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Early October 2027 - Boys Will Be Boys
After his fiancée’s bridal shower, Bobby wonders if his friends are cooking up anything. Several weeks pass, and he’s pretty much forgotten about it, when two of his friends shanghai him on the way home from school.
“And where do you think you’re going, bucko?” asks Trevor Leyton, a music theory teacher.
“Did you really think we’d let you get hitched without giving your single side a final fling?” Adam Miller, vocal teacher extraordinaire adds.
Bobby just shrugs. Inwardly he’s thrilled, though a little nervous. His fellow teachers have a reputation for wild parties, and the last thing he needs is to get in trouble a week before his marriage. “Nothing that’ll get me arrested, right guys?” he asks, not entirely jesting with his friends.
“We’ll keep the ruckus down to a low roar, we promise,” says Adam with a twinkle in his green eyes. “From what you’ve told us, none of us wants to meet up with a pissed-off Willa.”
“That you can bet your asses on, my friends,” nods Bobby. “So, where are you taking me? I just want to call…”
Trevor takes Bobby’s phone, and presses speed dial #1, which of course is the right number. “Hello, is this Willa Bennett?” he asks. “This is Trevor Leyton, a friend of Bobby’s. Just calling to let you know your little honeybear won’t be home until late this evening. A few of his friends are treating him to a night of fun and frolic. Good? Terrific. We’ll see you in a week at the main event.” He hands the phone back to Bobby with a flourish. “There, all done. Made nice with the fiancée for you.”
Not one for intricate, secretive plotting, Adam spills all. “We rented out a room at Pico’s to hang loose for the evening. There’s good food and music… plenty to drink.”
“Aren’t they also an exclusive men’s club?” Bobby asks.
“Yup – the only women allowed are the entertainment,” laughs Trevor. “And believe me, boyo, you’ll be plenty entertained tonight.”
They head to Pico’s, and are quickly ushered into the party room, where several more friends are waiting. Bobby sees several guys he’s been in touch with but not seen since his high school days: Pete Schwimmer, Terry Auerback, and Carlos Rivera. He’s greeted with manly slaps on the back and quick hugs.
“Let’s get this show on the road,” says Adam, pushing Bobby towards a chair in the center of the room. “Park it, buddy. You don’t want to be standing for this.”
A bassist, guitarist and a keyboardist set up on the little stage area in the front of the room and begin to play an old standard – the bump and grind, of course.
Through the doorway walks a tall, busty blonde wearing a trench coat. “I hear someone’s getting married soon,” she coos at Bobby, swishing her hips from left to right in an exaggerated swing. “So how about a little fun before your wife takes sole possession?”
She sashays over to the banquet table and snares a small plate with several pieces of fruit. She settles her plump bottom in Bobby’s lap and feeds him strawberries and cubes of pineapple. “My name is Tina Marie,” she whispers in his ear. “And it’s my job to make you happy this evening. Are you happy, Bobby?” she asks with a twist of her hips.
“I’m happy! I’m happy!” Bobby laughs, staring out at his friends instead of at Tina Marie. “Thanks a lot, you guys.”
“Our pleasure,” they hoot en masse.
Tina Marie slips out of her coat, and stands, wearing a skimpy bikini top, and a skirt made of gauzy colored scarves, leaving a slightly flustered Bobby to surreptitiously adjust himself under the cover of the coat. She’s young and beautiful, and he’s all male, so it was bound to happen, but he finds he can easily will it into the background with thoughts of his intended. He’s definitely a one woman man.
“A toast!” shouts Trevor, grabbing a beer from the cooler, followed by the rest of the men. “A toast to the waning hours of freedom for our favorite piano teacher! No longer will he be free to tickle the ivories on the piano of his choice – he’ll be making all his music at home.”
“Hear, hear!” agrees Bobby. “It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing you have someone to come home to every day. Someone who looks forward to you coming home. You should try it sometime.”
“Not me!” cries Adam. “I need to be free to inflict… erm, share this bounty with New York’s female population.”
“Sure you don’t mean infect, weasel?” laughs Bobby. “Not that anyone will be foolish enough to have you.”
