|Story Title:||Can't Buy Me Love|
If You’ve Got the Money, Honey, I’ve Got the Time
Life goes on in SunnyD … Billy’s soft heart might be more than that; Spike finds a new way to make ‘extra’ money, Annie attends her first school dance.
Edmond “Eddie” Giles Rosenberg-Maclay born March 11, 2010
Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004
The twins (Danielle Dawn, "Dani" and William Rupert, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004.
Annie was born on February 14th, 1999
Spike and Buffy were married in February 1999
Buffy was born January 19th, 1981
William/Spike was turned by Dru in
All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.
Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions and got the memories from the 'Rome' Universe in May, 2003.
The ‘Wish-World’ lasted from January 19th, 2005 to January, 16th 2010.
Ferrari TR, or 250 Testarossa, is a race car model built by Ferrari in
the 1950s and 60s. These cars dominated their arenas, with variations
winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1958, 1960, and 1961. The phrase "testa
rossa" means "red head," named after the red valve covers.
If You’ve Got the Money, Honey, I’ve Got the Time by Leon Russell (originally by Lefty Frizzell) http://youtu.be/72n3mooTJh8
ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise: http://www.screencap-paradise.com/?cat=3
Thanks to 'epd4' for betaing this chapter.
|Rating / Warnings:||
NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes, and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY.
(two weeks later), Thursday, November 11th, 2010, 3:30pm:
Annie, Dani, JJ, and Billy bounded off their buses and greeted their mother/aunt and newest little sister/cousin at the bus stop then JJ, Annie, and Dani began prattling happily about their day as they walked toward the mansion. Buffy had 'Kenzie bundled up against the cool fall air … she’d considered bringing the stroller, but had decided to just carry her the short distance to meet the bus, instead. Despite the redhead’s unorthodox entrance into the world and the prophecy hanging over her head, her first twenty-six days had been relatively normal and trouble free. Yeah, there were the two am feedings and the long nights and only short naps for the weary parents, and Xander’s crew was still working on the house, which didn’t help with the sleep quotient, and the collection agencies were starting to get pretty rude … but they were dealing with it. The miracle that was the small redhead helped to remind them that there was still joy to be found in the world, and it couldn't be bought with all the money in the universe.
Spike continued to bring in extra money from his gambling winnings and had even made a trip to Las Vegas, where he won enough in one weekend to actually make all the minimum payments on all the credit accounts for one month … of course, the fact that some of those credit accounts were two or three months behind meant that the collection agencies still called. Unfortunately, he'd also been accused of counting cards and his welcome in Sin City had been ... well, revoked.
While the kids were in school, Buffy would work with Giles, Faith, and Wes going through the cargo containers, scanning books into the computer, and researching magical do-dads as well as interviewing applicants for the Apocalypse Leadership Team and serving on the Committee Guidance Committee. She left the training of new Slayers to Giles, Faith, Amanda, and Wes … although Spike sometimes helped with that, giving the new girls their first taste of what fighting an actual vampire was like. Buffy also suggested that any of the duplicate books and magical knick-knacks that were unneeded and non-apocalypse-bringing could be sold on eBay if there was no local market for them, so she was put in charge of selling said items and given a percentage of the sales price for getting them listed and photos taken of them. It wasn’t a lot, but it was something she could do in the evenings to bring in extra money and still be at home with the kids.
Fred reported that, down in L.A., Cordelia had been treated by W&H and had seemingly made a full recovery. Paying the price W&H demanded for their alchemists and sorcerers to treat Cordy had nearly sent Angel and AI into bankruptcy, even with the money he took back from Spike and Buffy … but they were squeaking by. The economy was still bad, but AI was bringing in enough money to keep the hotel functional and the AI staff in Ramen noodles … they weren’t starving and had a roof over their heads, anyway.
Giles continued giving Bess’ Slayer paycheck to Buffy since he didn’t know what else to do with it, and Buffy opened an account in her daughter’s name … Elizabeth Anne Weatherford, and deposited the checks in there, saving the money for one day … One day, when Bess came back, she’d need that money, Buffy reasoned … one day. Buffy and Spike, as well as the children, continued watching Bess with the locator spell … she’d gone to Cleveland and had been there for some time. Buffy had Faith talk to some of her old Slayer friends there and they confirmed that there had been someone slaying vamps … someone who had not checked in officially with the team of Slayers in Cleveland.
One girl reported a small blonde girl had saved her life when she’d stumbled into a nest of eight vamps unexpectedly, but the girl had disappeared like a ghost, staking and vanishing before the dust of the last vamp settled to the ground. Spike surmised that the demon in Bess had been somehow drawn to the Hellmouth there … Hellmouths definitely had a powerful, almost magnetic, pull for demons. Once there, her natural Slayer instincts took over … she probably didn’t even realize there were other Slayers there when she first arrived or understood why she had been drawn to the city in the first place.
