Lisa was already a little bit tipsy as she stared at her glass of whiskey in childlike amazement. She liked the way the light broke in it and seemed to make the liquid glow from the inside. What she even liked better was how the whiskey ran down her throat, leaving a pleasantly warm feeling.
The bar Lorne, had dragged her into, consisted of a wild mixture of demons, vampires and humans. Perhaps this was precisely why Lisa didn't feel out of place.This was only of befitting. Here she was only a freak among freaks.
The lights were dimmed and unidentifiable music was coming out of the boxes above the counter. The bar had no distinctive features to it, so a certain amount of anonymity was guarantied.
"What would I do without my dear friend Johnny, " Lisa raised the glass to her lips again.
"You know your Mr. Peroxide might be doing the same right now..," Lorne told her, taking a sip of his martini.
"He's angry and I can understand why," it was the first time she had reacted to his tries of directing the conversation towards the sensitive subject of the blond vampire.
"Are you really giving up so easily?" the demon looked at her critically. "Or is it just that you're too scared."
"I…," she stuttered uncharacteristically and couldn't help but feel caught. "How? What!"
"You sang to me. I read your aura," Lorne summed up patiently as if it was something he was quite used to.
"Right," she took another swing from the glass. So there was no use lying. "Yes, I'm scared," Lisa admitted finally. "Scared that I might mess it up," she added in a hushed voice.
"That old devil called love…," Lorne smiled wistfully. There was a hint of melancholy in his eyes. Once again he had become the listener who skilfully enticed the other person to continue speaking.
"How am I supposed to make this work if I can't even figure out myself? Before I met him every seemed so clear. I knew who I was, what to do…But now. Well, now everything's different," she traced the rim of her glass with her finger pensively.
"I've started caring again," her voice was barely above a whisper. "Before I had nothing to lose, but now I've got a whole lot to lose. Being a psychic not actually risk free. What if I get killed? What if he dies in a fight?"
"Honey, it's quite simple. Just ask yourself one question. Do you seriously want to go back to the way it was?" Lorne looked at her seriously.
She hesitated for a second, contemplating what he had said. "No," Lisa hung her head. "I know I can't. I love him."
"Then why don't you stop worrying about what might be and start thinking about what could be?"
"Damn it! I'm not one of those people who suddenly sees the world through rose-coloured glasses once they've fallen in love, that's because!" her fist angrily slammed down on the counter in emphasis of her words. "Do really you think you can console me by means of some psycho-babble you've picked up from somewhere? Life sucks. This conversation sucks."
"Most people don't appreciate being told to their head what I know about them. They usually take subtle hints, but obviously you don't," Lisa had done something bordering to impossible. She had made him angry. Lorne was fed up and frustrated with being merely the patient listener, especially since she was being so stubborn. "So let me put this straight. You love him, but you keep standing in your way – you're sabotaging yourself. You like being unhappy, because that's something you're experienced with. You're afraid you might lose him just like you lost Charlie. It's time to wake up, princess! You didn't lose Charlie out of your own fault. He sacrificed himself so you could live. It was his gift to you.
Life is not simple. It's not solely exciting and beautiful. It is what it is. It doesn't come in a nice wrapping, but the one thing that makes this all suck a little less, is love. It makes people write songs – great romantic songs like the one you sang to me, when I read your aura. It comes and goes the way it wishes. It can be love between siblings, friends – even between two of the most thick-headed people in the world," he finished a little out of breath and looked at her expectantly.
Lisa's blank gaze was stubbornly fixed on the mirror behind the bar. Her face was expressionless and made him doubt whether she had really been listening to his angry tirade. But then, as she blinked, a single tear ran down her cheek. She quickly brushed it away with an embarrassed smile. "It like to believe this, but I'm not sure if I can."
"Give it a try," his voice once again had become soft. He gave her a comforting smile.
The young woman briefly hesitated before she continued, "I might"
They both finished there drinks in companionable silence.
Later that night in some run-down part of L.A. Lisa was contemplating disgustedly whether to enter the run-down dive that lay in front of her or not. It was her umpteenth try this night and she was slowly getting frustrated. The buzz she had felt after a few drinks and Lorne's pep talk, was slowly fading. She had already been to numerous other establishments of this kind before, but always without any success. This one was especially shabby-looking. Well, she could at least give it another try. Maybe she would find Spike here.
