"I can’t believe mom is making me work this summer," Buffy said. She was sprawled across her bed, talking on the phone. "You should have heard her. ‘You’re going to be 21 soon, and you need to start earning money so you can afford a place to live after college.’ It almost sounded like she wanted me to move out."
"I doubt that, pet," Spike said across the line. It was mid-morning, but Spike couldn’t sleep. So, he had decided to call Buffy and see if she could come over for a little fun. "Your mum probably just thinks it’s time you learned how to earn and save money. It’s not like your work as the Slayer pays well."
"It has lousy benefits, too," Buffy said. She sighed and turned over onto her back. "I think mom needs a man."
"A man. A hunk-a-hunk-a-burnin’ love," Buffy said. "Then maybe she’d get off my back about school, slaying, you…"
"What about me?" Spike asked, curious. They hadn’t talked about whether Buffy had told her mom about the two of them.
"She knows I’m seeing someone from school, but she wants to know all about you - your family, your major, your lifestyle, your shoe size."
Buffy laughed. "Well, that’ll be one thing less on her mind." Buffy lifted her legs up into the air and began to do leg exercises. "Seriously, though. She wants to meet you."
"You sound rather reluctant to do that, luv," Spike said.
"I don’t know if I’m ready, yet," Buffy replied honestly.
"Say the word, ducks, and I’ll be there," Spike said.
"Thanks. Ok. New topic. What are you going to do while I’m working?"
"Probably take a class. Though it won’t be as much fun without you."
"Aww," Buffy said, a goofy grin plastered on her face. "You’re so sweet."
"Want to come over and find out just how sweet I am?"
"Be there in fifteen minutes."
Spike entered the classroom on his first day of summer school. Buffy had gotten a job at the Gap, working evenings until 10, and he needed something to do to fill the time. And what better way to do it than learning how to cook? After all, Buffy seemed to always be hungry when she visited.
The classroom was not the typical style. Confectioner’s ovens, large stoves, microwaves, and a walk in refrigerator lined one wall. A long island countertop sat in the middle of the room. The remainder of the walls held cookbooks and cooking supplies.
Including Spike, there were only five students in the class. He sat at the empty stool and joined in the conversation.
"Hi! I’m Candy!" a very blond, bubbly, blue-eyed girl said to Spike. She blew a bubble of pink gum.
"William," Spike said.
"Nice to meet ya, Willy," Candy gushed. "This is Jason and Linda and Paula."
Jason rolled his eyes and stuck out his hand. Spike accepted it and was pulled forward slightly so Jason could whisper to him. "Too much air between her ears, William."
"Hello, class," the teacher said entering the room. "I’m Selma, your instructor for this course. Since we have such small enrollment, we’ll be able to do much more than originally planned."
The students listened carefully as the teacher went over the safety precautions, syllabus and other first day information. "Any questions? No? Then tonight, as a easy ‘find where all the stuff in the room is located’ meal, each of you will make a Western Omelet. Let’s get cooking!"
*Oh boy,* Spike thought as he slowly stood. *This should be fun.* The only thing he had made for Buffy so far in their relationship had been chocolate chip cookies. He grinned at the memory.
He took a cookbook of the shelf and flipped through it until he found the recipe for the assignment. "It doesn’t look too hard," he mumbled to himself. Gathering the ingredients and cooking utensils, Spike slowly began to put together his first Western Omelet.
"Heat margarine in 8-inch omelet pan or skillet over medium-high heat," Spike read. He put his pan on the stove and turned on the burner to five. "Two teaspoons of margarine. How the bloody hell do you measure two teaspoons of butter?" he said to himself.
Spike casually looked over to the other students, but they had already passed this part. Growling lowly in frustration, Spike took a knife and cut a small chunk of butter and tossed it in the pan.
Returning to the cookbook, Spike continued to read. "Quickly pour eggs into pan. Slide pan back and forth rapidly over heat and, at the same time, quickly stir with fork to spread eggs continuously over bottom of pan as they thicken."
He picked up the two eggs and looked at them before remembering he had to break them open and not put the shell in the food. Spike’s first batch of chocolate chip cookies had taught him that much.
