Chapter 30 - Falling Out
Spike was completely and utterly heartbroken.
He kept playing it over and over in his mind, how everything had unfolded, imagining what he could have done differently, said differently, to change the outcome. To not be in the position he was in now.
If only he had told her. If he hadn’t kept secrets they wouldn’t be in this position right now. No, scratch that. If only he hadn’t listened to Cordelia. It was all her bloody fault. But even that wasn’t entirely true.
He was an idiot. A complete and utter idiot.
Spike had lost the love of his life, and he had no one to blame but himself.
~ Earlier that day ~
Buffy fidgeted nervously as she walked up the steps to school. Her stomach was doing back flips, and she was certain the slightest wrong movement would result in the loss of her breakfast. Why was she so scared? It was just another day at school. She could do this. She would go to class, talk to her friends, she would act normal. Because really, what reason did she have to be so nervous?
Oh, the fact you slept with your boyfriend for the first time, told him you loved him, and he didn’t say anything back?
Right, there was that.
How she was going to make it through this day without bursting into laughter at the ridiculousness of her behaviour, or cry hysterically for the very same reason, was beyond her. She knew she had to keep a level head. She knew she had to just continue as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.
She knew they would talk later on.
And that’s what she was so terrified about.
What if he regretted what they’d done? No, that was ridiculous. She knew Spike cared for her. She could see it in his eyes every time he looked at her. And besides, he’d told her, countless times, how important she was to him.
But he hadn’t said he loved her. That’s what this was really about. She’d let the cat out of the bag, she’d confessed her true feelings, even though everything inside of her was telling her to stop. To keep her mouth shut. She’d told him.
And he had said nothing.
“Oh god,” she whispered. What if he didn’t love her? What if opening her mouth had made him realise that he didn’t want to be with her? What if—
“Hey, Buffy!” Willow greeted.
Buffy whirled around, took one look at her best friend, and burst into tears.
Spike was well past anxious. And why shouldn’t he be? This morning he was going to tell the woman he loved exactly how he felt about her. Even though he knew she felt the same way, that she loved him—and didn’t that just put the biggest grin on his face—he was still nervous.
Rightly so, it was a big step.
One she’s already made, mate... his subconscious reminded, somewhat scornfully.
With a deep breath he made his way through the halls of his school toward his locker. There would be no avoiding this. He was going to tell her.
He just had to get the courage up first.
A few minutes later, when Buffy’s tears had stopped flowing, Willow finally asked the question that was hovering between them. “Buffy, what happened?”
“I made such a mess of things; I should’ve just kept my mouth shut.” Buffy sighed, knowing there was not going to be an easy way out of this.
“A mess...?” Willow frowned in confusion. “I’m obviously missing something here. Care to fill me in? Did something happen with you and Spike.”
A watery smile and nod was all the answer Buffy could provide at that point.
“Well... what was it?”
Fidgeting under her best friend’s stare Buffy finally confessed. “I slept with Spike.”
For a moment Willow was non-responsive, until the words finally sunk in. Her mouth formed an ‘O’ as her jaw dropped. “Wow.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Wow. I mean... wow.”
The girls sat in solemn silence for several moments, each thinking of the gravity of Buffy’s confession.
“So...” Willow began, somewhat shyly. “How was it?”
“Oh Willow,” Buffy gushed, a bright smile stretching across her face. “It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. He made me feel...”
Willow nodded, eager for her to continue.
“So... so special. Beautiful. Like I was the most beautiful girl in the world.” She sighed, dreamily. So when Willow began to frown she started to become self conscious. “What?”
“So it was a perfect night?” she questioned.
“So what’s the big drama? Why the waterworks?” Willow demanded, her confusion evident in her tone. “I would think that you’d be ecstatic, not a blubbering mess right about now.”
“Willow!” Buffy gasped.
“Well, it’s true,” Willow replied defensively. “If everything was so perfect, then why are you so upset.”
Buffy sighed, closing her eyes as she remembered the events of the morning. “This morning I—”
“This morning,” Willow interrupted. “Spike stayed the NIGHT?!”
“Yes, Willow,” Buffy continued, a smile tugging at her lips. “The whole night.”
