Against All Odds by Dusty273

ReviewsRating: NC-17

Summary: Buffy Summers is a vibrant, passionate young girl in love for the first time in her life with Angel O’Connor, to whom she’s secretly engaged. When he has to go back to his native Ireland to take care of his business, fate intervenes and she meets the very daring and impulsive Duke of Aurelius, Spike. From the moment he lays eyes upon her, he decides he wants her for himself and sets upon making it happen. Will Spike get what he wants, and if so, at what price? Written for the Spuffy_fantasy (LJ) Art-A-Thon. For the gorgeous banner made by drkdevin (Number 9).

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Chapter 21. Playing in the Garden of Eden

Chapter Notes: I'm very sorry that I haven't answered reviews for the last chapter, I'm very thankful for them and I promise to respond to all when I return from visiting my grandma at my dad's hometown. I'm also sorry for how late it took me to complete this chapter. December has been crazy busy at the office and at home, plus I can't even begin to count how many times I re-wrote the damn chapter until it finally was to my liking.

This chapter is a birthday present to Carrie (darkrivertempest), albeit a little late *blushes*. You're such a wonderful friend, honey; always encouraging, supportive and caring and I simply couldn't imagine my life without you at this point. I love you, sweetie!
A million thanks to Tina (IBE) for putting up with me and all the changes I made to this chapter. She actually threatened to spank me if I dared try to change a few of the things I wrote yesterday, and really, if she hadn't done that and then beta this very early this morning, I wouldn't have finished in time to post before leaving. *smooches* I love you, darling! Thanks as well to Vara, Beth and Carrie for reading the first part of the chapter and assuring me it was fine, as well. And last but not least, to Deanna, for the edits and just being there being her sweet self. *hugs you all*


Paradise was made for tender hearts; hell, for loveless hearts. ~ Voltaire

“Or... perhaps you already are the man I love,” she said simply.

They both noticed what she'd said at about the same moment.

Spike blinked, trying to wrap his mind around her words. She couldn't have said what he thought she said, could she? “Wha—”

Buffy brought her hands to her mouth as if that would somehow cram the words back inside, her eyes wide as saucers and her cheeks flushed crimson with embarrassment as the need to escape nearly overwhelmed her with its intensity.

Yes, she'd wanted him to be the first to know, but not in quite this manner. She'd been teasing him, playing with words as she engaged in dalliance with him, but it had never been her intention to tell him of her feelings in such a blunt, unladylike way.

Only it wasn't just shame that made her wish to flee, was it?

No, it was also the underlying fear that when she actually told him of her feelings, he might change his mind and decide she wasn't worth the trouble after all, that he wouldn't want to marry her any longer. And no matter how much she'd wanted exactly that only a few days ago, now, today, this moment that same thing would shatter her heart in a million pieces. And rather than expose herself to that, she preferred to run as far away as possible.

“I... uh, I mean...” Buffy stuttered breathlessly, not sure if she should try to explain or if it might be better to get away now before saying something else she’d come to regret later. “I-I... have t-to go.”

She barely had time to think of trying to scramble from William before he grabbed her by her shoulders, pulling her towards him and seizing her lips in a passionate kiss that effectively stole what little was left of her breath away.

Spike wasn't about to let her leave after what she said, or take it back for that matter. He didn't care that she hadn't said she loved him... not really. But she'd said enough to make him believe she did, and her reaction when she realized what she said had only solidified that belief. And if he had any lingering doubts, her response to his kisses dispelled those quite nicely, too. He longed to hear her tell him those three words, but he could wait until she was ready. No matter how long it took.

His tongue tangled with hers, savoring the underlying sweetness her previous words left in her mouth, getting drunk in her impromptu admission as his hands coasted down her arms to encircle her waist. His fingers itched with the urge to travel upwards and bury inside her golden tresses, but he knew now was not the time for that. Later, though, he'd make sure to take every pin from her luscious hair and get his fill of it, get his fill of her, if that was at all possible.

His lips trailed moist, heated kisses along her jaw, down her throat, collarbone then back again to her lips, making her shiver and moan and pant as she tried to remember how to breathe while he whispered ardently against her overheated flesh. “Whatever it is you feel, love, I can wait `til you're ready to tell me... No matter how long it takes, no matter what happens, `m here and `m not goin' away, I promise...”

Buffy opened her eyes and set them on his, her chest heaving and her heart thundering as she tried to gauge the sincerity of his words. His gaze was honest and seemingly devoid of any artifice. The adoration shining deeply in the azure depths was so intense it made her shudder with, with... what was this that he made her feel with just one look, one word, one touch? “I-I...”

