Chapter 20 - If three's a crowd, what are four?
Spike led Buffy into the Bronze, his hand placed protectively on the small of her back as they entered together.
Buffy searched the crowd for Willow and Xander, knowing they would probably be in here somewhere, and smiled when she spotted them.
“Can we go say hello?” she asked Spike.
“Of course,” he replied immediately. Spike had genuinely grown to like Buffy’s friends - that Willow sure was a feisty one when she wanted to be. And Xander was funny, if overly protective of Buffy. He liked them, he just hadn’t planned on having an audience for their first date. However, when he felt Buffy’s fingers entwine with his as she led him toward the pair he relaxed slightly. She was here with him, that’s all that mattered.
“Hey, guys!” Buffy greeted with a bright smile.
“Buffy, you look awesome!” Willow complimented with a smile, nodding to Spike. “Hey, Spike. So, what are you two doing here tonight?”
“We’re on a date,” Spike informed proudly, his grin borderline giddy as he gave Buffy’s hand a gentle squeeze.
Both Willow and Xander looked to Buffy for confirmation, and she blushed under their gazes. “Yeah. Is anyone thirsty? I think I might go get a drink.”
Once she had their orders she quickly left the table and made her way to the bar to get the four cokes.
Spike smiled again, this time nervously as he stood beside the table, shifting his weight from one side to the other. He could feel their eyes on him, practically burning holes in him. It was unnerving. Willow’s expression was one of excitement; Xander’s was a frown of distrust.
“So,” Xander said, nodding his head and looking around.
“So,” Spike repeated.
“I can’t believe you guys are on a date!” Willow exclaimed with an excited bounce in her seat.
Both guys rolled their eyes, laughing together.
The group slowly struck up a conversation, Spike’s gaze ticking nervously to the bar every now and then in search of Buffy. Willow smiled when she caught the look of longing in Spike’s eye as he glanced at Buffy.
He’ll make her happy… she thought.
“Thanks,” Buffy said as she handed over her cash, waiting for the drinks to get poured.
“Hey, how are you?” a male voice spoke to her left.
Buffy turned to see a casually dressed guy standing beside her, a smile on his face as he drank in her appearance appreciatively.
“Parker Abrams,” he introduced, offering a hand. “And you are?”
“On a date,” Buffy replied quickly, smiling at the bartender when he deposited her drinks in front of her. Scooping them up she turned to walk back to the table, leaving the bewildered guy staring after her.
Spike’s smile had disappeared. Not due to the company, the conversation had been genuine, something he rarely experienced with the group he hung out with at school. No, it was when he looked toward the bar that a glare fixed to his face.
Willow and Xander both looked over their shoulders, seeing the reason for his frown. A brunette guy had approached Buffy, and was trying in vain to start up a conversation. Buffy paid him no attention, and turned away, seemingly unaware of the way his eyes raked over her body.
Xander looked back towards Spike and noticed that he was clenching his jaw in anger. Well, he sure is protective… that’s a good thing right?
Buffy made her way back to the table, placing the glasses of coke before her friends.
“There we go, cokes all around,” she said with a smile.
“Was he bothering you, luv?” Spike asked with a scowl in the direction of the bar.
Buffy shook her head. “Nope. All is good. He tried to start up a conversation but I told him I was here on a date.”
Spike’s face broke into a broad smile, his annoyance fading at hearing the ‘d’ word. He liked hearing Buffy say that. “Oh yeah?” he said with a smirk. “So tell me about this guy?”
Buffy grinned. “He’s kind and funny and good looking…” She made a show of lifting her arm up to examine her watch. “And he’s running late.”
Spike’s face blanked for a moment, before he saw the grin creeping across her face.
“Oh, you don’t know him, I met him at --”
Spikes arms shot out to wrap around her, pulling her tightly towards him. “It’s not nice to joke, luv,” he growled playfully, his grin widening as he played her words over in his mind. “You think I’m good looking?” He cocked an eyebrow.
Buffy felt her cheeks flush, but before she could respond Xander interrupted.
“Give me a break!”
Buffy and Spike both looked up to see Willow swatting Xander on the arm.
“What?” he asked with faux innocence.
Buffy smiled and pulled herself away from Spike’s embrace, standing up. She held her hand out for him. “Dance with me?”
Spike felt his breath catch in his throat and he smiled as he stood, taking her hand in acceptance of her offer. Buffy felt his hold on her tighten as she led him through the crowd, and passed a large group of guys. She smiled. It seemed Spike would forever be the knight in shining armor. Finding some space on the dance floor, she turned to face him, just as the music shifted to a slower song.
Buffy stood awkwardly before him for a moment, having not expected the tempo switch. Spike saw the hesitation in her eyes, and quickly took a step forward, closing the gap between them as he took her in his arms. As his arms wrapped around her lower back he felt Buffy’s snake around his neck. He sighed into her hair when she rested her head against his chest.
This felt right. Having her in his arms. And this time it was because they both wanted to be there. He held her a tighter, a little afraid that she might disappear on him.
Willow and Xander watched from their table as Buffy and Spike danced. Willow looked on with an excited, yet soft smile, Xander with a little hesitation. Whilst he could not deny that Buffy seemed incredibly happy, he was still wary. Buffy had become close friends with Willow and himself since her arrival in town a little over a month ago, and he didn’t want to see her hurt. The protectiveness he felt for her was something originally born from adoration, which had quickly turned to admiration. Xander knew that he and Buffy would never be, and it no longer bothered him. Her friendship was enough.
But god help any guy who broke her heart.
One song came to an end, another slow song following it, and Buffy sighed as she let herself mold into Spike’s protective embrace.
