Beauty Effulgent

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Anya's Story

Chapter Index

Part Ten 

Spike was glad that Anya had finally decided to flesh out his character more.  He had read treatises about himself before, but no one seemed to truly understand him.  He had hoped that Anya, of all people, would be able to clarify his motivations, his personality and his justifications.  He realized, then, that Anya was detailing her own perceptions at that time.  To her, he had been peripheral when they first met.  But as time progressed in the story, his character would evolve.  That night, he thought, when the two of us commiserated about failed love, had been the point at which our relationship changed. Spike wondered how much more she would have to say about him, so he continued reading.



Older than Grit


After Xander and the others defeated A.D.A.M., I thought the two of us would finally have some time to catch our breath and spend some time alone.  Xander seemed depressed.  He was between jobs and really didn’t seem to have any prospects for a new one.  I thought that Xander needed some time away from all of his stress, so I called and told him to pack a bag.  I decided we would take a road trip, just the two of us.  I mapped out our journey using the Internet, but I wanted our destination to be a surprise for Xander.


I decided that would be a little difficult, since he would be the one driving.  I planned to navigate and have Xander drive blind.  At first I thought that expression required him to be blindfolded, but then I realized he’d still need to see the road. I packed one of our blindfolds, anyway, to use later.


I called and told him my plans and he said he was ready for a change in scenery.  He started jabbering about Jack Kerouac and I stopped listening for a moment.  He eventually started winding things up, and I’d meet him that afternoon.


I carried my suitcase to Xander’s house, cursing myself for not having him pick me up.  When I got there, he had his duffle bag packed, most likely with Bermuda shorts and tank tops.  It didn’t matter, because aside from my surprise side trip, he wouldn’t need any clothes for the rest of our vacation.  He asked me again where we were going, but I wouldn’t tell him.  He put my suitcase into the trunk and was closing it, when we heard the voice of doom behind us.


“Wait up,” Willow said, as she and Tara ran toward us with bags over their shoulders.


“What are you doing here?” I asked.


“Xander,” Willow said, ignoring me, “would it be okay if Tara and I joined you?  The idea of a road trip sounded great and we thought that maybe you wouldn’t mind.”


“If it’s all right…” Tara said hesitantly, glancing over at me.


“Well, um…” Xander stumbled, “I’m not sure.”


“Xander,” I said, as I led him away by the arm, “this weekend is supposed to be about us.”


“Anya, look, they’ve already packed and everything.  We can share the driving and get separate rooms.  Look at them,” he said, nodding in their direction, “they look pitiful.”


I looked over and saw Willow smiling at me, trying to look innocent.  Tara had her head down, standing behind Willow.  They did indeed look sad and innocuous.


“Besides,” Xander said, “it may be a good opportunity for you and Willow to get to know each other, and you know, bond.”


“Bond?  Why would I… Xander, Willow doesn’t like me.  I heard the two of you arguing about us from the bathroom the other day.  I don’t think that spending more time together will help us. Besides, that Tara girl is kind of odd.”


“But she’s important to Willow, so we need to make an effort.  Anya, could you please do this for me?”


I really wanted to put my foot down and refuse to go, even though the trip was my idea in the first place.  I looked at the girls again and Willow gave me a little wave. 


“If she promises to be nice,” I finally said, giving in once again to the will of Willow.


“She will be,” Xander told me. “I know she will.”


Xander told the girls that they could go, never once telling Willow to be nice to me.  He added their bags to those already in the trunk.  I sat down in the passenger seat, forcing Willow to climb into the back seat on the driver’s side.


Once everyone was in, Xander started the car and asked where to go.  I told him south and he asked which way that was. I pointed right and he turned the car as we headed out of town.


As we drove south, I noticed that ever so often, there would be giggling from the back seat.  I’d turn around and the two girls would be whispering and giggling.  I felt very self-conscious, thinking that they were, for some reason, talking about me. 


I turned back around and looked at Xander.  He seemed perfectly content driving down the highway, heading to an unknown location.  I decided not to bother him with my thoughts and sat with my arms crossed, watching for the exit that we needed.


After more and more whispering and giggling, I’d finally had enough.


“Xander,” I said, yanking him from his thoughts, “could you please tell Willow and Tara to stop talking about me?”


Xander looked at me, confused.


“We, um, we weren’t…” Tara tried to say.


Willow interrupted her, “We weren’t talking about you, Anya.  What makes you think we were?”


“You were whispering and giggling,” I said, trying to explain myself.  “I saw you looking at me from the vanity mirror on my visor.”  Even as I said it, I realized that my explanation wasn’t very clear.  “If you weren’t talking to me, what were you talking about?”


They looked at each other and giggled. I noticed Tara’s face turning red.


“Nothing,” they said together.


“I knew it!” I said, “You were talking about me, and now that I’ve caught you, you are too cowardly to admit it.”


“If you have to know,” Willow said, as she leaned forward and whispered in my ear.


I began to giggle and said, “Okay.  I was wrong.”


“So what was it?” Xander asked, looking confused.


“They were talking about sex,” I said, not going into the details of what Willow had told me.


Xander suddenly hit the brakes and we all flew into our seat belts.  Horns from other cars were being honked as their drivers quickly swerved into other lanes of traffic to pass us.


“Sorry,” he said, as he got us back up to the speed of the traffic.


I saw that Xander had started perspiring.  He’d glance ever once in a while to the back seat and then perspire some more.


We finally made it to the hotel, only to find out that the room I had reserved was the only one available.  Xander decided that we could all stay in the same room, not caring about the inconvenience it would be to me.  I think he was hoping that he might have a chance at a four-some, but I could tell that Willow and Tara were all into each other and no one else.


