“I’m still not talking to you, mister.” Harmony sauntered out of the bathroom and spoke to Spike without looking at him. “You’ll be lucky if I’m even coming home tonight because Buffy already said that I could stay at her house tonight.”
Buffy’s eyes widened and she ran after Harmony with Spike on her heels. “Hey! I...I’m not ready for company!”
“Harm, you can’t just invite yourself into Buffy’s home!”
“Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do!” Harmony pushed through the doors of the movie theater and stomped into the parking lot.
“People, I hope you’re all happy.” Angel strolled after the group with his hands jammed in his pockets. “We’ve been kicked out of the theater. Harmony for life and the rest of us for a few years...at least.”
“Pet, I’m sorry. Think about it and you’ll agree that,” Spike looked from his girlfriend to Buffy and swallowed. “I’m sorry.”
“Too bad. I’m riding with Buffy!”
Harmony squealed and turned up the radio so it was blaring. “This is great! It’ll totally teach him for treating me like crap!”
“I really don’t have enough furniture for a houseguest. I just stopped sleeping on the floor yesterday and-and--.”
“I’m not staying with you, silly!”
“But you said...”
“No way! I’m planning on a night full of make-up sex. Maybe you should give Spike a ring so I know where I’m heading.”
“Oh, okay.” Buffy dug through her bag and took out her cell phone. “Just, ah, give me the number.”
“This is Spike.”
Buffy couldn’t help but grin at the grouchy tone of his voice. “Hey, it’s Buffy. Harmony wanted me to call--.”
“Don’t say that!” Harmony screamed in the background.
“Oh, never mind. Harmony’s still mad at you and she didn’t want me to call.”
“This is so bloody embarrassing. It’s becoming the night from hell and I’m sorry about that, pet.”
“Hey, it’s been exciting to say the least. We-I mean, I was just wondering if we were going to dinner and if so, where?”
“I’m sitting next to Buffy.”
“Does that mean I have to sit next to Spike? I wanted to sit next to Buffy.”
“You guys are killing me.”
“Me too,” Spike grumbled.
“If Harmony doesn’t want to sit next to Spike and if I don’t want to sit next to Spike--we can do this. Harm sits next to me and Buffy’s the unlucky one that has to sit next to the bad, rude man.”
“Just park it, people,” Spike mumbled, pulling out Buffy’s chair. “Angel.”
“Get the chair for Harm.”
Angel looked at Spike as if he were crazy. “You could walk around the table. She’s your girlfriend.”
He stood, cursing Spike under his breath. “Let me get that because it’s the, uh, gentlemanly thing to do and...wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself or something.”
“Spike’s buying the drinks, girls. Get whatever you’d like.”
“Oh, I am?”
“Man, we need something to loosen up this party, don’t you think?”
“Weren’t we loose enough at the movies?”
“Yeah, but now no one is talking.”
“I’m enjoying the silence,” Spike said through clenched teeth. “I find it refreshing.”
“I just think you’re too cheap,” Angel answered with a smirk.
“I second that. A lot,” Harmony added. “I want to drink. Buffy does too.”
“Why do you insist on talking for her? Buffy didn’t say--.”
“Why does that worry you so much, Spikey?”
“Whoa!” Buffy held up her hands. “Stop fighting over me! Harm, if you want to drink, do it! Can’t you pay for yourself? And you,” she looked at Spike, “cool it.”
“What about me, Buffy?” Angel teased. “Any demands?”
“Just shut up. Now,” she said, grabbing the drink menu away from Angel’s hands. “I haven’t had a drink in the longest time, tell me what’s good.”
“God, this is good.” Buffy took another long sip from her fruity drink. “I have this theory: if something looks pretty, it’ll taste good.”
“You know, that so funny! I have that same theory about guys!”
Buffy couldn’t help giggle. “I can see how that’d work.”
“Take Spike for example! Yummmy! Let me tell you--.”
“I must be officially tipsy now,” Buffy said between more laughter, “because I totally want to hear what you have to say.”
“Yeah,” Angel added with mock-enthusiasm. “Just how yummy is he?
“Say one word,” Spike threatened. “You thought I was pissed before, Harm.”
“See how mean he is?”
“He is snippy. Why are you so mean to your girlfriend, Spikey?” Buffy grinned and turned to him with her drink in her hand. “Why don’t you act like her sweet boo-boo anymore?”
“Sweet boo-boo, man? Is that true?”
“Oh yeah. Sad but true,” Buffy said, joining Angel as he snickered.
“I think you’ve had enough to drink, pet”
“Touch my drink, pretty boy and I’ll beat you up. I asked you a question, Spike. Why are you mean to your girlfriend?”
