full 3/4 1/2   skin light dark       
A Very Strange Vampire by slaymesoftly
<<     >>
  Chapter Eight  
Several hours later, Buffy had run out of hands with which to hold her bags and noticed that she was very hungry.  She walked back to the small restaurant/coffee shop that Spike had pointed out and was able to get a booth to herself. She piled her purchases on the seat across from her and ordered the big breakfast.  She was just cutting into her pancakes, when Spike appeared at her side.
“There you are.”
“How did you find me?”
“I followed the sound of my money leaving,” he said, smiling to show her he was only kidding. “And the pile of boxes and bags across from you was kind of a dead giveaway.”  He slid into the seat beside her and snatched a piece of bacon from her plate.
“Don’t be stingy, luv. I haven’t eaten yet.”
“You don’t eat – you drink.”
“I eat sometimes. Just doesn’t do much for me nutrition-wise, but some things still taste good. Fried pig in one of them.”
Buffy frowned and stopped stuffing pancake in her mouth. “What are you going to do about eating? It’s not like I’m going to let you munch your way through the other guests.”
“Not something you need to worry about, Slayer. I won’t go hungry, and I won’t be hurting anybody.”
“You want to explain that?”
“No. All you need to know is that you don’t have to follow me around to make sure I’m not killin’ the customers.”
They didn’t speak any more while Buffy finished her breakfast and Spike drank a cup of coffee.  He signed the check and stood up, walking to the other side of the booth, picking up most of her packages and waiting for her to grab the rest.  Still in silence, they went up to the room.  Depositing the packages on Buffy’s bed, Spike stretched and said, “Don’t know about you, pet, but I’m knackered. Do me a favor?”
Buffy raised an inquisitive eyebrow at him, then followed his gaze to where his bed was being bathed in sunshine coming in the windows. She quickly ran to the window and pulled the heavy black-out drapes across, plunging the room into almost total darkness.
“Whoa!” Her eyes adjusted quickly enough for her to watch Spike shedding first his shirt and then his jeans – leaving his ivory body quite naked. Telling herself she could just turn away, she continued to stare at him as he pulled down the bed covers.  “Spike! What are you doing?” Somehow, her angry rhetorical question came out more breathy than she’d intended, and she mentally smacked her own face.
“Going to bed,” he responded, hiding his grin. He eased into the bed, sighing as he felt the mattress underneath.  “This beats the hell out of your watcher’s couch,” he said as he burrowed into the pillow.
Buffy shook her head and started going through her purchases, looking for the bikini she’d bought earlier. Casting a suspicious eye at Spike, she carried it into the bathroom to change, covering both the bathing suit and the ring hanging around her neck with the matching cover-up she’d bought.  When she was sure the gem was hidden in the bra of the bikini, she left the bathroom carrying a towel. Gathering up the rest of the things she might need for spending a few hours at the pool, she turned in Spike’s direction again.
“I’m buying you pajamas while I’m out,” she said to the still lump on the bed.
“Don’t wear ‘em,” the lump mumbled, confirming her suspicion that he hadn’t really gone to sleep yet.
“We’ll see.”
She still didn’t see his grin as she let herself out the door.
Hours later, Buffy woke up to find she’d spent a little too much time poolside. Diving in, she swam a few laps to cool herself off, then climbed out and surveyed her bright pink skin ruefully.  Experience told her that her slayer healing would kick in shortly and the burn would fade by nightfall, but in the meantime she was just as uncomfortable as anyone else would have been.
She let herself into the room quietly, seeing that Spike hadn’t stirred from his place.  She went directly to the bathroom and got into the shower, washing the chlorine from her hair and her new suit.  The gem hung between her breasts, swinging back and forth as she moved.  When Buffy stepped out and toweled off, she realized that she hadn’t brought any other clothes in with her.  She peered out and saw that Spike was still lying immobile on his bed. Wrapping herself in a big towel, she tiptoed across the space between the bathroom and her bed and began to rummage through her purchases as silently as possible.
