“I can’t believe they didn’t have Nutella in this place,” Andrew whined. “It’s such a basic and necessary part of a good breakfast.”
“Oh, please,” Dawn said, rolling her eyes. She continued to spread butter on her toast. “You should just be thankful that Nigel was able to make sure we had breakfast at all. Spike and Angel aren’t exactly stocked up on food.”
“It is a hotel, Dawn. They have room service.”
“For the paying guests.” She was only half-paying attention to her friend. It didn’t really matter to her about whether the hotel had Andrew’s newest favorite food. Bickering was the foundation of their friendship; it was the way it was between them. Andrew hid his deep pain under the guise of whining over things that didn’t really matter, like the Nutella. Dawn understood this, because she hid her hurt these days. Some things would never go away, so you just dealt. Andrew complained, Dawn argued with him about whatever was bothering him at the moment. It helped to remind them they were still alive, when so many weren’t, and to help keep the guilt at bay for not dying.
Andrew reached over to take some butter. “I guess I’ll just have to make this work.”
“I know it’s not the same.” Dawn dramatically rolled her eyes. “Nothing is ever the same as the melty goodness of Nutella, triple layered on toast.”
“Thank you. I’m glad you realize that.”
Dawn wrinkled her nose as she watched him smear an obscene amount of the butter across the top of the bread, and then went back to make sure all parts were covered. Then he took a huge bite, devouring half the slice with it. “Could you be any more disgusting?”
“Yes,” Andrew said, answering her with his mouth open.
“Eew.” Thoroughly grossed out, she gave up on finishing her own breakfast and threw her napkin over her plate. She fidgeted for a second. “I wonder what time our flight is going to be.” It wasn’t right. Well, at least not in her opinion. She deserved to be able to stay and help in whatever was going to happen. It wasn’t like she was a helpless little girl anymore. She knew how to fight, and quite well, too. Besides, and she would never admit it to anyone, she didn’t want to be so far away from Buffy.
“Buffy should let us stay here.” Andrew replied. “We could be so useful to them…I am a Watcher now while you’re in training…”
“Hey, I know more about stuff than you do.” Dawn interjected with eyes blazing. She pointed at her chest. “I was doing research while you were still playing at being a nuisance.”
“That is so not fair…”
“Stop the fighting,” Buffy declared. Her hands were on her hips as she stood in the doorway to the kitchen. “Can’t you two ever get along?” That was Buffy’s role in this particular trio. To play mother hen, and to yell at them, when they all knew that when it came down to it, neither Dawn nor Andrew needed the supervision. It was comforting though, to have someone act the part.
“No,” the other two said in unison as they glared at each other.
“Well, I need help.”
That was all it took, for Dawn and Andrew to get serious. They stood, waiting to find out what they could do. Research a demon, hack into a computer, gather weapons, or maybe even call in the troops. Buffy gave them an evil grin. “We’re going shopping.”
“Huh? You need help with shopping?” Dawn snapped her fingers. “Oh, yeah, we have to get you from dowdy,” she waved her hand toward Buffy who was dressed in faded jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. “To something a little more glamorous.”
“No, to kept woman,” Buffy replied with an evil grin. “Angel seems to think that it is to be my role. So, if I’m going to be his mistress then he’ll get a very well dressed mistress.”
“Excuse me,” Dawn exploded, after a moment of stunned silence. Despite her support of Buffy being with the vampires, Angel was getting further and further down her list of likeable people. Somehow, he always managed to hurt her sister whether it was deliberate or not. She knew that no matter how Buffy was acting, Angel’s pronouncement was breaking her heart. “How dare that…that piece of shit tell you something like that? What did Spike say about this?” Not that Spike was all that favorable, but she didn’t think that he would go for this.
There it was, the pain that Buffy was denying. It filled her face for a moment, but once again she blinked back the tears, and smiled. “He’s torn.” She held her hand up. “Don’t try to make him choose between Angel and me. It’s the last thing…”
Dawn crossed her arms, thrusting out her right hip as her foot tapped the tile floor beneath it. “Yada, yada…yeah, we know the song. He’s humiliating you.”
“No, Dawnie, he can’t do that to me.” Buffy walked over to her sister to take the taller girl’s shoulders in her hands. “I won’t let him. I know…really know that he cares about me. Maybe even still loves me, but for some reason he won’t admit it.” She shrugged. “So, I’m going to play the part he thinks he wants me in, and I’m going to play it very well. Are you up for helping me prove him wrong?”
