Push the broom. Don’t look over at her. Just push the broom. Lord, she’d tasted sweet. And her perfume: amber and honey. Oh, no, she’d noticed that he was looking at her. Say something. Say something not about her lips and the way they’d parted under his.
“What, what is it about rabbits, anyway?”
“I had a bad experience with rabbits, once.”
“I nearly choked to death on a bone in some rabbit stew. My human mother had been very sloppy when she cleaned the hare.”
Giles stopped pushing his broom. “Uh, and this gave you a phobia? Really?”
“No. That was a clumsy lie. Actually it was an encounter with a warren infested by vampiric rabbits about two hundred years ago, in Germany. They had nasty fangs, all bloody from the voles and shrews they’d been sucking dry.”
“Oh, my, that sounds— Anya, animals can’t contract vampirism.” Giles chased a pile of dust with his broom over to the debris collection point by the counter.
“You’re right. I was lying again.”
“Well, what is it?”
“A woman who was married to a furrier once needed vengeance from me. She wished for the bodies of the animals he’d killed to reanimate and tear him to shreds. He’d mostly worked in rabbit fur. There were dozens of zombie rabbit bodies hopping around his shop. It was horrible, even if I was the one who made it happen.”
That had the ring of truth. Giles felt a mix of horror and sympathy. He leaned his broom against the counter and took a step toward her. “That’s awful. That—”
“That was a lie, too. I’m just allergic.”
Giles let out an exasperated breath. “Really, Anya, you’re impossible.”
“I’m impossible? I’m impossible? You were completely unsympathetic earlier!” Anya stomped up to him and waved a finger in his face. She stopped, suddenly. She leaned very very near him. Giles suddenly couldn’t breathe.
She stood with her eyes closed, her face near his collar. He could smell amber and honey.
“I’ve just realized how good bay rum smells, on an adult male.”
Giles closed his eyes, and surrendered.