Lying on her back, Willow gazed up at the canopy of the four-poster bed and thought, *WOW!* a four-poster bed! What girl didn’t dream of sleeping in a four-poster bed? Savouring the word as she said it over and over again in her mind Willow looked around at the suite, it was bigger than their entire, freakin’ apartment back home! It was all oldie-worldy dark wood panelling and deep, soft carpets that you seemed to sink into as you walked across the room and the comfy chairs and the fantastic food and the brilliant service and the…
Sighing contentedly, Willow brought her mental babble to an end and turned her head to see Kennedy’s dark hair lying on the pillow next to her. She sighed contentedly; as promised they’d arrived at the hotel early yesterday afternoon. Willow had been a little overawed as they’d walked into the reception, the porter with their luggage trailing behind them. Kennedy had been booking in when this older guy in a smart suit had approached them. He appeared to know Kennedy and called her ‘Miss Kennedy’ as he organised the staff to smooth their progress through the booking in process.
This was Mr Hall, explained Kennedy as Willow shook the man’s hand, he was the concierge and seemed to know Kennedy quite well. He wished them both a pleasant stay as he led them to the ornate elevators (no they were lifts here, Willow reminded herself) he called her ‘Miss Willow’ and told her to just call him if there was anything she needed. By this time, Willow had mostly been struck dumb or reduced to incoherent mumblings.
After a bath in a tub built for two and dinner in their room, the two young women had dressed and gone to see a show; ‘Les Miserables’ or ‘The Glums’ as Kennedy insisted on calling it. A joke which Willow didn’t fully understand, she suspected it was some sort of English joke that Kennedy had picked up on; Willow felt sure she wouldn’t really understand until she’d lived in the country for a little longer.
Whatever, she sighed as she remembered the drive back to the hotel in the black London cab; she’d been slightly put out when the Black Cab actually turned out to be maroon. They’d arrived back at the hotel in time to take a ‘night-cap’ in one of the hotel’s bars before going up to their room and going to bed. They’d kissed and cuddled for a while before drifting off to sleep in each others arms. Sighing again Willow smiled contentedly; if this was what being a ‘kept woman’ was like; then quite honestly she could stifle her concerns and happily lie back and be ‘kept’.
“Hi there,” Kennedy rolled over and kissed Willow on the lips, “how are you feeling this morning?”
“Oh,” Willow wriggled as she felt Kennedy’s hand slid over her naked body and up towards her breasts, “y’know, fine.”
“That’s good,” Kennedy smiled impishly as she moulded her body to Willow’s and started to kneed and tease Willow’s breasts.
“Oh yes,” Willow reached for Kennedy’s body but her hand was intercepted and she found herself being pushed firmly back onto the mattress.
Willow had soon realised that Kennedy liked to be ‘in charge’ during their love making. In fact, Willow had found herself being held down on more than one occasion. But, she’d found she’d liked it, she’d enjoyed the feeling of helplessness as Kennedy’s strong arms had held her hands above her head. She’d not felt frightened or anything, she’d felt more excited than she’d ever felt making love to Tara. Tara had been gentle and sweet, Kennedy was strong and forceful and to be honest more attuned to Willow’s deepest needs.
Smiling to herself, Kennedy ran her hands over Willow’s breasts; tormenting her nipples and drawing little mewing moans of pleasure from Willow’s lips. For a moment the picture of another girl came to Kennedy’s mind. Another girl who’d squirmed and writhed under her fingertips, another girl she had loved with all her heart, a girl who had…
Finding herself shuddering at the memory of what had happened; Kennedy forced the picture of that other girl from her mind. That was over, that was past, she was with Willow now; she’d loved the redhead from almost the moment she’d first seen her. When she’d arrived in Sunnydale she’d been so desperate for someone to hold on to and love. To help see her through what looked like being her last few days of life before she inevitably fell victim to the Bringer’s knives.
What had started as a desperate flirtation to fill her frantic need for love and human contact, had somehow turned into something so much more; it had surprised Kennedy more than she would ever admit. The woman in her arms was hers for life (however long or short that may be) if she just looked after her and protected her and made her scream with desire!
Gasping Willow squirmed as Kennedy worked her lips down to her breasts and started to tease her nipples with tongue, teeth and lips. She gasped as Kennedy’s hand slipped between her legs and started to gently stroke her clit. Hips beginning to move in time to Kennedy’s stroking, Willow moaned loudly as her lover’s tongue started to work its way down her ribs and over her belly. Pausing at her navel, feeling Kennedy’s tongue circle the hollow of her navel, Willow stuffed the fingers of one hand in her mouth to cut off the scream that would have been sure to have been heard all over the hotel.