“I am.” Andrew actually giggled. “Oh, Buffy, this is going to be fun. You as the ultimate courtesan to the master vampires…oh yes.” He rubbed his hands together as he walked around Buffy. “Yes, yes, I see leather, definitely some lace because you are so feminine. A push up bra…I hate to say but yours are drooping a little and of course, you’ll need to go to the spa.” He snapped his fingers. “And yes, some very expensive…erotic perfume to make you even more enticing.”
The sisters broke into laughter at Andrew’s monologue. Dawn couldn’t help it. Even if she didn’t like the whole idea. Yet if this was what Buffy wanted, then she
would support the plan. Anything to
help, and anything to take Angel down a peg or two. “So, I take it that you’re not sending us
“Nope.” Buffy sighed. “I can’t do this without you, and well…if you’ll stay I’d like the company.”
“The reinforcements you mean?”
It was decided. It was going to be three against two, and Dawn only hoped that Angel understood what he set in motion with his dismissal of Buffy’s feelings. Spike too, since he wasn’t coming to her defense.
Buffy mentally checked off the first few points of her plan to bring Angel to, well not his knees, but at least to the point where he was ready to let her into his life on an equal basis with Spike. She strode across the lobby of the Hyperion with Dawn and Andrew hot on her heels. They were giving out just the energy she needed not to digress into a dark pit of depression. Anger, eagerness, and a good old sense of fun.
She was relieved to see Nigel standing behind the main desk. Not because she liked him, but because he’d already been told to give her what she wanted. A smile crept across her face as she saw the wariness in his eyes. Good, she thought as she stopped across the counter from him.
“Good morning, miss.”
“Morning, Nigel, I need some help.” No fawning, no shyness, only a direct approach.
“Of course, anything I can do to make your stay more comfortable.”
“Thank you.” Buffy smiled. “First I need a car to take me around this morning. How long until one can be available?”
“Immediately,” Nigel said, reaching for the phone. He spoke in hushed tones to someone before hanging up. “The car will be out front by the time you get there. And next?”
“I need a room redone in the penthouse. The one next to the Master Suite. New everything.” Buffy pointed at Andrew. “Andrew will be in charge of the redecorations, and when we return if you or someone else be available for consultation that would be lovely.”
“Yes, we have someone on call that will be able to handle that for you. Shall we say for her to meet Mr. Andrew?”
“That will be fine.” Buffy nodded. “Thank you for your help.”
Take care of car. Check. Get room redecorations started. Check. Now for the clothes, and the personal makeover. Leading the way, Buffy hurried outside to where a limousine was waiting for them. Four hours later, she was exhausted but ready to put the next step of her plan into motion. Leaving Andrew to the decorator and Dawn to the unloading of the new clothes, Buffy headed for Wolfram & Hart.
Spike was bored. Nothing exciting was going on at Wolfram & Hart, and he’d already annoyed everyone at least once, Fred several times, and was now banished from their areas for the day. Therefore, he was sitting in Angel’s office hoping that they could leave soon. He shifted in the chair, throwing his leg over the arm as he leaned his head back to stare at the ceiling.
“You have a three o’clock meeting with the head of the Alonsmi clan,” Harmony said, trying to be important with her little notebook and pen in hand. “Since we’ll need to make an appropriate gesture of respect, I was going to suggest…”
“Can’t we just kill them?” Spike asked, inspecting his fingernails. He refused to look up when Harmony sighed while shaking her head. Do the little twit good to have her presentation interrupted. Maybe take her down a notch or two. It was the glare from Angel though that made him squirm. He shrugged and threw his lover an apologetic smile.
This whole business thing was right up Angel’s alley, and Spike knew he enjoyed these meetings. Plotting out intricate plans was Angelus’ specialty so it was natural that it carried over to Angel. Gotta make things work out to a big finish to make the vampire happy. Never Spike’s thing, but he would let Angel do what made him happy. After all, a happy Angel usually meant a very satisfied Spike.
“No, we can’t kill them,” Harmony explained. “Negotiations with them are a very delicate…”
“Bloody hell,” Spike said. “I wasn’t serious. You never could tell if I was telling the truth or not.”
“Oh, yes I could,” Harmony exclaimed. “You never did tell me the truth.”
