Personal Attention by Jaesha

ReviewsRating: NC-17

Summary: After Spike Giles' wife leaves him for another man he falls into despair. Will Buffy be able to save him before he destroys himself?

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Chapter 5: Paisley Prints and Chinese

It was almost dark by the time they reached Spike’s house.

The rest of the trip had been made mostly in silence after his little Spyhunter move with the semi-truck. There hadn’t been much to say to one another since the only things they really had in common were Dru, his alcohol overdose, and the awkward flirting at the gas station. None of which, Buffy had any interest in bringing up.

Getting out of the car, Buffy moved around to the back of the Lexus to help Spike with her bags. He smiled at her and handed her the lightest one of the bunch.

“I can carry my own bags,” Buffy told him, reaching out for the bag in his left hand.

“I’m sure you can, luv. But don’ bruise this bloke’s ego any more by not allowin’ me t’ help you with a couple o’ suitcases,” he replied, pulling the bags from her grasp and walking up the steps to the front door.

“Oh, gosh! I sure don’t want to damage your precious male ego.”

Glancing back at her, he rolled his eyes. “See that’s why I’m gonna like having you around, pet. To keep my head from getting too big.”

Okay, so not going to comment on that one.

Buffy followed him into the house and immediately dropped her bag on the floor. “What freak storm hit in here?”

The place was trashed. Couches were flipped over, tables smashed, picture frames shattered and laying scattered somewhere between the fireplace and their original place on the wall.

So much for thinking he’d gotten himself together. Buffy knew it had been too good to be believed that he had fought through all of his demons in a week.

He had the decency to look sheepish, at least. “Uh, yeah. I might have, you know, redecorated.”

“Oookay.” She said, walking around to account for all of the damage that she would have get fixed or replaced. “Just so you know, I am not cleaning this mess for you. You’re gonna help or you can count me out.”

“Actually, I was hoping you could hire another housekeeper.”

Buffy spun around to face him. “What happened to Paulina?”

“I think I fired her.”

“What do you mean ‘I think I fired her’?”

“Well, I honestly don’ remember. But I ‘aven’t seen her in weeks.”

Geez, this was going to be much more trouble than a measly paycheck could take care of. The damage was already done though. She had taken the job and as much as she wanted to, quitting was not an option. There were bills to pay and Dawnie to think of. This wasn’t the time to be selfish.

“I’ll call her tomorrow and find out what happened. Maybe I can beg her to come back with a little monetary compensation,” she said, glancing up at his suddenly very happy face.

“Hey, wait a minute, buster! Don’t think you’re going to get out of cleaning this. You made this mess and you are going to pick it up.”

“Were you this much of a ball buster with Dru?” He pouted.

“I didn’t need to be. She was controlling enough for the both of us and you.”

As soon as she said it, she knew she had made a mistake. Spike’s face turned red and she could see the large vein in his neck bulge out. Whoops!

His jaw clenched as he ground out, “I know.”

She was just about to apologize when she heard him. He was acting out of character again, well, mostly. It was obvious that he was angry and that was very normal, but he was holding back. The Spike she remembered would have just ripped her a new one and stomped off to sulk. This Spike…?

“I’m sorry, Spike. I shouldn’t have brought her up.”

He visibly calmed himself and said, “You didn’t. I did. And its okay, luv. She was controlling. I guess I jus’ don’t like being reminded of how much I let her control me.”

His honesty startled her. Spike had always been a brutally honest kinda guy, but he had never spoke ill of Dru or his relationship with her. The fact that he was confiding in her made her feel like she had accidentally read his journal or something.

Stepping over to him, she brought her hand up to caress his cheek. “It’ll get better.”

Tears gathered in his cerulean eyes and he took a deep cleansing breath before grabbing her hand and kissing it. “I hope so, sweets, ‘cause I’m afraid it can’t get much worse than this.”

He held her hand for what seemed like hours and she gave him one last reassuring squeeze before taking her hand back. “Hey, what do you say we get these bags up to my room and then we can see about getting some dinner in you?”

“Sounds good. Food sounds really good. I feel like I haven’t eaten in weeks,” he said, a spark of teasing in his smile.

Buffy laughed. He was baiting her into that and he should know better by now. “Well, that’s because you’ve been to busy entertaining your friends all that time. What were their names again? Jack, Johnny, Jose, and Jim?”

They trudged up the staircase and went to Buffy’s old room, setting her stuff in the closet.

Glancing around, Spike frowned. “You can redecorate this if you want.”

“Hey! There is nothing wrong with this room. I happen to like doilies and paisley print wallpaper. Oh, and the pink carpet…to die for!”

Spike looked blankly at her before bursting into a fit of laughter. Soon, the both of them were laughing hysterically.

Dru’s unfortunate taste in decorating was splashed all over the house, but this room had been hit the worst. Pink, pink, and more pink. Pink curtains, pink bedspread and pink lampshades. Now it wasn’t that pink was a bad color, in Buffy’s opinion, but a whole room full of it was a bit much. And it wasn’t even a nice shade of pink; it was like fuchsia or something as equally grotesque.