“I get my fair share,” says Adam, indignantly. “I’ll have you know…”
“Enough!” Trevor’s baritone rings through the room. “This night is not about who gets how much, this night is supposed to be about Bobby. Another toast,” he declares, grabbing a beer. “May his future days be as carefree and happy as his bachelor days!”
“Well put,” says Carlos, one of the few married men of their group. “A wife, kiddies… all enrich your life, Bobster. My Celina is my heart, and little Carlos, Jr. is the spitting image of me. I’ve got plenty of pictures…”
A collective groan rises as Carlos rolls out the latest in a long line of his son’s pictures, but he’s oblivious, as only a proud father can be. Bobby looks and smiles in the appropriate places, knowing he’ll probably be just as annoying to his childless friends when he becomes a father somewhere down the line.
Tina Marie decides it’s time to get back into action, and wriggles up against Bobby. “Dance with me, sugar,” she purrs, revving up her hips to the music playing in the next room. “Anybody need a scarf? I think there’s a little chill in the air,” she throws out to the men.
One by one her scarves are plucked from her skirt, except for the last one, which she’s waving at Bobby. “C’mon, big boy… I think this one has your name on it.”
Since it’s expected, Bobby gives the last scarf a little tug, leaving Tina Marie in nothing but the teensiest of g-strings and her bikini top. His friends stomp their feet and applaud, and he hands her back her trench coat.
“Not necessary, hon,” she says, picking up the duffel bag she came in with. “I always bring a change of clothing with me when I’m working. Just imagine flagging down a cab in nothing but my g-string at this hour of the night.”
She comes back in to say goodbye once she’s in her street clothes. Bobby offers an awkward thanks, and Trevor pays the girl for services rendered. “Good luck with your wedding, cutie,” she calls over her shoulder as she leaves.
“My gods,” Adam laughs. “You should have seen your face, Bobby. You’d think you’ve never held a girl in your lap before.”
Bobby rolls his eyes at his friend’s ribbing and just takes in the camaraderie in the room. His friends organized this for him, like Willa’s did for her. He definitely feels a case of the warm fuzzies, though he’d never admit it to any of the guys. The girl was a little corny, but he’s glad they know him well enough that she kept her top on. Not that he didn’t like breasts, but at this point in his life, only a particular pair did it for him. Old fashioned? Perhaps, but happy. Most definitely happy.
October 22, 2027 - The Home Stretch
The flight from Los Angeles to New York is uneventful, and Wolfram & Hart’s New York branch sends several stretch limousines to ferry everyone to the Milburn Hotel, Manhattan, where rooms have been booked for the family. There are way too many people for the Murcers to accommodate in their home.
Spike and Buffy share a room with Tyler, Tara, Will and Noel; Andrew shares a room with his sons, Dawn rooms with the quads’ girl friends; Willow, Becky, and Kiana, have their own room, as do Angel and Nina, and Oz, Wesley and Luna. Xander and Neal are the only childless couple, as Treena will be spending the night with Willa, and Bobby will be with his parents.
“I can’t believe how small these rooms are,” Jeremy grumbles, tossing his suitcase on the bed. “I’ll have to go into the hall to change my mind.”
“It’s not so bad, son,” says Andrew. “At least nobody has to share a bed. The hotel has supplied rollaway beds for all of us.”
“And besides,” Jonathan chimes in, ever the practical one, “it’s only for two days. We’re going back home the day after the wedding.”
“Listen, you guys,” says Dawn, peeking in through the open door. “It’s not like we’re stuck in the room… we’ll be going out to eat, and we could take advantage of what the city has to offer for the rest of the day – why not visit a museum? Natural History or Modern Art?”
“Tara and I are gonna stroll around the Museum of Modern Art with Noel,” says Will in passing by the door. “We’ll wait for anyone who wants to come with us. According to their website, they have a new exhibit of twenty-first century impressionist art. That’s right up my alley.”
“Let me go ask Carson if she wants to come with us,” says Jason. “She loves to paint… usually still lifes, but I’ll bet she’s game for something new and different.”
Jeremy nods. “I think Lenora will be interested, too. We’ll be right back,” he says, hurrying off with his brother to the girls’ room. They’re soon back with their friends in tow.
