Return to Food For Thought Chapter Thirty-Five

Food For Thought

Author: Onyxsundrops
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters, they belong to Joss and M.E.

"Ooh, mail," Buffy smiled, pulling a white envelope from the restaurant's small mailbox. It was the first piece of mail they'd received since opening and the blonde cook was both excited and cautious. "It's from the health department." She frowned, opening the letter as she leaned against the window, waiting for Willow to unlock the door.

"They've scheduled us for a mandatory inspection," Buffy continued, her frown deepening.

"What?" Willow struggled with her keys as the door finally swung open. "But... but we haven't done anything wrong. Unless there's something you're not telling me." She frowned at her best friend.

"Don't worry," Buffy rubbed her friend's shoulder, "I always pick all of the blonde hairs out of the tuna salad." Without looking at Willow's expression she walked back into the kitchen.

"Oh, okay... wait... what?" The cook's words registered in the redhead's head.

"She's kidding," Tara gave her partner a reassuring smile. The blonde watched Buffy grinning in the small kitchen window as the cook tied a bandana over her head.

"Right, right," Willow nodded, different thoughts running through her mind. "So why do you think they're coming? Maybe someone complained," her teeth caught the corner of her lip. "Should we make a complaint box? We could put it next to the tip jar, you know, balance it out a little."

"Willow, sweetie, it's okay." Tara cradled her girlfriend's face within her hands. "We're new. They probably just want to make sure we're following the rules or codes and that we're safe for the public." She kissed the adorable pout, "Okay?"

"Okay," the redhead smiled then frowned. "Should we get uniforms? The place down the street has shirts and hats and these cute little clippy things that they wear." She gestured wildly with her hands.

"Do you honestly think," Buffy pushed through the door, having heard Willow's question, "that a few shirts and some pin thingies are going to bring in more customers? 'Cause if it is, I must be doing something wrong."

"It couldn't hurt," the manager shrugged.

"Well, you could always wear that apron Anya got you." The cook grinned, "I'm sure that'll turn some heads."

"She got you one too," Willow countered.

"Anya bought you an apron? That was really sweet of her," Tara leaned into her partner, "why don't you ever wear them?" Both Willow and Buffy stared at her as if she were crazy. "What?"

"It's a long story."

"We lost 'em."

Their responses were nearly shouted in unison. Needless to say, Tara didn't ask any more questions about Anya's gift.

Several hours later, the doorbell jingled and Faith sauntered in. "Well, Red," she flopped down on the front stool, swirling around to face Willow who stood at the counter, "looks like I might be needing that job after all." The brunette acted like it had taken all of her willpower to say so few words.

"Are you sure?" Willow quirked an eyebrow. "'Cause if you are, you're hired."

Faith nodded, gloomily, before perking. "So does this mean I get free food now?"

"Well, you can get free smells." The redhead grinned. "And they're quite tasty too," she smacked her lips, playfully teasing the other girl.

Rolling her eyes, Faith's mouth curled into a smile before she headed back to see her girlfriend. Buffy was cutting fruit when she entered the kitchen.

"You are looking at the newest employee of this here little shindig." Faith chuckled when the blonde turned and enveloped her into a hug.

"You're kidding me, right?" The cook kissed her partner before pulling back. "You got desperate, huh?" She smiled, knowingly.

"Uh...," the newcomer grinned, sheepishly.

"Well, I'll be more than happy to show you the ropes," Buffy smirked, pulling Faith in for another kiss.

"They're making out back there," Willow looked at the kitchen door for the second time. "What if the health people come and they're all... well... you know."

"I'm sure they're just-." Silverware clattered to the ground, echoing into the front of the restaurant. "I'll go check," Tara cleared her throat and hurried behind the door.

"Rough night," the redhead smiled, nervously, to a couple who looked toward the kitchen door. "They're just," a squeal came from the kitchen, "uh... rearranging... things." She busied herself with cleaning the counter and avoiding eye contact.

Tara caught an eye-full and squealed loudly when she entered the back of the kitchen. "O-Oh, sorry... sorry," she backed up. The couple wasn't into anything too heavy, but Tara couldn't shake the sound of plastic gloves in strange places. The blonde apologized fiercely until she had backed herself all the way out of the kitchen.

Buffy removed her sweaty hands from under Faith's shirt, blushing as she peeled the gloves from her fingers. "We've been busted," she laughed, stating the obvious.

"And I think we've scarred poor Tara." Breathlessly, the brunette leaned her head against the backdoor of the room.

"Well?" Willow asked when she saw her girlfriend enter the room.

"They were, uh," plastic gloves, Tara shuddered. "Cleaning." She lied halfheartedly, fearing that Willow's overloaded mind would flip-out from the truth.

The redhead frowned but shook it off and nodded as Tara joined her behind the counter. "Anything new?" The blonde waitress asked.

"N-... damn it," Willow sighed, glancing out the window, "those kids are back." She groaned, unhappily.

A few days ago, a group of teenagers had started hanging out in front of the restaurant. At first, she didn't really care, but then it became a habit.

"I'll be right back," Willow huffed. Tara watched her girlfriend as she talked with the diverse group of youths. The conversation was apparently short as the redhead walked back in with a smile on her face.

"What happened?" Tara frowned, noticing that the kids were still loitering.

"I promised them free drinks if they left and only came back as paying customers." Willow said, grabbing five plastic cups from the holder and pouring the drinks.

"So, you bribed them?"

"I negotiated." The manager smiled before heading back outside.

"Oh, look what I found."

The four girls had closed shop an hour ago and were thoroughly cleaning the restaurant. Buffy pulled out the small radio from its dusty hiding place. Blowing the speckles away, she coughed repeatedly as she wiped the remnants of dust from the silver object.

"Does it work?" Tara asked, taking the radio when Buffy handed it to her. The blonde turned a few knobs and smiled in triumph when music played through the speakers.

"Now cleaning won't be so boring," Faith said from her position atop the counter.

"Yes, and that might actually be true if you were cleaning." Willow raised an eyebrow toward the brunette. Taking her cue, Faith hopped from the counter and grabbed an extra broom.

When they'd finished up, Faith and Buffy began inching toward the door. "We're going to take off," the cook grabbed her jacket. "Will you guys be okay here?"

"Yeah, we'll be leaving soon anyway." Willow called after the retreating figures. "They were making out, weren't they?" She turned toward her girlfriend.

Tara reddened as she lowered the last blind, "Um, maybe... just a little," the blonde faced her girlfriend, knowing that she wasn't mad from the teasing smile.

"I knew it," Willow smirked, "besides, cleaning never made that much fog on the window."

"You knew that I was lying?" Tara pouted, moving closer to the redhead. By the time Willow grinned, Tara was already on her. "I guess I'll just have to punish you for that," a wicked smile lit up her face.

"Mmm-please." Willow mumbled into the kiss. Time stopped as they explored each other, growing closer until their bodies seemed to melt together. Swaying lightly, they lost themselves, moving along with the slow rhythms on the radio.

Continue to Food For Thought Chapter Thirty-Seven

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