As Buffy walked back home from the bus stop with the kids, Dani held up a paper for her. “We drew pictures of our families today!” Dani announced with a smile as Buffy took the picture from her hands. Buffy was happy to see that their daughter had drawn a fairly ‘normal’ looking family … stick figures in different sizes, five blondes, a brunette, and a redhead. She was happy that Bess was included in Dani’s family portrait, despite the eldest Weckerly having been nothing more than a dot on a map since July.
“That’s lovely, sweetheart – another masterpiece for the fridge,” Buffy complimented the girl, then looked at Billy. “Where’s yours, honey?”
Billy shook his head and frowned. “I lost it.”
Buffy furrowed her brow. “You lost it? That doesn’t sound like you…”
Billy just shrugged, his eyes glued to the sidewalk.
“Did someone take it?” Buffy tried.
“No … I just lost it.”
Buffy noticed a look pass between Dani and Billy.
“What happened?” Buffy questioned again, shifting the baby to the other arm and giving Dani a stern look.
Dani frowned and looked at her brother. She’d promised not to tell … Dani shrugged and repeated what Billy had said, “He just lost it…”
“Ok, you two … out with it!” Buffy demanded.
Billy sighed and rolled his eyes dramatically. “It just wasn’t any good … I threw it away.”
“Billy, why would you think your picture wasn’t any good?” Buffy pressed, worried that one of the other kids had made fun of something he’d drawn and Billy, being a mini-William, took their adolescent gibing to heart.
“It just wasn’t …” Billy sighed.
“Danielle Dawn … what happened?” Buffy demanded again as they reached the house and started down the stairs into the garden.
“Mrs. Scruggs said it wasn’t any good," Dani admitted, which made Billy glare daggers at her.
“WHAT?!” Buffy exclaimed in disbelief, looking at Billy. “I can’t believe a teacher would say that! You must’ve misunderstood her.”
Billy pulled his angry eyes away from Dani and looked at his mother as they entered the great room. “She held it up and showed the class and said that was the wrong way to draw … she said it wasn’t right, it wasn’t any good,” Billy reluctantly confirmed what Dani had reported.
“WHAT!?” Buffy questioned again, this time angrily. “Get in the car … everyone in the Bomber! Now!”
Buffy left Annie, Dani, JJ, and Billy in the Blue Bomber with Annie in charge and she took MacKenzie in her car seat/carrier into the school with her to find Mrs. Scruggs. She’d met the teacher earlier at a parent/teacher conference. Mrs. Scruggs was a pretty brunette in her thirties, she’d been teaching for about seven years; Buffy liked her well enough and hadn’t gotten the impression that she was incompetent or callous. She really couldn’t imagine why the teacher would do what Dani and Billy said she did.
Buffy got to the classroom just as the teacher was gathering up to leave for the day.
“Hi,” Buffy greeted her. “You may not remember me, but I’m Dani and Billy’s mom … Buffy Weckerly.”
“Certainly,” the teacher assured her with a smile as she sat her bag back down on her desk. “What can I help you with?”
“Well …” Buffy stalled, as she sat the baby’s carrier down on the floor and began rummaging through the garbage can at the back of the room … it didn’t take long for her to find it. Billy must’ve tossed it on his way out at the end of the day.
Buffy looked at the drawing. She had to admit that it wasn’t ‘typical’ … it was more ‘Expressionist’ than ‘Realist’ with lots of colors and vague forms and definitely no stick figures. There were two large swirls, like big commas facing each other, one red and one black, curled protectively around five smaller entities, which were all different shapes and colors; orange, green, purple, blue, and yellow. Each color merged with at least one other and created blends of new colors where they touched … pink, orange, turquoise, violet … The colors were all dark, rich, vibrant, and full of energy – and they all intermingled, all giving support to each other to create a whole which was more than the sum of its parts … Buffy thought it suited their family well.
Buffy turned and held the drawing up for the teacher. “I was just wondering what was wrong with this …”
The teacher frowned slightly and stepped towards Buffy. “Well … the assignment was to draw their family … that’s … well … it’s just colors and shapes; it wasn’t what I asked for.”
Buffy raised her brows and looked at the picture again … it looked like them to her. “You know, I’ve only been to a few college courses, so I'm no expert, but one class was ‘Art Appreciation’, which I know sounds lame, but was actually kinda interesting. If my memory’s correct, I’m pretty sure this would be considered ‘Expressionism’ … You know, not everyone sees things quite so literally,” Buffy informed her.
“I realize that…” the teacher began, but Buffy cut her off.
“On top of which … he’s six! How could you embarrass him like that!? Holding his picture up in front of the whole class as an example of what not to do?! Do you have any idea how hurtful that was?”
“I assure you, that was not my intention…” the teacher began to defend herself.
“Well, intention or not, that’s what you did. Do you have any idea how long it’s gonna take me to get him over that? I’ll be lucky if he’ll ever draw anything again!” Buffy cut her off again.
“I apologize…” Mrs. Scruggs stammered.
“Don’t apologize to me! Apologize to him … preferably the same way you embarrassed him, publicly … in front of the class. The next time he draws something, maybe you should take a minute to try and understand it before just dissing it out of hand,” Buffy advised her. As Buffy’s agitation grew and her voice rose, MacKenzie started crying.
