"What kind of official meeting place is this?!"
Willow kept staring in front of her. In fact, she had been doing so for the last fifteen minutes. She just couldn't believe it. Maybe Angel had been wrong. It was the only logical idea. The master of Los Angeles had given her the wrong address. She picked up her cell phone and dialed the number he'd given her before she left.
"Wolfram and Hart, how may I direct your call?"
"Hum, yeah, I'd like to speak with Angel... just Angel."
"Just a minute please."
Willow rolled her eyes when some cheesy music started. She smirked to herself, thinking about the stuck up British ex-watcher choosing a tune for the waiting line.
"Angel's office. How may I help you?"
Silence. She knew that voice. She was sure of it. "Harmony?" she guessed.
"Willow? Is that you? Oh my God! How have you been?"
The redhead squirmed. "You know, the usual: went nuts, tried to destroy the world, went sane again, saved the world. Just a regular Tuesday."
She frowned. The blond vampire actually sounded nervous. It made her feel good, in an evil sort of way. "Really. But don't worry. I won't flay you alive."
"Good. Hum, did you want to talk to Angel?"
"I'd like that."
"Angel! Willow's on the phone!"
The redhead winced and put some distance between her ear and the cell phone. She heard some grumbling before Angel picked up the phone. He sounded desperate.
"Hi, Willow. Do you have any news for me?"
"Not yet. Actually, I called to make sure you gave me the right address."
"Why? This one's not good?"
"Angel, I'm standing right outside a male strip club called Guilty Pleasures. Does it sound like a regular place to meet the ambassador from another vampire master? ‘Cause if it is, you can already forget ever asking me to help you regarding political matters again, especially undead ones."
The dark haired vampire sighed and the witch almost laughed. Almost. "Willow, it's the right place. Jean-Claude is quite peculiar."
She rolled her eyes. "Vampires," she muttered. "Alright, Angel. I'll call as soon as I have news." She hung up on the new boss of Wolfram and Hart and braced herself, prepared to face the music.
She walked at a fast pace to the front door and headed straight for the front of the waiting line where the bouncer was, a vampire by the looks of it. She dropped one layer of her shields for a second so he would know she was a being of power, then she put it back up. His eyes narrowed and he nodded slightly. Willow nodded back in silent thanks. They hadn't spoken a word, but the message was clear. She was here to meet the Master of St. Louis and not some male stripper.
When she stepped inside the club, a wave of primal energy hit her shields. Some customers were humans and others were weres. But the staff was all shifters and vampires. It was distracting, so much energy... and gorgeous specimens of the male species. She spotted a red haired vampire standing at the bar, his green eyes staring right at her. She walked over to him, knowing it was strange to meet someone that looked like he could be your relative. "I need to talk with your master," she whispered. "I come here at the request of the Master of Los Angeles." The vampire nodded and walked to a table in the shadows.
Two vampires were sitting there, both powerful. One had long golden hair that hid half of his face and striking pale blue eyes. Shadows seemed to cling to his body, as if he was made of them. The other one was the exact opposite. He had shoulder length black hair with deep blue eyes. He wore an open shirt, revealing the cross-shaped burn on his chest. Unlike his 'friend', he had no problem exhibiting his body. She extended her senses. While both the vampires had waves of energy coming off of them, only one screamed 'master'. She approached him slowly, chin up but keeping her eyes down. She nodded politely to the golden haired vampire before bowing to the Master of St. Louis. "I present myself. I am Willow Rosenburg, special envoy by the Master of Los Angeles. I wish to spend some time in your city and, of course, would like to discuss matters regarding the possibility of an alliance with Angelus from the Aurelian bloodline."
Jean-Claude nodded back respectfully. "Welcome to St. Louis, Willow Rosenburg. You have permission to stay in town for the duration of your diplomatic mission. This is Asher, my second in command," he said, pointing to the blond vampire sitting beside him. He stood up. "Come. We should discuss your master's orders in a more private place then a strip club, don't you think?"
Just by the tone of his voice, she could tell that he was greatly amused, probably because he had already figured out her first reaction upon seeing where he was. She followed him to the back of the club, Asher following closely behind her. A car was waiting outside and the three of them got inside. The car started and left Guilty Pleasures for the power central of St. Louis, the Circus of the Damned.