Her free hand came down to caress her own breasts as Kennedy flicked her tongue into Willow’s cleft to torment her clitoris. Lights like old fashioned flash bulbs started to go off in Willow’s head as she writhed under the lash of Kennedy’s tongue. Feeling her brain being reduced to jello, no, she thought incongruently; jello is jelly and jelly is jam and…
“OH MY GODDESS!” screamed Willow as a light as bright as a nuclear explosion went off in her head as the waves of pleasure rolled over her like breakers on the seashore.0=0=0=0
“Willow!” frantically Kennedy shook Willow’s shoulders, she’d passed out and wouldn’t wake up.
Trying to calm herself down, Kennedy thought back to her school first aid classes. Watching Willow’s breast’s rise and fall, she felt for and found a pulse. Her heart rate and her breathing both seemed to be going back to a normal rate and she sighed a little in relief.
“Willow, honey,” more calmly she patted Willow’s cheeks as her lover’s eyes started to flicker open and she groaned.
“W-what happened?” mumbled Willow sleepily.
“Um,” Kennedy wasn’t sure how to put this, “um well, you er sort of…look,” there was no point beating around the bush; *hah!* Kennedy laughed to herself, beating around the bush was what’d caused all this. “Look,” Kennedy pulled Willow up into a sitting position and rested her against the pillows, “you orgasmed and passed out!”
“I what!” squeaked Willow her eyes flying wide open, “That’s never happened before!”
“Yeah,” Kennedy couldn’t help but grin, “it’s probably some weird slayer ability.”
Willow frowned questioningly at her girlfriend.
“Yeah,” Kennedy giggled quietly, “like, I’ve got the ability to render my girlfriend unconscious with just the power of my tongue!”0=0=0=0
By the time Kennedy had showered, Willow felt recovered enough to venture from the big bed. After dressing in what they both termed their ‘work’ clothes; jeans, blouses and warm pullovers they ventured downstairs for breakfast. Kennedy sneered (as she always did) as Willow picked at a little toast and marmalade; while she tucked into a full English breakfast.
“You’ll never grow up to be big and strong,” mumbled Kennedy around a mouthful of food.
“Do you want me to ‘grow up’ big and fat?” Willow sipped from her cup of lemon tea.
“Not my first choice,” agreed Kennedy, “but you worry me sometimes you hardly eat enough to keep a mouse alive.”
“So not a slayer here,” Willow replied quietly, “if I ate half of what you do I’d balloon out like the Goodyear Blimp.”
“It’s a California thing, isn’t it?” Kennedy having scrapped the pattern off her plate laid down her knife and fork neatly before patting her lips with her serviette. “I noticed Buffy hardly eats anything,” she put down her serviette and picked up her tea cup, “that’s obviously why she’s so skinny and hasn’t got any boobs.”
“Kennedy!” Willow scowled across the table, “Don’t talk like that, Buffy’s my friend.”
“Well,” conceded Kennedy, “you know what I mean, and have you noticed how her breath stinks these days?”
“I’m sure I haven’t,” Willow replied gazing out over the dinning room and not at her partner.
“Then,” Kennedy reached across the table and took one of Willow’s hands in her own, “I’ll just have to explain it to you tonight…just before I knock you out again!”0=0=0=0
Finishing breakfast the two women went back to their room picked up everything they thought they’d need for the day and headed on back down stairs. Much to her surprise, Willow found that Mr Hall already had a cab waiting for them, wishing them a good day he closed the door and watched as they started out for south London.0=0=0=0Flat block
Of two dimensions
Neon totem pole to the sky
Keeping scores of people stacked up so high.
Battersea, or South Chelsea as people had started to try and call it was a strange place to Willow’s eyes. The area they were heading for was south of the river and just south of Battersea Park. Overlooking the park was a row of tall Victorian apartment blocks that overshadowed the park like a great cliff. Willow could tell they were expensive places to live by all the nice new cars parked in the streets outside.
Only a few streets over everything changed; the buildings were again Victorian, but they were lower and not as well maintained and generally gave off an air of down at heel shabbiness that she found quite depressing. Turning another corner she saw them; tall faceless concrete blocks rising into the cloudy grey sky and above them all stood the twenty story edifice that was their target.
Stopping outside the block, Kennedy climbed out of the cab and paid off the driver. Willow stepped out into the cold, grey winter air and shivered as she clutched her shoulder bag tightly to her chest. Looking around she saw a grubby pedestrian precinct with cracked paving slabs and over-full rubbish bins. There were a few shops open; a liquor store (or an ‘off licence’ as they called them here), a newsagents and a shabby little corner shop selling cheap tinned food and limp looking fruit and vegetables. There were maybe half a dozen more shops, but they were all long closed down and now stood behind graffiti daubed metal shutters.
“Crappy isn’t it?” Kennedy came over and stood protectively near Willow.
“How can people live like this?” intellectually, Willow knew there were far worse places in Los Angeles; but what made it worse to her eyes was the greyness of the surroundings and the old people who shuffled by giving them fearful and suspicious glances.
“Don’t know any better I supposed,” Kennedy shrugged her shoulders; it wasn’t that she didn’t care it was just that she didn’t know what to do about it so she tried not to think about it, life was too short.
“But…” Willow opened her mouth to speak but Kennedy cut her off.
