As Tara took her place on the front door, she had to fight to keep from shaking. Being Los Angeles, it wasn't cold, not even in December but the fear - the greatest fear - of the unknown caressed her senses.
Willow stepped into the cool evening and grinned. "I'm just going to have a look around, make sure the coast is clear." she whispered, slipping her arm carefully around Tara's waist before stepping out into the night.
Alone on the door, Tara felt just that, alone. As Willow's red head bounced out of sight, the feeling of being totally alone consumed her.
Glancing up and down the street, Tara saw no one and relaxed slightly. Almost as soon as she'd left, Willow was back, smiling and whistling as she turned the corner. "All clear!" she announced as she reached Tara's side again. Placing a delicate kiss on the blondes cheek, Willow stepped back into the small coat check area and took a seat in the shadows where she could see the inside of the club and also keep an eye on the door and her beloved Tara.
As a steady stream of people made their way to the club, Tara found herself relaxing into the job she knew so well. By 10 o'clock, she had almost forgotten entirely about her stalker and the ravishing redhead sat only feet away from her, watching her back and keeping her safe.
Almost as if he knew how relaxed she had become, a blue Ford Taurus rolled past the front of the club and into the car park. From her vantage point, it was Willow who noticed the car and took to her feet, joining Tara at the front door.
"All ok?" Willow asked quietly as she reached Tara's side.
The blonde nodded, "Yeah, its gonna be a busy night!" Tara replied, still blissfully unaware of the presence of the man who had made her skin crawl and her heart race - not in a good way either.
Willow watched as the man exited his car and sat on the bonnet before lighting a cigarette and watching the goings on at the front of the club.
Suddenly all hell broke loose inside the club and Tara's radio burst into life. "T! Red! Get in here and gimme a hand!" Snake sounded more than a little fraught and they could barely hear her over the screaming and shouting in the background.
Without another word, both women dived into the club to aid Snake.
With his intended target out of sight, the man took his chance and crossed the car park and slipped, unseen into the club and straight into the toilets.
As Willow and Tara emerged onto the main dance floor, Snake was struggling to keep three women from beating each other half to death. She already had a black eye forming rapidly and a large cut across her cheek. Wading into the fray, Tara and Willow each grabbed one of the other women and escorted them firmly to the front door.
Their argument amongst themselves quickly died out when they realised that they were being removed and the joined forces to try and attack Tara, Willow and Snake, their efforts failing dismally as each woman kept a secure, professional hold on them.
As the women were removed, their argument flared up once again and they began arguing amongst themselves as they headed off down the street.
Tara returned checking IDs and allowing, or turning people away and Willow's gaze returned to the beat up blue Taurus. To her horror, the man who had been stood there only minutes before had vanished. Scanning the queue quickly she saw no sign of him. 'Shot', she thought and excused herself to check the blind side of the building.
After seeing no one, she returned to the door where Tara was still smiling at the clientele. As she returned to the door, Willow's cell phone burst into life and she reached quickly for it.
"Rosenberg." she snapped, her irritation at losing sight of the man was evident on her tone and she tapped her foot impatiently as she waited for the person on the other end of the phone to respond.
"Red. That car is registered to one Colin Destrada." Riots tone was heavy and serious and Willow new that whatever he had found out wasn't good.
"What's he got?"
"String of violent attacks, done time for rape and assault and battery. Nothing outstanding."
Willow's heart sank. Without something solid, she couldn't arrest him, do nothing but let his wander about until he made his move. "Ok, cheers Joey." she replied.
"Red, is everything ok?" the young mans tone was full of concern and she could almost hear him putting on his shoes in case she wanted him to help out.
"Can you come down to the club?" she asked eventually, "He was here but I lost visual." she admitted reluctantly.
"Consider me there!" he replied and Willow instantly heard his motorcycle starting up before he put the phone down.
As Willow slipped the phone back into her pocket, she noticed Tara staring at her. "Willow, what's wrong?" she asked, glancing nervously around.
Forcing a grin, Willow shook her head. "Nothing Tara, everything's fine." the redhead lied.
Smiling weakly, Tara nodded and continued her job although her eyes seemed more intent on searching the crowd and surrounding gloom than noticing the people stood right in front of her.
All of ten minutes later, Riots bike came to a halt outside the club. "Hey ladies!" he greeted them cheerfully, "Everyone behavin'?" His trademark cheeky grin spread widely over his face and dancing in his eyes.
