"Spike, what's up?" Xander asked, eyes bloodshot. "It's late."
"I need a favor."
"Sorry man, but you're all favored out."
"Then I'll owe you one."
With a deep sigh, Xander stepped back to let Spike in.
* * *
"I can't believe you let some deadbeat mental case drive you all the way to Palos Verdes!" Cordelia squawked, making Buffy shush her in the busy boutique. She lowered her voice. "Was he cute or something, 'cause I don't get it."
"Ugh," Buffy made a face and glanced at the back of her hand. "Not cute. Not cute at all. He was completely cute-free."
"So why? I mean if you wanted to avoid your dad you could've just let him drop you at my house."
Buffy paused. She hadn't even thought of that. "I needed to see my mom. And I knew you wouldn't feel like driving me."
"Who says? I so would've. Oh, except that I had to meet Harmony for a two-thirty pedicure on Rodeo."
"And there lies the point." Buffy flipped items repetitively on the rack, too preoccupied to decide on anything.
"So when do you get your new car?"
She sighed. "In about never."
"He's interfering with your god-given right to mobility? That's just rude."
"It's so rude!" She whined softly. "He gave me this whole speech about 'learning responsibility' and blabity blah, and all I did was forget to put on the parking brake! I mean, who wouldn't forget in a situation like that?"
"Well, I wouldn't. But that's just me. I'd rather die than lose my car. So, this?" Cordelia held up a shiny two-piece. "Or this?"
* * *
"What's he doing here?" Anya asked, sipping orange juice while nodding at the sleeping Spike on her couch.
Xander peered at the scale, pulled off a shred of weed, then stuffed the leftover clump into a plastic container. Affixing a sticker that said Northern Lights, he said, "Dru dumped him."
"Well it's about time." When he looked at her, she explained, "He's a layabout. Look at him."
Xander laughed. "A layabout?"
"Like you don't know what that means."
"I do, but..." he shook his head, amused. "Nothing."
"Well, he can't stay here for long." Their apartment was much too cramped for houseguests. Plus, he clashed with the warm neutral browns she so painstakingly chose for the living room.
"It was just for tonight, he said." He separated another clump, put it on the scale.
"Tonight tonight or tonight last night?"
"Uh, the second one."
"Good. Because I won't have lackadaisical layabouts cluttering my house."
He spun his chair toward her. "Will you marry me?"
She kissed the top of his head. "We're already married, silly."
"Oh good." His hands went to her hips. "Then let's just get straight to the sex."
* * *
"So, if Parker shows, you know what to do, right?"
"Jump him and have my wicked way with him?" Buffy joked.
Cordelia snorted, "No, Nympho of Nymphonia. Play it cool. Be aloof. You do know how to be aloof, don't you?"
"I know how to be aloof," Buffy defended herself. "I'm very loofy. I'm the poster girl for loofs."
"Well, good, because guys? Go crazy over that."
"Riiight. They always go completely wild when you pay zero attention to them."
"They do! How do you think I got Angel?"
Biting her tongue, Buffy settled for an innocuous, "Your substantial cup size?"
"Well, that too." Cordelia grinned, admiring her breasts in the mirror. "But by withholding, I've got him catering to my every whim."
Buffy suppressed an eye-roll.
"Angel and I are longterm, you know? You can't give it up right away for a longterm guy."
Buffy sighed. Cordy just loved to dole out unsolicited relationship advice while backhandedly accusing her of skankiness. But that's what she got for telling her things. "C'mon, you know I'm not like that. Anymore. And neither is Parker. He's all sensitive and caring."
Cordelia adjusted her friend's spaghetti straps. "Plus, he's very, very rich."
Buffy studied her bikini-wearing reflection. "Then I guess he's my longterm guy."