Title: Hello, Again
Author: Jinni (email@example.com)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things AB belong to Laurell K Hamilton, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Summary: #2 in the Coincidental series. Willow once again finds herself face to face with Asher.
“You are as lovely as ever, I see.”
Willow’s eyebrows rose. She leaned back against the counter, arms crossed over her chest. A soft smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. She knew that she shouldn’t let his words affect her, that he’d practiced the art of seduction for more years than she had been alive, but it was hard not to. Goddess, but the vampire knew how to strike a pose. Her eyes swept appreciatively over the tailored black pants that hugged his lower body. His shirt was velvety, a dark burgundy color that reminded her of dried blood. She swallowed, eyes returning to his face, half hidden by a shower of golden hair.
Behind that hair lurked scars that she didn’t like to think about – not so much because of their horrific appearance, but due to the pain they symbolized.
“Did you drop by just for me or was Angel expecting you?”
She asked the question, half hoping that he had come to see her specifically, and half hoping not. The way she felt about Asher was complicated, something she hadn’t yet had time to sort through. They’d only met once and she had been attracted to him. Any woman with eyes in her head would be. Some guys, too, for that matter. But he was a vampire, which mean that he was a killer at best, a torturer at worst. She’d read up on him when they had returned from St. Louis nearly a month ago, and not everything had been pretty.
Of course, that whole incubus thing had her more than a little interested. She could admit that much, at least.
Lust at first sight, that’s what it was, she’d told herself over and over again, trying to rid her mind of how he had looked the last time she had seen him, so that her dreams would have nothing left to feed upon.
But she couldn’t. It was impossible to forget him. He exuded that otherworldliness that many of his kind tried to cover up. Proud to be a vampire – that was what he was. Hundreds of years worth of pride, all wrapped up in one lovely to look at package.
This is what happens when you don’t get some for a year, Willow snorted with mental irony at her situation. Even Angel and Wesley, for all that they were like brothers to her, were starting to look doable in her eyes.
And it was for that reason that she’d been dreaming of Asher, though she had no intention of letting him onto that fact. For that matter, it would be best if he just stated his business and made with the leaving so that she could go back to the endless research that had become her life. There just wasn’t enough time to date in between all of the research that had to be done on a weekly basis to avert whatever bad things were in the works in the seedy underbelly of this city. No normal guy would ever be able to understand why she couldn’t spend that much time with him. Why she had to rush off to be with her friends sometimes.
So she was stuck, in a lurch, unable to even begin to look for that happiness she so desperately wanted a piece of.
“Angel is expecting me,” he replied with a flash of perfect white teeth. The fangs were hidden. He was too old and practiced to just go around showing them off every time he opened his mouth.
“I’ll just go get him, then,” she bit off, keeping her sigh to herself. Angel could have at least warned her that Asher was going to be there. Hell, he could have warned her that he was expecting any visitors, for that matter. But, noooo. Man the front desk, Willow. Just answer the phone and greet potential clients, Willow. It’s not that hard. Sure, he could ask for a favor, but he couldn’t follow through with the making sure that she didn’t look like a fool while doing said favor part of that. Especially when it came down to a visiting ‘dignitary’ from another city. Had he brought an entourage with him? Probably. Some of those annoyingly friendly werewolves that were way too touchy feely for her tastes.
“Non,” he shook his head, blonde locks falling aside for a just a second, giving her a peek at the scars that lay on that shadowed side of his face. She fought not to avert her eyes, to squelch that sense of pain that flooded her at the sight of such injustice. “Mon ami requested that I . . .entertain you for the evening.”
She froze, her entire body stilling with this latest revelation. “He. What?”
“All work and no play makes Willow a cranky girl, I believe was the general gist of what he said.”
Her face was red, she could tell just by the way the heat was lighting her up inside. She couldn’t believe he had . . . And to just invite Asher here when he knew damn well that she’d been having issues since their last meeting . . . He’d used what he knew about her and set her up on a date, for Goddess’ sake!
Damn conniving, sneaky vampire!
She growled, slamming her hands down on the countertop.
“And it would appear that he was not incorrect in his assessment, mon Rouge.”
His Red. His frickin’ Red? She narrowed her eyes at him. Just because Angel had called him down here, without her knowledge or permission, did not mean that she was just going to roll over and go along with this. “I am not cranky.”
The corner of his mouth twitched upwards one moment before a soft chuckle filled the lobby of the Hyperion. It rolled from corner to corner and then over her skin, eliciting the most delicious goosebumps over her flesh. She shivered unthinkingly, bringing her hands up to rub at the bare skin.
“Dinner and dancing, that is all I ask.”
She wanted to say no. This couldn’t be a thing between them. She worked for a vampire, that didn’t mean she dated them. There had to be a place where she put her foot down, and this should have been it.
But it wasn’t.
Willow licked her lips and nodded, eyes on the floor. “Just this once.”
He laughed again, and this time the shivers went deeper, under the skin.
Just this once, she’d said.
Funny how she had a feeling that this was just the beginning of something that would never be contained in one harmless night of dancing.