Million Dollar Bachelor

by
Forsaken2003

Part One

 William Pratt tried to appear interested in the party that was going on. After all it was for him. The second installment of his on-going series of novels had just been released and already sold over half a million copies, in America alone. The series was about a vampire named Spike. The vampire was over one hundred years old and he had many adventures over the centuries. This new book was named New Century New Adventures; the first book named There’s a New Vampire to Fear.

His publicist Rupert Giles came up to him, a champagne glass in one hand. “William, my boy! I knew you could do it.”

“Vampires seem to be popular right now, don’t they?” William said with a smile. “If there are more adventures of Spike I hope they will be as popular.”

“Nonsense. You ended it on a cliffhanger. They will eat up another book to find out how Spike will find a way to save his beloved Drusilla,” Rupert whispered, not wanting to chance giving away the end. “Besides, everyone enjoys rooting for the bad guy once in a while,” Giles said and slapped William on the back. “Now where is that handsome man you’ve been seen with the last few weeks? I’ve wanted to meet him. Wesley isn’t it?”

William frowned, “Wesley decided to go back to England. He didn’t like LA. It isn’t the safest place.”

“Oh, well, I am sorry to hear that,” Giles replied. “But I am sure you will find someone else.”

“Yeah, right,” William muttered and accepted a glass of champagne for himself when a waiter walked by. “You would think that being some big shot writer with more money than I know what to do with I’d have more people take an interest in me. But no one does. Except my fans, of course. People who are in love with Spike and that’s all they see in me.”

“Perhaps you should put a personal ad in the newspaper then?” Rupert said jokingly before he waved to a critic and left William to talk to her.

William raised an eyebrow. A personal ad? He had never considered that before. A smile formed on William’s lips. A personal ad wasn’t daring enough. William liked to think big and he had just the idea for it.
 

                                                                         ***

The next afternoon William sat in his office tapping his fingers on his desk. He was mulling over his plan to go to the local news station and announce that he was interested in finding ‘the one’ and that there would be an email address for anyone interested to send William a description and a short bio of themselves. He then would look through them personally and the top three he found the most interesting would be invited to spend a weekend at his home.

“You’re thinking awfully hard, Will,” Liam came in, carrying a tray of tea. “Are you thinking about new adventures for Spike?”

“What?” William asked, startled. “No.” He accepted the cup and took a small sip. “I’m thinking of a new adventure for myself.”

Liam looked worried. William wasn’t really a daring kind of guy.

William ran his hand through his honey brown locks. “What would you say if I told you I am thinking of placing a personal ad? Not only a personal ad but going to the media. I’ll invite three of the participants to stay here with me for a weekend.”

Liam looked worried. “Are you sure that’s a good idea, Will? I mean, what if they try stealing something?”

William waved a dismissal of that thought. “Come on, you have to admit it sounds like fun.”

Actually to Liam it didn’t sound like fun at all. “Is there a specific type of man you're looking for?” Liam asked. “You know Buffy still wants to set you up with her friend Riley.”

“I appreciate Buffy’s help but I’m not really interested in someone who’s a cop. They work ungodly hours and I don’t want to worry about a call saying he was killed in the line of fire. If I want that type of life, I write a book about it,” William explained. “And no specific type. Anyone who sounds interesting.”

“Well, if this is something you really want to do then I’d have to say you should do it,” Liam stated. “I just hope you know what you’re getting yourself into.” He looked worried but knew once William put his mind on something there was no way of talking him out of it. “Just let me and Buffy know when this will be happening so we can make sure the guestrooms are set up and the kitchen stocked.” Liam and William shared a smile and he left William to make the call.

                                                                       ***


Xander sighed as he stretched out on his couch. He had just gotten finished working a twelve hour shift building a new high school. Now all he wanted to do was chill on the couch with Sparky and watch the boob tube. Sparky had jumped on Xander as soon as he lay down, demanding attention. Absentmindedly Xander scratched behind Sparky’s ear as he channel surfed.

Sparky was a mutt. Xander had gone to the animal shelter looking for a roommate and found him. When Xander saw the condition Sparky was in he got physically sick. He had been told that Sparky had been used in dog fights before he was rescued. He was missing his back left leg and his right eye. When the dog fight ring had been found it was discovered that Sparky was too friendly to be a real fighter so his previous owners would beat him to try and toughen him up. Xander found he had something in common with Sparky and they instantly bonded. That was three years ago.

Xander finally came across the news and was about to change the channel when an incredibly hot looking man with the most amazing blue eyes appeared on the screen. Instantly Xander turned up the volume to see why this guy was on the news.

“My name is William Pratt. I am the author of the popular acclaimed vampire books, There’s a New Vampire to Fear and New Century New Adventures.” William said.