“Shh, kitten. Later, all right?” He cradled her face between his strong hands, caressing her cheekbones with his thumb before winking at her and letting her go. “Now, tell me, sweetheart, was that the way you dreamt I kissed you last night?”

He delighted in the way her flesh tinged a deeper shade of red, in her sharp intake of breath and the mild shock that flashed in her eyes before she realized he was just trying to lighten the mood by continuing with their previous teasing.

“Well...” Buffy trailed a finger down his chest playfully to toy with the buttons of his waistcoat, looking at him through her eyelashes coquettishly and biting her bottom lip as she leaned forward, their mouths just a whisper away. “That's for me to know and for you to find out,” she said.

Minx! “And how do you propo—”

A knock on the door cut his question short and he sighed in annoyance at the untimely interruption, casting a hand over his face. With a glance that promised this conversation wasn't over yet, he walked to the door and opened it to find the butler on the other side.

“Excuse me, Your Grace,” the butler said with a bow. “Lady Summers sent me to let you know everything is at the ready and she's waiting for you and Miss Summers in the drawing room.”

“Of course. Shall we, Miss Summers?” Spike asked her when she joined him by the door, offering his arm to her.

“We shall, your Grace,” she responded.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Convincing Lady Joyce of the convenience of allowing her daughter to ride with Spike in his curricle had been surprisingly easy. Of course first he had to swear he'd drive carefully and that they would meet at an inn in Hampton for lunch and change horses.

The first was an easy promise to maintain, he drove carefully no matter the speed his horses gained, plus he knew the road like the palm of his hand. The second one, though, he never intended to keep. But really, if he'd told his future mother-in-law of his plans, he doubted she would've been as keen as to give her permission and he would have none of that.

It didn't take long for his curricle to advance the much slower ducal carriage by a very good margin. The weather, the lighter vehicle, the faster horses and his knowledge of the terrain all played in his favor and they made it to The Kings Arms Inn in less than two hours. Once there, they left Oz to wait for the rest of their party before continuing towards their destination.

Buffy threw him curious glances every once in a while, but other than that she seemed perfectly content with enjoying the gorgeous view of the English countryside this trip was providing her. And this suited him just fine, as he didn't want to spoil the surprise before it was time.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Buffy had been mildly disconcerted when they left William's tiger behind after changing horses at the inn where they were supposed to meet her mother and his sister, but decided against inquiring where they were heading. She was curious, yes, and very much so. Especially since her fiancé seemed to grow steadily more nervous the farther they drove away from the inn and towards wherever he was taking her.

She had no idea what to expect when they finally stopped and he helped her down the curricle; especially when he took off his hat and then raised his hand to untie her bonnet.

“What are you doing?” she asked him, taking a step back.

“You won’t need it where we’re goin’. Trust me... please?”

She sighed heavily and nodded, allowing him to do as he wished. After all, he would know better if she actually needed her hat or not, wouldn’t he?

William picked up a picnic basket from the back of the vehicle and led her through the trees until they reached a clearing and when she took the first glance at her surroundings, she was rendered speechless.

Paradise.

This is what Eden must have looked like; there was no doubt of that in her mind. She was almost afraid to breathe, to speak, for it would break the peaceful atmosphere surrounding this magical place.

The most beautiful lake she'd ever seen sat right in the middle of the meadow, its mirrored surface barely disrupted by a light gust of wind and the few ducks swimming in it. Birds chirped from somewhere around them as she stood completely entranced by the view.

The sun warmed her skin as she lifted her head to greet its rays with her face, the fresh scent of earth, trees and mixed spring flora growing in the area permeating her nostrils as she became one with nature.

She jumped a little when William encircled her waist with his arms from behind, having forgotten about him for a moment, before leaning back to rest against his strong chest.

“Beautiful, isn' it?” he whispered in her ear and she nodded.

“Breathtaking,” she replied, in an equally soft tone.

“Not as much as you, though.”

Buffy turned in his arms to face him. “That, your Grace, is a lie and you know it,” she chided him, although her smile belied her words.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, love.” He waggled his eyebrows and she giggled.

Shaking her head, her smile only grew brighter when he smirked. “You're impossible.”

“And you'd do very well not to forget that. You can' win against me.”

“We'll see about that,” she responded mysteriously, before dropping the subject altogether and stepping out of his embrace. “Well, are you going to give me the grand tour or what?”

“Bossy chit,” he grumbled good-naturedly.

“And you'd do very well not to forget that,” she threw his words back at him with a saucy wink, earning her a hearty laugh from him.

