How Spike Got Himself A Date
“A watched pot never boils, you know.”
The voice startles the shit out of me, and I jump, slamming my forehead into Emily’s microwave.
Ow ow ow! God, I am such the geek. Maybe I’ll pass out now--no such luck. Still conscious. Shit. Could I fake it, or should I just turn around and face The Hottie. The music, I meant the music. Oh shit.
“You alright? Didn’t mean to startle you.”
Nope, I meant The Hottie. I’m less than two feet from The Hottie, and he’s speaking to me. Shit. Why does the only male here have to be, well, a god?
“Yeah, I’m okay.” This is where I attempt casual laughter, but if my ears don’t deceive me, what just came out of my mouth sounds more like a lunatic giggle. Shit again. “I just didn’t hear… um…”
The Hottie is looking at me. His mouth is moving. Oooooh, pretty, pretty mouth. Yum. Christ, he’s speaking, what did he say?!
Brilliant, fucking brilliant. Now he thinks I’m a stupid lunatic geek, as opposed to your regular lunatic geek. Somebody kill me, please. Oh, his mouth is moving again. Pretty…
“…kettle on for tea? Are you sure you’re alright?” He’s looking a little concerned.
“Oh! No! I mean, yes, I’m sure I’m okay, but no I’m not making tea. It’s for coffee. I’m making coffee.” Smooth, yep, that’s me.
“Coffee’s over there, luv.”
My head follows the movement of his hand like a slo-mo puppet, until my brain catches up. The instant I realize he’s pointing at Emily’s ancient CoffeeMaster, something snaps into place: My spine has suddenly returned. Yay. I can talk about coffee, yes indeedy. This girl knows her coffee. Ahem. Full withering scorn voice:
“That is not coffee. That is an alien plot to eradicate all life on this planet. Coffee and *that* have nothing in common.” I finally manage to unglue my feet from the tiles in front of the stove, and point to my trusty French Press, already locked and loaded. “*This* will be coffee, the beverage that spawned the Renaissance and mainstay of civilization.”
I think he’s actually kinda smiling at me. The Hottie is smiling at me!
He shrugs, “It all tastes the same to me,” and heads for the aforementioned CoffeeMaster and its evil mug sidekicks.
“Uh-uh.” I’m in The Zone now; it’s my duty as a member of the human race to save The Hottie from the CoffeeMaster. “Nope, you entered the kitchen while I was making coffee, you have impugned my honor, and,” I pull out my final argument, “you have been coming to book club for, like, six months without once being subjected to my coffee lecture. You are now morally obligated to have a real cup of coffee.”
Okay, that came out a little weaker than usual, but he looks amused, plus he’s been diverted from the evil CoffeeMaster. This is good.
“Your kettle is boiling.” The Hottie leans back against the kitchen island, smirking at me.
“Oh! Right.” I turn back to the stove and lose myself in the ritual: pour, stir, wait, liberate mugs, wait, plunge, wait. I can feel him behind me, still and quiet, patient as the world.
The others are chatting in the living room, their chirping voices swirling as everyone makes small talk until the last members arrive. Technically, book club is supposed to start at 8:00 PM, but some of the soccer moms can’t get here until 8:30, which leaves plenty of time for chirping. I generally arrive late just to avoid it, and kill the rest of the wait in the kitchen, playing coffee priestess. What do I have to say to these people if it’s not about books? But… The Hottie. Remember The Hottie. I should speak.
“So, you’re here early.” Words, I said actual words! “You don’t usually show until last, these days.”
“Yeah, well, my place is sort of, ahhh…” I turn back to hand him his cup and catch his expression. He looks kinda embarrassed. “A mess right now. Didn’t feel like…” He takes the mug and stares into it.
Strangely enough, I get it. “Yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes it’s like I’ve just gotta get out. You know, ‘anywhere but here’.”
He nods and raises his coffee, “Yeah. Well, cheers.”
“Okay everyone, time to get started!” Emily’s voice calls from the other room. I smile and nod back at him, then we both head into the fray. Book club is officially in session.
This month’s book is, thankfully, the latest Margaret Atwood, not another fucking Oprah selection. The debate is unusually fiery, and I am thoroughly pleased with myself when Emily finally calls a halt.
I make for the kitchen to collect my gear and find myself once again face to face with The Hottie. He’s fondling my French Press possessively, and I can’t help laughing.
“I think I’ve been converted.” He’s laughing with me--it’s nice. It’s the first time in two years I’ve actually been interested in talking with someone here, and I clutch at the feeling. Social butterfly I’m not. Anti- social butterfly maybe. Okay, possibly just a fly.
