Willow woke up, her eyes suddenly popping open. The first thing she saw was Spike asleep on the couch with his feet up on the arm rest and his hands behind his head. She didn't move, not even to stretch a leg, as she took this rare opportunity to study the vampire that had become such an important part of her life. Even though he was on the other side of the dusky room, she could still make out his prone form. While the rest of his body was covered by one simple, white sheet, she now took the time to admire his face. She took note of the scar that she had left along the line of his jaw. The cross made of raised, milky flesh seemed to reflect what little light was in the room, and although she knew she should feel guilty about disfiguring him permanently, she didn't. Not only did she think it gave him a little more character, but she was pleased that no matter what the outcome of this whole experience, it looked as if he would have a permanent reminder of their little trek. Willow knew she would never forget it, and she doubted now that Spike would either.
She surveyed him some more and had to will herself not to sigh or move. Willow didn't want him to awaken just yet; she just wanted to look at him for a little while longer. There was no denying it. Her reluctant roommate was a handsome man. <Handsome vampire!> she kicked herself mentally. Her world had once revolved around computers, books, and the Scooby Gang, but now it orbited dizzily around the actions of two sexy bloodsuckers...Angelus and Spike. <What a difference a half a century makes!>
Willow tightened her jaw when she thought of Angelus. She had been trying not to think about him at all, but it was useless. The ever-present feelings were too confusing--love, hate, fear, lust, guilt--they all nagged at her anytime she let her guard down, threatening to draw her down into a pit of depression again. <Even after all this time, after all that has happened, I can't make myself hate him or let Spike kill him. I won't let it happen!> she decided with a stalwart set to her chin.
Then she almost giggled at herself, her thoughts turning back to the sleeping vampire. <His habits are rubbing off on me!> Willow had witnessed Spike's own angular jaw being clenched so many times that she was amazed he had any teeth left at all. <He should have ground them down to little nubs by now!> Every time he clenched his jaw, or better yet, pursed his lips, it only accentuated his cheeks. <Models would die for those cheekbones...movie stars pay thousands of dollars for them, yet here they are on a man who would never be photographed.>
"Take a picture, love...it'll last longer," Spike said as if reading her thoughts. His eyes opened, but he simply studied the ceiling. "Although, in my case, we both know it wouldn't."
The recuperating redhead allowed a faint smile but didn't move or talk. She watched and waited.
"Red? I know you're awake. Your heart rate increased, as did your breathing."
She outright grinned this time, but still she waited. <It's coming...come on, Spike...you know you want to....>
<What is she up to? I can feel her staring at me...feel like an animal in the zoo...> "Um, Willow? *Pet*? Are you going to tell me why I am getting the silent treatment here?" he asked, shifting uncomfortably under the weight of her gaze.
And then, it happened. He clenched his jaw *and* pursed his lips.
Willow's face practically glowed from the even-broader grin that now enveloped it. She was still smiling at her private joke as she slowly pulled herself into a sitting position. "No silent treatment. I was just thinking."
Spike rolled over so he was on his side, facing her, his head now propped up on an elbow. His movement caused the sheet to slide down his well-defined chest, but Willow kept her eyes glued firmly to his face. She had enough problems without increasing any possible sexual tension between them, especially after last night's conversation.
"It didn't feel like you were thinking...it felt like you were undressing me with your eyes. I feel so violated!" he wailed over dramatically and clutched the bed linen, pulling it up to his chin.
The redhead was relieved that he seemed to be back to his usual self, but she wondered how long that would last after she asked another question that had been on her mind. "Spike, what does it feel like to be with me? I mean, what is it like for you to be in the same room as me, to be close to me, and not treat me like an, um, all-you-can-eat buffet?"
Spike's eyebrows knitted together momentarily. He was perplexed at the question. "You're just full of bloody questions lately, aren't you? I am starting to think that you only want me for my mind and not my body!" the blonde vampire admonished. He got to his feet, keeping the sheet loosely draped about his waist.
Willow looked casually away as he reached for a pair of trousers. "You know...I am sure they make pajamas or something else suitable for you to sleep in, in the 19th century."
"Actually...they don't..." he supplied as he pulled them on. "Trust me on that one." When his lower half was covered, he sauntered over to his bed and gestured to an empty spot next to her. "May I, my wife?" he asked with Victorian politeness but a devilish smile.
Willow responded in kind. "Of course, my husband."
