Bit Parts Series

Author: Mint Witch

Pairing: Spike/Ho-Biscuit

Rating: R for bad, bad language and adult situations

Spoilers: Up to, but not including, Hell's Bells

Disclaimer: Only in my dreams.

Author's note: Hell's Bells made me wonder "who is this chick?" and how did Spike con her into going to a wedding.

Distribution: Wow, really? Just let me know where so I can tell all my friends!


1: 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.

Speak, dammit!

"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."

"Uh huh."

"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?"


2: These Things Never End Well

You wanna know a big word? Not a stupid big word, like antidisestablishmentarianism, but a meaningful big word, a word so packed chock full of stuff, that it has to be big enough to contain it all? Ignominious. You can try to define it, but ultimately you fail because the sound of the word itself contains meaning. So, let's try to use it in a sentence, shall we? How about: My ignominious fucking exit from a perfect fucking stranger's wedding fucking pissed me the fuck off. How about that, boys and girls?

"Let me go, you shit!" I wrench my arm out of Spike's grasp, pulling away from him. I'll fucking walk home, thank you very much. No, I'll stomp home. I take a perverse satisfaction in the solid thump my boots make every step of the way. Stomping as hard as I can, I march down the tiled hallway, just to hear that sound echo.

"Stupid fucking fuck. Fuck." Every stomp now gets a fuck. Fuck thump fuck thump. "Stupid fucking hottie. Stupid stupid stupid fuck fuck fuck."

"Nice vocabulary, pet."

"And YOU! You can just fuck off! Okay? Okay! I'm not stupid. I know what this was about, but Jesus Fucking Christ, could you be just a little less -- "

"Evil?" I stomp and thump back to where he's slumped against the wall and get right up into his evil undead face.

"Obvious." The word is a snarl, and I know my expression is ugly--but I don't care anymore. "I know the deal, you asshole. But the tonsil-hockey-- excuse me while I VOMIT, by the way--was a little much. And this!" I wave my already bruising wrist in his face, "I'm not a fucking handbag! You don't just grab me on your way out!" I'm shrieking, I'm so pissed off. I just want to snatch his cig and put it out in his eye.

"Dunno about that, pet. I did last time." Oh. Oh. Time goes all cliched and stands still just for me. I'm not breathing, I'm not thinking, my heart's not beating, he did not just say that. Oh no. But my leg is moving quite fast, yes really very fast. Right up until the split second that my knee slams into his crotch. Oh goody, now he's moving and it's the evil undead's turn to shriek like a little girlie girl.

I retrieve his smoke from the floor and indulge in a little Marlboro Moment, inclusive of the sight of Spike writhing in pain. Then I kick him again. Same place, different blunt object. Steel toes rock.

Time to pull a Last Action Hero and fade away. Not so good at the fading, but I can stomp with the best of them. Watch me stomp, big boy.

All the way around the corner, where I hide. Scrunched against the wall, I light up another off Spike's cherry, grinding the cashed smoke into the linoleum with my boot. My hands are shaking. Shit. I will not cry. I am not going to cry. Dammit!

I'm not stupid; I'm a fucking idiot. It took me, like, two seconds to figure out why I was here. I should have bailed right then. But then there was the groping and the face sucking, and the complete lack of anything resembling a brain. Shit. This entire wedding date thing has been one giant cluster-fuck. Dawn didn't even fucking recognize me, and my competition is a freaking radioactive leprechaun. Christ, why do guys always go for those little miniature girls? She's like three feet tall, for Christ's sake. What's that about?

How do I let things get so fucked up? I could be rebound girl. I could even enjoy it. Hell, I would have been happy as one-night-stand girl. But this. I am not this. I am not a handbag.

"I'm sorry."

"Eeeeeeeeeeyaaaargh!" Ow ow ow! Why do I always do that? And, shit, why does he always sneak up on me? He should wear a little bell or something, I swear.

Besides, what was that? I'm sorry, ooooh. Real sincere, watch the ho- biscuit just melt into the baby blues, not. Not this time. What, am I supposed to respond to the lame apology or something? Uh uh. Ignore him, don't answer, don't look. Pout. Try not to fucking cry. But do not answer.

"I am sorry, you know." He slouches against the wall beside me. "It's just... hard."

Ignoring the vampire, la la la, not listening, I'm not listening. Of course I'm listening. Chick here, tale of romantic woe, et cetera. Poor, wounded hottie. No, don't feel sorry for the heartbroken fiend who fucked you blind then dragged you to a wedding to make his ex jealous. Shit. At least I can try to look like I'm ignoring him.

"Did it work?" I can't help it. It's like a car accident--you have to look. In my case, speak. Give me details, buddy, details. I want to know how much glass is on the road and that you are bleeding heavily. You had better be bleeding.


"Good." Serves you right, you bastard.

"Wanna get a drink?" It's like, noon. Who drinks at noon, on a Saturday, no less? Vampires, I guess. Show's what I know, but I think we've covered that.

"Yeah, okay."