Buffy took a breath and turned around and started back towards the baby. “I have to go … my kids are waiting in the car.”
“I honestly thought he’d purposely drawn something other than what I asked for …” the teacher apologized again.
“We are talking about Billy here, right?!” Buffy asked incredulously, as she picked the carrier up and started giggling it lightly to get the baby to calm down. “Now, if it had been Dani, I’d say … maybe, but not Billy.
“This is our family. That’s me, and my husband and we’re watching over the five kids … it’s perfectly clear,” Buffy informed her, pointing to the shapes on the paper.
“Yes … I suppose it could be, now that you point that out – it’s just not the normal way kids draw their families …” the teacher agreed and Buffy rolled her eyes.
“Normal … right. God forbid we don’t all fit into your boring, cookie-cutter life. I haveta go…” Buffy repeated before heading out into the hallway, shaking her head in disbelief and blowing out an exasperated breath as she went. Heaven forbid everyone’s not ‘normal’.
When Buffy got back to the minivan with the drawing, Billy’s frown deepened. He was hoping she wouldn’t be able to find it, that the janitor would’ve already taken it away.
“I talked to your teacher,” Buffy began after she got the baby carrier strapped back in and she was sitting behind the wheel, turning in her seat and looking at Billy. “She didn’t understand the symbolism of it. It isn’t that she thought it was bad, she’s just …” several adjectives popped into Buffy’s mind which she fought to keep from rolling out of her mouth, finally going with, “… not familiar with the Expressionist school of art. She’s really sorry that she embarrassed you.”
Billy remained unconvinced, but nodded anyway. He really just wanted to stop talking about it now. He didn’t know why he drew their family like that … it was just what came out. Next time he’d just copy Dani and draw stick figures … or maybe he’d pretend to be sick and go to the nurse’s office to get out of it.
Buffy sighed and turned around, then started the minivan and headed for home. She knew it was gonna take more than that to reassure him … maybe if Spike said something about it before going to work. As mad as Buffy was at the teacher, she also felt some sympathy for her; the classes were big, really too big, and it was probably hard to take a lot of individual time with each student to really get to know them. Anyone that knew Billy would know that he wouldn’t blithely draw something that wasn’t what was requested; that teacher obviously didn’t know her students very well.
Buffy began to wonder if she should look into getting Billy into a Magnet program like Annie was in … not languages, of course, but something … artistic or scientific – something with smaller class sizes and more individual attention where his abilities and interests could be explored in more depth. But Dani would never qualify for a Magnet school, she definitely had Buffy’s aptitude for ‘higher learning’ … and Billy would probably not want to go without her. If they only had more money they could afford to send them to a private school which could benefit them both. Yeah, right … just as soon as Buffy won the lottery which she never bought tickets for.
Buffy had taken over most of the cooking duties again because Spike was just working too many hours. She had dinner ready when he got up that evening, as had become the new routine – get up and eat, spend another hour or so with the kids and Buffy before heading to The Fish Bowl … come home in the early morning hours, spend time with Buffy if she was up, collapse, sleep … get up and do it all over again. Buffy liked to be up when he got home so they could spend some alone time together before the ‘collapsing’, but she didn’t always know when he’d get home. If he got involved in a card game or some other ‘sideline’ activity, he sometimes barely made it home before dawn.
When Spike sauntered into the kitchen this evening, Buffy greeted him with a hug and a kiss. The kids were all sitting in their places at the table and Spike dropped kisses on all their heads and started asking them about their days as he picked MacKenzie up from the bassinette and held her against his chest. At a lull in the conversation, Buffy said, “We have new artwork…” pointing to Dani and Billy’s drawings which were stuck to the fridge door with magnets.
“Do we now?” Spike asked rhetorically as Buffy served the kids dinner – homemade chicken fried rice – which was waaaay cheaper than getting it from the Chinese place and the kids loved it. Buffy was getting really good at making the food stamp allowance last the whole month and was actually starting to like finding new and creative ways to feed her family chicken.
Spike got up and walked over to the fridge, still holding the newest little bit gently against his shoulder, and looked at the drawings, studying them each intently.
“Well, I reckon you didn’t have to do any fancy footwork for Lemon Drop’s … no fangs or fists to be seen. Good job on that, pet. Upheld the Scooby pledge, you did,” Spike complimented Dani, turning back to look at her and giving her a wink, which made her smile proudly. She’d heard the story about the drawing Annie had done when she was younger and Dani definitely didn’t want to make that mistake, especially after being sworn to Scooby-secrecy.
Billy used his fork to move the food around on his plate, piling it first on the left side, then sliding it slowly back to the right, but never actually eating any of it and not looking up.
“Junior’s is quite the masterpiece, innit? Them bold colors and shapes … reminds me a bit of a Franz Marc work,” Spike continued. “Bloody hell … we could sell it on eBay and pay the soddin’ bills…”
“We’re not selling it …” Buffy countered as she watched Billy, who was listening but acting like he wasn’t. “We can’t sell a family portrait … he’ll just have to draw something else.”
