Written by: Shawn (1/1)
This story follows "I'm not in love with you... Okay, maybe a little" and "You are not pregnant with my baby... Okay, maybe a little bit."
Summary: Buffy is shocked. Xander is embarrassed. A song is sung. Some vows are exchanged. Angel and Spike are sent camera phone pics and a fax. All is good in the world BX smirk
Category: Romance/Fluff/Humor Rated: PG-13 Couple: Buffy/Xander
Timeline/Spoilers: You must read, "I am not in love with you... Okay, maybe a little bit" and "You are not pregnant with my baby... Okay, maybe a little bit" before you read this story. Everything's canon up to the BTVS finale "Chosen," except that Xander never lost his eye and Sunnydale wasn't destroyed. I will never think Xander losing his eye was anything other than a lame ass excuse to have something happen to him. It's stupid and will never, ever be a part of BtVS fanfic I write. For the purposes of this story Sunnydale took a major hit in "Chosen" but now it's all repaired and highly livable.
My personal archive: http/groups. Joss owns it all. I just let them out to play once in a while.
Email: Authors Notes 1: This story ends the mini-trilogy Brooke so lovingly coined "The Maybe a little bit" series. It takes place about three weeks after the last story.
"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."
"Try praising your wife, even if it does frighten her at first"
"I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. First, let her think she's having her own way. And second, let her have it." -Lyndon B. Johnson
"They say love is blind...and marriage is an institution. Well, I'm not ready for an institution for the blind just yet." -Mae West
"Marriage: A legal or religious ceremony by which two persons of the opposite sex solemnly agree to harass and spy on each other for ninety-nine years, or until death do them join." -Elbert Hubbard
The Sunnydale Police Department 14th Precinct Tuesday, September 26 2005 7:00 PM Sunnydale, Ca
While standing in front of the police stations help desk, Buffy squinted at the officer in mute shock. "Would you care to run that by me again?"
"Ms. Lehane and Mr. Harris were arrested on charges of breaking and entering as well as assault on several men who were having their weekly cross-dressing get together at Rollie's Muffler and Car Repair Shop."
Despite the lunacy of hearing what Xander and Faith were arrested for, Buffy simply could not make peace with the rather robust size of the balding, hairy officer behind the desk. For a man charged with the duty to serve and protect, she wondered how a man easily passing the four hundred pound marker could possibly do more than serve himself dinner and protect the world by devouring all its fast food. "That doesn't make any sense."
After a carefully hidden appraisal, Officer Dick Kendrick couldn't help but notice how absolutely gorgeous this little blonde was. He sat up a bit straighter while gazing at her. He knew how much a woman loved a man in uniform and he knew he filled his out splendidly. "Mr. Harris reported his car was stolen three hours ago. When he and Ms. Lehane broke into the auto shop they triggered a silent alarm. The owner, Mr. Rollie Worth, and his friends enjoy an alternative lifestyle that includes cross-dressing like women in their spare time. Apparently, Ms. Lehane was under the impression from sources she refused to name that Mr. Worth's auto shop was a front for a chop shop in the area."
It didn't surprise Buffy in the least that it was Faith who got Xander in this trouble. "A chop shop is a place where stolen cars are taken and stripped, right?"
"Yes." As lovely as this woman was she kept glancing at his half-eaten box of apple fritter donuts. He wasn't so sure he liked her anymore. "When Ms. Lehane and Mr. Harris broke into the auto shop and entered into the back area they found Mr. Worth and a small group of his male friends..." Officer Kendrick read over the police report in front of him, "Dancing around while singing Cindy Lauper's 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun.' They thought your friends were about to rob them so they initiated a fight. It seems Ms. Lehane was said to possess some insanely strong power as she flung them around the room while Mr. Harris interrogated Mr. Worthy with a tire iron over the location of his stolen car. Thankfully, no one was hurt outside of a few cuts and bruises."
"I wouldn't be so sure about that. Just wait till I get my hands on my boyfriend. A doctor may still be needed."
Dick heard exactly what he was hoping to hear. She wasn't so enamored with the beau tonight. "I just received a call from Mr. Worth's attorney. It seems if Ms. Lehane and Mr. Harris sign a non-disclosure agreement concerning what they saw all charges will be dropped."
Now that was pretty darn funny to the Slayer. "Let me guess. Mr. Worth doesn't want his weekly cross-dressing activities to be made public?"
"I doubt it would be good for business." Officer Kendrick found himself quite taken by her gorgeous hazel eyes, especially lit up with mirth they way they were now. Unfortunately, those same eyes were still darting towards his apple fritters. He needed to get her mind off of that. "My... my names Dick."
Judging by the come hither expression on his face, Buffy surmised in some strange, alternate universe he lived in he thought he might have a shot with her. Men with that much hair on the tops of their hands, and a bit coming out of their ears need not apply. "I'm in love with Mr. Harris," she politely added. "My name is Buffy."
Dick rubbed at his chin while grinning. "Is that a joke?"
"Sadly, yes. One my parents played on me only minutes after I was born." Damn, those apple fritters looked good. How dare Xander get himself arrested when she could be knee-deep in apple fritter heaven at Dunkin Donuts right now? "When can Xander and Faith be released?"
"I figure in an hour or so when their paperwork is processed. You can see them now if you want and tell them what they need to do. The non-disclosure agreement is one page long and not complicated at all."
That was a relief. "Just lead the way." Instead of rising from his desk, Officer Dick lifted a large plastic bag from another desk and laid it in front of her.
"These are items we took in Mr. Harris's car. It was found an hour ago. The rumors of a midget car thief were true after all. Mr. Pedro Santiago was stopped on a routine traffic check and failed a breathalyzer test. The arresting officer ran the plates and found the car belonged to Mr. Harris."
"That's one less midget to worry about."
Dick opened the bag and poked around inside. He saw something he was sure she would want to see. Retrieving it, he handed Buffy a small black velvet box. One that he carefully placed in the palm of her hand. Her eyes widened like a cartoon character as she inhaled sharply.
"I get the feeling that young fella of yours was about to drop down on one knee and make an honest woman of you."
"NO HE WASN'T!" Buffy shouted all of a sudden, and then experienced a swell of embarrassment when all eyes in the police station turned on her. "I mean... I doubt it. Proposing is a big step. A very big, huge commitment kind of step. We already have a big step to take now. I have his kid kicking me from the inside out, or at least I will in a few months. This would be even more of a step. If we take two many steps to soon we might just stumble and fall. I doubt this is a step Xander's trying to take. No steps here, I assure you."
Dick wondered if she was off her meds. No matter. Shaking his head, he watched as she opened the small box. Her mouth hung open with enough space to fly a 747 through as she took a step backward while staring at the engagement ring inside.
The platinum setting and large round-centered diamond left Buffy utterly speechless. Xander had to have just bought the ring seeing as the price tag was still dangling from the box. "Oh my God," escaped her lips in a prison-break rush of air as the amount of money he spent on her sent her mind reeling. Of course she knows he loves her dearly, but this... this is too much right now. Especially with the baby.
At that very moment Buffy decided that Xander had picked up the ring for a co-worker to propose to his love and he was only looking picking it up for him tonight because his friend couldn't make it. That sounded good and plausible in her mind. "My boyfriend is so generous to pick this up for a co-worker."
Buffy smiled really wide because if you smiled really wide what you said had to be the truth. Right?
Officer Kendrick rolled his eyes a bit, and then reached back inside the bag and pulled out a magazine. "The officer also found this in your boyfriends car."
Buffy read the magazine's cover. Her smile weakened only a little. "Can't a guy be driving around with 'Wedding Magazine'? It has great recipes in it. My honey likes to cook."
Officer Kendrick removed another magazine out. His brows lifted curiously. "'The Big Book of Romantic Proposals'?"
"Its... its for a friend. Emphasis on 'friend'," Buffy stuttered a bit, now biting her fingernails.
"Here's another magazine called 'Keys To a Happy Marriage'."
In the face of logic Buffy could still turn that face around until it was facing away from what she didn't want to face. It was a gift. "Xander wants his friend to... you know, be happy." She nodded really fast. Officer Dick didn't. "I'm not crazy."
