"You come on like a dream
Peaches and cream
Lips like strawberry wine
And you're mine.."
Spike hated being seventeen. It was a crappy age, being so close to adulthood that you could taste
Damn year dragged on, with seemingly no end in sight.
Sixteen had been good. A lot of things happened when you crossed the line from fifteen to sixteen.
Not quite an adult, but no longer a child. A person had a lot more say in their own lives when they
that magic age. You could stay out later...you didn't have to be in bed by a certain time...and, best of all, you could
drive a car.
Not that there was anyplace exciting to drive to in Sunnydale.
Spike rolled over from his back to his front, and let his fingers trail across the azure water of the
pool. The sun felt good, but he wasn't really used to it yet.
He'd been looking forward to living in California. England was all right, but he'd heard so many stories
from his friends who'd traveled to the states, and it always made him yearn to be able to see the amazing things they'd described
to him in such vivid detail.
After nagging his grandmother to the point of madness, she'd finally agreed to allow him to come and
live in Sunnydale with his uncle.
Although he'd felt a little guilty about leaving her alone at Blackoaks, rattling around the huge estate
with no one but the servants for company, she'd alleviated that guilt by deciding to return to the townhouse for an indefinite
period of time.
So Spike had boarded a plane for the United States with a clear conscience. Grandma Abby had plenty
of friends in London, not to mention Aunt Susan and her brood.
Now, he was finally living in California...and he was bored out of his mind. Stuck in a one stoplight
town called Sunnydale, and living with a high school librarian. The fun never stopped!
Not that he wasn't getting along with his uncle. He had only met his mother's brother a few times in
his life, the last time at his parent's funeral when he was ten years old.
Rupert Giles was every inch an English gentleman, from his tweed jackets to his sensible oxford shoes
to his wire rimmed spectacles. He lived a quiet and bookish life, and the only concession he had made to a "California Lifestyle"
was the swimming pool he'd had installed in his back yard after he'd been involved in a car accident years ago. When he'd
come home from the hospital, he'd begun an exercise regimen that would put Charles Atlas to shame. Since he enjoyed swimming
but hated the drive to the health club one town over, he'd had the pool built, along with a small cottage on the far side
of it, set back in the gardens. Although it had served as a sort of makeshift gymnasium for a while, it had been cleaned out
and redecorated. It was now a bedroom-sitting room, and his uncle had turned it over to him.
It was a pretty nice set up. Fairly roomy, and he had all the privacy he wanted. Poor old Uncle Rupert
just couldn't stand the noise in his perfect little house, so the pool house arrangement suited them both nicely.
Spike had already made a few friends in town, and all of them had been awed by very idea of being able
to live in a separate area from parental control. Xander Harris in particular had almost been foaming at the mouth at the
notion of living apart from his own parents. Not that Spike could blame him. He'd met Xander's parents and he wouldn't want
to live with them either.
"You're all ribbons and curls
Oh, what a girl!
Eyes that sparkle and shine
sixteen, you're beautiful
And you're mine.."
He heard his uncle's car pull into the driveway. Although technically it was summer holiday, school
be starting in another week and the old boy wanted his cherished library in apple pie order before the students came
back and made a mess of his filing system.
The front door opened and closed, then the sliding door to the patio squeaked along it's runners. Spike
and saw his uncle glancing through the stack of mail in his hand.
"Oh, um....William. You have....let's see....a letter from your grandmother...your monthly stipend...and
He peered at the front of a neon pink envelope, covered with a messy black scrawl. "...I think it's from someone named....Donetta?"
Spike chuckled. "Drusilla," he corrected. "She's a friend from London."
"Uh...yes...well," Rupert Giles glanced at his nephew and promptly turned a brilliant shade of crimson.
"Oh, William, really! I have asked you time and time again to please wear an appropriate garment when you use the pool!"
Spike sighed and reached for a pair of cut offs. "Sorry, Unc...but it's not like anyone can see." He
gestured around at the high walls, covered by even higher shrubbery, and several tall bushy trees. "The only neighbor who
might get a shock is Mrs Summers and she's at work during the day."
"That's hardly the point, William. This is a small town we live in, a civilized society, and one does
not romp naked out of doors."
"Well, maybe one should," Spike suggested. He stood up and stepped into his shorts. "Might spice things
up around here for a change." Straightening, he zipped his fly, then turned and dove into the deep end of the pool, splashing
his uncle with a liberal amount of water.
He came up at the other end, beneath the slide. Shaking his shaggy curls out of his eyes, he saw his
uncles lips moving and knew he'd missed whatever he was supposed to be hearing.
"I'm sorry," he admitted. "I didn't hear you." Swimming to the side of the pool, he gazed up at the
older man, squinting in the afternoon glare of the sun.
"I said," Rupert continued, shaking the drops of water off his mail, "that Mrs. Summers is expecting
her daughter to arrive home either today or tomorrow. I will not be pleased if you give the girl an education in male anatomy
outside of the school grounds."
Spike grinned, unable to help himself. "So, I should give her that lesson in the school corridors, huh?"
"Very amusing," his uncle said dryly.
Spike heaved himself up out of the water, and sat on the brick deck, dangling his legs. "So...what's
Rupert had turned and was making his way back to the house, still perusing his mail. "Pardon?"