Xander could see multiple cameras flashes; whatever this guy had to say it was big.

“But I am not here to promote my books. I am not here for Spike but for myself,” William continued. “While writing these books I have come to realize that my life isn’t complete. I want someone to share my life with. So that is why I have decided that I want to have a contest of sorts.” There were murmurs of confusion. “I am going to hold my very own bachelor contest, except this will not be for the entertainment for the pubic but for myself and hopefully my future partner only.”

“What type of girl are you looking for?” “How many people will be chosen?” “How will you choose?” Questions were shouted out.

“I will not be looking for women. I am gay so of course I will be looking for men only. I will choose three; those three will be sent an invitation to spend a week at my home. For legal reasons they will not be able to give the location. As for how, I’d like the participants to tell me a little about themselves. I’m not going to base my decision off their looks but off our compatibility,” William answered all the questions.

“How do we know this isn’t some scam to endorse your new book further?” a man yelled.

William looked somewhat annoyed but answered the question. “I have no interest in promoting my book. My personal life has nothing to do with that. If anyone out there believes that is the only reason I am putting myself out like this then don’t contact me, it will be a waste of our time.”

Sparky whimpered when Xander stopped petting him. “Sorry, boy,” Xander said and began petting his furry friend. “You have to admit this is… interesting,” he said.

“So if anyone is interested in this… experiment I guess I’ll call it please email me at Will_32@aol.com.” William said. “I hope to meet a few of you soon. Thank you.” More questions were thrown out but William ignored them.

Xander was able to rustle Sparky off of him so he could grab a piece of paper and pen. Quickly he wrote down the address before he forgot it. He looked up when Sparky was making a growly whining sound. “Sorry, bud. But this is a chance of a life time! I mean what if he is the one? It’s not every day a guy announces he is looking for a… boyfriend? Lover? This might be the guy that you approve of, you know. Just think if you had another person to dote on your every demand.”

Sparky’s tail began to wag and his tongue hung out from the side of his mouth. Another human who he could trust and who would sneak him treats! He barked as if asking Xander what was taking him so long to write an email.

“I’m going, I’m going!” Xander laughed and began to type out a short bio. No reason to give everything away before possibly meeting the man, right?




Part Two

Within days after his press release William was bombarded with hundreds of replies. He answered over half of them saying thank you for your reply but that William didn’t find them compatible. These men were out of the running simply because all they sent him was their name, phone number and address along with a picture of their cocks. Now of course they were nice looking enough but that was not what he'd asked for.

Another number of people he felt didn’t even deserve an elimination email when all they asked was how much money he had and how much property he owned. They didn’t even try pretending to be interested in him, which was probably a good thing. William didn’t waste his time on anyone!

As of right now there were only two men that had caught his attention. The first one’s name was Lindsey McDonald thirty-five years old. He was a lawyer at the biggest law firm in Los Angeles, Wolfram and Hart. He was originally from Texas and he moved to LA about ten years ago after getting his law degree. He had moved to LA in the pursuit of starting a musical career, but quickly found that he decided to go with his education and become a lawyer. Of course he still preformed in cafes from time to time and hoped that maybe William would like to hear him play one day.

The next one was a man named Charles Gunn; he preferred to be called by his last name though. He was twenty-eight years old with his own pawn shop. The first thing he stated was that he was black. If William had a problem with that he didn’t want to waste any time. William liked that. Charles was straight forward and didn’t beat around the bush. He was born and raised on the bad side of the city with his mother and younger sister. His father had taken off when he was four leaving him to be the “man” of the family.

They both sounded like great men now if only William could find one more! He clicked open one last email request.

Hi, my name is Alexander Harris but my nickname is Xander. But you can call me either. I’m twenty-six years old and I’m in construction, I do electrical work. I love cooking though. I make a mean chicken parmesan with white rice.

Anyway I was born in Sunnydale, California. After high school I decided to do a trip across the States but my car broke down in LA. I was able to find a job in construction and found out I was really good at it and the crew liked me so I decided to stay.

I have a dog named Sparky. I adopted him three years ago and he is now six or seven. His last owners abused him and he has had permanent damage done to him. Before you think I am trying to win a pity spot in this I’m not. Sparky and I have never been apart for a night before, he is still a little skittish after all this time and he would need to come with me. He is shy but he can sense good people and will eventually warm up to them. If that is a problem I understand it is your home with your rules but I can’t leave him. It may sound funny but he is my family. I nursed him back to health after I adopted him. The animal shelter did what they could for him but they don’t have the funds to pay complete vet services.

Anyways I’ve probably blabbered on long enough so I will end this. If you don’t pick me I wish you the best in your search for love.