Whatever made her add that was ignored because she was beautiful. And everyone knows beautiful people can get away with being a little nutty. "Care to explain this brochure for "Best Honeymoon Destinations'?"
Buffy shrugged in a very animated sort of manner. Her mind was simply not going to wrap around Xander proposing to her. Especially if it was just because she was pregnant. Beneath the humor and weirdness she felt a little sad that was the only reason he would ask her to be his forever. "None of that stuff has anything to do with me."
The last item in the bag was a clear folder with what seemed like nine typed sheets of paper inside. "The header says this is an essay titled 'Why Xander Needs To Marry Buffy.'" The young woman quickly snatched it from his hand. "It was signed and dated a few days ago."
Crap! Double crap! Buffy flipped to the last page first and found a host of signatures co-signing the conclusions of this essay. She recognized their handwriting. Dawn, Willow, Faith, Andrew, Oz, Riley, and even Giles with his official Watcher's Council seal. With her breath caught in her throat she started from the first page and thumbed through the essay, which in detail listed exactly why Xander should marry her, how happy they would be, what great parents they will make together, and why if he doesn't marry her she's not likely to marry well do to her track record with men.
"Dawn!" Buffy growled her sister's name, knowing that last chapter had to have been written by her. "I could marry well if I wanted too!"
"I'm... I'm single, you know." Officer Dick gave his best sexy smirk. He even winked.
So this was the type of guy hitting on her these days? Buffy hoped Dawn wasn't right. The first chapter of the essay was called 'Why Marrying Buffy Now Is The Way To Go,' by Willow. Then came Andrew's 'Its Cheaper to Keep Her.' Chapter three was entitled 'The Bitch Is Nuts And So Are You'. Of course Faith wrote that one. Last, but certainly not least was a Dawn authored chapter called 'Buffy and her Men: Why Xander is Her Best, Last, and Only Hope'.
The Slayer shook her head free of those thoughts. Obviously Xander had made up his mind. And she had to admit that in her heart of hearts she knew he wouldn't be looking into all this marriage stuff if he only wanted to marry her because she was pregnant. He's never shown an interest before in anything to do with weddings. He had even told her after the Anya fiasco he was anti-wedding though he was pro-marriage.
Nonetheless, his need to search for the perfect way to propose made Buffy feel so special. He sought out the keys to having a happy marriage and wanted to take her on the best honeymoon ever.
Despite being in a semi-crowded police station she shut her eyes and allowed herself to simply feel... yes, she does love him more than anything else in the world. She adores the ring he chose for her, and though what it cost didn't matter compare to the meaning behind it, the fact that he sprung for one hell of an expensive rock has her about to do the happy dance right in front of those hookers waiting to be processed over there in the corner. No, not those hookers by the wall. Those other hookers standing next to the naked man who kept showing himself off to people. Yeah, those hookers.
With her mind made up, Buffy gathered all the items and placed them back in the items bag. All except the small box, which she slipped in her purse. "Do you think I can I have one of your donuts?"
"Uh... well... I only have like 12 left and..." Dick began sweating... allot.
In that very moment Buffy realized he had never known the soft touch of a woman. Nonetheless, she's eating for two these days and donuts are a pregnant woman's best friend.
She gave him a sly sexy smile. He looked entirely to close to having an orgasm. Yeah, Buffy had skills like that.
"Oh what the heck. Here you go."
Buffy took the apple fritter from his chubby hand and bit into it. She sighed happily. "Let's go see the prisoners."
Five minutes later Buffy was shown into a holding area with rows of small cells. The nine of the twelve were empty, with Xander and Faith sharing the final small cell together. Both looked up with guilt written all over their faces as if they fell asleep at a college frat party and someone actually wrote the words 'GUILT' on their faces. "So you two broke into a auto repair shop and beat up a group of cross dressers?"
"Buffy," Xander began slowly, having prepared himself for this very moment ever since he asked the arresting officer to call her. "This is what happened."
"This should be good," Buffy smiled.
"Faith's friend Ja..." The second oldest living Slayer tapped his shoulder kinda hard.
"No names, Xander. I'm no snitch."
"We're in jail, Faith."
"I've been here before. You haven't. Snitching is a no-no."
As if talking to the woman he loved through steel bars wasn't bad enough, Xander now had to deal with prison politics. "A friend of Faith's told her that most of the cars stolen in Sunnydale get sent to this car repair shop that's really a chop shop across town. Well, there are two different ones on the same street and I guess we chose the wrong one. I really, really, really wanted to get my car back tonight."
Loving him aside, Buffy felt like toying with him for a little while was well within her right. "Why didn't you just call the police with this information? The only thing you wanted back was your car, right?" Oh yeah, just twisting that ole knife.
Xander couldn't tell her just yet how scared he was that whoever stole his car would find the five thousand dollar diamond engagement ring he bought for her. Even if the cops found the car the ring might be gone and then he'd probably just have a heart attack and die as five grand was flushed down the tubes.
Xander was about to lie and Buffy knew it.
Xander was about to lie and he knew it. "I was feeling kinda heroic and Faith was in a heroine sort of mood. You know how it is when you're a Scooby. You just can't help wanting to stop the bad guys and all that." He played it off rather well, and very casual-like while Buffy just stared with her head titled to the side, as if mocking him silently.
Buffy glanced at Faith. "What do you have to say?"
"Hey, I'm just hoping you brought some bail money with you."
"Did you have to beat up those guys?"
"B, not only were they dressed up as women, they were dressed badly. Have you ever seen a group of bearded men wearing pink flower dresses? And... you know, Xan needed a hand with some of the bigger guys. When you want to hack a website, you call Wills. If you want to break into a joint and knock some heads around, you call me."
What Buffy knew for sure was that Faith was a wonderful friend of theirs. Despite the prior conviction on her record she took the risk to help Xander do something because she they were such good friends. That alone spoke volumes. "Thank you, Faith," she offered. Faith just shrugged it off. Its what she did.
Buffy walked back over to Xander, who was standing as close to the bars as he could. Her wonderful, complicated, sweet, slightly Looney-tunes boyfriend who bought her the most expensive ring she's ever seen and was researching how to propose to her in the most romantic way possible.
She's pretty damn in love with this guy.
"Buffy, you have this funny look on your face," Xander noted a bit nervously. "Are you alright?"
"Will you marry me?"
"I said will you marry me?"
"Uh..." Xander peered all around the small cell, which wasn't all that much to look at, and then an equally floored Faith. Surely his ears were playing tricks on him. "Honey, In case you didn't notice, I'm behind bars. I broke into an auto repair store and then beat up some cross-dressers tonight. I might be doing five to ten in the big house."
Buffy just loved that startled 'dear in headlights' expression on his face. "I'd wait for you."
"Have you been drinking?"
"And if she has can I have some," Faith tossed in over his shoulder.
Xander appeared truly shaken and flushed. Buffy got a kick out of that. "You make the best omelet on earth and you always hold my hand at the movies," she sincerely complimented. "You give the best back massages and you're always patient with me when we go shopping. You're my very best friend and the most incredible lover I've ever had."
"You don't have to thank me for breaking him in, B."
"I'm just saying."
Never mind their banter, Xander could tell something magical had come over the woman he loved as she continued. Yeah, they were standing in a holding cell corridor that didn't smell too fresh, and were surrounded by some hardened criminals, but neither of those things could take away from this truly romantic event.
Buffy spoke to him through the steal bars. "I love you with all my heart and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want us to raise little Anakin..." she watched him smile so wide. She lost a bet over who made a song to him and he wanted to name their first-born son, if it's a son, after Luke Skywalker's father. "Or our little girl, together."
"Buffy, are you sure about this?"
"Yeah," she nodded slowly with unshed tears misting her eyes. "I want you to be my husband and I want to be your wife. I want that because everything good in my life... everything that makes me happy and fulfills me, I've found in you. I just don't see any reason to waste time. I know my heart. It belongs to you."
"You do remember that I left Anya at the alter, right?"
"Yes. And you know that if you did that to me I'd kill you." Xander swallowed really, really hard in the back of his throat. Buffy inhaled a long, deep breath and asked again, "Will you marry me?"
"A death threat and a marriage proposal in one. How could I refuse? Absolutely, I will marry you." They tried to kiss through the bars and both knocked their heads. "Ouch," said as a team, now engaged.