“Wow...” she breathed, before a look of disgust curled her lips. “Was there morning breath? Is that why...” Willow cut herself off, not needing the raised brow on Buffy’s face to alert her to the ridiculousness of her question.
“Okay, still not seeing the problem here.”
“I told him I loved him,” Buffy blurted out.
“I love you?” It came out as more of a squeak than she was aiming for.
“Well, thank you,” Buffy quipped, the smile on her face not nearly as brave as she was aiming for.
“Wow, Buffy, this is big. Even bigger than the big that you just shared last night.” Willow blushed almost as red as her hair. “Not that I’d know of course. I mean, not one to perve of my best friends boyfriend or—”
“Breathe,” Buffy commanded, a grin tickling her lips.
Willow sucked in a deep lungful of air. So Buffy and Spike had... and then she’d said... and Willow was still having difficulty seeing the problem.
“So you told him and...” She trailed off, not needing to continue. The look on Buffy’s face told her exactly what had happened. Or not happened in this case.
“He didn’t say it back,” she whispered, almost in disbelief.
Buffy nodded, her eyes filling with tears again.
“Oh Willow, what if I’ve ruined everything?”
“No, Buffy. No. You didn’t. You couldn’t ruin everything. Don’t be silly,” Willow soothed. “There’s just no way. Spike adores you.”
When tears began to fall down her best friends cheeks again Willow swept her into her arms. “I promise you Buffy, you have nothing to worry about. Spike adores you.”
“But what if—”
“But nothing,” Willow said firmly. “He does, and he’ll tell you. Maybe you surprised him. There are plenty of reasons why he didn’t say it back and none of them spell doom.”
Buffy sniffed. “Are you sure?”
“I’m sure. You’ll see. By the end of the day everything will be clear,” Willow promised. Another quick squeeze and she released Buffy from the hug. “We’d better head inside.”
Already feeling so much better thanks to Willow’s assurances, Buffy followed her into the school.
It was time to face the music.
He still hadn’t seen her. He’d been looking for her, trying to spot her in the crowd of students milling about the hallways, but so far not a single sign of Buffy.
Craning his neck he checked a clock for the time, which only increased his worries. The bell was going to go any minute, and Buffy was never late. What could be keeping her?
A tap on his shoulder brought a brilliant smile to his face, one that instantly disappeared the second he spun around and came face to face with Cordelia.
“What the bleedin’ hell do you want?” he scowled.
Cordelia raise a brow, folding her arms across her chest. “Someone’s testy this morning. Did we get out of the wrong side of bed this morning?” she mocked.
Thoughts of bed and this morning returned the bright smile to Spike’s face.
“Well, well,” Cordelia commented. “I’m assuming your plan worked.”
The scowl returned. “What plan?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about,” Cordelia pointed out, ticking the points off her fingers. “You seduce Buffy and keep her away from Angel. Win, win. I get Angel, and you get to keep the girl.”
“Would you keep it down,” Spike hissed.
Cordelia pouted in faux innocence. “Oh, don’t be like that, Spike, you know this is what you wanted all along. You can’t play the innocent act with me.”
“Trust me when I say I’m not actin’,” Spike snarled. “And if you say one word to her I’ll—”
“What, glare at me some more?” Cordelia laughed. “Ooh, terrifying.”
Despite her mocking, that’s exactly what he did. His jaw ticked in barely restrained anger, his fists clenching and unclenching by his sides.
“You say a word,” he began, before realising just how futile it was to threaten someone like Cordelia. Nothing he could say was going to faze her in the slightest.
“And send her running straight into Angel’s arms? Puh-lease,” Cordelia replied, rolling her eyes. “I have no idea what he sees in her, but for some reason Angel thinks Buffy is ‘special’.”
Another eye roll followed.
“Angel’s an honourable guy. So long as Buffy is with someone else he won’t make a move. Rocking the boat with you doesn’t help me further my interests in the slightest.”
“And you’re happy playing second fiddle to Buffy?” Spike scoffed. “You’d be with him, knowing he’d rather be with her?”
“How do you know it’s not the same with Buffy and you?” Cordelia retorted.
