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...Good Book, Part 6

Happy Little Minion's Playground

It All Started With a Good Book

 

By

 

Happy Little Minion

J

Full disclaimer in Part 1. 
 

A/N & Thank you: The use of Radclyffe’s name and the titles of her books, along with character names and references are used with permission.  Thank you, Rad!  For those who haven’t read her books, please check out her website at; www.Radfic.com or www.BoldStrokesBooks.com  You won’t be sorry, and I highly recommend all her books!  ; ) 

 

PART 6

Tara had kept the smile on her face, but the smile had left her eyes.  She didn’t look at either Cami or Michael as she picked up the Slippery Nipple, downing it as soon as she got back to the bar.  Setting the shot glass back down, she picked up the Afterburner and the new bottle of water Mike had had waiting for her, setting them on Cami’s tray.  “Could you… please?”  She still didn’t look at either one of them. 

 

“Sure.”  Cami and Mike shared a worried look as she picked up her tray and headed off to deliver the drinks. 

 

Mike grabbed another bottle of water and set it on the bar in front of Tara as she took her stool, before turning to take a customer’s order, leaving Tara alone with her thoughts. 

 

~HLM~

 

The willies grew more intense as Buffy watched Tara, without even turning she spoke.  “Go away, Spike.”  She noticed Cami heading her way, hoping for a note, but doubting there would be one this time. 

 

“That was quite the show.”  Spike lit up a cigarette, taking a deep drag before speaking again.  “Tryin’ to remind the bint what she’s missin’ out on now with Red gone, are ya’.  Good on you.  Now maybe she’ll let Red back in her bed.” 

 

“Don’t call her that again!”  Buffy sent him a glare before grabbing the cigarette out of his mouth as he took another drag, earning a sneer from him.  “This is a nonsmoking section!”  She ground it out beneath her boot as she turned to Cami as the waitress approached her.  “And you have no clue what you’re talking about.  Now get the hell away from me.” 

 

Cami raised a brow, looking around at the other people smoking nearby before smiling at Buffy.  “I work here, I’m not leaving.  Besides, I bring drinks.”  She held out the Afterburner for Buffy. 

 

Buffy chuckled softly as she accepted the shot glass.  “You can stay.  It’s him that I hope goes to crawl back under whatever rock he crawled out from… preferably crushing his skull in the process.”  She mumbled the last part, rolled her eyes, and quickly tossed back the drink. 

 

Cami turned amused eyes on the man beside Buffy with her comment. 

 

“I’ll have a shot of Jack and a beer.”  Spike was unperturbed, having no plans to go anywhere. 

 

“Oh, those are good, too.”  Buffy smiled and licked her lips as she met Tara’s eyes, blindly swapping the empty glass for the bottle of water.  She frowned as Tara gave her a weak smile, eyes darting to Spike before turning to play with the label on her water bottle sitting on the bar. 

 

Cami glanced over her shoulder at Tara when the expression changed on Buffy’s face, seeing Tara play with her bottle she mentally sighed.  “I’ll be sure to tell the sender.”  Cami winked at Buffy, ignoring the frown and question in the woman’s eyes before turning to the pale man beside her.  “Bar’s right over there.  I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to serve you.”  She shook her head slightly, giving the slayer an apologetic smile as she squeezed Buffy’s arm and turned to walk away. 

 

“Bitch!”  Spike growled loud enough for the waitress to hear. 

 

Cami stopped and spun around to face the asshole.  “Only my wife gets to call me that.  And I seriously think you’ll have a problem getting a drink in here tonight.”  She gave him a smile that didn’t reach her angry eyes.  “Have a nice night, now.”  She turned and headed toward the tables she was serving. 

 

“Looks like no one wants you here anymore, Spike.  Cut your losses, and leave now.”  Buffy turned and walked a few steps away, leaning back against the wall. 

 

“I’ll be back.”  Spike sneered after the retreating waitress before spinning on his heel, duster flaring out around him as he strode towards the bar, detouring at the last moment to head towards the restrooms. 

 

“Don’t rush, and don’t forget to get lost along the way.”  Buffy spoke loud enough for Spike to hear her.  She turned to watch Cami, hoping the woman would come back so she could question her about Tara.  She watched as the waitress looked towards the bar, making a slicing motion across her neck before pointing to Spike.  Turning she saw the bartender nod, grinning as she realized Cami had just shut Spike off before he could even get his first drink.  “Oh, she’s good!”  Buffy laughed softly as she relaxed against the wall, the smile slowly leaving her face as her eyes returned to Tara.  Something had changed, though Tara hadn’t outwardly showed it, and she didn’t think it was for the good. 

 

~HLM~

 

Mike walked to the other end of the bar to grab a bottle he could have gotten at his end, informing the other two bartenders along the way to ignore the blonde guy in the black duster, he was shut off per Cami. 

