Meet Xander Harris
"And what do you do for a
living, Mr. Harris?" He's been trained to ask everybody that, I bet, even
when he thinks they don't have a chance in hell. I can tell by the way he's
looking at me, wondering what a young guy with ratty jeans and an eye patch is
doing in a bank asking for a loan. I don't think my backpack's impressing him.
My answer won't either.
"I'm a psychic," I say, and wait for it.
I know, I know. You're probably looking at me the same way the guy at the bank is, but wait, this is the good part:
"These are my tax returns for 2003." Hand them over ... wait for it.
I always love that look, you know, the one where the guy's eyebrows jump into his hairline and he chokes on his tongue? Yeah, that look. It never gets old.
And before you ask, I'm the real deal, not another Miss Cleo. That's why I make the bucks and don't have to resort to late night infomercials. I could dedicate my talents to the good of humanity, but let's face it, most of humanity bites. So they can pay up.
"Everything seems to be in order."
Sound a little more surprised, guy. "You've got my phone number if you need anything else?"
"Yes. Of course. Just sign here, and I'll have your application processed right away."
I'll bet you will.
So why, you ask me, does a rich guy like me need a loan?
How do you think I got rich? Grateful people I've helped over the years? Yeah, right.
Most of my money's in a kickass investment portfolio, and there's a sweet little dot com going on the market Monday that's gonna be closing over a hundred a share by the end of the month, and yours truly is getting in on the ground floor in a big way.
It's not fraud if they can't prove anything, and everybody knows there's no such thing as a real psychic, just a lucky guy.
Still might be a good idea to buy Flickacoola next Monday if you've got the cash lying around.
Oh yeah, and when it gets to a hundred and seventy-two bucks a share? Sell. Trust me.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a lunch date--and he's paying.
Xander wove his way through the tables, dumping his bag on the bench, and reaching out to take the slim hand offered to him across the table. "Hey, am I late?" Not a bad looking guy attached to the hand; Xander wouldn't mind taking him either. And if the flash of fantasy that crossed the guy's mind when he got a good look at Xander was anything to go by, he wouldn't mind being taken.
"Of course not. Mr. Travers warned me that you had a busy schedule..."
"And a reputation for being late?" Xander flashed him a grin, and shrugged. "I'm never late when somebody's buying me lunch."
"I'll be certain to make a note of that. Thank you for agreeing to meet me here. My name is Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, with the Council Institute."
Wesley looked amused. "Perhaps you should tell me, as your abilities are the reason I've come here."
Xander laughed, tossing his jacket on the bench and sliding in after it. "Okay. You're Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. You think your boss is a jerk, but since your dad got you this job, and you're not trained to do anything else, you don't wanna say anything that might risk your career. You also kinda like your career, and hope to open your own research facility some day, specializing in trauma-induced paranormal abilities. You heard about me through that interview I did with Rolling Stone magazine, and thought I might be your ticket out from under your dad's influence."
"Good lord. You saw all of that in me just now?"
"Nah." Xander's eye danced mischievously, and he tossed his hair from his face. "Hired a PI before agreeing to meet you. And he was worth every penny to see that look on your face."
Wesley graced Xander with a wry look of a man who's been had, and shook his head. "I do hope that's not the extent of your abilities, or I'm afraid I'll have wasted a trans-Atlantic ticket and rather a lot of the Institute's money."
"It's not," Xander said, picking up his menu. "Promise."
"How did a private investigator uncover all of that information? I thought I'd kept my dislike of Quentin Travers rather well concealed."
"That part, I might have read off you a little bit," Xander admitted. "It's not too hard to spot if you know what to look for. They've got blackened catfish on the menu today. Ever had it?"
"I can't say that I have."
"You should. Hard to get good Cajun in the
Wesley looked up sharply, eyes startled behind his glasses. "That's most disconcerting, you realize. Yes, I was just thinking it's difficult to find good Cajun food in England."
"I can stop if it bothers you."
"No, it's quite all right. I find it fascinating." Wesley turned to the waiter long enough to order the blackened catfish for both of them, then turned back to Xander, chin resting on his cupped palm. "And you've only had this ability for three years?"
"Yeah. Since I was 22."
"Since you lost your eye, correct?"
"Just about, yeah." Xander absorbed himself in the salad that was set before him, devoting his full attention to the dissection of a cucumber slice. The cherry tomato was pushed immediately out of the way. "Tell you what--let's just enjoy lunch, and then you can come back to my place and ask me anything you want."
Xander glanced up to find Wesley looking at him with another of those assessing looks, and felt his ears and belly heat up. Didn't need to be a psychic to know what was on his mind, but it really helped with the details. "Oh yeah, anything. Might even say yes if you ask me what you're thinking right now."
Wesley looked away with a cough, and, surprisingly, a blush. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"
"Hey. Wes?" Xander waited for Wesley to look at him again, and gave him his easiest grin. "If I minded, I wouldn't have brought it up."
"I see. I. Thank you." Wesley continued to avoid eye contact. "Was it difficult to get used to?"
"Yes, and no." Xander toyed with his fork, taking the opportunity to watch Wesley without the scrutiny being returned. "I've gotta admit it did wonders for my confidence, being able to tell when somebody thought I was hot. I'd make a great self help guru. When I say that everyone's got somebody in every crowd who thinks they're hot, I know what I'm talking about."
"I'd imagine that you do. Though I find it hard to believe you might have thought otherwise about yourself." Wesley turned back, expression perfectly frank. "Even I could see how many people watched with admiration as you came into this room."
"Are you kidding me? I was the class geek. And when I woke up, believe me, I didn't think missing an eye would help my dating prospects any."