“You shut your mouth,” Spike snarled. “You know nothing about Buffy and me.”
As the words left his mouth Spike realised the truth in them. Cordelia didn’t know anything about what had transpired, but he did. Buffy loved him. And he knew without a single doubt that she loved him. She wouldn’t leave him because an old flame was back on the scene.
He smiled smugly.
Cordelia laughed in amusement. “Well, it seems that you’ve succeeded. I underestimated your powers of persuasion. Or should I say coercion.”
Spike’s clenched his jaw angrily. “I didn’t—”
“Whatever helps you sleep at night,” Cordelia interrupted flippantly. “Just make sure you keep her interest.”
Before Spike could retort Cordelia had spun on her heel and gone, disappearing into the crowd of students filling the halls.
A quick scan for his girlfriend once again proved fruitless, so he took off towards her locker.
Unbeknownst to Spike, someone had overheard the entire conversation.
Buffy was halfway to her locker when a familiar face stepped in front of her.
“Hello, Buffy,” Angel said with a smile. “It’s good to see you.”
“It’s good to see you too.”
Buffy smiled politely, unsure of what to say next. A lot had changed since she’d seen him last. The last week with Spike had been... overwhelming, to say the least. She’d completely forgotten that Angel would be returning to school.
She could see his lips moving, and realised that he’d been talking to her, so wrapped up in her daydreaming that she hadn’t noticed.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“I was just asking if you had any plans for this weekend.” Angel shoved his hands into his pockets, shuffling nervously in front of her. “I thought maybe we could go to the Bronze or something.”
Buffy smiled the smile of soft rejection. “I can’t. I’m seeing somebody.”
“Oh,” Angel replied quietly. “Of course you are. A pretty girl like you wouldn’t stay single for too long.”
A blush rose to Buffy’s cheeks.
“Who’s the lucky guy?”
“Spike,” Buffy answered, her smile blooming. “We’ve been dating for a few weeks now, it’s going really great.”
Angel returned the smile, finding it hard to stay disappointed when she was obviously so happy. And if his friend was the cause of her happiness, who was he to complain?
There she is!
Spike smiled in relief when he spotted Buffy, his pace quickening. And then he stopped just as abruptly when he saw Angel. Talking with Buffy. Talking with his girlfriend. And she was smiling. Smiling, and not just a little smile, not the smile of someone who’d just bumped into an old acquaintance. No, it was the smile of someone in love.
Spike was furious, downright pissed off.
Bloody Cordelia was right, and wasn’t that just a kick in the guts.
Well, if that’s how it was going to be, that’s how it was going to be.
Turning, Spike stalked off to class.
“It was nice talking with you again,” Buffy said politely.
“You too, Buffy,” Angel replied. “Hey, maybe we could get together this weekend, you and Spike and me. A group of us.”
Buffy thought it over for a moment before nodding her assent. “Sure, we’d love to.”
With a nod and a smile Angel turned and walked away.
Buffy sighed. That had been... enlightening. To say she was surprised to see Angel at school this morning was an understatement. However, the biggest revelation was the fact that the feelings inspired by his arrival were nothing more than platonic. The fact she couldn’t help grinning like an idiot anytime Spike’s name was mentioned had more than convinced Angel of her feelings for her boyfriend. He’d been gracious in defeat, and she was grateful. The last thing she wanted was to be the reason two former best friends stopped talking. Angel had put those fears to rest.
Seeing him also proved something else to her; just how deep her feelings for Spike were.
He was her everything.
And if it meant she had to wait a little while before her feelings were reciprocated, so be it.
He was worth the wait.
The bell for class had gone just moments earlier, but he didn’t care. Nothing was going to stop him.
He found her by her locker, hurrying to collect her books for class.
“Buffy,” he said slowly, the words he needed to say freezing in his throat. “I need to talk to you.”
Buffy spun around, a smile on her face as she continued to hurry with her books. “Hey, Xand. Running a little late for class. Can it wait?”
With a deep breath he shook his head. A much as he’d like to save Buffy the pain he knew this was going to cause her, he couldn’t. She needed to know the truth, and she needed to know it now.
“No, it really can’t.”