“Andy will go with you guys, and I’ll take the girls, Jonathan and Jesse to the Natural History Museum,” says Dawn. “We’ll meet up at a set time for dinner and come back for a good night’s sleep. Have fun, everyone… and don’t give Dad a hard time.”
“We promise,” the teen chorus.
“Just look at the beautiful woman you’ve become,” Buffy says softly to the reflection of herself and Willa in the mirror. “You’ve blossomed so since you’ve left the house… you really don’t need me anymore, do you?”
“Don’t be silly, Mama,” Willa says, kissing her mother on the top of her head. “I’ll always need you. I wouldn’t be who I am today without you.”
Spike coughs several times, not wanting to be forgotten.
“You, too, Papa,” Willa soothes, sitting on the bed besides her father. “I couldn’t have done this without you both.”
“You’ll make a right gorgeous bride tomorrow, petal,” says Spike, eyes misting slightly as he gazed at his beloved firstborn. “M’hoping Bobby’s worthy of the precious gift you are.”
“You don’t have to worry, Papa. He’s a good man. And he loves me,” Willa says dreamily. “We’re good together.”
“Just remember, sweetheart,” Buffy sniffs, unable to keep the tears away completely. “We’re always here for you if you need us… for anything.”
“Mama, really,” Willa says with just a little heat behind her words. “We’re finally all together for a wedding, not a bloody wake! Lighten up. Please?” she adds, wiping away her mother’s tears.
“I wish your Grandma Joyce had lived to see you. She’d have been so proud of you.”
“Your Grandma Anne would have been flittin’ and fussin’ around you,” says Spike, once again a little ragged when he speaks. “To have a grandchild was her fondest wish. Not that the timing was right, but…”
“I know what you mean, Papa,” Willa says. “I’m just lucky things worked out as they did, and you and Mama got together.”
A sharp rap on the door heralds Xander, who greets his niece with a bear hug. “You are too gorgeous to ever have come from those two. A real couple of plain janes your parents are.”
“Plain enough for you to go drooling over her shoes for years, berk,” Spike laughs. “You should have seen him in high school, poppet. Followed your mum around like a puppy.”
“Unlike you, Fangless,” Xander retorts. “Stalkers were more subtle than you.”
“Now, now, boys,” Buffy says, wagging her finger at them both. “You’d better behave, or do I have to tell Willa about some of the more ‘interesting’ adventures of Spike and Xander on the Hellmouth?”
“We’ll behave, love,” Spike says, cocking an eyebrow at Xander, who simply nods in agreement.
“Whipped?” asks Willa.
“Whipped,” Buffy agrees.
The four friends walk through the streets of Manhattan, enjoying the peace of watching life flow by around them. Hand in hand, Spike and Buffy and Xander and Neal take slow, measured steps on the concrete sidewalks, eventually eating up time.
Spike stops in front of a Sabrett hot dog stand. “It’s not often we’re in New York… time for a treat.”
“Hot dogs, Spike?” asks Buffy, somewhat surprised. “With all the ethnic foods available in this city and you want a hot dog?”
“Love, until you’ve had one from a cart, you’ve not tasted a real hot dog,” Spike insists. “Lots of toppings to add to the flavor.”
Neal nods in agreement. “It’s like the difference between ice cream from the store and from the truck. No matter that it’s the same thing, the taste is different.”
Spike orders four dogs with mustard, ketchup, relish and sauerkraut and it takes some delicate maneuvering to eat their treats without making a mess.
“Told you there was nothing like it,” says Spike, smacking his lips in satisfaction. “This should tamp our hunger for the moment, and still leave us free to enjoy those ethnic delights you spoke of earlier, petal.”
Xander checks his watch and notes the late hour. “I think we’d better head back. Anyone want to check with the others and see where they’re going for dinner?”
“Nah,” says Buffy, drawing a look of surprise from her husband. “We’re all going to be together tomorrow, so going our separate ways is fine by me. Besides,” she adds. “If anyone wanted to be with us, they’d have called.”
The foursome changes their direction and heads back towards the hotel, and whatever gastronomic feast catches their fancy.
October 23, 2027 – The Main Event
The morning of the twenty-third breaks over Central Park loaded with promise. The air is crisp, the sky is blue and mostly cloudless. Willa moves first, nudging Treena awake.
