When Buffy recounted the incident for her sister's benefit later, she couldn't remember exactly how the altercation had started. Despite being seated only two tables away from ground zero, she hadn't been paying the least bit of attention to the sharp words and raised voices; her Slayer senses had already told her there were no demons in the room, so she'd dismissed the bickering pair as irrelevant and focused all her attention on her distressed dinner partner. She'd flown all the way from Rome to São Paolo to be a strong shoulder for a friend, not to stick her nose in some random couple's domestic issues.
By the time the hovering waiters finally summoned someone to deal with the problem, however, even the broken-hearted, miserable Willow had noticed what was going on. The older of the two men at the table had half-risen from his chair, red-faced and gesticulating wildly; the younger slouched in his seat, attempting to look cool as he spit out sullen, sarcastic responses, but the tension in his muscles gave him away. Buffy had no idea whether they were family, lovers, business partners, or what-- she didn't speak Portuguese-- but whatever relationship was between them, it was clearly on the rocks.
She had just begun to seriously contemplate doing the staff of El Gato a favor and knocking them unconscious when a man in a white apron burst out of the kitchen and strode up to the combatants' table, a grim set to his jaw and a steely hardness in his eyes. Buffy got a good view of him as he walked by her chair and couldn't help but look him up-- and up-- and up-- and down again; there was an immensity to his dimensions that had to be seen to be believed. He was six foot four if he was an inch, head to toe solid muscle, with biceps as big as her thighs and shoulders the like of which she'd never seen on a human before. If it hadn't been for the flour on his forearms and the splatters of grease on his apron, she'd never have believed in a million years that he was a chef; the only guy she'd ever known with any talent at cooking was Andrew, and this man was pretty much his complete opposite in every way.
"I need you to make a choice for me," he said in a deep, intense voice, cutting straight through the argument and catching both men's attention.
"And what choice is that?" the elder of the pair sneered back in heavily accented English.
"Option A, you leave my restaurant right now, and never darken its door again," the chef said, rubbing the knuckles of one massive hand against the palm of the other. "Option B? I make you."
It would have made for a better story if the men had chose Option B, but they weren't movie villains; they chose the sensible option. Buffy left the restaurant that evening feeling as though she'd been cheated of a good fight-- but also very curious about how an American with a football player's build had ended up in the kitchen of Willow's favorite restaurant in Brazil... not to mention, what all that muscle would look like in action.
She called the airline that night and cancelled her return ticket. It wasn't like she had anyone to go back to, now that the Immortal had shown his true spots and Dawn had taken an apartment with Vi for the summer. She was sure Willow wouldn't mind her staying in town a little longer than planned.