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Finding William Pratt by Verity Watson
Ch. 4: Morning Glory
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He was gone in the morning, of course. What’s worse, it was her day to check out and move on. She’d eaten an indecisive and deliciously achey breakfast at the hotel’s complimentary buffet, tucking into a waffle and even choking down some of the plastic bacon. Lyrics ran through her head … “Should I stay or should I go now? If I stay there could be trouble … if I go there could be double.”

Around her, people stared like zombies at SportsCenter and CNN, flipped through the pages of USA Today and made small talk with their traveling companions.

Behind her, a pair of older women talked about the murders, complete with refrains of “isn’t it just awful” and “the police really ought to do something.”

Buffy knew that she couldn’t very well expect everything to be all about her, but it was hard to not stand up on her chair and announce, “I’m not a vampire, but I did fuck one at the Holiday Inn Express last night” before adding “And. Oh. My. God. He rocked my world. Again.”

That would hush up the old cats the next table over, wouldn’t it?

Buffy did not make her announcement. Her fellow diners continued on with their ordinary days, and she ate her body weight in mediocre breakfast fare before heading to the front desk to see if she could extend her reservation.


They’d been booked up when she’d asked. She took it as a sign to get out of Dodge before she made a very wrong choice, but the helpful desk clerk offered to call the Morning Glory Inn, a cozy bed & breakfast just down the street.

Wouldn’t you know it? They had a room and Buffy could have it for the same rate.


It took her six phone calls to find a photographer willing to lend her darkroom space that afternoon. She’d worked in black and white, mostly, and even though it wasn’t her usual medium for commissions, it remained her first love.

She stood in the borrowed space, trying to keep her breathing even. She and the darkroom owner had chatted over coffee – he was old enough to be her daddy, but declared himself a fan. They bonded over a discussion of different film formats and the shortcomings of a purely digital approach. Buffy finally slipped away to get to her work. She developed a few prints of bridges, just in case Curious George wanted to see her most recent snaps.

She couldn’t exactly show him pictures of a vampire, sprawled buck naked across her bed at the local motel, could she?

It was a pity.

The pictures were extraordinary. Buffy had tried taking pictures of people – most notably Willow’s bratty but adorable niece Sabrina – and they always fell short of her expectations. People didn’t hold still long enough for Buffy to get her shots lined up, not when they knew they were being captured on film. When she did take pictures of people, she chose subjects that were past caring if their hair was right, or if their grandma would like the final results. They were raw. Besides, most of them didn’t have a mantle to hold the framed print anyway.

She’d worked in reverse order – the most X-rated to the most approved for all audiences – and had finished an impressive stack of prints by the afternoon’s end. She took one last look at her favorite – the one of Spike, jeans just barely hanging on to his hips, his original tattoo exposed and the look on his face smoldering and daring at the same time.

The amber glow of the darkroom’s safelight picked up every angle, every shadow, every delicious line of his abs and chest. Her tongue had followed that trail the night before. She had bruises on her arms from where he’d gripped her, holding her upright so she could ride his cock as he balanced her, standing without any support. “Showoff,” she’d whispered, and he’d grinned.

Oh God. She had to get out, and hope that George didn’t insist on too much small talk before she could sneak away.


She’d nearly gotten past George with just another grateful smile, but he’d stopped her. “You’re staying on the South Side?”

Buffy nodded.

“I don’t want to worry you, but maybe you should read this.” He held out the city’s newspaper. Four girls’ photos stretched across the front page, one larger than the rest. STILL NO LEADS IN STRING OF SOUTH SIDE KILLINGS screamed the headline.

She glanced at the pictures.

“The victims all look a little bit like you, Buffy. Blonde, petite.”

“Thanks, George. I appreciate the warning.”


As she walked from her car to the reception desk at the Morning Glory Inn, she was hyper-aware of the stack of very dirty pictures of an incredibly decadent creature tucked under her arm. She didn’t dare let them out of her site.

