Author: Mrs Muir
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox and anyone else that can lay claim to them. It's not me.
Full Summary: William Nagle and Alexander Harris have been best friends since the first day they met at Hyperion Preparatory School. Through the years they have always been there for each other. But one of them holds a deadly secret that will affect William's future with Buffy, the woman he loves. Will Buffy be able to hold onto the man she loves or will the secret rip them apart?
Warnings: Although this story is Spuffy there may undertones of slash and suggestions of emotional attachments outside the Spuffy relationship by either Spike or Buffy.
She took his breath away.
It was a silly, romantic and very clichéd thought but it was the only one that William Anthony Nagle III could piece together at the moment. Besides it was true. He forced an exhale when his chest became too tight from his emotions. The vision had appeared in the corner of his eye as he read the morning paper. She moved with a natural feminine grace that sent the male in him into a possessive attitude. Everything in him focused on her with a predatory need.
He watched in fascination as the petite blonde moved across the terrace of the hotel toward the buffet line. He set his tea cup down with a rattle as he continued to catalog her assets. She was beauty incarnate with long blonde hair that curled at the ends. Her face was dominated with huge eyes that glanced around as if she was looking for someone. A pink sundress showcased a body that was slim but still curvy enough to make his hands clench with longing. Leaning back he lifted the paper again so that anyone watching him would think he was reading even though his eyes were glued to the woman.
A smile flashed across his normally stoic face when she accidentally overflowed her juice glass while she stared with unabashed hunger at the pastries. When she realized what she had done, she glanced around her then wiped up the mess before hurrying along. It showed him that she was still real, not yet jaded by her looks and the attention that it had to bring. His late wife, Drusilla, always assumed that the world owed her, for no reason other than the fact that she was a striking and desirable woman.
This particular beauty bypassed the pastries though, reaching for a yogurt instead. It was a shame. He would have loved to observe her making love to the sweet concoctions with the same hunger she had exhibited when she gazed upon them. It would be a sensual experience and the thought alone made him shift in his seat.
Not that he would ever pursue the feelings that were filling him. Never again would he allow love, or any woman, to rule his heart and life. If she were older, or worldlier he would have gladly taken her to his bed. Enjoy the physical release that she would give and the pleasure her body promised. She appeared innocent and unsophisticated, so instead he would fill his mind with details so that he could think of her later. Maybe even indulge in a fantasy about her when he was with someone else that did know the score.
William glanced at the Cosmograph Daytona Rolex that graced his wrist. The meeting with his agent wasn't for another hour so he had enough time to dawdle where he was. He signaled the waitress to bring him another cup of tea then pulled his chair up to the table so that he had a clear view of the girl.
"Excuse me," William asked the waitress as she laid the cup down. "Do you know who that girl is across the way?" He gave a small wave toward the object of his fascination.
The waitress, Tara by her nametag, looked around to glance at the girl in question then turned back to him. "That's Miss Buffy Summers, Mr. Nagle. She's going to be a guest for the next week."
"Thank you," William said, dismissing the server. Now, he had a name for her. He rolled it over his tongue, Buffy, letting him taste the essence of her. She never realized he was staring, either that or didn't care. Buffy sat at a table at the edge of the terrace. The ocean sparkling in the early morning sun was the lucky recipient of her attention. An air of sadness hung around her, making him wonder why she was vacationing alone. Had someone broken her heart? Was she running away from someone or something? She was a mystery that he didn't have the time to solve even if it would likely drive him mad until he knew.
Buffy Summers was a danger to him. A danger to the hard shell he had encased his heart in after Drusilla had shattered it beyond repair. Forcing himself to dismiss her, he stood to make his way back inside the hotel. Sighing, he stopped at the exit to take one last look and found that she was returning his stare. Curiosity filled her delicate features as she tilted her head. He gave her a wink when she continued to keep her eyes locked with his. A blush flooded her cheeks, her eyes dropping, making him smile for the second time that morning.
