Chapter 26 - Fun in the Outdoors
Spike led Buffy along a bike path that skirted around the lake. After a five-minute walk the path veered off to the side away from the water’s edge, and that’s where they deviated from the track. A couple of minutes later, when Buffy was about to voice concerns about being lost, the thicket they’d been passing through broke.
In front of them was a sheltered little cove. Large rock formations to the right offered a large impenetrable shield, blocking the line of sight of anyone the more populated area near the car park. There was little wind either, it too held back by the boulders.
The water was clear and sparkling and oh so tempting, so much so that Buffy was disappointed they hadn’t brought their bathers with them. Sitting on a small rock she removed her shoes, then tucked her socks inside them before standing to approach the water’s edge to dip her toes in.
While Buffy explored Spike busied himself with laying the blanket on a patch of grass and unpacked some drinks.
Buffy looked over at Spike, who was bent at the waist over the picnic basket, fishing around inside for some thing or another. Her gaze flicked down to her feet, a devilish grin tugging at her lips before looking at him again.
“Hey, Spike,” she called.
“Yeah?” Spike replied as he turned around.
He was completely caught off guard by the splash of water that showered him, courtesy of one Buffy Summers. His jaw dropped in shock.
Buffy clamped her hand over her mouth, as if the action alone could force the giggles bubbling up inside her to subside. It didn’t work. The stunned expressed on Spike’s face was just too much. Laughter erupted from within her.
“You think that’s funny, eh?”
The fierce glare Spike shot her, intended to express his displeasure, did little to quell her amusement. Buffy again clamped her hand over her mouth, and for a moment the laughter ceased. When an inelegant snort escaped the prison of her hand the giggles started anew, with enough force to double her over.
“You should have seen your face!” she gasped between breaths, another bout of laughter rippling through her.
“Right, that’s it,” Spike declared, kicking off his own boots and bending to tear the socks from his feet. “You’re in for it now.”
Buffy’s eyes widened in realisation, Spike’s intent clear in his eyes. “Oh no, back away, mister!”
But Spike didn’t back away.
Trying to deter her boyfriend from exacting the revenge his expression promised, Buffy sent another shower of water at Spike, and promptly burst into laughter again when he froze, his hair clumped about his head like a wet mop. “Stop, you’re killing me! I can’t take this anymore!” she guffawed.
“You’re gone!” Spike lunged toward Buffy, sending a shower of water toward her with his feet.
Buffy squealed in merriment, then did the only thing she could. Turned and ran. And Spike gave chase.
He caught her easily; evidently running while fighting back tears from laughing so hard made forward momentum difficult. His arms banded around her waist from behind and he pulled her back against his chest.
“Do you give?”
Buffy snorted. “Never!”
“Ooh, baby’s gonna get it now,” Spike vowed, hoisting Buffy into his arms.
“Spike, what are you doing?” Buffy exclaimed, trying to wriggle herself from his grasp. “No, Spike! Put me down. Put me down this instant or—”
Buffy paused, meeting his mischievous gaze, her eyes widening in realisation.
As promised, Buffy got it. Just not as planned. Spike’s intent had been to drop her, flat on her butt. But when his foot caught on something under the water he lost his balance, toppling both of them into the lake.
Buffy came up first, coughing and spluttering, her hands pushing her matted hair off her face. Spike surfaced a moment later. His hair was plastered to his face, a look of displeasure curling his lips. He lifted an arm out of the water and shook it, in a vain attempt to dispel the water from his shirt. Which, of course, set Buffy off again.
A moment later Spike joined in, their laughter ringing out across the lake.
While it sounded appealing—frolicking fully clothed in the lake with your beloved—It kind of wasn’t. Buffy’s clothes were plastered to her body and when she tried to swim away from Spike, and his dangerous tickle fingers, her sweat pants stretched over her ankles—dragged back by the water—and slowed her down. Despite the fact there was not a mirror in sight Buffy knew her hair had to be an absolute mess. And she was beginning to get cold.
Buffy had been fighting to control her teeth from chattering for about five minutes, but finally she gave up.
Concern flitted across Spike’s face. “Cold, love?”
“J-just a l-lil-little,” Buffy confessed, a wry smile curling her now purple lips.
“All right, playtime’s over.” Spike tilted his head toward the cove and began swimming.
As soon as she could reach the bottom Buffy stood and began wading out of the water, wrapping her arms around herself to stave off the chill of the wind. Once out of the water her clothes suctioned to her skin, and Buffy dreaded the thought of having to remove them when a thought occurred—she didn’t have a change of clothes.
“Spike, how are we going to dry off?”
Spike froze. He lifted his gaze to meet Buffy’s, apology flooding from his eyes. “I didn’t bring anything with me. I hadn’t planned to get wet.”
“My fault,” Buffy mumbled unhappily.
“Now, don’t be like that,” Spike pleaded. Moving toward Buffy he wrapped his wet arms around her and pulled her close. “It was fun, yeah?”
“Well, then there’s nothing to be sorry ‘bout.”
“But we can’t stay like this, we’ll get sick,” Buffy pointed out, extricating herself from his cold embrace. Wet clothes wrapped in more wet clothes did not equal fun.
Spike frowned. “I might have some towels in the car. I could always—”
“Walk all that way?” Buffy gasped, before shaking her head. “Nuh uh, no way.”
“But you’re frozen,” he commented.
