Buffy was sipping on an iced tea when a total hottie dressed totally in black walked in. He glanced around the restaurant and Buffy's heart skipped a beat when he walked in her direction. His hair was dark brown or black and though it was worn tied back in a pony tail it was obviously long. She glanced at her watch, exactly twenty minutes had passed. He was prompt. He was also very hot with the added bonus of an incredible body. She figured he was probably in his thirties, but definitely not old.
She was not the only one who stopped what they were doing to stare at the man as he made his way through the restaurant. He was obviously used to it because he did not seem to notice any of them were looking at him. He stopped at her table and she had to check to make sure she was still breathing. "Buffy," he said in the same amused tone she had heard throughout her life.
"It's my mother's fault," she said simply, her eyes closed at the idea that this guy thought she was a joke.
"Hey." He gave her what she was sure was supposed to be a casual shrug, but there was nothing casual about him and took a seat across from her. He set a flip phone on the tabletop along with his keys and stared at her for a moment. "You need some help."
"Yes," Buffy said, setting her glass on the table.
"You're not much for talking, are you?"
"I can be."
"All right," she said. Evidently, now was not one of those times. "I'm looking for a girl who has apparently been causing some problems."
Buffy arched a brow and stared at him for a moment. "Please don't tell me you're one of those men who think women can't do anything."
"I wouldn't think a girl could do the damage you're talking about."
"You don't need to think. Giles isn't paying you to think, he's paying you to help me find this girl." Buffy was not sure why she was getting so defensive, but felt the need to prove herself for some reason.
His eyes met hers and he said nothing for a moment. She was afraid he was going to get up and go, but he nodded his head simply as if she had passed some test she did not know she was taking. "Good point. Leads?"
"Just the parks. Are there cemeteries around here?"
"We have them."
"Well, I'll need to see the parks and the cemeteries. The cemeteries after sunset," she clarified.
"You want me to take you to cemeteries at night?"
"You have a problem with that."
"No," he said with an amused smile on his face.
The waitress came with Buffy's food. "Can I get you anything?" Buffy took her fork and realized it would be rude to eat in front of him if he was going to eat.
"No, thanks," Ranger said. He stood, glancing at his watch. "I'll meet you back here at five thirty. That will give me time to get a crew together for some nighttime surveillance. Eat before I get here."
A crew? He was getting a crew together to find one girl? Maybe Giles did know what he was doing after all. A crew instead of two people would definitely be nice. Then again, she had no idea what kind of crew he was getting together and how many people would be in this crew. For all she knew, his idea of a crew would be one man beside him. She doubted that somehow, he seemed pretty serious about his business. "What am I supposed to do in the meantime?"
"Do whatever Buffy's do during the day," he said.
"Hey, that's not fair," she said despite the fact he had already begun walking away. He came to a stop and glanced over his shoulder at her. The look in his eyes accompanied by a smile that had probably caused women to stop in their tracks made her blush. She realized that might have been the point. "Oh boy," she whispered, debating about calling Giles and telling him that she would do this without Ranger's help.
She finished eating and left the restaurant, squinting into the afternoon sun. "What would a Buffy do in Trenton?" she asked and spied a salon not too far from Applebee's. "Get her nails done? Sure, why not," she said, answering her rhetorical question.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com