"Schoo, then, I tell her, I tell her 'that was the plan,' y'know I'm e- evil, but I won't... I don't know why, it's wrong or some sodding crap like that." Spike is smashed. I can tell because his head is on the bar. I'm perceptive that way. Poor, evil Spike. I've never seen the inside of a crypt before. Now I never will. Poor, poor me.

"That's sooooo ssssad." I hope I don't fall off my stool. That might hurt. Whee! Everything is all whirly. Spin, spin, like a record baby right 'round... ugh.



"I think I'm gonna puke now." Wow, vampires move fast. And hey! Look at that, there's three of him. Why didn't he tell me he could do that? Can I have the one that's not in love with a leprechaun? Poor, poor me.

"You shoulda warned me you were a weepy drunk, pet."

Sniff. Fuck off, you evil man thing, evil you person like.

"Bleeeeeeargh-ooof." I like tile, so cool, soothing. It feels good, soft and pretty, only not. He's patting my head. That's nice. "I wanna go home." Home home home, home is where the heart is... I have never been so completely shit-faced in my entire life. I knew there was a reason people don't start drinking at noon. But hey-ho, unnatural creatures of the night can really put it away. One more thing not covered in college Bio. Put that in my file of very interesting but completely useless trivia. Bet I could kick his ass at Scrabble, though.

I feel better. Maybe I could market this: Order now and not only will we send you the complete guide to puking up your intestines through your nose, but you also get this commemorative shot glass completely free! That's right, FREE!

My house, we're home, that was fast. This car thing could really catch on. Spike as trendsetter: pretty soon everyone will want one. One, two, three steps to my front door. Knocking on Heaven's door but I don't have to because I live here. Who stole my keys? Wow, the Hottie stole my keys, how did he do that?

Hello, bedroom, I brought the Hottie back, see? Don't get excited, I don't think he's staying, our first real date didn't go so well. I kicked him in the balls and I think I got vomit on his shoes.

Hello bed. Hello pillow. Hello soft blankies. Hello-

"President Roosevelt."

"What?" I'm trying to reach over the side of the bed but it keeps moving away. Stop that!

"He fell off the bed." What's his malfunction? President Roosevelt fell off the bed, and he can't get back up on his own. Well duh! I can't just leave him there, he'll be lonely.

"Is this what your after, then?" he's staring at the Prez like, like, like something stary and rude. Don't be rude to the Commander-in-Chief.

"Gimme!" All is well with world again. Back in bed with my best boyfriend. I never even notice Spike leave. At least, I hope he leaves, because I snore really bad when I'm drunk.


NO! Let me go, please, I can't move. Please, please let me go, oh god. Darkness, noise, voices screaming, screaming, screaming. Get out, get away, run, please god help me, help me...

"AAAAAAAAAAHHH!" My own strangled scream wakes me, and the arm around my waist tightens as I struggle against it. Oh god, where am I, what-

"Shhhhh, shhh, it's okay, pet, it's just me, it's alright, okay, shh." Spike's words puff against the back of my neck in cool little gusts. "I gotcha, it's okay."

Shudders wrack my body, and I gasp for air, replaying that night in my head. The chaos: screaming, blood, an endless strobe of destruction. I'm okay, I'm at home, in bed, I'm not there, it's over.

"You alright?"

"Yes, I'm sorry." Oh god, he must think I'm a complete freak. Honestly, though, I'm still too scared to really care. I'm just grateful to have someone here to pull me out of it. I snuggle back against his body, hugging his arm tighter around me. Glad he stayed.

"You wanna talk about it? I know a thing or two about nightmares." His voice is soft and concerned, blurry with sleep.

"No, I just... something bad happened a couple of years ago, and I still have dreams about it, I guess. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to freak you out or anything." I can't believe I'm apologizing to a vampire about my nightmares. How surreal is this?


"Yeah, it's just-" how can I possibly explain this one? "This company I used to work for, they, uh, it was like a lab, they did animal experimentation and stuff..." Demons crashing out of lock-down, ripping and tearing through the Game Theory Lab, Johanna's body eviscerated, organs strewn across the terminals. "And some of the, uh, larger subjects got out once. It was really scary." Running, running, hiding under the stairs, staring at an arm just laying there, attached to nothing, the wedding ring gleaming faintly in the dark. Last mad dash, strangers lifting us out the through the elevator shaft, just a few of us left, and all I could think was 'you bitch, I told you, you stupid, stupid bitch, why didn't you ever listen to us,' not even remembering that she was long dead, just the mad stream of rage and fear and adrenaline.

The shakes ease, his cool hand soothing butterfly touches up over my stomach to my breast and back, gentle sweet strokes. I press my back even harder against his torso, yes, like that, make it go away. He seems to understand, pressing soft kisses against my neck and shoulders, his fingers plucking my nipple. Warmth steals through my stomach, and I nestle my head firmly into the hollow of his shoulder.


"Yes, much, oh, please." The hand on my breast brushes down over my abdomen, barely stirring the fine hairs, circling my navel. "Good, that's good."

"You want this?"

