Spike knocked on Sweet’s
door, and waited for the ‘come in’.
Spike took a deep breath,
and entered. The first thing he noticed – you couldn’t fail to miss it, was the blown-up photograph he’d
sent Sweet for his birthday hanging on the wall. Spike then glanced at the man himself, who was looking quite cheerful, in
his leery kind of smile way.
“Morning Spike –
come in, sit down, coffee?”
Sweet pressed the intercom,
and Lorne entered with a trolley, and served them
When he’d left the room,
Sweet looked at Spike.
“Okay Spike, I’ve
got a few things on various subjects I’d like to say – so we’ll crack on. First – I think an apology
is in order”
Spike looked at his boss impassively,
but said nothing – Sweet continued.
“Well, I’m sorry
– I’m sorry I listened to Glory, I should have realised that she had some ulterior agenda going on. I’ve
since learned that she was trying to ruin Betty’s – sorry, I mean Buffy’s career – although how she
thought that loosing us millions in revenue would make me think she was some sort of managerial material I do not know”
Spike sat there still –
he was a little surprised that Sweet even knew the word sorry existed – when he said an apology was in order, Spike
immediately thought that Sweet wanted him to apologise………but well! You lived and learned, didn’t
“And as for you storming
out of meetings – I do wish you wouldn’t – you might miss something vital, but that’s about to change
too, I’ll tell you more in a minute. Now, the tribute show – inspired – and I’ll never know how you
got Glory to give up the slot”
“Glory? – Oh,
let’s just say, she got a little tied up………Basically – the guests she had lined up for the show
left - there was trouble before I got there, some old rivalry between some of the guests – then they learned what
Glory had in mind, they went. I had a phonecall from Xander telling me Rack was dead, the news was over-running – we
had just under an hour to go before broadcast, and the network asked if I could fill 38 minutes – I did – I was
at the right place at the right time – plus, I’d been doing my job, properly.
I’d got an idea for
doing some ‘tribute’ shows anyway – profiling band members, using footage of concerts interviews and comments
from the band members themselves – I’ve got several in mind actually – and what with the anniversary of
Noiz being in the business for 25 years coming up, and a possible ‘best of’ album being released, I thought it
prudent to do them first…like I say, I was doing my job – which of late you don’t give me credit for –
THAT’S why I storm out of meetings”
Sweet looked at Spike –
and as Spike was on a roll, Sweet let him continue.
“To be told how to do
my job, to do the basics, to go out talent spotting – to sign new bands isn’t only annoying, it’s insulting,
especially in front of the other managers – it shows lack of respect for me as a manager, so, the only way I know to
show you my disapproval is to walk out”
Sweet nodded and said ruefully
“Yes, yes…I DO
understand, I should have had more faith in you”
“Yes, you should have”
Spike was quick to reply
“I think we both have
had other things on our minds too, huh?” Sweet ventured, looking closely at Spike’s reaction.
Spike was genuinely puzzled.
“Dru?” Sweet said,
still looking hard at him
“Dru? – What about
“What are your…intentions – shall we say?”
I intend to stay as far away from the mad – woman as I can – that’s MY intention – I only hope
and pray hers is the same from now on!”
Spike didn’t take his
eyes of Sweet for a second while he said that. He nearly swore, he nearly said ‘mad bitch’, but didn’t think
it entirely appropriate.
Sweet nodded and said,
“I rather gather from
Lorne that she has…how shall I say…”
“Been making a bloody
nuisance of herself as far as I’m concerned?” Spike thought it only fair to put all his cards on the table about
how he felt about Dru now, so he continued,
“If Lorne hadn’t
been at your birthday party the other night, I hate to think what would have happened – I’ve not given her ANY
encouragement, quite the opposite in fact, I’ve been quiet, disinterested, and practically downright rude to her –
I want to make it clear to her that not even friendship is possible – because with Dru, it has to be all or nothing,
and believe me – I TOTALLY want nothing, she bled me dry emotionally and there is NO WAY I’m ever going through
Sweet nodded, he was glad
to hear it and leaned back in his executive chair.
“We’re going away
for a little holiday next weekend. When we come back, well I shall sort something out – I shan’t expect you at
any function where she might be for a while, until she settles down” Sweet said
Spike thought **settles down…when
hell freezes mate** but voiced nothing.
“You like the picture
then” Spike asked smiling
Sweet turned to look at it
and then he turned back to Spike.
1979…I was thinking…I rather wish I’d kept my Roman nose now – rather regal looking, don’t you
Spike stopped himself rolling
his eyes, vain sod Sweet was!
“It was your first solo
arrangement, wasn’t it?”
