Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she (dear She) might take some pleasure of my pain:
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain;
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain:
Oft turning others’ leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sun-burn’d brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting Invention’s stay,
Invention, Nature’s child, fled step-dame Study’s blows,
And others’ feet still seem’d but strangers in my way.
Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite—
“Fool,” said my Muse to me, “look in thy heart and write.”
—Sir Philip Sidney, Astrophil and Stella
*** *** ***
William Pratt, known to the few people in the world he’d actually call friends as “Spike,” was not having an easy time of it.
After over a decade with the woman Spike could still only think of as the love of his life, it was over. He’d been blindsided when she’d sat him down one day and told him she’d decided to find her pleasures elsewhere. Just like that, he was alone.
At twenty-six, he’d been at the top of the world. He’d still had Drusilla, and Spike had believed firmly that they would prove high school sweethearts could stay together until they were old and gray. Furthermore, his first book of poetry had been published and met with rave reviews. Sales were better than his publisher had imagined, his charm and good looks serving to get him onto talk shows and find him a wider audience than poets usually enjoyed. It was everything he’d ever dreamed of, and yet he still couldn’t imagine his life getting anything but better.
By twenty-eight, he’d seen the error in that particular way of thinking. Drusilla had kept the nice flat he’d been able to get for the profits from his book, and he’d been forced to move into a crummy little flat he couldn’t stand. He was depressed and alone enough to want to do nothing more than wallow in his new-found misery.
Only, by contract, he had to produce another book of poems. By the end of the month. And there in lay the real kicker. He had thirty days to prove that his overnight success had not been beginner’s luck, and yet, the well of his imagination had run completely dry. The past several months had been nothing but him staring at a blank piece of paper, the pen in his hand as useless as if he’d been trying to write with a butter knife. He’d written not a single word.
How could he? After all, Drusilla had been his muse…
She’d captivated him from the first moment he saw her, calling to him with her siren’s song. She was dark and mysterious, striking a young boy of seventeen as something almost otherworldly. He’d gladly let her reel him in, let her shape and mold him into the man he’d eventually become. He’d felt as if he’d searched his whole life for someone like her—as if he’d lived long enough by that point for his “whole life” to be any real length of time.
Drusilla had lived in her own world, and Spike had been desperate to live there with her. She’d seemed so free, so willing to experience everything life had to offer, and he wanted it, too. He wanted her to show him what was beautiful.
In retrospect, Spike realized he should’ve been less surprised that Drusilla had left and more surprised that she’d stayed with him as long as she had. She was truly a free spirit, and he should’ve known she’d never stay forever. Drusilla was not the sort of woman to put down roots, and eventually, he’d had to have his romantic notions shattered by reality.
Of course, realizing that didn’t make him any less bitter. She’d broken his heart and left him unable to write in the process. Bitch had ruined his bloody life.
God, he wished she’d come back to him…
Spike had spent enough of the day staring at blank paper. Today wasn’t going to be any different than the day Dru had left him, and he’d known that when he woken up. He wasn’t sure why he’d even bothered. He wouldn’t have anything to hand his publisher in a month, and that would be the end of a once-promising literary career.
He crumpled up the worthless piece of blank paper and tossed it across the room with a roar. He was hopeless. Everything was ruined for him. Without his girl or his words, he only had one option left open to him. Become a hopeless and pathetic drunk. Maybe then at least fate would take some sort mercy on him for once, and he’d die in a gutter not too long from now. It was something to look forward to at least.
With a string of muttered curses under his breath, Spike snatched his long, leather duster from where he’d draped it over a chair and stormed out of his flat, headed towards the nearest pub.
*** *** ***
By the time Spike made it home, he was thoroughly pissed, just as he had planned. He still couldn’t write—hell, he could barely form coherent sentences—but at least he was in decidedly better spirits about it, seeing as he was too drunk to actually care.
Now came his favorite part…the passing out. Granted, he’d have to pay for it in the morning, but at least for a few hours he could be blissfully unaware of the world around him.
Spike stumbled towards his bedroom, hoping he could at least make it to the bed this time. He seemed to stay unconscious longer when there was actually a mattress beneath him…
He had almost made it to the bed when Spike stopped short, blinking as he noticed that his bed was not as empty as he’d assumed it would be. Instead, there was an attractive blonde woman sitting on the edge. She smiled at him, and he shook his head. He had to be hallucinating…
Then, the very pretty hallucination spoke.
“Hi, there. My name is Buffy, and I’ve been sent to you by the Powers That Be to serve as your muse.”
Spike stared for a moment, trying to comprehend what was going on, then collapsed to the ground, unconscious.
*** *** ***
Do I have people interested in this one? Let me know what you thought of the first chapter and if you’d like to read more. If it seems like it’s going to have an audience, I’ll try to keep up with a two chapter a week posting schedule.