Buffy could feel his eyes on her in a way that was almost palpable. The lovely blue of his iris
seemed to have deepened, and they snapped with pent up energy.
He made her so nervous that she actually had to take a step back.
"So," Willow spoke up. "You don't have any children?"
Spike Devlin shook his head, his eyes still pinned on Buffy. "None of my own," he replied. "I
have a niece and nephew," **In England** he added silently, mentally crossing his fingers. "My sister's kids."
"Oh...and you're checking out the available preschools for them?"
"What?" He pulled his gaze away from Buffy and addressed himself to Willow. "Oh...yeah. Yeah,
they're...about the right age and....so on."
"I see." Willow glanced at her watch. "Well, it's almost time for the children to go in and have
their quiet time. If you'd like to come into the office, I'd be happy to show you how we operate here at Willow Tree."
Buffy sighed with relief. An escape opportunity presenting itself at exactly the right moment.
Her out-of-whack stars must be moving back into alignment.
"Excuse me," she murmured, then walked out into the play yard and clapped her hands.
The children knew the drill, and they left what they were doing to form a slightly disorderly
Buffy waited until all her ducklings were in a row, then marched them inside. The children followed
along, going straight to their cubbyholes and pulling out their rest mats and stuffed animals.
She read to them for fifteen minutes, turned off the overhead light, then sat down at her desk
begin cutting pieces of colored construction paper into different shapes and sizes for their
art project, and NOT think about Spike Devlin.
Spike was having a far more difficult time not thinking about Miss Buffy.
He had willingly followed Willow into her office, and taken a look at her curriculum and the
goals she set for the children attending her school.
During a lull in the conversation, he was struck by a sudden inspiration.
"You know," he said sincerely. "All this looks just great, and I'll definitely clue my little
sister in...but I was just thinking that maybe I could visit one of the classrooms. Watch how things work. That be okay, luv?"
This was a common and reasonable request, so Willow didn't find it strange. "The children are
having their quiet time right now," she informed him. "But you're more than welcome to sit in on the afternoon session."
"Fabulous," Devlin murmured, trying hard not to look too eager.
But Willow just smiled and pulled out her attendance sheets. "Everyone has a full class today,"
she said, scanning the list. "Since you already know Buffy...maybe you should start there." Looking up, she closed her ledger
and put it away. "I assume you've told her what you want?"
He nodded. "Oh, yes," he said firmly. "She knows EXACTLY what I want."
"Great," Willow said, standing up. "I'll show you where her class is."
Buffy was beginning to think that someone had it in for her in a major way.
As if she didn't have enough on her mind, the children were continuing to act up. Kyle needed
to go the bathroom. Jason needed a drink of water. Keiko needed to get her stuffed 'sleep buddy' out of her cubby. Andrew
just enjoyed making noise. Nina had sand in her shoes.
By the time she had attended to each one, Jason needed to go to the bathroom, Kyle was thirsty,
and she was back at square one.
Even when she finally had them down on their mats, they couldn't seem to be still and rest. They
giggled, they whispered, they kicked their legs, they hummed tunelessly, they flopped around like a school of beached goldfish.
Then, when she was already on her last nerve, it got worse.
"That's enough!" Willow stood in the doorway and clapped her hands sharply, twice. "Now," she
added, when all of the children were lying as stiffly and silently as planks of wood, "we have a guest today."
Buffy, who had her back to the door, clapped one hand over her eyes. She knew, without even having
to look, exactly who the mystery guest would turn out to be.
"This is Mr. Devlin," Willow said. "He's here to see how we do things at Willow Tree, and I KNOW
that you want to show him what good boys and girls you all are. Do you think that's what you
were doing a moment ago?"
Twelve heads wobbled from side to side.
"Then I expect you all to quiet down," she said firmly. "Buffy...?"
Heaving a sigh that came all the way from the soles of her shoes, Buffy turned around and saw
Willow wave her over.
She smiled weakly, her suspicions confirmed. Standing beside Willow, with a smirk on his face
that she could have cheerfully slapped right off, was Spike Devlin.
**Help me, someone. Anyone?**
Buffy approached the pair at the door, pushing her hands into the side pockets of her denim skirt.
"Willow...I'm having a hard time settling them down," she murmured. "Maybe this isn't a good
idea...today. Why don't you try Carolyn's class."
Her friend stared at her as though she'd lost every last one of her marbles. She honestly couldn't
believe that Buffy was turning down a visit from Spike Devlin.
But, before she could say anything in reply, he cut her off.
"I'd actually rather observe YOU, Miss Buffy. Watch how you...handle yourself," he double entendred
in silken tones. "When the children aren't minding their P's and Q's, I mean."
Trapped. Trapped like a caged ferret.
