All In Time

(pg-13)

he's finally ballsy enough to pop the question...


If it wasn't for the fact that he was completely and utterly panicking, he would've been rather calm.

Also, if it wasn't for what he was about to do, he wouldn't need to be panicking, and he WOULD be calm, and if he were calm, then he could do what he was planning to do without panicking and...

It just kept going in one vicious circle after the next. He was panicking. He wasn't calm. And he kept thinking of the abject humiliation and misery he would be in if what he wanted to happen didn't happen.

Shoving his hands in his pockets, he rolled his shoulders, rolled his neck and strode forward, throwing himself down in a chair. His chair. Their table. All that couple-y shit that people were so fond of. All except "his -n- her" towels. He would kill himself before he ever subjected himself - either of them - to such a stupid concept.

Five minutes passed. He leaned back in his chair, folded his arms and began tapping his foot to the cruddy music that was playing on the system at the little coffee shop he'd met her at. She'd been at the counter, bitching to the manager about how they'd overcharged her for a thimbleful of coffee, when she'd expressly ordered an extra thimbleful. He'd walked up behind her and offered to buy her a large so she wouldn't bitch anymore, and she'd spun around and thrown that thimbleful of not-hot coffee in his face. Then she'd stomped on his foot, turned around and stormed out.

Ahh. Memories.

It had taken him a week until he'd run into her again, but it hadn't been the bitchy little firebrand that he'd first annoyed that day. This version of her was sad and weepy, and utterly frightening and from what he'd gathered from her gibberish and high-pitched ramblings, her mother had walked in to a department store to buy the Firebrand a birthday present, except the mother hadn't found the present, but she HAD found a couple making out right in the middle of the aisles. Namely, a bubble-headed blonde, and the Firebrand's boyfriend. Well, ex-boyfriend by that point.

Oh, how his heart had soared. He hadn't known whether or not she was single when he'd met her -- there really hadn't been enough time for the how-do-you-do's and life-altering conversations between the coffee-tossing and the foot-stomping -- but he HAD known that he'd wanted to see her again, and pester her as much as possible. And she was single now!

Still, he'd had to do the annoying gentlemanly thing and wait until she was over the stupid tosser that had cheated on her in the first place -- who the hell in their right mind (both of them) would ever think of cheating on HER? -- before he made his move.

When his time had finally come, he'd asked her out to a movie. She'd accepted, and brought her best friend and her best friend's boyfriend along.

Strike one.

The second time, he'd attempted to entice her with notions of romance by taking her for a picnic on the beach. She invited her sister and mother this time.

Strike two.

Actually, attempt number two had worked out quite well in the end, as he'd won the approval of both her mother and her sister, although he'd ended up with a little more than approval on the sister's end of things. He'd had a talk with Mum to quickly set the little darling straight.

Attempt number three was the successful one, since everyone always used the adage, "third time's a charm" and it made him want to foul up that stupid third time for them to prove how unlucky they were in general. Anyway, with no more digressions, he had asked her to head out to the local dance club with her friends and family. It seemed that the fact that he'd explicitly invited the important people in her life along had been the deciding factor.

That night, she had all but fucked him on the dance floor, and he had started cleaning up his duplex more often.

So time had gone by rather fondly, what with their raging fights, and even more raging sexathons following the raging fights, and those little bits and pieces of time where things were calm and peaceful and utterly boring (which was usually how and why those raging fights were started), and at the end of their first year together, she had moved in with him, but she'd destroyed all of his things in the process. He agreeably (read: threw a holy shit fit) allowed her to rearrange his home entertainment system, clean out the kitchen, buy a new refrigerator/freezer combo, clean the house at least once a day between their fuck-sessions, unclog the drain in the bathtub (a job she refused to handle herself and passed instead on to him), take their clothes to the laundry every week and teach him how to iron them whenever they came back, and coaxed (read: forced) him to choose clothes with colors that did and didn't occur in nature, rather than his standard black.

She, in turn, allowed him to choose their TV programs for the night, choose dinner once in a while (usually the Italian take-out place down on Fourth Street), and leave his shoes next to (but not in front of) the front door; she also fully understood that he would let Hell and Brimstone come between them before he would give up his big thick leather coat that she now cuddled in at night, and allowed him to keep (a few of) his black jeans and black T-shirts.

She DID, however, fully encourage his tendency to not wear anything beneath the clothes.

This was the reason why he loved this woman.

So in the two and a half years that they had been together, he had finally given in to all the not-so-subtle hints that she had been giving him. He had dragged his father out with him to the stupid jewelry store to buy her the stupid ring that didn't mean anywhere NEAR as much as the chocolate stain on the bedroom mattress did, but he bought her a ring all the same, because he was a man, and she was a woman, and it was what she wanted, so he'd shell out the TWO-THOUSAND THREE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-TWO DOLLARS! that the assholes at the jewelry store wanted for that blasted little trinket, because if he didn't there would be hell to pay.

And no sex. Most importantly, no sex.