Buffy thought she heard Faith sniffle, and then saw the Slayer wipe her eyes. "Faith, are you crying?"
"Hell no! I... I just got something in my eye, that's all."
Buffy knew better than that, but left Faith's pride intact. She quickly whipped out the little black box from her purse and presented it to Xander. "I found the ring and I absolutely love it."
"You had better love it. After buying that I'm going to be eating Cheerios in water and riding my bike to work for the next year."
Her hubby-to-be was ever the exaggerator. "Just slip the ring on my finger and lets make this official." He did and all was right with the world. Buffy paused as her emotions threatened to overwhelm her. "I only have two words to say."
Xander had never felt happier in his entire life. "And they are?"
Buffy admired the magnificently expensive diamond ring on her finger. "Bling-Bling."
Faith started laughing. "B, you're so ghetto."
Xander's rented black 2005 Chevy Blazer US Highway 101 - Northern End Friday, September 29 2005 9:30 PM California
"Just admit it, Wills? You're gonna get some after party Wolf-booty tomorrow night and we all know it."
Faith's assumption was bad enough, but Xander, Buffy, Dawn, and even Andrew's boisterous laughter left Willow wearing a crimson blush that nearly matched her auburn hair. "I am not a groupie, nor do I have any intention on getting me some wolf-booty," she bluntly asserted from the backseat. "We're all going to Oz's big concert to support our good friend and perhaps rub shoulders with a celebrity or two. The partaking of wolf-booty is not on my schedule."
Seated in the second row of seats next to Andrew, Faith rolled her eyes at the witch's claim. "Ever since you changed your stance on cock from 'never' to 'maybe' you and the wolf man have been super chummy. I foresee some post-concert werewolf/witch banging. It's written all over your face."
"It is not!" Willow shouted a little, then playfully shoved Dawn's outstretched makeup mirror from in front of her. The younger Summers thought she was being funny. Would she think it was funny when she wakes up with grey hair tomorrow? "The only thing Oz and I are doing is exploring a deeper friendship. I have no plans for any banging of any kind."
"Just to jump in here," Dawn chimed in, "Have any of you noted how Oz's new band consists of mostly short, hairy guys? Do you think they're werewolves too?"
A collective "Hmmm" could be heard.
Andrew carefully thought over the possibility. "They are called the 'The Full Mooners'."
"Xander surmised that maybe they like to moon people in their spare time," Buffy mentioned in the passenger seat next to her honey. "I hope he's wrong though. Hairy booty is not of the good. It should remain hidden in jeans and never exposed to the public."
Willow noted with a devilish smile, "Oz booty is not of the bad."
A collective "Hmmm' could be heard.
Despite the specific directions Buffy and Dawn assured him were correct, Xander felt an eerie sense of familiarity on this long stretch of dark highway. No matter. By all accounts they should arrive at their hotel in the next two hours. With all his friends, future wife and unborn child onboard he was having a great time on this mini-road trip of theirs. "Willow's gonna get laid," he snickered to a chorus of laughter, and then saw his best friend glare at him through the rearview mirror.
The non-stop teasing ever since it became public knowledge she was interested in Oz again didn't annoy Willow half as much as she pretended. So what if she was curious about some wolf booty again. The first time around wasn't so bad after all. And she's a woman. Women are allowed to change their minds. "For the last time, I'm going to the concert to cheer and support a good friend and not engage in any activity that involves my clothes coming off."
Dawn leaned over in her ear and said, "That's why I saw you stash a pack of Trojan condoms in your purse, right?"
"Maybe I was looking out for you?" Willow countered in the face of a suddenly wide-eyed Dawn. "All those short guys in Oz's band might remind you of Roger."
Faith spun around in her seat to point at Dawn the way she always did whenever her ex-boyfriend was mentioned. "You will never, ever, ever live that down. When you stood in front of him you could see the top of his head. For the life of me I will never understand why or how you could date a guy as short as Buffy."
"Hey," the older slayer sounded off. "Hey, I say."
Faith paid her no mind, focusing on Dawn. "Especially since you're all Cordy-like tall. Roger was a smurf with a drivers license."
"On behalf of short men everywhere," Andrew offered without looking up from his Nintendo DS, "We are gravity sufficient and quite speedy." He nodded.
"Annnnnd," Dawn interjected wearing a very wide smile, "Roger was only short in height. He was..." she paused for effect because she knew Buffy and Xander wouldn't like hearing this. "Very well-endowed in 'other' areas."
Buffy glanced at Xander. Xander peered a Buffy. They shuddered together. Then the baby kicked. Even little Harris didn't need to hear that.
"I am going to assume you are talking about his long car and will tune out any other references you make to your personal naked life, of which I never want to know anything about." Buffy mentally washed such thoughts from her mind. "And for the record, I liked Roger. I could look down on him. It was a nice experience."
As the quirky car banter continued around him, Xander strained to make out some of the shrub-hidden road signs they passed on the highway. He still couldn't get rid of that curious feeling in the pit of his stomach that was trying to tell him something. He doubt it had anything to do with the McDonalds he had for dinner. "Honey, are you sure this highway ends at US 99?"
Reaching into the glove compartment, Buffy retrieved the Yahoo Map directions she printed out before they left. "I double and triple checked the directions. Dawn did too. Trust me. I am the guru of the open highway."
No matter how gorgeous Buffy was Xander did not ever trust anything that had to do with a car concerning his future wife. Buffy and directions went together as well as a Dunkin Donuts built inside a Bally's health club.
Xander bit the bullet and asked, "Dawn, are you sure?" He saw Buffy frown at him out of the corner of his eye. When he tried to smile she frowned harder. That dig was gonna cost him a new pair of shoes for her.
Dawn nodded. "I'm sure as sure can be."
"Good," Xander replied. "I'd like to avoid driving us to some crazy neck of the woods like in that terrible movie 'Wrong Turn'."
For some reason Faith glared at Xander...
Xander continued, "Us getting lost would be as silly as those dumb 'American Pie' movies."
For some reason Willow glared at Xander...
"I want us to be on the right path, unlike the plot of that terrible 'Ice Princess' movie."
For some reason Dawn glared at Xander.
"If we were turned around we'd be wasting our time as if we'd gone to see that boring movie 'The Grudge'."
For some reason Buffy glared at Xander, and then calmly added, "Unlike that TV show 'Kitchen Confidential, I don't think we're a lost cause just yet."
For some reason Xander glared at Buffy, and then shrugged it off.
"I... I think that Brokeback Mountain..." Andrew began to say and then declined when all eyes turned on him. "Carry on."
With a kick-ass weekend of rock music, concerts, and parties planned, Faith was in a great mood. She planned on getting good and toasty tomorrow night. "So who would you guys pick up if they were hitchhiking late at night on the highway? I'm talking no questions asked, you'd let them in your car under any circumstances cause they're hot? Ante up bitches."
Having reached 'level 9' on Tetris on her Boost Mobile phone, Willow tossed her choice in first. "Angelina Jolie could be carrying a bag of severed heads and I'd let her in my car and offer to buy her coffee," she finished to uproarious laughter. "Shallow, yes. But oh so true."
"Hugh Jackman," Dawn mentioned with a dreamy look in her eyes. "He could be carrying a bloody chainsaw while running from the cops and I'd still pick him up. Some people are just to hot to let them walk."
Faith pounded her fist on the door-handle to emphasize her choice before saying, "The Rock!" she emphatically stated. "I could be listening to an all points bulletin by the police on the lookout for the former wrestler turned actor who just went apeshit in a convent with a butcher knife and I would still give him best the ride of damn his life."
Xander playfully nudged his fiancée, his eyes curiously wondering who she couldn't pass up. "What about you honey?"
"You really want me to answer that?" she asked with a mischievous sparkle in her hazel eyes.
"I'm ready. Go for it."
A collective " Ahhh" was heard, followed by Faith throwing a potato chip at Buffy's head.
"My Xander is the only person I would pick up if he were hitchhiking," Buffy proudly declared before adding, "But if you just had to pull my leg... Jude Law, cheating bastard that he is, is hot. I might consider slowing down for him. I just might." She stared at her fiancée next. "Your turn."
Xander sighed happily, "Salma Hyeck." Buffy's snort was laugh worthy. "Only a blind man would turn her down."