He sat down directly across from her on the bed and collected his thoughts, which wasn't an easy thing to do considering the topic and that she was on his bed, looking very warm and attractively sleep-tousled. "You want to know what it is like for me to be with you and not 'have' you...for dinner, that is?"
She nodded her head while at the same time rolling her eyes at his bad pun.
Spike thought for a moment longer, trying to figure out how to explain something that was so basic to him, yet in a way that she could relate to. "If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?" he began.
Spike shook his head, not at all surprised. "Of course. Now, imagine that in my veins flows chocolate, and with every resounding beat of my heart, if the bloody thing was still working, that you can hear that rich chocolate coursing through my body. When you look at me, you can see and smell the chocolate as it sustains my life. Remember, Red, that you want no other food. Hell, sure you could eat it, but it tastes like cardboard and does nothing for you. You need chocolate to survive...you know it, your body knows it, and your body demands it."
Willow twisted her face in mild revulsion. "That isn't quite what I meant--"
"You asked, Willow," Spike reminded her as he raised a hand to silence her protest. "You said you want to understand, so close your eyes and picture what I am saying."
Seeing the determination in his eyes, she closed hers and tried to somehow picture Spike as being made of chocolate. Unfortunately, all she could come up with was a hollow, chocolate Easter Bunny-- the ones with the seams running down the sides that some children would receive in their Easter baskets. Xander had always given her one every Easter, knowing how much she loved chocolate and that the Easter Bunny didn't stop at the Rosenburg household. Sometimes she would have to keep it at school until after Passover, but it only made it that much more delicious when she was finally able to consume it in one sitting. She remembered now how she used to like to bite the ears off first, then....
Spike watched as she closed her eyes, but soon he could tell that she was trying hard not to giggle, so he spoke more forcibly. "Willow, come on, love...concentrate!"
She opened one eye to sneak a peek at the vampire, but quickly squeezed it back shut when an image of him with giant rabbit ears came to mind. "Sorry," she somehow managed without laughing.
He forced a sigh in exasperation. "Do you really want to understand, or do you just want to giggle like a schoolgirl?"
"I'll be good, Spike. I promise," she mumbled, then took a deep breath and let it out. She really did want to understand.
Spike gave her a moment to collect herself and used the opportunity to shift a little nearer to her on the bed. He leaned forward, so that he could whisper directly into her ear.
Willow screwed her eyes closed even more tightly when she felt him move closer, but she remained calm. After all, she had asked.
"So, here you are...," he began huskily, watching the tiny flutter in her neck increase as her heart raced at his nearness, "...hungry for only one thing, and here I am, right in front of you. You know that all you have to do is make one little nip..." Spike reached for her hand, bringing it to his own neck and placing her fingers on his jugular. "...right about here, right where you can practically see my life pumping through me, and your mouth will be full of that rich flavor, that exotic sweetness, that your body desires," he purred.
Willow swallowed hard and tried to pull her hand away from his rapidly warming neck. She had never really touched him in such an intimate way before, and it was causing odd sensations throughout her entire body, but Spike held her hand firmly to his throat. Somehow she managed to keep her eyes shut. No longer was she plagued by pictures of large, chocolate Peter Cottontails. All of those images were now replaced by something far more real...someone far more enticing...
Spike chose his words carefully, trying to sound more like a well-spoken man than a half-starved animal. He wanted her to understand how he felt around her...what is was like for a vampire to be in such close proximity to her on a regular basis. He wanted it probably more than she did.
As he gently held her hand in place, he persisted. "You could just nibble, teasing yourself with only a hint of its richness...biting just hard enough so that a few drops rise to the surface. You savor each drop on the tip of our tongue like it may be your last, and then you lick it hungrily, yearning for more. Before the taste is gone, while just a trace of it remains in your mouth, you can already feel it strengthening you."
The redhead was becoming mesmerized by his voice, allowing it to relax her as it soothed her ragged nerves. With a soft release of breath through slightly parted lips, she sank further into the pillows. Waiting and wanting him to continue.
The vampire noted with no small amount of pleasure the change in her disposition, and he hurried on before she had the chance to find reality again. "Bite a little harder into the tender, salty flesh, and the chocolate will flow even faster, filling your mouth with that delectable flavor your body is screaming for. You can barely swallow fast enough, and as it runs down your throat, you feel its energy released within you..."