Sweet turned to Spike and
leered a grin,
“First SUCCESSFUL gig
I did solo…remember that disaster-ridden tour of
Alpha, Beta, Gamma the year
before – where the tour bus blew up in the end…that was my first!” Spike didn’t know this and he grinned
– well, well, well, who’d have thought it – Sweet admitting to failure.
no, I was only a year old at the time – but I did read about it…didn’t know it was you though!”
“I’d like to keep
it quiet, if you don’t mind!” Sweet said, but he was still sort of smiling.
“We all learn by our
mistakes, well, hopefully we do” Spike said, shrugging, wondering where this little meeting was headed now………Sweet
that you don’t have to come to any more monthly meetings, Spike, it’ll save us both in the long run, I won’t
tell you how to do your job, and you won’t have to keep on storming out – saves face all round – any information
you need I’ll either email you or get Cordelia to pass it on to you.
And I think a pay rise is due to you too, plus a bonus for every band you sign that has
top ten success – what do you say to that?”
Spike nodded thoughtfully,
“What about the idea
for the tribute shows – I’ve got The Applejacks, Stormy Weather, The Pete Quellar Band and The Gentlemen as suggested
Sweet held his hands out and
“Sounds excellent to
me – I’ll leave it entirely in your hands – use who and what you want, and when it’s ready you bring
me a copy and I‘ll book you a slot on the network. Right then, is there anything else?” Sweet asked
Spike more than pleased with
the outcome of this meeting, put down his coffee cup and stood up.
“I don’t think
so – as long as you keep Dru away from us, then I shall stay”
This shocked Sweet –
so Spike had been contemplating leaving………
“Us?” Sweet asked
“Sorry? - Us what?”
Spike asked puzzled
“You said keep Dru away
Buffy and myself, we’re in a relationship together, and it’s going really well”
“Oh good, yes, well
right, um – I’ll see that you get the minutes of any meetings and um, I’ll back date your rise from August
– well, bye then Spike, and don’t forget – as soon as you have a copy of the new show format, send it to
“Will do – bye”
the men shook hands and Spike left…all in all, not a bad meeting………not a bad meeting at all!!! He
made his way up to the café.
It was Xander who saw Spike
first, and warned the others.
“Spike – how’d
it go, my friend?” Xander looked a little apprehensive
“Oh, he said he was
sorry about Glory”
“Did he – WOW!”
“I got a pay rise –
“Really - You lucky
“Had the idea for my
own TV show approved – just got to send him a copy”
Everybody was grinning by
“YOUR OWN TV SHOW! Bloody
hell Spike, anything else?
“Um…let me think
– oh yes he promised not to tell me how to do my job again”
Xander’s eyes were nearly
popping, and Cordy’s and Buffy’s grins were wider than ever!
“Good god, and we were
worried that he might fire you!” Xander gasped in incredulity,
“Oh yeah, and I don’t
have to go to any more of those damned infernal monthly meetings – so I don’t have to keep storming out!”
Buffy put her arms around him and cuddled him up.
“Wow Spike – you
got all that – you are so clever!”
“Not really kitten…I’d
got my resignation all written up ready, just in case, I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of sacking me!”
“Well – I suppose
I’d better get back to see how Cassie’s doing”
“Actually Cordy –
when she’s done the cataloguing, I need her to do some research for me, okay?” Spike said, and Cordelia nodded
and left with Xander.
Buffy and Spike were still
holding each other
“I was worried! –
Well a little” Buffy said
“Don’t worry kitten,
I got another concession out of him too, but it wasn’t for general consumption – although we can tell Harmony
and Xander, he’s promised to keep Dru well away from us – and we won’t be expected at any function while
she’s there – isn’t that great!”
“Wow – you DID
get everything covered!”
“Um, Buffy – are
you ready to do your recording?” they both looked up and saw Ford leaning around the door.
“Just coming –
come down with me?” Spike nodded and they left the café holding hands.
“Um, so Kitten, did
you find out how Xander get that bruise on his forehead?”
“Oh, you’ll never
“Are you going to the
restaurant today?” Anya asked
“This evening, yes –
I thought we could have a light lunch here, I’ve poached some salmon – we can have fine green beans and new potatoes
with it – I’ve made a lite lemon hollandaise sauce too,” Giles said
“Sounds lovely –
right, well, I’m going to take my coffee out on the terrace and read the papers – are you going to join me?”
“Soon, there are a few
letters I want to catch up on, give me half an hour”
Anya got herself settled on
one of the loungers, and began to read. She was pleased, Giles had calmed down a little now, he wasn’t so ‘up-tight’
as he had been of late.
