indie and tango
Samantha rubbed her shoulder, glaring at her sister. “Hit me again and you lose the hand,” she promised darkly.
Joey snorted and rolled her eyes. She leaned in closer, so Giles and Jenny wouldn’t overhear. “Isn’t that Lindsey’s car?” she asked as they made their way up the front walk to the outpatient facility behind their grandparents. They were there for a group counseling session.
Samantha looked at the car. “It is,” she confirmed.
Once inside, Giles and Jenny started heading down the appropriate hallways. The girls hung back. “We’ll be there in a minute, Grandpa,” Samantha said with an innocent smile.
“Okay,” Giles replied, nodding. His expression was sober and he was deeply concerned about his daughter.
Joey and Samantha scurried around the corner to the front desk and found Lindsey loudly arguing with the receptionist. “I just want to see her,” he growled.
“I’m sorry, sir, you’re not on our list of approved visitors. You cannot see Mrs. Roarke.”
He opened his mouth to argue again when Samantha purred, “Lindsey.”
He turned around and automatically smiled. However, as they came closer, his brow furrowed. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I thought you were Buffy.”
She extended her hand, smiling. “Samantha Roarke,” she said. “Buffy’s daughter. This is my sister, Josephine.”
“Ah,” Lindsey said, but his brow was still furrowed. While he logically understood that Buffy had an eighteen year old daughter, it was clear he really hadn’t worked that one through. Her daughters were beautiful, and all grown up. It was sobering to realize Buffy had children so old. “Well, uh,” he said awkwardly, “what can I do for you?”
“Leave,” Samantha said cheerily.
It took a moment for Samantha’s words to sink in, but Lindsey bristled. “Excuse me?”
“You hurt my mother,” Samantha informed him, “and you’re trying to destroy our family.”
“Buffy’s an adult,” Lindsey countered shortly. “She’s responsible for her own decisions.”
“You’re trying to take advantage of her while she’s in a bad situation,” Samantha replied, her cheerful mask fading away.
“I don’t have to explain myself to you,” he said. “Now if you *ladies* will excuse me.”
“I have something you should see,” Samantha told him, keeping her emotions under perfect control.
Lindsey stopped his retreat and came back. Without hurrying, Samantha extracted a small envelope from her purse and handed it to him. Lindsey took the envelope and leafed through it. His posture went perfectly rigid, but he put on his best poker face. “I guess you’ve been busy,” he said.
Samantha smiled. “I show those pictures to my mother and she won’t want anything to do with you,” she told him flatly. “Walk away now and nobody ever has to know.”
“You know it wouldn’t do anything but hurt your mother if you showed her these pictures,” Lindsey replied defiantly. “I don’t think you would want to cause her unnecessary pain.”
“More pain than you would bring her?” Samantha offered. “More pain than being divorced from my dad would cause her? I don’t think so. I’m not bluffing, Lindsey. Walk away. And while the pictures of you and me might upset my mother, the ones of you and Joey could get you a very long time in prison.”
Lindsey snorted, looking at the pictures of him curled up in bed next to the obviously nude brunette. “I don’t think there’s anything illegal about two people enjoying themselves,” Lindsey told her flatly. “But nice try.”
“She’s fifteen. Think again.”
Lindsey’s head flipped around to Joey who just smiled brightly. He swallowed thickly, paling slightly.
“You could never practice law,” Samantha said darkly.
Lindsey eyed her up and down. “Remind me never to piss you off again,” he said, tipping an imaginary hat at her.
Turning, Lindsey headed for the exit. Unfortunately, at that moment a very, very irritable Angel rounded the corner, looking for his daughters. They collided, causing Lindsey to drop the envelope as the pictures scattered on the ground.
“Oh, sorry,” Angel said reflexively, dropping to his knees to pick up the pictures. As he picked them up, he glanced at them. Angel went perfectly still. His expression murderous, he looked up, his gaze landing on Lindsey.
“Oh fuck,” Joey whispered, as she watched her father slowly rise to his full height and crumple the pictures in his hands, before dropping them slowly to the floor. Lindsey immediately began backing up but not nearly quickly enough. Angel sprang, slamming his fist into Lindsey’s face once, hard enough to send him hurling toward the floor.
“You,” he snarled. “First
my wife now my little girls, you miserable fuck?”
