"We recently lost our guitarist," Drusilla cooed into the microphone, swaying to and fro. "It's a tragedy, really. But he lacked... vision, you might say. And more importantly," she leaned in with a conspiratorial smile, "he was a horrible lover."
A good portion of the audience laughed. Spike shut his eyes, a bitter taste in his mouth.
"So I say, out with the old," she stomped her foot, "in with the new!"
Lindsey rolled into the mid-tempo 6/8 of "Glad Sight". Devon followed with his bassline; Xander, sitting in front of several keyboards, kicked in with his layer; Anya made love to her cello -- and it took Spike less than a minute to realize that his guitar part had been sampled from the record. Only thing 'new' about this was he wasn't standing there playing it live.
Drusilla sang, "What sort of glad sight is this? Bitten and bruised by a kiss..."
Willow, mesmerized by the frontwoman, asided to Buffy, "Wow, she's beautiful."
Normally, Buffy would've responded with a fault: Yeah, but what's with the dragon-lady nails? But here, she found herself nodding in agreement. It wasn't just the huge silent-movie-star eyes, the long, lustrous dark hair, the sinewy frame wrapped in corset, or even the achingly pretty voice that made this woman so entrancing, it was... something more, something intangible. And maybe a little creepy.
Spike watched the show with a clenched jaw and a white-knuckled grip on his beer bottle. He couldn't believe it. Couldn't fucking believe it. There she was, writhing and crawling up to Lindsey -- singing to that rednecked pillock the words he'd written for her.
When she sang the phrase 'drink you all up', the bottle shattered in his hand.
Buffy looked up, startled. He was trembling. "Spike?"
Then she saw his eyes, firmly planted on the woman onstage.
Well, duh. Who else could it be? He looked like he wanted to kill her and die for her all at once.
So there it was. His type. Yeah, she'd never be able to pull that off.
Whoa -- crazy brain? Where the hell did that come from?
Before she could say anything, Spike left her side, mowed a path through the audience and charged the stage, going straight for Xander. He shoved him up against an amp. "You two-timing prick!"
"Hey! Ho! Spike!"
The music died down.
He pressed the broken bottleneck against Xander's chest. "Sampling me? Using my bloody songs? You don't even tell me?"
"Hey!" Anya yelled, coming at him with her bow. "Get off of him!"
Xander stared down at the bottle. "Look, Spike, we didn't have a lot of time to prepare without you--"
"Then cancel the gig!"
"We can't do that -- we cancel once and they never ask us back! You know how it is, man."
"Yeah." He locked eyes with Xander and threw down the bottle, smashing it to bits. "I know how it bloody is. This set is over."
"Spike?" Buffy asked tentatively from the foot of the stage.
"Welllll," Xander said after a glance at Buffy, "maybe I was wrong, huh?"
"Spike, let go of Xander," Buffy said. "Before they call the police and have you arrested."
"You know him?" The blood from his bottle-cut hand seeped down Xander's yellow t-shirt as he shook him. "You know her?"
"We went to high school together," he shrugged. "What? It's not like I knew her address."
"Who's this sparkly little thing?" Dru patronized, gazing down at Buffy.
"None of your business." Buffy turned back to Spike. "Spike?"
"Ooh, and she's got a temper. No wonder my Spike fancies you."
"You know what? He's not your Spike anymore, okay? And just for the record, he's a fantastic lover. Guess the only thing 'horrible' about it was you."
The crowed "ooohed." Dru looked positively murderous.
Spike turned to regard Buffy, dumbstruck.
"Dude, c'mon," the bouncer said to Spike. "We got a show to put on here."
Buffy offered her hand. Spike dropped Xander, jumped off the stage, and strode to the exit, ignoring her.
* * *
"What the hell was that for?" Spike shouted once they were outside.
She answered matter-of-factly, arms out, "You?"
He was pacing, furious. "Did I ask you to do that? Did I ask you?"
"She called you a horrible lover! Doesn't that bother you?"
"Pfft. She just said that for the crowd. She knows it's not true."
"The audience didn't know!"
"I don't care about the buggery audience! Do you even realize what you've done? She thinks we're shagging!"
She scoffed. "So, what, she throws you out on the street with nothing, humiliates you in public, steals your music, most likely bangs the hot drummer--"
He turned at that. That obvious?
"--but you want to remain faithful in her eyes forever?"
He sighed. His hand had started to hurt. "Something like that, yeah."
"That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Don't you even know how girls work? They find out you're with someone else, especially someone as beautiful and smart as say, me, and they wonder why they gave you up."
He looked up, hopeful. "You think so?"
"I know so." She chortled, "I mean, did you see her face?"
"No. What'd it look like?"
She made the face of absolute shock and simmering anger.
"Ha ha ha!" he guffawed. "Do it again."
"No!" She started to walk to the car.
Like a hyper ten year-old, he jumped in her path. "C'mon... just one more time."
"No," she laughed, scowling.
How could he metamorphose from raging maniac to adorable little boy in the span of two seconds? How? "Maybe later."
"But you'll lose the--" he caught an eyeful of Willow and Oz walking toward them.
Buffy turned around.
"They threw us out too," Willow announced with a sigh.
"What for?" Spike asked.
"I think they thought we were all together. Rowdy by association or something."
"In that case I missed my chance to maul the bass player," Oz said.
Spike knit his brow, back to bad-boy mode. "Bleedin' shame, isn't he? Dru said all that counted was he had the 'image'."
Oz shook his head in musical camaraderie.
"Hey," Buffy said, looking at Willow, here's a crazy idea, "do... you guys want to come back to my place? I've got the pool and... well, you were there. Leftover party goodness. Still parent-free."
Willow and Oz exchanged a shrug. "Sure."
"You know where to go, right?"
"Yeah," Oz nodded. "We got it."