"Yes, oh, yes, make it go away, make it better, like that," his fingers push into my vulva, seeking and finding my clit, stroking, pinching, sending heat tingling through my nerves. His leg presses between mine from behind, nudging my thighs apart. I can feel his erection against my ass and I cream, ready, oh so ready, for another ride. "Now, do it, fuck me, Spike, I need you."

"I gotcha baby," and in one smooth thrust his cock is pushing into me, driving away the lingering fear. Oh, god, yes, so good, so very, very good. His hand is still working at my clit, and my skin tightens, stretching over my muscles, my body moving with his in the rhythm of sex, bringing me back to life. I'm alive, oh, god, yes, I'm alive!

"God yes, Spike, I'm cumming, oh yes, please!"

"That's it, lover, come for me, I've got you." His panting groan pushes me further, harder, and I'm screaming my orgasm to the entire neighborhood, thrashing in ecstasy, my flesh a single throbbing nerve.

"MMmmmmmm..." so good.

He nudges me, using his leverage to roll me over onto my stomach. His arms brush up under mine, forcing them up above my head as his legs press my thighs wider, and my hips tilt up, his cock still firm in my vagina. Ooooh, yeah. I turn my head a little to the side, trying to see him still fucking me. Oh god, he is so hot. He looks back at me from under heavy eyelids, his lips smiling softly. I clench tight around his penis, aroused by the sight of him pale and gleaming in the dawn light that filters through the heavy drapes.

His muscles shift like water under all that pretty white skin, each movement bringing an answering wave of pleasure in my own body. He pushes and pulls, fucking me harder, and I can't look at him anymore. I have to bury my head in the pillow just to hold on. The smug bastard knows he's beautiful and chuckles, the liquid sound igniting another fire in me.

"Tell me, pet, tell me, talk to me. Do you like this, does this feel good?"

"Oh god, yes, it feels so good." How the fuck am I supposed to talk? I can't even think!

"What do you want?" He's leaning over me, pressing me into the bed so he can whisper in my ear. He goes still.

"I want you to fuck me, Spike, just like this, fuck me, please!" Bucking up onto my hands and knees, I force myself back onto his cock as hard as I can, my ass tipped up.

His answer is a thrust so hard, I lose my balance and have to grab the headboard to keep from cracking my head on it. The dance begins for real this time, a play of muscles in opposition, bodies crashing into each other. I let go with one hand to pull and pinch at my nipple and he mimics the motion, hand on my clit, relentless.

"Oh god oh god oh god yes yes please now, let me please, oh Spike yes, I want, I need, pleeeeeeeease!" I'm soaring, flying, dying, oh god, "Don't ever stop, please, don't ever stop! Aaaaaaaaeeeee!!!"

"Gah!" With a rush, he comes in me, his hips losing the rhythm, his arm crushing my limp body against him. When his own tremors ease, he lowers us back down into the mattress, spooned together again.

"Don't worry pet, I'm not going anywhere. At least, not until sundown."


"the sound of you struttin' in those tight pants in those tight pants strut strut struttin' Iggy baaaaaybaaaay..."

What the fuck?! Ow ow owie, oh my poor brain, I'm so very sorry. I'll never do it again, I promise. Make the horrible noise stop! Hide from the hideous pounding...

"boom swagger swagger boom boom boom!!!"

Oh god, I'm being burgled by surfer punks. Just take the stereo and go. Go quietly, please. I don't need material possessions, I need quiet, soothing quiet. And darkness. Soothing quiet darkness. And Percocet. Soothing quiet dark prescription medication. The surf criminals can have anything they want as long as I don't have to get out of bed.

"...e..." Or open my eyes. Note to self, do not open your eyes. And double bonus Yahtzee, if I don't open my eyes then I can't identify the culprits so maybe they won't kill me. I'm a glass-half-full kinda gal, yep.

"I could talk like that I hear her going rrrooww rrrooww I see her sittin' see her..."

If only they would quit singing. Please god, make it stop. Thank you. Blessed quiet. I'll buy a new stereo. No harm, no foul.

"Drink this." Wow, they're British Surf Burglars. Why does that ring a bell? If only the booming echoes in my head would go away so I could think, but no, it just keeps getting louder and louder and...

"eep." Maybe I'm hallucinating. That's it, I have severe alcohol poisoning, and I'm in the hospital having my stomach pumped. The Alice in Wonderland surf burglars are delusions conjured by my sick, sex obsessed brain.

Ooh, sitting up now, kinda. I did not do that. The Red Queen did that. No, I don't wanna play croquet. But she can have my head, please somebody cut off my head.

Cool glass against my lips, liquid, swallow-

"BLECH!" Fuck, what was that? White King, argh! No, Spike, blond person sitting on my bed trying to poison me, fucking-A. No surf burglars, Spike, still here, despite the slightly blurry freak action. Oh my god. Did we? Yup. We did. Oh god.

"Hair o' the dog that bit ya, pet."

"Christ, just bite me already. You don't need to poison me too." That would have been a lot more convincing if 1. I didn't sound like a gelded mouse, 2. wasn't buck-ass naked, and 3. clutching President Roosevelt to my chest. Nothing denotes authority like a big fuzzy teddy bear. I'm such the geek.