Idly flicking through the
pages, Anya read the book reviews, looked at the fashion pages, and was heading for the crossword, when a familiar face caught
her eye…page 25, there was a photograph of Jenny Callender, with the headline:
‘Betrayed, by my lover
and my best friend’ Anya sat up spluttering with indignance
“Of all the cheap, nasty,
“You okay Anya?”
Anya quickly shut up, put
a big false grin and hid the newspaper behind her back.
“YES!” Anya said
“What is it now?”
“Nothing – Oh…here
…you might know who…look” She showed him the article.
I knew YOU first…she never paid for a meal in the restaurant or got herself a hotel while she was in LA, I think she’s
got a damnable cheek!” Giles said, handing Anya back the paper.
“Well, so do I –
You’re right – she was always staying at my place – I’ve a good mind to-“
“Now Anya, relax…let
it wash over you – it’s only words” Giles said serenely.
“Huh? Oh um, yeah…okay…”
Anya was amazed what this
new yoga instructor must be doing for Giles … perhaps she ought to try it too!
“Hello, Willy –
is that you?”
Resisting the temptation to
be sarcastic, Willy just said,
“Yeah...is that you
“The heats off, you
can come back to work”
“I said, the-“
“I heard what
you said, how do you know the heats off me?”
“Coz one of those big
guys that came in here looking for you before – he told me she ran out on them without paying – so you’re
Willy sat up - his mind began
“Okay Jon…is somebody
making you say this, just to lull me into a false sense of security – is this a trap?”
“No, I wouldn’t
do that, look I’ve spoken to the boss, he said you can have your old job back, and I want my old job back – I
must be $40 a week down at least…”
“Okay – but if
this is a trap, just remember, I know where you live, and where you keep your comic books!”
“I’m not trying
to trick you! – I just want you to come back so I can get back to being a bus-boy”
be in for the shift tonight”
“Good, I’ll tell
the boss, he’ll be pleased – bye”
Buffy slipped the cans off
her head and fluffed her hair.
Spike opened the door to the
recording room and smiled.
“That was lovely babe
– and I’ve had an idea to do a dance re-mix of it too – so ready for a drink?”
“Yup – dance re-mix
“Buffy – before
you go…” Ford’s voice came over the intercom
The booth door opened and
Ford came out holding what looked like two tickets.
“Could you use these?
– Two tickets for the Premiere of ‘The Rowan Tree,’ I did the soundtrack – but well, Premiere’s
aren’t my thing”
“Oh – that would
be great, yeah, thanks Ford…when is it?”
“Thursday – 7pm
enjoy have fun!”
“We will, thanks…um,
we can go, can’t we Baby?” Buffy asked turning to face Spike
“Sure – looks
a good film too – really scary”
have to take a cushion to hide behind!”
“No you won’t,
you can cuddle up to me!” Both grinning, Buffy put the tickets in her pocket.
“So, you didn’t
finish telling me about Glory” Spike said
“Oh yes, well, Cordelia
said that Cassie came in first thing on the Saturday morning, she went to her, and told her what you’d said about working
in the office and then word has it that Sweet’s arrived, he knew he’d have lots to do as Rack had died.”
“So then Cassie went
and told Sweet what Glory had planned…good girl!” Spike said
Buffy nodded and then continued,
“So then Rack orders
Glory’s desks to be emptied, and she was to be sent to him as soon as she came into the building – security escorted
her up – Cordy was just on her way up to Sweet’s office to take him the viewing figures for the programme you
did – and got in the elevator with them. She said Glory looked tired, like she hadn’t slept much, and a little
dishevelled – but most of all she looked angry”
“I’ll bet! I bet
she was going to go into Sweet’s office, shouting about what I’d done to ruin her show…!”
“And instead she gets
fired – Sweet’s got things over her so she couldn’t do anything else but go quietly – if she tries
anything, like going to the papers or the like, he’ll sue the pants off her and promised her she’d never work
in this country again”
“And I get the slot
for my show idea!”
“Yes, clever man –
when did you come up with that?” Spike pulled the door to the café open and allowed Buffy to go in first.
“Well actually, it was
that Birthday of Sweet’s triggered something in my mind – I knew that it was coming up to 25 years of Noiz being
in the business, and then I saw one of the ‘Applejacks’ at Sweet’s party – he must be pushing sixty
now, and I thought it would be an idea to do tribute stuff before it all got too late – shouldn’t have to wait
until somebody’s dead to say something nice about them!”
really have resigned?” Spike stopped reaching for a tray and said honestly,
“Well, if I thought
for one second he was going to sack me, I’d have thrown it o the desk, sure – I wouldn’t have given him
the satisfaction. But right from the off – he was ‘nice’ – if that’s a word I can use to describe
“Not one used everyday
– you can be sure of that!”
