Chapter 4 - Unexpected
The weekend passed quickly and come Monday morning, Buffy was anxious to get to school. “Come on Mom!” she called up the stairs.
Joyce grabbed her bag and descended the stairs quickly wondering why Buffy was suddenly so keen on getting to school. She took one look at her daughter’s appearance and had the answer. A boy… Joyce mused.
Buffy was wearing one of her nicer skirts that clung to her hips and hung to just above her knee. The purple T-shirt she was wearing complimented the honeyed tones in her hair; which was swept off her face neatly. Beaded sandals completed the outfit. She looked very pretty. Joyce smiled as she watched Buffy check her watch for the second time in a matter of seconds.
“Alright… I’m here. Lets go.”
Buffy walked up the stairs to school, noticing the stares instantly. Is there something on my face…? she worried briefly before dropping her gaze to the ground and making her way hurriedly to her locker.
“Hey!” a chirpy voice greeted her.
She jumped, startled by Willows sudden materialization from nowhere. “Hey Will.”
“So have you seen him yet??” she asked, her words spilling quickly out her mouth.
Buffy shook her head, a slow grin spreading across her face. “I don’t have any classes with him… but maybe at lunch..?”
“Hopefully at lunch!” Willow bounced excitedly.
“Hopefully what?” Xander said as he joined the girls by Buffy’s locker.
Willow looked at Buffy for a second, grinning before turning to Xander. “Ah… hopefully at lunch we’ll get to discuss prom dresses.” She said quickly.
“Prom dresses?” Xander said aghast. “Prom is MONTHS away!”
Buffy nodded, going with the story Willow had dreamed up. “Exactly, which means we’re running out of time. If we want to look like goddesses on the night, we need to start shopping now.”
Willow giggled at the expression on Xander face as he shook his head. “Alright girls… if you say so. I better get to class.”
He waved goodbye to the two of them before disappearing down the hall. Willow said her goodbyes as well walking down the opposite direction of the hall. That was one thing about Monday mornings she didn’t like, they didn’t share a single class. Getting her English books out of her locker and closed it after putting her backpack inside.
She turned to walk to her class when a hand was pressed up against the locker beside her, effectively blocking her path. Startled, she stepped back quickly, before glaring when she realized who it was.
“Did I scare you pet?” he drawled slowly, lifting his arm from the locker.
“No…” Buffy replied quickly. “I just have to get to class.”
“I’ll walk you…” he offered.
Buffy blinked in surprise, before remembering who it was who was talking to her. “No thank you…. I can find it myself.”
“It’s no trouble. English, yeah? I’m in the same class.” He said looking at her books.
“You’re in my English class Spike?” Buffy said incredulously. “You mean you know how to read…?” she asked sarcastically.
Spike was shocked by the comment, staring at her blankly for a moment. A frown knitted his eyebrows as he turned and walked away. “Suit yourself.”
Buffy watched as he stormed off down the hall in the direction she had to take. She followed, keeping some distance between them. She turned the corner of the hall and found him standing at the doorway, about to walk in.
“You following me, pet?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
“No! We’re in the same class remember?” she reminded quickly, her cheeks colouring as she pushed passed him and walking into the room, quickly finding a desk and sitting down.
Spike smirked when he saw easy it was for him to fluster her. He followed her into the classroom, sitting at a desk at the back of the room and opened his notebook.
He paid no attention to the aging teacher, he knew more about the text they were studying than he did so there was no point listening. He was in class though, which would hopefully keep Snyder off his back.
After scribbling in his notebook for most of the class, he looked up, his eyes flitting over the people in his class. He saw Buffy busily writing something down in her notebook, her head tilting to one side as she paused to think about something before she continued. Her hair bounced around her shoulder with each movement. His eyes trailed down her back to her chair and then the floor. She was tapping one of her feet lightly on the ground. A glimmer of a smile ghosted his face when he followed the line of her leg upwards from her ankle, admiring her. Her skirt was riding a little high because of the way she was sitting, and he caught himself imagining what the view would be like if he was sitting in front of her.