“Reckon that’s true enough …” Spike agreed, taking the picture down off the fridge and bringing it back to the table with him. He sat down next to Billy and laid the picture down between them. “Too bad you had to use black for your mum … I always draw her as the white angel … but it’s hard to draw white on white paper, yeah?”
Billy pursed his lips together and looked up at his father. “She’s black 'cause she’s the Slayer … it hides her in the dark and keeps her safe,” Billy explained.
Spike’s lips pursed in thought and nodded, making Buffy smile at her two men with matching faces. “That’s a brilliant plan … hadn’t thought a’ that.”
Spike pointed to the colors that represented the children. “The Niblett’s green, yeah? Lemon Drop … yellow; orange … our little Testarossa; blue for our missing bit, and purple for you,” Spike listed off, pointing to each color as he went.
Billy furrowed his brow and looked up from the picture back to his father. “How did you know that?”
Spike shrugged. “Simple … ‘cos it’s what I would’ve used … green – that ancient Key energy, yellow for our sunny sweet-tart, orange for our child born o’ fire, blue for Bess ‘cos you know how all alone she is, and purple for the brilliant heart bringin’ it all together … the color a’ courage.”
“Mrs. Scruggs said it wasn’t any good … she couldn’t see anyone in it,” Billy complained shyly.
Spike’s brows went up and he looked at Buffy. “Did she now? Well, we’ll just haveta have a talk…”
“I already did…” Buffy interjected.
“Ahhh, well then, I reckon the Slayer set 'er straight, opened ‘er eyes,” Spike assured Billy. “Ya know, not everybody can see what you do … you can’t be too hard on ‘em, Junior – they just don’t see things the same way. Not everyone sees with their heart…”
Billy scrunched up his face in thought. “Is there something wrong with me?"
"No!" Buffy exclaimed immediately, before Spike could even answer. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with you! Never think that."
"But, I’m not normal, am I?” he continued, looking from his mother to his father.
Spike smiled down at him. “No … and don’t you ever forget it. Normal’s way over-rated, William … that’s not somethin’ to strive for – it’s somethin’ to run away from. You just be you, no matter what the tossers may say, and everything will be brilliant. No worries, yeah?”
Billy thought another few moments then nodded as a small smile came to his lips. His dad could see everyone in the picture just like he drew them ... maybe it was just the teacher that couldn't see, like his mom had said.
Buffy and Spike walked out to the garden as he got ready to leave for work.
“You know that drawing of The Tetrad … the one from my dream?” Buffy asked him once they were alone.
“The symbol for Billy was a heart … I thought that meant the mortal – but you think it means something else, don’t you?” she questioned him as they both stopped and turned to face each other under a clear, starry sky.
Spike shrugged. “You said it yourself … Junior’s got a soft heart … he’s … empathic to others – he can understand what they’re feeling … sees deeper than the surface sometimes,” Spike offered.
“He’s an empath …” Buffy concluded.
Spike shrugged again. “Not sure … only time’ll tell,” Spike admitted. “Could be he’s just more in tune with feelings than most people … it’s not necessarily a ‘superpower’ – maybe just a little more observant than most,” Spike suggested.
“Kinda like his dad?” Buffy suggested as she leaned into him and Spike wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into a tight hug.
“Could be some resemblance …” Spike agreed.
“Are you sure ‘normal’ is something to run away from?” Buffy asked quietly.
Spike snorted a soft laugh and hugged her tighter. “Positive, pet.”
(The following week) Friday, November 19th, 2010, 6pm:
Spike was keeping an eye on the younger kids while Buffy helped Annie get ready for her first ever school dance– they were holding a 1960’s psychedelic-retro themed dance at her middle school.
Buffy helped Annie put together a suitable outfit mostly using clothes that they already had on hand, with the addition of tie-dyed leggings and a hippie headband that Buffy found for a dollar at the thrift shop. They left Annie’s long hair down, soft curls falling freely past her shoulders to the middle of her back, with the headband holding it away from her face, then they added the tie-dyed t-shirt that Buffy had bought for Bess in London … tying the hem at the bottom in a knot on her left side to make it fit, under that was one of Annie’s pleated, denim mini-skirts. The outfit was completed with the colorful leggings and black ankle boots.
Buffy showed Annie how to apply a little makeup – not enough to make her look skanky, just enough eye shadow to bring out the blue in her eyes and a little rouge to highlight her high cheekbones and some lip gloss. Annie was giddy with nervous excitement as she got ready; officially, she was going to the dance with her friend Janice … unofficially, Johnny Martin said he was going to be there. She hoped he knew how to dance and was smart enough to not eat anything sticky this time … if he played his cards right, she might let him kiss her tonight.
As Buffy was just putting the finishing touches on Annie’s outfit, they could hear Spike bellow from downstairs, informing them that Janice’s mom would be there any minute and, as usual, the Weckerly women were going to be late. Annie and Buffy both giggled and rolled their eyes … beauty could not be rushed; Spike should know that by now!
