Here’s one for all you Buffy fans out there, and in honor of Missy’s birthday. All the usual disclaimers apply. Enjoy!


“It’s not fair. What else does she want from me – blood?” Carmine Ragusa slammed down his half-empty mug of beer, scowling.


“Some girls are so selfish,” the slender blonde across the table from him soothed.


“I followed her to California, for Christ’s sakes! Gave up my life to be near her, and what do I get?” He mimicked Shirley Feeney’s voice. “ ‘I’m not sure, Carmine. What if we’re making a mistake, Carmine?’” He switched back to his normal voice. “What if something better than you comes along, Carmine, now that’s what she really means!” He chugged back the remainder of his beer.


The blonde tossed her hair, then leaned across the table and clasped both his hands between hers. He was startled by how cold her hands were. Must have poor circulation, he thought. After all, who had cold hands out in sunny California?


“Well, I for one am glad your little Shirley friend made you so mad,” the woman cooed.


“Oh, yeah? And why’s that?”


“Because you might not have left Burbank for this little vacation otherwise. And then I might never have met you, Carmine.”


He liked the way she said his name, like she was breathing it. He also liked that she was the polar opposite of Shirley. Straight blonde hair, blue eyes, pale skin – well, that was the same – but confidant like Shirley never was. Bold, strong, aggressive even. There was no mistaking what this girl wanted from him.


Carmine grinned and said, “Why don’t we blow this joint? Take a walk or something. Show me the town.”


“Sounds good to me.” She squeezed his hand with her icy fingers and pulled him up from the table and out through the bar doors. She led him to a long alleyway behind the bar. “It’s a shortcut,” she explained when he hesitated.


“Oh, yeah? To where?”


“My place,” she whispered in his ear.


A shiver shot down his spine, mostly of anticipation. He let the blonde pull him down the alley, glancing to his left and right every so often to make sure no muggers were around. “I hope you don’t use this shortcut alone,” he cautioned. “You could get hurt.”


She shot him an enigmatic smile over her right shoulder. “I’m stronger than I look.”


A part of his alcohol-fuzzed brain was sounding a warning. You haven’t cheated on Shirley since you followed her to California. Don’t screw it up now! But the other, angrier half of his mind argued, She’s the one who put the final nail in your coffin! Turned down your proposal flat. That’s it, she gave up her right to expect any sort of fidelity then and there!  Besides, how’s she going find out about anything that goes on here in Sunnydale?


The woman stopped so abruptly that Carmine nearly slammed into her back. She spun around and grasped his shoulders, pressing him back against the brick wall of the bar that formed one side of the dark alley. Before he could say anything, her lips covered his and he nearly stopped breathing.


When she finally pulled back, he gasped. “That…wow! That was incredible!”


She batted her eyes at him. “That’s only the appetizer.” She ran her index finger over his forehead and down to his chin. Carmine closed his eyes, enjoyed the thrill of goosebumps she raised on his flesh wherever she touched him. At the same time, he felt a strange sense of weakness, like he was a fly sinking into a cup of honey. As she kissed him again, he imagined fluttering his wings one last time to escape, only to be pulled back down.


Her lips caressed his closed eyes, his cheek, tickled down over the curve of his jaw.  Just as his knees felt like they were going to give way, she whispered, “I’ve been so lonely out here. My angel left me and no one else has stimulated my interest.”


“That’s…sad,” was all he could manage. He wondered vaguely what she was talking about, but didn’t really care. So long as she kept touching him, kissing him, it didn’t matter.


“You’re so pretty,” she murmured in his ear. “So full of anger and betrayal. Maybe you could be mine now.”


Wait a minute. An alarm went off in the back of his muddled head. Though it was a struggle to put a coherent thought together, he managed to say, “I’m not looking for another girlfriend, um…?” Damn, what’s her name again?


Her lips were against his neck, tongue flickering against his flesh. He felt her hands close against either side of his head, tilting it back against the brick wall. “We’re just having fun, right?” he gasped. “I mean, I don’t want anything long-term.”


“Well, that’s a shame then,” the woman said, her voice changing from breathy seduction to something much sharper. “Because what I want is extremely long-term.”


Carmine forced his eyes open. What he saw made his blood run cold.


The blonde’s forehead was bulging and wrinkled, her brows lifted and eyes narrowed like a wolf’s. Her too-wide smile revealed unbelievably long incisors. What is she? he wondered, both fascinated and terrified. Grabbing her wrists, he tried to yank her hands away from his head and push her away, but she held on easily, slamming him back against the brick wall with stunning force. Her face swam in front of his eyes for a moment, filling his now-blurred vision.


“By the way,” she said, her mouth hovering over his exposed throat. “My name? It’s Darla.”

To Part One