"Looks like we've got a violent drunk on our hands," Angel said, looking amused. "You'd better answer the question."
"Peaches, you are not helping."
Buffy scooted closer to Spike so their thighs were touching and patted his arm. "I'm waiting, blondie bear."
“Buffy,” he said, quietly, “You shouldn’t...this just going to get messy, pet. You’re drunk and not thinking clearly.” He picked up her hand and squeezed it before placing it on the table. “Don’t do this. She doesn’t need to know what I feel for you.”
“What’s going to get messy?” Harmony demanded, leaning across the table. “What are you whispering about?”
Buffy felt as if she were hypnotized by Spike’s pleading blue eyes. Her heart ached for him to explain his feelings, but she knew the timing was off. “Uh,” she touched her wrist as if hoping she could still feel the warmth of his touch. “I just don’t think you should treat her badly...”
“But Harmony thinks you did and because of that, you’ve got some apologizing to do.” Buffy pushed away her drink. “Excuse me, I need to...to go throw up.”
“What was that?”
“Angel! What are you doing?”
“It’s not like I can see anything,” he said, still sticking his head into the women’s restroom. “What happened back at the table? I thought you were going to crack him, but then you backed off, why?”
Buffy wiped off her mouth with a paper towel and searched for gum in her bag. “I want to go home.”
“Buffy, everything was going great--.”
She pulled open the door and walked into the restaurant. “I’d like to puke in my own house. I need a ride home.”
“I’ll make Spike do it.”
“No,” he touched her arm and brought her aside. “You’re having doubts and it could be the alcohol talking--I don’t have a clue--but I do know that no matter what, you’ve got to tell him about that ex of yours and what he did to you.”
“I’ll tell him later when my head stops spinning.”
“No, do it tonight. Make him take care of you. He’s the type that’ll do it, Buffy. He’ll hold back your hair. He’ll wait on you hand and foot.”
“Why? He has a girlfriend--.”
“He doesn’t love her.”
“Angel, I really do not feel good and I’m so, not in the mood for this.”
“I’m not driving you home.”
Buffy narrowed her eyes, “Fine.”
“Does this mean we aren’t going through with my plan?” Angel called out as Buffy stomped away angrily.
“I need a ride.” Harmony and Spike were sitting next to each other and Buffy assumed that they had made up. “Angel said he can’t take me home.”
“No problem, love. How are you feeling?”
“Bad. Can we go now?”
“You ready Harm?”
Harmony nodded with a goofy grin on her face. Her arms were wrapped tightly around Spike’s waist. “I want to go home,” she said before whispering something in Spike’s ear that made him look uncomfortable and blush.
“Ah, alright, let’s go girls.”
Buffy sat in the backseat with her head back. She could see Spike watching her in the rearview mirror as he drove, but she didn’t care.
“Here we are. Home sweet home.”
“We’ve got so much make-upping to do,” Harmony sang. “You can find your own way home, right Buffy?”
“I guess.” She rolled out of the car and tried to catch her balance by holding the side of Spike’s car. “Thanks for everything, guys.”
Wobbling in her heeled shoes, she walked along the sidewalk and almost made it up the driveway before she tripped. Fully prepared to fall, Buffy closed her eyes, but was surprised to feel strong arms around her, stopping her from hitting the pavement.
“I’ve got you.”
“Spike,” Buffy gasped, as he spun her gently so she faced him. “You...should be with Harmony.”
“True. You’re right.”
“Had to save you from falling on your face in a drunken stupor.”
“I’m not that drunk and I blame the driveway. It tripped me.”
He smiled, but looked serious. “I also wanted to continue the conversation we had in the kitchen. It seemed like it was going somewhere interesting.”
“Unless you feel too sick, then I can go back to Harm,” he said, pointing towards his house.
“You’d pick talking with me over a steamy night of make-up sex—God, what am I saying? Please don’t answer that.” She blushed and headed to the front door.
“You can blame it on one too many fruity drinks,” Spike suggested quietly.
Buffy nodded, inviting Spike inside. “This shouldn’t take too long. You’ll be back to your honey in no time.”
Buffy quickly slipped off her dress and pulled on a more comfortable outfit as she tried to forget that Spike was in her living room.
“It’s no use, can’t stay calm,” she grumbled, fluffing her hair and struggling not to touch up her makeup. “But I can’t look too desperate...”
Looking in the mirror one last time, Buffy adjusted her tank top and sweatpants, making she wasn’t showing too much skin, but that there was enough to catch Spike’s attention.
“God, please let Angel be right...”
The sound of Buffy’s bare feet hitting the wooden floor caused Spike to look up from twiddling his thumbs.