I check Hello Kitty for the time: after four. Judging by the light, it's PM, but Sunday or Monday? How long have I been dead? Who cares. I feel like shit, and I have the Hottie on my bed staring at me like an evil candy striper. Wasn't that a movie?

"Ergh." Dropping my defensive teddy shield, I attempt a covert Army crawl off the other side of the bed. It would be sneakier if I could use my arms, but my face will have to do. Whoa, I could sell this one to the National Enquirer: Woman escapes helpful vampire by dragging herself away with her lips. Fame and fortune would soon follow, I'm sure.

I don't care how stupid I look, I have to get to the bathroom. I have an important meeting scheduled with my toothbrush. Not too mention that I probably stink to high Heaven. Shit. I don't understand anything that has happened in the past however many hours, but my current state of completely gross hung-over freakishness pretty much guarantees another two-year hiatus in my sex life. God, my life sucks. Fuck.

"You need some help?" Smug, evil, non-hung-over, gorgeous fucking smug vampire.

"No!" Gargh! Oh my head! Note to self: quit talking. Oh god oh god. "Just let me die." Whimper.

"Right then, I'm off." Oh god, the bed's moving, don't throw up, hang on sister, just hang the fuck on.


I should have food. I remember having food when I had a roommate. Most people own food, right? And not just 20 cans of Cheez Whiz and some Ho-Hos. Don't ask.

Time for a full inventory of the Goth kitchen. I'm clean, semi-clothed, and hungry. Really, really hungry. Starving. Feed me, Seymour!

"Drink this." Dj vu! Where's the rabbit hole, Alice? Murderous hell- fiends leave notes, who knew? Okay, it's instructions to drink red, viscous, and vile looking blender drinks, but still, a note is a note. It's not Cheez Whiz, so I guess red&vile just became dinner. I bet it'll taste better with a yummy Ho-Ho side dish. And some vodka. Yup, then I can have a big ol' heapin' helpin' of self pity for dessert. Oops, maybe not vodka. Vodka is apparently included in the red&vile package. I'm thinking this is the hair of the dog from before. Before Spike left. Oh god, I'm so lame. How did I get into this?

I should never have spoken, never responded to the pretty man. Never again. From this day forward I am deaf, dumb, and blind. I'll wallow for a few days, reliving every second of the world's shortest affair, and re-emerge a stronger, less pathetic, deaf mute. A whole new me. An entirely celibate deaf mute me. I could even join a convent, an order of silent celibates. Who probably don't smoke or drink either. Not a convent, then. I could commit murder and go to the Big House, that's an idea. But I'd have to kill someone and hello! gross. I'm so pathetic. And a little tipsy from the dog hair. Tipsy and pathetic. I should turn on a light, but light is not conducive to effective wallowing.

"You should turn on a light, pet. You'll burn out your eyes." Spike! It's Spike! Beautiful, sexy, here, Hottie Spike! And he brought groceries!

"Spike!" I can fly! And climb the vamp like a jungle gym. Yum.

"Mmph." Shut up, I'm using your mouth for more important things. Hey, it's fair: my house, my rules.

"Mmmm, Spike..." He feels so good, I'm clean and brushed, and I want this, I need this. Please god let me have this. "You came back!"

"Fuck, woman, you have no food, I couldn't let you starve to death. You need to eat." Hee! He cares whether or not I die of starvation. That's so cute! I lo... oh god no. I am not falling for him. I can't! Not like this, not with the whole torch thing going on. It's a fling, a fling, damn it! I'm a slut and this is a fling. Oh god no, what do I do?

My voice comes out as a whisper, "I'll eat you."

"Bloody hell..." His groan vibrates along my bones. I suck his lower lip into my mouth and bite down. The grocery bag is on the floor, leaking something onto my rug, but nothing matters, nothing but this, my need, his desire. I will give him back when I have to, but I'm going to keep him for as long as I can. Oh god I am so fucked. There is no way this will end well.


3: The Id Goes Marching On

I'm grinning like an idiot; I can tell because I feel like my face is going to crack apart any second now. La la laaa! Go team!

Spike rumbles. Rumble-y Spike. Whee!

"I wasn't gonna do this, pet." Poor vampire, he sounds all conflicted.

I know that part: I was there for the drunken monologue. "I'm sorry." I don't think he believes me. It could be the laughter.

"No, really, I am." Still not convincing. I should really stop with the happy giggles. Not giggles, chuckles. I don't giggle. Yes, I do. Fuck. "But- - oh dear god Spike, I'm so not sorry." I am so not sorry. That was amazing. That was better than amazing. "That was amazing."

"Thanks for that, at least." I can't hear so much as feel his reluctant laughter. Rumble-y Spike laughter. Yum. We should get up, do something about the mess on the floor.

"Spike, off."

"Le' go my ass and I will." Oops.

He is so fucking beautiful. Even just pulling his pants up, he's gorgeous. And I feel like an idiot for telling him to get off me, because there is no way in hell I can stand up. I can't freaking move. Ooh, baby, twinkle at me. Love the shy smile, love the twinkle.