"The daughter." It was beginning to sound like things were going to pick up a bit on Revello Drive.
"She got a name?"
"Hmm? Oh, yes....Elizabeth."
Spike nodded. Elizabeth wasn't a bad name. Maybe she liked to be called Liz or Beth.
"But I believe she goes by a nickname..Buffy."
"Buffy?" Spike muttered. "What the hell kind of a name is Buffy?"
"You walked out of my dreams
And into my arms
Now, you're my angel divine
And you're mine..."
"You're my baby
You're my pet
We fell in love on the night we met.."
Saturday morning dawned hot and bright. The temperature was already in the high eighties before noon.
After rolling out of bed at 10:00, Spike had joined his uncle for the Saturday morning brunch ritual
they had been following ever since his arrival. One of the most surprising discoveries he'd made about his little known relative
was the fact that he was a pretty good cook.
Every Saturday at 10:30 on the spot, Spike would enter the dining room of his uncle's house and find
a platter of deliciously scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, various fruits, toast, muffins of one sort or another, and real English
tea served with milk and sugar. He still hadn't adapted to the American custom of squeezing lemons into tea.
After the meal, they would talk for a bit about whatever plans they had for the day. Spike always made
sure to offer himself up for any chores that needed doing before leaving the house.
It was a new experience for him. In England, he hadn't had to lift a finger to do anything other than
his school work. Black Oaks was fully staffed, with a large contingent of household servants...a butler, a housekeeper, three
upstairs maids and three downstairs, a chef, and three kitchen helpers. Along with the indoor staff, there was a grounds keeper
and his four assistants, a chauffeur, a stable master, and two stable hands.
The town house in London was almost as heavily staffed, save for the fact that there was only one
and no stable workers.
Still, even though it wasn't costing his uncle anything to have him in residence, Spike wanted to help
out if he could. After all, the man wasn't getting any younger. By Spike's calculations, Uncle Rupert had to be pushing 45.
This morning, the only thing he'd requested was that Spike skim the leaves and any other debris off
the surface of the pool. He had a man who came to clean and maintain the filters and heaters, but he wasn't due for a few
days, and Rupert hated leaves in the pool.
As Spike stood there, running the net back and forth, he caught a glimpse of himself in the pool house
window. He was going to have to get a haircut soon, before school started anyway. Stupid curls were definitely looking a little
on the shaggy dog side of things. He wondered idly if he should go ahead and bleach it again. It had been a while since he'd
bothered, and his hair was a mixture of light brown and platinum blonde.
He was hanging the skimmer back on it's hook, when he heard a car pull in to the driveway next door.
Mrs. Summers black Cherokee was in serious need of a brake job, and he always knew when she came home.
Spike could hear his uncle greeting their neighbor. Smiling to himself, he couldn't help thinking that
old Uncle Rupert was a good deal attracted to the woman. Not that he was surprised by it. She was a good looking woman, for
"....the traffic from the airport is murder in the afternoon."
"Oh, yes," his uncle replied. "I can imagine. Good show that you went early then."
A car door slammed, and Spike heard the click of heels on pavement.
"Anyway...this is my daughter. Buffy...this is Mr. Giles. He's the librarian at your new school."
"Hello, Buffy. Your mother speaks of you often, I almost feel I know you."
Spike was about to go into the house when he heard a girl's voice reply to his uncle's greeting.
"Hi. Nice to meet you."
Those five words were all she spoke, but the sound of her voice caught Spike's attention, and he peeked
around the hedge at the head of the driveway to get a look at his new neighbor.
"Bloody hell," he muttered beneath his breath, a remark that his grandmother had done her level best
to eliminate from his vocabulary. He'd had more than one crack across the knuckles from her, after he'd picked up the phrase
from the grounds keeper at Black Oaks, old Charlie Corcoran.
But he couldn't help it. This Miss Summers was absolutely hands down the prettiest girl he'd seen anywhere
She had long hair, a beautiful shade of honey brown. It was thick and shiny looking, and he wanted to
touch it. No more than five feet two inches tall, even in the heels she was wearing, her body was a pocket sized Venus; slender
legs that were lightly tanned, a tiny waist, and nicely curved breasts that
were surprisingly ample for such a small girl.
As his eyes moved avidly up and down her figure, he developed an immediate erection.
"...and I'm sure you'll be meeting him soon."
His uncle was speaking to her, apparently telling her about his transplanted nephew.
"That'll be nice," she said. "Will he be going to...."
"Uh, yes...Sunnydale High School. He'll be a senior this year."
"You know," Buffy's mother broke in. "We'll be having a birthday party for Buffy in a few days. Maybe
he'd like to come and bring some friends. She doesn't really know anyone here yet."
Spike grinned. Oh, he would definitely be attending that party. And he'd be very careful about who he
would be bringing along. No single guys allowed. Xander could come and bring his girlfriend, Anya. Oz was a shoe in, of course.
He'd been in love with his own neighbor, Willow, since they were kids.
"William?" his uncle called. He'd been spotted lurking in the shadows.
Shaking his hair out of his eyes again (he really was going to have to get it cut), he joined the three
people in the driveway.
"William...this is Buffy," Rupert continued. "She's been spending the summer with her father, I believe?"
