Chapter 29 - Morning After
When Buffy woke up early the next morning it was with a smile on her face. How could she not? A wonderful day spent with her considerate boyfriend, followed by an incredible night, what’s not to love?
Love... such a powerful little word. Who’d have thought something so small could mean so much? But it did. She’d been afraid of it, afraid of falling in love with Spike and opening herself up to pain. She should have known better. Buffy could honestly say she trusted him with her life. Her heart was safe with him. For days she’d known she loved him and last night had only increased that feeling. Even better, she could feel it wasn’t one sided. Spike cared for her. It was more than she’d ever anticipated.
She shifted slightly; leaning on her left elbow she rested her head on her hand so she could gaze at him. Really have a good stare, without having to feel self-conscious about it when he caught her—something he always did.
Beautiful, it was the only word which really did him any justice. Like this, asleep, he looked so innocent. She took it all in, his pouty lips, the fullness of his eyelashes—which she was totally jealous of, and the teeny tiny scar which sliced through his eyebrow. Gently she lifted her free hand toward his face, her fingers tracing the scar before running the length of his cheekbone. She removed her hand a moment later so as not to disturb him, but when she was pinned with those sapphire depths she realised it was too late.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to wake you.”
“’T’s alright love,” Spike smiled, sleep colouring the rumble of his voice. “I was dreamin’ ‘bout you.”
“Yeah?” she asked curiously.
He nodded. “Yeah. But there’s no comparison to the real thing.”
Buffy felt her stomach flip-flop, her cheeks reddening as she looked at the sheets. “Flatterer.”
Spike smiled gently, reaching to cup her cheek as Buffy had his just moments ago. When she met his gaze again he gently guided her lips toward his for a kiss. It was unhurried and tender, the perfect wake-up. The urgency they’d exhibited the night before was long gone, replaced with an ease which came only with intimate familiarity, something they now shared. Spike could easily spend all morning doing just this, kissing her, and had it not been for his exploratory hands he would’ve been content in doing just that. However, the moment he felt the softness of her skin he wanted more. She was like a drug and he couldn’t—wouldn’t ever—get enough.
Despite how much she’d love to continue Buffy knew they couldn’t. They had school in a couple hours and there was also her mom to consider. Breaking the kiss she extracted herself from Spike’s embrace, a purely feminine smile curling her lips when he groaned in frustration. Taking one of the sheets with her she wrapped it around herself to hide her nudity.
“Have school to get ready for,” she interrupted. Seeing the protestations on his lips before he even voiced them she continued, “Unlike some who can roll out of bed and look perfect already,” she looked pointedly at him as she said this. “I need time to make myself look presentable. I need a shower, I want to brush my teeth and I’m really hungry.”
“So am I,” Spike smirked lasciviously. “Come back to bed, love. You’re perfect as you are.”
The innuendo in his words had not been missed, but she chose to ignore it. “No,” Buffy warned. “I won’t. My hair’s a mess!”
“Looks like you’ve had sex,” Spike replied proudly. “And trust me pet, it’s a look that’s very good on you.”
Buffy laughed, shaking her head in amusement. “Spike—”
He’d told her as much, countless times, but hearing it still took her breath away. Her mirth faded and her resolve weakened. A little more time couldn’t hurt, could it?
“You’re so beautiful,” Spike repeated, adoration shining from his eyes. “I feel so lucky to have you.”
Buffy’s eyes began watering immediately. All thoughts of school and responsibility fled, all that mattered was him. It was still early, they had plenty of time. She dropped the sheet to climb back into bed, causing Spike’s eyes—and other parts of his anatomy—to bulge in response to her nakedness.
The first touch of their lips ignited the passion within them, eager hands of both parties exploring the other’s flesh.
“Oh god, Buffy.”
Her name was said with such reverence she melted all over again, and before Buffy could censor herself the words were falling from her lips.
“I love you.”
The second the words were out there she froze. She knew Spike cared for her but it was still early in their relationship, the last thing she wanted to do was scare the guy off by being too needy. Oh god, what did I just say? WHY did I have to say that now?