The instant that the door closed behind Willow, Buffy dropped her smile and returned to her desk
without speaking one word to her unwanted guest.
As calmly as she could, she picked up her scissors and continued the task of cutting out shapes
of construction paper.
Devlin strolled leisurely around the room, pausing to study different displays of the children's
work tacked to the walls, slowly working his way towards her desk.
Buffy ignored him, concentrating on cutting the paper and not herself. In the state of mind she
was in, she had no doubt whatsoever that she would slice a finger off.
"What are you doing?" he asked, perching on the side of her desk.
She stopped cutting and looked up at him. "Baking a cake," she replied sarcastically, with a
The children snickered, and she could have kicked herself. "Quiet!"
Devlin just smiled. "Need any help?" he whispered.
"No, thank you."
He was silent for a few seconds. "I don't mind helping."
"No, thank you," she said doggedly.
"My triangles are a bit lopsided, but my circles are works of art. Just ask my mum."
Another wave of giggles swept through the room.
Buffy flung her head up and smacked her palm on the desk. "THAT'S ENOUGH!" Looking up at Spike,
she scowled. "I'm sorry...but if you can't refrain from disrupting my class, then...."
"ME?" he asked, pointing at himself. "YOU'RE the one yelling at them."
She stared at him, her lips slightly parted. He was absolutely right. HE had been whispering.
SHE was the one with the volume control problem.
The children's eyes bounced back and forth between the two adults, like tiny spectators at a
really intense ping-pong tournament. It wasn't long before they began fidgeting and whispering again.
Spike could see that the imminent loss of control over her class was agitating Buffy. Since he
didn't want to be the cause of this problem, which would certainly not endear him to her, he decided to take some action.
Leaning over, he spoke quietly to her. "I'll be right back, luv."
Watching him walk out the door, Buffy was momentarily tempted to lock it.
His car, the black Mustang she'd seen the other day, was parked at the curb. He unlocked the
trunk and reached inside, bringing out a .....
"Oh, no," she said beneath her breath. This was the last thing on earth that she needed at that
Jumping to her feet, she intercepted him as he came through the door. "No. You can't do that
in here," she said curtly. "I absolutely forbid you to...zip that back up! I mean it...do NOT take that out in my classroom."
"Calm down," he said quietly. "I'm going to help."
"How?" she demanded. "By damaging their hearing?"
Spike opened the inner lining of it's case and removed a guitar. "Do you see any electrical outlets
on this instrument?" he asked. "This, my lovely, is an acoustic guitar. It has a red cedar top and rosewood back and sides,
mother of pearl inlay on the headstock, and a rosewood fret board."
He looped the strap around his neck. "My first guitar," he informed her. "I take it everywhere,
but I rarely play it except when I'm alone...because it's very special to me."
Buffy was quite unable to say anything.
"Today," he added, running his fingers lightly up and down the neck of the instrument. "I want
to play it...for you. And for the little ones." He smiled at her, a genuine and open smile, with no hidden meanings. "That
all right with you, lovely?"
After a moment, she returned his smile. "Yes," she said softly. "It's all right with me."
Actually...it was so VERY all right with her...that it scared her.
Just a little......
Spike Devlin spent the next fifteen minutes of his life enchanting twelve children...and their
Sitting on the edge of Buffy's desk, he moved his fingers over the strings of his guitar, drawing
out lovely melodies designed to calm the wildest heart.
Then he left the desk and began to wander through the room. It made Buffy smile, remembering
how he prowled the stage at Union Jack's. It must be a habit so deeply ingrained that he did it without even thinking about
"Hush a bye, hush a bye
Go to sleepy little baby
When you wake, you shall have
All all the pretty little horses,"
The children never took their eyes off him, but they remained as quiet as it was humanly possible
for them to be.
"Blacks and bays
Dapples and grays
All the pretty little horses."
His voice was every bit as beautifully tuned an instrument as the guitar itself. He kept his
"Hush a bye, don't you cry
Go to sleepy little baby
When you wake, you shall have sweet cake
And all the pretty little horses.
A black and bay, a brown and gray
All the pretty little horses
All the black ones, and all the white ones
All the calm ones, and all the wild ones
All the pretty little horses.
All the pretty little horses."
He stopped singing, but continued to play softly. Five minutes later, every child in the room
was sound asleep.
Then he turned and smiled at her, and Buffy knew that she was in danger of completely losing
her heart if she wasn't careful.
Problem was, she wasn't sure she wanted to be careful anymore.
Devlin placed the guitar back in it's case and propped it up against the wall, then turned his
penetrating blue gaze on Buffy.
When their eyes met, he smiled and she blushed...which only made his smile widen. He approached
her with slow, measured strides, resuming his seat on the edge of her desk.
He said nothing, but took the extra pair of scissors out of her pencil box, then picked up a
sheet of red construction paper and began cutting out the circles she had traced on it earlier.