Joyce nodded. "We'd only just moved in when she went to stay with her dad in Los Angeles," she explained.
"Buffy...this is Mr. Giles nephew, William Darlington."
Big green eyes with impossibly long lashes lifted to meet his gaze, mesmerizing him. "Hello," he managed
Buffy smiled up at him. "Hi!" she said, holding out her hand.
Spike took it and held it for a moment, his own larger hand seeming to swallow it up. It was small and
soft, and warm, and he felt a ridiculous urge to lift it to his lips and kiss it.
He was so done in by her that when she pulled her hand back, he forgot to let go!
"You touched my hand
My heart went "pop"
And, ooh when we kissed
I could not stop
You walked out of my dreams
And into my arms
Now, you're my angel divine
You're sixteen, you're
And you're mine
You're sixteen, so beautiful
And you're mine..."
"Today I'm gonna ride away
And feel the sun throughout my hair
Finally free to be
who I want to be
Who that is, I don't really care.."
"Mr. Giles' nephew is certainly a handsome boy, don't you think?"
Buffy paused in her unpacking, and stared out the window for a moment. It was a hot and cloudless day,
the sky wasn't nearly as blue as his eyes.
Joyce moved around the room, picking up each item of clothing Buffy unpacked and tossing it into her
basket. She smiled at the sight of her daughter, who had apparently forgotten the rest of the world for a moment.
"He's very polite, too," she went on. "Last week, he came out and helped me carry all those bricks for
the patio. He wouldn't let me pay him, either. He's been well brought up, you can tell."
"Mm-hmm," Buffy murmured, as she wandered over to open her bedroom window. "He's...nice."
It was all Joyce Summers could do to keep a straight face. She had seen Buffy's expression when William
had appeared on the scene, and had all but heard the twang of cupid's arrow as it whistled through her daughter and nailed
that young man right in the heart.
"Do you think we should invite him to your birthday party?" she asked, keeping her voice deliberately
"Yes!" Buffy said loudly, turning to face her mother. "I think we should. It's the...neighborly thing
"I agree," Joyce replied. She watched as Buffy stared out the window, and marveled at what a beauty
her baby was growing up to be. Beautiful, and sweet natured as well. She'd had no worries whatsoever about bringing Buffy
to Sunnydale, and moving her away from everyone she knew.
Her daughter made friends easily, and Joyce was certain that by the end of the first week of school,
Buffy would have a new group of kids to hang out and have fun with.
"Maybe we should have him bring some friends with him," Joyce added. "He hasn't been here terribly long
but I'm sure he's met some of the kids around the neighborhood."
"Good idea," Buffy said absently, then turned to look at her mother. "Do you want me to do any chores
today, Mom? Anything?"
Joyce shook her head. "No, honey. You just relax and get settled in. We'll worry about chores another
"Are you sure?" Buffy persisted. "I could...um...water the grass, or..pull weeds or something. I don't
Buffy had never in her life volunteered so eagerly for yard work, and it made Joyce smile inwardly,
knowing the reason behind this sudden burst of energy was a handsome English boy with blue eyes and a charming smile.
"Well," she said with a shrug. "I suppose you could do a few things in the back yard, if you want to.
The dandelions are trying to take over the lawn, and you could trim the rose bushes."
Buffy nodded. "I can do that! Just let me change."
"Cuz I've got friends who love me
Blue skies are above me
My blonde hair is everywhere
Sweet sixteen, gonna spread my wings
Sweet sixteen, it's my chance to shine
Buffy searched her dresser drawers for clean clothes. She found a pair of black denim shorts and pulled
them on, then donned her red halter top.
After touching up her make up, she brushed her hair and tied a red bandana around it.
Satisfied with her appearance, she practically skipped downstairs and out to the garage. She grabbed
the hedge trimmers and an empty pail, then headed for the back yard.
Peeking through a gap in the fence, she spotted Mr. Giles' nephew stretched out in a lounge chair by
pool. He was wearing the same cut off shorts he'd had on when she'd met him, but he'd removed his t-shirt to sun bathe.
"Oh....wow." He was so cute. She loved those messy brownish blond curls he'd kept pushing out of his
lovely blue eyes, and she'd been briefly envious of his beautiful bone structure, especially the high arch of his cheekbones.
It was so much more attractive than her own rounded cheeks which, to her mind, made her look babyish.
But, now...with his shirt off like that...Buffy could see that there was a lot more to admire about
than his good looking face. He had a lean, but well built upper torso, with a layer of muscle at his abdomen
that you could probably bounce a quarter off of. His biceps were well developed, without being overly muscled, and his arms
She watched as he lifted a can of soda and took a deep swallow. He had a soft and sensual looking mouth,
and she'd never wanted to kiss a boy so badly.
Forcing herself away from her little spy hole, she began working at the weeds in her mom's garden. Ten
later, when it appeared that William Darlington wasn't noticing her presence, she grabbed the hedge trimmers and went to work
on the roses.
"Ouch!" she said loudly, deliberately pricking herself on a thorn.
Her ruse worked, because a few seconds later, he appeared at the back gate.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
He seemed sincerely concerned, and Buffy felt a brief moment of shame for the subterfuge. A VERY brief
"Oh, yeah...I just stuck myself on a thorn," she replied, continuing to work the clippers.