Angel dropped to his knees and crunched his fist down again. Samantha skittered forward, sliding in her heels on the slick tiled floors and nearly losing her balance. Visions of her father returning to jail terrified her enough to launch herself against him and tug him back.
“Daddy, Daddy,” she shouted. “Daddy, listen to me!”
Angel turned away from the unconscious law student to face his elder daughter. “What?”
“We set him up,” she mumbled.
“What?” he echoed, now in confusion, rather than anger.
“He never touched us, Daddy. We drugged him, posed him and took pictures,” Samantha announced. “It was insurance for our family.”
“You took off your clothes and got into bed with this home-wrecker?” Angel asked through gritted teeth, looking back and forth between his daughters. He pulled himself to his feet and stepped away from Lindsey’s unconscious body.
“Well, he was knocked the fuck out, Daddy,” Joey explained. “It’s not like he was enjoying the view or anything.”
“I wanted to make sure he stayed away from us, from Mom, to be specific,” Samantha said, looking directly in her father’s eyes. “Obviously nothing was going to keep him from pursuing her, so I made sure he had no choice but to back off.”
“Sweetheart,” Angel said, “occasionally, you are a very scary little girl.”
Samantha raised her chin defiantly. “Nobody fucks with me and mine,” she said, casting a quick grin to Joey for stealing one of more common phrases. Angel’s eyes widened and then he laughed out loud and pulled his daughters into his arms. They might be manipulative and intrusive and disobedient, but they were his angels and he never felt luckier to have them.
“Come on, Daddy,” Samantha said, pulling on his hand. They all glanced back at Lindsey. They needed to be gone before anybody found him.
Six Months Later
“Okay, I think that wraps things up,” Samantha Roarke said, standing at the head of a giant, glossy conference room table. She looked over the members of the board of directors for Roarke Enterprises and gave them her best cool, professional smile. Taking her cue, they began filing out of the room. Keeping her head lifted high, she strolled across the room to the other end of the table where the company’s CEO sat.
“What do you think, Daddy?” she whispered, perching on the table near his chair.
“You were brilliant, Samantha! Simply brilliant,” Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, CIO, blustered. “They were all taken with you!”
Samantha smiled at him and fought the urge to roll her eyes before giving her father an amused look, which he echoed in his dark eyes. “Thank you, Wesley.”
“I agree completely, sweetheart,” Angel said, grinning. He rose to his feet and kissed her cheek. “You’re the perfect person to run the company. They’ll all be at your feet in no time.”
“We should celebrate Samantha officially taking over the reins of Roarke Enterprises,” Wesley announced, glancing at his watch. “I’d say the day is about finished. Shall we go have a drink?”
“I’ll have to take a rain check, Wes,” Angel said, slapping him on the shoulder. “I have a date tonight.”
“Oh god,” Samantha groaned. “Daddy, don’t you think you’re taking this dating thing a bit too far? You’re supposed to be an adult.”
“I am an adult,” he beamed. “I’m an adult who is taking a beautiful woman out for a night on the town and possibly, if I’m lucky, some debauchery will follow.”
“Please,” Samantha said, turning a little green. “Don’t overshare.”
Angel laughed and buttoned his jacket. He headed for the door, whistling a jaunty tune, looking forward to the night’s events. Just before he reached the door, Spike stepped in.
“Ready, pet?” he asked, focusing on Samantha. He took him a second to notice Angel’s presence and began backpedaling but was too late to dodge the fist that collided with his face. Spike, much to his credit, ducked back out of the room before he could hit him again.
“Dammit Daddy!” Samantha growled. “He’s my husband now. You can’t just hit him every time you see him!”
“I don’t,” Angel said, looking mildly offended. “I didn’t hit him at the wedding, remember? Just like I promised. I think I should get some credit for that.”
“You hit him at the reception,” Samantha said dryly.
“Once,” Angel returned. “And I promised the wedding. Nothing was said about the reception.”
“I think it should go without saying that my husband shouldn’t be decked on our wedding day.”
“See you later this week for dinner, sweetheart,” he answered, as if the conversation hadn’t happened. Resuming his whistling, he let himself out of the conference room.
“Right there! Right there! Harder!”
Angel’s fingers bit deeply into her hips as he slammed her down against him. As her climax washed over her, he growled, pressing his face against her shoulder as he let himself go.
Buffy giggled, collapsing against him. “We should have sex in the car more often,” she said languidly.