Willow grinned back, "Riot, this is Tara, Tara, Riot." she introduced them formally despite their having met previously she couldn't recall them actually being introduced. "Tasty!" Riot whispered.
Tara waved him in and, after a quick chat with Willow, he disappeared into the club to see if he could find Colin. Returning to Tara's side, Willow felt her body go into work mode and her easy going, carefree posture was replaced with something much harder. Her face set solidly, her eyes cold and steely as she eyed every person suspiciously. Even the soft and gentle curve of her shoulders seemed sharper and more dangerous.
From inside the club, the music had slowed dramatically and Tara knew she was in for a bit of peace as the traditional 'love hour' began. Casually she wondered how a nightclub as big and with the reputation of the 'Flying Handbag' could get away with playing nothing but slow and soppy songs for an entire hour without emptying the club. After all, it was the loud and fast drumbeats that drew almost all of their clientele but very few people left during that hour and it always seemed to go down really well.
From behind her, Tara heard a woman scream and both she and Willow turned to see what had caused such an ear piercing outcry. As they turned, the world seemed to flip into slow-motion. Colin had emerged from the toilet and was less than four feet away from them when he had pulled from his jacket a large and sharp kitchen knife, it was this that had led the woman to scream out in fear. Willow's instincts kicked in and she was coming from Tara's right to intercept.
Everything went silent, frozen in her fear, the only thing Tara could hear was the too cheerful tones of a Fleetwood Mac track.
Once again she steals away
As Colin thrust the knife in her direction, Tara felt a sharp impact and fell backwards at the same time, Willow crashed to the ground at her feet. From over the groaning form of the redhead, Tara could see Riot tackling Colin and bringing him to the ground, reading him his rights as they hit the floor.
As Riot applied handcuffs to the stunned and winded man, Tara's hands reached for her stomach where she expected to feel the warm wetness of her blood and, when she didn't she stared quizzically at her hands.
The moans of the redhead snapped time back to normal speed and she reached out for the woman lying on the floor clutching her stomach and in obvious distress. As she rolled the redhead onto her back, Tara was horrified to see darkness spreading out over the front of Willow's shirt.
Oohh I would bleed to love her
"Oh god Willow." Tara's head spun as she pressed over the wound in an attempt to slow the bleeding. "Someone call an ambulance." she screamed into the lobby.
Willow's eyes fluttered as she tried to fight the urge to pass out. "Willow, stay with me baby, help's on its way!" Tara told her lovingly, caressing the cheek of the woman who had, quite literally, taken the fall for her. "Will, you have to stay awake!" Tara said gruffly as Willow's eyes closed.
"Pinch her ear!" Riot yelled as he unceremoniously dumped Colin into a chair and left him under the watchful, if somewhat menacing care of Snake.
Doing as instructed, Tara pinched Willow's earlobe roughly and the redheads eyes shot open. "Ow!" she complained weakly as her eyes struggled to focus.
And once again she calls to me
"Hey." Tara offered with a half smile.
Looking up into the ocean blue depths of Tara's eyes, Willow returned her own smile. "You are beautiful!" she whispered, her following words were lost in the blaze of lights and sirens.
Oohh I would bleed to love her
With Colin bundled into the back of the police car, Riot returned to his partner, hovering over the paramedics as they worked quickly before loading Willow onto a trolley.
His hand came to rest on Tara's shoulder as she watched them work. With the professionals there, realisation had sunk in and she was shaking, tears stinging her eyes as she watched.
Somebody's got to see this through
"She'll be fine!" Riot told her, his arm coming to settle firmly and supportively around Tara's shoulders. "She's a tough cookie!"
Tara smiled weakly as she watched the paramedics load Willow into the ambulance. "Go on, go with her!" Riot told her. Meeting the eyes of the man next to her, Tara couldn't help but look surprised. "Me, why not you?" she asked, not meaning to sound ungrateful but assuming that he would want to accompany his partner. "I have to book..." Riot struggled for a vaguely polite word before continuing, "... that in at the station. He's my arrest." Riot explained. "She'll need someone with her. I'll come by later."
With that, Tara rushed across the space and leapt into the back of the ambulance, scooping Willow's hand into her own as the doors were slammed and sirens blared, ripping into the neighbourhood silence as it announced its journey to the hospital.
Oohh I would bleed to love her