So, with his father laughing his bloody arse off at him all the way, he'd bought the stupid bloody ring, had ignored that asshole that had sold it to him who was trying to convince him to buy the stupid bloody matching necklace and earring set, not to mention the ENTIRE ring set, and he had stormed out the door and onto the street and into his car, and had nearly left his father standing on the curb.

In conclusion, women were evil manipulating little creatures, and he hated jewelry stores.

So now he was waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the bloody manipulative little bint in question to turn up so he could get the whole thing over with. He'd even prepared a little speech to get her all properly weepy and --

WHERE THE BLOODY HELL WAS SHE!

At exactly twenty-three minutes at eighteen -- nineteen -- twenty seconds past eight, he breathed a sigh of relief when he saw her lovely blonde head dart through the doorway of the coffee shop. Her face lit up when she saw him, and he couldn't resist an answering smile as he stood up and caught her in his arms.

"Hello, gorgeous," he murmured fondly, pulling her in close to him and kissing her lips, and then her cute little kind of funny-looking nose.

She scrunched up said cute little kind of funny-looking nose and kissed him back. "Hello to you, too, handsome. Did you order yet?"

He shook his head. "Just waitin' on you, dove."

She preened under (one of) his (many) pet name(s) for her and sat down in HER seat, scooting it as close as physically possible to HIS. "You didn't have to wait for me, I so wouldn't have been mad if you'd ordered before I got here. Besides, you know what I like, anyway."

He sighed and shook his head. "Yes, I did have to wait for you, kitten. You are, after all, a lady. An', most importantly, my lady. Wouldn't of been proper of me to order before you got here. 'Sides, my boys' woulda been tied to a flagpole with me hangin' from 'em by a thread if I had."

She scrunched up the funny-looking nose again. "Eew. Nice imagery."

"Thank you. I thought so."

"Sadist."

"Prude."

"Asshole."

"Bitch."

"Shut the HELL --"

"Um... can I take your order, please?" a nervous sounding voice asked from beside them. They looked over at the young girl in unison and, also in unison, turned beat red as they noticed the entire room gawking at them.

He flipped them the bird, and she threw a creamer at his head before sitting back down and ordering.

The little waitress ran off in a hurry without looking back at them, and they looked at each other for a moment, before they started laughing. "I keep forgettin' not to do that in public anymore," he said, chuckling.

"Same here," she giggled. "That poor girl is probably traumatized by us by now."

He shrugged. "Don't know why. Should be used to it by now, we're in here every week."

She sighed. "I'm still trying to figure out why they haven't banned us from here after that first incident."

"Good luck an' lots of charm?"

"Probably. Don't know where you got the 'charm' thing from."

"Shut your mouth an' eat your bloody biscuit."

"It's a wafer."

"Bloody soddin' -- Whatever, Buffy."

Buffy stuck her tongue out at him, chewed wafer on the end of it.

He snorted. "Oh, yes, attractive, luv, very attractive. Makes me wanna ravage you right here on the floor."

She shrugged, swallowing. Then her eyes lit up. "Ooh, we should do that sometime!"

He raised an eyebrow. "What, fuck on the floor? We've done that, pet."

"No, Spike. Not fuck on the floor. Fuck here on the floor. After hours. You can still do the whole pick-pocket-y disengage the alarms thingy, right?"

This time, both eyebrows went up. "Yeah..."

"So let's do it! One night, when nobody's here, we just..." she scooted closer and ran a finger up his bare arm, "... sneak in and... have a little fun." Buffy began placing kisses on his jaw and neck. "Wouldn't that be fun, baby?"

Spike sat bolt upright. "We'll do it. Gimme a time an' a day, an' we'll do it, swear to God, we will."

Buffy giggled and gave him a full kiss on the lips. "Goody."

He looked down at her, smiling. "Have I ever told you how fucking perfect you are for me?"

She leaned her head against his shoulder. "Mmm, lots of times, but you can keep saying it if it makes you feel good."

Spike kissed the top of her head, wrapping an arm around her and rubbing her shoulder. "It does. You're beautiful. An' I love you."

Buffy looked up at him, a soft 'awww' look on her face. "I love you, too, honey."

The waitress returned to the table, looking almost relieved when she saw that they were cuddled up together, rather than arguing, and she placed their coffees in front of them -- Spike glared at the doll's teacup in front of him that they called a "small," but at a sharp poke from Buffy to his side, he mumbled a thank you and nodded his head at the girl. She gave a tiny smile and hurried away, wiping her nervous hands on her apron.

For a moment, Spike and Buffy just sat there, curled up together, reflecting on random things that, as usual, have a habit of popping up at the weirdest times, and then, with a deep breath, Spike decided to go for it. He looked down at Buffy and nudged her lightly.

"Luv? I need to talk to you about something, okay?"

She looked up at him, frowning slightly and pushing back her hair. "Okay. What is it?" She froze, her eyes wide. "You're not breaking up with me, are you?" Now her eyes were narrowed, and she was glaring at him. "You better not be breaking up with me, otherwise I'll kick your stupid ass all over this goddamn --"

He shot her a dirty look. "No, I'm not breakin' up with you, you silly bint! Just go ahead an' ruin everythin' I was plannin' on sayin' with your little snit fit, why don'tcha? Christ, Summers, way to wreck a serious moment."

