Spoilers: None really. Technically set in season 5.
Rating: PG
Content: Angsty. Spike/Buffy
Disclaimer: They are Joss's! All Joss's! I'm just *cough* borrowing them for a bit.
Feedback: Please! I'm dying to know what you think about this one!

She was beautiul, you know. Soft, golden hair (bleached to that particular shade, of course) and eyes the colour of the sea: the greens and blues raging and turbulent even in the calm, full of activity. Of life.

She was the epitome.

My epiphany.

Oh, just lovely. I'm beginning to sound like one of them, now. Wankers. Back to the girl. She was beautiful. And limber. Very limber. Oh, the positions she could get that little body into...you should have seen her work out. That itself was enough to fuel my thoughts for years.

In short, the girl was the stuff of dreams. And I'm not going to waste my time denying it.

She was beautiful. Even if her nose was a little crooked. And her eyes were just too big. And that mouth? too wide. But somehow, when you put all the little imperfections together, it worked. You couldn't forget her. Even if you tried. And trust me. I tried.

Pretty girls are a dime a dozen, though. Hell, I've had a long time now to look at all the pretty little chippies. And after a while, you grow immune to it. Just a face. Just stupid hair. Just a facade that takes them hours and hours to achieve so they can hide under the pretense of beauty. Just a thin coat of paint that's easily washed off with water. God forbid should it decide to rain that day.

Better stay in the bloody house.

This girl was no different.

Oh, I won't pretend that she didn't spawn many an interesting daydream. But god, she worried.

If she was getting fat. Getting old. Wasn't pretty enough.

Maybe her nose was too crooked to be pretty. Or her eyes were too big. Or that mouth was just too bloody wide.

Here she is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever known and she still didn't think she was pretty enough.

So she worked at it. Painting the face, dressing like a siren. Acting dumb.

Now that part was just amusing. Like being a moron would help her catch a winner.

'Cuz you know that's what all this is about. Beauty, I mean. It's about loneliness. And she was lonely. Even with the crimson Covergirl lips and the Revlon eyes.

She was lonely.

And there wasn't a damn thing the makeup and the clothes and the hair bleach was doing to stop it.

Dumb bint. She never understood, you know. She seemed to think that if she made herself prettier, skinnier - effulgent some dashing knight in pressed slacks, a leather jacket, and a movie-star smile would swoop into her life and save her from the despair. And when he didn't make an appearance, the tears would come.

I don't think she ever paused to wonder if perhaps she's was attracting the wrong ones. That maybe her beauty wouldn't act as some sort of mystical mumbo jumbo charm to ward the evil loneliness away. You'd think that after the Poof and Captain Cardboard and the rest, she would have figured it out. But she didn't.

At first it was amusing to watch her scurry about in her frantic search for Mr Right.

I liked to watch her. Her body just moved in the most interesting ways. Enough to keep a bloke awake at nights.

But the tears came more as time went on. How many times would she sit in front of the mirror, just staring at something only she could see. Wondering what was so wrong with her. Wondering what she was doing wrong.

So she'd put her makeup on. And change her clothes. Then take them off and put new ones on. And fix her makeup.

And fix it again.

It never was good enough for her.

At first, I could have laughed as I watched her. The uncertainties. The self-hate. The anger.

Seven years bad luck.

Once, I actually thought she'd do it. With the broken chunk of mirror in her hand as she looked at her wrist. But calmly, she placed the slice aside and stared at herself in the glass.

She sat like that for hours.

I waited for the tears to come, I waited to see if she'd finally fall. If she'd finally crumble to her loneliness.

And yes, she was lonely.

But slowly, she started to clean up the mess. And she pushed her lower lip out defiantly as she threw the bits away. Defiant. And vunerable. And hurting. She didn't wear any makeup that day. And in all honesty, she never looked more beautiful. You could see her now. The anger. The passion. The strength. The sweetness. All out there for anyone to see. Anyone who bothered to look, that is.

The rest never knew. They thought this day was like any other. But it wasn't.

It was the day my heart would never be the same.