We were, luckily, able to finagle a room with two beds.  I spent the evening sexually frustrated and woke up somewhat grumpy.


After a lovely continental breakfast the hotel offered, I made Xander put on the blindfold.


“What’s this for?” he asked.


“To take you to the surprise,” I said, hoping that Xander hadn’t been paying attention to his surroundings when we arrived.  While Xander was in the bathroom the previous night, I let Tara and Willow in on the surprise.  Willow said that he would love it, which gave me a sense of self-gratification.


I led Xander out of the hotel with Willow and Tara behind us.  A shuttle bus took us down the street to the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard, where we got out. 


I took Xander’s blindfold off and he started hopping up and down and screaming like a little girl.


“You didn’t!” he said, opening his mouth in a smile that showed all his beautiful teeth.


“I did,” I said.  “Are you happy?”


“Happy doesn’t begin to describe it.”


We made our way to the line and waited our turn to be interviewed.  Several hours later we were branded with yellow price tags with our names on it.


We found our seats and a man came out on stage where he explained that they would be filming two episodes that day, but they’d be bringing in a different audience for the second.  We were told to show a lot of excitement, which Xander could barely contain as it was.  As he began explaining the rules, Xander must have thanked me twenty more times.


After the man left the stage, the music began.  The applause signs flashed and the audience showed much excitement. 


A loud voice called for people to come forward and Xander kept praying, something I’d never seen before, that his name would be called.  We watched as the game show host came out with his phallic microphone and started taking bids for the first item.  We participated with the audience, screaming out numbers to help the contestants.  Xander seemed to be having a good time, which pleased me.


After each pricing game, another contestant would be called, but Xander wasn’t one of them.  The show ended and Xander was very disappointed.  Here I had gone to the trouble of making arrangements to get him on the show and they never chose him.  It was Xander’s dream.  He had told me so, every weekday morning as we watched this bedeviled show.


I decided I had to get him on stage.  I told Willow and Tara to take Xander to eat something and that I would meet up with them.


I made my way backstage, after flirting with several security people, and found the host’s dressing room.  I walked in and he looked at me, a flittering of recognition on his face.


“Bob Barker,” I said, menacingly.  “Do you remember me?”


At the sound of my voice he started, “Anyanka?”


“Yes,” I said, “do you remember our first meeting?”


“Some time in the early 70s.  You were one of the first Barker’s Beauties.  You were only here for a week and then you disappeared.  Look at you,” he said, checking me out, “you haven’t aged a day.”


“I was sent to wreak vengeance on you,” I said, using my most intimidating voice. “You had been promising one of your models that you would leave your wife, but you kept putting it off.  I am the one who cast the spell to make it where all you could ever do is host this silly show.  You would have no career, other than asking people for the price of merchandise.  No matter how hard you’ve tried to get out, you are in your own little hell.  Because of me.  However, the spell did give you an untold fortune and for that, you owe me. An aftereffect that I did not foresee.”


He looked at me, beginning to understand what I was talking about.


“Bob Barker,” I said, “I can make it all go away.  All of your fame.  All of your money.  All of your spayed and neutered pets.”  I was lying, but he didn’t know that.


“What do you want?”


“I need tickets to the next episode AND I need Xander Harris to be a contestant.”


He thought for a second and decided to give in to my will.  He made a call to supply us with tickets and I left to find the others.


When I got to the restaurant where Tara, Willow and Xander were, I told them that I had gotten us tickets for the next taping.


Xander said that it would be no use.  He’d never get to fulfill his dream.


After much encouragement, he finally decided to give in and come with me.


We made our way back to the studio and once again the man was explaining the rules.  The music began and the voice called out, “Xander Harris, come on down!” 


Willow, Tara and I began jumping up and down and tried to push Xander down the row to the aisle.  He stood there in shock, not moving.  Finally, I just pushed him and he fell into the aisle.  He got up and was able to run down the aisle.


Xander had the closest bid on the first item, a diamond bracelet, and was allowed on stage, where he found out he’d get to play Plinko.  He began to cry.  After earning four chips he went to the top of the Plinko board and slid the chips one by one.  He only won $500, but you would have thought his winnings had taken him into a higher tax bracket.


After failing at the big wheel, Xander was ushered to the back.  We didn’t see him for the rest of the show.  When he met us outside afterwards, his smile was infectious and he said it was like being in the middle of joy.  As if joy were a tangible thing.  That night, Xander gave me the diamond bracelet, valued at $890, and told me that I had really made him happy.


The next day, we made our way back to Sunnydale, where Xander regaled Giles, Buffy and Riley with his successes. 


Xander felt like his luck was changing for the better.  A couple of weeks later, he found a job doing construction work.  I told him not to do any digging and he agreed, remembering the heartbreak of mystical syphilis.


That summer I met Joyce, Buffy’s mom.  She was very nice to me and treated me with respect.  It was kind of refreshing, considering how her daughter treated me. 


I also met Dawn, Buffy’s kid sister, maybe.  It’s a little unclear whether I met her that summer or not, but that’s a story to tell later.   Anyway, it kind of nice having the little girl around, with her and Tara in the mix, I felt like less of an outsider.


It was kind of slow, demon-wise, that summer and everyone seemed to become more and more relaxed.


Buffy, Willow and Tara seemed to be enjoying the break from school.  Xander had started his new job and seemed to take pleasure in it, as well.  Giles was keeping busy cataloguing his dusty books and Riley was adjusting to being a civilian.  Within all this happiness, I found myself bored.  It was during that summer that I finally realized that I would never get my powers back.  I needed something. A purpose.  Something that was just mine.  Of course I had Xander, but he couldn’t keep me occupied all the time, no matter how hard he tried. 

Part 11


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