The room was quiet, and they worked in a surprisingly comfortable silence with nothing but the
soft sound of the scissors to mar the peace.
When the chore was finished, Buffy stacked the different shapes in neat little piles, and tossed
the scraps into her waste basket.
"Thank you," she murmured.
"My pleasure, Miss Buffy."
She could tell that he was waiting for her to make the next move. "Listen," she began. "I was...I
mean...I know that I was a little...rude to you...before. But...it's just that...that I'm not used to...."
"Not used to what?" he asked, softly. "Not used to a man being interested in you? Being attracted
to you?" His voice dropped into a lower register. "Wanting you?"
These words sent a pleasant shiver up and down her spinal column, but what he said next would
have buckled her knees had she been standing.
"You'll need to get used to it...Miss Buffy."
She expected him to pack up and go, but he surprised her yet again by showing no such inclination.
Instead, he waited until the children began to wake up, then sat at the back of the room and watched as they did their "wake
up stretches" on the interlocking rubber mats in the middle of the floor.
Buffy was acutely aware of his eyes following her as she moved around the room, and she couldn't
forget the sound of his voice telling her that she'd need to get used to being wanted...by him. She wasn't quite sure this
was something she'd be able to do.
She'd had her share of male admirers throughout high school and college, and had dated a few
of the young men in Sunnydale when she'd first arrived. Riley Finn had made no secret of the fact that he most certainly was
interested in more than casual friendship.
But she had no experience with the sort of situation she was in now. She'd never even met a man
like Devlin before. He was cocky and confident, completely sure of himself, and she had the feeling that he usually got pretty
much anything he wanted.
Spike Devlin lived in a totally different world, a world she had no knowledge of, a world she
could never belong in or fit into.
He had aspirations far beyond her scope, and probably wanted much different things out of life.
She was a small town girl, and always would be. He was big city, born and bred, destined for stardom, for fame and fortune.
These were things she had no interest in. Her goals in life were much simpler. She loved her
job, and couldn't imagine doing anything else. Eventually, she wanted to be married and have some children of her own. Being
an only child, she'd grown up lonely and so had planned to have at least three kids when she found the right man to settle
Spike Devlin wasn't the "settling down" type. How could he be? His career was just getting up
and running, and he would have to be moving at a fast pace to keep it going in the right direction.
Buffy couldn't hope to keep up with someone like that.
**He wants me...Spike Devlin, who could no doubt have any girl he chose...wants me**
Yes, but for what? And for how long? Until the novelty wore off?
He seemed interested now...but was it just the love of a chase that was turning him on? If she
stopped running...would he still be there afterwards?
"All right, munchkins...this is called a command performance." Spike sat on the bench beneath
one of the weeping willows and smiled at the children gathered around him on the grass. "That means your wish is my command.
You tell me what you want to hear..and if I can, I'll play it for you."
The entire faculty and miniature student body of Willow Tree Preschool was present for this particular
performance. They all sat, grouped in their individual classes, giggling and excited.
Buffy had to smile. Giggling and excited was a perfect description....and the children were enjoying
it as well.
The afternoon play period was almost over when Miss Willow came outside to see what everyone
was watching. Within five minutes she decided that since it was such a nice day, and they had such a special guest, the period
could be extended for a while.
The children's taste in music was fairly simple, and well known. Standards like 'Old McDonald's
Farm' and 'Pop goes the Weasel' were requested and granted.
Devlin had a way with children that was very appealing. Not a lot of men had such a natural rapport,
or could be so completely relaxed and at home in such a setting.
He not only played and sang the children's song requests, he led them along with him, encouraging
them to sing at the top of their lungs, to make sure "the people way in the back of the concert hall" would be able to hear
"He's really something," Willow said quietly.
Buffy nodded. "He's definitely a surprise," she agreed.
There was a pause. "I get the feeling that you're a little better acquainted with him than you
let on," Willow said, giving Buffy a speculative look. "You don't act as though this is the first time you've met him...and
I don't mean just sitting and listening to him at Union Jack's either."
Buffy stared at her shoes for a moment. "He was here the other day," she finally admitted. "We....talked."
"But how did he..." Willow gasped. "Something happened the other night, didn't it? That's why
you were so strange when I asked you about the concert!"
"You'd better tell me," her friend warned, a wide smile on her face. "This is NOT something you
can keep to yourself."
Buffy's cheeks were bright red, she could literally feel them heating up. She didn't have the
faintest idea in the world how she could explain to Willow about what had been going on between her and Spike Devlin.
She avoided the situation by glancing at her watch. "It's getting late," she said quickly. "I
have to go get the snack together."
"Later, Wils." Buffy said, making a promise of full confession with her eyes.