“What’s the hurry?” Treena slurs. “It’s not like we don’t have hours ahead of us before the ceremony.”
“How can you sleep?” Willa’s practically bouncing on the bed like a little girl. “There’s so much to get ready, so much to do… you have to make sure I don’t forget a single thing!”
Treena rolls over, admitting to herself that sleep time is over for good. “At least you’re getting dressed at home. Nothing to be lost between here and Tavern on the Green.”
Willa smiles and preens just the smallest bit. “Bobby’s arranged transportation and insists on keeping it a secret. He loves surprising me.”
“Oooh, I bet it’s a gorgeous white classic car. Something you’ll be seen in as you head to your wedding,” Treena trills, clapping her hands with excitement. “Elegance all the way!”
“Anything’s possible with that man,” Willa agrees.
“Brett’s also promised me a surprise,” Treena says, shyly. “I can’t believe we’re still together… and so happy! I was beginning to think I’d never find the right man for me.”
“Silly girl. Just because your high school dating history wasn’t wonderful didn’t mean the world of men wouldn’t learn what a marvelous catch you are. Brett knows what I know – that you’re special.”
Treena’s cheeks blush roses. “So… how are we gonna spend our time?” she asks.
“Hmmmm… my dress is laid out, makeup ready, stuff for my hair in place… how about we have a light breakfast and then watch some sappy movies? We can get all our crying out before the makeup goes on,” Willa laughs.
Tara stretches and gets out of bed to change Noel’s diaper and keep him from waking his grandparents. “How’s Mama’s good boy this morning?” she coos into the baby’s ear.
“Good Mama,” Noel says, helpfully raising his legs for her.
“If we’re lucky, we can get dressed and out of here before Grandma and Grandpa get out of bed,” she murmurs, doing a quick, efficient job with her son.
“Gamma Gampa!” Noel squeals happily.
“So much for quiet,” Will says, coming up behind his wife. “I’ll finish dressing Noel while you get dressed. Then we can have a nice leisurely breakfast downstairs.”
“Heads up, Mama,” Tara whispers in Buffy’s ear. “We’re all going downstairs for breakfast, and we should be gone for a couple of hours, at least. We’ll probably take Noel out for a walk. Tyler’s already gone.”
At Buffy’s mumbled acknowledgment, the Harris family leaves the room.
Buffy wriggles out of her husband’s arms and smoothes a wayward curl from his forehead. He cracks an eye open and groans, attempting to turn over and pull the cover over his head.
“Oh no you don’t, mister! I want you awake – wide eyed and bushy tailed.”
“We developing a new kink, love?” purrs Spike, his voice silky and dirty and full of promises.
“Don’t you even try, you evil beast,” Buffy cries, deftly evading his grasping hands. “For a change, we’re going to arrive at this wedding unsweaty and nicely put together. And on time!” she adds.
“But we have so many hours to kill,” Spike insists. “Plenty of time for a shower and all the primpin’ you feel a need for.”
Buffy feels her will crumble as Spike pulls out the pout that turns her knees to jelly. “If I show up at my daughter’s wedding with bed hair and lipstick on my ears, you’re going to be the one to explain it to her” she mumbles, eyes beginning to spark with love and desire.
“It’ll be right as rain,” Spike promises. “Except for our girl, you’ll be the belle of the ball.”
“Then shut up and stop wasting time,” says Buffy, grabbing Spike and pulling him to her for a heartfelt kiss. “The kids can come back at any time.”
Neal and Xander meet up with Will and his little family and have a lovely breakfast in the hotel’s dining room.
“You guys plan on doing anything special until it’s time to dress for the wedding?” Xander asks, handing Noel a heel of rye bread.
“We figured we’d give Mama and Papa some alone time,” says Tara, smiling as color rises in Xander’s cheeks. “There are some things a toddler shouldn’t have to bear witness to.”
Neal laughs. “Your folks can be kind of demonstrative, I take it?”
“Sonic boom demonstrative,” snickers Tara. “We want to be as far away from here as possible for awhile. They’ve been good for our sakes, but a girl can tell…”
“And I think we’ll take a walk with you, if you don’t mind,” Xander says, knowing exactly what Tara means.