Breaking the eggs over the now browning, melted butter, Spike tossed the egg shells and picked up a fork, stirring the eggs. Then he remembered he had to slide the pan back and forth over the heat. He grabbed the handle of the metal skillet.
"Ow!" Spike yelped, dropping the pan with a clang on the stove. He looked at his hand. A nice, handle-shaped burn mark reddened it.
"Everything ok, Willy?" Candy asked Spike from the next station over.
"Just ducky," Spike said through clenched teeth. He practically stomped back to the cookbook. "Fold in one or more of the following: shredded cheese, chopped mushrooms, chopped chives or parsley, chopped peppers, chopped ham…what’s with all the bloody chopping?"
Spike picked up a knife and began to cut the vegetables he had taken out of the refrigerator. His highly sensitized nose picked up the smell of something starting to burn. Turning quickly, he saw his omelet smoking. He grabbed the fork and started to stir the egg again.
"Fold in the stuff, fold in…how do you fold it in?" Spike grabbed the cut vegetables and tossed them into the pan with the egg mixture and continued to stir. Soon, the eggs started to harden and Spike figured it was done. Turning off the heat, Spike stood over his concoction with a frown marring his handsome face. "This looks nothing like the picture."
The teacher chose that moment to walk over to Spike. She looked down at the pan, then into Spike’s face, arching an eyebrow. Spike shrugged. She took his fork and tasted the omelet.
"It tastes all right," she said. "But it looks nothing like an omelet."
"No kidding," Spike said sarcastically. Self preservation of his ego made him continue. "I had a hard time getting use to this set up."
She patted him on the arm. "The others had trouble, too, so don’t worry."
Spike smiled at her, turning on the charm. "Next time, it will be picture perfect," he said. *Even if it kills me.*
Little did Spike realize that he had jinxed himself.
First, he almost cut his finger off.
Then, he caught his hand in the confectioner’s oven door.
Next, he dropped five pounds of flour on his foot.
And all this happened at the next class.
Spike was standing in front of his stove, making French toast. Buffy was sitting at his kitchen table, flipping through a magazine.
"When are you going to be done? I’m starving," Buffy said.
"You’re always starving," Spike replied, flipping the bread over with a spatula. "Why don’t you get out the powder sugar and syrup."
Buffy complied, then resumed her seat. "How’s class going?"
"Better," Spike said. "I haven’t dropped anything in two weeks."
She laughed. "What possessed you to take a cooking class anyway? It’s not like you need to eat."
"Well, someone is always complaining about being hungry," Spike said, moving the French toast onto a plate. "And I’m not made of money." He set the plate on the table, then sat next to her.
"Spike, I’ve seen your bank accounts," Buffy said, sprinkling powder sugar over the food. She began to cut it into pieces. "You could wear a suit made of $100 dollar bills if you wanted."
"Just eat," Spike commanded. Buffy saluted with her fork, getting powder sugar on her forehead.
He leaned over and raised his hand to wipe it off, then thought better. Instead, he brought his mouth up and licked it off.
The mixture of saltiness from Buffy’s skin and the sweetness from the sugar exploded in his mouth. Passion shot through his body as he dipped his finger in the bag, then traced the powdery white substance down the column of Buffy’s neck. His tongue soon followed the same path.
Buffy inhaled sharply when she felt Spike’s tongue on her neck. Following his example, she rubbed some sugar on the side of his ear, then tentatively tasted it. The combination of sugar and skin aroused Buffy to the point of jumping Spike then and there.
Instead, she put some powder sugar on his neck, and licked it off slowly, as Spike had just done to her....
Spike leaned over the sizzling pan with the butane lighter in one and a wedge of lemon in the other.
"I have a bad feeling about this," he said as his flicked the trigger on the lighter. The blue flame bounced jovially at the end, mocking him.
Looking one last time at Candy, who was standing next to him, silently cheering him on, Spike touched the flame to the pan.
Spike literally squealed as flames shot up into his face. Visions of flaming organs collapsing on top of him danced in his brain as he quickly back peddled away from the stove.
Two steps back, and his boot clad foot connected with a slippery substance on the floor. Spike’s feet flew out from under him, and he went down, cracking his head on the island countertop before landing on his rear.
