"Damn it Buffy! I've told you not to do that" she said, holding her chest as her heart raced.
Buffy smiled as she sat in her own desk chair. "What? I thought you were always aware of potential danger...."
Willow glared at the blonde as she remembered the conversation that they had had on that very subject. "Shut up."
Buffy just laughed as she looked at Willow. "Listening to Mono again? You really need to get out..."
Willow rolled her eyes, "Well, not all of us were lucky enough to find Mr Perfect the first damn day of school."
Buffy beamed as she thought of Riley. "He is rather perfect, isn't he?"
Willow made a gagging face as her eyes twinkled in amusement. "Nauseatingly."
Buffy laughed, "Jealous."
"Of course" Willow replied back, turning her attention to the paper she was suppose to be writing.
"So...I hear you didn't accept that date with Mike from Lit."
Willow made a face, "Mike from Lit is a jerk. No...I was smart enough to just say no."
Buffy sighed, "Wills. That's the what? fiftieth guy you've just said no to this year..."
"Fifty?" Willow snorted, "Try third."
"I want to see you happy" Buffy said, her eyes darting nervously around the room. "I'd do anything to help you find your very own Riley."
"Gawd..Please don't tell me there are two of him" Willow said dryly. She saw Buffy's serious expression and paused, "What? Did you clone him? Because...well, he might be right for you, but he isn't really my type..."
Buffy rolled her eyes, "I did not clone my boyfriend. This is so not the X-Files, Willow."
"Then what?" Willow asked.
Buffy picked up the campus newspaper. "Here...read this."
Willow took the paper, curiosity on her face. She began to read the circled ad. "Attractive 19 year old SWF iso SWM 19-24. Intelligence, wit, and great personality a must. Bonus points if you know what really goes bump in the night. Box 283.....Ok...It's a personal ad."
Buffy nodded, "Uh huh..."
Willow suddenly had a sinking feeling. She looked at Buffy. "No..tell me you didn't...."
"I didn't" Buffy said, gnawing on her lip. Willow looked relieved. "Riley and I did."
"Buffy! Don't joke with me. You couldn't have placed a personal ad for me...not one that well, unimaginative...wait. Not one at all. That's for like desperate people. I am not desperate. I like being alone. Ha ha...funny joke. Be serious now."
Buffy laughed softly, "Box 283....I told you that I want you happy...."
"But...but" Willow stuttered, looking at the paper than at Buffy.
Buffy smiled, "I plan to find you Mr Right myself. Don't worry, Wills. Leave it all to me. All you have to do is show up when I pick him. You won't be single for much longer."
Willow let the paper fall to the floor as she stared at her happy friend. She was envisioning all the means of torturous death she could inflict on Buffy and Riley for their stupid idea. Good intentions be damned. They would die slowly.
Riley Finn yawned as he walked into the lounge. He saw Graham already sitting at a table, a cup of coffee in front of him as he read the paper. Riley sat down, commandering the coffee.
Graham looked at his friend over the paper and tried to hide a smile. "Rough night?"
Riley nodded, "Yeah...Buffy stayed over and we didn't get a lot of sleep."
"Please. No more details!" Graham said, laughing as his friend glared at him.
"Just wait. One of these days you too are going to meet Miss Right and then bam, you'll be the one I'm making fun of at this ungodly hour of the morning." Riley warned playfully.
"Miss Right?" Graham snorted, "No such being."
"There is. You just won't open those damn eyes and look" Riley said, gulping down more caffeine enriched coffee.
Graham rolled said eyes as he turned his attention back to the paper. "Listen to this one, man. SWF needs man for extracurricular activities. No diseases please. Think we should let Forrest answer this one?"
Riley laughed, "It said no diseases, remember?"
Graham laughed as he turned the page, "That's right. Darn, I'll have to keep looking for him then."
Riley glanced around to make they were alone before he commented, "Why must you read those things every morning? Not like you are ever going to answer one."
Graham looked at him thoughtfully. "I dunno. I enjoy reading them. They always make me laugh. In our lives, those laughs are important. Don't have to answer the things to read them."
"I know." Riley said, getting ready to play his friend. He cleared his mind, hoping that he was up to it. "You're scared. I understand that."
Graham's eyes narrowed, "Scared? Of what?"
"Answering one of the ads" Riley said casually. Buffy had no idea why he had suggested placing a personal ad for Willow. He thought that his friend and her friend would be perfect for each other but he never seemed to be able to get them together long enough for sparks to fly. So, he was doing something he had vowed that he'd never do. He was matchmaking.
