Vulgar Materialism and Overdetermined Metaphors
Show: Angel, Buffy
Summary: Fred’s reactions to being rich and having a girlfriend.
For the first month, Fred felt nothing but guilty about taking the offer at Wolfram and Hart. And that even though technically, she didn’t take the offer; Angel had taken it for all of them, except Gunn and Lorne were already going to take it, Wesley was going to probably go for it because of Lilah, and so that left only Fred on the fence. But there was still guilt. Here she was, a murderer, a manipulator, and the universe had responded by giving her a great job with people she very much enjoyed. Somehow, it didn’t feel right.
It led to a lot of sleepless nights and crabby days until one morning, Fred woke up and realized guilt wasn’t doing anyone any good. If she wanted to not take the offer, she could go elsewhere. And she wasn’t going.
The guilt went away pretty fast after that.
The second month would forever after be known as “the month Fred spent thirty five thousand dollars in two weeks” in casual conversation. Other things, much more apocalyptic, did happen, but Fred’s shopping spree was completely unusual in comparison.
Coming out of it, Fred found herself with a serious media collection, two new personal computers, a new wardrobe that was every bit as expensive as Evil Miss Thing’s (because after all, Lilah was just the hired help; Fred was a division head and neither evil nor dead) but with less of the femme fatale vibe, and someone to spend her money with the next time she got the itch to drop tens of thousands of dollars.
After that, the money became invisible. Fred had it, she used it, and she failed to flaunt it, because really, that was just tacky.
Sometimes she wondered if she was getting decadent. It was the kind of thing that filled her mind on the drive home to her posh new condo in Westwood as she listened to Lyle Lovett or Ben Harper on the 100-disc changer in her new Jetta. Or the one time when she took the Wolfram and Hart company jet home to San Antonio because Mom and Dad were having a barbeque. For the most part, Fred decided no, because she could give it all up. Condos, jets, cars, bank balances, that all was just fun. A windfall.
Other things Fred wasn’t so sure about. First of all, there was the lab. The magical, amazing, stocked-to-the-hilt lab. With the brilliant, well-trained young scientists who had a bowling league on Thursday nights and played D&D every other Friday. Fred would have a hard time giving up having colleagues and friends who understood science and did their damnedest. She supposes that if it were necessary, she COULD, but there doesn’t seem to be a reason to, so she prefers not to think of scenarios where she’d have to.
Then there was the bed. And its new occupant. But the bed first, the bed which is queen-sized and perfect. Fred doesn’t know the technical details, and there are a surprising number of details that go into making beds comfortable without turning them into little more than a stack of pillows with sheets, but she knows how it works. Lots of feathers, a judicious amount of memory foam developed by Swedes, air instead of coils, and high thread counts.
Very high thread counts mean everything, which is something Fred learned from Wesley, of all people. He didn’t talk about where he’d picked up the knowledge, which allows Fred to maintain her private illusion that Lilah’s not back in that picture (after all, Wes is from old money; he might very well have learned from his mother or his governess or someone else that anything under a 250 thread count was no better than sleeping in a burlap sack) and not have to have learned anything important from the woman.
Fred has never had a better night’s sleep than she has in her bed, head cradled by a ninety-dollar pillow and cotton sateen sheets tangled around her limbs.
It might have something to do with who she’s sleeping next to.
“Hey, sweetie,” Willow greeted her as Fred arrived with snacks. “How was your day? Mine was exhausting. I spent most of it trying to teach Giles how to teleconference. For someone who knows his dark magicks, CUSeeMe is strangely difficult. But you. Tell me about what mad scientist tricks you’re up to.”
Fred grins. “Ice cream,” she said, pulling out a pint of Dreyer’s.
“Ice cream?” Willow asked, raising her eyebrows in confusion.
“It melts,” Fred replied. “And so far, the stuff that keeps it frozen is pretty icky and bad chemical-y. What we’re trying to do is make ice cream that you could enjoy on the hottest day of the summer without getting covered in sticky.”
Willow laughed chirpily. “Now that’s just dirty,” she chided, taking the ice cream from Fred. “Plus, I don’t know how useful it would be. Melting is a necessary process. And besides, most people don’t mind getting sticky for a good old-fashioned sweet treat.”
“Are we talking about ice cream anymore?” Fred asked disingenuously, wrapping her arms around Willow’s waist and kissing the back of her neck. After a moment, she slid a hand under Willow’s t-shirt, caressing bare skin before she reached Willow’s flimsy cotton bra and started rubbing in earnest.
“Sort of,” Willow said, rubbing against Fred like a cat. Each motion shimmied her t-shirt up a little further. “I like double entendres. They tickle the tongue.”
“Oh,” Fred said solemnly, thumbing Willow’s nipple through the bra fabric and feeling it harden underneath her touch. She leaned closer and pulled Willow’s earlobe into her mouth. Willow meeped, which was her particular happy sound that told Fred to continue what she was doing for as long as Fred wanted. But despite the meep, after a moment Willow had to twist around so that they were face to face, because Willow’s tongue wanted to be in Fred’s mouth.
This didn’t bother Fred, especially as it meant she could keep her hand on Willow’s breast. After a moment, they were both panting in between crushing, moist kisses and the ice cream had been forgotten. Except Fred hadn’t forgotten it. She has thoughts in her head, decadent thoughts that she wouldn’t have without knowing she had money.
So when Willow told her she’d like to get naked now, Fred nodded, grabbed the ice cream and a spoon, and off they went to the big, soft bed that Willow fell on with a giggle of delight.
“This is how I remember my parents’ bed used to feel like when I was little,” Willow said, bouncing on it as she shucked off her t-shirt and bra. “I always want to jump on it and then disappear into the pillows.”
Fred laughed and waggled her eyebrows. “So do you think of me as your mommy?” she asked, taking off her skirt first to show off the cute little blue check boy-cut panties she bought at Macy’s. Willow’s eyes widened and she grabbed Fred by the thighs and pulled her forward into her lap.
“Well, you do have ice cream,” Willow said with a sly little grin. “Do I get some if I’m good?”
Fred shook her head, opened the container, and took a bite, licking the spoon clean with great gusto. “S’for me,” she said, gently pushing Willow backward. “Watch.”
She scooped out a bit of the ice cream and put it on the space between Willow’s breasts. Willow squeaked as Fred waited for a minute for it to melt before she licked it up.
“That’s cold!” Willow protested weakly. Fred kissed the side of Willow’s left breast with a sticky-sweet mouth before looking up at her and grinning.
“But it melted,” she pointed out hungrily, closing the container and putting it on the bedside table. “I like the part with the melting.”
Willow whimpered. “You’re just being mean now,” she accused, her hips arching upward. Fred traced the contour of Willow’s stomach, pausing to draw a spiral from her belly button outward to the top of Willow’s jeans.
“I know,” Fred replied, pressing her finger into the seam of Willow’s jeans and very deliberately moving it up and down roughly. “If you’re very good, when I’m done, you’ll owe me a new set of sheets from all the melting.”
The moan Willow made suggested that she and Fred were going to be making a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond very soon, to say nothing of that long-promised spree at Good Vibrations they’d been considering.
It was good to have money when there was someone worth spending it on, Fred decided as she pulled off Willow’s jeans to discover warm and willing flesh awaiting her. She could give everything else up, but this? This made all the decadence necessary.
“You make everything good,” Fred said, pressing her lips to the inside of Willow’s thigh. “Let’s see if I can’t repay the favor.”