“First thing he said
was, ‘I think an apology is in order’ and I thought, oh yeah, well I will, if you will – I was just about
to say that too, when bloody hell, he say’s it – ‘I’m sorry for what Glory did’ – you
could have knocked me down with a feather! And it just got better from there…pay rise, I don’t have to go to monthly
meetings…I thought to myself – go on Spikey old boy – pitch your idea for the show, I did - and bingo…what
do you want to drink pet?”
“Tall freshly squeezed
anything………will you front the show yourself?”
might find some pretty little blonde to do it for me…” Buffy said nothing, she didn’t catch on to what he
“Would you fancy it?”
Spike asked, putting their drinks down on one of the low coffee tables.
“Yes you, who did you
think I meant?” Spike asked her with a grin.
“I – I don’t
– I didn’t think – I mean…I don’t think I could do it!”
“Course you could –
I winged it Friday – just came off the top of my head – I’d properly script it for you”
“Yeah but you’ve
got it all up here, haven’t you? (Buffy touched her temple) Dates, facts and figures”
“Well, we’ll see,
I won’t force you – I’ve got to complete your tour dates yet, haven’t I?”
“Yeah – oh is
that me?” Buffy had heard a little ‘beep’ noise.
Spike took out his cell phone
out of his pocket
“Must be pet, it’s
“Oh, it’s Willow
– oh god, I’ve been neglecting her…”
off when ever you choose, without so much as a bye-your-leave – because I won’t stand it, do you hear me Willy
– you are very, VERY lucky to have a job here at all – disappear again, and s will this job, for GOOD next time
– do you understand?”
“So you say…there’s
been a few dodgy characters around here looking for you, so security have informed me”
“Oh, um really?”
Willy feigned innocence, but didn’t look his boss in the face.
“Get back to where you
belong behind that bar…and I don’t know what he’s been doing behind that bar, but although the figures are
okay – we’ve been getting through copious amounts of Scotch and Vodka, for some reason…”
“I will boss”
“Mix me a decent vodka
martini, would you? – It’s been ages” Willy smiled and said,
Seemed that Jon hadn’t
caught onto using the schnapps to make the cocktails, and had been using the real stuff, proper vodka and scotch – that’s
why he’d been getting through it…well – he was back - Willy was back in business!
Cordelia said grinning, as Buffy and Spike prepared to leave the office.
“Don’t be cheeky
you, anyway, we’re going to the Premiere tonight we want to get home and get ready in plenty of time, don’t we
“Yup!” Buffy said
with a grin.
“Just kidding, I’ll
be off myself soon – I tell you Spike, this Cassie is a little god-send – I’m getting home at a decent time,
and I don’t feel half so tired now!”
“I know – she’s
amazing, all the research she’s done for those programmes I’m going to do!”
“Well, have fun –
and Buffy – take a cushion – I hear it’s REALLY scary!”
“I said that, about
the cushion! – I went with my friend to see Nightmare on Elm Street years ago – I don’t think I slept for
a month afterwards!”
“Well, this is both
gory and psychologically scary – so be warned!”
As Buffy and Spike walked
out of the Aphrodite building the humid oppressive heat hit them.
“Looks like we are going
to have a storm – would you look at that sky – it’s black!”
“I hope it holds off
until we are inside at the Premiere!” Buffy said. In the distance they could hear the low rumble of thunder.
“They usually put up
a covered walkway if things look dodgy weather-wise”
Spike unlocked the car and
they drove to his place.
Two hours later they were
ready to go, Buffy slipping on her new Manolo’s she’d bought back in New York – this was the first opportunity
she’d had to wear them.
“Will I do?”
“You look gorgeous…hmm,
what’s that perfume you’re wearing?”
“Yves St Laurent, I
thought I’d continue the theme as I’m wearing one of his dresses”
There was a loud rumble of
thunder, and they both looked outside.
“Winds getting up –
come on then Kitten – let’s get there before this storm starts”
They made it to the venue,
and Buffy stepped out of the car, it had just started to spit with rain.
The camera bulbs flashed and
she smiled and waved to various people who called her name. She made sure she held Spike’s hand and they went inside.
When they came out, there
was a tropical monsoon pouring! Spike’s car was bought round, and Buffy stepped off the covered walkway straight into
Spike drove home carefully
– the roads were practically flooded – the drains barely coping with such torrents of water.
