RATING: Adult for language and content
DISCLAIMER: The Bee has no rights or claim on any
of the characters or products named in this story and makes
no profit from them.
SUMMARY: This is the third story in the Rosebud/verse.
Tara has been abducted and the police rush to find her.
The other members of the Circle decide that they can do
a better job and begin their own investigation.
Who will find her first and will it be in time?
Praise and thanks to the wonderful Petxnd for the amazing banner
Spike started the car while Faith looked over her notes. On
the surface, it didn't seem like they had any solid leads but
she couldn't help feeling like they were on the right track.
One of these girls had to have seen something.
"Huh? Oh, well according to my map, Connie Goodyear should be
next but since the girls said she wasn't there, do you want to skip
Spike gave it a moments thought before answering.
"No. Doesn't it seem odd to you that tonight of all nights, she would
not attend? The others said she never missed. I think it's worth a
little look see."
Faith agreed and they quickly arrived at the address. It was a small
cottage house that sat in an older residential section of the town. When
they rang the bell, a heavy set young woman in pink monkey covered
Spike held up his badge so that it shone in the glow of the porch
"Yeah? Is this about those parking tickets cause I was gonna pay
them it's just that money is kinda tight and....."
Faith stepped forward sliding her foot in the door.
"No, we are not here about your tickets. We understand you didn't
attend your Wicca meeting tonight and we wondered if we could talk
to you for a moment about that. Could we come inside?"
Connie's eyes got big.
"You're gonna arrest me for not going to the meeting?'
Spike gently eased forward, pushing the door as he went.
"No, course not. We just have a bit of a situation and wanted to ask
your help. That's all."
Suddenly a raspy, harsh voice called from inside the house.
"Who is it, Connie? If it's them damn bible thumpers again, slam
the fucking door in their faces. God damn preachin', sanctimonious,
Connie hung her head and cringed. Finally she lifted her face and
"That's my Mom. She's sick so I stayed home. You know, chicken
soup and foot rubs. Not pleasant but......" She shrugged.
"I ask you who the fuck........"
"IT'S FOR ME, MOTHER."
"Sorry, maybe we could talk out here."
Spike nodded and Faith ran through her questions. The detectives
quickly concluded that she was either a fantastic actress or totally innocent.
She was devastated when told of Tara's disappearance and blushed
when ask about the alleged crush.
"No, I'm straight. At least I think I am. Guys don't exactly flock
behind someone who looks like me so I don't have a lot of experience
to bank that knowledge on, but it's not that. It isn't sexual but I am
attracted to her. If you knew her you would know what I mean.
She is really special. So beautiful. She just glows, ya know?
I could stare at her all day, so yeah, I guess I do kinda have
Faith nodded. She and Spike both knew exactly what Connie was
saying. As they got ready to leave, Faith had one last question.
"Connie, have you ever seen a man watching Tara. Medium build,
dark, dirty hair, bad teeth. Sound familiar?"
Connie frowned then shook her head.
"No. Sorry. Hey, you ought to talk to Mr. Meeps. He's the janitor
and Tara usually talks to him after the meetings. He should know if
this guy is a student. Maybe he saw......"
"CONNIE! I need my lap blanket."
The shout, punctuated by a smokers hacking cough, boomed even through
the closed door. Connie rolled her eyes.
"I better go but, please, find Tara and make sure she is o.k."
"We are going to do our best. Thanks Connie."
Walking back to their car, Faith added the janitor's name to their list.
"Well that was another dud. Which actually that's good, it helps
up whittle down the names and possibles. Let's run two blocks down
and one east. Next is Rita Washborn. She is the one the girls said
used to sit in on the meetings then joined about 2 months ago."
Spike sighed. All these girls looked alike and sounded the same.
They were all with Tara yet no one knows anything. Weren't they
supposed to be psychic or something? He remembered Willow
commenting that they were just a bunch of girls pretending, but
Tara believed in Wicca and she enjoyed her weekly meetings.
The entire time they walked and drove, Faith scribbled nonstop on
her pad. Names, dates, times, impressions, questions and answers.
By the time they got to the Washborn residence, she was again
organized and ready.
Spike pulled in next to the pick up truck that was parked in the
driveway. He glanced in as they walked past. The upholstry was
faded but well cared for. There was a seat cover carefully wrapped
around the broken down bench seat and the dash board was
shiny and polished.
With no door bell, Faith knocked and waited. The front porch was in
apparently the same condition as the trucks interior. Old, worn
and in need of repair, but clean and neat as a pin.
After several minutes and a second knocking, the door eased open.
Spike presented his badge and glanced around the young woman.
"Miss Washborn? We're with the Sheriff's office and we are investigating
the disappearance of Tara McClay. Could we come in and talk to you?"
Spike noticed that she was still dressed for the day where as all the other they
had seen were in sweats and pajamas. Certainly nothing incriminating, yet
it was a detail that warranted notation.
"Why? I didn't have anything to do with it. I just saw her and she was
fine. There was lots of people there tonight, why you askin' me?"
Faith and Spike glanced at each other quickly then Faith took over.
"Oh, Honey, we are just talking to everyone. We also want to make
sure all you ladies are safe. Do you live here alone?"
Rita scowled but kept her small body firmly planted in the doorway,
blocking both the sight and sound of the interior of the house from the
Short, bobbed dark hair and thick rimmed glasses, Faith sighed. This
young girl could be a real looker if she wanted. Small and slim, she
covered herself in oversized denim, jeans and shirt, but what really
made her unattractive and unappealing was the hateful scowl that
covered her face.
"Look, I don't like cops and you can't come in. Sides, I don't live alone,
I live with my brother and, um, my Father, so don't pretend like you
care. Shit, it's only been a few hours, maybe Tara is off fuckin' some
football player. She is such a flirt. I see guys all the time trying to get next
The last comment caught Spike totally off guard.
"How long did you say you have known her?"
Rita picked up on the change of expression and immediately calmed
and softened her tone.
"Oh, um several months. You know, maybe I am being to harsh. I
mean, everybody deserves a life. If Tara sleeps around that's her business.
Now, I really don't know anything and I was just getting ready for
bed so if there is nothing more....."
"Wait." Faith stopped her retreat. "There was a man at your meeting
tonight. Do you know who he was?"
Rita scowled. "I didn't see nobody. It was just women."
Quickly, before she could slam the door in their faces, Faith offered
Rita one of her cards.
"If you think of anything could you..........."
BAM! The whoosh of air as the door closed, ruffled Faith's hair.
"Well. What do you think?"
"I think we need to go."
Grabbing her arm, Spike nearly dragged Faith off the porch and into
the car. He wanted to talk, but not here. The minute he backed out
of the drive, he started.
"Well, she is either guilty, of something, or just a bitch. I'm voting for
both, how about you?"
Faith nodded vigorously, jotting down impressions.
"The first thing that struck me as odd is the fact that she wasn't at
all shocked or surprised that Tara was missing. Then, she was
obviously trying to throw us off track with the 'Tara is a ho' routine.
Still, on the other side of the coin, she is small. Smaller than Tara.
She lives with her family and is clearly home, so...."
Spike squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed his hand over the back of
"Damn. Whose next on the list?"
Authors note: Anyone who has been concerned about our sweet
Dudley should check here: