The night out at George’s Number
8 had been a great success. If you didn’t know of Dru’s mental illness, you wouldn’t have thought anything
was wrong with her at all. She even danced with a few different guys. Sweet kept an eye on her, and she didn’t take
any ‘recreational’ drugs, she didn’t feel the need but she had a few drinks, and was fine. Cecily got rip-roaring
drunk, and had also taken two snorts of coke. She was doing more and more drugs lately, finding she needed more just to feel
‘normal’, let alone get a ‘buzz’.
When they went home to Cecily’s
house, Dru said she’d stay with her to look after her. Cecily managed to stagger upstairs, and just take off her top
and one shoe before collapsing on the bed. Dru finished undressing her, and covered her up. She’d dropped a clip-on
earring, and knelt on the floor to look for it under the bed, where she found several long boxes.
Dru pulled one out and began to sort through
the contents of letters, bills, concert programmes, tickets and photographs. They were mostly of Cecily from work, ‘glamour’
shots, but there were some from a beach party they’d had about four years ago, and Dru took a swift intake of breath
when she pulled out a picture of herself holding hands with Spike. They were both windswept and laughing, dancing on the beach
at twilight, with a huge bonfire behind them. Spike had been doing the music and had set up some huge speakers either side
of a basic turntable.
Dru remembered this; it all suddenly came
flooding back to her like it was yesterday. She even remembered what they’d been dancing to at the time. Spike had put
on ‘On the Beach’ by Cliff Richard as a joke.
She stared at the picture for a long time,
before quickly sorting through the box to see if she could find any more. She found three, and some others from parties and
functions in another box under the bed.
Dru sat on the floor looking at them.
She hardly recognized herself. She picked out one particularly good black and white ‘arty’ shot of Spike, moody
looking, like some Matinee Idol, all square firm jawed and angled cheekbones. It had been taken by a friend of theirs who
was training to be a photographer. She couldn’t remember the girl’s name now, and she turned the picture over,
hoping there would be something written on the back, but all there was, was a date, 1998.
She felt her stomach lurch and she swallowed
the lump in her throat. Dru turned the photo back over, and stroked the face, whispering, “Spike………what
happened to us, we were so happy…”
Cecily coughed, bringing Dru out of her
reverie. She looked at her friend, who coughed again, more violently this time, then raised her head and began to wretch.
Dru quickly scrabbled everything up off
the floor and moved out of the way before Cecily threw up over the carpet.
“Oh Cec, are you alright?”
On receiving no answer, and as Cecily didn’t move or make to get up, Dru frowned. Putting the photographs carefully
on the nightstand, she went and fetched a bowl and cleaning materials and began to clean up.
“Alright, ALRIGHT! I’m coming!.
Jeez, what’s so bloody important?!” Quickly securing her robe around her, a tousle-haired Anyanka yanked open
her front door.
“Flowers for Miss Anyanka Petersen.”
The deliveryman pushed an absolutely huge bouquet of cut mixed blooms into her hands, and Anya was suddenly blinking and wide-awake.
She mumbled thanks and shut the door with her hip, while she searched for the card.
Placing the bouquet on the side, she fished
out the card and opened the sealed envelope and read,
'Dearest Anya, I’m so sorry
for my behavior last night, PLEASE forgive me, don’t let this ruin our friendship. You mean so much to me. Love, Rupert,
XXXXX PTO'. Anya turned over the card and read, 'Dinner, my place tonight, 9.00pm? Please say yes. Let me know.'
She smiled, and picked up the bouquet.
“Hmm, cream roses, tiger-lilies
in orange and pale pink, blue iris and white peonies…all my favorites. Must have cost a fortune…okie-dokie Rupes,
I’ll give you another chance."
After putting the flowers in water, she
rang his mobile. When she got the message facility, she realized he’d be rehearsing his show, and she just said, “Thank
you for the flowers, they’re beautiful. I’ll see you tonight – bye.”
As soon as she put the phone down, it
rang, making her jump. She smiled, thinking it was Rupert eager and pleased that she’d forgiven him, she picked up and
said, “You know I couldn’t stay mad at you, especially when...“
“Well, Ow…that’s a burst
“SORRY! S-sorry, I um…I, well,
I thought that you were R-er, I-I mean, um, somebody…somebody else, sorry!”
“Okay, we're on the other ear now,
don’t shout down this one, please! Listen love, this is my last night in town before I go to Paris. Can we meet for
“Supper...um, well, er, no. No,
not really – I’m...well, we’re doing this charity record thingy today you see, and I said I’d
go and play the piano, no idea what time we’ll finish.” Anya said, crossing her fingers behind her back!
“Oh...no chance of seeing you until
I get back then?”
“When will that be?”
“Anya, are you okay? You sound…strange
– have you got a guy there or something?”