“Absolutely, Dad,” says Will. “New York is so much… taller than Santa Barbara. I love looking at it, but I’ll be happy to go back home with my family.”
The wedding ceremony is scheduled for six o’clock, but everyone is requested to be there by five thirty.
All are dressed and ready to go by the time the limousines pull up in front of the hotel. Angel has no problem accompanying everyone; the sun has already set.
They arrive at Tavern on the Green, whose main entrance is gorgeously lit. There are little lights woven into the trees, and warm, yellow lights in glass sconces on the walls.
Buffy pulls the little jacket of her gown closer.
“Chilly, love?” Spike asks, holding her a little closer to share body warmth.
“Only a little,” she says, the slightest of shivers run through her small frame.
Spike begins to unbutton his tux jacket, but Buffy stops him. “I’m alright, Spike… let’s just hope the reason we’re all standing outside comes quickly.”
No sooner do the words leave her mouth, when they all hear a clippity sound on the cobblestone road leading up to the restaurant. Coming into view is a Hansom cab, drawn by a snow-white horse bedecked with a wreath of autumn-colored roses and chrysanthemums. In the black and red cab sits Willa in her wedding gown, a silver and white shawl covering her shoulders. She waves as the cab nears.
“Daddy, look!” cries Luna, pulling at Wesley’s jacket. “Just like a real princess.”
“Indeed,” says Wesley, finding it hard to split his attention between the bride and his lover. In honor of the season, and keeping with the theme of the wedding, Oz has dyed his hair russet red, and cuts a dashing figure in his suit.
The cab pulls up in front of the restaurant, and the driver helps Willa dismount from the cab. Treena and Buffy flank her and together they head for the bridal room to await the beginning of the ceremony, while at last everyone goes inside to the chapel. Spike waits in the sitting area outside the bridal room to escort his daughter down the aisle.
Buffy soon emerges from the room, her eyes sparkling with unshed tears. “Oh, Spike,” she sighs, “She’s just stunning.”
“Just like her Mama,” is Spike’s ready reply.
“Please!” Buffy jiggles her upper arms and sniffles. “Look at me! I had to get a dress with a jacket to cover these jello arms. I’m forty-seven years old… I think the bloom is off this rose.”
“And I’m the world’s luckiest thirty-nine year-old. I have you to wake up to every single day,” Spike counters.
“She’s almost ready. I’m going to the chapel to sit and wait for my handsome husband to bring our daughter down the aisle.”
Spike kisses her, and sits back down. He doesn’t have long to wait. Treena emerges ten minutes later with a thumbs up gesture, and takes her place in line with the other bridesmaids and groomsmen, giddy because Brett is waiting there for her.
Jeremy is seated at the organ at the front of the chapel, a trio of violinists behind him, and they begin to play Johann Pachelbel ‘s Canon in D.
First to walk down the white silk path is Luna, accompanied by two other little girls wearing identical dresses; berry colored velvet bodices with short sleeves, and full skirts of sheer ivory organza with a flower print and a silk flower at the empire waistline. They all carry baskets full of orange and dark red rose petals, which they diligently sprinkle over the entire runner, before sitting in the first pew next to Buffy.
The door opens again, and this time it’s the bridesmaids, headed by twelve year old Kiana, in an adorable berry colored silk dress. It had spaghetti straps and both skirt and bodice were pleated. Very grown up, but age-appropriate.
Tara and Will enter next, followed by Tyler and Matt, Treena and Brett, Sorrel and Adam, Megan and Trevor and Alyse and Carlos in matching bridesmaid’s dresses and tuxedos. They traverse the petal-strewn path to the soft strains of the Canon, and stand on either sides of a modern chuppah, whose pillars have autumn colored maples leaves entwined around their legs.
When the door opens next, the seated guests begin to ooh and ahh and crane their necks for a better view. Spike, handsome in his tux, and Willa, resplendent in her wedding gown, carrying a teardrop bouquet of roses, carnations and tiger lilies, are ready for their entrance. Her arm in his, they make their way slowly down the aisle. Halfway down, they halt. Spike lifts her veil and gently places a kiss on her cheek. Bobby walks up to greet them, and Spike places his daughter’s hand in his, returning to his seat next to his wife.