“Please don’t go into one, Willow,” she frowned not wanting to hear an impromptu sociology lecture, “we’ve got a job to do, okay?” Pointing over to the big block, Kennedy took Willow tightly by the hand and led her across the uneven paving stones. “Look,” Kennedy said quietly as they hurried across the open area and passed the shops, “keep hold of my hand and don’t wander off, okay?”
“Yes, mom,” Willow grinned as Kennedy gave her a sharp look.
“Yeah, okay,” admitted Kennedy loosening her grip on Willow’s hand but not letting go, “so I’m getting all paranoid,” she shrugged and gestured at their surroundings, “but are you surprised?”
“No,” agreed Willow just as she caught sight of someone who appeared to be waiting for them outside the door to the tower block, “hey, y’think that’s, like our contact?”0=0=0=0
Mrs Allen was a tall, middle aged, black woman with a permanently sad expression on her face. Having worked for social services for the last twenty or so years she felt she’d seen about the worse that people could do to their families or partners. When she’d been given the case files for Cavendish House she’d had to reassess her point of view. The place frightened her, there was no other word for it; it radiated despair and fear. At first she just thought it had been the usual inner city deprivation that could be found on any council estate; but she’d seen things. She’d seen things that had made her blood run cold, horrible murderous things that haunted her dreams even when she was tucked up safe at home in her bed miles away. It’d got so bad it’d started to influence her relationship with her husband and children, at one point she’d even considered suicide.
Then on one particularly bad day, she’d remembered Rupert Giles from her days at university. Rupert Giles, the tall bookish guy with a past. Rupert Giles, who knew rather too much about the occult and the generally weird than she thought was good for him. Rupert Giles who’d been in that American town that’d sunk into the ground back in ’03; Rupert Giles who was living up in Cleveland with a lot of Americans from California.
Knowing that Cleveland had a reputation that rivalled Cavendish House for the weird; it hadn’t been the work of a day to track Giles down and find his telephone number. Mrs Allen had called him; at first he’d sounded suspicious and it was fairly obvious he couldn’t remember her (although he’d never let on, he was far too polite to do something like that). He’d become more interested as she’d explained the things she’d seen and heard. After she’d sent him some of her old case files he’d promised to send someone to look into things for her. Now here they came, two women who looked far too young to be of any help to her, obviously Mr Giles didn’t fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation.
“Ms Rosenberg? Ms Scarpone?” Mrs Allen held out her hand in greeting.
“Hi,” Willow stepped forward and smiled, “that’s us, Mr Giles sent us.”
“Yeah,” Mrs Allen shook both the young women’s hands, “I could tell,” she saw the questioning look on the red head’s face, the brunette was too busy watching the surrounding buildings to notice what was being said. “Look,” Mrs Allen pursed her lips, “you’re both well dressed, confident looking and are obviously not prostitutes, you gave yourselves away!”
“Oh,” the red head looked vaguely disappointed, which made Mrs Allen smile.
“Look,” Mrs Allen sighed tiredly, “I think there’s been some mistake, I asked Mr Giles for help, I was really expecting someone older and…”
“More experienced?” Kennedy stopped scanning for danger and turned to look at the Afro-Caribbean woman, “I can assure you there’s no one more experienced than Willow.”
“What about you?” Mrs Allen asked, “Are you experienced?”
“Don’t worry,” Willow spoke up, “Kennedy’s having a rare case of modesty. Giles wouldn’t have sent us if he didn’t think we could deal. Shall we take a look inside?”
As Willow gestured towards the door of the block, Kennedy started to sense danger; something was coming towards them very fast. Turning she watched the precinct for approaching danger ready to fight. There was nothing there, but the slayer in her was still telling her that death was approaching them very, very quickly. Death? Thought Kennedy, how could…she looked up to see something big and black plummeting towards them.
Yelling an incoherent warning, Kennedy dived for Willow wrapping herself around her lover’s body trying to get as much of herself between Willow and danger as she could. Feeling the vibration of whatever it was smashing into concrete paving slabs behind her, she heard Willow screamed as Kennedy bore her to the ground. Suddenly, Kennedy found herself being splashed by something warm and wet.
Staring down into Willow’s frightened eyes; Kennedy climbed off her and clambered to her feet. She saw the flecks of red goo that spread out from the starfish shaped pile of human remains that oozed across pavement only three or four yards away. Looking down at her hands she saw lumps of red gore stain her skin, she knew that her back would be covered in the same stuff.
Glancing at Willow she saw gobbets of flesh and blood clinging to her face and hair, Willow’s mouth was open as she tried to say something, but no words came out, but she pointed at the remains of the human bomb that had so nearly killed them both. It was only when Kennedy could drag her eyes away from Willow’s that she realised the attack hadn’t been a complete failure. Sticking out from under the pile of red mush were Mrs Allen’s legs.Starfish
Of human blood shape
Tentacles of human gore
Spread out on the pavement from the 99th floor…0=0=0=0