“A guy? No, no! No guy, ha-ha!”
Jenny frowned, then shrugged. “Thing
is, I’ve left my spare contacts in your bathroom. I’ve got one pair, but I’m having to clean them overnight
and put them straight back in in the morning and the cleaning fluid makes them sting. I really need my other pair. So can
you take them with you, and I’ll drop by the studios and pick them up?”
“NO! Um...l...look, I tell you what,
I’ll have them sent over to you now, just in case things get delayed – you don’t want to be late for your
flight, do you?”
“Well, no. I do have enough to do
– can you bring them over yourself now? We could have coffee.”
“Um, sorry...I’m having my
hair done, then I’m straight to the studios.”
“Hair done? For rehearsals?”
“No, cut and streaked again!”
“But I thought…oh well, never
mind, it’ll keep until I get back, I suppose”
“What? What will keep?”
“I tried to see Rupert last night.
I went to the Winds bar..”
“Sorry? – how do you know?”
Anya screwed her eyes up and bit her bottom
lip at her mistake. “I d-drove p-past. Saw you outside.”
“Why didn’t you stop?”
“I, I couldn’t, I...um, I
was a passenger, in a car with s-some agents from Steinbeck’s. I’d been doing a commercial for them all afternoon
and we were going for a meal at the Albany. I could hardly shout, 'Stop, there’s my friend'.. could I?”
“Okay. Did me no good though. I
didn’t see him, he wasn’t there.”
“Giles, silly. Although I swear
I could smell his Hugo Boss aftershave lingering on the air. I must have just missed him.”
“Oh. Oh, um, yeah, you m-must have.”
“Have you seen him?”
“Seen Rupert Giles, god, what is
the matter with you Anya? It’s like pulling teeth trying to get a straight answer out of you today... you’re acting
“Sorry! Sorry, I just got up. I
had a bad night, so I took a pill, I’m still groggy,” Anya lied.
“Oh. Well, look, don’t forget
to send me my contact lenses over will you, and I’ll see you in three weeks time, unless I get a better offer in London.”
“Right, yes, I won’t forget.
Well good luck, keep in touch won’t you, bye!” Anya practically threw down the phone like it was hot. She hated
lying to her friend, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to stop herself blurting out what had, or had NOT, happened between herself and Rupert, wanting forgiveness for jeopardizing their friendship
by going with him behind Jenny’s back. Except she didn’t! Well, she'd tried, but....
One thing she DID know was, she knew she
couldn’t face Jenny right now and see just how upset she’d get if she learned what had really happened.
Anya had her driver take the contact
lenses over to Jenny’s flat. At least she knew that, with Jenny out of the country, she’d have three weeks minimum
grace to sort this thing out with herself and Rupert either way…
Harmony’s words washed straight
over Xander’s head as she led him into her bedroom.
Her idea was to show him her party outfits,
but she didn’t quite know what to wear. Thing was, all she had on at the moment was a push-up bra and tiny briefs…making
all rational thought nigh-on impossible for Xander.
He glanced at the bed and, certain ‘painful’
memories come flooding back.
“Sit! Okay, I can’t decide
whether to wear long or short, or wear trousers…oh god, what if I fall in the water…I better not wear long, it
could get caught up in propellers or..something. What do you think?”
“Yes!” Xander said, automatically.
“You don’t think I’ll
fall in, do you?”
“Hmm? Of course!”
“YOU DO!? That’s it! I’m
“What? Why not?”
“Because you just said you thought
I’d fall in!”
“No! Don’t be silly! Sorry…Harm,
baby, you’re driving me wild!”
“But you said....“
Xander stood up, and went over to her
and slipped his arms around her waist, pulling her towards him. “I won’t let you fall in, Poppet!”
He towered over her, ready to ‘pounce’ any second.
She beamed up at him. “You’ll
hold onto me really tight?”
“Real tight, like this.” He
slipped his arms a little tighter around her, and his head dropped to her neck.
“How’s it going? Have you
contacted him yet?” Glory asked her researcher.
“Not yet. We’ve left two messages
on his telephone answering machine, but so far he hasn’t got back to me yet.”
“Damn. What sort of message have
“What sort? What do you mean, what
sort? – I told him my name is Cassie Newton, I work for Glory Benson’s cable show, and would he be interested
in coming on the show, if so to contact us, and I left a number.”
“Well, no wonder he hasn’t
phoned back! Tell him we’re doing a reunion show, and we want to surprise Buffy – bit like ‘This is Your
“But they finished. He might not
want to know..."
“Oh, come on! She wrote a love-song
for him, won a competition with it, goddamn it! She was pining for him. Still is!”