Spike had also frozen, the shock of hearing her speak those words effectively turning him into a statue. She said— She loves, Buffy loves me. He didn’t believe it. The words had been said but he almost didn’t trust his hearing. He wanted nothing more than to hear her say those words, again, so he could be sure. And then lots more times after that, because it’s something he’d never get sick of hearing. Buffy loves me!
“Just forget it.”
When she’d said the words it had taken her a moment to confirm that yes, they’d actually been said aloud and she hadn’t imagined it. When Spike had hesitated she’d immediately began imagining the worst.
“Please, Spike, I—”
Downstairs the front door opened.
“Oh my god!” Buffy exclaimed, clamping a hand over her mouth when she realised how loud she’d been. “It’s my mom! You’ve got to get dressed now! You’ve got to get out of here!”
While Spike knew Joyce liked him he didn’t want to wear out his welcome. Walking in on your daughter in bed, no matter who she was with—and didn’t the thought of Buffy being with anyone else hurt—was not going to be good. So the thought of being caught had Spike in just as much of a panic.
Footsteps on the stairs.
“She’s coming!” Buffy cried, her voice at a hush. “There’s not enough time, you need to hide!”
“Hide?” Spike repeated. “Hide where?”
“I don’t care! Just get gone before she walks in here or you’ll never see me again!”
Spike began to argue, worried at what she meant by that statement. She couldn’t possibly mean she’d throw what they had away, could she? “Buffy—”
“I’ll be grounded for life, so do it!”
Without another word he scooped up his clothes from the bedroom floor into his arms, looked around the room once or twice before settling on the closet. Buffy had managed to slip a night shirt and some pyjama bottoms on. When Spike opened her closet door and realised he wouldn’t fit he started to back away but Buffy was having none of it.
With a shove she pushed him into the small space and closed the door. “Hold it shut from the inside, it’ll just be a couple minutes,” she whispered urgently.
“What about my shirt? It’s downstairs,” he whispered back.
So was hers. And her bra.
“Hopefully she hasn’t seen it yet, I’ll go get it as soon as—”
“Honey, are you up here?”
“In my room, Mom!” Buffy called loudly in reply, before whispering to Spike, “Whatever you do, don’t move.”
She examined the room to ensure nothing looked suspicious. Say, for example, one of Spike’s boots which was sitting in the middle of the floor. Scooping it up she tossed it under her desk just as her mother walked into the room.
“Morning!” Buffy replied cheerily, pasting as big a smile onto her face as possible in an attempt to cover her nerves.
Obviously it wasn’t convincing enough.
“Is everything alright, honey?” Joyce asked with concern.
“Sure!” Buffy chirped. “Everything’s great. Right as rain. Peachy keen. I’m full of great today.” And clichés apparently...
“Are you sure?”
“Absolutely.” She nodded for extra emphasis.
“Alright. If you’re certain.” Joyce was unconvinced but she wasn’t going to force the issue. Her eyes roamed the bedroom, taking in the state of disarray.
Following her mothers wandering eyes Buffy provided an explanation. “Oh, I had a bit of a nightmare last night, tossed and turned a bit.”
“So I can see,” Joyce replied, stepping forward and running her fingers through her daughter’s tangled tresses.
Buffy brushed her hair behind her ears self-consciously. “So how was work?”
Joyce sighed, sitting on the edge of the bed. “Hectic. It took half the night to fix everything and the other half to fill in all the extra necessary paperwork.”
Taking the extended hand which was offered, Buffy joined her mother on the edge of the bed.
“I’m so sorry things have been chaotic. Getting the business off the ground has been difficult, and I know I haven’t been home much lately.”
Buffy nodded in agreement and understanding. “It’s alright, mom, really. You need this job, we need it.”
Joyce smiled, pressing a kiss to Buffy’s forehead. “What did I ever do to deserve a daughter like you?”
“Just lucky I guess,” Buffy smiled gently.
“You got that right.” With a yawn Joyce stood up and moved toward the door. “I’m going to go to bed for a few hours to catch up on missed sleep.”
“Sounds like a good idea.” A yawn of her own escaped Buffy’s lips. Her night, while not as late as her mother’s, had been no less energy consuming. A raised brow of inquiry was enough to snap Buffy from her thoughts. “And I’ll be getting ready for school.”
