Willow sat at a table in the Magic Box. Robert was next to her. She held tightly to his hand. All Giles
had told them was that Jarod had showed up. They were waiting for everybody to show up so that Giles wouldn't
have to tell the story more than once.
"How are you holding up?" Robert asked Willow quietly.
"A little frightened, but I'll be okay." She responded.
"I'm not going to let anything happen to you, Willow." Mr. Lyle was thrilled, but a little nervous. This
would be the greatest test that his deception would face. He was positive that Jarod wouldn't be able to get
to Willow, but he knew he had to be on guard. Not only did he have to make sure nothing messed up his hold on
Willow, he also wanted to catch Jarod. He wanted to get him on his own, but if worse came to worse he'd call
in the sweepers. If he had to, he'd even get his sister and Sydney out here.
"Thank you, Robert. I know that with you and the others looking out for me, this Jarod guy won't be able
to hurt me." Part of Willow almost wanted Jarod to find her. She wanted to confront the man who was trying
to hurt the guy she loved. But Willow knew better than to tell anyone else that. They would freak out.
Although her magic had gotten pretty strong, and she knew she could defend herself, her friends still worried
about her a lot.
A few minutes later the rest of the gang had all arrived. Giles told them about his encounter with Jarod. He kind of down played jumping over the counter and practically assaulting the man, but Buffy called him on it.
"You went all Ripper on him, didn't you?" she asked.
Giles got a little red and looked down at the floor.
Xander grinned and patted his back. "Way to go G-man!"
Giles removed his glasses and began cleaning them on his shirt. "Well, I may have lost control a little bit," he said, stammering slightly.
Willow smiled at him. "Thanks, Giles. It's nice to know that you care that much. I just hope that you managed to scare the guy away for good."
Mr. Lyle sighed. "I hope so too, darling. But I doubt that he did. Jarod is a very determined guy. He'll stop at nothing to hurt me, and it looks like he's decided that the best way to do that is to hurt you. I just hope he doesn't know what a powerful witch you are."
Willow furrowed her brow. "Why would that matter? Wouldn't it make him wary of coming after me?"
"No, it make him want to get you even more. He'd want to exploit your power."
Spike was watching Robert closely, studying his face, trying to figure him out. There was something that was bothering Spike, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Then it hit him. When Robert talked about the possibility of Willow being hurt, his heart beat didn't change. Normally he wouldn't have been able to pick that out in a group of people this big. But everyone else's pulse rate shot up a little when the subject of Willow being hurt was mentioned, even Anya's rose. But through all the confusion of many different pulses racing, there was one that stayed steady through it all. Mr. Lyle's, the person who should be the most concerned. After all, he was talking about the woman he loved being hurt. Spike knew that something was up. He just hoped he could figure out what before anything bad happened.