In the darkened room, she didn’t notice that Spike’s eyes were open and watching as she clutched the towel and tried to find new underwear and other clothing.  Although the ring was hidden under the towel, the chain was fully visible around her neck, and Spike’s eyes narrowed when he spotted it. His thoughts and his gaze, however, were continually distracted by the damp, tanned legs showing beneath the towel. When Buffy bent over, the pale cheeks of her ass were momentarily visible, and in spite of himself, he made a strangled sound in his throat.  She froze, one hand holding her clothes, the other clutching the towel.
“If you’re peeking at me, I’m going to turn you over to those soldiers,” she warned, standing up and turning to glare at him.
“Be fair, Slayer. It’s not peeking if I’m just lyin’ here minding my own business and you come out and flash me.” Since she already knew he was awake, he sat up, letting the sheets fall to his waist. Buffy stared at his bare chest, so entranced by what she was seeing that she failed to notice the equally lustful expression on his face. Only when he moved and it seemed he might get up did she come to herself and, with a small “eep!” run back to the bathroom to get dressed.
She came out very carefully, making sure that Spike could hear her coming.  “Okay, I’m coming out now. You’d better be dressed...” Buffy was wearing pink sweatpants with a matching shirt. The gem was once again carefully hidden under the shirt, although the chain was still visible around her neck.  She tugged unsuccessfully at the neck of the sweatshirt, but there was no way to turn it into a turtleneck.
“I’ve got eyes, Slayer,” Spike growled. “No sense ruining your new shirt tryin’ to hide it.  Should have figured it out by now, anyway. Wasn’t on your finger, so unless you were hiding it in your pants...”
Buffy faced him, falling into a relaxed but ready stance.  “Damn! Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Dunno,” he said, shrugging. “It’s the first thing I would have thought of.”
“My pants?”
“Hiding it in underwear,” he said with a grin. “Course, I couldn’t do that because I don’t wear any – as you well know...” He winked at her, laughing at her blush. “But you could have done it.” He eyed her chest for a second. “Okay, maybe not in your bra...”
Buffy threw the nearest thing at him, which was an empty shoebox that he easily batted away.
“Wasn’t trying to offend you, luv, just calling it as I see it.”
“Hmph!”  Buffy turned her back and began to comb out her hair.  Smirking, Spike walked past her wearing nothing but his partially zipped jeans hanging off his hips.
“Feel like doin’ more shopping, Slayer?”
“While I’m in the shower, would you run down and get me some clean pants and a shirt?”
“What do you want?”
“Want just what I’ve got, only cleaner.” When she bit her lip dubiously, he continued. “You don’t have to worry about anything else. Soon’s I get cleaned up, I’ll go get something more suitable for this evening and something to eat. Just grab me some clean jeans to wear.”
“Can I buy you pajamas too?”
“You can buy ‘em, but you can’t make me wear ‘em.”
“I can’t sleep in the same room with you if you’re naked!”
He was laughing as he closed the bathroom door, leaving her standing with her hands on her hips and glaring after him. Tossing her wet hair, she turned and headed for the door, afraid of what she’d find when he came out if she didn’t have clean clothes for him.
Which turned out to be a legitimate worry as she opened the door to find him with a towel hanging precariously from his slim hips.  Marching up to him and ignoring his blatantly displayed body and the way he was smirking at her flaming face, she thrust the bag at him saying, “Clothes. Now.” 
“You’re no fun, Slayer,” he said, sighing when she spun around and walked into the small sitting room, keeping her back to him until she heard the bathroom door close again.  He emerged in just a minute, pulling the black tee-shirt over his head. Giving her a glare, he tossed the sweatpants she’d included with the jeans and shirt onto the bed. “I sleep naked, Slayer. Get over it.”
“This isn’t negotiable, Spike,” she said, glaring and moving closer to him now that he was dressed again.