She hit his chest. "Shut the hell up. Continue."

He rolled his eyes at her, then sighed. "Bloody immature little bint," he muttered, and she stuck her middle finger up at him.

"Anyway," he growled, shooting her a warning glare when she opened her mouth to speak again. He was gonna do the stupid ass gushy long-winded tear-jerking piece-of-shit speech if it killed him, goddammit.

He sighed again. "Buffy, I've known you, really known you, for three years now, an' since the moment I saw you givin' ol' Marv hell over there," -- here he waved delicately with a smirk on his face at the manager, who scowled at Spike and turned away, making Buffy giggle -- "I knew you'd be one helluva ride." He wiggled his eyebrows lasciviously, making her blush. "In more ways then one."

"Pig," she murmured affectionately, squeezing his hand.

"Everyday, luv," he agreed, nodding and taking her hand, kissing the back of it. "I never thought I'd meet someone like you, baby. All piss an' vinegar, hellfire, ready to wallop some unsuspecting wanker at a mo's notice, even if all he's tryin' ta do is buy you a bloody cuppa coffee so's you'll stop bitchin'." He grinned at her. She stuck out her tongue.

He continued quietly. "But those are reasons I love you, pet. You refuse to let anyone push you around, you refuse to be a victim, but you're still not afraid to break down an' show others when you're hurtin'. An' you, above all, let me be there for you when it all comes down to that."

He sat up and leaned toward her, giving her a soft kiss on the lips. "Don't take this wrong, luv, but I love it when you let yourself need me. I love takin' care of you, an' I love when you let me." A hand moved up to cup her cheek. "As strong as you are, honey, you need somethin' or someone to fall back on, an' I don't think you'll ever know how glad I am that that's me."

Spike pulled back, took a deep breath, exhaled, then looked down. "You're my everythin', Buff. I think of you when I get up in the mornin', if I don't see you right away, I look for you all damn day until I do, an' you're what's on my mind when I go to sleep. My world revolves around you, an' I already love you so bloody much, that it might destroy me ten years down the road, an' I couldn't give a second toss if it does. So long's I have you with me. I need you, Buffy. I need you with me, an' I need you to be that little firebrand I first met, an' I need you to let me give my all to you."

Buffy's eyes were shining by the time Spike finished, and she leaned forward to hug him tightly. "Spike, baby... you know I do, and you know I will. I love you so much, I don't know what I'd do or... or who I'd be if you weren't there..."

He lightly released her and cleared his throat out. "That's why -- " he stopped, then moved onto the ground before her, kneeling on both knees. He smiled lightly when he heard her give a gasping little yelp of surprise, then reached into his pocket, pulling out the ring box before starting again. "That's why I'm askin' you to marry me. I need you to say yes, baby." His voice deepened. "Say yes, an' make me the happiest man on earth."

The minute she'd seen the ring box, Buffy had burst into deep sobs, tears spilling over her soft cheeks, both hands poised together, almost as if in prayer, except not really in prayer because they were covering her mouth so the sobs wouldn't be as loud, and they were covering her nose, just in case -- never mind. Since she didn't exactly trust the pitch of her voice at the moment, she nodded frantically, then threw herself at Spike before attempting to speak.

"Oh, god, Spike... yes, yes, of course it's yes!" Her lips pressed firmly to his, and her fingers ran through his hair. "God, Spike, I love you so much!"

He chuckled, kissing her back and resting his forehead against hers. "Wanna see the ring, baby?"

She nodded eagerly, sobs still escaping harshly and tears still streaming. Spike laughed softly and took her left hand (after opening the box, of course), took out the ring, and slid it onto her ring finger. "Good? Yeah?" he insured once the ring had settled on her finger, and he smiled once more when she gasped out a tearful 'yes.'

Okay. Was she still supposed to be crying? Well, whatever; she'd said yes, that was all that counted now.

He rubbed her shoulder gently and looked around the coffee shop as he waited for her to stop wailing like a banshee, and noticed that all the patrons were (as per usual) sticking their bloody noses in where they didn't belong -- in short, staring and gawking openly at them. At least they'd had the common sense not to cheer like a cheesy television show. Spike probably would have ripped their throats out. As it stood, one death glare from him, and they'd all (in unison) turned around as quickly as they could to avoid the iciness of his blue eyes.

Buffy's crying was starting to taper down now, but she was still punctuating the silence between them with a few sniffs. She wiped her eyes, then looked down at the ring for a long moment, before looking up at Spike. Still sniffling, but with a mischievous twinkle in her bright green (if not slightly red from crying) eyes, she said pitifully, "It's ugly."

Spike narrowed his eyes in false annoyance, then threw the Barbie tea cup full of not-hot coffee in Buffy's face. "Bitch."

fin

reviews would be most welcome, please!