William reached over the back of the gate and pulled the latch. He removed the clippers from her hand
and examined her thumb, wiping away the tiny drop of blood. "Does it hurt?" he asked, glancing up into her eyes.
"Um...no. Not really." Buffy shook her head.
With a smile, William lifted her hand and kissed the small wound. "Poor baby," he murmured.
Buffy wouldn't have noticed, or cared, if she'd cut her thumb completely off at that point!
"It's all right," he went on. "See..it's already stopped bleeding."
Although she was tempted to give her thumb a good hard squeeze to get the blood flowing again, she resisted
the urge. "Thanks," she murmured.
"You're welcome." His gaze captured hers, and a mutual zing of electricity bounced back and forth
Buffy felt a drop of sweat tickle it's way down her back, and she wiped her forehead with her free hand.
really hot today," she said, falling back on inane small talk about the weather.
"Yeah, it is," he agreed. "But I like it that way. I love the sun. Didn't see a lot of it where I'm
from," he added, releasing her hand.
There was a brief silence, then William pointed across the fence into his yard. "Would you like to come
over and use the pool?" he asked, mentally crossing his fingers and toes in the hopes that she would say yes.
It worked. "Yeah, that would be great," Buffy said, nodding enthusiastically. "Um....I'll go change."
She bent over to retrieve the hedge clippers, but he stopped her.
"I'll put it away for you," he offered. "In the garage?"
"Yeah, that's fine," she said, gesturing with her hand. "So...I'll just...um...be right back...don't
Although she walked calmly into the house, when the door closed behind her she set an all time "Buffy
Record" for changing. She dropped her discarded clothing in the middle of the floor, and wriggled into her white bikini. It
was her favorite bathing suit, as it contrasted so nicely with her light summer tan.
Pushing her feet into her sandals, she whipped off her bandana and rebrushed her hair. Then, calling
her intentions to her mom without waiting for a reply, she pelted downstairs and found William waiting for her by the patio
"Sweet sixteen, discovering
So much more to life
They played in the pool for the rest of the afternoon.
The California sun beat down on them, heating their skin, but the water was deliciously cool as they
and splashed about.
At one point, Spike went into the pool house and came out with a cotton blanket. Spreading it out
a shady spot on the lawn, he watched as Buffy climbed out of the pool and picked up an over sized
towel to dry off with.
When Buffy had come out of her house wearing a skimpy white bikini bathing suit, he had nearly choked
on his tongue, briefly surprised to find that it wasn't hanging out of his mouth.
He'd actually been forced to jump right into the water immediately, in the hopes of quieting down the
disturbance her appearance was causing in the inseam of his cut offs.
She had kicked off her sandals and stood at the shallow end of the pool, watching as he swam clear
to the other side of it.
After regaining a small amount of control, he'd invited her to join him in the water.
Now, she plopped down beside him, squeezing her wet hair in the towel, then dabbing up the drops of
sparkling on her chest.
Spike dropped to his knees on the blanket.
Buffy smiled at him.
Slowly becoming aware that he was blatantly staring at her, he shook himself out of his lustful intent.
"Want something to drink?" he offered.
"Sure," she nodded.
Spike swallowed hard. "Soft drink?"
"Any particular kind?" Christ! He sounded like a bloody waiter.
"Mmm...I don't know." She thought it over. "What kind do you have?"
He searched his memory, trying to call up the image of what he'd seen in the refrigerator earlier.
"Coke," he said. "Um...lemon-lime...some kind of orange soda..."
"Coke is fine," she interjected.
"Right!" He jumped to his feet and nearly ran into the house.
Spike rummaged around in the refrigerator, extracting two cans of Coke. Forcing himself to return at
slower pace, he saw Buffy laying prone on the blanket, her cheek resting on her folded arms.
And...she had untied the back strap of her bikini top!
His brain function took an immediate nose dive, as all the blood circulating through his body instantly
to one highly sensitive location.
Taking a deep breath, he sat down beside her and silently held out the can of soda.
Buffy lifted her head and smiled, accepting his offering. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," he replied automatically. Popping his can open, he downed a huge swallow of the cold
"Your back yard is really nice," Buffy observed, opening her can and taking a sip. "With all the bushes
and trees around the pool and all. Kind of looks like a jungle."
"You can use the pool anytime you want," Spike blurted out without acknowledging her comment.
"Oh! Well...thanks," she said, pleased by his offer.
There was a brief moment of silence, then he looked at her, studying her face. "So...you've got a birthday
Buffy nodded. "Yep. Sixteen at last." She hesitated and said, "My mother's having a party for me..."
"Yeah, so I've heard."
"She said I could invite you. Do you think you would.."
Is the sky blue? Does the earth revolve around the sun? Hell, yes!
"I'd like that," he said, smiling at her. "Sweet sixteen."
"Drivin' down to the club where we go to dance
Radio blastin' and the top is down
nothing in my way
Except the traffic of L.A. "
"Is it supposed to be this high?"
Spike laughed, treading water in the middle of the pool. "It's not THAT high."
Buffy continued climbing the ladder to the top of the slide. "I think I'm getting a nosebleed," she
as she sat down, holding on to the rails.