“It’s not so bad. If we stay in the sun we’ll dry off eventually.” Buffy tried to feign nonchalance, but of course her traitorous body chose that precise moment to shiver.
Spike shook his head. They needed to dry off and he needed to get Buffy warm. “I’ll be back soon,” he promised as he reached for his boots.
“No, don’t go!” Buffy begged. Her eyes darted toward the blanket. It looked thick and inviting. “Maybe, maybe we could use—”
Following her line of sight, Spike nodded consent. “All right. But we’ll need to get you out of those wet clothes. We can lay them on the rocks to dry off while you keep warm.”
Leaving her side Spike retrieved the blanket from the ground, shaking it to remove any grass or leaves that may have attached to it.
Meanwhile, Buffy hadn’t moved. She’d thought he might suggest that. A shred of panic rolled through her at the realisation that the first time Spike saw her naked it was under these circumstances. Just thinking about stripping off in front of him brought a rosy tint to her cheeks.
Noticing her discomfort, Spike turned his back. “Promise I won’t look.”
Trusting Spike to keep his word Buffy reached for hem of her t-shirt and tugged it up and over her head, a loud squelching noise sounding when the material reluctantly separated from her skin. Once it cleared her head Buffy dropped it onto a rock, her track pants following suit. She felt awkward standing in the middle of nowhere in just her underwear, and the thought of being wrapped up in the blanket was becoming more and more appealing. Buffy reached behind her back for the clasp of her bra, her fingers finding it before they stilled. Checking once to ensure there was no one around to see her, she unclipped her bra and slid the straps over her shoulders. Her underwear quickly followed, landing on the rock with the rest of her clothes. Hands flew to cover her privates.
“Spike, I’m ready.”
A shudder rolled through Spike at her words and the imagery they presented. Without turning he passed the blanket back to her. Maintaining his cool these past few moments, while listening to the sounds of Buffy undressing, was one of the hardest things he’d done in a long while. The temptation to sneak a glance had been so great… but he’d promised. And he wouldn’t go back on his word. So he was left to imagine the sight, thoughts of which had him as hard as nails in a matter of seconds.
With a deep breath Spike slowly turned around. Buffy was perched on the edge of a large flat rock, the blanket draped over her shoulders and wrapped securely around her body. She was covered completely from the neck downward—apart from her toes which peeked out from the bottom.
“I’ll go put these out to dry,” Spike suggested, gathering Buffy’s clothes and making his way toward the higher formations.
Buffy watched as Spike laid her clothes out gently, a smile softening her features. Romantic gestures were one thing, but a girl knew she had a keeper when he’d hang her clothes out to dry.
Climbing down again, Spike took a seat beside Buffy, pressing a quick kiss to her lips. “Better?” he asked.
Buffy nodded. She was already beginning to dry and feel warm again. Judging from the blueish tinge to Spike’s lips, he was not. Guilt washed over her. Here she was, hogging the entire blanket while her boyfriend froze his cute butt off beside her.
“Spike,” she said softly, a little anxious of the words she was about to speak. “We could, I mean, if you wanted to, it would be all right… we could, share. Share the blanket, if you want?”
“Pet, I’m not sure if that’s a good idea,” Spike replied. There was no delicate way to say this. “The thought of you underneath all that, certain articles missing, is every guy’s fantasy. Sharin’ with you might make certain… aspects, a little hard.”
Buffy’s mouth dropped open, forming an ‘O’, seconds before she voiced the word. “Oh.”
“Yeah.” Spike shifted uncomfortably.
Buffy understood what he meant, and appreciated his forwardness. But being a gentleman was likely going to make him sick, and she couldn’t have that hanging over her.
“Spike, it’s big enough for two.”
Spike lifted his gaze to Buffy’s, seeing the concern in her eyes and he couldn’t help but feel warm all over. “’t’s all right, luv. Really.”
Buffy frowned. “Don’t be so stubborn. Get your ass out of those wet clothes now.”
A grin tickled Spike lips. “Okay, okay!” He laughed, holding his hands up in mock surrender. “If you wanted me naked all you had to do was ask.”
Buffy snorted, rolling her eyes. “Yeah, yeah. Just hurry up, before you get sick.” With a cheeky and mischievous grin she continued, “I promise I won’t look.”
“Oh, you can look if you want, baby.” Spike’s grin became predatory, then stretched even further when Buffy’s jaw dropped. “I’ve got nothing to hide.”
When he whipped his shirt off over his head Buffy squeaked in surprise, her cheeks blushing profusely as she turned her back to give him some privacy. A few moments later she heard retreating footsteps. Worried he was going to leave her she turned around, her eyes widening at the sight of Spike’s naked ass walking toward the rocks where her own clothes were drying. Turning around again she bit her lip, trying to stop her smile.
Buffy almost missed the fact Spike was about to walk toward her again, and the implication of what that would mean, what she would see, that she’d get caught, brought a blush to her cheeks as she whirled around quickly. When his footsteps neared she took a deep breath and stood up.
“So,” Spike drawled. “How do we do this, love?”
Spike was close enough that his breath tickled her ear. With a deep breath she turned around, struggling with the urge to look down. When she met his gaze all her concerns faded to be replaced with a sense of calm. She knew she was doing the right thing. She trusted Spike, knew he cared about her just as she cared for him. Despite his bravado he was obviously cold.
Keeping her eyes locked on his she opened the blanket and welcomed him into her arms.