Spike was just getting ready to announce the time again when Annie appeared at the top of the stairs, silencing him. He watched her come down, looking very much like that flower child he ate at Woodstock…only much, much prettier.
“Where the bloody hell's m’ daughter?” Spike asked, looking up the stairs behind Annie as she got to the bottom.
“Daaaaad!” Annie moaned, rolling her eyes. “How do I look?” she questioned, holding her arms out from her body and twirling in a circle.
“You look like I need to go with ya … There are chaperones at this shindig, yeah?” Spike asked … again.
“For the tenth time … yes, there are chaperones … and no, you can’t be one,” Annie informed him decisively as Buffy joined them.
“That skirt’s a bit short, innit?” Spike questioned. “Might catch her death of cold …” he pointed out to his wife.
“That’s what the leggings are for, Mr. Fuddy-Duddy,” Buffy informed him.
“What’s that clown make-up doing on ‘er face?” he continued.
“Spike … it’s not clowny … you’re gonna give her a complex!” Buffy chastised him.
“Better me than one of those gits at the party … better wash your face, Niblett … don’t want anyone laughing, saying you’re a clown-college reject,” Spike advised her.
“Daaaaad … Mom’s right – it’s not clowny – all the boys are gonna like it!” Annie claimed with a satisfied smile.
“Yeah … that’s what worries me …” Spike muttered, a concerned frown creasing his features. “Maybe you should go with ‘er…” he suggested to Buffy.
“Noooo … I have to stay here and watch our other children grow up – and you have to go to work,” Buffy informed him. “She’ll be fine, Spike. Our girl knows how to take care of fresh boys, don’t you, sweetie?”
“Yup … dance them to death!” Annie giggled just as a horn blew from out front. “That’s Janice! I gotta go!” she announced, grabbing her purse and starting for the door.
“Hey – too old t' give your old man a kiss?” Spike called behind her, touching a finger to his cheek.
Annie turned back around quickly and dropped a kiss on Spike’s cheek. “Love you, Dad.”
“Love you too, Niblett … you look beautiful,” Spike told her sincerely.
“Thanks … see you later,” Annie replied happily, kissing Buffy before heading quickly out the door.
Spike turned away from Buffy as he wiped at his misty eyes. His little girl was growing up faster all the time. It seemed like it was only yesterday that she was playing with baby dolls and squealing in delight when he made his ‘funny face’ … now she was going to dances – tomorrow she’d be dating and the next day she be getting married …
Buffy walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist, resting her head on his shoulder blade. “It’s your own fault…” Buffy informed him.
“What is?” Spike questioned as he laid his hands over hers as she hugged her arms tightly around his torso.
“How pretty she is … those blue eyes, high cheekbones, thick, silky hair … you have no one to blame but yourself …” Buffy clarified.
Spike sighed. “I reckon that’s m’ cross to bear, then …” he intoned seriously. “Too bad she didn’t take more after her mum … homely and plain, with mousey hair, and pimples on her chin.”
“Don’t forget surly …” Buffy added, pulling away and punching him in the middle of back. Spike stumbled forward as his laugh mingled with a painful screech – she was so easy to rile up; it was like taking candy from a baby.
(Later that Night) Friday, November 19th, 2010, 7:30pm:
“Pretty sure you’re not supposed to be here…” Faith whispered in Spike’s ear as he peered through the small window in the gymnasium doors at Annie’s middle school, where the dance was being held.
Spike jumped and twirled around in surprise; he hadn’t even heard her come up behind him.
“Bloody hell, woman! You trying to give someone a soddin’ heart attack?” he questioned, placing a hand on his chest.
Faith laughed and rolled her eyes. “As if,” she moaned, shaking her head. “What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be at work.”
“Just … on m’ way,” Spike defended haughtily. “Thought I’d … make sure the kiddies were safe – no beasties or whatall hangin' about.”
“Uh-huh,” Faith offered disbelievingly as she looked into the gym through the window he’d vacated. “Pretty sure the only ‘beastie’ you’re worried about is that boy who’s playing tonsil hockey with your daughter…”
“What!?” Spike exclaimed in horror, pushing her out of the way and scanning the crowd of pre-pubescent party-goers for Annie. Unfortunately, nearly everyone was dressed the same in the gaudy tie-dye attire and he had a hard time finding her.
When Faith started laughing while Spike frantically looked for Annie in the crowd, he realized she was fucking with him. “Anyone ever tell you you’re a cheeky wench?” Spike questioned, narrowing his eyes at her.
“Can’t say that they have, but hey – first time for everything, right?” Faith continued jovially. It wasn’t everyday she could get Spike that flustered that easily.
“What the bloody hell are you doing here, anyway?” Spike questioned, figuring a good offense was better than any defense.
“Same as you … or … well, no – I’m actually looking for real beasties … Buffy sent me to patrol around here just to be safe,” Faith explained with a smirk. “Obviously, she didn’t know you were already on the job…Mr. Creepy Stalker Dad peering in windows. It’s really a good look on you, in a Ted Bundy sorta way.”