"I'm not scared. I'm just not desperate. I enjoy being alone" Graham said, unknowingly echoing Willow's own words.
"Prove it" Riley said, playing his ace.
"What do you have in mind, Finn?" Graham asked, his words cautious.
"Let me pick you one. You answer it. See what happens" Riley said, smirking.
"No" Graham said. "I don't want anything to happen."
"Bock bock bock bock" Riley said, imitating a chicken. "Bet Forrest would do it."
Graham rolled his eyes, "Forrest would jump off a bridge if you dared him to. I'm not chicken by the way."
"Uh huh...sure. Forget about it" Riley said, looking at the sports section.
Graham glared at Riley's bent head. He looked at the paper then back at Riley. Damn it. He hated this. He tossed the paper at Riley's head. "Fine. Pick one. But it has to be something normal. I am not a chicken."
Riley resisted the urge to gloat, instead searching the paper for the ad he and Buffy had written. Finding it, he acted as he were reading others. "Ah..here's one. Perfect."
Graham took the paper and read it. Nice and simple with no long list of expectations. Attractive 19 year old? Sure thing. He resisted the urge to run and just let Riley think he was scared. "This is fine. I wonder what this bonus points thing is..."
Riley just smiled, "Guess you'll have to write her to find out."
"Box 283. I can do that." Graham said, his voice a bit unsure. He saw Riley's smirk and frowned. He would do this.
The sound of laughter echoed through the crypt. Willow glared at the laughing vampire, "It's not funny!"
Spike tried to stop laughing, hearing the irritation in her voice. He collected himself, looking at her. "The slayer put out a personal ad for you?"
"Yes. Why can't she be happy that I'm happy single?" Willow asked, sitting in the chair that Spike had bought for her visits.
"Are you happy?" he asked, his blue eyes watching her face. Since his escape from the Initiative, he and the redhead had become friends. Friends with a human. The thought was distasteful but he had to admit it was true. He enjoyed her company and she amused him.
"I'm happy" she said, nodding her head. She wondered if he could tell how weak her response was.
"No you aren't" Spike said, smiling slightly.
He could. She sighed, running a hand over her face, "No, I'm not. But, I don't think some guy who would answer a personal ad is going to turn out to be Mr Perfect."
"I have to agree with that" Spike said, "But, it's worth a shot. You never know. Mr Perfect could read the things for amusement and be struck by your ad, answering his first one."
"And I'm the tooth fairy" she said dryly, staring at him. She had to smile though. Spike never failed to cheer her up. Their friendship still amazed the others, but it was the one constant in her life. She loved being friends with him.
"The slayer is choosing, you say?" Spike asked, seeing the glint of humor in her eyes. He loved making her smile. She was so beautiful when she smiled.
"That's not a good thing" he groaned, "She'll pick some sissy sap like her farm boy or the poof. You need someone..... not like them" he finished weakly, stopping himself before he had said someone like me. He grimaced, cursing his silly crush on the girl yet again.
"Buffy has different taste than me" Willow agreed, knowing that Buffy hated Spike. "But, I think she'll pick someone that she thinks I might like."
Spike snorted, "Not likely. Let me see that ad again."
Willow handed the paper over and he read it. He looked at her. "This isn't that bad. Short and sweet. Why don't you volunteer to pick up the mail? We can go through it and then the slayer can choose from your first picks. That way she can't pick someone awful."
"That might work. She'll be glad I'm taking an interest in it. I will forget to mention that you will be helping. She might pitch a hissy about that."
"Yeah...keep my name out of it" Spike agreed. "Why don't you run along now and talk to her. We can get together tonight and pick up your responses. Start going through them."
Willow laughed, "You make it sound like there will be hundreds. It won't take long to look through one or two."
"Well, then, we can get ice cream after wards or something." He said.
Willow smiled, "Sounds good. I'll go talk to Buffy now. Thanks for helping Spike."
Spike watched her leave, looking back at the paper. He moved to his bag, retrieving paper and a pen. He smiled wryly as he began to answer her ad. He was a sap. A sap who was falling in love with his best friend. Angel would laugh his ass off if he could see me now, Spike decided, writing out his response to her. He'd let her choose, but he wanted to see her reaction to reading his letter. She'd probably toss it anyway. What was he turning into?
Buffy looked up at Willow as the redhead walked into the room. She smiled, "Hey you. Forgive me yet?"
"No comment" Willow said, flopping down on her bed. She looked at Buffy, her expression unforgiving. She watched as the blonde looked at her guiltily.