What! He blinked. Did I really just think that? No… But he had been. He closed his eyes, trying to clear his mind of the thoughts that floated in and out of his mind. Opening his eyes, they widened suddenly when she moved, exposing a further few inches of skin.
“Damned short skirt…” he muttered under his breath, scowling as he returned his attention back to his scribbling.
“Maybe he was sick or something?” Willow suggested.
“Maybe…” Buffy mused a little disheartened. Angel hadn’t been at school today. She put her books in her backpack, which she left in her locker. She had her first training session with the swim team this afternoon.
“I’d better start heading to the locker rooms to get changed. Practice starts in twenty minutes.”
Willow nodded quickly. “Yeah, ah, I should probably start heading home anyway. I’ll call you tonight, see how training was.”
“You don’t need to do that Will, I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” Buffy suggested, a little puzzled by the way Willow was suddenly fiddling with her hair, her books, her bag. “Is everything alright?”
“Everything is fine! See ya!” she called as she quickly exited the building. Buffy’s gonna kill me…
Buffy hung her towel on a hook at the end of the pool and dropped her water bottle at the end of the lane she was standing before. Adjusting her bathers, she tucked her hair into the silicon hair cap and positioned her goggles, standing up on the block.
She was a little early, and had the pool to herself, which was just how she liked it.
A shot went of in her brain and she sprung out from the block, diving into the clear blue water of the pool. A tingle went up her spine at the sudden chill of the water, but the shock only lasted a second before she was up and stroking, arm over arm as she swam to the other end of the pool.
She tumble turned right before the end as her body coiled, pushing off the wall with her feet. She fly kicked for a few meters before coming up for breathe, freestyling all the way to the other end of the 50-meter pool.
Her lungs began to burn as she pushed her body to the limits, holding her breath for the last few strokes. She speed towards the wall, adrenaline coursing through her veins as she slammed a hand into the wall. Taking a few seconds, she lifted her head above the water, and removed her goggles, pressing her back up against the wall and looking down the length of the pool, treading water.
She heard the applause behind her and turned quickly. Coach Jones was standing a not far from the pools edge watching her closely. “Now that’s how you swim a 100-meter sprint.” She said eyeing a couple of the students who were standing around watching Buffy with interest.
“Buffy… glad you could make it.” Turning around she looked at the unmoving students. “Well, what are you lot waiting for, time to get in the water.”
This was met with a few groans but they slowly disrobed and made their way into the pool one by one.
“Everyone, meet Buffy. She’s the newest member of our team.” Coach Jones introduced. Buffy waved shyly at the group, still treading water. “Buffy this is J.D, Alicia, David, Brian, Beth and Carla. We’re still waiting on Will. He’s always late.”
Buffy grabbed her goggles and put them back on her head, awaiting instruction. “Alright you lot, you’ve got a 500-meter freestyle warm up followed by sixteen 50-meter sprints on a minutes rest. Lets go!” A whistle sounded and Buffy pushed off from the wall right into the warm up.
Coach Jones watched with interest as Buffy gained distance on the two girls swimming in the lane with her that had pushed off after her. “Yes… definitely a good thing she joined the team.”
Footsteps padded behind her and she turned to see her missing swimmer, Will. “Hurry it up Will, get in the pool. They’re already onto sprints.”
The boy scowled, dropping his bag on the ground away from the pool edge and slipping his goggles onto his forehead. Stretching his arms a few times before he approached the blocks his attention was drawn to an unfamiliar person who had managed to lap the other two girls swimming in one of the lanes. Her technique was near flawless, and she was fast… slicing through the water with ease as she tumbled at the other end and began her return.
“Whose the fresh meat?” he asked Coach.
Clicking the buttons on her stopwatch she looked up at Will with a twinkle in her eye. “New girl, Buffy Summers. Looks like we’ve got a chance at states this year, she just beat the female lap time for a 100-meter freestyle, and she doesn’t even look like she’s trying.”
“Summers?” he repeated in surprise.
Coach Jones looked up at the boy and smiled. “Stop stalling. Get in the water.”