It wasn’t illegal to carry around photos like these, she kept reminding herself, but as the warm and welcoming innkeeper offered her a room key and a freshly baked cookie, Buffy thought, “It isn’t wrong. It just isn’t right.”

Her room was lovely – all painted antique wood and fresh white coverlets, little pen and ink sketches of idealized urban scenes on the walls. Her windows faced the courtyard, where the last of the summer flowers were clinging to life. It was a pretty space, a sophisticated space. If she closed her eyes she could almost imagine that this was her house, her bedroom, her life instead of her have-camera-will-travel experiences.

And then she remembered the photographs still tucked under her arm, and decided that her life wasn’t all that bad after all.


The Morning Glory’s innkeeper had that determinedly pleasant air about her that some people manage. Buffy hoped she’d be able to walk past her without exchanging small talk.

“Heading out for the night?”

Buffy nodded.

“Would you like me to call you a cab?”

“I’m just walking over to Halo Café.”

The innkeeper hesitated.

“And I know about the murders.”

“I could have a cab here in five minutes.”

“Thanks, but I can take care of myself.”

After all, she thought, as she walked out the door, I’m delivering dirty pictures to the murderer.


He wasn’t at Halo Café.

The waiter seemed surprised to see her.

“You lookin’ for Spike?”

Buffy nodded.

“He hasn’t been in. Didn’t figure he would be. After he’s been in here with, er, someone, he usually lays low for a couple of days.”

The waiter stared at her, a little too intently, but she didn’t notice. If not here, where would he be?

“You’re not another cop, are you?”

She frowned and left without replying.


Without another place to go, she walked back towards the inn, feeling like a total loser. “Should’ve known. He skipped town last time, even when he hadn’t had a pile of corpses to hide,” she mumbled.

“What kind of happily ever after were you imagining for yourself, Buffy?” She kicked a stray soda can. “He buries his victims in your rose garden?”

She kicked the can again. It skittered into the gutter.

Then arms reached out from the darkness, pulling her back into an alley. A hand covered her mouth, and stifled her scream.


“That was a little dramatic, don’t you think?”

He set her down on a worn couch in Angry Moon and answered her question with a shrug. “You were looking for me.”


“So now we’ve found each other, pet. Isn’t that just the bee’s knees?”

“Yeah, okay. I found you. Or you found me. Now what?”

“You tell me.”

Buffy lifted her bag. She had her photos inside, and could sense that he wanted to see them.

Then his hand came to rest on his sketchpad and an impulse swept over her.

“Do it.”

“You certain? These marks won’t fade over time.”

“That’s the point, right?”

He led her by the hand to one of the curtained off cubicles.

Buffy managed to ignore the prep, the selection of needles, the mixing of inks. He was silent, intent.

“I’ve got the pattern outlined on your back, love. I can tilt the mirror so you can see.”


He angled the mirrors – it was almost like a dentist’s chair in reverse – and she saw the design stretching across her lower back.

She glanced at him. He was eager, his left hand twitching, ready to wield the needle.

It should have reflected in the mirror – his hand – but it didn’t.

Buffy swallowed. “Go ahead.”


She got high on it.

It hadn’t hurt. Not like she’d expected. It had been an insistent buzzing, a harsh tingle, maybe. But not painful. And now every nerve ending was alive. She was euphoric, feeling way more joy than some – okay, a lot of - ink on your back ought to cause.

“So – your place, love?”

She’d nodded and let him help her to her feet.

They’d walked the half dozen blocks back to the Inn together, sticking mostly to side streets. The innkeeper was gone when they came in, and none of the other guests stirred, either.

Before she knew it, they were in her room and that big bed that she’d dreamed of making her own was going to get put to good use.

Spike undressed her, quickly, without kissing. “I’ll be gone before morning, pet. Need to get out of town for a while.”


“Why do you think?”

She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him in for a searching kiss. She couldn’t taste anything but breath mints and a hint of cigarettes.

He deepened their kiss, easing them on to the bed, Buffy on top to protect her new tattoo.

Impatient, Buffy wrestled his plain black tee over his head, then pushed his worn Levi’s to the floor down to his calves.