"I'm sorry, Wills. I thought we were helping. Really. I just wanted you to find Mr Right" Buffy said.
Willow just snorted. "By making me seem desperate?"
"No one knows it was you" Buffy said, rolling her eyes.
"Doesn't matter" Willow said. "I know."
"Come on Willow" Buffy whined. "Please? Please? Do I have to get on my knees?"
"No" Willow said, smiling at the blonde. She felt much better after her talk with Spike. He had helped her deal with this entire fiasco. "I forgive you. I know you were only trying to help."
"Yay!" Buffy said, "I'm glad you are ok with this now."
"I'm more than ok" Willow said, leading into her and Spike's plan. "In fact, I want to take a part in this."
"Really?" Buffy asked, surprised.
"Yes, Really. Don't sound so shocked. I would like to pick up the letters...read through them before you choose. Hey, maybe one will jump out at me." Willow said.
"You really want to read them? I thought you didn't want to be bothered with replies from a bunch of desperate guys" Buffy reminded.
"I changed my mind. I'm curious as to who will write me. Not like the one or two letters will be all that time consuming" Willow said dryly.
"Bad attitude Wills" Buffy said, laughing.
"Is not. Come on Buffy. Just tell me where to pick up the mail. I'll leave the actual decision to you, ok?" Willow said.
"Fine. Your box is at the student center. You can get the key from my top dresser drawer. They said give it a couple of days before picking up mail, so you should be ok picking it up this weekend." Buffy said.
"Oh goodie...something to look forward to." Willow said, making a face behind Buffy's back.
Willow was surprised at the response Buffy's ad had gotten. She had opened the mailbox that morning to find over three dozen answers. She couldn't contain the slight thrill that gave her. She had hurried over to Spike's, eager to read her mail. Now, after reading them all, she was a bit disgusted. Some were real letters, from lonely people looking for love. Others were just plain perverted. Two had caught her attention.
One was from someone who simply called himself Miller. His letter had made her smile and laugh at some parts. He spoke of being dared into writing. His best friend sounded a bit like Buffy. If Buffy didn't already have Riley, she'd have asked Miller for his friend's name for her friend. Two troublemaking friends. She re-read his letter, smiling again. She realized that this one she could answer truthfully. She could tell him that her friend had meddled and placed the ad for her. He wasn't looking for love or committment...he just wanted to win a bet.
She turned her attention to the other one. If the letter from Miller made her laugh, this one made her entire heart stop. Sweet poetic words....sensual words that seduced her very soul. She hadn't breathed the entire time she had read it. She was glad that Spike was still asleep and had no idea she was even reading her mail yet. She didn't want him to see her reaction to this one. Not yet. The words from the unsigned letter had successfully seduced her. She read them again, visions filling her mind. It was if he was speaking directly to her. He knew her that well. She let her eyes wander to Spike's closed door, sighing as she began to put the bad letters back in the bag.
She'd let him read those....help her choose one. But, she'd give Miller's to Buffy. That was the man she would meet for the date. She placed that latter in her back pack. She took the over letter....the one she had fallen in love with. She sighed, not really knowing what to do about this one. It was three pages of the purest emotions...she wondered if the words were true or merely a joke. She allowed her fingers to trace the words, memorizing the details. They were too romantic to be false. Besides, there would be no humor in writing such lies. They had to be true.
The first letter made her smile. This last one scared her. She wanted nothing more than to close her eyes and hear the words spoken aloud from it. But, would that ever happen or was it merely another dream? She heard movement in the next room and hurriedly put the letter in her backpack, not wanting anyone to see that one. You see, she had been friends with Spike for several months. She knew his handwriting...she knew he had written that letter....speaking of such love.....for her? She could only hope. She had been in love with him for such a long time. And it scared her to death.
Spike walked into his living room, smiling as he saw Willow seated on the sofa. She had several letters out and was reading another. He glanced at the envelopes, but didn't see the one he had written. He sat down beside her, waiting for her to look up and greet him. She didn't. He scowled before he saw the slight upturn of her lips. She was playing with him. Silly chit. He reached over and took the letter from her hands. "Morning luv."
"Oh, Spike. I didn't hear you" she said with a smile. "Give me my letter. I'm reading about how I'm this guys savior from loneliness."
Spike snorted, "Didn't hear me my ass. I'm not quiet, pet" he purred, rewarded by a slight flush to her cheeks. "And you aren't some loon's savior."
"Hey....I could be" Willow said defensively.