Buffy felt all her worries slip away as she lost herself in the rhythm of her swimming. I, 2, 3, breathe…
She touched the wall for the final time and looked around at the others still swimming behind her and a smile flickered across her face. The two girls in her lane had found it hard to keep up, and she would be lying is she said that didn’t boost her confidence. It was nice to be good at something.
Sometime during the warm up the last swimmer on the team had joined them, but since Coach Jones had written the session up on a whiteboard, Buffy didn’t have to wait between sets, she just caught her breathe and moved onto the next task. But now that she was finished, she watched the other swimmers with interest. When the girls in her lane tumbled passed her again, she decided it would probably be best to get out of their way and start heading to the change rooms.
“Nice session Buffy. See you after school on Wednesday,” Coach Jones reminded.
Buffy nodded, walking over to her towel.
He finished his final lap, having caught up and eventually overtaken the others in his lane even though he was late. Looking up from the water he caught a glance of a tiny girl walking to the hooks, removing a towel. She lifted her leg up on a seat and patted the towel on her tanned skin to soak up the water.
He gasped at the sight. Then she lifted a hand to remove her swimming cap, running her fingers through her long blonde hair; which clung to her shoulders in wet clumps.
She wrapped the towel around her slender hips, and he realized she was about to leave pool deck. Lifting himself from the water he removed his goggles and walked over to his bag, removing a towel and wrapping it around himself.
“Following me again, eh Summers?” he called.
Buffy spun around and her jaw dropped when she saw Spike standing a few meters behind her, dripping wet, a towel wrapped around his lower extremities. His hair was an unruly mess of curls and he ran a hand through it smoothing it down somewhat. A sly smirk spread across his face when he saw her eyes flick over his towel briefly, and he started to walk towards her.
“I-I’m not following you. What are you doing here?” she asked, still in shock. So surprised in fact she was not even able to muster any of the hatred she felt for him in her words.
“Playing basketball…” he mocked. “What do you think I’m doing, I’m on the swim team. Captain in fact,” he added with a grin.
Buffy’s mouth opened and closed a few times like a fish, as she tried to find her words.
“You’re the captain?” she finally questioned incredulously.
“The one and only…” he nodded his grin stretching even further. His eyes ticked over her shoulders, and down…
Buffy lifted her arms quickly and crossed them over her chest, having seen where his gaze was travelling. She was dumbstruck, and she wasn’t going to hang around any longer and let him spout off any more sarcastic comments.
Her cheeks flaming from his scrutiny, she turned her back to him and walked towards the locker room. She could feel his eyes burning holes into her as he watched her walk away.
Buffy showered and changed quickly, hoping to escape another encounter with Spike. She couldn’t believe he was on the swim team. Just wait till she told Willow…
Realization dawned on her, Willow had known. That’s why she was so jumpy after school. Then why wouldn’t she tell me…? Buffy thought.
She walked out of the locker room and was relieved to see that Spike was not around. Happy, she walked through the school and exited via the front doors. Her relief from moments ago was short lived; he was leaned up against the wall of the building puffing on a cigarette. He spotted her and walked over, stomping on the butt and smirking as he made his way over. His hair was still wet and was no more tamed than it had been before.
“You a bit surprised to see me in there pet?” he asked, the smirk not shifting from his face.
She stared at him for a moment before finding her words. “Why do you smoke… as a swimmer you should know…”
“…what they do to your lungs… save the speech luv, I’ve heard it dozens of times before.”
Buffy glared and walked away from him towards the parking lot. Her Mom wasn’t here yet.
Spike jogged to catch up with her, walking by her side and sitting beside her on the park bench at the front of the school. He kept his eyes on her, and noticed how her cheeks began to flush pink under his gaze.
“Looks like we’re going to be spending some time together,” he pointed out teasingly.
“What? Why?” she stuttered.
“There is a swim meet coming up in four weeks… in LA, over a weekend. We’re staying over. And if I know Jonesy, she’ll want you there,” he explained.
Buffy eyes widened in surprise. “I’ve never stayed over for a meet before!”