Xander

William sat back and thought about it. Xander seemed unique. A construction worker. They were always good looking. Hells, every time there was road construction or construction workers working on a house William would slow down to check them out. “A construction worker, a lawyer and a store owner,” he said with a smile. William had found his top three! Quickly William started a new email and messaged all of them telling them they were invited to stay with him the weekend of the Fourth of July, two weeks from today. He gave them his address and instructed them to bring the email with them to confirm they were his choices. He sent it off.

His guests would arrive on the Fourth of July which landed on a Friday this year. William would plan a barbeque for supper, Buffy would make multiple different kinds of salads and then later that night they would all watch the fireworks. It sounded like a wonderful plan for the first night together.
 

                                                                   ***

“Xander, are you sure about this?” Jesse asked before taking a bite out of the double cheeseburger that Xander had made for lunch. “I mean you’ve never even heard of this guy!”

“I’ve heard of him,” Xander admitted. “I’ve just never read his books. Besides I haven’t received an email so he most likely passed me over.”

Sparky let out a low whimper and placed his head onto his paws.

“Come on, bud.” Xander rubbed Sparky’s head. “His loss.”

“What if he did pick you though?” Jesse pressed on. “A week with two other guys? Sounds like some sort of freaky orgy to me.”

Xander and Sparky both snorted at that. “You know I’m not into orgies.”

“Fine, fine no orgies. But how are you supposed to really get to know someone in only a week with two other guys hoarding the attention?” Jesse asked.

“Look, I don’t know. I’ve never done anything like this before. There was just something about him.” Xander shrugged. “But like I said, he’s probably already picked the guys and it’s over with. The next time I see him will most likely be in the newspaper with his new guy.”

Just then a loud beep came from his computer. Xander had forgotten to log out of his MSN account, which had just let him know he had a new email. He walked over to his computer to check what it was. Maybe he won a million dollars!

“Ten bucks says it's rich boy,” Jesse said. He tore a piece of his hamburger off and tossed it to Sparky who was pretending to look like he was so hard done by and that Xander never gave him treats.

“Bet on,” Xander said and opened his Hotmail page. His jaw dropped open. The sender's name was William Pratt and the subject was I hope to see you soon. “What the fuck?”

Jesse looked up from Sparky. He’d remembered when Xander first adopted him both Jesse and Sparky were wary of each other and it took some warming up on both their parts but soon they were almost as best buds as they were with Xander. “What?”

Xander swirled around in his chair. “I got a reply from him.”

“Really?” Jesse asked. “I guess you owe me ten bucks.”

Thank you for replying to my request. You sound like a very interesting person and I would like to get to know you better. I hope you will accept my invitation to stay with me in my home over the week of the Fourth of July.

As for Sparky, I am not used to having pets in my house but if that is how I can get you here he is more than welcome to come and stay the week as well. All I ask is that he stays off the furniture.

I look forward to meeting you in a week. Here is my address. I am placing my trust in you not to give this out. I am a private man of sorts and would prefer not to have strangers coming to my door.

#39 5855 Beverly Hills, CA

William.

Jesse scrunched up his face. “He sounds like he’d be some proper jackass.”

“Maybe he is just a polite person,” Xander said with a shrug. He then grinned. “He actually picked me!”

“Well he would be stupid not to,” Jesse replied with a smile. “Now, where does he live?”

Xander shook his head as he pulled a ten dollar bill from his wallet. “Nope. Sorry, strict instructions that I do not give it out. I’m not going to start our relationship with a lie.”

“Relationship?” Jesse said with a snort. “All right, whatever you say. So you have a week. What are you going to do?”

A grin spread over Xander’s face. “I think a stop at the bookstore is in order.”

“Why?” Jesse said with a slight whine. He was more of a movie guy.

“Well if I want to know William I should know his work,” Xander explained and grabbed his jacket. “Come on, there’s a book store a couple blocks away.”

Jesse thought quickly. “You know what? I think you’d best go on without me. I think your cooking gave me food poisoning. Like salmonella.” Jesse inched towards the door.

Xander scowled at Jesse. “There is nothing wrong with my food, you asshole,” he huffed. “Fine me and Sparky will go for a walk then.”

“Great, Sparky will love that!” Jesse said with a smile. “Catch you guys later!” And Jesse was out the door.

Sparky snorted, stood and walked over to his leash. He was not one to turn down a walk! While he walked Xander to the bookstore Sparky wondered if Xander hooked up with this rich guy whether that meant he’d be lavished with treats. Maybe he’d even have his own room! Nah, he preferred sharing one with Xander. Even if he was a snorer and hogged the bed.