"Not his, pet" Spike said, his voice softening a bit even though he hadn't intended for it to. He cursed himself and his reaction to her.
Willow kept her eyes off of him, knowing if she looked at him her control would simply snap and she'd take him on the damn sofa. "Maybe...maybe not" she replied, keeping her voice light.
"This one is a sap" he said, ripping the letter in question in half.
"Spike! That could have been my Mr Right" she said, looking at him in surprise. "You didn't even read it!"
"Didn't have to. He was a sap" Spike said, taking the next letter from her. His voice was controled but she could hear the underlying tension in it. She watched from the corner of her eyes, smiling softly as he searched through the bag. She of course knew what he was looking for. He wouldn't find it. She wanted to see if he would just simply admit to his feelings and allow them a chance at happiness. She sighed as he just began to read through the letters. He was too damn stubborn. She settled back, laughing as he began to read the responses with various accents and inflections. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.
"This one" Willow said, handing Buffy the letter from Miller. "I will date him ONCE. That's it. No promises."
"Ok. That's fast. Is this the only one you got?" Buffy asked, shocked that her ad only got one response.
"I uh lost the others" Willow said, smiling. She couldn't very well tell Buffy that she and Spike had destroyed most of the responses. Spike had deemed none of them worthy of her, calling the entire fiasco a bust. He had no knowledge of Miller's letter nor did he know she had received his. She sat down, hoping this Miller guy could give her the laugh she needed. With her mixed up feelings for Spike, she needed something light to get her mind off Spike and those lustful loving feelings. Miller sounded like the perfect solution.
"Lost them?" Buffy said. "They must have been bad."
"No...not bad. Just not for me."
"Ok...I'll call Riley and tell him we have a winner" Buffy said. She looked at Willow and saw the slightly confused look in the girl's pretty green eyes. "Ok. Out with it. What's really wrong?"
"Huh?" Willow squeaked, looking at Buffy.
"Will, I know you. You're my best friend. Where is your mind?" Buffy looked thoughtful, "If I didn't know better I'd think you were in love..."
Willow's face paled at Buffy's laughing words. "In love? Ha ha...that one's funny."
"Good god...you are" Buffy said. "With who?"
"Drop it Buffy. I'm going to date your ad respondant so just let me do that."
"Who do you know? Giles? Ugh, I hope not. He's so old. It isn't Giles. He's more the fatherly type. Xander is definitely out of the running. Riley is mine. Who else is there?"
"You are so crazy" Willow said, shaking her head as she opened her journal.
"Oh MY GOD! Spike! It has to be Spike." Buffy shouted, not sure how she felt about that realization.
Willow looked at Buffy and felt her face fall, "Drop it Buffy! I'm going to date this Miller guy. I'm not in love with....well, with who you said."
"Spike. His name is Spike." Buffy said, moving to sit on Willow's bed and looking at her friend. "Tell me flat out that you aren't in love with Spike."
Willow looked at Buffy and said, "I'm not in love with" she trailed off, "Oh god, Buffy. I love him so much...."
Buffy sighed, taking the girl into her arms. She wasn't sure why she had been so blind and not seen her friend's love for the cocky vampire. Now she and Riley had this entire personal ad thing going on. Poor Willow. Buffy pulled back and looked at Willow. "You don't have to go on this date. I know Riley will understand."
"No! I want to meet this Miller guy. He sounds nice. Besides, he made me smile. I can use that right now" Willow insisted.
"Ok. I'll make the arrangements. I can see why you might need to laugh. I mean, Spike?" Buffy said, making a face trying to cause her friend to smile.
"Aren't I stupid?" Willow asked, laughing softly.
"People in love always are" Buffy said, moving to lay on the bed beside Willow. "Come on. Let's go get some ice cream and see a movie. I miss you."
"Ok. Sounds fun" Willow said. "Oh, and Buffy?"
"Yes Wills?" Buffy asked, turning her head to look at Willow.
Willow smiled, "Thanks."
Graham heard the soft voice and looked up. He was surprised to see Buffy's friend, the redhead. He struggled for her name, but it escaped him. "Hey."
"Willow" she said smiling. "Don't tell me....Miller?"
"You?" he asked, shocked that she had been the one that had placed the ad. Suddenly the comment about knowing what went bump in the night made sense.
She sat down, smiling at him sheepishly. "Buffy and Riley placed the ad for me."
Riley?" Graham said, suddenly laughing. "That sneak. He set me up."