"I... I would," Andrew alleged a bit hesitantly. "I mean, she's a very accomplished actress and even a director these days, but give me two good reasons why you would pick her up if she were hitchhiking? And I really need two big, huge reasons. They better be a great set of reasons."
There are times a man knows when not to answer. This was that time for Xander. He simply drove while Buffy kept her eyes trained on him for a hint of him trying to answer Andrew's loaded question. He kept his silence. He was smart that way.
Faith leaned between the two in the front seat. "Xander, you are so whipped."
"Yes I am," he agreed and was rewarded when Buffy leaned over and kissed his cheek. They were cute like that sometimes. And Xander knew if a woman thought you were cute in how you treated her in front of your mutual friends that could go a long way to getting laid later on in the evening. And getting laid by Buffy was something no man would ever want to go without once he experienced that paradise.
"I guess I'm last, but here goes." Andrew gave his answer serious consideration. "I would pick up David Boreanaz if he were hitchhiking." Everyone around him was trying to place the name and figure out who he was. "You know, the actor?" Blank stares inside the car surrounded him. "He first starred in that teen show with the small town and the quirky blonde girl who did the stuff with the sharp objects and made all the poofing smoke, remember?" More blank stares. "His character dated the main girl but they had the whole star-crossed love thing that went belly up and then he got his own spin-off show where he would cut bad guys and had the multi-racial cast and the quasi love interest with the rack many men found amazing?"
"David who?" Xander pondered for a moment.
"His show was named after..." Andrew tried to recall, "It was like in heaven or something. He had that special guest star sometimes. The wild brunette all the guys liked. You know?" He looked around.
"The A-team?" Willow asked in a small voice.
Faith scratched her head. "Uhm, Highway to Heaven?"
"FULL HOUSE?" Dawn shouted for some strange reason, and then sat back down. "I embarrass myself sometimes."
Xander shook his head and then turned on the radio to drown out the insanity. He loved driving on the open road and didn't even mind that they were a little lost. Sooner or later he'd recognize something from the map and then they'd be on their way. In the meantime he was with his fiancée and all their closest friends minus only Giles. His son was onboard as well. At least he thinks it's a boy. He and Buffy decided to not find out the sex. They figured it would be the best surprise they ever received when their child was born.
While munching on a bag of Doritos, Buffy stopped mid-munch when she overheard some snickering in the backseat; followed by Faith humming a tune she had vehemently told her to never, ever hum under any circumstances around Xander. "Faith, shhhh," she tried to whisper with her head turned away from her fiancée.
Faith made a zip-lock gesture over her smirking lips.
Buffy sat back to relax and then heard Dawn humming the tune that must not be named. Her fists clenched as she sent her sister a menacing glare in the rear view mirror.
Xander wondered what was up with this bit of oddness. "What's up? Is Dawn messing with you again? Do I need to pull over and have another Dawn-lecture with her? I know the last one about sex before marriage didn't work out so well."
"HYPOCRITE!" Dawn yelled at him.
"DON'T MAKE ME PULL OVER, D!" Xander smiled at Buffy despite the humming of Dawn that now was accompanied by Willow. With their heads down they continued humming a song that seemed to sound like... NO! No way! His eyes narrowed at his wife to be, who in turn hung her head low with her hands clasped in her lap. "Buffy..."
"Crap," the slayer whispered under hear breath just before Andrew began singing.
With his eyes shut, Andrew crooned, "Facing hard times on the construction site... Hardhat protecting my head from the hot sunlight... I'm going home at five... My baby makes me feel so alive... When she calls me her Sex God Viking."
Life as Xander knew it was slowly beginning to end as the laughter that erupted in the car seemed to grow louder by the second. A very guilty fiancée next to him simply hid her smile while looking oh so guilty.
Dawn cleared her voice and then began singing, "Oh yeeaaahhh... In the bedroom I'm a Sex God Viking... Better than a pirate. Stronger than Supermaaaannnn... In the bedroom I'm a Sex God Viking... Hotter than the sun. Better than Spidermaaannnn..."
"MY LOVE IS TITANIC LONG!" Faith loudly sang in Xander ear as he cringed. "Come on and sing my song... My Sex God Viking song... I make love to my Slayer, have her screaming Xander. Using my big ole stake..."
Buffy figured she might as well take off Xander's engagement ring right now and hitchhike home. He had warned her on many occasions to never tell anyone the song he sang to himself in the shower. The song he wrote and produced in his head as a tribute to his sexual prowess and manhood. She's broken a covenant between them and now Xander's giving her the 'You are in so much trouble' face. Yeah, she knew that face very well. She also knew that even her old cheerleader outfit might not get her out of this.
Willow's harmonious voice sounded, "I'm a Sex God Viking"
Dawn added as harmoniously, "Who's a Sex God Viking!"
Faith chimed in, "He's a Sex God Viking!"
"WE'RE SOME SEX GOD VIKINGS ON A MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO GEORGIA!" Andrew finished as they all laughed so hard, with Buffy trying not to and failing. Even Xander had to cover his grinning face. The laughter rang out and went on and on.
Faith bent down kissed the top of Xander's head, and ruffled his hair. "When B told us you sang in the shower I thought she was out of her mind. But when she brought that tape for us to listen too..."
"You taped me?" Xander accused Buffy with accusing eyes and in an accusing tone of voice. She damn sure looked accused.
"You bought me that mini-recorder for my classes. I... I had to try it out." She smiled really wide. He just kept right on frowning. Despite his frowning she knew he was laughing on the inside. "It's a really good song. I'd buy the single." She looked over her shoulder. "Wouldn't you guys?"
"Thanks Andrew," Xander said while shaking his head, thankful that there was a gas station up ahead. "At least I have a back-up career if construction doesn't work out." He sent another accusing look at Buffy.
Faith unhooked her seatbelt. "Blah, blah, blah, I gotta pee. Pull over."
Wanting to strangle Faith went hand in hand with liking her. Xander knew that very well. He pulled into the empty Mobile gas station and parked. A bathroom break, some directions, and a refueling on snacks would hopefully get them back on the right track.
Stepping out of the car, Buffy inhaled the clean, fresh night air. It was so reminiscent of her slaying days when she hunted the cemeteries of Sunnydale. That life seemed a world away now despite her still living in the small town that changed her life.
After a quick trip to the less than Hilton Hotel-like restroom, Buffy expected and received a very quite Xander. One who refused to say anything to her in the store part of the gas station, nor give her a smooch just for the heck of it. This was his way of paying her back, immature as it was. She still loved him though. She often paid him back in immature ways as well. It's just their thing to do.
After paying for her stash of goodies, she found him leaning against the drivers side door, facing away from the gas station. She stared at him long enough for him to notice it, and then look back at her. She smiled because she knew it was utterly futile for him to stay mad at her for very long. Especially over something as silly as his 'Sex God Viking' shower song.
All she had to do was wait him out.
Xander knew Buffy was just waiting him out. He hated that she had him all figured out despite his best efforts to appear very displeased with her. He even used the female-created 'silent treatment' technique, but to no avail. She simply stood there looking all cute while munching yet another bag of chips.
Being pregnant seemed to make her a snack chip addict these days. She simply bought the long box of assorted brands and dumped them all in a plastic bag, all while happily stating she was eating for two.
As best as he could tell her semi-clear plastic bag contained original Doritos, Cool Ranch Doritos, salt and sour potato chips, barbeque potato chips, onion-dip potato chips, and hot potato chips. Somehow, through what he surmised what a mystical aspect of her Slayer-essence, she never had bad breath. Mysterious and charming, thy name was Buffy.
As he gazed at his wife to be he couldn't help but to notice the single most startling new feature about her. She's showing. Sure, it's a small baby bump barely pushing against her cute maroon shirt, but it was there. He can see it and run his hands over it and marvel that his child is growing inside her. Their child is a reality, and that knowledge is the best thing that's ever happened to him.
Xander is so utterly in love with Buffy he can scarcely believe it sometimes. She's just standing over their looking at him while munching chips. She gorgeous beyond words to him these days. All he could do was lose the frown he'd been wearing and gave her that lop-sided grin she loved so well.
"Judging by your smile can I assume you're done being mad at me?"