“Sod off…” Spike muttered as he looked back through the window and started scanning the group for his daughter again. He finally found her – dancing … with a boy. “Bloody hell…”
Faith stood on tiptoes and looked in over his head. “He’s cute, kind of a cross between Peter Frampton and Justin Bieber … wonder if she’s kissed him yet,” she offered casually.
“Would you just stop with the soddin’ vulgarities already!?” Spike exclaimed. “That’s my daughter you’re talkin’ about!”
Faith laughed again and stepped back from the window. “Yeah, and if you don’t want her pissed off with you, you better go to work.”
“I’ll go to work when I bloody well…” Spike stopped abruptly and moved quickly out of the window, turning and pressing his back against the solid part of the door.
“She spotted you, didn’t she?” Faith guessed. “You are so dead...er."
“Not sure…” Spike admitted. “See if she’s comin’ this way…”
Faith looked in the window. “You better run – she’s one pissed off eleven year old…”
“Bloody hell…” Spike moaned as he took off running back to where he’d parked the DeSoto, duster billowing out behind him as he fled the scene of the crime.
Faith laughed again as she watched Annie dancing with the cute boy … she hadn’t actually seen Spike at all, but Faith just couldn’t resist making the vamp run for his unlife.
(Later that Night) Friday, November 19th, 2010, 9:30pm:
Annie skipped down the garden stairs and danced into the great room, twirling and humming to herself, a giddy grin plastered on her face.
“So … had a horrible time I guess,” Buffy teased as she snapped a picture of her daughter with the digital camera in her hand. She’d been taking pictures of more magical do-dads in order to get them listed on eBay.
“It was groovy!” Annie gushed, using one of the new vocabulary words from the theme of the party. “I had a blast! It was hard to get the boys to dance, though … but us girls danced almost every song! Why don’t boys like to dance?”
Buffy shrugged. “I don’t know … you’d think they would, it gives them an excuse to fondle girls without getting their hands slapped.”
“Dad likes to dance …” Annie observed.
Buffy nodded. “Yeah … he figured it out – boys that dance get all the girls fawning over them.”
“I think Dad likes to dance ‘cos you give him smoochies afterwards,” Annie suggested.
“Well … that could have something to do with it,” Buffy agreed. “But your dad just likes to dance regardless of smoochies. I think boys are afraid they’ll look dorky or they just don’t know how to dance. You might have to pick one out and teach him…”
“Oh, I already did,” Annie offered, her smile widening. “Johnny Martin … he only stepped on my toes a few times at first, but he got better after I kissed him.”
Buffy laughed out loud. “You kissed him? I guess he didn’t eat any grape jelly tonight, huh?”
Annie giggled. “Nope … he tasted like fruit punch the first time…”
“The first time? How many times did you kiss him?” Buffy wondered, smiling at her daughter.
“Three … one to get him to dance, one after he danced, and one before we left … He’s a good kisser – he just uses his lips – if he’d stuck his tongue in my mouth like you said some boys do, I would’ve puked on him,” Annie divulged.
Buffy laughed again and put her arm over her daughter’s shoulders as they headed upstairs. “You may want to leave the kissing part out when you tell your dad about the dance…” she advised.
“Yeah, I think dad would ‘freak-out’ … he’s totally ‘unhip’ – I don’t think he’d ‘dig it’,” Annie agreed, showing off her new psychedelic vocabulary.
“I think it would definitely ‘blow his mind’…” Buffy agreed.
(Late the next night) Sunday, November 21st, 2010, 2:30am:
As had become the habit, Spike contacted Buffy to let her know about what time he’d be in from work tonight, so she took a short nap after getting the kids to bed and then got up so they could spend a little time together. As she waited for him to get home, she worked in her office, sorting through the bills, trying to figure out which ones she needed to pay next. Spike would have his paycheck tonight and hopefully a little extra from gambling to throw in with it. She always tried to pay the mortgage first, then the electric bill, water bill, phone bill, car insurance … things that they could turn off, or that would cause a lot of trouble if they weren’t paid, then she worried about the credit cards and doctors.
This coming Thursday was ‘the ritual sacrifice with pie’ … it was a tradition to have it at the mansion and Buffy was reticent to change that. They had the most room and most of the repairs to the house were done, enough so that the house no longer looked like a construction site; she’d just have to make it simpler this year and ask her friends to bring more covered dishes. She loved hosting Thanksgiving, it was one of her favorite childhood memories and she wanted it to be one of her children’s favorite memories, too – finances be damned.
Everyone would be here – Willow and Tara would be coming down on Monday with Eddie – the only one missing would be Bess. The Slayer-vamp had left Cleveland and started heading east again, perhaps Spike was right, perhaps she was going ‘home’ … back to Philadelphia. Every day Buffy got up and checked the map and the location of their daughter … and every day she prayed for Bess to turn around and start back towards California … so far, every day she’d been disappointed. As much as she wanted to go after her, she knew Spike was right – Bess had to want to come back; if she didn’t want to stay, any attempt to hold her would be fruitless and could cause more damage to their already damaged relationship.
