Previous parts HERE.
Savage Beauty Chapter Eight
“Do you, um, have an adequate supply of money for the evening?” Giles asked.
Spike grinned at him. “No problem, mate. I’m sorted.”
“Are you sure?” Giles pressed. He wasn’t sure how well Spike had adapted to the concept of non-Brazilian currency, and he hoped that the Jivaro warrior wouldn’t get a nasty shock when he was asked to pay a bill in Icelandic króna. “You are taking the Prime Minister out dining and dancing, she’ll expect the best, and it may prove rather expensive.”
“Told you I’m sorted,” Spike assured him confidently. “There was a bloke came round the village a couple of weeks back buying giant otter pelts and he had a sodding great wad of American dollars. Everybody here seems to take dollars, no problem.”
“Oh dear,” Giles sighed, taking off his glasses and polishing the lenses. “Giant otters are a protected species. You really shouldn’t have sold him any pelts.”
“Didn’t,” Spike told him. “Like you said, protected species, so that made the bloke a criminal. His head should be the right size to make a pal for Miss Edith by the time we get back home.” He cocked his head to one side and looked at Giles quizzically. “That was all right, wasn’t it? Preserving our cultural traditions, innit? He didn’t have much use for the dollars after that, so, waste not want not.”
“Oh dear,” Giles said again. “Um, what did you do with the rest of him?”
“Fed him to the piranhas, mate,” Spike grinned cheerfully.
Giles heaved another sigh and replaced his glasses. “Do try not to kill anyone tonight, Spike. I assure you that it would not be a forward step in your courtship campaign.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll behave,” Spike promised. “The Icelanders seem like good blokes. Anyway, Buffi tells me they haven’t got any piranhas.”
“C’mon, Ahn,” Xander wheedled. “Your boss won’t mind Willow and Tara turning up at her night out. She was getting along with them fine before your father bust everything up last night.”
Anya pursed her lips. “I don’t know,” she prevaricated. “Buffi seems quite smitten with this Brazilian man, I don’t want to do anything that might spoil her chances of getting some orgasms.”
“Willow and Tara have got tact,” Xander assured her. “They won’t break into any heavy make-out sessions. Go on, tell me where Buffi is going tonight. It was your dad who spoiled their shot at her at the Ambassadors’ Ball, remember. Only fair if you help give them another chance.”
“Oh, all right,” Anya gave in, “but only as long as you do something for me in return.”
“Yeah, sure, anything,” Xander agreed. He saw a triumphant smile appear on Anya’s lips and cringed inwardly. “Uh, what do you want me to do?”
Anya told him.
Xander went red. “Well, okay,” he said, “sounds kinda, uh, interesting. But how am I going to get hold of a fireman’s outfit, a set of handcuffs, a quart of spray cream, a drainpipe and a ferret in Reykjavik on a Saturday night?”
Olaf leaned on the bar and scowled into his beer. His cronies hung back nervously. One had already made the mistake of making a jesting remark about the bruise on the massive whaler’s chin and had suffered for it, felled by a mighty blow from the huge right fist that was nicknamed ‘Olaf’s Hammer’. The others were taking pains to exercise lots of tact. A tall stranger walked into the tavern and made straight for Olaf; he also had bruises on his face, and the whalers tensed in anticipation of some violent action.
“Excuse me, are you Olaf Grimsson?” the stranger asked, in English.
Olaf turned a surly glare on the newcomer. “Who wants to know?”
“My name’s not important,” the stranger replied, “but I have a proposition for Olaf Grimsson that would be very much to his advantage.”
Olaf straightened up to his full height. The stranger was tall, but the giant whaler made him look tiny. “You have found Olaf Grimsson, Mr Not Important. Tell me of your proposition.”
The stranger drew close to Olaf and spoke quietly, so that the other whalers heard little of the conversation. They did see their leader accepting a thick wad of American dollars, however. Eventually the stranger left; Olaf drained his beer in one swallow and waved an arm to gather his cronies around him.
“Finish your drinks, men, and we will leave this place” he boomed. “Tonight we are going clubbing.”
One of the whalers frowned, his expression indicating puzzlement. “But Olaf,” he protested, “there will be no baby seals for a month.”
Kennedy and Oz had arranged a double date for that night, and each had brought a friend. “Meet Faith Lehane,” Kennedy introduced her companion. “Unarmed combat instructor at the Keflavik air base.”
Oz and his band-mate cast appreciative eyes over the curvaceous brunette. “Pleased to meet you,” Oz said.
“Yo, wicked cool meeting two of ‘Polar Bears Ate My Walrus’,” Faith smiled.
“This is Gunnar Karlsson,” Oz said, gesturing towards the tall shaven-headed young man who accompanied him. “He is the rapper in the band, and we call him Gunn the Black.”
“Like ‘Erik the Red’? Old Viking name?” Kennedy guessed.
“Not exactly,” Oz replied.
“Yo, how’s it hangin’? Two foxy chicks and two real cool dudes, got a lot of style and a bad attitude, we gonna make a splash when we hit the ‘hood,” Gunn addressed them.
“Yeah, see what you mean,” Kennedy said, as Gunn and Faith exchanged high fives.
The two men escorted the girls to their vehicle; a Dodge Ram SRT-10 Quad Cab pick-up truck. “Gunn’s pride and joy,” Oz told Kennedy. “He worked two seasons on a fishing boat trawling for flatfish to pay for it; he sold his sole for the truck.”