“Life's not goin' to be borin' with you, that's for sure, kitten.” He exhaled a heavy sigh, giving in to her... for now. “All right, where do you want to start? The imported Roman ruins, the path through the forest, the ponds, the waterfall?”

“Oooh, there's a waterfall?” she asked, her excitement clear in her eyes.

He chuckled at her childlike enthusiasm. “I suppose that's where we'll start then.”

They fell into step side by side and he sighed contentedly when she linked her arm through his. Placing his left hand over it, he laced their gloved fingers together as they walked through the park.

“Tell me about this place, please. What is it called? When did you find it? Has it always been like this?”

“Well, it's called Virginia Water Lake and it lies on the southern edge of Windsor Great Park. And believe it or not, that lake there and the waterfall are man-made.”

Her eyes widened in surprise and she actually stopped walking to turn and look at him. “Man-made? Really?” Who would have imagined her Eden wasn't as natural as it looked?

“Yes, the lake’s construction began in seventeen-forty-six by the Duke of Cumberland, who was the Ranger of the Park back then and was completed `round seventeen-eighty by Paul and Thomas Sandby, who added the artificial waterfall, the Meadow and Obelisk Ponds.”

“So it's relatively new then,” she commented, as they resumed strolling down the path that led to the cascade. “Is that why there's nobody else around?”

He shrugged. “Could be, yes.”

“I think I like the idea of having a place just for us.”

“You do?” He tilted his head to look into her upturned face.

“Yes. It's a piece of Heaven on Earth and there's no one else I'd like to share it with other than with you.”

“Well, that works great then, because I feel the same way and that's why I brought you here. I just knew you'd love it as much as I do.”

“I do, I truly do.” Almost as much as I love you, she added to herself, berating herself for being such a coward and not telling him point blank of her feelings.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The waterfall was as enchanting as the lake, even if due to its design it was obviously artificial. Perhaps it wasn’t as impressively tall or as powerful as other falls Buffy had seen before in America, but it had a serene beauty that made it blend perfectly into its surroundings.

Water cascaded smoothly down the dark grey rocks, landing at the bottom in a hushed murmur instead of the deafening roar she was used to. Small droplets sprinkled over them the closer they got to the edge, refreshing their sun-warmed flesh.

They returned to the lake shortly after, where Spike took his coat and gloves off before extending a blanket on the grass and helping his ladylove to sit before taking their food out.

After they finished their lunch and while William picked everything up and brought the basket back to the curricle, Buffy laid on her back on the blanket, staring unseeingly up at the sky, a wistful look on her face.

She was certain her mother wouldn't be too happy when she learned of their escapade, but right now she chose not to worry about that. All that mattered was that even with the guilt slowly gnawing at her because of her cowardice that morning—especially when her fiancé had done so much to put her fears to rest—she'd had a fantastic time and didn't want it to end, to hell with the consequences. They'd have more than enough time to deal with those later anyway.

She heard a small noise to her left and when she turned her head, found the duke lying beside her. She'd been so lost in her thoughts, she hadn't heard his approach. And now he was there, looking at her with such intensity that her breath hitched in her throat.

“You're so lovely,” he said, unable to stop himself from lifting his hand to her face and tracing her delicate features with a finger. He found it hard to believe this angel was going to be his wife in less than two weeks.

“Am not,” she retorted, her cheeks tingeing crimson once again.

“You are to me. You're all I think about, all I dream about. I love you, Elizabeth.”

Spike claimed her lips in a passionate kiss then, not giving her a chance to respond. He didn't tell her because he wanted her to say the words back. He told her because that was what was in his heart and nothing else.

Buffy's hands wrapped around the duke’s neck, her gloved fingers threading through his hair, pulling him closer as she got lost in the amazing sensations his kisses aroused in her.

When he kissed her everything else vanished. She could care less that they were out in the open where anyone might see them. She could care less what they'd think of her. Their love defied social conventions and decorum. It was like being trapped in a storm in the middle of the ocean and she only could hang on tight to his strong shoulders and hope he would keep her afloat.

He was the kind of man she’d dreamt about. He pursued her unremittingly, relentlessly; tearing down the walls she’d erected to protect herself when she first learned of their betrothal. His love transcended social structures, uncaring of whom her father was or that she wasn’t precisely what others might consider a bride fit for the powerful Duke of Aurelius. He'd shown her a side of himself that she doubted many others knew and she'd been unable to do anything else but fall for him, the real him.

William loved her enough to be completely honest with her about how their engagement came to be; even when telling her the truth might mean losing her in the end. Who loved her enough to allow her to choose what she wanted to do with the rest of her life; even if it meant she might not decide on a future with him. Who taught her what real love was all about.