Willow Tree provided a daily afternoon snack to all it's students, and each day it was a different
teacher's turn to prepare it.
Today was Buffy's responsibility. She was turning to go to the kitchenette in the main building
when the kids all began to applaud the end of Devlin's performance. Some of them scrambled to their feet, jumping up and down
When they all scattered for a few minutes in the play yard, Spike put his guitar back in it's
case and walked over to where Buffy and Willow were standing.
The owner and operator of Willow Tree was effusive in her gratitude. "This has been such a treat
for all of us," she said, smiling up into Devlin's eyes. "Thank you so much."
"Don't mention it, pet," he said, returning her smile. "I enjoyed it, too. They're a great group
of kids." He looked at Buffy. "Which isn't surprising, since they seem to have great teachers."
Buffy was momentarily caught in his intense blue gaze, but said nothing.
"Well," Willow said, sensing the the spark of electricity that seemed to be zinging back and
forth between Buffy and Spike, "you have a whole new fan club now. The kids, I mean. It's nice to have you around."
Buffy finally broke eye contact with Devlin. "Excuse me," she said softly. "I need to go inside
and get their snacks ready."
"Go ahead," Willow nodded. "I'll bring your class over to the benches for you."
As Buffy turned and walked away, she heard Willow asking Devlin whether Blue Eyed Devil would
be playing anywhere in the area before they left on their tour.
Buffy stood in the darkened kitchenette, breaking graham crackers along their dividing lines
placing them in small baskets. There was one basket for each table, and she made sure that there
was enough for each child to have two full crackers.
She was slicing apples onto paper plates when the bat wing door creaked open behind her. Her
heart began beating at twice it's normal pace, and she knew who was standing there.
Devlin crossed the small room and stood directly behind her, so close that she could feel the
heat of his body.
"What about you, Buffy?" he asked quietly, dropping the appellation 'Miss'.
She swallowed nervously. "What about me?" she echoed, reaching for another apple.
He placed his hands over hers, making her stop cutting up fruit. "Do YOU think it's nice to have
Buffy closed her eyes for just a moment as he turned her around to face him. "Wh...what?" she
stammered, looking up at him.
"Do YOU think it's nice to have me around?" he asked again.
Giving her no opportunity to reply, he put his hands on her waist, then slowly...so slowly...he
lowered his head and captured her mouth in a kiss that was both tenderly sweet and madly passionate at the same time.
He kissed her until she felt herself becoming light headed. With a technique that was truly
amazing, he alternated between firm pressure and light touches, just barely running his tongue
along the closure of her lips, until they parted and invited him inside to play.
After an initial moment of uncertainly, Buffy allowed her tongue to tentatively touch his. He
coffee and a faint trace of peppermint, probably from toothpaste.
When he drew back, he leaned down and whispered in her ear. "Miss Buffy...has anyone ever told
you that you kiss like a dream come true?"
Her eyes opened halfway, and they were slightly unfocused. "Mm...no, not really."
Devlin chuckled softly. "Good, then I'm the first."
A cacophony of childish voices from outside cleared her scattered mind, and she suddenly remembered
exactly where she was.
Placing her hands on his chest, she pushed him away. "I...I have to finish this. It's...it's
time for the..."
"Afternoon snack?" he offered.
Buffy nodded. "Yes. That." She turned away and resumed working on the apples.
He watched her in silence for a moment. "We're playing at Union Jack's tonight," he finally said.
"Will you come?"
She kept slicing apples, and didn't reply.
"Buffy...will you come to Union Jack's tonight?" he asked again.
Still, she said nothing.
"I don't know!" came bursting out of her. "I don't think I can."
Spike placed his hands on the counter top on either side of her, caging her in. "You don't think
you CAN?" he asked bluntly. "Or...you don't think you SHOULD?"
"What's the difference?"
"Oh, there's a big difference, luv," he said softly. "You don't think you CAN means you're too
busy to come. You don't think you SHOULD means that you're afraid to."
Buffy tried a weak laugh. "I'm definitely NOT afraid," she replied. Which of them she was trying
to convince, she wasn't quite sure.
"Yes, you are." He nuzzled the side of her neck. "And it's exciting, isn't it?"
She shook her head. "Hardly."
Devlin's mouth traveled up until he was once again speaking in her ear. "It makes the hot blood
through your veins like wildfire. Your heart beats harder, 'til you think it'll just explode
if you can't have what you want...what you need. Tell me, Buffy," he whispered. "Tell me what you want...and I'll move heaven
and earth to give it to you."
If she knew the answer to THAT complex question, she wouldn't be in the predicament she was in
Impatiently, he put his hands on her shoulders and forced her to turn around. "Say you'll come
tonight," he said, taking a handful of her hair and tugging on it until her head dropped back and her neck arched invitingly.