“Only when I said I loved syphilis more than you,” Spike muttered. As much as he hated to say it this little argument was the most exciting part of his day.
That is until a sudden stop of movement in the crowded lobby made Spike look up. Everyone was staring at someone or something. He craned his neck to try to get a better view when a petite blonde broke through the throng. He blinked…once…twice, yes, it was Buffy. His demure little Buffy was looking like the second coming of hookerdom. Then he smiled as he took in her beauty from the three inch platform shoes, to the low riding leather pants that left her pelvic bones in plain view, upwards over her soft belly to her breasts threatening to tumble from the pink top that tied beneath those sweet mounds. His mouth watered as he saw the deep red of her lips, the green eyes sparkling with mischief and the blonde hair now streaked with silver, and teased to a curly mass that made him ache with desire. Oh, yeah, she was going to make Angel pay, and he grinned as he waited for their lover to notice.
It didn’t take long. Harmony gasped while Angel stood with mouth gaped open when Buffy entered the office. There was no hesitation in her stride as she made her way over to the desk. A fluttering of her fingers in his direction signaled her acknowledgement of him, while she slipped to the back to slink her arms around Angel’s waist.
“Hello, lover,” Buffy breathlessly whispered, turning her face up to be kissed. “I’ve missed you since this morning.” Angel just stared down at her in complete bewilderment. His eyes wide like he couldn’t quite figure out what to do with this new version of Buffy. She didn’t let his silence stop her as she pushed to her tiptoes and left a kiss on the corner of his mouth. “Have you missed me?”
“Oh my god,” Harmony exclaimed, finally finding her voice again. “She really has gone slayer slut. Even I never dressed that bad.”
Fluttering her eyes, Buffy gave Harmony a cursory once over. “You do have on a nice outfit…last year’s?”
Spike smirked as he
watched Harmony run a hand down the front of her navy dress that barely covered
her ass. There was a definite look of
uncertainty on the blonde vampire’s face for a moment before she giggled. “That’s a joke…right? Because I just bought this at this great
little boutique on
“The discount rack?” Buffy slammed back with a smile that almost seemed genuine even to Spike. She waved a hand delicately in the air. “You know when I went shopping this afternoon I just kept thinking, “what would Harmony pick’ and it was a breeze.” Deciding she’d done enough, Buffy perched on the corner of the desk with her legs crossed so that one foot swung back and forth.
Catching her eye, Spike winked. “Harmony, I do see a resemblance to some of the clothes that you used to have back when you lived with me.”
“Well, at least I was the genuine article,” Harmony sniffed, and swung her hair over her shoulder. “Not some copy cat rip off.”
“Buffy isn’t anyone’s copy cat,” Angel declared, moving to the front of the desk. He crossed his arms and leaned his hip against the edge. He looked back over at the girl in question. “I’m not quite sure where she got this from, but…”
“Well, obviously, she’s decided to get your attention…wait a minute,” Harmony paused. She was grinning like the cat that’d just found the cream when she walked over to push Buffy’s hair back.
Somehow, Spike knew what was going to happen. It made him shrink back into the chair, and hopefully out of the way of fire. Even Angel took a step back as the words tumbled in an excited flurry from Harmony’s mouth.
“I see Angel marked you as his,” she paused for dramatic effect, then giggled. “He did say yesterday that he was going to do that. Not just to show the world you belonged to him, but to find out if you were really on his side.”
“Excuse me?” Buffy’s eyes, flashing with insecurity, darted between Angel and Spike. “What does the bite have to do with that?” Her fingers flew to the fresh bite.
“Didn’t he tell you?” Harmony asked, glancing over at Angel. Probably was wondering why the big goof wasn’t stopping her, but Angel could only open and close his mouth in stupefied silence. “When a vampire bites a human, they can usually read their emotions as well. If you were truly playing for The Immortal’s side, he would have been able to tell.”
“Oh, really,” Buffy said. This time her eyes were mere slits as she put Angel in her sights. She slid off the desk, turning with arms crossed as she prepared to rip into the big vampire. “What do you have to say about this?”
“Now, Buffy,” Angel said, backing up with his hands in the air. “It wasn’t that I didn’t trust you…exactly.”
“Then exactly what does it mean?”
Spike put both feet on the floor as he leaned forward. This was going to be good, and he wasn’t going to miss a moment of it.
to be continued…