“Too bloody right it isn’t,” he growled back, stepping forward to meet her angry gaze. 
They were already standing nose to nose when they both remembered what had happened the last time they were angry and in close proximity. Buffy bit her lip, moving far enough away to be out of kissing distance. Spike stepped back at the same time, his face shutting down.  He sat down and put on his boots; he glanced at his old socks, then shrugged and dropped them on the floor. Slinging his coat over his shoulders, he opened the door and strode into the hall.
“Where are you going?”
 The door slammed behind him, leaving Buffy to stare at it. He’d promised not to feed while they were here, but she wasn’t sure if she could trust that promise. She bit her lip, wondering what to do before deciding she probably wouldn’t be able to find him anyway. Crossing her fingers that he wasn’t killing anyone, she turned back to her own bed and began to sort through her purchases and put them away. 
With Spike gone, and her sunburn still itching, she took off her sweats and stretched out on the bed in her underwear, sighing at how good the cool sheets felt on her still-heated skin.  She turned on the TV and settled back to catch up on some afternoon soaps, smiling at the way you could pick up one of those shows weeks later and it would hardly have progressed from the last one you’d seen.  Unless, of course, someone had died or gone missing...
The sound of Spike’s key clicking the lock woke her just in time for her to turn over to face the door. Which had opened, leaving a staring vampire in the entrance to the room. Buffy pulled the sheet up to her chin and glared at him.
 “Stop that!”
“Stop what?”
“Looking at me like that!”
He snorted. “You don’t want me lookin’, don’t be laying around half-naked. It’s my room too, you know.”
“Says the man who thinks I should be okay with it that he’s naked all the time.”
“I doubt my naked body has the same effect on you as yours does on me, luv,” he said in a much milder tone than she would have expected. “That’s about you being a priss, this is about me being able to walk the rest of the evening... which it is by now, by the way.”  He walked in and made a point of turning his back on her, tossing a bag on his bed. “Why don’t you get dressed in something pretty and I’ll buy you dinner?”
Buffy watched him with narrowed eyes, but when he kept his back turned, she slipped out of bed and ran to the closet to grab one of the complimentary robes hanging there.  She debated about what to wear to dinner in a casino when her escort was going to be vampire in black jeans and tee shirt, settling on a plain, but flattering black sheath that could be dressed up or down.  She carried it, and the appropriate underwear, into the bathroom and quickly dressed and did her make up. If there was a tiny voice in her head reminding her that she was getting all dressed up to go out to eat with someone who drank blood and looked like escaped punk rocker from the 80s, she ignored it. Telling herself she wanted to look decent because she was going to be out in public, in a place where people dressed up all the time, she finished her hair and went out to put her shoes on.
She hadn’t looked at Spike until she sat down to fasten her sandals, pausing in shock when she saw that he, too, had changed clothes. Wearing black dress pants and a black silk shirt, he looked like he’d just walked off a GQ photo shoot. The cheekbones that she’d noticed the first time she ever saw him, suddenly took on a life of their own now that his hair was slicked back and he was dressed in normal clothes. 
“What?” he asked when she continued to stare at him, mouth agape and shoe in hand. “Did you think I was going to take you—to go out to dinner at a nice place dressed like a bouncer?”
“Uh. No, of course not. I knew you wouldn’t...” She sighed and put her sandals on. “I’m sorry, Spike. I guess I did think that. I’ve never seen you wear anything else.”
“Apology accepted, luv,” he said walking over to her and offering his hand to help her up. “Stand up, let’s have a look at you.”  In heels, her head came to his chin. He stepped back and ran his eyes over her, smiling when she blushed and unconsciously straightened her dress.  “You’ll do, Slayer. You’ll do.”
“I’ll do? That’s it? I’ll ‘do’?”  She snatched the key and the small bag she’d bought off the dresser and stalked to the door.
“Oh, come on, Slayer,” he groused, following her out. “You know you’re gorgeous. Don’t need an old vamp to tell you that, do you?”