Next month was Christmas … Wal-Mart had had Christmas decorations out since before Halloween! Seriously!? Buffy could remember when those didn’t come out until the Friday after Thanksgiving … pretty soon they’d start stocking Christmas decor on Valentine’s Day … All that had done was start the kids dreaming of Christmas that much sooner. She had no idea how they were going to provide any kind of a real Christmas for the kids this year. As she searched through her credit card bills she added up how much ‘available credit’ they had … $127.58. Buffy snorted a laugh – that wouldn’t even be enough to buy the mandatory, and universally dreaded, shoes, socks, and underwear for the Weckerly clan.
“Mama?” a small voice called from the hallway, pulling Buffy from her depressing thoughts.
“Billy … honey, what’s wrong?” Buffy asked as she got up and met him at the doorway and picked him up.
“I can’t sleep…” he whined tiredly, rubbing his eyes.
“Why not, sweet boy?”
“Bess is so lonely – it hurts right here,” he told Buffy, putting his hand over his heart.
“Awwww, sweetie,” Buffy empathized. “You can feel her, huh?”
Billy nodded, then leaned his head against Buffy’s shoulder and wrapped his arms around her neck.
“Can you talk to her in your dreams?”
“She said not to come back … but sometimes I do … I don’t mean to,” he admitted. “I just try to stay away from her and not bug her when that happens.”
“What’s she doing in the dreams?” Buffy wondered.
Billy shrugged. “Different stuff … sometimes it’s like she’s back in the dungeon … but it’s a different dungeon now; she just sits there, like she’s waiting for something or like she doesn’t know what to do. Other times she’s fighting bad vampires in a cemetery or just hiding in the dark … one time she was running from these ginormous, ugly rats! I try to stay out of the way so she won’t be mad at me.”
“You know … maybe you could try talking to her again. It’s been a long time since she told you to go away, maybe she’s changed her mind. She might like someone to talk to … you could tell her we miss her and we love her and … tell her that her room is still here waiting for her,” Buffy suggested.
“What if she gets mad at me again?”
“Well … at least you know you tried to help her the very best you can. I think she might like someone to talk to, though … and I know you want to help her,” Buffy advised her son.
Billy thought about that a while before nodding. “Ok … next time I’ll try,” Billy agreed as Buffy carried him back into his room. She laid him down on his bed and he crawled back under the covers and Buffy tucked him in.
“Just do your best … that’s all you can do. If she doesn’t want your help, you can’t make her take it … but I think maybe she’d like a friend right about now,” Buffy assured him again before kissing his forehead and patting a hand down reassuringly on his arm. “Good night, sweet boy.”
“Good night, Mama.”
When Spike got in a little while later, Buffy was back in her office, trying to figure out just how to get the most bills paid out of the available money he would be bringing home with his paycheck – anything extra he got she could apply to the ‘less important’ bills, like the doctor or dentist – she didn’t see how they could repossess her tooth, or MacKenzie.
“Hey, pet,” Spike greeted her when he came in behind her, leaning down and dropping a kiss on the side of her neck.
“Hey, yourself …” Buffy smiled, reaching a hand up behind his neck and holding his lips against her skin a few moments longer.
Buffy furrowed her brow when she pulled her hand away, rubbing her fingers together – it was oily and smelled like … coconut? She sighed and shook her head, God only knew what kind of demon he fought tonight that left that residue on him … the ‘SPF45 Demon’ or the ‘Hawaiian Tropic Demon’, perhaps.
“How was your night?” Buffy asked as Spike stood back up and dropped his paycheck down on the desk.
“Not bad …” he sighed as he started digging in his jeans pockets for the ‘extra’ he’d made this night. “Got some extra for ya…”
“Darts, pool, or cards?” she asked as he started dropping pockets full of crumpled up one dollar bills down on the desk. Buffy began picking them up and straightening them out … they were all oily and coco-nutty too.
“What did you do, steal the lunch money from a bunch of school kids at the beach?” she teased as she picked out a few fives and tens from the wads of singles and put them to the side.
“Woulda got a lot more if I hadda, I reckon,” Spike offered as he switched from the pockets of his jeans to the pockets on his duster, still pulling out small, oily bills.
Buffy laughed lightly – that was true, school lunches weren’t a dollar anymore. “Oh, I know – you’re living a double life – mild mannered father, husband, and vampire by day; hot bodied, oil covered male stripper by night,” she teased.
Spike began coughing and sputtering as he pulled the last of the money out of his pockets. “W-w-what makes you say that?” he questioned, his voice rising several octaves. “That’s bloody … ridiculous … ludicrous, it is! Male stripper … who ever heard a’ such bollocks?”
Buffy finally looked up at him … he looked – uncomfortable … guilty.
“Ok, stealthy double-agent man you’re not. Spill it, Spike. Where did you get this money?” she demanded as she stood up and turned around to face him.
Spike sighed and rolled his eyes before dropping his head and rubbing a hand over his oily neck. “Would it be better if I stole the munchkin’s lunch money?” he asked tentatively.
Buffy folded her arms over her chest and raised her brows. “You’re working as a male stripper? And you didn’t think I’d want to know because…??”
