Before anyone happened to look over and find a group of people staring at them from the window, the women turned away.
"We should go over there and talk to them. It is the neighborly thing to do," Anya began, eager to check the place out. "So, who's with me?" She looked around for any takers.
Tara meekly raised her hand and shrugged when her girlfriend looked at her. "I'm curious," she said with a quick glance toward the window.
"I guess it couldn't hurt," Buffy said, curious as well.
"But we have customers." Willow looked around the restaurant, "Okay, a customer."
"I'll stay and watch the counter," Faith said although she also wondered about the kind of merchandise the store carried and sold.
"What if the kitchen burns down while we're over there?" The manager asked, nervously.
"Oh, geez," Anya huffed. "Look, Tara and I will go," she said, taking the blonde's hand. "We'll go see what's the what, get the skinny, the dirt, the-." Buffy lightly touched the cashier's shoulder.
"We get the point," the cook said with a nod. Before Willow or anyone could protest, Anya had nearly dragged the blonde out of the door.
"Just to let you know," Anya leaned over and spoke nonchalantly as they crossed the street, "if these people turn out to be crazy, you're on your own."
Tara stopped, her eyes widening. "W-What do you mean?" She asked, watching the other blonde continue toward the store.
"I'm merely saying that if something happens, I can't be held responsible." Anya said, holding the door open before entering the store.
"God, this place looks like my grandmother's living room." Anya fiddled with ceramic doll and surveyed the cluttered walls as Tara entered behind her. "All they need is a statue of her dead cat Noodles, and some plastic couch-covers."
Every possible knickknack in all of California seemed like it had been packed into the room and spread along the walls. Rows of bookcases with jam-packed shelves aligned the back and sides of the small store and several boxes had been left out on the floor.
"These people are a bunch of freaks. Look at this," she held up a wax carving of an eyeless face.
Nervously, Tara looked around, "Maybe we should go. What if we're not supposed to be here?"
"The door was unlocked," Anya said, setting the wax head down and moving onto another strange object. "Besides, if they ask... you can say you were looking for the bathroom."
"Me?" Tara squeaked.
"May I help you girls with something?"
Tara shrieked even louder upon hearing the voice behind her. The speaker, a woman in her mid-thirties, smiled at the girls. "Sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you."
While the blonde waitress stumbled for words, Anya chose the moment to speak up. "We were- actually, my friend here was looking for the restroom." She shrugged at Tara as if to say it was her best excuse.
The woman looked at Tara, who resembled a deer in the headlights, and pointed down the corridor. "It's the last door to your left." Tara muttered a "thank you" and hurried in the direction of the restroom.
While Tara rushed toward the bathroom, Anya took the chance to study the woman whom she guessed was either the owner or an employee. "So, what exactly is this place? There wasn't a sign on the door."
The woman turned back toward the curious blonde. "We sell renovated art," she said and looked, admiringly, around the store.
"Renovated art? Isn't that just a fancy way of saying recycled junk?" Anya asked, tactlessly.
Chuckling a little, the staff member shook her head, "We carry unique items. Although, I suppose that some would consider them 'junk'." She picked up a turquoise encrusted mask and ran her fingers over the painted beads.
Anya raised a lip and frowned at the object but was quiet as Tara rejoined them.
"That's really beautiful." The blonde whispered and admired the mask.
Nearby, Anya shook her head. "Figures," she muttered.
"We have more if you'd like to see them," the shopkeeper said, smiling when Tara nodded. Anya scowled, not at all interested in viewing classy junk.
"I have to get back to the money," she said, inching toward the door. "Scream nice and loud if you need us, Tara." Anya added before leaving the store.
Tara looked after her friend as Anya hurried across the street. "I'm Maggie, by the way," the woman said once the blonde had turned back to her. "I'll assume that you're Tara." The waitress nodded, smiling awkwardly. "Your friend's quite a girl."
"Yes, s-she is," Tara said, agreeing as Maggie showed her some of the other art pieces.
"Where's Tara?" Willow asked, wiping down the front counter while looking up at Anya.
"Oh, she's probably being chopped into itty bitty pieces by the mask-lady." The cashier said as she resumed her place next to the register.
"What?" The manager nearly yelled as her eyes shot toward the building across the street.
"She's kidding." Faith eyed the blonde, "You are kidding, right?"
"Yeah, yeah," Anya muttered, tying back her hair. "That place is a freak show, you people had me excited over nothing."
"So, what is it?" Buffy asked and leaned against the frame of the kitchen door.
"It's a decorator's nightmare." Seeing the dumbfounded expressions on her co-workers faces, Anya rolled her eyes, "Renovated art."
"Oh," Willow's shoulders slumped, having also been expecting something more interesting.
Faith glanced toward the building, "Okay, so, what's with the weird, armless statue in the window?"
"Hence the freakiness," Anya said, tapping a button and smiling when the cash register opened.
"And you left Tara there?" Willow asked, slightly nervous even though she knew Anya was exaggerating.
"Tara's a big girl... as you well know," the blonde cashier said with a cheeky smile. The manager blushed, but kept her annoyed expression. "Oh, relax," Anya went on, "she's probably over there buying you some animal made from tuna cans or something equally disturbing."
As expected, Tara returned a few moments later carrying a brown shopping bag.
"What'd you get?" Anya asked, rounding the counter and trying to peek into the bag. "Is it missing a face?" She frowned in disgust and backed away a little.
"What?" The blonde frowned as well and looked into her bag on impulse.
"Anya seems to think you've been shopping at the local mortuary," Buffy said and smiled at the cashier.
"Sure, I'm the crazy one." Anya threw up her hands. "When you find your eyeball on display at the little shop of horrors over there, don't come running to me."
Willow shook her head. "So, what did you get?" She asked, curiously.
Tara smiled and shyly dipped her head, "Stuff." She answered with a small grin.
"What kind of stuff?" The redhead inquired, inching forward. Anya muttered something under her breath, but her comments were ignored as Willow brushed up against her girlfriend.
The blonde grinned and moved closer to Willow to whisper, seductively, into the other woman's ear. "You'll find out later." Her words both puzzled and excited the manager who blushed and nuzzled her girlfriend's neck.
"Oh, geez," Anya groaned.
"Since when do you groan at public affection?" Incredulous, Buffy asked the cashier.
Anya sighed, signaling the onset of a long explanation. "Xander isn't-." Before she could continue, Faith interrupted her.
The brunette held up her hand, "Is this going to another 'Xander isn't giving me orgasms' speech? Because if it is, please spare us the details this time."
"But he isn't," Anya kicked the counter and grimaced at the pain. The others motioned for her to quiet down when people looked their way.
"Maybe you should talk to him." Tara tried to calm the blonde who was obviously distraught over her lack of orgasms.
"I don't want to talk, I want to-."
"Eep, okay, new topic," Willow quickly ended the cashier's sentence. "Anya, this is not the time." She whispered to the agitated blonde. Anya scowled, but kept quiet and went back to her muttering.
"I vote for forgoing the sex talk and getting back to work," Buffy said, raising her hand. The others nodded and a reluctant Anya finally agreed after a little prompting from Tara, who made the mistake of promising the blonde she could talk to her about anything, any time she wanted.
Unfortunately, Tara had no idea how soon the blonde would take her up on her offer.