“Well, you can buy them anywhere: Starbucks, kitchen stores, you know. And they’re totally easy to use, you should pick one up.” Oh, yeah, that’s the way to kill a conversation, you geek. No where to go from here.
He hands me the press, and I make a break for the sink to clean it out. He’s still watching me, despite the back-turned, running water action. Huh. I shut off the water and face him again, fussing with a towel to avoid those eyes. Oh me oh my, what a girl wouldn’t do for those eyes. Avoid the eyes at all costs. Ooooh, yum!
“Maybe I will ‘pick one up,’ then. Do they sell ‘em a bit smaller?” I yank my gaze away from his crotch to find him staring at the press with a calculating expression.
“Hmm? Oh, yeah, small enough to fit in your pocket even.”
“Well, then, I will definitely have to get one of those. And thanks for...” He waves a hand toward the dirty mugs.
“You’re welcome; I’m all about converting the heathens.” I laugh at my own lame joke. “Um, if you want, if you don’t have someplace to be, I mean, there’s a really good café nearby. We could… oh, god, I can’t believe I’m still speaking.”
Oh, god, I can’t believe I’m still speaking.
This time he’s definitely laughing at me, not with me. But that’s okay, ‘cause I’m trying to die. Please god, let me die. Maybe if I close my eyes, I’ll die.
Huh? I’m dead and in Heaven? That can’t be right, I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a hand-basket involved when I go to my just reward. Possibly a trash chute. I open my eyes. Well, unless Emily’s kitchen is Hell, I’m not dead.
“Oh. Okay, just let me get my stuff.” I start cramming my crap into my pack; I think I’m going to hyperventilate. Breathe, breathe, in pink, out blue. “N’kay, I’m ready.” I hoist the green monstrosity onto my shoulder and attempt to look friendly and oh-so-casual. Hard to do when you’re carrying 20 lbs. of black lipstick and assorted Goth paraphernalia. Trust me.
“After you.” Emily and Co. are still chatting as I follow him back through the living room, and we make our good-byes. There is a brief confusion outside as we sort out the driving vs. walking thing. We settle on walking since 1. It’s not far, 2. I’m the one who knows where we’re going, and 3. I don’t know how to get there except on foot. There are approximately 732 reasons why I don’t drive. Reasons 1 through 11 are commonly known as collisions. Reason 12 would be insurance, or lack thereof, directly resulting from reasons 1-11. I go through a lot of Doc Martens. On the other hand, I save a bundle on gym memberships.
It’s nice, though. Walking, I mean--with The Hottie. He doesn’t seem to be the type who needs to fill up silences with words. He never says much, actually, compared to the chirpers. He used to come with Dawn, after Joyce passed away, but she hasn’t come with him for months. Now that girl, she was a world-class talker. She could fill whole continents with words. I don’t think she’s ever stopped babbling long enough to realize that there are, like, hello! other people on the planet, here.
Still walking, but now we’re passing the kitchen entrance of Murray’s and Jessica is out having a smoke. Shit. Maybe she won’t notice. My life sucks. Not only does she see me, but she’s seen The Hottie. Target acquired.
“Hey, sweetie. You’re a little late tonight!”
Shit, shit, shit.
“Actually, Jess, we were heading for…” I can only wave vaguely towards the next block as I desperately try to ignore my companion’s curious look. Fab. Now he’s gonna think I’m an alcoholic lunatic geek. And let’s not forget stupid.
“What’re you talking about, girl? It’s Thursday! You don’t show on a Thursday and Murray’ll think you’re dead or something.”
She’s right. Murray’s is the best bar in town because Murray is the best bartender in town. He’s also my friend. My Thursday night, after book club, bartender friend. Okay, so we’re not real friends, but the gang at Murray’s is probably the closest thing I have to family since I moved to this shit- hole town. I hurt Murray’s feelings and no more free shots. Have I mentioned my life sucks?
“Alright, Jess, geez, but just for a minute. You don’t mind, do you?” I’m begging him, but I’m not sure what I actually want him to say. Yes? No? Fortunately, he again seems more amused than anything. Good to know he’s amused by my mortification. What will the lunatic do next? Stay tuned for wacky fun with the crazy chick.
“Mind going to a bar? Not likely, pet. Not my usual type o’ place, but no harm trying someplace new, is there?”
Murray’s doesn’t look like much, but it’s not a dive, either. Wonder where he usually goes? There’re only three bars in Sunnydull, after all, and, well, I just can’t see him at the Bronze or Willy’s. But what do I know? Squat, that’s what.