He pressed his lips to the place where the blood was visibly throbbing, his breath hot on her skin. "Say it!"
Every ounce of her resistance drained out of her. "I will," she said, almost inaudibly. "I'll
Devlin pulled back and looked into her eyes. "Promise me," he demanded.
However hard she tried, Buffy couldn't break away from that laser blue gaze. "I promise."
He nodded and smiled, satisfied. "Now," he said. "It's gonna be a long time before I see you
tonight, so kiss me again. Give me a kiss that'll last me until then."
Helpless to do anything else, Buffy complied.
Devlin was the first to break away. "See you tonight, luv," he said, pinching her cheek, then
out the door to say goodbye to the children.
Hours later, Buffy stood in front of her full length mirror.
She'd decided to wear a cream colored tank top, covered with a blouse made of the same colored
lace. It had a V-neckline, and the sleeves were snug all the way to her wrists where they ended
bell of lace that covered half of her hands.
Her skirt was a black leather wrap around, it's hem just skimming the tops of her boots.
After applying her make up, she'd had a twenty minute internal debate over how to wear her
hair. Up in a loose chignon, or tumbling down her back?
She'd compromised by leaving it down, but pulling it back and securing it with a gold barrette.
When there was nothing more she could do, she grabbed her car keys and purse, and headed out
the door, still wondering what in the name of god she thought she was doing.
Union Jack's was at maximum capacity when she arrived. Certain that there was no way she'd
be able to get in, she was ready to turn around and go home when someone tapped her on the shoulder.
"Are you Miss Summers?" The boy was wearing black pants and a shirt with the club's namesake
on the back. His name tag read "Tim."
Buffy nodded that she was indeed Miss Summers, and the boy beckoned her to follow him.
He led her around the building and through a side door that opened directly into the main room.
Every table in the place was occupied, save one in the middle, close to the stage.
Tim seated her at the small table, then asked if he could bring her something to drink and if
needed a menu.
Buffy declined the menu, but ordered a glass of white wine. Feeling ridiculously conspicuous,
didn't allow her eyes to wander around the room.
Five minutes crawled by before the house lights darkened slightly and Blue Eyed Devil hit the
Spike Devlin's eyes zeroed in on her immediately, and he grinned broadly at her as he picked
up his guitar.
Determined not to let him rattle her, she lifted her chin and met his gaze with hers.
He was delighted with this response, and he winked at her, adjusting his microphone.
"Well, hi there Sunnydale," he said, looking out over his audience. "Didja miss us?"
The crowd applauded wildly, some of them releasing whistles that only a dog should be capable
"I guess that means yes," the bass player said when the noise died down.
Devlin laughed and looked at him. "S'nice to be wanted, innit?"
The drummer gave them the down beat, and the band began making the walls shake once again.
Devlin stepped up to his mic.
"Watch closely now," he said. "You'll observe a curious exchange of energies." Deliberately,
looked at Buffy. "Are you a figment of my imagination....or am I one of yours?"
"Watch closely now
Are you watching me now?
Your eyes are like fingers
They're touching my body
And arousing my soul
Riding the passion arising inside me
How high can I go?
You're coming with me, girl
I'm gonna show you how
When it's scary...don't look down."
Buffy couldn't take her eyes off him.
"Watch closely now
Are you watching me now?"
The song had a fast, hard beat, and the words brought back the memory of the last time she'd
sat in this room and listened to him sing, the night he'd made her promise to watch him.
"I see the hunger arise in your eyes
And it's urging me on
Higher and harder
And faster and farther
Than I've ever gone
We're coming closer, lady
Don't you leave me now
We're gonna make it
Don't look down.."
Was he promising her something...or warning her?
"Maybe I'm taking me too many chances
With no net at all
Baby, I'll teach you at least
That you've gotta be free when you fall"
Taking chances was not something she was good at. After a lifetime of safe and secure, how could
she even begin to take this particular chance?
"Watch closely now
Are you watching me now?"
But if she didn't, would she regret it for the rest of her life?
"I'm the master magician
That's setting you free
From the lies you've been told
When you're breaking your back
Bring your last straw to me
I turn straw into gold"
Would it be worth it? Taking the chance...risking the possibilities...
"I'm gonna need you later
Will you be around?
And I can take it
Don't look down
Watch closely now
Are you watching me now?
**Yes...I'm watching you...I am**
"Let's bring it down a little, okay? How about something soft and sexy?"
The applause was enormous, and went on for some time.
Devlin grinned. "God, I love this crowd."
The bass player nodded. "They're something special, all right."
The band's lead singer turned and looked straight at Buffy. "Very special," he said softly.
"Well just look at that girl
With the lights coming up in her eyes
She's got to be somebody's baby
She must be somebody's baby.."
