Chapter 19 - First Date
The days flew by quickly, and with the exception of a phone call from her father the week had been a good one. Buffy had yet to inform her mother about the incident in LA regarding her dad. Part of her was hoping he’d back off, another desperately seeking an alternative to the forced move. But regardless of the outcome, the most important thing to Buffy was that her mother had somewhere to live. So she kept her lips sealed.
Spike had given her space, just as he’d promised, their contact for the week restricted to a few hello’s in the hallways. At training he kept his distance, and the one time he’d had to speak to her it had been short and to the point, with more than a hint of longing in his eyes, before he’d pushed off from the wall.
If she were honest, Buffy missed the light hearted banter between them from the swim meet in LA. On several occasions she’d had to bite her tongue to curb the urge to initiate a conversation with him. She was still hurt and very upset with the way he had treated her. Their contact may have been limited but she was certain he paid more attention to her when he thought she wasn’t aware. Because when he was near, she knew. She could feel his eyes on her.
Buffy knew she should have spoken to him sooner and she felt guilty about not doing so. Things were going to be weird between them now—they were already strained—and that was the last thing she wanted.
Once bitten twice shy, wasn’t that the expression her mother had used when her father had first deserted them? Well Buffy had been bitten. Spike had changed so suddenly and so drastically, that she almost didn’t believe he wanted to go out with her at the weekend. That somehow, this was all part of his plan to make her feel even worse than she had on Monday morning.
Those fears were soundly quashed yesterday at lunchtime. Harmony had finally spat the dummy publicly at Spike’s lack of interest in her. Accusations of running hot and cold had been thrown from the cheerleader, among other things. Someone should have informed Harmony that if she wanted to have a private conversation, the cafeteria probably wasn’t the best place to do it. The entire exchange was witnessed by pretty much the entire senior class, including Buffy. She had watched in secret, maintaining her focus on her lunch and only daring to shoot a glance in her team mate’s direction when she thought she wouldn’t be caught.
Despite the fact Buffy wasn’t actively watching the public spat she did hear every word. Spike shot the bimbo down, telling her she wasn’t worth his time. Harmony’s screeched accusations that he’d lead her on caused a snicker to sound from the amassed crowd. Apparently the best response was no response, Spike just ignored her.
With a huff of annoyance, and spiteful glares shot in Buffy’s direction, Harmony had flounced out of the cafeteria. Buffy smiled.
It was now Friday afternoon, last class of the week. English Lit.
Walking into the classroom, Buffy found Spike already seated in his regular spot. She approached the desk and put her books down on her side and slid the chair out.
Spike immediately looked up at her, flashing a warm smile. “Hey, Buffy.”
“Spike.” Buffy smiled quickly back, turning her attention to the teacher, and frowned when she didn’t recognize the woman standing before them.
Spike watched Buffy’s face closely, openly observing the confusion that caused the pretty blonde’s brows to scrunch together. “Substitute…Gordon’s not in today.”
Buffy nodded and turned her attention to her book.
Spike waited for her to say something, anything… but she didn’t. He sighed in resignation. All week he had been waiting for her to talk to him, to either shoot him down or accept his request to go to the Bronze tonight with him. Ignoring him almost completely was not a response he had expected. But he supposed he deserved it.
With another sigh, this time at his own stupidity, he turned his attention to his notebook, scribbling away as the substitute yammered on about the task.
Buffy snuck a look in Spike’s direction when she knew his attention was no longer focused on her. He was furiously scribbling away in a notebook. Interest piqued, she wondered what it was that he was writing, but she wasn’t game enough to lean across.
After what seemed like forever, the bell finally sounded for the end of class. Abruptly, Spike pushed his chair out from his desk, stacked his notebooks together and snatched them up in his arms, walking out of the classroom without so much as a muttered goodbye.
Buffy watched his speedy exit and sighed.