"Huh?" Willow said, smiling at the man. She had seen him before with Riley but never spoken to him. Now she found out that he was the one who had made her smile.
"Riley...he's the best friend that I mentioned" Graham said, struck by how pretty she was when she smiled.
Willow laughed at that, "My god...that's funny. I thought about introducing him to Buffy when I read your letter...."
"Really?" Graham said, finding the humor in the situation too. "So, they think you need to get out too?"
Willow nodded, "Said I spend too much time alone. Why is it that couples always think people would be happier with someone than being single?"
"I've often wondered that myself. I like being alone. No offense, but I've lived the soap opera love affair before and don't really want to repeat it anytime soon."
"Yeah...well, no offense taken. Personally? I'm in love with someone but Buffy didn't really know" Willow said, smiling at him.
"Love huh? Why don't you sound thrilled?" Graham asked.
"I don't want to bore you" Willow said, reaching for her drink.
"Hey...I said I wasn't looking for a girlfriend. But I'm always open to making friends. What do you say? You look like you could use one...."
"Friends? I think I'd like that, Miller" Willow said,
"Good. So, what do you want to eat?" Graham asked as the waiter came to their table.
"I'll just have a burger and fries" she said. "No onions."
"I'll have the same" Graham said. When the waiter left he turned his attention back to Willow, "Now tell me about prince charming and why it's making you sad."
"Ugh...I don't know. Maybe we should talk about you before I wallow in self pity" she said, laughing.
"Sounds good" Graham said, strangely wanting to become friends with her. Her declaration of love for someone else lessened the pressure in many ways. "What do you want to know?"
She smiled as she sipped her soda, "Tell me how you got involved with the Initiative."
He looked at her in surprise before laughing, "Man. You go for the hard ones don't you?"
She nodded, "Of course. If I have to bare my heart soon, I want to know who I'm baring it to."
"Ok, Willow. You want my story? I'll tell you my story..." Graham said, sitting back and beginning to talk.
"It's pretty clichéd, actually" Graham said, thinking about it.
"How so?" Willow asked, watching him curiously.
"I loved this girl, Sarah. We went together four years, from the time I was thirteen. Senior year, I found out she was having sex with my best friend. Had been for two years of our relationship. She and I were planning to marry after graduation. Sort of ruined me of my romantic notions of love and marriage."
"Gawd" Willow said. "How did you find out?"
Graham snorted, "She found out she was pregnant before grad. I hadn't had sex with her, since she insisted on waiting for marriage, so she had to confess." Graham shook his head, "I got my diploma and joined the marines. Met Riley and found out about the Initiative. And, here I am."
"Do you still love her?" Willow asked.
He looked surprised at her question. Thinking about it, he shook his head. "No. I think I'll always love her in a way. I mean, four years is a long time to be with one person that young. But, I don't honestly think I was ever in love with her. That's what ruined us. She fell in love with Gary. I can't blame them for that. I blame her for lying and deceiving me. She's married to him now and they had two kids. Turned out for the best."
"How old are you?" Willow asked, leaning forward.
He laughed, "Twenty three. And yes I am a junior. I started school here after serving two years with Riley. Get an education and fight demons all for one low price."
"You've been fighting demons for five years?"
"Nope. Only two and a half. We were sent here on detail for half a year before they let us in on the whole demon thing." Graham said. "What about you?"
"I've been fighting demons since I was fifteen" she said, matter of factly.
He whistled, waiting to talk until the waiter left their food. "That long?"
She nodded proudly, "Four years so far."
"And this guy you love? Is that the problem? Does he not know 'what goes bump in the night'?" Graham asked, quoting her ad.
Willow sighed, "That's the problem. He IS what goes bump in the night."
Graham choked on his soda. "What?"
"He's a vampire" Willow said softly, love shining in her eyes as she thought of Spike. "You know him, actually."
"I do?" Graham said, shocked that she confessed to loving a vampire. And the slayer knew this?
"Hostile 17?" Willow said, seeing recognition flash in his eyes. "That's him."
"You're in love with Hostile 17?" Graham repeated again, still shocked.
"His name is Spike" she said quietly, wondering if she may have lost her new friend.
"Spike?" Graham said, still reeling from Willow's words.
She nodded, a smile crossing her face. "Yeah...I understand if you don't want to really be friends with me now. I mean, he is the guy that escaped from you...."
Graham glanced at her surprised, "What? I mean, sure it's a bit shocking. I mean, considering what he is....but I like you. I think we could be friends and there is no way in hell I would ever jeopardize a friendship because of a friend's relationship. Hell, honestly? I'm not that crazy about Buffy, so this Spike might be a bit of an improvement."