Joyce nodded and walked out of the room.
With a sigh Buffy relaxed. They’d survived.
The closet door creaked slightly as Spike prepared to exit the tight space, and Buffy was about to alert him to the clear coast when she heard footsteps in the hallway again. With a shove she slammed the door closed. Something inside thumped.
“What did you end up doing about dinner last night?”
“Oh,” Buffy replied, leaning against the closet door nonchalantly. “Spike came over and cooked me dinner, I think there’s some leftovers in the fridge if you want some for lunch.”
“He can cook?” Joyce asked in surprise.
“That’s fantastic, sweetheart. Hold on to that one, he’s a keeper.” She chuckled, shaking her head. “The most your father could do was toast.”
Buffy had to bite her tongue to hold back the sarcastic comment which wanted to burst from her lips.
“Have a good day at school.”
This time when Joyce’s footsteps retreated it was for good, her bedroom door closing a few moments later.
For the second time Buffy breathed a sigh of relief. Closing her eyes she let her head fall back against the closet door. That had been close. Too close.
Spike’s muffled voice came through the door, startling her from her thoughts. “Is it safe, can I come out now?”
Moving to open up some space Buffy opened the door to allow him to exit. The first thing she noticed was the red mark across his forehead.
“Oh my god, what happened?” she whispered.
“You did,” he replied just as quietly. A smirk rose to his lips at her concern, and he rubbed his head for emphasis. “Give a guy a heads up next time you’re plannin’ on shutting a door in his face.”
“Awww, poor baby,” Buffy cooed with exaggerated concern. She pressed a kiss to the affected area. “Better now?”
“Much.” Spike beamed.
He was looking at her lips like he wanted to devour them, but Buffy was not going to be distracted this time. “I’ll get your shirt for you.”
Spike sighed when she disappeared downstairs. He had the distinct feeling she used the missing article as an excuse to escape from him. And he was almost certain he knew why, the three little words she’d said earlier he’d left unanswered. The panic in her eyes when she’d said it—and he’d said nothing—was telling. She thought he didn’t feel the same.
Little did she know just how wrong she was. As soon as she returned he was going to set her straight.
“Here it is,” Buffy announced flinging the shirt toward him.
Geez, that was quick!
Now Spike was the one with nerves.
“Look, Buffy. About—”
“We can talk at school.”
He frowned with mild frustration, she never let him speak! “Anyone ever tell you about your nasty habit of interruptin’ people all the time?”
A grin tickled her lips. “No, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
While Spike was glad to see the humour and lightness had returned to her eyes they needed to talk. “Buffy, we need to talk. About last night, about everything.”
When her smile visibly diminished he wanted to kick himself. He should have told her immediately. Should’ve told her days ago...
“I know we do. But it can wait. If my mom hears me talking she’s going to get suspicious. You can’t be found in here.”
On that point he agreed. The last thing he wanted was to ruin his chances of being allowed over to the Summers residence ever again. “Alright, I’ll go. But we’ll talk soon.”
“Of course,” Buffy agreed with a nod. When Spike started for the bedroom door she stopped him. “Where do you think you’re going?”
Spike raised an eyebrow.
“She’ll hear you.”
“Please? I know she’s not asleep yet and if she gets up and sees you on the way out...” She trailed off.
Spike had to admit she had a point. “What do you want me to do?”
Buffy looked around the room once before deciding. “Out the window.”
“You’ve got to be kiddin’ me?”
“Sorry, love. You just caught me off guard.” He gestured toward the window. “You do realise your bedroom isn’t on the ground floor, right?”
The look she shot his way was answer enough. “How am I supposed to get down?”
Buffy walked toward the window and opened it up and Spike joined her beside it. “See there, to the side?” She pointed toward a tree branch which stretched toward the roof. “You’ll be able to climb down there.”
“Okay.” It wasn’t the best exit strategy but it was something. “I just want you to know that last night was—”
“We’ll talk at school,” Buffy promised, interrupting yet again. Planting a firm kiss on his lips she encouraged him to climb through the window.
A moment later there was a dull thud as his feet hit the ground and she watched as he walked toward his car.
With a wave he was gone.