Slowly collecting her own books, she walked out of the classroom and into the hall. Barely had she made it into the throng of students before Spike was upon her, eyes flashing with frustration.
“Why couldn’t you just turn me down?” he demanded of her, taking a deep breath when he realized how angry he had sounded. “I’ve been going crazy all week. Not knowing what you were going to say… not knowing if you’d bite my head off if I tried to talk to you.”
She looked surprised, shame flickering through her eyes momentarily.
“I need to know…” The words trailed off. Spike didn’t like his chances, but he had to ask. “Are you ever going to talk to me again, or should I stop hassling you?”
Buffy took a deep breath, clutching her books tightly to her chest, hoping she was making the right decision.
Spike looked at her blankly. “All right what? All right you’ll give me an answer?”
“All right… I’ll come with you,” she clarified, the words slowly escaping her lips.
A broad smile broke across his face, and he took a step closer to her, reaching forward with one hand to toy with her hair. Twisting the lock around his fingers he had to restrain himself from leaning down and kissing her. Trust had been broken and he was determined it should be rebuilt. “You won’t regret this, I promise.”
Buffy smiled nervously, and nodded. “What time should I meet you there, at the Bronze?”
“Meet me there? Are you kidding?” he scoffed.
Buffy’s expression froze. “Wh-what?”
Spike smiled warmly. “I’ll pick you up at eight.”
Buffy’s entire being clenched in apprehension, his words conjuring up rejection scenarios in her mind. When his words finally registered her whole body relaxed, and she released the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. “Eight it is.”
Spike leaned forward, the temptation to touch her becoming too much. With feather light pressure his lips gently caressed her forehead.
A couple of students had stopped to gawk, mouths dropping open in surprise. Genuine, open affection was apparently not something Spike expressed all too often. Buffy, being the recipient, was in just as much shock. As far as most of the student body knew, save Willow and Xander, Spike and Buffy didn’t get along. Her cheeks flushed pink with embarrassment.
Whispers followed her as she walked towards her locker, a slow smile stretching across her face. She had a date tonight…
Joyce watched as Buffy ran from the bathroom to her bedroom, hair recently blow-dried, bath towel wrapped around her torso. A gasp of panic came from her daughter’s bedroom, and Joyce walked in anxiously.
“Buffy, is everything okay?”
Buffy’s eyes were wide as she shook her head. “He’s going to be here in twenty minutes, and I’m not even dressed!”
Joyce stifled a laugh. “If he shows up early, I’ll stall him.”
Buffy smiled with gratitude, but it only remained on her face for a few seconds before she returned to her desperate rummaging through her closet in search of the perfect outfit.
Despite the panic in her daughter’s actions, Joyce could see that Buffy was happy. Excited even. A person would have to be blind to have not noticed how gloomy Buffy had been during the week. Joyce was not a stupid woman; she suspected the sadness was not solely because Buffy had ended her short relationship with Riley. When answers to why were not forthcoming, Joyce understood she’d just had to wait—she would never force Buffy to talk to her about something if she didn’t want to. Whatever the reason for the smile that had returned to her daughter’s face, she was grateful. Smiling, she made her way downstairs and busied herself in the kitchen.
Buffy threw the umpteenth outfit on her bed, almost ready to tear her hair out at the roots. Or at least given it a good, hard tug. Had it not been for the fact she had spent so much time on her hair, she might have.
It shouldn’t be this hard to pick an outfit…
Finally, she decided on a black skirt, which meant she could wear any colour top. The skirt itself was made of a thin material which flared out around her body when she danced, but otherwise clung loosely to her legs just at knee level. A pretty blue corseted top was chosen to complete the outfit. It was almost the colour of peacock’s feathers and tied up at the back with black straps, a thin line of black lace on the hem around her hips. It had tiny, see-through black sleeves and sat off the shoulder.
Eyeing herself in the mirror, she closed the clasp of a delicate chain that had a tiny silver cross hanging from it around her neck, and put on a pair of large silver hoop earrings.
