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 6. Sense and Sensibility

Chapter Notes: A little note: ‘tabbies’ are ‘catty women’.


Hope is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
~ Emily Dickinson

Chapter 6. Sense and Sensibility

Buffy had hoped to escape from him—from everything that happened in the garden—but the Duke caught up with her just before she went into the house. Not like she was surprised; not with the way her evening had unfolded so far.

She didn’t have any other choice but to allow him to escort her into the drawing room, though; even if her whole being rebelled at the idea of being so close to him, of having to touch any part of him ever again. She was appalled by his behavior, but even more so, she was appalled with her own. She couldn’t understand what happened, why she had reacted the way she did to his kisses. It wasn’t only that it’d been completely inappropriate, it was that she actually responded to him, felt something stir deep within her as she did so. How could that be when she was in love with Angel? When she despised everything the Duke represented, everything he was?

It had to be the surprise of it all, she resolved, the novelty. She’d never been kissed before and that’s why her traitorous body responded as it did. It didn’t mean a thing, and had absolutely nothing at all to do with the odious man himself.

When they joined the others in the drawing room, her father already had the champagne at the ready to ‘celebrate’ his darling daughter’s upcoming nuptials. Buffy sorely wished to run and scream and escape from this farce. If only she could without disgracing her mother, she most certainly would. She didn’t care about her own reputation or her father’s. Her mother deserved so much better than that though, if only for what she had to endure at her husband’s hands. That was the only reason Buffy would go through with this wedding… if she couldn’t find a way to… ‘convince’ the damned Duke to call it off beforehand that is.

Her plan to dissuade him with her intelligence had backfired, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t come up with something else that could potentially change his plans to marry her. He might have won tonight’s battle, but she was determined to win the war. And if everything failed and she was indeed forced to marry him, she was determined never to give herself fully to him. As her husband, he might have certain rights over her body, but her heart, her soul, her love, those would never be his.

Bypassing the sofa her father intended her to occupy with her betrothed, she went and sat next to her mother, ignoring the glowering glare Hank sent her. She knew she would pay for that later, but right now she chose not to care.

Spike observed Miss Summers sip on her champagne while appearing completely lost in her own thoughts. Yes, he was supremely pleased with himself at his choice of bride. She was all passion and fire even when she acted aloof with him and he loved the challenge she represented. He would make her crave him, yearn for him like he’d yearned for her ever since seeing her on the street… and even more now that he’d sampled the honeyed nectar of her mouth, the sweetness of her submission to his kisses. Her response, brief as it had been, gave him hope she wasn’t as indifferent to him as she tried to appear and he would prey on that.

He wasn’t sure what it was exactly about her that was making him act as he did. Yes, he was used to doing whatever he pleased, whenever he pleased. Yes, he wasn’t accustomed to ladies not falling at his feet when he looked their way. Still, that didn’t explain why he’d gone to such lengths to marry Miss Buffy Summers, just having to put up with a father-in-law like Hank Summers would’ve sent him running in the other direction, never mind the idea—which would’ve been preposterous two days ago—of marrying a woman he knew nothing about.

Perhaps he was being stubborn as Wes had told him. Perhaps he was being rash as his sister had hinted at. And yet he couldn’t bring himself to care enough to stop the preparations, the wedding.

Something had happened between them in the garden, of this Fred was sure. It wasn’t too difficult to imagine what, with the heated looks her brother was throwing the lovely Miss Elizabeth and the way the girl avoided to meet his stare, and not by accident. Fred loved William dearly, but he really could learn a thing or two about patience from his aide.

Then again, Wesley could learn a thing or two from her brother about taking what he wanted without caring for the consequences, she thought while stealing a glance at the handsome brunette man to her right. Perhaps that’s the reason why the two men were such good friends; they were the two sides of the same coin. Completely different in so many ways and still, so alike in others it was scary.

The dinner had been a success so far, no thanks to her husband, though. It was nothing short of a miracle his Grace hadn’t decided to just up and leave after the fiasco before dinner. Not that Joyce wasn’t grateful he hadn’t. He was a gentleman through and through, well educated, charming, very handsome and one of the most eligible and pursued bachelors in the realm to boot. She couldn’t have wished a better husband for her Elizabeth, even if she didn’t seem too content with the match.

Her daughter was a very lucky girl, even if she might not realize it at the moment, and she would be the envy of all the ladies of marriageable age when the news of the wedding was learned.

Hank seethed inside, his anger against Elizabeth and her behavior towards her fiancée escalating with each passing moment. He’d kill her if she ruined this for him, and would feel absolutely no remorse over doing it either. He’d been saddled with her and his poor excuse for a wife for too long already anyway. Still, not everything was lost; the Duke hadn’t seemed offended by her disdainful action, instead looking amused.

He was curious over the motives the blond man could have to marry so below his station and his haste to do so, but as long as it took the girl out of his hands and seeing as it would benefit him greatly in monetary terms, well… he simply didn’t care. However, he would have to make sure his darling ‘daughter’ understood the consequences of her actions tonight in a way she would never want to repeat them… at least not until the wedding was finalized. Then she’d be another man’s problem and with any luck, he would never have to bother with her again.

“Alright, so it’s settled then, the marriage will be celebrated in three weeks time,” Hank announced, eager to seal the deal before the Duke had the chance to back down.