As far as she was concerned, the slide seemed ridiculously high and way too steep. It was practically
straight down. Lifting one hand to shade her eyes from the sun's glare, she peered out over the water.
"Are you still down there?" she inquired.
He chuckled again. "Just give yourself a little push. It's not that bad."
"That's easy for you to say," she replied. "You're already there."
She began to push off, then stopped. "I think I've changed my mind."
"Come on," he coaxed her. "Where are your stones, girl?"
"I must have left them in my other pants," she said. "I'm gonna get down and go look for them."
"Chicken!" he called out teasingly.
She drew up one foot to begin standing, but it slipped on the slick fiberglass. Losing her grip on the
handrail, she shot down the slide with a loud yelp.
When she surfaced, Spike asked, "You okay, luv?"
Buffy could tell he was trying to not to howl with laughter. Determinedly, she swam to the side of the
and climbed out.
"Buffy? Please, don't leave. I'm sorry I...."
"I'm not leaving," she said, heading back up the ladder. "That was fun! I want to do it again!"
"I want to know what it feels like
I need to see it from the inside
I can taste a bit
of what I will find
So much more to life
"Well, well I loved you
Like I never loved before
First time I saw you
Standing at your front door.."
Buffy wanted to scream when her mother called her in for dinner.
Her entire afternoon had been perfect up until that point. She'd spent it playing in a pool with a boy
she really liked and who seemed to like her as well, had managed to hold up her end of their conversations, and hadn't done
anything to embarrass herself, such as losing her top when she jumped into the water.
The very last thing she wanted to do was sit at dinner fielding her mom's questions about what her father
was up to these days.
When Joyce's head appeared over the fence, Buffy sent her a silent "Not NOW, mother!", a look her mom
With a loud sigh, she got to her feet and stomped across the yard. "Mom...I'm not really hungry right
now. Do I have to....what are you doing?"
Joyce had placed her hand on Buffy's forehead, ostensibly examining her for a possible fever. "I've
never heard you say "I'm not hungry" before," she explained with a teasing smile. "I thought you might be coming down with
Buffy jerked her head away. "Mother! Please!" she hissed. This was ALL she needed, her mom giving William
the impression that she ate a lot.
"Oh, calm down," Joyce said quietly. Looking past Buffy, she addressed William, still sitting on the
blanket. "Would you like to have dinner with us, William?"
His heart, which had dropped down into his stomach when it appeared that Buffy had to go home, bounced
back to it's original location. "Yes, thank you," he said, hoping he didn't sound too eager.
"It's too hot to turn the oven on, so I thought we could use the barbecue. You like steak?" Joyce asked.
"Absolutely," he nodded agreeably.
Buffy forgot all about being mad. She had the most wonderful mother on the face of the planet!
"When you were only sweet sixteen
Baby, how I loved you
How I really loved you.."
The evening turned out to be everything Buffy could have asked for, had she been asked.
Joyce had extended her dinner invitation to include William's uncle, who had been holed up in his study
trying to use the computer his nephew had only recently purchased.
After several frustrating attempts to access the information he wanted, Rupert Giles had been all too
eager to shut the machine down for the night.
Buffy had been given the job of setting the table on the patio while Joyce put together the ingredients
for a salad. She baked potatoes in the microwave, then took a cheesecake out of the freezer and set it on the kitchen counter
The men had offered up their services for whatever else needed doing. They were promptly taken up
on that offer and had been put in charge of grilling the steaks.
The food was perfectly prepared, and the conversation flowed easily between the four of them.
When the meal was consumed all the way to dessert, Buffy began to clear the table and carry the dishes
into the kitchen.
William jumped to his feet, taking the stack of plates and cutlery out of her hands. He followed
Buffy inside and between the two of them, they had the plates scraped and the dishwasher loaded in less
than fifteen minutes.
Standing side by side at the kitchen sink, so close that they were nearly touching, they made casual
small talk that included a heady undercurrent of flirtation.
It was the most fun she'd ever had doing dishes.
She peeked out the window and saw that the grown-ups were still talking as they polished off
the bottle of wine Mr. Giles had brought with him.
Turning to face William, she began to say something, but was cut off by the sound of a cell phone going
With an apologetic look, he fished the tiny phone out of his pocket.
"Hello?...Oh, hi...Actually, I am...When?...Yeah, maybe...Hang on a second." He looked at Buffy
and said, "This is a friend of mine, and he was asking if I wanted to meet up with him at this place
he hangs out at a lot."
Buffy had to concentrate on not looking completely crushed at this turn of events. Striving to sound
as though it wasn't important to her WHAT he did, she shrugged. "That's okay. I have a lot of..."
"I thought you might like to go," he interrupted. "But if it doesn't sound like something you want to
do then I'll tell him to skip it."
Her heart did a little somersault. He wasn't bailing on her! He was asking her out!
And she was standing here staring at him like an idiot instead of answering!
"Sounds like fun," she said. "I'll ask my mom."
"Standing on the corner
And you came walking by
And when I saw you
I said "my, my, my.."
William pulled his uncle's green Saturn into a free parking space and cut the engine.
Before Buffy could even get her seat belt unbuckled, he was around the front of the car and opening
the door for her.