Part Three 

A week later Xander was wondering if he was making a stupid mistake. What if he was just wasting his time? What if William thought he was boring? Xander was almost ready to unpack and forget it but he couldn’t help the small hope that William would like him and he liked William? Could he really miss out on that because of a few doubts? Maybe in the end they could at least part as friends. With a nod and a deep breath Xander picked up his suitcase and Sparky’s leash and they headed out the door.

They walked out to Xander’s truck which was just recently washed and all the garbage thrown out. He opened the truck door and waited patiently as Sparky jumped up. It always took him a few tries but he’d do it. “Let’s go!”
 
                                                               ***

William was pacing, wondering if he was making a stupid mistake. Allowing three strange men into his home? Was he insane? He was about to call Liam and tell him the whole thing was off when the doorbell rang. William groaned before straightening himself up and made his way to the door. He could do this.

With a deep breath William opened the door and was greeted by a handsome black man. “You must be Charles,” William said with a smile.

“Gunn,” Gunn reminded up with a smile. “It’s nice to meet you, Will.”

“Same, please come in.” William allowed Gunn to walk in. “You’re the first one so we should be expecting the others shortly.

Gunn chuckled. “You’re actually that polite?”

William frowned. “I’m sorry?”

“Dang, I didn’t mean to insult you. I just meant I didn’t think you were actually that polite,” Gunn tried to explain, looking sheepish.

“Oh. No, I’m not usually this polite it’s just first impressions and all.”

Gunn smacked William on the back. “Dude, just be yourself. We’ve only got a week. I’m sure I can speak for the others and say we want to get to know the real you.”

William laughed. “Thanks for the advice.” He led Gunn out to the patio. “Would you like a drink?”

“I’ll take a beer if you’ve got. Any kind is fine by me,” Gunn said as he lay down on a lawn chair. This would be a great life. William was handsome and nice. Shockingly nice for a rich white dude!

William called Liam and asked him to bring out two beers. “Damn! You’ve got a butler too?” Gunn asked.

“Yeah, though I’m mostly showing off right now.” William laughed. “Feel free to get anything from the kitchen. It’s fully stocked.”

Liam came out carrying two beers. “Will, you have another guest. Lindsey MacDonald.”

A man with longish brown hair walked past Liam almost knocking the beers out of his hands. “William! It’s so nice to finally meet you,” Lindsey said, pulling William into a hug and giving him a peck on the cheek.

Gunn sat there wondering if he should have done that. But that wasn’t his style; he didn’t kiss someone he didn’t know. He smiled at Liam in thanks for the beer.

“Lindsey, I am glad you could make it,” William said with a bright smile. “I’d like you to meet Charles Gunn. He prefers to be called Gunn, though.”

“Nice to meet you, man.” Gunn said with a fake smile. Something was off about Lindsey.

Lindsey nodded but didn’t say a word to Gunn. He guided William to the table and they sat down beside each other. “Wow, I’ve got to say you are much better looking in person! I didn’t even think that was possible.”

William blushed. “Thank you.”

“So where’s this other guy you picked out?” Lindsey asked looking around. He checked over Gunn. He wasn’t much of a threat to Lindsey. The bald look was not sexy.

“He should be here shortly,” William replied. “I hope you brought your swimming trunks. It’s supposed to be hot and sunny all day.”

Lindsey ran his hand over William’s arm. “I can’t wait to see you without your shirt on.”

Gunn had to stop himself from gagging. “I didn’t. I’m not much of a swimmer.”

“Oh,” William said with a frown. “We don’t have to be in the pool.”

“I’m sure Charles wouldn’t mind staying poolside while we have some fun,” Lindsey purred.

This time Gunn couldn’t stop the shudder that went through his body. “I’m not one to ruin a good time. As long as Will spends sometime with me.” He gave William his most dashing smile. Fuck if the other guy was anything like Lindsey Gunn might have to kill himself. “When’s this other guy getting here?” he wanted to size up his competition.

“Right now,” Xander said. He startled them all by coming from the side of the house.

William’s mouth dropped open. Xander was gorgeous. All of them were but there was something more to him. He stood, leaving Lindsey’s side, not seeing the scowl on his face or hearing a chuckle come from Gunn. “Xander, it’s nice that you could join us.” William met him half way. He looked down to see Sparky half hiding behind Xander. “And this must be Sparky.”

“Yeah, sorry he’s a little shy,” Xander said and patted Sparky’s head. “It’s nice to finally meet you, William.”

“Will, please,” William said with a smile. “Come, we were just getting to know each other.”

Gunn stood and made his way over to Xander. He was a little caught off by Sparky and his missing eye and leg but that didn’t stop him from introducing himself to Xander. After all, a guy who would take in a mangled dog couldn’t be all bad right? “Hey, I’m Charles Gunn. Call me Gunn, though.” He held out his hand.