Three weeks? Buffy’s eyes widened when she heard the confirmation to what the Duke had told her in the garden. It was inconceivable, not only was she being forced to marry a man she would never love, but they were doing it with a quickness that would surely rouse the ton’s rumor mill. Just what she needed, she rolled her eyes inwardly.

“Alright then,” Spike stood up and walked towards Joyce, who followed suit. “Lady Joyce, thank you for your hospitality.” He took her hand in his and kissed it, before doing the same with Buffy, his lips lingering on her hand for a fraction longer than necessary as he gazed deeply into her eyes. He chuckled when she pulled her hand away as if burned. “Until we meet again, Miss Elizabeth.”

Buffy exhaled a relieved sigh when their guests finally left and she managed to escape to her room without having to face her father, who had locked himself in his study room. With any luck, he would get drunk and forget all about what happened during dinner, although she wouldn’t hold her breath over it.

And sure enough, just a few minutes later, one of the maids came to tell her he was waiting for her.

*******

“We need to talk,” Fred said to Spike as soon as they got to the Aurelius’ townhouse. “Alone,” she added with a meaningful look to Wesley.

“Certainly, pet,” he complied with a nod. “Good night, Wes, we’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Good night, William, Lady Fred.” Wesley bowed to them and with a last, longing look to the chestnut haired woman, went to his room.

“When are you going to put the man out of his misery?” Spike asked her as soon as they were out of hearing range.

“I don’t understand what you mean, little brother.”

“Like hell you don’.”

“It’s not that simple, William, and you know it.” She sighed miserably, sitting on one of the chairs before the fireplace.

“What I know is that you two would be perfect for the other.”

“And you don’t think I realize that?” she asked, a haunted look shadowing her eyes. “I’ve been in love with him ever since we met and if it were up to me, we would have married the day after I became a widow.”

“It’s been almost 4 years, sweetheart.”

“And a lot more years will pass before that man accepts that his love is all I want, if ever. He has the absurd notion he’s beneath me and as such can’t aspire to marry me. He’s almost as stubborn as you are, no wonder you’re such good friends.”

“’M not stubborn.”

“Oh yes, you are, dear. And you’re also impulsive, reckless, daring; too much for your own good at times. How else would you explain the rush to marry the lovely Miss Summers? If you were so intent on marrying her, couldn’t you give her a little more time to get… used to you beforehand? Really, three weeks is not enough—-”

“It’s more than enough time and tha’s final,” he interrupted her.

“You know the tabbies will be counting the months till your first child is born after such a hasty wedding,” she pointed out.

“Let them, I don’ care.”

“I don’t understand you. I truly don’t. Yes, she’s beautiful and I’m sure she has a lot of fine points in her favor, but have you thought this through? I mean, really, Lady Joyce is wonderful, but her husband,” she shivered, unable to hide her disgust. “He’s another matter altogether. Are you certain you want to be related to him, even if only by marriage?”

“I don’ care about him, either.”

“Don’t give me that. I saw you when he treated Lady Joyce so despicably before dinner. You were as mortified as I was, if not more.”

“That doesn’ change anything. I’m marrying his daughter, not him.”

“And why are you marrying his daughter? You never told me.”

“I did. I told you before, repeatedly I might add, I needed a wife and decided she would do perfectly.”

She gave him a look that clearly stated she didn’t believe that reason. “And we both know that’s not the only reason, don’t we, William? So why don’t you tell me the real reason you chose her.”

He sighed knowing his sister would never let this go until he relented, but the truth was… he didn’t even know what made him choose her. He could’ve had his pick out of any of the ladies of marriageable age, all with better lineage and wealthier than Buffy Summers, some of them were even more beautiful than her and yet none of them could compare to her. It didn’t make any sense at all, but at the same time, it made perfect sense.

“I… well, I simply do. I don’ know how to explain it. I saw her and knew I had to marry her… whatever the price. There’s somethin’ about her that calls to me and it’s not just because of her looks, it’s her fire, her spirit.”

Fred tilted her head to regard him; William was in deeper than he thought. She never heard him talk about a woman like that before and knew then she would do everything in her power to help him. And who knew, perhaps they could actually help each other. An idea started forming in her mind. Oh yes, if her brother agreed, neither the lovely Miss Elizabeth nor Wesley would know what hit them.

“If you’re certain this is truly what you want, I think there’s a way we could help each other, if you’re inclined to listen to my proposal that is.”

Intrigued, Spike quirked an eyebrow before nodding. Knowing his sister like he did, he was certain he would never regret agreeing to whatever she proposed.

*******

Buffy’s footsteps slowed the closer she came to her father’s study. She dreaded what would happen when she went through that door, the punishment her father would lash out at her for misbehaving with the vile man he had betrothed her to. And still… still she couldn’t bring herself to regret her actions. In fact, she’d do it all over again in a heartbeat if she could; perhaps not exactly in the same way since that obviously didn’t work, but she could come up with new ways to make the Duke rescind the betrothal contract. It didn’t matter what she had to endure because of it. It would be worth it.

She knocked on the door and waited until she heard the harsh ‘Come in’ before inhaling deeply, steeling herself for what was coming.

“Close the door, Elizabeth,” her father said, a decidedly evil gleam in his cold eyes.

And hard as she tried, she couldn’t hide the shudder that went through her at the sight of the riding crop her father held in his hands.

tbc

So? Like, dislike? Was it what you imagined or not? I’d love to know if you’re inclined to tell me. *bats eyelashes*

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Hugs,

Mari

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