Still gasping for breath, I nod, "Starved."
As one, we turn and limp out of the warehouse, past the wreckage and the abandoned bodies Kakistos and his lackeys sucked dry before their untimely demise. My whole body is thrumming. I know I've just had the shit kicked out of me, but I can barely feel the bruises, much less the ground under my boots. Slaying always gives me a buzz, but this is unreal.
I just didn't expect to come out of this one alive. Wouldn't have, if it weren't for Buffy. I glance over at her, striding along in tandem, face alight with triumph, head held high. B is for beautiful - this girl is a goddess. But a guarded one - back stiff, boots ringing sternly on the pavement. More uptight than a cat in a rocking chair factory.
That's okay, though. In the beginning, I thought that B was for bitch, and cursed myself for coming to Her Unsympathetic Slayerness with my problems, but she really came through in the end.
My stomach growls, and I press myself with both hands to settle it down. "I could really go for some ribs right now, how 'bout you?"
"Ribs?" Buffy echoes doubtfully, crinkling her nose as if I'd suggested we chow down on some chocolate-covered caterpillars.
"Yeah. What'sa matter, B, you face bloodthirsty demons every night but you're scared off by a little cholesterol? Come on, live a little. There's nothing better than tearing that juicy meat off the bone with your teeth after a good slay." I let my eyelids flutter suggestively downward and then give her a slow wink. "Well, *almost* nothing."
B surprises me: she flushes, but instead of thinning her lips like the uptight little priss she seemed on our first meeting, she licks them, apparently completely unaware of how wanton that little gesture makes her look. With her golden hair disheveled, falling out of its clip, her eyeliner smudged, and her chest still heaving with deep, rapid breaths, she could be sitting up in bed, trying to pull the pieces of herself back together after a really good fuck. I get a deep down flutter at the thought.
"I know a place we can go," she says.
Ruby's Diner is just what you'd expect from this part of town, garish neon lettering with gaps, peeling paint, counters that are none too clean. But I don't care what health codes they're breaking as long as the service is prompt and the portions large. Buffy picks a booth and I squeeze in next to her, forcing her to scoot down towards the window.
Our waitress has a nametag, "Brenda," pinned to the blouse that strains over her enormous breasts and belly. Her lipstick is on crooked and her cheap pantyhose can't entirely hide the varicose veins. But bearing a huge platter heaped with succulent ribs and greasy fries, she's the most wonderful sight in the world.
B is fun to watch - she tries so hard to eat daintily at first, sawing at the bones with knife and fork, snagging the fries with her fingertips, but pretty soon the slaying munchies kick in and she starts doing some serious damage, hunched over her meat like a small, fierce animal.
Normally I'd be elbow deep in barbecue sauce by now, but sitting next to B is a little distracting. Her hip is warm against mine and presses into me when she shifts in her seat. Every so often, we reach for the food at the same time and electricity crackles between our skins. Makes it hard for me to focus on the food when I'm in the grip of the other hunger, that down-low itch that's begging to be scratched raw. And then there's this other feeling, less familiar, that's somehow less about sex and more about needing to be next to her.
Still, between the two of us, we demolish the pile of artery-clogging goodness and finally lean back, our stomachs distended. I let out a satisfied belch. B doesn't exactly applaud, but she doesn't do the disapproving frown thing, either. This gives me the courage to try to wipe the spot of sauce from the corner of her mouth. Of course, my hands aren't any cleaner than B's face, so I only succeed in smearing it.
"You got somethin' on your face," I tell her.
"I think that would be your thumb," she says archly, but she doesn't pull away.
"Sorry," I shrug, still slowly stroking her cheek. "Sometimes my hands got a mind of their own."
She ducks her head suddenly, catches my thumb in her mouth. Her face has this funny look, half fear, half suppressed desire. I shiver at the swirl and tug of her tongue.
"Not here," I say, my hoarse voice surprising both of us. "Let's go wash our hands." I break away and slide out of the booth, and she joins me, puzzled but obedient. There's a restroom door half-hidden in a dark corner, and I gesture for her to go ahead.
The bathroom is empty. I follow close behind Buffy and immediately slide the bolt home. She turns away from the sink with a quizzical frown. When I step closer, she swallows hard, eyes widening, but doesn't back away. She's licking her lips again, not noticing. Even under the single dim bulb, her eyes look lushly green and unnaturally bright.