“It’s not what you think, luv …” Spike began defensively.
Buffy raised her brows further, if that was possible. “What I think is that for every oily bill on this table, some woman stuck their grubby little hands down your pants …” she asserted tersely.
Spike rolled his eyes. “Well … ok, maybe it is what you think … but…”
“Oh. My. God! You’re serious! You let a bunch of lecherous, ugly, old women grope you for money!”
“They weren’t that ugly … or old …” Spike defended, immediately regretting it when he saw the look in her eyes … he was pretty sure steam was gonna start boiling out of her ears any second. He held his hands up in surrender. “That came out wrong …”
“Yeah, I guess it did … so you were groped by young, pretty women … I bet I got the lecherous part right, though, huh?”
“Calm down a minute, Slayer … nothing happened – it was just a … a dance and it was just the one time. They were havin’ a bachelorette party at the bar and their entertainment didn’t show … one of the women asked me if I would … fill in…”
“Oh … so, of course, you agreed to take your clothes off in front of total strangers for money!”
“Well, most of our friends don’t have any money, and those that do aren't keen on men ... so I didn’t see much point in strippin’ for any o' them…” Spike countered sarcastically, his hands going to his hips.
Buffy blew out an exasperated breath and stared at him for several long moments. “Spike … how would you feel if the situation was reversed? What would you do if I came home and told you I let a bunch of guys fondle me with dollar bills?”
Spike shrugged. “Probably kill every last one of ‘em … then get you to show me what you done to get all that pretty green paper.”
Buffy shook her head and looked up at the ceiling, completely exasperated. “I did it for you, pet …” Spike offered in his defense. “You think I enjoyed it? ‘Cos … gotta say … that little g-string thing’s bloody confining – cuts off your circulation, it does.”
“You don’t have any circulation…” Buffy pointed out, looking back at him with a dour frown.
“Well … it pinches,” Spike amended. “How much did we get?” he asked, cocking a brow at the money she’d put in stacks on the desk.
“We? You mean you and your willie? ‘Cos I’m very sure I wasn’t there…” Buffy rolled her eyes as she turned around and picked up the money and began counting it. “Three hundred and seventeen dollars,” she announced after a couple of minutes.
“For an hour … and I gave Tiburon $25 …” Spike gave her his best ‘lost puppy’ look, stealing one of her tactics and letting his bottom lip poke out in a pout while tilting his head to the side. “Now, that’s a decent wage, yeah?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “If you like whoring yourself out…”
“Buffy, it wasn’t like that. Nothin’ naughty happened … I swear … it was just some drunk girls havin’ a little innocent fun. Three hundred bucks … pays a lot a’ them bills, yeah?” Spike pointed out.
When she just stood there with her arms folded across her chest shaking her head, Spike added, “You know I love you … everything I do is for you and the bits. I’d never do anything to hurt you or betray you.”
Buffy sighed and dropped her arms to her sides. She knew that was true. And it wasn’t like he slept with them … and lots of people, men and women, make a living taking their clothes off – it’s not like he made a porn movie or anything like that. And he was right, three hundred dollars would make a nice dent in the ‘minimum monthly payments’ that were past due.
“Did you get their names?” she asked him, her tone deadly serious as she refolded her arms across her chest.
“Uhhh … no …but I could probably find out from … Why do you want their names, pet?” Spike wondered, his brows furrowed in confusion.
“So I can hunt them down, confiscate any video evidence of your dance for my own private collection, and kill them,” Buffy replied, keeping a serious tone and a grim expression on her face.
Spike bit down lightly on his bottom lip. “I reckon you’re gonna have to skip to the part of me showin’ ya what I did to get all that coconut flavored paper, luv…” he offered, wagging his eyebrows up and down suggestively. "You can film it if ya want..."
“On one condition … I’m the only one that gets to fondle you ever again … that was your one and only venture into show business,” Buffy informed him, the corners of her mouth finally turning up into a small smile.
Spike smiled back at her and reached a hand behind the small of her back and pulled her against him. “Deal,” he agreed, dropping a kiss on her lips. “Now … what did I do with that bloody g-string and coconut oil…” he asked rhetorically, patting down his pockets with his other hand.
“Never mind the g-string … wouldn’t want the circulation to any vital organs getting cut off,” Buffy teased, running her hand down his back and squeezing one ass cheek possessively.
Buffy reached behind her and picked up the stack of dollar bills off the desk, waving it in front of his face. “I got the money, honey…”
“Then I got the time,” Spike purred as he reached down and picked her up with one hand under her knees and one behind her back and headed to the bedroom with her.
“This will definitely be an audience participation performance…” she murmured against his neck as he strode down the hallway.
“Anything for you, pet.”
If You’ve Got the Money, Honey, I’ve Got the Time
by Leon Russell (originally by Lefty Frizzell)
If you've got the money, I've got the time
If you've got the money, honey, I've got the time
If you've got the money, honey, I've got the time
Yes we'll go honky tonkin' and we'll be pleasure bent
If you've got the money...
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