"Graham!" Willow said, touched by his words. She laughed, "I won't tell her you said that."
Graham laughed, "Please don't. No offense to her or anything...she's just a bit, you know."
"Forceful? Demanding? A force to be reckoned with?" Willow offered.
"Those too" he said, leaning back. "So, tell me about this Spike guy. You really love him?"
She nodded, "So much it hurts."
Graham grimaced, "Ugh...sorry. Been there. Not a lot of fun. Especially when it's unrequited. Does he love you?"
She smiled, "Yes...but he won't tell me."
Graham sighed, confusion showing on his handsome face. "Sounds like a long story. Why don't we go get some ice cream and you can tell me all about it."
Willow agreed, "That sounds fantastic. Thanks for listening."
"Well" Graham thought about it, "since Buffy is your best friend and she is the slayer and well, this guy is a vampire....bet it isn't too fun to discuss him with her."
"She understands I think, but you're right. I can't really get an unbiased opinion from her. She's worried he'll hurt me...either physically or emotionally. Kind of nice to just have an honest view point for once."
"That's what I'm here for. My view point" Graham said, smiling at his newest friend as they left the restaurant and headed for dessert.
Willow walked to Spike's place, Graham's words echoing in her mind. Her new friend had told her that she needed to take a chance or she would just regret it later. She hadn't believed he had encouraged her pursuit of the vampire, but he had listened unbiased by Buffy's thoughts. He had told her that it sounded as if Spike cared and that she should just confront Spike and demand an answer. She had left him in the park, determined to take the risk. She and Graham were going to meet for coffee the next day and tell him what happened, either way.
She knocked on the door waiting until Spike opened it. She looked into his surprised blue eyes and bit her lip. Maybe this wasn't the right choice.
Remembering Graham's words, she steeled her courage. "We need to talk."
Spike frowned as he let her in. He had heard from the damn slayer that Willow had met her ad respondent that evening. He couldn't believe she had answered someone without telling him. They had decided to choose someone together. Now, he had to hear from that blonde bitch that she had chosen someone alone and gone off with him. He was still mad at the redhead.
"About what? Did Romeo turn out to be a dud? Planning to come back to old Spikey for company?"
Willow turned, surprised by the tone in his voice. She saw the hard edge to his stance and realized with joy that he was jealous. She smiled, feeling more confidant. "Actually, Graham was great. I think he's going to be a very good friend. Besides that, he's gorgeous. Tall, built, tan. I think you'll like him. Well, he is in the Initiative but I can overlook that."
Spike glared at her, pushing past her to sit down. "Sounds lovely" he said, sarcasm dripping from every word.
"He was, but he isn't the guy I chose. I laughed at his response, which was nice. But, there was one I completely fell in love with."
Spike looked up, his expression emotionless. "How fucking fantastic."
Willow smiled, moving to sit down opposite him. "He is. He's charming, funny, handsome, strong, caring, smart, protective and all around the best person I've ever met."
Spike closed his eyes briefly, hearing the pure emotion in her voice as she spoke of her dream man. "Sounds like a prince."
Willow leaned forward, saying softly, "Spike...look at me."
He looked up, his face cold and emotionless. He felt anger at the man who had stolen her heart, but he had to feel glad that she was happy. "What?"
"He is a prince. He made me feel loved when no one else did...he is my best friend." Willow said, not letting his gaze wander. "It might sound sappy, but with him, I feel complete."
"You just met him" Spike said, his voice soft.
"No....I've known him for what seems like forever" Willow said. "I've loved him since we first met, though it took me awhile to realize it."
Spike saw the way she was watching him. The nervousness coupled with the desire and love. He let himself think about her words, a sliver of hope spreading through him. "You love him...despite everything."
Willow smiled, "I accept him, good and bad. Demons and all. I love you Spike."
Spike was over the table before her final words. He caught her mouth with his as he pulled her to him. He couldn't believe she had been brave enough to come to him. He was never happier about anything that he could remember. He pulled away, looking into her shining eyes. "How?"
She smiled softly, "The letter. I know your handwriting, Spike. I just couldn't believe it...after all this time you actually wanted me too. I love you."
He brushed a finger over her cheek. "Love you too, Red. Damn...you know what?"
"What?" she asked, staying in his arms not wanting to leave.
"I have Bitchy and Iowa to thank for this." He groaned before capturing her mouth with his. They sank to the couch together as they discovered the love between them.