“Hey—waitress! Get your ass over here!”
Buffy Summers closed her eyes for a moment, desperately fighting to hold in an angry retort. Stupid teenagers, she thought spitefully, despite the fact that the teens in question were her age. She walked over to the table filled with high school guys, arranging her expression in a polite smile and tossing her bright blonde hair back. “How can I help you?” she said sweetly.
A guy at the table smirked. “How can I help you?” he repeated in a high voice.
Buffy narrowed her eyes at him. Beefy and pimply, Percy Johnson was the epitome of everything that made adults hate high schoolers. “Just give me your damn orders,” she snapped, out of patience.
“Right.” Another boy, Ford something, leered at her. “How about a lap dance each, and then a slow strip?”
Buffy’s face turned red—bright, deep red. And she wasn’t embarrassed. Oh, no. Not by a long shot.
She was pissed off.
She was about to tell them where they could put their orders when another voice spoke from behind her.
“You know, boys, I don’t think your mothers taught you to treat a lady that way.” The voice was low and markedly English—and Buffy was relieved to hear it.
“Spike,” she said, smiling welcomingly. “Sit down. I’ll get you a drink.”
“Not until these pricks apologize, pet,” Spike replied, keeping his gaze trained steadily on the group.
Spike Kingston was 26, a full decade older than Buffy and the teens at the table, so his glare and implied threat carried a lot more weight than any furious tirade Buffy could deliver. The boys at the table began shifting uneasily.
“Look, man, we were just joking—“ one boy tried to explain, but Spike cut in.
“Wasn’t funny. Now apologize and give her your real orders.”
“Sorry,” mumbled the six boys.
“Whatever,” Buffy mumbled. She was glad that Spike was being the white knight, but at the same time…I don’t need protection! Even if it is from my really hot older guy best friend who happens to have the body of an Adonis! “Orders?”
The boys quickly ordered various variations on their burger-and-fries meal. Buffy jotted their orders down and began striding back to the counter wordlessly.
“Hey,” Spike said, jogging to catch up with her. “Don’t I get a thank you?”
She arched an eyebrow at him and placed the order on the counter, where her sister Dawn picked it up to carry it to Joyce, their mother and the cook. “For interfering and again making me the subject of ridicule? Not so much.”
“Oh, come on,” Spike protested, hopping up onto one of the bar stools. “I saved your ass. And what would they ridicule you for, anyway? Knowing a sexy as hell older guy?”
Se gave him a sarcastic look, going behind the counter and starting to make the coffee he always ordered. “Please,” she said sarcastically. “First of all, if your head got any bigger, I think it would roll off your shoulders. Second off, they’d call me a whore who dated older guys because I like the sex, or some crap like that.”
“’ey—no fair!” Spike protested. “We’ve never dated—I don’t feel like bein’ jailbait, thanks.”
Buffy rolled her eyes at him. “Like I’d date you anyway. You’re hot, Spike, but you’re not that bright. They don’t care if I’m really dating you. All they care about is making fun of me as much as possible.” She set the coffee in front of him.
Spike made a face as he sipped the brew. “Tossers,” he offered.
“Tell me about it.” Buffy grabbed a pastry from the glass dome and handed it to him before leaning on the counter conversationally. “So,” she said with a wicked grin, “How are things going with Kennedy?”
“’e riedta cohmiahte aw eets,” Spike said through a mouthful of pastry.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me. She tried to coordinate your sheets? As in, the sheets on your different beds that are on opposite sides of town?” Buffy had heard some really sorry tales about Spike’s girlfriends, but this had to be one of the worst.
“Yeah.” He swallowed the pastry. “Terrifying, eh?”
“Try pathetic.” Buffy rolled her eyes. “She’s desperate. When are you gonna dump her?”
Spike put on a shocked face that didn’t fool her for a second. “Summers,” he said, placing his hand over his heart, “I can’t believe you’re accusin’ me of such a thing!”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Right,” she said sarcastically. “Because the past 50 girls you’ve gone out with will all vouch for your sincerity and willingness to commit.” She grinned mischievously at her friend, who was squirming in his seat. He could be such a baby sometimes.
“Well…okay, so I can’t settle down. What’s your point?”
“My point is that tomorrow when you come in here for your usual amazingly unhealthy lunch, you’ll be telling me that you kicked her and her matching sheets to the curb.” Buffy grabbed Spike’s empty plate and cup and took them over to the dishwasher. Coming back over with a wet cloth, she wiped off the counter. “So, see you later?”
“Sure. When does your da let you outta this hellhole, anyway?”
Buffy shrugged. Good question. “It depends. I can probably convince him to let me out by 4. He likes you.”
“Great. I’ll come by.”
“Sounds good.” Buffy leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek, her traditional method of bidding him good-bye.
She watched him leave, same as she always did, tapping the rag against her apron till he disappeared into the crowd. Then she went back to work, a slight smile on her face. No matter how shitty her workday was, Spike could always cheer her up. He’d always been like that, every since they’d become friends 4 years ago.
At first their relationship had been very much adult-to-child, with Spike being more Buffy’s idol than her friend, but as she grew up, so did their relationship. Now Buffy had the (dubious) honor of being closer to him than any of his girls had ever been.
Buffy smirked as she gave Dawn the next order. Kennedy and the others come and go, but me? I’m his girl.
And she liked it.
Halfway down the block, Spike walked quickly, reliving their conversation. Just before he entered his office building, he touched his cheek. He could still feel her kiss. Her lips burned him.
Just like they always did.
A/N: So, there’s a teaser…what do you think?