Xander accepted the hand. “Only if you call me Xander. And this shy little guy here is Sparky.”

Lindsey decided to join them only to hide behind William’s slight form. “Jesus, are you sure that thing is even alive?”

Sparky let out a low whimpery growl. He already didn’t like Lindsey.

“There is nothing wrong with him,” Xander said with a growl. He turned to William. “Do you think I could go get him some water, though? It’s pretty hot out here.”

“Of course,” William pointed to the patio door. “It leads right into the kitchen.”

Xander smiled and tied Sparky’s leash onto a table leg. “Now you behave, or no treat tonight!” Sparky pulled the big puppy dog eye routine out, which made everyone but Lindsey laugh. While Xander wandered into the house William and Gunn tried giving Sparky attention but he just crawled under the table.

“It’s all right, little one,” William said in a soft voice. “I’m shy around new people too.”

“You seem to be doing pretty good right now,” Gunn said encouragingly.

                                                                       ***

Xander walked into the kitchen a backpack over his shoulder. He saw a young girl maybe twenty-five with her head in the refrigerator grumbling to herself. Xander coughed and she jumped up. “Geez, sorry I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“No, sorry I wasn’t expecting anyone to come in here,” Buffy said. “Is there something Liam or I can get you?”

“Oh no, I was just hoping to get Sparky some water,” Xander explained and pulled a blue water dish out from the pack.

Buffy smiled. “Sure! Do you think I could meet him later? I love animals!”

Xander couldn’t help but smile back. “Yeah, but if he’s shy don’t take offence to it.”

Lindsey suddenly came in with a scowl. “What the hell does it take to get a drink? Do you want Will’s guests to die of dehydration?” he said dramatically.

“I’m sorry, Liam didn’t tell me you asked for something,” Buffy said. “What can I get you? A beer? Lemonade? We have bottled water.”

“We?” Lindsey said with a snort. “What I want is a paralyzer. Now!” He then turned and walked back out.

“Well isn’t he a ray of sunshine?” Xander asked sarcastically. He filled Sparky’s dog dish.

Buffy nodded with a frown. “Could I bring you anything?”

“I’d love lemonade if it’s no trouble. Or I could come back and get it,” Xander hurriedly said.

“I’ll bring it to you when I bring Lindsey his drink,” Buffy replied with a smile. “Now get back out there. You’re wasting time with me when you should be with Will.” She then proceeded to shoo Xander out carefully so he didn’t spill any water. Buffy decided she liked Xander.






Part Four

 When Xander returned to the others, everyone sat around a patio table. Sparky raised his head when he saw Xander come out with the water dish. “Here you go, bud.” Xander set the dish down beside the vacant chair before taking it. “This place is amazing, Will.”

“Thank you.” William smiled and looked a little uncomfortable. “I’m sure you all thought I’d have this sort of planned out but to be honest I don’t,” he confessed. “I would like to spend some time with each of you alone.”

“Sounds good to me,” Gunn replied and took a sip of his beer. “Have you ever been to the batting cages?”

William shook his head. “I’ve never even been to a baseball game.”

Both Gunn and Xander looked shocked while Lindsey looked bored. “You’ve never been to a game?” Gunn asked. “That’s settled, I’m going to take you to the batting cages.”

“Sounds like a date to me,” William said with a grin. He turned to Lindsey who was quiet. “What about you, Lindsey? Do you enjoy baseball?”

Lindsey scrunched up his nose. “No, actually I prefer hunting.”

“Hunting?” William asked. “Do you hunt a lot?”

“At least three times a year. I get six weeks of vacation every year so I go back to Texas visit the family and do some shooting,” Lindsey explained. “LA has a pretty decent shooting range. Not like the real thing though. Maybe we could go. I’d love to teach you,” he said as he held William’s hand. “They even let you shoot rifles there.”

Gunn and Xander silently agreed with each other that Lindsey was way too clingy.

“Well…” William thought about the offer. “I wouldn’t mind learning but I don’t think I’d like to actually hunt.”

“As soon as you get a feel for it you’ll love it,” Lindsey promised.

William nodded but wasn’t so sure. “What about you, Xander? What would you like to do?”

Everyone stared at Xander waiting for his answer and he squirmed in discomfort. “Well…maybe we could cook. I’d love to teach you to make homemade pizza. We could go buy the fresh ingredients early in the day.”

William’s face lit up. “That sounds like a fantastic idea.” He didn’t normally cook due to the fact that he couldn’t.

“Umm…” Gunn interrupted. “That’ll be for dinner right?” he asked hopefully.