Willow was lost, totally unprepared for the onslaught of emotions and desires that one little metaphor could unleash in her. As his dark words and even darker voice reverberated through her entire being, she could almost taste the chocolate as it passed over her lips. She felt its nutty sweetness dance across her tongue, warming and melting until it just slipped down her throat. She sighed or moaned, she didn't know which, nor did she care. She could feel that power that he spoke of now as her insides were set aflame. But she wanted to know more; she had to know it all. Before she could form the words that would beg him not to stop, he was already obliging her.
"Or, you can sink your teeth in deeper...harder...with all your power, feeling how it gushes down your throat, spilling out of your mouth, until it is all over your face, dripping down your chin...warm and sticky...until we are both covered in it." Spike found that he had closed his own eyes and leaned back into the pillows while he was weaving his intimate answer to her simple question. His hand still rested on hers, but it was no longer keeping her delicate fingers on his neck; they were there of their own accord now, softly kneading his flesh.
Spike was the first to discern what was happening. He opened his eyes, ready for the accusatory glare that was sure to come from Willow, but he found her still lying there, her lids shut, her moist lips barely parted. It was his time to study her like she had done to him only minutes earlier, and he quickly memorized every curve of her face, the sweet smell of her breath, the musky fragrance of her ivory skin....<That smell....> That was when he realized that what he smelled was her arousal...her wanting...mixed with his own. <Oh, bloody hell! Get a hold of yourself, man....Or, better yet, get a bloody hold on her!> he debated with himself silently. <No! Not this way. There is too much at stake to behave like sex-crazed teenagers now....>
As he forced himself to take a calming breath of his own, like he had seen her do a thousands times before, the vampire tried to figure out how to stop this without angering or embarrassing her. Coming up empty, he just opened his mouth and spoke. "Willow?"
"Hmmmmmm?" she asked dreamily.
"Willow...," he said again, more sternly this time.
The change in his voice snapped Willow back to reality. Her eyes fluttered wide, only to find herself looking into Spike's pale face...his very near and very handsome face.
When Willow's tongue snaked out to unconsciously flick at her lips, the blonde vampire knew that he had gotten through to her.
"Oh," she whispered as she couldn't take her eyes off of his mouth, and when she finally was able to, they rested on his neck. "Oh my, I am so sorry!" Willow pulled her hand away in shame, realizing that she was practically drooling. She pulled the bed clothes over her head as she felt the heat that was in her belly rise to her cheeks.
"Spike, you did this on purpose!" Her chastising was only slightly muffled by the layers of cotton and down. "You know how, well, deprived I have been, and you go and do this!"
Spike pulled the duvet from her face. "Don't you mean *depraved,* Willow?" he provoked.
"Arse!" she fumed, grabbing a pillow and throwing at him. "You were trying to seduce me!"
"What?" the vampire scoffed as he sat up, easily avoiding the feather-stuffed projectile. "That's a bloody laugh, pet. Trust me, if I were trying to seduce you, you would be well and truly seduced right now! Besides, as I recall, you have tried to tempt me twice in the past 48 hours. Unsuccessfully, I might add!"
"Are you gong to bring that up every day we are together for the next 50 years?" Willow whined, shifting uncomfortable under the sheets, suddenly feeling very tense again.
"Every day? No. Every *night*, maybe."
Willow started tracing patterns on the duvet with her forefinger, trying not to think about how her body had reacted just reacted. "Thank you for answering my question. I understand a little better what it must be like to be in your shoes, I think...."
Spike shook his head and leaned against the mahogany post at the foot of the bed, resting his elbows on his knees. "Red, that is only half of it. There is more," he intoned seriously.
Willow's finger stopped its intricate movements. "More? I don't think I can take anymore, Spike. I'm going on a diet...no more chocolate...ever. You know, I think you ruined Easter for me forever! Not that it was ever a big thing in the Rosenburg residence anyway, but still...." she babbled on self-consciously.
He brushed aside her nervous chatter. "Now imagine, Willow, that the chocolate in my veins isn't just plain chocolate, it is the best chocolate in the world. No other person walking this earth can compare."
She cocked her head sideways at him, not quite understanding.
"It's simple, love. Most people are, let's say, M&Ms...they taste great...can't ever have too many, not too filling, melt in your mouth, not in your hands, you get the idea."