 

They nodded in understanding, neither wanting to face the wrath of the pissed off waitress should they serve him.  Learning the hard way after one of their fellow bartender’s was fired, not before having his balls lodged somewhere in his throat by the angry woman after serving someone she’d shut off.  Cami had a knack for seeing and hearing things that they didn’t from behind the bar.  Her instincts for spotting trouble before it happened had saved them from barroom brawls, redecorating costs, and downtime on many occasions.  Mike and the boss backed her on all decisions.  God help the one’s who didn’t listen. 

 

~HLM~

 

‘Stupid!  Stupid!  Stupid!  What the hell were you thinking?!  Oh, that’s right, you weren’t thinking!’  Tara sat there mentally berating herself for what had just happened.  ‘Goddess, I need to get laid if just a kiss can turn me on like that!  She ran a hand through her hair.  ‘Okay, so, maybe teasing her and having her pinch your nipples might have had something to do with it, but…’  She growled softly and downed another Slippery Nipple as Mike set two more shots on the bar.  ‘Must have had something to do with her playing with my boob in her sleep, that’s what it is… the residual effect!’  She snorted softly as she opened the bottle of water.  ‘Sure, you keep telling yourself that, Tara, and maybe you’ll even talk yourself in to believing it.’  She sighed and took a long drink from the bottle, her eyes finally meeting Mike’s amused ones.  “Shut up, I don’t wanna hear it!”  She ran her hand through her hair again.  “I need my head examined.” 

 

Mike laughed softly and shook his head.  “Not saying a word, Babe.  You seem to be doing enough examining on your own.”  He winked and walked away smiling as she growled at him. 

 

“That doesn’t mean I still don’t need it examined by a professional.”  She mumbled softly to herself as she capped the bottle and started spinning it on the bar.  “Goddess, I need help.”  She sighed and finally looked over towards the Slayer.  “Wonderful!”  She growled softly as she saw one of the pool players talking with the Slayer. 

 

~HLM~

 

Spike hung up the phone with a smirk, pleased with him self for making the call.  Now he just had to get a drink, and get back to the Slayer.  The smile on his face turning into a sneer as he stepped around the corner, seeing the Slayer on the dance floor with a tall, dark haired woman.  “What the bloody hell!”  It was one thing to see her dance with Blondie, but another to see her dancing with someone else.  He’d seen her dance with her friends before, or some guy, but never with a strange woman. 

 

He decided to make his way to the bar and see what Blondie had to say about this.  After all, weren’t they here so Buffy could cheer up the bint, and here she was off dancing with some other slag. 

 

~HLM~

 

Buffy hadn’t really been paying attention to what the woman, Sandi, if she recalled correctly, was saying after the initial hellos were exchanged.  Her eyes had wandered back to the bar and Tara, nodding on occasion to whatever the woman was saying.  She was surprised when she found herself being led to the dance floor by a hand on her elbow, obviously agreeing to dance with the woman without knowing it.  ‘Smart, Slayer!  Think you can keep your mind on a simple conversation from now on!’  She was at least heartened that it wasn’t a slow song she’d agreed to.  ‘Just dance and get it over with, then go back to holding up the wall.’  Her eyes continued to stray towards the bar as she picked up the beat and danced, occasionally making sure she was at least still dancing with the woman she’d walked onto the dance floor with.  Though that wasn’t really a problem as the woman kept stepping close and touching her, only to have Buffy put distance between them again. 

 

~HLM~

 

Tara growled as the woman moved up behind the Slayer, hands running down the outside of her thighs, only to run them up the front of them.  ‘Bitch!’  She turned so she wouldn’t see where they ended up, missing Buffy catching the woman’s hands and removing them as she stepped away from the woman and turned to face her. 

 

Pushing off the stool Tara headed for the bathroom, she didn’t want to watch the woman trying to seduce the Slayer, even if that was what Buffy ultimately wanted.  ‘How the hell did I get myself into this mess!’  She shook her head and glanced back at the dance floor, growling softly as the woman trailed her hands down Buffy’s arms.  She was still growling when she turned away, slamming into a body.  “Sorry, I wasn’t… oh, it’s you.”  Tara stepped around Spike. 

 

“Where you running off to?”  Spike turned to follow the woman. 

 

“Where you’re not welcome to follow.”  Tara made her way through the throng of people that always seemed to block the way to the bathrooms. 

 

Spike followed anyway, stopping to hang out by the entrance to the ladies room as Tara pushed through the door. 

 

~HLM~

 

Buffy had just about had it with the octopus she was dancing with, grateful when the song ended and she could retreat from the woman.  She looked towards the bar for Tara, but didn’t see her on her stool.  About to go looking for the Wiccan, she stopped as she saw her leaving the restrooms, growling as she watched Spike appear behind her. 