He found his heart was lighter as he maneuvered his silver R/C Carrera GT Porsche around the curves of the coastal highway. The car was one of the indulgences he had given into when his latest novel had climbed the best seller list. Of course, his first love was his classic DeSoto that was babied and only taken out on special occasions now. Otherwise the Porsche fed his need for dangerous speed. Xander, his best friend, was always telling him he shouldn't tempt death because he might get his wish.
William didn't care. Not anymore. So, he lived. As hard, as fast and as emotionally detached as he could. He would take what he wanted and who he wanted because the only thing that had mattered to him had died a little over a year ago in another's arms. Life was all a game that he was determined to win and if he died in the effort, so be it.
The afternoon ahead of him made him a little more reckless than usual as he drove. The meeting with his agent was going to be a horribly tedious event. It was a ritual that always took too long and drained William of any creativity. Rupert Giles was very fastidious. Everything had to follow the path that he had set out; quick hellos, with small talk that neither was really interested in, then tea in the garden. It wasn't that he didn't like his agent. They were friends with a mutual respect for the other's talent. Giles had taken William's penchant for writing, encouraged him to do something with it, and from there a new novelist was born. It was just the 'business' end of things that horribly bored William. He just wanted to be lost in the worlds that he created.
His books were from the fantasy genre, exploring what ifs of the future with an amazing insight into his characters motivations and emotions. He had been described as a fast rising star that would usher in a new era of creative direction. Sometimes he would laugh at the sheer number of volumes that had been bought and sometimes he would be overwhelmed that anyone would find his childhood fantasies interesting. What really floored him was when he met his fans that could quote his books, and seemed to really care what happened to the characters. It was really the only thing that made its way behind the cynical shell of his life.
The garden that Giles led him to was in full bloom that morning. Flowers in bright colors were open everywhere, allowing their sweet fragrance to hang in the air. The delicate aroma made him think of Buffy.
It wasn't the first time she had entered his thoughts since he'd left the restaurant that morning.
"Spike," Giles said addressing him by his nickname. "How is the rewrite going on the latest in the Galaxy trilogy?"
"It's not," Spike said, sitting back with a smirk. "They are attempting to completely change my concept of the story. And they can bugger off before I allow them to do that to me and my fans."
"And you have a contract that stipulates they have final approval on the material," Giles said. "If you don't produce, they'll sue you."
"You're my agent, not theirs, so start acting like it. I am not going to turn Lucifer into a good guy which is the reason he got the name Lucifer in the first place. I'll gray him up but he's not going all goody two shoes like the hero."
"It's the last chapter…"
"Bloody hell, Rupert, life isn't a damn fairy tale. My readers adore Lucy just as he is. He's them. He can be bad, he can be good, and they relate. I won't do it."
Giles sighed, rubbed his forehead then leaned back in his chair. It was the same argument. The publishing house felt that turning the villain of his series into a hero was the way to end the trilogy. They said it would be a moral lesson for the younger readers. Unfortunately, neither author nor the majority of fans wanted it. They liked their dark hero's ambiguity. Spike had dug in his heels refusing to write until they gave in.
The deadline for getting the book out by the following Christmas was fast drawing to an end. Someone had to give in and Spike knew that in spite of a lawsuit, his fans would stand by him, thus assuring another contract somewhere else. He, himself, would become the hero and the attention would assure him several more bestsellers.
"All right, I'll go back to them again," Giles agreed. "Once an agreement is made, you had bloody well be prepared to work your arse off to fulfill the deal."
"Have I ever let you down?" Spike asked, knowing he had won. Well, at least with his agent. Giles wouldn't come back to him again. It would all be hammered out between Giles and the publishing house or the courts, depending on how stubborn the literary house decided to be. Deciding to let it go for now, Spike picked up his tea, and crossed his legs. "So, Giles, how is Jenny treating you these days?"
Jenny had been Giles girlfriend, on and off, for several years now. The high school teacher was a source of happiness for Giles, but she also brought great conflict. She was very family oriented, wanting to follow the traditions of her ancestors but yet somehow wanting a modern life. It led to a tumultuous relationship for the older man.
