Chapter 24 - Ardent Adoration
It was Friday night and the Bronze was pulsing with life. Music wasn’t just heard - it was felt, thanks to the bass created by the live band that thumped from the speakers. Darkened corners were the favoured territory of young lovers consumed by their passion for one another, safe havens from prying eyes.
I wonder if… A thrill rolled up Buffy’s spine, setting aflame the tingles of apprehension that resided in her belly.
“You all right, pet?”
The sound of Spike’s husky voice whispered in her ear was cause enough to send another shiver through her body. Whether intentional or not, his voice was seductive, a purr that caused her knees to quake. That voice could talk her into anything. “I’m fine.”
Concern slipped from his face to be replaced by a brilliant smile, and Buffy melted a little more. It was strange, how quickly things could change. A few months ago she could barely stand to be in his presence, and now…she couldn’t get enough of him. The feelings he’d awoken in her were powerful, frightening. Feelings that grew deeper and stronger by the day. She trusted in him, trusted him. But at the same time she couldn’t help but be a little scared by the intensity of her emotions. It shouldn’t be possible to care for someone so much, after so little time. The fact they were reciprocated was the only thing that stopped her from taking flight. Her mother had loved her father far more than he did her, and look where that relationship ended.
Love…? Buffy blinked in fear. I wasn’t just… I didn’t really compare… love?
Spike didn’t miss the look of panic in Buffy’s eyes and a frown returned to his face. So far she’d been abnormally quiet and deep in thought. He was concerned.
This last week, things had been perfect. Every moment he wasn’t with Buffy, he was thinking about her. At night, he dreamed of her. Each smile from her filled him with overwhelming happiness. Each kiss shared left him aching for more. Buffy wasn’t just a conquest, a notch on his bed—and honestly, there had been a few of those. She was more. Spike was slowly coming to realise was that she was everything.
The seed of doubt Cordelia had planted no longer had strength; the last few days had shown that. It was in Buffy’s eyes, the way she looked at him. She cared about him and it filled Spike with such hope and happiness. He was no longer worried of how she might react to seeing Angel, that’s how confident he was in his assessment of her and their relationship. At the back of his mind was the tiny reminder of his manipulations, of how he’d monopolised her time. And he felt guilty about it. That he hadn’t put complete faith in her, in them. That he’d made an accord with Cordelia to distract Buffy long enough for the brunette bitch to dig her claws into Angel. That he’d allowed his doubts to cloud his judgement. There was no reason for uncertainty any longer. Buffy cared about him...and Spike was happy.
“Dance with me?”
Before she could reply Spike pulled her flush against his chest and circled his arms around her waist. Buffy’s hands automatically snaked up his chest to settle around his neck, a happy sigh escaping her lips as she melted into Spike’s embrace. This, them together, felt right. More right than anything she’d ever known before. And she was going to show Spike just how much he meant to her.
Hands unhooked from around his neck and fell to his chest long enough to grasp a handful of material. With a forceful tug Buffy pulled Spike’s lips down to meet hers in a searing kiss. Tongues danced as lips brushed and teeth nibbled, tasting and devouring at the same time. The kiss was demanding and passionate, filled with promise and only broken when breathing became an issue.
“What was that for?” Spike murmured in awe.
Buffy shrugged in what she hoped was nonchalance. In reality, she was just as affected by the passion between them as Spike was, judging by the hardness she felt pressed against her stomach. A few weeks ago the obvious evidence of Spike’s arousal might have alarmed her. Now though, it just felt right. “Can’t a girl kiss her boyfriend when she feels like it?”
Spike smiled from ear to ear. “Anytime, anyplace. You feel the need, there won’t be any complaints from me.”
Buffy laughed. “Shut up and ki--”
The sentence was never completed. Buffy was cut off as Spike’s hands threaded through her hair, their lips meeting in another passionate kiss. Unlike any earlier make-out sessions, this one was pure and raw and unrestrained. Spike’s need for Buffy was desperate. What he felt for her was more real than anything he’d ever experienced before. His tongue delved into the warm cavity of her mouth, tasting her just as she’d tasted him.
A cat-call sounded nearby, followed by a shout of, “Get a room.”
Buffy tore her lips from Spike’s, a hot blush rising on her cheeks. They hadn’t exactly been discrete, if they’d wanted privacy they should have headed for the darkened corners of the upstairs mezzanine. The embarrassment Buffy felt came not from their ardent actions, but from the stares and whistles. If the loudmouth had kept his comments to himself who knew what they might have --
So glad they were obnoxious… Buffy thought.
“Let’s get out of here,” Spike suggested, linking his fingers with Buffy’s.
With a nod of agreement, the pair made their way to the exit.
“Well, here we are…” Spike trailed off. The porch light shone brightly on the car, intruding on any privacy they might have had.
Buffy fumbled with her seat belt. The fact both the porch light and the dining room light were both on suggested that her mother was waiting up for her. She loved her mother and was glad she was spending more time at home lately, but --
Why did she have to choose tonight—of all nights—to wait up?
With a click her seatbelt was unlatched. She tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear.
“I had a lot of fun tonight,” she informed earnestly, shyly glancing at Spike.
Spike nodded his agreement. “Me too.”