"That depends on the price you must pay for divulging my song to our friends. You swore on a stack of bibles you would never tell."
"Those were a stack of our takeout restaurant fliers."
You have the nerve to throw details in my face after you betrayed me?"
"I never betrayed you. I simply shared your singing talent with our loved ones."
"I want a divorce!"
And he had the nerve to question her sanity at times? Buffy felt the need to point out, "We're not married yet."
"Yeah, well, when we do get married I'm divorcing you the next day."
Buffy shrugged, and then popped another Dorito in her mouth. "Okay."
"Okay?" Xander had the nerve to glare. "Why is that okay?" Buffy shrugged again. "That shouldn't be okay."
"So you don't want to divorce me?"
"I do want a divorce after I marry you."
"Then I want what you want honey?" she smiled that smile a woman does when she has a confused guy on the ropes. "So, you want a divorce?"
"But you have to marry me first."
"And then you can divorce me."
"Exactly." Xander stood there with his arms crossed while watching Buffy munch chips and laugh at him. He was simply amusing her when he wanted her to pay for her crimes against him. "You did a bad thing."
Buffy slinked her away around the car while sending him her best sexy smirk. "Don't I always make it up to you in the best of ways?"
'Yes, God yes' was the answer his mind gave. Having done this long enough, Xander said, "Come here."
Buffy walked into his arms and then felt his lips connect with her forehead in a kiss. She made a happy sound and then turned around with her back to his chest as they looked out over the open road ahead. Perhaps a metaphor of their lives to come. "I'm sorry, honey."
With one arm across her chest, his other hand rested over her belly, massaging small circles there. "I accept, but from now on please do not reveal my shower songs to anyone, okay?"
"Done." Buffy lifted a Cool Ranch Dorito to his mouth. He ate it from her fingertips. "Are we lost?"
"You printed out the map. You tell me?"
Buffy looked at the road sign they passed and then remembered the signs on the way here. They didn't quite match up to the directions she printed. Well, to be perfectly honest, they didn't match up at all. "I think we're lost," Buffy concluded and then ate more chips. Xander squeezed her in his arms. "Are you going to ask the gas station attendant for directions?"
"Of course not. I'm a guy. You will ask."
Buffy shook her head. "You're such a man sometimes."
"Speaking of men," Xander whispered in her ear. "How's our boy doing?"
Hmmm... what was the best way to approach this, Buffy considered? "Well, he's... he's been kinda quiet and all. He's just minding his business and enjoying the trip."
Buffy seemed a bit tense and that worried Xander. He slowly spun her around to face him and found her looking away. "Honey, is something wrong?" She gave him a little 'I did a bad thing' smile. Oh boy... "Buffy, talk. Now."
"I peeked," she said in a small, meek voice. He didn't seem to catch on right away. "I know we said we didn't want to know the baby's sex until he or she was born, but I was really curious and I kept the paper the doctor gave us that we weren't going to look at."
"I thought you threw it away?"
"I... I peeked. I was weak."
Wearing a gentler smile, Xander cupped her cheek, bent down and softly kissed her. "So?"
"It's a girl." Buffy's heart swelled at the joyous expression on his face. She had the exact same one the day she peeked.
"We're going to have a little Buffy..." he said with a touch of awe in his voice, just to try the words out. "That's great."
"I know you were kind of looking forward to a boy you could name Anakin. I know that was your Star Wars dream."
"Hey, we can name our girl Leia?"
Xander kissed her smiling lips again, holding her so close to him. When they parted, he suddenly knew exactly where they were when he read a sign on the side of the gas station he must have missed when they arrived. One that spoke of a certain gentlemen's club not far from here. "Buff, I don't think we're lost anymore."
The Fabulous Ladies Night Club A strip club Friday, September 29 2005 11:30 PM Oxnard, California
"Now this is what I'm talking about," Faith shouted after hopping out of Xander's SUV as soon as he parked. Her eyes graced over the crowded lot as evidence that this place had to have some major hotties to grab this much attention on a Saturday night. "I got a wallet full of twenties and a need to see some ass shaking."
Willow walked up alongside her while taking in the huge, blinking neon sign of two men outlined in a horse roping pose. Bright billboards above the double-door entrance read 'Hot Nude Male Dancers,' 'Lap Dances Two for One,' and 'Private Booths Equal Private Moments'. This certainly wasn't her normal element, though she had to admit she was intrigued. She just wasn't gonna admit that... yet. On the way here Xander mentioned he knew of the perfect place to get directions and unwind for a little while. She hadn't expected this in the least. "The good side of me wants to stay in the car and read a book while holding onto my money and beliefs that no one irregardless of their attractiveness should be subjected to dancing naked for cash."
"And your bad side?" Faith asked tongue in cheek.
"I need to get to a ATM machine quick!"
"That's crazy," Dawn declared while looping her arm over her shoulder and Faith's, now standing between them. "I've never been to one of these places before, but why would anyone enjoy paying people to flirt and gyrate in front of them for money when you know their interest in you has nothing to do with your IQ, personality, goals, or morals?"
"Morals ain't got a damn thing to do with a strip club, D," Faith pointed out. "You are about to experience something that can only be understood once you're inside. It's called 'Paid Love'. Cause when you're in there waving your twenty dollar bills around those men will look at you like they love you and shake it all in your face. Trust me, you're gonna love it." The grumbling sounds of Andrew attempting to climb out of the SUV without tripping over the seat belt caught the Slayers attention. "Andy, this place might be a revelation for you."
Shaking himself free of the evil automobile, Andrew's eyes seemed to grow wide with something just this side of glee as he read the neon sign. "I'm... I'm not really sure my mom would want me to be in a place like this."
Faith walked up to him, grabbed his face and stared him directly in the eyes. "There are naked men in there shaking what they mama gave them."
"What did their moms give them?"
Smacking him would do no good. Faith just shook her head. "One day I am going to drag you kicking and screaming out of the closet."
"What does that mean?"
Faith brushed aside him when Xander and Buffy appeared. "Xan, I don't give a good goddamn why you stopped here, but I'm glad you did. I need to knock back a couple of drinks and enjoy some naked male entertainment. You occasionally rock and this is one of those times."
Buffy's cute laughter was muffled by the hand she held over her face. Xander was slightly thankful for that, seeing as how she knew what was about to happen. "While I assume you will enjoy the naked flesh of our surroundings I'll be getting directions so that we can get back on the road. But before we go inside I might as well make your year and inform you all of how I came to know this place existed."
Having finally pried the infamous stripping story from him months ago, Buffy just stood back and waited to see everyone else's reaction. This was gonna be good.
Xander shuffled his feet a bit while trying to find the perfect way to tell this story. "The summer after helping my fiancée blow up our respective high school I embarked on a road trip that saw my rusty, good for nothing death-trap carry me as far out of Sunnydale as Oxnard, which is where we are now. I was dead, flat broke and needed a new engine for my machine which I refused to call an actual car seeing as how it refused to work." The others looked on with no small amount of skepticism. He decided to bite the bullet and get everything out in the open. "The kindly owner of this fine establishment took pity on my innocence and complete lack of cash. She gave me a job washing dishes in exchange for fixing my car for me. Three weeks of washing glasses and sweeping floors wasn't too much to ask for and all the guys were pretty cool... at least when they had clothes on. Otherwise I never looked."
"Not once?" Andrew asked with hope filling his eyes.
"No Andrew," Xander rolled his eyes. Buffy laughed. "Not once."
"Quit beating around the tush," Faith quipped and waited for someone... anyone to laugh. Alas, quirky humor just wasn't her thing. "Oh fuck you guys."
Xander cleared his throat. "Annabelle, the strip clubs owner, asked me for a very... uhm... she was in a bind and... uhm..."
"Get it out, honey," Buffy teased while patting his shoulder. "You can do it."
Perhaps blurting it all out at once would be best. Xander inhaled a deep breath and went for it. "One night all seven of the male strippers caught a stomach virus and couldn't perform so Annabelle asked me to perform so one night I stripped several times in various glossy, rhinestone encrusted outfits varying from neon cowboys to naughty cops and made enough money to get my car fixed and high-tail it home."