Jess holds the door for us, I’m pretty sure just to get a little closer to The Hottie, and I lead the way into the kitchen.
“Hey, Manny, como esta?” Manny is Murray’s cook, and a damn good one, too. No menu: if you want something to eat you tell Jess, she tells Manny what you’re drinking, and he decides what you eat. It’s a little disconcerting the first few times, but you get used to it. Did I mention he’s a freaking genius? My bad.
“Hola, bruja! Not too bad, not deported yet. How was it tonight?” He’s also a nice guy, and reads as much as I do.
“Pretty good; Margaret Atwood.”
“Ah, I like her, too. You’ll drink Scotch then? Jess’ll bring you dinner in a few.” There are definite disadvantages to being a regular, at least when you’re trying to get into someone’s pants. No, I’m not trying to… who am I kidding, of course I am. This is where I bow to the inevitable. Besides which, Manny’s smirking at me like my hormones have installed a neon sign on my forehead. And he’ll help.
“Thanks Manny.” I throw him a wink, and he nods back, then snags Jess. Yup, he knows exactly what I’m thinking. Manny will keep her Hottie-stealing tush busy while I attempt to complete the pass. I love Manny.
We’re on my turf now, and I’m starting to feel less like a blithering idiot. Deep breath, girding of loins, onward to the bar.
I’m practically running when we reach the stools; Murray is center stage, waiting. Only the slightest crinkle at the corners of his eyes signals his surprise that I’m not alone. I slide onto my usual seat like I’m stealing home and start blithering.
“Hey Murray, this is Spike: Spike, Murray; Murray, Spike, he’s in my book club, we were gonna get coffee but we saw Jess outside I’ll haveaGlennfiddichneatplease.” Breathe you idiot.
“Spike, eh? Have a pull-up.” Spike sits. How cool is that? “What can I getcha?”
“Nice place.” He’s looking around and nodding slightly.
I wonder what he sees? I’m trying not to stare, but I can’t help myself. It looks like Murray’s to me: high bar, old woods, small with just a couple of tables. Thursdays are pretty busy, but quiet. Mostly regulars. “Looks like a pub.”
Murray’s hands dance across the bar, leaving my bev, an opened pack of Camels, matchbook and a small clay saucer in their wake.
Spike’s eyebrow twitches as he spins back to face the bar, taking in my smokes. I’m not gonna tell him; shit, I’m shocked that Murray put out my pack in front of a newbie. “I’ll have what the lady’s having.” Hee, he called me a lady. Wait, maybe that’s bad. I so suck at this.
Drink, matchbook, and saucer appear on the bar without a word. Murray’s got a gift, I swear. Sometimes he just knows, it’s almost spooky. The spook factor doubles when Spike pulls a crumpled pack of cigs out of his coat pocket. Another eyebrow twitch, this time at Murray, a miniscule nod in return, and The Hottie lights up.
“Sooo…” Spike waves his cig at the bar in general, “are we not in California anymore, Toto?”
Spike just nods and picks up his drink, looking around again. “Canada, then. Thought it looked familiar.”
I think Murray is in love. He almost smiled. Hell, I think I’m in love. Here I am lusting after the book club Hottie, all ready to jump his bones and deal with future book club awkwardness when he rejects me, and he’s actually turning into a human being before my very eyes. I could maybe like this guy.
I take a moment to collect myself, indulging in a little Reflective Surface Disorder with the mirror behind the bar, when my thoughts skid to a halt. My hair looks okay, Bauhaus black this week, make-up intact, Hottie… Hottie is…
Not a guy. Breathe. Shit. Fuck. I hate my life, I really fucking hate my life. Fuckfuckfuck. Wait, regroup. Okay. Not dead yet. Murray served him. Manny didn’t twitch. Hell, Murray almost smiled; I’ve only seen that happen, like, twice ever. I’m calm. What the FUCK is happening here?
Spike is frozen solid beside me. I can feel him staring at me in the mirror, waiting for me to freak out or something. Now what do I say? Soooo, Spike, how long you been dead? What’s a dead guy like you doing in a place like this? How the fuck does a vampire end up escorting a 15-year-old girl to a fucking book club? There is nothing normal about this, nothing. Fuck. The first guy I ever bring to Murray’s and he’s a vampire. Sergeant Daddy would be so proud. Stay cool, girl. Better yet, let’s try to stay warm. About face, forward ho-biscuit.
“So, uh, Spike. I’ve been wondering,” think fast, faster, what have I been wondering? He’s waiting for your brilliant conversational gambit, dumb-ass, “why doesn’t Dawn come to book club anymore?”