The couple completes their walk until they stand under the chuppah, where Rabbi Berman is waiting for them.
The door opens one more time, and little Noel Harris toddles in, dressed in a miniature tuxedo and carrying a white silk pillow with the wedding rings gently stitched into its center. Tara kneels down at the end of the aisle, and Noel runs to her. She hands the rings to Trevor, Bobby’s best man, and passes Noel to his proud grandparents.
The music slowly fades out, and the Rabbi begins.
“Welcome, everyone. We are gathered here today for a joyous occasion – the marriage of these two fine young people. Surely the first in a long line of magnificent highpoints. However, marriage is not to be taken lightly, especially in these days where the divorce rate is an ominous indicator of failure.”
Turning to the couple in front of him, Rabbi Berman says, “Robert and Willa, in presenting yourselves here today to be joined in marriage, you perform an act of faith. This faith can grow and develop and last, but only if you both decide to make it so. A lasting and growing love is not guaranteed by any ritual.”
“If you would have the foundation of your marriage be the devotion you have for one another, not just at this moment, but for all the days to come, then treasure the hopes and dreams that you bring here today. Establish that your love will never be blotted out by the common, nor obscured by the ordinary in life. Faults will surface where now you find comfort, and admiration can be shattered by the routine of daily life.”
“Dedication, love, and joy can grow only when you nourish them together. Stand fast in that hope and confidence, having faith in your shared destiny just as strongly as you have faith in yourselves and in one another today. Only with this spirit can you forge a union that will strengthen and endure all the days of your lives.”
“The rings, please,” Rabbi Berman says to Trevor, who quickly pulls them off the pillow, popping the stitches holding them in place and hands them to the rabbi.
“Robert and Willa have written their own vows for this portion of the ceremony, so kindly turn your attention to them.”
Bobby turns to his bride and begins, “Willa, I consider it an honor and a privilege to be the one you have chosen as your life’s mate. Especially considering our rocky beginning. I promise to be a true and faithful husband, to love you, respect you, and be honest with you always. I promise to be supportive of your goals and as you grow intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, I will be by your side rooting for you all the way.”
“Never be afraid to confide in me… I promise to be a good listener and a safe confidant. You’re always welcome in my innermost world, and I promise to share my goals and ideas with you. As we grow together throughout our marriage, there are no limitations on the possibilities of our relationship and I hope we never realize just how high our high can be.”
“I believe in you, Willa, and I will be there for you, always.”
The rabbi hands Bobby a ring, which he places on Willa’s ring finger.
She turns to Bobby and says, “”From this day on, I choose you, my beloved Robert, to be my husband. To live with you and laugh with you; to stand by your side, and sleep in your arms; to be joy to your heart, and food for your soul; to bring out the best in you always, and, for you, to be the most that I can. I promise to laugh with you in good times, struggle with you in bad; to succor you when you are downhearted; to wipe your tears with my hands; to comfort you with my body; to mirror you with my soul; to share with you all my riches and honors’ to play with you as much as I can until we grow old; and, still loving each other sweetly and gladly, our lives shall come to an end.”
She accepts the ring from the rabbi, and places it on Bobby’s ring finger.
Rabbi Berman then offers Bobby a wine glass, from which he takes a sip, then he raises Willa’s veil and offers her a sip before handing it back to the rabbi who says, “With these statements made of love and trust, which we have just heard, I now wish you to greet Robert and Willa as husband and wife.
He places a wrapped glass on the floor in front of Bobby, who raises his foot and stomps on it, the broken glass tinkling loud enough to be heard.
Shouts of Mazel Tov ring out, and Jeremy and company begin to play Mendelsshon’s Wedding March. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Murcer walk quickly down the aisle, hand-in-hand, and exit the chapel.
The reception is loud and boisterous. Buoyed by a beautiful and heartfelt ceremony, people are milling about, sharing tales remembered of the past, and hopes for the future.
“My dear Buffy,” says Giles, enfolding her in a gentle hug. “I look at the beautiful woman you’ve become, and it’s no small wonder that your daughter is equally enchanting.”
“Girl does favor her mother,” Spike agrees.