Her cheeks turned pink, but she kept her eyes on him.
"All the guys on the corner
Stand back and let her walk on by
She's got to be somebody's baby
She must be somebody's baby
She's so fine..."
Actually, she was nobody's baby...not yet.
"She's probably somebody's only light
Gonna shine tonight
Yeah, she's probably somebody's baby, all right."
He smiled and winked at her. She reached for her glass and drank the rest of the wine.
"I heard her talking with her friend
When she thought nobody else was around
She said she's got to be somebody's baby
She must be somebody's's baby."
A waiter appeared at her table, and she ordered another glass of Chardonnay.
"Cause when the cars and the signs
And the street lights light up the town
She's got to be somebody's baby
She must be somebody's's baby
She's got to be somebody's baby
She's so fine."
The room began to feel somewhat hot.
"She's gonna be somebody's only light
Gonna shine tonight
Yeah, she's gonna be somebody's baby tonight."
A new glass of wine was placed in front of her.
"I try to shut my eyes, but I can't
Get her out of my sight
I know I'm gonna know her
But I gotta get her over her fright."
Once again, the waiter left without requesting payment.
"Well, I'm just gonna walk up to her
I'm gonna talk to her tonight."
The unaccustomed alcohol was starting to make itself known, giving her a warmish glow all over.
"Yeah, she's gonna be somebody's only light
Gonna shine tonight
Oh, yeah..she's gonna be somebody's baby tonight."
Lacing her fingers together, she threw all of her caution away and gave him the most dazzling
smile she had as she met his gaze.
"Gonna shine tonight, make her mine tonight."
He stared at her, a slow smile forming on his sensuous mouth.
"Mm-hmm...she's gonna be somebody's baby tonight."
This time, she managed to control her blush.
Thirty minutes later, the band took a break.
Three of them jumped down and headed straight for the bar.
One of them headed straight for her.
"You came," Devlin said, leaning on the table.
Buffy shrugged and finished her fourth glass of wine. "I told you that I would."
"Well, that's true." He gave her a speculative look. "Did you have some dinner tonight before
came here?" he asked.
She had to think for a moment. "I...yes. Yes, I did," she nodded. "Why?"
"Nothing, luv," he replied. "It's just that you've been drinking, but I haven't seen you order
anything to eat."
"I wasn't hungry. I ate before I left my house."
The band was heading back to the stage for their next set. Devlin stayed where he was.
"Umm...I think they're gonna start without you," Buffy pointed out.
"They can't start without me," he said. "It's my band." Leaning a little closer, he lowered his
voice. "I want to kiss you so badly I can hardly stand it."
Buffy's heart lurched in her chest. She had no idea how to answer such a provocative statement.
The bass player twanged a discordant note, and Devlin looked slightly irritated.
"Shit," he swore softly. "I have to get back up there."
"Okay," Buffy said agreeably.
"Listen...I'm gonna drive you home tonight, luv."
No, no, no....bad idea.
"But my car is here," she protested.
"I'll drive you home in it. I have someone who'll come and pick me up." He started to return
to the stage, then turned back to her. "Do NOT try and leave without me. Got it?"
Buffy had to smile at her reference to what she had done the night they'd met. "Got it."
Devlin returned her smile. "That's my girl," he
** Your girl? **
"Okay...this is the last one. We need..."
The air was peppered with cries of "No!"
"Oh, come on," Devlin laughed. "We're beat. Just look at us....you've worn us out...and I have
for the rest of the night!"
Buffy had one elbow on the table, holding her chin in the cupped palm of her hand, resting her
slightly fuzzy head. His announcement snapped her back to full alert.
Plans? He had plans? He had plans for....THE REST OF THE NIGHT?!
Instinct told her to run and not stop until she got home. If he had plans with some girl, she
particularly want to know about it.
Buffy was surprised at how unpalatable the thought really was. She would have to start getting
defense mechanisms up and running again. No way would she allow these feelings to show.
Sighing deeply, she listened to him sing for what she was determined would be the very last time.
"Friday night I crashed your party
Saturday I said I'm sorry
Sunday came and trashed me out again."
The song was fast paced and loud. Not what she would have chosen to hear for her final time.
"I was only having fun
Wasn't hurting anyone
And we all enjoyed the weekend
For a change."
He couldn't have sang something soft and sweet, something just for....
"I've been stranded in the combat zone
I walked through Bedford-Stuy alone
Even rode my motorcycle in the rain
And you told me not to drive
But I made it home alive
And you said that only proves
That I'm insane."
Buffy couldn't take her eyes off him....again. He was sweaty and smiling, obviously having a
He suddenly pointed at her, and sang...
"You may be right,
I may be crazy
But it just might be a lunatic
You're looking for
Turn out the light
Don't try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right."