He waited for Willow to roll her eyes at his quirky remark, before continuing. "Of course, then there is the occasional piece of Hershey Bar...plain, flat, nothing much to it. You will eat it when there is nothing else around. Those are usually your old men, cab drivers, civil servants...pillocks like that. Of course, you get the occasional Snickers bar, or if you are really lucky a, a, uhm..." He looked at Willow. "What are those little, flat, round ones with the orangey goo inside?"
"Reese's Peanut Butter cups?" Willow offered, a little surprised that she still remember after all of this time.
His face lit up. "Yep...those are the ones. Your basic beautiful woman...all dolled up and smelling sweet...now, she is a Reese's Peanut Butter cup!"
Willow sat up a little straighter as his comparison's continued to peak her interest. "So, you are saying that I am a peanut butter cup?"
He shook his head and looked deeply into her eyes. "No, Willow. You're no peanut butter cup."
Willow felt hurt for some reason. She didn't want to be an M&M. <Hey, I am nobody's M&M!>
"You, Willow," he said huskily, a wanton smile on his face. "You are Godiva to me. You are a little piece of chocolate perfection, all wrapped up nicely in gold foil, just waiting to be popped in my mouth."
Willow couldn't breathe. He was too close. Nevertheless, she found herself devouring him with her eyes, taking in every inch of him...his mouth...his neck...his chest...even his hands. She was in sensory overload as everything he had said and all the images and feelings that he had stirred in her petite frame threatened to suffocate her.
"I don't...don't understand..." she stuttered, again berating her damned hormones.
"Quit being modest...you are beautiful and strong-willed and intelligent. That alone raises you to the ranks of a Toblerone." Spike reached out and tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ears, as he had seen her do a thousand times before. "Add to that the fact that you are a virgin, and you are a Godiva Chocolate, love."
Willow was speechless. She had never been compared to a piece of chocolate before, but that wasn't why she was speechless. Spike was looking at her and behaving in a way that left no question that he was hungry for more than chocolate. "I guess I should be happy you didn't say I was a chocolate-covered cherry!" she blurt out, trying to break the sexual tension in the room once again.
Her gambit worked and Spike started chuckling, quickly regaining his forbearance. "How about me, Red? If I were a piece of chocolate, what would I be?" he queried in tone that made him sound like a bad game show host.
"Hmmm..." Willow thought for a moment before coming up with what she thought was the perfect answer. "Ooh! Did you ever see those commercials at Easter with the clucking rabbits that lay eggs?"
The vampire shook his head with a bemused look on his face. "Can't say that I have, love."
"That's a shame because the rabbits are really cute. Anyway, you are one of them. You are a Cadbury Egg," she announced, very pleased with herself.
Spike in turn just cocked his head to the side. "Let me get this straight, love. While I compared thee to an expensive piece of hand-made Godiva chocolate, to you I am clucking bloody bunny...a little chocolate egg? I'm not sure love, but I think you managed to hurt my feelings."
"Well, Spike," she giggled. "What did you expect? You aren't exactly unspoiled. Besides, I think it is perfectly fitting. Cadbury Eggs are only sold for Easter...you can only get them for a few weeks a year. <...and they're full of creamy goodness...> she reminded herself."
"So...it makes you want them all the more." It took her a moment to fully come to terms with what she had just said, and while inwardly she was kicking herself, she didn't let it show on the outside. <What the heck...let him think what he wants...>
Spike sat in a kind of stupefied daze. <No, mate...she doesn't know what she is saying. She is still weak, and confused, and would probably find any toothless old bugger desirable right now....>
Their eyes met and locked.
"I'm hungry," Willow croaked nervously. "For food...hungry for food," she hastily added. "Are you...hungry?"
There was a pause. "Famished," Spike finally supplied in an almost-growl, yet he didn't make a move to leave or even get up from the bed.
The redhead's eyes opened even wider at the blatant need in his voice. "Uhm, why don't you go...do your thing...have dinner, breakfast, whatever you call it. I need to clean myself up a little bit anyway, and I think I need some time alone. I think we both do." Willow waited for his reaction, sensing that he was struggling with what was growing between them as much as she was.
"Bloody good plan, Willow." Spike was on his feet and out the door in a flash, leaving an anxious Willow to collapse back on to the bed again.
"Oh no...he wants me...he *really* wants me..." she told herself an awed whisper.
Spike couldn't get out of there fast enough, and as he hurried down the road to one of his favorite feeding spots, he muttered to himself in amazement. "Oh bloody hell....she wants me...she really wants me..."
End Chapter 23