"Nice view." Bastard. I'm splayed out on the rug with what smells like diet cola in my hair and he's making fun of me. Not nice, not nice at all.

"Shut up and help me. Please?" Signature evil grin, but at least he gets me on my feet.

"Thank you." Could I get any goofier? I just want to stare at him and grin until I die. And have more sex; we must not forget the sex parts. Wrenching my gaze away from the shirtless wonder that is Spike -shirtless? What happened to his shirt? Oh. I happened to his shirt- I make a decision.

"Okay, here's the plan: You are going to rescue the bag and find homes for whatever it is you bought. I am going to locate my pants and attempt to Bissell. Then I am going to take you on a real fucking date, only you'll have to drive," because there is no fucking way I'm calling Jess for a ride, "and we will have a wonderful time and not think about the shit-load of baggage we'll be dragging along. Deal?" I stick out my hand to shake on it, ignoring the draft up my naughty bits. Spike looks at my hand like it's grown oozing pustules or something, then crushes me against him in a power smooch that makes my knees buckle.

"Deal." He cocks his head at me like a bird and kisses me again, oh so gently this time. The look in his eyes is strange and new to me: he's not amused or passionate or wicked. He looks like someone just bought him an ice cream cone, like he's never had ice cream before and he finds it to be surprising and good. He looks delighted. An odd word for the undead, but he's an odd vampire.

In any case, he grabs the soggy bag off the floor and merrily heads for the kitchen. I watch his ass. What am I supposed to be doing? Oh yeah, my pants, I'm looking for my pants. Do not think about Spike's pants. Nothing about Spike, pants, and thinking, will lead to me getting dressed. Oh, god, I want to be Spike's pants. Yum.

My own jeans are toast. Really dirty toast. There's a reason people don't look under the sofa, or at least under my sofa. Hell, I certainly don't want to know what's under there. I stuff my dead jeans back into their new home; maybe they'll breed with the dust bunnies and bear a litter of cut- offs. That would be cool. It could happen; this is the Hellmouth, after all.


"Mother-fucking son-of-a-bitch! Aaaah!" It's really, really tempting to just kick the damned thing, to crush it's shiny red plastic into itty bitty pieces. Too bad I'm barefoot. I throw down the screwdriver, furious at the malice inherent in selling people items that they have to put together at home. That does not make the least bit of sense. And it's evil. You buy something, you expect to take that thing out of the box, not a fucking jigsaw puzzle. Not that I bought the damned thing in the first place, but that's so not the point.

Now is when I start banging my head on the floor.

Spike's mellow laughter interrupts me just when I have a nice rhythm going. That's right, just stand there and enjoy the show, fiend from Hell. Snarl.

"You could help, you know!" I'm not whining; I'm not. I do not whine. Much.

"I could, I suppose. What would I be helping with?" He saunters over and oozes onto the floor just outside my moat of Bissell-bits.

"I don't know!" Okay, I am whining. But damn it, I'm allowed. "I have a screwdriver, I have instructions, I have a potential fucking home appliance for Christ's sake! But I can't get from potential to actual!" Argh! I hate this. I can smoke, drink, vote, drive -- well, not that I do, but I could, legally again even, I think- and pay taxes, but "I can't fucking put together an appliance that is supposed to be genetically encoded!" Resume head to floor action.

"Why do you even have a whatever-the-bloody-hell it is?" I stop my self- abuse long enough to give him my 'like, duh' look, but he's staring bemusedly at the instructions. He's ignoring my melodramatics, how rude! God, I'm such a self-centered bitch. More head pounding. Are we detecting a theme here? A desperate-for-attention type theme? Yup.

It works, though. Spike doesn't look up, but he does stretch out an arm to grab the back of my shirt and nearly strangle me to death on my next descent.

"Gack!" Now he's looking at me, when I'm all turning blue and choking. Great. I feel better about myself by the second. Irony sucks.

"What the fuck is a Bissell Power Steamer? You own a Bissell Power Steamer?" Oh yeah, and I'm the crazy one? Who's never heard of a Bissell, tough guy? Well, me until the Wicked Witch of the West showed up with it one day. That's a memory that will haunt me until I die. I yank away my collar and gasp in enough air to answer him.

"My mother. Yes. Like a vacuum, I think, only wet." Frankly, I don't think the Witch knew what it is either, she just wandered a department store until someone got her to buy something. She was probably told it was a motherly type housewarming gift by a quick-witted salesperson. Hell, maybe it is, how would I know? I grew up with her.

"Huh. Wet. Well, let's get on with it then." He's so freaking strange. I like it.

"Okay." I'm sitting up; I can do this. We can do this. "What do you want to do: screw or direct?" That so did not come out the way it sounded in my head.

But I love making him laugh. Meow.

He waggles his tongue at me: "You pick." Oh god, there is no way to respond to that. I feel like I'm back in high school. And it's not complete torture this time. Yup, I'm boning the captain of the football team, metaphorically, of course. Whee! Still, some semblance of adult dignity should be maintained.