Settling back in his chair, Spike waited for Giles to weave his latest tales about his life. It turned out to be a pleasant morning that passed into late afternoon. They went to lunch at a small bar overlooking the ocean that served plain but filling food. The conversation continued to center around Giles life, Spike's books and general world issues. Never did Spike bring up Buffy. She was his secret indulgence, who crossed his mind frequently over the day. He found himself longing to go back to the hotel just so he could cross paths with her again. Just so he could watch her graceful beauty pass him by. It would be all that he would allow himself.
The water washing over his feet was icy as he walked along the beach. It was a sharp reminder that he was merely human. That he was nothing but a peg in the wheel of life. There would be no special circumstances for him to escape unscathed. Spike would pay his dues like everyone else, no matter how much they hurt.
He sighed before taking another deep drag of his cigarette. Buffy hadn't been in the dining room for dinner. He had lingered as long as he could, hoping to catch her. It didn't happen though and he was disappointed. He wanted a few more memories of her before he returned home the next day. Giles always made Spike come to him for their meetings. It was an excuse for the young author to return to life.
Otherwise, Spike's existence was confined within the walls of Sanctuary. It was a high end building in Los Angeles of which he owned one of the two penthouses. It was the place for young and upcoming Hollywood moguls to live. Drusilla insisted upon acquiring it after his bank account swelled from his first best seller. It was built of cold steel, modern in design and devoid of any feelings. Dru had loved it. Spike tolerated it. He loathed selling it because he knew her spirit was still in her beloved home.
A soft cry somewhere ahead of him made Spike turn around. He didn't want to interfere in what sounded like a private moment between lovers. The second cry was sharper. He hesitated for a moment waiting to see if there was something wrong or not.
"Please leave me alone," a woman's voice echoed over the deserted beach. "I told you earlier that I don't want you bothering me."
"Oh, come on, darling," a man's voice followed hers. There was a slur to his words indicating that he had been drinking. "A pretty little thing like you all alone needs someone to take care of her."
"I don't need anyone," the woman declared as Spike approached to help her. He hated men who played macho cavemen. A woman was meant to be seduced with adoration, not overpowered.
The man's back was to him when he got close enough to the couple. The woman's arm firmly in the man's grasp as he pulled her struggling form closer to him. She moved into the moonlight and Spike gasped as he recognized Buffy. It suddenly became a lot more personal. The stupid oaf had no right to touch her.
"The lady told you that she doesn't want you touching her," Spike growled, clamping a hand down on the man's shoulder.
Spike watched first surprise then relief cross her face at seeing him there. It seemed she had lied. She did need and want help.
"Back off," the man barked, releasing Buffy so he could take a swing at Spike.
Spike grabbed the man's arm, twisting it until he dropped to his knees. Holding him, he looked up at Buffy. "Is he staying at the hotel?" She nodded. "Listen to me, ponce. Go back to the hotel, check out and be gone when we get back or I'll have you charged with sexual assault. Do you understand?"
The man tried to pull away from Spike but ended up eating dirt with a well placed foot on the back of his neck.
"Now, let's try this again," Spike growled. "You are going to do what?"
"Check out," the man bit out trying to push himself up.
"Good, good," Spike said, taking his foot away. The man gave him one last angry look before taking off down the beach. Spike turned to Buffy. "You okay, lamb?"
"Yes, thank you…for helping."
"No, problem," Spike said, their gazes colliding like they had only that morning. The intensity of her eyes burned into him. Trying to break the spell she was weaving over him, he let his gaze sweep over her. She looked young and innocent when you took in the high ponytail and bare face. It was her clothing that seemed to be telling another tale. A pair of denim cutoffs barely hung on her hips and a t-shirt was tied around her middle emphasizing the soft swell of her breasts. Aware of his stare, Buffy crossed her arms, looking away from him as another flush covered her face. She was adorable. He couldn't resist having a taste of her despite his earlier vows to the contrary. "Were you taking a walk?"
"Well, let's go," Spike said. He turned and walked off, knowing that eventually she would follow. He had come to the conclusion that meeting Buffy was a twist of fate that he wouldn't pass by.
to be continued…