Silence stretched between them, evidence that neither party wanted the night to end.
Buffy sighed. “Well, I should probably…”
“Yeah, you prob’ly should…”
Blue and green locked together and any plans of ending the night flew out the window. Spike dove toward Buffy—who met him half way across the bench seat of his car—and once more their lips joined.
Fifteen minutes later Buffy was standing in front of her house, fingers occupied with her keys while Spike hovered awkwardly beside her, his hands shoved deep into his pockets. What was meant to be a good night peck on the lips turned into another make-out session, one that ended suddenly when one of them accidentally hit the car horn. Not wanting to wake the entire neighbourhood, Buffy had exited the vehicle. And being the gentleman he was Spike walked her to the front door. Which is where they were now. Standing next to each other. Awkwardly.
“So, I’ll see you tomorrow maybe?” Buffy asked.
Buffy smiled and leaned up on her tip-toes to plant a kiss on Spike’s cheek, who mistook the farewell as an opening to pick up where they left off in the car.
Again lips fused and arms wrapped the other in a tight, desperate embrace.
They parted breathless and discontent a few minutes later.
Buffy had to go inside and Spike had to go home—didn’t mean they had to like it. Knowing the risks that would result from closing the distance between them, Buffy bid goodnight with a wave, opened the front door and stepped inside the house.
Spike remained on the porch for a few minutes, tossing up the idea of knocking on the door so he could see her again. He was reluctant to leave, even though he knew he’d see her tomorrow. Standing on the porch all night was not an option. The last thing he needed was a nosy neighbour to mistake him for a peeping tom and call the cops. So home it was.
With a sigh he turned and made his way to the car.
Doing laps in the pool at Sunnydale High was as effective a ‘cold shower’ as the real thing.
After last night’s mammoth make-out sessions at the Bronze, in Spike’s car and, lastly, on her front porch, a swim was exactly what Buffy needed to cool off. A clear head was something she had lacked for a full week now. All it took was Willow mentioning Spike’s name to cause a dreamy smile to spread across Buffy’s face. Actually being in his presence, being a recipient of his affections, evoked a more pronounced response. She couldn’t think clearly around him, hence the early morning swim; one of the perks of being on the swim team was unlimited access to the school’s swimming pool.
Buffy was well and truly smitten.
The realisation was both terrifying and exciting. Terrifying because she had never felt this way about someone before, and exciting because she was one hundred percent certain the feelings were reciprocated. Words had not been spoken but actions told her the truth.
She tried to push thoughts of Spike out of her head, tried to focus on her swimming, but it was impossible. That was the thing about swimming—plenty of time with your thoughts. With a sigh she tumbled at the wall and began the return trip to the other end of the pool. Willow would be at her house in about an hour and the two had planned to spend some girly time together shopping at the mall. If Buffy had any chance of de-chlorinating before then she needed to hit the showers now.
Her fingers touched the wall and Buffy lifted herself from the water. Towel wrapped around her waist she grabbed her bag and made her way to the change rooms.
“Earth to Buffy…” Willow waved her hand in front of the blonde’s face, trying to break through the dreamy eyed expression and reach her friend.
Buffy blinked. “Huh?”
“You were all happy sighs and far away looks again,” Willow chastised gently.
“Sorry, Will. I don’t know what has me so distracted.”
Willow lifted a bow.
“Okay, so maybe I know why…” A sheepish smile curled her lips. “I just can’t seem to stop thinking about him.”
“So I’ve noticed,” Willow replied dryly.
Buffy winced apologetically. “I haven’t been that bad, have I?”
“No, of course not,” Willow shrugged. “I mean I’m used to my best friend acting like a zombie.”
“Zombie? That bad?”
“Buffy,” Willow began. “We walked into the dreaded clothing store of doom and you didn’t even batt an eyelid. You even reached for something to try on.”
Buffy shuddered. The store in question catered for members of the public whose dress sense was more…bondage style. Leather and rubber and other badness that did not correspond to Willow’s or Buffy’s usual dress sense.
“I am so sorry.”
“I know.” Willow shrugged. “I’m equating your bad judgement to Spike-on-the-brain syndrome. So far, there’s no known cure.” She managed to keep a straight face for a little over ten seconds before she burst into laughter. “I’m sorry, Buffy. It’s just so funny! You get these expressions and make all these sighing noises. It’s like you’ve stepped right out of a rom-com movie.”
Buffy frowned. “I don’t know whether I should be flattered or offended.”
“Oh, flattered, for sure.” Willow nodded eagerly.
“All right,” Buffy agreed hesitantly. “I am genuinely sorry for going all space-cadet on you though, it’s bad friendy to do that.”
“No problem.” Willow shrugged. “You and Spike, it’s all new with the smooches and the googly eyes and the sweetness. It actually kinda cute how you both get shy around each other at school.”
“I do not,” Buffy lied, a rosy blush rising on her cheeks.
“You so do!” Willow giggled again. “But don’t worry - Spike being all shy is way funnier.”
Both girls burst into laughter.
“Right, let’s do this shopping thing,” Buffy suggested after they’d calmed down. “And this time, if I space out, please don’t let me near anything I wouldn’t in my right mind buy.”