Where they got stuck on his Docs.

“Easy, pet. Too nice a job to rush.” He smirked.

She dropped to her knees, untying his laces and yanking the boots to the floor. The left one flew a little wild and landed in an oversized flowerpot.

As she sat up on her knees, his cock jutted out, inches from her mouth. With a wicked glance at his waiting face, Buffy licked the shaft, all the way to the top, then circled the tip with her mouth.

Spike sucked in his breath and went completely rigid.

But she couldn’t be patient. Not when this might be the last time.

Unless scarring counted as foreplay, they’d barely touched. But she was already dripping, and she crawled up his body, positioning herself and thrusting, taking him in one slow complete stroke.

Buffy’s eyeballs rolled back in her head as she found the position that buried him deepest. “Damn,” she whispered. “You’re huge.”

He smiled, a surprised little smile and his hips thrust up. She might be on top, but he bucked, giving her a wild ride, changing the direction of his thrusts just enough to push himself in even farther. One hand gripped her hip, the other pried her thighs apart.

“Oh, God. You make it hurt …in … in all the right places,” she moaned.

She rode him at a furious pace, harder than the night before. Her flesh was bruised and swollen, but lust overcame pain.

And then he was pulling her down, gently, until her stiff nipples brushed his chest with every thrust and her clit hit right there, right in the best place. Buffy had no choice but to meet his burning gaze and when their eyes were locked, he shifted slightly, and her body spasmed.

Little breathy gasps escaped her lips as the combination of her position and his thrusts sent shock waves through her body.

She barely noticed that he was nuzzling her neck. Licking her jugular.

And then she felt something – felt the tips of his fangs extending, felt the bite coming.

He pricked her skin, and then he was sucking, drinking her down.

Another orgasm built and Buffy felt the words from those trashy novels. Fireworks exploded behind her eyelids. Muscles tensed, her breathing was ragged.

Pleasure eddied through her. She groaned, arching into his body.

Buffy realized this might be it – might be the minute that she died. FIFTH VICTIM FOUND IN B&B, she imagined the headline. DIES WITH HUGE GOOFY SMILE ON HER FACE.

And then his fangs were gone, pulling out with a painful little burn. His tongue laved the marks.

She was dimly aware as he spilled inside of her, thrusting up into her body.

Buffy was dizzy. Sore. And still feeling the aftershocks.

“You’re delicious, pet,” Spike whispered in her ear.

She collapsed into a tangle of blankets and sheets, asleep even as he gathered her into his arms.


An hour later, she woke with a start.

He was there – still there – but it was hours ‘til sun up.

When he slept, it was glaringly obvious that he was dead. Dead, and yet, so peaceful that she couldn’t reconcile his resting face with the killer inside.

Then her hand traced his bite mark, and she found herself thinking about the other girls.

Had he fucked them senseless, too, before draining them and tossing their remains in the river?

With a sigh, she pulled on her clothes and found her barely unpacked wheelie bag. From the dresser top, she took the sheath of photos and placed them on the pillow.

As she left the room without a backwards glance, she missed one very important detail.

Spike watched her go.


She caught the last flight of the night to O’Hare, then the first flight of the morning to LAX.

Now she sat – upgraded to business class – in the dim cabin, flipping through the images on her laptop. Against the seat, her tattoo itched.

With a quick glance to make sure no one was looking over her shoulder, she clicked on the thumbnail for her new favorite.

From just a few hours earlier.

He’d snapped it – she’d barely even noticed – somewhere in that last minute or two after the bite, the new scar clear, her mouth open in a gasp, her hair falling back, eyes closed.

It was hot. It was her, mid-orgasm. “Is that what I look like?” she asked no one in particular.

Her fingers went to the bite mark. It tingled.

Oh God. She was ruined.

Author's Note: Is that a cruel place to end? Spike left Buffy at the end of the original story; it felt like Buffy ought to leave him at the end of the sequel. That said, I'm working on the third & final installment of this series, so there may be a happy ending ... eventually.