“Well, if it gets too bad, you can always bunk with me.”

Now there was an interesting prospect. Hey! Noooo! No sleeping with your hot boss! Damn her inner voice! It was right, unfortunately. Getting involved with one’s boss, especially one as screwed up as Spike was, could only lead to trouble.

“Speaking of bunking, have you cleaned up that mess you made in there?” She decided to skirt around the comment instead of saying something blanketed in sexual innuendo.

He huffed a little like a spoiled child. “I scrubbed the carpet, Mum. It smelled right awful in there and Patricia wasn’t here t’ help me, so I tried my best t’ get it out.”

“First of all, it’s Paulina, not Patricia. Secondly, I don’t think anyone could have saved that carpet, not even Stanley Steamer. You’ll probably have to replace it.”

“Good. I’m sick of that damn white carpet. How about we cover the whole house with black?”

“Okay, that is seriously lame. If you’re gonna do that, why don’t you just get Astro-Turf laid down?” Buffy told him, leaving the room and making her way downstairs to the kitchen.

Spike followed closely behind her. “What the hell does that mean?”

She turned around and pointed her finger into his chest. “Don’t give me that crap. I know the only reason you want black carpet in here is so if you spill something you won’t have to clean it up. You’re such a guy-guy, Spike.”

“That’s not the only reason,” Spike argued, his lower lip poking out into a pout again.

God, he really needed to stop doing that. She already thought he was hot, adding adorable to that was not going to help her any.

“Suuure,” she drawled out, opening the fridge and trying to find something edible to make for dinner.

The fridge hadn’t been cleaned out in over a month. She knew that because the salad she had made the night of Dru’s leaving was still sitting on the shelf, now black with rot and fuzzed over.

“Well, I guess, cooking is out.” She moved over to one of the cabinets and pulled out a phone book. “Chinese take-out, sound good?”

Spike nodded and proceeded to give her a verbal list of all of the dishes he wanted. Picking up the phone, she dialed the restaurant and after being greeted, started telling them the order for delivery.

“Oh! Oh! Tell them I want some o’ those little fried pork things with the sweet sauce, too!” Spike told her excitedly.

Adorable. Damn him!



******



Forty-five minutes later found Buffy and Spike sitting in the kitchen picking at each other’s food.

“So, have you got any family?” Spike asked with a mouthful of Mu Shu Pork.

He watched as her smile dissipated. “Yeah, one younger sister, one absentee father, and one dead mother.”

A pang of guilt speared through him. Damn, he shouldn’t have asked but he really was curious. What kind of a person could wait on their employer 24/7? Didn’t they have a life outside of their work? Apparently, Buffy didn’t.

“I’m sorry, luv. My mum died, too, so I know how that feels,” he told her, knowing that it wouldn’t be of much consolation.

Buffy shrugged. “She died a while ago, but I still miss her a lot, you know?”

“Yeah, I do.”

When his mother had died, he’d been devastated. There was nothing like losing a parent and he imagined, Buffy had gone through the same emotions as he had when her own mother had passed.

“How about you? Any brothers or sisters?”

“No.” He shook his head. “No siblings. My dad lives in London though.”

“Oh? Do you get to see him much?”

“Not too much. We’ve, uh, kinda been on the outs since me an’ Dru got together. He didn’ think I should marry her.” Oh, hindsight was always twenty/twenty. “I guess I shoulda listened t’ him, huh?”

“We have to make our own mistakes to learn from them.”

It sounded as if she had learned that lesson already.

“Speakin’ of mistakes, you know I’m supposed t’ be on tour now, right?”

She chuckled. “Yeah, I might have heard something about that.”

“Well, I should probably tell you now that in two weeks, we’re gonna finish out the remaining tour dates.”

Spike had talked to the Dingoes’ manager a couple days earlier and they had managed to work out a plan for not only the remaining dates, but the dates they had missed as well. It was the first step he’d made since Dru left him to get back on track with his music.

“So, you’ll be gone for a while then?”

It was possible that he had forgotten to mention this part when he was trying to get her to work for him. “Actually, you’re comin’ with so…”

Her green eyes went wide. “What do you mean? I can’t go on tour with you.”

“Why not? You went with Dru when she did her movies.”

“Yeah, but I wasn’t on a bus for weeks at a time with four men as my only company, either,” she told him, her chopsticks slapping onto the table.

Rubbing a hand over his face, he took a deep breath before finding the words to say. “You won’t be the only woman on the bus, luv.”

Suddenly, she was standing, her chair kicked towards the wall. Oh, this didn’t look good.

“If you think I’m going to bunk with a bunch of men and their…groupies, especially yours, we can just call this me working for you thing off. I’m not gonna do it,” she shouted at him, her finger waving in his face.

“Groupies? What the hell are you goin’ on about? I’m talkin’ about Anya, our manager, who happens t’ be the woman I was speakin’ of.”

Buffy stood there with her chest heaving, idle for a minute or so before calmly grabbing her chair and sitting back down. She picked up her chopsticks and started playing with her chow mein.

“So, uh, when are we leaving?”

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