He smiled wryly in the darkness. “I think Joey’s getting sick of finding your underwear,” he noted.
“Too bad,” Buffy countered unrepentantly.
Turning his head, Angel found her mouth and kissed her long and deep. “I love you,” he whispered. She replied with a goofy grin.
Several minutes later, Buffy was once again sitting in her seat rather than straddling Angel. She righted her clothes and smoothed down her hair. “Where now?”
Angel frowned at her. “Well, I had plans,” he said. “But unfortunately, our little detour means we missed our dinner reservations. Everywhere else is going to be packed on a Friday night.”
“How about your Dad’s?” Buffy offered.
Angel shrugged and started the ignition. “Joey’s working there tonight, so it’ll be a great time to see how she’s doing.”
“I’m still not completely comfortable with her working there,” Buffy said, eyeing her husband in the dark. “It’s a bar.”
“She’s busing tables, baby,” Angel answered, turning toward the seedier part of town. “Besides, Pop would kill anyone who even looked at her the wrong way. Don’t worry about it. How much trouble can she get into washing glasses and wiping off tables?”
“Knowing our daughter, considerable trouble. Besides, Jake shouldn’t let her work there at all. She only just turned sixteen.” She turned in the seat and stared at her husband’s profile. “He’s paying her under the table, you know.”
“If it gets out of hand, we’ll make her quit,” Angel said, gathering her hand in his and smoothing his lips over her knuckles. “Besides, it cuts into her necking time.”
”All the freaks and weirdos she dates probably hang out there,” she groaned, but flushed as he slipped one of her fingers into his mouth. The afterglow she was basking in was heating up quickly and as she unbuckled her seatbelt to slide across the seat, he pulled into the parking lot and turned off the engine. She sighed, reaching for the door handle. Angel pulled her on her hand to get her attention and shook his head.
“Wait for me,” he said, leaning over to pull her into a heated kiss. “It’s a date. I get to open the door.”
“Okay, Romeo,” she giggled and watched as he got out and bounded around the car like a lovesick teenager. He opened the door with a flourish and took her hand as she stepped out, letting his eyes rake over the flash of toned thigh. Growling, he shut the door before pressing her against it and raking his fingers through her hair. He kissed her slowly, teasing her with little nips, raking his teeth over her lower lip. Smiling against her lips, he slipped the spaghetti strap of her little black dress down her right shoulder, moving to kiss a trail over the delicate column of her throat.
“Oh, no you don’t,” she giggled, pushing him away. “You’re buying me dinner. We have to have the date part of the date.”
He groaned and cupped her breast in his hand, pinching her nipple lightly. “I’ll make it worth your while,” he whispered, resuming his trail of kisses. Buffy’s head fell back and she groaned, rubbing her body against his. A truck pulled into the parking lot and the two men inside catcalled and whistled, jolting them back to reality.
“Inside, now,” Buffy said, frowning up at him.
He smiled his killer, crooked smile. “That’s exactly what I had in mind,” he said, grinding his pelvis against hers.
She couldn’t help it, she smiled. “You’re incorrigible,” she chided.
“And you love it,” he countered.
“I do,” she admitted with a wry smile, “but I still want to go check up on our daughter.”
Angel frowned. The one sure way to get his mind off of sex was to imply that one of his daughters might be in trouble. Reluctantly, he pulled away and held his hand out. Buffy took it and walked with him to the door.
The bar was exactly the way it had been when she stumbled inside two decades earlier. Honestly, Buffy couldn’t say that she had ever warmed to the place. It still filled her with apprehension, even now, and she couldn’t imagine why Joey would want to work here. As her gaze fell upon a table with a group of young, pierced bikers playing cards and tossing back shots, she amended that thought. Maybe she did know why Joey wanted to work here. She rubbed her temple, trying to ward off the growing headache.
Joey was behind the bar drying mugs as they approached. Jake leaned against the counter, watching her. “Don’t you be nippin’ off the fuckin’ tap back there either,” he growled. “I’m not about to get closed down because of you.”
Joey curled her lip into a snarl and flipped him the bird. “Fuck off old man,” she yelled.
Jake just smiled and turned around to rejoin his card game. Buffy shook her head. She would never understand the bizarre relationship that Joey had with her grandfather. As far as she could tell, it consisted mostly of insult flinging and growls. But it seemed to work for both of them, so she never interceded.