Wrong question. How was I supposed to know?
He takes a sip of his drink--he’s so stalling--and shrugs. “Things are tough for the Bit, right now. It’s complicated.” Another shrug. Another drink. I have no idea what to say. I am so not getting laid tonight.
“How did you get into the whole thing anyway? You don’t seem like the book club type.” Apparently I’ve been forgiven, because it sounds like he’s actually interested. Yippee Skippy. Do I want the vampire to be interested? I think I do. Yes, I really, really do. I am so fucked. I wish.
“Yeah, well, my ex-roommate was into it and dragged me along. She thought I was terminally introverted and was always trying to get me to ‘get out, it’ll be fun, you’ll meet new people.’ For the most part, I’d rather slit my wrists than meet new people, but, well, I ended up liking it. Anyway, she got married and moved to D.C., and I kept going. So, once a week, I crawl out of my bat-cave and make social about books with a bunch of soccer moms.”
Excellent, I’m speaking, and he hasn’t yawned once. Maybe that’s because he doesn’t need to breathe. Think positive, he could actually be interested. Yeah, interested in drinking my blood and leaving my dead body in an alley. That’s not exactly the Power of Positive Thinking, is it?
“How ‘bout you?”
Another bad question. Shit. Well, buddy, you shouldn’t ask a question you’re not prepared to answer, so there.
He finishes his drink, and signals Murray for another. He fiddles with lighting a second cigarette until the bev arrives.
“My, ah, a friend, ah…Dawn… she’s… her…” Boy, he’s like, totally incoherent. This is kinda fun. He gulps down the rest of this drink too. “Her mum and her used to go, then Joyce, you know, died and she still wanted to, to be close to her mum, like, so…”
“She asked you?” This is kinda really fun. I think he’s actually squirming.
“Yeah, so what?” Ooh, Mr. Defensive. “Me ‘n’ Joyce were friends, I’m very close to the Summers women, friend of the family like.” Oh my god. Revelation. Epiphany. Endless Dawn prattle clicking into place in my brain. This is The Guy Into Dawn’s Sister. Shit. I’m so stupid. I knew Joyce and Dawn from my first club meeting, I’ve seen Spike, ye only club male, every week for 6 months, the first four with freaking Dawn, and I never put it together. I am an idiot.
And I’m mad. Dawn talked about Spike and her sister non-stop for weeks. Admittedly, Dawn talked about everything non-stop. You couldn’t pay that kid to shut up. But still, the hottie vampire that may just want to kill me is into somebody else. Yep, I’m mad. I’m also leaping headlong into a massive assumption, but considering Mr. Defensive’s little hem and haw fest, I think I’m justified. And mad. Did I mention mad? What kind of homicidal hottie vampire goes for coffee cum Scotch with a strange woman he’s known for months when he’s carrying a torch for someone else? I may be insane, but I’m pissed.
“Soooo… did you and what’s her name? Dawn’s sister? Ever get together?” Score! Spew alert! He’s actually choking. That was extremely satisfying. “You okay?” Oh baby oh baby oh, I am so bad.
I practice my innocent face while Murray mops the bar and refreshes Spike’s drink. Knocking back the rest of my own, I bask a little in the warm glow of Scotch and purely female maliciousness. Accepting my second bev from Murray, I turn back to Spike, innocent look firmly in place. I’m a bad, bad pixie.
Spike seems a little confused. How ‘bout that, hmm? “Um, yeah, well, but it, uh, didn’t work out.”
“Oh, that’s too bad. Dawn seemed to think you two had a lot in common.” I’m practically cooing. I don’t even care that the homicidal vampire is a total hottie anymore. I smell blood on the water, sharks are circling, and I’m going in for the kill…
Jess horns in with the food. Pfft, foiled again! But I’ll be damned if Jess gets a chance at The Hottie first. Get thee behind me, slut! I may be catty and mean, and he may be the evil undead, but I. Saw. Him. First.
Jess practically uses her breasts to put the little plates and bowls on the bar. If looks could kill, the tramp would have burst into flames already. I’m virtually growling and this is not my happy smile I’m wearing. Bitch. Get away from my Hottie!
Spike, on the other hand, is laughing his ass off. What the fuck? Did I say that out loud or something? Focus. No, I’m pretty sure I didn’t say it out loud.
He’s looking right at me, though, nibbling Manny’s yummy bar treats through his grin. Now I’m the one who’s confused. Drink. Eat. Make busy. What just happened here?