 

“Spike, leave me alone.”  Tara pushed by the vamp, hoping she’d lose him in the crowd as she headed back to the bar.  She looked towards the wall where Buffy had been standing having heard the song changing as she’d washed her hands.  Not seeing her in her usual spot she looked towards the pool table, grateful she didn’t see her there with the pool players.  She was caught off guard when someone grabbed her arm, head snapping around to find it was Cami.  She blew out a breath in relief, having thought it was Spike. 

 

“Can I talk to you for a minute?”  Cami asked as her eyes turned to glare at Spike. 

 

“What’s up?”  Tara frowned when Spike stopped beside them. 

 

“Excuse us, this is a private conversation.”  Cami led Tara away from the asshole, making sure he didn’t follow. 

 

“He’s got good ears, and unless he wants me to permanently damage them, he’ll back off!”  Tara tossed over her shoulder as Spike tried to stay within hearing distance. 

 

Spike snarled at the Wiccan, but kept his distance nonetheless.  ‘Red may have the power, but Blondie has a few tricks of her own.  No sense pissing her off before Red gets here.’  He made his way to the bar near where Tara had been sitting. 

 

Buffy stopped as she saw Cami pull Tara aside, also noting Spike not far from the Wiccan before Tara said something to him and he walked away after sneering at her.  Buffy kept her distance. 

 

~HLM~

 

“I think I get the gist of the evening, but a word of warning.  Keep your eyes on the pool players, I don’t think that’s what either of you had in mind for the night.”  Cami nodded towards the pool table in question. 

 

“Buffy can take care of herself, Cami.”  Tara’s eyes still went to the pool players. 

 

“Yeah, I noticed her out maneuvering her on the dance floor.”  Cami snorted softly.  “Every time the woman made a grab, your friend headed her off at the pass.”  Cami laughed softly at the look of surprise on Tara’s face, and nodded to say that Buffy had thwarted her efforts.  “They’re not what she needs for the first time out, Tara.”  Mentally telling her self that Tara was, but refraining from saying it out loud.  “I should have tossed their asses out earlier when they were playing with some of the women who knew what the score was.”  Cami worried her lip for a moment as she thought about the reason why she hadn’t, but the stakes had risen. 

 

Tara watched the two women talking for a moment, her eyes quickly finding the Slayer before turning back to Cami.  “What did you mean playing with the women?” 

Cami looked away, not meeting Tara’s eyes. 

 

“Cam?”  Tara gently squeezed the woman’s arm, bringing her eyes back to her. 

 

“They’re making bets.  I’ve already seen money change hands when they scored with some of the other women in here.”  Cami sighed.  “You don’t want to know what they’re using as proof, either.” 

 

Tara’s brows furrowed as she frowned, then her eyes opened wide when she thought of one way of proving it.  “Oh!” 

 

“Yeah, oh!”  Cami shook her head.  “At least they wash their hands after the proof is shown.” 

 

They both shivered with the thought. 

 

“The bet’s gone up tenfold for your friend, Tara, and they’ve expanded on the single bet to many side bets.  I don’t want to see either one of you get hurt.”  Cami wrapped an arm around Tara giving her a one armed hug.  “Just keep an eye on them.” 

 

Tara nodded.  “Thanks, Cam.” 

 

Cami shook off the thanks as they headed towards the bar.  “I feel guilty for letting them stay.” 

 

“Why did you?”  Tara raised a brow as she frowned. 

 

Cami bit her lip as she looked at Tara, sighing as she mumbled her answer as she looked away.  “I wanted to see your claws come out.” 

“What?”  Tara stopped walking and stared wide eyed at the woman. 

 

Cami groaned softly as she stopped and turned to Tara.  “Between the looks and joking back and forth, and the sparks on the dance floor…”  Cami shook her head and held out her arms.  “I know you feel something for her, Tara.  I just can’t figure out why the games?” 

 

Tara sighed and ran her hands through her hair.  “We’re just friends, Cam.  Hell, she’s Willow’s best friend.  And up until she read one of my books, she’s been as straight as they come.”  Tara rubbed her forehead.  “She doesn’t… I can’t… we…”  Tara growled in frustration as she shook her head. 

 

Cami laughed softly and wrapped an arm around Tara.  “Well, from what I’ve seen, I think she’d be willing to go home with you tonight.” 

 

Tara snorted softly and bumped her hip against Cami’s.  “Of course, it helps that we live in the same house, so chances are she will be.”  She started laughing at the look of surprise on Cami’s face, then frowned.  “Though, she may have company tonight.”  As they reached the bar, her eyes wandered to where Buffy was standing watching them. 

 

Cami smiled and shook her head as Tara looked away, mumbling as she walked away from her.  “I wouldn’t count on it being a stranger.”  Then she frowned as the guy in the black leather duster moved towards Tara. 

 

~HLM~

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