"Willy!" Candy exclaimed. She snatched the lemon from his hand and squeezed it over the flambé. Chucking it towards the trash, she kneeled next to him as the others crowded around.
"William, are you ok?" Selma asked, rounding the counter to his other side.
Spike put his now lemon-less hand to the back of his head. He winced when he touched the large horizontal gash.
"Willy! You’re bleeding!" Candy cried as Spike held his hand in front of his face. He was about to lick the blood, but then remembered he where he was.
"Here, press this over the wound," Selma said, handing Spike a clean towel. "Any volunteers to take William to the hospital."
"No!" Spike said. Apparently too vehemently due to the looks he received.
"I’ll take him!" Candy said, bouncing to her feet. She had Jason help her get Spike to his feet, then wrapped her arms around his face, leading him reluctantly away. "C’mon, Willy. We’ll have you fixed up in no time!"
After five minutes with Candy in her car, Spike wanted to cry.
"We’re almost there, Willy! Just hang on a few more minutes," she said, gum popping in her mouth.
Spike would get sick pleasure from siccing Candy on his worst enemy. *Wait a minute, I’m in love with my worst enemy,* Spike thought, somewhat delirious from the ride with the air-head.
"We’re here!" Candy practically sang. She opened her door then ran around to his side and helped Spike out. Wrapping her arms once again around his waist, Spike was shepherded into emergency.
"Help! My friend’s been cut!" Candy shouted upon entering the hospital. Spike groaned.
A nurse came over and examined his cut, then escorted the two students to a waiting curtain. "Have a seat, the doctor will come and stitch you up in a few minutes."
Spike sat on the edge of the hospital bed, wishing he could smoke. Candy was chattering cheerfully beside him. He could feel a headache forming for the first time in his undead life, right between his eyes. Closing them, he used his free hand to pinch the bridge of his nose.
"Spike!" he heard a voice exclaim. He opened his eyes to see friends of the Slayer’s standing open-mouthed in front of him.
"Willow, Xander," Spike said cordially. If his head didn’t hurt so much, and if Candy hadn’t started to talk animatedly, he would have laughed at the expressions on their faces.
"You guys know Willy?" Candy said.
"Willy?" Xander said. He snorted.
Spike tried to ignore them. He was succeeding rather well until he heard a familiar voice approach.
"Willow, Xander, I got here as soon as I could…good heavens, is that Spike?" Giles said in his typical abrupt fashion.
Spike grinned maliciously at Giles. "Hello, Watcher."
"It seems as if Spike here split his head open during his cooking class," Willow said, stifling her laughter. Spike glared at her.
"C-cooking class?" Giles said. He looked from Spike to Candy and back.
"Oh, bugger off," Spike said to the group. His head was really pounding.
"Yes, w-well, v-very good," Giles stammered. "Let’s go, Willow and Xander."
They started to walk away, and Spike was visibly relieved. Now, if he could only get rid of Candy.
"I hope Buffy’s ok."
Spike wouldn’t have heard Giles’ comment if he wasn’t a vampire. His eyes widened and his face paled, turning him a grayish color.
"Willy? Are you ok? You’re looking a little gross," Candy said.
Ignoring her, Spike jumped off the bed and ran down the hall after Buffy’s friends.
"Watcher! Is she ok?" Spike called as he ran up to them. He flinched and stepped back when three crosses were flashed in his face.
"Back off, blood-sucker," Xander said.
Spike ignored him. "What’s wrong with the Slayer?" he asked Giles. He dropped the bloody towel on a nearby gurney.
"N-nothing," Giles stuttered. "She-she’s out on patrol."
"Liar," Spike said. He darted around the trio and ran to the nurses station. "Buffy Summers," he said impatiently.
He glanced over his shoulder to see Giles, Willow and Xander approaching cautiously, their crosses still out. "Room 214," the nurse said.
"Thanks," Spike said, then took off down the hall.
"Giles! He’s heading towards Buffy’s room!" Willow shrieked from behind him.
Spike dashed into Buffy’s room and shut the door. Then he turned to the figure lying on the bed.