“Oh great,” Joey groaned as she spotted her parents enter. “It’s June and Ward Fuckbunny. Are you guys checking up on me?”
“Josephine,” Buffy chided. “Could you not use that language every time you open your mouth?”
“Look, thanks for looking in on me, but Gramps keeps me from the taps and the bikers, so it’s all good. Thanks for stopping in though. Bye, bye,” Joey answered, waving in mock cheerfulness.
“Nice try,” Angel said, stepping behind the bar and nudging his daughter aside. “What would you like to drink, my love?”
“I’ll have a Chardonnay,” Buffy answered, beaming back a smile. “And does your Dad still have those little pizza thingies in the kitchen? I love those.”
“I’m not sure that goes with white wine, but Joey will go see,” Angel said, winking at his wife while he wrapped his arm around his daughter.
“Daddy!” Joey whispered harshly, pulling away. “You’re my *parent*. You can’t hug me in public!”
“Yes, Angel, what were you thinking?” Buffy asked, with obvious amusement. Jake ambled over the bar to greet them. Buffy was always taken back on what a large man he was. Ever since she first saw him, she had been intimidated by his size. It wasn’t until he stood next to Angel that she realized he wasn’t all that big anymore. In fact, her husband’s arms were larger.
“Joey, go get your mama some pizza rolls. Christ knows she needs a fucking meal,” Jake ordered gruffly.
“I was about to do that before Dad made with the PDA,” Joey growled, stomping toward the back, mumbling. “Can’t even have a job for a goddamn second without them butting in.”
“Hello Jake,” Buffy said, unable to hide her grin. Something about him just made her smile these days. It wasn’t until her daughters were old enough to verbally spar with him that she understood. He was just a gruff old man wrapped around the pinkies of his grandchildren.
“Buffy,” Jake nodded. “I see you got my son into shape again. You had him cryin’ in his beer like a little pussy. You sure crack that whip, don’tcha?”
Buffy looked over at Angel and took his hand. She couldn’t believe she had actually contemplated living her life without him in it. She couldn’t fathom how she thought she would live a life without Angel. “Well,” she said, glancing back at Jake, “a woman’s got to keep her man in check.”
“Well, someone needs to control him,” Jake said, slapping Angel on back hard enough to shove him forward. Angel shook his head, glad he had already set down Buffy’s wine glass before that happened.
“How’s Joey working out, Pop? She doing alright?”
“Well, she’s a damn sight better than you ever were,” Jake gruffed, leaning against the bar. “She knows how to clean a fucking glass.”
“Hey, I worked my ass off,” Angel countered irritably.
Jake rolled his eyes. “You were such a goddamn martyr,” he informed his son shortly. “I know I was a screw up and I accept that, but you – “ he poked Angel in the chest. “You were a fucking handful. Couldn’t work a single goddamn night without bitching and moaning every second. I couldn’t keep a fucking waitress for more than a week because you were always nailin’ ‘em in the back room and then breakin’ their little hearts. And to top it off, you’re one of the shittiest bartenders I’ve ever seen.”
Joey returned from the back room carrying a plate of pizza rolls, which she set before Buffy. Jake hooked an arm around her neck and pulled her back for a gruff hug. “Nothin’ like Joey here,” he said affectionately. “This girl knows how to tend bar.”
Joey grinned brightly at both her parents. Angel let the subject drop. He still firmly believed his father had been a horrible parent, but twenty years of living had given him a little perspective on the fact that maybe he had been a little difficult to get along with, he realized. This was all relative as he noticed his daughter’s shirt.
“Joe,” he groaned, “I asked you not to wear that shirt.”
Joey just smiled in satisfaction and smoothed her hands over the material. It was a tight little babydoll t-shirt at least two sizes too small. The material was black and it had glittery red writing that spelled out “jailbait”. Angel had vowed to burn the shirt the last time he saw her in it, but she’d managed to hide it where he couldn’t find it.
Buffy grabbed Angel’s hand and urged him to join her at one of the barstools. Reluctantly, he did so, leaving his daughter to her job. He took a seat and Joey set a bottle of Bud in front of him. Angel cocked an eyebrow. “I thought you weren’t serving,” he said.
“You’ll need it,” she assured him.
“For what?” Angel asked warily.
“For when I tell you my underwear matches the shirt.”
Angel took a drink and didn’t put the bottle down until it was empty.
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