had made things difficult in LA, kept things light and fun and done anything he could to distract her from the unhappiness brought up from seeing her dad. To Buffy, that was probably more special, more important than his timely rescue at the frat house. Saving her was one thing. Offering to be there—and just listening—was another. And Spike did that, most of the time.
With a deep sigh Buffy snuggled further into her blankets. Sleep would not find Buffy easily tonight, not with the buzz of questions that were flying through her mind. Spike had promised her time and she just hoped that he kept his word because she was going to need it.
Closing her eyes, Buffy tried to get some sleep.