"Sometimes. Some guys get off on the dark man of mystery thing." And there it was, laid out on the table like an offering. Which it was. Guys, and guys only.
"But not you."
"It'd be funny if I did. Hey, is this your eye patch or mine? We could sit on each others' bad sides whenever we felt the need to be alone. Nah. There's not much mystery left in being a man of mystery once you are one." Xander paused, ran that one back through his mind, and grinned sheepishly. "Just not my type."
"Do you have a type then?"
"May I ask what it is?"
"Is this part of the interview, or private research?"
Without pause, Xander met Wesley's gaze, and grinned. "Englishmen."
What do they put in the water in England? Before things changed, I thought Englishmen were mostly up-tight, missionary position in the dark, one bowel movement per day, tea-drinking, fiber-taking, digestive biscuit-eating, sock garter-wearing, Times-reading wankers.
Yeah, I know the word wanker and what it means and how to use it in a sentence. I could even parse it if I could remember what "parse" meant. See, I used to have an English boyfriend who was the other type of Englishman. The loudmouthed, foul-talking, leather-wearing, tobacco-smoking punk kind.
He got back together with his ex after we'd been fucking for a few months, but it was alright. I knew it was coming before I invited him back to my place the first time, so I was the most understanding boyfriend in the history of ex-boyfriends. Even stood in as best man when they tied the knot up in San Francisco.
We still get together for cheap B movies and cheaper beer sometimes, and Angel likes to have me over for dinner every time Spike brings home another stray gay guy to meet me. Spike's cool that way, not wanting me to live my life alone now that he's happy. Says it isn't fair.
None of the guys have worked out so far, but it's the thought that counts, right?
So back to the up-tight Englishmen, and with that pretty-boy accent and starched up suit, Wesley's definitely one of those.
At least until you listen in and realize the guy's got some pretty creative fantasies going on behind those blue eyes, all of them featuring me in a starring role. One or two of those could even make Spike blush.
Bet you're thinking I'm some kind of whore, asking him back to my place less than five minutes after "hello" and a few kinky thoughts running through his mind, but I know something you don't know. This guy wants the same thing I want, and if you think I'm up for wasting my time, you're so wrong.
I've flat lined twice in my life. Once after my dad crawled out of his bottle of JD when I was twelve, and once before I woke up in the hospital minus an eye.
I don't have time for that blushing virgin shit anymore.
A guy's gotta trust me.
Spike trusted me.
Still does. So does Angel.
And Wes's got me pinned up against my apartment door with his tongue down my throat, and his hand down my pants. So I guess when I told him we could work out, and I wanna give it a shot, he trusted me too.
Or maybe he just hasn't gotten laid in a long time and figures I'm easy.
Hard to tell when we're half way to fucking and I haven't even gotten my key in the lock.
Xander's head cracked against the inside frame of the door under Wesley's assault and both men groaned when he only hauled Wesley closer and fisted a hand in his hair, diving back against him for a deeper kind of tongue fucking, all hot, messy, wet, and slick.
Xander thought he might have tossed Wesley's tie off somewhere, but he's flying high on two minds' worth of sexual fantasies and can't tell one set of hands from the other anymore. "Bed," he said, somehow finding the coordination with Wesley's lips attached to his earlobe and his hands filled with the firm rounds of Wesley's ass, hips grinding so hot and heavy he thinks he might not even make it to the bed.
"Where?" God, the English. Turn them on, and even the prim and proper accent turns into pure sex.
"That door. Ugh. Fuck."
"The interview," Wesley gasped, all teeth and tongue below Xander's ear, "we're supposed to be doing the interview."
"You can ask me anything you want once you've got your cock up my ass."
And oh, fuck, it's good, that sweet, sweet burn when he shoves in. If he keeps doing that, I'm gonna rip through the bed sheets, bite through the pillows. I think I'm talking. Fuck, I think I'm screaming and it's great.
And he's talking in my ear, all low, proper accent, and dirty, dirty words.
And his hand's on my cock jerking hard, and with just that right twist at the end that makes me think he's the psychic one until the charge building up in my spine fires and melts my brains out my ears, and my balls out my cock in the kind of orgasm I want to die from some day.
Oh, sweet Jesus, please yes.
I could die happily listening to Wesley groan in my ear, feel him so deep in me, I think I'm tasting him in my throat, and breathe out my last breath with him a heavy weight like this on my back.
It's good. Merciful gods, is it good.
My head's spinning, body's humming, and he's already realizing he didn't get his interview, tries to move up off me, but I grab on before he can figure out which muscle works where. "You can interview me later."
He's not sure, but he's feeling so buzzed, he almost doesn't care. I wrap his arms around my chest, squirm till he's wrapped around me from behind, and gather his hands in mine, hanging on. He only needs a little push. He wants to stay as badly as I want him to.
"Interview me over breakfast."
His thoughts light up like Christmas morning when I say that, and right then, my heart melts a little too.
"If you're sure." Politeness. Always politeness. But he wants me to mean it so bad it's hurting him.
"Yeah, I'm sure. I make good toaster waffles."
So I'm a whore for good morning-afters. And I'm taking shameless advantage of what I know Wes wants most. I'm gonna wake him up with a kiss and ask him to stay.
Then, I've gotta call Spike.
Cause looking as hard as I can, I can't see Wesley leaving.
It's not gonna be easy; he's kinda neurotic deep down, and I don't know how long it's gonna take to convince him I'm not just being polite. But God help me, I think I could get used to reminding him every morning.
Especially if he does that thing with his lips and tongue every night. The one where he uses them to say "Please" and "I want you."
I know what I'm gonna say when I call Spike tomorrow too: He followed me home. Can I keep him?