Smiling as he extended one hand to her, Buffy silently agreed with her mother's earlier assessment
of his character...he'd been well brought up.
Once he had the car door closed, he kept hold of her hand. Her entire body tingled all the way across
the parking lot and inside a noisy building that had a sign over it proclaiming it "The Bronze."
William scanned the room, spotting his friends at a table close to the dance floor. Still holding Buffy's
hand, he led her through the crowd.
A boy with dark hair and a nice looking face greeted them. "You made it!" he announced redundantly,
giving Buffy a curious, but not unfriendly, once over.
"Nothing gets by you, does it?" William replied. "Buffy, this is Xander, who's under the impression
that he's amusing twenty-four hours a day."
"Are you saying I'm not?" Xander asked.
"That's what I'm saying." Giving Buffy's hand a gentle squeeze, he continued the introductions. "This
remarkably tolerant girl is Anya, Xander's girlfriend."
Anya had long, light brown hair, a pretty face, and a good figure...and Buffy was glad that she already
had a boyfriend.
"This," William went on, guiding her to a small sofa on the opposite side of the table, "is Buffy Summers,
and she's even newer in town than I am."
After an exchange of "Hellos" all around, William flagged down a waitress and ordered a couple of
"Do you remember
how I took you by the hand?
Do you remember
in that sunny summer land?"
"So, Buffy...what do you think of Sunnydale?" Xander asked. "Isn't it just THE place to be?"
Buffy smiled. "Well...it's getting better," she replied, looking at William, who returned her smile.
Their eyes met and lingered on each other intently.
Anya noticed the look they were exchanging. "Where did you used to live?" she asked, nudging her boyfriend
in the ribs. "Buffy?"
"Hmm? What?" Buffy's eyes snapped back into focus when she realized she'd been spoken to. "Oh...Los
Angeles. I was born there."
"Oh, man," Xander moaned. "From L.A. to Sunnydale. Must be culture shock from hell."
"Come on, Xander," William interjected. "You're gonna scare her off."
"I'm just saying," Xander shrugged. "Why would anyone leave L.A. and come here? It's not exactly the
garden spot of California."
"My parents got divorced," Buffy explained, "and my mom was offered a job in Sunnydale, so...here I
Xander made a face. "Ouch...sorry I brought it up."
"No, it's okay," Buffy said quickly. "Believe me...they're better off this way."
There was an awkward silence they were all saved from when the band on stage began a new song. It was
slow and romantic, and Buffy felt a jolt of happiness shoot through her when William leaned over and whispered, "Dance with
me?" in her ear.
She smiled her consent, and he took her hand again and led her to the dance floor.
There weren't very many couples on the floor, and they moved right to the center of it.
William took her other hand and placed them both on his shoulders, then slid his own hands around her
waist, pulling her a little closer.
Capturing her gaze with his, he moved her gently to the seductive rhythm of the music.
"I know I should have told you this earlier," he said quietly. "But you look beautiful. That's a very
Buffy's cheeks turned a light shade of pink at the compliment. She had chosen to wear a pale yellow
sundress. It's halter top left her back bare to the waist, and the feel of his fingers brushing against her skin was wonderful.
She smiled at him. "Thank you."
When she turned her face up to look at him, he lowered his head and kissed her lightly on the lips.
"That wasn't out of line, was it?" he asked when he pulled back.
"No," she said, shaking her head slowly. Moistening her lips, she stayed in position and waited.
William kissed her again, a little longer this time. When he felt her part her lips, he slipped his
tongue in just slightly, meeting hers in a brief caress.
Buffy's eyes drifted closed, her lashes making small fans on her cheeks. With a soft sound of assent,
she tilted her head a bit, allowing him to deepen the kiss.
When they drew back for air, he leaned his forehead against hers. Without opening his eyes, he whispered,
"I've been wanting to do that all day. From the minute I saw you."
She nodded, as her fingers played with the soft curls on the back of his head. "Me, too," she confessed.
"It's a good thing one of us had the nerve to try it."
William chuckled, tightening his hands on her waist as they both opened their eyes, pulling her a little
Buffy turned her head and let her cheek rest against the front of his shirt, listening to the steady
drum beat of his heart.
"And your eyes shine like diamonds
And they sparkle in the night
And the kind of love you give me
Seems to light up all my life..."
When the song was over, they returned to their table. Xander and Anya were talking quietly about
something, a conversation that terminated abruptly when Buffy and William sat down.
The conversation began to lag almost immediately, when the two that comprised half of it lost interest
in anything besides each other.
Clenching his jaw in frustration, William excused himself and headed for the bathroom.
He'd only been gone a moment, when a couple heading for the dance floor stopped beside their
The guy was about William's height, but with a heavier build to his upper torso. He had dark brown
eyes, and hair that had been carefully cut and styled in a way that made it seem as though it hadn't.
The girl holding his hand was a tall, good looking brunette. She was dressed expensively, and her
hair and makeup looked professionally done.
"Hey, Xan," the boy said, his eyes dismissing the one he'd addressed and coming to rest on
Buffy instead. "What's up?"
Xander wore an expression that clearly stated there was no love lost between the two of them. "Not
much, Ang," he said, purposely shortening the name in the same manner his had been.
