"Will? You feeling okay?" Buffy was beginning to get worried. They'd been sitting in this particular coffee shop for over an hour and Willow had hardly said two words the whole time <Its too bad "Huh?" and "Oh" won't constitute as actual conversation... cause if they could we'd be having a great one.> Buffy watched Willow as she sat there, staring into her coffee like she wanted to drown herself in it. <Chocolaty death... not the worst way to go> Buffy had to admit though.
"Hm...? Oh, yeah... sure... I'm fine."
In reality, Willow was feeling anything but fine, and seeing her best friend with such a worried look on her face only made matters worse. <I must have been acting like a complete loon these last couple weeks.> Willow silently chastised herself for making Buffy worry about her.
If it was any consolation though, it was killing her that she couldn't find the words to tell Buffy she was gay. In truth, Willow wasn't sure how Buffy would take the news. Although she wanted to believe the best, she really had no frame of reference for this kind of talk, and it made her palms all sweaty to think that Buffy might be uncomfortable around her from now on if she knew the truth.
Willow had known since high school that she'd been gay... she was gay in theory any way, until now. But she'd never been in love with anyone before... so coming out... not really an issue... until Tara. <My Tara...> Just the thought of Tara Made Willow's skin tingle and her head feel light and dizzy... <like, after a roller-coaster, or while in line for some required text at the college library... or when you eat one of those icy things too fast and you get brain freeze...>. Crinkling her brow, willow couldn't help settling into the security of an all too familiar ramble, as she thought about the why and wherefore of dizziness. <Or like when you have long hair and you tell the stylist to take a little off the ends, but instead she gets all snip happy and cuts it all off, not stopping until you look like an insane Janet Reno.> Janet Reno must've been magic words in Willow's mind, because the rapid thoughts stopped suddenly as she felt "Resolve face" take the forefront. <Okay... here it goes... She's your friend... nothing can change that.>
"Hey Buff...? Can I ask you something?" Willow set her cup on the glass table top. Bringing her finger to the rim she wiped a bit of liquid from around it.
"Sure Willow... you know you can come to me with anything."
"Well... .it's not for me exactly... it's about a friend... a hypothetical friend. A guy hypothetical friend," Willow added, quickly picking her cup back up and pretending to drink. Hiding behind her mocha was more fun than the truth right at this moment.
"Is it Xander...it's Xander isn't it?" Buffy said, with a knowing smile.
"No it's not Xander."
"Oh. Well... Who is it?"
"You don't know him... he's hypothetical remember?"
"So anyway... this hypothetical guy... He's been seeing this woman for the last couple weeks."
"Seeing...? Seeing how? Like... stalkery, looking from afar type seeing? "
"No! Not stalkery... There was no stalking involved!"
"Never mind..." Willow sighed into her coffee.
Buffy looked across the table at her best friend. <She looks so edgy.> Buffy could tell this by the way Willow was intently picking a hole through the sweater she was wearing. <Hey! That's my sweater!> Buffy reached across the table taking Willow's hand in her own.
"Will... .? Are you sure everything's okay? Cause... you seem kinda... insane..."
Willow smiled at her friend's gesture. She knew that Buffy just wanted to help, but she just couldn't get the words "Buffy, I'm Gay" to come out of her mouth. Willow knew that she was in love with Tara and she wanted to tell the world... or at least Buffy... but there was something holding her back, so instead of saying anything she took another drink of her coffee.
Buffy gave Willow's hand a little squeeze before letting go. <There's something going on here... and I'm going to figure it out.>
Tara made short work of the walk to Main Street making the distance from her apartment on Shady Crest drive all the way to Main street in little over 30 minutes. There was a store that she'd heard about from one of her students and she'd wanted to check it out. Tara looked up against the bright glare of the early afternoon sun, shielding her eyes; she scanned the buildings lining the short strip. Tara guessed the temperature outside to be somewhere around 75 degrees... although not "Sahara hot " it still caused the jeans that she'd chosen this morning paired with the long-sleeve double knit shirt to sort of stick to her body in all the most uncomfortable and unflattering places as she walked. Adjusting her shirt slightly Tara proceeded to cross the not at all busy street, in fact, except for the few people walking the sidewalks or in the shops themselves the place seemed pretty much deserted. Which was fine with Tara, she enjoyed the quiet atmosphere. She scanned the stores once more before spotting what she'd come all the way down there for.
"Magic Box" She read the sign aloud. Tara glanced down at her watch. <Okay... I have two hours before I need to meet Willow at the museum...> Tara smiled at the remembered date. Her smile grew even brighter as she remembered the conversation which led to the appointed date, which ultimately was the reason, besides student gossip alone, that inspired this little jaunt to the magic box.
Two days ago, she'd been holding Willow on the couch as they'd watched a movie, Tara couldn't remember which one, because she'd been paying more attention to the way Willow's breasts were moving against the cloth of her shirt every time she'd taken a breath. <Ghost! That's right...> Tara was relieved that she had recalled the name of the movie after all.
It was right at the part where Whoopi Goldberg was trying to convince Demi Moore that Patrick Swayze was trying to communicate to her, when Willow had shifted in Tara's arms and brought up the subject of spirituality. Tara had revealed that she used to read Tarot cards when she was a kid. Instead of being freaked out, Willow had been very interested and Tara had promised to do a reading for Willow.
<But first I need to buy some cards... and where better than a magic shop?> she said to herself, as she pushed the door open. A bell jingled above her and an excited shopkeeper greeted her with an enthusiastic "HELLO!" as she entered. Tara was caught off guard, but she couldn't resist a smile in the woman's direction.
"You are here to purchase something I assume... Please come in."
"Thank you." Tara clasped her hands shyly in front of her body, before making her way to the Tarot cards displayed neatly next to the counter where the woman was standing counting the money from the cash register.
Tara glanced sideways just in time to see the woman smell the money as she flashed an approving smile. Tara nearly had to cover her mouth to keep a laugh from escaping. The woman must have noticed her amusement because she directed her attention once again to Tara.
"Can I assist you in spending your money?"
"Actually... I-I w-want to buy these..." Tara held out a worn looking set of cards wrapped in a satin cloth.
"Oh good choice... those are the most expensive."
Tara handed the woman a 50 dollar bill and waited as she punched they keys on the old fashioned cash register. It seemed to be taking quite a bit of time and Tara found her eyes wondering around the store. <When I have more time I'll come back.> she told herself.
Tara glanced up as the woman behind the counter handed her the receipt.
"Thank you." Tara said as she put the receipt in her purse and headed back out into the blazing sunshine. As she neared the door she heard the shopkeeper call in a chipper voice:
"Your cash and or credit cards are always welcome here. Please bring them back again!"
With one final polite nod Tara let the door close behind her.