Buffy snorts. “Yeah, right. That’s why the day she was born, all I saw in that beautiful little face was you, Spike.”
“Didn’t want to brag,” Spike laughs. “Ah, bloody hell, love. You know me better than that. I love to brag. My girl does her papa’s genes proud.”
“Git,” says Giles.
“Plonker,” retorts Spike.
The two men hug as Buffy grins. They’ve all come such a long way.
The room quiets down as the doors open, and the host announces, “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Robert Murcer!” and promptly breaks into raucous applause as the beaming couple makes their way towards their table.
The band sets up in the corner of the room, near a small wooden dance floor. “May I have your attention, please?” the host calls out and once more the room quiets. “At this time, I’d like to call the bride and her father out for the traditional father/daughter dance.”
Spike looks at Buffy with a deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression, but she shoos him out onto the dance floor and into the arms of his daughter. They sway to a beautiful, emotional retro tune, Daddy, Let’s Dance, by Jamie Tate. By the time the dance is over, there isn’t a dry eye in the room.
Bobby has his own moment to shine in the traditional mother/son dance, and they take the floor to the strains of B.J. Thomas’ song, Mama.
Finally, it’s time for the happy couple to dance their first dance together. The lights go down, a spotlight opens and the music begins; The Glory of Love.
As the last notes of the song fade away, the lights come back up and the host encourages everyone to come and share in the new couple’s happiness by joining them on the dance floor.
The rest of the reception goes by in a whirl… food is served, more dancing, a few small games and The Chicken Dance for the children, though they are outnumbered by the adults dancing with them. Thankfully, or ominously, all of this is recorded for posterity, to be shown over and over again at family gatherings.
Before the celebration winds down, everyone is requested to find their seats as the cake is wheeled out. It’s a gorgeous display piece – three layers iced white, with multi-colored leaves, grapes and roses. There’s also a sheet cake in reserve, should the display piece not be sufficient.
Together, Willa and Bobby make the first slice, and one of the servers takes over, cutting a small piece for each. They’re gentle with each other, and barely dot noses with frosting before the forkful find a way to their mouths.
After the cake is served, Spike and Buffy head towards the doors, trying to take in as much of the festivities as possible.
“So, Mama,” Spike says. “Our second dove has found her mate and officially started a nest of her own. Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, Spike,” she says, a small sigh escaping nevertheless. “It’s just… look at everyone.” She spreads her arms wide in emphasis. “When we lived in Sunnydale, things were much more insular. There was me, Giles, the Scoobs, Mom, and Dawn. Then came Angel and you. Really not a large cast of characters.”
“Larger than any Slayer I’d ever known,” Spike murmurs.
“Look, over there,” she says, pointing her finger. “Dawn and Andrew… four kids, and each boy has a girl with him. And over there… Willow and Becky and Kiana. And Xander with Neal, Treena and Will. And Giles! Bachelor forever Giles has Olivia and Braden. Angel has Nina. And even doofus, inept Wesley ended up with Oz and Luna. I feel responsible for all of them.”
“And how do you figure this, pet?”
“You and me, and then came our Willa. Then Tyler and Tara. And now Tara has Xander’s Will, and Noel. And Willa and Bobby will have children of their own soon. It feels as if we…”
“We’re a bloody inspiration, love. That’s all. I think the whole lot is happier than I ever thought they would be back in the bad old days.”
“You mean you thought about our futures even then?”
Spike nods. “Of course, I usually figured their future would be five minutes after I got that bloody chip out of my noggin, but you know how well my plans seem to go.”
“And I thank the moon and the stars for that every single day,” Buffy says firmly. “If things went your way, I’d have been dead – possibly for good – and none of this… oh you sneaky, sneaky man.”
“What can I say, love? I’ve always been bad.” Spike smiles, and kisses his wife soundly. “All in all, I think our lives turned out rather well. The people we care about are happy. We’re happy… can’t ask for anything more.”
“No, we can’t, can we?” Buffy murmurs. “Sometimes dreams do come true and bring you all that you wished for.”
They stay where they are, observing, until the band packs up. They kiss their daughter and new son-in-law goodbye and wave them off, gather their belongings, and wait for the limousine to take them back to their hotel, and the rest of their lives.