He loved her and every time he said those three words to her the need to say them back grew inside her. The realization of how lucky she truly was by having found love before marriage setting most of her fears to rest. Love matches were uncommon in their social circle and the men who were willing to lay their hearts on the line for their ladies, were even more uncommon.

Spike was in heaven when his ladylove’s mouth opened in a soft sigh, granting him entrance, her tiny hands tugging on his hair to bring him impossibly closer.

It was so bloody easy to lose himself in her, to get drunk in her flavor, in the sweetness of her response, in the soft curves that molded so perfectly against the hard planes of his body.

It was so simple to want more, to want every little part of her that his fiancée was willing to give him when he had her in his arms.

Without stopping their kiss, he hauled them up into a sitting position, relishing her little moan of protest when he pulled away from the temptation of her lips and lowered her arms from his neck.

Her heavy eyelids fluttered open with some difficulty and Buffy finally managed to focus on him, a shiver running down her spine at the intensity of his azure gaze. Her breathing became laborious when William's hands slowly slid up one of her arms, sensuously dragging her fine leather glove off on their way down before tossing it aside carelessly.

Her heart skipped a beat and she gasped when he brought her hand up to his mouth, giving her index finger a playful nibble with his sharp teeth. His hot breath tickled her skin when he turned her hand over to place a kiss on her palm, the tip of his tongue darting out to taste her skin before moving towards her wrist, his lips feather light against her pulse point in a gesture so intimate she had to bit down a whimper.

“Do you like when I kiss you like this, love?” he asked huskily, bringing her hand to rest over his heart.

“Uh-huh.” She could feel his heartbeat under her fingertips, strong and fast; his chest rising and falling swiftly each time he breathed. She could see a muscle in his jaw ticking as his nostrils flared slightly. Those were the only signs that he wasn’t as calm and collected as he appeared at first sight. And strangely, just knowing he was as affected by her nearness as she was by his, put her at ease.

Or at least, as at ease as she could be with his scent, his masculinity enveloping her, surrounding her, making her dizzy and long for him in ways she'd never envisioned before meeting him.

“Do you have any idea of what you do to me, love?” he inquired, making quick work of her other glove, bringing her hand to his torso to join the other.

“N-no.” She shook her head in negative, her eyes wide and her pupils dilated as they set on the indigo depths.

“No?” Spike tilted his head slightly to the right, leaning forward to steal a kiss from her luscious lips. “Mmmmmm, let me enlighten you then.”

He moved them to lie back on the blanket, keeping her hands pressed against his chest while he loomed over her. His fingers itched to bury in her hair, but he refrained, knowing if he did as he wished he might lose what little control he still held on to. Instead, he traced her lovely features, the arch of her eyebrows, the swell of her cheeks, her pink lips, all the while, basking in the soft look in her eyes, in the way she leaned into his touch. This was paradise and he’d finally found his Eve, no two ways about it.

“You drive me insane. Absolutely, completely. I’m a slave to your kisses, to your taste, to every little moan you make when I touch you. I love feeling you tremble in my arms, knowing that you long for my caresses as much as I long for yours. Because you do, don’t you, dove? Tell me.”

William's lips replaced the fingers on her sweet, warm face, whispering his love across her skin without words, making her feel cherished, loved and wanting nothing more than to reciprocate to him in any way she could. Words eluded her, though, too wrapped up in a haze of desire to remember how to speak at the moment.

One of her hands wound around his torso to pull him closer, arching her back when his mouth coasted down her neck, making her sigh and moan and pant as he nipped at her jugular.

“Tell me, sweetheart. I need you to tell me.”

Oh God! Was there any doubt she did when she could barely recall her own name? He bit her throat harder and her eyes rolled back on her head, giving a strangled yelp as she felt a rush of moisture coat the inside of her thighs.

“I-I do. God help me, I do,” she murmured tremulously, her hands pulling on his head until their lips where just a hairsbreadth away. “I do,” she repeated, pressing her mouth softly against his; wanting, needing, craving him and all he could make her feel with just one kiss, with just one touch.

Her tongue peeked out to timidly brush against the seam of his lips and all thoughts about restraint flew out the proverbial window as he captured her mouth in a heated kiss. He'd been surprised that she'd taken the initiative, but was far from being displeased. He was more than happy to devour the tiny mewls that rasped her throat, to plunder into the honeyed depths of her mouth, to get lost in the feel of her soft curves against his body.

And when her little hands slid down his back, up and down, down and up, he was certain he'd died and somehow ended up in Heaven. She'd never touched him like this, never moved wantonly against him like she was doing right now, and it made him harder than he'd ever been when the notion that she was as lost to their passion as he was entered his mind.

