Buffy sat nervously at the kitchen table, watching her mom finish dinner.
"Buffy, why don't you help?" Joyce Summers asked her daughter. "You're making me nervous."
"Sorry, mom. Maybe I'll go change again," Buffy said.
"I don't think there's anything left in your closet to wear, Buffy. Besides, you look just fine."
"I don't know..."
"You're just worried about what I'm going to say, aren't you?"
"Well, yeah. We haven't done this in a long time. I mean, you've met him a couple of times before, but this is dinner with my mom. A whole new ball game."
"The first time I met him, I tried to hit him with an axe. The second time, you said you were in a band together. Other than that, he's only said hello when he's come to pick you up. I think it's about time I really met him."
"I know. I know. But still..."
"Haven't you met his parents yet?"
"No. Their dead. You already know his only other 'living' relative - Angel."
"Angel? Your ex-boyfriend? The vampire?"
"And William's related to him how?"
"Um...I'm not sure," Buffy lied. Her mom didn't know that Spike was a vampire as well. Buffy doubted that she'd be able to handle the fact that her daughter fell in love with two vampires. Buffy looked at the clock, then jumped up. "Oh my god! He's gonna be here in a few minutes! I gotta go check my hair!"
With that, Buffy ran up the stairs, leaving Joyce shaking her head and smiling.
"I'll get it!" Willow yelled as she raced for the door before her father could move. "Hi Angel!"
"Hi yourself," Angel replied, kissing Willow on the cheek. "May I?"
"What? But you've already been invited..."
Angel smiled. "I'm just being polite."
"Oh! Sorry. Sure, please come in," Willow replied with a faint blush. "I'm nervous."
"Yes, really," Angel said, tapping Willow on her nose. "I haven't done this in a very long time."
"Willow? Is that our guest?" Mrs. Rosenberg called from the kitchen.
"Yes, mom," Willow called back. "Time to face the firing squad."
Angel chuckled and took her hand, squeezing it affectionately.
"So, William. What do you do?" Joyce asked, passing the bowl of mixed greens to the vampire in question.
"Do, Mrs. Summers?" Spike asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yes, do. Are you in school? Do you work full time?"
"Oh. Well, I guess you can say I'm independently wealthy, so I don't need to hold a job."
"I've been saving for a very long time and invested wisely," Spike replied, taking a sip of the glass of 'tomato juice' Buffy had given him. "Although, during the crash, I did lose a pretty penny..."
Buffy kicked him under the table, causing Spike to jump slightly. She glared at him.
"Um...the recent downfall in the stock market. Unless you are an avid participant, I doubt you would have heard about it."
"No, I didn't. How much did you lose?"
"Er...in the recent one, not much. Stocks go up and down all the time, it's just a matter of choosing the correct ones to invest in. I always look for companies which make products that are more user-friendly. When the PC first came out, it was extremely slow and large and very few people wanted one. But IBM and MacIntosh started to change their technology, making them more compact and faster, thus creating a boom in the market and I made a killing," Spike said.
"Interesting metaphor, dear," Buffy said with an evil look.
Spike smiled innocently.
"Since you don't need to work, what do you do with yourself all day?" Joyce asked.
"I'm a night owl, so I usually sleep. Sometimes I read, go to shows or plays. Other times I help Buffy out on patrol or we go to the Bronze."
"You help Buffy? Isn't that dangerous?"
"Not really. I can hold my own," Spike replied with a wicked grin.
Buffy silently fumed.
"So, Angel is it?" Mr. Rosenberg asked the dinner guest. "What kind of name is that?"
"Actually, sir, it's short for Angelus. But I prefer 'Angel.'"
"So do I," Willow said under her breath. "Angelus, eww."
Angel knew Willow was referring to the terrible time when he had lost his soul and become Angelus, the demon.
"Where's your family from?" Mr. Rosenberg continued.
"Ireland. They were killed a long time ago. I moved to America about 8...8 years ago," Angel said, catching himself. Saying eighty years wouldn't have been good.
"Really? You don't have much of an accent," Mrs. Rosenberg said.
"Well, thank you, ma'am," Angel said, slipping into his native Irish brogue. "And might I say that this is a lovely supper thus far."
Mrs. Rosenberg smiled, laughing softly. "Thank you, Angel."
"Eight years ago, eh?" Mr. Rosenberg said. "That would have made you...what? Sixteen, seventeen?"