The taxi departed, bearing Spike off to his rendezvous with Buffi, and Giles and Drusilla walked back into the hotel lobby. A man was sitting there with a newspaper raised to conceal his face; he lowered it and came to his feet as they approached. It was Ethan Rayne.
“Hello, Rupert old boy,” he greeted Giles. “And the delightful Drusilla.”
Drusilla beamed at him. “Miss Edith told me you would come,” she said happily.
“I certainly hope so,” Ethan smiled, and then his expression turned serious. “Your brother is in danger, you know.”
“The spirits have warned me,” Drusilla agreed. “Already I have foiled one evil plan.”
“And without even killing anyone,” Giles added, his tone approving.
“All I did was take off the top of my bikini, and some nice men did the rest,” Drusilla explained.
“Shame I wasn’t there to see that,” Ethan lamented.
“Yes, it was funny,” Drusilla giggled, missing Ethan’s point completely. “They hit the nasty man lots of times.”
Giles hastened to bring the conversation back to a more important topic. “What’s this about Spike being in danger?”
Ethan glanced around the lobby before replying. “Word to the wise, old boy. The Yanks aren’t too keen on Buffi Somersdottir taking up with a Brazilian. They’re planning something to break the romance up before it even gets started, and they’re not too fussy about how they do it. I wouldn’t let him wander around by himself if I were you.”
“And how do you know about this?” Giles asked.
Ethan tapped the side of his nose with a finger. “Hush hush, old boy. It might be that I have a friend in a certain department, or then again I might not.”
“Or you might be in MI6 yourself, of course,” Giles deduced. He frowned and adjusted his glasses. “Spike is eminently capable of taking care of himself, I know, but he’s not on his own ground here. Perhaps we should keep an eye on him tonight after all.”
Drusilla clapped her hands together. “We can all go out together,” she said gleefully. “We shall have drinks, and dance, and bathe in the blood of Spike’s enemies.”
“I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with only two of those activities, dear lady,” Ethan advised her.
Drusilla pouted. “But I like dancing.”
A sinister black van with tinted windows rolled to a halt and the three young CIA operatives inside scurried to their surveillance positions. “I have positive identification,” Andrew Wells announced, checking an instrument reading. “Buffi Somersdottir and the Brazilian. Probability ninety-seven per cent.”
“One hundred per cent, dork,” Jonathan Levinson corrected him. “How many Jivaro Indians with spikes through their noses are there in Reykjavik anyway?”
“There might be others,” Andrew pouted. “A master spy must never take anything for granted.”
“Can it, both of you,” Warren Mears ordered. “I’m sending a report back to base.” He switched on a microphone. “Rabbit One calling Agent Suomi. Targets are entering Karathús. Repeat, targets are entering Karathús.”
“Acknowledged,” Riley Finn’s voice boomed from the radio. “Maintain position and await further orders. Over and out.”
Jonathan pursed his lips. “That’s just great, not. ‘Maintain position and await further orders’. We could be stuck here all night, and I wanted to watch the Oscars.”
“Oscars, schmoscars,” Warren grinned, and flipped a switch. A monitor rose from the communications console. “We could watch them from here anyway. TV reception, not a problem. But I’ve got something better.” Images appeared on the monitor. “Free cable porn.”
The Dodge truck pulled up in the night-club’s parking lot and the four young people disembarked. Kennedy gazed up at the illuminated sign above the club and frowned. “‘Karathús’,” she read. “Doesn’t that mean, like, ‘Karaoke house’? Okay, so I’ve been known to get up there and give ‘I Will Survive’ a shot, but only if I’ve gotten good and drunk first.”
“It is a proper night club, very exclusive,” Oz assured her. “The owner, Ljörn Diðriksson, started off with a karaoke club. He kept the name when he expanded, but now there is only karaoke on Mondays.”
“Damn, and I like karaoke,” Faith complained. She spotted something out of the corner of her eye and froze momentarily, and then moved close to Kennedy. “Don’t look now,” she whispered, “but the Agency spook-mobile is parked over the road. What’s up?”
Kennedy took a mirror from her purse and looked at the van while pretending to check her make-up. “Well, it could be the Ambassador trying to get something on me that he could use to fire me,” she muttered, “but I’m betting it’s something to do with his scheme to screw up Buffi Somersdottir’s new romance. If it is, I’m gonna do my bit to mess with his plans. Hot chicks who do martial arts have got to stick together, right?”
“Right with you, sister,” Faith agreed.
A car drew up nearby and disgorged another group of four; a young man and three girls. Kennedy relaxed. “Maybe it’s okay,” she said. “That’s the Ambassador’s son and his friends. The spooks might just be keeping an eye on them.” She put the mirror away. “Okay, guys,” she said. “Look out Karathús, here we come.”
Ambassador Harris grinned broadly as Riley delivered his report. “Okay, we’re in business,” he said. “You two have your orders. Get to this Karathús place and move in on Somersdottir and her Tarzan guy. Think you can handle it, Miss Chase?”
The beautiful, fashionably dressed, brunette smiled confidently. “He’ll be putty in my hands,” she assured him. “I’ll split him off from the Slayer and leave the way open for Angle to move in.”
“I’ll do my part,” Angle said with equal confidence. “Buffi is mine. She just needs to be reminded of that.”
“Get moving, then,” the Ambassador ordered. “The limo is waiting.”
The pair exited. Ambassador Harris rubbed his hands together, gloating, and turned to Riley. “And then your whaler pals can beat this Spike to a pulp. Teach him not to stick his pierced nose in where it’s not wanted.” He opened a cigar case and took out a Cuban cigar. “I love it when a plan comes together.”