She sniffed and punched the button for the elevator. “I don’t need it, but it might have been nice to hear it.”
“I promised to be good... never said anything about being nice.”  When she didn’t respond, he leaned down and whispered in her ear, “But you do look good enough to eat, luv.”
She gave him a wide-eyed look that made him laugh, then glanced away quickly. “No matter how you meant that....”
“You’ll never know, Slayer. You’ll never know.”
“You’re disgusting.”
“See, that’s what happens when I try to be nice – you tell me I’m disgusting. Can’t win for losing here.” 
His quiet chuckles as they rode the elevator down never stopped, and by the time they reached the first floor, she was laughing with him. Still smiling, he steered her toward the restaurant and nodded to the headwaiter who quickly escorted them to a small table near the stage. 
“Do you know him?”
“Do now. You’d be amazed at what throwing around hundred dollar bills can do for a bloke’s popularity in this town.”
“I think that would do a lot for your popularity in almost any town,” she said with a wry smile. “Are we going to run out of money already?”
“Nah. I only sold about a fourth of what we brought with us. We’re in good shape for as long as we want to stay here.”
“Where are you going to get blood?” She tried to keep her voice casual, but she’d noticed a slight flush to his skin, and he seemed much happier and more contented than when he’d slammed out of the room. She mentally crossed her fingers that she wasn’t going to have to stake him before they got home.  He cocked his head at her, obviously reading her real thoughts, and sighed.
“This is Vegas, baby. You can get anything you want if you have enough money—” He was interrupted by a buxom brunette who ignored Buffy to lean over him and whisper in his ear.  While Buffy stared, the woman ran a hand into his shirt and visible played with one nipple while she continued to whisper. Her ample breasts were pressed against his arm, and Buffy couldn’t help remembering his implied insult to the size of her own breasts. She clutched the table hard enough to crack the wood. Spike took the girl’s hand from his chest and kissed it before pushing it and her chest away.  “Having dinner here, luv, with my... partner.  I’ll catch up with you later, yeah?” The girl pouted, gave Buffy a glare, then flounced away with much more rear action than was necessary.
“I... You... She....” Buffy couldn’t get her breath to call the girl all the names that were going through her mind.
“Sorry about that, Slayer,” he said. “I told you throwing around those hundred dollar bills makes a man popular.”
“Was that a...?”
“Working girl?  Yeah, she is. Bit of a special sort of working girl. Caters to a particular cliental, if you know what I mean.”
“How would I know what you mean? What kind of a place is this?” Buffy’s voice was climbing, and he put a hand over hers in an attempt to calm her down. “I don’t hang out places where people like that work.”
“Shhh, Buffy. Calm down. The poor bint heard I was handing out money for... services rendered... and she was offering. That’s all. She probably thought you were a vamp too, so—”
Buffy’s voice dropped down, but she snatched her hand away. “Exactly what kind of services, Spike?” It was clear Buffy was already figuring it out.
“She lets vamps drink from her if they can pay for it. There’s quite a few working girls like that here. It’s all above board – they know the vamps won’t kill them or tear them up, and the vamps get to feed without worrying about being tossed out in the desert sun by hotel security. Everybody’s money is good here, Buffy.”
“You drank from her today?”
“From one of her friends. Guess word went out that there were more bills where the ones I gave out came from.” He looked into Buffy’s flashing eyes and sighed again. “Won’t happen again, Slayer. I’ve already made arrangements to have blood brought to the room.  But when I left, I was....”
“You were mad at me.”
He nodded. “Was. Needed to get away before I... we... did anything we’d regret. And I was hungry. Hadn’t eaten since... I’m not really sure.  When some underdressed woman figured out what I was and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse...” He sighed and looked almost ashamed. “I couldn’t refuse.” He watched her face turn cold and hard. “It was freely-given blood, Buffy. I didn’t hurt her, and I paid her well for it.”
“That’s just... just... icky.”
<<     >>