Lindsey though that was a stupid idea. Out of anything they could do Xander picks shopping and cooking? That’s manly! “So who gets you first?” he asked. “I could make a call and we can have the entire shooting range to ourselves.”

“If that’s available we could do that tomorrow,” William said. “If it’s all right with Gunn and Xander.”

“Whatever you say,” Gunn said. “I’m sure me and Xander can find something to do to occupy our time.”

“Yeah. Besides, the shooting range sounds fun,” Xander lied. Actually it sounded dangerous but it was William’s and Lindsey’s date so he would stay out of it.

William beamed; they had a plan. “Great, now that we’ve settled that, I’ve planned a barbeque. I know you Americans love celebrating the Fourth of July. Also we have the best view for the fireworks if you’re interested.”

“Steak on the barbeque, a man after my heart,” Lindsey said with a big grin.

Sparky heard the word steak and came out of his hiding spot. He looked up at Xander. Sparky loved his steak. Xander ruffled Sparky’s ears in a silent promise that he would share. Xander was so whipped.
 

                                                                     ***


Before supper William and Liam showed the others to their rooms; their suitcases were waiting for them. Gunn’s room was closest to William’s, then Lindsey and Xander. It made sense to place them in the order that they came; it helped Liam keep track.

The rooms were a fair size, much bigger than Xander’s room in his apartment. “Wow, this is amazing.”

“I’m glad you like it,” William said with a smile. “So I’ll let you all get settled and I will meet you back outside in a little while. I need to speak with Liam and Buffy.”

Xander looked around his room. There was no bathroom attached to the room which was fine, Xander just hoped that he wouldn’t be fighting with the others to use one. Contrary to what some people thought men did sometimes take their time in the bathroom.

He began putting his clothes away while Sparky sniffed the place out. Xander usually let Sparky sleep on the bed with him but William had said he’d prefer him to stay off the furniture so Xander had brought a big fluffy blanket for him to sleep on.

William seemed like a really nice guy, sweet really. Xander could see himself falling for him. Hopefully William felt the same way. Xander thought about Lindsey and Gunn. Both were very good looking and Gunn seemed very nice while Lindsey seemed…not so much. But first impressions could be deceiving. Maybe Lindsey was just nervous. It didn’t matter, the choice was William’s and Xander wouldn’t speak badly about Lindsey.

“Well, boy this is home for the next week,” Xander said excitedly. He went over to Sparky. “Hopefully you’ll warm up to them soon.”

                                                                      ***


Gunn decided on a quick shower. When he walked into the bathroom to see the size of shower he couldn’t resist. As he soaped up he thought about what he was doing here. Because of this little adventure he had closed down his shop, which meant he was losing money. But on the other hand what if William was the one? There was no way Gunn could pass up that opportunity.

William. Gunn couldn’t forget how amazing his eyes were. He was always a sucker for blue eyes. The accent didn’t hurt either. Gunn was jealous that Lindsey got William to himself first. He couldn’t help but think it should have been him since he was the first one to arrive, but knew that he was being more than just a little petty. What he needed to do was forget about the competition and just focus on William. Xander seemed nice enough and maybe they could become friends but William was the reason he was here.

With a nodded to himself Gunn finished soaping up and rinsing off. He didn’t want to keep William waiting. Also he wanted a guaranteed seat beside William.

                                                                   ***


Once Lindsey was left to himself he ignored unpacking, he could do that later. He wanted to check the house out. It wasn’t nearly as big as he was hoping for. There didn’t seem to be anything of real value either. What was the point of having all this money if William wasn’t going to spend it? Lindsey would fix that, though.

He pulled out his laptop; Lindsey wanted to see if he could find out any information on Xander or Gunn. Something that could incriminate them and William would toss them out. Xander was very attractive though he doubted either Xander nor Gunn were as successful as he was. Lindsey logged into his account at Wolfram and Hart. People thought they were just the biggest law firm in Los Angeles, but they had multiple firms all over the world. Toronto, Paris, Manchester, Frankfurt to name just a few. Lindsey would be able to find out anything and everything on Gunn and Xander.

Lindsey decided to check out Gunn first; no doubt he was in some sort of gang. In minutes he had Gunn’s entire life story, when he was born, what hospital, his parents’ names. He was slightly disappointed to find out that Gunn was not in any gangs. But a smile crept over his scruffy face when he saw that Charles Gunn had a juvenile record. When he was fifteen Gunn was arrested for stealing. He was only given a slap on the wrist because it was his first offence but did have to do some community service. Who knew what else Gunn had done since then only to not get caught? It wouldn’t surprise Lindsey if Gunn had killed someone.