Hearing her sighs Spike loosened his hold on her slightly, and lifted a hand to tilt her head towards him. Her green eyes met his blue ones and he was relieved to see the happiness there. “Everything all right, luv?” he asked.
Buffy just nodded, smiling brightly at him. “Everything is great.”
Spike returned the smile, dipping his face towards hers, brushing his lips gently over hers.
A shiver rolled up Buffy’s spine when his lips captured hers.
It was not their first kiss, in fact there had been numerous before it. But this was the first kiss they shared that was all about them. No boyfriends or girlfriends in the way. And he loved it. He loved it even more when he felt her hands pull at his neck, deepening the kiss.
The song ended too soon and the pair reluctantly pulled away from each other. Buffy opened her eyes to find Spike looking down at her in awe.
“What?” she asked a little self consciously, biting on her bottom lip.
“You,” he breathed. “You’re here with me, and you kissed me.”
A smile broke out across his face and Buffy giggled. She didn’t want the night to end, but she knew it would soon.
Willow’s excitement over the new couple grew with each passing minute, and her gushing only subsided when Xander pointed out that the bassist from the Dingoes, Oz, was checking her out. Her cheeks flamed and she dropped her gaze to the table.
Now it was Xander’s turn to grin.
“Well, guys, it’s time for me to leave,” Buffy fare welled as she walked up to the table where her friends were still seated, despite the fact she and Spike had been on the dance floor for well over an hour. Spike followed behind her, nudging her and looking at Willow. Buffy noticed the pink blush that had spread across Willow’s cheeks, and she looked over to Xander with a question in her eyes. He inclined his head towards the stage with a grin.
Glancing over her shoulder, her own smirk appeared. “Oh, look, Willow. He’s looking this way,” she announced. “Oz, right? Maybe we should call him over here and --”
“NO!” Willow yelped, mortified that Buffy was joining Xander in the teasing. “No,” she said a little more calmly. “I’ll go talk to him after they finish their set.”
“Promise?” Buffy asked with an unconvinced stare.
“Cross my heart.” Willow drew a cross over her chest with her hand.
“Hold her to it, Xander,” Buffy ordered with a grin.
“Oh, I intend to,” the brunette replied with a matching smirk.
Willow looked helplessly towards Spike who shrugged his shoulders. “There’s no way out of this one I can see, pet. You shouldn’t have promised.”
Willow’s shoulders slumped in defeat. “Go home already,” she said sulkily.
Buffy drew her friend in for a quick hug, kissed Xander on the cheek and then turned to Spike. “We ready?” she asked.
He nodded. “Ready when you are, luv.”
Buffy waved to her friends and Spike repeated the action, taking Buffy’s hand in his as they walked towards the exit.
As soon as they were out of sight, Willow’s gushing began. “Aww, they’re sooo sweet! Did you see how he took her hand as they --”
“Oz is looking this way again,” Xander interrupted.
Willow’s cheeks coloured and she looked to the table again. “Beast.”
Spike walked towards the car, shooting glances at Buffy who stood by his side. He was in awe of her, of how she looked tonight, of the fact she was even here, with him. Especially after the way he’d mistreated her. Every time she smiled at him he shook his head in disbelief. He didn’t understand why she was with him, when she could obviously have any guy she wanted. Not that he was going to complain about it.
Opening the door for her to slide into the passenger seat, he quickly moved to the driver’s side, throwing her a grin before starting up the car.
She’s here with me…
Buffy fidgeted nervously as the car came to a halt in front of her house. The night had been fantastic. They had danced, talked, hung out with her friends—albeit briefly—and shared a few fleeting kisses.
Now they were alone.
Joyce had left the porch light on, and Buffy could see a light shining from the dining room where her Mom was probably working on something for the gallery’s inventory. But she didn’t know they were home, yet.
Spike flicked a nervous glance in Buffy’s direction before exiting his vehicle and moving to her side of the car to help her out. Buffy accepted his hand, smiling softly. Her breath hitched in her throat when he placed his other hand on the small of her back as he led her to the house, effectively drawing their bodies closer to each other.
Buffy halted at the door, turning around the face her date.
Spike’s expression was one of contentment, and she smiled at the fact that it was because of her.
“I had a great time tonight,” she offered shyly.
Spike had to clear his throat before responding with a similar sentiment. Even though he knew the night had to eventually come to an end, he hadn’t expected it to come along so quickly. “Me too.”
Movement inside the house alerted Spike to the fact they wouldn’t be alone for too much longer. “Can I see you again?” he asked tentatively. He was pretty certain that she wouldn’t turn him down, but a little bit of uncertainty plagued his mind. She’s too good for me.
“I’d love that,” Buffy replied with another shy smile, looking up at him from beneath her lashes.
A broad smile broke across his face when she replied, and he let out the breath he had been subconsciously holding. She said yes!
When her eyes finally lifted up to him again, he dipped his head to capture her lips in a soft kiss. Buffy leant toward Spike, placing her hands on his chest as she returned the kiss. When his tongue ran the length of her bottom lip as if seeking permission, Buffy parted her lips. Slowly their tongues tangled and their lips brushed against each other’s before noise inside the house interrupted them.
Regretfully, Spike broke the kiss, lifting one of Buffy’s hands to press a soft kiss on it as he stepped away.
“I’ll call you tomorrow,” he promised.
“Okay,” Buffy replied quietly, her lips still tingling from the heady kiss. She leaned up to give him a quick peck on the lips before he turned, walked off the porch and back to his car. She waved as his car backed out of the driveway, only moving inside when the tail-lights faded into the dark.