"I'll read the instructions, you assemble." That was good. A moment to switch places, and we commence battle.


"No, the long screw goes in the back!"

"Bloody Hell, woman!"


"I can do it!"

"Christ on a crutch, just let me do it!"


"It says the U-ey shaped thingy should snap on. Snap on! You're going to break it!"

"I'm going to break your spindly neck, is what I'm going to do."


"Hand tighten, you're s'posed to hand tighten."

"I am! Could you shut up for just one fucking second?"


"I told you so-" Mmph!

I think the stain is permanent. Oh god, yes. I wonder if there is someplace I can return the Bissell-beast to without a receipt. Yeah, oh yeah, okay, oooh. I'm not gonna be able to sit down for a week. Oh god oh god oh god...

"Yes! Yes! Harder, Spike, harder!"

"That's it, pet, ooooooh, so tight..."




"Can I ask you a question?" I've been wondering this for awhile. Well, not that long because it's only been, what, four days?

"Depends. What do you want to know?" I like him like this, all heavy and relaxed, draped over me like the world's sexiest blanket.

"Why are we having so much sex?" No, really, I want to know. I'm no blushing virgin, but this is a little weird. Not that I'm complaining or anything. I'm just curious. Maybe if I know why, then I will know the rest, like how long. Or how much it will hurt later.

He's looking right into my eyes, his own gaze wary. I try to explain, but this is not the part I am good at. "I mean, I know that you're dead sexy, pun intended, and you're freaking amazing in bed. And I like you. You're nice in a jackass kind of way, and you make me laugh. But besides all that, I mean, well, why you? And why you, me?" Oh, that was coherent. I so suck at this.

Now he just looks thoughtful. He stares at me for unnerving amount of time before finally answering.

"I don't know." His face clouds up in a frown and he rolls off me. Propping myself up on my elbow, I gaze back down at him. He doesn't avoid my stare, but he doesn't look happy either. "I really don't. It just... feels good." He looks past me. "I haven't felt good in a while." I'm not getting the emphasis here.

"What do you mean? I mean, I thought--"

"Nevermind. My turn to ask you a question." He looks at me seriously, his expression weighted with things I don't understand.

"Okay." Brace yourself, girlie: what could the vampire possibly want to know about me? I no longer believe it's just my blood type, but that only makes this more confusing.

"Do you like me?" Well, that was unexpected. Blink. Blink blink-blink.

"Well, yeah? I just said so, didn't I? And hello! I don't sleep with just anyone." Hey, I may be an official slut now, but I retain my standards. My really, really high standards. The fact that my paramour of choice is dead is completely irrelevant. As is the amount of alcohol consumed over the course of this, ah... um... relationship thing-y.

"That's why, then." Spike pulls me down to his pretty, pretty lips. No more thinking.


I'd like to make this a habit, I really would. Wake up every morning wrapped in arms and legs, fingers tangled together. There is a false intimacy in the first waking moment, a promise that has already been broken, not even made actually. But I can't help myself. I lie in bed a little longer, pretending that this is real.

The sex is amazing, but strangely sad. I think it's just me, though. I'm not an innocent, and this is something else. I love you I'm sorry I don't love you forgive me I do I forgive you. This is not about me at all. This is about him and about her; I'm just an interlude in G, that chick with the triangle in the very back. The captain of the football team always ends up with the head cheerleader, not some band geek. Shit. I am so pathetic. Even my metaphors stink.

I peel myself out of his arms, and check the drapes. Don't want to dust The Hottie. My Hottie. Wobbly little baby steps to the dresser, throw on clothes. Time to earn my drinking money. I haven't checked in since Thursday: not too unusual, but I should at least check my email.

"Pet?" His eyes are slits of blue, curious and vulnerable. I tiptoe back to the bed for a good morning kiss.

"It's okay, I just have to check into work." He's so beautiful: it breaks my heart. How could happy be so sad?

His sleepy smile turns into one of those evil smirks that already seem familiar.

"Are you?" Huh? His hand burrows out from under the covers, finger tracing across my chest from nipple to nipple. They stand obediently to attention.

"What?" I look down at my chest. Oh, god. The tee shirt: Rode Hard and Put Away Wet. Did I mention a former incarnation as a metal-head? Guess not. Must've slipped my mind. His other hand is creeping stealthily up the leg of my sweat-shorts. Okay, yeah, ironic.

"Truth in advertising, lover." Obviously. This is some creepy Freudian thing, isn't it? Fuck. I have 10 million tee shirts and this is what I put on. I wish I knew whether I hate my life or I love my life. It's getting hard to tell.

"Oh yeah, I'm all about truth. Oh god, Spike, no, I really have to--"


"Okay." The man has the most amazing fingers. I could fall in love with him just for those long, oh god, nimble fingers.

As soon as I acquiesce, he abandons my breasts to strip off my shorts and pull me back onto the bed, straddling his erection through the duvet. I fight the material for the privilege of wrapping myself around the length of him. Oh god yes. He pulls me forward, until my nipples are level with his mouth and takes his time, sucking one, then the other through my shirt while I rock my hips, until I have two wet circles framing the hard knots.