Spike slowly approached Buffy, his heart in his throat. "Buffy?"
Buffy stirred on the bed and opened her eyes. "Spike?"
Spike sat on the edge of the bed and gathered Buffy in his arms. "You’re ok," he said, his voice choked up.
Giles, Willow and Xander burst into the room at that moment.
"Buffy!" Xander exclaimed, charging at what looked to be Spike feeding off of the Slayer. Xander tackled him, tumbling them both off the opposite side of the bed.
"Xander, no!" Buffy yelled. She struggled to sit up, then winced at the pain in her side.
Spike pushed Xander off of him, causing the younger man to hit his head on the wall, and jumped up. He saw Buffy wince and sat back down on the bed, putting an arm around her shoulder. "You’re hurt! What happened?"
Willow and Giles’ mouth dropped open at Spike’s worried tone.
Buffy leaned heavily against her love and sighed. "Appendicitis."
"Oh, you poor baby," Spike said, dropping a kiss on the top of her head. "Why didn’t you call me?"
Giles cleared his throat and Buffy remembered her friends. "Oh! Giles, Willow! Um…yeah. You know Spike."
Willow still gaped at her best friend. "You…he…arm…kiss," she stammered.
"Maybe I should have told them," Buffy said, looking up into Spike’s face.
"You think?" Spike said, smiling down at her.
"T-told us what exactly?" Giles asked.
"Spike and I are kinda an item," Buffy answered with a small voice.
Several hours and cups of tea later, Willow led a catatonic Giles out of Buffy’s room. Xander trailed reluctantly behind the two, scowling over his shoulder at Spike.
"That was fun," Spike said sarcastically. He arranged Buffy in his arms and settled back onto the bed.
"About as much fun as a root canal," Buffy said, sleepily.
Spike kissed her gently. "Sleep, Slayer," he said. Buffy smiled up at him and closed her eyes.
"There you are, Willy!" Candy’s sickeningly perky voice said from the doorway. "I’ve been lookin’ high and low for you!"
Buffy opened her eyes at the intrusion. "Who’s that?"
"That, pet, is Candy," Spike said. "Candy, this is Buffy."
"Hi Buffy! Are you Willy’s girlfriend? Willy, you didn’t tell me you had a girlfriend!" Candy exclaimed.
Spike groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose. His headache was back in full force.
"Willy?" Buffy asked with a giggle.
"Shut up, Slayer."
"The doctor was looking for you," Candy continued, popping her gum. "Said to come on back and get your head stitched up."
Buffy sat up, wincing slightly, and faced Spike. "What happened to your head?" she asked, looking for an injury.
"Willy slipped and split the back of his head open on the counter at school. That was after he almost burned his eyebrows off," Candy supplied.
Buffy pulled Spike’s head down so she could see the damage. An already healing gash was visible across his blond head. "I think he’ll live," she said, releasing him with a knowing grin. "It’s superficial."
"Super-what?" Candy asked.
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Never mind. Why don’t you tell me more about what happened in class. Spike here never tells me anything."
"Spike? Who’s Spike? Oh, you mean Willy. That your cute nickname for him?" Candy said.
Spike pulled Buffy back into his embrace and whispered in her ear. "Just stake me now, please?"
Buffy chuckled under her breath as Candy went on and on and on….
"You sure you know what you’re doing?" Buffy asked for the fifth time.
"Yes, luv, I know what I’m doing," Spike answered yet again with a touch of impatience in his voice. "Why don’t you go and set the table, then get lost so I can finish."
"Rude much?" Buffy asked, but she snatched the place settings and set the table.
Spike really wanted a cigarette.
Buffy left to go pick up her mother and Spike sighed in relief. He was nervous enough as it was without Buffy hanging around adding fuel to the fire.
On the stove was what he hoped to be the perfect dinner. After all the accidents in class, and putting up with Candy for the summer, it had to be.
While things were simmering, Spike uncorked a bottle of red wine to let it breathe. He quickly fed on pig’s blood he had bought at the store earlier in the day, then poured some into a wine glass for himself during the meal.