What the hell was he doing? Buffy turned around and looked to see if he was perhaps pointing
at someone behind her.
"Remember how I found you there
Alone in your electric chair
I told you dirty jokes until you smiled."
The only people behind her were definitely already paired into couples. There were no single
girls to be seen.
Confused, she looked back and found his eyes on her.
"You were lonely for a man
I said take me as I am
'Cause you might enjoy some madness
For a while.
Now think of all the years you tried
To find someone to satisfy you
I might be as crazy as you say.."
Out of the blue sky, she remembered him telling her he would drive her home, and have someone
pick him up. His "plans for the rest of the night" girl, no doubt.
"If I'm crazy, then it's true
That it's all because of you
And you wouldn't want me any other way."
Well, she was completely sober now, so there was no reason for him to delay his stupid plans.
"You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just might be a lunatic
You're looking for
It's too late to fight
It's too late to change me
You may be wrong, for all I know
But you may be right."
The song ended, and the audience clamored for more.
But Devlin just smiled as he unclipped his guitar strap.
"Gotta save something for next time," he
said. "You've been great, though. G'night."
Everyone in the place got to their feet and rattled the silverware with their applause. It went
on and on, but there were no more encores forthcoming.
The band left the stage, and someone killed the spotlights. Buffy waited for a break in the crowd
as they all headed for the exits.
"Did you like the music, luv?"
Spike Devlin hadn't followed his band mates offstage into the rear of the club. He had jumped
down from the stage again, and headed straight for Buffy, stopping only to thank anyone who praised the band.
"Listen, honey," he added, shaking his damp curls back from his face, "I smell like a wet pony
right now. Would you mind waiting while I grab a quick shower?"
Buffy's lips parted slightly in surprise. "Wh..what?"
Devlin grinned. "I want to take you out for something to eat, but if I get in a car with you
like this...you'll find it pretty offensive."
She looked at him. Ohhhhh....plans. He'd meant plans with her.
Before she could say anything, he reached for her hand and brought it to his lips. "Promise I'll
be quick, luv," he said softly. "Wait for me?"
"Yes," Buffy nodded, feeling ridiculously happy. "I'll wait."
Good as his word, he was back in just under 10 minutes.
Buffy watched him approach, her heart beating a little faster. He was wearing a pair of
faded jeans and a black t-shirt that looked as though it had shrunk a size in the dryer. The sleeves in particular fit very
snugly around his nicely muscled biceps.
His hair was a soft mop of loose waves, still damp from his shower, and he was pulling on a short,
brown leather jacket.
"Ready to go?" he asked, holding out one hand.
Buffy nodded. He looked, and smelled, wonderful.
She placed her hand in his, allowing him to draw her to her feet. Halfway to the door, she pulled
"Oh, wait...I need to pay the bill," she said, opening her bag.
Devlin shook his head. "It's done, love. All taken care of."
"By who?" Buffy asked.
"By me. I told Tim to bring you anything you wanted."
"Oh. Well....thank you."
Those blue eyes looked into hers with definite intent. "Don't thank me yet, love," he said softly.
"I'm just getting started doing things for you."
The words made her blush from head to toe, but he had turned around and was pulling her along
behind him and he missed it.
In the rear parking area, Buffy handed him her car keys. He unlocked her door and helped
As she buckled herself in, he went around the front of her Camry and seated himself in the driver's
seat, then adjusted it slightly.
Before he turned the key in the ignition, he looked at her. "Much as I'd love taking you someplace
elegant," he said, "it's late and I don't think we'll find a place like that still open, so...got any ideas?"
Buffy thought for a moment. "There's a place right off the interstate that's open 24 hours. A
little coffee shop," she suggested.
Devlin started the car. "Sounds good to me. Just point me in the right direction."
"Tell me about Miss Buffy."
They were sitting in the very back booth of Sunnydale's International House of Pancakes.
Outside of a couple of long haul truck drivers, a group of giggling teenagers, and a CHP officer,
they had the place pretty much to themselves.
In the twenty minutes it had taken them to drive from Union Jack's to the IHOP, Buffy had learned
a couple of new things about Spike Devlin.
Number one...that he was a careful driver, and number two...that in spite of the fact that he
made his living from rock and roll, he had very eclectic taste in music.
He'd fooled around with the radio, tuning it from one station to another; jazz, soft rock, country,
and even classical. Every time a station went to a commercial, he flipped to another one, then asked if she had any CDs in
Buffy had taken a handful of them out of the small compartment in the console, displaying
them for his perusal. Surprisingly, he had chosen a Beatles CD, a collection of their biggest hits.
Even though the band had broken apart years before she was born, she had always been partial
to them. They had been her mother's favorite group, and Buffy had been raised with their songs as the background music for
Sitting and waiting for a red light to change to green, Devlin had sung along softly...