Realizing that she was running out of time, she sat in front of her small vanity table and quickly applied a small amount of make-up. Dark brown tones on her eyelids, black mascara and a clear gloss on her lips brought out her features.
The outfit was complete.
The doorbell rang and Buffy stood to attention, her ears pricked and listening for voices. She heard her mother answer the door warmly. The conversation floated up the stairs.
“Hello, Mrs Summers. I’m here to pick up Buffy,” Spike informed, nervously shifting his weight from one side to the other.
“Please, come in. Buffy will be down in a moment.” Joyce smiled warmly, a twinkle of merriment in her eye as she continued. “And do call me Joyce. Mrs Summers makes me feel old.”
Allowing herself a moment to calm her nerves, Buffy began to make her way to the stairs, the plush carpet beneath her feet sinking as --
Buffy ran to her closet on her toes, careful not to stomp, and selected a pair of simple black heels. As she was buckling the second shoe she listened as the conversation downstairs continued.
“Oh, you shouldn’t have,” Joyce gasped in surprise. “They’re lovely, thank you.”
Buffy frowned, wondering what was going on. Grabbing her black leather jacket from her bed, she slipped it over her shoulders and slowly made her way down the stairs.
“It’s my pleasure,” Spike said graciously, some of his earlier nervousness slipping away in the warmth of Joyce’s smile. “Buffy told me that you --” Spike stopped mid-sentence when he heard a noise on the stairs, and turned to see Buffy walking slowly down towards him.
Joyce turned from the dining room where she was placing a bouquet of daisies in a vase on the table, her attention shifting to the entryway. She smiled again when she saw the enraptured expression on the boy’s face.
Spike was astounded; Buffy looked breathtaking.
“Hello, Spike,” Buffy greeted with a shy smile, giggling at the expression of wonder on his face. Her voice seemed to wake him from the daze he was in, and Buffy had to fight not to giggle again when he shook his head.
“You’re beautiful,” he complimented almost breathily, taking her hand in his and placing a soft kiss on her knuckles.
Joyce did not miss the gesture. He seems like a nice boy…
“You don’t look half bad yourself,” Buffy replied, ducking her gaze to hide the blush that had risen on her cheeks.
Spike was wearing a pair of black jeans and a deep blue shirt, the top two buttons rebelliously left undone. His hair was a mess of loose curls, not slicked back like it normally was. The outfit looked good on him, and Buffy couldn’t help admiring how the shirt fit around his arms and shoulders.
“Buffy,” Joyce called as she walked into the hall, interrupting the two teenagers who had yet to tear their eyes off each other. “You look beautiful, honey.” Stepping forward, she gave her daughter a kiss on the cheek.
Buffy blushed again, slightly embarrassed by her mother’s affection. She silently prayed she wouldn’t be giving a curfew lecture. Buffy had spoken to her mother earlier on in the evening and hoped to avoid its delivery when Spike was around.
“Well, have fun you two. And don’t stay out too late.” Joyce beamed as she departed into the dining room.
Buffy sighed in relief.
“Shall we go?” Spike suggested, offering Buffy his arm.
Buffy accepted, her smile stretching as he walked her to the door. “Goodnight, Mom.”
Spike stepped forward to open the door, ushering her out before closing it behind them.
The air was fresh and cool, making Buffy glad she had decided to bring a jacket, even though she knew she wouldn’t need it inside the Bronze.
Spike let got of her arm and moved to the passenger side of his car, opening the door for her before moving over to the driver’s side and slipping in. Once more he looked over at Buffy in adoration, pleasantly surprised when he found her watching him. He smiled and started up the car, the engine roaring to life. Turned on the stereo and making sure the volume was low—it was just for ambient noise after all—he backed the car out of the driveway.
“To the Bronze?”
“The Bronze,” Buffy agreed.