The information, vivid and startling as it was seemed to infiltrate his friends minds at a slow pace to start. Xander observed their slightly shocked faces evolve into the gentle laughter friends were known to share, and then became boisterous finger pointing outbursts of chuckles aimed at him. "Go ahead, get it all out of your systems."
"You... you actually..." Dawn could scarcely get the words out while holding onto Willow, who was howling with laughter herself. "You took your clothes off seven times in one night?"
"You actually wore a rhinestone cowboy outfit?"
"With rhinestone boots?"
Xander lowered his head with no small amount of shame. "Yes"
"And rhinestone chaps?"
"What about a rhinestone hat?"
"D, the general rhinestone theme was everywhere. I was brokeback long before they went to the mountain." When Xander looked up he found Andrew staring at him with the oddest expression... dare he call it admiration. "No, I don't still have the outfit."
"I wasn't... wasn't gonna ask that," Andrew stated in a way that clearly expressed he was gonna ask that.
Xander took Buffy's hand in his while ignoring her snickers. They approached Faith so she could get her kicks in. "Well?"
She shrugged, and then lit up a cigarette. "Hey, bitch gotta do what a bitch gotta do. I been in a jam or two myself back in the day. Bills don't pay themselves."
Xander's eyes, much to Buffy's annoyance, seemed to widen with childlike, Christmas morning glee. "So you've stripped?"
Faith winked and then stuck her tongue out at Buffy. "In your dreams," was all she said, and then ushered the others inside.
Buffy quickly fronted her hubby to be. "Xander, don't make me hit you."
"I only dream of you stripping, my dear."
"Good. Now lets get those directions and be on our way," she said before taking his hand in hers. "Unless you feel like performing tonight for old times sake? Have I ever told you how much rhinestone chaps turn me on?"
"I should have taken this story to my grave."
"Buffy, you're staring."
She tried not to, but Goliath's... ahem, lower regions were simply awe inspiring. So much so that Xander had to drag his fiancé away from the guy dancing on the center stage at the moment. As it was Faith and Dawn were already at a table waving twenties while Willow blushed and smiled and pretended not to wave a twenty when she actually was. Andrew was no where to be found.
"Okay Buff. Rusty the bartender and I became good buds when I worked here," he explained while ushering her past the throngs of naked-men seeking female patrons to the bar. The strip club carried a party atmosphere, with its loud music, florescent lights, smoke machines and naked men everywhere. "I gotta warn you though, he's a bit senile... and a little deaf... kinda blind too."
Buffy wondered how Xander always seemed to come into contact with the strangest people. Not only insane women who would date him once and then try to kill him, but just about everyone he met was strange in some way. Xander attracted strange like a moth to a flame. "Lets just get our directions before my sister goes broke and starts asking me for money."
Xander and Buffy reached the bar and then turned away as the immense amount of plumbers crack, aka a big man bent over with low riding jeans in the back greeted them. Rusty turned around when he heard customers approach. His long gray hair pulled into a ponytail, he wore a black 'Def Leppard tank-top that revealed his large tattooed covered arms. Wisdom and years of heavy drinking gave his face a kindly simple expression of a 60 year old man. He looked erratically coherent with a cigar dangling from his lip.
"How can I help ya this evening?"
Xander had hoped Rusty remembered him. He leaned over the counter so that the bartender could get a good look at his face. "Rusty, my man. It's me."
"He had black hair like me, but no still. Will only had one arm."
"You already asked that."
"Well no need to get rude young fella."
As amusing as this was to Buffy, and it was amusing, they were wasting precious time. Dawn's on her second lap dance already and she could see her sister eyeing the ATM machine in the far corner of the club. "Rusty, this is Xander. He worked here briefly a couple of summers ago washing dishes when his car broke down."
Looking from the beautiful blonde to her fella, Rusty scratched his head until it hit him. "You's that guy that danced seven times in one night and wore all them rhinestone outfits, ain't ya? Why I'd remember you anywhere."
Xander extended his hand. "How's it going Rusty"
"Not to bad Ben. How are you?"
When Xander was about to complain Buffy shook her head, silently telling him to let it go. "I'm good. I just need some directions and a coke."
"Coke?" Rusty quickly lifted his hands. "Hey, hey, hey we don't sell no drugs here."
Buffy and Xander stared... for a little while... such was the strangeness of life.
Rusty rubbed at his graying beard while nodding his head. "Ben, I bet Anna Belle would love to say hi to you again. Let me go get her outta her office. I'm sure she'd be glad to get you directions."
"Hurry," Buffy called after him. "My sisters gonna blow all her money and then..." Her hazel eyes centered what looked like the most beautiful male ass she'd ever seen on a man dancing on stage to Aerosmith's 'Love in an Elevator'. It was just perfection of muscle and curvy-ness and she couldn't look away.
"Buffy, drooling doesn't exactly make me feel secure."
"Hush Ben." She smiled really wide.
Willow didn't want to shove the twenty dollar bill in Big Ron's g-string, but somehow she was compelled too.
So she did.
Big Ron's olive Italian complexion complimented his dark eyes perfectly. His rock hard body, skin glistening of baby oil felt baby soft as Willow ran her hands over his chisled chest.
"Is this your first time at a strip club," he asked wearing a friendly smile.
Willow nodded a bit nervously. Faith was snickering in a chair behind her, beer in one hand and a Virginia Slim in the other.
"What's your name?"
The blushing witch admired how he could arch his back all snake-like. She really admired that. "Willow... My name is Willow."
Big Ron could always tell when someone was a first-timer. The brunette behind the pretty red head, she was a pro. But this one, she was sweet. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Willow," he offered politely enough. "I hope you're enjoying your first time so far."
"I was... I was gay up until about five months ago," she blurted out a bit erratically and then quickly amended, "Okay, that came out wrong. I didn't just switch teams. Sexuality isn't like switching teams. I mean, the lesbians didn't trade me to the straights for a midget and a blonde or anything like that. I just... I don't know, I guess I rediscovered an interest in the penal gland."
This one was a bit on the quirky side. Nonetheless, Big Ron smiled at her while dancing. "Well that's interesting, I suppose. Hey, whatever makes you happy in life is what I say go for."
"Dick's alright to me," Faith injected above the loud Rolling Stones music playing. Another table near by was making a ton of noise due to Goliath giving lap dances. All around them and the three-stage club the party atmosphere was in full swing. "Now why don't you drop that G-string and show me what you're working with." She held out another twenty and waved it seductively between two fingers.
Willow and Faith went a bit bug-eyed when Big Ron lost the emerald green G-string and they got a good, long look at why he was called Big Ron. Willow leaned back and whispered to Faith, "I didn't know they came in that size."
"They don't very often, trust me." Faith finished her beer, grinning the whole time. Her eyes darted toward the strippers. "Hot damn! You got a permit for that weapon?"
Big Ron smiled.
"I saw Closer, you know? That movie with Natalie Portman showing her butt a lot," Dawn added cheerfully with a slow nod in the back private booth while Pretty Boy Donald did a slow striptease for her eyes only. The maroon colored walls with mirrors circling the booth left her a bit awestruck. "I know the lookie-no-touchie rules."
Her wide, bright smile was as innocent as she probably was. She had to have ID to get in, so she was legal. And quite beautiful, though not his type. Still, she paid for and was going to get one hell of a private dance from the Pretty Boy. "That movie has served our industry well, " he joked while ripping off his policeman's vets to reveal a set of rock hard abs that made Dawn's throat swallow hard. He tilted his whole body back and began rolling his hips toward her.
"I... I supported it," Dawn nodded yet again, legs crossed, eyes focused on his powerful legs and thighs. "I used to hate the idea of strip clubs as they were objectifying women down to their base flesh elements for money and... and... God, you look so damn good." His laughter wasn't one at her as much as friendly amusement. She suddenly felt really young. "I must sound like the worlds biggest dork?"
"No, its cool. We're all here to have a great time for the evening. No more, no less, and that's all." He lost the button pants and felt the heat of her gaze settle on his lower regions. Her blush was quite becoming. Yeah, she was having a great time.
"So, uhm... you, uhm... see any good movies lately?"
Small talk always made first-timers feel more comfortable. "I saw that new Harry Potter not to long ago."
"Oh yeah?" Dawn squeaked as much for the sheer line of gorgeous muscles as that she liked the film as well. "What did you think?"