Jess finally gives up and heads back to the kitchen. About time. Now I’m just left with a vague feeling of embarrassment and a grinning vampire. Jess, come back! What do I do now? I’ve pretty much done everything possible to fuck this up. If this is a date, Spike must think I’m the date from Hell. I really am a lunatic.
“Sooooo…” Spike is purring at the date from Hell. I think I just creamed myself. Take me now, evil torch bearing undead! Meow. “How ‘bout you? You single?” He’s practically batting his eyelashes at me. Long, long eyelashes over blue, blue, drown-in-me blue eyes.
“Yes.” The word comes out as a pant.
He does that male gaze thing and I suddenly feel very, very naked. “Really? How’s that?” Oh god oh god oh god.
“Um, you know. Sunnydale, California’s all about the happy shiny people holding hands, fun in the sun, and uh…”
“She’s from Seattle.” Drive by body pierce! Ouch, thanks a lot, Murray. Way to ruin a moment.
“Hey, really? I liked Seattle, plenty of nightlife.” I love Murray. Have I mentioned how much I love Murray?
“Um, yeah. I mean, cool. Um, anyway.” And now I’m gonna mess this up again because I can’t think of anything, and I mean *anything* to say.
Apparently, it doesn’t matter. Purring sexy voice is gone, and Spike is rambling happily on about garage bands, music, punk versus grunge, and all things guy.
I am forced to interrupt him, though, when it becomes obvious that he’s biased, as Motherlovebone is inarguably superior to Pearl Jam, and comparing British Punk to New York Punk is beyond futile.
We’re still arguing when Murray closes up and kicks us out. And we’re still arguing when I realize we’re on the front porch of my tiny house. Spike must realize it too, because the conversation stumbles to an awkward halt.
“Um. Yeah. I uh. I should. You wanna come in and have sex?” Shit. Did I just say that out loud?
“Yes, you did.”
“Vampires have really good hearing. Humans sometimes sub-vocalize certain thoughts. Vampires get to hear them.” That’s a really evil grin he’s wearing. What’s with the tres evil grin?
Oh god no. He heard me say…
“Get away from my Hottie? Yeah.”
“Oh god.” I’m really gonna die now.
“I dunno, it was sorta flattering, pet.”
“Oh. OH! Um, good. So?”
“I think I would.”
“Okay. Yes, okay.” Keys, door, breathe, breathe. I’m so glad I don’t have a roommate anymore. “C’mon in, make yourself comfortable.” I just invited a vampire into my home. What am I doing? I wish I had a roommate. I am so fucked. I hope. Yep, still insane, certifiable lunatic on the loose. Hell, he’s the one who should be scared, there’s no telling what I may do. I’ll keep walking forward, that’s always a good plan.
He follows me in as I make my rounds, keys on table, Docs under, coat in closet. Coat. “Can I take your coat?” I’m holding the coat. Hang. Up. The Coooat… meow. Let go of the coat and step away from the closet.
And right into The Hottie. Oh god. He’s right against my back and his hands are sliding over my hips. It’s been way too long since anything has felt this good. I don’t even know what to do. Again, not a problem for him, because suddenly he’s right against my front and my back is slamming against the closet door. Mouth, hands, tongue, lips, nose, hands, lips, hands, oh dear god *hands*. Hands everywhere and lips following, so good, ouch, yum, there, oh there is good too, oh oh oh…
“Oh, bed, oh god, uh over there, oh yeah, room bed.”
“Okay, yes, there!” Mmmmm… here.
One ruined pair of tights, two rug-burned knees, several orgasms, and a partridge in a pear tree later, I’m happily smoking in bed with a vampire. Fuck you, Smoky the Bear. I don’t even remember how we got to the bedroom. I’m such a slut. Yay me! On second thought, getting laid once every two years isn’t exactly world-class sluttage, is it? But Ma, I gave it up on the first date! Well, sorta date. Actually, not anything resembling a date.
“Do you think this counts as a date?”
“No, pet, I wouldn’t say it does.”
“Cool.” Yep, I’m a slut. Whee!
Why is he looking at me like that? He almost looks evil, again. Shit. Is this where he kills me and leaves my body to rot? Fuck. I wouldn’t even be missed until next Thursday. I am so fucked. The wages of sin. Really, really good sin.
“So, pet, you busy on Saturday?” Yep, he’s gonna kill me now. What do I say? I thought only the good die young. Way to be an exception to the rule, dumb-ass.
“Uh, no.” Shit! I should have said, ‘yes, my priest is coming to exorcise the evil undead’ or something. But hey, look on the bright side, if I hafta die at least I get to die happy. Good-bye cruel world, I’ll miss you.
“Wanna go to a wedding?”