The guy laughed, while his girlfriend shifted impatiently from one foot to the other, looking mightily
put out. "Who's your new friend?" he asked, his eyes zeroing in on Buffy's slender legs.
Xander sighed, giving Anya a "why me?" look. "This is Buffy Summers," he said. "Buffy, this is Angel
O'Connor and Cordelia Chase."
Cordelia gave Buffy a half smile, but didn't say anything.
Angel, however, smiled at Buffy with a full set of wolfish teeth. "Nice to meet you...Buffy."
The tone in his voice was blatantly obvious, and she began to feel uncomfortable under his scrutiny.
"You, too," she said briefly.
"When you were only sweet sixteen
Baby, how I loved you
When you were only sweet sixteen
How I really loved you.."
William leaned over and cupped his hands beneath the rush of cold water, bringing it to his face.
When he straightened up, he jerked a paper towel out of it's holder and dried his face, then stared
at himself in the mirror.
"You want to get a hold of yourself, mate?" he asked his reflection. "Quit acting like a hormone crazed
Easier said, than done. He WAS a hormone crazed teenager, maddened by lust, and Buffy was the girl the
madness was feeding on.
Dancing with her, feeling her small, soft, and incredibly sweet smelling body next to his, had given
him an erection so instantaneous that it was almost painful.
He'd sat beside her for as long as he could stand it before jumping to his feet and making his way through
the crowd, heading straight for the men's room and the cold water it provided.
Now, he glared at himself in the mirror, willing his body to calm down and stop acting on it's own.
Counting slowly to fifty, he composed himself as best he could and returned to their table.
When he was within ten feet of his goal, he frowned.
"Who the fuck are YOU ?" Some guy was standing there, leering at Buffy, even though he had another girl
hanging all over him.
William could easily see that Buffy wasn't appreciative of the interest this asshole was demonstrating,
and he moved faster.
She saw him coming, and her face lit up. The guy, who was apparently hitting on her right in front of
his girlfriend, followed her gaze.
For some reason, William hated him on sight. Despised him. Could have cheerfully killed him.
Moving around to the other side of the sofa, he sat down next to Buffy and took her hand. "Miss me?"
he asked, smiling into her eyes.
She nodded, returning his smile, instantly oblivious to everyone else around them. "As a matter of fact..."
Bringing her hand up, he laced their fingers together and kissed it.
It was at that exact moment that he knew he was going to fall in love with Buffy Summers.
"And then I told you
That we'd never part
And then I'd hold you
A little closer to my heart
"They're really rockin' in Boston
In Philadelphia, P.A.
Deep in the heart of Texas
And round the Frisco Bay.."
Angel cleared his throat. "Hi," he said to William, extending his hand. "I'm Angel O'Connor."
William glanced up at him. He seriously considered leaving Angel's hand empty in mid air, then slowly
stood up and faced him. Gripping the other's guy's hand briefly, he said, "William Darlington."
Cordelia, who had been silent up until now, suddenly snapped to life. "I'm Cordelia," she said, yanking
her hand out of Angel's grip and holding it out, not sideways, but palm down, obviously expecting him to lift her hand and
kiss it as he had Buffy's.
William had been raised to always be polite to a lady, so he took her hand briefly. "Pleasure to meet
you, Cordelia," he said, then let go of her fingers.
The little tableau remained in position for a moment and when it became apparent that Angel wasn't going
anywhere, William reached for an empty chair and offered it to Cordelia. Angel, he left on his own.
Sitting back down next to Buffy, he reclaimed her hand and was pleased when he felt her squeeze his
warmly. He instantly returned the gentle pressure.
Angel edged himself over and sat down next to Buffy, letting his leg press against hers. "Mind if I
sit here, Buffy?"
Before she could say anything, William moved further down the couch, pulling her along with him and
creating a space between her and Angel. Wrapping one arm around her shoulder, he eased her back into his embrace and looked
at Angel. "Plenty of room," he said.
Buffy glanced up at him, then smiled and shrugged as she snuggled closer to the boy she wanted to spend
all her time with.
"All over Saint Louis
On down to New Orleans
All the guys want to dance with
Sweet little sixteen.."
Cordelia, seemingly displeased with the fact that Angel and William were jockeying for position around
the new girl, suddenly leaned forward.
"You have the cutest accent," she said, smiling at William as she gave him a view down the front of
her dress. "English, right?"
William nodded. "That's right."
"I thought so," she replied, brushing a lock of her hair back over her shoulder and tilting her head.
"Are you going to Sunnydale High...or are you in college?"
Briefly distracted by the way the overhead lights danced in Buffy's honey colored hair, William gently
picked up a strand of it and rubbed it between his fingers. "Umm..oh, sorry. No, I'll be at Sunnydale."
Miffed by his lack of interest, Cordelia turned her attention back to Angel. "Hey, you said we were
gonna dance," she reminded him.
Angel shot her an irritated look. "We will, honey. I just wanted to be friendly to our new...friend."
He pinned his gaze on Buffy. "How about a dance, Buffy?"
William felt the hackles rising on the back of his neck at the thought of this low rent Romeo putting
his hands on Buffy.
She looked startled at the offer. "Oh, thanks...but I...I need to use the restroom." Excusing herself,
she disappeared into the crowd.
Cordelia waited a few seconds, then rose gracefully to her feet. "I think I'll go too."