Now onto Xander, Lindsey was sure he had no record. Xander might be a good looking guy, one that he would even consider having a tumble in the hay with but he was boring. Construction work, which would explain the dark tan and toned body. Xander was born in some small town that Lindsey never heard of.

There was a long list of hospital visits, with broken arms and ribs, sprained ankles, more than a few contusions and a couple concussions. Obviously Mr. Harris liked to keep his kid in line; no doubt he was an alcoholic. Lindsey shrugged, not much of a sob story; there were tons of kids being abused in the world. But it probably explained why Xander would get such a hideous looking dog. The damn thing gave Lindsey the creeps. Maybe he could convince William to make it sleep outside. No doubt it had some sort of disease or at the very least fleas.

Tomorrow he would have William to himself. Now all he had to do was figure out a way to bring up the fact that Gunn was a criminal. When William found out he would kick Gunn to the curb and then all Lindsey had to do was worry about Xander. But Xander didn’t hold a candle to Lindsey. Lindsey would have William and his money.




Part Five

 
William asked Liam and Buffy to join him in his office. He wanted to know what they thought of his guests. When Liam closed the door behind them William immediately jumped at the chance for their opinion. “Well? What do you think?” he asked.

“They all seem like fine choices. They’ve only been here an hour, Will,” Liam said. “You have plenty of time to get to know them.”

“I like Xander,” Buffy said and received a glare from Liam. They had agreed not to put their opinions into factor on William’s decision. She ignored him. “He’s very polite. I haven’t had a chance to meet Gunn.”

William looked at her noticing she didn’t say anything about Lindsey. “What about Lindsey?”

Buffy thought about what to say; she didn’t want to say anything really negative about him but she wouldn’t boost him either. “He seems like he could be nice. He probably needs to just get comfortable here.”

William agreed this was new for all of them. It would just take time for them all to adjust. “Thank you. Did you pick up the steaks for dinner?” he asked, changing the subject. William had decided to have the best. Porterhouse steaks and not to make Sparky feel left out on a good meal, William had instructed Buffy to buy a thick T-bone for him.

“Yup, big, fat, juicy ones,” Buffy confirmed. “I also finished up the macaroni and potato salads.”

“Great.” William clapped his hands together. Everything was coming together. He loved a good barbeque.

                                                                        ***


About an hour later Xander, Gunn and Lindsey ended up at the bottom of the stairs at the same time, like there was some sort of beacon urging them to find William. They all walked through the house; neither Gunn nor Xander noticed that Lindsey was assessing the house. Lindsey decided that the living room was far too small if they were going to get a sixty-five inch television. A forty-two inch wouldn’t do. Also they would need a pool guy on hand, a hot pool guy, which meant a pool house would have to be built.

When they came to the kitchen they were greeted with more drinks from Buffy. “Will’s outside getting ready to cook the steaks. I’m sure he’d like some company.”

“Thank you,” Xander said. Gunn nodded and Lindsey snubbed her altogether. “Will you be joining us?”

“No, I don’t eat red meat. Besides this is your time with him. Liam and I are going out for dinner and we’ll be back tomorrow morning,” Buffy told them.

Gunn had assumed they lived with William. The help always did in the movies. “I hope you have a nice night.”

“You too,” Buffy replied. “Remember to help yourselves to the food and don’t worry about any messes, we’ll clean it in the morning.” With a wave she left to collect her things.

“She seems nice,” Gunn commented and walked out onto the patio. A smile spread over his face when he saw William wearing an apron that said kiss the chef. “Is that just an option or is it mandatory?”

Willow looked up confused until it dawned on him what Gunn was talking about. He chuckled. “This was the only one the store had. Well this or one that was flower printed.” William waved the barbeque fork. “Have a seat; the steaks will be cooking in no time.”

Lindsey decided to take it easy. He didn’t know a thing about barbequing, so he relaxed on a chair. Gunn wandered around the pool, checking it out. It was a decent size, not too big but not small. Not that it mattered to Gunn since he didn’t swim but it showed that William wasn’t just all about possessions and spending money just because he had it.

Xander decided to stand with William and of course Sparky stood with Xander. “Do you cook a lot?”

“Honestly? No, I can only barbeque. Actually Buffy refuses to let me near the stove for the most part.”

“Why?” Xander asked with confusion.

William leaned in so the others couldn’t hear. “Because one day I was trying to make macaroni and cheese. You know, that Kraft dinner stuff? Anyway I accidently had a towel too close to the stove and it caught on fire.”

“Oh my God. Were you okay?” Xander asked, worriedly.

“Oh yes, but the kitchen needing remodeling,” William said with a snicker.