“I tried to hurry.”
“I’m in no rush.”
Buffy smiled and sat next to him on the couch, folding her legs underneath her. Her hair was up in an untidy ponytail and Spike thought she looked as striking in sweatpants as she did in the dress she had been wearing.
“Okay,” she said, positioning herself so she could look at him and rest her head against the back of the couch as she spoke. “Before I start, there’s a Kleenex box behind you if things get bad. I’ve been known to suffer from what my best friend Xander calls projectile crying.”
“That sounds like a serious condition.”
“It is,” Buffy sighed. “Let me tell you...”
“I hope you will, Buffy.” He turned and mirrored the way she was sitting, hoping that it would somehow make her feel more at ease. Spike didn’t know what Buffy had up her sleeve, but he could tell from her behavior that she was nervous to reveal the information.
“It’s cozy to sit like this, huh?”
“More than I thought it would be.”
Buffy grinned softly and scooted forward so their faces were only a few inches apart. “You’ve proven to me that you have a great memory—nearly photographic—do you see anything different about me?”
“How hard should I look?” His eyes swept down her body and he swallowed seeing hardened nipples poking through her thin shirt. “I think you’d better give me a general area to, ah, search.”
“My face, Spike.”
“Oh, that was my first stop...”
Knowing he had been caught checking her out, Spike chose to drop the subject. “Come a bit closer? Can I use hands or no?”
“Hands? It’s not like you gave me a facial--.”
“Always the wise-cracker,” he mumbled with a laugh. “But that’s alright, I like humor in a girl.”
“Is that why you laugh at Harmony all the time?”
Spike didn’t respond; he was too busy taking advantage of the golden opportunity Buffy had given him. With his eyes, he followed the curves of her full lips and studied the hazel of her eyes.
“Why are you smiling?” she whispered, looking shy. “Find something funny?”
“You have a very charming nose. Very distinctive with the little indentions, very...cute.”
“My nose is cute?”
Spike picked up on the grin Buffy tried to force back. “I know what’s different.”
“I’m not blind, love. I’ve seen the scar on your forehead.”
“You should’ve mentioned that before I let you stare at me.”
“Where’d it come from, Buffy?”
“It came from the guy I loved throwing me into a nightstand.” Before Spike could digest what she was saying, Buffy burst into tears. “The night you and I were supposed to meet, I broke up with him and it pissed him off. I didn’t think it’d cost me so much, you know? I lost the apartment that I lived in for three years, I got over two dozen stitches and to make everything worse, all my chances with you...just went away.” She sniffled and wiped her eyes with the end of her palms. “You weren’t supposed to have a girlfriend, you big jerk. We were supposed to meet again, date a little and live happily ever after. Couldn’t you have waited a few days? I was on my way...I wish so, so, much that you would’ve waited.”
Spike couldn’t think of the right words to say. Tears prickled his eyes, unable to handle the sight of Buffy’s shaking body and the sound of her sobs. A variety of emotions flooded his body, leaving him stunned and longing to comfort the woman he still considered as his dream girl. Taking a deep breath and uncertain of how she’d react, Spike blindly stretched out his arms, gathering Buffy up with one swoop.
She muttered incoherently and weakly pushed him back as he tried to give her a hug. Each time her body trembled, Spike felt a new wave of hatred for everyone who had ever hurt her and he included himself on the list.
“Buffy,” he croaked. “I am so sorry.”
“It...wasn’t...your...fault,” she said between hiccups. “I’m-I said too much.”
“What do you mean?”
“I-I--.” With a groan, Buffy stopped resisting and buried her head into his chest. “What’s going to happen now? Angel, he said...”
“Shhh,” he whispered, holding her tightly. “He knows?”
“And Dawn. Possibly Connor.”
“That would explain some things.”
“It’s not like I wanted to broadcast that I was a victim of domestic violence. It’s humiliating. If I wasn’t taken by surprise and knocked out, I would’ve beaten him to a pulp.”
“Knew you were tougher than you look.”
“I am,” she wiped her eyes again and rested her head against his shoulder. “I should get out of your lap and let you go home. I’ve spilled all my beans, I have no more secrets to tell.”
“No, I think I’m going to stay. I’ll give Harm a call. She’ll understand. She...she thinks of you as her bloody best friend after tonight.”
“I don’t know. Harm, she’s...”
“You really don’t have to stay. I’m a big girl--.”
“I need to. We have to talk this out. You wanted to know what was going to happen next, right?” Spike pulled her closer and searched her eyes.
At Buffy’s whimper, Spike threw caution to the wind. He covered her mouth with his, knowing in his heart that it was the right thing to do.