Spike chuckled. “That’s right... you used to live in LA, so no reason to stay over eh?”
Why am I talking to him…? she asked herself. She heard a car drive by and looked up.
He saw the disappointment on her face as the car drove passed. “Did you want a lift…?” he offered tilting his head towards his Desoto, which was parked on the other side of the lot.
She shook her head a little too quickly. “No thank you… my Mom will be here soon.”
Shrugging his shoulders he stood up and walked over to his car. “Be that way then…” he called over his shoulders.
Buffy sighed and waited for her Mom to arrive.
Half an hour later Spike was driving from the mall back towards his house, mentally arguing with himself.
She’s the reason I was given detention. Why am I even bothering to talk to her…?
Because Angel’s appreciation of her made you look at her differently… another voice taunted him.
No… I don’t go for other people’s seconds…
He clenched his jaw when he thought of Angel’s lips on Buffy’s, tightening his grip on the steering wheel, wondering again why it bothered him.
No… he just opened your eyes… the voice echoed again. He saw her for what she is…
If I hadn’t crashed into her in the hall that day, I probably would’ve noticed her… eventually.
Yeah right… the voice argued back.
Spike turned up the stereo, blocking out his thoughts as he drove towards home. His eyes widened as he looked out the window, when he saw something from the corner of his eye, a girl walking down the street lugging a gym back plus a backpack. A tiny blonde girl. Cursing, he pulled the car over and wound down the window.
“Thought you were waiting for your Mom,” he yelled out the window.
Buffy jumped, before glaring when she saw who it was. “She must be running late, and I can’t wait all day.” She continued on her way down the street.
“Get in... I’ll drive you,” he called.
She ignored him, focusing on the path ahead.
Cursing again, he revved the engine and drove a little ahead of her, parking the car but leaving the engine running, and jumped out of the driver’s side.
“Just get in the bloody car, I’ll drive you home!” he growled as he stepped in front of her path, stopping her.
She considered arguing with him until she saw the look on his face. Nodding in acceptance she dragged her bags over to the edge of the street. He popped the trunk and lifted her bags in there for her.
“Bloody hell Summers, you got half the library in those bags?” he half mocked.
She sat in the passenger seat and waited for him to join her. Moments later they were moving. Buffy sat in silence when she didn’t have to give him directions. He looked over at her curiously once or twice, wondering what it was that was causing the forlorn look on her face. He knew she wouldn’t talk to him though, so he kept quiet.
Ten minutes later they were pulling into her driveway. Spike parked the car and shut off the engine, climbing out. Unlocking the trunk he hefted her bags out and started carrying them to the door. Buffy watched him from the passenger seat, a little surprised by his chivalry.
“Well are you going inside or not Summers?” he asked when she didn’t move immediately.
She climbed out of the car and closed the door behind her, fumbling for her keys in her pocket as she made her way to the front door.
“You can leave my bags, I can carry them…” she protested finally.
“It’s no trouble,” he assured as he reached the door.
Buffy was overcome by a sudden shyness, unsure of why he was helping her and being so nice. A few days ago he was being a right prick, and now… why the sudden change?
Refusing to meet his gaze she managed to get the door unlocked and open. Spike stepped into the house carrying her bags and dropped them just inside the door.
“Spike, I can manage okay… thanks for the ride but you should go.”
He ignored her words, flicking on a light switch that was on the wall by the door. The entry way filled with light, and he could see a dining room off to the right, and a living room to the left. A set of stairs ascended straight upstairs from the entrance, leading to a second level.
“No lights on… your Mom mustn’t be home,” he stated the obvious. “I can wait.”
Now Buffy was getting a little annoyed. “I’m not a child Spike, I can wait for my mother in my house, by myself.”
Shrugging his shoulders he turned around and walked out the door. “Suit yourself.”
He didn’t even turn to look at the house as he got in his car and started up the engine, driving off quickly.
He held the steering wheel tightly as he drove off. What was that about…?
Buffy sighed and closed the front door as the car disappeared.
I wonder where Mom is…