Three for a Secret... by Lilachigh

Sequel to: Cousin Arabella: This story stands alone, but if you haven't read my story Cousin Arabella, it might help a little if you do.

Chapter One: She's Back!

One for Sorrow,

Two for Gold,

Three for a Secret that shall never be told

"Ow! Ow! Ow! It hurts." Buffy Summers had soap in her eyes: lots of what had been big friendly, jasmine smelling bubbles - up to the moment she had managed to splash them in her face where they were now determinedly burning out her eyeballs.

"Dawn! Dawn! Are you upstairs? I need a towel. I can't see! Ow! Oh, thanks - " she gasped, her voice muffled as something soft was pushed into her hand and she began to wipe away the stinging liquid.

"Pleasure is all mine, pet."

"What? Who - Spike! What are you doing in my bathroom? Get out!" Buffy clutched the towel to her front, unaware that the vampire leaning against the bathroom door was happily checking out her naked rear view in the mirror.

"Not as if it's something I haven't seen before," he drawled, raising an eyebrow at her.

"That's all in the past," Buffy said firmly, having decided after their disastrous outing a few weeks before when she'd had the dubious pleasure of meeting Spike's one remaining relative, his Cousin Arabella, that getting involved with William the Bloody in any way was bad news.

OK, he'd been useful for sex - even in her wildest dreams she'd never imagined how good that could be with the right man. How mind-blowingly marvellous it was when he touched her - No! She was, doing it again. Spike was an evil, undead thing. He was not 'the right man'.

"Found yourself another boyfriend, have you. Slayer? Well, it'll be Christmas soon, so I suppose you'll need someone to take you out or else you'll look like a real looser."

If she hadn't known better, Buffy thought, wrapping the towel round her and pushing past him back into her bedroom, she'd have said Spike sounded hurt. "Spike, I shall be 21 at the end of January. I have friends – my friends have friends – I am the most friendy girl in Sunnydale. I do not need someone in my life to take me out, as you put it."

"Well, if you just want someone for sex, I'm still available."

Buffy sat down on her bed and put her hands over her ears, then hurriedly dropped them down to pull up the top edge of the towel. Really, he might have found her a bigger one if he was going to invade her bathroom.

"Listen, I have a full time job, a full time sister and another full time job being a Slayer. The - " she hesitated, "the sex was okay - "

"OKAY?"

"God Spike, fancy yourself much. All right, the sex was good, but we need to move on. Now, if you don't mind, I'm trying to get ready."

"So what's his name?" Spike was slouched on the window sill, dusty black boots marking the paintwork as usual.

Buffy sighed. She would have to start keeping the window closed, she supposed, but they had no air conditioning and sometimes it got so hot indoors. Even now she could feel heat rising from her skin. But that, of course, was from the hot shower, not from the way Spike's gaze raked across her body.

She hesitated, then shrugged. Why shouldn't she tell Spike she was going on a date. It couldn't matter to him what she did. "His name's Ross. He's a friend of Xander and Anya. And a very nice boy."

"Does this very nice boy know you're the Slayer?" Spike was gazing out into the dark and she couldn't tell from his voice what he was thinking.

"Of course not. It's just a date at the Bronze. We'll dance, talk, have a few drinks - "

"Will you let him kiss you?"

'Spike! It's no business of yours what I let him do."

In two strides he was at her side. She always forgot just how fast he could move. "If you let him touch you, I'll - "

"You'll what, Spike?" she flared back, not giving an inch to his aggression. "Bite me? I'd like to see you try!"

He smiled slowly in the way that made her legs turn to jelly. He rubbed his thumb slowly down her cheek, travelling the rough edge down her throat and shoulder to where the swell of her breast started.

"Well, I'll just have to make love to you again and again until all trace of him vanishes," he said and without another word he turned and, black coat swirling,clambered back out of the window.

Buffy got dressed without any thought as to what she was wearing. Oh, that man annoyed her so much! How dare he say things like that? She could see whom she liked. She wasn't tied to the vampire in any way. Just because they'd some sort of sexual thing in the past, didn't make them soul mates.

"Jeez, why is he so jealous?" she said to her reflection as she brushed her hair dry and sprayed perfume violently across her body to cover the scent of leather and cigarette smoke. "I wouldn't be the tiniest bit jealous if he found himself a proper girl friend."

She picked up her purse and turned to look at herself in the mirror for a final time. Why was she frowning? She looked - angry, miserable, uncertain. Buffy shook herself. Spike's sex life was something she had absolutely no interest in at all. She clattered down the stairs feeling virtuous. Yes, she would cheer if the vampire got himself a lady friend. It would stop him climbing in her bedroom window for a start!

Out of the darkening Californian sky, a private jet roared in to land at a small airport just outside Sunnydale. It taxied to the end of the runway, far away from prying eyes. The captain got out and hurried off to sort the paperwork. He knew that as the airport was owned by and run by demons, he would have no problem processing his passengers.

Inside the jet, a vast green demon who looked like a benevolent cow with sweet little ears and big, soulful dark eyes undid several seat belts and stretched. He hated travelling, especially by plane, but it was a long way from Australia and his wife loathed boats.

Div'vid stared down at the woman in the seat opposite him. Long, glossy brown curls, a perfect pale oval face, high slanting cheek bones and the biggest blue eyes he'd ever seen in his life. She was wearing a dress in a soft pink material that clung to her curves. Her smooth brown legs were crossed but he knew how long they were and what they led to. He was eternally amazed that this vampire woman had agreed to be his wife. He loved her so much.

She was gazing absentmindedly out of one of the little windows.