"I was brought across when I was 18, sir," Angel said partially telling the truth. He was brought into the world of darkness then, rather than coming to America.
"Then you'd be how old?"
"Two hun...26, sir," Angel answered after a swift kick from Willow.
"For a minute there, I thought you were going to say 200!" Mr. Rosenberg said laughing.
"That's silly, dad," Willow said with a forced laugh. "Isn't it, Angel?"
Angel nodded. "Quite."
"Buffy says that you and Angel are related," Joyce said. "How so?"
Spike almost shot blood out his nose. As it was, he started coughing as the sip he was taking went down the wrong pipe.
"Spi...er, William! Are you ok?" Buffy said, jumping up and running around the table to her boyfriend's side.
"Yes." Cough. "I will be in" cough "a moment."
Buffy rubbed Spike's back until he calmed down before returning to her seat. "Sorry 'bout that," Spike finally said, his accent thick. "Angel and I, eh?"
"We're old mates. I guess you can say he's like a father to me," Spike said. "We use to run together in the old days, me, Dru and 'im. A bloody good time, we had."
"His old girlfriend, mom," Buffy said glaring at her boyfriend.
"Angel took me in when I was 18," Spike said.
"Didn't it bother you that he was a vampire?" Joyce asked.
"What?" Spike practically jumped out of his seat. "You know?"
"Oh yes. I know a lot about Buffy's ex-boyfriend."
"I guess because Angel had a soul, it never really mattered, did it William?" Buffy said pointedly.
"Er...yes. I mean no. I mean it didn't matter that he was a vampire," Spike said, wondering again what he had gotten himself into by agreeing with Buffy to come to dinner.
"It must have been hard during the period of time when Angel lost his soul," Joyce said.
"Yeah, he was a bloody wanker," Spike said.
Buffy kicked him again - hard.
"What type of job do you have, Angel?" Mr. Rosenberg asked, continuing the grilling of his only daughter's boyfriend.
"I own the local club, The Bronze."
"Really? That's quite an endeavor. How long have you been the owner?"
"Several years now. I bought it from the previous owner when I moved to Sunnydale," Angel said.
"Must've cost plenty."
"I had some savings," Angel said with a smile. Willow giggled quietly, knowing that Angel was practically a millionaire.
"I guess it's a time consuming job?"
"Not really. I have very efficient managers. I'm mostly needed to sign papers and take care of any legalities."
"Then what do you do with yourself all day?"
"I'm really a night owl, and when I'm up I like to read and help Mr. Giles at the Sunnydale High School Library. That's where I met Willow," Angel said with a beautiful smile to his girlfriend.
"Do you think that it's strange that a college student hangs around the high school library, Angel?" Mr. Rosenberg asked.
"Not at all. Willow is a great help to Mr. Giles. He is pretty much computer-phobic."
Mrs. Rosenberg stood up and started to clear the dishes. Angel stood with her. "Would you like some help?"
"That would be nice, thank you Angel," Mrs. Rosenberg replied.
When they had left the room, Mr. Rosenberg turned to his daughter. "I know you're wondering if he passed this 'test' or not."
Willow nodded in affirmation, nibbling on her lower lip.
"Don't worry, dear. Angel passes with flying colors. I still think he's a little old for you, but you are 21 now and living on your own."
Willow jumped up and hugged her father. "Thanks, dad."
"I think dinner was a success. What about you?" Joyce asked her daughter as they washed the dishes.
"Did you have to be so brutal, mom?" Buffy said with a whine.
"Brutal? Me? I asked what any concerned parent would ask their daughter's boyfriend."
Buffy was silent for a few moments. Then - "Did you like him?"
"Yes, Buffy, I did. I think he's just fine," Joyce said hugging her.
Buffy let out the breath she had been holding the entire night.
"Great! Dad said Angel passed with flying colors!" Willow said enthusiastically. "What about Spike?"
"Mom grilled him pretty hard, but she liked him despite his character flaws," Buffy said with a laugh.
"You didn't tell her he was a vampire did you?"
"Are you kidding? And give her a heart attack? Not in this lifetime, I won't."
"I wouldn't dare tell my parents. It was hard enough that Angel's Catholic, but a vampire? Ugh," Willow said.
"What is it with us and the undead, Will?"
"Love. It's got to be love."