Xander and Anya exchanged a look. "Get ready," he whispered in her ear. She nodded, grabbing her purse.
Angel leaned back against the sofa, eyeing William. "You and Buffy got something going on?" he asked.
"Why do you want to know?" William countered. "You seem to have something of your own going with Cordelia."
Angel chuckled and shrugged. "Cordy and me? We're friends. Not locked into anything exclusive. She's
a nice kid and all, but...I'm not exactly tied down to her."
"Sweet little sixteen
She's got the grown up blues
Tight dress and lipstick
And sportin' high heel shoes.."
Buffy left the bathroom stall and started the water in the sink. She was rinsing her hands when the
door swung open and Cordelia walked in.
Smiling pleasantly, she reached for a paper towel but found her reach blocked by Cordy's taller body.
"Just so you know," the brunette said, "Most of the boys in school are up for grabs...except for Angel.
He's mine. You stay away from him, and you and I won't have a problem."
It took Buffy a moment to process this warning. She was more than a bit surprised at being spoken to
this way by someone she barely knew, but when the other girl's meaning was clear, she let a small laugh burst from her lips.
"No problem," she said, holding her hands up. "I haven't got the slightest interest in Angel."
God, why on earth would she when the hottest guy in town lived right next door and was demonstrating
the same feelings for her that she was having for him?
Cordelia smiled condescendingly. "You might not feel that way if you knew who his father is."
"Okay," Buffy said. "I'll bite. Who's his father?"
"Only the senior partner of the most prestigious law firm in this part of the state...O'Connor, Marsh,
and Davidson..." She let the words hang in the air, as though she expected Buffy to gasp in amazement.
But Buffy just shrugged. "That's nice...still not interested."
Cordelia's eyes narrowed. "Good. Just keep it..." The restroom door swung open and Anya walked in.
"Hi," she announced cheerily. "Did I miss anything good?"
Cordelia didn't reply beyond turning her back and leaving the ladies room.
Anya waited till the door closed, then turned to Buffy. "Was she giving you her "keep off the Angel"
"Yes," Buffy said, chuckling at the way Anya put it. "Does she do that often?"
"Only when Angel shows an interest in other girls," Anya replied, pulling her brush out of her purse
and putting it to use. "So...yeah. She does it often."
"He's that bad, huh?"
"Oh, let's just say he's not known for his devotion to one girl. He comes right out and tells people
that he and Cordy have this totally casual thing going on, but she follows right behind him and tells a whole different story."
Buffy tossed her paper towel in the trash. "Well, I told her not to worry about me. I couldn't care
less about him. He's kind of...pushy."
Anya retouched her lipstick. "Well," she said, "his father's got position and money, and a lot of clout
around here. Angel thinks that makes him the golden child." She tossed her her brush and lipstick back in her purse. "But,
I can see one reason why you're not into Angel....and I think his name is William."
Buffy smiled. "He's a pretty good reason."
"He really is cute, isn't he?" Anya agreed. "And he's so sweet and nice too. Everybody likes him." She
grinned. "But you're the first girl I've seen him with anywhere in town. I can definitely see the sparks igniting here."
Before they left the bathroom, Buffy took a look in the mirror. Yep...definite sparkage.
"Well by tomorrow morning
She'll have to change her trend
And be sweet sixteen
And back in class again.."
Cordelia finally managed to drag Angel out on the the dance floor and kept him there for the remainder
of the evening.
Buffy had a wonderful time after they disappeared. She liked William's friends, and they seemed to like
her as well.
As they stood in the parking lot, she made a point of inviting them to her birthday party. They accepted,
then said goodnight and drove off in Xander's car...a beautifully restored 1957 Chevrolet, painted a soothing shade of blue
William was unlocking the door of his uncle's car when a garish red Trans Am pulled up beside them with
a squeal of brakes.
The drivers side window slid down, revealing Angel sitting at the wheel. "Hey, Buffy....it was real
nice meeting you. See you in school?"
Buffy nodded. "I suppose you will."
Giving the little green Saturn an amused look, Angel winked at William. "Nice car," he said, laughing
as he pulled out of the parking lot.
Without commenting, William seated Buffy and drove her home. He walked her to her front door, smiling
down at her when she thanked him, but when she turned to enter the house, he caught her arm and pulled her close, claiming
her lips for several long, sweetly given kisses.
When the porch light suddenly came on, he told her goodnight, then waited until she was inside before
he went back to the pool house.
Once he was home, with the door locked behind him, he checked the time. Nearly 8:00 a.m., London time.
He waited fifteen minutes, then dialed the number he wanted.
"Yes, good morning....is Mr. Travers in yet?....It's William Darlington....Thank you....Good morning,
Mr. Travers....Fine, thanks....Yes, I got a letter yesterday...And
the check as well....I'm calling to arrange a transfer of funds...You have the account number?....That's
it....No, I'll be needing at least a hundred and fifty thousand...American....That's correct....No, I don't mind at all....I've
decided to buy a car."
"They're really rockin' in Boston
In Philadelphia, P.A.
Deep in the heart of Texas
And round the 'Frisco Bay
All over Saint Louis
And down in New Orleans
All the boys want to dance with
Sweet little sixteen.."