Glancing at the click, Spike finished getting ready for the ‘big meeting’. Buffy had bought him a jacket, dark blue button down shirt and new slacks at the Gap for the occasion. He showered and dressed, then started to straighten up the already spotless house.
The doorbell rang, and Spike took a deep, unneeded breath. "C’mon, mate. You can do this," he told himself as he answered the door.
"Hello, Buffy, Mrs. Summers," Spike greeted the two women as he ushered them inside. Luckily, since Buffy was over often, the air conditioning was on to combat the Sunnydale summer heat.
"Hello, Spike," Joyce Summers said. She looked around the living room as Spike shut the door. "Nice apartment."
"Condo, actually," Spike corrected. He gestured to the kitchen. "I realize that dining at the kitchen table is a bit informal…"
"Not at all," Joyce said, following him into the kitchen. He pulled out a chair for her, then one for Buffy, who was looking green around the gills.
Spike leaned down as he pushed her chair in, whispering so only someone with supernatural hearing could understand. "Are you alright, luv?"
Buffy nodded slightly. With a touch of worry, Spike went over to the open bottle of wine and offered some to Joyce.
"Yes, please," she accepted. Spike poured her a glass, then poured a miniscule amount in Buffy’s wine glass. Picking up his own blood filled glass, he made a toast. "To a pleasant dinner."
The three clinked glasses, and Buffy downed the wine in one gulp. Spike chuckled and shared an understanding look with Joyce. He walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out a can of soda, handing it to his love.
"Buffy didn’t mention how old you were, Spike," Joyce said conversationally as Spike began serving dinner.
"I’m 22," Spike lied, two centuries off.
"And he wears a size 10 shoe, mom," Buffy added with a grin.
Joyce sighed. "Very funny, Buffy."
Spike sat and they began to eat, while he continued to field questions.
"Have you decided what your major is going to be?" Joyce asked.
"Not yet. I just started last fall and have been taking a mixture of classes to see what I like," Spike answered.
"Where do you work?"
"Actually, I inherited a lot of money, so I don’t need to work. That’s one reason I decided to take classes."
"You’re eating the results of one of them, mom," Buffy said between bites.
"I took a cooking for dummies class which just finished last week," Spike supplied.
"I take it you lived like a bachelor, with no food in the house," Joyce said.
"You could say that," Spike answered with a grin at Buffy. Buffy glared at him.
"Well, this food is delicious, Spike," Joyce complimented.
They continued to converse throughout the meal. Spike noticed that the wine glasses were empty and excused himself to refill them. He handed one back to Joyce before sitting down.
"Thank you," Joyce said, taking a sip. She made a strange face, holding the glass in front of her. "I’m sorry to say this, Spike, but I think this wine is bad. It tastes very coppery."
Buffy gasped and started to choke on her food.
The remainder of the meal went off without a hitch. Spike switched glasses with Joyce, giving her the red wine instead of the pig’s blood, and they proceeded to chat amicably, moving to the living room.
After Buffy and her mom left an hour later, Spike took off the jacket and settled onto the couch, a glass of freshly refilled blood in one hand, cigarette in the other. The phone rang and he picked it up.
"Hello, luv," Spike said into the receiver. Only one person ever called him.
"Hi," Buffy said. "Mom says you’re a doll. Her words, not mine."
"I take it that means I can keep seeing you," Spike said.
"Yep. Can’t get rid of me."
"What if I sicced Candy on you?"
"Do that and I’ll end your eternal life slowly, with lots of holy water."
"I want to pick the courses this time," Spike said, snatching the catalog out of Buffy’s hands. "No more ballet."
"But you looked so cute in those tights," Buffy said with a grin. "It showed off all your…ahem, attributes."
Spike glowered at her, then returned his attention to the scheduling. "How about we take Latin?"
"No! I have Giles for that. I don’t need Latin," Buffy said, trying to get the book away from Spike. "Plus, it’s too hard learning another language. English is hard enough as it is."
"Sit still," Spike said, holding the book above her head.
Buffy made a petulant face, then reached out and started to tickle him.
"Aah! Enough! You win! You win!" Spike said, trying to get away from her strong fingers.
Who knew that the one giant weakness vampires had was being extremely ticklish?