Title: Not My Reality
Rating: NC-17 for later chapters
Summary: Buffy is a single, twenty-six year old assistant manager at Bloomingdale's department store. Buffy and her best friend, Willow, love to watch reality TV shows. When Angel is the runner up on the Bachelorette show and then becomes the next Bachelor, Willow sends in Buffy's photo and details to the casting team. What's a girl to do when she goes on a reality TV show to get to know a man she'd been attracted to only to fall for one of the camera guys instead?
Betas: mabel_marsters & xtanitx.
Previous Chapters Here
Not My Reality
Spike resisted the urge to slam the bathroom door in Buffy’s apartment, letting it gently click shut instead. He took a deep breath and headed back to the living room. Dawn smiled at him, but he ignored her and sat with the director at the dining table to go over camera angles. He’d been having a rough day from the start.
First, he’d come into the office and found out that he wasn’t going to be the cameraman to capture the moments Angel first arrived in Sunnydale when Buffy would show him around. The thought of Angel hugging Buffy or of any happy moments between the two of them got his blood boiling. Knowing they were out there, while he was stuck in her apartment unable to do anything to stop Angel from putting his hands on her…
Dawn had been calm when he was introduced to her, not giving away that they’d met before, but when Willow arrived, Spike’s stress level had climbed another notch. Not thinking, the first thing Willow did when she entered the apartment was to greet Spike by name. Luckily, the other crewmembers were busy setting up and he was able to get Willow to the side and remind her that she’d never met him before.
Buffy had assured Spike, when they talked on the phone last night, that she’d asked all her friends not to make it obvious that they’d met Spike. Buffy had told her friends that she didn’t know if it was okay to hang out with the crewmembers and that she didn’t want to get Spike in trouble. According to Buffy, her friends had bought her explanation, but after Willow’s little slip, he didn’t have much faith in her other friends.
Willow and Dawn were in the kitchen when there was a knock at the door. Dawn yelled and asked someone to answer it. Spike was closest, so he went and opened it.
“Hello,” a nicely dressed, older man wearing glasses said. “I’m Rupert Giles. Buffy’s friend.”
Spike stepped aside when Ray, the director, came up and shook hands with him. “I’m so glad you could make it. We’ve never had so many girls make it this far who don’t have living parents.”
“I’m glad to be here and I’m honored that Buffy would ask me. We’ve known each other for a long time and I do consider her to be family,” the man said.
“Giles!” Dawn shouted as she rushed the man and gave him a hug.
Spike grinned at them as the clearly uncomfortable Giles patted her back and stepped out of the hug at the same time. Right then, the door opened and Oz, Jesse, and Xander walked in. The small apartment seemed to get even smaller with Buffy’s friends and all the crew crammed in.
Andrew rushed around in his usual nervous manner, stressing out over the small details until Ray finally had enough and pointed to the door, ordering all crew that would not be needed during filming in the apartment to leave. People rushed around doing last minute checks and then they trickled out, leaving Spike, two other cameramen, the director, a soundman, and the makeup and hair girls.
A few minutes later, the door opened again and Buffy walked in with Angel behind her. The man put his arm around her waist and when Spike felt the urge to kill him, he realized that it was probably a good thing that he hadn’t been there when Buffy showed Angel around town earlier in the day. John kept filming from an angle outside the door, but he didn’t come in the apartment. Spike knew that as soon as the door closed, John would be done for the day and could go home.
Spike grabbed his camera and had it on his shoulder by the time Buffy introduced her friends to Angel. There was a lot of teasing and shaking of hands and then everyone moved to the small living room that had been rearranged for better camera angles. Buffy sat next to a confident Angel. She wore a small smile that did not reach her eyes until she looked into Spike’s camera. Then her eyes lit up, causing his stomach to flip with elation.
It was the thing that turned the tide of his day and suddenly his mood lifted. He patiently endured the dinner and didn’t begrudge Buffy’s happiness as she laughed with her friends and seemed to be having a great time.
Later, Giles took a walk with Angel and Spike followed with his camera as they sat down near a fountain and talked.
“So, how do you really feel about Buffy?” Giles asked.
“I think she’s an incredible woman and we definitely have a connection. I’m just not sure how she feels about me. It’s like she’s holding something back.”