"I thought it was alright, but my boyfriend loved it. He's a big fan of the books."
Dawn swore she felt the earth move beneath her feet. "Boyfriend?"
"Yeah," Donald enjoyed at her shocked expression. He was used to it by now.
"Crap! I can't even pick the straight strippers!" When he raised an eye brow she shook her head apologetically. "I don't care or anything, its just I've sucked so badly at relationships and picking men in the last year that even small defeats such as this one leave me jaded."
"I find that so hard to believe. You're a beautiful woman with a wealth of personality."
"Now why can't the good straight guys where I live see that? Why do I end up with Mr. I-have-three-kids-by-three-different-women-and-neglected-to-tell-you or Mr. my-last-girlfriend-is-kinda-psycho-so-watch-your-back-cause-she-carries-a-knife-in-her-purse or my personal favorite Mr. I-don't-believe-in-relationships-only-casual-sex?"
Donald stood straight up to his full 6'3 height, hands now on his hips. His expression turned serious as well as sympathteic. "Honey, we got twenty more minutes of alone time so why don't you start from last year till now and lets see if we can find some patterns that you can break concerning picking the wrong men."
Advice from a gay male stripper with a penis half as long as her forearm? Dawn shrugged. It couldn't be any worse than what she got from her former vampire-loving sister. "Are you a stripper slash psychiatrist?"
"Well, I am majoring in psychology."
"Take a seat and cover up your lower self, Donald. It all began last February with a guy named Chuck who had a lazy left eye and an addiction to chili-cheese fries."
"It's good to see you again too," Xander managed to squeak out amidst Anna Belle's massive bear hug. The rather large Hispanic woman with the most kindly green eyes and motherly voice was genuinely happy to see him again. Even more so after explaining where life had taken him career wise and that he was engaged and about to become a father. "Oxygen... oxygen is slowly becoming an issue here, Belle."
After a final affectionate squeeze, Anna Belle reluctantly released him and then offered Buffy a softer hug as they stood just inside her office. "I swear I never thought I'd see you again. You were so sarcastic and depressed about your future and infuriated by that blonde you were in love with." She missed Xander's sudden, frantic shaking of his head behind his fiancé. "The one you said couldn't even drive a car as well as Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder."
Buffy's lips pursed. Xander's eyes widened.
While laughing to herself, Anna Belle recalled, "You complained on and on about her lack of ever appreciating anyone who helped her and that she was prone to being extremely whiny from time to time."
Buffy spared a mild glare at Xander, who in turn ducked his head and hoped for the best.
"You had us all rolling on the floor with your tales of how she loved a guy whose hair wouldn't move in the eye of a tornado and how he dumped her outside the burning remains of your high school," Anna Belle gave a good hearted chuckle. "Xander, what ever happened to that poor girl?"
Xander off-handedly pointed with a single finger to Buffy and then quickly looked away. Guilt raced a flush over Anna Belle's face, who backtracked via a big, wide apologetic smile. "Life's funny that way. And hey, you both look very happy though."
"And I can drive alot better now," Buffy added minus any residual anger as she remembered how Xander must have felt just after Angel left town. "I'm all done with the vampire loving too. I'm all homo-sapien loving now," she clung to Xander's arm while leaning into him.
Vampire loving? Though a bit strange, Anna Belle could sense they were a pretty terrific match for each other. They were obviously in love, which made her very happy. Xander left a wonderful impression on her of a young man with so much promise if he'd only believe in himself more. To see him having reached adulthood in such a mature, successful manner was a blessing to behold. "I'm so happy for both of you."
"Thanks." Leaving Buffy's side for a moment, Xander gazed around Anna Belle's spacious office. It appeared far and away better than he remembered. "Looks like you've expanded the place."
"The clubs been doing very well." Anna Belle offered Buffy the chair in front of her desk while Xander toured the office. "I have twelve dancers now instead of six and a stage where I hire live bands to play from time to time."
"Congrats on all your hard-earned success. The booty-shaking business is in full swing I see."
"I bet you'd be surprised to know what I do on my weekends these days?"
Xander found her staring at him. "Rob banks?"
"Honey, women my size don't run from the cops."
Anna Belle was cool that way. "Well something tells me you aren't opening up a convent."
Her green eyes brightened at his perception. She moved around her desk and sat down. "Wrong, but you're on the right track, Xander. You are now looking at a fully ordained and practicing minister."
"Who owns a nude strip club?" Buffy enquired. Anna Belle confirmed it. "Wow. God's letting a lot go these days. Not... not that I'm calling you a sinner."
"Darling, our heavenly father ain't caring about those boys out there dancing with their clothes off. As for me, I baptize babies, eulogize funeral's, spread the good word, and marry people."
Xander's ear perked up at the end of what she said. He felt a defining tingle of sorts flow through him. Something clicked in the back of his mind as he sat down next to Buffy. "You really are a fully ordained minister?"
Anna Belle nodded and then motioned over her shoulder at the mahogany-framed pictures on the wall. "I married all five of those couples. I handle the paperwork and everything. Cheap too. You know I'm a romantic at heart."
For some strange reason Buffy did not in any way, shape, or form like the whimsically evil expression on her fiancée's face. She opened her mouth to speak when his lop sided grin widened to the point he resembled the Joker rather than her hubby to be. Suddenly she could read his mind without actually reading his mind. Her head began shaking 'no, no, no' even as he began nodding 'yes, yes, yes'. "Not a chance in hell."
"We're not discussing where you sent your former honey."
"Whatever you are thinking, and I know what you are thinking, just stop thinking it right now. That train of thought is not leaving the station."
"I see no reason why we can't just..."
"You see no reason?" Buffy practically shouted before reining herself in. "This is a strip club. This is where men shake their ass's and other organs for money. I can't get married here." Forgetting for a moment where she was, Buffy flashed a 'sorry' expression at Anna Belle.
She smiled at the couple before her. "None taken, dear."
Xander took Buffy's hand in his and looked her directly in the eyes. "You asked me to marry you while I was behind bars."
"I had a feeling you'd do time one day," Anna Belle added. "How long were you in for?"
"Uhm, a couple of hours."
Anna Belle snorted, "You villain you."
Turning his attention back to a slightly startled, ready-to-run Buffy, Xander spoke calmly and from the heart. "Yes, getting married here would be spontaneous and not exactly what we had planned. But you know what, we never planned on falling in love. We never planned on having children together. And neither of us ever thought we'd become engaged. Our lives have been one big roll of the dice for years now, except tonight we can grab the bull by the horns and just go for it."
Buffy took a couple of deep, calming breaths while weighing the pros and cons in her mind. She knew what was in her heart, but this was so sudden. "There are men grinding on women's laps for twenties out there."
"Everyone has to make a living," Xander countered. "You used to flip burgers for a living and you surely didn't make twenty bucks an hour."
"But didn't we want the big packed church with all the well-dressed friends and family and me wearing the long, white expensive Versace dress and the pink flowers and the long stretch limousine?"
"Uhm, you wanted that. You even wrote it down and stuck it our refrigerator. You emailed it to me too. I just want to call you Mrs. Harris."
Yet another insane, unexpected, life-altering moment in the life of Buffy Anne Summers. She peered into the warm, loving brown eyes of her Xander... listened to the Lil Jon and the Eastside Boys music playing in the background... thought about the many nude male dances gyrating outside the door along with all their friends and...
"Oh what the hell!" Buffy leaned forward and kissed Xander with all the love she held for him in her heart.
"I'm with you, Buffy."
The comforting sound of her former Watcher's fatherly voice over her cell phone wasn't as good as actually having him here, but with such late notice this was the best they could do. "Trust me, just talking to you has me feeling less like I'm about to have a heart attack."
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
The makeshift aisle, fluttered with yellow rose petals, sparkling rhinestones, and smoke from smoke machines were lined by sweet male dancers wearing bow ties. "Of course. I'm not gonna pull a Xander. I'm going to marry him."
"And I have five huge male strippers guarding all exits. If he runs his ass is mine." Giles warm laughter calmed her nerves as she took her slow steps toward the makeshift alter that was the center stripping stage. She wore her mothers ring as something old, while Pretty Boy Donald's boyfriend Steve bought her some gorgeous new ear rings on way here to pick him up. He had some really good fashion sense as she loved the ear rings and wanted to sit down and talk fashion with him. She also had Dawn's aqua blue ankle bracelet and borrowed Faith's crossed. All bases were covered. "This is crazy, Giles."