“I need to taste you, love. Will you let me, my sweet Buffy?” he asked, his mouth leaving hers to coast down her throat, her collarbone, the top of her creamy mounds. The need to sample the delights her flesh had to offer nearly overwhelming him as his hand slipped past the hem of her dress and petticoats to touch her silken legs.

“Yes, yes,” she whispered fervently. She had no idea what he was asking of her, nor did she care, as long as he continued what he was doing. William's lips and fingers were setting her ablaze, the sensations coursing and converging deep inside her and she wanted more of this, more of him.

Spike lowered the edge of her bodice, pulling down her chemise and corset as much as he could without undressing her. He was salivating at his first look of her lovely breasts under the daylight; a perfect handful they were, firm and supple to the touch. The dusty-rose nipples hardened under his ardent stare and he couldn't stop himself from taking one into his mouth, then the other; suckling and licking until she was squirming under him, her hands pulling him closer to her bosom.

“Do you like this, kitten? Do you like to feel my mouth on your sweet titties?” he inquired, nipping on her sensitized flesh and chuckling when she opened her mouth and let out a throaty moan.

“Oh, dear Lord! Yes, yes, so good,” she babbled, drowning in the blue of his eyes when she finally managed to focus her desire-laden gaze on him.

She was so focused on the attentions he was bestowing upon her breasts that she never noticed his other hand hadn't remained idle, skimming along her calf and under her knee, bending it, opening her to him as he dragged her dress up to bunch around her waist. Not until his fingers grazed the curls that covered her most private of places, that is.

Spike just about lost it when he felt how wet she was for him already; releasing her nipple with an audible plop as he rested his head on her chest, panting and grating his teeth while fighting the urge to come then and there.

Not an easy feat that. Especially not when her honey dripping onto his digits as he slid them into her soft folds, coating them with her dew. Slippery wet she was and he reveled in the knowledge that he was the first—the only—to arouse her body this way. He gave silent thanks his future wife was not like the repressed ladies others had been trying to set him up with for years. No, his fiancée was nothing like them. She was fiery, spirited, intelligent, passionate and he couldn't get enough of her. He craved her, loved her. Wanted everything she was willing to give him and even when she surrendered completely to him, he would still want more and he would have it... right the hell now.

She whimpered when his hot mouth relinquished its hold on her breast, her hands trying to bring him up when he started to pull away from her. “Don't go, don't leave me,” she pleaded, not wanting the magic he’d weaved to cease.

“Not goin' anywhere, love,” he said with a wink, his body sliding downwards until he reached his goal.

She tried to close her thighs and push her dress back down when she realized what he was doing, but he was faster than her, effectively impeding her actions.

“None of that, love,” he chastised her. “You said I could have my taste and that's exactly what `m goin' to do.”

She blinked dumbly as she tried to wrap her mind around his words. He couldn't mean he was going to taste her... there, did he?

He took advantage of her obvious distraction to get acquainted with her delectable quim. She was soft and pink and swollen with her need, her nether lips glistening with her juices. His nostrils flared as he inhaled deeply, her musky scent driving him even madder with lust than he was already.

“Wait a sec—aaaaaaah,” she wailed when, without warning, he licked her quivering flesh from top to bottom.

Having him do something as incredibly intimate as this, rattled her to the core. It was shocking, unnerving, but at the same time it made her feel... Good heavens, she wasn't certain what it was he made her feel by doing this. Every swipe of his tongue against her drove her closer to the edge, every nerve in her body sensitized, every muscle tightening as she gave in to the pleasurable sensations coursing through her.

Spike was drunk. Drunk in the tangy flavor exploding on his tongue; in the way her little hands tunneled into his hair, pushing him closer to her hot center as she writhed and moaned under him; hesitantly at first, then more confidently as her need escalated.

His hands spanned under her hips, tilting her pelvis upwards as he devoured her luscious cunny with gusto, his nose bumping her clit while he lapped at the juices flowing from her entrance.


“Christ, love, you're delicious,” he said, moaning against her pussy. “Can't get enough of you.”

Buffy was close, so damn close. She could feel it, practically taste it and then it happened, like a tidal wave enveloping her, pulling her under the water. She held on to William as best she could, trusting him to keep her afloat as she drowned in an ocean of pure bliss.

tbc

A/N: So... *shuffles feet* muse got carried away (again), believe me I know and I really hope you didn't mind; and of course, if you are inclined to tell me what you thought of the chapter, I'd love to know. *bats eyelashes*

I wish you all the happiest 2009, full of love, laughter and health.

*hugs*

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