"Now, sweetheart, are you going to be all right in Sunnydale while I head on to Los Angeles? I wish you'd stayed in Australia."

Arabella reached across and patted a vast green, hoof like hand. "Div'vid, my angel, I'll be fine. You know I didn't want to be on my own. Not after the kangaroo bit me. Which, let me tell you, was such a shock. I was only trying to have a light afternoon snack. But that apart, I didn't want to be such a long way away from you."

Div'vid smiled the smile of a completely besotted Regurgitating Frovlax demon and burped loudly. Arabella's smile became fixed as she tried to ignore the smell of decomposing hay that filled the cabin.

Being married to a demon who chewed and then rechewed his lunch was sometimes hard for a girl to bear. There were times when it was all she could do not to yell at him to get away from her. And when he insisted that they made love - well, lying there thinking of his millions was sometimes not enough to stop her screaming.

Luckily, he thought she screamed in ecstasy, because even Arabella realised that antagonising a naked seven foot demon wasn't a wise thing to do.

"But what are you going to do in this little town while I'm away? Have you got all your credit cards with you? I don't know what sort of shops there are around here but I'm sure you'll find something to buy."

Arabella nodded slowly. "Oh, don't you worry about me, darling. I intend to have a real good time. And if I get bored, I can always pay a little visit to Cousin Spike."

Div'vid looked anxious. "Now, you're not going to get involved with him and that Slayer girl again, are you, pet? You know what happened at our party. Some of our friends still haven't forgiven us for having a Slayer in the house, even if we didn't know she was one until it was too late. Nice girl, though. Pretty hair."

Arabella turned the full force of gentian blue eyes on her husband. "Div, Spike and I fought all the time when we were children, before he turned me. The argument at the party was just a family spat," she said happily. "No one can ruin our relationship, especially not his Slayer girlfriend."

She reached inside the neck of her dress and pulled out a intricately carved silver locket. "But I do want to talk to him. Because I think it's time he saw this."

Div'vid frowned. "Do you think that's wise, sweetheart? We've kept the secret all this time."

Arabella smiled sweetly. "Why Div'vid, surely you don't want to deprive Spike of a little Hope?" And she turned once more to stare out of the window at where the lights of Sunnydale were beginning to flicker through the darkening skies. Her smile faded and she fingered the locket. She wanted Spike and would fight for him. She might have lost the first battle, but she would never loose the war! She had a weapon that he would be powerless to resist.

Div'vid was anxious. He belched again and chewed violently on a piece of hay that just wouldn't dissolve. The acid in several of his stomachs seemed rancid. He sighed. He knew the worry about his wife was affecting his health. He'd hoped the wide empty spaces of the Outback would soothe Arabella's mind and temper after the dreadful night of their anniversary party and the fight with Spike and the Slayer, but for some reason, she'd become even edgier and more irritable with each passing day of heat and empty horizons.

The incident with the kangaroo had been the final straw. Div'vid knew she wanted to come back to America to live, but he wished she wasn't so set on this mad scheme involving his old mate Spike.

He watched as she drove away in her hired car, hand fluttering a farewell. He turned to get back in the jet, then hesitated. Perhaps he'd postpone his visit to L.A. for a few days. He'd just hang around town and make sure Arabella didn't get into any trouble.

The Bronze was heaving as Buffy pushed her way through the crowds towards where Willow and Anya were sitting at a table. Her new friend, Ross, was seated between them, but by their expressions they weren't having a great evening. 'Buffy! Hi," Ross said, standing up thankfully to offer her his chair. "Can I get you a drink?"

"Um, anything pretty and sparkling, please," she said and when he'd vanished towards the bar she turned to the girls and said, "OK, who died? You both look just like Giles when we insist he watches baseball."

Anya sniffed. "I was expecting to come to the dance with Xander. He is my boyfriend. He should want to please me. Well, of course, he does please me, especially in the bedroom, not that we only do it in the bedroom you understand. We keep a chart of every place in the house we have sex and sometimes - "

"I just asked Xander to take some library books back for me," Willow broke in swiftly, as a look of horror crossed Buffy's face. "I wanted to wash my hair and he was going that way. I don't know why he's so late. It isn't my fault."

Anya sniffed again. "Well, Willow, you borrowed the books in the first place, so that does make it your fault."

Buffy wondered if screaming would help and was taking a deep breath when she saw Xander coming towards them. "There he is! Xander Harris, you are late. Confess or else these two will extract the information from you with the little umbrellas off their drinks!"

Xander collapsed into a chair, his face hot, his hair tousled. "Sorry, Ahn. Sorry, Will. Sorry, Buffy. Sorry, chair. Sorry, table. Sorry - "

"Xander!" Buffy broke in warningly, giggling.

He grinned back. "OK, Slayer. I give in. To tell you the truth, I was hiding. I was nearly here when an enormous green demon came striding down the road. I nipped behind a tree but he hung around for ages. I think he was searching for someone or something. I think you need to go and stake it, Buff. He was definitely not someone you'd want to meet up a dark alleyway."

Buffy felt a cold shiver run over her. Everything seemed to slide into slow motion. She could see Ross making his way back from the bar with the drinks...Anya running her fingers through Xander's hair, Willow blowing little bubbles into her glass through the straw...

"A big green demon?"' she said. "What did he look like?"

"You mean apart from being seven feet tall and bright green! Oh well, sort of cow like, I suppose. He had the sweetest little ears. But he stank. Oh boy did he stink."

Buffy stood up. Div'vid! It had to be. How many seven foot, bright green, smelly cow demons were there in Sunnydale. And if Div'vid was in town, then so was Arabella!

to be continued.

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