Here's the next chapter of my fic, I just hope that it doesn't feel too drawn out. Thank you everyone for your positive comments of my story, so far ... Here is the next bit, again beta'd by the brilliantly patient mabel_marsters
Spike strolled towards his destination, wondering how the evening would progress.
The previous one had been such a special time for him. He had spent a couple of hours at the Bronze chatting to Buffy and Tara about nothing in particular. For the first time in his existence he had been treated as an equal. He had been included in the conversation and his companions had actually listened to what he had to say. As a human he had always hoped to be fully involved in the discussions of the day. Angelus had never wanted to listen to the younger vampire, and Dru lived in her own world. He’d treasured the time spent with the girls ... but also hoped that he wouldn’t lose that friendship in the future.
The time had passed rapidly, yet had been occasion to savour and remember. As the hour got later they had walked back to where Tara was staying and wished her a goodnight, then he and Buffy had made their way back to Revello Drive. The walk had been companionable and once there, he had left her with a gentle stroke on her right cheek, and the promise to pick her up from work the following evening.
Now the worries were returning.
What if she had only been nice to him because Tara was there? Was there some deeper, darker motive that he had somehow missed? Still, he reminded himself, that he had promised he would pick her up from work, so however the next few minutes played out, he wouldn’t be the one to chicken out of the planned date.
He would have been comforted to know that Buffy was no more relaxed than he was.
She had looked at the clock at least every five minutes over the last couple of hours, raising a question from her supervisor as to whether she had a “hot date” lined up for later. That had made Buffy smile, not least because Spike, while being a cool to the touch, could certainly be called hot if she thought about it.
As Spike walked through the door he immediately noticed Buffy taking a confusing order from a large family, but he also spotted Willow sitting in the corner.
Willow glanced up with a look of hope on her face, as Spike stepped through the door, but other than nodding in his direction she went back to focussing on her soda.
After an inner debate, Spike approached the counter, deciding that if Buffy ignored him, he could just order a drink and head out again. However he was sure that his heart actually skipped a non-existent beat when she noticed him and smiled right at him, while still listening to the final debate from the family in front of her.
The supervisor, who had been standing near the back, went to serve Spike and noticed Buffy’s glance. So she caught Buffy’s eye and mouthed “he’s hot” to her.
Buffy showed her inner slayer in serving the food for her customers, as while getting food onto the tray she was glancing at Spike, as if she was worried he would disappear.
Unknown to both of them, they were each having the same inner debate as to how to deal with Willow if she were to ask what was happening. Over the last couple of days, Tara had been a positive influence in their lives, and had encouraged them to spend time together. However, that sort of support is OK when it was only the three of them together, but seeing one of the other Scoobies sitting nearby, made them both feel that Willow was going to pounce.
As Buffy finished her final order for the evening she nodded at her boss and then went to get sorted out ready for leaving.
In those minutes that Spike was left to wait, he glanced at Willow and noticed she was obviously waiting for someone. Having been with Tara the previous evening he wondered whether, since then, she had arranged to meet here. If that was the case, Spike hoped that things would be able to settle down between the two of them. If, however, that wasn’t the case, he did wonder whom she was meeting. Fortunately for his peace of mind he was interrupted by a gentle hand on his arm.
“Hi, pet,” he said. “Have you had something to eat or not?” Spike may have spent the last few hours wondering how this evening would go, but ultimately he wasn’t going to let his girl go hungry.
“I had something not so long back.” Buffy was quick to brush off his worry, as she was concerned that he would suggest they stayed and have something to eat. Not that it would worry her normally, but like him, she was very conscious of Willow’s apparent vigil.
So, rather than put off the rest of the evening any longer, they turned and with a muttered goodbye to Willow they walked out into the night. That in itself was enough to help settle both their nerves a bit, as whether together or separately, they were both people who were confident in Sunnydale in dark.
“I thought we might go to The Bronze and have a drink first. And, before you say anything, it’s just a place that we both know.”
Smiling, Buffy said “And nothing to do with the fact of this being all out in the open?”
Spike’s grin was there, but looked slightly forced at her answer.
“It’s OK, Spike. I like The Bronze, and I’ve agreed this is a proper date. In fact I asked you out, didn’t I?”
They had been walking through the town and as they got near the club Spike noticed that Buffy’s footsteps slowed a little. However, he made no comment, as she continued to chat about some of the weird people she had served during her shift.
Once inside, Spike was pleasantly surprised to find that rather than go and sit in a dark corner, Buffy walked with him up to the bar. She pulled a stool towards another spare one and sat down while he ordered them both a drink. Having seen Buffy drunk, he had no intention of ending the evening that way again, but still wanted it to feel like the proper date they both hoped it could be.
They sat and sipped their drinks, ate peanuts, and chuckled at some of the dancing attempts going on around them. One particular couple had them deciding that they were moving more as if in a street brawl than on a dance floor.
Drinks finished, Spike stood up and held out his hand to his companion.
To give Buffy credit, she stood and put her hand in his, even though he noticed her heart begin to speed up, so he slowly made his way round the room to the nearest exit. As they walked out, she spotted his DeSoto ... his clean DeSoto.
Buffy looked up at him, and his answer came as a grin first, then the actual reason
“Clem owed me a favour,” he said. “He’s a lousy poker player, and so I got him to give the car a clean instead of giving me the kittens he owed me.” While speaking he had walked towards the passenger door and opened it, helping Buffy settle, before closing the door again and going round to his side of the car.
“It must have been a lot of kittens,” Buffy said, “You can tell him that he’s done a great job.”
Spike turned on the ignition and soft jazz filled the car. With that in the background, he turned the car towards its destination.
The car may be years old, but in Spike’s opinion this was one of its most important tasks.
The DeSoto was taking Buffy and Spike onto the main part of their first date.