We take our time, slowly undulating against each other, exploring with hands and mouths. His eyes are so blue, so open. He does everything wholly, completely engrossed in a single instant. Those liquid eyes are empty of anything but the moment, what is happening right now. It is shattering and frightening; for the first time I truly fear him. So little foresight: no remorse, no sense memory for the past, or awareness of the future. I am whimpering and writhing on his body, aware of his power over me, enjoying his ascendance as much as my own pleasure. This is what a monster is, humanity concentrated, reduced to the elemental in a demon's crucible: hunger, pleasure, pain.

He could kill me. He would enjoy it. He might be sorry afterwards, but he would enjoy it as much as this.

My orgasm is soundless and violent.


Once again squeaky clean, I quietly make my way to the kitchen, trying not to wake the sleeping vamp. Everything looks different. It's as if the walls have shifted slightly, the rooms expanding and contracting to accommodate his presence. He's somehow made my house his: cigarettes on the table with my keys, ex-shirt thrown over a chair, boots in the corner. Familiar, but strange.

I hesitate in the door of the kitchen, expecting to see Glinda welcoming me to Oz, but nope, still my little breakfast nook. Just indefinably mussed, marked by the signs of Spike's presence. On the other hand, it suddenly looks like the sort of room that might contain actual food. How exciting!

This is big big fun! Next time the Witch threatens to visit, I'm gonna ask for food. Who knew that Pringles and what-the-fuck-are-Wheatabix could be so thrilling? Ooooh, I have catsup and eggs and ew gross I think that's blood, and vampires drink Diet Coke? Grosser than gross, carbonated water with aspartame. That's even more disgusting than blood. Back on track girlie, we're on a mission here. Way cool, cigarettes and a vast array of Hostess products. The boy has taste. Coffee, Camels, and Zingers, breakfast of champions.

The chemicals surging through my bloodstream, while satisfying, are not providing answers. I really should check into work, but there is a mystery currently passed out in my bedroom. I want Spike, yeah, okay, but more than that I want to understand Spike. I need to understand who and what he is; maybe I know part of it, more than I should, but I want to know the rest. Fuck. If I know it all, will it make any difference? Will he stay or will he go?

What do I do? Only one thing to do, really: go to work.


A man's home may be his castle, but my office is my temple. Then again, I'm not a guy. From the Descent of Inanna painstakingly Sharpie'd on the soundproof walls, to the five networked PC's, this is where I work and pray; this is where work itself becomes prayer, an act of divine immanence.

The dry electrical air grounds me, marks the boundary between the gawky, introverted Goth-girl and the competent mathematician. I cross over. Set my coffee and a fresh pack of smokes next to the center terminal, begin the familiar ritual: boot up, light up, select tunes. But instead of dialing in, I stand here, staring at nothing, like a complete idiot. Lovely.

I really don't want to do this. I don't want to do this so badly that I'm actually shaking and my stomach is somewhere around my ankles. Oh god no. I don't want to go there, I don't want to dredge it all up.

The bag is still where I remember it, stuffed into the top of the closet. I haven't looked at it since that night, avoided even thinking about it. I still don't know why I did it. I guess it's like those women who freak out about their purse when the building is on fire. I don't know. I do know I bought myself a new bag rather than face this one again. And here we are.

It's heavy. How much did I stuff in here? What did I take? Closing my eyes, I inhale deeply, in pink, out blue, and sink to the floor. Blind, I empty the pack into my lap, feeling and hearing a rain of plastic cascade over my legs. Don't look, don't look, don't look. Look. Crap. There must be a couple hundred diskettes, dozens of CDs. Some of them are stained, some cracked, others coated in dried goo. Not blood, nope, full on denial mode in gear. The labels are obscure, the private codes and shorthand of 20 or so people, now mostly dead. The field agents fared better. They, at least, could defend themselves, but we were like fish in a barrel.

A bright pink diskette, clean and unmarred, catches my eye, and I'm choking, sobbing, memories surging to the surface of my mind. Jill, perky and wicked, bringing cupcakes for everyone on Gavin's birthday, horrible supermarket things with pink icing and round bits of confetti. We licked the frosting off and threw the naked pastries around the lab, making enough noise for a class of first graders. Gavin, who set up silly behavior matrices based on the field agents reports, predicting which of the agents would get laid, drunk, or just finally crack. Smuggling personal diskettes in, Chiron Project's out, playing at outwitting the brawn and the bureaucrats. Nothing outside the lab was real to us, just data for simulations, even when those same sims predicted disaster. We were all so stupid, reporting dry projections, possibilities, margins of error, uncertainty of outcome due to maximization of blah blah blah blah, always certain nothing bad could ever actually happen. Not to us.

Maybe that was the impulse that fired me to try to save all this. Maybe I can make up for it somehow, repay my karmic debt. Maybe I can find a way to keep him. Fuck, don't lie to yourself girlfriend; no matter what I do, he's not mine. Still, maybe. Shit goddamn hell fuck. I hate this. I really, really hate this.