“Buffy has had some tough times in her life. Her father took off when she was in her early teens and her mother passed away when she in college. She doesn’t easily give of herself,” Giles said. “But I would love to see her happy and if you make her happy, then I’m all for it.”
Spike gripped the camera and tried to relax. What did that man know? Not much. After spending just a couple of days alone with Buffy, she’d opened up, blossomed even. She wasn’t closed off to him at all. The men stood up and shook hands and Spike followed them back to the apartment.
A few minutes later, everyone said their goodbyes to Angel, and Ray signaled for Spike to follow as Buffy walked the Bachelor out to the SUV waiting to take him home. Spike followed, glaring at Angel’s back. If the man tried to kiss Buffy, he didn’t know if he’d be able to restrain himself. Putting her hands her pockets as they stopped in front of the car, she shuffled her feet, keeping her eyes downcast.
Angel said, “I had a really nice time with your friends.”
“They’re great, aren’t they?”
He hesitated, but stepped in and gave her a big hug. “I’ll see you tomorrow at the rose ceremony.” And then he kissed her.
Spike coughed and was glad to see Buffy turn her head before he could make the kiss drag on. She gripped Angel’s arm before he could get into the car. “Angel, I’m sorry,” she told him, shaking her head.
“It’s okay, darling. Giles explained a few things to me that helped me to understand you. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Before Buffy could say anything, Angel hopped into the car and he was gone. Buffy turned apologetically to Spike just as he shut the camera down.
“I tried to tell him.”
“I know,” Spike said, as they walked side by side back to the apartment.
“Tomorrow, I’ll try to get him alone and let him know that I don’t want that rose.”
Spike was so relieved. He wanted to pull her aside and kiss her senseless, but it wasn’t the time. They came around the corner to find all of the crew coming down the stairs to Buffy’s apartment.
“That’s a wrap,” Ray said. “A car will be here to pick you up at 4:00 p.m. for the rose ceremony. Good luck.”
“Thank you,” Buffy told Ray as she waved goodbye to the group.
Spike handed his camera to his colleague to put in the van. “I’ve got to go up and get my coat. Don’t wait for me. I brought my own car.”
He followed Buffy up the stairs, but instead of getting his coat and leaving, Buffy invited him into her living room where her friends were all waiting for her.
“Have a seat, everyone,” Buffy said and patted the spot next to her for Spike. Once everyone was settled, she said, “Okay, now that the show people are gone, there’s something I have to tell you. Willow and Dawn already know some of it, and I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you all before now.”
“What’s going on?” Xander asked, pointing at Spike. “Isn’t he one of the crew?”
“He is, but Spike is here because he’s a part of it,” Buffy said, grabbing his hand. “Spike and I met on the set of the show. We’ve kept it very quiet, but now that Angel is gone, I want you all to know that Spike and I are a couple.”
Willow and Dawn both smiled and seemed happy for her, while Oz took the news in with his usual equanimity. Xander’s brows furrowed, but when Jesse said he knew it and laughed, Xander relaxed and smiled.
Xander said, “Well, it’s a little weird to meet Angel only to find out Buffy is already with someone else, but hey, Angel never bought me a drink and you did.”
Giles stood up and shook Spike’s hand. “To tell you the truth, I’m rather relieved. I could tell that Buffy wasn’t really interested in Angel and I felt terrible for him.”
“I’m not trying to lead him on,” Buffy said quickly. “I only stayed in the game as long as I have because I agreed to help someone else.”
Willow asked, “Is that the one I got the dress for?”
Buffy nodded and said, “Tomorrow night I’m going to ask Angel not to give me a rose, but until the end of the show, we need everyone to keep it quiet about Spike and me. Okay?”
They all agreed not to talk about Buffy and whom she was dating before everyone stood to leave. Giles was the first to go, reminding Buffy to resume her training when she was back home permanently. Willow and Oz left next with Oz inviting Spike to jam with the band sometime. Buffy walked Xander and Jesse to the door, and right before ducking out, Xander gave Buffy a big hug and told her he’d see her soon.
Once the door was shut, Spike frowned and said, “I don’t know if I like that guy hugging you all the time.” Dawn doubled over with laughter and Buffy just smiled at him. “What’s so bloody funny?”
Dawn giggled and said, “Xander is gay, Spike. Jesse is his boyfriend.”
“Oh. Well, that’s all right then.”