She had learned that the wisest course of action was not to look the clientele straight in the eye - so they wouldn't be provoked by her presence –, head straight to the bartender to ask him her questions and then disappear as quickly as possible. And that was what she intended to do this time as well.
Lisa quickly snug in through the door, but unluckily her plan didn't go as smoothly as she had planned. Some six foot high mountain of muscle decided blocking her way. She froze in tracks like a rabbit in front of a snake, praying to the Gods to make her invisible. Obviously they didn't heed her call. Lisa gulped nervously.
"Hey, Lucius, look what we've got here," the colossus called out to his friends, sitting around a table in the corner, "something to pretty to play with!" The men laughed dirtily in response, which entice Lisa's vis-à-vis even further.
"Looking for a little company?" she could feel his lusty gaze wandering all over her body.
"No, I'm fine, thank you," Lisa said as calmly and politely as she could. She was well aware that the music, that had been playing in the background had stopped and all eyes in the room were fixed on her. The young woman slowly retreated into the direction of the counter.
"Not so fast," the unfriendly giant grabbed her by the arm, "First a little kiss," again laughter from the audience.
Lisa cringed inwardly at the mere thought it, "I'd rather lick the floor with my tongue, at least it would be more sanitary." She already was in trouble - what she said or did, didn't matter anymore.
"Someone should teach your manners. Nobody talks to me like that! Not even some two-bit bitch like you!" the muscle mountain roared dangerously. He raised his fists angrily. Each of them seemed as big as Lisa's head. She closed her eyes anxiously, her hands raised protectively over her head.
Lisa expected his fist to hit her any second, but nothing happened. She opened her eyes cautiously to see the giant lying to her feet, while Spike was towering above him, his hands still balled to fists. The other man was squirming in pain on the floor and holding his stomach. The blond vampire turned around with an impassive expression on his face and headed back to his seat at the counter. The music had started playing again and everything went back to normal as if nothing had happened. Lisa, on the other hand, needed a moment to stomach the recent events. She shook her head in disbelieve, but then hurried after Spike.
She eyed him shyly, as he sat there with his back turned to her, as he was meticulously trying not to acknowledge her presence. "Hi," Lisa finally said timidly. It wasn't really an intelligent thing to say, but at least she had started talking. He didn't deem her try to converse with him worthy of a response.
"I wanted to talk to you," she stated the obvious.
He briefly looked over his shoulder, "Bugger off! I've got nothing to say to you."
She let out a frustrated huff. This was going to be a long night. Lisa let herself slump on the bar stool next to him. Lisa raised a hand to wave at the barkeeper.
"What are you doing?" Spike asked incredulously, taking a swing out of the freshly opened bottle of whiskey that stood before him. I
"Ordering a drink," Lisa answered shortly. "I'd like the same he has," she informed the man behind the bar. He simply raised an eyebrow and then placed a bottle of bourbon in front of her.
"Slightly suicidal tonight, are we?" Spike observed her critically.
"No, I just thought that I'd need some liquor to get through this conversation."
He let out a humourless snort. "So, let me guess…you didn't just come to start a bar fight."
"Thought so, make it quick. I'm trying to get pissed," Spike told her matter-of-factly.
"I love you," Lisa said simply. The way she said it made undoubtedly clear she really meant it. Spike's expression noticeably softened a little bit at her words. It was good a good start, but she still had to try a little bit harder.
"Continue," he supplied, bringing the bottle to his lips again.
"When I went looking for you, I had planned it all out in my head, you know. All the smart things to say. As always my plans don't work out right," she let out a tried sigh. "See, I can understand why your angry…"
"Oh, you can?" his eyes flashed dangerously. "You didn't even bloody tell me there was a Plan B. You didn't even care to mention that you were still planning on playing the martyr…It just didn't come to your mind! Instead you run off to this stupid sodding ponce Angel, to let him in on your little scheme. What did you expect? That I'd hand you a bouquet of flowers after the little stunt you pulled?" his hands closed around the bottle so tightly, that his knuckles turned almost white.
"I did it, because I wanted to protect you….because it would have killed me, if he had been harmed you in any way. That's why! To me it seemed a damned good reason at the time."
"Still you could have told me," Spike answered gruffly.
"It was wrong not to tell you. I know that now, but I wasn't ready then."