Lindsey narrowed his eyes as he saw William lean in close to Xander and whisper something into his ear. He decided that he would have to get into the conversation and decided to join in. “What are you two whispering about?”

“Oh nothing,” William said with a smile. “How do you like your steak?”

“Well-done. Thanks, Will,” Lindsey said. When William turned to tend to the steaks Lindsey shot Xander a nasty look. He then turned to go talk with Gunn who was still by the pool. “So what’s your deal?”

Gunn looked up. “What do you mean?”

“You said you don’t like to swim. Why?” Lindsey asked. There was something about Gunn that he couldn’t figure out. Something mysterious. Of course it was hot and if the situation was different Lindsey would really enjoy it but right now it was also annoying.

“Oh,” Gunn replied and looked embarrassed. “There was this thing when I was a kid.”

Lindsey wasn’t about to take that as an answer. “What kind of thing?”

“I almost drowned,” Gunn confessed.

That drew Xander’s and William’s attention. “Bloody hell. What happened?” William asked. “I mean you don’t have to tell us if you don’t want to.”

“I was about seven. Me and my sister were at the local YMCA and I thought I wanted to swim in the deep end but I was too young. I was too stubborn and jumped in anyway. I wasn’t that great of swimmer to begin with and basically sank. I thought I was going die. My lungs burned and it felt like hours before the lifeguard pulled me out,” Gunn said and shrugged. “I haven’t tried swimming since.”

“Damn,” Xander whispered.

William placed a hand on Gunn’s arm and gave it a squeeze. “I’m sorry.”

“It was almost twenty years ago; it just made me want to live life to the fullest. Though I still won’t swim,” Gunn said with a small chuckle.

Lindsey almost growled. His plan was to embarrass Gunn and all he ended up doing was causing William to give the bastard sympathy.

“All right, the steaks will be done in a few minutes, why don’t you all grab some salad?” William suggested and went back to make sure he didn’t burn the steaks. Burning their first meal together wouldn’t make a very good impression.

Soon they were all settled down, cutting into their steaks. William looked down when he saw Xander giving Sparky a piece of his steak. “Xander, don’t share your steak with Sparky.”

Xander looked embarrassed and Sparky looked sad. “Sorry, it’s just our thing.”

“Oh no, sorry I didn’t mean to sound rude,” William said and pulled out the T-bone steak. “I just meant I thought Sparky would like to have his own.”

Sparky began barking happily and eagerly accepted it. He walked in a small circle before finally settling down and enjoying his own meal.

“Wow, thanks, Will,” Xander said with a big grin.

“Yeah I have to admit that was pretty cool,” Gunn added.

William blushed. “It was nothing really. Sparky is a guest too after all.”

“I’m glad we’re talking about… Sparky,” Lindsey spoke up. “I’d prefer it if he slept outside.”

“Why?” Xander asked. Sparky was not an outside dog.

“It’s nothing against you. I’m sure you did what you could for it but I don’t know if William would like it in his house. What if it has fleas or something?” Lindsey said and added a shudder for effect.

Sparky let out a huff of annoyance and went back to his steak. He knew Xander would set Lindsey straight.

“Sparky is not an it! He also does not have fleas!” Xander said, offended. “I give him regular flea baths.”

“I’m sure Lindsey didn’t mean anything,” William interrupted. “I am sure that Sparky is flea free.”

Xander smiled. “Thank you.”

“Besides I haven’t seen him scratching,” Gunn commented. “I don’t know much about dogs but don’t fleas make them itch?” Sparky lifted his head and Gunn could have sworn that Sparky smiled at him. Weird.

“I have no problem with Sparky being in the house,” William added. “Xander already knows I’d prefer him to stay off the furniture.”

“And Sparky knows that. He’ll be good I promise,” Xander said.

Soon after that they all settled into a light conversation as they finished off their meal. William told them that he’d prefer to have a solo day one day and spend the next with all of them and do a solo day and so on. They all agreed that seemed fair.

The sun set and the moon slowly crept out. The stars twinkled. Gunn checked his watch to see that it was already ten-thirty. The fireworks would be beginning soon. They all arranged their seats, ready for the light show to begin.

William was sandwiched between Xander and Gunn, Lindsey arranged his own seat behind William.

The fireworks exploded, the sound echoing through the night. They were all mesmerized by the multiple colors. Xander decided they were much better than last year. He made sure to hold on to Sparky. Sparky had a tendency of trying to go after the fireworks, jumping in the air to catch them. Xander felt Sparky straining slightly but for the most part he was good.

Half an hour later the fireworks slowly died and they all decided it would be best to go to bed. After all, William and Lindsey had a busy day tomorrow. William said good night to all of them with a hug then headed to his own bedroom, excited about his date with Lindsey.