Misery Loves Company
(BtVS, Season 7, during CWDP/Sleeper time. Spike/Buffy)
While she works, Chrissie likes to people-watch. Making guesses about their lives takes the weight off her aching feet and the edge off the endless task of serving drinks. She likes how each night has a different character, different faces coming through the doors, the way the quiet school nights when the adults drink slowly give way to frenetic weekends with loud bands and louder high school kids.
Even on a slow night like this quiet Tuesday, when business is steady and not overwhelming, tending bar is hard work, but it's a job and it helps bring up the kids. At least she has time for a breather and a quick scan of the customers. What are their stories?
Her glance settles on the guy at the end of the bar. In all the time she's been tending the bar at The Bronze, she'd never seen anyone so desolate. She knows his type, drinking alone in a crowd because the drink is all the comfort they have. Misery loves company after all.
She remembers this one, used to be one cocky son of a bitch and as sexy as all hell, a monochrome magpie with the goth-punk look that's getting trendy again these days. Either that or the teen angst never really goes out of fashion.
Not that this one is a teen. Older than the others here, he'd been a regular not so long ago, but he's been gone awhile. Maybe he'd gone home, back to London for a bit. See family, old friends, lovers.
But something has changed him during his time away. He'd always been the chatty type in the past. Always had a wink to go with the cool English charm. Knew how to make her smile and give him a more generous measure. Now he mumbles his order through the weight of his melancholy. She can't hear him over the band, but she knows what he wants anyway.
He's drinking like someone who's used to drowning his problems in a sea of alcohol. No pleasure in it, just the actions necessary to get too wasted to remember anymore and he only talks to her and the girls that are still drawn to his bad boy looks.
At first he'll give these girls the brush off, rejecting their advances with a resigned shrug. Then he seems to go into himself, and the girl, drawn to those sad eyes and the sharp cut of fine cheekbones, will buy him a drink or bum a cigarette. They'll go off together by the end of the evening, to what she thinks must be an empty, loveless fuck and he'll be back again the next night to do it all over again with someone else. He might lack the leather and the attitude, but he goes home with more girls now than he ever did - probably because he's no longer gazing yearningly at that blonde girl it was plain to see he adored.
Chrissie wonders what happened to them. What kind of girl his bright blonde firecracker must have been to bring this cocksure gothic peacock to his knees.
Because she had to be one hell of a woman.