Dru was like a cat on hot
bricks. She knew where Daddy kept his stash; she needed a little coke for tonight – to give her a little confidence
and to numb any pain…
She closed the door silently
and crept across the hallway, having got enough ‘stuff’ for her needs.
She could hear Cecily and
Lorne talking in the bedroom opposite, Lorne’s voice getting louder as he came closer to the door.
be here at 3.30pm, so make sure you’re ready – I’ve put your favourite pyjama’s in the overnight bag,
along with a few toiletries – they said they’d ring me in the morning to fetch you – and don’t worry,
he said the camera is a lot smaller this time, it shouldn’t hurt your throat – well I must go kitten – Daddy’s
gone to Florida and I’ve got a million things to do – I’ll see you later baby – remember – NOTHING
to eat at all, okay?”
“’Kay Lorne, I
promise…is Dru around?”
Dru quickly dashed to the
stairs like she’d just come up them, and Lorne opened the bedroom door fully.
“Oh, here she is, you
“Yes, is Ceccy awake
then now?” Dru asked, pretending she didn’t know
“Awake and asking for
you – I’ll leave you to it”
Dru went into the bedroom.
Cecily was propped up in bed.
you feeling?” Dru asked sitting on the bed.
“Fine, a lot better
– I’ll be better still this time tomorrow when I’m back home here…you do remember I’ve got to
go back to the clinic this afternoon, stay overnight”
“Yes, you said”
“The camera will be
smaller this time, thank god – boy was my throat sore the last time” Cecily continued, and Dru just nodded.
“You okay pet?
- You seem a little…far away. Have you taken your medicine?”
Dru nodded and said ‘yes’.
She was trying not to be too
excited about tonight – she’d be able to put her plan into action………
Several times in the week,
Dru had nearly cracked and shown Cecily her photo of Buffy from the paper, the photo of Buffy and her REAL boyfriend coming
out of Scandals nightclub…but, well, Cecily had become like Lorne and Daddy, if she spoke about Spike, well they ALL
seemed to get cross with her – telling her lies, telling her to forget him…so this time she said nothing. She’d
be able to tell them ‘told you so’ when Spike was back in his rightful place, with her, by her side………
Cecily left for the clinic.
After a light supper, (Dru
had told Lorne she didn’t want dinner) they sat down to watch TV. Having had a busy day, Dru was hoping that Lorne would
do as he usually did, and that was fall asleep. She’d turned the volume down a little, and chose a documentary
to watch rather than a comedy; sometimes she noticed the canned laughter woke him up.
She tried not to show she
was nervous…but she was just itching to get out, and kept a beady eye on the time.
By 8.40pm Lorne’s chin
was on his chest, and he’d begun to snore softly. Very slowly and carefully, Dru got up off the sofa and went upstairs
to get ready.
After carefully arranging
pillows and one of Cecily’s wigs in her bed to make it look like she was asleep, Dru crept downstairs and after checking
the alarms weren’t set, she selected a set of car keys, and left quickly and quietly via the front door.
Making her way quickly to
the garages, she got into the battered old Mini that was used by the staff in the grounds of the house, and she drove carefully
down to the gates. The Automatic sensor activated and the gates opened, and she drove out – she was free!
Pulling up in one of the more
‘rattier’ ends of town, she got out and walked down an alleyway…………
She had to be careful; she
didn’t want too many hobos around…perfect, one on his own. She saw one with a bottle wrapped in a brown paper
“Give me that”
Dru said, snatching the bottle off him.
Hardly in a fit state, the
vagrant staggered to his feet.
“You want it back…come
and get it…” Dru waggled the bottle enticingly. The evening was humid and the air thick, in the distance she heard
a rumble of thunder…
Trying to resist the stench,
when the filthy man got close enough she said
“Wha – gimme back
my bottle – I’ll fuckin’ kill ya”
“If you want this back…I
said, hit me!” Dru poured a drop of his precious booze on the ground, and the hobo went for her, punching her in the
face. Her head snapped back and she laughed.
“Again!” He sideswiped
with a right hook, and again she laughed! The vagrant tried to get his bottle back, but this crazy woman wanted him to hit
her…so he did, hard this time – and Dru staggered, still grinning maniacally, she tasted the coppery saltiness
of blood in her mouth, dropped the bottle and ran back to her car. It had started to spit with rain.
She locked herself in, and
with shaky fingers, she angled the driving mirror to check her face. She had a black eye starting, a bloody nose and a split
lip…fumbling; she took out the snort of coke, and took it. The pain of her injuries swiftly melted away, and she felt
a confidence surge through her. Smiling to herself, she started the car engine - now for the main plan…………