Without taking my eyes from her face, I reach for her wrist, delicate as spiders' silk and stronger than steel. She's wearing this glossy coral colored nail polish that gleams like candy under the drying barbecue stains. I hold her hand against my mouth for a moment and then slowly slide my lips around the tip of her index finger. The sauce is tangy on my tongue, underlaid with the salt of her skin.
B's breathing quickens, betrayed by the rise and fall of her narrow chest. Her arm is trembling between us like an untrustworthy bridge. I run the fingers of my free hand lightly from her wrist to her elbow, to her bare shoulder, to the sharp shadow under her jaw. When I drop her hand, it drifts down to catch on my hip.
I want to give her something, and this is all I have.
I ain't that tall, and I've never kissed anyone shorter than me before. But I like the feeling of dominating her with my height and weight, tilting her head up with the faintest pressure of my fingers, backing her against the grimy tiled wall. Knowing that this slim, fragile-looking girl could shatter my arm without breaking a sweat only adds to my excitement.
The inside of her mouth tastes exactly like mine, so that when our tongues entwine, I can't tell where she leaves off and I begin.
Her stomach is ridiculously flat. I press up against her, the thin fabric of her halter top all that separates my belly from the heat of her skin. B's arm snakes around my waist and begins tentatively sliding up the small of my back.
Still kissing her, I let go of her face and hook my fingers into the waistband of her pants. A few seconds of struggle with the sticky zipper and I'm cupping her over her panties, warm and damp in my hand. B mewls against my teeth and jerks a little in surprise as I press her button gently through the cotton with the heel of my hand.
I distract her by tracing the tender curve of her ear, grazing the lobe lightly with my teeth, and she sighs and clutches at me as I slip my fingers under the elastic. She's hot and wet as an East Coast summer, and groans when I start drawing slippery circles around her clit with my fingertip.
Pretty soon, I have to pull back a little to enjoy the expression on her face. Her mouth is half open, her breath hitching in a half-gasp with every revolution below. With her eyelashes lying against her cheeks and her collarbones jutting between the spaghetti straps of her top, she looks like a twelve-year-old.
A twelve-year-old getting a hand-job in a dirty diner restroom.
She's really close now. I catch the short, sharp intake of breath and clamp my free hand over her mouth just in time; Buffy bites into my palm as she comes, shuddering convulsively against my fingers. Tears leak from the edges of her eyes, scrunched shut against the violence that wracks her.
When she opens them, they are faraway and full of wonder. As her breathing slows back to normal, she gazes unseeing at a spot somewhere beyond my left ear. There's this secretive, surprised half-smile curling the corners of her swollen lips.
All at once I realize that she hasn't really been here with *me*, and the thought hurts like an unexpected jab to the gut.
Suddenly, vigorous pounding rattles the door, and Buffy jumps away from me like a scalded cat. My fingers snag in her pants, jerking her off balance so that she stumbles and nearly falls; I grab her arm to steady her, and her skin is hot to the touch, molten gold ready to be poured into a mold.
"You done yet? What's going on in there?"
Buffy is brick red and mute with embarrassment, so it's up to me to holler out, "Just a second." I extricate myself and wash my hands while she fumbles with her fly. Then Buffy takes my place at the grimy sink as I slide the bolt back on the door.
Our waitress pokes her head in with a formidable frown. "Thought maybe one a' you fell in."
I give her my sweetest smile. "Sorry about that. You know how those ribs get stuck in your teeth." It's a ridiculously obvious lie when the sharp smell of female musk lingers in the air, but "Brenda" just nods and waddles past us into the restroom. Buffy is staring at me with her eyebrows climbing into her hair, so I grab her hand and pull her out of there before she can find her voice and produce something incriminating.
"Oh, so that's what you were doing," Buffy deadpans as we duck out of the diner, "checking out my teeth." Her arms swing saucily under her coat and her hips hang loose. B's cork has been popped, and the difference is like that of dry powder and Jell-O. She's sauntering along like some stupefying burden has been lifted from her shoulders.
I toss a sidelong grin at her, breaking into a jog. "Beat the hell out of nonfat yogurt, though, didn't it?" But my carefree attitude is only skin deep. My meal hangs heavy in my belly, but the hollow feeling gnaws at me worse than ever.
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