"Ready for what!"
"To let you close," Lisa hesitated briefly, but then continued bravely, "I can do it now. I know I shouldn't have kept anything from you. It won't happen again. There will be no more secrets, I promise."
"Alright, then tell me something about yourself I don't already know. Something true," he looked at her challengingly. She couldn't help, but feel as if he was testing her.
"Well….where to start," What could be of any interest for him? As couldn't come up with anything that was particularly exciting, she just started ranting about the first thing that came to her head. "I….I enjoy watching cheesy TV-shows and I always cry like a baby whenever I listen to a really sad song," This was kind of embarrassing, but who cared anyways? If she wanted him back she had to swallow her pride.
"But what is more important," Lisa confessed finally, "I've missed you. I've missed you a lot. This is not a secret, not at all. I think I never felt so lonely in my entire life than in the last couple of days…"
"Why the sudden change of heart?" the past had taught Spike to be sceptical.
"Well," she sighed, "I've always been a control freak. Not a really surprising revelation. It's sort of part of the whole sending to the spirits back to where they belong deal. The point is I somehow forgot how it's is like let go, to let somebody else take care of you. And it's really hard for me…
A near death experience certainly puts things into perspective…I always dreaded the future, because it is an incalculable variable. Never cared much about it, to be honest. When Baku was after me, when he nearly killed me, I realized that I didn't want to let go of this life. I wanted a future, because for the first time I was actually looking forward to it…., because of you…"
Spike shrugged his shoulders wordlessly.
"Look, I don't know what else to say, " she ran her hand through her hair desperately, "I only know that I've never been in love like this. It's like in this damned romance novels: I can't eat, I cry myself to sleep, if I actually should happen to fall asleep... And even as we sit here and you probably just want me to leave, I feel better than in the last entire two days…I love you and that's completely, entirely and unmistakably the truth. That's all I can say and if that isn't enough…," Lisa hung her shoulders dejectedly.
"Do you know why I'm already having my second bottle of Whiskey tonight?" he asked her, his voice soft and barely audible above the background noise of the bar. Lisa looked at him in confusedly. What had his drinking habits to do with their current situation? She shook her head in dumb-found puzzlement.
"Because no matter how angry I was at you – the keyword being 'was' in this context- I still couldn't stop myself from loving you. So I figured as long as I kept myself busy with drinking I wouldn't be able to run off to go looking for you," he pushed the bottle away from him, since he no longer had any use for it.
"Sorry, I've spoiled your well-thought plan," she smiled at him, partly regaining her self-confidence.
"Wasn't really all that well-thought, to begin with," he made a dismissive gesture with his hand, "When I returned into existence, after that little human torch incident back in Sunnydale, I was determined not to fall in love again. Not ever again. Needless to say that that plan went awry like all the others. I'm glad it did…"
"I'm glad, too," Lisa smiled at him.
"It's different with you... I feel close to you," he paused looking at her with uncharacteristic shyness, " This is sort of a new experience for me, you know. Never happened before. Never been close to anybody. Well, at least not like this. I've told you things, I've never told anyone before. And strangely it felt right, because I somehow knew you wouldn't laugh at me or think less of me. For Christ's sake! I'm sounding like a sodding monologue from one of those silly romance novels," Spike rolled his eyes in annoyance with himself, but it dissipated as quickly as it came. "Oh, to hell with it! I don't even care!" exclaimed and then continued, "I can't get enough of you…I want to know you, really know you and the worst thing you can do to me is shut me out… I love you. I really do…. and that bloody scares me," the look he gave her was a mixture of vulnerability and confusion.
"Guess we are really meant for each other then," Lisa smiled at him tenderly, "I was scared, too. Scared I would mess this up with you, scared I could lose you…And the fact that spending two days without you, reduces me to a bundle of self-loathing, sobbing, Kleenex using heap, is only slightly comforting. I'm turning into a girly girl, because of you," her voice sounded ever so slightly accusatory.
He let out a soft laugh and Lisa couldn't help, but join him. The tension slowly eased away.
"Let's make this work," she finally said, looking at him seriously.
"Yes," he slowly leaned forward and brushed a loose strain of hair behind her ear. His fingers grazed her cheek ever so slightly and for a moment his hand hovered in the air, while they both looked at each other in fascination. Then they were suddenly kissing passionately.