I have to know.


At some point I completely lost my grip on reality. Not like I haven't done that before, but still, I'm in my special place, where everything seems clear and bright. I'm in The Zone. Only I don't call it that out loud anymore, not since that creepy Atkins guy stole my line. That put him right at the top of my shit list, that's for sure. Creepy ass pseudo scientists with their creepy ass fad diets, yup, they are all on the list, and that Atkins dude head of the line. With the libertarians, televangelists, SUV salesmen, and construction workers who call women half their age 'Mama', I'm gonna have a busy retirement. Hey, some people move out to the country, some get a condo in Florida. They all end up drooling on themselves eventually. Not me, boys and girls. I'm going to buy myself an RV and a sniper rifle, and prey on the really, really annoying until the FBI takes me down. I call it the Serial Killer Retirement Plan. It could happen. Make history even: the first geriatric female serial killer, fighting ageism and sexism in the style of Edward Gorey, making the world a better place for all those who are bloodthirsty and easily irritated.

Okay, so seven hours of coffee, cigarettes, and Ministry catches up with a girl. Nonetheless, I can view today's efforts with satisfaction. The bag of diskettes is noticeably lighter, almost all the contents recoverable. I have four terminals devoted entirely to running decision algorithms, but most importantly, I have The Map. I like to name things.

The Map. My baby, my pride and joy. The first real exercise of my particular art since the Chiron Project went up in flames. It's so pretty. Okay, it's not pretty pretty, but I think it's beautiful.

It's a symbolic representation of Spike, my new obsession. Everything he's done, every decision, every utility function I can identify, throughout the time I've known him. And before, from the records I've retrieved so far about his time in the Project. Subject 17. Oooh, baby.

The Post-Its and printouts cover most of one wall, a Scotch-taped homage to calculus. I get teary just looking at it. I'm a complete and total freak. Math is fun. These things are probably related. And Spike: The Hottie. An unliving, unbreathing, walking, talking, and most definitely acting, avatar of Baye's Law.

If I wasn't in love with him before, I am now. The leprechaun can go fuck herself. I've got the one who got away passed out in my bedroom and I am not giving him back. Uh-uh. I'm going to do much better than that: I'm going to give him choices. Lots and lots of choices.

Ew. After I shower again.


"Wake up wake up wake up Wake UP! Eeek!" He's awake! And doesn't like being tickled. Note to self.

"Dangerous animal here, pet. Could get hurt like that." Hmmm, not with that look, Hottie. That look means a whole different kind of hurt. I wriggle against him, just to watch his eyes darken to azure- it takes my breath away every time. Stay focused Chiquita; we're on a mission.

"No, Spike, we're going on a date, damn it. Get up and get fancy!" Not quite how I meant it to come out, but that happens to me a lot. Unhappy rumblings from the evil undead. Oh no, don't jilt me now, I promised a date, and I even have an ulterior motive, like a real TV villain. No no no noooo! My life sucks.

"Exactly how 'fancy' do you expect me to get?" Oh, I get it. Heh. Dooby- doo, no panicking here, nope, cool, calm and collected am I. Yes, indeedy.

"The shower kind of fancy, for one. And I need to find you a T-shirt. Black okay?" I hop off the bed and start to head for the kitchen. More sugar, must have more sugar.

He finally notices my outfit and stares. "Where are we going for this date?"


"What? I think not!" I can hear him finally getting up. Loudly. Why do guys always have to make such a huge deal about waking up? Speaking from my vast amount of experience, of course.

"You think wrong. Oh, and I left you a clean toothbrush!" This is fun. I could get used to this.

"I am not driving to Los fucking Angeles!"

Yeah, right.


"Tell me why I'm doing this again?"

"Because I'm the girl. And I'm paying."

"Bloody hell."


Spike seems pleasantly surprised. Shit, so am I: we're holding haaaaa-ands. It's definitely pleasant. And the joint is literally jumping. Despite the distance, we made really good time, and the pit is just getting hot.

I stop us just outside the fringe to check I'm good to go: 40's laced tight, no obvious handholds or snaggables, leathers worn enough to discourage anti-tourist aggression. I'm ready to rumble. A glance at Spike's face reveals he's excited and nervous, staring longingly at the heaving mass of bodies.

"Spike!" Just spit it out, you big geek, and pay the piper later. This is about choices: you made yours, let him make his. Choices suck.

"What?" I can barely hear him over the band, but he'll be able to hear me fine.

"No one here that can zap you! You can't hurt them!" Will he get it?

"WHAT!" Oh, I heard that alright.

"You can't hurt them! It's why they're here, get it? It's why we're here." His glare is angry, confused and suspicious, then utter glory washes over his face. I feel like a brick has hit me. I could live off that look, eat it, breathe it, and wallow in it.

He squeezes my hand tightly enough to bring tears to my eyes and throws us into the mosh pit.

Glory Fucking Hallelujah, baby! Glory Hallelujah!

Continues - 4: Geeks do not have Pedigrees

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