"I give her all my love
That's all I do
And if you saw my love
You'd love her, too
I love her..."
His fingers kept time on the steering wheel, tapping it gently.
"She gives me everything
The kiss my lover brings
She brings to me
And I love her..."
Almost hypnotized by the display, Buffy had no problem imagining him singing this song on stage.
Alone...sitting on a stool with his guitar...bathed in the soft glow of a single spotlight...singing...
"A love like ours
Could never die
As long as I have you near me.."
Singing to her...
"Bright are the stars that shine
Dark is the sky
I know this love of mine
Will never die
And I love her..."
Buffy had been a little disappointed when he'd turned into the restaurant's parking lot.
She'd have been quite happy to sit right there and listen to him forever.
"There's not all that much to tell about Miss Buffy."
"Come on...tell me something." His voice was a soft invitation, seducing her into revealing
anything he might care to know.
She drew a deep breath. "Miss Buffy is...a pre-school teacher. She attended UCLA...moved to
Sunnydale a year ago when her best friend offered her a job teaching at her school...."
Devlin chuckled. "Okay...we've covered all the basics. Now let's get down to the details."
Her mouth suddenly dry, Buffy picked up her water glass and took a sip. "Such as?"
He leaned forward and tilted his head. She'd noticed this gesture before. It was the kind
thing that made whomever he was talking to feel like he was hanging on their every word.
"Such as, is Miss Buffy...involved...with anyone? Someone...special?" he asked.
Her restless heart once again began pounding madly beneath her breast. Carefully, she placed
the glass back on the table.
"Not at the moment," she confessed.
Devlin smiled. "Happy to hear that, love. I don't like invading another man's territory...although
I will if I have to."
"Territory?" Buffy asked, arching her brow. "You make me sound like the Louisiana Purchase."
"No," he shook his head. "You're far more valuable than that. And," he added, lowering his voice
to a deeper timbre, "far nicer to...explore."
She was saved from having to respond to his comment by the waitress arriving with their order.
The woman was no sooner gone, when Buffy discovered another new facet of this man's
personality. He had a serious sweet tooth.
She watched, fascinated, as he spread butter liberally over the surface of the pancakes on his
plate, then in between each one as well.
Choosing a bottle from the selection offered, he poured a veritable ocean of syrup over them,
until they were soaked nearly to the point of falling to pieces.
When he caught her staring at this spectacle, he grinned and shrugged. "I know...I'm worse
than a child, aren't I? I can't help it. I've always been this way. I used to drive
my mother crazy
by eating my dessert before my dinner."
Buffy smiled, too. Picking up the salt dispenser, she shook it lightly over the omelet she'd
"I'm sure that's not the only reason you drove your mother crazy," she observed.
He swallowed the bite of pancake he'd taken. "Oh, sassy," he murmured approvingly. "I love it."
Buffy blushed slightly, forcing herself to maintain eye contact and not let him rattle her.
After a moment, he asked, "How's your omelet?"
"It's good," she said, taking another bite. "How are your...?" She gestured with
"Delicious." He cut off a substantial bite. "Taste," he offered, holding the fork out.
"Oh, I don't think so," she demurred.
"Because I don't want to go into a diabetic coma."
"...but it's really all I ever wanted to do. From the day I picked up a guitar for the first
time, I knew."
More than an hour had passed since they'd finished eating. Absorbed with each other, they'd
paid no attention to the passing of the time, and just sat there talking.
"Did you always want to be a teacher?"
Buffy nodded her head. "My first day in kindergarten? I didn't want to leave. I was in the morning
session and I tried to talk my mother into letting me attend the afternoon session, too."
"And did she let you?" he asked, amused.
"No...she had to pull me out of the classroom to the car, dragging my feet every step of the
My poor mother. She was so embarrassed."
Devlin smiled, obviously picturing the scene in his head.
Buffy saw this. "Are you laughing at me?" she demanded.
"Of course I am," he admitted. "It's funny."
There was light dancing in his eyes as he studied her face.
"I want to tell you something," he finally said.
Seeing the look on his face, she clasped her hands together on the table. "What?"
"Do you know," he began, speaking in that husky voice, the voice she could FEEL, as well
as hear. "that you have the sweetest mouth I've ever seen? I've been fantasizing about it since the minute I saw you."
Buffy gulped down a lump in her throat, unable to speak a coherent word in the face of his disturbing...and
Devlin reached for her hand. Turning it palm up, he rubbed his thumb over the bracelet
circling her wrist, pressing down hard when he felt her pulse quicken.
"Miss Buffy," he said softly. "I could fall in love with you...without even trying."
Every nerve ending she possessed was jumping with an electric zing, just from the touch
hand on hers.
"Do you think," he added, lacing his fingers with hers, "that you could fall in love with me,