“You don’t know that! She
could have moved on – he could have, or worse, just say SHE has, but HE hasn’t – that would be horrible
“I tell you what might be horrible...my
researcher having to look for another job this side of Christmas. Just do it!"Glory hissed.
Cassie sighed. "Yes, Glory."
“Good. Promise him anything, I want
that guy here. Now, what about her parents?”
“Who, Buffy’s?” Cassie
Glory rolled her eyes. "No...Bloody Britney
Spears! Course Buffy!”
“Her mother is dead, and she said
something derogatory about her father in an interview – I don’t think she’s seen him in years."
“Really…where did you read
this?” Glory gave a wicked smile.
“Can I get back to you on that?
– I need to look it up” Cassie said.
“See that you do………we
could be having ourselves a nice little reunion party”
Cassie glanced at Glory, but Glory was
off on one of her ‘Power Ego Trips’ and imagining how Buffy would act. Knowing it was a ‘live’ show,
so she couldn’t flounce out, it would put her in a dreadful light with the general public, and could ruin her career
– so she’d have to grin and bear it………that would teach the prissy little madam to keep her smart
mouth shut of sarcastic comments, wouldn’t it?”
Cassie began to look up the info Glory
wanted via her computer. She knew she didn’t like Glory’s methods, morals or scruples, not one little bit. Unfortunately,
Cassie also knew it would be practically impossible for her to find another job with the serious heart complaint she had,
and she wouldn’t have a hope in covering it up during a medical if she tried for another job. Glory had her over a barrel,
and she’d have to comply with her boss' wishes, but she didn’t have to like it.
Spike sat in the sound booth with Xander.
Ford was down with all the artistes in the biggest recording room, number 4.
“Okay people…break over!
Come on please, lets get on! He clapped his hands to get their attention. "Now I want to take
it from the top. Ilyria, I want you to sing the lines, ‘free from pain, free from fear, enjoy all that we hold dear,
and then Buffy you come in with ‘Gift of freedom. Gift of life, free from pain and free from strife’…”
Everybody stood, putting down paper cups
of drink and picking up their song-sheets.
“Okay everyone, ready? Who writes
these bloody lyrics, anyway?” Ford got ready to start the music.
“Er, that would be YOU, mate,"
one of Gunn's backing singers said, grinning.
“Alright, don’t rub it in!
Ready, and...one, two, a one, two three, four…”
Ilyria took up the haunting refrain in
a less aggressive manner than she usually sang in. Buffy sang out loud and clear, and Ford looked up towards the sound
“How was that, Spike?”
Spike pressed the ‘talk’ button,
and said, "Sounded fine to me." Although she couldn’t see him Buffy smiled towards
the sound booth.
“Right then, the chorus, we want
a Gospel choir thing going on, think………think Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’, feel free to do
‘oh yeahs’ and all that, and keep a strict tempo, a one and (clap) and two and (clap) and three (clap) etc, okay,
probably be easier if you did clap – we can add it after…so, I’ll get Anya to just play you the basic tune…when
you’re ready, love...."
Anya played it simply, note by note, with
Ford singing as an example.
“ Stop the hunger, stop the war,
living in fear, will be no more… … …”
“Okay, now please, people…your
They worked on the song all afternoon
and into the early evening, and then people wanted to get off home.
Buffy went up to the sound booth with
Harmony. "So, what did you think?” she asked brightly.
“Well, a cheesier song you won’t
find, but if it raises a few thousand for the cause then, hey, go cheese!” Spike said and everyone grinned.
“Want to come to Luigi’s for
a quick bite? We won’t stay late, there’s something I want to do when I get home, so I don’t want to be
back late” Xander said with a smile.
Buffy shrugged and looked to Spike for
“Yeah, okay. Great," he said, nodding.
“What’s that then, Pookie?”
“You’ll soon find out!”
Xander said with a wink. Spike and Buffy grinned and followed the couple out and down the corridor.
Spike whispered, " I think he means
someone, NOT something!”
Buffy snorted a giggle and they all got
into the lift.
Cassie Newton eased her car out of the
parking lot after watching Xander, Harmony, Spike and Buffy leave the studios. She’d seen the manager,Spike,say something
to Buffy and they'd both laughed. He’d put his arm around her shoulder and hugged her towards
him, kissing her forehead.
Cassie wasn’t big on relationships.
Fact was, she was 22 and had never had one herself . She was too scared to get involved, bearing in
mind her medical condition. But one thing she did know, was that it definitely didn’t look like the young blonde singer, Buffy, was
‘pining’ for her old soldier boyfriend anymore. In fact, her body-language alone told the tale that THAT relationship was long dead, and Buffy had found herself a new beau
in the shape of her manager.
As Cassie eased her car into the busy
evening traffic, she wondered again if she should do her boss’ bidding, and lure this Riley Finn chap to the studios
under any sort of false hopes....