"I know. Love often is."
"I want to do this, you know. I'm truly happy," she explained over the phone him while staring at how overjoyed Xander looked waiting for her with Anna Belle and Willow, his best man. "Half my wedding party is naked or in a g-string and I just don't care."
"Yes, well, marrying Xander is what matters most."
Despite the rapid beating of her heart, Buffy felt ready for this huge step in her life. "Okay, I'm gonna give you to Dawn. Just keep listening."
"I wouldn't miss it for the world, dear. I love you."
"I love you too." Buffy flipped her cell to Dawn while Handsome Harry played the wedding march on the keyboard. Andrew and Faith with Dawn, the trio smiling together. She swore she could hear her mothers thoughts whispering to her that this was right and that she will never regret this. And that she loves her with all her heart.
Buffy's final steps up the small stairs took her before the man she loves with all her heart. The man she's about to marry. "We can't do anything normal, can we?"
Xander just shook his head. "I'm afraid not. And I wouldn't have it any other way."
"Ditto." Xander took her hand in his as they turned before Anna Belle.
"Friends and family, we are gathered here tonight to celebrate the blessed union of marriage between Buffy Anne Summers and Alexander Lav..." Suddenly Xander waved his hands at the mention of his middle name.
"LAVELLE," Faith shouted loud enough for everyone to hear. They did and they all laughed. "His middle name is Lavelle." Xander made the 'choking' motion at her with his hands. "You can thank me later, Xan." Buffy laughed by his side while Faith just gave him the finger.
Humorous interruption aside, Anna Belle continued, "Alexander Harris. Before we begin, if anyone objects to this marriage speak now or forever hold your peace?"
Buffy turned around and gave such a bone-chilling look of 'if anyone speaks I'll tear their limbs off' and then quickly smiled as her point was conveyed.
"Good... good," Anna Belle offered, and then addressed those gathered. "The blessed union of marriage is a covenant required and approved by God for bonding two people, mind, body and soul forever. The past is swept away as their new journey begins as one. Through good times and bad they shall find their strength in each other. Through triumphs and failures they shall see each other through all trials that life sends their way. Love is the most powerful entity that exists. Love is what binds Alexander and Buffy to one another. Love will see them through anything. Tonight, we are gathered together to share their special day. And now, we will have them exchange their vows."
Xander gave a slow exhale while holding Buffy's small hand in his own. This was the absolute happiest and most terrifying day of his entire life. He was nearly moved to tears and could hear Willow crying behind him. One thing was for sure. He didn't once look at the exit. Not only because he loved Buffy with all his heart, but that he knew without a shadow of a doubt if he left her at the alter she would kill him. Like really kill him. Like dead, dead. "I'm overwhelmed a little, so forgive me if I ramble on a bit. Its just... Buffy, you're a dream to me. You're the most amazing, most beautiful, most spectacular woman I have ever known. I don't know what I did to deserve you, but I swear I'll do my very best to make you happy for the rest of your life. I promise to love, honor, and cherish you along with anything else that's good that I outta promise and can't remember to say right now." Tears trickled down her cheeks, tapering of the side of her lovely face. Her eyes lit up with joy and love for him. "I'm just so damn happy you chose me to be your husband and I am overjoyed you're carrying our child. I swear I'll be right there in the delivery room with you, and if I pass out I will instruct the doctors and nurses to just leave my body wherever I fall and step over me just so you'll know I'm there."
"I'll... I'll wake you up with a spell or something," Willow sniffed behind him.
"You heard Wills. No unconsciousness for me when little Buffy is born," he noted with as shaky as voice as he's ever had before. "I love you with all my heart and I always will. I swear it."
Buffy squeezed his hand. "Honey, I'll be three sheets to the wind high on drugs during childbirth, but having you there will be a plus."
Anna Belle motioned for Buffy to go next as Xander had finished.
"You are the most courageous, patient, loving man I have ever known. I swear there have been so many times you should have just walked away from me and my crazy life and just gone on with your own, but you never did. You always saw through the life I was told I had to lead and pushed me toward whatever life I wanted to work for myself. You believed in Buffy when all I heard were people calling for the Slayer. You stood by me and my family through the darkest times of our lives. You have no idea what you mean to me," she began to sob softly, a smile adorning her beautiful face. "I have needed you and you were there. I have trusted you and you never betrayed me. I have loved you and you have loved me so deeply. You make me happier than I've ever been before. You make me laugh and you're my best friend and you rock in the bedroom." Some cheers and howling could be heard when she added that. "You even eat the stuff I try to pass off as food and act like you like it."
"You should marry him just for that."
"SHUT UP FAITH!"
"YOUR COOKING COULD KILL!"
"DON'T MAKE ME COME DOWN THERE!" Buffy hushed the slayer with a grin, then turned back to Xander's sweet expression. "I love you above all others. I swear to love, honor, and cherish you till... well, I'm gonna leave that part out cause it never goes to well for me. But I promise to make you happy, always be in your corner, and love you more than you have ever been loved before. I will even take cooking lessons for you."
"You don't have too."
"I know, but I will anyway. I love you Xander. And I can't wait to raise our child together and call you my husband."
With the vows concluded Anna Belle said a short prayer and then Willow presented the wedding bands. Buffy took Xander's first. She caressed his palm before turning his hand and then slipping the gold band on. "With this ring, I thee wed."
Barely able to control his emotions, Xander took her gold band and gently slipped on her ring finger. "With this ring, I thee wed."
"By the power invested in me I now pronounce you man and wife. Alexander, you may now kiss your bride."
Dawn yelled and shouted first, followed by a teary-eyed Willow, Faith, Andrew and then all of the strippers who clapped and cheered while Buffy and Xander kissed for the longest time. They parted to hug their loved ones as Buffy and Dawn embraced, followed by Xander and Willow.
"Buff," Dawn's voice trembled while hugging her sister. "Mom is so happy for you and so am I. I love you."
"I love you too, sis. Thank you."
"Eh, can I borrow a c-note? Long John Silver over there is straight and I wouldn't mind a private dance in the back."
Dawn hugged her harder anyway. "Cheap bitch."
"Did you do as I asked?" Xander whispered in his best friends ear.
"Yes. I had Goliath take pictures with my cell phone and send them to Angel and Spike. I still think that's a bit silly. I mean, you sent them Buffy's sonogram already," Willow said.
Xander cheezed real wide. "It's called the final nail in the coffin, Wills."
"I suppose so," she smiled and hugged him harder. "I'm so happy for you."
"Thanks." Suddenly the band's stage began playing a rather up-tempo song. All eyes were drawn there as Andrew stood on the stage, eyes shut, slowly lifting the microphone to his lips as dramatic as Cher ever had.
"I'm coming out," he began to sing the Diana Ross classic. "'I want the world to know... got to let it show. I'm coming out. I want the world to know. I got to let it show."
While not the most traditional first dance song, Buffy didn't seem to mind at all. She grabbed her hubby and drug him on center stage. He kissed her that very instant as everyone began dancing to Andrew's strikingly similar rendition of the Diana Ross classic.
"There's a new me coming out. And I just had to live. And I wanna give... I'm completely positive... I think this time around I am gonna do it... like you never do it. Like you never knew it. Ooh, I'll make it through," he sang his John Tesh loving heart out while the crowd danced the night away. "The time has come for me to break out of the shell. I have to shout... That I'm coming out. I'm coming out. I want the world to know... got to let it show. I'm coming out. I want the world to know. I got to let it show."
Buffy whispered in Xander's ear, "Do you really think he's coming out?"
"Honey, if he doesn't come out after having been exposed to the last three hours of naked male flesh then he never will." Her laughter was music to his ears. "Right now I just don't care. I'm your husband and that's all that matters to me."
She rested her head on her husbands shoulder while shutting her eyes. Andrew's crooning tunes lifted her spirit away as she was as happy as she had ever been. "Yay. I'm Mrs. Harris."
That, my friends is what is called a happy ending.
Shawn - BX'r forever and a day after that.